Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sifting Through Starlight

A friendship gift of an antique pin from Jane Hogue. The pin is resting on peony petals. Karen had a fat bouquet in our room and the scent is dreamy.

Am I dreaming the past few days? They feel like a dream to me. Two great couples, two great farms, fluffy beds, and a field of flashing fireflies–what could be better?

We love our times with our old friends Jack and Jane Hogue of Prairie Pedlar in Odebolt, Iowa. If you're EVER even a state away, you must go visit them. Their gardens, barn, schoolhouse, chicken coop shop, and greenhouses are amazing.

Approaching the Hogue's barn.

Jane hosted a tea and book signing for me, and it was held inside the barn. We had a ball. About 30 people attended, and I gave a short talk; we made hilarious paper hats and ate Jane's famous chocolate chip cookies. It was a wonderful day and we got to spend time with Tyler (he is mentioned in Sunflower Houses and Hollyhock Days) and his adorable wife Cara.

One of the many gardens and outbuildings on the Hogue farm.

An overview of just one of the gardens.

We didn't want to leave Jack and Jane, but we were looking forward to our time on the farm with Karen and Doug Jimerson (Doug is the editor-in-chief of the garden group at Meredith Publishing). Karen wrote my FAVORITE Country Home column "Slow Lane" for many years and now writes it for Country Gardens magazine and Cat Crossing Farm blog. Her tales of life on a farm are heartwarming and personal–100% Karen through and through.

Approaching the Jimerson's Cat Crossing Farm.

Oh, and their gardens here at their 100 year old farmhouse–I'll let the photos tell the story for me.

Archer follows us through the gardens.

The welcoming front porch.

Breakfast with fresh eggs from their "girls." Doug predicted that the long egg would be a double-yolker.

He was right.

When Karen yelled for Yukon, her bay, all the sheep and horses thundered into the yard.

I have always wanted a miniature donkey, and I've been in miniature donkey and animal heaven here. Three minis, Cisco, Riley, and Peso. They are gentle, intelligent, and fun. Now I want them more than ever. I think we'll have to move back to the country.


Peso, what a mug!

Riley and me.

A great water garden. Doug loves the koi.

Archer and Tess enjoying the water garden.

Last night, I climbed into a four poster bed under the eaves. Lights out and stars everywhere, but the stars moved, flashed, dipped, and dived, and I realized that the fireflies are already out!

Love and best wishes to you,


P.S. Don't forget to check out the new posting on Lowe's Garden Grow Along. This week's post is about  ways to save $ when you're gardening.

P.P.S. For my up-to-date book tour schedule, click here.


Thea said...

Your life is a gardener's dream, Sharon! I, too, adore Karen Jimerson's column, as much as I loved yours. Really, it's a thrill to find your writings in a new place. Sometimes we read such columns in our favorite magazines and it seems like a fantasy life you writers lead. And now it's all so much more real to me. I really miss Country Home, wish they'd bring it back. I just picked up the latest Country Gardens. Will savor it later AFTER i do a bit of choring in my garden. COntinue to have a lovely, safe journey! t

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

What a beautiful barn! I love the architecture of old american barns and houses, so different from what we have over here!

How kind to host a book signing for You! It sounds as if You had a great time!
Have a great day now!

Dan said...

Ha ha, there seems to be a Jack Russell everywhere I go today!
The pin is really beautiful, and it sounds like you have had a wonderful weekend with great friends. Love the Koi pool! I've never heard of a miniature donkey??

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Well Sharon, I'm only a state away and I am pretty sure i should go!!
My Mom and Dad lived in Eastern Iowa for awhile not far from Prairie Du Chien. You do have a charmed life! Love the pics, so Americana!
Happy Memorial Day!

Vee said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos of your friends' homes. They both sound delightful. I'm glad that you are having time to play as well as work, too.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Friends,

Thanks for the e-mails and the comments on the blog. You're right, this is our play time and we are enjoying every second together.

We went to a small, local creamery today and bought food for tonight's dinner party. James Baggett, editor of Country Gardens, is coming with his Irish Jack Russell terrier, Finch.

It is a cool, breezy Iowa day and the air is filled with the mingled scents of roses and peonies. Heaven on earth.


Erin | Bygone Living said...

You're always surrounded by such beauty! In love with all your posts! ♥

farmlady said...

Your friend's farm is so lovely. I think you are enjoying yourself way too much... but it's OK because we get to see these beautiful photos and read your wonderful descriptions an stories.
I have always wanted a miniature donkey too. Three would be heaven...

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon, I had to enlarge all the photos and pig out on eye candy. So beautiful!!!

The Hogue's barn is amazing. Love the birdhouses atop the rustic arbor. That's one nice looking double-yoker! Although my animal ownership lies exclusively with cats, I have no problem admiring other people's. Cisco, Peso and Riley are adorable. As are Archer and Tess. What happy, well-loved animals.

I wonder if there is a way to photograph fireflies. Unfortunately they don't fly up to my neck of the woods.

Thank you for sharing your travels. Fun!

Aunt Jenny said...

Oh Sharon..your posts are always so much fun to lovely!!! Lucky you to get to visit two such awesome farms! I have always just loved mini donkeys too..and those three were adorable. Maybe someday I will get one..if I had space I think I would have one now. I am pushing it with my sheep, chickens and milk cow now..haha.
I look so forward to reading your blog and seeing where you have traveled. So much inspiration!!
Have a wonderful week!

Dawn said...

Oh my WORD....................
I am SPEECHless.
What amazing specks of paradise on this great green earth. It is so soothing to see places where tranquility and simple joys still rule.
Thank you so much for sharing these pictures with us.
I think of you at least once a day!
xo Dawn

Kay's flowers said...

What a magical place! How fun to get to stop there and visit. If I am ever that way I will stop. I love the pin. The peony petal is the perfect backdrop for it. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with all of us. Be safe! Kay

Terra said...

I love everything you share here. Donkeys are so cute, I would love to have one also. Perhaps the cutest thing is the bird houses above an archway, now why didn't I think of that?

ourjewel said...

I recently bought 2 of your books and am happy to say that my daughter's sunflower house is coming along nicely! I cannot wait for it bloom and grow tall so my daughter and I can have home school lessons, story time, and just plain relaxing time in the house this summer and fall. The tallest flowers are 2 feet right now, and I have planted 4 different types of sunflowers for variety. They are just starting to bloom. I will be trying your other cute and thoughtful gardens for children found in "Roots, Shoots,Buckets, and Boots" in the future. Next year I believe we will add the Moon Garden to her garden area! :)

Rebecca said...

Oh, I've wandered your way and now am hopelessly lost. I'm out of my league when it comes to writing or gardening with the expertise of "you all", but that doesn't stop me from looking and longing! How utterly fascinating, peaceful and welcoming these places - and YOUR place.

marcia said...

Hi Sharon!

I can feel the Joy in your words.

The pictures on your blog are such an inspiraton to me. I always have a new idea after reading.

And how very special to be able to travel the country meeting other people and their lovely spaces!

happy day!

Denise Yezbak Moore said...

Hi Sharon -
I am honored that you stopped by my blog. I love your post on the Prairie Pedlar. What a beautiful and amazing location. The photos of the gardens and outbuildings are so inspiring.

So tell me, how do you go from California to Maine? That is clear across the county.


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

It must have been a dream to enjoy both of those beautiful places. What a dream they would both be to live and garden in either place. Very inspirational!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

In beautiful Wisconsin for two days to do programs in the La Crosse area (West Salem at the Heider Center) and Waupaca at the Community Center.

Tonight's program is "The Artist in the Garden-The Garden in the Artist." The presentation will help to raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs and afterward there will be a book signing with all monies going to benefit the children. Come join us if you're in the area.

Saturday will be a talk, demonstration, and reading– Very informal and fun.

I received a couple of e-mails asking if we would see Taliesin East in Spring Green while we're on the road. We took a few hours for ourselves yesterday and did the home and garden tour of the amazing house and gardens. More later about the transcendent architecture and designs of Frank Lloyd Wright.



Unknown said...

Oh my Sharon,

Are you ever getting to see some lovely places and people in your travels! I love watching your tour and the photos' are lovely!

Thanks so much for sharing your travels here!

Dandelion Wishes,

rebecca Sweet said...

The very first photo elicited a verbal 'Ohhh' from me...and I knew I was in for a treat! What a PERFECT place for you to visit, and to have your book signing in that barn? Heaven! Reminds me of a little place in Cambria I once knew..... ;)

I had a fabulous visit with Michelle Gervais & her husband this past weekend (Fine Gardening editor) and gave them a copy of Roots, Boots, Buckets & Boots for their 4 yr. old daughter - they were thrilled, as their little girl loves gardening!

One of the gardens I showed them over the weekend was 'led' by an 8-yr old who couldn't wait to show us the Sunflower House she made (from your book)...

Your reach is far and wide, Sharon, and appreciated by all!

Kristina said...

I want to go there! I live in north central Nebraska so this is totally doable!! What a lovely place to visit. Thank you for sharing your visit to this beautiful place!

Tonya Gunn said...

What a beautiful barn and setting.
Isn't it so much fun to collect farm fresh eggs?
Warm wishes, Tonya

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Sharon - all that you shared is Heaven to me. These special homes and gardens - are my envirement.
Thank you for the wonderful words and images.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

hi sharon! are you back in maine yet? i am so sick about this oil spill i can't see straight. it must be horrible after your drive across this beautiful country to see this on tv! joyce

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Hi Sharon...are you still traveling or?? So much to look at and enjoy in this post. Your friends barn is lovely as are the grounds. It sounds like you had a wonderful time.
Our plans to visit Maine this year are sort of on hold. My poor husband is having his left knee replaced in July and August is the time we usually fly back. Since we have no idea the recovery time..we have to wait and see.

Imagine! A book signing! :) To me that is an amazing and wonderful thing.

Swisstoons said...

Nice to meet you, Sharon. Pam said you have a beautiful and interesting blog...and, of course, she right! I know that hen who laid the double-yoker isn't in it for the money, but I bet a pysanky painter (Ukrainian Easter egg dyer) would've paid a pretty hryvnia for it!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Friends,

Judging by e-mails, blog comments, and people I talked with at the Heider Center this morning in Wisconsin, lots of people didn't realize that my book tour is 5 weeks long. I haven't been able to answer all e-mails and comments and hope that the word will spread from here.

Eleanor, so happy we finally met in person today instead of just on line. Your words meant so much to me and I hope the photos of us turned out.

Please check the new link that Jeff installed to check on where I'll be speaking. Note that television and radio shows will not be put on the schedule because the publicist at Workman constantly adds new venues and there can be last minute changes.

Your participation in my events has meant the world to me. Thanks for all your words, hugs, and support.

I promise to stop for a few hours on Monday to update the blog posting and to share a few more photos with you.

If you're in the Chagrin Falls area of Ohio please check with Village Herbs to find out about the evening tea. I'd love to meet you there.

All best from the road,


Lori ann said...

Oh my gosh Sharon,
it is a dream. You are such an inspiration to me. Reading your words and looking at the photos (and trying not to feel envy), i smile and sigh. It is indeed a joy to know that there are places and people like this in the world.
safe travels!

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hi Sharon,
I am so disappointed that I couldn't make it to your lecture the other night. I had to work in Eau Claire on Thursday and by the time I got back, it was too late to make it.
I hope you have enjoyed your time in Wisconsin,
Hugs, Cindy

Corrina said...

Oh! I missed you when you were not too far from me. :-( Sharon, I love your books. My boys are 10 and 5 and my only regret is that I did not find them sooner! We are in the early stages of a bean teepee construction project and are growing a sunflower canopy complete with morning glories over our chicken enclosure. Thanks for the inspiration, we are having a blast.

Corrina said...

Oh! I missed you when you were not too far from me. :-( Sharon, I love your books. My boys are 10 and 5 and my only regret is that I did not find them sooner! We are in the early stages of a bean teepee construction project and are growing a sunflower canopy complete with morning glories over our chicken enclosure. Thanks for the inspiration, we are having a blast.

Linda Hoye said...

Lovely pictures! Sounds like a wonderful time. I feel at peace just looking and reading this post.

the wild magnolia said...

Beautiful countryside visits. I loved the archway with the bird houses! The gardens decorate the already beautiful land. A water garden with Koi add an additional beauty element.

Such beauty, a change of scenery, and visits with friends are some of life's best gifts.!

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

Both of these stops seem right up my alley. I loved the barns and the sweet gardens, and the paths. I didn't know you loved miniature donkeys. They are cute. I saw some goats frolicking today in a far away field, and for a moment, I wanted some goats again. Uhm, maybe not.~~Dee

Donna said...

Ooooh, I want a Cisco, Peso, and Riley! They are absolutely ADORABLE!!! Gosh it looks like you have been having a wonderful time!! Enjoy every minute of it!... Donna