Flannel Jammies Farm

...praising God on our 1/5 acre of suburbia

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Canning and Sunflowers and Farmers Market

When I leave work on Wednesday afternoon, and my weekend begins, I eagerly anticipate the 4 days ahead.  What shall I do?  Where shall I go?  The choices in today's world are endless, but my heart returns to the homey things, the rustic things, the simple joys.

This week our garden ripened with so many good things to eat!  There is an abundance of pickling cucumbers, some we've eaten cut into tender spears with supper, some we've mixed in an old-fashioned salad.  Since I've started canning with the gift Trista gave me, I thought I'd try making pickles... bread and butter pickles!  The sliced cucumbers were mixed with onions and garlic and pickling salt, then left to rest in the fridge under crushed ice for several hours.  When removed from the fridge and drained, I added them to a boiled mixture of vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard seed, and celery seed.  The hot mixture was ladled into sterile jars and processed in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Soon we had several pints of delicious bread and butter pickles to enjoy!
There are so many other things bursting to life in our gardens.  We're loving the sunflowers and the bee and butterfly garden filled with daisy, bee balm, butterfly bush, coneflower, and lamb's ear.

Most Saturday mornings, we venture out to the Old Beach Farmers Market with Scarlett.  We do much of our shopping at the farmers markets these days.  Today we saw many familiar faces, some furry, and we took in the sights and smells of the earth's bounty.
Scarlett and Sage... Sage has grown a bit!
Tasha's Own Soaps
Weeping Radish
At the New Earth Farm booth

Beautiful blossoms

Flowers and herbs and garlic
Cromwell blackberries
So, in the end, I didn't jet off to Paris or write the great novel or change the world, 
but it has been a beautiful weekend, 
filled with the good gifts of God, 
filled with sweetness and love and smiles.

Wishing for you the simple joys this weekend!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some photos, finally...

Massanetta Springs is beautiful.  It's a rural-ish retreat, tucked neatly in the shadow of Harrisonburg.  There are lovely old trees and ripening wild berries and butterflies and thundershowers.  And each Spring, I travel there to hear the voices of my sisters in faith... whispers of God-awe, laughter released after being so long imprisoned by daily life, prayer songs lifting to heaven, and re-awakened creativity breathed out.  It is a joyous time of refreshment and inspiration and fellowship.  I am too grateful, surprised by the gift each year.

sunrise at Massanetta Springs

thanks for the directions!
a few of the banners from across the Mid-Atlantic
Sondra and Cathy, the planners
the songbook
singing from the hymnal
Cathy addresses the gathering
Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer
smiling face, knitting hands
George is a great driver... really
all aboard!
the path to Steele Chapel
inside the Chapel
bridge after a Spring rain
in the Prayer Center
in the Prayer Center
friends quietly gathered in the Prayer Center
sharing stories from the quilt workshop
Providence women in the PW logo
sweet friends on our last morning at Massanetta

 Rejoice and be glad....
Matthew 5:12a

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Art Saves...

...and heals 
...and speaks 
...and moves 
...and blesses.
This book has become my newest treasure.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I'm feeling a bit frayed today.            From the verb, "fray":



transitive verb
a : to wear (as an edge of cloth) by or as if by rubbing : fret b : to separate the threads at the edge of 
That's it.  I'm feeling worn around the edges, rubbed threadbare by the dis-ease and car trouble and sadness and busy-ness of life on this earth.  Like bits of me are hanging like loose threads as I try to keep everything tidy and running smoothly.  
So it must be time for a little break.  A little tea, a quiet place, a doggie by my side.  And then I will open the Pages of healing and peace and joy.  I will drink deep the Living Waters.  I will be refreshed by the Word.   I'll see you all when my frayed edges have been smoothed by the Maker.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Home Again...

Thanking the Lord today for His faithfulness, for safe travel, for all the huge and tiny gifts over the last few days.  He has brought me home, to my little house and my loving family and my abundant garden and new ministries He has called me to.  In Ann's words:  All is grace.
Rainbow after the storms at Massanetta Springs

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Four Days Away...

I am going to be away for four days at a yearly gathering of women in the mid-Atlantic region to study, to sing, to pray, to laugh, to fellowship, to refresh.  It's a time of recharging our batteries in the wonder of God's creation. 
I humbly ask your prayers...  for my family while I am absent from them, for safe travel, for spiritual refreshment, and for me to glorify God in the workshops I am to present.
Peace and Joy to you and yours until I return.

Photos are from the 2010 Gathering.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bottle Tree... and more

A few years back, the hubby and I went to the Mid-Atlantic Home and Garden Show.  That particular year there were whimsical garden displays featuring colorful tires and a Volkswagen... pure fun.  We attended an intimate workshop with Felder Rushing on Slow Gardening and were introduced to Bottle Trees.  It was love at first sight (the Bottle Trees, not Felder, though he is lots of fun!) and I knew that someday I would have my own Bottle Tree.

Never heard of them?  Yeah, totally Southern.  Totally NOT acceptable in many of the neighborhoods in Hampton Roads.  We, however, live in a cozy little working-class neighborhood where I garden like crazy and hang my laundry out in the sun and light luminaries along the walkway for trick-or-treaters and generally play in my yard.

Bless his heart, Tom had been collecting bottles since that garden show.  We now had a spare, if slightly warped, 4x4 post.  We have a beautifully red Japanese Maple with a perfectly indented spot in the foliage, right in the front.  Tom pre-drilled holes in the post and attached long, heavy nails.  We checked the look with some blue, green and clear bottles.

Hhhmmmm... I think I like it!  We finished it off with a cute white birdhouse as a finial.  Our outdoor dining table is nearby and we'll enjoy sitting there and watching light play on the colored glass.

Well, that was fun!  What to do with leftover bottles???   How 'bout further exploration of Southern recycling efforts?  Tom decided that there is never enough room for tomatoes in the veggie garden.  He thought we needed one more tomato bed... in the front... bordered with buried bottles.  He didn't even take the labels off!
What's next?  Maybe recycled truck tires, painted white, filled with geraniums, just like Grandma's house!

Find your joy, recyclers and gardeners... garden like no one is watching!!!