Ya Know What They Say; When in Rome…


If it feels like spring outside, I thought I would make it feel more like Spring inside as well, and for $2.99, how could I go wrong.

rome

Nothing says Spring like pink tulips.

spring

Some time ago, in a post or two I referenced an old barn and a kitchen island…here is the result, whaddaya think?

kitchen isl

This true color, I added a green to the last photo, you know – (fake)Spring thing and all…
Island

My sauce is simmering downstairs..gotta run.

Be well,
Jess

Have you noticed?


The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer. Minute by minute they lengthen out. It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change. It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour.

snowy morning in December 13

snowy morning in December 14

snowy morning in December 9

Fiini in the snow
Finnigan? “Where does your white go when it melts?”

Sipping tea,the my toes and nose begin to thaw….seed catalogs in hand.
Be well,
Jess

Baby, it’s cold outside…


I Do Not Mind You, Winter Wind

(Jack Prelutsky)

I do not mind you, Winter Wind
when you come whirling by,
to tickle me with snowflakes
drifting softly from the sky.

I do not even mind you
when you nibble at my skin,
scrambling over all of me
attempting to get in.

But when you bowl me over
and I land on my behind,
then I must tell you, Winter Wind,
I mind . . . I really mind!

The wood furnace is dancing with flames, hardly struggling to keep our little cottage farmhouse warm. But boy, is it cold outside; it was -17 in the pre-dawn hours and up to a brisk -5 as I headed out to do morning chores, and check on the chicks and ducks, needed to be sure I didn’t have any “chooksicles”. All was as it should have been; animals in their nests of hay. It even looked as though Syria, our oldest llama had made her own nest of hay; though it was supposed to be her and everyone else’s breakfast..silly girl.

After the chores were done, both outside and in..I settled in to sip hot tea and knit. I am trying to finish a lacy patterned brushed suri, ear warming, head band for Jenn. Then a bit of spinning,I have finished a skein of llama/merino blend yarn(I am not sure what I am going to make that into).

Funny how each season sets it’s own rhythm on a farm. Nature eases you from one season to the next, each with it’s own flurry of activity. Reminding us to enjoy, if you wish, the comfort of home on a cold winter’s day, the refreshing nip of the wind in October, and the warmth of the sun’s rays in May. ( May plantings,oh shivers xoxox)

Time to warm the Earl Grey…

spinnings
A blend of llama and merino…

Chet
Chester, is grateful for his spring shearing…He would be way too hot in his fiberluscious coat all summer.

LLaLLa
Thank you for the fiber LLala..(Shangrala)

llama rovings
Llama rovings…

rovings
Merino rovings purchased at the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool festival.

kromski My Favorite wheel…a Kromski castle style single treadle.

my wheel 2
..such a pretty wheel,they make.

wheels 2
flyer, whorl, and maidens…

Kromski wheel 2.0
:)

lazy kate
The lazy kate…used when plying the fiber.

Be well, stay warm.
Jess

I Saw Old Autumn in the Misty Morn…


As I went out walking this Fall afternoon, dogs and camera in tow. I heard a whispering, a quiet gentle whispering, the dogs were just ahead of me; yet when I stopped still in my tracks..they stopped and turned. Had they heard it too..almost to soft and gentle a sound to distinguish. A little rustle in the leaves just into the thicket…a young deer, this year’s fawn and a doe were quietly nibbling acorns from the old oak trees. I kept still for a moment, though I quickly decided to move up the hill with Lexi and Finn, as they were headed to me. To stay any longer would encourage a visit, no time to snap a shot today. They will have scampered off before we come back through…

The sky was just clearing after several days of rain, a heavy mist hung over the pastures. I might get a few snaps of the camera before the sun completely fades.

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“O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.”
- Robert Frost, October

Thank you for all of the wonderful, creative ideas…I will talk with my daughters to narrow or choice…stay tuned.
Be Well,
Jess

Bountiful..or one bunch


It’s all relative isn’t it? Bounty.

This may not look like much to you…but, alas, it is this gardener’s crowning glory. Juicy purple goodness..my first grapes from this years seedling!!! Yippee.


cabbage green, tomatoes red and purple GRAPES.


Jack’s lantern…


There comes a time when autumn asks, What have you been doing all summer?


The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows
itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many;I grow old, I grow old,’ the garden says. Thanks for the bounty, says I.

Be well,
Jess

Have you ever…?


Well, I have. I have seen the cutest little cottages – ever.

There is a little community in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard; it began as a religious encampment of tents. The Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association. There are literally hundreds of wonderfully imaginative and cheerfully colored gingerbread cottages. The most extensive collection Carpenter Gothic style architecture in the world. These are truly unique Victorian “gingerbread” cottages. I can only imagine what inspired each owner to decorate and paint their cottage…each one stands out in its own way, truly unique. Being a cottage fanatic to begin with; I was totally enamored with this place.

As much as I adored the fun beautiful colors of these cottages, I can’t see living with it – day in and day out. I have always leaned more toward peaceful calming colors in our little cottage…a sea glass green Venetian plaster in the kitchen, a foggy blue in the living areas…and lots and lots of creamy white. I nice respite from the onslaught of a chaotic world. I have recently added a few touches of reclaimed barn wood, a wall in the living room, a stairway with the treads made from the old barn floors. I have designed a pantry and island incorporating the barn wood as well…now, I have to wait for my husband to have enough time to build them. Poor fella has 41 projects going at once it seems…

I hope you enjoy these cheerful little shelters as much as I did…oh, one of my lil’ front porch :)

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I love being home on my little farm as much as I love to travel, it’s always GREAT to be home.
How do you decorate your little corner of the world?
Jess

Sun dried is good for raisins….


Summer draws me outdoors, usually to my favorite place…my garden.

From the garden I can watch the llamas graze peacefully in the field, smile as the ducks waddle noisily past, or notice one of the chicks discoveries.

I live for lazy days in the garden and cozy nights; snuggled in a throw on the front porch swing of our farmhouse cottage. Our own little buffer from life’s hustle and bustle; a restful place to be… imbued with our love of nature, animals and gardening. A home we have taken special care to preserve and bring back; using salvaged materials, tag sale, and flea market finds.

This summer’s dry weather has taken a toll on my garden, yet there is still so much color and life. Some vegetables are thriving…even though pumpkins usually like wet feet…this years crop is doing quite well. The cabbage however has not started to form a head…yet, there is still hope. I even have a few bunches of grapes from this years plantings…yippee. Hopefully they ripen before becoming raisins!

Alas, gardening, like parenting requires patience, nurturing, persistence, and lots and lots of hard work to reap wonderful benefits. Grandpa always said to be successful at anything, you must have stick-to-it-iveness…guess I better pull my self up by the boot straps and get back work salvaging what I can.

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Be well,
Jess

Put some clothes on….


Your garden that is…The unmulched garden looks to me like some naked thing which for one reason or another would be better off with a few clothes on.

With a drought affecting much of the country trying to maintain gardens in such dry conditions are a challenge.

I have been giving priority to the vegetable plants ( a hard decision for me ~ you know how much I love flowers); after all they will be filling our pantry and tummies.

For flowers and vegetables, use wider spacing to reduce competition for soil moisture, mulching in between plants.

Use 3 to 4 inches (after settling) of organic mulch (pine bark, straw or similar, I use grass clippings on top of straw) to prevent soil from drying and losing moisture to the air.

Keep such mulch away from tree trunks. If you have newspapers to spare lay a layer of paper then mulch. The news paper will compost, unlike plastic. A caveat, I have never done this, I am weary of the printing ink. Is this even a valid worry? For the same sort of reasons I never use old rail road ties for raised beds; do the chemicals they are treated with leach into my veggies? Oh, the horror. Ok, back to gardening in the absence of rain….

If there is no watering ban; try to water in the early morning, when there is less heat and wind, and so less water lost to evaporation. I have a well, so I have to monitor my own consumption; lest I pay the price. Water deeply and less often rather than for shorter periods more often. This allows water to penetrate deeper, and so encourages deeper roots which are more resistant to drought.

Water established plants only if “really” needed and once they begin to wilt.

Many perennials and woody plants may wilt, and not perform best if dry, but will survive. This is especially true if they were healthy and well-watered prior to drought conditions. Only a few perennials such as false spirea (Astilbe) have leaves that turn brown and don’t recover if dry, but have to generate new leaves.

Alas, the heat and lack of water has taken its toll, but look closely…there is new growth on this Astilbe..

When adjusting the hot and cold in baths and showers, collect in a bucket the water that would normally go down the drain before the temperature is adjusted. Also collect and use water from dehumidifiers or window air conditioners.

Collect water from downspouts of gutters, or divert these into flower beds.

Fertilize less, both less in amount and less often, and avoid too much high nitrogen fertilizer. Too much nitrogen results in excessive growth, and need for water by plants.

Organic fertilizers provide less, and over a longer period usually, and they help soil humus which helps hold water.

If water is restricted or in short supply, give highest priority to the following:

Newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials

Newly seeded lawns or repaired lawn areas

Plants on sandy soils or windy and exposed sites

Vegetables when flowering

Keep weeds down, as they compete with more desirable plants for water.

At least the bright side is that under drought, weeds wont grow as fast either!

They are wild I tell ya! Wild.


I love cottage gardens (I suppose you know that by now); I love the over flowing, I could care less, throw caution to the wind spirit they evoke.

They are beautiful because they are. A bit like life really. It can be a bit messy at times, but it is always, always beautiful. After a long sometimes stressful day…there is nothing more comforting to me than to walk through the front garden gate of our cottage farm. A spray of wild roses scramble up a an ancient barbed wire fence, as berries twist their vines along side. Our cottage is cozy and chock full of flowers, herbs, and veggies; sunshine filtering through the huge maples creating a sense of insulation from chaos. It is not grand, perfect, it is our place to restore, refresh and just breathe. A sense of calm and a slower pace than some may prefer, yet I embrace the quiet, regal beauty of our llamas as they rest in the shade of the maples and oaks, captures my attention bringing me focus and contentment. I am home.

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You can’t have enough love or enough flowers – so filler up!
Be well.
Jess

Some Late Spring Beauties and a “quick story”


Rural beauty and a dear friends garden.

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But hey, now that you’ve seen my lovely photos :)

Have you seen this! How much fun could this be? I know,like we don’t have enough social media frenzy. It just looks like too much fun to ignore.

A COLLABORATIVE STORY WRITING EXPERIENCE: http://www.qwikstory.com/

How Qwikstory.com Works
Qwikstory.com is a new social media site where people come together to create and write a story about a particular topic (or no topic at all). Here’s the catch – once you start a story, you have only 1,000 characters to tell your part of the story and you can’t continue the story…Cool right?
My children and I do this with songs sometimes…always silly, sometimes funny!

Let me know what you think! Please.