Posts Tagged ‘Garden Update’

The Photo Version

As promised, here’s the photo version of ‘Twas the Weekend ‘Fore Autumn:

The Weekend ‘Fore Autumn


‘Twas the weekend ‘fore Autumn and all through the yard,

All the plants were a’thriving, including the chard.



The bees dined on asters; the cushaw had grown.

The mums nearly bursting, the yard freshly mown.


Thai basil hummed purple; eggplants danced in the breeze–

The garden so fragrant, it drew many a sneeze!


Sweet potato vines covered the sides of the trough,

And on sedum and zinnias, butterflies sipped on and off.


For the first time in years, the holly had berries.

Boltonia blossoms delighted the faeries.


As Fall Equinox split the light and the dark,

Those flowers all giggled at anything stark.


The Robinhood roses had been blooming since June–

So hard to believe ‘twould be Halloween soon!


Late Summer in the Garden

The days are getting shorter, and the light has softened, dipping slightly lower in the sky. The blooms of summer have subtly shifted into more of an autumn palette — still bright and yet somehow tinged with more golds, reds and brownish pinks. Here are some photos from today and yesterday.

Zinnias begin to come into their glory as we move into Autumn:


The first of several green striped cushaw squash made an appearance, alongside some marigolds and at least two more winter squash buddies. These cushaw squash grow to the size of toddlers with almost zero effort:

Green striped cushaw

Garlic chives bloom at this time of year instead of in spring like their purple cousins. Here you can see this popular insect spot, alongside purple leaf shiso (great in a hazelnut pesto!), eggplant, tomatoes, parsley, bush basil, zinnias, and cosmos.

garlic chives and shiso

The sweet potatoes in the Haus Am See trough are getting ready to bloom alongside lettuce, purple cabbage and zinnias, and some of the perennials are finally starting to take root. The trough further back currently has another white scallop squash plant, lettuce, cosmos and calendula, but I recently seeded it with cold hardy Lucullus chard and giant winter spinach. Once those come in, the squash might go. I can’t keep up with the single one I have growing out back — not sure why I planted a second! The sunflowers all over the yard continue to attract dozens of goldfinches, bees, and silly squirrels and chipmunks who climb the stems.

blue house troughs

Blackeyed Susan’s really shine at this time of year:

black eyed Susan's

… and sedum has begun its shift from white to pink to deep reddish brown:

misty sedum

I will leave you with yesterday’s bouquet speedily put together between thunderstorms and carefully delivered to David’s mom. As I stretch the seasons of bloom, I believe she’s up to about 35 weekly bouquets per year — not bad for a former wasteland in zone 5b, but I am determined to do even better!

late August bouquet

Blessed Be … and be the blessing.

Garden Photos, Vibration Shifts, and the Value of Retreat

I’m not sure what the weather’s like where you are, but here in Northern Indiana, we’re experiencing a drought this summer. I can’t even remember the last time it rained, so most of this year’s garden time has been watering rather than some of my more ambitious projects. With all the new fruit and nut trees and first year perennials in the blue house’s yard, I’ve spent much of my garden time making sure everything gets a good solid start, but in recent days, even some of far more established Faery Hof yard’s toughest plants have required extra TLC.

Despite this additional responsibility, I’m so grateful to spend meditative time among the flowers, trees, birds and bees, since earlier years involved hauling over 25,000 pounds of wood mulch, dispersing truckloads of compost, and weedwhacking between lawn mowing. This year’s drought means anything unintentional and ignored in poor soil has grown incredibly slowly, which means garden time allows for much more creation and nurturing rather than destruction. While going all Shiva has its merits, I’ve found the peaceful, running water, selected abundance, and intentional growth mirror my own quiet, yet rich retreat state.

I’ll share some photos below, along with links to retreat ideas for those without their own, live-in garden paradise. I hope you enjoy the beauty and healing. I’d also love to know if anyone can identify these prolific volunteers.

