A Touch of Autumn

Autumn officially arrived yesterday bringing with it chilly evenings, cool mornings and lovely sunny, warm days.  Very nice.  So of course, I headed up to the pumpkin stands to get more things for the window boxes.  I have been gathering bittersweet over the last  few days.   Bittersweet grows in many places and since it damages trees, I never feel guilty about cutting it and using it in Fall decorations.  It is quite beautiful.

IMG_4636 IMG_4637

Such color!

I started with the front.


A mum and pumpkin for the steps and Indian corn for the door….

IMG_4691…and pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn for the window box…with a splash of bittersweet.  

IMG_4688The side window boxes also got done.

And the little shed.


A few mums add more color.

But some of the window boxes still have summer flowers blooming.


They will stay for awhile.

The coop got a  hanging mum..


..but the window box still has summer flowers.  

It is just the beginning of Autumn…plenty of time to add more pumpkins and mums.  There is still color in the gardens..

IMG_4655These nasturtiums are stunning and still quite happy.

IMG_4680 IMG_4681And the marigolds are glorious.

IMG_4659Alyssum seems to go on forever!


And these Clara Curtis mums are late bloomers.  They shimmer in the sun and the bees love them.

IMG_4628IMG_4629Some of last year’s mums have returned.  

IMG_4620And with the cooler weather, the borage has decide to have another go…..

Autumn has arrived….the season is changing…but the gardens are not quite done yet!

IMG_4685🍁Happy Fall everyone! 🍁

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

The New Blog

As I mentioned last week here, we are contemplating a move to Ireland.  It will be a long and probably complicated process.  I know I am not the only one who dreams of Ireland so I thought I would blog about our adventures.  

 There won’t be too much to blog about as long as we have Fergus.  But I have written an introductory post.  We are currently getting our Irish passports and we are citizens.  So there may be a few posts here and there. In any case, I thought I would send along link in case any of you are interested in following.

It is called Ireland Calling and you can find it here.


Posted in Ireland | 4 Comments

September Arrives

We turned the calendar to a new month this morning.  September at last.  I am usually very ready to say good bye to August and welcome the cooler Fall temperatures that September brings.  But this year it has remained hot.  Not good for going back to school.  But luckily for me, I no longer  have to go back.   But it is also not good for the gardens.  Often things recover a bit in September but I fear that may not happen this year.  Things are a bit bedraggled and not at their best.  We need rain as well and that is not helping.

But it is not a total loss.

IMG_4554The Squash Arch has been very productive.  There was still some powdery mildew and a few vines insisted on growing on the ground, but we have a lot of squash.

IMG_4543We will have lots of creamy squash soup this winter.  Yum!

IMG_4546The second planting of lettuce has recovered from Peter’s nibbling and is doing well.

IMG_4553There are more tomatoes to roast.  This should fill the freezer.  Tomato soup, tomato sauce….There will be plenty of tomatoes this winter!

IMG_4550Not to mention the tomatoes in the greenhouse.

IMG_4545The basil is also thriving in the heat.  A few more batches of pesto and then I think I will just dry the rest of the basil.

IMG_4552The second planting of potatoes is growing.  With the greenhouse there is time for them to mature I hope.

IMG_4555The raspberries have been very prolific this summer.  There may even be enough to freeze.  Or perhaps I should attempt jam.  Hmm..


And the kale and the chard keep producing.  It has been a good harvest this year.


The sunflowers are beautiful.

The late summer flowers are having their turn.


IMG_4562Summer phlox..

IMG_4567Garlic chives….


IMG_4566And of course, Black-eyed Susans, all continue to add their brilliant colors to the garden.  Soon it will be time for pumpkins and mums….


I didn’t plant any pumpkins this year but we do have a few volunteer gourds in with the carrots.


Despite the heat and end of summer fatigue, nature just keeps on producing.

IMG_4574Amber though, dislikes the heat.  She will take a shady spot any day thank you very much.  (Please don’t notice that she is missing her tail feathers..she is very embarrassed about it…..Molting has begun!)

Posted in Gardens, Hens, Nature | Tagged , , | 6 Comments


As September approaches and the gardens wind down a bit (though there are still tomatoes to roast!) I have been reflecting on the summer.  It was an interesting summer here.  The weather was mixed.  We had some hazy, hot and humid days (NOT my favorite) and some nice days.  We got enough rain and the gardens, for the most part, did well.  

And amazingly, we lost very few veggies to the local wildlife.


Peter was joined by his cousin Benjamin and his sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, but they mostly ate grass.

The girls enjoyed the big run, had lots of treats and laid lots of eggs.

IMG_4455They had no adventures with hawks or other wildlife thank goodness.

Merlin dozed in all the best places.

IMG_4483And seemed content as only cats can.

Unlike last summer when he had a broken ankle, Bill is back to mowing the lawn.

IMG_4151So I have not had to.  THAT has been nice!

But Fergus seems much older this summer.

IMG_4107 Last summer, despite the fact that he had been diagnosed with cancer in the Spring, he was himself.  He walked every day, swimming in all his favorite places and dozing peacefully the rest of the day.  I had hoped for another summer like that.  But he is aging rapidly.  It is noticeable.  He still walks and swims..but not from the steep banks any more.  He has trouble getting on his couch sometimes and the heat has been hard for him.  We know he is going.  And we know what a hole he will leave in our hearts.  Life without Fergus is hard to imagine.

We have been thinking about an old dream and wondering.  For years we had dreamed of retiring to Ireland.  But things got in the way and then Ireland got very expensive.  We gave up on the dream and settled into Brookwood Shire.  Bill took up photography and I started putting in gardens, got baby chicks and made our little cottage as cozy as I could.  We expected to stay here forever.  But we have never liked winters in New England and they seem to get harder as one ages.  Last winter, we began to question our decision to remain New Englanders.  We began to talk again about Ireland.  Prices have come down somewhat since the recession….could we trade Brookwood Shire for a cottage there?  Could we start again with new gardens…new hens (the girls could not come with us   though a friend has offered to take them)…could we put Merlin on a plane?  I am not sure.  But it has been on my mind a lot.  

So there may be changes in our future.  When “we don’t have Fergus anymore” (and I am still hoping that is a ways in the future) we are thinking of spending some time in Ireland..a month? 6 weeks?  Just to see how it feels,  look at property and test the waters.  

So we shall see what happens.  It is both exciting and quite daunting.  But it could be the adventure of a lifetime.

I will keep you posted. 🍀




Posted in Fergus, Gardens, Hens, Ireland, Merlin, Nature | Tagged | 5 Comments

Be Careful What You Wish For

Last year my tomatoes got a blight in early August.  We got a few, but not enough to freeze for the winter.  Shortly after that, the basil caught the blight and my “pesto all winter”  fantasy faded.  So this year I planted extra tomatoes and extra basil.  I was determined to have enough.  I started them in the greenhouse and they were huge by the time I planted them.  I hoped it would be a good year.  So you can imagine my horror when the tomato blight returned in late July!  There were tons of green tomatoes so I cut back the blighted leaves and hoped everything would ripen anyway.  I started harvesting basil, just in case, and made a bunch of pesto.

Well the good news is that, despite the blight, the tomatoes are doing fine.  They look a bit pathetic without many leaves, but they keep producing tomatoes.

IMG_4523 These are just the Roma tomatoes.

IMG_4524The regular tomatoes also continue to grow fat and juicy.

IMG_4529And the basil remains beautiful!

So I have been very busy roasting tomatoes.  It is very easy.

IMG_4516Gather some tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary.  Wash.

Cut the tomatoes in half and place cut side down on an oiled baking sheet.  Add the herbs.  Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes.

IMG_4519Your kitchen will smell heavenly.  Let them cool for a bit and then remove the skins.  They come right off…


..and my girls LOVE them!  Here they come..always ready for treats.

Once the skins are off, just put the roasted tomatoes in a canning jar.


I got one quart from that panful.

IMG_4520It will go in the freezer with the other jars and the pesto.  And pesto will definitely be on our menu this winter!

IMG_4522 IMG_4528And there is plenty more basil and more tomatoes in the garden!  I will be busy for awhile I think.  So be careful what you wish for…you may find yourself with a lot to do..

Unlike my boys…


IMG_4518…who are having a VERY relaxing summer!

Posted in Eating Well, Gardens | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The Mysterious Missing Shoe

We had a bit of a mystery here yesterday.  I have pair of Keen water shoes that I wear every day when I take Fergus for his walk.  They are good because I can wear them into the river if I need to.  I got them years ago when Fergus was a puppy and apt to “steal” anything people left by the river.  He would excitedly snatch anything he saw,  dash into the river with it and often as not, drop it there.  I would then have to wade out to retrieve whatever it was, apologizing profusely.  Amazingly, most people just thought it was cute.  In any case, these shoes have been very handy over the years and even though Fergus is more “mature” now and no longer steals things, they are my “go for a walk” shoes in the summer.

IMG_4507I keep them outside, in the carport, with my Wellies.

So you can imagine my surprise when Fergus and I went out to go for our walk yesterday and found this.

IMG_4508Only one shoe.  Where was the other one?  A quick search found nothing.  Where in the world could it be?  Who would take one shoe?  Very mysterious.  Fergus was impatient for his walk so I found some other shoes and off we went.

IMG_4503We had a great walk with a few swims and came home.

I had a more thorough search for my missing shoe..but nothing.  Not in the carport or on the steps or fallen behind anything.  How strange.  

Never mind.  I was convinced it would turn up…I did some gardening.  Luckily I don’t generally wear shoes for gardening.

I worked my way from garden to garden and just as I was finishing up the last garden, I looked down and saw this.

IMG_4505MY SHOE!  What in the world was it doing up here?  How did it get here?  We will never know….

IMG_4456I wonder if Peter knows anything about it……

In any case, I was thrilled to have my shoe back.  Now I will be ready to go for a walk tomorrow…

IMG_4506At least I hope so! 

Posted in Fergus, Nature | 3 Comments


It has been hazy, hot and humid for the last few days.  Not atypical weather for July in New England, but not my favorite weather .   But apparently zucchini loves it.  It has gotten a bit out of control.  

IMG_4460It just keeps coming and coming!  So today, since it was too hot for me to be in the gardens, I thought I would try to use at least some of it.  Luckily it is a very versatile vegetable and you can use zucchini in lots of different recipes.

What should I make?  After a search of the internet, I settled on a few things.  First I would make zucchini chocolate chip cookies.  In my experience adding chocolate chips to almost anything is a guaranteed success.

IMG_4463They certainly look good.

Next I made another batch of zucchini oat bread.  I made this a few weeks ago and it was delicious.

IMG_4469It is lovely for breakfast or with a cup o tea.

I had a bit of grated zucchini left over from the bread.


So the girls got a little treat.  

But what to do with the rest of the zucchini?  I have just acquired this lovely new kitchen tool.

IMG_4461It is a julienne peeler and it turns zucchini into a pasta like food.  Or so they say.  I decided to try it out.  The internet is filled with delicious looking recipes.  I settled on one that used things that I had in the garden.  Zucchini noodles with Pesto.  Since basil likes hot weather there was plenty of that as well.

I made the pesto.

IMG_4476There is nothing like the smell of fresh basil!

And then it was time to try out the peeler.

IMG_4472It worked beautifully and soon I had a bowl of zucchini noodles.

IMG_4473The recipe said you could use them as is or heat them a bit.  I decided to heat them.

IMG_4477Into the wok they went.  I added some pesto and a few cherry tomatoes from the garden.


IMG_4478It was starting to smell delicious!

IMG_4479A bit of cheese and it was perfect!

I had also roasted some cauliflower.  It doesn’t like the heat so I wanted to use it up.


And voila!  Dinner almost entirely from the garden.  Zucchini noodles are very interesting.  They taste a bit like pasta but have a lovely crunchy texture.  Nice.

So all in all it was a very productive day…


..but there is STILL zucchini left!  

Well tomorrow is another day……

Posted in Cooking, Eating Well, Gardens | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments