Thursday, May 29, 2008


After I finished watering the lower beds this afternoon where I had just planted some squash and eggplant, I was lost in thought about how I was going to repair several leaks in my garden hose, leaks that delayed the watering process for a good thirty minutes and soaked me in the process. When I got about half way up to the house, a loud, in fact a very loud and rather strong, bzzzzzzz interrupted my thoughts and engulfed me from every direction. At that very moment, I realized I was literally in the middle of a swarm of bees, millions of many bees that I could barely see in front of me, so many bees that I felt a bee breeze from all the flying taking place around me.

For a very brief moment, I was quite flattered with the thought that these little creatures might have considered me their "queen" for the afternoon, but that quickly passing thought transformed into a level of PANIC as I realized it appeared these frantic little insects with stingers looked like they wanted to land on ME !!!!!!! YIKES!!!

Time stood still. In a matter of no more than 3 seconds, I contemplated racing into the house (that would mean a swarm of bees inside the house!), screaming bloody murder (frightened bees many times STING!), and wondering if was going to be one of those people who wear bee beards at the local Honey Festival (I've never had any desire to wear bees!).

Every cell in my body rang the panic alarm, but in the back of my mind, I heard my own voice, telling the kids to be like a rock when the bees buzzed around them. So that's what I did; I stood absolutely still and pretended I was a huge (and petrified!!-no pun intended) rock that held no appeal whatsoever for the millions of bees buzzing around me.

As quickly as they came to check me out, they took in unison. I suppose the real queen flew by, and her admirers realized I was not the woman of their passion and devotion. THANK GOD!!!

My trembling legs got me to the house, where I promptly opened a bottle of wine and toasted to my good luck. I did venture out a few minutes later to see if I could locate the swarm, but the bee clan apparently decided to move on, and that was totally OK by me !!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I never thought I'd admit that I've become addicted to thrifting; however, my day is not complete unless I make a stop at Goodwill or Salvation Army. In the last couple of days, there have been some pretty phenomenal finds. See the photos!

Today's find is a "tangerine" version of this 1940's Roseville Freesia Vase (200-7) that I purchased from Goodwill for a wholloping $4.99 (a rather high price for me at Goodwill since I always try to stay underneath one dollar). I'd describe the color of mine as brown rather than tangerine, but all the literature lists the colors this vase was produced in as green, blue, and tangerine. I've done a bit of research and found the vase listed with prices from $65 to $175. Now, I'm not too inclined to purchase this sort of "art" for my house, but I'm growing in appreciation for the Art and Craft Movement of the early to mid-1900's. I'll probably hang on to this piece.

Dr. Tom actually found the second prize of the week at Salvation, and I think he paid about $2.00 for this McCoy Hyacinth vase that values $100 - $125 in the McCoy price list book. We hit Salvation Army about the time the sweet ladies who work there were shelving items from an older lady's house, and Tom grabbed this vase before it got out of the employee's hands. He gave it to me since he's more of a glass collector than pottery. (By the way, Dr. Tom is probably one of the most giving people I've ever known. He really represents the best of "non-attachment" to material things. And, he has a GREAT eye for beauty and beautiful objects.) I'll hang on to this find as well. I think it would be a great for Eliza as she sets up her hope chest.

One of my many summer goals is to get my Etsy shop up and running. I'm becoming overrun with thrifting treasures, and I love to put nice objects together artistically, whether they are of the same pattern or not. I understand mixing and matching vintage objects is quite the trend these days, so once I get started, I should pull in some extra cash. If not, then I'll just enjoy my finds here at The Farm.

Stay tuned.....

Monday, May 26, 2008


From his perch high above the farm in the dying weeping cherry tree, Clousseau oversaw the weekend's activities here at The Farm. What started as a list of 3,000 things to do has now dwindled down to 2,995 chores in waiting, but Eliza and I've had a great time working a little and playing a little each day.

The grass is mowed, and the compost has a new thick layer of grass clippings that'll turn into dirt in the next couple of years. All sorts of seeds got planted here and there, and the beginning tilling of a couple new beds, as well as two old ones, is well underway. Annie and Molly got their first bath of the season, and then promptly rolled in dirt and cow poop to top off their day at the Farm Spa. Several new plants are in the ground, giving the side Buddha garden the most completed look of anywhere on The Farm. I transplanted some datura and daisies in hope that the predicted afternoon rains will encourage them to take root. Most importantly, Eliza and I made a noticeable dent in the proliferation of weeds around the yard.

Foxglove is in bloom,

these pretty pink petunias caught my eye,

and the rhododendron's pretty spectacular.

Hands and feet in the dirt...Flowers in the ground....Three more weeks of school....I'm ready to play on the farm all day!!

Friday, May 23, 2008


It's 2:23 PM, and I'm home for the weekend. Eliza's going to the high school graduation tonight and then out with friends, so I'm in for the duration...That feels really good!! I actually left the office today at noon, went to a couple of thrift stores with Tom S., and came on home.

The animals and I are here alone... Two cats are sleeping in chairs beside the computer. I have the window in the computer room open, and several birds and I are whistling back and forth to each other. It's quite flirtacious! One of my avian friends is a BobWhite, and it's easy to talk to him. Close to the window, a wren's chirping, and the cardinals, who are quite full of themselves at the moment, dominate the cacophony. Male cardinals may be some of the most "macho" guys I've ever witnessed!

I am in love with this solitude in the most unlonely of ways...Amazing music about without stereos or iPods...A gentle breeze... I can feel my father here with me now...He'd really enjoy sitting on the porch and soaking in the outdoors....I breathe deeply when I sense this level of connection with him...I've never loved him more.

I have three days at home, and in that time, I want to be outside as much as possible. My "to-do" list is at least two miles long, and I look forward to making a dent in no certain order; moving my body and being in touch with the land's most importantly on the agenda....

It will be one of those weekends when I probably won't go to town unless we run out of cat/dog of those weekends when I'll feel my body at bit after I start tacking the chores, I'm of those weekends where I'll clear my head and be as me as me can be.....(and that means I might not shower for a day or two.....) of those weekends when I'll turn the compost and get really excited at the earthworms I find....("Those worms are good fishin' bait," Papa tells me...) of those weekends when I'll be happy, happy, happy!!

If I'm inside at all in the next three days, I want to write about what's coming together for a great family reunion (July 4, 2009) in the mountains near Grandma's, and I want to write about upcoming farm events that are majorly wonderful ones concerning our farm family....(Sneak preview...Dana's coming home and she's going to have a little tummy sprouting....Brett's coming home before heading to MN to be married....V'cation's just around the corner, and Joe will be home soon..... )

But for NOW, I'm of to change clothes and go hop on the tractor....It's just too pretty and glorious to be inside.


Monday, May 19, 2008


Little accomplished this weekend in terms of farm work....Rain and wind prevented planting tomato plants...Rain and wind prevented mowing already overgrown fields...Rain and wind prevented getting flower beds together...

So, this morning, Monday, when I'm off to work within the next 5 minutes to begin yet another week of work, it's sunny (although chilly) with no rain in the forecast...¡Caramba!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


(Note: As Kara and Craig Garrison send out their emails from Thailand, I'll continue to post them here on Namasté. Keep in mind they're involved in Christian relief and their faith may fall within the definition of evangelical initiative. Nonetheless, my experience in human rights work with Cuban political prisoners confirms for me that the power of projected goodness, whether that be defined as prayer / meditation / positive thoughts, etc. really is the most powerful and sustaining force in the lives of those who suffer on the scale that those in Myanmar do at this moment.......~Tanya~)


Dear Family and Friends,
It has taken a week to recover from the emotional fury that we have experienced. The pictures that were being sent to us along with reports of nationals who were able to penetrate the depths of the delta region were overwhelming to say the least. For several days I (Kara) felt unable to function, one day in particular was difficult and even the most menial task of making Jake's lunch was a mental challenge that I struggled with.

Many of you have written and told us of your prayers and the prayers of your Bible Studies and Churches. In the end, we want to tell you that we believe this to be the most effective thing that you can do. We honestly mean that. Obviously, many of you have agreed with this assessment and have shared with us the things you have prayed for...things that we ourselves have prayed. Of particular interest is Psalm 25, a psalm I have prayed over the country of Myanmar since the year before we left the States. Someone recently wrote and said that they were also praying this psalm over the country. We are declaring that the ancient cities, and ancient peoples lift up their heads and let the King of Glory come and usher in a season of justice upon the government and mercy upon the poor and oppressed of this nation.

Throughout history, God has been concerned about the plight of the poor and the abuses of power targeted at them, even among nations that are dedicated to worshipping other gods. We believe that this is true today.

While Craig and many other Americans–who are dedicated to the victims of the cyclone and the criminal lack of action by Burmese government–have been frustrated about "getting in and getting things done," they have not been deterred. The rebellious spirit that tends to run through our blood when we are incensed with injustice and forbidden to act, tends to be stirred up, and injects us with new adrenaline. New strategies are formed, new risks are taken, new alliances are made. While clear-cut paths to helping have been barred by nature, soldiers, and politics, many organizations have met together to strengthen networks, pool resources, and get goods into the delta region through courageous nationals.

IS THERE ANYTHING GOOD HAPPENING? Yes. While we admit that all the horror stories you have read or heard about are probably true AND worse, there is a positive issue arising. Individuals from the Christian community who have played it safe to avoid skirmishes with the government, have come forward to assist their people. One pastor came out of the country and announced, "I am tired of being afraid, and I am tired of running and hiding from my government! I want to help my people." He was loaded up and sent off with a team of nationals who were in agreement with him. People inside Myanmar have been immobilized by fear long enough and if their own government won't help the people these people will.

Tens of thousands of people in the delta region of Burma are still squatting in rising puddles with tarps draped over them, children are still crying from hunger, parents are still mourning their lost children, the government leaders are still lying to the world BUT there is a glimmer of hope where there was previously only increasing darkness. THANK YOU for the various ways you have personally helped. People have been writing and asking how to give and it has been a great privilege to channel your giving. Most of all, thank you for praying and for assuring us that you are praying... we feel this is the greatest advocacy we can provide ... asking people to pray not only for the survivors and their physical needs, but for a spiritual change in the nation.

If you are interested, this appears to be an informative article:

With love and gratitude,

Craig, Kara and Kids

P.S. For those still wanting to know how to give with assurances that the money you give will go directly to help people on the ground, the organization Craig works with, Partners Relief & Development, has already sent in tens of thousands of dollars worth of cash and equipment to assist those caught in this crisis. We have people that we are working with directly on the ground (who we worked with before when we lived in Myanmar/Burma) who are getting all the necessary items to those in need. Additionally, the areas that this group on the ground can't reach as effectively (in the delta region) we are supplying nationals with resources to get crucial items to those desperate for food, water, shelter and medicine. Visit our website at for more information on how to give.

Friday, May 16, 2008


One of my former students, Craig Garrison (MHS '86) and his family have spent the last four years living first in Myanmaar and then in Thailand, working in humanitarian aid and relief for the thousands of misplaced people who are forced to leave Burma as a result of life under the totalitarian military junta there.

Yesterday, I got this email from Kara, Craig's wife, in response to a message I sent to them earlier this week:

Dear Tanya,

It's good to hear from you. Thanks for writing an encouraging note. Everyday the news gets worse here, and we are feeling in a trance. There is such terrible news that we have stopped sending out email for a few days. We are concerned that it's too hard to relate to, and overwhelming for all of you as well. The most overwhelming part for us is the inability to get help to the survivors to the degree that is needed. So few are being reached that need it the most. Not because there aren't willing volunteers, but because the Burmese government is trying to prevent aid.

Thanks for your update... Vermont in July will be wonderful! It brings a smile to our face just to think about it.

Love from all of us,

From Craig's mom I learned that he's made every effort to get into the country to assist, but the Burmese government refuses to let any humanitiarian relief inside the country. From my work with human rights issues in Cuba, I have some understanding of the frustration the Garrisons are encountering; however, the massive death toll and suffering of the people surpasses anything I've had to face with matters in Cuba.

Please hold these Craig, Kara, and their wonderful kids, Sara, Emilee, Katie, and Jacob, in your thoughts and prayers. They are perhaps the most amazing and loving family I've ever known.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


This past weekend in Boone was quite a celebration....Mother's Day with Mom, Grandma...Samuel's day in court


The photos tell the story....My mom cried throughout the entire ceremony...The rest of us snoozed as the football coach, who vowed not to give a football pep talk, did exactly that...

(prior to heading to campus...Samuel with his girlfriend, Megan...she's GREAT!)

(My sister, Myra, Sam, Megan, Samuel, in my father's robe, me, Petie, Eliza)

The actual shaking of the college president's hand...

And one happy graduate leaving the gymnasium!!!

(* Here's the court story: Samuel and his roomate went to a party at a friend's house downtown about two months ago. The jokers at the party had been drinking and had firecrackers. Samuel didn't take part in any of the hell-raising, but when the cops showed up, he was the one who acted responsibly, went to the door, and promptly got charged for resisting an officer and possession of pyrotechnics. As a result, he now has 35 hours of community service to work off at Goodwill. That's what you get for being a responsible person who's at the wrong place at the wrong time, I suppose!)

Monday, May 05, 2008


If anyone's allergic to pine trees in the spring, here's why....

Sunday, May 04, 2008


The beauty of the day inspired me to continue my garden preparation, and today, I readied the remainder of my beds for planting. I have two more large flower beds to take care of up around the house, but the veggie and dahlia beds down by the barn are cleared, tilled and ready for seeds. (I felt like a very efficient farmer when my mantis tiller started up after its "long winter nap" without any problem whatsoever--especially since I left gas in it over during its hibernation!!!)

Tomorrow, if the weather holds, I'll get greens, lettuce, spinach, and maybe some broccoli in the ground. And then, it won't be long until we'll be eating good, healthy, organic, veggies...Can't wait.
This double Virgo's always a happy camper when there's dirt under the finger nails!
(Note: I'm driving the tractor in the photo, and that's Mary Ann on the back. Not only are we very compatible office mates, but we're also pretty great field hands! Sometimes Mary Ann gets to drive our state of the art equipment.)


I spent yesterday, Derby Day, in Woodsfield with Dr. Tom at the annual party Robert Morris has in honor of paying off the mortgage on his house. Although the breeze was stiff and the rain heavy at time, I did mange to snap a few photos.

This incredible purple wisteria in full bloom had a delicate, sweet scent.

Wild larkspurs are one of my favorite spring flowers. I have some blooming in my front flower bed.

The yellow flowers popping out from the lilacs smelled as sweet as the lilacs.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


When I got home from work today, I was really tempted to take a nap and put off, once again, my initial efforts at tackling the chores that await my attention around the farm. Inspired by the warmth of the afternoon, the sweet scent of the Russian olive trees in bloom, and the industriousness of my new farmhand, Tim, as he chopped and waged war against a huge brush pile, I did, indeed, get off my duff , headed outside and cleaned out three of my deep beds in preparation for getting some seeds in the ground--hopefully this weekend. The dogs kept me company, and the white kittens played ATTACK at every handful of weeds I tossed their way. Before I knew it, I had two beds ready to till, and I was delighted to know I didn't expire in the process of pulling and tugging.

I feel good now...It was good to get outside and move my body. As I walked around the field with Annie and Molly before I came in, the bluettes, trillium, mayapples, and Solomon seal caught my eye. I realized winter really is pretty much gone....I can get out without freezing....It's time to open my heart and soak in the Earth.

It's been a heck of a spring, more emotionally than any other way....Today, I told myself what I always used to tell the kids.."It's too pretty to be indoors." I'm glad I listened to my own words today...I feel greatly refreshed...

Peace .....