Glory Days

The summer days are ticking by.    Beautiful sounds, changing scenery, gorgeous colors, earthy scents!

I love summertime…………

And, I love taking walks.     I’ve started this quest to walk 500 miles…….just a few miles at a time mind you…..I’m not Wonder Woman……although, aren’t we all full of wonder!   Yes, we are.    Sometimes we just have to dig deep down inside to reminder ourselves.    I find walking is a great way to find peace of mind and gratitude for all of the beauty and greatness this life has to offer.

 

judystreehouse judystreehouse judystreehouse judystreehouse

You can join in and walk with me @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/doppelgangersforahealthylifestyle/

And, yes, I am still creating unique jewelry and gifts at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JudysTreehouse

unique gifts by judystreehouse statement necklaces by judys treehouse women's chokers by judystreehouse unique necklaces judys treehouse judystreehouse jewelry shopjudystreehouse cool giftsnecklaces by judystreehouse colorful butterfly earrings by JudysTreehouse

I have some really cool zodiac pendants and tiny birthstone gemstone necklaces in the works.   And, a few hand wrapped gemstone chokers waiting for a final hand polishing.    Coming soon!

handcrafted Jewelry by JudysTreehouse

And, I’ve made a few trips to the post office.   I enjoy creating the packaging almost as much as I do creating the items!

unique gifts JudysTreehouse Shop Jewelry and Gifts JudyTreehouse.etsy.com JudysTreehouse Handcrafted Jewelry for Women JudysTreehouse Unique Jewelry and Gift Shop unique gifts by Judys Treehouse Jewelry and Gifts JudysTreehouse

And, I have my flower gardens and vegetable gardens to tend.

judystreehouse flower gardens

And, I’ve been canning and preserving a bit…..made some sweet pickle relish last week and kosher dills on the agenda for this week.

judystreehousejudystreehouse summer garden bountyjudystreehouse canning and preserving

And, we have a new puppy, Spot, our outside security guard.    And, of course, Otis to keep an eye on things, too.

judystreehouseOtis Judys Treehouse

And, a little reading here and there.   A few short road trips.    Time with family and friends.    And, always something creative on the agenda!

So there you have it……..a little glimpse of my glorious summer days.    Hope you are having a great summer, too, and making the most out of every precious moment!

And, I hope you’ll keep in touch.    You can find me here:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JudysTreehouse (“Favorite” Judystreehouse on etsy and you’ll see m new listings as they become available)

https://www.facebook.com/judystreehouse (“Like” and “Follow” JudysTreehouse on Facebook.    From time to time I’ll post items I have in the works, new items, fashion ideas, and just plain cool “shares” of things I find beautiful and interesting.”

https://www.facebook.com/groups/doppelgangersforahealthylifestyle/ (closed group but you can request to join to give and get health and fitness inspiration (no solicitors, please)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/thingsyoumightfindinatreehouse/ (public group…..just a fun place where I share cool, creative finds and ideas)

Instagram @judystreehouse

https://Twitter.com/JudysTreehouse

Thanks for stopping by.   Have a terrific Day!

Peace Love and Joy!

Judy

Simple Pleasures Bring Great Joy

The weather here in Central Illinois has been almost fall like the past few weeks.

The A.C. has been turned off!

Open windows tease and tantalize all of my senses;  a cool breeze, fluttering curtains, fresh air, scents from my gardens, sunshine on my hardwood floors, shadow art, crickets, locust, and frog bands warming up for the night, dinner on the front porch with veggies and herbs from my garden…….. A few of life’s simple pleasures bring me such joy……..

View from my front porch...one of my favorite hangouts!
View from my front porch…one of my favorite hangouts!

Being outside on my porch.   Seeing the peaceful beauty of butterflies, bugs and hummingbirds (to name a few) as they flutter and fuss around my front yard garden.

Happy chics!
Happy chics!

Watching my chicks and fancy rooster waddle and cluck around the yard.   They are such a hoot!

