A Super Suburban Stay-Cation


After a shaky, cold start to spring, summer has finally come to New England! This summer, like many others, we are going to enjoy a “stay-cation”. That doesn’t mean “boring”! From beautiful blooms, a special event, and “new neighbors”, we’ve been busy, and this summer is certainly starting out super! 

First off, we have lived in our home for almost thirty years now. We have been busy tackling all those little “to do” things that come up when you have a home. Things break, things wear out, and there’s always something we need to do. We find tinkering about the house relaxing and it feels great when you can check off something on the to-do list. 

Things need fixin’ and painting, like this rocker on my front porch. I used one coat of Howard’s Restor-A-Finish and brought it from this…

Things need fixin’ and painting, like this rocker on my front porch. I used one coat of Howard’s Restor-A-Finish and brought it from this…

…to this. Also painted the little table beside it.

to this. Also painted the little table beside it with Hammered spray paint. I love the patina of that paint. 


In summer, hanging laundry on the line makes things like my sheets smell amazing, and helps keep the house cooler.

It shouldn’t be all work and no play, however. After a busy week of running my yearly summer camp in town, I promised myself during my weeks of “down time”, I am going to make this summer like the ones when I was a child: I will see friends, enjoy being outdoors, read, play, even a bit of afternoon tv. I believe you don’t have to go far from home to enjoy a relaxing vacation, and just the price of gas or watching the recent travel nightmares on the news makes me break out in hives! So far, our “home” summer has started off great!


Gidget is open. YAY! We had her plumbing repaired (there was a leaky kitchen sink pipe that occurred from ice that accumulated in the driveway). We will be working on the other issues that arise when you are preserving a vintage camper, but we still enjoy her even when we aren’t camping. 


If it is too hot to sit in the camper, we enjoy eating al fresco and hanging with the pups on the “shabby chic” porch. This year, I found the cutest “retro” cooler. I don’t drink Coca-Cola (except once a year, perhaps, and only the one in a glass bottle with cane sugar, for nostalgia’s sake), but the brand is sentimental to me because it makes me think of my grampa, who was a sign painter and painted signs for Coca-Cola in the 1940s. 


The cottage roses love where they are planted; the shorter leafy plants are spider plants that will finish the summer with giant pink blooms.

I have worked very, very hard on the garden and flower beds. The reward has been worth it! The cooler, nice spring we had has made for some really great blooms this summer. I love the “full, cottage look” of flower beds bursting with plants, like cutting gardens found in England. 





As promised, my bee balm looks like firecrackers for Fourth of July, and is usually full of hummingbirds.

We have also had lots of “visitors”.  From birds, to butterflies, to bunnies, something is always about. 


A garter snake scopes, (not a sign of aggression) to see what I am going to do.

A garter snake scopes, (not a sign of aggression) to see what I am going to do. Don’t worry, little guy, I won’t hurt you. Please eat some mice!


We have noticed the same bunny visiting for a few years (she has scars from some kind of altercation, so we know it is the same one). We call her Bunny Beans. We think perhaps she had a litter of babies this year, as we are also visited every day by “the twins”, Baby Beans and Mini Beans. 


Of course, as cute as they are, they are a bit of a pain when they EAT EVERYTHING I PLANT! I have used sprays, granules, and fencing as a deterrent. I give up. I heard that there are more bunnies this year due to less foxes because of a mange-like disease that hit the fox population in the area.

BAD bandit bunny!

The birds in the yard have returned, as well, like this huge woodpecker!


This shot shows just how HUGE that woodpecker was, caught in flight.

This shot shows just how HUGE that woodpecker was, caught in flight.

One bird in particular was extra-special. We had a mama robin build a nest in our flowering quince bush, right by the door where we go in and out all day, taking the dogs out. She sat on that nest, on only one single, beautiful, blue egg – morning and night. We’d greet her good morning, and in the evening, say goodnight as we passed by after closing the chickens in the coop for the night. 

One evening, I went a bit earlier than usual to close the coop. I noticed the robin not on the nest, which was unusual. I also heard a terrible racket from the tree above. Fearing the worst, I went to the front of the bush. There, on the ground was the egg, its shell intact but missing a piece of the blue, exposing the membrane underneath. It looked as though the egg had fallen out of the nest; perhaps it had started to hatch, and the movement startled the mom, who was now frantically screaming in the tree above. It had fallen from the nest pretty far, missing the rock border below and landing on the grass. At this time, my daughter came out. I tried to reach and carefully place the egg back in the nest, but my arms were too short! I handed it gently to my daughter. We both could feel the wiggly baby inside the egg! Being a few inches taller, she was able to get the egg back in its nest. At that very moment, Mama Robin swooped in between us, inches from our heads, to sit on the nest! She gave us a look that we knew to be “thank you”. The next morning, there was a fuzzy, sleepy baby in the nest, and we watched the family of birds until finally, one day, the baby was able to leave the nest. We felt so proud!


