Friday, January 17, 2020

12 Steps to Create a Patio You'll Want to Use

Garden Design in a single photo, below.
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Pic, above, here.
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Don't be fooled by the beautiful home, stone terrace, vintage table/chairs, classic urn on a low brick column.  This isn't a high-end Garden Design course.  It's Garden Design for all.  Every price point.
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Do pay attention to form, function, simplicity, color.
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Ease of maintenance.
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Access to house for easy transport of tableware/meals.
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The urn, at front, so fabulous, it remains a beauty, empty.
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They chose a color trinity, green/black/white.
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Does it answer the question, "Is the garden so amazing I want to see inside the house?"  Yes.
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This Garden Design is for any starter home, no matter its era.  Found/rescued brick/stone for the terrace, laid in soil with groundcover.  Perhaps gravel, with a few stones set at main path into house.  Don't want to track gravel inside.
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Choose your Color Trinity.  Green/Brown/White the historic classic.  For a reason.  But, choose whatever you want, it's your garden, your life.  You love it, results will be great.
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No vintage table/chairs?  Field gathered is fabulous.  Table, chairs, none match, all painted the same color.  What color?  One of your chosen Color Trinity.   
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No classic urn?  Old galvanized pot.  Horrid plastic pot, fine, if painted from your Color Trinity.
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Be simple.  At the end of a Garden Design, ask yourself, "What can I take out, and it still holds together?"  Simplicity is good Garden Design.  Never, do I want to look out a window, and think, "Oh, I must go do....."  I must look out my windows and think, "Oh WOW."
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Make sure your choices flow from inside your home.  Same brain waves creating your interior, are the same to use outside. 
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Garden Design begins inside the house.  This patio flows from inside the house. 
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Bugs?  Outdoor ceiling fans.  Not happening?  Paint a box fan, aim it toward table at proper distance, spray it a color from your trinity.  Once my arbor with ceiling fans rotted, at my 30 year garden, I went the box fan route nestled in the foliage of a large potted plant.  Not too inconvenient, it was mostly off exhibit, in the garage.   
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Garden & Be Well,  XOT 
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Front porch at our ca. 1900 home is amazing, it faces east, usually has a slight breeze from the pastures surrounding us.  It's deep, we can eat meals during storms, without getting wet.  Often, when bad weather blows in I go to the front porch to sit and enjoy the drama.  During the few weeks a year it's not too hot, or too cold, when friends come to dinner, we eat on the front porch. 
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Last nite, heading out to dinner, it was the last of oddly warm temperatures the past week.  Told Beloved to stop, lets sit on the front porch a few minutes before leaving.  "Why?", he asked, "So we can talk." I said.  "We can talk in the truck.", he said.  "I want to enjoy the last of this warm weather in January with you.", I said.  We sat.  Talked.  Quite a bit.  Sweet.
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Doubt Beloved would convey this story similarly.  Men.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

How to Take Charge of Your Garage

I still tease Beloved, he first noticed me seriously after seeing my garage.  Not entirely pretty, it was entirely organized by category & function.  An oversized double bay, with parlour space and a large storage room.   For 30 years I came and went thru my mudroom, into the garage, out the garage door, through the garden, poof, into the world.
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Metal shelves had their zone, so did antique china cabinets, antique tables, tools hung along 20' of wall, lamps, art on the wall, etc.


Pic, above, here.
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Helpful, I didn't realize how greatly my 30 year garage leveraged my life better, at each layer.
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No garage, no barn at our ca. 1900 home, the magic departed.
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My beautiful, neatly organized garage, packed & moved by strong good men, was quickly unpacked into a graveled basement, at the back of our home, by headlights at the end of a day reaching 101F.  Almost midnight, I was there, and merely watched as those dear men, put my entire garage where ever it was convenient, zero regard for proper organizing.  They're still heroes to their job, in my heart.  Working through exhaustion and misery.
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But. My. Garage.

 French Provincial China Cabinet Makeover in 2 Easy Steps | blesserhouse.com
Pic, above, here.
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These china cabinets, above/below, are at every thrift store every month.  And, perfect for the garage.  A larger piece of wood can be hammered to the countertop, below, making it a better space for potting house & porch plants or arranging flowers.
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Merely looking at the counter top below, and imaging hammering into it.  Oh my, the pleasure.
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 Most Beautiful Antique China Cabinet Makeover Ideas (17) – BosiDOLOT
Pic, above, here.
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At my 30 year garage, at the mudroom door, was an antique table, lamps, art on the wall, etc.  Coming/going for my day, I would set things on the table.  If it was going to be a busy day, I would start placing items for the day on that table, and throughout evening as I remembered/realized what more to take.  Working at jobsites, in all weathers, giving lectures, sourcing, eating lunch in my truck, rain gear, layers of sweaters, so much to hunt/gather daily, just to get to jobsites.
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That antique table was my top employee, except after Tess, my tiny little service van. 