One of my giant mums.....going to be spectacular this year!
One of my giant mums…..going to be spectacular this year!
My fall garden....Indian corn, sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds, oh my!
My fall garden….Indian corn, sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds, oh my!
Love Zinnias.......a must plant every year!
Love Zinnias…….a must plant every year!
Mums......must have for fall.   This one will showcase lovely purple blooms
Mums……must have for fall. This one will showcase lovely purple blooms

My gardens!    Ever changing and preparing for fall.    Mums, Indian Corn, Sunflowers, Gourds, and Pumpkins!     And my zinnias…….a must have every year!    Bursts of bright colors and the butterflies love them!

earthy treasure hunts.....tiny bird nest blown from a tree
earthy treasure hunts…..tiny bird nest blown from a tree
cool spider home
cool spider home

Amazing and intricate architecture in nature!    Like this little birds nest I found on the ground and cool (albeit creepy) spider webs!

Cool Halloween Decor!    Love to celebrate the seasons!
Cool Halloween Decor! Love to celebrate the seasons!

Magazines in the mail advertising cool stuff!      Especially for Halloween and Christmas!    Two favorites for decorating!

Shadow art and other eye catching creations from the sun streaming through my windows

glass jars and plants in a window create two beautiful displays!
glass jars and plants in a window create two beautiful displays!
Love the shadow art through my lace curtains
Love the shadow art through my lace curtains
Sunrise on the farm....in the boys room!
Sunrise on the farm….in the boys room!
shadow art.    Captured this pic a few weeks ago.   Angel!
shadow art. Captured this pic a few weeks ago. Angel!
A room full of rainbows.  A joint effort between Mother Nature and My Suncatchers!
A room full of rainbows. A joint effort between Mother Nature and My Suncatchers!
Otis......capturing a few rainbows!
Otis……capturing a few rainbows!

Dinner Al Fresco!    With someone I love!

Dinner Al Fresco!
Dinner Al Fresco!

Enjoying the fruits of my labor!

Garden bounty and gifts from my chicks
Garden bounty and gifts from my chicks
pickles every year!
pickles every year!
corn from gardens past.....
corn from gardens past…..
freezing and preserving and enjoying year round freshness
freezing and preserving and enjoying year round freshness
pickled tomatoes and green beans
pickled tomatoes and green beans

These are a few of my favorite things!

Every day we are blessed with the abundance that God has created for all of us to enjoy!   Life is full of simple pleasures!

Carpe’ Diem!

Peace, Love, Joy and Enjoy!

 

Pickles?? Yes Please!!!

On today’s agenda……Yep!   It’s pickle time here!

Cucumbers from this year's garden
Cucumbers from this year’s garden

It’s amazing what a little rain will do.    Friday I just found a few little guys out in the garden.   Now it’s Monday and Wowzer!   I picked a peck to pickle!   And blooms galore!   Some of these guys got almost too big.   But not to worry, they will find their way into one of my pickle jars.

We have a few favorite recipes and I’ll share the links below but today I am making Claussen Copycat Pickles!    It’s one of our favorites and an every year must make!

And, another bonus!   I am totally thrilled.    My dill came in just as my cucumbers started producing!   Yea!     In years past, my dill patch, which I continue to struggle with every year trying to get an abundance, was usually ready before my cucumbers resulting in…….sigh……having to use  dried dill weed or dill seed.     But, not this year!     This year I will have these pretty little dill heads to showcase in my pickle jars.     Flavor and a lovely, earthy presentation!

this year's dill patch
this year’s dill patch

And, while I’m on the subject of pretty and presentation; while picking cucumbers this morning I noticed that one plant was producing funky shaped cukes!    Not that I mind but I was curious as to causation.

This year's vegetable garden.
This year’s vegetable garden.

This year I planted late.   (and, whoa is me because I didn’t start a garden journal this year as I usually do so I don’t have specifics at my fingertips to help me analyze…..note to self, next year, document!)

I planted four hills with three seeds each.    (Those are my cucumber plants on the right along the fencing.   I planted my rows north to south.   Last year, this area had tomatillo plants.   I rotate my crops every year).

The first planting didn’t take except for one small plant at the north end of the fence.   I left that plant and replanted more on that hill and the other three hills.

This area of the garden gets the same amount of sun throughout the day.    The same amount of water when I water (which was twice this year with a sprinkler.   And, of course, when (if) it rains, the plants get the same amount of rainwater.

