june

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This month of June got off to a slow start, with day after day of cool damp rain. But now it has begun to show its true self and I couldn’t be happier. 🙂 The skies are blue, the air fragrant with peonies and roses, and the temperatures have reached summer-hot. We have worked hard to finish much of the vegetable planting, and today I have started on the strawberry jam making. Our feeders have been busy with young fledglings, led there by parents likely ready for them to soon leave the nest, as well as the arrival this week of our favorite hummingbirds. Plans have been made for a trip to our local ice cream shop, too. The extra hours of sunlight, the fireflies signaling the end of day, the young deer stretching their new legs, the anticipation of summer festivals and trips to the beach all add to my love of this time of year and fill me with gratitude, for a beautiful June day is such a gift to savor. Here’s hoping you too can get outside today and enjoy the season wherever you are!

christmas market

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Yesterday was a busy day at the Christmas Market in New Holland. It’s been two years since we first started selling at craft shows, and even though it’s a lot of work to prepare and actually execute well, this introvert has come to enjoy the face-to-face interaction with others. It’s super-fulfilling and satisfying to be able to share our harvest bounty with folks, to receive their positive feedback, and establish relationships with our regular customers who keep coming back for more!

The market hall was full of craft vendors, and we saw a  regular stream of visitors all day. One of the high points for children was the visitor of Mrs. Claus, who entertained them with “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and carol singing before presenting gifts to all from under the tree.

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Mrs. Claus’ obvious love of the children and the enthusiasm she shared reminded me much of my grandmother, who was a kindergarten teacher for many years. Like this woman, my grandmother went all out during the Christmas season (and all holidays, really), not in the over-consuming sense, but rather with the spirit and tradition and, of course, making sure the children had a wonderful holiday, creating sweet memories indeed!

Happy Sunday, everyone!

 

midsummer

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This is what our midsummer looks like — beauty everywhere! In the garden, in the sky, all around the homestead. We are grateful for our many blessings and this abundant harvest season. Yes, even all that zucchini WILL be put to good use! (Last night we had it roasted, with garlic, onion, tomatoes, spinach, and a bit of chili sauce — yum.) Somedays, when the muscles are weary, it can be difficult to muster up the energy to get the work done. But we do it because the Earth is an amazing partner to work with on this journey. That said, if the weather holds, we are looking forward to a brief beach sojourn later next week, to dip our toes in the ocean and smell that salty air. Just what’s needed to recharge after weeks of hard work! 🙂 Wishing all of you the best of this bountiful season!!!

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10 things

It’s a busy time of year, this garden season, but one I love just the same. Here are 10 more things I’m loving today.

  1. This still life painting I finished for my painting class. I’ve never painted before, and I have so much respect for painters after trying it myself. But this one has turned out better than I expected!

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2. This most neglected rose bush that, despite my forgetfulness and lack of care, still gifts me with perfect, beautiful  blooms.

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3. Our resident house finch family — the couple has been raising a young family this summer in one of our bird boxes. For weeks, we’ve heard the little ones chirping away inside, but yesterday the parents had the whole brood in our front garden for an outing. The little ones had their first pecks in the grass and practiced spreading their wings while their parents kept a close watch. I am grateful to have been audience to such beautiful moments.

4. This great spangled fritillary arrived at our kitchen door to mark the first day of summer  and has been keeping close by in our flower garden ever since — gorgeous!

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5. The first harvests of the season — we have a good stream of radishes, peas, and salad coming in from our garden these days. Plus, I’ve made a good stock of strawberry/rhubarb and fruits del mosque (elderberry, wild raspberry + blackberry) jams. Today, a blueberry cake to make is on my agenda (priorities! 🙂 ).

6. This chestnut tree — my favorite on the whole property. It has an enormous canopy and strong boughs (from which to hang my hammock), and it’s in flower now to boot.

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7. The first of the lavender was ready to pick for drying. Is there any fragrance more sweet or summery, I don’t believe so.

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8. Receiving a long letter from a new penfriend in Japan — whatever advantages our technological world offers us, I still prefer good, old-fashioned letters in the mail. 🙂

9. This 8-foot tall hollyhock — I have been waiting all week for the flowers to open and yesterday they finally did. ❤

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10. This weather — I don’t know when we’ve had an early summer so perfect. The days are warm and sunny, just what the garden needs, and the evenings cool, ensuring deep rejuvenating sleep.

Hope all is well and beautiful in your part of the world!

june musings

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This is our fifth spring on Baldy Hill, and we find ourselves delighting in more of nature’s beauty with each passing day. And I am grateful to those who came before us, those who planted the irises, the peonies, the Sweet William. I wonder about those people, how they came to select the blooms they did, and their places in the garden. And I’m happy to see our own marks being left now, the lavender, the gooseberry and blueberry bushes, my grandmother’s lily. Although we have no plans to leave Baldy Hill anytime soon, I hope that whoever inherits our space appreciates what we leave behind. For I believe that one of the most important things we can do in this world is leave a positive mark on our land, no matter how short or long our stay. Enjoy this beautiful month!

this week

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Thanks to abundant rain followed by daily doses of sunshine and superwarm temperatures, this week our surroundings transformed into a lush green paradise virtually overnight. The garden is thriving as well, and as I plant I daydream of that first tomato sandwich, the fresh peas straight from the pod, corn on the cob, ahhhhh! Summer may not be here yet officially, but it’s what we’re thinking about this week. 🙂

 

weeding

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When the weather cooperates these days, we are busy outside planting but also weeding. This season of spring is one of rebirth, but thinning out and removing what is no longer beneficial to us is also necessary to ensure growth — both literally and metaphorically. Of course, what constitutes a weed may not always be easily agreed upon. Indeed, I have a friend who is an expert forager who enjoys many a plant that I would pull up and discard. And where James sees a weed, I often see a pretty blossom.

While I pass spring hours in the garden removing unwanted plants that are robbing nutrients from the earth and space in our garden plots, I have much time for contemplation. And often I find myself thinking about what also needs to be pruned from my own inner garden and life. Recently James and I were reminiscing about life before mobile devices and how we peacefully spent our weekend days, nostalgic for coffee shops with actual books and newspapers and no wifi.

So when I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s post this past week about implementing a digital sabbath, I was intrigued — and game to join in. And so as the sun sets this Saturday evening, I will switch off the devices, the social media, and enjoy the quiet disconnect from the digital world for 24 hours. Like Elizabeth, I am grateful in many ways for living in this technical age. But I also understand the need to sometimes switch off and prune away some time without the impossible to avoid distractions that mobile devices have become.

And so, I sign off for now, with a steaming mug and a pile of neglected books by my side, already satisfied by all the weeding I’ve done today — outside and indoors equally. 🙂