Life as I know It

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

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Simply Loving

Dear Friends,

Please join my celebration of simply loving...

Stumbling upon a perfect Anna's hummingbird's nest of spider web, lichens, moss, hair, feathers, and fiber.

Examining its beauty.

Standing on tiptoe and HOPING that I'll capture something inside the nest. Yes! Two jelly-bean-sized white eggs, but where is Mama? Did she desert the nest?

Five minutes later, Mama is back and snuggled down onto the nest like a tea cozy. 

Watching her twirl around to find a comfy spot.

Having a husband who understands how important this nest is to me.

Blocking the side gate entry so that Mama is not disturbed.

Cooking (and testing recipes) for cherished friends.

Tasting fresh-cooked and creamy cannellini beans (I'm testing out Patsy's new warm bean recipe. See Patsy's recipe in my post from last week.)

Picking fresh herbs for dinner.

Prepping appetizers (oh, there is my lost phone).

Carrying out appetizers and being greeted by the dearest of friends. Bruce Black on the left, he owns The Squibb House Bed and Breakfast on Burton Drive in Cambria. Next to Bruce is birthday girl Susie Bassetti of Bassetti Vineyards, then Joe Hall, my Jeff, Ellis Bassetti, and another birthday girl, Susan Branch.

Seeing the joy in Sue's smiling face.

Feeling the appreciation and happiness in the faces of everyone around the table. And finding out that Patsy's warm bean salad was not only a hit, but a home run!

Knowing that these are such great friends, they'll love (and accept) my simple dessert of lemon sorbet and Girl Scout thin mints. They did love it!

I am simply grateful.

Sending love,


P.S. The first batch of Grimy Hands Girls' Club envelopes are mailed, another 50 to go to the first 100 charter members. Thanks for your patience. Thanks also to Lori Ann for the fabulous Mountain Bluebird mounted photo and to all my Kentucky friends...heartfelt thanks.

New Give-Away for the Chicken-Hearted

Stay tuned for another book give away. This is especially great for those of you raising chickens (or hoping to) and includes over 100 chicken and egg recipes. Billed as "The tale of three urban hens and the delicious recipes they inspire. Their owner, urban dweller Janice Cole, shares the gratification of learning to raise chickens in her yard. They make charming companions, and lay delicious eggs." 

So gear up and leave a comment on this posting and I'll draw the winner's name next Sunday, April 10th. I think you'll love this!


Patsy Bell Hobson said...

I wish everyone could see and taste a really fresh egg. Those bright, stand at attention yokes are such a lovely color.

Zuzana said...

For me to see a humming bird is as rare as it gets, considering where I live. While I lived in NC, I got a glimpse of them at times during the summer at my friends house. Still, these delicate tiny creatures resembling more a bumblebees then birds, were always very elusive and hard to spot.
The fact that you have one nesting in your garden is incredible and truly fantastic in my eyes.
Visually beautiful and warm post - there is nothing greater than the simple pleasure of cooking and sharing a lovely moment over food and wine with good friends.
Have a lovely Sunday dear Sharon,

sarah-jane down the lane said...

How extraordinary a hummingbird nest, and those perfect white eggs, WOW! I have never seen a hummingbird or a hummingbird nest so this is really a lovely treat, which it seems your dinner party was too!

Love Sarah x

Andrea @ little buckles said...

Hello. How amazing to have hummingbirds. Here in France we have hummingbird moths which just look like a teeny bird. The books looks interesting and we have 6 chickens who give us liitle golden presents each day!

Dan said...

Hi Sharon
You must have been so thrilled to see those tiny eggs. I look forward to following mama's progress!
Your meal with friends looks wonderful, there is nothing quite like a relaxing evening with good friends.

marcia said...

Beautiful beautiful nest!. . .and bird.

We found a large nest that blew off our hayshed this winter. The children have had fun examining it with magnifying glasses. It was made of feathers, ferns, moss, horse hair and even tiny bits of plastic from a shopping bag.It reminds me of your nest but on a much larger size. Check it out here:

happy day!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful little nest! I´ve only seen hummingbirds in films and photographs, they don´t exist on this side of the Atlantic ocean. I´m glad that no one can go that way so they disturb the birds!

