Several Generations of Gardeners

This years garden in July 2019

I have sat down three different times to write this post and each time I was almost done and it got erased! It’s frustrating because I was satisfied with it yet now I begin again once more. Hopefully the last time. Has that ever happened to you?

 

 

As a young child I didn’t give a hoot about gardens. I remember being around the age of 10 and my dad proudly tried to show me his garden at our Haverhill, NH house. The plot sat in the back of our yard bordering blackberry bushes. Dad tried to put on a tour of all his vegetables and coldly and uninterested I ran away to play. Oh how I regret that with my every being! If I could turn back time I’d listen to soak in the moments as he went through his garden. But I can’t and that’s that.

Now as a mature adult, I’m a gardener like my dad. I guess it all came full circle! It took me half a lifetime to appreciate a gardens peaceful presence and it’s magical qualities. It all started with my paternal grandfather ( actually my maternal grandparents gardened too), progressed to my father and now I continue the tradition. My sister has a vegetable garden too.

Years ago Tom tilled and tended a huge garden for his employer, Mrs. Geneen. He didn’t enjoy it though, for it was his job. I didn’t have anything to do with it until one day I was strolling through the rows of growing green plants. Suddenly an interest sparked within me and from that day on I have tended our gardens. We maintained a garden at the farm for about twenty years and about five here, on our land.

The enormous garden at the farm

It’s more than a hobby, but as a profound passion  of connecting with the earth and growing and nursing vegetables for our family. Digging in the soil of the plot makes me feel alive! It’s calming as I stoop and pull weeds, check the leaves for growth or hoe the narrow rows of dirt. It’s my therapy in life, a special sanctuary to be still or to move among the plants. Sometimes I twist and turn, other times I rest and weed. Whatever I do in the garden, it’s sacred.

Tom and I at our own garden one of the first years

 As I wrap up this post, I wish to thank my dad for all his gardening advice and for our phone conversations that are focused on gardening. It’s these moments that mean very much to me, times of connections that have strengthened our relationship. Maybe he’ll see this and maybe he won’t and that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that this hobby has brought us a little closer. I’m grateful for that.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Purple Beauties

Good Morning friends!

I posted a few weeks back that I was waiting for my flowers to bloom!

Yay!

Here they are in all their glory!

Every year they show their stuff for such a short time.

You must soak in all of its beauty for within a couple of weeks they go by.

This year I plan to share some of these with my sister- in- law Bev. She loved them the last time she visited so when I can I’ll dig up some of it for her.

Spiderwort is also showing its colors! A rich purple!

Blessings to you all as you go about your day! What flowers do you have in bloom now?

Book Suggestions

Some oldies but goodies on my book shelf

For the last year I’ve abandoned reading fictional novels and started reading self help books. Now after reading Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Dr. Susan Jeffers and You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, I’m desiring a good fictional book to read for the summer. Sometimes I look at my local library as well as a revisit to my bookshelf for a book that was so good that I’d read it twice or more.

I recommend any book by Anita Shreve. I loved The Pilot’s Wife as well as The Weight of Water. Jodi Piccoult, an author who lives in my native state of New Hampshire, is one of my favorites as well. She’s written Nineteen Minutes, a novel every educator should read about school violence and bullying and who is at fault. Other of Piccoult’s titles include Plain Fear, a mystery of a dead baby set in Amish country, House Rules, a story about a teenaged boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who is obsessed with solving crime scenes until he becomes a suspect himself.

Shared from Bibliolectors.tumblr.com

Years ago I read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, an amazing story that I read in just a few hours. ( I loved the movie as well!) Fannie Flagg is the author, a writer with a poignant style of writing, who portrays the characters with such precision, I feel that I have met them in person! If you love that book you may enjoy Welcome to the World, Baby Girl and Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven.

My latest book wish list is tucked in my pocketbook and I’ll bring it to the local library on my next visit. It’s close enough to walk to on a clear sunny day. If they don’t have the book, the head Librarian Karla signs up for an inter library loan and obtains the book from another library.

Here’s my generated wish list:

Conviction by Denise Mina

Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keene

The Summer Demands by Deborah Shapiro 

Don’t you just live these little Free Libraries? I found this one in my sister- in- law’s town of Northampton, Massachusetts.

What good summer books are you reading? Do you have any great suggestions for me to add to my list?

Happy Reading, friends!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 😃

The Art of Stacked Wood

It’s hot and steamy July, a month when one usually doesn’t think of frigid New England winters. Yet soon enough it will be upon us and that’s my husband’s mindset. He knows how frigid and snowy it becomes here and his steadfast winter preparedness drives him to find wood.

Recently Tom bought wood from his friend Mike, cut from his land in our town. He’s been hauling in it, cutting it on the wood splitter and stacking it neatly. So far he has accumulated about three or four cords. We will probably need at least three or four more, enough to last about ten months. We primarily heat our house with our trusty wood stove besides the little kerosene monitor we have in the kitchen.

