Thursday, March 22, 2018

Quote du jour/Monty Don

My dear English friend Carole sent me the address of an interview with Monty Don. You may find it here. I found it so interesting. He is very open and honest about the joys and the difficulties in his life. I jotted these words down.

One of my theories about gardening well is that you've got to give yourself to it. You've really got to pay attention and that doesn't have to be too intense - you've just got to be there. That great motto in life is to pay attention, be there. If you're planting something, do it with all your energy and mind. If you want to do anything, you've really got to do it properly.
Monty Don

Friday, March 16, 2018

A kind act

As you may know, we feed the deer in the wintertime. Here is Hazel helping Pop put down their food the other day.

They eat the deer feed on the road, and also enjoy the sunflower seeds we put out for the birds.

We live on a town road and are lucky because the town crew plow during the winter. Our plowman, Brett lifts up the plow when he gets to the feeding area so he won't plow it to the side and bury the grain in the snow bank. Such a kind thing to do as he goes about his busy day.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Quote du jour/Monty Don

I read this on wikipedia.

In May 2016, Monty Don revealed that years of gardening had left him with "dodgy knees", from which he was "almost constantly in pain". But he dismissed any suggestion of replacement joints, saying: "Listen, when you get to 60, you ache. Just take it."

Well, I, too have dodgy knees. One much worse than the other. When I was 15, my friend's mother was driving us to a local baseball game when we skidded on wet road and went off into a ditch. They were both uninjured, but I had a broken femur. In those days, 1963, the treatment was traction. I was in it for several weeks, and in the hospital for 3 months. Unheard of today. Since then, one leg has been shorter than the other, and I've always had a limp. It has naturally gotten worse as I've gotten older. At this point, one shoulder is lower than the other, and I use a cane when walking long distances, and a knee brace most days. But, just like Monty, I shall have no operations or replacements. I accept my pain without (much) complaint.

And by the way, I am more than excited that Britbox is offering the 2018 season of Gardeners' World. I watched the first episode and it was just lovely.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Quote du jour/Ben Fogle

From the television show Walks With My Dog, which I watch on Acorn.

I'm a self-confessed, crazy, barking Labraphile.
Ben Fogle

Yup, me too. After many dogs since 1973, I have found the love of my dog life.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Quote du jour/Monty Don

This is a golden time for those of us in the United States who love British television. We have Netflix, Acorn, Britbox all bringing us everything from drama to mystery to garden shows. I've just finished the last episode of the first season of Big Dreams, Small Spaces on Netflix. It has been a lovely viewing experience particularly during some dreary weather in these waning days of winter. I've gotten new ideas, and I'm so excited to get going on them! This quote comes from the very end of the show. Of course, I've now ordered two books by Monty Don.

You don't ever finish a garden. Gardens are a not a place, they're a journey.
Monty Don

Friday, March 2, 2018

Quote du jour/May Sarton

From At Seventy, writing of the poet Archibald MacLeish who had died at almost 90,

Two years ago I had a little word from him, saying, "Come soon. Time is running out." Why didn't I go then?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Stillmeadow - February

Well, here we are on the last day of February, and I still haven't used the snowshoes Tom and I bought last year. I brought them up from the cellar, and placed them next to the swing on the terrace, positive, absolutely positive that we would walk the fields of snow on our trusty snowshoes. But, no. My excuse is that I need to buy some snow pants, not the nylon or whatever the new material is, but wool. That's what I had for years, but I 'outgrew' them, and need a new pair. Why didn't I buy them last spring, summer, or fall so I would be ready when the snow arrived? This is who makes them. The price has gone up considerably in 40+ years! I plan to order some in the next few days, and I plan to put on those snowshoes next fall as soon as it snows. Of course it may well snow some more this winter, but somehow that doesn't count in my book. By the end of February, the old-timers used to say "the back of winter is broken."

These thoughts were floating around in my head as I read Gladys Taber's February entry in The Book of Stillmeadow. I reminded myself of Gladys. She isn't afraid to note her shortcomings either. Gladys and I are rather anachronisms in these times of everyone putting their best face forward on social media. No little foibles show up there!
I never have been adept at focusing opera glasses. Just as I get the right end to my eye, and screw the things up, whatever I am viewing moves away and I only see blurs and table legs.
I always mean to file my sheets according to size, but they never get filed correctly. The twin size play hide and seek with me every week at Stillmeadow, where we have all sizes of beds and all kinds of sheets. Flushed and unhappy, I am always lugging piles of the wrong size up and down stairs.
When her companion Jill says that "this is the time of year to reorganize everything in terms of what is oftenest used." Gladys admits that
She is certainly right, and if I were an organizing person I should instantly wrestle with the jammed-up china cupboards and pack up those dishes never picked up except to dust. ... The trouble is that as I pick up a cracked ironstone plate, I get to admiring the glaze and the way the edge is scalloped, and I think it is nice to look at with the candlelight glimmering on the soft finish - and back goes the plate in the same old spot.
Gladys talks about the seed catalogues that overflow the mailbox this time of year. I remember reading that sentiment often in the past ten to twenty years, but now I never hear anyone talking or writing about it. That must be because we can order online now. I'm also lucky that my favorite, local-ish company offers its seeds in my Co-op store. But I do miss the days of a pile of catalogues to look through.
There's never so fair a garden as the one that grows during a blizzard - on the colorful pages of the seed books. ... Nothing ever comes up and looks like any picture.
A quote I used once here is from this book, as she writes of the brightness of the February sun. I say frequently during the month that there is no sun in any month that can match it. Is it because we have been starved for the sun from November through January? The sun, even when it comes out in those dark months tends to be rather weak. Welcome, but not startling beautiful. The February sun tells us that spring is coming regardless of the temperature or the snow on the ground.
After Valentine's Day we can really feel that winter is on the downgrade. A few more blizzards, perhaps, but definitely March will arrive. There will be a certain day when the air comes in over the hills with a different feeling. It's an intangible thing, known only to folks who have had hard winters, and it is exciting and wonderful. One morning you poke your nose out and you know all of a sudden that there will be another spring. You smell it in the air, and no matter how deep the snow is, you think nothing of it. You dash out without your arctics and Mackinaw and catch a raging cold, but no matter - spring is coming! Tallyho!
And thus, Gladys ends this month's entry.