Tag / Cape Cod

Chickens Findings Gardening Seasons Stories from Our Nest

Spring’s Promises Arrive

I’ve always loved birds. The intrigue and the lure of their world has always called to me, even in my dreams. As a little girl, I can remember having the most amazing dreams about flying. I was just high enough that when I would soar over the crowds, no one could reach me with their upward stretching arms. Now as part of spring’s promises, it’s hard to miss their singing. Because their songs start early, perched in the bushes and tree outside my bedroom window. Even more, I like to think that the birds are announcing spring’s arrival, just as regal trumpets would announce the arrival of royalty.

Stories from Our Nest

Life’s Seasons

Hello friends.  I wanted to take a moment to share the past few months with you. Life has thrown us an unexpected curve.  We lost my Dad of 28 years unexpectedly this summer after dealing with some things since spring. It threw us all into a tail spin and all of us went into survival mode. It was a loss that rippled across all of our lives and the most difficult of all was watching my children have to suffer as they did. Their hearts were broken and mine broke even more than I though possible watching my own children learn how to grieve and rebound from loss.

Chickens Gardening Gardening with Chickens Plants Projects Tours

Garden Restyling and Refurbishing Makeover

As many of you know, late last summer I moved to a new home. The thought of starting the gardens over was overwhelming, But luckily for me, one of the things that I loved most about the new place was the potential that I saw in the landscape. I wasn’t going to have to start from scratch again, but I certainly knew that I would need to make it my own. It just needed a bit of garden restyling. You can imagine my surprise at our final walkthrough when I discovered that the previous owners stopped watering as soon as we signed the purchase and sale agreement. When we moved in everything, and I mean everything, had dried up. Plants were dead and the earth was a giant dust bowl. I prayed that everything was just dormant and would return come spring.

Chickens Coop Care DIY Projects

My Chicken Coop Tour: An Update

Today I thought that I’d share another peek at the chicken coop. The landscaping is beginning to fill in and the edible chicken garden is a very popular place. I picked up two plastic garden stools from Home Goods that the kids enjoy sitting on both inside and outside of the chicken run. Wood chips fill in the garden path ways. I find they are much easier to rake back into place after the chickens scratch around in them.

Recipes Sides

Beach Plum Jam and Jelly


I was craving beach plum jam. A few days ago we went searching for wild beach plums on the shores of Cape Cod.  I had never heard of beach plums until I moved here and I was told that they are incredibly difficult to find due to the loss of their natural habitat. Beach plums are indigenous to the coast and were used by the Native Americans. Each year the crops vary. Some years their numbers are fantastic and others years bring very small yields. The wild birds and local animals also love to dine on the plums.

Chickens Gardening Tours

A Very Unique Cape Cod Farm

Inside the hydroponic green house where vegetables and herbs thrive.
A little while back, I had the pleasure of touring a wonderfully unique hydroponic farm on Cape Cod.  E & T Farm is simply amazing.  Eighteen years ago, they began as beekeepers and began pollinating the local cranberry bogs.  From there the farm grew.
As you approach the front door of the farm, you cannot help but notice the neatly stacked piles of excess beehives to the side of the building.  Once you enter the building you discover that this is a very different farm indeed.  It utilizes aquaponics.  Not only do they raise and farm fish, but it is those very fish that are used to feed their many thriving crops through hydroponics.  Water from the massive fish tanks circulates throughout an extensive amount of planting troughs.  The ammonia rich fish waste is broken down into nitrates by beneficial bacteria.  The nitrates in turn act as food for the plants and the plants help to filter the water and keep it clean for the fish.  Everything works together!
This year round farm grows strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh herbs, a huge variety of mixed greens, garlic, onions, squash, beans, kohlrabi, beans, edible flowers and micro greens.


Tender seedlings
Early beet plants
Fabulous basil

Of course there are chickens outside too!  I could not help but notice the clever creation that they made to keep the chicken feed dry.  They converted an unused beehive into a elevated open shelter for a hanging chicken feeder.

The girls were all so happy to see me.  As I completed the tour, I tucked some rich green clover into the fence.  I had no idea that a place so amazing was right in my very own backyard.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Findings Gardening

Monarch Butterflies on Cape Cod

Here at Tilly’s Nest this week we have been graced by the annual visit of Monarch butterflies on their way to Mexico for the winter. Every year around this time, they flit from blossom to blossom.  Sometimes, I mistake them for the falling leaves at first, and then I notice that they are infatuated with the plantings that I have grown in my yard specifically for butterflies and hummingbirds.  It has paid off, this year the butterflies were abundant.






Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest

Findings Gardening

Tilly’s Nest Debuts on HGTV

Click here to read my first post about plants that thrive on the coast.

I am so very proud to share news with all of your that I am now one of HGTV’s guest bloggers.  I was invited to blog about the unique challenges and joys of coastal gardening.  I am their Coastal Gardener!  I am having so much fun and wanted to take a moment to invite you over to see my first two posts. You can also follow the link here to read all of my posts that will be featured on their website over the course of the next few months.  Thanks so much to all of you for your support, friendship and encouragement.  I am so grateful to each and everyone of you.  I hope you enjoy following our latest adventures in the garden over on HGTV Gardens.  While there, feel free to leave a comment!  I’ll be sure to respond over there too.

