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News from the Nest, April 24

Good Morning from Franklin, TN!

We lived here for ten years before we moved to Wilmington, and both of our babies were born here. I’m embarrassed to say that we haven’t been back in the twenty-one years since we left! And wow…has it ever exploded in growth, with all the good and bad that comes with that growth.

We’ve had a lovely time; visiting our old home and the church in which our children were baptized, eating in our favorite restaurants (that are still around), and catching up with friends.

When we lived in Franklin, I had the amazing opportunity to take painting classes and attend weekly painting sessions. My teacher was an aspiring country music writer and singer but also an immensely talented painter. We would paint while he introduced us to his favorite artists and play the guitar and sing. It was beyond blissful!

When we moved from Franklin, there was no way I would ever replicate that environment. So sadly, I really haven’t done much painting since we left.

But, the last thing I painted when we knew we were moving was part of a lovely building in downtown Franklin. This painting isn’t (and will never be, if I’m honest) finished, but it hangs in our home, nevertheless. I had to snap of a picture of the building while strolling through the town this weekend. Here it is next to the unfinished painting.

If I wanted to get all deep about it, I guess this painting is a metaphor for my painting career…not quite there yet!

Terry heads home tomorrow, and I’ll stay for my blog retreat.

new on the blog

  • I was very late to jump on the Rhubarb Train. As someone who likes just about every fruit and vegetable, I had a mental block when it came to rhubarb for most of my life. But I’m thrilled to say that I’ve overcome that aversion and feel like I must now make up for lost time! Enter this simple Rhubarb Jam recipe. You can water bath can it to keep it in the pantry or freeze it. If you freeze, make sure to leave 1″ of headspace.
Rhubarb Jam in a jar in front of several rhubarb stems and a stack of jars.

from the kitchen

  • Dehydrating apples is a great way to use up a bounty of apples before they go off. I dehydrate apples when they are a little too soft for me or even a bit mealy. It’s the perfect remedy. And not for nothing, dehydrated apples make great travel food! This post shares how to dehydrate apples without a dehydrator!

Hi, Lynn
I made the blueberry and apple crumble last week while we had company. It was delicious and will be making it again. Thank you. L

from the knit studio


Oh my gosh Lynn!  I just went down a rabbit hole reading your knitting posts from previous years.  I am an experienced knitter but I was fascinated with the detail that you used to explain the basics of knitting, casting on, needles, etc.  I find the typical pictures of how to knit unintelligible but your instructions are awesome, perfectly understandable.  I think it is that you take so many photos that I can see every step. 


If you want to learn how to knit or are looking to brush up on your knitting skills and knowledge, pop over to the How to Knit page, which houses all of the posts that teach knitting skills. Or, you could go ahead and visit each one by clicking the links below.

All About Knitting

from the craft room

  • I’ve always been a sucker for ‘lawn art.’ I loved tucking in unexpected objects among my flowers and pots. I made these concrete balls last year and have moved them around my yard on my many whims. I liked one on my front porch steps, but now that my steps are white, they don’t stand out, so have been moved out into the yard.
Concrete Garden Ball in front of plants on brick steps.
  • Not all crafts have to be for your home! These easy Bath and Body crafts will help soothe the body and soul. Make a couple and create your own spa gift for friends and family.
Bar of goat milk soap with 2 washcloths and bath salts in a gold mesh basket.

from the garden

Technically, Earth Day was this past Saturday, but can we all agree that every day should be Earth Day? Small efforts can have huge rewards.

  • Be Bee Friendly! Plant flowers and vegetables that attract and nourish bees and keep harmful chemicals away from these hardest of hard workers.
  • Use a natural weed killer. This is our third year of using this Vinegar Weed Killer. It took me a while to figure out what works and what doesn’t, how to use it, and what to expect. Sharing all my findings with you.

around the home + organization

on my nightstand

Some of these links may be Amazon affiliate links and I may earn a small commission from the sale of these products to help defray the costs of operating this site, but the price you are charged is not affected. You can see my full disclosure policy here.

At the end of every month, I share my ‘reviews’ of books I’ve read, as well as where I stand for the year. I’ve set a goal to read 33 books this year. Many of you have written that you enjoy and appreciate my ‘book reviews’ (if you can call them that!), but I always struggle with not giving too much away and am also cognizant that my likes are not everyone else’s likes.

I am doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge again this year. Last year I read thirty books, and this year upped it to thirty-three. So with that said, I’ve read nine thus far in 2023. Here is my quick and dirty review with one to five thumbs-up.

  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 Wow, where to begin with this one? It’s a quick read, but it doesn’t feel quick. There is very little ‘feel good’ in the book, which is not a reason not to read it. McCarthy’s spare prose puts you right in the midst of this post-apocalyptic world, where, despite the suffocating hopelessness, a father and son still find hope. McCarthy does such a phenomenal job putting you in that world that one morning after I had read it the night before, I was slightly startled to hear birdsong.
  • Howard’s End by E.M. Forster 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 On the other end of the prose spectrum, this was an at times humorous and at times somber satire of the social strata of early 20th century England. I had never watched the movie before and followed the book by watching the Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson movie. The movie takes very few liberties, following the book closely.
  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 When I was describing this book to my mom, I read the first paragraph of the book jacket and remarked, “not sure why I choose to read something that sounds so depressing, but I’m glad I did.” It is a historical fiction based on the last beheading in Iceland in the early 19th century. Kent does a brilliant job with her prose of placing you in the stark and merciless world of Iceland at that time. We know how the story ends before it begins, but it is the way that the tale of our protagonist, Agnes, unravels that will keep you totally immersed in the book. It is a rare day that I take time during the middle of the day to sit down with a book, which I did with this one over the weekend. It is haunting, yet somehow lovely at the same time.
  • Brain Maker by David Perlmutter 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 A little non-fiction intermission! I am interested in gut health and how it affects our entire body. If this area interests you too, you’ll find this book enlightening. The bottom line, we are what we eat.
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 Oh my heavens, I am on a roll! I’m afraid to say that out loud for fear of jinxing myself, but this was another gorgeous book! This book is meant to be savored; it is not a page-turner. O’Farrell has an incredibly poetic way with words that creates lush and melodic prose. This is ostensibly the story of Shakespeare, his wife Agnes, and their young son, Hamnet, who died from the plague. I say, ‘ostensibly’ because while Shakespeare is never named, you know it is him. And it is less about Shakespeare and more about his wife, her interests, her passions, and their relationship before, during, and after the death of their only son. Once again, I enjoyed this book so much that I reserved several more of her books from the library.
  • The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼.5 There is no ‘half a thumbs up’ emoji…hence the .5. The only reason this is a 4.5 is that I don’t want to be too generous with the 5 thumbs to lose my credibility, and compared to Hamnet, it wasn’t quite as lovely. All that said, it is still a good book! Once again, not a page-turner but a slow unveiling of the relationship between two women of two different eras.
  • The Good People by Hannah Kent 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼. Like her Burial Rites, this is based on true events. This time the story is set in early 19th century Ireland amongst a group of people struggling with poverty and a hardscrabble life. The belief in fairies (The Good People) figures heavily in this story, as does the conflict between that belief and the church. This ended completely differently than I expected and has I predicted last month! It is a sad story for all of the characters.
  • I’m on a bit of a Maggie O’Farrell bent. I just really appreciate her writing, it is almost poetry. Her book, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 is my least favorite, but I still enjoyed reading it. A bit of a biography and I appreciate the insight into her life.
  • The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 by Maggie O’Farrell is the story of two women of different generations who are related, but did not know it. The younger character takes in the elder and uncovers her heartbreaking past. The story does go back and forth in time, which didn’t bother me at all. O’Farrell does such a great job making you really care for her characters.
  • This Must Be the Place 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼.5 by Maggie O’Farrell. Clearly I am still on my Maggie O’Farrell binge! This was another gorgeous book. At it’s core, it is about love, in all of its forms and variations. I struggled a bit with the back and forth in time and place, but she did bring it together. The story revolves around Daniel and Claudette, their marriage, their past marriages, their children and their past history that has brough them to their inflection point.
  • A Ghost in the Throat 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 by Doireann Ní Ghríofa. This was a recommendation by one of our readers and I am so thankful for it! It’s a little hard to describe, but I’ll give it a go. It’s a bit of an autobiography by a young mother, also a published poet, who is fascinated (maybe a bit obsessed) by a famous poem written in the 18th century by another young Irish mother, Eileen O’Leary. The author, Doireann, traces the truth behind poem and the poem’s author, which centers on the murder of Art O’Leary. She hooks you with her opening line, “When we first met, I was a child, and she had been dead for centuries.
  • The City of Thieves 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼.5 by David Benioff. I loved everything about this book which was recommended to me by my brother! It is the story of Benioff’s grandfather, a Russian teenager during the siege of Leningrad and another young Russian soldier he meets in jail. Not to be cliche, but it will, in turn, make you giggle and make you cry. You witness the atrocities of the war at the same time you witness the evolving friendship between these two young men. The two main characters are immensely likable and have stayed with me even after finishing the book.
  • The Marriage Portrait 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 by Maggie O’Farrell is the story of Lucrezia de Medici who was married at age of 13 to the Duke of Ferrara, 11 years her senior. Sadly, Lucrezia dies one year later under suspicious circumstances. What we know about this event is minimal, so O’Farrell adds much flesh to the bare bones. I’ve said that I am entralled by her style of writing, which remains true in this book.
  • Let me introduce you to my college buddy, Jenny Gardiner. Jenny is an author of many books in Contemporary Romance genre, perfect for enjoyable reading at the pool, beach or anywhere! Jenny is smart and sassy, which carries through to her books. If you are looking for a fun Royal Romantic/Comedy read, check out Something in the Heir or Bite Me, her memoir about their life with their African Gray Parrot.

Well friends…I told you this would be a long one! Are you still with me?

We are off to do some hiking before we meet friends for dinner tonight. I wish for you a wonderful Monday and a fantastic rest of the week.


Signature of Lynn

Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!

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  1. Can you tell me more as to how you protect your home from spiders, ants, centipedes, silver fish, etc. naturally?

    Many thanks

    1. Good Morning Damaris,

      In all honesty, I really am only proactive as it relates to roaches. That’s the only pest for which I put poisonous bait out. All other insects don’t bother me unless they become a problem. When I’ve had ants, I’ve used a little powdered borax with sugar which kills the ants. And for fruit flies, I use fruit fly traps which I bait with vinegar and a piece of fruit.

      I hope this helps! I may have to write a post about this in the future. It is a great topic.


  2. I used to be able to just “Print” a pattern or an article, now I have to download. I just want to print – is that still possible.

    1. Good Morning Doris,

      You can print the whole post page that contains the pattern, but other than that, there hasn’t been a way to print without downloading the PDF. Once you print the pattern, you could easily delete it from your computer.


  3. I made the Apple Blueberry Crumble for last night’s dessert. This recipe has my favorite ingredients, super easy to make, just a few commonly found in your pantry ingredients, and it’s DELICIOUS! I’m with your Grandmother, top it with vanilla ice cream! I did take a picture but not sure how to post it! Also thank you for the book recommendations, I saw The Marriage Portrait in the Wall St. Journal and received it for Christmas. Looking forward to reading it!

    1. Good Morning Janice,

      I am tickled that you enjoyed the Apple Blueberry Crumble. Did you use the suggestions for extra chunky and crispy crumble? That is everything!!

      And I hope you enjoy the Marriage Portrait as much as I did. If this is your first book by that author and you enjoy it, you need to read her others.

      Have a fantastic day!


  4. Inspired by your cement ball on the steps (wish we had steps at our house… and a porch), I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t called the bowling alley to see whether they had any cracked bowling balls sitting around. I had intended to do some mosaic bowling balls for my yard to celebrate Earth Day. Fortunately(?), they currently didn’t have any! LOL! We still have 120 gallons of glass bottles to use up, so that’s one more thing I don’t need to have cluttering up things around here until I’d get to it! Love how your arrangement looks with the cement, though. 🙂

    1. Good Morning Cat,

      What are you doing with the glass bottles?

      I know what you mean by having mixed emotions about acquiring really cool craft items! Sometimes the universe tells you to just take a break!

      Have a great day!


  5. Hi Lynn
    I love your newsletters, they are full of great content – I’m stuck for words (superlatives) that adequately describe the quality of your work. The only problem I have is lack of time which means I have to be selective about which craft project/recipe/book or other feature to try; very tough decision.
    I made your carrot bread and date cake a couple of weeks ago when my family visited from interstate for the school holidays (I am in Western Australia), both treats turned out beautifully, sooo moist and delicious!

    1. Hi Simina, you just made my day! Thank you so much for all your kind words.

      I do love this wee job of mine, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without readers like you on the other end of my musings and projects. And the good news for you, all those projects/recipes and books will live on the blog forever…so you can get to them as your time allows!

      And I’m so glad you enjoyed those two recipes…that date cake quickly became one of my favorites…as well as everyone who I’ve shared it with!

      I’ve never been to Australia, though I would love to! The only thing holding me back is that plane flight! Holy Cow. I’ve been to Hawaii several times, which is a 13 hour flight for us. I just remember getting off of the plane and folks going to Australia had another 12-13 hours!! When I get up the gumption for a 24 hour flight, I’ll come and stay for a month or two!

      Thanks again for your very kind words; the smile is still on my face.

      Hugs, Lynn

  6. Lynn,
    Your painting is lovely!!!!! Unfinished or not….. Hopefully you will return to this talent someday!

    Thank you for your weekly thoughts! I love you column!!!!

    1. Good Morning Debbie,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I kind of like that this painting isn’t finished, but do hope to get back to painting in general some day.

      And thanks so much for being on the other end of my musings. I love this little job of mine, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without readers like you.

      Have a great day,


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