When Rain is King

So are the Slugs…..


And after finishing off most of the Red Shiso, they have moved on to the lettuce, spinach, chard, hostas, marigolds, kale, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli.

At this point, between trips to the local farm stand for vegetables, I begin to wonder, is there anything besides crab grass that slugs don’t eat?

I am not alone in my musings on these meaty existential questions. At the farm stand yesterday, they ALSO were talking about slugs and their futile attempts to make slugs more appealing, even cute by calling them, “hitchkhikers.” Apparently at the pick your own strawberry part of their operation, the slugs are all over the berries and this PR is not really improving the situation.

Let’s face the sad truth, there is nothing cute about slugs.

There is hope that the slug population will recede as we have finally seen the sun for a few minutes. It is almost freaky to see a bit of blue sky and have a few blessed moments of sunshine.

And the few moments of sunshine were not much consolation to May May and Jim who have worked on the stonewall patio project in “heavy mists and light drizzle” because their only other options were working during deluges, floods, thunderstorms, or downpours.

Is it really any wonder that another Sheehan has taken off for Spain where the pilgrimage trail promises sunshine and heat?

And when I took this shot of Ben about to head to JFK on the train to NYC, I had to acknowledge the good sense of Will, who is looking like he might leap that train with Ben and head out on the Camino himself.

Now there’s a hitchhiker that might qualify as cute.

The Sheehan Men

Now that the full time census here is three men and one woman- at least until next week- there are some obvious points to be made.

The Sheehan Men. They like sports. Four days of US Open Golf on TV can drift into five and not just because of rain delays. And that’s a sports joke that I can only make because of an epic amount of golf viewing last weekend.

The Sheehan Men. Their obsession with little white dimpled balls is not just an arm chair activity. They plan to play 54 holes of golf this Saturday with a 4:30 am departure from the farm and a first tee time of 6 am on their favorite gold course in southern New Hampshire. I think the dogs and I will not see them off. Probably will be asleep when they return too.

The Sheehan Men. Because when golf in all its variations is put on the back burner, there is always soccer. A crowd (of men needless to say) is gathering at 2:45 today in front of our TV for the US versus Spain game. Apparently its not often that the US gets to be trounced by the best team in the world- only, like, every time they are in a tournament. But who is quibbling?

Because the other thing about the Sheehan Men is that they haul rocks. Lots of them. Even Will (whose main job is eating) found time to carry rock this morning in between bowls of ice cream. Not only do they haul rock, but they place it nicely. And they even look cheerful while heaving solid granite around as if tossing feather pillows.


But then, the smiles could just indicate they know game time is now only an hour away.

StoneWORK with Ben, Bon Voyage to Emily!

During an exuberant moment, Jim and I decided to take down the deck that has long graced the south side of the house to make a stone patio where it had been. We realized that the deck somehow removed and cut us off from the gardens and being at ground level would be better ( that and the twenty year old deck was beginning to rot).

Ben, who has had a lot of experience with stone masonry, agreed to be the brains and the muscle on the project.

As we have all these rocks from the foundation of the building we tore down last fall, we are particularly excited to put them to use. You can’t just leave rocks lying around in New England can you? They SCREAM out to be made into walls, steps, and stuff like that.


In the first flush of the project, Ben took down the wooden deck. Then, with a neighbor’s tractor, he moved immense stones up to the farm to build an unorthodox set of circular stone steps for the back door (because even our stonework has to involve curves). Ben learned how to move big rocks when he worked with a Japanese garden designer miving many ton rocks into a very elaborate Long Island garden. It was impressive to see him finesse these stones into place. Apparently they were paltry pebbles compared to the Long Island project rocks.

Here Ben swings the first rock into place.

Here May May vies for the role as alpha dog of the project.


The steps take shape. ( No shot of the moment when the tractor (in gear and with the parking break on) rolled down into my perennial beds.

Now Ben has begun work on a retaining wall around the new patio area. What a blessing he likes stonework as well as web site work!

And speaking of blessings. Emily has been my rock in the gardens this spring and I want to give her a heartfelt shout out here before she departs tomorrow to work in a summer camp on Cape Cod.

EMILY!!!!!! We will miss you!

Since Lizzy is on the Camino again, Emily is leaving, and Ben is going to finish this wall then head off to the Camino also (It appears to be contagious, this Camino thing), this leaves Will who graduated from eighth grade on Wednesday. He now faces a summer solo with his parents and other household animals.

Here he is right before his graduation in the official baton passing ceremony.

William, how do you feel about weeding, deadheading, mulching, lawn mowing, rock moving?

Oh YOU feel called to the Camino too? I can’t blame you!

The Parade of Roses Begins

During the last couple of days Roses have begun to fill the gardens. Here’s a quartet that are bringing us pleasure.


Cardinal de Richelieu Rose, a key ingredient in “All Ego Contracts Null & Void” and a dynamo in its own right.
Will Baffin, one of the climbing Roses in “The Sacred Masculine” mix.


Henry Kelsey, also in “The Sacred Masculine” mix. This one shares an Arbor with Will Baffin, John Cabot, and John Davis ( and why exactly are all these Roses named after Canadian explorers?????)


Last for today is Alika Rose which anchors the corner of the Rose Garden. It nearly glows in the dark with such an intense energy and brilliance ( totally lacking in this picture- I begin to think I should only photograph Roses in the rain so their true colors can be seen).

I said I would try to keep you in Roses, so I will post this missive before doing another on our stonework project masterminded by Ben.

Right after I first posted this, I found this photo of Alika Rose taken on a cloudy day this week. Such a better representation of its saturated color! Let it be a reminder to me to follow through on taking these pictures with clouds and rain or early dawn light only!

As a community of Flowers, Angels, Nature Spirits, Dogs, Cats and even some People, Green Hope Farm can be a funny place……and I love telling you all about it!