5.24.2016

Dear Dad



        Dad, it's the eve of your 84th birthday and I just took a few photos of your pink dogwood tree. The air was dry and crisp, the sky the shade of blue that only raindrops can leave behind.




It's the kind of day that would beckon you to the porch to watch the hummingbirds.....the kind of day where, without a pause I would reach for the phone to call to tell you that the catbird was back or that the apple tree was in flower.


It's the kind of day where the breeze carries childhood memories that linger long enough to simultaneously bring gigantic smiles and a smudge of tears.

           


 I watched the sunlight weaving in and out of the dogwood's sheer pink petals, creating shadow and light in a complementary dance.



 And now as I write you this birthday note, it all becomes clearyour life...my life... woven together so masterfully, with a common love of all that God has so gracefully created.


Happy Birthday Dad. 
Miss you.

4.30.2016

Change

Sometimes I fight change.
I clench my fists and have an internal temper tantrum.
The world doesn't know, but my heart does. 


So when it came time to repair the white picket fence that bordered this shade garden overlooking our yard, I had a bit of an internal struggle. 

You see, almost 18 years ago, my husband lovingly cut each picket, painting each one white. He constructed the quaintest of fences to prevent our little ones from walking off this steep drop.
So when the seventeen year old not so little one suggested seeing what it looked like without it,(drill in hand), we may have had a tear or two. Not sadness really, but a bit of mourning for that strange speed tunnel of childhood that whooshed by us, making our hair stand on end and our nerves prickle up.



As the panels came down, we paused and looked at the view. Unobstructed views of the hill and garden and woods beckoned. 





Irises and daffodils became visible from the street and house. I may have smiled at this, thinking of the view I would now have pulling into the driveway or peeking out the living room window.



And suddenly my mourning, my sadness, my hesitation became a celebration of tiny bodies running under sprinklers on hot summer days….of well worn quilts spread with snacks and toys and dirty feet.


Taking down the fence became a rite of passage, a ritual transition of childhood morphing into young adulthood, of parents handing over well worn reigns of promise and hope and trust.


We'll be recycling the worn, but loved fence around my lavender garden.




And somehow I think I will hear whispers of time floating by on the summer wind.


4.19.2016

Simple Granola


Looking for a fast and easy granola?
I have made many batches of granola over the years, but this time I pieced together all of my favorite recipes into what works for us. That's the thing about granola…there's no "GRANOLA LAW" dictating what has to go in. It's really about preference. I'll share my steps and our go to recipe; and I will offer suggestions for add ins.

We tend to use granola as a snack, a yogurt topping (my favorite), and as a breakfast with milk and sliced strawberries. (and we use Gluten Free oats due to our daughter's Celiac Disease)




I obsess a bit about mise en place. I find it soooo helpful to have my ingredients measured and clearly visible. Plus, I clean as I go, so my kitchen is literally tidied up sans putting dishes in dishwasher and wiping the counter.



Mix your wet ingredients. 




Mix your dry ingredients.




Mix your  wet with your dry ingredients.




I'm a messy cook. Or perhaps a bigger bowl was in order.




Spread a nice thin layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. I use my huge one, but you may need two.



Let cool before removing from the tray. This allows yummy stuck together sticky, crispy/chewy bites. (If you prefer it separated, stir while still cooling.)

Ingredients:

4 cups oats (we use Bob’s Gluten Free)

¾ c sweetened coconut

¼ c unsweetened coconut

½ t salt

1 T cinnamon

1 t vanilla extract

3 T golden flaxseed meal

1/3  c canola/coconut oil blend (Spectrum)

2/3 c local honey (organic if possible)

2 T maple syrup

optional add-ins:  sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, dried cherries, cranberries or other fruit.

If adding nuts or dried fruit, back off on the amount of coconut.

Directions:

325° oven preheated

1.    Mix dry ingredients.

2.    Mix wet ingredients.

3.     Combine wet and dry.

4.    Spread on parchment lined baking tray

5.    Cook for about twenty minutes. Stir midway if desired. 
     Watch carefully for browning to avoid burning.

6.    Allow to fully cool, then remove to an airtight container. (Love my Pyrex with lid)

Please share your favorite granola add-ins in the comments below!

Enjoy!!

4.12.2016

The Daffodil Fields

If you haven't made the journey to Parson's Reserve in Dartmouth, Massachusetts,
 put it on your to do list.



You enter the woods through an almost hidden path...


...and trek up a nicely cleared, somewhat inclined 1/3 mile path.


As you round the last bend, the forest canopy opens to a glorious field of yellow.


It's like the secret garden of your dreams.


As you catch your breath and walk the paths, every vista is filled with pure butter melting across a green stemmed landscape.


It is intoxicating.


Billowing petals wrap delicate stamens in protective blankets.


Hollow echoes of a winter just passed disperse among the Birch trees...


...and springtime's melodic trumpets fill the air with a cautious melody.


It is a walk of meditation...of reverie...of faith.



It is hopefulness and motivation.



It is Earth's elements swirling around you in an innate tribal dance.



It is your earliest memory...your ugliest cry...

It is LOVE.


4.03.2016

The Garden Sanctuary

Over the years, many people have asked me why I garden, or how I "got good at it", or where to start. And I gush a bit, because gardening has been an innate part of me since childhood. So I smile and reflect and talk about it from my heart. 



You see, nature captured my heart at a very young age. I still remember examining the velvety petals of Dad's red roses, or sitting near our neighbor Aurore's barn, watching her weed and tend her perennial border.





Dad showed me finches and cardinals and robins and titmouse. He taught me to listen to their call. 



Aurore and Dad soldered together lessons on planting vegetables and deadheading petunias. They encouraged the seed inside me and kept it nourished.



Mom gave me little juice glasses to collect smiling purple pansies and clumps of wild violets. She patiently allowed them on the kitchen table, already overflowing with supper for seven.


Nature tugs during every waking moment.
I  find myself constantly look to the Heavens and configuring moments into a frame by frame journal, abstract script imprinting my soul.




So when someone asks me to recommend or guide or encourage….



it quickly surges…



a molten path of childhood and happiness and gardens…zinnias and heirloom tomatoes….twisty garlic scapes and waves of green beans…leading to an abundance of moments in adulthood where nature  has danced upon my heart. Moments of solitude as I tend and coddle and contemplate. Moments of peace as the catbird stays close by my side. Moments of joy as I share our abundance.



I truly believe that gardening is not about talent.

It is about desire, and patience.

It is about connecting with the world around us.

It is about self-growth.

It is about living a life of essence and zeal.

It is enlightenment.

4.01.2016

Cosmos

Looking for another easy to direct sow, awesome producer in the garden?


Look no more, Cosmos are here!


I had NEVER grown Cosmos until last summer.


I planted a variety of seeds,


I love the uniqueness of this variety.


They grow quite tall, so they would make a great background planting, or would be lovely along a fence.



They produce like crazy from late summer right up til first frost.



The more you cut, the more they produce. Win-win!



They tend to have thin, rather delicate stems,so I find them pretty in with a mix of zinnias, or with a large handful, so that they can prop one another up.


Their frilly petals are so unique!
I will be planting again this year.
I hope you will too!


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