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.

I'm happy to report that my extreme lack of attention to the garden this summer has seemed to not matter at all.  Thank goodness for early spring mulching, drip irrigation on a timer, low-maintenance perennials and regular rainfall!  

My front beds are always a work in progress - I wonder if I'll ever be happy with what is planted there and how it all goes together.  I've decided I really don't like veronica and will be removing the 7 plants the builder put in this fall.  I think I've been too cheap and guilt-ridden to get rid of them before now but enough is enough.  They are spiky, ugly plants which only look good for a short time before they need to be cut back and I just don't like them!  

The Cityline Rio Hydrangeas bloomed!  I was hoping for purple but I've not checked the pH of the front beds for a few years and I guess all the compost I've amended with has taken care of the crazy acidity our sod had when we first moved in.  These ladies are pink, pink, pink and have made my 3 year old daughter very happy!  

I'm still really happy with the window boxes - thank goodness for petunias who always have a happy face and grow prolifically no matter what.  

I wanted to move this Vitex/Chastetree this spring and we didn't get around to putting in the new bed where it needs to be transplanted.  It is pretty but totally masking the South Seas daylilies and catmint.  Hopefully we'll have the time and money this fall to move her.  

This island in the back yard makes me so, so, so, so happy!  We have total privacy now with the trees and shrubs being in their 4th year.  The Nashiki Willow is apparently very happy as I've cut her back hard twice this spring/summer and she is still as tall as the Japanese Maple to her left!   The "sleep, creep, leap" adage is very true!  

Books that are rocking my world:

Bernd Heinrich is curious about the natural world in the most fascinating way.  Who knew that frogs and bugs could be so unbelievably interesting!  

This is a study guide - it is both inspiring and humbling.  I know that I need to be more humble and not so intent on being right or understood.   I need to focus on doing the right thing no matter what.  I can't think of a better role model than St. Francis.   

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less."

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