Winnie’s Double Bloom Day Lilies

My mother-in-law brought these double bloom day lilies with her from South Carolina to Maryland. We took some to Virginia –  our townhouse in Vienna, to the house in Springfield and finally here in Staunton. This is the first year they have bloomed here. We transplanted them from the place we quickly stuck them when we moved here. They are now getting enough light to shine!

By the way, she took some back to South Carolina!

Watering the Cows

And enjoying a half hour on our neighbors property. They went to the beach and asked Dave to make sure there was enough water in the troughs for their cows.

Prepare for lots of photos. A storm threatened us all evening and finally gave us a little light rain later on. Harrisonburg got 2 1/2 inches of rain in 35 minutes! We need rain but I’m glad we didn’t get that! I included so many photos because the light/sky kept changing. It was too hard to select out.

This is a view of our house from theirs.

The side of the barn

Looking at the field behind their house.

Across the street to the right of our house.

One of the dairy barns that used to be part of our property. The people that live there converted it into their home. They hold bluegrass and country dances there every Saturday night.

Sunflowers in the vegetable garden

Noting the eastern red cedar because I’m reading that book about trees.

Looking toward the house from the vegetable garden.

What we are here for!

Sky is darkening

The house has the original tin shingled roof.

I love this stair rail!


Two Weeks in the Barn Garden

July 4 – Naughty Marietta Marigolds and Scarlet Runner Beans

July 18

July 4

July 18

July 4 – Onions (far left), leeks to the right of the onions. We harvested the leeks last week and have slowly been harvesting the onions as they fall.

July 18

July 18 – a candy onion

July 4

July 18 – a different angle of the tomatoes. The leaves are yellowing and we are starting to get fruit.

July 4 – sweet potatoes and butternut squash, okra (back left)

July 18 – the sweet potato are starting to spread into the okra

July 4 – pole beans on the right and bitter melon on the left

July 18 – again a different angle. Bitter melon in the front and purple pole beans in the back. We are starting to get beans – they are like green beans.

July 18 – This is the purple pole bean blossom.

July 4 – blue corn (back left), watermelon and cantaloupe (inter-planted front) and pole beans (back center).

July 18

July 18 – a cantaloupe blossom

July 18 – I saw a lot of little watermelons like this

July 18 – and then I spied this! See the melon behind the leaves. Unfortunately, I didn’t focus on the melon. Need to work on that. The melon would fit comfortably in my hand. This is exciting. Last year all our watermelon plants died young.

July 18 – Our lone surviving strawberry plant from last year. Something was eating the strawberries so we covered it with chicken wire. We’ve had a couple of very sweet berries. They are an ever-bearing variety so we should continue to get berries through the summer.

First Half of July

Southern Magnolia

I’m reading Seeing Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo and photography by Robert Llewellyn. Enjoyable reading and the photos are spectacular. Click on the arrow in the above photo for a neat video clip.

July 9th was the full moon. I think this was the day before or after.

Some of our harvest.

Pine bark harvested from one of our trees wraps around the sunflower stems in a mason jar. I got the sunflowers from the farmers market.

Emmylou and her chicks. They are on the wrong side of the fence!

Letter to a Friend

Hi Lesa,

Receiving your note in the mail was such a sweet surprise!

Congratulations to Kira! Will you visit her often in Tokyo?  You and Paul have been traveling so much! Would you say you are away as much as you are home?

Is there a website you would recommend to someone (me) who loves birds but doesn’t want to travel? We hear more than see birds. Some spring days the noise from the trees is astonishing. I did see one bird that appeared to be protecting its nest – whistling and spinning wings like mad – maybe some sort of blackbird.

Our spring garden was not much – just some lettuce and kale. Tried sugar snap peas but only got enough for a serving here and there. Our onions did very well. We’ve been harvesting as needed and sharing for the past month or so. Soon they will all need to be harvested. Hope we can cure them well for storing.

Our summer garden includes butternut squash, sweet potatoes, okra, tomatoes, sweet peppers, green beans, bitter melon, blue corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers and purple hull peas. Sounds like a lot but not doing a lot of any one thing. Everything seemed to really take off in the past week. We already got a cucumber and tomato. Would have gotten more tomatoes except a chicken got to a couple first. I think I’ve barricaded their way into the garden but will have to keep checking. Sometimes the chickens seem so stupid and other times rather crafty.

We were up to over 40 birds due to several hens going broody from March to June. We have traded, sold and killed and now I think we have between 30-35. As the roosters mature we will butcher them and then see how many hens we end up with. Hopefully, not much more than 20 as I think more than that is too many for us.

