How does your garden grow?

Got gardening on your mind (or, better yet, under your nails)?

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Photo by GradyJames via Wikimedia Commons

I think it’s safe to say we’re all dreaming in green by now, so I gathered a peck of ponderings on the subject, written by writers you may recognize. It seems the plant may be mightier than the pen! But we knew that already, didn’t we?

Read on, and then tell me, “How does your garden grow?” …

“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow.'”

– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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Photo by Nick Hubbard via Wikimedia Commons

“It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.”

– Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

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Photo by M Tullottes via Wikimedia Commons

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space—a place not just set apart but reverberant—and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.”

– Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

“Gardening is akin to writing stories. No experience could have taught me more about grief or flowers, about achieving survival by going, your fingers in the ground, the limit of physical exhaustion.”

– Eudora Welty

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Photo by Michammel via Wikimedia Commons

“We gardeners are healthy, joyous, natural creatures. We are practical, patient, optimistic. We declare our optimism every year, every season, with every act of planting.”

– Carol Deppe, The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times

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Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture via Wikimedia Commons

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

– Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

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Photo by Sgt. Mark Fayloga via Wikimedia Commons

So it’s your turn to share whimsies and wonders from your precious plot. I’m all ears.

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Illustration by William Wallace Denslow, 1902, via Wikipedia

What are you growing? What crop is faring best this year? Which goodies have made it to the table so far?

 

Mia’s Day

I picked my grandgirl, Mia Marie, up from school last week for “Mia’s Day.”

Mia’s Day is all about farmgirl chores. First, she and I milked the cow and I taught her how to use her own hands to extract milk. Then we processed the milk. After that, we headed to the greenhouse for some watering and weeding (and nibbling). Then we had a late lunch. And frozen blueberries. And tea. And finally, story time.

The best part of the day for me happened early on, when I picked her up from school and she surprised me with a couple of handmade gifts. The night before, she’d made a card for me and embroidered a new dishtowel for my kitchen.

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A present for me …

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And inside? Why, a horse, of course!

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Building Recyclers

While visiting one of my favorite haunts last week, I got to thinking. Do other farmgirls have a “building recycler” where they live?

A quick Google search told me, yes, they’re popping up all over the country.

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Ours has been around ever since I was a toddler.

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Mia and I love to go there for treasure hunts. You know those fun, funky projects you’ve had your sights on forever? Well, look no further than your local building recycler.

I found a few treasures on our last foray there (Mia found a good walking stick). I can’t wait to share some of the projects I’m working on once I get them finished—everything from salvaged barn wood, to windows, piles of springs in all sizes, toilets, marble slabs, fabulous old doors, and claw-foot bathtubs (sssshhh, don’t tell Mom I’m sharing that info—I do believe she’s purchased a total of ELEVEN!!!! claw foot bathtubs over the years from our local building recycler).

Hubby and I scored the door below (that we turned into corner shelves), painted, and distressed. We actually built two of them. Check out their website!

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Meet Heather Benning

After I returned from my virtual vacation “visiting” Wendy Houses, I was wandering the Web and found myself way out on the desolate, windy plains of Manitoba—off the beaten path by miles, I know—where I discovered a delightful domicile designed for all of us who have entertained dollhouse dreams long past the days of youth …

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Photo courtesy of HeatherBenning.ca

And, yes, doll face, it was scaled for grown-up girls like you and me!

The dollhouse was the brainchild of Canadian artist Heather Benning, who spotted the ramshackle residence in 2005 while completing an artist-in-residence program in Redvers, Saskatchewan. Rather than photograph the abandoned farmhouse, capturing the sunlight on its aged timbers the way many an artist would, Heather was struck by an entirely different inspiration.

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Photo of the dollhouse prior to restoration courtesy of HeatherBenning.ca

She tracked down the owners of the property, who told her that the house had been empty since the late 1960s and was in pretty sad shape. After hearing her proposal, though, the owners donated the house to Heather so she could doll it up for a unique artistic exhibition.

