Glimpses of Life at ‘Crabapple’

There, beyond the smoky greys of city-life, the road will lead you to greener pastures. A little house with a blue front door, a garden big enough to grow all your hopes and dreams, and a view that inspires poetry. Life will be lived at a gentler pace. ~ Flora Turrill

Good morning, dear friends.  This past week I was, once again, going through my ‘little books of special things’ and I came across this quote from Flora Turrill. Which led me to think about our home in the beautiful countryside of Virginia.  I know I have chatted in previous posts about ‘Crabapple’, but there is so much to tell, I thought I would share a little more today.  And, by the way, when she was first built she wore a blue front door, later changed to red.

‘Crabapple’ was built with youthful energy, strength, love, and determination.  I will always be forever grateful for our sweet home and the wonderful times, experiences, and opportunities we had on those lovely enchanted twenty-one acres.  Yes, they were enchanted.  The land was flat and stretched into the sky.  The snow geese landed in the fields and looked like huge puffs of cotton.  Oh, to see them fly across a full moon was like something out of a fairy tale.  And, to see the fog roll in across the fields was nothing short of magical.

These beautiful fields also grew wheat, corn, and sweet potatoes.  During a summer breeze, I loved to watch the corn tassels dance, while wheat gently swayed. It was so pretty. Not to mention, how sweet it was to have a few bushels of sweet potatoes in our pantry. While this land did ‘inspire poetry,’ there were many adventures and a great amount of work which took place. 

“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

While I can’t say we lived life at a ‘gentler pace,’ I can say it was oh, so peaceful.  My husband stayed busy building barns to provide shelter for our sheep. Sheep are the sweetest animals, truly special and gentle creatures.  We had Romney’s, a wool breed, shearing around ten to twelve pounds of wool each year, per sheep.

laurelhach: “ Good morning Bridget and new ewe lambs ”

Shearing time was always the most fun, as our shearers came from England, Australia, and New Zeland. We had the same group for years.  There is a shearing circuit in the United States and they were on the circuit.  They would stay with us and we would take them to all the local farms with sheep. Returning back to our home in the evening, we would enjoy a wonderful meal and listen to their tales of travels and homes in which they had stayed.  It was a blessing to know them and have such wonderful memories of times spent together.  They were also a blessing for our sheep as shearing can be stressful for the animal.  Because the shearers were so skilled and worked quickly, it greatly reduced the stress.

“But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet and good, tilled earth. ” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

robert-hadley: “ Photo - AD Italia, September 1984 ”

Our gardens grew and thrived in the heat, humidity and boiling sun.  We grew every imaginable vegetable, many types of herbs and of course created beautiful flower gardens filled with luscious blooms.  I became skilled in canning and preserving.  Surrounding farms also provided numerous fields to pick strawberries and blueberries, while the peach orchards were roughly seven miles down the road in North Carolina.  I must not forget our marvelous fig trees and blackberries we planted, both are such an exquisite treat. Merry, our Labrador retriever, thought so too.  She knew when the berries and figs were ripe and she would ever so gently pick herself a few. Sometimes, too many!

At Crabapple ~ “There’s something magical and downright peaceful about rainy days and the moments leading up to them. My heart gallops at the sight of thick grey clouds gently being pulled along the white sky like little fingers stretching pieces of off-white cotton candy. I love the way everything slows down and quiets for a moment as the peaceful white noise of the rain softens the normal perception of the world outside. And I find happiness in the way the water drops from the greenery with grace and the way the sky rumbles with intensity. I’ll never tire of rain and everything that comes with it.” ~ unknown

oldfarmhouse: “This is Spring🍂🌺🌿 ”

“There is no such thing as too many deviled eggs.”  ~ Jan Karon

And there were chickens . . .

oldfarmhouse: “ ”

and so, so many eggs.  But they were wonderful.  To enjoy an omelet from just gathered eggs is a perfect way to begin a day.  


“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the Earth are never alone or weary of life.” ~ Rachel Carson

What a joy it was to have and watch the Eastern Bluebirds as they bounced through the air.

My husband could most likely build bluebird nesting boxes in his sleep.  We had them all over our property.  Oh, how we delighted in watching them raise their young and see the babies fly away.

It was always sad to hear the geese telling us goodbye as they left for their northern home in the spring.  They seemed to always choose a pretty day to travel. Still, I would say a little prayer for them to have a safe journey.