Mystery plants

At first, I thought they were jewelweed, come to counteract my lovely poison ivy ground cover that I keep meaning to eradicate but haven’t succeeded in fully removing due to proximity of other plants. You can see the mystery plants here on the north side of our house near coleus in a barrel, a zephirine rose, forsythia, rhododendron, “coral bells” heuchera, ferns and the poison ivy. Anyone know what they are?

north side of our house

Aside from these carefree gems, I’m loving these Thai Purple Podded Yard Long Beans. They had a slow start, but once established grow 7-8 inches of each bean per day! You can see them here with volunteer sunflowers in front of them. Thank you, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds!

Thai Purple Podded Yard Long Bean

Last night we had a totally homegrown produce stirfry, including the Thai yard long’s, kalette (which appears to be exactly the same plant as my previously grown tree collards), poblano peppers, parsnip, green beans, Thai and Italian basil, and kohlrabi. We did use some non-homegrown organic, wheat free tamari, ginger, apple cider vinegar, birch sweetener, and a pinch of garlic powder for seasoning. Still, our tongues and tummies sang with homegrown goodness! You can also see our second crock of pickles, started yesterday after removing and cutting up the first batch.

all home grown dinner

Indeed, it’s cucumber and white scallop squash season! That probiotic rich sauerkraut (shown here with the Perfect Pickler setup for Mason jars) also came directly from the garden, and I’m enjoying the results of double-grown cabbages. If you cut them just right, you can often get two crops out of the same root. All but one of the earlier cabbages are growing strong again. Between all the probiotics and the daily green juices and green smoothies, it feels like spa time as our bodies soak up nutrients and sunshine.

August Morning Produce

No spa stay would feel complete without fresh flowers. These double hollyhocks needed a trim, and so our downstairs bathroom got a sweet infusion:

White hollyhocks

David’s mom gets fresh flowers pretty much every week, unless we leave town. Yesterday’s featured cosmos, bachelor’s buttons, pincushion flower, zinnias, echinacea, and Maximilian sunflowers (a less invasive edible cousin of Jerusalem artichokes):

Sunday bouquet

Some people have asked about the blue house (aka Haus Am See) yard, since I don’t show as many photos of that newly planted zone. It’s still getting established, but you can see some fun developments below:

Blue house backyard

The asparagus half circle has begun to grow in. Next year, that curved, mulched area on either side of the herb spiral will form a 4-6 foot ferny hedge surrounding a round picnic table/gathering area. To the right, you can see one of the nine hazelnut trees spread across both properties. The far right edge shows another of the tree watering rings I’ve needed to bring out again this year. Along the back fence you can just make out more asparagus, some first year hollyhocks, and two of the three paw paw trees. To the upper left, you can see the brand new roof (finally!) on the neighbors’ garage that inspired so much of my earlier vertical gardening.

That thing had been caved in since a tornado in 2009, just sitting there like an immobile, decaying eyesore, despite years of city citations, landlord complaints, offers to provide free labor for the repair and more. It simply would not budge, but somehow, all those Reiki Healing Attunements and magic seem to be taking root, because not only has that garage been repaired, but neighbors also got a new roof and windows for their house. The apartments on the other side have vastly upgraded their tenants, and for some reason, even though Goshen has a rental shortage, at least two of the eight units remain vacant.

Further down that street, another rental sits vacant next to a house for sale. The residents of those units never used to mow their lawns and were often loud and bizarre (in a disturbing, not intriguing way). Now, the yards are neatly mowed, and the houses await residents who fit the rising vibration in the growing radius of Faery Hof and Haus Am See. I find this all so interesting, as I’ve pulled my energy into very focused, hyper local retreat just to what I can see or hear around me — unless we leave town. While our area is mysteriously upgrading, I’ve heard that other spots in town have a big meth issue, and many downtown stores are now vacant.

We don’t intend to stay here long term since we’re winding down our required presence here for David’s parents’ transition to the next phase of their lives. I just find our experiences here so illustrative of how you can raise your own vibration and intensify your own focus and energy and have that ripple around you in healing ways.

A friend and I caught up at the Moringa Tree in Elkhart, and she said she almost missed out house picking me up. At first, I thought, “How could you almost miss this place?? It’s so far afield from the rest of its surroundings. It stands out.” On the way home, though, after driving though dry, blight ridden areas, we almost missed it, too. That demonstrated the reality of a suspicion I’ve also long had that when places or people become so vibrationally different than their surroundings, they disappear.

When we first moved to Goshen, I decided to start eating more cooked food to make my vibration dense enough for locals to see me. At first, I thought everyone was incredibly rude, because they would just ignore me, even while talking with David. Then I began to notice that if he turned to speak with me, people would jump back, startled as though I just appeared out of nowhere. Again and again, people said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there.” Food is one of the easiest ways to moderate the density of your vibration, so adding a little cooked vegan food brought me into more normal range for at least some of the locals. In recent months, I’ve gone back to very, very high raw, lots of green juices, and only super fresh cooked food, and people just look through me again.

Those with strong faery, artistic, or Druid leanings still see the yard and apparently do see me on the rare occasions I venture out in Goshen; however, curious things keep happening with shapeshifting and size. Throughout the day, my own body morphs size and shape — not bloating, totally different body types and sometimes fitting in clothes or styles, other times not at all. Our friend Tim said something similar about our yards — that they “look way bigger than they are,” but what’s funny is that sometimes they look way smaller than they are, as when a car zips by so fast you’d blink and miss the entire block. I’ve been playing with a lot of timeline shifts, magic, sigils, and spending most of my time in Nature, magical studies or phone sessions, so I expected some time bending. Apparently, space is bending, too. With all the rabbits here, it’s a little like Wonderland.

In any case, the Haus Am See yard, continues to fill in and grow. I harvested garlic earlier this year and replaced these troughs with more white scallop squash, lettuce, cosmos, zinnias, red cabbage and sweet potatoes, which will eventually trail and bloom like morning glories. Behind the troughs you can see new annuals, perennials, a gooseberry and the bottom of a witch hazel — all of which will eventually mature into another faery flower patch and woodland:

I find Nature so healing and full of wisdom! Just wandering the yards each day and observing how plants interact with one another, as well as listening to the birds and watching all the critters, bees and beneficial wasps, butterflies and sensing faeries and gnomes fills me with an expansive sense of magic, which continues indoors with all the plants and elements inside. Although we do not intend to stay here long term, I feel called to foster an ecosystem that later tenants can easily maintain and enjoy.

This year’s respite from heavier labor feels just right after life’s intense detour this spring, helping my father in his final weeks, followed by moving my mom from their house of 30 years into a thriving and beautiful set up in her new home and community. After all the hard work, it feels good and right to water and harvest for awhile before finishing my permaculture final project and beginning new writing ventures.

If you long for retreat but don’t have a garden or woods near you, you might find Dana’s recent post on The Druid’s Garden quite insightful: The Druid Retreat For Spiritual Work and Healing, Part 1: Why We Go On Retreat, Preparation, and Herbal Allies. As usual, Dana offers a myriad of ideas and tips for solitary or group healing activities.Those who know they prefer a moderated healing retreat, might appreciate Elicia Miller’s Emotional Healing Retreat in Costa Rica. I’ve spoken with several previous attendees who experienced profound and lasting shifts in only seven days.

Whatever and however you decide to retreat, do take some time for yourself! Resting, nurturing, slowing down and recharging make us all so much more resilient, and when the time comes for action, we will have much more to give — and from a much stronger, deeper place. Wishing you quiet blessings and good things!

Garden and Other Updates

What a delightful, intense, tasty and adventurous few weeks we’ve had! Here’s a little photo update of the garden and life this past little while.

Highlights include a visit from my sister and nephews en route to Evanston, IL to visit my brother and sister-in-law and take in a soccer game and Chicago’s sights and Fourth of July fireworks. Erica and the boys stopped here for a few hours for their first time tour of Faery Hof, Haus Am See, and the gardens. I harvested loads of veggies and herbs for “Uncle Craig,” and we all picked raspberries and drank homemade chocolate mint tea. It was a lovely visit, followed by an evening with David’s sister, who was also in town. That week featured our first tomatoes of 2016 and a red white and blue bouquet for David’s mom:

David and I have spent the past three Saturday’s in Michigan — at Silver Beach, St. Joseph’s, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo. These locations are one to two hours and a zillion miles away from Northern Indiana. We’ve feasted on Mediterranean and Ethiopian food, ate at a fair wage vegetarian diner, toured multiple farmers markets, metaphysical bookstores, hiked nature trails, strolled along rivers, viewed green walls and city wide murals, walked with our feet in my beloved Lake Michigan and more. “Kids in candy shop” doesn’t even begin to describe our relief to learn such places exist near here. Ultimately, it would be nice just to live in a much more harmonious location, but while we continue to tie up loose ends in Goshen, it’s nice to know we can spend an hour or two in the car and find fab international food, music, nature preserves, and kindred spirits.

My sweet faery twin, Tania Marie, is never far from my heart or phone. As usual, we’ve been on very different yet synchronized adventures. This past Saturday, we even drove behind a facsimile of her “Magick Bus” just as she and I were texting about our intended next phases. We’ve been planning a visit with her Dave and my David at the end of October, which will feature fun in Michigan locales and restaurants:

Magick bus

The prior weekend, we also took a long delayed trip to South Bend to visit our Buddhist/Druid/poet friend Tim, who introduced us to a magickal tree along the river. His tree, in turn (or perhaps the faeries who live in his tree), introduced me to a five to seven tree grove. It was a total power point, and we each received activations in this five tree grove that features two twin trees, and thus carries both five and magical seven energy. David and Tim both felt the temperature change at the spot I indicated. I got drunk on the energy — a joyful and exuberant gift from deep within Gaia’s realm. Here’s Tim’s tree, who acts as Guardian of the Grove:

Magical tree in South Bend

Meanwhile, back at Faery Hof and Haus Am See, the flowers, trees and faeries are making their own magick:

morning gloriesblue bedFront yard early July 2016frontblue bed and giant sunflower

Note the nearly ten foot sunflower — part of the Squirrel Exchange Program. Those little rascals dig up so much of our yard, but they do occasionally plant fancy tulips and giant sunflowers I’ve secretly wanted but neglected to purchase. The garden also provides even through seeming mishaps. Below you can see some coreopsis that wouldn’t fit in David’s mom’s bouquet, along with a branch of the pear tree that got too heavy to bear its fruit. I’ll be making some kind of baked unripe pear dish, and the gorgeous wood of this branch will make a wonderful new magick wand:

Pears, wand and codonopsis

In a world of all possibilities, regardless where we currently reside, this embroidery David found before we moved here says it all, with real live cosmos, too:


Blessed Be

… and continue to be the blessing!


Garden Update: Signs of Summer

I haven’t posted garden photos in awhile, and people have asked for an update. Today marked the first sunflower of 2016:

First sunflower of 2016

I’ve taken other photos in the past few days to give a sense of life in that middle period when few things bloom. Thankfully, in our yard, we still have signs of growth and color:


These roses are slightly past their prime, but will bloom all summer with almost no work at all. Called Robinhood Roses, these lovelies are salt tolerant, drought tolerant, and don’t even require deadheading. Quite the change from the original weedy patch in the front easement!

The Garden Tower 2 has really started to take off. We’ve already harvested some green beans and kale, and I’ve got lettuce started from seed to benefit from increased shade once the older plants grow in:

Garden Tower 2Bean tower

I haven’t had the best luck with pole beans or soy beans this year, mostly due to critters, but this bean tower has managed to beat the bunnies’ munchies, along with marigolds, nasturtium, chard, and kale.

All the three-tiered beds are planted with polycultures. In this one below, you can see Thai and purple basils, bok choy, a volunteer tomato, various peppers, calendula, chives, marigolds, beets, and a volunteer watermelon. In the background is a hearty rhubarb and vigorous grape vine. You can just see the rocks of the herb spiral behind the picnic table, centered in what will eventually become the asparagus circle:

Raised bed

In the blue house yard, just planted last fall and this year, you can see that the tree stump turned herb spiral has begun to fill in. Those herbs need lots of nitrogen rich compost since the tree continues to rob nitrogen from the soil, but eventually, it will function as a nice, rich hugelculture bed, not to mention eyesore turned focal point. Behind the herb spiral, you can see paw paw trees, asparagus, geraniums and hollyhocks. To the sides of the herb spiral, we have also have 10 asparagus beginning to grow in. (Actually, 9. The squirrels got one, which will need a replacement.)

By next year, faeries willing, we should have 16 asparagus plants getting ready to produce. I wasn’t sure about planting so much asparagus, but after our two older ones started producing this year, David and I went gaga for grilled asparagus! We also fell in love with a nettle, zucchini and asparagus “lasagna” topped with shredded raw goat cheese after baking. Oh, my goodness: gluten free heaven! So many things taste unbelievably different when you grow them yourself, and our friend Jon keeps us well supplied with nettles. Anyway, the herb spiral, one of the paw paws and friends:

herb spiral

We’ve had a sort of mini-drought this year, which has delayed growth until the more recent rains of the past few days. Thankfully, between soaker hoses, tree rings and hand watering, I’ve managed to keep most of the new perennials, fruit and nut trees in good shape, minus that one asparagus and some geraniums.

I created a new “community” on the front easement in between the two houses. This one features a dwarf Reliance peach tree, three Hansen cherry bushes, a red twig dogwood, ground juniper, foxglove, comfrey, campanula, petunias, and aster. The second most recent community — or guild, as the permaculture folks call it — sits outside the south window of my writing office near the north side of our garage and includes one of the nine hazel trees, surrounded by alpine strawberries, hostas, primrose, nasturtium, comfrey, a gooseberry bush, kale (far away from the tree roots), kalette (a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts, courtesy of reader Karen),  calendula, and one of the three zepherine roses on these properties. Those new communities are so fledgling that photos don’t show much, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

One particular joy comes from the day lilies I planted last year (also courtesy of Karen — thank you!!) by our back door, where David can see his favorite orange blooms on the way in and out each day. Did you know that every single part of day lilies is edible? Quite the versatile plant! I’ve not actually tried any parts, but according to Backyard Foraging, day lilies are one of the top edible ornamentals. I’ll leave you with some rain barrel and day lily cheer, in company of our mulberry tree, various mints, lamb’s ears, black lace elderberry and a bee-friendly shade flower mix:

Day lilies

Happy Growing!

Spring Bulbs!

Ahhhh, the long awaited, much anticipated spring bulbs are blooming. Hyacinths and early daffodils have been out for awhile, but the tulips have begun their show, along with the later blooming white daffodils. Some pics from today:

red tulips

It’s beginning to look a lot like Beltane! Those red tulips have been here longer than we have, and they normally bloom on May 1, right along with the dandelion and wild violet show out back. We’re over ten days ahead of schedule this year. For years I have told David that if I could just get enough intentional plants in the ground, then the wild edibles would look charming. Indeed, they finally do, echoing the daffodils and hyacinths sprinkled around the yard in shades of yellow and purple:

dandelions and violets


Because it went from very cold to 80’s in less than one week, we’ve got early and mid season tulips all bursting forth in rapid succession. These double tulips began white and then darkened to pink as they opened like peonies:

double tulips

And I love these peaches and cream looking ones hanging out by the yarrow, blueberry bushes and our driveway:

peachy tulips

Another regular showstopper from before we moved in — we’ve got two huge clumps of white daffodils that greet me first thing in the morning when I lift the blinds. I have no idea if squirrels or a human planted these and the random red tulips around the yard, but they’ve become old, familiar friends in a continually evolving neighborhood of plants:

white daffodils

And yes, the gradual creep of intentional beauty continues, as I’ve begun mulching and planting the very edges of the second yard. I really am taking over the neighborhood one bulb, fruit tree and perennial at a time. OK, maybe a thousand bulbs, dozens of fruit trees and hundreds of perennials at a time …

but it’s happening!

