Author / Melissa

Hello friends, welcome! Follow along on our chicken, beekeeping, gardening, crafting and cooking adventures from Cape Cod.

Christmas Crafts Family Fun Holiday Seasons Winter

Make A Paper Village Advent Calendar

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.

Crafts Fall Gardening Plants Projects Seasons

Fall Crafting: Make a Coastal Hydrangea Wreath

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.

Chickens Coop Care Coop Tours DIY Projects Predators Seasonal Care

Tips to Design a Better Backyard Chicken Coop

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.

Gardening Plants

Fall Watering Guide for Gardens and Yards

As the weather takes a turn and ushers in cooler temperatures, fall watering needs in the garden change, especially for those of us living in places where we experience four distinct seasons. Fall is a traditionally a time for adding new plantings, sprucing up window boxes, patching or re-seeding the lawn, and maintaining established plantings. It is also time to adjust the manner in which we water to make sure we are properly nourishing plants prior to winter.

Chickens Gardening Gardening with Chickens Seasonal Care

Fall Musings from the Chicken Coop and Gardens

Fall has arrived at Tilly’s Nest. We never really had a moment to warm up after spring. Cape Cod had a cool and wet summer. We were all waiting for beach weather and it really didn’t show up. This happened a few years ago too. I guess things are cyclical. This past week cooler temperatures have ushered in. It seems to be the circle of life. We said goodbye to a dear Uncle who was battling an illness for a long time and now the leaves are keeping us occupied on the weekends. It’s a labor of love. I seem to have a love-hate relationship with the beauty of fall and the daunting amount of leaves that seem to return as soon as they are raked up from the gardens. 

Chickens Coop Care DIY Projects Predators Seasonal Care

How to Predator Proof the Chicken Run

Chickens love to be outside. They get a thrill from free-ranging in the yard and garden. They love to explore, scratch in the grass and hide under large plantings for afternoon naps.  However, sometimes it is not feasible for the chicken to be allowed to roam freely where they want to go. The reasons are many, including when you are not home or on vacation, poor weather conditions, and nearby predators. It is always a good idea to have a safe run enclosure for the chickens attached to their chicken coop even if they don’t use it very often.  When considering design, one of the most important things that you want to think about is how to predator proof the run. Here are some of the things I did when I designed my chicken coop and run.

Chickens Lessons from the Flock

Is Social Media Creating an Anti-Social Flock?

This past weekend, I had a wonderful time traveling to the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I had the pleasure of finally meeting a fabulous friend of Tilly’s Nest. She is a very active follower of Tilly’s Nest and I have had the pleasure of engaging with her on social media for a few years now. It was so much fun to share chicken stories, a hug and talk about one another’s adventures together in person. Our in-person connection was instant. It was awesome!  However, one thing has been on my mind during traveling these past few days. I’ve had lots of time to think, as my plane rides were delayed both getting there and back. The ride home was delayed for almost 4 hours due to heavy fog in Boston. I did a lot of people watching and a lot of thinking about my family, my flock and life in general. One of the biggest things for me, was really getting out of my little niche on Cape Cod and really seeing a big part of the world and how it is continually changing. I admit, I have a love hate kinda relationship with this thing called social media, but I wonder it it is making our society anti-social.

Gardening Plants Projects

How to Forage a Backyard Flower Bouquet

One of my favorite thing about the garden is being able to enjoy the blooms to create a flower bouquet. I grow an assortment of plants during the spring, summer and fall and about once a week early in the morning, I go out into the garden and forage. Sometimes, I am sort of in-between blooms and other times the bouquets seem to be bursting with all flowers.  I like to take advantage of both the blooms and foliage in the garden. None of them are off-limits and somehow, even when things aren’t necessarily blooming, they still find their way into my impromptu bouquets. 

Chickens Health Issues

Why You Shouldn’t Use Frontline on Your Chickens

This week I really felt obligated to write this post. If you are like me, you want the very best for your chickens. We hate when our chickens are ailing or have something wrong, like a mite or lice infestation and always like to fix things asap. Like you, I certainly don’t like problems to linger or affect my flock or cause harm. However, sometimes in trying to do good and help our chickens, we can actually end up doing harm. Sometimes we can’t even see the harm that we are doing. Sometimes we can even be potentially harming ourselves without even realizing it. This is what is potentially happening in your flock when you use Frontline. Here’s why.

Findings Gardening

Helpful Tools: Preparing for a Garden Fence

I have to say that over the years as a gardener, I’ve quickly discovered that you get what you pay for when it comes to gardening tools. Of course, there are cheap versions that last a season for those who dabble in gardening, but for those really dedicated to the art of gardening and yard work, the quality of your tools is vital to getting the job done with the least amount of effort and cost. I have found that some of the very best tools come from Europe. From the craftsmanship, quality and durability, they can’t be beat. As many of you know, I have been working super hard in the gardens this year at the new home. There was plenty of work to be done and luckily I had great tools to work with. Today, I wanted to share a few that you just might want to add to your aresnal.