The Puzzle That Is Tansy

Have you heard of Tansy? It’s a pretty perennial herb that grows about three feet tall and is often seen along roadsides. I have it growing in my backyard, thanks to a neighbor who has generously gifted me plants from her garden over the years.

I really like Tansy – but it is full of contradictions. In some of my books, I read that the leaves can be used to make tea or to flavor cooking. It is thought to be effective in fighting intestinal worms and joint pain and to even the complexion. Other sources say the leaves are bitter and toxic. But, the most puzzling thing to me is the assertion that tansy is a good insect repellent. People used to wrap food in its leaves to keep insects away, or to bury people in coffins filled with the stuff. It’s also recommended as a companion plant for certain crops, including potatoes. My tansy, however, does not appear to repel any insects. In fact, it seems to do just the opposite.

See what I mean? I’m not sure what to think. Perhaps it becomes loathsome to insects only at certain times. Or, maybe only certain insects are repelled by it. I’ll have to keep my eye on the Tansy to see what develops. Plants are so interesting, don’t you think?

From the dining room table, hoping to get some weeding done today,

Mrs. Smythe

Turnip time

I’d never planted turnips before this year. Heck, I’d never even eaten a turnip before! But, this spring, I thought I’d give them a try.

Now they’re ready, and I had to look up recipes last night to figure out what to do with them. Mashed turnips seemed like a good place to start. Here was the result:

They were delicious! Even the kids liked them. They admitted that if I hadn’t told them they were turnips, they would have guessed they were mashed potatoes. The turnips did have a bit of an aftertaste that I don’t normally associate with potatoes, but otherwise, they were very similar in both taste and texture. Extra points because I got to use parsley from the garden as well. I’ll definitely be making these again. If you’re interested in trying the recipe I used, you can find it HERE. (I did dial back the pepper a bit, as the kids aren’t fans of spicy food – but otherwise, I left the recipe alone.)

From the dining room table, hoping to transplant some stray morning glories today,

Mrs. Smythe

First monarch of the season

So excited to see a Monarch butterfly in my front garden yesterday! Of course, it was on the milkweed. Let’s hope this is the first of many such visitors!

It’s Harvest time

Things are moving along quickly in the garden. Previously, we’d had only radishes and lettuce and one lone turnip to sample. Now, things are kicking into high gear with the summer squash appearing and maturing at an astounding rate. And, while we lost a good portion of the kale and all of the peas to the rabbits, the yellow squash is doing its best to make it up to us.

Above, you see yesterday’s lunch, which was pleasingly plant based. The zucchini, squash, and greens all came from our garden. Very tasty stuff. Looking at the squash vines, though, I predict we will be eating a lot of summer squash in the weeks to come. A lot.

From the dining room table, anticipating storms this evening,

Mrs. Smythe

P.S. If you’re interested, the squash recipe I used is a variation of one you will find HERE. I used zucchini instead of green peppers.


I promise I don’t have any favorites with the ducks, but for some reason, I tend to photograph Pearl the most. Maybe it’s because she tends to hang around me more than the others. Or maybe, like Roger, she just likes to have her picture taken. Whatever the reason, I have more photos of Pearl than I do of the other ducks.

She’s yellow now, but in a few weeks, her feathers will grow in white and tan, and she’ll have a little “mask”. It’ll be fun to see the transformation.

And – a quick update. All of the ducklings are over a pound now. They’re three weeks old as of Monday.

From the dining room table, needing to get my grocery list put together,

Mrs. Smythe