Returning to Goshen ~ A Garden Update

After six weeks going on eternity away, I’ve returned to a Goshen that feels very different than the one I left. I had just (as in the day prior to leaving) completed my new writing office, which I designed as a portal to another world, perfect for fiction writing and other creative projects. The last install was the electric fireplace space heater, which of course, I no longer need until Fall, but it still anchors my office and balances the Goddess of Summer tapestry on the opposite wall.

Meanwhile, outside, Spring has sprung. A little. Pennsylvania was about three weeks ahead of Goshen this year, so I’m having a surreal, extended Spring with months of forsythia and daffodils. Apparently, Goshen had a lot of cold, snowy weather while I luxuriated in the fifties and sixties in pretty Bethlehem. (Well, I was busting my butt in Bethlehem, but the weather, the food, and the views were better than Goshen!) David sent me this photo shortly after the first daffodils began their blooming here:

March 2016 007


David says Spring waited for me this year. I returned to find the perennials and bulbs popping forth with life and beauty:


March 2016 031 resizedMarch 2016 033


Although I have loads of catch-up work to do getting things neatened up for Spring, we also have loads and loads of garlic growing in these troughs, as well as all over the yard. In the shadow to the right, you can also see a sprinkling of hyacinths along the house, which early bees came to devour yesterday. They were so happy for the sweet treat!

March 2016 032

I didn’t have time to do an early spring planting, but these spinach overwintered and had already provided several salads and vegan pizza topping’s worth of greens prior to the photo. David kept my indoor plants alive, including a two foot long trough of lettuce on our South facing windowsill, and the large cold frame also currently sports some lacinato kale, claytonia and mache, along with our favorite parsnip greens. You can see the beginnings of the herb spiral with tulips in front, and (my, oh, my!) how those Egyptian walking onions have walked! We have onions all over the place.


During the past few days of settling back home, I scheduled a lighter session load than usual and have gradually gone through mail and put some seeds in the ground. Peas and fava beans went in a couple days ago, and yesterday, I planted my first round of warmer season crops under the fluorescent light station at the blue house. It’s a bit late, but I had already planned to use very short season crops this year in hopes of three seasons of planting. I probably won’t get my full three seasons, but I will at least get something for my efforts! What doesn’t grow well from seed this year, I will just need to replace with farmers market purchased plant starts. We will survive!

Anyway, I’m easing my way back into Goshen. I’m caught up with sessions and business correspondence, and will begin offering specials and classes again in May. I’m excited to make some business upgrades, too, but I’m not sure how soon those will go live.

If you’ve sent me any kind of personal anything, I probably have not had a chance to reply. Thank you for caring, and I do appreciate the welcome home’s and kind emails and texts. Six weeks of superhuman activity does take its toll, though, and I am also returning to Goshen with my original intent to focus much more strongly on my own projects for awhile, including finishing my permaculture course and then turning my attention towards writing. These are changes I have felt called to make, and I feel good about them — as well as spending much more quality time with David now that he has reclaimed some of his own life from managing his parents.

Goshen is not my favorite place I’ve lived — LOL, not by an ironic long shot! — but David and I both recognize the complete rightness and opportunities of us being here right now. I intend to take advantage of the mismatch to my general preferences, because Goshen provides a nearly distraction-free environment to complete some dearly held goals that would otherwise get pushed aside in favor of pretty much anything else. Given the “shiny things” of gorgeous hiking, stunning landscapes, an ocean or lakefront property, awesome restaurants, and fun shops to visit, life has shown many times that I will choose the experience over writing or schoolwork. While I’m here, I’m opening time and focus for courses I’ve long wanted to take and for writing books that have long wanted their say through me. Life is good and perfect and right on time.

I’ve created my own little oasis of beauty, magic and love, and my time for nestling into creative mode fast approaches. The yard still needs work, especially the new yard; however, I’ve finished the bulk of those projects, as demonstrated by the yard already producing this Spring without me here to manage it. Gardening grounds me and provides great food and great joy. I’ve set it up to nurture and inspire others and myself, and now I am so looking forward to this hard earned time of different focus and creation!

Abundant Spring Blessings to all!