The seeds were old seeds (two or three years old).     Same variety from the same package.    (Boston Pickling Cucumbers are usually what I plant…..again with the lack of journaling…….smacks forehead here!)

Anyway, just found it interesting that all of the cucumbers from the three hills on the south have pretty, straight cucumbers.    That one hill to the north has more curved and a funky one or two.    Not that looks matter, mind you; the taste is still delish.     Just an interesting observation this morning.

The funky bunch!
The funky bunch!

Enough about cucumbers and gardens for now.    Back to the good stuff!

Here are some recipes I’ve come across over the years.    I did not create these recipes; I take no credit; I am merely sharing.

These are just some of our favorites.    Of course when preserving and canning make sure you follow the proper guidelines.

Claussen Copycat Pickles!     Our most favorite.      These stay crunchy because they aren’t processed.    They are crisp and sour and salty perfection.    They keep for a long, long time.    We are still eating some from last year; over a year in the fridge (Yep, we have more than one refrigerator.   It’s a home garden/farm necessity here).   I pretty much follow the recipe exactly except I add a few peppercorns to the jars.     Cut the cucumbers however you like; sometimes I do slices (thick and thin), spears, chunks, halves, and small whole.

http://www.food.com/recipe/claussen-kosher-pickle-copycat-249520?soc=socialsharingpinterest

This is a recipe for sweet pickle relish.   Makes me want to fix hotdogs for dinner every night!   It is very similar (if not exactly the same) as the one I use.   Mine is from a “Ball” cookbook (my cookbook is definitely showing signs of wear and tear; I’ve had it for ages).      Sometimes I add jalapenos to my recipe for a little sweet heat!

http://www.food.com/recipe/sweet-pickle-relish-130781?soc=socialsharingpinterest

This recipe is for Sweet Lime Pickles.     This is Greg’s favorite; “like Grandma Ida used to make”.    These are a must have for Greg each year.     The lime makes them super crunchy and these pickles are super, super sweet, almost like candy.

http://www.cooks.com/recipe/yw2666u4/sweet-lime-pickles.html

This recipe for refrigerator pickles I’ve had for years.   I don’t know where I found it or who gave it to me so I can’t give credit where credit is due.     There are similar recipes out there but I couldn’t find this exact one so I’m just going to jot it down here for you.

These are sweet but not overly so.    I make them in a big glass jar (looks pretty).   Good all on their own as a side salad.     I don’t make these with the intention of preserving them.      Just make a batch and eat ’em till they’re gone.

Refrigerator Pickles

  • 7 cups sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 1 green pepper cut into thin strips
  • 2 TBSP salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard seed (I’m a freak for mustard seed; I always add more)
  • 1 tsp celery seed

Mix together the cucumbers, onions, green pepper, and salt.   Let them stand for one hour.   Do NOT, do not, do not drain off the liquid that forms.

Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed to a boil to dissolve sugar.  Let cool.    Pour over cucumber mix.    Let stand in fridge for 24 hours.   Enjoy.

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Make someone’s day!    A gift from your garden or something homemade from your kitchen is an unexpected delight!     Share the joy of gardening and abundance!

Have a terrific day!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is the first batch today!

Scrubbed and ready to go. I do cut both ends off.
Scrubbed and ready to go. I do cut both ends off.
The jars and lids have been washed and sterilized. Waiting for the brine to cool.
The jars and lids have been washed and sterilized. Waiting for the brine to cool.
Jars are packed and ready for liquid.
Jars are packed and ready for liquid.
All jarred up and absorbing flavors. Now the wait! But its so worth it!
All jarred up and absorbing flavors. Now the wait! But its so worth it!

Ended up with 5 quarts of Claussen Copycat Pickles, one batch of refrigerator pickles, and of course some munching along the way!

Weeds or Flowers?

Plant Wildflowers!!!!

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Is it a weed or is it a flower?

Don’t know?

Let it Grow!

My 2017 flower garden mantra!    Here are pics of my wildflower gardens this year.    They’re a little slow in their show (we need rain) but they are starting to showcase their glory!

