Home ‘Tweet’ Home

Foxgloves

Hi Friends!

Oh, my! These young summer days are keeping me as busy as a bee outside! I celebrated the Summer Solstice by spending the whole day in the garden. Time in the garden has been a rare blessing for the past few weeks. So, it was a real treat to make time for a bit of pruning and weeding on the longest day of the year. What a glorious morning it was!

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‘Stella d’Oro’ Daylily (Hemerocallis) and ‘Dalmation Rose’ Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) add a welcome splash of color to our white, picket fence Herb & Tea Garden in June.

 

As I worked, surrounded by a sea of bright, orange Daylilies and fluffy, white ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangeas, the butterflies and bees were busy working right alongside me. The birdsong was especially cheerful on this special day, too!

As I busily pruned the Quince bush that grows near our ‘Welcome’ arbor, I had to suddenly stop cutting the long branches.

For there it was…

RobinEggs

Robin’s nest with four eggs waiting to hatch.

The mother robin must have seen me approach with my pruning sheers in hand and quickly flown away. I was astonished to find the sturdy nest with four beautiful eggs!  Of course, I had to stop pruning and left the nest undisturbed, hoping the mother would return. The Quince bush has a very funny shape right now, short in front, with long branches remaining in the back to protect the nest.

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With great relief, I noticed the mother robin return shortly to her little Home ‘Tweet’ Home!

Just a few feet away, while I weeded along the Friendship Garden bed, I could hear very cheery, bubbling birdsong nearby. I quickly discovered that the music was echoing from a unique, wooden birdhouse that has been in my garden for years. I’ve always considered it decorative, with its barnwood box, metal roof, and interesting, antique metal embellishments. Mounted on a pitchfork, this birdhouse always stands waist-high in a Daylily bed, near our garage.

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Imagine my delight, as I followed the singing and peeked in to see little beaks bobbing up and down! All weeding stopped, as I reached for my camera, and watched Mother Nature’s show on this first day of summer! The happy family of house wrens continued to sing for their breakfast, while the mother and father dashed out to bring back moths and other insects. They watched me, as I sat motionless watching them. One-at-a-time, the adults would hunt for an insect, land on the white picket fence near the Foxglove, fly to the small Elm tree, fly to the birdhouse, look around and dart into the hole. It happened again and again as they worked to feed their happy, little family! (You can enjoy their bubbly birdsong here.)

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There is nothing quite like a small, happy family taking good care of one another,

in an old home surrounded by colorful, flower gardens.

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It is definitely a Home ‘Tweet’ Home kind of summer here this year!

I have undertaken a HUGE project that will truly keep me as busy as a bee for quite a while.

Working on home improvements makes me oh-so-happy!

I have always loved restoring the beauty of an older home.

In fact, that’s the reason that I moved into this cozy bungalow so many years ago.

All those years of watching This Old House and reading Old House Journal have left their mark on my heart.

As our home nears the century mark, it’s time for another project filled with hard work and tender, loving care.

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Front Porch Restoration ~ Phase One: Ceiling and Trim

While my parents were visiting us in May, we shopped together for the best tools and supplies for my big project. In early June, I began the front porch restoration. Scraping and painting the ceiling and trim took weeks. I am taking special care as I remove the old paint, so clean up each day has been long and meticulous. My husband and I wrapped the front of the house in plastic to protect it from dripping paint. (Thank goodness! There were lots of drips.) I’m so happy with the way the ceiling turned out!

This week, I will scrape and paint the four porch columns. In the coming weeks, I will work to strip and restore the floor. Finally, we will have new railings and stairs designed and built. With each phase of the project, I am learning new things. It was so exciting to discover all of the colors that the ceiling had been painted over the years! As I work, I often think about the history of our front porch and why it is so important to me to carefully preserve it. I can’t wait to hang the original porch swing again, bring out the original rocking chair, and add our vintage wicker furniture to this very special outdoor room!

Day-after-day as I work, neighbors are offering kind words of encouragement and passersby often call out, “Lookin’ good!” as they walk past. My favorite music is playing  and I’ve been singing along to keep my energy high. I’ve had to climb down from my ladder several times to do a little happy dance… because that’s just how I am feeling! ♥

Taking on a HUGE project like this really feels quite

exhausting,

achy (with sore muscles),

hot (especially wearing protective gear),

solitary (missing fun times with my friends),

challenging (as I solve problems along the way),

but most of all…

empowering!!

I love it!

♥♥♥

Waving from the top of my ladder!

I’ll be back just as soon as I can… with so much to share.

Sending happy summer wishes from our little Home ‘Tweet’ Home to yours!

Warm hugs!

♡Dawn

P.S.  When was the last time you completed a hard task that left you feeling empowered? Hope you will share with us…

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39 thoughts on “Home ‘Tweet’ Home

  1. Oh, thank you, Jodi! Since my time in the garden is so limited this summer, those rare moments are really treasured. The porch is my number one task this summer. Thanks for always being here, Jodi! Have a great week! ♡

  2. Isn’t it such an incredible experience to come upon a nest as you did? Well, really two nests? You will certainly enjoy watching the two families grow. Robins are such pleasant birds and wrens are so energetic. I don’t blame them for nesting at your house.

    Your garden looks great and oh how I envy those foxgloves! I’ve never had success with them, so truly appreciate them seeing them growing. Enjoy, Dawn.

  3. Discovering those nests made me so happy, Penny! This weekend, we noticed the robins had hatched and their little beaks are bobbing up and down in the nest. Soon there will be lots of babies taking flying lessons in the backyard! Since I’m spending my days working on the front porch, I’m so happy that I didn’t miss all of the action in the backyard! Thank goodness I decided to prune the Quince that morning!

    These Foxgloves are a recent addition. When I went to buy more paint, they jumped into my cart! 🙂 My other Foxgloves are cream colored. I fell in love with the bright color of ‘Dalmation Rose.’ I think the secret is not to disturb the soil after they drop their seeds. I’m going to be extra careful, with hopes they will return year after year! Have a good week, dear Penny! We will welcome a few nice, cool days ahead! ♡

  4. Dawn,
    I enjoy your garden/home posts best. I love your garden and think it would be so much fun to host a robin and her eggs. We see them for a very short time in the spring when they visit our backyard and merrily grab worms and such from the lawn. We have had 2 separate families of house wren take up residence in a bird house that, like yours, seemed purely decorative to me. Wonderful photographs.
    Happy summer.
    xo,
    Karen

  5. You go, Girl! Lookin’ good!!! I truly enjoyed your sweet comments about the tender little families that have their beginnings right under our noses in our own garden paradises. I’m loving those foxglove with the brilliant fuschia. I became a tad over zealous this spring during cleanup and managed to rid my mailbox garden of my incredible cotton candy foxgloves. Learning lessons along the way…

  6. Heartfelt thanks, Karen! Sharing our garden/home posts makes it feel like we are all kindreds in a little, online neighborhood sharing stories over the garden gate! I was bursting with joy when I discovered both little families at home in our garden! 🙂 I just couldn’t wait to share the happy news with my husband that evening. Now we check on both little, feathered families each day. What fun it will be to watch the babies learn to fly and to splash about in our birdbaths! Have a great 4th of July, Karen! (It already feels like summer is flying by too quickly…) Thanks so much for visiting today! ♡

  7. Thanks so much for your encouraging words, Louise! I know you understand both the hard work and joy of restoration and TLC home projects. The weather for the rest of the week looks so good for scraping and painting. 🙂 I’m so grateful for the mild days, for I know that I will still be working away when the hotter weather returns. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about your Foxgloves. I’m going to try extra hard to leave the soil undisturbed so this Foxglove will feel right at home there! I’ve made the same mistake a few times, discovering only too late that I pulled out a treasured plant! We are always learning… Hope you are having a wonderful summer, Louise! ♡

  8. Mother Nature knew just who to reward with her birds. Can’t wait to see the results of all your hard work on the front porch. What a great exercise program to boot!

  9. You are so sweet, Anne! I am truly getting an upper-body workout! I had to take off the Fitbit. It was adding up so many steps without even leaving the porch! 🙂 So funny! Wishing you happy summer days, dearest Anne! ♡

  10. Dawn, what a happy post. I’m so glad you discovered the nest in time and were able to preserve the home. It’s nice to see mama back on the nest keeping her gorgeous blue eggs warm.

    Your porch restoration is ambitious but so like you to preserve and protect the integrity of the home. Good for you. I can’t wait to see the big reveal. It’s looking great so far.

    I envy you the full day in the garden. It’s sot hot now, with most days in the high 80’s or low 90’s. I work out there early when I can, and again late in the day after the sun sets. I planted some red, white and blue perennials this morning wearing a fleece jacket to keep the hot sun off my skin. It felt like a sauna in short order, but the alternative isn’t pretty.

    I’m happy to see you enjoying your garden, your home, your neighbors and really, life in general. xo

  11. Heartfelt thanks for your warm words, Alys! Preservation is in my roots. I grew up watching my dad restore antique cars and walking through antique fairs with my mom. Whether it is furniture or my home, my heart tells me to preserve the original condition and let each piece and the wonderful stories they hold shine! They are truly treasures to me! Restoration work has become much harder as I get older. So, I just have to pace myself. The happiness it brings me outweighs the aches and pains of the work involved. It is truly a labor of love! ♥ This week, we are blessed with several days in the 70s, just perfect for hard work outside! I’m so thankful!!

    You are really having a hot summer in California! That makes it so challenging to work in the garden. I’m so glad that you are being careful with sun exposure. It’s really important! So proud of you, Alys! I have always loved red, white, and blue collections of flowers. Which perennials did you plant? How are your new raised beds surviving the summer heat? I’m sure your ‘new’ garden looks lovely with all of the changes you have made. Please take an early morning walk through your garden for me! Thank you for being such a special part of the conversation here, Alys! Happy Independence Day! ♡

  12. This was such a fun read. It took me awhile to get back here to finish and comment as I have my own restoration going on. Just an old mobile home but it’s all mine and lots of work to keep it looking happy. I loved the nest of robins found just in time, the wren house rented from garden art. The white picket fence and the herb and tea garden fascinate me. I have a porch ceiling that was never painted as well as the driveway carport. I’ve painted everything else but those two things are still on the list. How you work above your head for long stretches is what I wonder about. Seems the list just gets longer as you wander the area. I feel so inspired now that I’ve visited here. Thanks for that.

  13. What a beautiful post Dawn, so well written, I can just imagine your beautiful surprise coming upon the nest like you did. I’d have cherished that moment, great to be following their journey too as the parents tend to the wee ones. And what a surprise to have residents in your birdhouse, I bet that brought so much joy too. Love your foxgloves, they are just such pretty plants aren’t they? Everything else is looking so beautiful in your front porch and your back garden. Thanks for such a lovely post. 🙂

  14. Oh, Marlene! I’m so thrilled that you found a bit of restoration inspiration here! ♥ I just love the feeling I get by doing the work myself. It may not be perfect, but no one could put more love into it! The scraping and painting are definitely getting harder as I get older, but I take inspiration from some very special role models. My parents are still working on projects around their house! When I bought my little bungalow long ago, I was also inspired by my dear neighbor who was painting her front stairs at 90 years old!