This is what Tom is expecting next year! Gotta have plenty of wood!

In the last few summers I enjoy going out and working with Tom. He cuts and I stack, which is an excellent work-out for me. Last summer I spotted a huge black and yellow snake living in the wood pile and since then I’m a bit jumpy and nervous about helping. We have far too many snakes on our property and they creep me out!

When we go on our summer country rides and back dirt roads I appreciate spotting stacked wood piles. It means someone else is planning ahead! It’s amazing to see who still burn wood here. With that said, I’ve heard that many have resorted to burning pellets. It may be convenient and maybe cheaper but you can’t stack bags nor admire their beauty in someone’s yard, right?

Forgive the picture quality, it was through a closed window. See what visited us the other morning? We were having our coffee in the living room and spotted a couple of does in our side yard. They’re so graceful and fun to watch this time of year! I feel beyond blessed to live with these beauties!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Turning Fifty!

My friends and family. My daughter in law Lexi on the far left, friend Irene and my friend ( her sister) Anita, me, my sister Barb, back row left my brother in law Pat, co- worker and friend Beth, co- worker and friend Stacie, friend Kathy, friend Michelle, back row, son Dylan, Toms friend Mike, my husband Tom and Kathy’s boyfriend Bob.

A few weeks ago I turned fifty and I really have no problem with it! People I chat with about it almost compare it to going up a tedious hill and how it’s the start of the aging process. Sure, I guess I am closer to retirement now within 15 years and perhaps I’ll start seeing physical and mental changes. But maybe I won’t! Maybe I’ll continue to feel great physically and keep learning about myself and be stronger than I ever have been! That’s all I can strive for, to climb that mountain easily and smile because I conquered it!

Months ago I decided that I wanted us to go on a milestone trip marking the big 50. So we traveled to Las Vegas and had quite an adventure! Next Tom will turn 60 next July and he’s thinking of where he wants us to go to. I also wished to have a little get together with some family members, friends and co-workers to celebrate. It was a great party with my music coming from Dylan’s speakers, good food such as meatballs, a vegetable tray, quinoa salad from my friend Anita, guacamole and tortilla chips, macaroni and pasta salads.

I feel blessed to be as healthy as I am, happily married to a wonderful man who is my friend and a mom to two amazing sons who have conquered the world with hard work and humility. Even though my age is half a century, I still feel like a 22 year- old but with an aged mind and a whole lot of life experience that has brought me wisdom. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. All the stupid mistakes I’ve made have seasoned me and have propelled me to learn and grow.

Tom and I in the 99 degree heat at Hoover Dam!

I’m in the Fifty club now and it’s entirely okay! I look forward to coming years as I age. Hopefully I can remain healthy and happy!

All My Best,

Mary

An Easy 4th of July Dessert

Cream Horn Medallions

Thanks to my cousin Holly for bringing these yummy gems to our cousin reunion. I’m sharing her idea with you…they’re so easy and delicious!

You need:

Two or three packages cream horns

Strawberry slices

Blueberries

Cut up cream horns in 1- 1 1/2 inch medallions. Each one should have cream filling in it. Add a strawberry slice and a blueberry on top. It’s that easy but a delicious treat that I HAD to INDULGE in a few. It’s sweet with the filling but fresh and fruity too!

From Betsylife.com

Last year I made a blueberry pie to celebrate the Fourth of July. It wasn’t the prettiest I’ve made but I remember that Tom loved it and that’s what matters to me! How about attempting this beauty? Simply cut stars in the crust, revealing a deep pool of blue fruit! I’m going to bake this and will share later! Wish me luck!

What scrumptious holiday desserts are you making this year? We will be having my blueberry pie.

Tom and I aren’t doing much tomorrow, on the 4th of July…fishing, a cook- out for us two and fireworks later. Maybe someday again we will have big plans for the day but the last few years it’s quiet and that’s okay with us!

Happy Fourth of July my friends! Despite the negative media stories, I still love this land and our rich history! God Bless America.🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

A Fun Cousin Reunion

July 1, 2019

From left to right me, my cousin Mary ( who had the same first and last name as me), my cousin Carmen, my cousins Michelle and Lisa, my sister Barb and my cousin Holly in the back row)

My sister and I rode South today to our cousin Lisa’s beautiful home in Ashland, New Hampshire for a cousin’s reunion. The day was steamy and sunny, perfect for sitting on the screened porch. We all caught up over iced tea and lemonade, appetizers such as Artichoke dip and tortillas, a delicious Quinoa salad my sister made ( made with quinoa, feta cheese, avodaco, tomatoes), a beautiful cheese and cracker tray with Fontina and Pepper Jack, Michelle’s chocolate peanut butter cups, my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and Holly’s cream horn medallions( recipe to follow on my next post).

