This past week, I took a trip to the Magnolia Silos in Waco, Texas. I was super excited to have the opportunity to return to Chip and Joanna Gaine’s Magnolia Market at the Silos again this year. The Silos are definitely an experience. I had my daughter in tow and that made it even more special to experience it together. Of course, it is February and the temperatures were in the 70s. It was definitely a much needed change of scenery from the 20-30 degree temps on Cape Cod. Being over 1600 miles away from home and touring the gardens, made me grateful and excited for spring. I was not surprised being in growing zone 8, that they are ahead of us. This garden is where I spent the most time–sitting, resting, people watching and plant watching too. I loved to see that Joanna and I tend to do many of the same things in the garden. Today I’m thrilled to take you along on a Magnolia Market Garden Tour.
This week I was down with the flu. I guess I kind of knew that it would only be a matter of time. It seems so inevitable working among ill patients. I’ve spent the greater part of the past 2 weeks in bed. At first, lying there wishing that this would all just go away and then simply too weak to care for the chickens, the dog and even the family. Still now as I type this I still feel weak. Yet, time is marching on, the first few signs of spring are arriving and I’ve got some exciting happenings.
I spent half of 2015 and most of 2016 writing, How to Speak Chicken. It was a labor of love and something that I felt needed to reach the backyard chicken community. During my research, one of the many scientists that impressed me was psychology professor, Dr. Evans. A leading poultry researcher, he dedicated his life to decoding chickens. Like me, he too wanted to know exactly it was that made them tick and he made some pretty amazing discoveries. Sadly, Dr. Evans passed away in 2011 quite prematurely, from what I understand was a motor neuron disease. A man who had dedicated his life to communication lost his ability to speak due to the progression of his disease.
Last weekend, I made the annual trek, about two and half hours from home, to the Northeast Poultry Congress. I absolutely love to go to this event held each January. Last year, I was allowed to have a table to sell books and this year, I was able to bring my new book How to Speak Chicken and share it with fellow poultry lovers. If you haven’t been to a poultry show, I must share that you should put it on your list of things to do. Poultry shows are family-friendly and allow you to see new breeds and meet people who are passionate about their birds.
This week, I’m sharing my latest craft for DIY Network. I absolutely love shopping for all things vintage. A few weeks ago, I was at a holiday sale run by the talented ladies from Burlap and Buoys. One of my favorite vendors, had a metal bin full of old worn ice skates. I took a peek inside a white pair of ice skates. They were a size eight. A wee too small for my feet, but perfect for a wintery transformation. These ice skates would be the perfect way to add winter New England charm to the garden shed door. I’m so thrilled at how this ice skate wreath came together.
Good morning friends! I hope you have had a fabulous week! I’m having fun doing interviews for my new book, How to Speak Chicken. It’s been super fun and awesome to connect with so many people around the country. This week, two of those interviews went online. I had the privilege of chatting about the chickens with Mindy Todd from my local NPR radio station. She came to the house and even got to meet the girls.
For the past six years, I’ve had the pleasure of freelancing regularly for both HGTV and DIY Network, creating crafts, sharing chicken and bee wisdom and gardening galore. This week, my daughter and I were given the task of putting a new twist on the traditional advent calendar. I had considered creating a new calendar. It dawned on me that it would be fun to create a Christmas paper village advent calendar. It could light up as each new evening arrived. As a little girl, some of my fondest memories were of my Mother’s Christmas village.
I love living by the sea and keeping gardens, but living in New England I find my warm days drifting away. One of my favorite things to do on crisp fall days is to collect beautiful inspirational things from the gardens and make wreaths, like this acorn one. This past spring, we planted almost thirty hydrangeas on the property. The hydrangea blooms have now faded to muted greens, browns, pinks and maroons. They are lovely in their own way. I snipped a few from the bushes that were just about dried and brought them inside to create a wonderful coastal hydrangea wreath for the fall season.
Backyard chickens are exciting, super fun and entertaining. We have loved having chickens in our backyard for almost the past decade. Over the years, we have gone through a few chicken coops. Does that surprise you? Sadly, this happens to quite a few folks due to things like chicken math, wish lists, what’s working, what’s not working and quality of the construction. It’s kind of the norm for most chicken keepers, but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to keeping chickens, the chicken coop is the most costly part of the hobby. From building your own chicken coop to purchasing one ready to assemble or even assembled online, here are some tips and common pitfalls to avoid and help you to get your design right the first time.