Photo Galleries to visit: ANIMALS, COMPANION PLANTS, FAMILY, GARDEN PROJECTS
Where to begin? Harold and I are the keepers of what was once a small family dairy farm in a small rural community in northern Vermont. Harold's family has lived and worked the land here for more than 100 years, so it was with both pride and a little fearfulness that we took our place to carry on with the family tradition. That was in 1976. As much as we loved the farming lifestyle, we eventually had to come to face the facts that the farm income was not adequate to cover our basic expenses. Some changes needed to be made if we were to be able to retain the family farmland.
The dairy cows were sold in 1987, and for the next few years the farm livestock was limited to barn cats, family dogs, and the registered Morgan horses that Harold's Mom raised. Although in the early 1990's most of the horses left for new homes, we do still have 3 on the property. Compared to most horses, they have a pretty easy life, they only need to look beautiful, and provide us with our fertilizer for the gardens.
Harold and I both have full time jobs in addition to gardening. I work at our local hospital laboratory, where I have been for the last 30+ years. Harold works for a local fuel company delivering propane, and has been there since we sold the dairy cows in 1987. Not very exciting work histories, but I guess you could say we are "steady" employees. We are very fortunate that both of our jobs require no more than about 3 miles travel each way, so we don't have to waste valuable time commuting. We live in the country, on a dirt road - but the village and all it has to offer is only 3 miles away. It is perfect for us and our needs.
We have been very fortunate to have had and raised three wonderful children. Danielle, Caleb, and Sterling, were (and are) healthy, intelligent, and motivated students, athletes, and members of the community. I must admit that Harold and I have had very sheltered "parenthoods". When we hear what many parents have gone through raising their children, it makes us stop and count our blessings. While they were growing up, they were the focus of our daily lives, and we attended thousands of Boy & Girl Scout meetings, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, and skiing events and practices. We were coaches and leaders of many, and kept involved in all the school functions. We loved it all, but surprisingly have adjusted very well to their being out of the house. Although we thought it would be difficult to be "empty nesters", we are not sad that this phase of our lives is behind us. Perhaps it is easier since they are all doing well and seem happy. All 3 have completed at least 4 years of college and are independent, so one more phase of parenting has come to pass. As of February 21, 2005 Harold and I have become first time grandparents of a charming little girl named Aislynn. Our son Caleb and his wife Jenny are the very proud parents of this little miracle. She is a joy to all of our lives, and I can't wait to get to know her better over the years to come. I have put together a few family photos, which I will be periodically updating as time allows.
Our family continues to grow and change (see updates below!) as the does the gardens. Our daughter Danielle has recently changed jobs and locations. She currently resides in a town between Portsmouth and Manchester, NH. She seems to be very happy at her new job, and she and Michael still welcome us to stay when we are traveling to and from our NEDS meetings. Our son Sterling is now living and working in downtown Minneapolis, where he is the Assistant Property Manager of the U.S. Bank building. He is happily busy learning the ins and outs of property management. It has been quite a learning experience for him coming as he does from a small rural community. In the little over a year that he has been there, he has had his big brother Caleb, sister-in-law Jenny, and little niece Aislynn to visit and keep family close. This too may be changing in the near future. Caleb has been steadily working the last 3 years (since his accident January 10, 2004) to not only finish his masters degree in business, but to also take all of the prerequisite courses needed to fulfill the requirements for dental school. (When you major in French and Ecconomics in college, you don't take many of the needed sciences for a medical career.) He gets his business degree in May 2007. He also has recently been accepted into dental school, and depending on where he decides to attend, he and his family may well be relocating from Minnesota.
Now as to our "gardening lives", some of you may already know us. For those of you that we haven't yet met, Harold and I are probably not much different from you. We are an average couple who both enjoy gardening. We are very happy to have a common interest to share in what are now our empty nest years. Harold and I love plants. We collect several types of plants, and we enjoy them all. Daylilies are the stars of our gardens, but if you visit us you will see a wide variety of companion plants in our gardens. The gardens come to life in the early spring with hundreds (thousands) of daffodils and other bulbs. Then the remainder of the growing season we have lilies, daylilies, hosta, and many other perennials and annuals to color the landscape
We belong to several different plant societies, including AHS (American Hemerocalis Society), NEDS (New England Daylily Society), HADS (Hudson Adirondack Daylily Society), PDS (Patriot Daylily Society), ALS (American Lily Society), NELS (New England Lily Society), AHS (American Hosta Society), NEHS (New England Hosta Society), and VHPC (Vermont Hardy Perennial Club). This gives us many opportunities to interact with fellow plant lovers. We would highly recommend joining a plant society which gives you opportunities to meet other people who enjoy the plants that you love.
One of our most "fun" adventures with daylilies has been the production of daylily wine. What began as a fun challenge between daylily friends has turned into a wonderful conversation piece and we have had countless hours of fun sharing our daylily wine. Although the red was not successful, both the white and the rose` have been enjoyed by many.
We like to travel to various daylily functions, so in addition to regularly attending our NEDS meetings, we do also attend both the Can-Am Classic, Can-Am Niagara, the Region 4 and national meetings whenever possible. There are many other gatherings we wish we could also attend, but we just don't have the time or the money to do them all. At these daylily functions we have met an amazing number of fellow gardeners who we are very pleased to be able to call friends. We look forward to seeing them each year. Perhaps we will meet you at an upcoming event. I sure hope so.
If you are ever in our area, we hope you will drop us a line, or give us a call so that we can arrange a time for you to visit our gardens. In 2005 we became an official AHS Display Garden and we love having fellow garden lovers visit. Since we are small and do both have outside jobs, unless you plan to come during our open garden weekends, we do need to schedule garden visits.
Leila & Harold
Update: July 31st 2007 Aislynn got a new baby brother! Baby Benjamin Taylor Cross arrived, a small but very healthy little boy of 6 lbs 3 ozs. We are all thrilled. Mom & Dad are doing great.
Update: August 2007, just days after the arrival of baby Benjamin, Caleb & family made a cross country move to Philadelphia where Caleb will be attending the University of Pennsylvania Dental School. Harold and I are very excited to have them living closer - hopefully visits will be easier with less distance to travel.
Update: September 20th, 2008 will be the next Cross family milestone. A fall garden wedding is in the plans! Danielle and Michael will have their ceremony and reception here on the family farm in amongst the gardens. Although late season for the daylilies, there will still be quite a few in bloom. And of course the fall perenials (and possibly the beginning of the fall floiage season) will be at peak bloom - color should be good.
Update: November 2008 Sterling relocated to downtown Chicago. He is still employed by the Hines Corp., and is now the assistant property manager of a high rise on the well known Whacker Ave.
Update: February 8, 2009. A new grandbaby! Lincoln Michael Godzik weighed in at a very solid 9lbs. The new family is doing great.
Update: 2015. A long time since the last update. Life gets busy. Here are some of the high points.
On February ,2011 we had a new grand daughter. Hazel Marie Godzik. Soon after, Danielle and the family moved into a new to them house in Somersworth, NH. Now they will be starting their own gardens...
June 2013 Harold had his first knee replacement surgery. Time to slow down a bit.
November 2014 Harold had his other knee replacement surgery. Time to think about downsizing a bit.
On March 21, 2015 we were blessed with our most recent grand child. Matilda Fawn Cross joined the family, and although tiny, she is mighty and knows what and when she wants something. Daddy Sterling and Momma Monica are doing great too. The family resides in Chicago.
June 12, 2015 Caleb graduated from University of Pennsylvania, probably for the last time. He is now a doctor of dentistry, periodontics and prosthetics. He and family are residing in Philly and are likely to remain there for quite some time. Aislynn (now age 10) and Benjamin (soon to be 8) are doing well and are happy in their schools.