I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Gardening Books

We made a trip to Williamsburg to visit my sister, Rachael, and for our girls to celebrate their birthdays.  I stopped by the Williamsburg farmer's market on Saturday to pick up some Rockahock Farm Cherry Butter, which is perhaps the best fruit spread ever produced on the planet.  Yum!  Anyway, when I was in Colonial Williamsburg getting the cherry butter I realized that there were mature, full sized, huge and gorgeous chaste trees (vitex agnus-castus) everywhere.    I have two in my own yard that are still shrub sized and I liked how the trees in CW had been de-limbed at the bottom to make a multi trunk tree (similar to a crape myrtle) with a large canopy on top.  Of course, I needed to drag my husband back to CW so he could see the trees and figure out how to trim one of our chaste trees into a more tree like form.

My mother and sister agreed to watch my children and we headed back out.   Those of you with young children will appreciate that all the stars have to align and your karma must be brimming with positive juju to make an occasion such as this happen.  To be out, alone with my husband and in a pretty place for taking a stroll?  AND the weather was perfect - not too hot or too cool or too humid or too anything.   Perfect.  We left saying we'd be right back but ended up spending at least an hour.  Bob saw the trees, made the appropriate oohs and ahhs to please me and then we headed into the historic district to walk around.  We popped into a little shop that sold soap and candles and overpriced pottery.  I spotted this new Colonial Williamsburg garden themed book:

I already have a few other CW books, all lovely in their own way.  I've spent some time looking through this book admiring recipes that I will probably never take the time to make and marveling at the thought of actually hosting a lovely garden party someday.   There are instructions for making the beautiful wreaths and garlands that are so prominent in Colonial Williamsburg during the holiday season.  There are also fun instructions for things like sugaring flower blossoms, making a lanterns, homemade valentines and making potpourri.  I love everything about this book!   

On the drive home there was a lot of traffic trying to leave the peninsula and get back onto 95N.  I always have children's books downloaded on my iPhone and iPod for Ella to listen to in her room during her rest time.  The books are generally classics that are above her current reading level but she can enjoy having them read aloud to her.  We decided to listen to The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett to entertain us during the long drive home.  I haven't read it since I was just a little older than Ella but as we listened together I found that I enjoyed it as much as an adult as I did as a child.  I didn't remember how prominent gardening is in the story to heal the spiritual wounds of two of the main character children, Mary and Colin.   As a child I did not appreciate the gardening as I didn't know how to visualize what precisely a crocus or a snowdrop was but now I do.  I think I may have a much more accurate mental image of what the secret garden looked like in the imagination of the author.  This story is a gem.  If you have young children, get the book and read it aloud to them.  



(C) 2010
Blog design by Splendid Sparrow