Saturday, June 25, 2016

Melrose Urban Farms Tour

The sign in the window stated that there would be a Melrose Urban Farms Tour on June 25th. Melrose had farms? How is that possible? It's a city.

Well I can attest Melrose has at least 12 urban farms and every one of them is fantastic in their own unique and whimsical way. Mike in the photo above certainly got into the spirit.

Those of us on the tour learned about beekeeping and got samples of honey from the very bees in the backyard of this woman's home.

Some urban farmers grow their vegetables in their front yards in raised beds they created themselves.

Others really do plant happiness or at least they share happiness. I was quite taken with the homeowners and their lovely gardens.

Some gardens were so downright pretty, fun, and colorful they made me smile.

Others had refreshments available and a backyard oasis so gorgeous it invited lingering just a little bit longer.

It was fun to see all the decorations in the gardens and farms. A small front yard and large backyard was a common theme.

We saw plenty of chickens and hens and the cool enclosures that house them and protect them from the elements and predators.

Some of the spaces were very zen.

And the goats were very zen too. This home had a backyard petting zoo.

This goat house looked like the Tiny Houses I've seen on HGTV!

Some of the entrances were so interesting you just knew the backyard would be cool.

Some of the gardens/farms were dedicated to family members and were well planned to maximize space.

Others can laugh at themselves.

These chickens were babies. They needed assistance to reach their water bottles.

Some adorable little girls were more than happy to show us their fairy garden. There were of course fairy lights for nighttime ambience.

Raised beds and some netting were the keys to keeping some critters out.

Some had native plants and were sanctuaries for wildlife.

Yes, beekeeping is very popular in Melrose.

This raised bed has been pressure treated so no vegetables will be grown here. The gnome protects a lavender crop instead.

We appreciated the little touches from some of the urban farmers. At this garden, we had a choice of lemon or cucumber water.

Fountains, lilypads, koi ponds, so much to see at some of the homes.

And even a screech owl house. The screech owls have yet to use it I was told by the homeowner. She thinks the house is too "new". Perhaps next year.
The Melrose Urban Farmers Tour was inspiring and educational. Who knew Melrose was such a hot spot for urban farming? Certainly not me. By the way, there will be a tour next year and new farms have already been added. Can't wait to see what next year brings!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


All week I've been posting photos of my cats like this one of Percy when he was a kitten.

And this one of Oscar who shouldn't be on the table and Molly who is clearly annoyed. Ignore all the patterns going on in this room. I was breaking every interior design rule.

And another one of Oscar looking like Mr. McDreamy, right?
It's for a good cause and you can contribute too.
Every time you post a picture of your beloved pet through Feb 14th, using ‪#‎myfurryvalentinenh‬, the awesome folks @ rakacreative will donate to the NHSPCA. Post on FB, Twitter or Instagram. 
Ok, now everyone look through their pet photos and start posting!  Thanks for contributing to a great cause. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

I get a little warm in my heart when I think of Winter

I stole the title of my post from Tori Amos' song, "Winter". It's one of my favorites. I have always loved Winter. Winter is a beautiful season in New England but lately it has been unseasonably warm. In fact most of our Winter here in New England has been too warm.

Due to our mild temperatures, the opening ceremony for our outdoor skating rink on the Town Common had been delayed from December 23rd to January 2nd to January 16th to finally January 23rd. We had the good fortune of having the rink donated by Celli Century 21 and Cassidy Brothers Landscaping.

So we had our opening ceremony on January 23rd which was a bitterly cold day. Go figure, from one extreme to the other. Of course we want cold temperatures in order to maintain our outdoor skating rink but there was a ridiculous wind chill that day. The ice was pristine and inviting.

The wind on my face took me back to days skating or trying to skate on the ice at my elementary school's outdoor rink. I remember my Dad skating behind me and holding me under my arms to prop me up. The chill in the air burning my cheeks and my feet almost numb from the cold. I felt secure in his arms and developed my love for the cold of Winter on that rink so many years ago.

Years later, I took figure skating lessons and I skated at indoor rinks with friends. Practicing a couple of times a week. Feeling that familiar chill on my cheeks as I skated round and round at much faster speeds. Loving every minute of it.

Happy Memories of Winter as in the song "Winter".

I get a little warm in my heart when I think of Winter,
I put my hands in my Father's glove.

As I watched the kids skate, I hoped they formed joyful memories from this outdoor rink. The sisters who held hands as they skated, the youth hockey team who officially opened the rink with a ceremonial skate, the rosy cheeked little girl all bundled up in her pink ski jacket, the Dad with his son. As for me, I may possibly take a spin for old time's sake.

Cuz I get a little warm in my heart when I think of Winter.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stuck in 2015?

Stuck in 2015 because I spent hours making this collage and then I couldn't upload it. I must have redone the collage 3 times. Oh well at least I got it on the blog.

So continuing with the year's highlights. In May, I went to Newport for the day and I stayed until after the sunset. It was beautiful eating by the ocean.

June brought warmer weather and I went on a sunset cruise in New Hampshire. I also took two photography workshops, one on edible flowers and styling for photos and the second one was food photography. I learned a lot and they were enjoyable.  I also cat sat for two adorable kitties, Leo and Forest. That is Forest hiding on the top of the refrigerator. I thought I had lost him, the little devil.