Truly . . .” Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.” ~ Louie Schwartzberg


“We people who are attracted by the countryside cherish fond memories of certain springs, certain woods, certain ponds, certain hills, which have become familiar sights and can touch our hearts like happy events.  Sometimes indeed the memory goes back towards a forest glade, or a spot on a river bank or an orchard in blossom glimpsed only once on a happy day but preserved in our heart.” ~ Guy de Maupassant

In the spring a morning walk down our 450-foot lane to the mailbox was a marvelous time for sights, smells, and beauty.  It was a simple, but glorious pleasure.

imlostinadream: “Butterfly ”

Thanks to my husband, there were early blooming daffodils which lined both sides of the lane.  That in itself was a sight to behold.  

Oh, it was sheer bliss to cut their happy blooms until my heart was content.  Every room in our home smiled.

“A house is not a home until there is a story attached to it.” ~  Tom Stringer

I could write endlessly about stories attached to our home and the treasured memories forever preserved in my heart.  During our twenty-three years, there were many special celebrations, holidays, and also the beauty of joy in ordinary pleasures.  Even though we will always miss Crabapple, we know we were blessed beyond measure to have had such a wonderful life on our piece of paradise. 

But, what I treasure most from our years is the beautiful gift I received.  That gift is perfectly conveyed by the words of John O’Donohue. I learned to “take time to celebrate quiet miracles that seek no attention” and to “experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.”  I wish I could begin to tell you how this has enriched my life.

Thanks so much for visiting today. 

Wishing you and yours a wonderful week, filled with the little things that make your heart sing.


Au Revoir,



Images: Via Tumblr




































Sunday Thoughts, February 10, 2019

“Next time a sunrise steals your breath or … 

Image result for photos of sunrise at dolly sods, wv (Sunrise at Bear Rocks. Dolly Sods Wilderness Area ~ Dry Fork, WV)


or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way. …

lifeisverybeautiful: “ Sunrise… by AdamMajchrzak ”(Lavender field ~ Provence, France)


Say nothing and listen as Heaven whispers, ‘Do you like it? I did it just for you.” ~ Max Lucado



Dear friends, I wish you and yours a most beautiful day and week ahead.

May you see pieces of heaven all along your path and hear the ‘whispers.’


Au Revoir,


Special Note:  The Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, is comprised of 17,371 acres located in the Monongahela National Forest and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It is located in Grant, Randolph and Tucker Counties, West Virginia.  It is truly a piece of heaven and, hopefully, will always remain away from the hands of man.

Images: via tumblr and pinterest















Sunday Thoughts, February 3, 2019

“When day is done and I reach my gate, I come to a realm where there is no hate.  For here, whatever my worth may be, are those who cling to their faith in me.  And with love on guard at my humble door, I have all that the world has struggled for.” ~ Edgar Guest (1881-1959)

 “Home is where you hear love within the stillness.” ~ Raquel Franco

Dear friends, wishing you and yours a most beautiful day. 

May your week ahead be filled with kind souls, lovely thoughts and many sweet surprises.

And, may “love always be on guard at your door.”

Au Revoir,


Image: via tumblr












What “Wakes Up Your Heart?”

“If you love beauty, it’s because beauty lives within you. If you love art, it’s because you are creative. If it wakes up your heart, a receptor for it already exists within you. Your soul is drawn to the things that will help you unfold your most glorious expression. Give in. ” ~ Cynthia Occelli


Good morning, dear friends.  It is wonderful to see you again.  I do hope you will enjoy your visit and perhaps receive a wee nudge of inspiration to pay extra attention to the beauty in your corner of the world.  Susan Branch tells us ~ “Hearts can inspire other hearts with their fire.”  It is amazing just how far that little ripple can travel.  But mostly, I hope your visit will leave you with a happy heart.  You know,  like the feeling you have when you have just visited with a dear friend.   

Make yourself warm and comfy, with your coffee or tea in hand. I have prepared a collection of some lovely things, found along my path, in the pursuit of beauty.  They “wake up my heart,” ~ I hope they will yours as well.

thevisualvamp: “Have a seat ”

I am totally amazed by the talent within the human soul which created such an exquisite design and the skilled hands which brought this design to life.  The beautiful chair and the shade of blue certainly ‘wakes up my heart.’

Beauty adds so much to our daily rounds.  It need not be expensive or lavish.  It is all about what we deem beautiful and love.  

