Tag Archives: Ruth Stout

The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination. ~Terri Guillemets


Path Through Snowy Woods“Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.” ~Victor Hugo

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.” ~Edith Sitwell

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” ~Author Unknown

“June suns, you cannot store them To warm the winter’s cold…”
~A.E. Housman

Snowy woods at sunset“In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.” ~Ben AaronovitchBroken Homes

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening ~by Robert Frost

“Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”~

Snowy Cabin in the WoodsFirst Snow by Marie Louise Allen

“Snow makes whiteness where it falls. The bushes look like popcorn-balls. The places where I always play Look like somewhere else today.”~

“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.”  ~Stanley Crawford

“I like these cold, gray winter days.  Days like these let you savor a bad mood.” ~Bill Watterson

“Every mile is two in winter.”  ~George Herbert

“Brew me a cup for a winter’s night.
For the wind howls loud and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I’ll toast our bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair.” ~Minna Thomas Antrim

Snowy tree in the woods

“Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.”  ~Pietro Aretino

“Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.” ~Charles G. Stater

“Winter came down to our home one night

Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,

And we, we were children once again.” ~Bill Morgan, Jr.

Colonial Home at Christmas“Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat.” ~Author Unknown

“Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition.” ~Mignon McLaughlinThe Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” ~Ruth Stout

My March Garden in The Shenandoah Valley–Beth Trissel


daffodils in March snow“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens,  To this famous quote I add, ‘and then it snowed.’

“It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”  ~Mark Twain

I heartily agree, and so I worked in my gardens on Saturday, quite mild out really, and daughter Elise  helped, which was greatly appreciated by this weary gardener. We got the peas and early greens…lettuce, bright lights Swiss chard, spinach, pok choy…plus radishes and assorted kinds of beets planted. *All heirloom seed. I added three Crimson rhubarb roots to the patch of red rhubarb. Only the traditional ‘been here forever’ green variety is reliably robust, but we keep trying. And then Sunday, Palm Sunday, (the little children were so precious at church waving their palms) it began to snow about mid afternoon. Same thing happened last Sunday. By this morning we have at least ten inches of the white stuff covering everything.

Elise went out yesterday with her camera at the start of the snow and took some lovely shots. Our old red barn with pussy willow in foreground.

snowy pussywillow by the old red barn on march 25

“Awake, thou wintry earth –
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, “An Easter Hym

I hope the snow clears out by next weekend, which is Easter. Too early this year for me, but there it is. And I do love Easter whenever it comes.

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~Ruth Stout

This is one of my most favorite spring quotes. I fully agree with Ruth Stout and have done so. I am also attempting to practice her no till gardening method. Image below of the seeds (packets are on the stakes) I planted on Saturday before Sunday’s snow with the pussy willow, wheelbarrow, and barn in the pic.

Seeds I planted the day before the snow on March 24th

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” ~Proverb

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”  ~Doug Larson

Luca in the snow March 2013“Every spring is the only spring – a perpetual astonishment.”  ~Ellis Peters

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”  ~Mark Twain (And so say all of us!)

“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?”  ~Edward Giobbi

To this I add, I hope I will have help with my gardens. Image of our rescue farm dog, Luca, at the start of the snow. We have two rescue farm dogs.

“The front door to springtime is a photographer’s best friend.” ~Terri Guillemets

Amen to that!

pussywillow against the barn in March 25 snow

We rooted pussy willow shoots in the garden last spring and were amazed that they all took off, and now we have a dozen blooming willows to move and give away to good homes. Some we will plant by the farm pond, but they cannot remain where they are because pussy willows grow far too large, even when pruned to keep in a garden.

Oh look, it’s snowing again.

“Yesterday the twig was brown and bare;
To-day the glint of green is there;
Tomorrow will be leaflets spare;
I know no thing so wondrous fair,
No miracle so strangely rare.
I wonder what will next be there!”
~L.H. Bailey

“First a howling blizzard woke us,
Then the rain came down to soak us,
And now before the eye can focus —
Crocus.”  ~Lilja Rogers

snpw crocus on march 25th

Gardening, Dear to my Heart, Hard on the Back


“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~ Ruth Stout

Spring came early this year to the Shenandoah Valley, though there’s frost out this morning.   If it could always be spring….what joy.   And I’m allergic to it, been on shots and meds for years, but I love it anyway, I say as I sit here sniffling.  But such beauty sends the spirit soaring, despite the sneezing. (*Virginia bluebells given to me by my dear grandmother have spread wonderfully in the dappled shade)

And best of all, I’m  back in the garden, with the usual accompanying aches as I get into what I call ‘gardening form.’   Or attempt to.

I come from a long line of plant lovers and inherited the gardening gene.  I’ve passed it on to my younger daughter, my right arm in the garden, but all of my children are fans.  And now ‘the smalls,’ the grandbabies, are our new crop of apprentices. My seven yr old grandson is of some real help.  Sometimes the four yr olds are a modicum of  use, or not terribly at odds with the agenda.  But two yr olds and under are no help at all.  Nor, I might add, are well-meaning dogs who lie on plants.  One of our dogs, a lab mix, eats asparagus, corn, and tomatoes.  He’s worse than groundhogs and raccoons, so we’ve secured our fence against him.  I think…

My main recommendation when it comes to gardening is to use a lot of compost and natural mulch, like well-rotted hay or straw, even leaves, in your vegetable and flower beds.  Robust plants better resist insects and disease.  Earth worms are a gardener’s best friend and thrive in natural mulch, humus-enriched soil.  I’ve even gone on worm finds and introduced more into the gardens, plus bought them from a reputable online source.  Yes, I’m nuts over worms as are my grandbabies now.  Thanks to my enthusiasm, they think worms totally rock.  My dream is to have the perfect garden like Mr. McGregor‘s in Peter Rabbit.  Dream on, I say to self.

Avoid  chemical fertilizers and pesticides or you’ll kill the worms and other beneficial insects.   I mix up an organic brew to spray on susceptible plants to fight diseases and battle our most voracious pests.  I’m currently experimenting with concoctions.  I like an online site called Gardens Alive that sells environmentally responsible products.  To whatever organic brew I’m using from them, I add a Tablespoon of baking soda, liquid kelp or seaweed fertilizer, and insecticidal soap per gallon.  I avoid fish based liquid fertilizers as the scent attracts the barn cats who take undo interest in the plants.  I can’t say for certain how well any of my brews work, but at least I’m not hurting anything. ‘Do no harm,’ the physicians creed also applies in the garden.  Even organic insecticides can kill the good bugs and butterflies, so use with great caution.

My primary focus in gardening is our vegetable, perennial & annual flower and herb beds.  I’m particularly fond of herbs and old-fashioned cottage garden plants, those heirloom flowers and vegetables passed down from generation to generation.  Some of these vintage varieties involve saving seed and ordering from specialty catalogues.  Those herbs and flowers that attract butterflies, hummingbirds, songbirds, and honey bees are of special interest to me. I strive to create a wildlife sanctuary of sorts.  The American love of a chemically dependent green lawn is the opposite of what beneficial insects and wildlife need, and plants for that matter.  Think wildflowers and herbs.  Rejoice in the butterflies and hummers that will follow.

We rotate annual our garden vegetables as well as practicing companion planting.  Time honored combinations we’ve tried, as well as making some of our own discoveries, are to plant nasturtiums and radishes closely around the cucurbit family (commonly called the cucumber, gourd, melon, or pumpkin family) help to deter the squash vine borer and cucumber beetles which are deadly to the plants.   This family is our most trouble prone, so gets the greatest attention when it comes to companion planting.  Radishes are also a good companion for lettuce, spinach, and carrots.  If I were to choose one companion plant it would be radishes and the second, nasturtiums, but there are many excellent choices and we’re learning more all the time about effective combinations. (Image of lemon scented marigolds, also of  benefit.)

I interplant garlic with roses and have beneficial effects in warding off some of the pests and diseases that attack them.  *I prefer the old-time roses and David Austen varieties that combine the best of the old with the repeat bloom of the new.  My favorite rose is Abraham Darby by David Austen. I just planted a new one.

Tomatoes grow more happily when planted near basil.  Peppers also like it.  Sweet marjoram, which reseeds itself for us, is another beneficial herb to interplant with vegetables and flowers.  Mint helps deter cabbage worms.   Pumpkins and squash better survive when rotated from their usual spots.  This year we tucked a pumpkin in among the massive, native clematis vine growing along the backyard fence that we refer to as ‘the beast.’  The borers didn’t find it, plus ‘the beast’ helped cradle the orange globes.

We’ve observed that old-fashioned sunflowers with multiple heads (planted by birds from the birdseed variety) grow the most vigorously.  Sunflowers attract masses of goldfinches, a favorite songbird, and when planted in and around corn, reduce army worms in the ears.  Marigolds are an excellent companion plant for vegetable and flowers to help ward off  Japanese beetles.  Borage enriches the soil, attracts honey bees, and is another good companion for squash.  Onions planted near carrots help repel the carrot fly.  Chamomile (German, the annual variety) is another good companion plant but use it sparingly.  The perennial form of chamomile, Roman (Anthemis nobilisis creeping all over the place and makes a lovely fragrant ground cover at the border of other herbs and flowers.

Encourage beneficial insects to make their home in your garden and experiment with companion planting.  Avoid monochromatic schemes and think variety.  And remember the old-time, non hybrid varieties of flowers and vegetables.  A great book about growing heirloom plants and sharing them with others is Passalong Plants.   A delightful  book chocked full of information. And Happy gardening!

*Images of the garden by my daughter Elise Trissel. The goldfinch is by my mom, Pat Churchman.

Wintry Quotes & Pics


 

The North Wind Doth Blow ~ traditional

“The north wind doth blow, And we shall have snow, And what will poor robin do then, Poor thing?

He’ll sit in a barn, And keep himself warm, And hide his head under his wing, Poor thing.”

 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.~

“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” ~Ruth Stout

First Snow by Marie Louise Allen

“Snow makes whiteness where it falls. The bushes look like popcorn-balls. The places where I always play Look like somewhere else today.”~

Snowball by Shel Silverstein

“I made myself a snow ball as perfect as could be. I thought I’d keep it as a pet and let it sleep with me. I made it some pajamas and a pillow for it’s head. Then, last night it ran away. But first — it wet the bed.”~

“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.”  ~Stanley Crawford

“I like these cold, gray winter days.  Days like these let you savor a bad mood.” ~Bill Watterson

“Every mile is two in winter.”  ~George Herbert

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.”

~Edith Sitwell

“Brew me a cup for a winter’s night.
For the wind howls loud and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I’ll toast our bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair.”
~Minna Thomas Antrim

“Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.”  ~Pietro Aretino

“Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.”
~Charles G. Stater

“Winter came down to our home one night

Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,

And we, we were children once again.”

~Bill Morgan, Jr.

“Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat.” ~Author Unknown

Our back yard, our front yard, our farm pond, tiny church in Singers Glen, VA.

Gardening Is Dear To My Heart~


“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~ Ruth Stout

At long last, after a long, cold winter, spring has returned to the Shenandoah Valley.   If it could always be spring….what joy.   And I’m allergic to it, been on shots and meds for years, but I love it anyway.

And best of all, I’m finally back in the garden.  I come from a long line of plant lovers and inherited the gardening gene.  I’ve passed it on to my younger daughter, my right arm in the garden, but all of my children are fans.  And now, the little people, the grandbabies are our new crop of apprentices. My six yr old grandson is of some real help.  The same cannot be said of the three yr olds.  Toddlers are no help at all.  Nor, I might add, are well-meaning dogs who lie on plants.  One of our dogs, a lab mix, actually eats asparagus, corn and tomatoes.  He’s worse than groundhogs and raccoons, so we’ve secured our fence against him.

