Friday, December 18, 2009


I know, I know........where the heck have I been !?! Loooong story - in fact, too many stories and I'm not going there right now with one exception: someone has decided to make my blog their personal playground leaving bizarre and sometimes gross comments. My computer had a horrible virus and had to be scrubbed - I lost a lot of stored info and we are suspecting the bug came in through this commenter......or not.....the "not knowing" has made me very cautious and though I know it wasn't St. Mary's fault - I just stopped writing. blah blah blah.....
SO ! a quick update ... Christmas trees are my favorite things - the lights are the first thing on in the dark morning and the last to go out at night - I'm not even sick of the music ! LOVE LOVE love it all. I did realize however(after last year) that I would have to decorate the top of the tree from the second floor loft and then scoot it across the room to its perfect location. I learned that last year when I had to throw things at the top because my ladder wasn't tall enough.
Our first MAJOR storm came early and I never got to any outside decorations - another lesson learned......on the final nice weekend when everyone was outside hanging lights - I was planting perennials. Thinking that the gardening is REALLY done this time.
The storm shut everything down - even the University of Wisconsin closed for the first time in history. By the second day we were getting stir crazy and I had a spur-of-the-moment dinner party - people prepared what they had in their refrigerator/cupboards and we had a wonderful dinner. The buffet was on sheets of chip board on top of my unfinished kitchen island....I promise to update on that soon.
And finally - just so you don't think I've been a slug - my neighbor taught me about preserving and pickling. Pretty impressive - for me anyway. The freezer is full as well - my summer garden bounty. Life is good.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Okay, Okay - I plagerized that title from my friend was a year ago this month ( OH MY - it was LAST month) when he and his wife Karen visited. My daughter had set up my blog and named it St. Mary - and I never did another thing. John showed me how to down load photos and upload to the blog - or is it the other way around..........whatever.......and here I am.
Summer is definitely over ...vacation is over...anyone else feeling a bit depressed? Wandering aimlessly through the garden yesterday, pulling a weed or two , looking for a renegade tomato or zucchini, I realized I needed to "let it go". STEP AWAY FROM THE VEGETABLE PATCH.
I have many unfinished projects - things left undone for one reason or another (mainly one reason - I didn't want to do anything inside when I could be outside), So, I am back on the renovation track. Loading the camera with new batteries, making my to-do list , making the shopping list .

I've already eaten all the Halloween candy so I may as well get to work.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I am back and ready to get back to work on the church - but we will continue to post pics of our wonderful adventure on

a few more days and my body will re-arrange itself

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


OKAY ........why has blogger changed stuff - right when I don't have time to figure it out ????HELP
SO I spent the summer in the garden and visiting friends - remember this arbor I was building?  It is so loaded I am afraid it will tip over with the first wind.  so I am saying goodbye to my garden and to you - for a bit......I am leaving in the morning for three weeks in South Africa...I would love to have you come along:   http://www.theafricanqueens,
see you in a few ....behave yourselves while I'm gone !!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I'll bet you are going to wish you had dinner with me tonight......

my garden just gets better and better and I am actually on my second planting

Who Knew ??

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love working in the garden and picking the food for dinner.....

okay, okay.... a few weeds - whatever

I had this great idea....since I have purple basil and red Swiss chard - I would make a "RED" pesto !! I julienned the zucchini from the garden and tossed it with the red pesto and a bit of cheese - and some slivers of the chard leaves...

I am not a "foodie" or a photographer - but it was really tasty - and HEALTHY !!

I was also ready to try stuffed squash blossoms..
since I am vegan - no egg batter would do so I tried half with a tempura like batter and half sprayed w/ olive oil and broiled

They were wonderful - but not FABULOUS.....
so I will have to perfect this.

But don't you wish you had dinner with me?

Friday, July 10, 2009


Just a little progress report:

we had some major front line winds this morning - lots of branches down. The sad thing is the farmers' beautiful corn crop was flattened in many areas......
yesterday it was 5 ft tall - today it's 10".

this huge branch didn't break completely and is swinging in the breeze - the neighbors refer to this as "a widow maker"


Remember my friend who gave me the lilies?

She hybridizes them so every single one is different - each a new surprise...... I planted about 125.

everyday gives me is a new present

how lucky am I ?

PLUS - the veggies are coming in !!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


From the moment I arrived at my church I have felt a "presence". Many friends were concerned about my living alone, isolated and so far away from them but I have never felt frightened or worried. In fact, I have always felt protected in my home.

One day I met a local woman who used to go to church here.....she is also a medium - or a channeler. She told me there was an elderly woman who resides here with me. She used to be a "church lady" years and years ago.....she cleaned the place and picked up after the Pastor, maybe did his laundry. She tidied up after the church suppers or meetings.....just basically took care of anything and everything. My new friend told me she just likes to stay here - she isn't ready to leave. I'm told she's happy with me and likes what I'm doing here....we live together quite comfortably. She takes care of me and helps me find things in this mess and boy, do I need that! Over 4000 sq. ft of mayhem - can you imagine losing your car keys in that !?! Once I needed my WD40 but didn't even know where to begin looking - it literally fell from the ledge onto my feet. It became so apparent that "someone" was helping me - I just laugh and say "Thank You, I don't know who you are - but Thank You"

A friend sent me an article after hearing my story with a note attached that said "I think I know who your ghost is". The story was titled "Every Church Needs a Martha" and went on to say Marthas know where the keys are and the cash box, and Marthas clean-up after the dinners etc etc. Well, for those of you who know your Bible - you will know Martha was Mary Magdalen's sister................hmmmmmmm.

