Kentford Farm

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Wednesday afternoon Janet and I found a new woodland garden to explore, Kentford Farm in Stonington, Connecticut. We seemed to have the place to ourselves, but for a very charming tortoiseshell cat who acted as our hostess. When we left we spotted a sign saying the garden was open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – unknowingly we had been trespassing! But the gate had been open so perhaps our confusion was understandable.

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

The last time we had a cat as our guide was four years ago in May at the the Edgerton & Stengel Memorial Wildflower Garden in the Connecticut College Arboretum.

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

We introduce ourselves
To Planets and to Flowers
But with ourselves
Have etiquettes
Embarrassments
And awes
~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #1184)

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

We will have to return as the seasons progress – it’s a perennial garden and there will be different things blooming every time we go. Please enjoy some of my favorite photographs. The plan was to travel light, with just the camera and not its bag, but it backfired on me when the camera battery died only about a third of the way through. Next time I will carry the whole kit and caboodle with me!

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

The wall is silence, the grass is sleep,
Tall trees of peace their vigil keep,
And the Fairy of Dreams, with moth-wings furled,
Sings soft her secrets to the drowsy world.
~ Ida Rentoul Outhwaite
(Tibetan Buddhism Deck: Buddhas, Deities, and Bodhisattvas 30 Meditation Cards)

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Way over yonder is a place I have seen
In a garden of wisdom from some long ago dream
~ Carole King
♫ (Way Over Yonder) ♫

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Frequently the woods are pink –
Frequently, are brown.
Frequently the hills undress
Behind my native town –
Oft a head is crested
I was wont to see –
And as oft a cranny
Where it used to be –
And the Earth – they tell me
On it’s axis turned!
Wonderful rotation –
By but twelve performed!
~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #24)

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Nature)

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

The good Will of a Flower
The Man who would possess
Must first present Certificate
Of minted Holiness.
~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #954)

5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
5.28.14 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

days of darkness

illustration by Lennart Helje (1885-1922) Swedish Illustrator
illustration by Lennart Helje

Our governor has asked all the churches in our state to ring their bells twenty-six times this coming Friday morning, in memory of twenty innocent children and six brave women who were gunned down in their elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut four days ago, last Friday.

As the chilling details of this horrific story have been unfolding we have been thinking of little else. We are numb, still stunned, deeply saddened. Our hearts ache for the first responders and for the parents, families and friends who lost a precious loved one so suddenly and so inexplicably.

As the light begins to return on the winter solstice, as the bells are ringing, as prayers, sympathy and blessings continue to be offered, may the light of comfort and healing shine a little brighter and a little longer in the days to follow.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work and that when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey.
~ Wendell Berry
(Standing by Words: Essays)

Thanksgiving

11.22.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
Baby ~ 11.22.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

As the four of us piled into the car one night to pick up some pizza at Z Pizza, I realized that this was the last Thanksgiving all four of us will be in our 50s – next year Tim will be 60. Where did all the years go???

Again we took the train to Washington, DC and then the Metro to Springfield, where Tim’s brother Dan picked us up after his session in Cardiac Rehab. There was so much to talk about, and so many notes to compare… The household cats (Baby above, Tammy below) took little notice of our arrival.

Tammy ~ 11.22.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
Tammy ~ 11.22.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

The new plant-based diet was a hot topic, and the guys decided to make some pasta from scratch, with a pasta machine Dan dragged out from storage in the garage. They used a broomstick to hang the pasta – after cleaning the stick part thoroughly. It was fun listening to them solve logistical problems as they went along. And the pasta was such a hit that they made it again a couple of days later!

Tim and Dan ~ 11.23.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
Tim and Dan ~ 11.23.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

After a few days I was totally hooked on the cappuccinos Dan made with soy milk. One night on CNN we all watched with great interest, Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports: The Last Heart Attack. We did wind up having a turkey, and one night some salmon, but other than that we enjoyed vegan and vegetarian fare, Fran inventing a gluten-free vegan lasagne that was out of this world!

Below – Baby anticipating her share of the Thanksgiving feast…

Baby ~ 11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
Baby ~ 11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

A lovely centerpiece on the coffee table…

11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia
table set for Thanksgiving ~ 11.24.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

While Tim and Dan went golfing on Friday, Fran and I went shopping in historic Occoquan, Virginia, where there was not a Black Friday deal in sight, and a friendly gnome reminded dog owners to mind their manners.  🙂

11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia

At the Golden Goose I was thrilled to find a Norwegian Julenissen (Santa) figurine, five and a half inches high! I’m sure he will show up soon on this blog if I get a good picture of him while decorating for the holidays…

11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia

We had a great lunch at The Blue Arbor Café

11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia

Whimsical rest room signs…

11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia
11.25.11 ~ Occoquan, Virginia

And this is pretty much when the picture-taking ended – I was having too much fun to continue!

