Monday, June 27, 2011


This lily is taller than I.  I purchased the bulbs at Rink's, our local flea market several years ago, and each year, it gets taller and taller.  Close up, it smells a bit like a stargazer.

I bought this lily from "The Lily Lady" at The Farmer's Market in Boone years ago.  The last few times I've been to the market, she hasn't been around.  She always had good, healthy plants.

Also from The Lily Lady in Boone.  This plant produces huge, sturdy flowers.

Transplanted by Sam years ago, a row of these wild lilies comes up every year in the side gardens.  I think of him when they bloom and smile.

One of my favorites....also from Boone...The color here isn't as purely purple as in real bloom, but the contrast of the chartreuse with the gently striped petals sure is beautiful

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Ever since Tom brought Chintu to The Farm, I've dreamed about meeting Chintu's parents, Bastian and Lehka, for in Chintu, I immediately sensed a person from the opposite side of the world who could very well have been born in the NC mountains and grown up with us there.  Here in the States for Chintu's doctoral hooding, they've been in Cleveland for a couple of weeks visiting Chintu and Tom.

This weekend, my dream came true.  Meet members of The Farm Family who just happen to live in India!  We've known them in the world of heart and spirit ever since we we've known Chintu....Having them spend time here was a wonderful, beautiful summer gift.

(Bastian, Chintu's father, Chintu, and his mom, Lehka)

(Bastian & Lehka have been married for 35 years and dated 6 years before marrying.  An amazing testament to the power of love and connection!)
(One day I'm going to visit The Indian Farm in Karola....get ready India!)

(Sister & Brother)

(A wonderful family...!!)
Bastian and Lehka's introduction here included a silly moustache party, bocci games on the side lawn, a walk to visit the Back Field Buddha, drumming and singing in the silo, and a trip to Bob Evans, where Eliza just happened to be our waitress.  
Our love for each other was as immediate as the love we felt the first time we met Chintu, and our laughter resounded all weekend.....What joy!
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Thursday, June 23, 2011


Thanks to a painful, throbbing torn meniscus (as a result of a fall while running in the wet grass after a dog toy), I've been pretty sedentary this week, and when Farm Mom has too much time on her hands, the wheels in her head move at a constant clip. 

Joe's impending departure has opened a floodgate of thoughts about many things, and as  people have asked me what I'm going to do when he's gone, I've been inclined to respond, "Why, live at the farm like I did all those years when he wasn't here! Why would his not being here change anything for me?????" all truthfulness, I have also asked myself the same question I've heard from so many lately....What, indeed,  does the future hold for the Farm Mom?????

You see, retirement's more than just a word in my vocabulary now....Gone are the days when I would hear myself tell others that I had about 20.....15..... 10  years to go until I retired....The bottom line is that I'm coming down the home stretch, and hopefully, the economy, enrollment issues, budgetary matters, and burnout won't make it such that I have to leave before I can complete 37 years of service to OH.....that's four years from now.
I need (and want) to work those next four years, so I have the best base salary for retirement....Additionally, Eliza will have finished college by then, and Samuel should be well on his way to defining his career path....

As much as I LOVE keeping up with the farm, there's much more to it than mowing and tackling a weed population whose growth in all kinds of climate weirdness never ceases to amaze me.  There are things like a barn that's falling down (literally), fields that have to be brush-hogged and manicured, an aging tractor that could expire at any moment, and invasive species that are taking over in the front field. Couple the demands of farm maintenance with a mediocre salary that just barely allows for monthly expenses to be met, and thoughts of change have started wafting through my mind....during the night, during the day - basically all the time.  What AM I going to do?

Thankfully, I have options, but the big questions still loom:  What is the best thing for me to do with The Farm?  Should I sell off some land and keep the farm house and yard?  When's going to be the best time to do that in an economy that sucks? If I decide to leave The Farm, should I stay in this area?  Should I take a look at moving somewhere else (North Carolina, perhaps?  New Mexico?  Cuba?)? What will I do? (International housesitting comes to mind.  Maybe by then there will be opportunity to work in Cuba for a part of the year..??  Peace Corps...???  )

YIKES !  I'm having a bit of a challenge surrendering to the Universe since so many scenarios play out in my mind.  At the same time I feel excited and energized about myriad possibilities, I'm a bit unnerved ...Can I maintain my sanity if I leave The true place of peace and refuge.  I have generations of flowers here....I can't imagine not having coffee on the deck with the barn swallows and hummingbirds zooming about.  How could I leave a  place that is so chocked full of the memories of the last 31 years... of the laughter, fun, love, sweat and tears that have defined my life here.....The Farm is, for me, as sacred a place as one can find.  It is my HOME....

I can feel the emotional pull and tug now as I write.....a sensation of wanting to hang on and not let go vrs. the excitement and adventure of the future....of  fear of the unknown vrs. the thrill of new experiences.....It's daunting, and it's exhilarating.....and YIKES again !

Thankfully, I don't have to do much more than contemplate and explore ideas at this point.......slow and steady will win the "figuring it out" race for me.....I don't know that I am capable of moving fast on the questions I hear from without and within....

So, at this very moment, I think I'll take the Scarlett O'Hara approach, and I think I'll think about my flowers.......

Here's a sample of Farm orchids in bloom now.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011


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In a world defined by all sorts of conflict, problems, and misunderstandings, The Farm provides a refuge of laughter, love, fun, and grace-filled solitude.  It is indeed our sanctuary....our place of peace....a place where doors are always open....a place where people can come to neutralize their worries and fears... relax...find themselves...surround themselves by the gifts of the Earth....know that all's well....that there's no judgement here...a place where music resounds and peace embraces....

Few live the essence of The Farm more than Joe.  When he came back to Marietta two years ago with his beloved Rufus (RIP), his plan was to settle in Marietta, maybe even build a place in the back field and live here forever, helping me and hanging out with his dad, John. Since then, he and I have grown deeper and deeper in friendship and love....tending to our garden, walking Paco and Mac, sharing dinner together on the back porch, tackling farm chores, shoveling snow, laughing openheartedly at things that spark our similar sense of humor, conversing about life.  We've had moments of  adjustments, intense tears, grumpiness, and icing our knees.....Those times have been very few, for over and over, we've commented that being here together at The Farm is like being on v-cation (as Eliza used to say), and almost every day, we realized how blessed we are to be living together.....watching the hummingbirds and barn swallows, cooking the best meals to be had on Earth, sipping a little wine, and watching the sun set.

There have been struggles along the way, particularly for Joe as a teacher and an artist. He's given 500% to a 3/4 position at Marietta College, a position without benefits and without a budget that supports growth of his program...Having inherited a ceramics studio that required 5 dumpster loads of trash to clean, Joe has spent hours upon hours giving of himself to his his the art department at large. His own projects and plans have been shelved in the best interest of others...The prospect for his position to mature into a full-time, tenured  job has increasingly looked more and more bleak.  Financially and professionally, he had to start looking elsewhere.....The conversations with the Universe began.....

and an opportunity has presented itself...Joe will be leaving The Farm in a month to move to the Portland area to take a position as ceramics instructor at Mt. Hood Community College.  The salary's great; the benefits are as good; he can get tenure in 4 years and apply for a sabbatical after 6.  It's a dream come true and yet another validation on the importance of manifesting in one's life. 

Oregon's a familiar place for José, and he returns to many friends and colleagues who love and appreciate him and his work.  It's a land of potters and of like-minded folks....He'll be in or around Portland, a city that brings bright sparks to his eyes when he talks about the hip little neighborhoods and coffee shops. And, he'll be able to do things that financially would never have been possible had he stayed at Marietta College.....This is an opportunity that he absolutely can't pass by.

The Farm will certainly be at a loss without Joe and Paco.....I can't begin to imagine not having them here....I can, however, rejoice and celebrate this amazing opportunity that's his to live...And that's where I'm hanging at the moment.....Good luck and Godspeed, Joe, as you venture west.....

Stay tuned.......

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I'm a little homesick. It's hard to leave one's office one day, pack up and take off again the next to start another intense job. Granted, I've only traveled to Cincinnati and will only be gone for a week, but I'm tired and would like to have some time to come down off a year at work that's been exhausting, particularly emotionally. That's my whine for the day.

So, as I sit outside eating my supper, here are the views I ponder:

Skyscrapers to my left in the center of downtown. As I was walking around Fountain Square just a little while ago, I encountered a poor soul who kept repeating, "All I want is what's mine!! I didn't ask you for anything else.". Obviously infuriated by some injustice in life, he was proclaiming to the Universe that what was his was his!! It just seemed all that could have been his was about to spill out of the torn plastic sack he carried..

Older dilapidated building stare me directly in the face. At some point, they must have housed businesses that have long since floundered..interestingly enough, I'm drawn to their rusted roofs and tattered tar-papered sides. For me, they house more potential for story and/or drama than their more stately, architectures neighbors down the street a couple of blocks. I wonder about the family businesses that supported generations there; do older folks who apprenticed their children still come by to conjure memories of clients and friends? Who inhabits the creaky structures now? Perhaps the man I saw earlier calls one of them home.....

I don't like to be closed in, and I feel somewhat claustrophobic at the moment. Insanely loud music blares from Fountain Square, discouraging me from walking in that direction. We've been warned not to walk in the other direction alone, so here I sit....surrounded by an inner city world that's far away from home, in more ways than mere miles.....

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


It's been close to a year since I sat down to chronicle parcels of my life on Namasté, and as is consistent with anyone's experiences, the last 10 months have been full of many wonderful moments, as well as some that once again made me stop to pause and give thanks for all that's good, to mourn and celebrate passages of dear ones, and to learn from bloopers that seem to keep popping up in my life along the way. Most of all, I sense I've moved deeper into an understanding of gratitude and laughter, for when I allow those two friends to become prominent in every moment, I am, indeed, truly happy.

As I sit down to blog again, I am officially on summer break. The day has begun with nice temps that are going to surge toward the 90's with the humidity one always looks forward to when summer arrives in the Mid-Ohio Valley.  As I gaze out the office window, I see hummingbirds zooming back and forth to the feeder, a lawn that could stand to be mowed, orchids in bloom, and lush vegetation all about, thanks to the extended wet spring we experienced.  It's a summer day at The Farm....complete with a garden with 35+ tomato plants, a variety of squashes, cukes, peppers, brussel sprouts, tomatillos, et. al. The farm irises have withered away, as have the early blooming wildflowers (which were spectacular this year).  I'm behind in getting annuals going; I'll wait and hit the greenhouse sales in a week or so.

As for the farm family:
~Eliza's taking her last exam today  at U-Cincinnati and readying to return to Marietta to work at Bob Evans for the summer.  Imagine her excitement at that thought! Her freshman year at UC would be described as one of the best in her life, I friends, new-found confidence, academic success, and  even greater beauty of soul and heart.
~Samuel's finished up his 2nd year of work toward his MFA in Creative Writing at American University.  It hasn't been an easy year for a guy who's had to work full time while completing the rigors of his program, as begin serious work on his thesis ideas while juggling some attempt at  a social  and personal life.  I don't hear from him frequently; I think about him daily and hope when all's said and done, he'll remember his three years at AU and living in DC as favorably memorable.
~Joe's in Oregon as I write.  He'll quite probably be moving back there if he's selected as the candidate for a ceramics position at Mt. Hood Community College. While having him as a housemate here at The Farm has been an incredibly wonderful experience for us both, I know that a part-time position makes it difficult to advance financially, as well as professionally. I certainly would miss him and Paco, the farm bassett hound, should they move to Oregon, but most of all, I would wish him well....He's a brilliant teacher, an amazing potter, a soul-connected friend.  Stay tuned for  news regarding his future.
~Lori's in love with Chris in Hawaii.  She has two dogs and at least one cat, if not two. She still works as a personal assistant for the Krueger family there. When she was home at Christmas, she looked stunningly beautiful. A yeast-free diet has transformed her into a slim, fit gorgeous woman, and her happiness radiates through us all.
~Brett and Betsy are in California.  No news from them lately tends to make me think they're busy and active, as always.
~I learned via Facebook that Dana, James & Wendy are in the process of moving to Alaska, where James has accepted a position with a very reputable journal there as acquisitions editor. More on them as news floats in.
~Meera Chary recently married Eric Schell in a traditional Indian ceremony in California.  I've stored the breathtakingly beautiful photos of her wedding on my computer and look at them with nostalgia and joy.  I would have loved to attend, but timing and finances made it beyond possible.  One of these days, I'm going to visit her.  It's been a long, long time since I've seen so beautiful a bride!
~Tom and Chintu have moved to Cleveland, where Dr. Chinthasagar Bastian now works in research at Cleveland Clinic. Tom's been working diligently on health issues; Chintu's investigating some complicated neuroscientific aspect of Alzheimer's Disease.  Chintu's parents are in the States now to witness his doctoral hooding at Ohio University this week, followed by a visit to The Farm weekend after next.  I am honored to meet his folks and have them here to meet the farm family.

The most recent addition to The Farm has won my heart over and over....Spunky McLovin, aka Mac, Mackers, Doodles, arrived in December as a tiny, shy little corgi.  He's now positioned himself as Alpha Mac, never giving Paco a moment of peace.  Just this morning, he chewed one of my best shoes beyond repair (to his credit, he's never done that before), but usually he's so fascinated with chasing a stick that other he doesn't think about other puppy-like mischiefs. He's definitely my soul mate, bed feller, and companion.  Truthfully, I had not intended to get a dog so soon after Annie and Molly passed away, but I was lonely for canine company...very lonely.  So, the Universe presented an opportunity to bring Mac here, and his presence has multiplied farm love by a gazillion times. 

His is the only photo I'll post here as I re-initiate my blogging moments.  (Please note:  I"m off to Cincinnati for 10 days and won't be back at the computer for at least a couple of weeks - another hiatus after a rather long blogging break....)

Anyways, meet my canine love.....