HELLO DARLINGS, Yes, I am still here! Sometimes I think my life is so NORMAL that it’s actually too boring to write about. But then I get little notes from my Girlfriends and find out, you just like letters from home 💞, so that’s what you have here: A letter from home. 💌 Con MUSICA.
Normal view from normal kitchen window on a normal but AMAZING spring day, because there’s nothing normal about Spring!
It wasn’t so very long ago it looked like this!
I sprouted my sweet pea seeds indoors and they are all in the garden now!
Because this is the NEW normal.
Almost shocking, such a change! YUP, we’ve been planting like crazy, we got dirty, we drank iced-sun-tea. I waited almost two years for this sight. We were in England last year and missed our Vineyard spring, so this year, I hovered over the clematis, waiting to see if the miracle would happen, and Look, it did! Made me want to get busy on the rest of the garden!
Here we are, that’s the strawberry patch in the foreground looking over toward the vegetables. Yup, I know, magic.
We planted six different tomato varieties, three different kinds of lettuce, kale, and lots of herbs ~ 🎶 parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. 🎵 Oh yes, basil and peppers too (but they’re not in the song!)
We added compost and dug it all in, so the dirt was rich as cake crumbs, so easy to dig, a pure pleasure. More proof that if you want magic you can make it yourself! 💫 This little garden has brought us so much joy every single year of the 30 years we’ve lived here (yes, we’re planning an anniversary party in September to celebrate! 🎉). If you don’t already know, you can click on the words above and see how “My Toy” came to be. 🌷
We learned in Ireland that foxglove is the flower of the fairies. I believe it, nothing says, “cottage garden” more than these charmers. Bluebells help too! Spring is time of rebirth, and H O P E 🌸 . . . I happened to see this page ⬇️ I wrote on New Year’s Eve 1998 in an old diary and thought you would like it. . .
A whole lotta hopefulness back then ~ I have the same hopes and agenda today and still write them in my diary.✍️ And my tummy turns over every day, because I’m working on my new book, ENCHANTED, and loving every moment of it. 🎨
But you know what my favorite words from that diary entry were? 💘 Love is all that matters. 💘
So💞, back to the garden 🍓. . . we’ve had a strawberry patch for several years now . . . they survive winter and come back reliably every year and for a little while we get to bring in cereal bowls full of organic fresh juicy strawberries, free, straight from the garden with almost no trouble at all. 🍓
They’re almost ready to pick now! 🍓
And for the first time ever, we found not just one, but my TWO favorite roses here at a nursery on the island!!! This peachy one is called Just Joey . . . it’s my absolute number one favorite! I’ve never been able to find it here! So of course, we got two! Roses don’t grow on Martha’s Vineyard quite as well as they do in California, in fact my girlfriend Lowely calls them an “annual” ~ it’s not quite THAT bad, but my fingers are crossed for long life and good health. They’re not blooming yet, the photo above is from our garden in California where we fell in love with them (that is ONE bush in that picture!) ~ they’re prolific, disease-free, and SMELL like heaven. Same with the rose below, my other most favorite, called Julia Child ~ also prolific, disease free, and SMELLS? You guessed it! Like heaven! All three roses are now dug into our garden. I shall update you on their progress. I will be staring daily.
And so it begins . . . my little vases will have flowers in them until the first frost . . .
Now. This has developed into a problem.⚡️ I’ve always loved feeding the squirrels, and hope I soon love it again. But, this little mama gave birth to maybe 10,000 more of them. And suddenly they are everywhere, piglets, eating all the bird food, which I don’t mind, except the birds aren’t even trying anymore, and THAT, I do mind. 😬
I knocked on the window and said, Get Down! Two of them dropped to the ground, but Mama hung there looking at me like you talkin’ to ME? and didn’t move a muscle. 😱 So I cast about the kitchen for a weapon. Eyes fell on red napkins! Brilliant. Went outside, Mama took off, I rubbed my hands on the napkins to leave revolting people-smell and tied them to the wisteria. Cute, I thought, much better than barbed wire! 👍
And for the rest of the day, no squirrels came. I was a genius. Marveled to Joe. Broadcast my brilliance on Twitter. 🗣
Jack said, you are an idiot.
And Jack, as usual, was right. So we are going to spend some obnoxious amount of money for new squirrel-proof bird feeders . . . right now nobody is getting fed, in the meantime I’m hoping squirrel multitudes will learn to find food at the neighbors’ houses and forget all about us.
Then of course, there’s these guys. They eat the seed that drops when the squirrels do backflips off the feeders. They also eat tics. So we are hoping they do that.
This was our walk on March 11! Note trees with no leaves. Large arm on shadow denotes giant man’s leather jacket for freezing temps.
And this was today, walking in skirt, wearing no sweater . . . delightful change of seasons has occurred. MAS MUSICA? This one is for Rachel~Bellisima! 💋
It’s true, our walk through woods to the water is normal to us after all these years, but it’s still pure joy ~ no humidity yet, just a sweater-free, hat-free, dirt-road-walk through the woods.
. . . taking pictures of Rhododendrons, I call them the wildflower of the woodlands.
This is always our destination . . . I would love to be able to blow this cool, salty, perfumed air your way . . . I worry about our girlfriends in Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Texas, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin ~ from California to the New York islands, from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters ~ tornadoes and floods are wreaking havoc in so many places. Sending love and safety prayers to everyone. These crazy fires and weather disasters can land anywhere, any of us could be next ~ I’ve received letters from some affected, some who have lost everything ~ so heartbreaking in their detail, they make me cry, but at least we have each other. 💞 We can still help, we can still wish for each other on the very same moon. Mother Nature seems unhappy these last few years, and you know what they say, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I hope someone figures out how to give Mama a nap.💨💤
So, this was yesterday, Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, Mother Nature was asleep on a blanket under the dogwood tree, so it was a perfectly lovely day, and time to put our flag up. We hung out the upstairs windows to get the flag in place, and neither of us fell out! Hooray! Then I ran downstairs to get the camera and take it out front for the unveiling. While the screens are up on those windows, Jack is locked out of those rooms!
Here we go!
There it is . . . and there’s Jack in the window supervising (screen’s back down, but he still can’t get into the bedroom where Joe is!).
We can’t do it without him. We got the flag up, as we do every year, just in time for my favorite Island tradition . . .
. . . the Children’s Walk to the Sea . . . it happens on the Friday before Memorial Day . . . Now that I think of it, I’ve probably shown it on my blog every year! So now’s it’s our tradition too!
. . . the entire grammar school just up the street from us, kindergarten through 8th grade, carries their flags and flowers through the streets . . . and if I’m lucky one of them will wave and give me a smile . . .
They parade from the school, past our house, down Main Street to the sea where they throw their flowers into the water in memory of the men and women who’ve fought and died in war. 😢 They will always remember the real reason for Memorial Day, for these kids, it’s not just a holiday or a day off from school . . .
The beginning of the end of war lies in remembrance. ❣️ Herman Wouk
AND they bring their own MUSICA, the same old patriotic songs their parents marched to, and play Taps at the shore as their flowers float away . . . this wonderful custom has been going on every year since 1869, at the same school but with different kids ~ tying the generations together in a common memory. These small-town traditions are important, they contribute to pride of community. And my house has seen every single one of them, heard all the voices of all the children, and all the music.
Can you imagine?
When we bought our house in 1989, we didn’t know this came with it! The first year, I was painting in my Studio and heard the drums and clamoring playground voices coming closer, so I went running out to see what was going on, and got this smack in the eyeballs! Such a treat provided by these kids and their wonderful teachers! They aren’t the only ones who appreciate the reminder. 🇺🇸
So what else around here? Yes, still eating the MOST delicious food. Feeling wonderful. (Loving my new cup!) Soon we will add strawberries to the mix! And our own crisp lettuce and kale and hopefully juicy beefsteak tomatoes 🍅.