That night I turned off the lights and said "Goodnight.......and I think you are Martha. Unless you tell me differently - I will assume I am right" Haven't had any reason to change my thinking - and she continues to help me along, though for the last months she just sits in the rocking chair and watches me working in the garden. It's a classic Bentwood friend tells me she and my mother fight over it.........

"I was here first"
"No - I was"
"You got to sit there yesterday"
"So - you sat there longer"

aahhhh - kids.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


SO... I am constucting this structure for all the pole beans and the gourds - dipper gourds and birdhouse gourds. The arbors were purchased for display in my shop. They are cheap and rickety.... I am making a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

I am adding extra support and plastic fencing along the bottom 36". I am hoping to make it strong to endure the winter.

And , of course, you have seen my piano guts at the end of the tunnel.

I have one more section to go - and just in time as the seedlings are reaching, reaching, reaching

but it was WAY too hot today


Both Mother Nature and I are pushing the garden forward

have added solar lights here and there - but need some more

weeds vs mulch - the weeds are winning

lilies and mint and zinnias and ??

it is already 90 degrees - so that's all for today - I am keeping cool in the studio !


This is what happens to old pianos in my world:
It was in bad shape and I don't even play - but the piano was too beautiful to chop up for firewood - and no one would take it away. HMMM didn't mean to be so poetic . Anyway..........
I had it "gutted" and now it is garden sculpture
The beautiful walnut piano itself will be re-fitted and used to house my CD player and all that jazz in the Salon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Several of you have asked about the sculptor I mentioned in my Versailles post; he does not have a website but here are links to some articles about him. His name is Ellis Nelson and he is well known in the area. I have a dear friend who is moving and had an estate sale last weekend and she advertised an Ellis Nelson for sale........people lined up hours in advance - the first man in line snatched it and left a lot of sad faces behind him....mine included.

So if anyone wants a sculpture......stop by the church for lunch and then pop on over to the Morel Capitol of the World ( !!! ) and meet Ellis.

When my friends John and Karen, were here last September they bought a big snail and sent him back to CA to live on the deck.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Again, I am hiding vents. I have planted all types of lilies along with echinaccea, sedum and herbs: mint, dill, sage, oregano, five different basils, chives....... I am sure there will be more.

also fennel, green onions and white onions

I LOVE tomatoes - I have six different heirlooms plus a variety for sauces and canning . Twelve different types, seventeen bushes total

Swiss chard in the bright colors

This is Linda's jalapeno

Zuchinni squash and yellow squash

also green bush beans and wax bush beans,
cucumbers and beets for pickling


The first thing in the ground was rhubarb - a gift from a friend's garden. My first lesson : "Look Up" I planted it in a perfect location, I thought ....I didn't know that you had to look"up". I had put it under a tree limb where the birds all love to sit - and poop.

So, I moved it here.

I am Vegan - and have a true distrust of chemicals in my food. Truly, why do we have a cancer epidemic? That's for another blog.........but you can understand why the planning of my own organic garden makes me positively giddy. I've had great help from my new friends here -the members of the Bloom City Garden Club. They generously share their knowledge and their plants !


The Formal Gardens. Well, even Louis and Marie had to start somewhere...........

This focal point will consist of three concentric circles - 2', 4', and 6'. I found this in a catalog for strawberries - but it will do just fine for flowers. The completed circle will be about 22' diameter.

For you City w/ a septic system sucks (gotta love THAT alliteration!) because it is visually obtrusive , you can't have anything too heavy on top of the system (it could crack) and you can't have any trees or large shrubbery as the roots could creep into the pipes.

This has a sprinkler which runs to the top and looks like a fountain WOOHOO

I didn't have enough dirt to make this pad totally level - but is good enough for now. I have plans..

There is a local artist who does great metal sculpture and that is what I will put in the center of my circle. The kids say they never know what to buy me for my birthday so this year I can give them a big hint.

Oh....I just did.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I am beginning with a prehistoric lawn. Weeds and weeds ..... and it slopes from north to south and from east to west.

My goal is to camouflage all the venting that goes with the septic system. I also hope to create a level area on this slope - just a little one so that I can pretend I have a garden.

and then there are the veggies.......

I am sad that I didn't have anything in this photo to give you a sense of proportion - I would guess that mountain was about 6 feet high and 12 feet long and 8 feet wide..... it was huge.

It took me two days to move this dirt to my "landfill" area. Me, a wheelbarrow, two buckets and John with his Radio Flyer.

A literal "drop in the bucket".

This was hopeless

so I had to throw in the towel and bring in the big boys

and P.S.

why do I have to put a blanket over my tomatoes in MAY !??!!

Friday, June 5, 2009


I know this will be boring for some of you - but I have been in the garden for weeks and am finally having some results.

I am dealing with a pre-historic lawn.
Dinosaurs walked on this slope. I have dug up patches of crab- grass, crack- grass ...whatever you call it for WEEKS. I am my own landfill.

Tonight I can barely move my arms - but just want to tell you I am alive and this weekend will bring a bit of rain and force me inside.

One day we did have just a light mist....but I kept on with the good fight. In the words of Bill Murray in Caddy Shack ...I said to my neighbor " I don't think the heavy stuff is coming down for a while yet" !!