We’ve also got new “neighbors”! For almost three decades, the property behind us was a state preserve, until recently. New owners began clearing trees and burning brush, and putting up a fence. We worried what was going to happen, until one day, when it sounded like elephants trumping! A herd of cows came stampeding through, checking out their new domain. We were thrilled! (Better than condos)! We only see our new “neighbors” once in a while; by our calculations, it takes them about two weeks to mosey over near our side; always a thrill to see them. 


The veggie garden is in, and we had a bumper crop of snow and snap peas, and my kale, chard and lettuce have fed us well. 




The lettuce bolted during a recent heat snap; I put the flowers in a tiny vase because they looked so interesting to me 


Nothing is better than surprises! I’ve talked for years about wanting to have an orchard. Recently, I came home to my sweet husband’s gift of fruit trees – apple, peach, pear and plum! 


Surprise fruit trees! SQUEAL!!!! After almost 30 years, he still manages to surprise me.

We still have to plant the last trees, and weed and mulch the area, but our little orchard is coming along nicely!


Recently, we were invited to a wedding, for the first time in ages! I think we “clean up” okay!


The event was held on a sunny day, with the ceremony outside and the reception inside. I loved that the happy couple ditched the idea of an over-the-top, formal wedding cake, and instead treated guests to an all-you-can-eat dessert and ice cream sundae bar! YUM!

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I recently also tried something new. Have you seen the “Paint and Sip” events at local craft places and stores? I never thought of attending, until a group of my friends from one of the knitting classes I teach invited me. Loving crafts, I still have never tried painting a picture! The group of four of us went to a local store on the quaint Bank Street in New Milford, CT, and with the instruction of a local artist, learned to paint a landscape featuring a barn with a barn quilt. We had so much fun – we met some other nice ladies there, and afterward we enjoyed a great dinner at a tapas restaurant. It was a great evening of fun, and I love my picture! It brightens up a dark hallway and makes me think of my friends when I see it. Another friend went with her book club and made trays at another shop. Even if it is a craft you have never tried, you’re guaranteed a fun evening – a great “stay-cation” activity! 

Going junking is always fun. I have been a few times with different friends, and to a local tea room with my daughter, (who, by the way, turns TWENTY) this month! I can’t believe it! She was seven when I wrote my first blog here…


Somehow, a simple sandwich and salad are made more special when served on mis-matched vintage china at a tea room!

Somehow, a simple sandwich and salad are made more special when served on mis-matched vintage china at a tea room!

One fun barn sale purchase last year was this badminton set. I remember hot Texas afternoons playing badminton as a child in our backyard.


Families used to enjoy time together playing fun yard games like badminton, croquet, or horseshoes. My husband grew up playing badminton in Denmark, as well. I love the kitschy graphics on the box. A fun game for all ages, it is an activity where you can’t hold a cell phone and play at the same time!

We have seen a few great summer movies (Dr. Strange, Jurassic Park, Downton Abbey, Elvis, Top Gun…(Oh my! Top Gun was awesome)! I love a cold movie theater on a hot day! 

The rest of the summer, I hope to spend time swimming, reading in my hammock, walking with my dog and a friend at our favorite trail, sewing, knitting and just spending time with my family and friends.

Pip says, “I love bein’ “on the road again”…as long as it isn’t too hot!

Pip says, “I love bein’ ‘on the road again’…as long as it isn’t too hot! (Mom carries me most of the way, anyhow).”

Nature on our favorite trail at Fairfield Hills.

Nature on our favorite trail at Fairfield Hills.

And more “nature”. Excuse me, sir…

And more “nature”. Excuse me, sir…

The old Fairfield Hills campus is also where our town’s organic farmers market is held weekly in summer. I love it!

The old Fairfield Hills campus is also where our town’s organic farmers market is held weekly in summer. I love it!

What’s going on in the world and in the news is often upsetting, but don’t forget to find “the happy”. There is still lots to enjoy and be thankful for.


 Wishing you blue skies for a happy, relaxing summer!

344499EC-7F09-4ECA-B00A-D9410826C45DPlease remember to leave a comment here so I know you stopped by (don’t forget to fill out the captcha so we get your comment)!


Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  1. Tracey says:

    Your flowers are beautiful and so are you and your daughter. We stayed home for our 4-day 4th of July holiday. It was heaven…gardening, making pickles, a big batch of homemade dog food and blueberry-peach crumble.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Tracey, awww, thank you SO much! Sounds like you had a dreamy Fourth – my kind of day! Your blueberry-peach crumble sounds divine! I planted blueberry bushes in my garden years ago. They are doing well – blueberries are not quite ready yet, but when they are, a crumble sounds like a good plan! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Lori Fresina says:

    Wonderful post. I too love badminton and recently got 2 rackets and old feather cocks. . Enjoy your stay cation.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Lori, thank you! I love hearing that others like badminton, and sounds like you found a good treasure! Have fun! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Lori Fresina says:

    Wonderful post

  4. Marti Wynne says:

    I loved your staycation. Thanks for sharing It really is about the little things. The things that make you stop and smile. And rest!!! I love not being in a hurry…. I’m going to have a few days of staycation with one of my granddaughters and I can’t wait. It’s not often I have one on one time alone with any of my grands because we live 3 hours apart. When one comes , the rest want to come as well. And who can say no I especially loved your dreamy hammock and I may work on getting one so I have a comfy place to curl up with a good book❤️ There is nothing like turning those pages….( no phone in hand ☺️).
    Happy Summer and Treasure Hunting

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marti, thank you! It sounds like you have a wonderful vacation ahead! I loved spending time with my grandmother. I still remember the going to the farmers’ market with her and my mom, and then she would spend the night with us when my dad traveled for work. She and I would stay up late, after my mom went to bed. I treasure those memories, and your grands will treasure their time with you, as well. Have a great time! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Susan says:

    That was a Pileated woodpecker you saw! I’ve only seen one in my life and they are huge! Have a wonderful summer! ❤️

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Susan, it was so exciting to see him! At first, I saw this big glob of black spiraling down a tree trunk – at first I thought it was a bear cub! Then I saw the red! He was so spectacular! I am disappointed that I only got the one photo, but he moved so fast, and I have not seen him again. I hope he comes back! Thanks for reading and commenting, and confirming the name of the bird! I will read up more on him. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Sandra says:

    I LOVED reading about your summer-so-far and your staycation plans. Every bit of it. Beautiful in every way! Thank you so much for sharing. <3

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sandra, thank you so much! I am so glad you enjoyed my post. It has been a great summer so far, especially nice weather, too. I hope you are enjoying your summer, as well! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Marybeth says:

    Love reading about all the things going on at your place. Sounds like a lovely and quiet place to spend time.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marybeth, thank you. It is pretty quiet, and I love seeing all the birds and bugs. My gardening efforts have paid off and I look forward to all the little creatures that visit! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Jill Yelland-DeMooy says:

    Great post, I loved hearing all the things you’re up to.

  9. Jill Yelland-DeMooy says:

    Great post! I loved hearing all the things you’re up to.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Jill, thank you so much! I feel like nowadays it is so important to enjoy our own surroundings, make our homes cozy and a happy place to be! Thanks for reading and commenting! Hope you are having a wonderful summer! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Donna says:

    Badminton was game of choice as kids. Maybe why pickle ball is so popular with seniors

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Donna, funny, I was just thinking about that yesterday when my daughter and I were playing badminton. We have a pickle ball court at our walking trail Fairfield Hills, and it is always filled with players. Looks fun! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Kiki says:

    Thank you, Nicole for this soothing and inspiring post! ☮️ Kiki

  12. Judy says:

    Such a happy post, a wonderful respite in this troubled world. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your summer with us. Your gardens are beautiful.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Judy, thank you! The gardens do take a lot of work, but I love when they are all blooming, especially since we have such long winters. Enjoy the rest of your summer! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. “Find the happy”-perfect words for this summer! I’m sure trying and thanks for the well-put reminder 🙂

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi April, thank you, and don’t you think we have had a really pretty one here in CT (even if it has been a wee bit hot lately)…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for sharing your stay vacation plans. We enjoy staying home. We fix things around the hose. We are trying to de- clutter a little. We are reading and even have started to read a few Christmas books. We are happy staying home and love our air conditioners. We have the same problem with the squirrels, they dig up all the bulbs we plant. We tried pepper and it does not help. Enjoy your stay vacation.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marilyn, your summer sounds great to me! It’s been a really good one, and I truly have enjoyed my garden and yard more than ever. A few more weeks and we will be thinking fall…and then Christmas before you know it! I have lost some of my hostas to rabbit nibbles, but they are just so darn cute! Always good to hear from you, Joan and Marion. Enjoy the rest of summer! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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