This time of year, while it is a time of new beginnings, reminds me of a time 8 years ago when my dear, beloved father passed away.  Exactly one month before that, my dear, beloved mother-in-law passed away.  It was a very unique and difficult time.   Just a few years earlier, my mother-in-law’s dear, beloved husband, a father-in-law to me and a grandpa to my kids, left the Earth all too soon as well.

I know in my heart that they are all in a better place.  It is of great comfort to me that none of them are in any type of pain or suffering, that they are lights of love that shine on us all.  I still miss them horribly.  Some days it feels like it all just happened, and I wish I had just one more hour to ask a question, hear a laugh, or give and receive a hug.

Nothing was more important to any of them than family.  And let me tell you, there are a LOT of us!  (Not exactly “19 Kids and Counting” but we are a big family by average standards)  Because there are a lot of us, there is a lot of love going around.  Several of the nieces and nephews are older, married, or off   at college or a job in another state.  We still make efforts to get together and we offer one another support through difficult times.

We are the most fortunate.  What our awesome, departed parents taught us was to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.   I am sending love out to all my family, friends, and readers today – Thanks to all of you who take a few minutes out of your busy day to read my blog.  I will get “back on track” soon – promise!

In the meantime, I send you all love!



(Some roses just want to keep blooming in spite of the freezing temperatures!)




Forgive me for not posting in awhile.  I came down with a cold-sinus-ish yucky thing….

Trying to get back into life.  To start y’all off, here is Finn with his cousin, Violette –

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The photo was taken over Columbus Weekend.  These two were having a blast.

It won’t be long before we will walk in a “Winter Wonderland…”



That photo was taken last winter.  We’ve already had some frost, so the garden went for a long winter’s nap.  😦

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.”

In loving memory of my Dad, who went to Heaven 8 years ago today.


Indoor Projects

Time to organize!   This is not exactly related to gardening, but it is related to the home.  I have been meaning to organize my linen closet in Town Mouse House for quite some time now.  It’s FINALLY DONE!  Hurray!

Before: (taken with some sense of top to bottom)

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As you can see, I made some attempts in the past to get it under control, only to find it heading in a downward spiral over the years.

I was able to do this without spending money, which is always a plus.  I had these black baskets from a previously organized video game cabinet.  The games were sold on Ebay, so the baskets were empty.  I happened to already have the clothes pins on hand, as well as the black card stock and the Martha Stewart Labels (originally purchased for a previous project at Staples).


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Prior to re-organizing, I painted the whole inside of the closet a fresh, bright white.  It wasn’t a drastic change, but it sure made it feel cleaner.

Here is the Before and After side-by-side:



Maybe I can do this with my gardening supplies!  The possibilities are endless….

Have an orderly day!


Good Reads

Summer is the time to read a little bit more, hopefully.  Now that it is the Fall, I appreciate being able to read whenever possible.  My favorite books are of the “How-To….” variety, however.  Here is one that is a little of both.  It is non-fiction, but it is not at all dry or boring.  A family makes a commitment to live off  food that is locally grown, either by themselves or others, for a period of one year.  One of my favorite chapters talks about raising turkeys, as there was little information available to the author, Barbara Kingsolver, at the time the book was written.  She handles every topic with sensitivity and humor.   It is available from Amazon:

This next book isn’t exactly something that one would sit down and read cover-to-cover, necessarily(well, I would).  I have to include it, though, because it has helped me be a better gardener in so many ways.  There are numerous recipes for Jerry Baker’s so-called “Terrific Garden Tonics,” which Joel calls my “Potions.”  The ingredients are mostly things that people have on hand in their homes, like dish detergent.  It is in a very simple-to-use format.  Also available from Amazon:


For when you are having trouble sleeping:


There are so many others, maybe I will do a post about them another day.  These are 3 good ones to get started on though.  Reading is a great “Off-Season” activity, too, as we store up knowledge to use during the growing season!

Hope you find the time to do some reading!


Autumn Part One

I realized I needed to update the status of the big old Castor Plant.  I’m about 5′ 1 1/2″ tall, and I am standing uphill of the plant in this picture(Finn doesn’t usually like being held, but he reluctantly obliged this time):

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Do you see the sunflowers on the left?  Ridiculous!

Here are some of the Autumn blossoms at Town Mouse House-




And one of my favorite flowers of all time, the MONTAUK DAISY:


And finally, I’m getting the tail-end of a THIRD bloom on this red rose bush, and I love the way the white “wildflower” in the background gives it contrast.  Joel asked me if I was going to pull out the “weed,” (ahem) and I told him I thought I would leave it a bit longer because it just looks so darn pretty:


This time of year, things in the garden feel bitter-sweet.  I love it as the weather turns a little bit cooler(exception being this week, of course).  The plants have reached their most jungle-like gangly potential.  We are starting to trim back, clean up, and wipe the slate clean to plan for next year.  But not so fast!  I don’t want to wish this beautiful time away.  It passes much to quickly.  Soon I will post some more of Autumn’s splendor, but for now, have a beautiful weekend!

With gratitude and love,


More Pies, Mrs. Lovett!!

Phew!  Apples and apples and apples and MORE apples!!!  I don’t even know how many….They are not the pretty, perfect-looking kind like in the grocery store, but that’s because they are all-natural, organically grown.  The only thing we did to the trees this year was prune them.  Here are some of them:


And here are some more….(the ones in the foreground I’ve cored, obviously):


Soooo…..I baked a grand total of 7 pies today.  One was 10-inches round and the remaining 6 were 5 inches round.  I’m pie-d out.  Here are the 6 small ones:

Apple pies

I had a little extra dough, so I made a weird, “funky pie.”  It’s really a turnover gone wrong:

Funky pie

(but it still tasted real good!)

Meanwhile, this photo of Mrs. Lovett kind of describes how I feel right now:

Mrs. Lovett


And yet, she still finds the energy to sing and dance.  Go figure!