“It is the soft nature of the things in which we surround ourselves that dull the sharp edges of life.” ~ Christine Fleming

“Surround yourself with things that you love, and you will always have inspiration in your life.” ~ Amellia Cooke

“In every man’s heart, there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.” ~ Christopher Morley

Can you imagine being in an antique shop, discovering a once cherished locket, wrapped beautifully in a piece of lace, and to further discover it was bearing the inscription . . . toujours m’aime (always love me)?   Oh my, I would certainly have “vibrations of beauty.”

The beauty of our talents is shown in the things we create, treasures for ourselves and those we love.  In the photo below, the beauty is not only in the stitching, but it is also in the love and hours which go into bringing such a lovely piece to life.  I am always immediately drawn to exquisite hand work.

“Creating beauty. For those blessed with this driving force, it needs no further explanation.” ~ unknown

“I want to surround myself with beauty.” ~ Gabriela Mistral

Would any human ever grow tired of such magnificent beauty?  This rose would be a star in any garden.  I wish I could tell you her name, but she was not identified.

 Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor

“Pay attention to the things that bring a tear to your eye or put a lump in your throat, because they are signs that the holy is drawing near.” ~ Frederick Buechner

“When I took the time to look into the heart of a flower, it opened up a whole new world ~a world where every country walk would be an adventure, where every garden would become an enchanted one, where one could never be lonely, bored, or indifferent.  It was as if a window had been opened to let in the sun.  My eyes were waking up … seeing the unbelievable beauty of nature…” Princess Grace of Monaco and Gwen Robyns, My Book of Flowers

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” ~  Claude Monet

“White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, as when He paints in white. ” ~ G.K. Chesterton

peonyandbee: “Spring daffodil after snow 3 by Jim_Higham on Flickr. ”

“Beauty gives us hope.” ~ unknown


Thank you so much for visiting.  Two years ago today, I opened the doors of Maison de Jardin.  The following are a few of my thoughts from the first post.

“Personally, I believe the love of beauty lies within each of us.  I believe it is truly in our hearts ~ even if we do not know or recognize it.  Often, a moment of grace opens our eyes to beauty.   Beauty is everywhere, in everything, and in everyone.  It inspires us, moves us forward, enhances our homes and therefore makes life sweeter for ourselves and those we love.  It holds power.  And, by being open to and aware of beauty, we can change our world.  Because beauty and grace make us kinder people.”

Know, dear friends, I am grateful for each of you who follow along and for your kind and inspiring comments.    

Wishing you a most beautiful day.

And . . .

“May you always find three welcomes;

In a garden during summer, at a fireside during winter, and ~ whatever the day or season, in the kind eyes of a friend.” ~ Gaelic Prayer


Au Revoir,



Images: via tumblr




































































































































‘Sunday Thoughts,’ January 27, 2019

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity…” ~ Henry David Thoreau


“Go outside…amidst the simple beauty of nature…and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.” ~ Anne Frank

Dear friends,

Wishing you and yours a beautiful and peaceful day. 

During the week ahead, may your path be lined with beauty, love, and kind souls.

And, until we meet again, may the angels guard you.

Au Revoir,




Image: via tumblr

An Annoying Glitch!

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” ~ Einstein

Good morning, sweet friends. 

Yesterday morning, January 24, 2019, I turned on the computer and what did I see ~ my ‘Sunday Thoughts’ had been posted.  Now, that wasn’t scheduled to happen until Sunday, January 27.  And, to make matters worse, the post was not finished.  I do apologize, for I am not sure what happened.  However, it appears Mr. Einstein is correct, “I can’t explain it simply. . . .” 

hidinginthehinterlands: “@spiritofthewoods Some color to add to your usual green. :) ”

So, I hope these sweet smiling faces will brighten your day, and may everything good and wonderful come your way.  I’ll be seeing you soon! 

Au Revoir,



Image: viatumblr

Sunday Thoughts, January 20, 2019

“Never  lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful,  for beauty is God’s handwriting.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson



Wishing you and yours a most beautiful day.


“May you have heaven in your heart, starlight in your soul, and angels all around you.” ~ Unknown


Au Revoir,



Image: viatumblr



The Gardener

“He who plants a garden plants happiness.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Good morning, dear friends.  I am so happy you stopped by.  Today, I would like to share some of what I know to be true about gardeners.  And, some of what others have to say about them as well.  You will definitely need your coffee or tea for this one, but I feel if you are a gardener, you will enjoy and even laugh a little.  If you are not a gardener well . . . perhaps you will find inspiration to join us.  I promise you, a warm welcome.

