3rd Annual Garden Party

In June, the ladies of our clan gathered for our 3rd annual garden party.  My dear mom hosted this year’s event.  Our garden lunch was light and refreshing, accompanied by mimosas and strawberry lemonade.  Featured foods included cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, scones, sugared grapes, fresh vegetables with dip, smoked salmon dip with crackers, and blueberry tart.

garden lunch

Part of the garden party adventure is discovering precious items and different varieties of plants and flowers at the hostess’ garden.  Of course, every garden party needs a garden fairy.

garden fairy

Or three!  Eva and Ruthie were happy to fill in with their fairy wings and sweet smiles.

girls

Ladies brought perennials and a few annuals to share with other guests.

goodies

This year we also completed an innovative craft project.  Solar lanterns!

Boy, did we have fun with the wire and beads.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

solar lanterns

One guest, who holds a fascination with toads, decided to hold her discovery captive inside her lantern.  She was eventually persuaded to release him.

toad

We had such a good time at this year’s event!  We always enjoy a reason to don summer hats and sun dresses.

Special thanks to my sister-in-law Jolene for her craft idea.  We loved it!

Solar Lantern Project

Mason Jar with Band
Solar Light
E-6000 Craft Adhesive (use to secure solar light to jar band)
Wire (to form ring around neck and create lantern handle – we used 18 gauge galvanized steel and some used copper, which was found to be more pliable)
Needle Nose Pliers
Wire Cutter
Glass Beads for Inside Jar (reflect light at night)
Beads for Wire
Pencil to Twist Wire

Berry Legacy

It is officially berry season in the great north woods and our family devotion to the raspberry in particular spans five generations.  It dates back to my great-grandmother Marie Congdon.  She had rows of raspberry brambles that she tended to each summer.  The mere smell of the berry patch brings me back to my six year old self, and I vividly recall the pints of berries resting in her front porch from a summer morning harvest. 

Today, my grandmother JoAnn carries on the tradition just next to where Marie’s berries grew so endlessly.  Each summer since I can remember, I have picked berries.  Now, my children accompany me and my grandma usually joins us to pick a few pints.  After we have thoroughly disengaged the patch from any ripe berries, we head in with our bounty.  Grandma bestows upon us a lovely luncheon feast served with a refreshing glass of iced tea as a reward for our toil in the July heat.  It is always a day I look forward to in our summer adventures. 

 

The fate of our berry harvest is a joy to behold. 

Berries with cream and sugar. 

Cakes. 

Pies. 

Pastries.

Jam. 

Always jam.  (This means that we can delight ourselves in berry goodness all throughout the year.)

I have proudly carried on the tradition in my own garden with seedlings from my grandmother’s patch.  They were transplanted last year and produced berries this year.  (This year!)  If you would have told me long ago that I would get excited about such things, I would have had trouble believing you.  Domesticity was not my strong suit.  I can’t declare with any level of certainty that it is currently my strong suit.  But with a family of my own, somehow these simple pleasures in life – sweet, easy, heirlooms that can be passed down from one generation to the next – have become extremely important. It is funny how drastically motherhood changes you.  It affects you in boundless, crazy, heart bursting ways that you could have never imagined.  It is as if the fate of the universe rests in these devout and delicious endeavors.

Of course, all aspects of the berry legacy were passed down to me and my sister by our own dear mother, which make the legacy that much sweeter.

And all of this takes place because someone simply decided to plant some raspberries. 

Thank you to my mom, grandma, and great-grandma for sharing the berry legacy with us.   

I hope that you are enjoying summer and all the goods that go along with it. 

Actually, I hope you are having a berry, berry good summer. *winks and pops berry in mouth*

Pretty Peonies

20120619-181155.jpg

I wanted to take a moment and share these gorgeous peonies with you.  I discovered them the other day in our garden, bursting and beautiful.  They were so full of petals that they became top-heavy and were sagging towards the ground. 

This just wouldn’t do!  I had to cut them (immediately!) and put them in a vase so they could be together, glorious and upright. 

I love this time of year with all the blooms. 

After a de-bugging period on the picnic table, these lovely peonies are resting gracefully at the center of our dining room table. 

They make me happy.

Here’s to you and your blooms –