In July, the L'Hermione the French tall ship came to Boston. My sister saw some of her reenactor friends there. We had lunch afterwards at the Boston Harbor Hotel. I also saw the Amazing Acrocats perform. Yes you can train a cat! I enjoyed the evening with friends Deb and Paul.

August was another fun month. We celebrated my sister's birthday with a day trip to York, Maine. We ate lobster blts with friends Mary, Don and Debbi, went down by the beach and sat in the sun by Nubble Light. I also went to the fireworks in Rockport with my sister and our friend Gena.

In September, I went to the Vintage Bazaar which is an annual event for me. It was as good as ever and the weather was perfect. My sister and I visited Mary and Don again in York, Maine as they rent a cottage there. Sheila and Don did some plein air painting. Another great day. I also photographed the Melrose Victorian Fair.  Gena and I went to a lantern festival in Newburyport. It was breathtaking.

The Food Truck Festival came to my hometown in October and we were blessed with a fantastic Fall day. The foliage was gorgeous on the common and the eating was fantastic. My sister and friend Gena went with me. I ate way too much but oh what fun! The Festival is coming this year as well.

November was my month to host the Traveling Teapot. I belong to a Facebook group of the same name and each month a different hostess receives the teapot, takes it on adventures and blogs about it.  I had a teapot photo shoot by the Stoneham Police Box, took it to my friend Pauline's for a tea party, took it to the home of Louisa May Alcott and took it to work. I went to see a Q&A and book signing by Giada DeLaurentiis with my friend Wendy. I also hosted my first Thanksgiving at my home.

You may have read my post with my Christmas Bucket List. So in December I was busy with activities like going to see Christmas lights at Nubble Lighthouse in Maine and the infamous Jolie's Christmas party. Gena and I went to a tea burning reenactment in Lexington. I went to the Wakefield Holiday Stroll and had hot chocolate at Burdick's in Harvard Square and of course I watched It's A Wonderful Life. And it was a wonderful holiday season!

A little long winded but there you go. I am no longer stuck in 2015. I am ready for big changes in 2016 and I can't wait!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Year in Review 2015, Part 1

2015 was quite a full year. I had so much going on that I am going to need more than one blogpost to share it with you.

The year started off in sadness as my Mom passed away in January. She had a stroke in 2004 and was in a nursing home ever since. As the months go by I am remembering her as my Mom, a vibrant woman who loved fashion, her family and close circle of friends and animals. The memory of my mother as a stroke victim is fading away. She was stylish as a young woman (pictured here with my sister) and for most of her life.  In fact, she was often described as elegant. She once confessed to me that she wished she had gone to school for fashion.

Here's another pic of my Dad, Mum and sister. My mother loved to dress us in the latest fashions as well.

We said a final goodbye to my mother on a bitter cold day and shortly thereafter it snowed. And snowed and snowed and snowed. 101 inches in Boston in about 6 weeks. My condo was buried with snow and we had to get a bobcat to stack the snow on two different occasions. It was a costly Winter for sure.

At the beginning of March, I ventured out. The lure of a crepe party at our family friend Jolie's house sent me up to Georgetown, MA on a bitter cold night. This was my sister's Christmas present to everyone and Jolie became our personal chef. It was a magical evening.

I had fun at some Chamber of Commerce events and tried something different for one of their photos. I take their event photos. This one was at a store called Madison Ave.

2015 was the year of the house concert as I attended two of them in the Winter. What a nice way to gather with friends old and new.  This is a concert at Diane's house in Arlington.

And this concert was in the music room of friend's Deborah and Roger in Concord.

We had a family party in April for my Aunt who turned 85. I love this photo of her. It was nice to see family especially those I never see who came up from Florida.

Well, I have many more months to cover so I hope you will stay tuned for the next installment of 2015, a year in review.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Today we are lazing around and we didn't even go out on New Year's Eve. I guess I'll have to do the year in review in my next post. No time to go through all my photos tonight.

I did complete 11 of the 15 items on the Christmas Bucket List. I must admit the list was rather ambitious. It was good that I had racked up the vacation days so I had time to do some fun things this season.

Wishing everyone a fantastic 2016!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas 2015 Bucket List

The holidays can be exhausting. I have heard people say, "I'm glad they're over". I don't ever want to be like that. I want to enjoy every minute of the holidays as the special season it should be.

So I have created my Christmas Bucket List and because we are well into the season I have already accomplished some of the items on the list. I do not have it jam packed so I will have plenty of time to shop, wrap and enjoy some down time.

Here's my list for 2015:

1. attend the antique fair at St. Paul's Episcopal Church  done 12/5
2. attend the Somerville Flea- holiday flea market  done 12/6
3. see Nubble Lighthouse lit up with Christmas lights   done 12/18
4. attend the Tea Burning reenactment in Lexington  done 12/13
5. attend the Holiday Vintage Bazaar at Pettengill Farm  done 11/21
6. go to Stone Zoo and see the Zoolights one evening done 12/26
7. make my own gift wrap done 12.24
8. go Christmas Caroling
9. go to Burdick's in Harvard Square for the world's best hot chocolate  done 12/11
10. attend a town tree lighting done 12/4
11. walk around at the Holiday Stroll in Wakefield   done 12/5
12. go for a Christmas afternoon tea
13. decorate the condo with twinkle lights and greenery   done 12/23
14. go to Blink, a light and laser show at Fanueil Hall, Boston
15. attend Waterfire Providence holiday event

Please share some of your Christmas must dos. I would love to hear about your traditions.


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