Don’t you love her dress?  I just know my dear friend, Janet, will be so anxious to do her in needlepoint.

“Anyone can be a gardener. It’s simply a matter of choice.  On the day you find yourself  fretting about the first frost ~ or ruminating about rhododendron color, the day you say to yourself, ‘I’m a gardener’ ~ you are one.” ~ Dianne Benson, Dirt

Gardeners are a happy lot. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, ages, and you will find  them absolutely everywhere in the world.  They all obsess over different plants and garden styles, but they share a love of the earth, beauty, nature, and are kind to their fellow man.  They make the world a better place by the beauty they create.  They are generous, creative, talented and patient.  If patience was not part of their nature when they began gardening, the garden taught them to be so.  Or,  perhaps it was when their black Labrador puppy picked up a treasured Camellia, about to go into the ground, and shook it until there was not a speck of soil left on the roots ~ patience was learned. 

According to Tovah Martin ~ “Gardening is about gardeners.  It’s about the camaraderie of friends in the trenches.  As I see it, gardening is a conspiracy, and seeds are our secret handshake.”  Such a lovely ‘handshake’ from my friend in France, when she sent me seeds of my now treasured French rose poppy.  She sent me more than poppy seeds, she sent a piece of her garden.  

In my garden I spend my days; In my library I spend my nights. ~ Alexander Smith
Gardeners are avid readers and devour books.  They haunt bookstores, especially used bookstores, always in search of some fabulous garden information.  Gardeners know vintage garden books are true treasures.  Because, many were written by ‘real’ gardeners, the ones with dirt under their fingernails and calloused hands.
“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.” ~ Alfred Austin
While I would not refer to gardeners as hoarders, many are collectors.  You see, many or most of us have one or a few plants, which upon sight sends our hearts completely out of rhythm.  It is that simple.  And, as many of you know for me, that plant is a peony.  At one point I believe I may have been well on my way to becoming a hoarder of peonies (leaving over 200 in our VA garden).  However, a smaller garden solved that issue.  I now have a manageable collection of about 64.  Below are a few favorites.

Image may contain: plant, flower, tree, outdoor and nature   Paeonia, Chiffon Clouds ~ The form is single.  

Image may contain: flower, plant and nature Paeonia, Gardenia ~ The form is full double.

Image may contain: plant, flower and nature Paeonia, Abalone Pearl ~ The form is semi-double.

Image may contain: plant, flower, outdoor, food and naturePaeonia, Red Charm ~ The form is bomb.

“There are many tired gardeners, but I’ve seldom met old gardeners.  I know many elderly gardeners but the majority are young at heart.  Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.  The one absolute of gardeners is faith.” ~ Allan Armitage

The inside of gardeners homes can be quite interesting.  On any given day in the spring, one is likely to find the kitchen sink full of blooms, waiting for the vase.  Or vases filled waiting to be scattered about the house.  Gardeners love blooms everywhere.  And their generous spirit requires them to take these lovely blooms to their workplace, friends, neighbors, and to anyone they think may enjoy them.  Some have even been known to set them on doorsteps of people they don’t know.  Simply stated, “Gardeners enjoy enriching the lives of others and sharing their passion.”  And, they don’t believe in any such nonsense as a “Black Thumb.” 

Image may contain: plant, food and indoor


Image may contain: flower, plant, table and indoor

In the winter, at the gardener’s comfy chair,  one may find garden journals, crammed with notes made on the back of anything, which the gardener did not have time, during the garden season, to enter into his/her journal.  Important information that must  go into their journal.


No photo description available.

As it is difficult for gardeners to be without blooms, during the winter months it is quite common to find in their homes, various and assorted bulbs about to bloom or blooming ~ a winter tonic of sorts.


“In all places, then, and in all seasons, flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, teaching us, by most persuasive reasons, how akin they are to human things.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Many, if not most, gardeners tend to be creative folks.  Therefore, many dabble in floral design.  They may study at the hands of local designers, take classes, or join garden clubs in order to polish their skills.  Some of their designs may find themselves on the show bench, like the following one of mine.   A traditional design I created several years ago for a Flower Show School held in our area.  All the plant material was from our garden.  


This beauty (not my creation) should have been in a flower show named, ‘Spring Abundance or The Enchantment of Spring’ ~ something exquisite.

patriciaberl: “Lush pink, creme, and green parrot tulips create an elegant arrangement in a classic french vase. April 2014. ”

Isn’t this design proof of a gardeners creativity?  They will use the most unlikely vessel and the result is a fabulous creation.

