7.31.2012

Goodbye Maine

Until next time...
goodbye Midcoast Maine!
Thanks for 20 summers of countless memories!




The big event in Rockport Harbor: a boat launching.

This beauty had everyone gawking.
A 160-foot boat from Malta.

She's a looker!

My dad's beauty: a Hinkley power boat. Made in Maine.
Responsible for many an island adventure!

Isle au Haut: my all-time favorite island!






The girls have learned how to work the lines.


And my man always gives her a good cleaning when we return.


A visit to the fabulous children's garden
at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor.


A book barn featuring some our favorite Maine stories.
Wouldn't you love to have a book barn at home?!?!



Oh, my! The cutest little cousins ever!




Hydrangeas the size of pom poms!


Midcoast Maine is a beautiful place packed with memories for our family. But as much as I love the rocky coasts, the island adventures, the bountiful blooms and the cooler air, I'm ready to head back to our new hometown of Franklin and nestle in a bit. {This is the first time in my entire life that returning home means somewhere other than Houston.}

And you know what? For the first time in 20 summers, I'm not too sad to leave all this beauty. Because for the first time, I'm headed home to a place equally as beautiful. From the rolling hills, stone walls and boats of Maine to the rolling hills, stone walls and horses of Franklin!

Oh, how I love beauty!

P.S. I'll be buried in boxes when I get home, so if things are quiet here for awhile, you'll know why! Hoping to share some painting updates with you soon!

7.29.2012

Wine Box Garden: Year Two

Remember my wine box garden in Houston?



An update from our second season is long overdue. With the big move and all that chasing a dream required, a garden post never made it to the top of the priority list, but that's what vacations are for, right?!?!

I was honored to see my first garden featured in fabulous places like PinterestRemodelistaFennel & Fern, but let me tell you the truth sweet readers: I'm no master gardener! I'm just a girl who loves fresh food and wanted to grow a little of my own. After procrastinating for years, I finally put the books down and just went for it! That's the best way to do it, my friends. Don't be afraid to fail. Even if only one thing grows, you'll feel so proud when you put it on a plate and eat it!

I still have a lot to learn about gardening, but I do have a few tips to share about the wine boxes. I still get lots of questions about these, so here's all I know:

1. I started over with new boxes this year because the last ones really deteriorated. I did nothing to protect my boxes from moisture last year, and it showed. Here are last year's boxes after only a few weeks:

Water damage. It got a lot worse.

2. To create a moisture barrier, I coated this year's boxes with two coats of Danish Oil. I found this idea in one of my garden books, Garden Anywhere.


I brushed it on with a cheap brush and let the boxes sit a couple weeks before planting. I'm sure only a day or two is needed, but life was busy. {Note: you don't want to use anything super toxic like polyurethane for an edible garden. Danish Oil doesn't smell super natural to me, but I went with what was in the book and let it soak in fully before adding dirt and plants.}

I learned that Danish Oil isn't a perfect moisture barrier, but my boxes looked a lot better than last year. I think adding a liner of some sort {see tip #4} and brackets {see tip #5} would be ideal.

3. My husband drilled holes in the bottom of each box for drainage. Just like last year.


And this year, we added a single layer of lightweight lava rocks to the bottom for drainage purposes. {The key being lightweight so your boxes don't weigh a ton. Hmm...maybe you could use cut up wine cork pieces?} Not sure if this step is needed, but my husband insisted it would help with drainage, so I went with it!

4. I lined one box with plastic as a test. I wanted to see what difference this added moisture barrier would make. Next time, I'll line all my boxes. {I used a heavy-duty black trash bag because that's what I had. I cut slits in the bottom for drainage.}

Lined, but not coated. Needs brackets.

I didn't actually coat this box in Danish Oil {testing liner vs. oil}, but I think the combination of both a liner and Danish Oil would've been great. In fact, if you're going to line the boxes with something sturdy, maybe you can use poly after all since it won't be touching the food.

And to keep the sides from pulling apart, here's something I should've done....

5. Add brackets to support the corners. Stainless would be ideal so they don't rust, but they're more expensive. Which means you definitely want to invest the time in preparing your boxes well (Danish Oil and plastic liner} so that you don't waste your money on boxes that are going to rot.

6. Cut wine corks in half to create "feet" at the corners of your wine boxes. Just another way to assist with water drainage. It's all about preventing that soggy, unsightly wood rot!


So all in all, year two's boxes held up better than year one. I've concluded that the ideal wine box preparation includes three things: protective seal + liner + brackets on the corners.

A salad garden is my favorite way to use the wine boxes.

I added climbing Malabar spinach to the side beds this year.

Found this here.

Laura Finley loves to garden. This girl can make anything grow!


"The Girls" are always part of the action around here. 

Laura Finley's ladybugs from Insect Lore. Natural pest control.

The wine box garden sat on a table just off the back porch. 

One last look.

Unfortunately, I had to leave my wine box garden with our Houston home, but I've got great memories and can't wait to give a larger garden a try somewhere on our eight acres in Franklin! {It may have to wait until Spring. We've got our hands full with repairs, adjusting to a new town, soon a new school...not to mention the upcoming Christmas card season!}

I hope this post will inspire you to grow a little of your own food even if all you have is a very small space. We didn't have much of a backyard in Houston {more like a courtyard}, so container gardening was the perfect solution. And wine boxes were the look I wanted.

Where to get the boxes? Try anywhere that wine is sold. We're regular wine buyers, so each time we made a purchase, we just asked if they had a spare box. When we had enough, we stopped asking. Some of the larger wine shops will sell their boxes. Fruit crates would also look great.

Happy gardening!


7.20.2012

Waking Up In Maine

This is where I woke up today:


After sleeping in six different places over the last seven weeks, I was a little disoriented when I first opened my eyes.


Where in the world am I?!?! A cool breeze and a harbor full of boats? This isn't exactly home. {Not that home is very well established these days!}


One look at the rocky coast and those white adirondacks and you know: this is unmistakably Midcoast Maine. Hard to believe this is my 20th summer visit. I'm one blessed girl! {Thanks Mom and Dad!}

My parents' house overlooks Rockport Harbor, but our favorite place to shop and eat is Camden. I thought you might like to have a look around with us!

Harbor Dogs is part of our summer tradition.

Love the clam chowder at Cappy's.

And their bakery has irresistible treats!


My favorite shop in Camden: Jo Ellen Designs.




Hmm. I see a trend: French inspired books!

Another favorite. Brooke is such a generous soul...always sharing beauty and inspiration
on her blogShe's even answered some of my chicken questions.
{Can't wait to have our own chickens in Franklin!}


So tempted to buy this tray for my youngest daughter.
You'll see why when I show you her room!

Fabulous collection of Weck jars.

Beautiful Brahms Mount blankets...made in Maine!


The Camden Harbor at dusk.

One of the many schooners heading out for an evening sail.
{I highly recommend seeing Maine from the water.}

Window boxes.

And a variety of my favorite flowers: hydrangeas.

A new "cheap and cheerful" favorite: light with a touch of effervescence.
Not a bad way to end a day!

I'm thrilled to be in Maine {and can't wait to do all of our favorite Maine things}, but would you believe that I'm missing our little farm already? I know there will be plenty of work waiting for me when I return, so for now, I'm going to soak in as much beauty {and rest} as I can!

Happy summer day to you, sweet friends! How I wish you were here to enjoy the day with me!

Hugs and love,

P.S. You can see all of my Maine photos and posts HERE {or link through the sidebar anytime}.



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