Saturday Fran and I took the two Freds out for lunch at the Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant. Fred and Fred have been friends for over thirty years. One is blind from birth and the other is intellectually disabled. They had no one to share Thanksgiving with so Fran wanted to do something special for them. She was afraid these meat lovers would balk at the idea of eating at a vegetarian restaurant, but they came along with open minds and really enjoyed their selections. I had the yummy Eggplant Medley.

Sunday we all went to see The Descendants, which was an excellent movie. Then the guys went to wash the car and make more pasta while Fran and I shopped at Ten Thousand Villages in Alexandria, a Fair Trade retailer. I bought two blue egg ornaments from Peru, looking into the cut-outs there are little snowman families inside. The cashier wrapped them very carefully for the train ride home on Monday.

Tim gave Dan a bottle of port which should not be opened until 2018. That’s seven years from now, a goal for them to look forward to as they adopt this new plant-eating lifestyle in order to reverse their heart disease and beat the odds. Here’s to family and life!

A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.
~ Hippocrates
(Regimen in Health, Book IX)

midsummer memories

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
the setting ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

We had a midsummer party Saturday night, but the pictures I took did not come out well. So I’m going to “cheat” and use pictures from last year’s celebration, which will seem new to my readers because I didn’t have this blog back then…

This is the fourth year my sister and I have done this, and it keeps getting better. All year long we toss around ideas. We got started doing this, I think, because we are both nature lovers. And because we have a little Norwegian heritage and my sister once lived in Sweden for a year. Our adult kids have come to love it and look forward to it just as much as Christmas/Yule. This year we had 17 friends and family attending, a very nice size gathering.

In the first picture, my brother-in-law and Bernie pause for a moment before the decorating begins. The picture is taken from the front yard, looking down one story over tiered stone walls leading down to the side yard. My parents built this house themselves about 1960. My father built the stone walls after we moved in. My brother-in-law installed the patio much more recently for our midsummer parties. Last year my sister found some nice wooden folding chairs to replace the green plastic ones pictured here. Little improvements here and there…

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
woodland garden ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

My brother-in-law does the gardening now. He doesn’t use chemicals or pesticides – it’s so naturally beautiful.

Last year we managed to get Dad outside for a little while. The year before that we actually got him to whittle some sticks down for the kids to use to roast marshmallows. But this year he was too fragile to jostle around across the lumpy terrain  in his wheelchair. I’m not even sure how aware he was that there was a party going on. I was hoping he would catch a whiff of his blooming chestnut tree (it didn’t bloom last year…) but he didn’t say anything about it. When I asked him about it he seemed so confused that I didn’t press him any more.

My sister, my daughter and I have been using pretty beads to decorate glass balls that hold floating candles. The effect is so enchanting after dark. Some of them shattered the first year we tried it, so now we’re using fishing line instead of wire to string the beads. The wires wouldn’t allow the glass to expand from the heat of the lighted candles. It’s hard to get good pictures of them, though!

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
gnomeland security ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

The summer breeze was blowing on your face
Within your violet you treasure your summery words
And as the shiver from my neck down to my spine
Ignited me in daylight and nature in the garden

~ Van Morrison
♫ (In the Garden) ♫

Another highlight of the evening is the arrival of a bottle of frozen vodka! Preferably from Norway, but this year we settled on one from Iceland. We give it to my brother-in-law ahead of time and he freezes layers of flowers and water around the bottle. It’s so pretty to look at and then we drink shots using my sister’s cobalt blue glasses, which only come out of the corner cabinet twice a year!

And finally there is the fire. We roast marshmallows and make some-mores. Play with sparklers and glow sticks with the little ones. Blow weird bubbles with magic bubble wands. Swat at the mosquitoes that make it through the citronella and the smoke. We always say we’re going to stay up all night – it’s supposed to be one of the shortest of the year – and greet the morning sun, but we have never made it much past midnight. Following are some more pictures…

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
Dad’s beloved chestnut tree, all dressed up ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
granddaughter and grandfather sharing a rare moment outside ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
frozen vodka extraordinaire ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
candlelight floating in decorated glass balls ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
firelight ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut