Farmboy Calls Fowl…

For showing him this video….

Then he got all soft towards getting chickens. (Actually, I suspect he may have started to thaw last year when he saw an excited 6 year old leaving our local farm supply store with her daddy and a cardboard 6-pack of chicks.)

That’s how it all started this Spring… only 5 years in the making.

Note to self… never take an excited 9 year old to a hatchery to “look” at chicks with the possibility of buying. I was so swept up in the moment that we were picking out breeds like ice cream toppings at Baskin Robbins. Our little flock of 6 is a motley crew. We even have a rocker named Stormy who reminds me alot of Cher in one of her Bob Mackie ensembles!

On the way home from Nature Berry Farm (a hatchery outside of Rochester) I had a mild breakdown… you know the kind. OMG what have I done??? There are peeping animals in the backseat and this is going to change our lives forever. We are now (gasp) “chicken-owners” and they didn’t give me any kind of manual or pamphlet of 12 steps to great egg-laying chickens, or even a chicken coloring book for that matter! Heaven help us… what do I know about raising chickens?

I’ve never been around birds all that much except enjoying them at the bird feeder. We once cared for a friend’s cockatill that always asked “can I come out?”.

That being said I do recall sitting perfectly still beneath a gumball tree in MS. for countless hours in a lawn chair with bread sprinkled all around me as well as piled up in my hands. There were birds everywhere. Now that I think about it… I was Crazy Bird Girl. I think I remember being asked to play football and declining because I had “better things to do” like sit in a lawn chair beneath a tree perfectly still for hours. What were my parents thinking? What were the neighbors thinking? What exactly was I thinking?

And then there was the time I was sitting peacefully on a chaise lounge on my grandmother’s porch petting a cat when a bird flew across the lawn and landed on my shoulder. Before I could register that a bird flew across the lawn and landed on my shoulder the cat jumped up, grabbed the bird and ran off with it. What!? Huh?! Seriously?! But, but, but… what just happened?! Sigh.

There you go. Serendipity or something.


On a side note… It’s been a challenge trying to blog about all that has been going on around here this summer! It’s too much! My kind husband/editor gave me some insight and I will soon release a barrage of post that have been nicely broken up and organized.

So stay tuned for the full story. You have to meet all of the girls and hear about the wagon adventure.  : )






Spring Makeover- Indoor Fairy Garden


The indoor fairy garden got a recent update… complete with a shimmery blue pool and a very violet African Violet. Lala and I were going for magical.


We traded the stone path for little round wood discs and refreshed the design with some new plants including a Fire Fold Leaf Sedum (front left), a Dwarf Brush Cherry (the tree-like plant in the back) and Elfin Thyme (right front). The new violet is called SaintPaulia.


I love how long African Violets stay in bloom!


The planter makes a sweet centerpiece and lasts easily through spring and summer!

Indoors or out-  if you’ve never made one you should try it! Many garden centers are now carrying miniature plants and items for fairy gardens. I find them enchanting. Here is a link to our outdoor fairy garden project and the indoor garden decked out for the winter/holiday season.



Do you hear that faint peeping sound? It’s coming from my garage!!!


This is what is coming from the garden. : )

It’s been a busy Spring here at the farm. More to come from Countess Cluck (shown above) and her little chickie friends.

Raku Day


Oh what fun! Some of you may know that I have a bit of a “thing” for ceramics. It’s something like horses… I started young and it has always been a part of me. Apparently my mud-pie days made a big impression.

Well, I have been sneaking over to the studio at Clayscapes and doing a little throwing. There will be some new hand- thrown pots with topiaries available at the Flower Show. Yay.

But that is not what this post is about. This post about Raku Day! The superb folks (Don Seymour and crew) at Clayscapes open the studio to the public for a wonderful event this time of year. Here how it all goes…

IMGP6546For a small fee ($7) you choose a vessel of some sort that has already been bisque fired.

IMGP6549Then the kind folks help you bring your ideas for that little pretty into being through glazing and surface design.

IMGP6543The outdoor low-fire kiln gets loaded with pieces.

IMGP6551After the kiln has reached the necessary temperature (maybe 15 to 20 min.) the lid is raised and the vessels are literally glowing hot.

IMGP6555If there is a crackle glaze, the surface is blown on to produce the crackle effect by cooling it more quickly.


They are then placed into a fireproof container and combustible materials (straw in this case) are added to aid in the reduction of oxygen. This oxygen reduction creates the color in the glaze and the clay body itself.


A toasty pull from the flaming garbage can, then a quick dip in water… and they are done! The water stops the chemical reaction of the glaze and fixes the color.


The pieces still bubble and steam as they cool for handling.

Did I mention there was delicious food? And a gallery? I’m so thankful to have been introduced to this fun, creative group. They inspire me.

The kids had a blast. If you are nearby you should come next year for this event ~ or ~ check out the studio. There are lots of people who have never done ceramics before and the classes work with any level. It’s a very welcoming group. For more information visit their website.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween pumpkinsOur pumpkins that we carved last night… I think Lala’s kitty is too precious! : ) Can’t wait to toast those seeds.

