Snippets of Life at Maison de Jardin!

“The energy of the Earth flows through the veins of Springtime.” ~ Terri Guillemets

Good morning, dear friends.  I hope you had a wonderful Easter and are enjoying Spring in your corner of the world.  Today’s post is about a variety of things that I hope you will enjoy.   Let me begin with ‘Rip Van Winkle.’  Rip Van Winkle is pictured in the photo above and yes, he is a daffodil.  Rip is one of our favorites and he is an heirloom daffodil dating to 1884.  But what makes him special to us are the memories he holds of my husband’s great aunt and spending time with her at her farm in Western Pennsylvania.  She happily shared Rip with us and we moved him to our home.  We think of her every spring when he blooms.  I love his chartreuse swirls plus, he has a long vase life.  Should you be interested, Rip is still available through Old House and Gardens. 

Currently, the daffodils are on center stage in our garden.  They will be in bloom for several more weeks, as we have many late-blooming varieties.    Mike fed them last year and it has made a huge difference in their blooms this year.  

I have seen the Lady April bringing the daffodils, bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain.  ~ John Masefield

All the daffodils in the photo above hold special memories.  The small white one is named Cheerfulness (it is also available in yellow).  It usually has at least three blooms per stem, is extremely fragrant, and was one of mom’s favorites.  The yellow with a deep yellow trumpet was from mom’s great gardening friend, Nellie.  And, the lovely white with a coral center was a ‘no reason’ gift from Mike.  I love ‘no reason’ gifts.  Anyway, it did not have a name other than ‘assorted’ daffodil.  So, I chose ‘Just Beautiful’ as her name.

On our Easter table, Bugs is holding, in his basket,  an assortment of the daffodils currently in bloom from our garden.    Mike took the photo before the table was finished so please excuse the wrinkle in the table cloth.  Also, Bugs was to have a bowtie around his neck and the green berry glasses were to be filled with jelly beans, which happened later.

The Haviland china was found on an antiquing adventure with mom and the matching tureen with underplate was a birthday gift from Mike.  The green berry glasses were Mike’s great grandmothers and the sweet little lamb with a flower crown was a gift from a dear friend.  The Fostoria stemware belonged to mom.  Memories and treasures.  

“They made their way to the dining room, where the air was blossom-scented and gilded with candlelight.” ~ Lisa Kleypas

“Whoever says, “It’s only a rabbit” has obviously never loved a rabbit.” ~ Unknown

May be an image of grass

I would like you to meet the real, one and only, Bugs.  He/she was born in our garden last spring and stayed with us until late fall.  And yes, he is the guilty one who enjoys our delphiniums.  Although, he doesn’t seem to enjoy them seasoned with cayenne pepper.  The unusual thing about Bugs is he has returned this year.  Enjoying his favorite spots(the same as last year) and in general, just lounging around, eating clover, and being, well, just Bugs.  I have always had a fondness for bunnies and Bugs has only made my soft spot softer.  


“Laughter is brightest where food is best.” ~ Irish Proverb

Just before Easter, the following two recipes were posted in our local newspaper, “The Exponent Telegram.”  I prepared both of them for our Easter dinner and they were wonderful.  Therefore, I thought I would share and I hope you will give them a try.  With summer approaching the Pea Salad would be an excellent choice for a Covered Dish luncheon or supper.  For such things, I always look for a dish that will travel well and this one certainly would.

Southern Pea Salad 

12 oz. frozen sweet peas

3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 hardboiled eggs, diced

1/4 cup grated white cheddar cheese


3 Tbls. Mayonnaise

2 Tbls. red onion, finely chopped

1 Tbls. sour cream

1 Tbls. fresh chives

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Bring a medium saucepan with water to a boil.  Add frozen peas, cook for 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse in a colander under cold water until cool.  Let the peas stand in the colander until thoroughly drained.  Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from pan, and drain well on paper towels then chop.  In a medium bowl, combine peas, chopped eggs, chopped bacon, and cheddar cheese.   In another small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and mix well.   Pour dressing over pea mixture and mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  


Cauliflower and Leek Gratin 

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets

2 med. size leeks, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

2 small shallots, peeled and sliced

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves chopped

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups half & half

1 1/2 cups grated aged Asiago cheese

unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 2 or 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Bring to boil salted water in a large pot.  Add cauliflower florets and cook for about 4 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Place cauliflower in a large mixing bowl and set aside.  In a small to medium saucepan, melt 3 Tbls. butter over medium heat, then add leeks, shallots, ground pepper, and thyme.  Cook, while stirring, for about 5 minutes.  Stir in flour until well combined.  Slowly pour in milk, stirring constantly until well combined.  Bring to a boil, and allow to cook until thickened about 3 minutes stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese and salt.  Pour the leek mixture into the mixing bowl with the cauliflower.  Mix well and transfer the mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese over the top.  Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.  Note:  I baked this for about 45 minutes.  Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed a few snippets of joy from our beloved old home and garden.  Spring does provide all of us so many chances to enjoy the beauty around us, each other, and our many blessings. 


Know I hope this finds you under blue skies, listening to bird song and taking time to simply ‘be’ during this glorious season. 

And. . .

May your days be filled with joy, and kind souls.  

Scilla in bloom in our garden.

“The flowers appear on the earth; The time of the singing of birds is come.” ~ Song of Solomon 2:12





Images:  Michael S. Lambiotte


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Penny Carlson
Penny Carlson
1 year ago

Your daffodils are beautiful! I love rabbits too. We had one have her babies in one of my raised beds a few years ago! She dug underneath the green beans and made a little den for them. The recipes sound great. Thanks for sharing them.

bonnie morgan
1 year ago

I love the Rip Van Winkle daffodil. I have never seen one and its history dating back to 1884 is fascinating. How special Mike has fond memories of his aunt and this daffodil and that you are preserving it even longer. Its chartreuse swirls are beautiful. I love your arrangement in your milk glass vase and your pretty rabbit. centerpiece. How beautiful your Easter table is even before your touches you intended to add. I love your placemats, pink Fostoria crystal and Limoges china. The pearl napkin rings add a lovely elegance and I always love the silverware set in… Read more »

Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors
Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors
1 year ago

Sandra, your daffodils are beautiful! I loved reading the special story attached to each one. Your Easter table is so pretty, and I spotted that lovely soup tureen and platter first thing. What a lovely and thoughtful gift! Bugs is adorable….my mom just discovered a nest of sweet baby bunnies in her flower bed. One year she had a bunny that would come out every evening when she was watering and drink out of her water hose. It was the funniest thing! The recipes you shared look delicious. I made a similar pea salad for Easter dinner this year. The… Read more »

Brenda @ It\'s A Beautiful Life

Oh, I do love your Rip Van Winkle daffodil! Exquisite! You must just love it when he surfaces each spring. Do you have many clumps of him? Thank for sharing these glimpses of what’s center stage in your garden these days. I think it’s so special that your garden is filled with plants that remind you of the people who have touched your life at some point. A garden of memories. It’s near freezing here today, windy too. Lawns are still brown from winter. Nothing that a nice rain wouldn’t put to rights. I am happy to report, however, tiny… Read more »

1 year ago

Beautiful daffodils of such variety! Your Easter table is lovely. I have that pea salad (or one very similar) in an old cookbook, and we like it a lot, too.
Oh rabbits – they are so sweet looking, but last year I took a dislike to the ones that visited our yard for they thought they were at a buffet. Netting and some fencing helped preserve the vegetables, and some bone meal scattered around.

1 year ago

I love this post so much, Sandra — and each and every daff within it. Those wee white ones, I know they are so fragrant! And the Rip Van Winkle is so handsome. What I really love most is that you have so many people you have loved with you — relatives and friends, far away and possibly long gone, but still with you through these gorgeous blooms and meaningful dishes. It’s like settling down to dinner with the family, even if that is two of you. I so love seeing the daffs in their vases everywhere and can only… Read more »

Cindy Shaver
Cindy Shaver
1 year ago

I too have Rip….we moved into our old house 50 years ago and they were there in the meadow. We moved a bunch to our Deerfield house….love them.

Pam Richardson
1 year ago

Sandra, please forgive my tardiness on responding to your beautiful post. The pollen finally got to me and I was really sick yesterday. The Rip Van Winkle daffodil is just stunning and its history is quite interesting. Each daffodil has its own unique personality and each one is lovely. Your table is so elegant with the Limoges and the Fostoria. Thank you for sharing the beauty from your home and please thank Mike for the lovely photos. Happy Friday!