Have a great day now!

Patti said...

Hi Sharon,

In PA I believe we only have Ruby Throated hummingbirds... but they are beautiful!
I'm looking forward to seeing the babies when thy hatch.
I can't wait until we can enjoy eating outside... it won't be long now that April is here!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear Sharon ~ How sweet the hummingbird pictures are. I've have seen them sipping nectar from our hamelia paten bush, but haven't gotten a good picture yet.

What a lovely dinner with friends. I too plan to make that warm bean salad recipe. I remember Susan Branch from my magazine subscription and always enjoyed her work.

Don't count me in the drawing for the book, as I don't have any chickens.

Happy Gardening ~ Happy Living,


Darla said...

Very thoughtful of your husband. How I would love to view a Hummingbird nest in person. We have the Ruby Throated Hummers here. I enjoy seeing your friends and your cozy home, it seems you are always having fun.

Mozart's Girl said...

Dearest Sharon, wonderful to visit with you and share in the party we would so love to have attended for real! And that little hummingbird, her beady little vigilant eye as she warms and protects her precious eggs..I saw my first hummingbird at Edna Valley on a trip to S & J's...the joy, surprise 7 magic of that tiny being, like a jewelled bee with a beak! I long to see another. Love to you this Sunday & always xoxo

The Unusual Farmchick said...

Instant smile to see the nest & Momma bird, especially a hummingbird! How rare {at least in my area}. The artwork in a birds nest makes finding them so grand.
Even bigger smile to see all those smiling faces and envy for the bautiful arbor from which you enjoyed great friends company. Makes me antsy to get my arbor project underway.
And the chicken/egg book! Very cool. Whom ever wins such a treat will surely be happy.
Have a beautiful week Sharon!

Brittan said...

how amazing that you actually took a photo of the mama in the nest and she didn't fly away!!! what a beautiful nest she made...
i am so envious of your beautiful (green) weather. our spring has been trying here in new england and i am definitely ready for warm weather and less layers!
and what a wonderful book, and a great giveaway! i am in the process of gathering information because we are hoping to get chickens soon!!!

Farmgirl Cyn said...

It will be several weeks before we see a hummer here...we call them bumble birds....buzzing in and out of the gardens like a bee! I have never been fortunate enough to see a nest tho....beautiful photos!

Hill Country Hippie said...

What I'm seriously loving is the way blogging has magically connected me to three long-time favorite authors. First Susan Albert, then you, and now Susan Branch. If only I hadn't wasted so many years being a Luddite!

Janna Leadbetter said...

Sharon, you're so wonderful to protect that mama and her space like you did! Not many would make that little extra effort. And what a beautiful nest, indeed.

Your photos make me wish to be a guest at your cozy and fine place. :)

From the Kitchen said...

Sharon: I should have known that I'd like your friends! I often take a mini-vacation (about two cups of tea worth) with Susan B. The cheese tray looks fabulous. I'd love to be sharing it and conversation with the group.

I'm still recuperating and managing only short notes but I'm lurking and enjoying.


Patsylee said...

What a treat to get a close-up peek at that wondrous nest--like something constructed by a crew of fairies! I'll look forward to hearing (and seeing) how Mama and her babies fare.

I also enjoyed your account of that cozy dinner party. I'm glad the bean salad was good!

Thinking about Susan B. sent me back to HEART OF THE HOME and her great recipe for Oysters Rockfeller. With a salad and crusty bread, they would be perfect for Sunday supper.

Robin Larkspur said...

I so love the hummingbird mama and her nest. Trying to imagine jelly bean-sized eggs. How wonderful of Jeff to print out the "do not enter" sign. thanks for sharing your delightful meal prep and charming dinner with friends. Happy Spring!

Vee said...

(Please do not enter me in your giveaway...though the thought of raising chickens is much on my mind, I do not and really hope not to raise them. I just like to pretend that I would love it. ☺)

Oh I always love to see you sharing your wonderful hospitality with your dear friends. Your home and table are delightful.

Love the description of Little Mother Hummingbird sitting on her nest like a tea cozy. What a dear nest it is, too. A lot like your own...

the REAL girl said...

Happy Sunday to you Sharon--how wonderful of you to post these amazing pictures--I'm so thrilled to see the beautiful hummingbird photos and EQUALLY excited to see the food preparation and wonderful folks around your dinner table!! How absolutely delightful--what a hostess you are!! I tried to make reservations at the Squibb House about 4 weeks ago and they were completely booked as was every other b&b there--so we went to Orange County instead, but Cambria is in my sights in the near future!!
I'm also working on our neighborhood to allow chickens--I'm so wanting to have a few!!

Little Bird said...

Dear Sharon-
I have especially enjoyed your recent travel blogs! As I begin my season of spring gardening (read: dirty, sweaty!), I love to travel vicariously with you! Thanks! And thank you for the generous gifts you share with your readers. I'd love to read this "chicken book"!
Always looking "onward & upward"!

ferne said...

I too, appreciate hummingbirds and in fact live on Hummingbird Ct. and just started a business called Hummingbird Farmz. We are in the process of planting an orchard with a lot of heirloom apples, peaches, plums, etc. and we are planning to add chickens to this orchard by next year to help us with the fertilizer and bug eating, so that book would be pretty handy and entertaining, I have a feeling.

I have to tell you that your dinner looked amazing!

Bonnie K said...

Thank you for sharing the photos of the beautiful hummingbird! They are so magical. We used to get many up here at our cabin, but each year it has been less. I've always dreamed of seeing a nest with the itty bitty eggs. You are blessed to be honored with such company, and brilliant for realizing how special it is. I appreciate the photos.

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing the hummingbird nest and seeing Mama setting on her egg...simply breathtaking. Every summer I wait for our hummingbirds to come and suck up the nectar in the Fuchsia pots hanging on our deck. It's one of those nature mysteries I just love to take in :-)!
And, I know all to well, the importance of good friends' company. XOXO

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and amazing week you had! The depth and the grace of the simple things in life, sharing a wonderful meal with friends, discovering a hummingbird nest in one's own garden . . . life's wonder surrounds us. Thank you for sharing.

Cindy said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures. We are planning a chicken coop for the back yard...the book looks wonderful : )


Casa Mariposa said...

How amazing!! We get ruby throated hummingbirds but I don't think they've ever nested in my yard. Having so many dogs might be a deterrent for them. I wonder how birds even fly when they are weighed down with eggs. I think finding a birds nest is the ultimate compliment. It says what ever you're doing is just right!!

Blondie's Journal said...

How wonderful that you found the nest and were able to share your pictures with us! Amazing. What a treat. And your dinner party was lovely. Good food and friends are a wonderful combination!


Anonymous said...

Love your little hummer nest, Sharon. Your birthday celebration looks like it was very fun. ... On another note, I thought of you when I photographed two little Mason Bees poking their heads out of their tubes. I hope you'll come by my blog and see them. They're so cute.

Leanne said...

Oh to see a hummingbird - what joy it must be - one day I might travel...

Susan Branch at your table oh my - now that is thrilling!

Imagine having both of you together - i am sure you must of had such a glorious time.

Love Leanne NZ

Lori ann said...

Dear Sharon,

do you know what i loved most about this lovely post (aside from the hummer and sweet sign- thank you Jeff!)it was the photo of you sitting at dinner wearing your apron with your beloved friends. It says everything to me, your geniune warmth, hospitality, realness. You are most charming Sharon. Thank you for such a lovely post.

and you are SO welcome for the bluebird, i'm glad it's in such a happy home!


Quail Cottage said...

Isn't Mother Nature wonderful? I have 6 little Banty Chickens that produce the cutest little eggs everyday. When they see me coming they all come running up to see what goodies I have brought them. Yumm - slugs!

Larkrise garden girl said...