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My husband says weeds.    I say it depends on the eye of the beholder!    I see beautiful flowers!     How about you?

“Spring Harvest – Rhubarb”

Harvested my rhubarb today!

My Kitchen Garden at JudysTreehouse

I planted this one plant about four (maybe five….how time flies) years ago in my front kitchen garden.

My Kitchen Garden at JudysTreehouse

I think I read somewhere that it takes two years to establish (like my asparagus, which I no longer have but need to restart….but two years, jeez!…..but again, how time flies so I really should get it started).

Anyway, I was inspired by our friend, Gail, who we were delighted to have come visit us recently here on the farm.   He lives in Iowa, is an avid gardener, nature/farm enthusiast and loves to cook cool and unique delicacies, many of which I’d never tried…..before Gail that is.    Still on the lookout for ground cherries to add to my garden.    His gardens are BEAUtiFul, his home warm and inviting, and his company a pleasure.     Needless to say, we love to visit him, too!

So, during his recent visit and a stroll around my gardens and talking about one of my favorite things….FOOD….we got on the subject of my rhubarb, which had yet to be harvested.     I don’t know, maybe I always thought of rhubarb as old people food, you know, as a kid if someone said rhubarb you’d likely say, YUCK, without even trying it.     Although I try to deny it, I might be getting old.

Gail said he makes a rhubarb salsa which is delish!   He told me how to make it.   (I made him tell me twice but I still didn’t remember….something about blanching it for just a few seconds, adding green onion, maybe some vinegar…..)

Well, today was “one of those days” for me.    I cleaned the house yesterday, Greg’s out in the field getting in the last of the soybeans, I was in a not sure what I want to do mood.    I “thought” I wanted to start on some necklaces but I “really” wanted to finish the book I was reading.    This past week has been difficult for me for some reason.    I’m in some kind of a funk.   Either I sent out some bad karma and it’s coming back at me or my Chi is out of sorts for one reason or another.    Just hard for me to get motivated and in sync with all of the greatness that surrounds me.    So, if you’re reading this, send me some good Karma!   I appreciate it and am sending it back to you.   I digress….But, anyway…..

I finished the book then went outside.    And,  it’s a BEAUtiFul day here today.      And, it’s getting hot!   My gardens could use a little weeding….but it’s getting hot! The weeds can wait till morning because it’s hot!.    (do you see a theme developing).

I took another look at my kitchen garden (overlooking the weeds).   Yesterday I had picked some of my strawberries……oh yea, and while I’m on the subject of my strawberry patch, it’s currently me vs the chipmunks…..

My Strawberry Patch at JudysTreehouseJudy vs the Chipmunks

We’re about 50/50 so I decided to pick some more of my strawberries today……to get ahead of the competition.

While picking strawberries I glanced up at my rhubarb and thought…..Rhubarb Salsa…..why not.      So I harvested my rhubarb for the first time in four/five/six/seven (who’s counting) years.

I think I did a pretty good job of harvesting my plant, cutting the stems with a sharp knife and leaving enough behind to help the plant stay strong (yep, I read up on that a bit!)

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Since I couldn’t remember Gail’s rhubarb salsa recipe I headed to Pinterest and found a recipe or two/three/four/five (who’s counting) and added them to my Pinterest Board, Food:   Summer Garden Recipes (you can follow my Pinterest boards, I’m “Judy” (with a sunflower avatar).

And, here’s what developed in my kitchen, from my gardens!

Rhubarb Salsa

Savory Rhubarb Salsa (recipe found on Pinterest, from the website, “Shiny Cooking”).    The rhubarb, green onions and cilantro are from my garden this year.   The peppers, well, too early yet.

and, for my sweet tooth….

Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars

Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars (recipe found on Pinterest, from the website “Beki Cooks Cake Blog”).    Rhubarb and Strawberries (take that chipmunks!) from my gardens.

Haven’t tried them yet but I’m sure they will be most delicious!

And, a little leftover strawberries and rhubarb to my freezer!   Oh, what next awaits my desire to cook something creative!

Stay tuned and have a MARVELOUS weekend!

“Black and White”

Black and White……Together in Perfect Harmony!

