Life as I know It

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Be Ignited

"Be ignited or be gone." 
Mary Oliver

This dragonfly is a male Blue-Eyed Darner
Aeshna multicolor 

Dear Friends,

I am ignited every morning when I slip out the door and into the garden. How can a person NOT be just looking at the opening flowers, the birds flocking to the fountains, and the insects winging by for a visit? My love of all these natural wonders is what keeps me going through the toughest of times. My wish for YOU is that you be ignited every day of your life.

Thank you for all the e-mails, letters, and gifts. I am overwhelmed by your many kindnesses and look forward to someday meeting you in person. In the meantime, I'm happy for this world of blogging, which has put me in touch with so many wonderful people.

This morning as I lifted cloches off my baby sunflowers (oh, they're a yummy attraction for insects and birds), I realized how much I enjoy and depend on the tools of my trade. I love their simple beauty, usefulness, and durability. What would I do without them? Oh, and YES! The onions are up and growing. I guess my apologies were accepted.

Herewith some of my favorites:

Cloches of all kinds. Tiny pots protect little seedlings. Oh, and watering cans, they're such personalities.

The big glass cloche is over 100 years old, the smaller one is from my old store, Heart's Ease. The woven cloches are similar to some vintage ones I sketched in my journal many years ago.

I love the old wicker-work cloches, but they're difficult to find. Most were woven of willow and just didn't last.

So where did I find these? In our local Tuesday Morning store. These are actually lined with a light fabric and are supposed to be used for food covers, but they're identical to the old garden cloches and serve me well as they are. 


...and more baskets. They're fruit and herb holders, weed transporters, picnic baskets, egg baskets, and so much more.

Tools, tools, tools. The trowel hanging on the wall (left) was made for me by a beloved little boy 40 years ago.  The paper cloches (bright orange) are suitable only during dry weather. They're lined with a waxed paper.

I love all my tools, especially the old ones.

Like this double hedge trimmer that Jeff bought at a yard sale. Yummy.

Old buckets, good trimmers, bulb trowel, and dandelion grubber help make my life easier.

This old herb drying rack was made for me by a friend. I've dried zillions of herbs and edible flowers on these shelves for many years.

And I love this old flower press made by Arlene Shannon's (former owner of Greenfield Herb Garden, Shipshewana, Indiana) father. 

I cherish my paints, brushes, and papers. Some of the brushes have been in my life for 30 years. They've traveled around the world and across the country with me many times, and because of them, I can paint all the birds I love.

Male and female Cardinals for my new children's bird book (no title yet). 

Lastly, I cherish all of YOU! Thanks for dropping by and leaving your thoughts about life.

Take care,


P.S. Please visit me on my Lowe's blog and leave a valued comment. They've posted my video on how to plant a hummingbird garden in a container.

CONGRATULATIONS Suzanne at Blueberry Cottage. You're the winner of The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook by Jennifer R. Bartley (Timber Press, 2010), which I know you'll love. 


Thea said...

I'm only first because I'm in Denver, two hours behind my normal east coast time! I have about 5 cloches in assorted sizes, glass. I use them inside and outside. I just love em! I am learning a lot about mountain gardening - my sis in law loves gardening but has bee challenged by the dramatic weather in the Rockies. A lot of wind, which dries things out. Her front garden is a xeriscape so that it doesn't need water, other than rain to survive. She seems to do best with things like lavendar and such. Anyway, went plant shopping and hope to have them planted before she gets home. My only worry is snow!!! Sharon, loved your dragonfly story today. Your garden truly is enchanted. hugs, t

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hey, it is LATE, almost so later there. in Denver. You're a NIGHT OWL Thea.

Pondside said...

What a lovely post to read before heading for bed! I must have a look at the Lowe post - sounds like something I'd love to do!

Rebecca said...

After being "ignited" by the sight of all your trusty garden tools, I can't wait for sunrise this morning to take my cup of coffee and stroll around the back yard. (Apparently, neither can the sounds as if they're competing for the starring role in Glee!)

I particularly was intrigued by your old wooden flower press and the drying rack...I am a sucker for old wood.

Anonymous said...

what a lovely story,, I too love old tools,, it makes me think of the hands that held them before me,,such charm and romance you have in your garden and things,, so homey and cosy,,

Darla said...

Good's 6:00 a.m. here in North Florida... I love your collection of vintage tools !! Congrats to Suzanne on winning the book..headed to your Lowe's page now.

Vee said...

