Finding Joy in A New England Spring


Hi Farmgirl Friends! This time of the year in New England, things get busier than ever. There are festivals, restaurants put their patio tables out, kids play outdoor sports, things are bustling all around, and each day brings new blooms. There’s a lot of joy to be found in a New England spring, something I have lately needed a big dose of! 

I hope your spring is off to a great start, and you are not being affected by the extreme weather we have seen lately on the National news. Unfortunately, this has not been the best spring for us. Everyone has little stresses in life, but sometimes they just seem to pile up! I have joked that with all the bad luck I have experienced lately, I could write a country song!

Worst of all, since my last blog post, our little elderly chihuahua, Pip, has sadly crossed the rainbow bridge. 


Even though we knew he was at least fifteen years old, losing a pet brings on an awful grief. My family has cried buckets of tears, as we get used to a new “normal” where he isn’t here. We have lost loved ones, friends, and pets before, but losing this little guy was especially difficult. He was a part of my daughter’s childhood, and it seems like losing him was like a closing chapter in that wonderful time of life. “Smaller than a squirrel”, he was my little baby boy, and I will always miss him. I am so grateful to the rescue that we adopted him from. We were so blessed to have him as part of our family for ten years. 

I had someone say to me, “That’s why I don’t have pets. It is too hard when we lose them”. I disagree! Pets are one of the greatest joys in life! To me, grief is something that finds us, but joy is something we have to find, even when things are less than rosy. 

My three pups miss their wee buddy, too. They make me us so happy and bring us such love.

My three pups miss their wee buddy, too. They make me us so happy and give us such unconditional love.

My heart is broken – I’m mourning my dog, but I’m still finding joy. For one, I am reveling in the changing seasons. Spring in New England is amazing. Every day there is something new to notice. Nature is one of those things that brings joy. One life lesson that my little five-pound pup taught me was to stop and “take notice”.


Pip LOVED warmth and sunshine, and on sunny days, he would often pull me with his leash over to the rocking chair on the porch, wanting me to sit down so he could jump on my lap. It was as if he was saying, “Come on, Mama, just take a pause.” He taught me to pause.  This time of year, I love to notice what is going on in my surroundings.




In Connecticut, native spicebush is one of the first things to bloom. One day, it’s blooming yellow, the next covered in lush green leaves. I love the trunk – the wood reminds me of a salted, yummy soft pretzel.


Bulbs, like daffodils, show their faces next, and things all around start to “green”. The beauty of Connecticut is especially joyful in the spring season.

Leafy hostas are peeking up…

Leafy hostas are peeking out…

While bleeding hearts look like little dancing ballerinas.

While bleeding hearts look like little dancing ballerinas.

Pansies are one of the first flowers to bring cheer and can handle chilly New England spring air.

Pansies are one of the first flowers to bring cheer and can handle chilly New England spring temps.

A wee ant casts a big shadow on a weedy flower.

A wee ant casts a big shadow on a weedy flower (Barren Strawberry)

A spidery web catches rain droplets on emerging azalea leaves.

A spidery web catches rain droplets on emerging azalea leaves.

Little buds on an apple tree…

Little buds on an apple tree…

And flowering quince so covered in blooms it looks like a frosted cupcake.

And flowering quince so covered in blooms it looks like a frosted cupcake.

Things are so beautiful at my favorite walking trail, as well.

Clouds and sun reveal green grass, previously brown just a few weeks ago.

Clouds and sun reveal green grass, previously brown just a few weeks ago.

Pip and I logged many miles together on this trail. Now Trooper is my walking buddy. This week, some trees have leaves, others are not quite in bloom.

Pip and I logged many miles together on this trail. Now Trooper is my walking buddy. This week, some trees have leaves, others are not quite in bloom.

“C’mon Mom, let’s go!”

“C’mon Mom, let’s go!”

Not one to sit still for very long (even on days off), staying busy brings me joy. Spring clean up is a chore, but at the end of the day, we sleep soundly! We just got what seems like a mountain of mulch delivered. It’s hard work to put it down, but my husband and I will work on it together, and when all is done, everything will look so nice! (I will also be happy in having less weeds to pull, and it helps keep my plants from drying out in the hot summer sun).


It’s important to prepare beds before putting down mulch. Putting new mulch on top of old mulch can cause molds, mildew and other plant issues.


I am so happy with my new “Rugg leaf scoops” I picked up this season. After seeing them first at the Connecticut Garden show, I forgot to go back at the end of the day to pick some up.  I was thrilled to find a pair at a local store! Amazon also carries them. Those leaf scoops made one of my most difficult gardening jobs a piece of cake! 


We finished cleaning out the flowerbeds, waiting until now to remove any leaves or leftover debris, as butterflies might be hatching. The first butterflies I saw were Nymphalis antiopa, or Mourning Cloak butterflies. They emerged on a chilly spring day to dry their wings in the sun, which made my heart so happy to see!


