The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Summer Changes

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It’s my favorite time of the year, as spring morphs into summer! Connecticut winters are often harsh, but summers are really pretty, full of changes! We’ve been busy bees ourselves making changes- sprucing up, cleaning up, and even adding a new family member!

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To me, geraniums say “summer” because my mother always had pots of geraniums when I was growing up. I love how low-maintenance geraniums are, with blooms lasting until time to switch them for fall mums. I recently put out three new bird houses, but within minutes of hanging up flowers, I noticed a little bird going in and out of the hanging basket. Sure enough, a mama house finch made a little nest in the middle of the flowers, and another bird created a nest right above the kitchen door, safe and dry in the crook of the drainpipe.

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We could see the busy parent birds whenever we sat at the kitchen table.

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We delighted in watching both families care for their babies, seeing the babies grow and eventually fly away (which meant I could water my hanging plant again)! (Watch a video of mama bird feeding her brood on the Suburban Farmgirl Facebook page Here).

My own flock is happy in their new home. We updated “Foul Knox” after a bad winter storm knocked the covered top off the fencing, and something dug under the run and tore at the coop’s roof. When I first got chickens, I didn’t know how long I’d keep them. My “starter” coop was worn and no longer keeping the weather out. We bought a new Amish-made coop built like a “real” house, with a sturdy roof and fiberglass floor that makes cleaning the coop a snap! This time we used metal screen fencing on top of the run. Unfortunately I lost two of my hens this past winter (including my favorite, “Nugget”), but the new coop will now hold a larger flock. The chickens are happy and have more room inside and out.

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We made a larger, improved vegetable garden. My DH spent many days off building new raised beds, putting mulch down, and installing a new garden fence! He also surprised me with a Sun Joe tiller from Amazon. Connecticut has rocky, sandy loam, and that little electric tiller made light work of it. It wasn’t too heavy for me to use, either.

The plants are young, but hopefully summer '17 will be a good growing season!

The plants are young, but hopefully summer ’17 will be a good growing season!

Once the beds were ready, I planted lettuce, peas, heirloom tomatoes, radishes, eggplant, cabbage, peppers, cucumber, and squash, most from seed started indoors this winter. I also planted carrots using organic seed tape – so easy and virtually no thinning! Landscaping cloth and mulch between beds makes life much easier! Basil and marigolds between plants aid in natural IPM. I repurposed old bricks for showcasing potted plants and veggies. Now I just need sun!

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A cooler spring means pretty spring blooms. My lilacs were amazing, as were the bleeding hearts. The peonies have been teasing us with full plants, just waiting to open up. I can’t wait for more blooms as the season changes!

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Last year's peonies were magnificent...this year there are even more blooms!

Last year’s peonies were magnificent…this year there are even more blooms!

It’s been a few years since we built our little fire pit, so I had to rearrange the rocks after the winter. We wanted better chairs than the tree stumps we were using (though cute, stumps aren’t great for sitting too long). We found pretty chili-pepper red Adirondack chairs at Home Depot. Sturdy yet lightweight, they’re easy to clean, weather-resistant, stackable for easy storage, and at under $20 a piece, a great summer bargain!

I usually dislike resin or plastic, but these fit our needs and look great. Easy to move and stack, they will withstand our wet weather better than wood.

I usually dislike resin or plastic, but these fit our needs and look great. Easy to move and stack, they will withstand our wet weather better than wood.

Patriotic decor is for summer! From Memorial through Labor Day, I decorate red-white-and-blue, indoors and out.

Some red white and blue, inside, for summer. The little VSM was from my dh for Mother's Day.

Some red white and blue, inside, for summer. The little VSM was from my hubby for Mother’s Day.

Sweet red cherries in white milk glass scream "Summer's here!"

Sweet red cherries in white milk glass scream “Summer’s here!”

Patriotic decor looks especially great on our “shabby chic porch”. It’s my cozy, covered outdoor nook where we eat read, knit, play games, and eat meals al fresco. This year I added a strand of little twinkling lights with camping lanterns for a touch of whimsical warmth. I love morning coffee with my husband and dogs on the porch.

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Speaking of dogs, we also recently added one to our little pack! After our Bonnie passed last fall, Scarlett was still missing her playmate (Pip’s her buddy, but too tiny to play). After seeing a dog that sounded perfect on our favorite rescue site, we made an appointment to adopt him. Once at the shelter, however, the dog we went to see wasn’t interested in us. He was very timid and shy, more interested in what the other dogs were doing then getting to know our family. We felt it wasn’t a good match. While trying to spend one-on-one time with him, each of us were drawn to one little puppy in a corner kennel wanting our attention.

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My pretty brindle baby!

My pretty brindle baby!

We three were instantly smitten, but Odin really picked us! He fit in perfectly. We love our little boy so much, and Odin and Scarlett are best buddies!

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With a bigger garden, a new, six month-old puppy and my sweet daughter having finished her first year of high school (gulp!) now off for the summer, I’m looking forward to a busy farmgirl summer!

