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New France - The OTHER Colonial America
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A Squirrel's Tour of the Gardens

"This page is for us Squirrels! I, ZUTS, wrote this WITHOUT ANY HELP!!!

You, my friend, can see what wonderful food MY Bolduc House has, more than enough for all of us!

Follow along as I show you some of the best pickings that can be found!"

Delicious Cardoon!

This delicious cardoon is just one sample of the wonderfully yummy plants that Patti grows in MY Bolduc House’s 18th century French kitchen garden. A cardoon tastes a lot like an artichoke and like that plant, is in the THISTLE family. If you are a squirrel who is familiar with birdfeeders, thistle seeds are the most delicate of all but they usually are found in the long feeders with the tiniest of openings.

Learn more about growing and cooking cardoons.

Cardoon in the garden

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Easy Access

In fact our 18th century French kitchen gardens are remarkably easy to access. They are just across the channel fence from MY Louis Bolduc House. So, if you hop from the cedar shake roof to the top of the stockade fence, just scurry west until you cross the entire fire break (in the late Fall you can often find wind-blown pecans from the neighbor’s tree in the firebreak – just saying…. Otherwise there is nothing good to eat there.)

These poppies are beautiful but they can lead to some very curious dreams if you bite them. Now if Bijou or one of the other cats managed to bite or scratch you badly, the poppy juice can help dull the pain. In the same bed there are STRAWBERRIES! ….and herbs and some other flowers and usually in the early spring Pattie plants PEAS! If you are a human cook, you may like this recipe for pea soup which is similar to one my great grandsire, ‘Tit Monsieur wrote about in his journal.

Poppies in the garden

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Foxglove

Foxglove

Do NOT eat this purple flower. It is aptly named FOXGLOVE. It is a poison unless you are a human with a heart condition. Then chemists might use it to make a medicine for you.

My great grand-sire, ‘Tit Monsieur, wrote about two famous Bolducs who were the royal apothecaries to the French kings.

The other flower that looks like a fairy flying is called columbine. There are lots of hidden pretty and tasty plants in MY Bolduc House yard. These are outside the stone cottage.

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Big Kitchen Gardens

See how big these kitchen gardens are! On this side there is a big pecan tree, some very old rose bushes that produce sweet petals and delicious rose hips – BEWARE of the THORNS! If they get into one of your paws you will have a great deal of difficulty escaping that hungry cat, Bijou!

The big kitchen garden

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Grape Vines

Now these purple grapes are GOOD. Agatha Bolduc, the girl who adopted my great grand-sire, ‘Tit Monsieur, married a man (Rene LeMeilleur) who like her grandfather, Louis, imported wine from France because no one knew how to get the right kinds of grapes to grow here in North America.

It wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that a human botanist tried grafting a European wine producing grape vine onto a wild American one.

Another of my relatives, Scamp, added information to the journal when MY Bolduc House was being restored by Dr. Ernest Connally. Scamp reported that the shoots of the newly planted grape vines were amazingly tasty. They were a gift for the opening day of MY Bolduc House in 1958 from a sister Colonial Dame link to nscda.org in Virginia and are called Old World Grapes. In 2012 some people are planning to have their wedding here. They will use the grape arbor as their aisle.

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Marriages

Here is another place where humans can get married. Nothing much tastes good here but it smells nice and looks pretty. This walkway leads to the back porch of the LeMeilleur House. Lined with Ste. Genevieve Boxwoods, knock-out roses, and lily of the valley, it is always in bloom.

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The Grape Trellis

Not only is this fun to climb and covered with fruit, but sometimes brides use it as an aisle and I LOVE to drop bugs on them and throw pecans at them while they are going down the aisle. Why aren't they paying attention to ME??

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Good Warm Food in the Winter!

This is the basement plant room where Patti starts all the vegetables from seeds. She calls them heirlooms so they must be very valuable. I do know they are very edible - better than more modern ones! If you want to hear about heirloom plants you can come to the Linden House on Monday, February 13, 2012 from 7PM-8:30. She is doing a program called “For the Love of Heirlooms.” Patti grew more than 30 different kinds of heirloom tomatoes in 2011. She will post the list of which kinds of plants she is growing in time for you other human gardeners to plan to buy some from MY Museum Shop.