What a treat to see the tools of your trade and all those amazing cloches. How handy! I have none and so drape things with sheets...what a look...not. I did notice something very sweet that you did not mention...a little Thumbelina size figurine out there in your garden shed. So sweetly whimsical.

Feeling as if I should just "be gone" and especially after that quote. Ha! I'll work on getting a flame lit instead.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Ignited! I love that expression for starting a new day.

Thank you for a lovely post about your dear garden tools.

Hugs ~ FlowerLady

Diane said...

What a great post and beautiful photos. I love anything old, that double hedge trimmer is really interesting. Diane

Kay Guest said...

LOVE seeing all your photos of your gardening tools and cloches! I hope when you come out with your bird book that you will be able to come to Georgia and do book signings.

Cindy said...

I love old garden too too. I have an old cultivator that I have used for 30 years and I'm not even sure how old it is or where we got it! I really like your herb drying rack. Must see if my husband will build me one.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i LOVE your flower press. i have a thing for flower presses. you have some great garden pieces!

Unknown said...

What a lovely collection of tools.
Ignited, what a great way of putting things!


The Unusual Farmchick said...

You have me breathless with Oh's. I do so love such old and wonderous garden tools. I am simply in love with the clay cloches and the perfectly sized herb drying shelves! I may have to take a try at building one of my own!
I now must search for estate sales this Spring! The off beaten path & long time resident ones may ease some of my longing :) Always inspiring & a pleasure peeking into your world.

Jimmie said...

Oh Dearest Sharon,

It is to you a message of thanks should go! Your blog is so important to me and I always find something in your words and pictures to which I can relate. They ignite me, to use your words.

We've just moved the very first building we ever built to its new site at the edge of the garden. In its former life, it was an outhouse that we used on the weekends as we were building our house. It is now my new "stool shed" (pun intended) and I'm thrilled to have a handy place for my hoes, shovels, trowels, etc. I, like you, love old tools.

On another note, I have just finished reading a book entitled "A Thatched Roof" by Beverley Nichols published in 1933. His style of writing is so, so quaint and the book is peppered with references to his garden. Forgive me if it's from one of your earlier posts that I found out about Beverley Nichols. He also wrote several other books, one entitled "Down the Garden Path" that I want to read next.

Have a happy day!

Diane in North Carolina

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

I enjoyed this thoughtful little tour of your gear. I love all garden acoutrements.

Larkrise garden girl said...

Hi Sharon, Isn't your garden an escape from the world. It's a world in it's own. I love hearing the birds and the hawks and of course the crows that can't seem to get along with anyone. Nature in itself is such a gift that we can pass on to our kids and grandkids. I can hardly wait to see your next book. Cheri

Unknown said...

I've been gardening for 30 years, and I think I learn something new from every one of your posts! I've always had trouble with birds nipping off my sunflower (and bean) seedlings -- off to find some cheap food covers from the dollar store now.


Unknown said...

Oh my goodness Sharon, such a fun post today. Loved seeing your tools of the trade. I sent my readers to your Lowe's blog post this week! Hoping they'll catch the hummingbird feeder fever too! I'll be swinging by our local Tuesday Morning tomorrow!
Have a wonderful day in the garden.

Marguerite said...

Your cloches are beautiful. I am missing mine - they were sold before the big move across country like so many other things. Tomato stakes too are now in someone else's garden and I'm missing them like crazy. The right tools are like old friends, a perfect fit, sorely missed when they're gone.

Blondie's Journal said...

The cloches are just perfect re~purposed for your little seedlings. And they look cute in your garden, too. I enjoyed your tour...Where A Gardener Creates would be an apt title.

Hope you are having good weather. It has been in the 90's which is really unusual for the upper Midwest. If I had flowers blooming, they would probably be wilting in the heat! ;-D


Lemon Verbena Lady said...

That lucky Suzanne who won the book! Congrats to her. Love the word ignite the way you used it in your posting, Sharon! As usual inspiring us in our gardens every day. Love the cloches and your drawing of the cardinals. We have several couples in our front and back gardens. They come early and late in the afternoon or early evening and they are a pleasure to watch as you are to read, dear friend. xxoo Nancy

Kate at Wonderful Life Farm said...

Ohhhh...I love your herb drying rack! Lovely! And your cloches are wonderful too!

Congratulations to Suzanne! That looks like a great book, and I couldn't think of a sweeter person to win it!

kj said...

okay sharon, you've done it: you make my heart flutter. i have loved your blog and you from day one, but now i know i will be gardening with you all summer and into the fall: oh dear god, thank you!

ignited and astonished. let's be that from now on and forever.

want to?


Pat said...