    Working overhead was definitely a challenge!! I attached a scraper to a long, telescoping pole to scrape off the old, loose paint. I stood on a ladder to brush paint along the edges and the trim. Then I screwed a paint roller to my telescoping pole to paint the beadboard ceiling. I was able to paint the ceiling while standing on the floor! I love, love, love the original beadboard, but it’s quite a challenge to paint. A fluffy roller helped a lot! I’m being extra careful about safety. My phone is in my pocket, in case of emergency and my sweet neighbor has been glancing out her window often, just to be sure I am OK. 🙂 I really appreciate that!! Maybe you should start with a small project first, Marlene. See how that feels, before starting a huge project! Be mindful of the summer heat, too. I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today. Many thanks! Happy Independence Day! ♡

  15. Heartfelt thanks, Loretta! Discovering the robin and wren families on the Summer Solstice filled my heart with such joy! I’m so glad that I decided to spend that day in the back garden! I’m still hard at work on the front porch and very pleased with the progress so far! Thanks so much for being here and joining in the conversation, Loretta! Happy Independence Day! ♡

  16. Here’s a wave right back as you enhance your porch’s charm. There is nothing like a porch and I can only imagine how much satisfaction you are feeling as you work your way through the project. It is always nice to have guests, especially when you have such handy guest homes for them to reside in. Happy summer. 🙂

  17. Thanks so much, Judy! It’s truly a labor of love! The four columns are now scraped and I’m ready to begin painting them this morning. We are so lucky to have a string of nice, cool days this week ~ just perfect for scraping and painting! I’ve been checking on our little house guests each day and can see their little beaks bobbing up and down. It’s so sweet! Wishing you a wonderful Independence Day, Judy! Enjoy your fun summer days at the lake! ♡

  18. Happy 4th to you as well. I’ve painted the house. Everything is a small project now.:) We’ve cooled down to normal heat now and I am extremely careful of the heat. Keeping my phone in my pocket at all times as well. Good plan. 🙂

  19. That’s wonderful news, Marlene!! I can tell that we are both having busy summer days… and enjoying the satisfaction of the fruits of our labor! 😊 I’m already dreaming of tea parties on the front porch! 💗

  20. Dawn, it’s so nice to visit with you in your lovely garden. The white picket fence is such a lovely background for your lovely flowers. I love that you were able to capture the beautiful birds in your garden. The robin eggs are so bright and colorful. I imagine they have hatched and are growing by now. Wrens are so sweet and what a great reward to have them nest nearby. We’ve had a nest of cardinals in our Pinkie climbing rose trellis this year. Nature is one of the greatest rewards of viewing as we garden, isn’t it Dawn?
    You are doing a beautiful job on your porch, Dawn! Overhead work is difficult, but you are a pro!!! It looks lovely! I know you will love to sit back soon and enjoy your swing and admire all of your hard work. Older homes have such character that new homes don’t. Your home is lucky to have such a great steward! ♥

  21. Hi Dawn! Finally getting around to reading your beautiful post! Wanted to wait until I could really savor it as it always promises to be filled with beautiful things! I just love your wren family discovery! Tiny Jenny Wrens with their protective, scolding nature if you get too close to their babies. Chattering with their tails straight up! We didn’t get any this year. Your foxgloves are GORGEOUS! Mine are wimpy in comparison…you DO have that ultra green thumb! And your porch looks beautiful! Can’t wait to see pics of end result! Happy 4th of July! xo…Karen

  22. Hi, Martha Ellen! It’s always a treat whenever you visit our garden! Each time I walk past the robin’s nest, there are four little heads bobbing up and down with their little beaks open. 🙂 I wonder how long it will be before they begin their flying lessons? I’m keeping the birdbath, in our nearby Friendship Garden, filled with fresh water, for their first baths. These little birds bring me such joy! I smile whenever I pass by their nest. It must be such fun to see baby cardinals in your climbing roses!

    Our front porch restoration is truly a labor of love! My eyes filled with happy tears as I finished the final coat of paint on the four porch columns yesterday. Since I wasn’t able to remove our brass address numbers, I masked them and painted around them oh-so carefully. It was so sweet! I felt like Susan, using a teeny, tiny watercolor brush (with exterior flat latex) as I slowly painted around each number. Today I will use a heat tool to remove the old paint from our doorstep. Truly a labor of love! I’m already dreaming of tea parties on the front porch! I feel so blessed to be living in my little bungalow. The preservation gene must be in my DNA. Honoring the past, and all of the stories it holds, is so important to me! Wishing you a wonderful Independence Day, dear Martha Ellen! ♡

  23. Hi, Karen! What a sweet thing to say! I think the little wrens have flown away from the birdhouse already. They were already singing loudly when I first noticed them on the Summer Solstice. I peek inside the hole whenever I pass the birdhouse, but it is quiet there now. I wonder if they will stay near our garden or fly far away? These ‘Dalmation Rose’ Foxgloves are new this season. (They jumped into my shopping cart when I was buying more house paint! 🙂 ) I hope they will return next year! I’m being very careful to let their seeds drop and then not disturb the soil in that area. Keep your fingers crossed!

    The plants from your garden are growing nicely inside our white picket fence garden. Hope the plants from my garden are happy in Wisconsin! The tall Rudbeckia ‘Herbst Sonne’ is setting its buds here. Soon both of our gardens will have big bouquets of yellow sunshine in bloom! 🙂

    Susan & Joe should be on the ferry now and returning home within the hour. I’m so happy for them! Can you believe that they have been on the road, warming the hearts of Girlfriends across America since before we saw them on May 10th? Maybe you could tweet them a ‘Welcome Home’ greeting from both of us, Karen! Wishing you a very happy Independence Day! ♡

  24. I hope you’ve had a happy Independence Day as well, Dawn. Ours’ was low-key and lovely.

    Preservation is in your roots. That’s a gift.

    I planted Salvia (Victoria Blue), Calibrachoa x hybrida ‘Cabaret’ Bright Red’ and Angelonia ‘Archangel White’ .

    Hugs!

  25. My hats off to you for tackling such a project. No more of those in my future. I asked the other day if I should change the spent light bulb in the bathroom and the concierge said no the maintenance staff would take care of it. Still in the process of making this small place feel like home. I have an empty pot on the balcony that needs some flowers. I’ll have to get my hands in dirt somehow.

    Thanks for your kind comments on my blog.

  26. Thanks, Marcia! It’s hard work… but it’s making me so happy to know that I can still do the hard work!

    It was so nice to follow your journey as you planned and made your big move. Having a maintenance staff sounds wonderful! 🙂 Will you still have a dedicated space for papercrafting? I’ve always wondered about what it would be like to have more time for cardmaking, but less room for a studio space. With some flowers and herbs in containers on the balcony, you will have a garden! It will be fun to see which plants you choose! ♡

  27. Oh, thank you,Tammi! It’s nice to celebrate the small moments that make every day special. Hope this will be your best summer ever! Thanks so much for stopping to visit! 💗

  28. DARLING DAWN!!!!!!! I am so thrilled to see you left a comment on my blog, and to come here to see that you are indeed ENJOYING every detail of the garden! YES, after working in the garden, our bodies are SO SORE! But the fun part after pruning and raking, dumping and watering, is that we come inside, shower, sit and then NAP. Then maybe if we feel like it, after dinner, go outside to stroll the grounds. It is SO satisfying! I have to tell you that we too had “Mrs. Robinson” set up her nest here a few years ago. We were able to watch her from our little window on the front door, for she nested right under one of the beams at the front entrance. My husband was saying, “That is NOT a good place for a nest. It will come down with the wind.” Well, don’t cha know…..Mrs. Robinson heard him and came back the next day with MUD PACKS and that nest wasn’t going anywhere. All silly, nonsensical talk about her nest not working had CEASED! teehee…that nest stayed there for 8 years until a squirrel came by an knocked it loose.

    Enjoy the physical satisfaction as well as the spiritual as you play in your garden sweet Dawn, where YOU were meant to be. Anita

  29. Oh, Anita! We truly garden with our heart and soul! Early morning is my very favorite time in the garden ~ the light, the birdsong, and the stillness fill me with joy. It is always an oasis of peace in a very unsettled world. I was so delighted to discover the the robin’s nest in the middle of our quince bush! It was amazing to observe just how quickly the babies grew and flew off. Now I’m wondering if I should finish pruning the quince, or if the robin will use her nest again. Did Mrs. Robinson ever return to use her nest near your front door again?

    It’s going to be a lovely day in the garden today.:) So, I’m heading out early. Thanks so much for visiting today, dear Anita! It’s such fun connecting through our blogs and IG. You add so much beauty to our world! Big hugs! ♡

  30. Dawn, your Foxgloves are gorgeous! I love them, but don’t have a lot of luck. Just bought two to try again. Oh, so fun to have eggs as well as babies in your garden! I have a birdhouse on a pitchfork and was wishing someone would take up residency, but it didn’t happen. One gal on Hometalk told me that they won’t nest in a house that has a painted hole. Never knew that. Mine is painted aqua. Your porch is looking fabulous! Quite a job for sure.
    hugs,
    Jann
    p.s. I’m not able to respond to your comment on my blog for some reason. Wanted to say thanks for all your sweetness about my she shed. That’s been our latest big project. 🙂

  31. Many thanks, Jann! It has definitely been a labor of love! These ‘Dalmation Rose’ Foxgloves are a new addition this summer. Today I noticed that a new stem is growing with more flower buds. I’m so excited! For many years, I have grown pale, cream colored Foxgloves. So, these are a real treat!

    Jann, I love that we both have unique birdhouses mounted on pitchforks! Ours was a gift from a dear friend years ago. It was made by a local artist and I always thought it was purely decorative… until this summer. What a wonderful surprise to find a happy, little family living inside!

    I’m so intrigued by your she shed. Will you use it as a studio space, potting shed, a place for tea parties, a reading retreat or a combination of creative uses? I know that you must have lots of decorating ideas already! Can’t wait for a peek inside! Thanks so much for stopping to visit. Have a great week! 💗

  32. I misread one sentence as “As I busily pruned the Quinoa bush” and had to go look up how Quinoa is produced. I had a good laugh at that! Your flowers are beautiful!

  33. Hi, Cher! So glad that you shared this giggle with me! So funny! 🙂 We have both ~ Quinoa in the kitchen and Quince in the garden. Hope you are enjoying nice summer days! I’ve been enjoying my days in the garden. It’s really colorful right now! Thank you so much for stopping to visit, Cher! You have been here since the very beginning… and it’s always fun to see you! ♡

  34. It sounds like you are having a delightful and very productive summer. I know you will enjoy your porch when the project is finished.

  35. Hi, Karen! Thanks so much. It’s the busiest summer that I can remember. Being busy makes me happy! So, it’s a very happy summer, too! Thank you so much for visiting, Karen. Hope you are enjoying your summer… and finding ways to keep cool! ♡

  36. Love having birds nest close by. Enjoy you sharing yours.
    Now about that task: A recent task, made harder due to my procrastination, was a large, crammed full laundry basket of ironing. I put it off so long by wearing everything in my closet for summer, and came close to embracing the hint of autumn in the morning air as a sign to put it off and just wear my warmer clothes, and considered adding a second basket for ‘needs ironing.’
    Woke up yesterday, and for reasons unknown, engaged in an ironing marathon that lasted through Apocalypse Now, True Detective Season One, and about three minutes of MSNBC news.
    You will recognize me as the well pressed matron dressed in a seasonally appropriate wardrobe. 🐞

  37. What a monumental task, JoHanna! 🙂 🙂 You are such a great storyteller… and so fashionably dressed now! It’s such a great, empowering feeling to accomplish a big goal. I will think of your story the next time I iron. 🙂 Thanks so much for being here, sharing, and looking so stylish! ♡

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