Category Archives: Gardening

Homemade Amish Birdhouse Gourds

Last year when I visited my sister, she took me to see the Old Order Amish that live in the area. Out of respect I couldn’t take any photos, but one of the images that stuck with me was of their birdhouse gourds strung over one of their vegetable gardens. I ordered a packet of seeds, planted them, and watched in amazement as several HUGE sprouts emerged and grew into gigantic vining, flowering plants that eventually produced about twenty big gourds. We kept them in the barn over the winter and a couple of weeks ago my daughter (with some help from Hunky Sawdust Man) cleaned them up and before I knew it there were our very own Amish Birdhouse Gourds, hanging over my garden- They’re so whimsical just on their own, I’d like them even if they weren’t so practical.

The gourd plant is pictured here in the lower right of this photo. When the flowers are open, they resemble lotuses standing up on long stems up over the leafy, green “pond”.

Some of the gourds that grew neatly hanging on the fence~

 A nicely shaped full-grown gourd~

Suspended over the garden- we need to raise them up a bit higher, but aren’t they adorable?!

Although I am perfectly delighted with my Amish Gourds just the way I remember them in the Amish garden we saw last year, my daughter decided to get even more creative and made these just for fun:

Spring Here at the Homestead in Photos



I’m looking forward to rainbow chard, various tom’s, blue curled scotch kale, lettuce including yummy butterhead type that Thomas Jefferson grew at Monticello…

That’s what we’ve been up to the last several weeks. It’s been an absolutely gorgeous spring here in the mountains. Just finished all the summer garden planting this week… can’t wait for tomatoes and zucchinis!

A Simple Gift From Last Year’s Garden

I’ve been enjoying getting out and digging around in my raised beds to prepare the soil for planting new seeds in the coming weeks and months. What a joy when I found “buried treasure”- several left-over red beets. It seems like such a little thing, but to me it was pure encouragement. My relationship with my garden is so fulfilling- it never talks back and it just keeps quietly bearing fruit to nourish me and my family with even when I’ve been busy with other things for a couple of months…

So I washed and shredded the largest beet to top our evening meal’s salad… what a treat!DSC 0214

Planning My Heirloom Vegetable Garden

I love this time of the year when I get to plan the garden and order my seeds. I tried to order all of my heirloom seeds from Baker Creek, but they were sold out of a few selections I was looking for, so I turned to some of my other favorites to fill in the gaps: Botanical Interests, Seed Savers, and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Then I went out and measured every part of my garden so I could plot it  and make a real nice drawn up garden plan (being the visual person that I am).  I discovered some nifty, fun web software to help with this endeavor, and have been enjoying plotting my vegetable garden out with real vegetable icons 🙂 this afternoon. The software is found at: and is free for the first 45 days, after which there is a fee of 20.00 if you like it enough to continue using it. It’s time to plan-  Spring is just around the corner!


Fluffed Up the Garden Beds

It felt SO GOOD to get outside today to clean up some of my raised beds in anticipation of spring planting! We got our chickens last fall, so this was the first time I could hear them cooing and clucking while I was out “gardening”. The dogs have always been there to keep me company, but I really enjoyed hearing and seeing my beautiful, big, fat, fluffy, red, hens. Sometimes it’s the little things. I would have taken photos, but all there is right now is dirt (nice dirt- rich dark dirt, but still…) and old dried up plant parts. I hauled away an entire wheel barrow full of the latter up to the burn pile. It just felt so good to be out in the fresh air again. It got me inspired enough to actually start putting pen to paper and making my spring seed order- which I had planned to do by now, but it’s been a crazy busy month. I LOVE my seed catalog from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds- it’s like a super classy magazine- in fact, I like it so much, I might just try and order all my seeds from them this year.