The Parris House Garden, Like a Tortoise. A Pictorial Trip Through.

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A moth takes a rest on one of our green bean blossoms.

One of our Parris House hookers, Edna Olmstead, is already harvesting and pressure canning green beans for the fall and winter.  Another said yesterday at Tuesday group that her tomatoes were in.  And, of course, the local farm stands, run by professional growers and farmers, are overflowing with produce.

Here at the Parris House our garden more resembles the tortoise, from the fable, The Tortoise and the Hare.  I’m not at all saying that my tortoise is going to win the gardening race.  It’s not.  But it will, save for some unforeseen early withering frost, come through in the end.

This was my first year teaching at the Squam Art Workshops in June.  I was in a bit of a tizzy preparing for it and I could not face putting the garden in before I got back, which was the second week of June.  Additionally, I had really wanted raised beds this year, and my husband and sons had not yet built them.  When I returned from Squam, like magic, the beds were in place.  The menfolk had built them in my absence.  We took a trip to Shaker Hill Landscape & Nursery in Poland Spring, Maine for a bit more soil and compost and I was ready to roll.  Very late, even by Maine standards, but ready.

The following pictures were taken on Monday, August 3rd.  I think what they show is promise.  Itty bitty beans on the vine, harvestable salad greens (we’ve had some; they’re delicious), modestly sized basil, pumpkin and squash blossoms, and more.  I think the biggest race against time out there is the corn, which is only past knee high at this juncture, but we all need a little suspense in our gardening, don’t we?

I will be teaching at Squam again next year, but will probably be more relaxed in my preparations.  The garden will go in earlier.  Five years ago I would have been beside myself with this year’s tortoise garden.  I know better now.  A lesson learned at Squam and in a million different ways in the steady growth of Parris House Wool Works:  it’s the process that matters most, one day at a time, doing everything you know how to do with heart and commitment and as much love as you can muster.  Those are the conditions for growth, even if you’re starting late in your season.

And now, some pictures…hope you all like green!

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The Parris House garden. That thing that looks like a bomb from the Roadrunner cartoon series is actually a composter, courtesy of my friend Renee Krajci. What the Parris House hens don’t get in vegetable and kitchen scraps, goes in there.
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I can not wait for these to ripen. Organic tomatoes given to me by my friend Eric Davis.
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More tomatoes – these look more Roma style – given me by Eric Davis.
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Pinetree Garden Seeds fantabulous salad green mix.
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Beets. These will get pickled and canned.
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Peas. Yes, that’s how late this garden is.
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Fresh beans and shell beans. We have green beans and purple beans (although they turn green when you cook them), Jacob’s Cattle Beans and Vermont Cranberry Beans.
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The purple ones are my favorite.
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More tomatoes, kale, and purple cabbage. The kale and purple cabbage were rescued from Smedberg’s Crystal Spring Farm late in the season, the last of their vegetable plants still for sale. I think they’ll be just fine. The corn is our suspense builder.
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Pumpkins. Or possibly a winter squash. I’m actually not sure.
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Purple cabbage.
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Kale.
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Garden owl keeps watch. He has a little help from the electric fence.
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Basil.
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The Parris House apple trees operate on their own schedule, so they’re not behind at all. They are utterly loaded this season. There will be many days spent canning and freezing apples this fall. A million thanks to Post Carbon Designs for trimming them so beautifully last winter.
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More apples.
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The day lilies have “gone by.”
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The giant hostas, which are always a delight for the bees, have also “gone by.”

Just yesterday in the Maine studio a relatively new hooker was lamenting on how slow she is in finishing projects (actually, she isn’t…but…you know…).  Another hooker immediately came to her defense, telling her to be patient, that this was normal in the beginning, and praising the work that she had done.  I also assured her that her future work would start to go more quickly.  Sometimes, we just have to be ok with the pace of things.  So it is with our late blooming garden.

I will post another story in about six weeks on how the harvest has gone, taking pics as we pull things in.  By then my favorite time of year will be in full swing!

Happy gardening, don’t worry if you’re a tortoise, and happy hooking! – Beth

“New” Room at the Parris House – Take a Peek!

As many of our Facebook followers know, we’ve been working on redecorating the south parlor at the Parris House, which is a classic twin parlor Federal.  Just a couple of weeks ago our Tuesday group was overflowing the north parlor aka the hooking studio.  At the time the “new” parlor was still in disarray during the painting and decluttering process.  Next time we have more hookers than seats, we’ll have the option of flowing over in to this new room.

In my quest to take the house toward ruthless simplicity, the room is spartan, although I am still looking for just the right rug (the rug maker has no rug…) and a small coffee table.   At this juncture, an object needs to be useful, be beautiful, or have a significant piece of my heart to stay in the house.

Here are some pics with captions…

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We went with a bright sunny blue, “Emily” by California Paints. If you have not used California Paints in a while, I urge you to give them another try. The new-ish primer included formulation truly gives nearly one coat coverage. I always do two, but it was barely necessary. This blue went on over a tough-to-cover primitive mustard yellow and barely needed the second coat. The whole room was done with a single gallon.
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We covered the old taupe love seat with a new cover. This room redo was done on a shoestring. There was not going to be money for a lot of new furniture. #educatingkidsemptypockets
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This locally made step back cabinet had been painted a primitive cream with distressed corners. I’m honestly all primitived out at this juncture in my life and am looking for a brighter, cleaner look for the house. I painted this in California’s basic white. I still need to put the second coat on and put the knobs back on. I wanted a place to display our heritage family photos.  Portrait of Corgi Tru by Rockland, Maine artist Mae Towers.
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This is the built in book case next to the fireplace. I wanted to be able to put a lot of our antique books in a single area. The vintage teddy bear belonged to my beloved brother, who left this world at age 31 in 1986. It is one of my most treasured possessions. The smaller teddy bear buddy is a reproduction given me by a dear friend.
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The Empire sofa was an eBay find. We went down to Rhode Island a few weeks ago to pick it up. Its scale shows us that people were a lot smaller back in the day, but I find it very comfortable. It makes you sit up straight and is perfect for reading, knitting, and…of course!…hooking. The table to the right of it is actually a 1929 Atwater Kent tube radio. Yes, it works!
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OK, so I can’t part with the Corgi pillow. The Eastlake style Victorian chair was a find from a neighbor’s yard sale. It needs new upholstery. The map over the fireplace is an 1880 map of Paris Hill and Paris, Maine.
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Writing nook. I need to find a way to get power to this corner for my laptop. It *is* the 21st century after all.  The sewing table was made in Paris, Maine by Paris Manufacturing Company.  The watercolor over the desk was done by long time family friend Joan Kell and is of Owl’s Head, Maine.  The lighthouse pen and ink was done by my son, James.  <3
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View coming in from the kitchen (which has also just been painted and decluttered, but that’s another post). Writing nook to left.

Thanks for cyber visiting the Parris House and we hope you’ll stop by in person some day!  Happy hooking.  🙂   – Beth