Winter Garden Coop Jam


It’s winter, that’s it…


There’s a rosemary plant hiding under the barrel, rock and large clump of dirt, lol. It will be a miracle if this plant makes it through this extremely unbelievably cold, long winter. That sprig of thyme will though…


A single egg


but fear not! There’s a traffic jam at the nesting box. More are on the way!

I turned around and here she was, patiently waiting her turn. This chicken reminds me of my oldest daughter, she’d be doing the same thing.


It does my heart good to see them waiting at the door again.

IMG_4706See you later sweetie pie.

Enjoy everything!


Free At Last!


After spending the last couple of weeks inside their coop our girls have finally decided to venture out to see what’s going on in the world.

It helps that after enduring snow, ice, wind, rain and extreme cold it’s 55 degrees today.

In all our winters of chicken keeping I’ve never seen them just refuse to come out like this. They sat inside for weeks. Here we are watching the skaters last weekend.

IMG_4595Of course things like that nice heater and fresh peppers to eat may play a part in their decision.

Sheba looks like she’s trying to remember what it was like to be outside.


Our little white hen and one of our pretty cochin look a bit shocked too.


Ever the lady, the little red hen stays out of the mud and just goes with the flow.


I think she knows something that I don’t.

I love her eyes. Wish that beak had focused a little bit better, but we’re a work in progress here.

I still think she’s the one who’s in charge (not everyone agrees). If she is, she just made her nine sisters spend three weeks in the house watching the wind blow.


Free at last!IMG_4622

Here’s the reason for the sudden venture outdoors… everything is melting including the pond. Hopefully the warm weather will last just long enough to smooth out the ice so it can re-freeze and put the skaters back in business.

How are  your chickens doing this winter? Are they laying any eggs? I’ve been BUYING free range eggs.

I think we need to do some daylight therapy or something.

Enjoy everything!


“The Ice Skating Pond Is Like a Garden”…

said my brother-in-law on the phone the other day… “think about it Michele, it’s all dependent on the weather, it all depends on if it rains or snows and if it’s warm or cold, it’s just like gardening, your always waiting to see how it’s going to go.”

He’s right, it is just like that. Michael and the kids worked hard to cut back the vegetation on the pond this fall.


It looked like this when they started. They cut and sawed and dug and moved everything out to create a nice big space for the rain to fill with water. Then we prayed for rain. It took awhile but now…


we have a skating pond. They’re spending hours out there having a ball!


Hockey is a very big focus…


This guy lives for the sport.

IMG_4549My little girl is more of a figure skater but she was keeping up with the stick pretty well today.

IMG_4562 It does my heart good to look down and see this.

IMG_4542I took pictures and cheered them on. The afternoon sun warmed me up and gave me energy…

IMG_4560so I could climb back up this hill…

and head inside to look over seed catalogs and think abut the gardens ahead. While I’m doing that I’ll keep hoping and praying for ice friendly weather.

Life is so, so good here in our winter garden.

Enjoy everything!


Winter Lettuce and Spinach On the Rooftop!

I’d like to introduce the “other blog” in my life! Bass River Gardens is the blog that I’ve created with the individuals who I work with in my position as an adaptive gardening specialist. Last week we planted an experiment in our new “cold frame” and I thought it might be a good time to share Bass River here on The Salem Garden. This is a really cool project and so easy to do! Check it out, and while your there please look at some of the other posts that we’ve created and follow us! We’re having a good time in the Bass River Gardens, even in the cold weather! Michele

Bass River Gardens

We made a cold frame for our rooftop garden a few weeks ago. A cold frame is like a little greenhouse and it’s used to extend the growing season by keeping in the heat and keeping out the cold, snow and wind. We made ours very inexpensively using window well covers, metal clips and bungie cords. You can watch the video that showed us how to do it here.

We decided to try to grow different kinds of lettuce and spinach to see what varieties would grow best in the cold frame.


We made labels for each packet of seeds,


Then we went up to the roof, lifted the cover off and got ready to plant.


Each set of seeds was gently planted.


And carefully marked  with a white label.


When we were done planting we had five varieties of lettuce and three types of spinach ready to grow!



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Scooter Walking By The Ocean

This walkway on the ocean is just a mile away from here, on the border of the city of Lynn and the town of Swampscott.  It’s a great place to get out and take a good walk. We’ve been enjoying it lately as it’s one of the few places thats cleared to walk with so much snow on the sidewalks and roads. It’s also a nice place for my kids to ride scooters and bikes. The roadway to the side is busy, but far enough away that we all feel quite safe. I’m not sure that the other walkers feel quite safe but the kids try their best to be considerate.



My little guy edited these photos. He loves to play with iphoto. It’s fun to see what he comes up with.IMG_0667



There’s the Boston skyline in the background, and a touch of “antique” in the editing process. The city is really a little bit further away than it looks. There must be a photographic term for when the distant background advances forward in a photo?  Anyone know?IMG_0679

Looking over at the small town of Nahant. Nahant is an island that is connected to the mainland by a very thin causeway. See the plane landing at Logan in the background?IMG_0680

And turning around, looking back at Swampscott…IMG_0684 I love a brisk walk in cool ocean air!

Enjoy everything!


A Little Bit of Ice Sculpture

I love, love, love ice sculpture and this weekend is the Salem So Sweets ice sculpture event. It was originally scheduled for last week but it was postponed due to the blizzard. It’s hard to believe that that was a week ago already. Where did the week go?

There are sixteen sculptures this year. I always think their amazing, so every year I lead a spirited tour around town to take a look. We just saw a portion of them today because my little guy was sick all week and this was his first venture out of the house. My little girl doesn’t share my love of ice sculpture and wanted to go to Target to buy a new toothbrush. I really did not want to go to Target. I could have stayed downtown all day. We forged on…

This pretty heart was outside of Rockafellas Restaurant. Rockafellas hosted the festival’s wine and chocolate party so it’s a very fitting decoration for their entry way. DSC01808

This guy was further down the street.DSC01810

The detail is amazing.DSC01814

Last year a head was stolen from one of the sculptures. What a cute play on that! DSC01821


The Taj Mahal graced the entrance to the  PEM (Peabody Essex Museum)… DSC01823

And this film projector outside of the Salem Cinema has a special story. A few months ago the Cinema announced that in order to remain open their projection system had to be upgraded to a digital format. The price tag for this was $60,000.  A fundraising campaign was organized and within twelve days the Cinema had reached its goal. Our community loves this theatre because the theatre loves our community.   DSC01890


I could have stayed all day, there were lots of other sculptures to see, but it just wasn’t our day. Maybe we’ll get back down there later in the week if the weather stays cold.

If you have kids of any age be sure to check out Happy Holligan’s colored ice post just below. What a fun thing to do with the kids when cabin fever sets in. I’m heading to my freezer to stock up on some colored ice. It’s school vacation week here, the perfect time to make some ice creations!

The ice won’t be here for long, garden days are coming!

Enjoy it while you can!