Summer Planning for Winter and My GLORIOUS Peonies and Gardens!

Jul 28 2019
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2019 Summer Updates – one happily tired girl reporting in! We have landed in the time of year now when all of us Minnesotans have to start thinking about winter… in JULY! Its a travesty! When I got the letter reminding me that it was time to buy pellets for my stove I just wanted to sit on the ground and throw a tantrum. Not long after that I got the call from my hay guy letting me know he would be dropping off my horses winter hay soon. There was no denying it at that point but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it!

So, I’m hacking away at my summer to do list, finally narrowing myself down to the two BIG things: my garage and getting the stone/stucco off my house so I can put up new siding.

Have I mentioned yet how tired I am of manual labor? My best friend just said this to me: Everything you do kicks your own butt so bad!

She is painfully correct!

Speaking of my best friend, she just had the kind of milestone birthday that generally includes black napkins and balloons with sayings that include the word: OLD on them. I hadn’t had any plans for her (I know I’m a terrible friend) but she is not into her own birthdays and has always been adamant that she didn’t want us to do anything.

Well, she caved for this – thank goodness!

The decision was made to have it at my place early this summer and I went from bouncing up and down clapping to a full on “OH SHIT” moment. I have a really great summer party spot with a huge yard, great fire pit, enormous deck… but not such a huge house. (At least not for more than 30 people.)

It was five weeks when we made the decision to have her party at my place and my garage was a TOTAL DISASTER. Literally everything was in a big jigsaw puzzle pile in the middle of it! There was NO WAY I was going to un-stack my furniture pile only to have to re-stack it all again so I could finish my garage AFTER the party.

So, I got to work!

I finished the electric, lights, the walls and even got the access door in along with a new path to it!

By some kind of miracle I had it all ready with an extra weekend before the party and thank goodness I had that weekend because I needed to clean my poor house so bad lol. All that work paid off though and we had ourselves just an awesome summer party!

The very happiest thing for me is my place full of campers, tents, family and friends. It is just so lovely to see all this home that I have worked so incredibly hard for not only accommodate the people I love but give them a place almost as much as it has given me my place.

It is HEART FILLING

Besides the garage (and since basically the snow melted) I’ve been working on getting the stone and stucco off of my house so I can fix it and put up new siding and I really am getting there! Officially all of the stone is GONE and I’m about halfway finished with removing the stucco.

(Posts coming up all about both the garage and the new siding later this year.)

Despite what it sounds like though I’ve had time this summer just to enjoy summer. My peonies bloomed so gloriously this year and I must’ve taken a hundred pictures of them!

Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!

The white are my favorites of the different types that I have. They’re the biggest by far and also have just the tiniest trail of burgundy running through them. I absolutely must double the height of my peony fencing next year, I lost many to just their own weight 🙁

Like it happens nearly every year my peonies only had a few glorious days though before being taken out by a summer storm. Such a bummer!

With a contribution to the Save our Monarch Foundation of only $20 they sent me the seeds that I planted here five years ago. This bed just does better and better every year and, every year, the monarchs flock to my home. It is wonderful!

(Something no one seems to mention about milkweed is how incredibly good it smells. Having it right by my front door means I get hit by it every day and it often forces me to stop and bury my face in one of the big blooms. It is the smell of summer.)

The vine on the side of my house is called Virginia Creeper, if you do a search for it online you will find that anyone who has encountered it either hates it or loves it – there is no in between.

It is VORACIOUS!

It grows wild all summer and abundantly in our forests here in northern MN, it provides berries that birds love and it turns the most incredible shade of fire red in the fall.

All I did to get it here was walk out to woods, hack off a bunch of it and stick it in the ground. I had every intention of it taking over this wall of my house. Virginia Creeper will not hurt my shingles nor my siding HOWEVER if I did attempt to remove it then I may cause some serious damage. Which is why my intention is it to be a permanent addition to my home.

Next up I plan on planting it along my entire privacy fence in the hopes that one day it will totally cover that too!

I’m trying to get pics of every wild flower and perennial bloom I notice around here this summer. As always my Grandma’s old flower beds never fail to disappoint. Back when I was married I had tried to save all my Grandma’s perennials by moving them into my own flower bed because my ex had wanted to turn her old beds into lawn.

What a relief I never let him do it!

I am embracing my Grandma’s last two flower beds now. The one out “back” of my home may never get enough sun to bloom again but it is an enormous bounty of lilies! I tucked one of my grandparents’ old benches into it and am just letting it be wild.

The bench also serves as a lovely place to watch my hummingbird feeders.

Her other flower bed I cut back to about half its size as it was totally out of control (and mostly grass) and I really hope to kind of maintain it now.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who has had something on their “to do list” unfinished for several years… So, around thirty years ago my Grandparents’ were wood workers and they made bat and bird houses galore. With their passing four bat houses, three bird houses and two big martin bird houses went to my Aunt’s garage.

