A Merry Month of May

09B869CE-B95A-47DF-81C0-9BB38EB60A6FWelcome back, Readers! It is hard to believe, but the month of May is almost over! I hope you have had a good month since our last visit. From a road trip to foraging, to redoing my sewing room and more,  it’s been a “merry” month!

One of the things I love about May is that it is when everything finally turns green, and all of New England finally blooms! Even though it’s  been hard work getting there, with spending any free time in the yard cleaning, weeding, planting, spraying and watering, we have really enjoyed this year’s blooms.

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I love that my hostas are full and leafy! The biggest hostas are really pretty and green this year, as well.

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I love that my hostas come in variegated, blue, and green, and then during the summer, they’ll also bloom flowers on a long stalk. They are one of my favorite plants, but I am constantly spraying them with liquid deer repellent – they are such a delicacy to the wildlife that pass through! 

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May also brings some wonderful wild blooms. Part of our property has a natural wooded area. It is always a thrill to see a rare, wild red trillium blooming!  If you’re lucky to see a red trillium on your property or on a hike, don’t pick it! Trilliums in the wild are plants that are propagated by ants! The seeds are also a rarity, as only one seed is produced by each plant. Trilliums like the rich soil of the Connecticut woods! 

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Wild ramps aka wild leeks

Mother Nature also treated us to a bumper crop of wild ramps (Allium tricoccum)! SO DELICIOUS! Ramps are in the allium family, and are a wild, early spring edible. They grow wild in our woods, and the entire plant, from bulb, to stem, to green leaf are edible.

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I’ve used them in dishes, replacing the ramps for onions. They were so tasty in my favorite Chicken Fried Rice recipe, in place of scallions. I have also tossed ramps in salads, used them as a green on a sandwich, and chopped them into eggs, but my family’s favorite way for me to serve them is simply to saute them with a bit of olive oil, pink salt and a dash of pepper in my cast iron skillet, as a tasty side dish! Easy and delicious! 

Ramps grow low to the ground, from bulbs, with broad green leaves and reddish stems. Also called wild leeks, they have a mild onion/garlic scent. They taste like a cross between a sweet onion and garlic. They grow in Eastern North America, from South Carolina to parts of Canada, and are one of the first “green” harbingers of spring. 

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While they grow wild in our woods, we are careful not to harvest too many, especially at bulb level, so that there will be more ramps in following years, and I only harvest what we will consume at one meal or so, as they do not store very well. 

The season for ramps is almost over, but what a treat! If you do decide to harvest ramps, make sure you are taking them from your own property or where it is okay to do so, and make sure that what you are foraging are actually ramps! 

These are NOT ramps but poisonous False Hellebore plants.

These are NOT ramps but poisonous False Hellebore plants.

Unfortunately, in New England, many people are poisoned from picking the wrong plant, False hellebore (Veratrum). False hellebore is highly poisonous and should never be eaten! The two plants look similar, but False hellebore grows taller, with leaves that are ribbed, and have tall green stems. I found False hellebore growing on my favorite walking trail. Remember, do not forage unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure you know what you are picking!

The yard is certainly “alive” again.

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An assassin bug eats his lunch. Remember, benefcials aren’t just butterf;ies and bees!

An assassin bug eats his lunch. Remember, beneficials aren’t just butterflies and bees!

“Pardon me, but the birdfeeder is empty.”

“Pardon me, but the birdfeeder is empty.”

Someone made a nest in our gas tank. We worried we’d run out of propane the babies flew away!

Someone made a nest in our gas tank. We worried we’d run out of propane before the babies flew away!

A baby bun munches its weedy breakfast.

A baby bun munches its weedy breakfast.

The little white tummy!

The little white tummy!

I love the red leaves of the Japanese maple and what I call my “Zen garden”.

I love the red leaves of the Japanese maple in what I call my “Zen garden”.

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Right now, the whole yard smells like lilacs, and the peonies are about to bloom.

