Archive for July, 2011

July 23, 2011

How Does My Garden Grow?

Half of my herbs

Quite well, thank you.

The summer is just perfect for growing things and my garden is looking pretty good. This year I have stuck to tomatoes and herbs. We almost drowned in cucumbers last year and Peter hated the lettuce which grew fresh and organic in my garden. So, this year it is tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes.

Healthy and happy

Few things are as relaxing and pleasant as spending some time tending to the plants in the garden. It is a wonder to watch them grow and to anticipate the fabulous tomatoes and meals soon to come. I have always loved tending things. Back when I used to ride, I enjoyed grooming and caring for the horses as much as riding them. Even stall mucking.
 The garden is the same circular shape as last year and I have the sunflowers growing up through the middle, but I rotated crops and the tomatoes are in ground which hosted other vegetation last year. You are supposed to “rest” the ground for three years, but I will be out of rotations next year so we’ll hope for the best. One of the most interesting things is that I have rogue tomato plants sprouting up all over the place. I wrote previously that we rented a rototiller in the early spring and tilled manure and lime into the soil. There must have been some old tomato seeds as well because I have plants sprouting up and they are flowering and promise to bear fruit. I have had to pull many out, which kills me, to give them space. So much for cutting back on the tomatoes.The herbs are looking well, too. I have  cilantro, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, three kinds of basil and something else  I can no longer identify. They are starting  to get big enough that I can use them. Ellie loves to pluck a basil leaf so  some of it will never make it to the house.

Rogue tomatoes

Such are the pleasures of a summer garden. Eating the produce is only a part of the fun.
July 17, 2011

In Memoriam

It is impossible for me to believe that one year ago today we buried my mother. How can it be that I haven’t spoken to her, heard her voice or seen her in over a year now? I guess one of the incomprehensible aspects of death is that someone so integral in one’s life can suddenly disappear. They disappear and those of us still here just have to keep on going.

My mother was an incredible woman. I have written about that and anyone who knew her can attest to it as well. When I was at Ferd and Bobbie’s house last year after she had died, there was a temporary bed in the little tv room off their sun room. During the brief time Bobbie had come home after she got the feeding tube and before she had to return to the hospital because of complications, she slept on that bed. I was so pleased to see that Ferd had printed a copy of Ellie’s prom picture and it was lying on the bed table. It was so comforting to know that my mother had seen her beautiful granddaughter on that special occasion. It is sad and difficult to think of the many momentous events and accomplishments of her grandchildren will go unknown by her because she is no longer here.

I don’t think my mother believed that the beloved dead were watching us from somewhere above or in heaven. I don’t think she believed the spirit survived the corporeal death. Watching her take her last breath, I knew that the person, the soul that was my mother was ending. She is not here anymore and she is not watching from above. What remains of my mother, of Bobbie, lives in the hearts and minds of all of us who knew and loved her. Our memories keep her alive and with us.

Often this year when I miss my mother too much, I call Ferd. Hearing his voice and talking to him is the closest I can come to talking to my mother. I am very grateful that in the aftermath of her death, we are at least as close or closer than we ever were. It is a big comfort.

One of the things I learned as Bobbie was dying that the 23rd Psalm was Bobbie’s favorite. We printed it on the little programs at her wake. They are certainly moving and beautiful words.

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD

The Lord is my
shepherd,
I shall not want;
He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in
paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk
through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil;
for You
are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall
dwell in the house of the
Lord forever.

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July 16, 2011

Norfolk Farmer’s Market and Craft Fair July 9, 2011

Last Saturday I made good on a plan. I had talked about wanting to have a booth at a crafts fair for months and this was the day. The Norfolk (CT) Farmer’s Market and Craft Fair is held every Saturday from May through September in front of the village hall in Norfolk. It is a small market with the preponderance of vendors from local farms. Unlike many farmer’s market, they also encourage local craftspeople to exhibit.

July 9th was an absolutely perfect summer day. I had been preparing and planning my booth for quite some time. I had made checklists of the things I would need to have on hand. I had a cash box and Ellie had supplied me with bills for change from her Cheeburger earnings. A trip to Staples yielded price tags and a pad to record sales. I had a good sturdy table, table cloths to adorn it and two chairs. Some weeks ago Jim had found some inexpensive earring display racks online and I had three of those.

Of course, an important part of the preparations was creating the items I would be selling. I had amassed quite a collection of earrings, necklaces, sewn baby bibs and knitted chenille washcloths. There were also beaded bookmarks and a large collection of beaded place markers for knitters. While I have some woolen items knit up, I am saving those for cooler days.

Peter had gamely volunteered to work the show with me. I was up at 5:30 the morning of loading the car and making sure all was prepared. We didn’t actually have to be there until 9, but I was raring to do. My booth space was quite good. I had thought I would be off in some corner as a new vendor but I had a good location on a corner of the inner row of booths. Peter and I spent a happy hour setting up and by 10, we were ready.

Now I would love to tell you that I couldn’t keep up with demand and I was a complete sell out, but that wasn’t the case. Peter had some advice for me from someone he knows who works in gold. She said that if things didn’t sell it wasn’t because they weren’t good, it was the crowd. I think she was right. My stuff looked pretty darn good and a lot of people commented that the jewelry was beautiful. Truth is, most people came to buy fresh produce or locally made cheeses. I don’t think they were psychologically prepared to spend a larger sum of money on crafted goods. We definitely sold some stuff and made a profit, but I would have liked more action.

Speaking of action, my colleague was eating the profits as fast as we could make them. Peter may be a delightful companion for a morning’s craft fair, but he is voracious. His tally for the morning was three baked goods, two Italian ices, two hot dogs and a bottle of water. I guess we were good supporters of our fellow vendors.

So, that was my first foray into retailing. We are signed up for more Saturdays and I am hopeful that as we get into vacation season more people will be looking to buy some delightful earrings or whatever. There is a holiday fair in December and I am thinking it might make sense to try that, too. Those people will definitely be looking for gifts. In the meantime, it was a delightful summer day with a band playing, good company and lots of people watching. Not a bad gig at all.

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