come on in, the basil's fine

some of you may remember i had trouble growing tomatoes due to a little problem with squirrels. so i had a cage constructed to keep the little buggers out, which was christened a 'tomato villa' by my friend geli. 

the before picture....

.....during construction

and here is the garden now, mid-summer. the tomatoes are still on the vine and so far, no squirrel has breached the heavy duty chicken wire to snatch one before it has a shot at ripening. 

a cluster of tomatoes

and the japanese eggplant is thriving (which i adore, especially grilled.....)

not to mention another odd crop that has appeared in my garden over the years..................

broken pieces of old glass

not sure where these come from, but as an archaeologist i have an idea. since our house is over 100 years old, it's possible the early inhabitants used this area as a kitchen dump. we till the earth every season and every year the earth gives birth to these little shards of glass which erupt spontaneously, usually after a rain or a good watering. yet another of life's little mysteries i guess..........

so the squirrels have resorted to chewing on the fruit of my neighbor's pear tree 

i do have one concern - i was worried my plants weren't putting out as many tomatoes as i would have expected by this time in the season since i planted in early june -- and by mid july would expect more fruit by now. i was curious that a wire cage might prevent the bees from being able to pollinate --- but as of this week there are lots of flowers on the plants, and budding tomatoes, so i'm hopeful.

anyway, if anyone reading this has garden experience, i'm all ears...........

in the mean time, i'll leave you with a photo of my faithful airedale mia, who is a big help to me in the garden, and at the ripe age of 13 is thriving too ♡♡



  1. All that work to get home-grown tomatoes! I understand perfectly. May they give you plenty of fruit.

  2. val - i am honored!!!

    i am getting a post ready to pass along this lovely award - many thanks my new friend!♡♡

    rosaria, yes, a lot of work, but i will go to great lengths for a home grown tomato.

    thank you for the well-wishes!♡♡

  3. hi amanda, ah, tomatoes. i have eight plants--finally i didn't overdo and then not be able to keep up with them. there is NOTHIBG like a ripe warm tomato, right??

    i don't know about the enclosure. what i would worry about is that the sun gets filtered, and tomatoes thrive on full sun. if the plants are leggy, that may be why. just saying, i am probably totally wrong.

    the squirrels don't bother my garden: but chipmunks and plenty of bugs do. i am in new england.

    isn't the smell of basil on your fingers one of the best things ever?


  4. Hey Amanda
    Thanks for stopping by!
    I love the tomato villa -- damn pesky squirrels. The tomatoes and eggplant look divine.
    I'm going on a solo adventure and probably won't be eating too much fresh fruit and veggies for a while I think.
    You can follow my adventure at

    hugs to Mia

  5. kj, there is nothing like a ripe warm tomato....ahhh summer. a couple plants are 'leggy' as you say and i think you're right about sun exposure. the screen is a wide-gauge metal, so i think the sun gets through that, but maybe not so much through my neighbor's pear tree, which he planted in front of my garden (grrr) a couple years ago. oh well....

    thanks for your input and good luck with your crop - 8 plants is a good number. and i agree whole-heartedly about the basil. sometimes i just go out there and smell the herbs...♡


    janet - so nice of you to visit! your solo adventure sounds very intriguing so i will plan to pay a visit to baked beans jubilee!! as they say in greece kalo taxidi!! xo

  6. I LOVE your new layout and picture!!! Yay!! The photos you take are so beautiful, really well done. Your garden is magical and I love seeing the dale 'helping' :) I really like your 'what's on my mind' feature on the side, too. Keep up the great work! Love you xo

  7. These garden pictures are luscious!! Your entire blog is beautiful. And I'm hoping to get a chance today to read the excerpt from your memoir that you put up on your previous post.

    And thanks for coming into my blog and commenting.

  8. Hi Amanda. Fresh tomotoes are truly one of summer's greatest gifts. Last year we lost most of ours to blight from all the rain, so this year is even more sweet. I also lose pears to squirrels, but I have sooo many pears, I'm happy to share. Thanks for stopping by at my place. I appreciate the visit and the words.

  9. I am having little luck growing tomatoes the last couple of years. There aren't enough there to even tempt the squirrels.
    Our dog is also 13 years old. She is a lab. Really showing her age now.

  10. the tomatoes look fab - and I have always wondered why broken glass constantly shows up in gardens!

  11. Breathtakingly beautiful your new photo outstanding in the field over looking Willow Creek drainage. Got more photos back from our celebrations and will send them along.
    The Countess of Itaki made me smile. People watching is such a guilty pleasure at times - love the strong women who don't give a shit - or DO and show up with attitude galore.
    Congrats on the glitterati award - you shine!

  12. sweetheart - thanks for your sweet words - they warm my heart♡ i'm so glad you like the new layout! and yes, the dale is the best garden helper in the world -- no one stares at the ground better (hehe)!!!!! love you sweet pea xoxo momma♡

    ann, thanks for your kind comments ♡
    being a writer yourself, i look forward to any comments you might have on my story! thanks again! xo

    jennifer - how awful to lose almost an entire crop of tomatoes to blight --- so glad to hear your plants don't seem to be affected by that this year! wow - if you have that many pears what do you do with all of them when they ripen? pear jelly??? (is there such a thing?!?)
    thanks for so much for visiting my blog ♡

    lori - i'm sorry to hear you haven't had much luck growing tomatoes where you are --- it took me many years to finally get a good crop - so keep trying! and please give a pat to your lab for me - you've got to love these wonderful doggie senior citizens of ours!
    thanks so much for visiting ♡


    ed - so you've harvested glass in your garden too? i'm so happy to hear i'm not the only one with such a weird booming crop! (hehe)

    deborah dear,

    yes that's me --- out standing in the field (as opposed to outstanding in my field haha!)

    so glad you like the new look! i was fooling around with blogger's new templates and voila!!

    will look forward to the party fotos -- and glad the countess story struck a chord. you're right - strong women rule!! xoxo sister

  13. Hehe does that mean the taste test squirrel critiquing your neighbour's pears wasn't that impressed with their flavour and would sooner have had one of your tomatoes.

    A couple of my relatives had Airedales, Mia's looking good for her years*!*

  14. annie - i do think the squirrels are probably mightily frustrated with my cage as they are leaving spent pear carcasses on top of it!! ;-)

    thanks for the compliment about mia - we treasure her dearly ♡

  15. Tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, old glass, faithful dog, you've hit a bunch of my loves :-)

    Congratulations on your garden! Such delicious treasures.

  16. japra, thanks! now that you're in jolly old england any chance you might be putting in a garden sometime soon?!

  17. Sadly, no... We're in a rental, so no big plantings. I do have a small windowsill herb garden! I'd love to grow some poblano peppers. Maybe in my very English conservatory ;-)

  18. japra i'd like to see that too - hot peppers grown on english soil!!


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