So enjoyed your video how to on the Lowe's site. You are certainly an inspiration to all of us.
To be surrounded by treasured tools and bits and pieces used in another lifetime just adds to the enjoyment.
And I bet there will be a stampede to the nearest Tuesday Morning to search out the possibilities. Ours just opened 2 months ago next to Barnes & Noble...what a great arrangement!

Anonymous said...

Loved your cloches, Sharon. What a great find from Tuesday Morning! I've always used plain old bird netting. Your cloches are so much prettier.

Patti said...

Dragonflies and old garden tools... a couple of my favorite things. I especially loved seeing your artwork and knowing a new book is in progress!

Have a truly wonderful day!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

What a clever idea to use those food covers (though I'll still need some for food!) to use in the garden....How literally alluring your garden looks and all your antique tools. I need to go out first thing every morning and rekindle my excitement about LIFE!
Thank you Sharon. You're an inspiration.

nana pam said...

I am so glad you are writing a childens book about birds and wish it was done already! My 4 yr. old granddaughter loves nature, esp. birds and I have looked in vain for a book for her. I love your blog so much. I always look forward to reading your posts.
Pam G.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Nana Pam,

My new book is for 5 to 9 year olds, very simple, and focuses on sure bet birds children will easily see and identify. Nothing fancy or rare for the youngsters-I just want them to connect to nature and this is one of the steps.

Thank you so much for your sweet words. I'm glad you like the posts. They're fun for me and a great way to reconnect with folks.

All joys,


Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear friends,

It appears that blogspot has deleted a load of comments from readers. I only know this because I've been notified by followers that their comment didn't appear.

Today I saw that Octoberfarm blog has the same problem. What is up with blog world?

Sorry, but I don't have any control over leave another comment if you care to.

all joys,


Aunt Jenny said...

I just love your tools Sharon...such a wonderful collection. I love my tools as well...can't imagine doing without some of my quirky old things.
Have a wonderful weeekend.

Carol said...

Dear Sharon,
Your world is so enchanting and how I wish I were more like you in being so organized. You are an inspiration! I love your painting of the Cardinals and the herb press and shelving case are great. Your many baskets and cloches are wonderful too and so practical. I am going to make a wish to become like you! My life is such chaos by comparison. Thank you so for your kind words of support. May you always have just the right amount of spark to ignite your imagination and life! In admiration, Carol

kj said...

my adoring love letter of a comment was gobbled up by blogger?

peace has been restored, it seems, but oh my my how important our links and love for one another ♥

i did say i am thrilled when i think about reading your blog all summer and fall: you make my heart sing, sharon lovejoy.


Kimara said...

What a truly lovely photo of the dragonfly. All areas of my yard have different names... there's the fairy forest where we must whisper, the sanctuary in deep shadows, and the dragonfly garden full of herbs and flowers, to name a few. I must admit the dragonfly is one of my favorites because it does indeed play host to many dragonflies. If I was a gifted artist like you, the walls of my home would be littered with painting of this lovely creature!

Vicki Boster said...

Sharon- what a wonderful walk in your garden! I so enjoyed this beautiful post- seeing your garden cloches and your vintage tools. You are so blessed to be able to live your passions- your gardening is not only your hobby but your life's work as well. We are blessed that you can share this with all of us. I adore the garden photos with the woven cloches- and your work shed is just to die for!

So beautiful is your world--

sarah in the woods said...

Sharon, You have a lovely blog. I'm glad to find it. My kids and I enjoy our Sunflower Houses book very much. What a beautiful dragonfly!

Susan said...

Sharon, I love this post particularly. Taking time to reflect on the month, I've come to the conclusion that Kelly chose this time because of the garden. As I walked around my garden, remembering our times in hers, I was ignited by the renewal of life. Today is going to be sad, but life goes on and I need to finish what I'm suppose to do.
Love you, Susan

Kay's flowers said...

Love the cloches! I can just imagine all the small plants under them getting bigger and stronger everyday.
I had issues with blogger also. Everyone did.
Looking forward to meeting you someday too, dear blogger friend.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Dear Sharon, I saw yesterday that blogspot blogs had all lost their Thursday posts........A huge outage.

I love this post, your cloches (I keep feeling the plural should be clochi!)and drawings and baskets and world....You are inspiring and igniting! Thank you!

From the Kitchen said...

Sharon: I would love to take a walk with you through your garden. Your post gave me a very nice visit today. I've been away on vacation but vow to leave no post unread!


Country Girl said...

Nice to meet you, Sharon. Loved the video on the Lowe's blog. Thanks for stopping by my place, too.

