News from a summer porch in New England..

A summer porch....Tahilla Farm

Hello! Hello! Hello!

Goodness, it has been so long, how are you?? I am imagining many of you checking in from your homes across the globe...summer, autumn and all the shades of seasons in between. We are technically a few weeks away from the start of summer ( 21 June) but it feels heavenly from where I am sitting today. When I last wrote I wondered if I would ever see color in the garden again. We have it in particular, in shades of peony. 

When we bought Tahilla Farm five years ago, we inherited what I am guessing is the pink 'Sarah Bernhard' peony below. We had to dig them up carefully with a small tractor, gently taking everything that was growing with them to ensure they would survive. This is the first year since we moved them that they have blossomed in abundance. 

We added the pink 'Madison' and white 'Festiva Maxima' in 2016 when we established the gardens. I always feel a bit guilty cutting flowers in the garden, not wanting to take away from our floral landscape. Not so this year, there are so many that I will hardly notice and the fragrance makes me want to skip out of bed at first light and run around the garden in my pajamas with glee. Thank goodness we live in the woods!

Paeonia lactiflora 'Madison'

 Paeonia lactiflora 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Paeonia lactiflora 'Festiva Maxima'

A construction symphony...
As I type, a symphony of hammers and buzz saws is echoing around the property. I can't say it is music to my ears but it is pretty darn close. Our carriage house construction is growing in leaps and bounds with enough of a structure for me to figure out what is what. When the crew heads out at the end of each day, I make my way up the ladder to the second floor and have a look around. 

A carriage house takes shape.

Sizing up the second floor.

South facing studio window view.

It is always interesting to see the reality alongside what you imagined from the architectural drawings. When we altered the plans to fit within our budget, we went from spacious to cozy. I think I am going to like cozy and I think our grandson and future grandchildren will like it too!

Aussie Cooper...
Speaking of grandchildren, we all flew to Australia in May to meet our little Aussie, Cooper, and absolutely adore the wee one. I am still working within the "no social media" guidelines (kind of)set by his parents... I just can't resist those little fingers!

Shhh..don't tell mum and dad

The Brown Paper Book Club...
All this traveling, gardening and construction has allowed quality time for reading. Don't ask me how, but it has! I think I have mastered the art of "armchair traveling"....and it has been wonderful! I am trying something new, rising early (before the first hammer swing at 7:00am) and taking one hour to sit quietly and read. No noise, no distractions...just me, a book and the occasional passing hummingbird. 

View from my armchair...

It also helps that we have a group of voracious readers in The Brown Paper Book Club who are always coming up with wonderful suggestions. I have to keep my fingers nimble and my ears alert for every passing page and word. I am balancing my reading through books, Audible and Kindle. Audible has been great for long car trips and chores around the house. I just pop on my iPhone, turn up the sound and slip it into by back pocket...easy! 

Looking back, I would say there is an undeniable theme to what I have been reading lately. The central characters are women standing strong and proud in the face of difficult life challenges, some unimaginable, one after the other. Not all stories have a happy ending but you know the choices they made were the right ones. I have read all of the following books recently and am currently in the midst of reading A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline, set in Maine. Two of the books, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland and Salvation Creek by Susan Duncan are based in Australia. Nora Webster by Colm Toibin  is set in Ireland and Alexandra Fuller's books Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood and Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness are memories of an African childhood in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia. I highly recommend them all!

If you are interested in learning more about the books and are looking for reading suggestions, you can find the full book list at Goodreads-Jeanne and the Brown Paper Book Club. You can also join The Brown Paper Book Club on Facebook.  I added a link to the tabs under my header above and to the sidebar. You can find it here. Hopefully, any one of these links will take you to a great book to read! 

Signing off wishing my eldest son, 
Patrick and dad to little "Coop" a Happy Birthday! 
And to Miss Claire who surprised me 
with these "after shots" yesterday
of her skydiving experience in Namibia...
you got me, 
heart attack diverted!

Miss Claire...taking to the Namibia sky.
Wishing you all much happiness from Tahilla Farm. 
Would love to hear what you are planting or reading these days, 
always up for suggestions! 
You can leave a comment or write to me

All the best,

Jeanne xx

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