Garden Gnomes and Garden Toads

Getting dirty is a skill set Claire especially excels at.

The muddy project Claire is working on in the photo above was inspired by a book we checked out from the library about gnomes.  Claire was enthralled by it, and I must admit that I was as well. Growing up, I absolutely
Gnomes by Will Huygen
LOVED the Nickelodeon show "David the Gnome." Turns out the whole show was based on this book by Will Huygen. The illustrations were beautiful and I thought the premise of the story (and the gnome interviews) were endearing. The fact that we found this in the non-fiction section (it was in the oversized book collection) has convinced Claire that gnomes are really, truly, real. 

Forgetting the fairy houses of last week, Claire wanted to build a gnome house complete with a barn for a toad she found, surely the gnomes would enjoy transportation via hopping?

I think her construction technique was spot on. Lots of "logs," mud to glue them all together and a thatched roof made of leaves. The toads in the yard are quickly learning to avoid the grass when Claire is afoot, this little one was forced to "enjoy" the barn she built. He hopped away a while later, but I'm not sure he actually disliked the place.

While Claire played with mud, I worked on getting dirty myself. The side garden is almost finished. Lots of mulching left and a few more plants to go in the shady area and I'm done. I think I've personally planted about 95 shrubs and that's not counting the ones we put in during the fall months (thank you Lowes for the AWESOME clearance steals). Now I'm spraying them all with putrid smelling junk because the deer near my house pay zero attention to tags labelled, "deer resistant."

My freezer better be stocked with venison this year since I'm providing so much food for them.

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The best plans are the ones you didn't have...

Enjoying the summer's first honeysuckle. I introduced Claire to this little bit of magic and of course she was smitten!

My GPS died a couple of months ago and I've been braving the streets of suburbia with no guide, aside from my four year old backseat driver (who ALWAYS points out when your "dinkers" are not being used when turning).
Log chimney. So pretty!

I have a nice group of parks and libraries that are easy to get to, but I cling, CLING! to that GPS once I venture outside a 10 mile radius of my house. For a little background info: I grew up on Long Island and everything was laid out in a grid. You had to try, and I mean really try, to get lost there, which of course I did. Embarrassingly often.

Here, the county roads names frequently change as they wind up and over the mountains. Things are relatively well marked, but not always.

With that in mind, rewind to last week when I had plans to visit a peony farm mentioned in Martha Stewart's magazine. I blew right by the one of the last turns and without realizing it, traveled through an additional two (unmarked I swear!) towns and wound up at Jockey Hollow National Historic Site. Since it was on my list of must-see places anyway (well, insofar as driving past the brown signs on occasion and adding it to my mental list) I decided this was now our destination.

If parenting has taught me anything, it's that making plans is futile and and life is more enjoyable when you roll with whatever you're dealt.