Thanks for sharing the hummingbird pictures. Did you know they can be a little fierce when your near their nest.Your world and your friends are a delight to look at and such a treat to visually see your home. I love chickens and the wonderful eggs they produce. Cheri

Unknown said...

Lovely pictures and sentiments as always! I have 5 magical urban hens myself (they are in their 6th year and still laying), and would love that book.


Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hello to everyone,

For those of you who attended my talk at the SLO Botanic Garden yesterday-all the information you need on where to place Orchard Mason bee nesting boxes can be found in A Blessing of Toads and Trowel and Error.

Thanks for all your wonderful e-mails. I loved talking with you, sharing our garden, the mama hummer, and my opinionated gardening style.



Alyssa said...

Hi there Sharon,
What a great nest! Is that the best nest!? I love the fact that your husband blocked it off! That's great. I have a picture at the bottom of my blog of some robin eggs from a wreath on my house. They nestled in snug and safe until they were ready for their adventure in Massachusetts.
Oh, I could have talked with you and Susan for hours about this and that, birds and fleas(markets), teacups and treasures...I hope you'll be doing a lecture in New England this summer...PLEASE!
Did a lot of gardening today. So nice to have a thaw and do a bit of transplanting!
;)Hugs to you across the grass, dirt, plains and purple mountains majesty~ Alyssa of Boston Bee

Erin | Bygone Living said...

Oh, what an absolutely lovely post! So much beauty! The hummingbird, delicious food, your marvelous kitchen... and Susan Branch! How I would have loved to been in attendance to that dinner :)
That book sounds adorable- count me in! ♥

Unknown said...

Such love ,beauty and simplicity in this post Sharon. I would say that mama humming bird knew just what she was doing when she built a next ( or is the male who builds for her) in your yard! Jeff is the ultimate protector! We were the first to get chickens in our neighborhood 5 years ago and now there 6 other families keeping backyard chickens. It's a wonderful thing!
Sending love from the East!
Deb and Boz

Anonymous said...

What a work of art the hummingbird nest is. Just beautiful.

As for the Chicken and Egg, we had a flock of mostly Rhode Island Reds when I was a girl. Those rich orange yolks were amazing. Sometimes we would even find a double one.

Kay's flowers said...

That is the dearest little nest and hummingbird! How marvelous that she chose your yard to come to.
I have 11 chicks now and we are building thier coop and run now. That sounds like a great book.


Melissa said...

sigghhhhhhhhhhh......just love your posts!! stay wonderful my friend! xo

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

How neat to have the hummingbirds nesting in your garden! They must know they would be safe there. I always hope I'll find a tiny nest one day.
The food all looks so good! I'm sure your friends love having a delicious meal with you and your husband.

Kim said...

Lovely hummer photos! I have some that nest in the maple nearest my feeders, but I've never been able to spot the nest. What a treat!

I have a friend currently embroiled in convincing our reluctant city council to reverse an old ban on farm animals (inc chickens) in the city limits. If I happen to win this, it'll go straight to her... after I've perused it a bit, of course!

Already proud to be one of your Grimy Gals!

Anonymous said...

Dear Sharon,
Oh! How I love that your husband put up that sign so as not to disturb the hummingbird! My college-aged son came home and told me that the collective noun for hummingbirds is a "charm". Do you love that as much as I do? My Dad (who will be 84 on Easter Sunday) has chickens and he GIVES THE EGGS AWAY to family & friends. Would love to win this book and give it to him!

Kay Guest

Claudia said...

Oh Sharon, the photos of the Hummingbird's nest and Mama Hummingbird are wonderful!


Carol @ A Bird in Hand said...

Good morning, Sharon! We have seven hens, who we collectively refer to as The Dixie Chicks. They are so very interesting and provide us with luscious eggs and much entertainment. I would love to win this book. Please include me in your give-away.

Many thanks, Carol

Melissa said...

Love the hummingbird photos.

Carol said...

How exciting to find the Hummingbirds nest! We have them here in Mo and I love watching them every year but I've never been luck enough to find a nest.