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Purple Hyacinth Bean Plant

The purple hyacinth bean plant

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The Way In

This is the door to Patti’s plant room. On sunny warm days sometimes Patti leaves the windows propped open which makes it even easier to sneak inside. Last year I discovered that even when there is a lot of snow outside, here in the basement there is always fresh WATER and TENDER PLANT SHOOTS to nibble. It is warm too.

The door to the plant room

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Sneak in Like THIS!

Unfortunately one of my friends told Elaine about this room and she got in and REFUSES to leave. She had the bad manners to crawl up inside the walls and now LaDonna, the curator who is in league with the vicious CATS of Ste. Genevieve (check my FACEBOOK page for INFORMATION) is setting TRAPS all over the Linden House. Quite a few of my smaller mouse friends could not resist the warnings about the peanut butter on the floor. Now they are lost forever. I am mourning.

Patti generally starts sprouting the heirloom seedlings in early February so by the end of that month, there will be feasts. She also keeps delicious lavender, rosemary, basil, and rose geranium plants there during the winter so they do not freeze.

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MORE Flower Beds! Good Hiding

These flower beds are on the LeMeilleur House side of the stockade fence – as you can see from all the roofs and chimneys.

Those chimneys are made with cedar shake tiles which are very delicious.

Flowers near the Stockade Fence

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Spying on a Dangerous FOE!!!

This is Patti, the gardener. She does not like me or my friends and calls us pests and thieves. I take my inspiration from a very famous rabbit named Peter who raided the gardens of Mr. McGreggor and had adventures.

NOTHING will stop me from sneaking into Patti’s plant room and from tasting all the wonderful things she grows!

But I watch her at a distance.

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More Plants on the Menu

Here are some of the other flowers that Patti grows in the LeMeilleur yard. If you are interested in learning the names of the plants in all of these gardens it’s easy IF you know how to read, like I do! Patti wrote their names on garden stakes shaped like fleur de lis which she put next to each plant. She put the English names and the French names on the stakes. I should probably write on the labels whether they taste good or not to us squirrels.

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MY Newest Garden

I even got to help plant this newest garden in the Eastern Woodland Indian Village which is located just west of the LeMeilleur yard. This garden is the one Patti pays the least attention too and in which there are the best things to EAT. It is a Three Sisters’ Garden with 3 different kinds of plants. The tallest is CORN!!!!!!!! And, Patti leaves it to DRY on the stalks which gives us squirrels LOTS of time to nibble and take some back to our dreys for the winter days when pecans get boring. Green beans wind around the corn stalks – they are good to eat too and the more you eat, the more new beans grow. At the bottom there are squash vines. I do not like the way squash tastes but the big leaves provide plenty of shade on hot summer days and the squash blossoms are very delicious.

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Look Out for Croquet Balls!

There is a large grassy yard where the humans play croquet and sometimes the kids who visit have duels with swords and water balloons. This makes it difficult for us squirrels to get the apples, pecans, and chestnuts that grow in the same area. Have you ever been hit by a rolling croquet ball? I almost got hit years ago because I did not understand the game.

Now I stay in the highest branches of the wine sap apple tree whenever I see humans playing croquet.

the croquet lawn

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Into the Boxwoods

How to enter the boxwoods

See the dark hole in the middle of the picture? That is the way humans enter the 250 or more year old stand of Ste. Genevieve boxwoods.

When fourth graders visit MY Bolduc House because they are studying Missouri history they get to go inside this boxwood grove. The whole class can fit inside so well that nobody can see them from the outside. But they can usually hear them.

We squirrels and lots of our bird friends like to cool off in here on hot summer days. We have to be careful because sometimes the CATS come in here hunting. I HATE CATS – especially that Bijou.

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Water!

the birdbath

Usually there is water in this birdbath outside the Linden House.

Those boxwoods are to the left of the brick walkway.

The pecan tree is in the middle and you can see that a LOT of people can fit for a party or a wedding in this yard.

There are more boxwoods in the back.

In 2011 I let a bunch of my armadillo pals tunnel in this yard and sometimes my skunk friends come to visit too. LaDonna that CurATor and Patti have teamed up against us and it is now more difficult for us to stay hidden.

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More Delicious Plants!

Planter bed

There are some very delicious plants in this bed behind the Linden House. Everything here is a kind of plant that the human explorers, Lewis and Clark “discovered.” We animals actually knew all about them before Lewis & Clark were even born!

If you like a good pipe (humans should not smoke tobacco in any form) but, if you are a squirrel…there is some Indian tobacco planted here…

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