Sunset at Cave Point

Door County, Wisconsin, is a peninsula of calm between Green Bay and Lake Michigan.  After a demanding summer repairing out buildings, gardening, teaching and helping our children ready The Groveland Chapel for business under their management, we are ready for an escape to apple orchards, farm markets, boutiques, specialty shops, light houses, white sand beaches, excellent restaurants, cooling breezes and turning leaves.  We are ready for Autumn along Lake Michigan!  It seems odd to be going on vacation with much of the country under stress, but my prayer life does not take a vacation.  I pack it to go.

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Garden Maintenance–Where Did My Morning Go?

A Variety of Tomatoes

Sling for a Melon                                                    Butternut Squash [winter squash]

Butternut Squash Taking Over the Garden

Leaving a second cup of coffee on the counter, I ducked outside–just to water the containers on the back porch, mind you…  Two hours later, I am reheating the coffee in the microwave and wondering how my morning  schedule was destroyed.

Watering the pot plants required starting the pump on the pond to refill the empty rain barrel.  [We could use a good rain.]  Since I already had the hose out and the pump on, I thought I should water the new starts of cilantro in the farm tub and the strawberries I planted last month.  Well–I might as well water everything, I thought.  The geese were cute as they tried to stay out of my way.  I turned a light spray on them to see if they wanted to play but they rebuffed me.  The yard is full of goose poo–it became a moral imperative to hose off the stepping stones to the garden so at least one path could take me through the worst of it.  Goose droppings are a natural fertilizer, but when they begin flocking, the application becomes a bit overwhelming.  Let’s just say there is no croquet in August and September…

The geese are having a regular pool party in our pond.  Between breaks in water sports, they come into the yard to gnaw on fallen apples.  I would estimate over thirty Canada geese spread out between the back yard and the Chapel garden where the fallen peaches are…

As I watered I noticed squash bugs on the pumpkin vines.  I set the hose spray on the herb bed and returned to the lower level of the barn to get the Seven spray.  I was wishing I had worn something cooler than jeans by this point, but then I wasn’t planning on staying outside, was I… I put on a Niki terry cloth sweat band that I kept downstairs as my face was beginning to perspire.  Back outside, I moved the hose to another spot and began spraying Seven.  The large sprayer would not work; I recalled Butch also had trouble with it.  So…back inside to get the small hand-held sprayer.  I used what was left in it and returned…again…to the garden room in the basement to refill the little sprayer from the big sprayer.  Sigh.

As I watered, I spotted more cantaloupe than I thought I had.  When I purchased my cantaloupe seed, I think there were winter squash seeds mixed in as I have Butternut squash everywhere.  [See vine picture above.]  There are so many squash vines, I have given up finding cucumbers.  I didn’t believe I had any melons at all but found one vine with two melons on it a few weeks ago. Today, I found four more melons, only about the size of goose eggs. These are hanging from their stems on the rabbit fencing.  I have already had squash that have broken from their vines and certainly do NOT want to lose any melons to gravity.

My grandmother would use her old nylon hose to tie up melons and squash–the old-fashion kind of nylon hose.  I cannot see using my old panty hose for anything exposed to view but did resort to making slings with recycled plastic bags.  If anyone had asked me what I would be doing today, making baby slings for cantaloupe would not have come to mind.

As I turned the spray on the green beans, I looked out at the Chapel Garden and thought the four large decorative planters should be watered as well.  As I pulled the hose to fill up the water barrel, I remembered I should pick the tomatoes.  While the barrel was filling, I waded into the tomatoes around the squash vines.  The barrel was still filling so I filled three buckets in the back of our John Deer Gator vehicle and drove out to the chapel to water the planters.  On the way back, I decided to water the pots in the front yard using the lake water and returned to the hose to refill the buckets–then drove to the front yard to water the four planters, two hanging pots on the porch, and the fern in the corner.

I refilled the two bird baths and decided the green beans could wait until later.  The bed was newly watered and would be muddy anyway, I reasoned, making my excuse more palatable.

I really did intend just to water the pots on the back porch and finish my second cup of coffee.  I’ll just have it with lunch.




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White Wash on a Hot Day

The large chapel porch has a new coat of paint.  It was a daunting task with so much gingerbread trim and lattice work.  But the family crew did it together to the sounds of The Drive oldies on the radio.  It took three gallons of white stain and several paint brushes and mini rollers.  Now the porch looks like a wedding cake, which is appropriate since it has seen over 2,000 weddings…and more to come.

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Schwinn Spitfire

It was fate when I found a Schwinn Spitfire at a flea market in Wisconsin and a bike basket at a garage sale in Illinois.  They were meant to go together.  Our son thought I was buying it to pose on the front porch.  When I began riding it around the village, he said, “But you are not wearing a helmet!”  I almost told him I didn’t wear a helmet when I was a kid either–none of us did.    But then, he will eventually be my care giver so I figure he has some say in the matter.

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June Flowers–The Garden At Its Peak

June is my favorite month for flowers in the garden.  Perhaps that is why brides like it so much?  The peonies are hard to beat, but when the oriental and field lilies begin to bloom incandescently, they take the starring role.




Plants that are self-sufficient make my gardening experience much easier–ones that perennially emerge and those that plant themselves from last season’s seed.  I enjoy the color and show and let them grow where it is convenient while spending most of my time on the vegetables and herbs.  Flowers among the pumpkins make me smile.



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Perennial Garden Beauty

 Double Pink Peony

As the peonies slowly “go over” for another season, I want to take a moment to enjoy the sweet scent and pearly beauty of this double pink peony.  The aroma is a cross between the rose and carnation, with over-tones of baby powder.  If you are fortunate to have doubles of this hardy perennial, you are doubly blessed.  The bloom is large with so many layers of petals it resembles a powder puff.  The silky sheen of the petals reminds me of the delicate pink interior of an oyster shell.

To enjoy the blooms as cut flowers, gather them early in the day after they have just bloomed.  Older blooms quickly disintegrate after being cut.  This flower can also be successfully dried for floral wreaths.  Also cut only new blooms for drying and quickly hang them upside/down in small clusters using rubber bands to bind them.  After fully drying, attach them to wreaths using a hot glue gun.  They resemble dried roses.

Peonies transplant well and are not finicky about quality of soil.  In order to produce a number of blooms, however, they need full sun to half-day sun.  And do not worry about those little brown ants crawling over the blooming heads.  The nectar they are gathering causes the seal to break on the flower head to allow the petals to unfurl.  God’s creation is perfectly balanced.

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Oriental Lillies

  1. Take in a flea market.  Check out More on 34 June 16-17
  2. Say goodbye to the Peonies and hello to the Oriental Lilies
  3. Toss fresh cilantro into your fresh spinach and kale salad
  4. Pick June strawberries
  5. Watch your tomatoes grow
  6. Plan something special for Dad
  7. Take a bike ride
  8. Eat lunch on Grand View Drive
  9. Get ice cream
  10. Drink your second cup on the front porch

Ripe Strawberries

Porch Swing


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