Monday, July 9, 2012

The Secret Garden

Each day when I spend time at the cottage, I feel like Mary Lennox in Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic children's story, The Secret Garden. It is one of my favorite books of all time. Perhaps that is why I love what I do.

In the story, Mary happens upon an old abandoned garden hidden behind a locked wall. With the help of a little bird, she finds the key and when she sneaks in, discovers a magical place that has been left for ruin. Among all the brambles and weeds she finds one small rose struggling to bloom. She vows to bring the garden back to its original glory and with the help of her talented friend Dickon and later Colin, she restores the garden in all it's splendor. By doing so, she restores her life and the lives of many others as well.

On Sunday I found yet another garden among the weeds. I began pulling branches away and cutting back the tall grass and noticed there were several plants tucked beneath. As I clipped and pulled, I found a sweet little astilbe, a dark magenta colored Heuchera (coralbells) and several ferns and hosta. Then I discovered the stepping stones that someone in the past had laid there. They must have loved their little shade garden. There are even bolts in the two trees where a hammock must have been tied. I will do the same.


The night before, I left beans to soak in the crock pot and in the morning before I went off to the cottage, I added onions, molasses and some bits of short ribs to the pot. When I arrived home in the evening,  I had the most delicious homemade baked beans for supper. 
I ate them with a slice of the pumpkin bread I baked that morning. Yummy!

I love using a crock pot because I can quickly put the dish together in the morning and let it cook all day. When I return home in the evening, the house smells amazing when I walk through the door and supper is ready to eat. Brilliant!

                                                                 Here is the recipe I used:

Crock Pot Baked Beans

  • 2 cups navy beans
  • 1/2 pound bacon (I used grass fed beef short ribs) 
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 6 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


  1. Rinse beans then soak beans overnight in cold water in an unplugged crock pot. Keep liquid in pot. Add all other ingredients and put crock pot on high for several hours until beans and meat are tender.
  2. Remove the lid about halfway through cooking so the liquid can thicken. Enjoy with cornbread or like me, pumpkin bread and your favorite salad.                                                                                                      

Thanks to:  Marges8's Blog and for the use of THE SECRET GARDEN Picture 

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