 gallery-thornton-blue-entryway-with custom chinoiserie panels photo- Luke White copy
Pic, above, here.
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That wild hot night, unpacking the 30 year garage, has fumes of existence.  Ironically, an antique china cabinet, formerly holding all my pond supplies, is in our front parlour, displaying antique crystal my mom had, and the ubiquitous Waterford my era acquired in their 20's.   It was too tall to fit in the gravel floored basement.
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 See New Garage Storage Ideas- CLICK THE PICTURE for Various Garage Storage Ideas. #garage #garageorganization
Pic, above, here.
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To save space, you may want to put your vintage china cabinets on the wall.  They'll look better if their tops are all at the same height, and they're all painted the same color.  No worries, if not.  This is your private zone, your playground.
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Analyze the feet of any vintage china cabinet, if you plan to hang it.  A board can be hammered to the feet, below, creating a shelf for storing more things.
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10 schönsten antiken China Cabinet Makeover Ideen -  #antiken #cabinet #china #ideen #makeove... #redoingfurniture 10 schönsten antiken China Cabinet Makeover Ideen
Pic, above, here.
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One of my clients created a patio room in one of their garage bays.  Their parking court was perfect for neighborhood pickle ball.  Wine, canapes, dinners were common for them, in the garage.

 The Worldly Interiors of Studio Peregalli
Pic, above, here.
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Now you know what to do with one of these, below.
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Goodwill antique china cabinet makeover with Chalk Paint and shiplap for a fresh farmhouse look - DIY tutorial by Girl in the Garage
Pic, above, here.
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I know this woman, below.  Bought the same 3 ladders.  Who needs a man's help with those ladders, TaWonda.  And a sink.  Getting the cleaning tools, outside, yes, I know this woman.  In spirit.
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 Can you help me out for a second, pretty please? 🙏🏻 I’m putting together a little talk about organizing garages and basements for an…
Pic, above, here.
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Habitat for Humanity always has kitchen cabinets for sale at their Restore locations.
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Ollies, always has sturdy shelves, good prices.

 
Pic, above, here.
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Wish I had seen these vintage collections, below, with my 30 year garage.  All the vintage tools were interspersed with tools I used.  No drama display.  Darn.

 
Pic, above, here.
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Moth-to-a-flame, below.  Somehow, it seems, hammers appear in my life while I sleep.  Now, I know what to do with them.


Pic, above, here.

 
Pic, above, here.
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At a minimum, below.  Carve out a space for you, from the garage to the door opening into your home.
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Pic, above, here.
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How many pics do you think were taken of my 30 year garage?  How did I not know, fully, what that garage did to make life better, easier, wiser?    The prophet-without-honor, and I did it, not see.
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Our graveled low basement it shaping up.  When Beloved & his brother were clearing their parents house, about 3 years ago, no one wanted the sturdy, huge work table in the garage.  Hmm, work table, 2 men, truck.  Check, check & check.
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Much cussing later, those boys got that work table in our graveled basement.  Styled for my use, with my things, guess who uses it all the time?
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That long wall of tools hanging in the 30 year garage?  Still leaning in a large corner where they were thrust, near midnight, 5 years ago.  Walls are concrete, need to get 2" x 6" boards attached.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T 
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Gave Beloved a 'useful' Christmas present.  Wanted to make his daily life easier.  It's a winner.  Went to the hardware store, not a big box type, chose a sturdy tool carry all with lots of pockets, walked every aisle, putting targeted items in.  Meant for his truck, he has been using it at jobsites, and in our house.
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His own movable organized garage, in a tote.
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He even went to the basement and shed, gathering other targeted items for his new tool carry all.
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More useful in the house, didn't see that coming.  Wish I had known, Cheshire smile, My Bad.
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Looking forward to getting the functionality of our basement finished, then fine tuning the decor  begins.
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Every garden design I create includes work zones.  Do you?  It's important.
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This is not a sponsored ad.  Just me.  Loving a good 'garage'.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

CHANGES: 3 Before/After

Note: Every before/after, below, is good.  Zero criticism implied, merely, other choices to make with different eyes.  Have done renovation design for others many years, and with Beloved for several years.  Money/time always the top criteria, increasing property value/lifestyle, tightly bound with money spent. What to do, what to ignore. 
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Below, an easy lifestyle change with the front porch.  Effort, a bit.  Money, a little.  With their painted brick and trinity of wood stained posts, this renovation makes me want to see what they've done inside.  Already flows. 
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Don't scroll further, until you've decided your changes, below.
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Pic, above, here.
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Move pair of green meatballs, above, at front posts, forward, to the front of the pathway.  One to the right, at the drive, and one to the other end at the left, front of the far left post.  Fill the space between front walk, and front porch with pavers matching the front walk, covering entire zone. 
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Front porch enlarged, house enlarged.  In a perfect world, window at the front porch is a pair of vintage French doors.  I wouldn't do much more here.  Owners are sure handed and have a good vision they're already acting on.
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Classic architecture, below.  Would be interesting to see if interiors are as classic. 
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If you've read my books or blog, you know where I'm headed with this renovation, below.  They didn't go there, with this renovation.  Money spent on what they've done, and what I would do, about the same.
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Cole Porter, is a hint, Don't Fence Me In, is playing in my head.

 
Pic, above, here.
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Glad to see this home, above, loved into living and nurturing again.  With the classic architecture I would never rail the front porch.  Instead, steps across the front, and at both sides.  Same house, bang, not the same house, not close.
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With the white pickets 'gone', the house sits larger on its footprint.  White jumps forward, making things appear smaller.  Trim at the windows I would paint 2 tones darker than the siding.  Again, enlarging the house. 
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If gutters are added later, I would choose an old copper color, gutters would rise to the roof, and downspouts would not visually appear as 'columns'.  Why is this important?  Old copper colored gutters raise entire height of a house. 
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Wish this house, below, was at the back of our 5 acres, and when age begins to dictate, move into it, renting the 'big' house. 
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Really like the changes they made to this house, below.  Gutsy, and perfect.  Small details, done right.  A husband/wife team, they've renovated this jewel box to sell.  Glad I followed the link to their website.
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Pic, above, here.
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Those columns.  Right choice, who knows how big the sink hole for dollars inside.  Paint drain pipe, to right of front door, same color as siding. 
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Exception to using exterior 'bright white', above.  This house presents as a vintage jewel box, the navy/white are working for this era.
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That tree.  Oh my.  If it were next door, I'd ask to prune it, zero charge.  That tree is waiting to be a focal point.  Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful, tree says.
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Addition new owners might make, above.  To left and right of the front porch, above, same depth, add more of the stepping stone squares, creating a front porch from left corner of house, to right corner of house.
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Add a bench under each window.  Tiny space, paint the benches same color as the siding.  White benches would shrink the space and shout too loud.  Move shrub at front to property line at right, let grow a bit taller, with its hedge, create a bit of privacy from neighbor.  Add solid green groundcover at base of tree, zero soil exposed.     
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What are your changes?  Big differences making changes for living in a house, changes to renovate/rent, changes to renovate/sell. 
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Garden & Be Well,  XOT
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Pic, above, here.
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A little conversation with Tom Stoppard, below.
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How we choose to garden is sacred.  It deserves respect.  If you've chosen your garden wisely, and put it in, in the right order, you will nudge your world in grace, and the world more than you know, in ways you're not aware of, but feel to their depths. 
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Now, what is your conversation with Tom Stoppard?  I'd really like to know. 
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The words we choose are no different from the accouterments & details we choose to live our lives, sacred. 
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Now, what changes are you wanting to make to your home & garden?

Friday, January 10, 2020

In the Garden: Future Proofed Forgiveness

House, meadow, trees.  Always a nice vision.  More, a classic agrarian Garden Design for maximum pollinator habitat.  Now we know trees talk with each other underground, via electricity, passing viable important information for survival, and thriving.  A sentience.  Trees release gasses too, to communicate.  Communicating to fungi, insects, mammals, each other, you & me.
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I had a forgiveness to be given, ca. 1982.  Toward my parents.  They were wrong, I was right, and 22 years old.  A decade of life when right & wrong seemed to matter.   Before that decade was over I learned right & wrong are merely parts of any story.  Forgiving, remaining who you are, but more, freedom from the shackles of another's agenda.
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What my parents did pushed me into pastoral counseling at the time; its end, a strange finale.  The Pastor said, "God would not judge you if you never spoke to your parents again."
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He also counseled my parents at the same time.  What did he learn from them?
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The turn of the year - Ben Pentreath Inspiration
Pic, above, here.
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Ca. 1987, gardening, not thinking of my parents, I knew, "I must have a relationship with my parents that won't make me feel guilty when they die."  Until that moment, I had maintained a cordial telephone and letter writing relationship with them.
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Until 2018 I would have told anyone the most important part of this pitiful family drama is forgiveness.  Forgiveness worked, we had a viable family life for decades, mostly ok, sometimes good, occasionally worse.  Praise, for that forgiveness.
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Pic, above, here.
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I know why the tall meadow grows, above.  Meadow blossoms attract bees & more, to the blooming fruit trees.  With the extra pollinators the fruit trees will yield up to 80% more.  Take away:  I know why the tall meadow grows.  A good thing to remember, to repeat to yourself, aloud, when confounded.
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babe in the garden
Pic, above, here.
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Not me, above, but it was.  I know her relationship to those plants, what she understands, and says back to the plants.  Plants & girl, alert to each other.  How she touches the plants, smells the plants, then smells the plants on her hands.  Not all of us lose this language we're born with.  You haven't.  You've read this far.
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 Enjoy the fruits of your labor! Apple picking surrounds Country House Bed & Breakfast - a perfect fall activity!
Pic, above, here.
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My art, drive, mission, is historic garden design, Agrarian.  Studied historic gardens across Europe for decades, 80's - 90's.
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Saw the Agrarian Garden Design model decades ago yet only recently understood, why it's art, and transcendence, with science proving its near sentient realm of living.  Forgiveness for my parents?  It was the garden, its methodologies, its art, my art, its sentience, its pace, my sentience, my pace, with belief in God, all of this, the full monty, putting forgiveness into me, as I prayed for.  Not knowing to expect more.
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I know why the tall meadow grows.  I know it's where I belong.  In the tall meadow my life thrives, grows, no matter fires approaching.  Fires seen, unseen.  Fires doing their work, turning all to ash.  Those first bright green blades, rising above charred black soil, I know why the tall meadow grows.
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Do I need to forgive the fire?  I know why the tall meadow grows, to teach me acceptance.
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More than tall meadow burns, all attracted to the tall meadow burns.  By design.  Nature cycles this story, eons now.
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Fire in the tall meadow came before me, and will come after me.  My final fire in the tall meadow, I'll be a part of the bright green blades.  Amusing.  Not so final.  A parable, learned, because I know why the tall meadow grows.
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When the leaves drop from the trees in fall, leaving them bare for winter, they are nurtured and fed, made stronger, by what they let go of.
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It is this learning from trees, about their leaves, letting me see there is the Bible, written by man, inspired by the word of God, and there is the direct word of Providence, in Nature.
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 A cozy library/ family room with dark panelled walls full of books and art.
Pic, above, here.
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Time passed, forgiveness gave me a relationship with my parents.  Dad died unexpectedly, 2012.  What I had expected from forgiveness, was given, and more.  Glory.  How rare we can use that word, glory, toward our life.  Glory, in our life.
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From an Interview with Krista Tippet & Robert McFarlane, below.
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"Robert Macfarlane: “Look at the gift of being, now. Look at the astonishing responsibility of legacy-leaving. There is one image at the heart, as it were, of Underland and of the underland, which is the hand, the opened palm, the stretched fingers. And that, we know first, is in a way the first mark of art. The maker would place their hand on the cave wall and then take a mouthful of ochre, red ochre, often, and then spit the dust against the hand and then pull the hand away. And so, you leave the ghost print. And for me, that hand of — that open hand that is reaching across time, that is pressing against rock, leaning also into the future, but also the hand of help and of collaboration. And I found it everywhere."

"Ms.  Tippet: Let's just plunge in. There’s this sentence you have:  “For nearly two decades, I have been writing about the relationships of landscape and the human heart.” And I just find that such an intriguing way for you to describe your focus and that intersection. And I wonder, how would you trace the earliest, deepest roots of this? And even as I wrote that question, I realized, that’s kind of an Underland metaphor — but the deepest roots of this orientation in your earliest life, in the background of your life and childhood."

"Mr. Macfarlane: This glorious mutualism, which is about 450 million years old, we think, because a fossil photograph, lithograph, effectively, exists from around then, showing it in action, whereby fungi, certain fungi — ecto- and endomycorrhizal fungi plug into the roots of trees and plants at a cellular level and create an interface across which resources and messages, to some degree, can be carried. And then those fungi plug into the roots of other trees, and so the trees can, as Suzanne Simard, the pioneering forest ecologist who helped break open this ground, writes, can talk to one another. And once you’ve met this idea, wow, it shakes the ground you walk on. A park is a wondrous place. But it also challenges our ideas of what an individual is, what an organism is, where being begins and ends. It does not end at the body horizon; we know that increasingly, in complex and often political ways."
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 Habitually Chic® » Le Mas des Poiriers Revisited
Pic, above, here.
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Mom died at the end of 2018.  Forgiveness had done its job again, glory.  This time, forgiveness had more to teach.  My Pastor's words came back, "God would not judge you if you never spoke to your parents again."  Fire, without cooling from the past.
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Sifting family photo albums late afternoon, the day mom was buried, I came across some things belonging to me, and wasband.  Things, without, making a negative impact upon our lives.  More tea cup dark dramas from that era were found, yet nothing caused my forgiveness to waver.  Not a chinking bit.
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My Pastor saw the fire engulfing my tall meadow.  He knew its ember.  Hence, his wise counsel.
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I'm not capable of forgiving the full breadth of this family drama, its mean twists.  The goodness I have within is not broad enough, wide enough, nor deep enough.  Yet my forgiveness from long ago, keeps growing, across decades.  I know why the tall meadow grows.
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Forgiveness is merely a component of this story.  Are you one of the lucky ones, who knew the larger component of my forgiveness?  Before I did?
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Being in the Garden, to forgive, is this story. 
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Knowing why the tall meadow grows, why the leaves fall, why the edge of meadow/forest & marsh/ocean are margins we all depend upon, for survival, should have clued me in sooner.
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New science studies of Nature with sentience, trees talking to other trees, and not just to their own kind.  Biomes, in our bodies, from Nature, fungi, bacteria, & microbes, without them our bodies die;  those biomes shot through with the same electrical current trees use to communicate.  Our bodies communicating with Nature.  Science knowing, for decades, our gut plays a large role in our emotions. 
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Add this wrinkle to known science, trees, plants, soil, playing a large role in our emotions, via the electrical currents flowing from fungi in the ground, to the same fungi living in our biomes.
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My tall meadow has burned, arson, and a forgiveness given long ago, rides hi, clear, strong, & bigger.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Sideways, and collateral, to life, forgiveness, joy, Providence, art, knowing why the tall meadow grows, here.
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Deep Earth emerging science studies, here.
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2018 was the best year, ever, with my mom.  Never laughed and cried so much with mom, combined across our lives, as 2018.
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Do not mean to imply my tall meadow has never burned due to personal stupidity.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Odd Ministry: Interior Potted Plants

Finally, tipped across the line.  Again.
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This house, below, did it.

Habitually Chic® » The Halls are Decked: Part Deux

Plants in terra cotta pots, everywhere.

Habitually Chic® » The Halls are Decked: Part Deux

Scaled and shaped, the pots, and the pots with the plants, in joy.

Habitually Chic® » The Halls are Decked: Part Deux

Since watching PBS British murder mysteries, beginning early 80's, I locked on the terra cotta planted pots sprinkled liberally inside houses, offices, public buildings.

Habitually Chic® » The Halls are Decked: Part Deux

This home has remained in my head, days since first seeing it.

Habitually Chic® » The Halls are Decked: Part Deux

First, imagining the planted terra cotta pots will be the major focal point of my Christmas decorations next year.  And using moss at the rim of the pots, with a bit of sparkle.  Probably small leaded crystal pieces from broken chandeliers.  The type sold for decades, and never bought.  My bad.

Habitually Chic® » The Halls are Decked: Part Deux

How to get top results with first efforts?  Don't know, making it up as I go.
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Here's the plan.
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Draw a layout of our house, make several blank copies, walk thru the house designing for planted pot placements.  Notate sizes needed & types of plants speaking their way to reality in each of the pots.

Habitually Chic® » The Halls are Decked: Part Deux

Finally, why wait till next Christmas?

Habitually Chic® » The Halls are Decked: Part Deux
Pics, above, here.

Once the Potted Plant Interior Design is completed, I'll peruse my terra cotta pot collection, not insignificant, and bring the-chosen-ones inside, all to a single large table.
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Only easy interior plants will be used, none that get spider mites, fungus, scale.  Willing to go 'boring' for top performance.
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Will keep the plants in plastic pots, set into the terra cotta pots, with a bit of Spanish moss to cover the plastic.  Must be easy.
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Decades of wanting to do this.  Seeing the house, above, shazaaaam, tipped to action.  Don't understand it, taking it as another life gift.
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Wickedly, hope the house, above, has tipped you too.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Pic, above, here.
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And, the Garden said, "Bring me inside."
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Pic, above, here.
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And, the Garden said, "Plant me in pots, give them away.  Let it be a ministry."
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 Rest amidst the storm - Ben Pentreath Inspiration
Pic, above, here.
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And, the Garden said, "I'm always talking to you. Whether you hear me or not."
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 little augury
Pic, above, here.
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And, the Garden said, "I love you."
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Notice I'll be drawing a layout, carefully choosing pots, designing the correct plant shapes/sizes for each spot on the drawing?  Seems so easy to site interior plants, right?
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Never done it, but not fooled.  When they look good, it's a talented brain/eye/heart doing the interior plants.
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As they say in LA, Lower Alabama, "Don't rush the monkey, you'll get a better show."
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And, the Garden said, "Stewardship awaits, you'll take it as the armor of God, without weight, without effort."
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More than bringing plants into my interiors  I'm bringing the full weight of my garden.  Why does that matter?  I leave the world, walking into my garden, and it's my world the garden helps me understand.  How is it, I cannot see the alertness of my garden, yet feel its waves thru my body?
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Outside my garden there is false strength to keep at bay hard facts and hard truths and hard wisdoms not yet accepted.  Inside my garden there's a private line of communication.  Dribbling bits of those hard truths, in so much love, there is no hesitation, none, no anguish, in taking the message, leaving old ways of thinking.  Redemption can be that fast.  And, easy.  Outside my garden those redemptions have little chance of being seen, or heard, much less, taken.
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More than a few potted plants inside.  I need their loving ministry.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Garden Furniture: Garage Table

Self explanatory, below, excepting the delight in discovery.  Why did I never think of this?  Ever. 
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Light weight, multi-functional, 2 pieces particle board.  End to end, side by side, only one, whatever, as job requires.  Maybe you're hosting an afternoon of gathering greenery for garland making with friends.  Poof, huge table, 4-6 boards.
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Lightly, but seriously, designing garage interiors, for decades, this, below, is amazing.  Most everyone needs an empty table in the garage.  Here it is.  Upright, the garbage cans are permanent storage, easily accessed, lifting the particle board for access. 

Dirt Simple | Gardening and Landscape Blog by Deborah Silver
Pic, above, here.

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Nor does anything have to be bought if you're willing to hunt/gather with a keen, knowing eye.  Those are the tables I would adore seeing.  The one you put together from 'found' elements.
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How is it I'm emancipated in my garden?  What is its alchemy?  How did I not know I needed emancipating?  What is this dispensation?  What power, what force is at work, doing this for me, and you?
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Discovering this table, is discovering more good gardening.  Decades gardening, discoveries never fail to delight.  This table, above, pure alchemy.
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Stack the garbage cans, store the particle board against the wall behind the garbage cans.  I know you're seeing more than I have.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Monday, December 9, 2019

Make the Right Choices For YOUR Garden

The best gardens are flexible.  This garden, below, has been done myriad times across centuries and continents. 
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This garden was mine, for awhile, in my 20's.  By late 30's I knew, take out all the perennials, too much down time in winter, too much dead-heading, cutting-back, dividing.  Instead, flowering shrubs, evergreen groundcovers, a mix of bulbs.  A few perennials paid the rent, iris, hardy ferns, helleborus, Dianthus 'Bath Pink', peony, rudbeckia, a French hollyhock a student gave me, done. 


Pic, above , here.
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The necessity of making trade-offs alters how we feel about the decisions we face; more important, it affects the level of satisfaction we experience from the decisions we ultimately make.
With changes, my garden was easier to take care of, with no major dormancy season.  Most importantly is time saved, opportunity cost.  What opportunity?  Enjoying my garden, instead of my garden working me. 
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Fall in love with the garden, above, sure.  Yet, make it work for you, your life.
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There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.

— Thomas Sowell
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Good Garden Design inherently has myriad right choices.  Oddly, when it's 'your' garden bad choices aren't as apparent.  Give Garden Design advice to a friend or neighbor, and mostly right choices flow.  A new Cole Porter song is in this truth, with a Noel Coward play backdrop. 
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"Each of the myriad decisions we make on a daily basis carries an opportunity cost. If we don’t consider them, we easily end up stuck in situations where we’re forgoing things we’d rather prioritize. We end up lamenting what we’re missing out on against our will, unsure how this happened. But if we first consider the tradeoffs associated with the decisions we make, we can end up with far more satisfying choices."  Farnum Street.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Seeing: George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

In Thanksgiving, others see things too, below. 


Pic, above, here.
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Gardens, I see easily, in multi-media.  Radical multi-media.  Lunch with a client recently, "You saw where I was going with the garden, when I didn't know, and how my life would interact with the garden." 

 Title: Garden Open Today  Author: Beverly Nichols  Publication: E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc. New York, NY  Publication Date: 1963    Book Description: Red hardback with cover sleeve.  252 pages with drawings by William McLaren    Call Number: SB 455 .N54
Pic, above, here.
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Often, what I see flies, below.

 Famous-Paintings-Zarathustra-Fat-Cat-New-Art-Svetlana-Petrova
Pic, above, here.
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From James and the Giant Peach, below.  During church, the sermon, many years ago, live action characters arrived from James & the Giant Peach, accentuating the sermon and Pastor.  In tempo with the sermon, but you knew that, right?  Wasband gave me 'the eye', What's so funny?

 Nancy Ekholm Burkert’s James and the Giant Peach: a gothic fairytale
Pic, above, here.
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It is this 'seeing', I think, letting me 'see' gardens.  Not what's there, what will be there.  And, fit into a life. 
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Beloved wishing this 'gift' more practical, Why not see colors and numbers arriving at roulette? 
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This extracurricular seeing, a gift, from Providence.  Thankful.
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Came across George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation, ca. 1789, recently.  Written a year after a 2 year extravaganza at Mount Vernon, installing a Garden Design drawn ca. 1785.    A Garden Design beginning at his front door, facing land, creating an axis 1 mile long, thru wilderness.  Barely a day passed, 1787-1788, without intense Garden Design installations. 
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Seeing, Gardening to Thanksgiving Proclamation, it's obvious George Washington saw things too.
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IMHO.
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From POTUS1,

Thanksgiving Proclamation
New York, 3 October 1789
(Bold is added by the author.)
By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of George Washington Praying Thanksgivingpublic thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go: Washington
Source: “Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified June 29, 2017,
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Their Perfect Home Was Missing This Layer

Recently I lectured in North Georgia.  A neighborhood amongst lakes, streams, hardwoods, in the foothills of the Appalachians.  The program chair invited me to stay in her home.  Yes.
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Their home had the good fortune of being custom built, and better fortune, atop a mountain.  Their views surpassing many of the best views I've seen in the South.  At the back of their home, all windows, are views of sky, lakes, rivers, islands in lakes, mountains, more mountains, as far as the eye can see, yet below them, views to hillsides sloping steeply down, expanses of woodland upon soft rises, and hardwoods climbing quickly up steep cliffs across a ravine, betray none of the neighbors homes nested on hillsides.  Their neighborhood property owners association has miraculously kept it as pristine as the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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Their views are greater than 180 degrees, closer to 270 degrees.  No words.  Plenty of awe.
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Pic, above, here.
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Over early morning coffee, overlooking views, then breakfast of yogurt mixed with oatmeal & fresh fruit, overlooking different views, I had to share an observation of her interior.
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All perfection, not a single wrong layer.  Surprise, at what was missing.
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Pic, above,  here.
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Tall branches, in arrangements.  Views of thousands of acres of hardwood trees, yet no vase/s of tall branches.
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 Beautiful!
Pic, above, here.
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Her mind was quick to bite, I could see it on her face.  Then, "Would you come back again and lecture about floral arranging?"  "No".
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I've already sent her resources for someone to speak about floral arranging.  Their passion for floral arranging matching mine for Garden Design.
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 Stripped Elderberry
Pic, above, here.
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I have no words for what plants and arrangements from the Garden do for interiors, excepting, grace, a form of thanks to, and from, Providence.  If that makes sense.
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     "Knowledge hinges on an act of correlation & interpretation.  At the top is wisdom, which has a moral component, it is the application of information worth remembering & knowledge that matters to understanding not only how the world works, but also how it should work and that requires a moral framework of what should & shouldn't matter, as well as an ideal of the world at its highest potentiality."  Maria Popova.
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When I mentioned what was missing from her interiors, I knew she 'got it' too, about Maria Popova's words.
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Now I'm wanting to see which vases she chooses, types of branches, and where they are placed.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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 I sent Floral Designer info about, Faith Flowers, Laura Iarocci, they also do international floral design tours.  Laura hired me years ago to design her private garden.  We met thru our Career Coach.  Since meeting, she's begun her thriving floral & events & tours business.  Been a joy bearing witness.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Crystal Wilkinson & Wendell Berry: "Eating Is An Agricultural Act."

"People are always surprised that black people reside in the hills of Appalachia.  Those not surprised that we were there, are surprised that we stayed.  My Family lived in the hills of Kentucky for four generations.  My grandmother came from a long line of women who worked hard and cooked well.  The long lists of food I'll describe here will make you think my folks had deep pockets, but they didn't.  Hardworking poor blacks who couldn't break the barriers of nepotism or racism in education or the workforce, they continued the tradition of farming.  Tobacco.  Corn.  A few head of cattle.  A few dairy cows.  My grandparents lived primarily off the land.  They owned sixty-four acres and had a modest income from the crops they raised.  My grandfather prided himself on taking care of his family, his animals, and his land.  My grandmother prided herself on making sure her family was fed.  I read somewhere once that pride stems from fear.  I imagine my grandparents were hungry more than once in their youths, but I never was."  Crystal Wilkinson.
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Pairing Crystal Wilkinson with an essay Wendell Berry wrote 3 decades ago, at bottom, with introduction by Alice Waters, are parallel odes, to our core life, where we make the choices.  Choices with meaning, whether we know it or not, and whether we make the choices or not. 
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  “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
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“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
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Quotes, above, here.
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Essays by Crystal Wilkinson, and Wendell Berry, found at, Emergence Magazine, an online magazine focusing on ecology, culture, spirituality.  (This is not a paid endorsement.)