The Nantucket Cranberry Festival


Fabulous Find Friday… The Cranberry Festival! Do you see those tents in the foreground on the left… and the tiny little lighthouse off in the distance on the right? Nantucket Island- where Farmboy and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary this month! Twenty years!! I thought that it would feel much longer, but its only been a blink in time. How can that be? I’m pretty darn thankful.

It was our first time to visit Nantucket and what a fun and relaxing time we had. Our room at the Centerboard Inn was spectacular (more on that later). We rented bicycles and pedaled everywhere we wanted to go on the island. Our dinners never tasted so good after all of that excercise! The meals were wonderful. There is quite a selection for dining out on the island. Loved our experience and meal at Company of the Caldron!

IMGP6333Our bikes are in there somewhere! I loved my basket.

A couple friends who frequent Nantucket recommended that we attend the Cranberry Festival and I’m so glad that we did. There was something for everyone and I learned so much!

IMGP6313There was a sheep herding demo…

IMGP6314and a very enthusiastic sheepherder. : )

IMGP6320There was a machine that drove through the bog and released all of the little cranberries!

IMGP6322Do you see the beauty?

IMGP6327And can you taste the deliciousness? Try this simple recipe.

IMGP6330These guys wrangle in those cranberries for harvesting.

IMGP6329And there they go… off to the grocery stores just in time for Thanksgiving.

Ok. so I have a tiny confession. I’ve never tried that can-shaped burgundy gelatin-looking 18oz cylindrical mass at Thanksgiving. Not a chance. Turkey, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy… and no way that I was going to plop a slice of that round goo on my plate to join the yum. I did NOT see the merit.

Oh, but the fresh cranberry. Who knew? I highly recommend those little cuties in their natural state and I also recommend the Cranberry Festival. There was food, music, horticulture, agriculture, sheep herding and sheep shearing (just wait until you see my Wordless Wednesday photo/post for that). It could require an explanation…


A Garden Tango

IMGP6424 My garden and I have done an awkward dance all summer long. Never on the same beat… our tempo completely off. A spastic horticultural tango if you will.

And then this past weekend… I finally had the time, energy and proper shoes that brought us together like the partners that we are. I spun from bed to bed in my red farm coat as the wind blew mightily. Probably a good thing we don’t have neighbors within eyeshot.

Earlier this summer I decided to exhibit at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair in Devon, PA. Normally at that time I would be caught up with orders from the Flower Show, excited about spring, winter sowing and getting ready to plant. This year I was in full production mode for my business and then away for a two week duration.  So much happens on a farm, with children, and animals in two weeks. My “away” time limit was reached and I learned that it was too much at this point, at this time in our lives. I never got caught up… all summer long I was one, or two or three steps behind- in so many areas. My garden went in late… some things didn’t go in at all. Then the rains came. Seedings were washed away while the organic weeds that I cultivate so beautifully grew and grew.

My focus never zeroed-in out there. I was away dancing with other loves like children, family, friends and art. I even flirted with running and taking better care of myself. Gasp! Every now and then the sprinkler was turned on when I could remember.

So Saturday I had the opportunity to stand back and appreciate what happens when I’m not paying attention… when I am not in control, when someone else is leading.

# # # # Newsflash # # # #

It still grows and it produces what its supposed to. Even with my full dance card this summer my partner kept up the beet. (snicker). We could easily have scored a 30 on Dancing with Your Vegetables that blustery afternoon, in my opinion.




IMGP6432A little olive oil, salt and pepper then into the oven… carrots, onions, blue and red potatoes. Delicious.


Happy 4th of July!!


Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Independence Day!!


Ahhhh. Finally. 1st day of Summer vacation for the kids.


Mandatory sleeping in and pajamas until noon. Cinnamon toast with my sous chef Lala and cherry picking in the garden!!! Farmboy is getting a sour cherry pie very soon. Don’t tell. Doesn’t get much better.



I had a huge order to ship this afternoon. It went out.


Somedays it is tangible- other days elusive. Today I touched it and it was beautiful.

Lala and Jack

The day ended with climbing on hay bales in the night pasture.

Happy Summertime… wishing you some beautiful balance!

A French Inspired Dinner Menu

I love setting the table for a special occasion. This dinner club evening was one of my favorites.





Kir with crackers, olives and nuts

Soup Course
French Spring Soup

Fish Course
Marinated Shrimp in Champagne Burne Blance

Pork Tenderloin with Apple and Brandy Cream Sauce
Wild Rice Pilaf
Asparagus with lemon and Butter

Salad Course
Frisee Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Syrup

Cheese Course
Artisinal Cheese Plate

Grand Fruit Salad

Our dining room table is very special. It is made from an old plank door from the house where my grandfather was born. My dad drove it all the way from Mississippi to Upstate New York along with a mantel that we installed around our fireplace. I remember playing in “The Old House” when I was little. The house is gone now. I love that there are pieces of that place here and cherished in our home.

There is a key hole in the table often covered by a place mat or a napkin. Whoever finds himself seated at the keyhole is the honored guest for the evening. : )





Hi, I'm Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed illustrations for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, aka Farmboy, my two children affectionately known as "La La" and "the Bean" and a small petting zoo of other family members.


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Philadelphia Flower Show
PA Convention Center
March 5th-13th
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