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I haven’t planted my tomatoes, squash, cukes or peppers outside just yet, but the veggie garden has peas, garlic, carrots, radishes and greens growing nicely. While we’ve had some beautiful, warm and sunny weather (finally), we went from 85 degrees one day to an early morning frost of 29! We set a record for cold, and I was thankful for the warning, as I rushed to bring in all my hanging and small plants, and covered my tender seedlings and baby plants in the garden with whatever I could find, including paper bags, terra cotta pots, and old towels and tablecloths. Thankfully, all my plant babies made it through the cold snap! 

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The herb garden is doing well, too. The oregano is full and lush! I will use it fresh all summer, and also put it in my dehydrator for delicious dried oregano through the winter months!

I’ve been looking for awhile for a new, good watering can. I found this wonderful Martha Stewart Living metal can at Homegoods for under $30. It makes a hard chore so much easier!

I’ve been looking for awhile for a new, good watering can. Galvanized ones I have had ended up rusting, and the plastic ones always lose their spout. I found this wonderful Martha Stewart Living powdercoated metal can, with a great spout, at Homegoods for under $30. It makes a hard chore so much easier! I also love the sunny color.

With all the sun and warmth that comes with summer, my sunny kitchen can actually feel like an oven. I always love the sun coming through the many windows, but the one window on the side gets too much heat in the warmer months. I didn’t want to drill holes in the wood trim for a shade, and didn’t want a shade in only “one” window. I also don’t want something “permanent”, as in fall and winter,  I want the window uncovered to let in more light. What’s a farmgirl to do? Repurpose

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Using a vintage 1940’s apron with cherries I’ve had in my collection for years, I “tacked” it up in the window using double sided 3M tape. The result is so cute! Light still comes in, but the heat is diffused, and it looks super-cute!

I was happy to set up Gidget the Glamper for the season, hoping we will also get to go camping this year! Trooper approves.

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Did all you moms and fur-moms have a good Mother’s Day? I will admit, mine was one of the best I’ve ever had, thanks to my sweet daughter and husband.

First, a few weeks ago, my daughter bought me an early Mother’s Day gift – a new, modern sewing machine! I LOVE vintage sewing machines, and can take one apart, oil and repair them, but vintage sewing machine enthusiasts always have that one favorite machine that they love to sew on. However, vintage parts are getting harder to come by, and my family even noticed that I spent more time tinkering with my machine than actually sewing! My husband pointed out that sewing on a “vintage sewing machine for everything is like driving an antique car everyday to work.” There’s also a lot of things that modern machines can do that you just can’t do on a vintage, pre-1970 machine. I have never seen my daughter so excited, and my mama heart is overwhelmed! 

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The first thing I made on my new machine was a garden apron. A favorite pattern is a good way to get to know a machine.

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I thought the garden gnome fabric was hilarious. I added a pocket with an elastic closure to keep my phone (I once buried it by accident planting potatoes) and garden snips in, and sewed up a matching little drawstring bag for my snips from the scraps.

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I also clipped my garden gloves on it. I keep the garden apron by the back door to grab on my way out to the yard. 

Since my sewing room is also part guest room/part doll room, having a new machine inspired me to spruce up my sewing room a bit. Though the inside of the machine my daughter bought me is metal, most modern machines do have plastic, and the sun can damage plastic. To keep the machine dust free and out of the sun when I’m not using it, I bought a cover on Amazon, and sewed up matching “bags” from other pretty scraps on hand, to house the foot pedal, cord, and other machine accessories.

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My new sewing machine has an adjustable “table” to make it easier to sew. I made this little bag to protect it.

My new sewing machine has an adjustable “table” to make it easier to sew. I made this little bag to protect it.

Speaking of scraps, I recently spruced up a purchased dress, as well. I had a “vintage” look dress in my closet purchased several years ago online. It was cute enough, but the large plastic black buttons that really did not match bothered me.