Image may contain: shoes, flower, boots and plant

“At bird peep, as the country folk have a charming way of calling the break of day, I am in my dear garden, planting and transplanting…” ~ Celia Thaxter
Yes, one will find gardeners in their gardens at the ‘break of day.’  Working away, talking to plants, or possibly training something gorgeous to climb a trellis. 

Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor

Or securing climbing roses to an arbor.  Gardeners don’t seem to be content with neat and tidy plants.  They are smitten with plants which have thorns, are stubborn, like to spread beyond their space and require training.  Oh, but these plants have such personality and beauty.

Image may contain: plant, flower, tree, sky, bridge, outdoor and nature

Gardeners also enjoy early mornings as this is a time to be with their friends.  They have been quite thoughtful of these friends, by planting certain plants solely for their enjoyment or boxes for their nesting.

debunkshy: “Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Snake Creek Fen, WI, 9-3-17 ”


“A garden is a reflection of its owner, a thing of beauty that changes over time, a window to the creativity within.” ~ Lee Miller

There are as many different gardens as there are gardeners.  Some will lean toward a formal garden.

Walled rose garden, Pashley Manor. Photo by Alan Buckingham on flickr

While others enjoy a more cottage style garden.  Personally, I enjoy coming upon things in a garden.  I like it to surprise me and not reveal itself immediately.  This certainly occurs in our garden as there is something which makes me smile at every turn.  Plants from my dear mom and friends I love.  And plants that offer a quiet surprise, while others shout, “see me ~ see me.”  As well as, objects and statuary with treasured memories.

Image may contain: plant and outdoor

Image may contain: plant, flower, tree, outdoor and nature

Gardeners also seem to have a good sense of humor and are certainly not beyond a little intimidation when it comes to their plants.  They want their intentions clearly understood.

Image may contain: plant, flower, outdoor and nature

“A land of fragrance, quietness, and trees, and flowers.” ~ John Keats

In closing, I hope you have enjoyed your visit this morning.  There are many reasons gardeners garden. However, I believe every gardener will agree with the words of Mr. Keats (above).  Gardeners know the garden is a respite from a world that is often unkind and can make one weary.  Therefore, if by chance,  you have a friend who is a gardener and you can’t reach him/her at 7:30 a.m. because he/she is in the garden, well. . . all I can say is ~ “Give up or Join In.”  If you decide to join, you will be happy you did.  And, while winter is here, visit the garden section of a bookstore or your local library, become inspired.  And when spring arrives, be ready to have your hands in the dirt.


“All gardeners live in beautiful places because they make them so.” ~ Unknown



Wishing you a wonderful week!


Au Revoir,





Images:  via tumblr, Michael Lambiotte

































































































































































































































Sunday Thoughts ~ January 13, 2019

“My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, and a preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.” ~ Brenda Schoepp, Farmer

Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  My thoughts today are about being ever so grateful for the hard work of the men, women, and families across our land who enable us to have food on our tables.  For most of us, we simply make grocery lists and visit our markets.  It is so easy to forget what we place in our carts did not come from the store.

oldfarmhouse: “Perfect picture.
Is there such a thing? If so, this certainly would be it:🔆 ”

And, have you ever wondered . . .“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide.” ~ Wendell Berry 

whatiadoreonly: “ ”

So, as you enjoy your Sunday lunch or dinner, say an extra thank you for the wonderful and special souls who worked the farms and made your meal possible.  I know, I will.

“He who doesn’t regard agriculture will truly value it when food becomes scarce!” ~ Ernest Agyemang Yeboah



Wishing you and yours a beautiful day and week ahead.


Au Revoir,



Images: via Tumblr













Sunday Thoughts~January 6, 2019

Good morning, dear friends.  Thank you so much for visiting and may these ‘Sunday Thoughts’ touch your heart.  


The Work of Christmas

Written by, Howard Thurman in 1985


“When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.”


These profound words were also set to music, by Dan Forrest in 2014.  To listen, visit here.



Wishing you and yours a beautiful day.


May you have heaven in your heart, starlight in your soul, and angels all around you.” ~ Unknown

Au Revoir,




Notes:  The “Work of Christmas” is sung by the Capital University A Cappella Choir ~ Columbus, Ohio.

Image, via Tumblr