A Little Bit Lighter

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Hello Readers! 2020 is dragging on, but there is some “light”. Hats off to summer! The year is not turning out like any of us expected, but we’re making the best of it. Life’s still pretty good.

First off, SHE DID IT! My daughter officially graduated from high school.

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I am grateful to our town’s school officials for granting us an “outdoor graduation”. We did not have all our family fly in from around the world like we envisioned, but in times like these, we need to focus on what we have, not what we “could have had and missed” (not easy sometimes, I know). For our high school’s graduation, seniors were divided in groups, alphabetically, and graduation was spread over several days. Seniors picked up their gowns, programs, and a few gifts in a goodie bag the week before. On our “day”, we pulled into the parking lot, parking in assigned, socially-distanced spaces. When it was her turn, Audrey approached an outdoor stage, picked up her beautifully-bound diploma, and stopped at the end of the stage to be photographed. Afterward, we did what we could to make her graduation day special. It turned out to be a wonderful, memorable time. 

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Mother Nature hasn’t disappointed! We had such a cool, wet spring, and now we’re having a hot, dry summer. I love it, and so do all the plants!

The peonies loved our cool spring.

The peonies loved our cool spring.

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Before blooming, this poppy looked like it was wearing mouse ears.

Before blooming, this poppy looked like it was wearing mouse ears.

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The flowers have been blooming so beautifully this year. It’s hard not to feel joy with so much color abounding!

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A butterfly recently hatched from a cocoon in my yard looks like a flying flower.

A butterfly recently hatched from a cocoon in my yard looks like a flying flower.

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There’s just never enough thyme...

There’s just never enough thyme…

Geraniums are my favorite summer bloom. I love the color of this variety!

Geraniums are my favorite summer bloom. I love the color of this variety!

For a bit o’color I where there is a lot of green, I repurposed two old concrete cinder blocks and old wood to make this yard centerpiece.

For a bit o’color where there is a lot of green, I repurposed two old concrete cinder blocks and old wood to make this yard centerpiece.

I started my vegetable garden from seeds indoors in early spring, and now the plants are doing great! Things were a little “iffy” at first, because of the cold temps we were experiencing so late in the season. I used seeds I had on hand from previous years. Seeds will generally germinate and last up to five years, IF stored properly, in a cool, dry place,  like a wooden box or in a closet. 

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I can’t wait for my blueberries to turn blue!

I can’t wait for my blueberries to turn blue!

We’ve also seen lots of sweet babies this year. Mother Robin started a nest by my kitchen. There must’ve been too much activity, because she moved to the top of a topiary on my front porch (my “back” door is actually my “front”).

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She sat on that nest for several weeks. Babies hatched from the three eggs, and we delighted in seeing them grow. We could peek through the glass, without disturbing them. Mama Robin is often in the yard, right nearby when I’m gardening. 

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We stained our back deck, badly weathered through the years. My husband was happy to hear he could work on staining the front deck, since the robin babies had flown the “nursery”, (though I felt a pang of “empty nest”). However, he has to wait. Our lil’ Mama Robin now has FOUR big eggs, working on her second brood. 

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Mama Turkey and her two chicks come through the yard every day. The babies scurry under Mama’s tail feathers like human toddlers under mama’s apron.

Mama Turkey and her two chicks come through the yard every day. The babies scurry under Mama’s tail feathers like human toddlers under mama’s apron.

Here in Connecticut, it was a long haul, but we’re in “Phase Two” of reopening from quarantine. All the hard efforts seem to have paid off, as Covid infection is lower. It’s kind of uncomfortable, but necessary, to wear masks in public. I spent many hours sewing masks to give to any friends and family who needed one. Mine are washable, and only take about twenty minutes to air dry. If you have to wear a mask it should match your personality, don’t ya think? Mine matches my kitchen, of course. 

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When news gets overwhelming, I need to do something creative to “reset”- things that require little expense and errand running. I moved my sewing room around to fit an antique sewing table gifted to me from friends a while ago. It now sits next to my favorite machine, as a cutting table, with my cutting mat on top.

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A $10 tabletop ironing board from Target, recovered in leftover fabric from a long-ago sewing project, now sits ready. I sewed up a matching bag to hold my iron’s cord, and one to keep my sewing machine’s pedal and cord. Everything is neat and ready to go.

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To hold my scissors, I repurposed a little metal planter on hand from Ikea. I decoupaged the tin with free printouts found on Pinterest, using Modge Podge. I love how it turned out. Pinterest has dozens of free, vintage-inspired printouts, including some that look like old canned food labels or advertising. Vintage postcards, seed packets, or even your own photos, can be used with a color printer. The possibilities are endless. For outside, such as for on  planters, use the waterproof Modge Podge meant for outdoor use. To keep things from bubbling up, use a sponge-type brush applying thin coats, starting with the back of the paper piece that you are applying to whatever you are decoupaging. I also made a “cherry themed” can, using a clean dog food can. FUN!

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It’s amazing what you get used to, (I’m a homebody by nature), so getting “out and about” took a bit of coaxing. One recent beautiful day, we took a ride up to one of my favorite antique haunts, having lunch outdoors on their patio by a beautiful red barn.

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Driving home, we found an animal sanctuary, Action Wildlife Foundation, open for a social-distanced, drive-through “safari”.

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Patrons are allowed to feed the animals at the edge of the fence. It was beautiful there!

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OREO cattle! Got milk?

OREO cattle! Got milk?

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When we first drove up to the bison, we saw a little girl with her dad by the fence. One bison was running back and forth along the fence, mimicking the little girl. Later, we realized he was a baby, two ‘littles’ playing! Here he is nursing his mama. So sweet.

When we first drove up to the bison, we saw a little girl with her dad by the fence. One of the magnificent animals was running back and forth along the fence, mimicking the little girl. Later, we realized it was a baby- they were two ‘littles’ playing! Here it is nursing mama. So sweet.

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I never imagined I’d be so close to a zebra! It was exciting, inexpensive family fun, and left us feeling renewed.

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Much of our summer fun and plans are canceled. There’ll be no camping this year. That’s okay…we’ve been “camping” at home, opening “Gidget”, sitting around the fire pit on beautiful summer evenings. We look at this time all together as a blessing. 

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Life’s getting somewhat back to “normal”, though I will miss events such as our local “Comic Con”, county fairs, and other get-togethers. We’re content to enjoy simple things, savoring the slower pace of 2020. I’m surprised that I’ll look back and miss some of the unexpected joys that appeared during quarantine – being rested from no alarm clock, quiet evenings by the fire pit with my family, the sound of nature and no traffic, neighbors surprising us with home-baked goodies, and the sense that we were all in something together. I pray eventually Covid-19 completely disappears from our planet, but that the slower pace of life, counting of blessings, smarter ways of doing things, and sense of community, will linger on. 

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Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs (virtually & 6 feet+ apart),

Nicole

Leave a comment 28 Comments

  1. Lori Fresina says:

    Sweet

  2. Julie Pruett says:

    Thank you for lifting spirits with your beautiful pictures…Inviting us into your “cozy” life…Reading your blog gives us hope for “happier” days…

  3. Mary Ellen Eckels #7910 says:

    What a beautiful and uplifting post! Thank you! Congratulations to your daughter. We, as well, have cancelled our camping plans this summer, but continue to enjoy our campfires. As much as I love evening campfires, my absolute favorite campfire time is early in the morning, before most of the other campers are awake – sitting by the fire with a cup of coffee and some inspirational reading :-). It’s a lovely time to connect with God at the beginning of each day. And the flowers are gorgeous. Another way in this turmoil that God is letting us know He’s still here :-)

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mary Ellen, thank you! I love early morning, too, especially by a campfire with a lovely cup of coffee! Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Marion McCann says:

    I love your blog. Your last sentence speaks to me. Despite the sadness and loss by covid I hope we don’t lose the good we’ve gained during this time. Even as a retired person, I was always “busy” and I know I will be careful about what I allow back into my life. I now wake up in the morning thankful for the gift of a new day.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marion, thank you ever so much! It is true, we all get so “busy” and it has been a real eye opener on what (and who) we wish to spend precious time on and with. None of us never know how long we have, and every day is a blessing. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Denise says:

    Congratulations to your daughter!! Love all your pictures of flowers, birds & animals! I did not buy one plant this year. All the flowers that came back I am enjoying even more this year.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise! Thank you so much! I did not buy any plants this year, either, except for two hanging geraniums and the pink ones pictured by the camper. I managed to overwinter a few potted ones this year! The other flowers and blueberries are all plants that have come up as perennials, or that I planted from seed this spring. :)
      Harvested my garlic yesterday. It is a good crop this year. Like you, I am so happy seeing what is popping up! Take care, and thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Marilyn says:

    Congratulations to Audrey. Those baby birds are adorable.
    Marilyn

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marilyn, Thank you! Aren’t the baby birds precious? They have all hatched as of yesterday. ~Nicole

  7. Pablo says:

    What a sweet treat this has been! First of Congratulations on your daughter graduating! Second… Ah, I am a college student all the way from Mexico who actually learned English from this very same blog! (the pictures always drew me here) Back when I was a little boy no more than 10. I always had the farm blog on the back of my head but I could never pinpoint the name. I’m happy to be able to find it again and it seems I have a lot of catching up to. Here’s to living a farm life with a pastel palette!! Thanks for the kind wishes uwu

  8. Bonnie Ellis says:

    Nicole, you are an upbeat kind of farmgal and I enjoy your posts. They just opened up our state parks for camping but we just drive through the campground and enjoy seeing folks from a distance. Your little trailer is just adorable. We used to have a small trailer too and enjoyed it. Your flowers are gorgeous. Happy summer.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Bonnie, thank you so much! I try to be positive and happy. Life is short! I will miss our camper rallies this year, but we have always enjoyed the camper at home, too. Have a good summer! It is always good to hear from you here! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Donna Kozak says:

    How wonderful to get the close-up pictures of baby robins and watching them grow – like you, staying around home is easy, especially with my gardens and chickens !

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Donna, I love seeing all of the birds and wildlife we see here. I think generations before us knew the secret to happiness – including porch sitting! I love gardening and hearing the birds and seeing all the little creatures that fly, hop and walk through my property! Enjoy the summer! Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Melva Vick says:

    Thanks for sharing all the beautiful pictures! Encouraging each other during this time…is so valuable. Wish I lived closer to visit the ANIMAL WILDLIFE! I live in Southeast Texas.
    Blessings to your family !

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Melva, thank you! Finding that Animal Sanctuary was such a needed, happy accident! I never knew it was there, and will go back someday! Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nice blog. Great pictures! I am impressed you had a comment from Pablo!
    Love,
    Mother

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mom, yes, that was something special! I will never forget that. MISS YOU! LOVE YOU! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. CJ says:

    Loved your photos . . .thanks for including those. Beautiful!!
    Tell Audrey I send my big, huge, farmgirl CONGRATULATIONS! Wishing her the best in her future.
    Yes, there has been some good changes in the country this year. I agree that some should stay!
    THANKS for your post Nicole!
    HUGS!
    CJ

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi CJ, my dear Farmgirl Friend! I hope this finds you and your family doing well. Thank you so much for such a sweet comment! I will pass the lovely wishes on to Audrey! Much love your way. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Barb Shanks says:

    So enjoyed reading this. Congratulations to your graduate. I feel the same about how covid has slowed world down and time to reevaluate our lives.

    You stay safe…

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Barb, It is almost like a suspended sense of time, in many ways, right? In many ways, I like it, but I do miss people and the feeling of freedom to go anywhere, anytime. It will get better, but I am enjoyng the “slow”, especially for summer. Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Nancy says:

    We have also been enjoying small “campfires” in ouor suburban-approved firepit. Usually impromptu, never very fancy, byt something different than watching TV, eh? Looking for ideas of how a couple of mid-sixties folks can make the firepit a bit different each night? Something other than s’mores? some kind of game?

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Nancy, I am not a huge s’mores fan, either, to be truthful. Have you ever tried “Toast Tites”? They were vintage, but now you can buy contemporary ones. I think we found ours at Bass Pro, but I bet you can find them online anywhere that sells camping or outdoor gear. They are basically “sandwich makers”. We use ours for hot ham and cheese, “pizza” with sauce and cheese, and “hot pies”.

      We also use ours for Hot Dogs, surrounded by dough, a Danish recipe and tradition from Denmark. I will find my old blog post that has the recipe, but basically it is bread dough, wrapped around a hot dog or sausage, baked until the bread is done on a stick in the embers. It is so delicious! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

      I will also try to find my

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