Before…

Before…

Over twenty years ago I bought a card of vintage glass  “shoe” buttons at a flea market. Unfortunately, the original card they were attached to got battered in my button jar over the years, so I decided to switch them on the dress.

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I also added a bit of vintage scrap lace, found in a vintage machine, to the neckline. I love the result and will wear the dress more often. 

After

After

I love spending time in my organized, cozy sewing room surrounded by old family photos, and pieces from my doll and sewing machine collections. Keeping clutter at bay makes it easier and inspires me to sew. I organized the closet, as well, hanging my knitting bags on the side wall inside.

To finish off the sewing room decor, I framed two cute 1940’s needle cases, once given out as promotional items, as well as an old pattern.

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Back when the vcr was a “thing”, at a Blockbuster store, I had once bought, on clearance, a boxed set of vcr tapes commemorating Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady”. Though the vhs tapes are no longer relevant, I have always loved the printed cards that came in the box, reprints of Cecil Beaton’s costume designs for the iconic movie, intending to frame them someday. With frames I bought for just $1.00 each at the dollar store, I finally have the beautiful cards framed above the windows. 

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My ‘lil sewing buddies…zzzz

My ‘lil sewing buddies…zzzz

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We have not been on a day trip in quite some time, so my family planned a wonderful Mother’s day Sunday at one of my favorite coastal New England towns, Mystic. If you are ever in New England, Mystic, Connecticut is a must-visit!

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First we had lunch at the Steak Loft, a wonderful restaurant that never disappoints. 

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Next to the restaurant is Olde Mystic Village, a fun outdoor grouping of interesting stores. We always stop in at the Scandinavian store, Bestemors, where I picked a little something up for my Danish husband, so no one parks in his spot, lol!

Afterward, we spent time walking around Mystic Seaport. I never tire of going into the antique buildings and ships, and seeing the beauty all around. I think it is so important to support our museums, especially in these times post-pandemic.

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If you look closely, I am standing under this antique ship, now under repair.

If you look closely, I am standing under this antique ship, now under repair.

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To end the day, we stopped at the Main Street area of Mystic, stepping in to a very cool shop, Mystic Knotwork, where we got the most wonderful dog leash! The store was filled with all sorts of knotwork from jewelry to rugs, all handmade. We then had the world’s best (in my humble opinion) ice cream at Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream.

We also got to see the drawbridge go up and down, something we had never seen before. To end a perfect day, we ordered a Mystic Pizza to go, taking it home to eat while watching the 1988 movie, “Mystic Pizza” on tv, something I have always wanted to do! 

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The next few weeks will be busy, getting the rest of the garden in, and getting ready for summer. Happy boy Trooper says he is ready! 

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I hope you all had a nice month of May! Leave me a comment (remember to do the “captcha” so it goes through to us), and I do hope you visit with me again, next month!

Wishing You All A Happy Start to Summer and a Good Memorial Day Weekend to All!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

 

Leave a comment 14 Comments

  1. Zoe Siperly says:

    I’ve missed the bloggers newsletters and this makes me want to get back into the life of life with MaryJaneFarm. I have subscribed for well over 10 years and had my own Glamper “Fiona” 10 years ago. I was able to be empowered with several gals and check off something on my bucket list. Do to health issues I sold Fiona to another gal in our original glamers group here in Wisconsin, she lives!!
    I was also blessed to meet MaryJane and her daughter during that time. She is more than you can imagine and is a great inspiration to us Glampers and glamper want-a-bees!!
    Thank you for sharing your memories to us women!!
    Zoe Siperly

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Zoe, thank you for this nice comment. I am so sorry to hear that you have experienced health issues, and hope that you are doing better. I love that even though you sold your Glamper, you keep up with her, and that she is still glamping!