We also have the 2 cats and 2 dogs. Duke, our goldendoodle, will be 14 years old next month. He is quite a dog. Still going strong.

All this and I still haven’t told you about the landscaping we had done! Over the winter we hired a design firm ( to design a garden for the area between the house and garage (garage has an apartment above it – a cute building we call “the cottage”). It is our back entrance and the one we use most often. For 3 weeks (mid June to early July) they put in stone paths, a rain garden and native plants. We are very pleased with what they did and look forward to watching it mature. We worked very hard all spring in preparation for their arrival – transplanting and giving away a lot of what was there – also saving some things to transplant back into the same ares. A lot of work and I learned a lot too. Here is a list of what they planted – Columbine, Aromatic Aster, Lady Fern, Pennsylvania Sedge, Blue Mistflower, Pale Purple Coneflower, Strawberry, Coral Bells, Soft Rush, Provence Lavender, Blazing Star, Wild Quinine, Christmas Fern, Orange Coneflower, Meadow Petunia, Little Bluestem, Woodland Stonecrop, Creeping Thyme and Golden Alexander.

Funny you mentioned the good by quilts. I just pulled mine out. I thought it would be a good summer quilting project. It’s too hot in my sewing room right now. Plan to hand quilt it.  Not so big that it will be hot in my lap. I enjoy thinking of my QU friends when I hold it. Good of you and Lura to take over the job. It’s a very special gift.

How I’ve gone on!

Would love to meet up. Any ideas?



PS Feel free to stop by any time you find yourself near. The place might be a mess but I’m learning to be OK with that. Paul too!

Douthat State Park

Took the afternoon off and went to Douthat State Park in Millboro – about an hour southwest of Staunton. It is in the Allegheny Mountains.

It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and opened in 1936.

Took a two mile hike.

I love trees and moss.

We ate dinner at the restaurant by the lake. They had really good homemade potato chips.

We’ve decided to visit all the Virginia State Parks.


Landscaping Project Completion

Last Friday The Natural Garden completed the work on our back entry garden. This is the entry that we use most and is why we chose it to start with.


In the foreground they planted Pennsylvania Sedge, fern and our Lenten Rose.


Agustina wanted a specimen plant in the U so that is where she placed the Fringe Tree.


In the center are the transplanted False Indigo.


We got a new trash can (on wheels!) to celebrate. The old one was pretty shabby.


Woodland Stonecrop, a fern and columbine among the stones.


Columbine and Pennsylvania Sedge in the U with the Fringe Tree.


The rain garden. They planted three Red Bud Trees. They will provide some much needed shade in this area. In the original plan, Agustina included an oak tree. We didn’t want something so large so close to the house. I’m glad we decided not to include a large shade tree. I recently red that Red buds bloom best in full sun.



Some Coral Bells and ferns around the Red bud.



In the center of the photo are Viburnum shrubs.



Our youngest chickens.


With momma hen, Emmylou. She still has all ten of her chicks.


They like to hang out in the Pyracantha next to the tool shed.


Why would I include this photo? At this time of year we have an abundance of fireflies. This is the view from our bed and on recent nights I look out and see their lights in the spruce tree. I often can’t help myself when I see this and get out of bed to see the light show they give in the pine forest across the creek. Better than any firework show.


One of the Meadow Petunias is already blooming.

I’m sure I’ll be sharing photos of our new garden quite often.

Here is a list of what they planted-

Red bud

Fringe Tree

Rhododendron (they will plant these in the fall)


White Wood Aster (also to be planted in the fall)

Aromatic Aster

Lady Fern

Pennsylvania Sedge

Blue Mistflower

Pale Purple Coneflower


Coral Bells

Soft Rush

Provence Lavender

Blazing Star

Wild Quinine

Christmas Fern

Orange Coneflower

Meadow Petunia

Little Bluestem

Woodland Stonecrop

Creeping Thyme

Golden Alexander

We transplanted from the original garden Lenten Rose, Bleeding Heart, Wild Ginger, Woodland Geraniums, Meadow Rue and False Indigo. Over the weekend we added some bulbs Daffodils, Snowdrops, Green and Gold, Virginia Bluebells (not sure these are bulbs, they looked more like roots) and a few Tulips and Hyacinths. There were a few bare spots so I went to nearby JMD Nursery and picked up some Meadow Sage and Lantana. The Lantana is the only annual included.