Gardening brings me such joy. In New England, we have to start our seeds indoors. Turning the grow light on each morning and seeing my little seedling babies makes me happy. I can’t wait until the soil is warm enough and it is time to plant everything outdoors in the raised beds. Can’t you just taste that juicy tomato, warm from the sun and fresh off the vine? One of life’s little joys!


My little backyard flock is happy now that it is spring. With longer days, the girls are laying lots of beautiful, fresh eggs. My hens make me laugh with their antics. 


Joy is also something you can give to others. I find joy in making things, and love to give away things that I make from the heart. I took advantage of the bumper crop of dandelions to make my favorite jam, Sunshine or Dandelion jelly. (Find the recipe in my past blog post, “Hooray For Weeds”).


Like a cross between marmalade and honey, it’s so good on a cracker with a slice of sharp cheese and a dab of jelly on top. 

I am so proud that my daughter, now a licensed hairdresser, works for an organic salon. I recently got to join my daughter on her lunch break. Her lovely boss, Nancy, motioned me toward the back of the salon.


In honor of Earth Day, she was giving out peach tree saplings from her trees at home! I was so excited to be gifted four new baby trees for our little “orchard” that we put in last year! Nancy was giving out joy! Imagine, when each year those trees bear fruit, that the joy will continue!

What’s the best part of joy? It’s contagious! My dear knitting student, Barbara, recently celebrated her 90th birthday!

This beautiful lady has such a joy for life, and it shows!

This beautiful lady has such a joy for life, and it shows!

Barbara’s daughter baked the most delicious vanilla cupcakes with scrumptious buttercream icing to celebrate with everyone in class. Look at the joy in Barbara’s smile! You can’t help but feel joyful, too. Barbara always lights up a room. She’s always smiling, and she often makes me laugh. She is a ray of sunshine. Happy Birthday, Barbara, you are such an inspiration! 

When we feel joy, we carry it with us. I hope this post brought you a bit of joy, too! Leave me a comment so I know you dropped by (and please remember to do the “captcha” so your comment goes through).

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  1. Sharon says:

    So thankful for your joy-filled words! It truly is the little day to day moments that provide a burst of happiness & continuous contentment.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sharon, thank you. I do think that the saying is true, happiness is a choice. Have a wonderful spring, and thank you for commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Lori Fresina says:

    Wonderful blog! Sorry about you bb. It sounds like your daughter is doing well and that’s makes a mom and all moms happy! Happy day!!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Lori, thank you ever so much. Yes, I am so very proud of my daughter and all that she has accomplished. She is my heart! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Denise says:

    Thank you for sharing your springtime with us! Love this post Nicole.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise, thank you so much. I am glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you are having a wonderful start to the spring season. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Marge Turner says:

    My heart goes out to you having to say good bye to your little Pip.Our pets bring us so much joy! I love your posts and the photos are beautiful. We have had an unusual winter/spring with weather and health issues in our family. My tulips may not bloom as they’ve had so much snow on them as they tried to push through! I think the garlic will survive. God is so good to us we are reminded by sweet spring ‘firsts’ that hope abounds! Thank you for these reminders.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Dear sweet Marge, I am so sorry to hear that you have also had a less-than-perfect spring. I hope things become sunnier in the coming months. Sending warm thoughts and big hugs to you! Much love, Nicole

  5. Jacqueline says:

    What a wonderful Spring article. I am so sorry for your loss. Our pets are so ingrained in our family structure that the loss is truly a difficult time. We grieve to the level we love!
    I live in PA, but I have always thought I would end up in New England. I adore and love everything about Maine and Vermont and well all of New England. Cape Cod, Providence Town, Bar Harbor, Salem, Portland, Freeport are just a few must sees on our trips.
    I envision a time when I will have a fruit orchard that I may grow my own and make my own jams, fruit syrups, pies, frozen fruits, etc. Sending out positive energy that your peach seedlings will bear amazing fruit 🙂 Warm Blessings, Jacqueline

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Jacqueline, thank you so much. I love what you said – “We grieve to the level we love”. So true! You did not mention where in PA that you live, but we used to live in PA, too. I always found everyone so nice there. Maine and Vermont are two of my favorite states, as well, but Connecticut has so much beauty, too. And Rhode Island, another favorite spot. Thanks so much for dropping by! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Hi Nicole☀️
    Happy Springtime. You are truly an inspiration and I enjoy reading your blog. I would very much like to see a yard full of dandelions among the manicured yards in the neighborhood. My backyard hen flock would love dandelions also. Blessings to you and yours!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Karen, thank you for the nice comment. I am so glad you enjoyed the blog. We do not put any kind of weed killers on our lawn because we have well water, dogs, and chickens! I don’t mind the dandelions – they actually sell dandelion greens in Whole Foods! When I see that, I just shake my head. Happy spring wishes to you and your flock! Thanks for dropping by! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Dorothy says:

    Thank you for your posts. For sharing you sorry and your joys and the wonderful pictures so we can enjoy what is happening in your part of the world.

  8. Grace Brown says:

    Dear Nicole… Hugs for your loss,, Sweet Pip…
    I agree,, the pain is tearing at our hearts, but we would/will gladly open our hearts again to the pain, to have the love of a sweet devoted fur & paws child as well as loved ones..

    Hugz-n-squisches always

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Dear sweet katmom, thank yoiu. So true. I am so happy to have my two big doggies and little one to make me giggle again. They are so sweet. I appreciate the nice card you sent. I also have the embroidered face you sent of Pip. It is on my sewing table now to make a special pillow. It looks just like him. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Marilyn says:

    Hi Nicole, Sorry for your loss of Pip. He was a cutie! Spring has sprung in New York. We cleaned up some of the back yard,but there is a lot more to do. The front has blossomed. The forsythia bushes are starting to lose their yellow. Our azalea bushes have bloomed. We wanted to mow our front yard,unfortunately the mower died. We have bought a new one. In the meantime a neighbor used his mower to cut our grass. Our pansies are not too good. One is striving nicely. Hope to get out next week and do some more cleaning up. We had a lot of leftover leaves from Autumn. Have a good week end and enjoy your gardening.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi dear Joan, Marion, and Marilyn, thank you for your kind words about Pip. Sounds like you are on your way to a busy spring, too. We had a lot of leftover leaves from Autumn, as well, remnants of some of the crazy storms and wind we had in winter. Pansies have had issues the last few years, but so far, mine are doing okay. I am happy to see the carrots peeking up this week. Next, pototoes will go in the ground. I can’t wait for summer and a full garden! Happy spring to you all. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Judy says:

    Hi Nicole,
    I am so sorry for your loss of Pip. I know that horrible emptiness our amazing friends leave. I agree with you while the loss is so hard, the gifts our fur babies give us make the loss bareable. Finding joy is the key, as you point out and joy is what our fur babies teach us. Thank you for your joy filled post.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Judy, thank you so much. I agree, and I would not trade one moment I had with that little dog. My furbabies are such a happy part of the family. I hope you are having a wonderful spring. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Ruth Farmer says:

    So sad to hear about your loss. It’s so difficult to lose one of our fur babies. Thank you for the lovely pictures and looking forward to your next reading. Greetings from Colorado! Ruth

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Ruth, thank you so much. I am betting that Colorado springs are beautiful, too. I have never been there, but it looks so pretty in every photo I have ever seen. Thank you for dropping by! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Tammy L Thomson says:

    Hi Nicole, First of all, I’d like to say how sorry I am for the loss of your dear little Pip. It is one of life’s hardest things, to lose a pet who has become part of the family….I am glad to hear that you are being inspired by the beauty and business of Spring. Your photos are beautiful. Thank you so much for taking the time to take and share those, And to be so gracious as to lift the rest of us up with your positivity despite the pain. You are an inspiration. 🙂 Blessings, Tammy

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Tammy, thank you ever so much. Your comment means so much to me. I hope you are having a lovely spring! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Deb says:


    I am sorry to hear about your dear Pip. Our pets are always a special part of our lives.
    I enjoyed the spring photos and the reminder that warmer and more colorful days are coming. I can’t wait to see my hummingbirds at my feeders.

    Blessings to you and your family

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Debbie, thank you so much. I will never forget the many special moments we had with our little chihuahua.

      It is raining today, but that means more blooms when the rains stop! I can’t wait for hummingbirds, either. They are not here yet, but soon! They love my bee balm and we enjoy having breakfast at the kitchen table and watching them eat from the feeder outside the window. So sweet!

      Happy spring to you and yours! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Denise says:

    I’m so sorry about your sweet Kip. They are worth the joy! Your blog post does bring me joy too. Thank you for that joy even with a sad part to share with us. Loved his pictures over the years.

  15. Mary Murray says:

    Nicole, I’m so sorry to hear the sad news…the animals we have in our homes & hearts are such a part of our family. There’s a trust and a bond there like no other…I know how hard it is. After we lost Annie years ago, I never wanted another indoor dog…we had outdoor ones, and I loved them, but there was a distance that made it a bit easier when they passed. Now Bailey, another rescue, is so sweet she’s indoors most of the time, head on my lap or curled up as closely as possible. I’d forgotten how sweet that bond is. I hope the beauty of spring is helping to lift your spirits a little. Mary

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mary, thank you ever so much. I totally understand how you feel about your “Annie”. I have been so grateful that I have my other rescued pups…they have been so sweet and they have been grieving, too. Spring is here finally, and the “busy” it brings has been such a help. I miss my little boy pup so much, and almost everyday, still, one month after, I find something that was his, or reminds me of him, and it stings, but I am okay. Pets are one of the best blessings ever! Thank you for reading and for your sweet comment. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *