Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mad Dogs, Englishmen and Tom!

I am infamous!

I don't know how many people realize it but, all the same, I am!  

I am infamous because, since the beginning of this blog, I have told you about my special projects that I am working on AND I have promised to show you photos when I am done.

I haven't.

tsk! tsk! tsk!!!

Now, what would you say (you, who have been following my little saga for a while, now) if I told you that: all of this time, I have had a garden?

Yes, all summer long, I have had a garden!

Perfectionist that I am, I haven't felt it worthy for you to see.

Well! I promise: I am going to endeavor to do better!!!
Do you want to see my garden?


 My Garden!

I call it my palette garden (or however you spell the silly word.)

 You see, the joy of having a fixer upper and blogging is that the 'before and afters' are so dramatic.

The down side of this situation is that it is taking a long time to get to the 'after' part.

It causes me to take a lot of close up shots!

Anyway, here's a better view of it.

(Notice, a growing Chubbers puppy looking through the fence.)

(Dad, this is sooooooooo easy that, I really think that it may replace foot by foot gardening)
notice, it's mobile! I can have Tom move my garden anywhere I want with his tractor!!!

Since last fall, I have been buying plants on super sale and squirreling them away. I've been getting delphiniums and hostas, irises and all sorts of assorted goodies for wonderful deals because the nurseries are trying to get rid of as much of their stock as they can in anticipation of winter.

In this same spirit, I am going to show you the work in progress, on our stone wall and garden.

 Tom began, early in the Spring, working on rebuilding the stone wall. The yard had been torn up, the previous Autumn, with hubungous trenches in the landscape, so that we could add electricity in the barn, reroute a spring in our driveway and, most importantly, put in a new septic system - the last two of these, required digging up, almost, the entire yard. We called it, "The Year of the Dirt"!

However, we are very familiar with what our plans are and how big projects actually go.
The wall took longer than expected. In the meantime, my husband fenced and put in a huge vegetable garden on the hill, moved and rebuilt the childrens' play structure at church, put in flooring in great grandma's apartment (next door), helped a young man (who needed A LOT of help) get his Eagle Scout requirements finished, before he was eighteen, oh, and, the list goes on and on.

He worked on the wall in every spare moment that he could grasp. He did all of this through a brutally hot and humid summer that has been the driest on record since they began keeping track.

Yes, it has been "Mad Dogs, Englishmen and Tom, who go out in the noonday sun"!

Well, here is a "before" picture of the yard, in the spring.

Bleak is the word, I think!


 Here is the just newly finished wall, a few weeks ago.


Then, last week, I started moving my plants from the parsonage where they had been left to fend for themselves for 3 whole summers. The poor things, they were almost dead from thirst!!!
First, however, I had to double dig the garden.

The first dig (in the lower garden) brought up all of these stones. (I will not even try to tell you how many stones came out of the bed that we've dug on the upper level! Ack!!! We hired a young man from church who went at it with a pick axe for SIX hours. This is gardening in Vermont!)

This particular chipmunk is very friendly and helpful. He thinks that we should plant sunflower seeds! A few of his have come up again. He kept popping out of holes in the wall to inspect my work!

After digging up all of the appropriate plants, I had to put them in quickly. Most of them were close to dead and the dirt - dry as dust - just crumbled away from the roots! I finished the race to put them in, dusted my hands, turned around, and noticed that I'd forgotten the wagon with some of the plants from my palette garden. sigh! They went in the next morning!

I am excited about this garden. I think that the plants and flowers will be beautiful against the stone!

So! That's my garden - so far!

(This week, I am working on the upper level.)

Next project (after the wood is in) is transforming the little hidden milk house into a garden bothy (or, potting shed, as it is sometimes known)! A greenhouse will be attached, made out of windows found in our barn.

In the meantime......
the one thing the drought seems to have helped is everyone's tomatoes!!!

Tom has a lot of tomatoes!

He's already canned these....

He's ready to do more ....

.... and, there's more out there, ripening on the vine!

It's harvest time!

 There is lots....

 .... and lots....

 of warm, tomatoey goodness!


Katy Noelle

P.S. I have several posts in the making - September is my favorite month. Most importantly, however, is that I have been getting ready for a blog party, which will include a gift to be given away. Stay posted, please! You are all invited!


  1. Your garden is really taking shape Katy! I love the stone wall and the plants will fill in nicely. We are also experiencing tons of tomatoes. How much capresse salad can one eat? I'm afraid I'm going to have to can them too. Then there are the grapes! I have so many! I have to make jelly. But when?
    We seem to be living parallel lives! BTW, your house is beautiful!

  2. Dearest Katy, So much has been happening! Poor Tom, he must be exhausted and longing for a time when it is far too cold/snowy to be able to go outside and he can spend his days by the fire writing his sermons. The bothy project is going to be so exciting giving you plenty to think about - as if you have nothing at present! - over the months ahead.

  3. Oh it is all lovely Katy. The tomatoes have me green with envy as ours all got blight. They make beautiful photos don't they? As for your garden - well done you! x

  4. Well done. You have a lovely garden in the making. If you could see my "sad" garden because of neglect you would be appalled. That will be remedied soon! Have a grand day! Cathy

  5. Omigosh, that stone wall is TO DIE FOR! Good job getting all your plants in. My garden is full of weeds at the moment... maybe when it gets a little cooler I will weed and mulch for the winter...

    Oh, and those tomatoes?! WOW!!!

  6. So much work going on at your house! How do you ever find the time to blog at all?

  7. You have a lovely garden in the making........what a lot of work to do !!....and yammie all your tomatos!!! looks great !!...happy evening....love Ria...

  8. Dear Kathy...thanks for all!! your lovely lovely comments !! you are such a great friend to me.....warmmmm hugs and kisses from me....by darling.....love Ria....

  9. wow, this all looks so lovely, I love looking at your pictures of your garden, it all looks so lovely. Those tomatoes are amazing! and all those jars, just a wonderful glimpse into your life, it looks so interesting and I really enjoyed it, thankyou

  10. Hi Katy,

    I am so happy for you!! Now I understand how difficult the work in your garden must have been. Not only preparing the path must have been hard work, but making the border ready for planting as well. All those stones....

    How beautiful your garden will be in spring and summer. Such a good idea to go for the bargains in the garden centre. I enjoy doing that as well. Last week I bought a David Austen Rose (William Shakespeare)half price. It's so beautiful! The colour is almost crimson and it smells delicious.

    Hope your garden will be just as you imagine! Wish you a happy day!

    Lieve groet, Madelief

  11. Dearest Katy Noelle,

    You've moved a mountain it seems like! Indeed, the stones make gardening tough! Those potted plants will be so GLAD to be out of their confinement and will eagerly start rooting strongly in the soil. Be patient and next year already will look so much better.
    Your tomato harvest looks incredible! My Dad, as well as Pieter's Dad were market gardeners who grew tomatoes in their huge commercial greenhouses. So to us, Tom's harvest looks really incredible!

    Sunny greetings from Georgia,


  12. There's a lot of hard work represented in these photographs. Love the stone and flower garden. And those tomatoes make my mouth water. I'm a tomato gal.

  13. wow! your property is beautiful and your vision is coming together so wonderfully!

    what did you can using the tomatoes? a friend recently made ketchup and says it's delish. a must-try!

    thanks for sharing!


  14. Indeed, Your Tom did a very good job ! how lucky you are to have him :o)
    To eat something coming from the kitchen-garden is the best thing in the world.
    Your husband is multi-talended !
    When we have a lot of tomatoes, like this year and there are enormous, I slice them, put garlic, parsley and basil and put them in the oven for 3 hours. Then I put them in pots filled with olive oil + fresh thyme, bay leaf.
    The dried tomatoes are very good with a fish, or in rice etc... and I use the perfumed oil to cook.
    It is a nice post, Katy Noelle. Give my compliments to Tom please.

  15. Oh Katy, your garden is wonderful.....everything looks so lovely and i love your beautiful house!!!! And i wish, my english would be much better to tell what i feel!!!!! I love your blog and i will put it in my bloglist....thank you for all your inspiration and also for your lovely comment........it makes me so glad ;)!!!!!!!!!! Have a wonderful weekend,

    Hugs Jade

  16. You have done so much to your yard Katy ~ it is looking so beautiuful. I would love to redo my garden from scratch... but I think it would be easier to just sell my house and move ~ ha!

    So many lovely tomoatoes Tom is canning. They will taste good this winter!

    Take care friend ~ warm hugs!
    xo Catherine

  17. Wow! How many tomato plants did you have?

    I think your garden is gorgeous! I can't wait to see what happens next spring, but I bet you REALLY can't wait! Your husband has done a great job on the wall. It is beautiful.

  18. The stone wall is well worth the wait! Your plants are the crowning touch and every year will be more beautiful than the year before. That's the best part of gardening!

  19. Dear Katy Noelle!!!!!

    A HUGE thank you for all your lovely comments!!!

    LOVE the idea of living down the road and meeting up for tea and inspiration...!!!Would b over like a shot helping you make those cupcake decorations - wouldn'y that be fun! (I have a DVD on sugar paste flowers- not bad at all - I think it is by Wilson's (?)-you know the baking people.... - also LOTS of how-to stuff on You Tube!!!)

    The American company I LOVE is called 'Baking Pretty' - just needded to give you this piece of information quickly - I know how it it is like - once I have something in my head, I need to move forward...so thought I'd better let you know asap....but will be back tonight - LOTS to say about your garden you HAVE been busy!!!!!! :)

    Have a lovely day!!!


    Nicola x

  20. I love these shots! Especially the garden/flower ones are beautiful... looks like a lovely place! :)

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  22. katy............your photography is phenomenal!...you definitely have an "eye"......i will send my sister your blog address (she's the one i told you who has a blog and does table scapes)....it was a pleasure meeting and visiting with you at the festival...and i will be checking back to see your beautiful pictures and perhaps some of my soaps!
    judy @ grace & miss mouse soaps


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