A Garden Update

It has been very hot and dry here in New Hampshire. With just a one day of rainfall until yesterday, I was becoming good friends with our new garden hose (Thanks so much to Tom and Dylan for setting up the outside faucet and hose for me). I’ve been trying to save my frail cucumber plants. Have you ever had trouble getting yours growing? I have…even with a daily watering habit the cucumbers are floppy and the stems are white. This happens to my tender plants early in the season if the weather is hot.

 

Thankfully the day before yesterday we had a deluge of rain, perking up my green plants and moistening the garden soil. It’s amazing how a significant rainfall can make a difference with their well-being. With a blink of the eye, the growth is unbelievable!

Here is our little corn patch, four meager rows. Tom and Branden love corn and I enjoy it too. I made the decision to rotate its placement.  Last year the corn rested on the East side facing, where the sun comes up and this growing season it’s on the West side.

My green beans have sprouted nicely forming an L shape in the East corner. I hope they are close enough to the fence to intertwine the vine on it. It would be cool to pick beans off the fence.

As most of you may know, I planted a bed of sunflowers for my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding in August. Here is a recent photo of one and even now, with the rainstorm, it’s a few inches taller. Next Tom and I plan to fence it in to protect it from deer and woodchucks. I’m grateful that I can do this and really hope they will be ready to pick by the 18th.

How are your gardens doing? Have you spent much time nurturing and talking to your plants as I have? I think that’s my mother-in-law’s success with growing flowers is simple, talk to them everyday and love them. You can’t go wrong with love, don’t you agree?

I hope you all are having a pleasant week. I plan to catch up and read many of your blog posts.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

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One Small Sticker, One Huge Heart

I am always looking for special moments throughout the day, occurrences that restore my faith in humanity. Sometimes it’s a wide smile and a pat on the back…others times, it’s witnessing adults and students helping each other with a kindness that will surely change our world.

 

 

About six weeks ago at 7:20 with a steamy mug of tea in hand and my school bag slung over my shoulder, I walked the path to the school building. It seemed like any other work day. But little did I know I would receive a surprise at the door. A smiling eighth grader sat on the pavement with a book of bright glittery stickers. “Do you want a sticker?” Brendan Wall asked me. This was strange to me, for I am always  giving out stickers to my students, but no one has ever asked me!

 

I immediately thought that it was a special gesture, especially early in the morning. This was a sure sign that this kids heart was in the right place! From that day on, the sticker collection grew. Brendan would have sheets fanned out on the walk with surrounding kids waiting for a sticker to start the day. He would generously hand them out to students and teachers. Smiling and laughing kids and a genuine happiness hung in the air…simply from a sticker.

 

Brendan told me that he hands out the little stickers “because it makes people happy and that makes me happy.” He said some people ask if he wants money and the answer is always no, “because people don’t need to pay for their happiness!” he stated proudly.

 

I remember having this young man in reading a few years ago. What an inspiring gift it is, to see what good he is doing for the school community now! I’m not sure how Brendan got this fantastic inspiration ( I should have asked him) but I do know that with this simple sticker and kind smile, he’s contributing to a healthy and positive school climate. It sends a simple message that you can spread goodness and kindness with a small token but affect others in a huge way!

Upon taking these photos on the last day, Brendan gave out his sticker sheets for the summer. I didn’t ask him if this project would be ongoing and since he’ll be in high school, I expect it may change. One thing that won’t change is Brendan’s huge heart and his gifts of kindness to others. Maybe someday this young man will have a promising career serving others.

Thank you to Brendan for letting me share his story. Also a huge thanks to his mom for her permission to take photos and write about him. She must be a proud mama to have such a giving son and I’m sure her love and kindness has positively influenced him.

As you go about your day, how can you spread kindness and generosity in small ways? If we all do this, in these special and small moments, our world will definitely be a better place! I hope you will feel inspired from this young man and do your part to spread love and kindness to others!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

aka “Mrs. Blowey” as Brendan knows me

First Day of Summer Vacation

Hello All,

This was my first day of summer vacation and my 49th birthday! I woke to no alarm…just sun glinting in my windows and my sleeping cat Smokey at my feet. I think he thought something was wrong as it was a little later than usual. It was grand taking my time as I sipped my cup of coffee and had toast with honey and butter.

 

I spent the morning walking around our yard and weeding and working with my flowers. It took a little time clipping off gone by lilac flowers but it was great satisfaction to take care of it. My dad told me you should clip them off every year.