Lisa said...

Please count me in on Egg book, I have chickens,nothing like the sweet girls, the fresh eggs are icing on the cake.Oh I so love your blog! I've been following you since I first discovered you in Country Living mag. many years ago,special feature on your Hearts Ease Shop.I now have grandchildren and "suggested" they give me your newest book,which they did and we are enjoying it so much.The fact that you and Susan Branch are friends is just so special to me as well 'cause I just love her too. I have collected bird's nests for years, only abandoned ones and ones blown out of trees. I have longed to see a hummers nest and never have, how delightful you have one to observe and keep safe. Thanks for sharing so much of your life with us. Have a blessed day!

Cat said...

Such a blessing to be able to witness the hummingbird on her nest and to get a view of her little eggs! Then, icing on the cake to have a dear husband who appreciates their vulnerability. What a sweetie.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

You always know about the best books. I'm ordering that one. You know how much I love my eggs and chickens.

Thank you so much for the nest peak. I suggested your books for my niece today. She is starting a garden. Made me think back to my wee children and first gardens long ago.~~Dee

Cabin 19 Supply Company said...

So glad someone other than me goes ga-ga over these little tiny nests!Your pictures are precious!

Anonymous said...

Lucky you to have a hummingbird nesting in your garden! I've never seen hummingbird eggs, or babies, for that matter! Please post pictures of the babies when they hatch, if you can! And what a treat to see Susan Branch at your dinner party! I'm also a fan of hers. I really enjoy reading her "Willards" and your blogposts, especially since we're having such a cold, dreary, rainy spring here in the Pacific Northwest.
Thanks so much for sharing!
~ Laura Croyle

Vicki Boster said...

Sharon- finding that nest was indeed a treasue! Love that you are protecting her space!

That warm bean salad is definitely a hit! It's on my list for later this week! Looks like you had a wonderful celebration with friends!

Lisa said...

I love the eggs that I get from my friend Rosie. I made a key lime pie that was a light orange color. I was inspired to substitute orange juice concentrate for lime juice and made a tasty orange creamcicle pie!

Vangie Kho said...

hi sharon. This is the first time I read your blog and i enjoy it so much. I'm a new blogger and I am always browsing the net and reading blogs to get some new ideas. Yours is one of the best

Farmhouse Soaps said...

Lovely hummingbird pictures. We love when they "zoom" around the garden - you can hear their "hum" as they dart past. Wonderful book too! We have had chickens here since 2005. I will never be without them! They are lovely birds, friendly, and give us glorious eggs every day. I even convinced a city friend of ours to have them in her backyard! I wish every homeowner could have them. They are a delight!
Have a great week and enjoy this beautiful weather!
Happy Spring,

Penny Otte ( said...

Hi Sharon,

Our two dozen chickens consist of Rhode Island Reds, Golden Comets and Aurucanas. We live in a small section of Upper Freehold NJ and raise our chickens in a tiny hobby farm.

On Sunday, our rooster, Billy Bad A**, passed away. He was a blustery boy who once faced down a hawk to protect his hens. To keep his gene pool going, we have set eggs he fertilized in the incubator. I am hoping for a baby rooster to take his place. Three more weeks and we will see what hatches!

My husband, who worked for 24 years on the Space Shuttle program, was just laid off a few weeks ago. Our source of customers (his co workers) is now gone, and we are overrun with spring eggs. We would love to get some ideas for the fruits of our hens labor. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy a visit to your blog! While we do get frequent hummingbird guests, I have never had the delight of find their nest! How WONDERful!

Lydia said...

What is lovely about your posts is the attitude you exhibit is so unaffectedly approachable and freindly.

Love finding the missing phone in the photo. Only problem here- is when the phone goes missing- the camera is usually run away with it):-

Linda said...

So enjoy your blog!!! I'm very blessed to have an Aunt next door to me that gives me all the fresh eggs I can eat! One of life's little pleasures for sure! Linda

Annelies said...

Oh toooo delightful....Sharon and Susan Branch at the same table. Just perfection!!!!

Rebecca said...