One of my all time favorite songs.     Video from YouTube!   Enjoy!

Black and White from around the farm!

Grandma's Old Chicken House 096 Black Snake at JudysTreehouse.jpg Black Snake at JudysTreehouse Black and White Image Flowers Black Butterflies on the FArm Flowers on the Farm Tulips in Black and White Sunflowers and Butterflies Britches the Rooster at JudysTreehouse Cows on the Farm at JudysTreehouse Roses at JudysTreehouse Turtles at JudysTreehouse Flowes at JudysTreehouse Queen Anne's Lace Wild Turkeys at JudysTreehouse Blackberries as big as your thumb Full Moon Where your imagination takes you Flowers from my garden queen anne's lace The Girls Chickens Free Range Chickens Bridgette Moth Morning Glories on the Farm Queen Anne's Lace at JudysTreehouse Happy Chickens Butterflies at JudysTreehouse Ramses watching the snow at the Farm New Life on The Farm JudysTreehouse - Copy New Life on The Farm JudysTreehouse Butterflies at JudysTreehouse Wildlife in Illinois Misty Morning on the Farm Dusk Fox on the Farm Garden in Winter Wildflower Hill Pretty Rooster! Harvest Moon Sign Black Butterflies in my gardens Garden Blessings Beautiful Black Butterflies on the farm Free Range Chickens Night time on the farm Christmas on the Farm Christmas on the Farm Christmas on the FArm Christmas on the Farm Christmas on the Farm Christmas on the Farm Farm Living Snowy Pastures Winter Grain Bin on the Farm Winter on the Farm Snowy Creek After the Rain Cute Bulldogs Otis 042 Wildflowers 029 Queen Anne's Lace Daisies Otis in a room full of prisms Spring on the farm Wildflowers in the woods Old Farm Trucks Birdhouses in my gardens White flowers Grandma's Peonies Welcome to the Farm Wildlife in Winter Owl in a Tree Winter on the Farm winter farm pics Peaceful on the farm Snow on the farmFree Falling on the Farm The Buzzard Tree

Black and White you might find at http://JudysTreehouse.etsy.com

Bohemian Pearl Earrings at JudysTreehouse Bohemian Style Earrings at JudysTreehouse Vintage Bohemian Style Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Long Unique Bohemian Style Jewelry Shabby Chic Style Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Choker Charm Necklaces @ JudysTreehouse Cool Funky Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Bohemian Style Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Black Bohemian Style Choker at JudysTreehouse Chokers at JudysTreehouse Black and White Note Cards At JudysTreehouse Bohemian Dreamcatchers at JudysTreehouse Pink and Black Decor at JudysTreehouse Dream Catchers at JudysTreehouse DreamCatchers at JudysTreehouse Black and Pink at Judys Treehouse Black and Red Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Black and White Bracelet at JudysTreehouse Bohemian Style Bracelets at JudysTreehouse Black Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Multi Strand Bracelets at JudysTreehouse Wrap Bracelets at JudysTreehouse Unusual Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Cool Funky Earrings at JudysTreehouse Hippie Style Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Flower Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Hippie Style Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Jazzy Earrings at JudysTreehouse Heart Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Romantic Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Butterfly Earrings at JudysTreehouse Bohemian Style Earrings at JudysTreehouse Bold Necklaces at JudysTreehouse Dreamcatchers at JudysTreehouse White Dreamcatchers at JudysTreehouse IMG_8774 Flower Note Cards at JudysTreehouse Note Cards at JudysTreehouse Butterfly Note Cards at JudysTreehouse Unique Note Cards at JudysTreehouse Butterfly Note Cards Cute Dog Note Cards at JudysTreehouse.jpg Retro Style Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Rose Necklaces at JudysTreehouse Unique Jewelry at JudysTreehouse.jpg Earthy Jewelry at JudysTreehouse.jpg White Necklaces at JudysTreehouse Black and Green Flower Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Hippie Style Jewelry at JudysTreehouse Unique Bohemian Style Jewelry Pink and Black Jewelry

Bohemian Charm Necklaces at JudysTreehouse.jpg

Thanks for stopping by!    Have a terrific weekend!