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My two sweethearts!

I’ll be canning, going to county fairs, and relaxing with family and friends! What are you doing this summer? Leave me a comment and let me know you stopped by!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a comment 20 Comments

  1. Denise Ross says:

    I really enjoyed your post as always, Nicole. Your home Improvements and family addition are wonderful and I love how you decorate your home in patriotic colors, very happy and cheerful but still cosy and welcoming too. Well done to your daughter on finishing her first year of high school. How did she find it?
    It’s winter here in Australia, but we live in a mild climate, so cooler temps, but no snow. Still busy days here, with family, work, painting, daily walks, and working on making my goals happen. happy summer days to your and yours

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise! Thank you so much! Big hugs to you. It has actually turned quite chilly this week. A year ago we were in the 100 degree temps, this week lows got down to the 40s and 50s! Brrr! Warmer weather is on its way, though. I love summer!

      Enjoy your winter…sounds like some cozy, nice days ahead. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Connie Gause says:

    Love reading your blog! Took me a while to find it! ❤️

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Connie! Sorry you couldn’t find it. Glad you did finally and thanks for reading! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Julie Pruett says:

    I LOVE geraniums…so cute that your’s became a “home” for a family of birds.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Julie, I have to admit, I felt a bit of an “empty nester” when they all flew away! One little bird (mama?) still lands on top of the hanging plant from time to time, as is to say “hello”. Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Marilyn says:

    Thanks for sharing. I love Geraniums.
    Marilyn

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marilyn, aren’t they lovely? I like all colors, but my favorite is classic red. Thanks for stoppin’ by the blog! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Joan says:

    Love your decorating style, I do the ‘summer look’the same. We had a late, if any Spring and having Summer storms, gardening is getting a late start but on I go on a season of ‘Harding’. Great addition to your family. God bless

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Joan, our spring is very late, too! We’ve had some very chilly rainy days as of late, but next week should be toasty, just the way I like it! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, I am impressed with your vegetable garden and all you have planted. Nice chicken coop too! Great pictures and cute of puppies. I love you.
    Mother

  7. Sandi King says:

    Hi Nicole, I love your chicken coop. I wish I had made mine like this, but maybe later when my girls are worn out and tired of laying eggs and it is time for them to retire, I will change my coop around abit and get some new girls in. A good floor is always a blessing when it comes to cleaning it out. I also love geraniums, especially the lemon ones that keep the mosquitoes away. Kudo’s for using a rescue site to obtain another canine pet. It’s great when an animal chooses you. Keep on blogging.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sandi! It took us a lot of time and research to realize just what we wanted in a coop. If you change yours, I highly recommend that fiberglass floor! It is so easy to take care of.
      The lemon geraniums do shoo those pesky mosquitoes away! I love it. Thanks for the wonderful comment. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Bobbie Furlong says:

    What a sweet family, farm and lovely home!
    We moved to the Midwest a little more than a year ago from the Bay Area in California. Iowa and farm life always had my heart as my Grandparents and Parents were raised on the farm…sooo…I am also canning and learning to garden again, I’ve thought about chickens but haven’t taken the plunge! Lol
    Just wanted to pop in and say hi! Have a wonderful blessed week lil Farmgirl!!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Bobbie, Thank you so very much! I am so glad you enjoyed reading the blog. I have always wanted to visit Iowa. Twenty years ago, I even sent away for the Iowa state tourist book! Someday I will visit the Midwest. It looks so wonderful from what I have seen in books, movies, and magazines. Enjoy your farmgirl life, sounds like you on your way to being a true-blue farmgirl! Thanks for reading and commenting. Big farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Krista says:

    Oh how reading your blog just got me super excited for summer! During the first part of this week we took 3 trips to the swimming pool and now I’m ready to get my own kiddie pool. The boys just loved it. I also have my garden planted, but no quite as much as you. Good luck with your garden. I hope it gives you mounds of fresh produce. Your little Oidin is still adorable as ever! Love the little car seat for your little fur baby. As for our summer I’m hoping to go camping, swimming, and have plenty of BBQs. Then fill in the rest with small fun activities with my boys.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Krista! Thank you! It is now warm and beautiful…the way summer should be. I went to a plant sale this weekend and bought some new plants, too. Love all the summer color in the yard. I miss when I would spend summer days with my daughter watching and playing with her in the kiddie pool. Every summer now, I think, “Childhood summer days are winding down”. They grow too fast! Savory every minute. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Mary Ammerman says:

    Nicole, loved reading your blog before bedtime today…….reminded me of growing
    up in Pennsylvania. We had a wonderful garden and my siblings canned veggies,
    and fruits, made jelly….wonderful memories and we had a lilac bush. I absolutely
    love lilacs. You are so talented …. wish you and your family and all your pets
    a very Happy Summer.
    Love,

    Mary Ammerman

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mary, Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. Sounds like you had a wonderful childhood. I hope all is well! Much love, Nicole

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