      I agree with everything you said about our beloved MaryJane! She is an amazing inspiration to us all. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Susana says:

    Love the photos. Nice swallowtail butterflies…and a praying mantis. We seen them very seldom. Almost stepped on a praying mantis two years ago. And it was huge. I thought it was a stuck at first. You have ai lovely greenery and flowers. And what kind of bird was that. It looked like one that was under my awning. I see hummingbirds nest with four eggs you go the next day and they are hone. I think the dam snakes eats them I wish I knew how to keep the snakes away as the hummingbird puts their best in bushes and it’s so easy for the snakes to get at them. I wish I knew how to protect the birds . I know when a snake us around as the birds will fly back and forth and won’t land even on a house. They told me if a powder but it doesn’t work. If any one knows how to keep snakes out if my garden I’d appreciate it.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Susana, thank you! The insect you refer to is actually not a praying mantis (state insect of Connecticut), but a zoom in on a tinier creature, a green assassin (Zelus luridus) bug. They are great beneficials, but you don’t want a bite from them, as it stings worse than anything! As far as hummingbirds go, their nests can be raided by all sorts of predators, including spiders, lizards, other birds, and bats. The best thing you can do is to leave their nests, as they build them where they are camouflaged. Removing snakes from your area will cause your rodent population to explode, and you don’t want that!

      Hope you have a wonderful start to summer, and that you will visit me again, next time! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Terri says:

    Nicole,
    I really enjoyed this post and all the beautiful pictures from the New England area! When you live in Arizona you don’t see all the lush, green colors like the eastern part of the US. I was fortunate to visit the New England area a few times years ago and would love to go back! Until then, I look forward to your posts!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Terri, thank you so much! I have been to Arizona, as friends of ours live there. It has its own charm, too! I loved seeing all the cacti. Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Grace Brown says:

    Oh Nicole, where do I begin?? Luv the Lilacs,, Luv your sewing buddies, Your Trailer, your Apron,,,, and your Blogg…

    Happy Spring my friend…

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Grace! Awwww, thank you so much sweet farmgirl friend! Wishing you a Happy Spring and start to summer! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Donna Kozak says:

    Love your blogs – always so beautiful…now I have to go out to my garden and do some watering so I can enjoy beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables (but first I need some ice cream !)

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Donna, thank you so very much! Enjoy your garden (and ice cream – it’s always a good time for ice cream)! Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a good Memorial Day weekend! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Marilyn says:

    Hi Nicole What a nice Mother’s day gift from your daughter. The machine is lovely. The apron is so cute. Your garden is doing nicely. The Lilacs are gorgeous. We have our annual Lily Of The Valleys blooming,the pansy is striving as are the azalea bushes,. We just purchased four Geraniums. They are hearty and do not mind the heat. Our red roses have bloomed. The white ones have buds but no flowers yet. We did have to buy a lawn mower, The old one did. Fortunately, we have great neighbor and they have mowed our lawn until we get the new set up. Nicole enjoy your garden an new sewing machine. Have a safe Memorial day.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Dear Joan, Marion, and Marilyn, send some of that nice heat! It is still not warm enough for “summer” yet. I heard the heat is on its way though! It is still cold here at night and in the morning, warmer during the day. My roses have not bloomed yet. Sounds like you have nice neighbors…priceless. Have a nice Memorial Day! Farmgirl Hugs to you all, Nicole

  7. Tammy L Thomson says:

    Hi Nicole, can I move in with you? Ha ha! Your home and your part of Connecticut look and sound so wonderful! Though I know it all takes a lot of work. Something tells me that you have boundless energy. You are an inspiration with your upbeat attitude and clever tips and crafts….speaking of which, what do you find works best for a deer deter.? Have you tried pure essential Peppermint oil diluted in water? I have been using that after not wanting to deal with the stinky Liquid Fence.

    And thank you so much for taking the time to take all of the photos and write your blog to share with us :)

    Tammy

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Tammy, thank you so much for this nice comment I love the idea of pepperment oil in water. I will have to try that. The deer are very persistent here, lol! We also use an organic oil with pepperment oil in it for our yard – keeps the ticks and fleas away! Thanks for the tip. Have a great weekend! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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