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Isn’t it wonderful when things work out? The past year and a half Jan and I have been Covid hermits. We even had the bug early on and we are vaccinated but we have been spending a lot of our time out here in our place of woods, hollows, creeks, and moss. I have written about a lot of the things we have done to pass the time, most of them having to do with the outside. I have also answered a lot of questions about my various posts. Did you finish your path? How is the butterfly garden doing? Did transplanting that moss work? So I thought I would catch folks up on how things went since we started our Covid hideout.

The wildflower garden was wonderful to watch. We got the seeds in a little late. Late February to be exact so I wasn’t expecting much this first year. But slowly things began to happen and checking out the progress turned out to be one of the summer’s traditions. I’ll never forget how the ground looked before Marc got it cleared but cleared it was and covered in $150 in wildflower seeds. Weeds.

Right after Marc’s cleanup

It took a while but eventually, things began popping out of the ground. Had they been there all along or is this something we planted? It was an ongoing question throughout the summer. It even led to an app that could tell us what kind of flower we were looking at. And Jan got involved with some online wildflower and native plant organizations. It made for a fun summer.

Unknown things began growing

Over the winter and way before anything had sprouted I began putting in a path from the yard to the garden. It followed our little creek and I even put in a small clearing above a point where the brook babbled. A couple of chairs and some citronella tiki torches made for a great place to spend an afternoon with a glass of wine. An added bonus was the puppy that showed up. Jan and I have always been dog people but after the last one passed we decided that was it. This puppy, however, had my heart as he spent his days “helping” me with my path. Fortunately, his owners were found. They were happy. We were happy. And I hope the pup had a good time being lost at the Shipley’s.

Puppy inspecting my work. Or eating a bug

He especially seemed to enjoy hanging out with Jan at the clearing. Whether he got a gulp of wine is between Jan and the puppy.

Jan and the puppy at the clearing

All of the paths on our property are moss-covered as are our yards. So a new path meant new moss. As the path was being completed, I started gathering moss from various places in the woods, transporting it back in plastic Kroger bags. So even with a questionable back, I was able to spend time on my hands and knees carefully placing moss where I thought it stood a chance of spreading. And spread it did.

Moss, moss, and more moss

As I said earlier, we spent a good portion of our days checking out the path and the progress of our wildflowers. Everything was humming along as it should when another summer surprise appeared. Chanterelle mushrooms. Anyone who has read my writings knows what a  sucker I am for chanterelles. And here they were, popping up along the path and jumping out of the moss in our yard. Of course, that means there was another favorite thing to do. Make soup!

Chanterelles. I collected pounds of them

So it was an exciting summer here in our Covid free spot in the woods. And about the time I figured it couldn’t get any more excellent, along came the flowers. A carpet of yellow. I believe that is the color of late summer and there they were. Black-eyed Susans, yellow coneflowers, and the rest of the crew, ready to give us what we had been hoping for all summer. Our wildflower garden had become a reality. So chiggers be damned, off I went into the mini meadow to enjoy our labors.

Identifying the flowers that made a dream come true

I’m not even going to get into how my shade garden did this year. I’ve never written about it but it has been part of the area around the house for years. This year was great and my favorite flower, the trillium, went wild. They are a flower that starts out snow white and turns a beautiful lavender as their season progresses. Even my shade garden was full of surprises.

So this summer has been great. A summer full of fun, love, a puppy, and weeds.

3 Responses

  1. Susan Bryce
    | Reply


  2. Moisés Bernal
    | Reply

    Nice one, Mr. Shipley. It would be nice to read about the shade garden.
    Greetings again from Baja

  3. Rob B
    | Reply

    Love the garden….Throw some Calendula seeds down…We are both story tellers…I’m writing weekly local history column , “The Land Between The Marshes”. That would be the Horicon Marsh. Drop me line..

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