Click here to read my second post as Oyster Cracker and I enjoy the back garden.

Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Cooper Boone Visits Tilly’s Nest

I was so excited.  Here I was, finally sitting in a dear friend’s Bed and Breakfast, waiting for Cooper Boone and his team to arrive.  He was on his way to pay me a visit after I won his Christmas Tree Contest last December.  We had mutually decided it was best to wait for a visit closer to Springtime.  As it all worked out, Cooper came just as the leaves on the trees began to unfurl, clams were waking up from their Winter slumber and the gardens were beginning to come alive.

With a knock on the door, there was Cooper.  It was so nice to see him again.  It had been a few months since I had first met him at the Country Living Blue Ribbon Blogger Award ceremony.  Somehow, I felt like I was meeting up with an old friend.  Instantly, it was as if we had picked up where we left off.  Yet, the visit was short, as it was late in the evening and we both needed our rest to begin filming the next day.

Saturday morning arrived and Cooper came over in his “jam jams”!   I could not believe that he came bearing gifts for me including an awesome Cooper’s Kitchen tote bag filled with his own Cowboy Coffee, two signed CDs, coffee mugs, a cup cake in a jar and a beautiful loaf of crusty bread.  Then, he cooked me a delicious breakfast of corny french toast, Canadian Bacon, and eggs drizzled with Vermont Maple syrup.

Next, we went outside for a chat in my gardens.  Over our cups of Cowboy Coffee, we talked a lot about cyber-bullying and our similar experiences taking care of the elderly in both our professions.  It was so nice to know that I had a friend who understood what I was going through and also one who shared some wonderful advice that I have taken to heart.

Clamming was up on the agenda next.  I changed into my clothes and we were off.  Cooper had not clammed since he was 7 years old.  I gave him a quick tour of the gear, we put on our boots and headed out into the low tide.  I shared some simple tips of technique and within seconds Cooper dredged up two clams on one pass.  He was a natural.  Within no time, we had a full basket of clams and our bellies were grumbling.  We were off to make a delicious lunch back at my house.

Once again we were in the kitchen, chatting and cooking together.  From clams, chorizo, fennel, onion, garlic, chicken stock and white wine, magic happened, and we were soon dipping our crusty bread into a little bit of Cape Cod heaven.

After filming wrapped up for the day at my house, Cooper graciously agreed to a meet and greet at my house and then we were off to tour some amazing local establishments on the Cape.  We had so much fun and I could not believe how fast the day flew.  Before I knew it I was getting a huge Cooper hug and he was off.  I will never forget this day and I know that Cooper will be in my life now for years to come.  There is something about people like Cooper that is magical.  His energy, enthusiasm and lust for life exudes from every inch of his being and you can see people’s moods and attitudes transform right before your eyes when he enters a room.

This morning my son and I missed him already.  We did the next best thing to substitute for Cooper’s absence, we decided to eat his cupcake in a jar.  It was delicious!

Cooper will be sharing all of his recipes that he cooked with me on his website, once this taped programming airs.  Thank you so much to Cooper Boone and his team for coming to visit me!  A very special thanks to 4JPhotography for filming and photographing the event.  A huge thanks as well to Lewis and Weldon Custom Kitchens and KAM Appliances for all their help in making my dream kitchen a reality.  Finally, a huge thanks to everyone who voted for us in the Christmas Tree contest.  This never would have happened without you!   Thank you from the bottom of my heart.~Melissa

Photo Credits: 4JPhotography, Tilly’s Nest

Gardening Tours

Spring in the Gardens: After the Rain

Whatever happened to April showers bring May flowers?  This April we have set a new record for dry weather on the Cape.  It has been over two weeks since we have had any rain.  Living on this little strip of land jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, many of this year’s Spring storms somehow seem to have just missed us.  The grass is dry.  Flowers need watering and the gardens have been slow to emerge from the ground.  However, last night a storm arrived.

All night, I listened to wind and rain beating against the bedroom window.  I was pulled from my sleep by the sound of torrential rains drumming down on the skylights.  It was hard to return to sleep.  All I could think about was visiting the gardens after the rain.  We needed this so badly.  The morning light could not come fast enough, as I yearned to explore the gardens.

On the other hand, the chickens had been living the good life over the past two weeks.  Putting it mildly, they are not fans of rain and wind.  Thank goodness I believed the rumor of rain last night and covered their run before the storm began.   This morning, happy as can be, one by one they popped out into their dry run.  They had no idea how a good rain seems to make the gardens miraculously grow overnight.  I kept my flip flops on and explored the yard. I could feel the rain from the grass collecting between my toes as a fine drizzle still fell from the sky.  I could feel it kissing my cheeks and my hair beginning to frizz.  I too felt incredibly alive.
The pansies held up in the rain.


Overnight the potted peas reached to the sky twirling tendrils of support.
 Finally the Turkish fig unfurled its leaves.  I had been staring at buds all week.
The crab apple’s buds are ready to burst.


The lettuce in the garden grew at least 2 inches.


The kale’s leaves guided the rain drops to its roots.


A fallen oak leaf hid amongst the creeping phlox.



Spring blooms are arriving in the back garden.
Even the agave welcomed the rain.


Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest