Sunday, November 09, 2014


It's been a while since I've visited my blog, I see.  Yesterday's walk, however, brought it back to mind as I took photo after photo of the various fungi the corgis and I discovered in the back woods. With Mac and MerryBelle choosing the path, we walked along the creek bed and took time to look around us for surprises.  Here's what we found:
Chicken of the Woods - edible, supposedly tastes like chicken, but everything from turtle meat to frog legs  supposedly tastes like chicken. 

Turkey Tail - greened by the moisture of the nearby creek

No idea, but if I hadn't slipped off this log, I wouldn't have seen this and a couple of other little clulsters.

 More Turkey Tails - the log where these grew was about 12' long, and they ran the distance from one end of the log to the other.

No idea what the official name of this mushroom is, but I love the underside more than the top. 
As we headed out of the woods, who should greet us but Black Cow, CEO of the local Corgi Cologne manufacturing plant.  You can see several employees of the factory on break in the background.  Both Mac and MerryBelle have tested their products and are urging me to buy stock in this fragrance.  I think, however, I'll invest elsewhere - most likely in doggie shampoo and a doggie hair dryer!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Here at Namasté, we're giving a shout out to a member of the farm family as she launches her new blog:

Christy is an amazing woman - mother, poet, teacher, friend, creative spirit.  I hope you'll follow her!

Friday, July 11, 2014


As the corgis and I took our morning walk about 6:30 AM, my trusty camera tagged along in my pocket.  There are many things, both wild and domesticated, in bloom around the farm now. It'll take more than one blog post to record them, I'm sure. Come along and take the walk with me.
My favorite zinnia - pale pink, delicate, feminine.  A heirloom from a variety pack I bought in NC. 
I tossed zinnia seeds in the cold frame at the end of the deck in late spring, knowing that I'd have some volunteer four-o'clocks there as well.  Oddly, the only four-o'clocks that came up are the brilliant fuschia ones, a beautiful backdrop for the pastel zinnias.

I frequently contemplate taking the gargantuan Rose of Sharon bush out since it occupies a large portion of the fence line space in the side yard. However, when it flowers and plays host to numerous hummingbirds and butterflies, I always reconsider.

All the Nicotiana on the farm is volunteer.  Along with milkweed, these blossoms provide an strong, sweet evening perfume that wafts all around the farm.  One of my favorite parts of the day is sundown on the deck, where I sit and contemplate the day while savoring the sweet fragrances of these elegant, delicate blooms.
Coneflowers abound in various places around the farm.  Plans for the fall are to clean out and separate the lilies, coneflowers, tansy, and various other flowers in this bed come fall. 

Remind me that I don't need to scatter handfuls of cleome seeds all over my flower beds next year.  If anyone wants seed, just give me a jingle!

When I walked out this morning three hummingbirds were vying for these hosta blossoms.

My orchids love vacationing outside during the summer in the shade of the corner maple tree.  They reap the benefit of its cover and summer humidity there.  I watch them carefully to ensure little spiders don't have a feast on the leaves.

Coleus grows alongside of the orchids.  I found this neat, sturdy bread display rack at Rink's for $5.00, and it's the best for housing the orchids in the summer. Six of eleven orchids are currently in bloom; the oncidiums will flower along about December or January.  I have now idea about the dendrobium.  I'm just not successful with them.

I'll share sunflowers and lilies in subsequent posts, and as other things open up, you'll see them here on Namasté in time. Welcome to the garden tour, farm style!


With pretty lilies, mostly all in a row.  All of these, save the fifth one down, are ones I brought to the farm from Boone.  I purchased them from the Farmer's Market there, and they've flourished here at the farm.  It's hard to get a good photo of them in the row that's planted in my side yard, so I feature them here individually.  I have three more varieties that are yet to open, so soon they're feature in a post by themselves. 
It'll be soon time to divide these beauties - perhaps after next year's blooms.  If anyone's interested in a few starts, let me know.  You can come for a visit and take some home.



With glorious sunflowers, not necessarily in rows, but all over the farm.
As the sun hit this one squarely in the face this morning, the drop of sunflower juice sparkled in its rays like a diamond.

Shaded at the moment but turning its face to the sun.

An heirloom varietal, Evening Surprise (I think), this deep maroon beauty is one I started from seed and planted as a spindly, gangly little plant that I wasn't sure would flourish.  This is the first bloom of four plants that survived an unexpected cold snap and corgis traipsing through the flower bed.  I love it!

I know, I know....I should (and will) keep record of the names of the flowers I plant, especially the heirlooms.  This soft lemony and multi-flowered beauty is a volunteer from an heirloom I started last summer.  One of my favorites, it's really more of a soft, pastel yellow - very delicate and prolific.

Sunflower and silo - both in awe of the flawless sky.

I believe I might have a cross-breed in this flower.  I have a variety that has a deep reddish-brown circle around the seed center.  If I am accurate in my hypothesis, this slightly circled flower could be a cross between my lemony yellow heirloom and its friend with the darker centered circle.  (I failed to get a photo of that one in this batch of images, regretfully.)

Two different varieties growing side by side, both volunteers from last year's seeds.  I will, yes I will, take notes of their names once I get back into my seed stash.
As I was taking photos this morning of all these happy flowers, I stopped to watch the number of pollinators that were busy on the plants.  I saw numerous bees of all sizes, along with other insects who shared the pollen.  And at this very moment as I type this, a female goldfinch is perched on one of the flowers within an arm's length of my chair. 
I invite everyone to enjoy these glorious flowers and plant some of your own.  At the very moment I type this, a pair of goldfinches are eating from a plant within an arm's length.
WOW !!!!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


I'm always amazed when people have really strong opinions about which flowers are pretty and which aren't, what makes a beautiful flower garden, what sort of flower garden meets the prerequisites for local garden tours, etc. I recently learned sunflowers aren't a favorite of a friend of mine. Shortly thereafter, I listened to this same person voice her shock that a couple of gardens on the local tour lacked mulch and had milkweed growing in them.  OMG!
I happen to love sunflowers. I love their color.  I love their many varieties. I love the way they bow to the sun, shifting in direction to honor it as travels from east to west over the course of the day.  I love watching goldfinches perch on the huge flowers to feed on their seeds.  I also like to munch on the seeds.  I love their name in Spanish - girasoles.  Ask me to extol their virtues, and I can provide a list a mile long.  (Of course, I'm not the sort of gardener who gets uptight when the wind takes them down or when the weight of a gigantic seedy head hits the earth.)
 I'm also a huge fan of mildweed (asclepias incarnata).  Yesterday afternoon, when I returned home from a short trip to NC, I rolled down my windows to get a whiff of its intoxicating, sweet aroma. The dogs and I later took a walk around the back field, and I counted 20+ different species of dragonflies, butterflies, and colorful bugs hanging out on the fragrant, mauve milkweed balls. And yes, if milkweed didn't naturally surround me in every direction, I'd plant some in my flower beds.  I think they're beautiful!

If we didn't have milkweed and other "weeds," we wouldn't have monarch butterflies and other species who need this unique plant in their lives. Carl Linnaeus named the genus after Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, because of the many folk-medicinal uses for the milkweed plants.  (Google) In further defense of its worthiness, milkweed's bast fibers make a beautiful paper.  The fiber is strong, and when I prepare pulp with milkweed, it cooperates better than other "weeds" in bonding with other base fibers. As a kid, my cousins and I would pretend the sticky juice from the plant was Elmer's Glue, and we would make collages from flowers in the field on old barn boards or river rocks.  
In a couple of weeks, I'm going to invite the person who was astounded at milkweed in a flower garden over for dinner.  We'll take a glass of wine and walk down into the lower field.  Perhaps when she passes the sunflower patch, she'll be fanned by the breeze of goldfinches taking flight from the "girasoles" and become bedazzled by the brilliant colors of the monarchs and other butterflies hanging on the milkweed.  Maybe, just maybe, she'll catch on.....

Monday, June 30, 2014


Doug Sweet and Paulette Hall are moving to Florida.  I can hardly believe it.

Over the years, we have all known the time would come when the conversation of the "how and where of retirement" would morph from words and dreams into reality. That time is here, and I feel shear delight for these two dear friends as they head to the Sunshine State.  I also feel huge waves of nostalgia as memories of life over the years with them and a close circle of friends surface.

It's hard to fathom.  I met Doug thirty-four years ago shortly after Sam Wilder and I moved to Marietta. At the time, he and his wife, Sally Johnson, lived out on Bear Creek with their three young children. They were back-to-the-land hippies, and Doug had set up his glass blowing studio just outside the farmhouse where the kids played in the yard and explored the woods on the far side of the old barn. My first visit to their farm was for Cathy Rees's birthday. I distinctly remember the cake Sally decorated with wild sweet pea flowers for the occasion. That evening we danced in the barn, and I realized there was a group of folks gathered there whom I wanted to get to know better:  Ann and Mike Trembly and their three children; Jack Ford and Sue Boyer; Sherm and Caroline Koons; Geraldine Plato and Gary Goosman; Michael Stewart and Judith Angelo; Ron and Cathy Rees.

I was fascinated by the alternative life these friends had fashioned: combinations of those folks who lived together, attended the births of each other's children, gardened together, and traveled from craft show to craft show together for years.  Artists, mid-wives, social workers, they were my kind of folk.

Years go by; and change happens. Children grow up; more children arrive. Relationships drift in different directions.  Second marriages expand the friend base. Divorces inevitably redefine  dynamics. Folks move away; some come back. Others take early flight into the world of spirit and live now in our hearts and memories. We've all woven new a fabric and definition to our lives.

But, a constant during the decades has always been the farm on Bear Creek, Doug and Paulette's home - - a gathering place for sweat lodges, water balloon parties, New Year's Eve gatherings, potlucks, fire circles, and the rebuilding of Doug's studio after it burned to the ground. Paulette's great sense of beauty and art blossomed in the farm house and yard, and ultimately, their new dwelling down the road from the farm house became a showcase for her incredible eye and talent.

Doug and Paulette may be one of the most amazing couples I've ever known. No relationship is without its moments, but these two have raised four amazing children, cared for their parents, traveled to distant places, worked and created together very successfully, and manifested an admirable life filled with art and experience.

Yesterday, a small group of us hung out together as Doug and Paulette had a yard/moving sale. I think we all had a similar unspoken realization - that the afternoon was one of the last we would have together on Bear Creek.  It was a very special time.

(Pictured here:  front row:  Sue / second row: Ann Trembly, Paulette Hall, Doug Sweet / In the back:  Mike Trembly, Shila Wilson, Sue Boyer)

(And here: Sue, Mike, Ann, Doug, Tanya & Paulette)
You know, it's not like I see these folks with the same sort of frequency like when we were younger and involved in similar projects. But, there's always the security in knowing they're just across the river. As I experience intermittent pangs of "letting go," I console myself with the thought that Dougie and P. will be within an hour's reach of Fort Lauderdale, my frequent airport when I go to Miami. Chances are I'll see them on a semi-regular basis, and that eases the angst of their departure quite a bit. But still.......
The old Girl Scout song recycles in my mind this morning:  "make new friends, but keep the old...some are silver and the others, gold." Man, am I ever blessed!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SUMMER PHOTOS - June 26, 2014

Side yard Buddha, always content, loves the shade of the spreading chestnut trees and her daylily backdrop.

Mac illustrates the fine art of "porch settin'."

Green leaves shelter the maturing flower, opening soon and giving birth to a brilliant yellow sunflower.

Purple lilies here at the farm always look a little "gangly" but glorious.
Burgundy geraniums flowers gracefully host raindrops after a healthy summer shower.

This double peach-colored lily shares the same roots as a single varietal on the other side of the plant.  Since the side yard is becoming so incredibly shady, the lilies might be in the market for a sunnier spot on the farm.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


The Fairy Saddle

Long, long ago in the days of yore,
It might've been sooner, or not before,
Along a mountain track there came,
A gallant Corgi of quite some fame.
And there beside the track he spied
A maiden fair, who to him cried,
"Oh kindly Corgi, here my plea;
I've fallen off my horse you see.
And so before you further roam
Would you, please sir, take me home?"
So said the Corgi, "I do confess;
How could I leave you in distress?
So climb upon my back fair maid
I'll take you home as you have bade."
And so the Corgi started forth;
"My home's a castle to the north."
They journeyed there, and at her door
She cried, "I should have said before,
I'm a fairy princess sir, you see,
And for you kindness to me,
I'll leave upon your back
All traces of the fairy tack."
And till this day you still can find
The fairy's saddle to remind,
How the Corgi helped the princess fair,
And just as well for You will care.
The Corgi Legend
By Anne Biddlecombe
Would you know where corgis came from?
How they came to live with mortals?
On the mountains of the Welsh-land in its green and pleasant valleys, Lived the peasant folk of old times,
Lived our fathers and grandfathers;
And they toiled and laboured greatly with their cattle and their Ploughing, that their women might have plenty.
And their children journeyed daily with the kine upon the mountain, Seeing that they did not wander,
Did not come to any mischief,
While their fathers ploughed the valley and their mothers made the cheeses.

'Til one day they found two puppies
Found them playing in a hollow, playing like a pair of fox-cubs.
Burnished gold their coat and colour,
Shining like a piece of satin -
Short and straight and thick their fore-legs, and their heads like a fox's
But their eyes were kind and gentle;
Long of body these dwarf-dogs and without a tail behind them.

Now the children stayed all day there,
And they learned to love the dwarf-dogs, shared their bread and water with them, took them home with them even.
Made a cosy basket for them,
Made them welcome in the kitchen,
Made them welcome in the homestead.

When the men came home at sunset, saw them lying in the basket,
Heard the tale the children told them, how they found them on the mountain, found them playing in the hollow -
They were filled with joy and wonder and said it was a fairy present,
Was a present from the wee folk, for their fathers told a legend
How the fairies kept some dwarf-dogs.
Called them Corgis - Fairy heelers:
Made them work the fairy cattle, Made them pull the fairy coaches,
Made them steends for fairy riders,
Made them fairy children's playmates;
Kept them hidden in the mountains,
Kept them hidden in the mountains shadow,
Lest the eye of mortal see one.

Now the Corgis grew and prospered,
And the fairies' life was in them, in the lightness of their movement,
In the quickness of their turning,
In their badness and their goodness.
And they learnt to work for mortals,
Learnt to love their mortal masters,
Learnt to work their masters' cattle,
Learnt to play with mortal children.

Now in every vale and hamlet, in the valleys and the mountains,
From the little town of Tenby, by the Port of Milford Haven,
To St. David's Head and Fishguard, in the valley of the Cleddau,
On the mountains of Preselly,
Lives the Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi,
Lives the Corgi with his master.

Should you doubt this ancient story,
Laugh and scoff and call it nonsense, look and see the saddle markings where the fairy warriors rode them (As they ride them still at midnight, on Midsummer's Eve at midnight,
When the mortals are all sleeping! )
(Note:  Images used in this post came from the internet without specific credits there.  Namasté respectfully honors those who produced the images and will certainly credit the artists if anyone can identify them for us.)
If one has lived with corgis, then he/she recognizes a very magical quality about them. Incredibly intelligent, they are loyal to family and home, and their voices project in the mind of those humans they love as if they were speaking aloud.  I'm sure that could be said of any dog, but I do believe the corgis' protective nature and playful spirit comes from their connection with and love of the fairies.  One only need watch MerryBelle in the woods as she ventures from tree to tree and stands quietly at each, as if in conversation with the Little Ones. She's always in sentry mode, aware of anything that encroaches. She is the guardian of our home, of the fields, and of the woods - anywhere the fairies dwell. 
   Mac's fairy saddle changes color with the seasons - in summer, it sheds to white while in the winter, it takes on a deep reddish-brown hue. He reaches deep relaxation when I massage his shoulders / upper back, for it is there where the fairies saddle him for a ride around the woods.
I'd imagine his stockiness and soft coat lend for a comfy ride for the fairy folk.  Whether or not he takes to the reins is up for speculation! He's famous for going in the direction he chooses regardless of commands.
Appropriately, at 6:35 AM this morning, Mac woke me and insisted I get up and go out doors with him.  The magic of the Midsummer moment stirred him to greet the day. MerryBelle followed close behind and stopped at the base of the side yard chestnut trees to greet the little folk.  Both paying homage to their ancestry...both feeling the energy of Summer Solstice....both ready to hang with the fairies.

Friday, June 20, 2014


 I'm home after a ten-day working stint in Cincinnati with the Educational Testing Service's annual Advanced Placement Reading.  To say I returned home exhausted is an understatement: yesterday, I wasn't worth a cent, and today, I'm only about a $1.50 value. But, that's an improvement, and I did manage to get my tomatoes staked and the garden cleared of major weeds before the afternoon rain set in.

A lot of growth took place while I was away. I harvested the first zucchini from my container plant; the tomatoes look strong and healthy, despite being a little "spindly," and the potatoes growing from ones I randomly tossed in the compost pile get the farm award for most prolific growth.  Because of my decades of little success with spuds, I wonder if there are real 'taters under those plants or if the luscious leaves are pulling the wool over my eyes. One pot of basil's ready to produce the first round of pesto, and the side yard lilies could open any day.  Most of all, the grass and assortment of weeds experienced a huge (and totally anticipated) growth spurt in my absence, so when rain aborted my afternoon mowing plans, I'm currently "recalculating." Hence, this blog post.

Solstice takes place tomorrow going into Saturday morning - 6:41 AM EDT, to be exact.  I'd like to burn the two years' worth of stuff packed in the fire circle if the weather holds.  The barn's proximity to the fire pit makes for a precarious situation, but it's been damp enough to prevent major sparks, I believe. Other than light a fire and offer a few wishes to the Universe, I think I'll just spend the day in gratitude for all that's right and good in my world. That's a lot, and I'm thankful, for sure.

Today marks the opening of the first sunflower.

And, the Pineapple Lily (Eucomis) I purchased from the Athens Farmer's Market is thriving. 

Finally, here I am (taken a couple weeks ago).  Looks like I have an apple in my eye, but it's only Eliza's car.....


Tuesday, June 03, 2014


...and I'm feeling fine. 

Just got back from North Carolina where I visited with my mom (95.5) and her sister (90).

The sisters are quite a duo and certainly the "stars" of Sunday morning gatherings at the  First Presbyterian Church in Boone, NC.  They're the two oldest members of the church, and Mom is the longest standing member of the congregation.  Their prayers produce miracles, I'm sure.

It's Flame Azalea time in the mountains. Many natives of that region refer to the brilliant orange-flowered bushes as honeysuckle because one can sip the sweet nectar of the flower just as one does the blossoms of the real honeysuckle vine.  Imagine your house surrounded by 10' bushes reflecting this brilliant colors, and you've got my cousins' house.  There's nothing hybrid about these glorious blooms!

I am semi-successful in getting a native NC flame azalea to grow outside my bedroom here in OH.  I'm finding that a morning dose of coffee grounds adds enough acid to the soil to encourage it along.

Back here in OH, the first summer flowers are fading.  My irises have been spectacular, as always....

..., and the Clintonia lilies bloomed after their first winter in OH.  (And a freezingly, cold winter it was!)

The delicate puffs of blooms last about a week or two and then drop seed all around.  I would imagine they could be invasive as they spread with the same rapidity as Lily of the Valley.

I'm lucky to have two places to call home - Boone and here in Marietta, OH.  Both overflow with beauty in the summer, and in both places, the energetics of total and complete happiness surround me year round.  This morning, this happy guy greeted me, and again, I realized how I have nothing about which I can complain.....

It's summer time, and I'm feeling fine!