My main recommendation when it comes to gardening is to use a lot of compost and natural mulch, like well-rotted hay or straw, even leaves, in your vegetable and flower beds.  Robust plants better resist insects and disease.  Earth worms are a gardener’s best friend and thrive in natural mulch, humus-enriched soil.  I’ve even gone on worm finds and introduced more into the gardens, plus bought them from a reputable online source.  Yes, I’m nuts over worms as are my grandbabies now.  Thanks to my enthusiasm, they think worms totally rock.

Avoid chemical fertilizers and pesticides or you’ll kill the worms and other beneficial insects.   I mix up an organic brew to spray on susceptible plants to fight diseases and battle our most voracious pests.  I favor a blend of 1 tab. baking soda and 1 tab. liquid copper (both fight diseases),  1 capful (approximately 1 tsp or more) of liquid seaweed or some such sea based fertilizer, 1 tab. neem oil (fights diseases and chewing insects without harming those that don’t chew)  and 1 tsp. Safer’s insecticidal soap mixed in a gallon of water.  *Some directions for Neem suggest mixing one ounce per gallon, but I’ve had some problems with leaves getting burned at that rate.  Nor do I always add Neem to my brew.  Garlic is also good to fight diseases and pests, but must be strained well or it clogs the sprayer.  Always avoid spraying during hot sun or leaves might burn.  And don’t spray Neem on plants that host butterfly larvae.   They chew but turn out quite beautifully so in their case, chewing is allowed. The best plant protection, though, is healthy soil.

My primary focus in gardening is our vegetable, perennial & annual flower and herb beds.  I’m particularly fond of herbs and old-fashioned cottage garden plants, those heirloom flowers and vegetables passed down from generation to generation.  Some of these vintage varieties involve saving seed and ordering from specialty catalogues.  Those herbs and flowers that attract butterflies, hummingbirds, songbirds, and honey bees are of special interest to me. I strive to create a wildlife sanctuary of sorts.  The American love of a chemically dependent green lawn is the opposite of what beneficial insects and wildlife need, and plants for that matter.  Think wildflowers and herbs.  Rejoice in the butterflies and hummers that will follow.

We rotate annual our garden vegetables as well as practicing companion planting.  Time honored combinations we’ve tried, as well as making some of our own discoveries, are to plant nasturtiums and radishes closely around the cucurbit family (commonly called the cucumber, gourd, melon, or pumpkin family) help to deter the squash vine borer and cucumber beetles which are deadly to the plants.   This family is our most trouble prone, so gets the greatest attention when it comes to companion planting.  Radishes are also a good companion for lettuce, spinach, and carrots.  If I were to choose one companion plant it would be radishes and the second, nasturtiums, but there are many excellent choices and we’re learning more all the time about effective combinations.

I interplant garlic with roses and have beneficial effects in warding off some of the pests and diseases that attack them.  *I prefer the old-time roses and David Austen varieties that combine the best of the old with the repeat bloom of the new.  My favorite rose is Abraham Darby by David Austen.

Tomatoes grow more happily when planted near basil.  Peppers also like it.  Sweet marjoram, which reseeds itself for us, is another beneficial herb to interplant with vegetables and flowers.  Mint helps deter cabbage worms.   Pumpkins and squash better survive when rotated from their usual spots.  This year we tucked a pumpkin in among the massive, native clematis vine growing along the backyard fence that we refer to as ‘the beast.’  The borers didn’t find it, plus ‘the beast’ helped cradle the orange globes.

We’ve observed that old-fashioned sunflowers with multiple heads (planted by birds from the birdseed variety) grow the most vigorously.  Sunflowers attract masses of goldfinches, a favorite songbird, and when planted in and around corn, reduce army worms in the ears.  Marigolds are an excellent companion plant for vegetable and flowers to help ward off Japanese beetles.  Borage enriches the soil, attracts honey bees, and is another good companion for squash.  Onions planted near carrots help repel the carrot fly.  Chamomile is another good companion plant but use it sparingly.

