Sunday, July 31, 2016


If I had no family nearby, if Ed were not by my side (or if he were to be always preoccupied from morning til dawn with a project -- like he is now), all Sundays would look like this: I would be up fairly early, I would work outside, snipping, watering, I would clean the house, I would eat a breakfast (a very solitary breakfast) and then I would either work on some writing project, or I would read, or, like today, I would catch up on computer work.

I would post photos only of my garden (not that I do not love my garden). I would give not much thought to dinner (salads were invented for people who want to throw a dinner into one big bowl). I would think about the week ahead and look carefully at my budget to make sure I could afford another toy for my grandchild (that lived far away, because remember -- I'm imagining living alone, far from family...).

My normal Sunday does not look like this, but today was not normal and indeed, the above describes it most perfectly. Ed is intensely preoccupied with bringing his machine to market (though he insisted on vacuuming -- which is his job in farmhouse-clean up and which I graciously left to him, even though I knew that in his state of tiredness and preoccupation, he would gloss over surfaces and I would have to pick up all he left behind). And the young family is coming to dinner tomorrow, not today (for reasons that I will explain tomorrow). And so I was today (nearly) alone with my flowers.

And that's pretty much all you get, so you better like flowers.

(Some colors only work well together in nature...)

farmette life-2.jpg

(I do a lot of maintenance work at the roadside bed...)

farmette life-11.jpg

(The girls follow, to see where I'm working and what I'm up to. )

farmette life-5.jpg

(By the driveway: frilly things, still going strong.)

farmette life-12.jpg

(A far corner of the Great Bed...)

farmette life-15.jpg

There is a precious and quite wonderful breakfast with Ed on the porch.

farmette life-20.jpg

... and that's it! Dinner is -- well, you know: as described above. The salad, a couple of cheeper eggs, left over corn from the corn farmers and oyster mushrooms from the market. And tomatoes from our garden! (Here's Ed, bringing in today's haul.)

farmette life-22.jpg

Yes, Ed did join me for dinner. I was grateful that he could stay awake. He is one tired guy.

I'll end with the flowers. Because on the last day of July, it's still all about the flowers around here.

farmette life-16.jpg

Saturday, July 30, 2016


A weekend post. Just a handful of words, because honestly, weekend days are almost always too full to allow for careful writing. But I do have photos for you. I can sit quietly and let them pick up the story of a day. They'll speak of colors and changes and outings and romps with arms flying. Let's begin!

First, the flowers. Two side beds to start us off. They're thriving and I'm not surprised: it's been a good year for flowers.

farmette life-5.jpg

farmette life-7.jpg

Breakfast. With table flowers. I have to admit that these are rarely from our flowers beds. I can only cut down stalks that have fallen. I cannot get myself to tamper with fields in bloom.

farmette life-11.jpg

One look toward the sheep shed...

farmette life-17.jpg

... and I'm off. To Snowdrop's home. Hey, little girl, let's go go go! To the market. Gaga, mommy and you!

Okay okay, okay!

farmette life-20.jpg

On the Square now, waiting for mommy to pick up baked treats to munch on.

farmette life-27.jpg

farmette life-30.jpg

A spice girl for the little one today.

farmette life-32.jpg

At the market itself, I pick up my usual oyster mushrooms. And I add to this stalks of flowers -- they're everywhere today and indeed, many of them are grown in the fields just to the east of us. One of my favorite vendors lets me pick out my own stems and charges hardly anything for the bunch I put together. And she offers Snowdrop some extras.

farmette life-33.jpg

farmette life-39.jpg

At another stall, I pick up sweet Door County cherries...

farmette life-41.jpg

I rarely come with a list on these Saturday outings. I treat these purchases as extras, supplementing what I have back home.

And at the end of our spin around the Square, Snowdrop comes out of her stroller and  she and her mom engage in a chase that makes me smile each time I witness it.

farmette life-43.jpg

It's joyous and proud...

farmette life-45.jpg

... and full of love.

farmette life-51.jpg

I return to the farmette with my purchases.

farmette life-58.jpg

And now it's time for Ed and I to set out. Ours is not a big outing, but it's one we both like quite a bit: to the east, where we stop by a nursery to see if they still have some annual plants that they're trying to offload at rock bottom prices. I'm a tad late. Most of the stock is gone, but I do pick up a couple of wilted pots that I'll happily restore in one of my beds.

We're close to our favorite chocolate shop and so we stop there as well. And finally, we swing by the corn farm for a few cobs for supper. (The family of farmers also raise long horn cattle. Ed thinks I'm neglecting them here on Ocean. I'm amused at his insistence that I stop and take a picture. They're just cattle. They're long horns!  I give in. Here's a pic of the mom scratching her own back while the little calf looks on.

farmette life-63.jpg

Home again. Beautiful, bountiful, colorful home. I spend the rest of the afternoon trimming beds, planting the vulnerable newcommers and watering all the ones that I think need water.

farmette life-67.jpg

The day had beautiful weather, which in turn made even the most ordinary scene look spectacular. You just need to step outside -- how easy is that?!

farmette life-14.jpg

Friday, July 29, 2016


Let's start with the flowers. I'm in a hurry and so I trim only a scant handful. Yet, I'm satisfied with the way the farmette fields present themselves right now. It could be that until the last bloom fades, I will always be satisfied. (The key is not to look at a bed with the same expectations as you may have had say in June.)

farmette life-9.jpg

Breakfast. Ed is exhausted. Launching his machining project has been incredibly taxing, but he never complains. In all my years with him, I've never heard him grumble about anything. He just forges on.

farmette life-6.jpg

I go over to be with Snowdrop and guess what? She wants to go outside. Right away. Forever and ever.

farmette life-13.jpg

There's an unusual twist to this day, as I have a prearranged meet up with my closest of friends in town. Snowdrop is happy to find in her a kindred soul.

farmette life-18.jpg

We spend a few good minutes on the playground before a rain sets in.

farmette life-20.jpg

Towards evening, Snowdrop comes to the farmette. The place of yellows and golds, in my eyes.

farmette life-35.jpg

The little one is delighted to see Ed as he returns from his weekly engineering meetings. She'll not know that he's had some trying times with his project. He would never impose that on her, on me, on anyone.

farmette life-44.jpg

I make pizza, in part because I know Snowdrop loves both the process and the end result. Here, she's questioning the necessity of baking anything at all. The cheese was good, the marinara sauce? Superb straight out of the jar.

farmette life-48.jpg

As the pizza bakes, I ask Ed why a mechanical toy of Snowdrop's has ceased to work. He fixes it for her and she insists on helping him with this job. Only now do I realize that this girl already has helped me weed her mommy's flower bed, helped me make the pizza, and now is hell bent on helping Ed fix her toy. (Ah-ah, use this screwdriver!)

farmette life-52.jpg

After dinner, she again wants to be outside. I gently rub some miraculous ointment on her -- miraculous, in that it claims to be wonderfully natural, at the same time that it promises to keep all insects at a mile's radius away from you. Or some such nonsense. Ah well -- we haven't a terrible bug problem at the moment, thank goodness.

I tell her I want to deadhead some spent flowers. You wont be surprised to learn that she wants to help.

And she does help, pulling out stuff that... well, wont be hurt by her enthusiastic gardening tactics.

farmette life-62.jpg

Snowdrop does not shy away from tough jobs.

farmette life-69.jpg

That's the lesson for this day: kids are born with a desire to contribute. To do more than their fair share. To be independent and capable, humorous and kind. Oh, but to keep those impulses alive and going strong in all of them, in all of us!

We can but try.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


We repeat ourselves. In obvious ways and in ways we do not realize or even fully understand. And I don't just mean the rerun of the same old, like the breakfast on the porch theme here, at the farmette. (Though yes, there was a lovely breakfast on the porch, with Ed sporting his Woody Allen look -- something he does when, for example, I am not fully comprehending why I cannot open a window when we turn on our brand new and about time we got one dehumidifier in the basement.)

farmette life-3.jpg

Nor do I mean merely admiring yet again that familiar bed of lilies before the porch...

farmette life-6.jpg

What I'm thinking of is the stuff that we rerun in our lives because it made us happy once and it makes us happy again. And again.

More on this later. First, a run through the day. And by now perhaps you've figured out that if it's Thursday, then it's gym class for Snowdrop. And I'm her partner here.

(Stepping onto the balance beam: let go, grandma! Gulp! Snowdrop, go slowly!)

farmette life-25.jpg

(Her biggest thrill: maneuvering through the entanglements in the "doughnut hole.")

farmette life-18.jpg

(Bubbles end the class.)

farmette life-35.jpg

We always visit the library after gym class. This time, she discovers something I had no intention of having her discover: the children's computer station. When she is with me, I never let her touch my computer. Ever. (I doubt that her parents give her the freedom to pound away either.) But at the library, there is no penalty to clicking away. For once, I do not say "no." Her reaction? See for yourself:

farmette life-39.jpg

We then go to Paul's coffee shop. Yes, she has a cookie bit, yes, yes, the usual. But perhaps more interesting for my grandma record of our time together is the handful of minutes after, where she walks over to the play corner and shows off her love of letters. (Did I tell you? She has a love of the alphabet -- she'll get very excited by an "esh" or a "why." I don't know how she got there. I don't think any of us have been especially zeroed in on letter identification. No, she did not draw these on the board. She merely identified some of them.)

farmette life-54.jpg

We're home. Our little Dodgers fan, welcomed as always by the cheepers.

farmette life-56.jpg

(After her bath, she plays with chickens inside the farmhouse.)

farmette life-78.jpg

And now I have just way too many pictures of Snowdrop from the rest of the day. With the cheepers, with the flowers, in various lovely spots in the gardens, and that's all fine -- a grandma in love with her granddaughter, surrounded by the flowers -- but during Snowdrop's nap, as I study them on my computer, I am interrupted by a message coming in from my daughter. She's sending two photos that she'd picked up from a family album (ones she tracked down after reading my Monday post). The year was 1988. We were visiting Washington D.C. and of course, I would have had us take a peek at the Impressionists in the National Gallery. I seem to have taken just three photos of my daughters there. Two are shockingly familiar. Here, take a look. First, my youngest, when she herself was just three...


And here are both girls. Two sisters, looking on at the girl with the watering can.

cara and sus.jpg

So how did this come to be? I focused on those two paintings 28 years ago. How is it that they came to my mind again just this week? I've seen hundreds if not thousands of paintings since then. (I love popping in on special exhibitions or revisiting familiar ones.) Why was it that exactly these, the same two popped into my mind again?

Because. They recalled then and they recall now all that is good and beautiful when you look outside. I have to think that I recognized that loveliness first when I was about Snowdrop's age, in the gardens of the village house where I lived with my grandparents as a toddler. And I recognized it again when my daughters gazed at those paintings. And I saw it yet again when Snowdrop stood in that garden and looked so very innocent against that backdrop of flowers.

Let me post just a few more photos from this afternoon. Of Snowdrop. Of flowers. Of cheepers. Of innocent joy and trust and beauty. At least this is what they recall for me.

(Picking tomatoes.)

farmette life-67.jpg

(Visiting ah ah in the sheep shed.)

farmette life-62.jpg

(The grandest of grand lilies.)

farmette life-1-2.jpg

(Yet another bed of spectacular ones.)

farmette life-2-2.jpg

(After her nap, Snowdrop insists on taking penguin out for a walk in the garden. Another Monet moment? It is for me...)

farmette life-9.jpg

(She takes to the watering can again...)

farmette life-10-2.jpg

(... and has conversations with cheepers who are never far from her side.)

farmette life-18-2.jpg

(Running to visit the guy in the sheep shed...)

farmette life-20.jpg

(Pausing to smell the flowers. Or, to let penguin smell the flowers...)

farmette life-27-2.jpg

I'll end with two pics of butterflies. I did not know their name, but I asked about them at the farmers market tonight and I got the right answer: swallowtails.

farmette life-32-2.jpg

Swallowtails, because if you look at them closely, you'll see in their wings that sweep of a swallow's tail.

farmette life-35-2.jpg

Did I ever tell you what powerful symbolism swallows have for me? About my tiny swallow tattoo? About the name of my Great Writing Project, which has the name swallow in it?

We just repeat ourselves in our good thoughts, nothing more. And you know, that's not such a bad thing.