This is what some of our dinners look like. I have tonight’s dinner all planned: scrambled eggs, quinoa salad (based on the one on page 84 of Girlfriends Forever) and half an avocado! Pure health! And speaking of health…wait till you see this! ⬇️
This was Lowely’s birthday cake! Cutest and HEALTHIEST cake in the history of the world! 💗 Our girlfriend Martha made it . . . you would not believe how delicious it is! It’s just watermelon ~ which may sound boring and beyond normal, but do not be deceived. She cut the ends off a whole seedless watermelon and cut a cake shape out of the center in one piece. We think she did it with a 8″ springform cake pan because the shape was perfect. Isn’t it adorable? The rest of the decorations you can see: Mint leaves under the bottom of the cake. Piped cream cheese holds the blueberries rimming top and bottom. Green-grape halves go around the center. Feta cheese is crumbled over the top with baby tangerine segments. To serve: Cut it like a cake, sprinkle each piece with extra tangerine segments, feta crumbles, whipped cream, and/or mint chiffonade. It is SHOCKINGLY delicious 🍉, it’s fruit salad! It set the girlfriends ON FIRE simply because of how cute it was, everyone loved it. These colors would be perfect for anyone with an appreciation of whimsy! Any summer-night dinner in the garden, or at the beach, cries out for ice-cold watermelon cake.
Another serving idea would be to cut the cake and serve it with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of brown sugar because those two things go with watermelon in the BEST possible way! 🍉 How’s this for a summertime treat?!!!So, I went on line to see if others had figured out this brilliant thing, and found a resounding YES! I grabbed a few photos to show you . . .
So fun, the sky’s the limit with your imagination! You can even do smaller cakes with cantaloupe! I saw one cake decorated with starfruit! Very cute! 🍓
Whipped cream or sour cream would both work for frosting.
Layer cake for the Fourth of July!
Speaking of fun . . . lots of girlfriends are getting their cups and sending me photos on Twitter ~ @Sharrieboberry sent this one ~ and it just GOT me . . . thought you’d like to see it! Precious Corgi eyes are so melting! And here’s something else fun and new! A company asked if they could use my Martha’s Vineyard toile fabric to make shirts! So of course I said yes! Perfect thing to wear if you’re coming to the Island! Or even if you’re not! I think they’re mainly made for men, so I ordered one for Joe ~ but I HAD to have one, so I got a smaller one for me. Haven’t seen it yet, they just came in. Made by Mayor Clothing. Now Joe and I will be one of those couples wearing matching shirts. I NEVER thought it would happen to us! (And likely still won’t considering it would likely be over Joe’s dead body to be wearing the same shirt as me! 🤡)
AND, P.S., if you ARE coming to the island ~ there is now a store here that carries ALL my things . . . cups, signed books, hooked rugs, all kinds of things. It’s on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, called the Simon Gallery . . . if you come, say hello to Robin! Also, guess what? They’re also carrying Lowely’s (in real-life she’s Anna Lowell Finnerty) and Margot’s art! So this is Girlfriend Central on the island!
She even has a few of my things that aren’t available anymore . . . the original Days, for instance, I think it’s the very last of them. She’s open 10 am to 6pm, 7 days a week. The Gallery phone number with Robin on the other end is 508-693-0042.
We only have about half of our storm windows off so far, but Joe took off the glass doors and put the screens on, mainly for this guy, who loves to watch the world go by, and is very entertained by 10,000 squirrels searching frantically for food. (Don’t worry, someone around here throws handfuls of nuts out there for them to find in the grass.)🥜
It’s a big job. Wears you out after a while 😽. So we move a kitchen chair up for him . . . so he can guard the campground AND nap in the breeze.So, that’s all the normal for today Girlfriends! Hope you enjoyed spring on Martha’s Vineyard and praying you are getting lots of it where you are. 🌸 Remember, there are Free Things you can print out from my web store. And all kinds of wonderful RECIPES for the season. AND, yes, miracles do happen, our tiny vases and butter dishes and the rest of our new little things have finally shipped and will be arriving at our Studio on Thursday! They will begin going right out immediately. 💞 Thank you forever for your kind patience. Sending all my love from . . .
And even across the seas . . . you know who you are! 💞
Last but not least, something special to remind us of the reason for Memorial Day . . . gratitude, heart, memory, and love.
Girl Kitty, still haunting in the Heart of the Home.SIGN UP IF YOU’D LIKE TO RECEIVE MY BLOG IN YOUR EMAIL BOX.