How exciting that you found a hummingbird nest!-I can't imagine how many times I would be checking the nest and taking photos..
What a great give away-I would love to have 100 chicken inspired recipes!
(Keep us posted on Mama bird!)

Privet and Holly said...

AHHH...Felt like
I was back under the
CA sunshine with my
sweet family, eating
al fresco, hearing
the birds sing....Loved
this, Sharon!
xx Suzanne
PS: Of course, I'd
love to win anything
that you recommend : )

kj said...

you are cute as a button, sharon! i come here and always leave refreshed and excited. i just love how you love the world around you.

next time i visit lori we will meet for breakfast! okay?!


Claire said...

Hey Sharon, thanks so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a lovely comment which made me smile and got the day off to a great start.

How wonderful to have a hummingbird nest in your garden. It's a work of art in itself. I love birds and their 'homes'

I have had a short but enjoyable visit to your blog and will come back when I have a cuppa in hand and time up my sleeve. It sounds like you live in a beautiful part of the world and I look forward to reading more about it.

Enjoy your day,


Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Can hardly wait to really see the nest when I get my new computer up and running! Can't hurry fast enough! I'll have more exciting news then! xxoo Nancy

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Sharon

I am fascinated by hummingbirds, as I never see them in NYC, but I've seen them on trips I've made to Arizonia and California. They are the cutest things and your photos of the nesting Momma is so sweet!

I adore Susan Branch's books and art work, so it was such a nice to see her among your guests! Your dinner party looks so festive and enjoyable and the food looks very delicious.

The chicken/egg recipe book sounds delightful! One of my fondest memories is helping my grandmother, who lived on a small farm in Pennsylvania, feed her chickens. The eggs those chickens laid were the best I've ever eaten!

Angela Faust said...

That hummingbird nest is just beautiful.

I need to try that warm bean salad, that looks like my kind of food!

Beth said...

Dear Sharon,

I'm so happy for you that you have a nesting hummingbird in your garden, you very lucky lady! It couldn't have happened to a better (or more appreciative) person! love, Beth

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Hi Sharon! Thanks for visiting and commenting on my ironstone. No I haven't seen the acorn and leaf pattern. I need to. But I do have a large lidless tureen of the wheat pattern to go with my newfound teapot. One more piece and I'll have a collection! This week I sold a found copy of Sunflower Houses in my shop where I have a teeny garden book section. The woman who bought it was effusive about it's author. Funny convergence, huh?
I kept a hummer nest after the parents didn't return the following summer. Over time the nest has withered with dehydration still fastened to the branch. Tinier than ever. Love seeing yours in action.
I'm a garden lover. Not a gardener. There's a big sad difference. (Sad because I neither live with, nor hire a gardener.) My passions have carried me away elsewhere. But now I have some fishing out of old CL to do!

FHCS said...

I just love stopping by your blog to catch up. Your vintage mixer is just lovely, Rebeccas shed is georgeous (I dream of a owning a garden shed one day), the hexagonal bee boxes (who thought of that!), and all of your recipes looks delish. I would love to enter into the Chicken and Egg cookbook giveaway if it's not too late, I am a keeper of chickens and could always use a few new ideas of what to do with my girls eggs! Can't wait for the grimy hands club, so excited! Happy Spring! Take good care,

Deb said...

Your blog is a joy. So fresh! I'm your new follower from Carleton Place, Ontario Canada. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x5 said...

I have never had the pleasure of seeing a humming bird's nest in person. With my corgi always chasing the neighbors cats, I doubt they would settle in my yard. However, one did fly down to get a sprinkle last week when I was watering my English garden which is in full bloom right now :)

I hope to win the book to present it to my neighbors who have been working on their chicken coop for the past two years now. Their 3 children are so anxiously awaiting the arrival of the baby chicks.

I love your posts, they always put a smile on my face and peace in my heart.

Julie from California

Lili said...

Your days are filled with the most wonderful activities Sharon! Love that you share little snippets of everything with us. The meal with your friends looked wonderful! xoxo ~Lili