“For over 18 months, I re-shingled the roof with recycled shingles and restored and furnished the house to the era the house was abandoned,” Heather explains. “I then removed the north-facing wall and replaced it with plexiglass. The house was officially opened to the public on June 9, 2007.”

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Dollhouse photos courtesy of HeatherBenning.ca

“I chose to close the house in with plexiglass because I wanted it to be inaccessible and tomb-like—inaccessible in that one cannot enter a real dollhouse because of the scale, and tomb-like because it encapsulates a time and a lifestyle that no longer exists, and will never exist again,” she said.

Heather furnished the interior with items collected locally from community member donations, garage sales, auctions, and thrift stores.

Alas, we can’t hope to make a pilgrimage to the house in person because it no longer exists …

“In October of 2012, the house began to show its age—the foundation was compromised,” Heather says on her website. “The house was only meant to stand as long as it remained safe. In March of 2013, ‘The Dollhouse’ met it’s death with fire.”

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Dollhouse photos courtesy of HeatherBenning.ca

Sigh … ashes to ashes, dollhouse to dust.

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Dollhouse photos courtesy of HeatherBenning.ca

Doesn’t it make you want to round up the little Janes in your life and design a dwelling for dolls? Even if we can’t live it it, we can always dream!

“we”

Hubby Nick and I celebrated his 63rd b-day with some sorting (going through old boxes in his shop) … and snorting. Hold on. Not that kind of snorting. Laughter. You know, the kind that makes you snort to show just how funny something is. (So funny, you’re perfectly willing to make a piggy fool of yourself.)

We have a banter that’s all ours. Ours, as in WE. It’s WE-centric banter.

It goes something like this: “Honey, can WE move the stack of pallets from behind the barn sometime soon?” By WE, I mean Nick … and maybe me. I’m always quick to tell my guy what a nice heavy lifter he is.

We sorted and sorted. And no, my husband isn’t a hoarder (though you may be tempted to suggest it when you see some of the things we found). Truth be known, he’s a bona-fide, official, dyed-in-the-wool … sentimental sop.

He still has his papers from high school. (I mean we still have his papers from high school.)

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And a box of Valentines from his childhood.

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And his stuffed animals that were once new until he’d loved their fur off. Is this what I’ll look like in a few more years? Meet DOG and PANDA. (Seriously, he named them Dog and Panda.)

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My husband was in high school before their hand-crank wall phone (complete with party line interruptions) was replaced by a modern rotary phone.

I was in an antique store recently during Mothers’ Weekend at the University. The store was packed with mothers and sorority gals. I heard one say, as she picked up a black rotary phone (like the one my husband still uses), “Wouldn’t this make a novel gift for someone who still has one of those land lines?”

And here’s the wash bowl he was in charge of every day just before lunch during harvest so the guys could stand in line and wash up before sitting down to eat the hot lunch the women had brought to the field.

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And my b-day gift to him? I gave him an array of potato chips along with a bowl of my homemade cottage cheese, perfect for dipping.

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“We” thoroughly enjoyed them.

Watch Tower

Something like a century ago (okay, 40 years, but back then THIS stage of my life seemed like a century removed), I spent two summers on a fire watch tower scanning the horizon for forest fires. I still have my binoculars, so during our farmgirl slumber party last weekend, I taught my grandgirls how to use them. They were enthralled and spent hours “glassing” the world beyond what the naked eye can see.

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Is it any wonder I perched my office on the tippy top 4th floor of our facility so I could continue to see forever? (It’s a serious addiction once you’ve indulged.) See my cows in the distance? You know, some people watch hummingbirds; I observe cow behavior. I spy!!!! I do. Fires? None yet:)

My tower was 100 feet tall so I made fast friends with the fact that HAVING to go up and down stairs many times a day keeps heart surgeons at bay. You could say that each and every time I snoop, I’ve earned it. I climb up and down our stairs about 30 times a day.

Big Sis Loves You!

Can’t take my eyes off of you …

You’re like heaven to touch.

Rose Etta loves Beaumont so much.

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