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.

It's been awhile since I've said hello around here.

Advent was busy, Christmastide was even busier and then Lent came and seemed to last a very, very long time this year.  It also happened early and during the most horrible time in the homeschooling world... February and March.   I suppose it is fitting that homeschooling is the biggest slog during a penitential season.   My husband has also been traveling an extraordinary amount for work and my kids are in a zillion activities because they all sounded so great until we actually had to get to each of them on time and participate in a good mood.   I also pretty much hate winter.  It is cold, bleak and dark.  I like cold, snowy weather during Advent and that is it!   Virginia is as far north as I ever intend to live.   All this to say - I didn't care about blogging or gardening or anything other than making sure the kids were fed and our house was not falling down into an episode of Hoarders all around us these last few months.

But spring is here and with it miserable seasonal allergies!  My husband watched me struggling to use steroid nasal spray and commented that I would be a terrible drug addict.  Yes, I believe I would.  I'm totally aggravated that I have to use a medication that requires entry into my body via my nose.  Ugh.  I've been taking so many medications so I can see out of my eyes and not cough and sneeze constantly that I am worried about my liver.  This is no joke!   Pollen makes me want to avoid being outside so that has also put a damper on my otherwise hearty welcome of spring.

I do have some pride so I have ventured outside on occasion to see what is springing up out of the dirt, what is blooming and what needs pruning.  I'm actually pretty pleased with the progress of our garden as of now, our 4th spring in this house.  I can dig a little here and there while getting weeds out and almost always find worms.  To think that worms would thrill me to the tips of my toes is pretty crazy, but thrill me they do as I know they are indicating that our soil is finally a survivable place for them to live and thrive.  Let me assure you that there were zero worms anywhere to be found on our property when we moved in here December of 2009.

The crocus, hyacinth and daffodils came up and gave a cheerful face to the otherwise boring landscape.     Some many other perennials began peeping up through the mulch and to me they really are like little tiny babies being born, crowning as they poke up after a long gestation period.  The roses that I thought were pruned enough are now looking alarmingly vigorous and leafy.  This is the best time for these ladies as they days are cool enough that black spot hasn't starting affecting them yet.  The Westerlands on my trellis on the south side of my house look monstrous and a little terrifying right now.   I know just enough about growing roses to keep them alive but I think a bit more reading is in order so I can learn better how to keep these over-acheivers in line!

I planted 3 bare root peonies last fall and only one came up.  She is tiny and has one flower bud.  I am anxious to see her bloom.  The alliums are all getting ready to pop open.  The bearded iris, woodland phlox, creeping phlox and tulips are all gorgeous right now.  My rosemary is even blooming and I have never seen it do so before.  The pansies are also perking back up and looking very purple and vibrant.

Here are a few pics:

Bearded Iris

Westerland Roses 

Apple trees flowering in their third year - maybe some fruit this year?

Cytherea Peony 



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