My Life has Changed

Spring bloom of a dogwood tree
Dogwood blossoms

Hello, Dear Readers

My writing on this blog has been sporadic in the past year and here is why, I quit my job.

After twenty-five years working as a children’s librarian and high school librarian, I needed a big change. Working in schools is mentally and physically exhausting. And I don’t mean the kids. My first stirrings of needing a change started back in 2003. I was staring out the window at an afternoon winter sky, watching the sun go down. I was in yet another endless committee meeting, that could have been summoned up in a short memo and emailed.  As the sun sank, I watched time slip away never to return.

While looking out the window, the words of wisdom my grandfather, told me before he passed on to another existence in 2002, were swirling around my head. He said to me, “Always have a side business that the government doesn’t know about and your boss can’t touch”. And he and my grandmother did have their own side business when I was growing up. So in 2003, I started my own side gig as a home-based bookseller of hard-to-find, collectible, and out-of-print books. My grandfather was right. My side gig came in handy when I decided to leave my last job.

As I have shifted to a home-based life, I’ve changed the way I think and how I do things. I spend way less money, want a faction of the material things I did before, and I am much happier and more at peace. It hasn’t all been easy, but overall very good.

Greatly expanding my business, registering with the state, filling out forms, finding stock, and ten thousand other tasks is the main reason I haven’t posted very often, but, now I have the space and time to do so.

A Surrey Cottage by Helen Allingham
A Surrey Cottage by Helen Allingham – a cottage garden

Cottage Garden Life

In looking over my blog, I realized there were some key topics I haven’t written about but want to soon. These topics explain why, as a friend said to me, “Such a small garden, but there is so much going on.” My garden is in a particular style commonly called, “Cottage Gardening”.  My study of Cottage Gardening led me to gardening with native plants, which attracted bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, snakes, Sharp-shinned Hawks, and a host of spiders, insects, fungi, etc., to my tiny Philadelphia garden.  In the future there will be posts on cottage gardening, how these gardens relate to human history, the role native plants have always played in cottage gardening, and a philosophy I call, “Cottage Garden Life“.


In the Future

So, you will see a gentle expanding of the topics covered on this blog. I will continue to write about those things that leave me breathless such as a spider building a web or the role thunder plays in the cycle of life. I will still include the occasional  recipe and plant lists. It will just expand a bit to include more topics about living in harmony and balance with the natural world.

I enjoy writing this blog and am very excited to see what I can do in the coming months and years. Thank you for reading.

More Sustainability

Sustainability and Cottage Garden Life


  1. Hi Donna, I’m enrolled in The University of California Naturalist Program, in Davis, California, and through this program we will be using the Grinnell System of nature observation. Two years ago I wanted to enroll in this UC Naturalist program but couldn’t get in. But, my research on the Grinnell System brought me to your web site. So, your site was hidden away in my bookmarks for a couple of years. Now, I’m back, and in the program. I enjoy reading your entries and your insight into nature. Thank you so much for creating this blog. I’m reading your words everyday, now. I wish you well on your new adventure. It sounds exciting and a touch bit scary, but go for it. I had a big change in my life when I was forty, it was scary for about a year or so but I’m so happy, now, that it happened in my life. Good luck, Mike Stewart

    • Hi, Mike
      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I’m glad my website was useful to you. How exciting! I bet the University of California’s program is top notch. The resources available to you must be awesome. I hope your naturalist program exceeds all your expectations. Congratulations!
      Life is full of changes and we change with it. I have started what I have always wanted to do. I am working on publishing booklets on natural history topics. I have been thinking about this for probably fifteen years. No, I am free to make it happen. I hope to have my first booklet ready by the end of the year. Good luck to you, Mike.

  2. I wish you all the best Donna. I’ve always found both you and your posts to be so inspiring.

  3. Congratulations on your new direction. Look forward to reading your future notes on your garden.

  4. Yes follow your soul, follow your bliss! Life is too short to be working in a place that does not bring you joy. I am looking forward to learn more about Cottage Gardening.

    • Thank you Sara. I am following my bliss. And I am so much happier. Tomorrow’s post will be on the cottage garden and our natural way of life. With more posts to follow. I geek out on this stuff.

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