 

 

 

“Therapy”

It’s Springtime here in Central, Illinois.     The birds are nesting and filling the world around me with their beautiful song and happy chatter.     Bees are buzzing.     Trees are budding.     And beautiful things are popping up all around us.     Here are a few of my spring highlights……

My first outside adventure was to hunt for the elusive morel……..Did I find any?   Well, yes!    But, not enough to fry up a mess of cracker coated goodness…..perhaps next year.      But, here are a few of the treasures I found during my two day, 3 hour hikes in the woods…..

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Although Otis got to tag along on my first journey, it was only a short hike for him.   He was breathing too loud, chasing the mushrooms away, and then decided to take a roll about in the dirt and dust and cow paddies……so, home he must go!

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A week or so after my wild wood adventure I was able to traipse around my (so called) yard looking for signs of spring and trying my best to overlook the abundance of weeds and yard clean up awaiting me.

I found little blooms of wild purple violets  and golden dandelions.

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My phlox, a lovely light purple blanket spread about in my front garden.

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My lilac bushes in full bloom.    Beautiful white and purple blossoms with their heady fragrance.    (I have a lilac story for you but I’ll save that for another post).

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Only a couple of tulips and daffodils decided to unfurl their inner beauty.

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On the bloom front, my clematis are just about ready to burst and my day lilies are grassy and green preparing for their upcoming display.

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From my front kitchen/herb garden, we’ve already enjoyed some chives, the strawberries are in bloom, the rhubarb is up (although I have yet to make that strawberry rhubarb pie and/or cake), and the lemon balm and mint are spreading about.

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And, those were the fun part of my spring explorations!

And now, after appraising my situation, I’ve decided it’s time to get down and dirty.   I can put it off no longer.

So, for the past two days I’ve been weeding and hoeing and weeding and raking and weeding and tilling and weeding……did I mention I’ve been weeding!   Let me show you what I’m up against…..

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Not to mention Otis, who has to follow me everywhere and isn’t too proud about where he does his business (but I still love him like crazy).   And a few chickens and a rooster who love to free range and also aren’t too shy about their business practices…..

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And I haven’t even started on the back yard or vegetable gardens….

But, here’s what I’ve managed to accomplish in the past two days…..

First off, the chickens and rooster are now “cooped up” much to their dismay.   Unfortunately, this is how it must be while I am cleaning up the gardens and planting new seeds and plants.   But, fortunately, they have this nice “resort” for their safety and comfort!

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Otis, he’ll just hang out on the porch where he can keep an eye on me.   This is a picture from last year…..too busy right now to stop what I’m doing to take a picture of my napping dog!  (No matter how cute he is!)

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My wildflower hill has been tilled and planted.   And this morning, while I was blogging here, we had a little rain shower….hopefully enough to start some germination.

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The east side yard has been tilled and I’m working on a small drainage issue.

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I’ve managed to get some weed control in the front flower beds.

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I’ve tilled and weeded and planted more wildflowers outside of the side porch and Greg’s office!

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I managed a “rough” till on the west side of the house.   This is where I’m planning a “fall” garden with pumpkins, gourds, sunflowers (well, not really fall but they will look lovely here), and Indian corn.    And, I’m so excited…..I found some seeds for plants that are supposed to produce blue pumpkins!   And, I have some seeds for some funky gourds, too.    Joy, joy!

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A few herbs are ready for my kitchen garden….

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And I still have a few more weeds to annihilate.   Yea, like that’s ever going to happen……weeds are a never ending challenge!   And a lot more roses and flowers and herbs to plant….     And, yes, we need to redo the front sidewalk and fence but these I’ll need some help with.     They are currently in the planning stages……right, Greg?

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Does it sound like I’m complaining?    Well, probably does!    But, not entirely.    It’s a labor, yes!    But, it’s a labor of love!

And, it’s therapy……..for the Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul!

So, go ahead, plan your garden!   Pull your weeds!     Plant your seeds!    And enjoy all of the beauty that will grow, inside and around you!     And, don’t forget to share the glory!

I wish you a wonderful and Blessed day.      Blessed and Thankful are we!

Peace Love and Joy

Judy

P.S.  Hi Gail!