Encourage beneficial insects to make their home in your garden and experiment with companion planting.  Avoid monochromatic schemes and think variety.  And remember the old time, non hybrid varieties of flowers and vegetables.  A great book about growing heirloom plants and sharing them with others is Passalong Plants.   A delightful  book chocked full of information.

And Happy gardening!

The Renewal of Life


“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”  ~Ruth Stout

When I was 6 yrs old, our family had recently returned from Taiwan where my parents taught English for 3 yrs. One of my earliest Easter memories is of finding wonderful colored eggs hidden in a yard filled with crocus and daffodils.  Magical.

Is there anything at Easter quite like your first egg hunt or  basket full of brightly dyed eggs? I love the abundant new life in spring and the message of hope that is Easter.

No matter how long winter lasts, eventually spring will come and there’s no where more lovely to greet it than in the Shenandoah Valley.  This Easter weekend the weather is glorious, which means I’m spending much of it in the garden with my daughter, Elise,  and whoever else happens by.  We planted potatoes, a tradition on Good Friday.   All at once it seems everything needs to be done in the garden, weeding, mulching, planting…each year I swear I’m gonna pace myself, and each year I wear myself out. zzzzzz…

“Yes, in the poor man’s garden grow

Far more than herbs and flowers—

Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind,

And joy for weary hours.” ~ Mary Howitt

Years ago, my dear grandmother gave me a start of these Virginia Bluebells and they’ve spread happily in the shade of evergreens and an old maple tree. “Some flowers are lovely only to the eye, others are lovely to the heart.”

“The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.”  ~Robert Flatt

“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life. ” ~Douglas Horton

“On Easter Day the veil between time and eternity thins to gossamer.”  ~Douglas Horton

“For I remember it is Easter morn, And life and love and peace are all new born. “~Alice Freeman Palmer

Flower Thoughts On This Snowy Day


I’m thinking springtime thoughts amid the winter drear.  Have a day warmed with hope and imbued with new life.

“Wherever flowers cannot be reared, there man cannot live.”~ Napoleon Bonaparte~
*Which rules out this place for lord only knows how many more weeks.

“The Earth Laughs in Flowers” (and I miss them) ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Never a daisy grows, but a mystery guideth the growing.” ~  Richard Realf

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.  ~Ruth Stout

I love Ruth Stout and have her gardening books.

“The naked earth is warm with Spring,

And with green grass and bursting trees

Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,

And quivers in the sunny breeze.” ~Julian Grenfel

*I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.* ~ e.e. cummings

Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Daffodils,

That come before the swallow dares,

and take

The winds of March with beauty.  ~William Shakespeare

“Yes, in the poor man’s garden grow

Far more than herbs and flowers—

Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind,

And joy for weary hours.” ~ Mary Howitt

Mary Howitt has so many lovely quotes. I’m a fan.

“Little flower, but if I could understand, what you are, root
and all in all, I should know what God and man is.”
~ Tennyson

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling  faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”  ~ Ashley Smith

There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Amen to that.  Sigh….

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

What an excellent collection of quotes.

 

 

For more on my work please visit: www.bethtrissel.com

Wintry Pics and Quotes


The North Wind Doth Blow
traditional

“The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then,
Poor thing?

He’ll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
Poor thing.”

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.~

First Snow
by Marie Louise Allen

Snow makes whiteness where it falls.

The bushes look like popcorn-balls.

The places where I always play
Look like somewhere else today.~

Snowball
by Shel Silverstein

I made myself a snow ball as perfect as could be.
I thought I’d keep it as a pet and let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas and a pillow for it’s head.
Then, last night it ran away.
But first — it wet the bed.~

There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.  ~Ruth Stout

Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.  ~Stanley Crawford

I like these cold, gray winter days.  Days like these let you savor a bad mood.  ~Bill Watterson

Every mile is two in winter.  ~George Herbert

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.  ~Edith Sitwell

Our back yard, our front yard, our farm pond, tiny church in Singers Glen, VA, the Christmas tree farm