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

Sharon, thank you once again for sharing. So many of your treasures were part of my world in years past. Then downscaling and moving to the city for a short time they were given away or sold.
A few I miss but with such a small home and storage what I have is sufficient.
You never fail to warm my heart and make me smile as I visit with you.

Lili said...

Your bird illustration for your new children's bird book is so lovely Sharon. Seeing all of your cloches, watering cans and tools is so inspirational this time of year as I think about what I may slowly acquire to help me with my tiny garden. Today you have ignited my desire to collect a few helpful garden implements of my own! xoxo ~Lili

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Hello dear Sharon,

Thanks for brightening my day by coming by. Glad your linear leaf thyme is thriving. Mine is about to bloom. I tried to find a west coast grower who sold curly chives and couldn't find one. Well-Sweep in NJ, Companion Plants in Ohio and Sandy Mush in NC all do mail order. Best I could do. Take care. xxoo Nancy

Joy said...

Just came across you on Marigold Jam's blog--I saved the pages from Country Living magazine about you and your business in CA. I just looked at the article last week! Will take a look around your blog...

Angie said...

YOU are such a delight!! I adore all of your writings, drawings, your 'tools' and 'toys'...thank you for taking the time to stop by my humble blog and leave me such a sweet comment. :) I'm starting a hunt for cloches...and I need, really really NEED! a homemade herb/veggie dryer.

Unknown said...

I am so tickled to have won this book! Lydia wants to build a hummingbird garden now too! We did our fairy garden and that was great fun. I will let you know when the hummingbird garden is done:-)

*Ulrike* said...

I loved seeing all of your tools, baskets, and the dragon fly. We are always on the look out for old tools too.
I have things planted in the greenhouse, but our weather has been kind of crummy with cool nights and below normal day temps - like 62 for a high!- not the norm here in the south. I will have to stop by and see the hummingbird garden in a container which might be fun to do.
Now that my German colt has left I can get back to all the other 101 things that have been staring at me!
First a few more posts to read since I have the time.
Take Care,

Patsylee said...

For a while, my computer was sick, then I was out of town without my laptop, and then I was busy catching up on work--so I couldn't give myself the gift of reading your always-inspiring blog. Your other fans are so right: you do IGNITE us all.

I loved the Tour of Tools! Vintage stuff that's delightful to look at and a joy to use.

I was happy to see Jimmie mention Beverley Nichols--a favorite writer of mine. Years ago I laughed at his comment that gardeners are always saying to visitors, "Oh, you should have been here LAST week--that's when the garden was at its peak!"--or something to that effect.

Your own garden, however, seems to look wonderful all the time! Thanks for sharing it and your treasures (both animate and inanimate) with us.

Sharon said...

Thank you for stopping over at my place to say "hello." I always like to hear from fellow Mainers. Your space here is lovely. I have enjoyed taking a tour.

Kirsten said...

My 7yo son and I are enjoying going through your books as we work on our garden this year. Thank you so much for all of the inspiring ideas!

Have you heard of the KinderGARDEN contest over at The Inadvertent Farmer? Kim came up with the contest as a way to encourage families to get out in the garden with their kids. Participants link up each week with updates on their gardens (there are lots of sunflower houses planned this year!). We participated last year and are very excited to be in on the fun again this year. Just thought it might be something that would warm your heart. :)

The link is here:

the wild magnolia said...

"Be ignited", ok I will, and thank you. In your writing and photos points of ignition are clear. Nature, earth, light, time, and simplicity. Your life is a gather of chosen treasures.

Thank you, for sharing!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear friends,

I've been buried up to my chin with work and haven't had time to answer many of your questions...nor have I had time to work on a new blog posting, but I'll try tomorrow to do a small one.

Kay Guest, I don't know if I'll be doing a book tour for the little children's bird book. It is up in the air right now. Also, wanted you (if you're a parent or grandparent looking to garden with a child) to check out the link to the Inadvertent Farmer. Fabulous. I am going to be judging the contest and possibly will be writing something for her. She will be doing a give-away of my book Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars too.

Sending love across the miles,


Here I Am Carrie said...

Oh I can't thank you enough for stopping in at my blog so I could come check you out. I love it here and it gives me so much inspiration I haveing been lacking lately in gardening and blogging. Love your collection of old things. I use woven row covers for many of the tender things in my garden and for potted plants I keep on my deck. I have such a short growing season. I am forever covering and uncovering. But the results are always well worth the extra time. Happy Gardening to you.

Terra said...

I like all of your garden tools and implements and agree that watering cans have personality.