 

Here is my favorite bird bath my niece Michele made from re-purposed dishes and cups. The bottom piece fell and broke but we managed to re-glue it so hopefully it will be strong in the summer winds. I have yet to spy a bird land in its beautiful bath dish but look forward to that!

 

June is amazing here! Flowers have emerged everywhere, with bursting colors to brighten yards and decks. Out back we have pink and white wildflowers growing in patches here and there. Tom said that the state plants them on roadsides and so on our little country drives we get to see them.

A stand of maples shade our back yard, where soon our deck will be. Wind chimes flutter in the breeze and I hear the tinkling little music that blends in with chirping robins.

Tom and his friend Mike worked with Mike’s tractor to smooth our back yard and get rid of a huge clump of dirt. Soon we will plant grass and put up a little fence bordering the dirt road. That way we will have a little needed privacy on our deck.

That’s all for now! Summer officially begins! I look forward to waking without an alarm and to my own rhythm. My time will be spent catching up with a few household chores, working in my veggie garden and outside flower beds. I truly hope to read all of your posts and catch up as much as I can. Thanks for stopping by and check in now and then for summer posts!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Building a Strong Fence

 

I’ve gardened many years without a fence. Through the years I took my chances and shared my lot with deer, raccoon and skunks to name a few. Then when we moved our garden to our house lot, I received an early sign that a fence probably was priority. The first time we tilled the garden, within hours we had a deer investigate just a few feet away. I think he/she smelled the pungent fresh soil from the nearby woods and wished to see what all this was about…maybe hoping for fresh veggies that early.

 

Even though I knew that I needed a fence, I put it off. The last straw was when I simply left the plot to go inside to make supper. An hour and a half later upon approaching the garden, I discovered that a woodchuck had destroyed and eaten my whole row of broccoli. All that remained were forlorn roots and a green stem sadly bent beyond shape.

 

A couple of summers ago we were fortunate to have my dad give us some simple fencing and we put it up. We attached sturdy sticks to hold up the frame and believe it or not, it held up pretty well even through the rough winter weather. Last fall the wind and elements tore down some of the fence and snapped the sticks we had in place.

 

Yesterday Tom and I put the fence back up with grade stakes I bought at a local Agway farming store. I think they’ll be sturdy and last a few years. The only regret I have is that they should be a little taller, about five feet. They will do and serve the purpose but next time when I replace them I’ll be sure to buy taller stakes.

Many of you know we are renovating our house one bit at a time. Every summer we do a little bit more and eventually it will be finished to our liking. You can see Tom’s summer project in the background, the side of our house that we will continue to put cedar siding on.

This winter I bought this old post office box from Ebay pretty cheap. At first I had inside for decor, then hung it on our front door but finally I’ve decided on its true placement.  Here it hangs on my garden fence, holding all my little shovels and trowels and dowels for the plants. I’m happy with it and its rustic mint green finish. I’m always trying to incorporate antiques and unique things in my inside and outside spaces.

A sturdy fence keeps our planted veggies safe and ready for our family to eat. In these woodsy mountainous parts, a fence is essential! When we go on our local drives in the warm sun, we notice many neighbors have a sturdy fence. Must be that they don’t want to share with the deer either!

 

Do you have a fence around your home or garden? Sometimes fences serve as barriers to keep animals out. Other times they are beautiful works of art, a part of the landscape design.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

The First Step of a Garden

 

The first step of the 2018 garden

It’s Memorial Day weekend, in other words crunch time for gardeners in the north. For weeks we’ve looked at seeds, planned the annual map of where everything will be planted and waited for warmer weather and promising temperatures. Yesterday Tom tilled our lot, just the beginning of another gardening year.

 

Unfortunately swarms of pesky black flies hovered in our faces and bit our necks. The damp air signaled rain and the stirred up  soil thrust them into overdrive and there was no way to get away from them! Thankfully they are out just a few weeks and then mosquitoes will replace them.

 

I’m grateful that Tom tills our lot every year. He methodically walked up and down the space over and over to rid it of grass and already shot up weeds. The loud machine hummed and whirred as nature’s bird calls and creatures played in the background.

 

 

It’s satisfying for Tom and I to see the results of his work in a few minutes. Fresh soil awaits the seeds and plants and then the gardening season will commence for us! We both decided we would hold off on planting until next weekend, being early June. We’ve always planted then to avoid May frosts and give it a warm boost.

My future daughter-in-law Lexy asked me to plant sunflowers for her and my son’s wedding in August. Tom tilled the small bed yesterday and I planted seeds in three rows. We hope we won’t have to fence it away from the woodchucks but time will certainly tell.

 

 

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for luck to grow her beautiful sunflowers for the wedding and that they will be ready to pick in mid-August. It means very much to me, to be able to help Lexy and Dylan for their wedding day. I pray that they will grow strong and beautiful, like my daughter-in-law.

 

 

 

Here is a shot of Lexy from our little beach get away in April. She and I went to Ogunquit Maine overnight for a little adventure. I thought it was sweet that she wanted to go with me. Although the beach was freezing and we only stayed minutes, we had a fabulous time at the resort hotel in the hot tub. After we  bought a bottle of wine and sat on our deck talking and then went to a fine dinner in an Italian restaurant. I’m thankful Dylan has chosen this special young woman and our family has accepted her with open arms. We all love her and are thrilled that she will be a part of our family!

 

 

To conclude this post, I ask you what are you growing this year? Are you gardening vegetables or flowers or both?What is your favorite? Mine is growing veggies, as they feed my family and that gives me satisfaction that I”m helping Tom feed our family.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Mary

 

Lilac Perfume

One common theme of our little yard is the lilac bushes. They reside in all four corners of the property, spewing a heavenly perfume that delights every nature enthusiast. Their magic is short-lived, just a few weeks in May to enjoy and capture with the camera. This is why I cherish them even more.

Here we are at the far end of May, Memorial Day weekend and they are blossoming to greet us. Our local town Lisbon hosts an annual Lilac Festival as all purple and pink lilac bushes in town bloom to beautify every street and lane.

 

This lilac bush is a miracle! A few years ago the snowplow brutally clipped the original big bush and just a sprig remained. My husband Tom nursed it back to life and here it thrives to remind us that once in awhile tragedy can eventually lead to rebirth and growth.

As lilac perfume wafts through the air and grown grass encompasses it in a rich green, I thank God for all the vibrant color in my world. The red geraniums hang out in my window boxes as well as the white draping bicopa. Deep purple petunias add a pop of color. Glancing around my yard various shades of the rainbow calm me. Their beauty amazes me and draws me back to nature when I really need it!

 

Lilac perfume continues to permeate our air and thrills the bees and insects. As the weather warms up and all the creatures and insects live happily around us, I thank God for this life here. I can’t imagine not having all this beauty to enjoy! Remaining grateful for the season, I pray for all the plants, flowers and creatures to thrive and for me to follow suit.

Happy days to you all, in whatever season you are in. Embrace the beauty all around you, for acknowledging it can make life so much sweeter!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

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A Spring Morn

 

It’s a spring morning in New Hampshire. As I rise the wood floor boards are freezing to touch. Goosebumps spring through me as I glance out the bedroom window.An emerging sun welcomes my rising from a deep slumber. It warms the earth as robins and chickadees fly all about the yard.

A hot cup of coffee and a watch outside begins the day. Chipmunks already are at their daily routine skittering all over the front lawn. One has made a hole in one place where I tripped the other day. I’m not sure what Tom will do with it or will he leave it?

 

As the day warms I shed blankets and turn off the electric heaters. It’s been about two weeks since we’ve had a stove fire. It actually is a luxury for Tom not to haul wood to the house and kindle a fire so early. The house is warm enough, as the day warms up to the 60’s and lasts until the night cools off. Our heating season is coming to an end besides a sporadic wood fire on chilly June mornings.

 

Nearby yards host delicate daffodils and tulips, springing their rich yellow and pink colors, a beautiful combination with the rich green grass hue. I long to have a daffodil and tulip garden and add it to my yard wish list for coming years.

 

Tom trimmed our sprawling apple tree in the back yard. It looks so much better with branches cut back. Bumblebees fly from blossom to blossom, a good sign for my upcoming garden growth. Gotta have those bees!

 

Just the other day I saw my first hummingbird on a cherry tree branch. It must have been visiting the blossoms. My feeder is up now and I’ve spied the little guy already making a visit for a sugary drink.

 

As this beautiful day emerges with all the possibilities of nature, I remain extremely grateful for this country life. Despite the worries and anxiety of everyday living and an ending school year, I find this quiet yard a haven from it all. It’s a quaint refuge where I can gather my thoughts and center my mind as birds chirp in the background. I can only hope that you all find this harmony in a corner of your world. If you have this, grasp it with all your might and indulge in its elements. It’s the best and cheapest therapy around and will prepare you for what you have to face in the near future.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul