Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Merry Summer to You!

Dear Friends,

Summer is finally here! Thank you to everyone who left well-wishes on our coming little one; your friendship means so much to us.

Each year we have a tradition of leaving little feasts for the fairies who romp about on Midsummer's Eve. With everyone getting older, the place settings get more and more creative!

Here is a table all set with walnut-shell crockery~


And there's even a little boat in case they want to fish for whatever is lurking in the bottom of this fairy-sized lake (you never know)~

The fairies left Frankie this cute stuffed farmer rabbit and assortment of animals~

Evangeline made a little pond for the fairies' refreshment, and was rewarded with her own girly rabbit and tea set; so sweet!

It looks like Tasha's table received a tiny china gift as well~

 Frankie and Evangeline look a little concerned about their gifts in this picture (and maybe just a little sleepy!)~

 While Becky looks a little happier with all the horses she received (and maybe a little, sleep, as well)~

Thank you to everyone for coming by to visit today, and thank you to Tasha for taking such lovely photos of the day!



"More strange than true: I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends."

~William Shakespeare, 
"A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June Dreams

 Dear Friends,

One of my routines that I love the most is to gather up all my "Victoria" magazines from whichever month is coming up, and then spend the month re-visiting them all. Although I love that Victoria is back, there was a special, feminine spirit to the issues from the 1980s-1990s that I especially love. They make me want to stop and savor the simple things in life, like a special tea cup or a flower blooming in the garden. It may be years and years before my home resembles the lovely photo shoots in Victoria's glossy pages, with little ones around, but I can borrow little ideas here and there and share their inspiration with those little ones as I read.

The other day I found four L.M. Montgomery books that I've been wanting to own for a long time, but had not yet, plus an extra copy of "Stepping Heavenward"(my all-time favorite Christian book) to share with my girls. These books, like Victoria Magazine, make me want to be sweeter and more feminine. I especially love how Nature is such a big part of the lives of the "Anne" characters, and Elizabeth Prentiss' as well. June is the perfect time to slow down, make a cool drink, and enjoy a bit of inspiring reading!

( Becky loves the girls on the covers of my new books, and has been carrying them around organizing them in different piles. She looks sad in this picture because she's waiting while they have their picture taken before she can have them back.)

 Speaking of Nature, we are so grateful that our Scarlet Runner Beans have finally begun "running" up our clothesline post, and they're even producing a few pods. Two of the plants are up to the top already, so we may have to give up some of our clothes-drying space by the end of the summer!

Our front-door robin actually hatched out a couple of sweet little babies (we wondered if she could, since she flies away every time we go outside). It will be fun watching them grow~

I spent about an hour clearing the grape vines off of our rough-leaved dogwood in the backyard, and have been rewarded with its lovely white blossoms that resemble elder flowers~

The oh-so-naughty Japanese honeysuckle (which is taking over the woods around Kansas City) has been providing us with lots of blooms to dry for cooling tea, and to tincture for Lyme disease prevention and sore throats~ they are an amazing antibiotic, and quite strong, so we only use them in low dosages~

We missed a few radishes when we harvested our fall crop last year, and they re-grew and gave us lots of pretty purple blossoms, which will soon be followed by the edible and delicious seed pods, which are lovely in salads or pickled.

 The radishes are growing right next to our Telephone Peas, who also have the loveliest blossoms, and look like we planted them together on purpose. I love discovering little surprises like these, don't you?

Our broad beans we planted in April are finally fruiting, and I have yet to taste a single bean, since Rebecca has discovered them and helps herself first. :) They must be tasty!

We bought this cute little wren house at our local farmer's market yesterday, and have hung it on a post near our back garden, hoping that the wrens will move in and help with natural pest control. It pays to pamper the birds, they eat so many caterpillars and other baddies!


 On a final note, we failed to mention before that we are expecting a new member of our family at the end of October, which is keeping us busy resting up and dreaming of tiny fingers and toes. This summer will also find us finding lots of creative ways of keeping cool! May your June dreams be dear ones, and may they all come true.




Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Audrey!

Dear Friends,

Yet another birthday girl has had a celebration in our family. This time Audrey turned fourteen years old. It was such a hot day, she decided to have a "melon cake" (which was simply a watermelon and a couple of cantaloupes decorated with daylily blossoms and coconut sprinkles).

Audrey loves birds, so Evangeline painted this birdhouse for her and put on a sweet mushroom bird~

And a new bonnet was just the thing to keep the sun off her pretty nose this summer~

Each of children is such a blessing in our lives, and birthdays give us the opportunity to truly ponder on the impact that they have on our family. Especially as the girls approach adulthood, we realize how short the time is to spend with each other, and we are more grateful that we do spend each and every day in the shelter of home. 

Happy days to you, Audrey, and may they be blessed!



Saturday, June 8, 2013

Garden Delights

 Dear Friends,

Although springtime has been a little slow in coming this year, our garden (and the wild plants growing without our help) is finally coming along, showing promise for future harvests.

Our fava beans have developed beautiful blossoms on them, and although the bottom blossoms fall off without fruiting, we're told that is normal and that the top blossoms should fruit (here's to hope!).
They are worth growing just for their ornamental value, if nothing else. Some of the beans were beheaded by starlings (little stinkers!), but fortunately the birds don't seem to bother them once they are over six inches tall.

We are trying to encourage pollinators to come to our vegetables this year, and have invested in a few coneflowers and chamomile to help. So far we've only seen hoverflies, tiny wasps, and one bumblebee, but hopefully the warmer weather in the forecast will bring others about soon.

 Here is our little front door all-sorts bed, full of herbs, flowers, and vegetables. We love to go out every morning and check on everyone's progress. Our dog comes with us, and when we sneak a little lemon grass or lemon balm, she comes and sneaks some, too (which is why we always sneak from the middle of the plants, where she can't reach).

We found a lady's mantle at our local greenhouse, and we are all enchanted by her water-collecting abilities. Can you see the poor little snapdragon in the right corner that was looking beautiful before the rains came and drowned it? Thank heavens lady's mantle likes having wet feet (Those other things you see growing there aren't weeds, they're salad ingredients)!

The robins have decided that the wreath right next to our door is the perfect spot for a nest, so we have to be as quiet as we can going out the front.

We built a small bean house in the front, thinking it would be a whimsical decorative accent, but it's a little more rustic than we'd hoped, so we're figuring out ways of making it prettier while waiting for those runners and purple Italians to cover the bare branches!

We were very surprised to find mulberries growing on this little "oak tree" that volunteered itself by our gas meter~ has anyone ever seen a mulberry with this type of leaf?

For some reason the berries didn't last very long (they weren't even ripe)~ Maybe some type of bird got into them?

Hmmm, I guess we'll never know!

Here's wishing that sunshine and flowers come your way today~ When you say your prayers tonight, please remember the bees, that they might recover their losses and be strong again. Without any bees to pollinate our food, there wouldn't be any us!



The Bee

by Emily Dickinson ~

Like trains of cars on tracks of plush
I hear the level bee:
A jar across the flowers goes,
Their velvet masonry
Withstands until the sweet assault
Their chivalry consumes,
While she, victorious, tilts away
To vanquish other blooms.
Her feet are shod with gauze,
Her helmet is of gold;
Her breast, a single onyx
With chrysoprase, inlaid.
Her labor is a chant,
Her idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee's experience
Of clovers and of noon!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Celebrating Two Birthdays

 Dear Friends,

On 31st May we celebrated the birthdays of two of our favorite girls, AnnaMarie and Rebecca.

Rebecca wanted us to make a cat cake for her own~

But when she saw how AnnaMarie decorated hers with flowers,

She had to have yet another one, too!
Can you see her three candles floating in the coconut cream frosting?

Sixteen candles make a lovely light (just be careful not to singe your hair~ don't ask)!

Happy birthday to both our girls, both in very different stages of life, but growing into the women that God made them to be. May this year be a blessed one!




"Lines to a Little Girl"

By Ruth Mary DuBois

Run-with your brown hair flying,
Glossy in the sun,
Run- like a young foal trying 
Its legs for fun.

Be one with the warm sweet air,
Wear the gentle wind;
Take care, take care
Of every nimble hour
And every meadow flower.
Gather the world in your two slim arms
And hold it there.