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!