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What a Summer of Yes Looks Like

It’s 8 pm and my girls are just asleep. There is a fine trail of sand from the front door to well, everywhere in our house. Their hair is still damp from their shower and the cooler sits in the kitchen, ready for the next adventure.

We’re almost halfway through the summer and I’ve been thinking through my goals for this summer. It’s a short season- easy to track everything and see how my ideals lined up with reality.

what a summer of yes looks like :: this vintage moment

I’ve done well with saying yes.

We’ve stayed longer at the splash pad and the beach, past their bedtime. We’ve stopped for ice-cream cones as a family outing or just before supper because it’s summer and I love surprising my girls like that. I’ve bought the Frozen cheerios when they asked because a box of cereal with Elsa and Anna on it makes my little people very happy. We’ve read lots of books both the chapter kind and the picture kind, I have most of the picture books memorized. The girls helped me prepare strawberries for the freezer and for shortcake which involved both of them using a knife, it was a wonderful time for all of us even if there were more fruit with the hulls then if I had done it all by myself. It was worth it.

Here’s the flip side to all of that. 

My house hasn’t had the same care that it normally gets. Our laundry pile was scary big and all my floors need to be washed, especially from the thin layer of outdoors that we’ve brought in with us. One of my girls needs a little more structure in her days and having a different routine each day has not been helpful for her. My other daughter would go and go and go not realizing that she needs her own chill time as well. There’s some fantastic experiences but there’s also been meltdowns and struggles from overtired girls, me included.

Part of me wants to say yes and  be on top of the laundry. Part of me knows that is unrealistic especially since after a day out in the sun, the last thing I want to do after getting the girls to sleep is clean something. I sit in the quiet and remember the sweet moments from the day. I  read my book and let the housework go.

what a summer of yes looks like :: this vintage moment

It’s been fun. It’s been really fun. 

But as we head into the next half of the summer, we’ve made some tweaks mostly to keep this summer a sustainable one and not be completely burned out when September comes. We made a weekly schedule which ensures that we stay a little more on top of the laundry and the bathroom while also going on an adventure each week. We’ve planned some at home days and built in margin days for both Jared and I to have some quiet time.

It’s been a really awesome summer and I can’t wait for the rest of it with a little more routine built into our days.



Quick Lit Picks for July 2015

This past month I read some heavier reads, not typical summer reading and not what I normally take along with in our beach bag. And so to balance all those heavier, thought-provoking reads I went back to some of my old favourites. Books that stay on my bookshelf through purging and books that travel with me. I’m linking up with Anne of Modern Mrs Darcy where we share short reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.


Bread And Wine by Shauna Niequist

I loved re-reading this book and getting all inspired to open my home and my heart to those around me. Shauna has an unique essay format that works really well for reading short snippets and then plunging back into real life. Each chapter ends with a recipe and the only problem with reading this book in the evenings is that I wanted to cook everything at 10 pm. I also wanted to stop worrying about what people think and invite them over, Shauna addresses the fear that we all have of wanting a perfect house/life/family before opening our doors. I needed this reminder again.



Kilmeny Of The Orchard by L.M. Montgomery

We named our oldest daughter Kilmeny after this book, she’s five and it’s been at least that long since I read this book. It’s a short, sweet read perfect for these summer days. The story starts in Halifax which is where I live and is a fun connection point in the story. There is the classic Montgomery orphan raised by an older couple and there’s a schoolteacher and obviously, an orchard. Kilmeny has no voice in this story but she plays a violin and can communicate beautifully through that medium. It’s not a popular or well-known book but it’s well-worth the read.


Book Of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

This book sat in my library basket for nearly two weeks before I cracked the cover and then I devoured it within two days. The Book of Negroes is our book club’s choice for this month and I don’t think I would have read it otherwise, but I’m so glad I did. It’s a heavy book but I think it’s a valuable read. The story follows the life of one girl from her life in Africa with her family to when she is captured by slave traders and sold to a plantation owner in North Carolina. She uses skills she learned from her mother in Africa to make friends and to educate herself. The story follows her to New York City where she finds her freedom and a whole network of free blacks. She ends up in Nova Scotia (local interest!) via the British Army who shipped many free blacks out of the New York  just before the America Revolution breaks out  The book is a work of fiction, based on the lives of many actual people. It’s inspiring to see the ripples of one woman’s life and how a few simple skills and the motivation to keep going can change your life. It is an excellent book club choice.

 The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

This book takes place in the tenements of New York City in 1871 where there’s very little hope, little education and all that is valuable can be sold. Moth is sold by her mother to be a maid, she runs away and finds a new home and life with the owner of a brothel. It’s an eye-opening read and a good companion to any books about the Orphan Train, this is the darker side of that time in New York. Moth escapes the brothel life through a courageous doctor who happens to be a woman, something totally unheard-of in that time. It’s a read for the history buff and for those who want their eyes open to how devastating the sex trade can be.


Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet by Sara Hagerty

This book has been on my radar for a couple of years and I was delighted that my library carried a copy. It’s a  personal, almost like a journal-type narrative and while there are some good things she has to say, I found it hard to follow and understand her style of writing. I wanted to like it but just couldn’t quite get there.




Silver Girl: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand

I’ve read a lot of books by this author, she writes fantastic beach read books and I’m enjoying seeing some of her common elements through reading a few of her books. Silver Girl follows the story of two friends who get back together after a huge scandal throws one of their husbands into prison and alienates all of her known life. The two women spend the time on Nantucket Island and both start to piece back together their lives.



The Real Grey’s Anatomy: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Real Lives of Surgical Residents by Andrew Holtz

I grabbed this one on a whim from the library since Grey’s is my favourite show to watch right now and I am nerding out on all things medical. Its definitely a read for those who have watched the show and wondered how accurate everything is. I loved it and can cross off wanting to be a surgeon off my life list, at least in this season.



I’d love to know what you’re reading lately, what you’ve loved (or not), tell me in the comments and head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for many more titles and reviews!

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Ten on Ten :: July 2015

It’s been a sweet and crazy summer so far- no big goals except to keep it simple and say yes. Today was a fun day to document for a ten on ten post. Ten photos (or so) over ten hours (or so) to document the ordinary beauty in our days, hosted by Rebekah.


morning bedhead with cereal and coffee



watermelon sticks- life changing way of eating watermelon



because I want to remember how she always leaves the house with a bag or two and art supplies


such a fun day out at new to us splash pad!


my cautious observer





I forgot the glasses, they couldn’t have been more thrilled to drink straight from the jug. Our favourite watermelon lemonade makes a nice change from straight water.



elbow dimples are my favourite



say yes to all the ice creams, the later nights and also surprise with fun adventures, it’s so fun being the mom!

Thanks for sharing our day with us! Check out more observers of beauty at Rebekah’s blog! 


Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia


Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

Last year we were on the road for four months, it was awesome and exhausting and we made memories to last a lifetime. This year we aren’t traveling anywhere big, we’re buying a house and we’re using vacation time differently. We love to travel, it’s a huge part of our family’s culture and something that we will always do. We’re not packing our backpacks for weeks on the road this year but we are making the most of this beautiful province we live in and planning all sorts of fantastic day trips.

Earlier this week we took a little adventure which felt like a mini vacation to me, so much so that I’m trying to come up with excuses to plan one every week!

We drove to a new town, Chester, which is on the water and full of old character homes. But that wasn’t our final destination, we caught a small ferry from Chester to Big Tancook Island to spend most of our day.

This is an island off the coast that is filled with lupines, gravel roads and lots of history. There used to be 800-1000 residents but the numbers have dwindled to 100 year long residents and 200 summer residents. Our first stop off the ferry was lunch, to me this is what makes a day trip special. I love packing picnics but not having to worry about a meal is a fun treat. Fresh fish and chips with view of the ocean, yes please! Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

We mostly wandered, following the main road at the pace of the little people who couldn’t stop picking all the flowers. I don’t blame her.Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

Lupines are a Nova Scotian treasure, they are everywhere this time of year filling the roadsides with brilliant splashes of purple, pink and the occasional white. I love the contrast of wild flowers and old buildings.

Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

We stopped when we got to the cemeteries, fascinated by the snippets of stories of those who lived on the island a hundred years ago. The girls and I discovered wild strawberries amidst the memorial stones and so we stopped and hunted for the little ruby treasures. It felt like a moment from Rainbow Valley with the sound of the sea in the background, eating wild strawberries with old graves all around us.

Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova Scotia

Next time we’ll bring bikes and ride around the island, but this trip was a lovely break for our usual routines and made me excited about exploring more of this province!

Adventure is out there- a mini vacation in Nova ScotiaWe ended our day with Americanos and a flat white at Kiwi Cafe in Chester, a delightful cafe with definite New Zealand roots. Flat white is my favourite coffee drink and this was the best one I’ve had outside of New Zealand. Chester is just under an hour from our home making it an easy drive especially when the girls napped all the way home. The day was made special by having a good friend to act like a tour guide, wrangle crazy kiddos and tell us all the good places to go.

Taking alternative transportation like a ferry, enjoying some special treats out and having no timetable are three things that made the day feel like a mini-vacation. We’ll be doing as much as we can of this over the summer and adding to our repertoire of must-dos and sees when we have guests.

What are your top tips for enjoying a mini-vacation?


The Ultimate DIY Project

We weren’t even going to include it on our thirty before thirty bucket list.

Do a DIY project together

We wandered through Michaels one date night browsing together, up and down the aisles taking a longer time since I had no littles hanging out of the cart. It was fun, we compared our tastes in decor and laughed at some of the more outrageous design ideas. I suggested we count that outing towards our DIY project and check it off the list.

the ultimate DIY project || this vintage moment

And then, we found the ultimate project to work on together.

We bought a house!

May and most of June were filled with a flurry of phone calls, emails and discussions. House viewings and inspections and asking ourselves if we were crazy. And now there’s a beautiful SOLD sticker on the for sale sign and I can pin all the things for real now.

the ultimate DIY project || this vintage moment

We’ve discussed paint colours, the house’s palette currently involves dark red, dark purple and navy all of which I love but not in my kitchen or living areas. We’ve sketched out lots of garden ideas and we have big dreams for the big backyard. The girls are lobbying for a treehouse they can live in and I want an English cottage garden along the front deck.

After renting for seven years of our married life and living in four of the ten Canadian provinces, it feels so good to put some serious roots down in this province we’ve grown to love so much.

the ultimate DIY project || this vintage moment

We won’t be actually moving until September so I’ll be filling my Pinterest boards with all my ideas, figuring out paint colours and applying the KonMari method as I sort and pack all our stuff.

I’d love to hear your tips and stories about moving and home ownership!


Weekend Links and {my} Vintage Moment

I cut my finger last week (ironically while preparing a Father’s Day feast for Jared), it wasn’t bad enough to slow me down that day. We just wrapped it up and carried on but it’s been a a whole week of healing for that poor little finger and typing has been on the worst activities. Washing dishes has been no fun either. It’s been a good week of having to slow down, dial back my expectations (I have so much I want write here in this space) and just be with my little family. We are in full summer swing which also means that hurt finger or not, blogging takes a back seat priority to beach days and backyard picnics. I’m going to assume that you’re online less in the summer as well- reading books while your kids enjoy the water and getting out to the garden before it gets too hot.

Here are a few good reads I’ve enjoyed lately:

8 favourite outfits for summer || Jones Design Company // I’m not doing a capsule wardrobe this summer but if I was, I would just copy and paste these outfits. Perfect for our coastal weather which has more mood swings then I do, easy to dress up and dress down.

29 summer survival tips for families || Simple Bites // My favourite kind of summer list, full of great ideas and fun ways to make the most of this summer season.

The Love Project {#morningstarloveproject} || Under the Sycamore // There is so much heartbreak in this world but every now and then, someone comes along with something tangible you can do and a story of hope. This project is exactly that- with the purchase of some lovely art, you can make a donation so that families who need life-changing surgeries for their children can have those surgeries done without giving their children up to orphanages. It’s caring for our fellow human in the most beautiful of ways. Read the story, buy some art, and make a difference in a family half a world away.

From the blog lately:

5 Ways to a Sorta (totally) Awesome Summer – This post started out as many do, just random thoughts jotted down on whatever paper is handy. Some simple ideas I wanted to make sure I did this summer, some things that would make life easier and reminders to myself to embrace this season.

Quick Lit: Beachy Reads – a great collection of reads to take with you to the beach, backyard or the couch for a few quiet moments.

My favourite Vintage Moment from this week:

We found a new hiking spot just ten minutes from our house, this province never ceases to amaze me with its’ diverse scenery and gorgeous ocean.

nova scotia summer || this vintage moment

I would love to see what is capturing your eye this week, share it in the comments or on Facebook! 


Have a wonderful week, friends!


5 Ways to a Sorta (totally) Awesome Summer

This post started out as many do, just random thoughts jotted down on whatever paper is handy. Some simple ideas I wanted to make sure I did this summer, some things that would make life easier and reminders to myself to embrace this season. I was listening to one of my new favourite podcasts, Sorta Awesome, and they spent a whole episode talking about their top summer plans.

So, here’s my 5 ways to a Sorta (totally!) Awesome Summer!

1. Stock the kitchen and pantry

This seems like a no-brainer but I know we’ll have lots of days where we’ll just want to get up and go or linger at our favourite beach. Having stocked cupboards will make it easier to throw together a picnic. I’m buying a snack tray and filling it with fruit, cheese, crackers, homemade snack bars. I’m keeping the freezer stocked with popsicles, both the homemade kind and not. I’m going to make sure the beach bag is always ready to go with sunscreen, blankets and beach towels. I’m going to sketch out my menu plans for dinners – simple salads made of whatever is currently in season, pizzas topped with fresh tomatoes and every combination of stone fruit and cheese possible.

5 Ways to a Sorta (totally) Awesome Summer || this vintage moment

2. Say yes to all the things

We try to keep a pretty good routine during the school year, school schedule isn’t a concern for us since we homeschooled last year but all the extra classes are over and I want to revel in my girls being 5 and 3 this year. I’m not sure what this will look like but I want to be open to saying yes. Taking little detours, checking out a new playground, and lingering a little longer. This is what all the things looked like last time I made a summer bucket list, I’ve gotten better at knowing our family’s flow and a five item guideline is sometimes better then a hefty list.

3. Have picnic dates

I’ve already made some plans to hang out with friends at a local beach, our kidlets will play and we will talk. I’ll ask important questions like how they take their coffee, what is their favourite chocolate and what they are currently reading. We’ll go for supper picnics and keep the girls up way past their bedtime so we can watch the sunset over the ocean. I’ve been dreaming of sand-kissed shoulders and meals that take 3 hours all winter long, the picnic basket needs to be in regular rotation again.

5 Ways to a Sorta (totally) Awesome Summer  || this vintage moment

4. Read the books

This is actually on every single list I make for every single season. It is my favourite pastime and I hope to read through a couple more books with my girls as well over the summer months.

5 Ways to a Sorta (totally) Awesome Summer || this vintage moment

5. Let it Go

So the house is a little messy, so the kitchen didn’t get cleaned up before bed, so you don’t remember when the girls last had a bath- be like Elsa and let it go. Summer is a short season and I don’t want to be fussing over little things. I have a tendency to clean all the things when life gets crazy and I want to remember that it’s okay if the house isn’t perfectly picked up after spending all day outside. I want to remember that what matters at the end of the day is that we loved each well and that I put aloe vera on the sunburns.


Tell me your five top plans for this  summer, stellar popsicle recipes and favourite picnic food! 



I spent most of last month’s quiet moments reading and then rapidly requesting more books because nothing makes me more nervous then having no books on the go. A quiet toddler who shouldn’t be quiet also makes me nervous but it’s a different sort of nerves.

I relied heavily on Anne’s Summer Reading Guide (if you haven’t accessed it, go now!) for filling my library requests.  This is my favourite guide yet and I discovered some really fun authors. I can count on two hands the number of hot days we’ve had thus far to sit by the beach and read. Most of these books were read with a cup of tea and a blanket and had me dreaming of summer days.

 Welcome To Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan

I read two of Jenny Colgan’s books and this one was my favourite. Slightly predictable storyline but with enough twists to make it interesting. Rosie is asked to go and help her elderly aunt who has some health issues. Rosie lives in London with a ho-hum boyfriend and a ho-hum job as a nurse. The countryside is not where she thinks her dreams come true but after assisting the local doctor with a couple of cases and working on her aunt’s sweet shop (when not trying to get her to eat and sleep properly), Rosie re-evaluates her entire life. The book has delightful references to candy in other literature (Roald Dahl, of course) and the descriptions of the candy store may make you want to have a good selection of your favourite sweets on hand.



 Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan

This was my first Jenny Colgan novel and it was a fun read. I don’t have a big sweet tooth but both of her novels made me want cupcakes and candies or at least to visit a cupcake cafe. Issy has a terrific life, a terrific boyfriend and many people who love her for her baking. Until she loses her job and the only thing she has left is her baking. She takes a gamble, opens a cafe and starts to invest both in her local community and in the lives of others who don’t fit normal jobs. Each chapter opens with a recipe from her Grandpa, the man who raised her and taught her to bake, it’s very sweet. If you have ever wanted to open a cafe, make a huge difference in a short time and have happily ever afters- this book is for you. If you wanted to escape to England and read about cupcakes and love- this book is for you.



  Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson 

I typically steer clear of Young Adult books for what reason, I’m not sure but I read several this month and loved them. I especially like to read a couple books by an author to understand their writing style and see if it’s me or just that book that I love or dislike. Morgan Matson is a delight to read and I want to read everything she’s read and relive being 17 minus all the angst and emotions. Emily is a quiet girl, happy to follow her best friend’s lead until her friend leaves town unexpectedly. All that is left to explain the absence is a list of things for Emily to do over the summer- some because Sloane knows Emily’s fears and some well, just because. Emily meets new friends, discovers how to be herself on the outside and the inside. It may be written for teenagers but as a twenty-nine year old, I loved it.



 Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

This book was one of my favourites for a very personal reason- last summer my family and I went on our own epic (totally planned) road trip. Our route followed a very similar route to the route in this book and so while I was reading of their experiences at the Grand Canyon, in Louisville and just how much of Kansas there is, I was re-living our own trip. For anyone who has done a long road trip across the States, wanted to do a long road trip or worked through major relationship stuff while with strangers- this book is for you. Plus the cover art is just well done.




 Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova 

I’ve read all of Lisa Genova’s previous novels and knew I wanted to read this one as soon as I could get it from the library. One of Lisa’s purposes in writing is to draw attention to neurological diseases that don’t have cures or obvious causes. Inside the O’Briens addresses Huntington’s Disease, one that I actually didn’t know anything about before reading. It’s a hard read but like all of her other books, it’s a good read even if you may have to weep a few times while reading it. Not the best beachside read. Joe is a 40 year old police officer, in love with his wife and happy with their weekly Sunday dinners as a large, Irish Catholic family. Their life is turned upside when he is diagnosed with Huntingtons’, the story follows his progression with the disease and how the different family members deal with the reality of a genetic disease. The book is set in Boston, one of my favourite US cities and so I recognize places referenced in the book.

 All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 

This book is everywhere right now and for good reason. I chose this as my book for ‘the book that everyone has read but you‘ in the Modern Mrs Darcy reading challenge and it did not disappoint. I will admit that it took me awhile to get into the style of story telling and to follow the story but it is worth it to stick it out. It is the story of two children who grew up as World War II happened- an orphan genius of a boy who was given a chance to see Europe as part of Hitler’s army and a blind French girl who experienced a full life through her thoughtful father. Their stories are intermingled around a radio broadcast and the desire to experience life as fully as possible. The book took ten years to write and it is one to be savoured, occasionally reading the sentences out loud, if you’re a full on word nerd like me.



 Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline 

This book sat in my library bin for a week until I finally opened it and then promptly devoured it. The story alternates between a seventeen year old foster child and a elderly woman who was on the Orphan Train as eight year old. I loved the contrast and comparison of the heart wrenching stories from the Orphan Train and the foster care system. Neither one is perfect, both are filled with people who are in for the wrong reasons but there is good and this story shows some of the good from the then and the now.




Do you read more in the summer? What are your latest good reads? Head over to Modern Mrs Darcy for many more short reviews! 


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Weekend Links and {my} Vintage Moment

It’s been quite the week around here and when that happens, I tend to go quiet online until I know how and what to share. I’ve opened my computer for Netflix and tea in the evenings or to place even more holds at our library but not to write many words. We’ve been getting outside when the sun has come out and savouring the foggy rainy days. This is Halifax in June and I’m okay with it. We did get up to our garden plot and it was a magical few hours. I brought home rhubarb and planted tomatoes and marvelled at the wild apple trees.

Here’s some of what I’ve read this past week, when I haven’t been reading one of my books.

Simple Reality // The Art of Simple :: “I wanted you to know all this. Wanted you to see that our lives here are not endless days of bliss. Yes, there have been amazing rewards to this life we’ve chosen, and the benefits we’ve gained have infinite value. We would choose this again in a moment. But it’s not perfect.”

Flavoured Water for Morning, Noon and Night// Simple Bites :: I’ve been putting slices of whatever citrus I have on hand in my water for ages but these recipes look so good and totally make drinking water an experience. I can’t wait to try the watermelon one!

100 Picture Books to Read this Summer // Everyday Reading :: I love a good book list and this list will keep us going all summer long, there’s even a printable version for greater use.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Angel Food Cupcakes with Strawberries // Joy the Baker:: I know, two recipes in one round up one a non-food blog but summer is just around the corner and if you’re like me, you need some good recipes in your back pocket. I can’t wait to try this one on my book club girls!

My favourite Vintage Moment from this week:

Apple blossom time  is one of my very favourite times of the year. I know why Anne fell in love with the White Way of Delight.

appleblossom || this vintage moment


I would love to see what is capturing your eye this week, share it in the comments or on Facebook! 


Have a wonderful week, friends!


On waiting and lavender lemonade

We planted a garden two weeks ago. We went back to water and to check on the plot last week. I think I saw a few teeny leaves peeking through the dark brown soil but that could have been weeds or peas.

I added some seeds last week- lavender and basil and rosemary. I can’t wait to harvest the purple flowers to add to lemonade and top my little purple-lover’s birthday cake come August. I want to make pesto and smear it on fresh bread next February when we’re deep into squashes and braises and hot cocoa.

on waiting and lavender lemonade || this vintage moment

But right now? The garden looks barren. You can’t tell that anything is planted except for the little tiny markers and those only I know how to decipher. This year, we planted a garden. Next year, we’ll have cute garden markers.

We wait. We water. We talk about the garden. And I start thinking of many uses for cucumbers if all my plants come up.

But mostly we wait for the sun and the water and the seeds to do their magic, to push the plants through the surface and start growing where we can see the leaves take shape.

If we were sitting over coffee, I would tell you that the garden is a picture of my life. We’re in a waiting place right now in almost every area of our life. It’s not a fun place to be but it’s a needed place. There’s lots of good stuff around the corner, I know it and I can’t wait until that’s our reality. But right now, I have to wait and be patient that the good stuff will all come.

It’s hard to wait. It’s hard to know that there is nothing you can do but put one foot in front of the other- read the books, make the meals, go outside in the sunshine.

on waiting and lavender lemonade

I’ve been here before, I’m sure you have too. We both know that after the waiting comes sweet reward and that we always say it’s worth it but when you’re in the middle of it? It’s hard to see the finish line. So we water our garden plot, and by we, I mean my enthusiastic garden helpers who are so eager to do something garden related that they shower everything with water.

We make little routines in a crazy month of shift changes and we roll with lots of grace. We make time for snuggles over sweeping floors and we stick with simple favourites for dinner. And we wait, looking for the little shafts of light and glimpses of beauty that make even this middle part so very worth it.


Tell me about your gardening stories and what keeps you going in the waiting time.