Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ringing in the New June

I rang in June with two of my favorite people.

The first was this handsome fella.

The second was my friend, Jayme.

She's not a blog friend, anymore. She's done crossed over.
I love it when that happens.

We laughed about that unwritten rule that when you see a "blog friend", you must blog about it. No two ways. The truth is, I don't blog much about my real-life friends. It doesn't occur to me in the same way. Also, they probably don't fancy spending time with me and my camera. It's a different beast, fa show.

You may be wondering where I'm going with this. The point is, I've decided to blog about why I am not blogging about my day with Jaymes.


Here's what cinched it: We spent the most gorgeous day in the most gorgeous place on the planet, or at least in the county. We both wielded cameras. 'Twould have been criminal not to. And where the camera goes, the blog post follows.

I present to you, the famed Defries Garden of New Paris, IN.

It's a calendar garden, which I had never conceived of. All 365 days are represented on the circular brick pathway. The garden is divided into 4 quadrants, representing the four seasons. There is always something new blooming, although I have my doubts as to whether it'll be worth the trip come Winter.

The place is a hidden gem in the truest sense of the word.

It's breathtaking.


I'm not even playing.

I took hundreds of pictures, and a few of them turned out! In true weirdo fashion, some of my favorites were the ones that didn't. Maybe I'll spring those on you, one day.

Heck, maybe I'll spring one this very second:

I fell passionately in love with the sprightly Columbine. So much prettier and breezier than my stodgy Columbine, but you'll have that.

It was gusty, which complicated things a bit, but I finally caught her between dances.

We tracked down some critters and I followed Jayme around, nipping at her heels like a clueless apprentice. Because I am mostly clueless. And she knows a thing or two about gardens. She's more of an, "Oh, that's wisteria!" than an, "I like that purple flower. It's fancy!" Ahem.

Before long, it was lunch time.

I did my best to accommodate Jayme's Boot Camp diet even though she insisted that I shouldn't fret. That diet means business. (I made her turn around when I added olive oil. At dinner I asked her to hand over the tortellini. My conscience couldn't shoulder the responsibility.)
Bean salad recipe here.

I chewed her ear and she chewed mine and in between, we ate our salads. And I threw a fork square at her face on accident.

Oh, I wouldn't joke about that.

Siley munched on cheese and alphabet pretzels and took Elmo for a stroll.

Then this showed up and I couldn't think straight for all the dearness.

Then this showed up and I couldn't think straight for all the creepiness.

Eagle-Eye Aibie spotted a country greenhouse on the drive home.

It's amazing that she can carry him and be wrapped around his finger at the very same time. They've got a complex dynamic, those two.

Silas passed out a mile from home and napped under a shade tree in the van. I made Jayme a cup of hot tea with a teaspoon of salt.

Yes I did.

It's official: My brain can no longer handle the stimulation of visitors, or as I like to call them, "The English".

Dinner was soup (I only ever feed her soup for dinner, though this time there was nary a tough bean to be found).

She helped me track down the offending poison ivy that currently afflicts me.

Then, she drove away in the Heep and I spent the rest of my evening reflecting and peeing, on account of all the watermelon, tomatoes and brothy soup.

It was one for the record books, folks.

It shorely was.


  1. where do I begin? this post just makes me want to smile. the colorful, beautiful pictures, the way you described your day with your bloggie friend...and everything in between! This might have been my favorite post to read ALL week!!!
    How lucky am I to have found your blog? Oh yes, I am! :)

  2. I'm so jealous. You two are the cats MEOW.

    I hope you guys keep this up until you both look ezactly like the little old lady convention. I also hope to appropriate your use of the phrase, "The English" Freaking awesome.

  3. I feel all kinds of longing for my bees this morning. The funny thing is I woke up this morning thinking about the summer that begins next Wednesday for us and listing in my head everything I want to do this summer and hoping that a blueberry patch/ffpg day is in our future.

  4. I'm a new follower! My name is Kristi and I have two toddlers. Your blog is so refreshing! I can feel the love and time and energy you take in each photo! I LOVE your blog.

    Visit me at

  5. You pack quite the picnic lunch! I've always wanted to visit the calendar gardens. I'm gonna put it on my to-do list for the summer.
    Happy June!

  6. What I wouldn't give to visit that beautiful place...especially with the dear Jayme. I loved this post and I want that plate of vittles.

  7. All these beautiful pictures. All this wonderful love, and I'm fretting over the state of my hair in that there picture, oh so funny. I laughed hard about the fork, and the salt - law - it's much too much fun! I have the same buggy picture, other than that - everything else is overexposed or out of focus! Had a beautiful day with you - and you are right-not just blog friends now. Soul sistas.

  8. I'll be..I was born and raised in Indiana and not once have I heard of or been to that garden...that shall be fixed!

  9. So sweet...and I love that your friend has "crossed over." I need a day with a girlfriend...just poking around town. Thanks for reminding me of that!

  10. You guys are two of a kind. I love your photos and your words. Did I not say she was coming to visit??

  11. So fun, wish I was there! I can't handle the sweetness of those older ladies. But you did kind of lose me on the hot tea with salt-for real? I'm drinking nice hot sugared Earl right now and can't fathom it! Anyway, thank you always for your blogging; it's the icing on the cupcake of my day! Thanks for sharing the sunshine!


  12. What a great post! Can I tell you how much I love your blog? Well, I do. Surely I do!

    Great pictures, great food and it looks like it was the perfect day.

  13. I don't often leave comments, although I read your blog faithfully, Shannan. Thank you for sharing your day with Jaymers with did my heart so much good!

  14. Oh, what fun! The pictures tell a lovely and interesting story. I love it! The picture of the elderly ladies is sooo sweet. A lovely post indeed! Thanks. Hugs! Loretta

  15. Soooo, when's this book of yours going to be done? Because I love the way you tell a story and I can't wait to read a whole book's worth of story from your pen!

  16. Shannan, Long-time follower of Jayme's and came over today to hear YOUR SIDE of the story! (Sounds too, too lovely...) decided to stay and give you a "follow."
    I'm an Indiana gal..."Whosyergurl" is my blog. I'm down on a small farm with new chickens...down between Bloomington and Bedford.
    xo, Cheryl

  17. OK. I'm all about the day and the pictures. They're great, BUT I can't help but be offended by this you're keeping something from me. You show this gorgeous picture of 2 salads side by side, and you only give me the recipe for the bean salad?

    I was seriously eyeing the other salad.

    You must make it right, I tell you. Hand over that recipe. Please.

  18. I was so left out.

    Darn all those states between us.

    T'was a beautiful day.

    Ofcourse Siley lives the Coopster, ofcourse.


  19. that day looked like perfection to me friend. and yes it's a must to blog when in the presence of other blog friends. it's like an unspoken rule or something. great way to bring in June:)

  20. First - it was interesting to view the same story through two different sets of eyes or the same picture through different lenses for that matter.
    Secondly - "the English".....We may live only 10 miles from town, but I always find myself explaining myself when I use that term. Seems the "English" or "Inglish" as they (the Amish) pronounce it in these here parts don't know that they're "English!"

    As always so relate-able!
    Have a beautiful sunny day!

  21. Love the calendar gardens...I came upon it by accident a few years ago geocaching with the kids. (Wow, am I a nerd...) Really enjoy your writing as well...makes me jealous.

  22. What a great find! I loved reading both yours and Jayme's post about the calendar gardens. Two different perspectives, so fun!

    Thanks for sharing!

  23. Wow. That barn! Amazing.

    I love this! Love that you have blog turned real life friends! :) So fun!!

  24. I have family from New Paris and have never heard of this place! I will be checking it out! Looks like you had a great time! And yes!! let's get together soon!!

  25. Jayme has the nicest friends! Your blog has everything I, flowers, food and a big helping of following!

  26. i do not know much about gardens, tea, or greenhouses, but i am a world-class soup eater. one out of four should qualify me for a Date with Shannan, no?

  27. I know I say it a lot, but boy do ya make-a-me-laugh A LOT!!

    As I began this story, it almost seemed as if Jayme had passed ON to other worlds: the "June 1" stamped forever in the brick..the "she's not a blog friend anymore. She's crossed over"...and then I GOT it. So I went to her blog as well and I LOVE it!

    I also saw (before I read your recap)her comment:

    "Also on her blog, you can read how she threw a fork at me, and sat and watched me put salt in my tea, nary saying a word."

    ..and I LOL.

    Were those cute old ladies on her property just doing a walk-a-bout?

    I love columbines too. I have the light purple variety here in my someday cottage garden (a work in progress for sure! it's unbalanced right now. More on that another day)and for the life of me cannot recall the name variety. Which is why...your comment on Jayme's ability to identify "Oh that's wisteria" instead of "purple flowers CAN be fancy!" ( <--took some artistic license there...)also made me LOL and relate.

    What a wonderful day! I love your photos and am honestly interested in seeing more of the weirdo ones that aren't so great, they're interesting.

    Lastly...finally someone who pees a lot! Too funny. I will say this (as i say to my best friend) "2 cups of coffee equals me peeing ABOUT 15 times. It's just science my friend!"

    Your day looked perfect. Hooray for you, Silas and Jayme!!

  28. ..I think I just realized that the whole farm you were on is NOT Jayme' I right?

    How hilarious! I thought she owned/ran the whole thing with various peeps just showing up in her yard because of the beauty!

    I cannot stop laughing.

    The way you and Jayme speak: My Bff would call that "Old Timey Talk"..I'm laughing again!

  29. I am just dying to make a blog friend into a real life friend! What a blessing!

  30. Glad you had a great day with your friend!

    I've been reading along here and trying to leave comments but they weren't staying. I thought Blogger had it out for me but then Farmgirl Paints said to unclick something and then the comments wouldn't be lost. We'll see...

    Anyway, I feel like we have so much catching up to do! So many things I wanted to tell you...but now all I can remember is that we both chew half a stick of gum at a time. For some reason that's the only comment I remember leaving. I know there was more though...something about Jay-Z and a haircut rings a bell... Oh, and guess who I saw last night at the Dayton Dragons game?! Katie's husband from Katie's Pencil Box! How crazy is that?! I didn't say hi though. I thought he might think I'm a little crazy...maybe I am. Anyhoo, hope you are having a great Friday :)

    P.S. I'm really not crazy, promise. I thought maybe I should clarify... Really, I'm not nuts. Okay, signing off now.

    Angie from Ohio

  31. A day of sweetness,
    for sure....I especially
    loved the "dears" and
    the shot of your little
    guy in the greenhouse!
    xx Suzanne

  32. I want to go to there!!!

    I'm about to have my first ever real life blog friend meeting. I'm excited with butterflies in my tummy!

  33. Awww, Farmgirl....what a fun day!
    Silo is getting even cuter....didn't think that was possible.
    The little old ladies are the sweetest thing I've seen in a long time.
    Can I possibly get away with making you do the cooking(salad making) while you're here?
    No? Then I'll have to get that recipe. Looks divine.
    A day with the Keeper....priceless.

  34. everyone above has said pretty much wht I was I'll just go with
    "ditto that!".
    you seem so endearing :) enjoy your summer.
    you have an eye for the beauty around you.