A delicious glimpse of desserts, cream horn bites and chocolate peanut butter cups.

We didn’t have all the cousins there as many live far away. The cousins who could come caught up with our stories, ones of our family and careers, getting older and the dread of finding white and gray hairs and about nostalgic memories at Grammy and Grampa Doyle’s house. We reminisced of Grampa or Poppy (as my cousin Mary calls him) would lay on the couch and grab us children and begin the tickle war. He would stick his tongue out and laugh with such glee. My Grammy had a grinder business ( sub sandwiches for those of you who have never heard of the term) in her house and I remember once or twice seeing her make them. There were races sledding down the hill when you couldn’t stop and banging hard on the out of tune piano on the porch. We all have fond memories of those days on the hill in West Fairlee, Vermont.

My Uncle Mel brought boxes of pictures for us to look at and encouraged us to keep a few if we wished. It was fun thumbing through our dad’s photos and his family growing up. In the photo above my dad is the tallest boy on the right. I didn’t recognize him at first but we decided it truly was him. It does my heart good to see these precious moments captured and I’m thankful Uncle Mel brought them.

Uncle Mel

So it turned out to be a fun successful day celebrating cousins. Many of us have been busy raising families and haven’t always connected. Even so, we have our childhood memories and our blood lineage to connect us. Perhaps we will have this event again and maybe even more Doyle cousins will attend. It’s something special to look forward to and maybe when all of us have grandchildren they will come too!

All My Best,

Mary ❤️

School’s Out for the Summer!🌞🌼

Hello blogging friends, it’s been a hectic few weeks with me finishing up school, attending a few events and squeezing in outside garden time. Every day I thought of a potential blog post but never quite got there. I apologize for such a hiatus but I guess I needed it for my sanity. Now I should have ample time for writing and snapping photos as our school is out for the summer!

The garden in its beginning stage

My primary summer focus is maintaining and harvesting our garden. Every morning I walk a few feet in the rich green grass damp with morning dew to our little plot. Dressed in old t-shirts and sweat or yoga pants, I carry a garden hoe and metal can for weeds. It’s my morning peaceful ritual, joining the variety of birds, an owl that lives in our woods, croaking frogs ( in our pond), deer and turkeys that all love this land as much as I do. Getting down in the dirt is my daily therapy where problems disintegrate and a strength and resolve grows within me.

To the left are my rows of sweet corn followed by Zucchini and Summer Squash

It’s been a tough start to our growing season as nights have been quite cool for weeks, plummeting to the 40’s and sometimes 30’s. In the last month it’s rained a lot but it is waning, transitioning into warm pleasant days now. I worry for my tomatoes I started by seed, as the leaves are purple and they look like frost may have harmed them. I’ve had to replant a row of carrots as well as oregano because the seeds didn’t sprout. Time will tell.

To the left you can barely see my cilantro, then my cucumbers and last is the green lettuce.

One of my things to do is mount the tripods for the cucumber plants for a trellis. It involves Tom’s help where he pounds the stakes in and I tie them together with strong string. That way the cukes will hang up on them instead of being on the ground for moles to nibble on.

As I wrap up this post I wish you pleasant growing weather as you garden in your back yard or in deck pots. I hope this finds you all well, wherever you are physically and emotionally. I look forward to spending the summer with you, updating you of what’s going on in my rural world and hearing your stories as well.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

You Know You Are in NH When…

You know you are nestled in New Hampshire when…

a fleeting glance out the window

presents deer sightings


the weather could be snowy and frigid yet the next day could be warm and mild

There’s a Northeaster forecasted when spring is supposed to have emerged ( this happened a few weeks ago)

People wave to you on the road if you know them or not

leaving food outdoors leads to wild visitors in the night

you are on a first name basis with the post master, the police chief

and the town clerk

Spring brings eager smiles, light hearts and open windows

Most days there is a hushed presence of nature

only to be interwoven

with soft twittering bird songs

and serene owl hoots

This is the country melody

that we all are mesmerized by

You know when you are in NH

When a tranquil peace hovers and rising mountains

greet you

Sugar maples, white birches and thick pines surround you

The busy world continues its crass noise

yet life here is slow and meaningful

country living with a stillness that

keeps one centered

If you haven’t visited New Hampshire in the northeast of the United States, you must deep in the summer or in the pleasant days of Autumn. It’s a chance to escape the rat race and explore the White Mountains and nature at its best!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🥰





“Earning Your Keep”

While browsing through last April’s posts, I stumbled upon this post I wrote. It’s about how New Englanders thrive in all the seasons and the extremes. It takes a strength and pereseverance to live here, to remain content while the harsh conditions can test your endurance. As winter shuts its door and welcoming spring gradually begins, I wish to share this once again.

https://heartandsoul974.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/earning-your-keep/https://heartandsoul974.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/earning-your-keep/