Praise Song for the Kitchen Ghosts

by Crystal Wilkinson
“I want the muscle memory in my body to guide me back across the back roads of Kentucky to Indian Creek into the screen door of our grandmother’s kitchen.”
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Complete essay, by Crystal Wilkinson, HERE.


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Pic, above, here.
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Pic, above, here.
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Image result for alice waters wendell berry
Alice Waters, pic above, here.
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 The Pleasures of Eating, by Wendell Berry.

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Introduction, below, by Alice Waters.
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When I first read Wendell Berry’s essay The Pleasures of Eating nearly thirty years ago, it electrified me. Wendell launches the essay with that brilliant line of his: “Eating is an agricultural act.” That statement reverberated deeply and articulated for me a fundamental truth about how I want to live my life.
At the time this essay was published, I had been running Chez Panisse for about eighteen years. I had started the restaurant as a little place to feed my friends in the counterculture—a place where we could gather around the table, eat delicious food, and discuss the politics of the time. We didn’t set out with food activism in mind. Instead, it was our pursuit of taste that brought us to the doorsteps of the small, local organic farmers. As we developed relationships with those producers—men and women who were growing flavorful heritage crops and farming in traditional ways that protected the land—we realized how dependent we were upon them, and they upon us. Over the years, that local network of organic suppliers came to define the food and philosophy at Chez Panisse. We realized how much our lives were enriched by the values they brought into the restaurant. We were experiencing a dawning awareness that our everyday food choices were agricultural—were, indeed, political—and that we could either choose to strengthen the global industrial food system or choose to participate in an entirely different local, rural economy.
In these three intervening decades, I have come to fully understand the astonishing, uncanny prescience of Wendell Berry’s vision. Here, he outlines the entire dysfunction of our current industrial food system: namely, how the food industry divorces us from the land, and in doing so, pulls the wool over our eyes about the wrongdoings taking place within that system every day. Wendell shows us how we are all victims of fast food culture, made passive and dependent by the multinational industrial food conglomerates. We have all been indoctrinated by the values of this fast food culture, told that cooking is drudgery; that food should look and taste the same all year round, wherever we are in the world, no matter what the season; that time is money, and speed should be cherished above all else; that our choices, food-related or otherwise, have no consequences.
These are, of course, a series of falsehoods, and Wendell exposes them all with piercing clarity. These falsehoods resonate even more today in the face of imminent climate chaos. But Wendell’s is also a message of hope: here he guides us with seven practical, succinctly presented suggestions for how we can lead our lives more humanely. These proposals are simple. They make sense. They connect us to the land and to the traditions that have sustained us since the beginning of civilization. And they are pleasurable.
Pleasure, to Wendell, is essential. This essay is a warning, but it is also a reminder of the joy that comes when you live in tune with the natural world. In this manner, too, Wendell could see into the future. He saw the potential for a powerful counterforce to fast food culture, one based around those earthbound values that knit us together as human beings on this planet.
Wendell Berry was more than just prescient. He wrote in such a lucid, lyrical way that we have as much to learn from him now as we did then—more perhaps, now that we need so desperately to hear his hopeful message. Thirty years later, I believe we are ready for Wendell.
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From, Wendell Berry's, The Pleasures of Eating, below,
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"It is possible, then, to be liberated from the husbandry and wifery of the old household food economy. But one can be thus liberated only by entering a trap (unless one sees ignorance and helplessness as the signs of privilege, as many people apparently do). The trap is the ideal of industrialism: a walled city surrounded by valves that let merchandise in but no consciousness out. How does one escape this trap? Only voluntarily, the same way that one went in: by restoring one’s consciousness of what is involved in eating, by reclaiming responsibility for one’s own part in the food economy. One might begin with the illuminating principle of Sir Albert Howard’s The Soil and Health, that we should understand “the whole problem of health in soil, plant, animal, and man as one great subject.” Eaters, that is, must understand that eating takes place inescapably in the world, that it is inescapably an agricultural act, and that how we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used. This is a simple way of describing a relationship that is inexpressibly complex. To eat responsibly is to understand and enact, so far as one can, this complex relationship. What can one do? Here is a list, probably not definitive:..."
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List, here.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T