Grandma’s Garden in Delaware-2014

A few years ago I blogged about my mother-in-law’s beautiful garden. We don’t get to Delaware every year and it’s always a treat to get out of the car after our long journey and step into the garden.  It’s interesting and whimsical and fun!

IMG_6430We caught the last little bit of larkspur and that very long coned rudbeckia..

IMG_6477The larkspur adds pops of color everywhere.

IMG_6439I haven’t seen this in Massachusetts.

IMG_6433The shagbark hickory tree has grown and become the focal point in the last few years…

IMG_6482with good reason.

IMG_6438Elephant’s ear winters over in Delaware, imagine that?

IMG_6470I love this little clay birdhouse/feeder and I’m wondering what that tall plant to the left might be?

IMG_6478Looking out toward the back yard…

IMG_6480Michael’s mom is an avid garage sale and thrift shop hunter so the ornaments are always changing.

IMG_6486The hear no evil statue is a new addition. I thought it was funny that Michael just gave me a similar statue a few weeks ago.

IMG_6429This guy continues to keep watch from the deck.

IMG_6492He has help now.

IMG_6467And Chester takes care of on the ground surveillance.

I think they’ve got it covered.

It was a fun visit in a beautiful place. I hope we return soon!

Enjoy everything!




I Am NOT a Canner, I’m Just Not

So today was the day. It was time to make the jam!

I looked at the containers of fresh raspberries from the garden and decided that I was going to make delicious jam and can it to enjoy all winter. We mashed the berries, strained out all of the seeds, then cooked the mixture on the stove with sugar. I sterilized eight jars in the dishwasher just before I cooked the raspberries.  It looked great and was starting to jell so I took it off the burner and poured it into the jar(s).  Guess what happened?


IMG_6650produced this.


I can cook or bake almost anything but I just can’t make jam. Or maybe I just can’t make enough jam, or jam that’s soft and delicious and makes toast taste perfect.

I put the full jar into the boiling water bath for ten minutes. I don’t think the lid popped so I put it in the fridge.

I’m going to try to spend some time reading and watching videos and picking my canning friends’ brains.

One of the problems I have with canning is that everything I read or watch is different from the last thing I read or watched. I get dizzy trying to figure out which technique will work the best. Which pot or pressure cooker to use? What to put on the bottom of the pot, or not?  What size jars to use? How long to cook the preserve? Whether or not to use the fancy jar grabber that I bought a few years ago or should I just use tongs? There are a lot of heavy decisions in this canning business.

I’m lost.

I’m exhausted.

Time for bed.

I left the six unused jars on the counter so that their ready to go back into the dishwasher, along with the box of pectin, the jar mover tool, the lids and seals and my canning book. I’m still hoping that this might be my breakthrough canning year kind of like it was my breakthrough seed starting year.

Starting seeds is more fun than canning, even if they don’t make it.

Just saying…

Are you canning anything? Feel free to leave a link to your posts about your canning experience right in the comments.

You will become an official member of the Michele Parr canning turnaround team!

Thanks for listening!

Love, Michele







Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- July 2014!!

Hello, hello, hello!  We just got back last night from an eight day, multi-state. twenty hour or so car trip to see our families.  I fully intended to blog along the way but my internet access came and went (mostly went) and our stops at each place were relatively short so I took photos with the hope that I’ll share a few of them here in the next few weeks. Anyway, it’s GBBD which is a great way to jump back in to the blogosphere and say hi! Here’s what we came home to last night:

IMG_6618Ditch lily

IMG_6619Lavender, with bees

IMG_6620Black-eyed susan/rudbeckia, just beginning to bloom

IMG_6623Bee balm
IMG_6627I’m not sure about this, it’s almost invasive in a beautiful way


IMG_6631A big dill flower, I couldn’t resist…

IMG_6633Pansies and verbena in the chicken coop window box

IMG_6634The beginning of the liatris

IMG_6635Balloon flower rose campion rose campionobedient plantObedient plant… does a wonderful job of luring cucumber beetles away from the cucs..

Maybe another obedient plant? Maybe another variety of obedient plant? Talk to me….

Bellflowerand the bellflower…

I seem to have lots of tall blooms that would be pretty in a vase…

Be sure to check out May Dreams Gardens for all of the other GBBD posts!!

I hope your all well and I can’t wait to catch up on all of my favorite blogs!





July 4th (Oh Wait, It’s the 5th) at the Salem Willows, 2014

I’ve had tons of hits over the past few days from people looking for information about the Horribles Parade, so here it is, along with our walk through the neighborhood after. Those Willows residents know how to celebrate! The parade was delayed a day because of Hurricane Arthur’s track up the coast but today was absolutely beautiful. If we ever leave our spot up here “on the hill” we’re moving to the Willows!

The beginning of the parade These ladies were having a great time IMG_6282 IMG_6293the band playedIMG_6294 IMG_6302 Willows games IMG_6307 IMG_6308 IMG_6310 IMG_6314 LOL IMG_6321 IMG_6322 It is a horribles parade... IMG_6327 IMG_6328 IMG_6329 IMG_6330 IMG_6332 IMG_6334 IMG_6336 IMG_6340 IMG_6342 IMG_6343 IMG_6344 IMG_6347 IMG_6350 IMG_6352 IMG_6354 IMG_6356 IMG_6358 IMG_6359 IMG_6360 IMG_6362 IMG_6363 a photobomb by one of my gardening mentors Hammerhead sharks IMG_6372 Lemon sharks IMG_6376 a pool shark, lol IMG_6378 On to the neighborhood.. IMG_6383 IMG_6384 IMG_6385 IMG_6386 IMG_6387 IMG_6388 my gang walking IMG_6390 IMG_6391 IMG_6393 IMG_6394 IMG_6395 my friend Jane having a great time! IMG_6399 IMG_6400 IMG_6403 IMG_6404 It's a great party! The coolest garage door ever! And a beautiful silo IMG_6408 IMG_6409 IMG_6410 IMG_6411 IMG_6412 IMG_6413 This house was on the market a year or so ago, of course we had to look! IMG_6417 It suddenly got vey windy... IMG_6419

What’s Happening In the Garden- July 2, 2014

Good Morning and Happy July!

We left for a camping trip last Thursday (our last day of school was Wednesday) and came back to the work, garden, home and the new summer routine first thing Monday morning. I’m trying to get everyone settled in and caught up so I’ve been quite absent from The Salem Garden. Sometimes I wish I just had a few hours a day to garden and blog, but, that’s not the deal. Things are looking pretty good out in the garden anyway!

IMG_6275This statue is a recent gift from Michael.  I saw it in a shop downtown and liked it so he traded some chairs that were taking up lots of garage space for it. That’s scarlet runner bean ready to climb up the pole and decorate. I’m not sure that I agree with the “have no fun” ending to this saying, especially in terms of the speaking part, but I think it’s cute.

IMG_6249Zucchini are cooking… well, not cooking but growing. Last week I saw the beginning of the squash borer infestation and I buried the stem at the base of the plant immediately. I’m keeping an eye out for more but so far so good.

IMG_6250Oregon sweet peas

IMG_6251And the alaska variety… salmon and peas are on the menu for the Fourth of July!

IMG_6252The horseradish is back. This got a slow start this spring. I think I harvested deeply last year so it took a little while to reach the surface again.

IMG_6254Tomatoes are coming along. They need to be staked and weeded asap.

IMG_6255Some marketmore organic cucumber taking off. This variety got good reviews and so far I can see why. A trellis might be helpful here.

IMG_6256I bought cauliflower seedlings at the Witchcraft Heights Elementary School plant sale. Remember my cauliflower fiasco last year? Click here to read about it  if your feeling brave. These plants were so cute and for a good cause so here we go again…

IMG_6257Sweet little marigolds… they’ll be everywhere soon!

IMG_6258I slid some peppers in here and there where I found bits of space. We’ll see how that approach works.

IMG_6259Silver and Gold are still working their way in to the flock. I think their dreaming about better days but they’ll be okay soon.

IMG_6261Kale… anyone have a great kale chips recipe?

IMG_6262The red onions look happy with the exception of the obvious weeds and rocks which I need to remove, and I will, as soon as I get a few minutes, sometime… soon.

IMG_6263Here’s their flower. When are they ready? Betsey, talk to me!


IMG_6271The window box on the coop is planted, not perfectly, but it’s okay.

IMG_6272The cold weather has been awesome for lettuce.

IMG_6273Mesclun has bolted and will be coming out to make way for some swiss chard that I have started.

IMG_6268And finally, here’s my favorite rose bush, the one that I rescued from the Harrington estate…

IMG_6269nestling a carefully kicked football in it’s branches.

That’s how things are in a yard full of kids, chickens and chaos…

Time to get to work!

How’s your garden growing?

Lots of love,