Fast forward a decade and they moved to my garage and on to my “to do list” where I’ve been ignoring them. Well with the cleaning out of my garage I just couldn’t stand it anymore!

Two of the small bird houses I put on my 4×4 privacy fence posts and the other went on a post in my yard. The martin houses I put on top of posts in my horse pasture. The tallest 4×4 posts I had in the barn were roughly 11 feet and I put them about 2 1/2 feet into the ground. I cemented them in because anyone who owns horses knows that one of my 900 pound pets is gonna go for a good butt scratch and likely knock my posts right down.

(So, I looked up martin houses because I always thought they needed to be HIGH… Like, 20 feet in the air kind of high. But what I found out is that they just need lots of empty space around them.)

Lastly I had my four bat houses and, looking up their ideal placement, left me with a bit of quandary. Ideally bat houses will be very high up on a south facing building under an eve where they get all day sun. So, trees kind of suck for bat houses.

I didn’t have enough room on the side of my house for them (they wouldn’t have got enough sun there anyway) and it seemed pretty silly to tack them to the front of my barn with it in the state its in.

SO, I put them across the front of my horse shed and I actually really like them there! Honestly though I’m just so relieved that even if they never get used just taking them off of my to do list made me really happy.

My garden is kinda ridiculous with how over flowing it is. I love my new raised bed SO much! (My DIY “irrigation” has been just so convenient too.) Soon I’ll be making lots of pickles and I’m thrilled that my dill is doing so well that I won’t have to go searching for it in the store later this year.

I know I should have thinned out my seedlings more lol but just seeing my garden like this makes me grin.

HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE!

Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!

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10 Comments

  1. Pat M.
    July 28, 2019 at 9:36 am

    I grew up a country girl in my home state of Indiana and so appreciate your casual outdoor spaces. Most of my adult life I lived in the suburbs, requiring neatness and uniformity in flowers/gardens/lawns, etc. It is so refreshing and I know must be so relaxing to live WITH nature, rather than trying to control it. While I don’t envy your winters in MN (ours in Indiana are bad enough) I do envy your beautiful summers – although they are much too short. Live your life and enjoy!!

    • July 29, 2019 at 8:26 am

      Thank you so much Pat! The decision to embrace the wildness more so then I have in the past I think really made my home a far more comfortable and relaxed space. I just love letting nature do its thing without my trying to wrastle it under control lol. And, its a lot less upkeep!

  2. July 28, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    Wow…such a beautiful home and gardens you have made…with all your hard work. Gorgeous flower pictures!
    You are an amazing young woman!

  3. July 28, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Your summer flowers and garden are just gorgeous. I wish I had half the energy and creativity. God bless you.

  4. Stephany Michel
    July 30, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Tarah, I clicked on a number of your posts on Hometalk that caught my eye originally because I was impressed and attracted to the fact that that you were someone who was finding a way to fix up their place without spending a lot of money. This is what I need to do – fairly old manufactured home, limited disability income. Then I noticed you were a young gal from Minnesota fixing up your old family farm house.

    My gosh girl, you’re living my dream. I grew up in Minnesota on a farm with a house like yours (picture window, basement and everything) with a big huge old barn. We had a hog shed, great big garden, small wood grove behind the house and little tiny lake just down from the house. It was all my parents could afford at the time but it was the best place in the world to grow up. I’m not sure just how old that house was then ( I’m 50 now ) but it broke my heart when I went to college and my folks sold it to move to Arizona.

    So being the good kid I followed them to Arizona and after years of rentals I finally have a place to call my own and am looking for ideas to help me “fix it up”. I know this is long winded but I wanted to let you know that I’ve been following Hometalk for a while now and yours is the first blog that I’ve made an effort to follow on every site I’m on. ( Not just cause of the MN thing 😉) I enjoy not only your great ideas but watching you learn and grow as you as you put things together. You are so open and honest – your post about your barn made me cry – reminded me of mine. Keep up the good work girl.

    • July 31, 2019 at 1:00 pm

      Stephany it is wonderful to meet you! Where you grew up sounds absolutely like Heaven to me! Your story is one I hear often, the folks selling the family farm and there isn’t a family member who can take it over. All the old farms are slowly disappearing. When my Grandma passed and this place was vacant it was amazing how the stars aligned for me that I could make it my own. I was so so fortunate to be able to do this and make it my forever home. The barn collapsing this spring was a hard hit to take for all of us but I remind myself that she isn’t gone, just different. Like we all are after so many years!
      Thanks so much for coming by and following along!

  5. Koleta Scott
    August 2, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Beautiful flowers and garden. Flower gardening is my favorite thing to do. I also have lots of flowers, lilies, rose bushes and others from my Grandma. They have been in my yard now for 50 years.

    • August 2, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      Oh Koleta hat is wonderful! I can’t wait to say the same of my own flowers one day!

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