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January 26, 2015

Gardening Gift Box

As winter takes hold, surprise your favorite gardener in your life with a box teeming with gardening goodies.

Many sweet thoughts can fill the sections of this vintage partitioned wooden crate.
From soaps for the gardener, small plantings, and tiny garden statuary, all are sure to bring a smile.

Every gardener loves a roll of twine. Why not pop in an air plant for a touch of whimsy?

A delightful candle is also sure to awaken your senses indoors.

Garden tools, herbal teas, and small findings such as this pinecone and hydrangea blossom in a vintage blue glass bottle are some of my favorite gardening delights.

Of course this box would not be complete without me adding a succulent or two.
I just can never get over their beauty.

For the complete DIY instructions on how to make your own, 
please visit my post on HGTV Gardens.

January 22, 2015

Happiness is a Flock of Chickens

After keeping chickens for a while and spending time with them, I think you will realize that there is a great deal that people can learn from watching a flock grow old together. I've been feeling so saddened lately with all that I am hearing, watching, and reading about in the world. Sometime I begin to wonder if there is any decency left in this human race that I am apart of. No longer are heinous events limited to those of a certain age, area, or group. They are melting across all parameters of our existence. It's these times when I try to take time to unplug and remember the simple joys and happiness that surround me.

The chickens help to keep us grounded. Taking a walk out to the coop is a wonderful way to notice the little things. One the way to the coop this morning, I swear I could smell spring in the air. That little bit of "electricity" with each breath I took. The song birds have also changed their tunes. They are those that are familiar to me with the arrival of spring. Perhaps they are mating or courting songs, I can't help but smile at their jolliness!

As I arrive at the coop, everyone is talking to me. "Good morning!" "Let us out!" "What's taking you so long?" There they are prancing about back and forth waddling and jockeying themselves into the best position at the pop door. As I lean down to open the wee door, one of them squeezes past Sometimes two at a time go through that tiny little opening no more than 12 inches wide. Like popcorn popping, through the door they go, out and about to greet the day and the world with a lust for life.

Their days are simple. Their needs are low. Their demands are non-existent. They sometimes agree to disagree. Sometimes they avoid one another and other times they take a dust bath together. They fight but always make up before bed. They have their differences. They have their own thoughts sometimes. Yet they are different.

They can agree to disagree. They do not intentionally tease or try to provoke others. They realize that they need one another for the good of the flock.Their needs are simple and easily met. They are happy with  having "enough". Sometimes,they don't find it necessary to cross to the other side of the road. They know when to keep to themselves. They respect one another and their places in the pecking order.

Sometimes it does seem possible that chickens are smarter than people. I've had lots of people write in to tell me that they'd rather spend time with their flocks than people. You know, sometimes, I have to agree. Sometimes, it's good to feel like you belong to the flock. No one is there to judge. Unless of course, you come out with a handful of meal worms or scratch. Then somehow you automatically reach super chicken stardom status.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

January 16, 2015

A World Without Bees

Earlier this week I accompanied the kids on a school field trip to the Museum of Science in Boston. We reached a point where a woman was giving a demonstration on electricity and electromagnetic currents. One by one as each of the kids in my group took turns placing their hands upon this large metal sphere and watching their hairs stand on end, I could not help but notice an exhibit just inches away from where I was standing.

I peered into a thick clear protective plastic orb and discovered this little fellow.

I had read about these little guys in Time Magazine. They were going to save us all.

I came up close and personal to something that had piqued my curiosity for so many months. It was no larger than a quarter. 

The exhibit was sleek, exciting, filled with demos, hands-on fun and videos. It certainly made folks excited about this kind of science. I on the other hand didn't quite know what to think.

I had a staring contest with the thing. There was only one but videos showing many. How their brains would be built. How these would be smart. How these could do a "simple" job of pollinating our crops and much more.

My heart sank. 

Would this truly one day replace this?

I encourage you to look into supporting research into the issues that currently plague our honeybee populations and fellow pollinators. As a beekeeper, I am trying to do my best to be a voice for these amazing insects. I can't imagine a world without honey, without certain pollinator dependent crops, and without the dancing of bees from flower to flower in my garden.

We can't lose the focus on saving the bees. There is never a better solution than one that already naturally belongs to the earth.

For more information about beekeeping please check out this section of my blog.

January 14, 2015

Wall Art with Airplants

I love picking up old frames at antique fairs. I just adored this one. I found it at the Vintage Bazaar and I loved that it was already painted this lovely blue. For a few dollars, it came home with me ready to be transformed into a living piece of art for the wall. 

I have an ever growing collection of air plants. Yes, just as with succulents, I am addicted to these lovelies as well. Anyone can grow these guys! They are called Tillandsia and come in so many varieties. In warmer weather they can live outdoors and tolerate being inside. They enjoy indirect lighting and thrive on just a simple misting once per week.

With a few supplies, I transformed this frame into a work of art with string.

Then I tucked in a variety of Tillandsia favorites and hung it on the wall by the deck.
For the full tutorial, please visit my post on HGTV Gardens.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

January 12, 2015

Laying First Eggs

Finally, as if Mother Nature flipped a switch, all of the new girls purchased as chicks this past spring are laying eggs. Despite pullets being born on the same day, they all lay when their bodies are ready.

It first began with Ginny, our Golden Laced Wyandotte. I would find her testing out the nesting boxes. She wanted to lay an egg so badly. She got lots of practice tossing the shavings around onto her back all in her efforts to make the perfect nest!

Then it happened. She laid this gorgeous rich brown egg. In fact she was so happy and thrilled she bragged about it to the others by singing her egg song. So it went, day in and day out. Ginny laid an egg for seven days in a row!

Poor little Panko, one of our Buff Brahma Bantams, became so jealous of Ginny's eggs. In fact, for the past 2 months, she has spent most days religiously inspecting all the nesting boxes in the coop. One by one, she rearranged all the shavings and sat for a spell, determined to lay her first egg. Yesterday, she and our other Buff Brahma Bantam, both laid their first eggs. Both were long and narrow, almost cone-shaped. The new eggs are sometimes streaked with a bit of blood (see top photo). This is normal, as it takes a bit of getting used to laying those eggs. Eventually, that goes away as their bodies become accustomed to the process. 

It seems now that laying eggs is going to be a family affair for these two. This is how I discovered Storey and Panko today, getting ready to lay their eggs together in the same box. It seems these two are already BFFs just like our Oyster Cracker and Sunshine. That, makes me happiest of all.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

January 9, 2015

HGTV Dream Home 2015

Happy New Year friends. I am so excited to share that I have been working with the HGTV Dream Home 2015. Located on Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Cape Cod, this home is simply stunning. From the home, gorgeous views, landscaping, and more, I am joining three other bloggers to share this fantastic home and surrounding gardens. Click here for the scoop and don't forget to enter for your chance to win this dream home.

Photo Credit: HGTV Dream Home 2015

January 7, 2015

First Blue Egg

As I was busy preparing for Christmas this past week. 
Someone laid this.

Our first blue egg.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest