“It’s just a chipmunk.”

“As we live and as we are, Simplicity – with a capital “S” – is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.” ― Frank Lloyd Wright, The Natural House

FLW’s quote reminded me of my little booklet celebrating Squares, also with a capital “S” by Charles H Brower who stated: “Too many of us haven’t got the guts to stand up straight and dare to be square”. 

I’m feeling this more than ever right now. It’s not easy valuing creatures and ways of being that many today view as being naive or living in a bubble (which I do). I experienced this when I wrote my book, American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s which I wrote eight years ago after being annoyed with the book, “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” Something very simple such as counting calories in a healthy, measured way which for me is no different than keeping a budget in Quicken is labelled by many (as a general concept) as having an eating disorder. Doing my best to be a good Steward of my land has put me at odds with people and policies over the years. My Certification for my home being a Wildlife Habitat isn’t just a feel-good thing to mention in a blog post. Living in an outdated cottage isn’t just about pretty vintage linens and decor.

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Crazy Quilt, Candlesticks, Esmerellda

I’ve had some beautiful unfinished business tucked away in an old cedar chest that I brought to light: A handmade depression-era “crazy” quilt top that was never actually quilted. I purchased it at an estate sale years ago and figured “one day” I’ll commission someone to finish it. When I saw it at the bottom of the linen chest while changing out the blankets for the season I decided that it doesn’t need to be finished. It’s perfect in its imperfect, unfinished state. It’s now a gorgeous bedspread!

I made some new backyard friends this summer and found a treasure left behind by my dearly departed Esmerellda.

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Reader Question: Do you have a Secret Garden?

When I was living on Roosevelt Island in New York City I discovered a small area that was, in retrospect, a terrible place for me to sit as far as chemicals go! It was a bit of a landfill with empty barrels. But it also had trees. So before school, wearing my Sony Walkman headphones around my neck, I’d bring my bagel from the diner and sit in the relative silence and stillness. It was wonderful! I was able to feel moments of calm during an otherwise chaotic and painful time. It was my secret getaway.

I’d love to know if you, my dear readers, have a special place in nature, or close to it? It can be a beautiful place outside or a potted plant by a window that brings you comfort…

A Fairy Patch

It’s raining again today and I’m not sure our tomato plants are going to be able to survive. I can’t cut any more diseased leaves off because if I do there won’t be any plants left. I’ve invested at least an hour a day in them since May so it feels like a personal loss. I’m losing hope of ever having my favorite homegrown tomato sandwiches this summer. Yesterday, however, we had a day of sunshine.

Wayne and I went for a drive to visit some special places including a secret garden. Although I was surrounded by beauty I couldn’t shake off a deep melancholy that had set in. I felt powerless. Finally I stopped fighting it and let myself feel sad. It was then that I saw a chipmunk dart across my path and I went over to where it led me. It was a little patch of fairyland!

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Floaters and Passers-By

I went to my eye doctor last week, and I officially have my first “floater” which can occur with maturing eyes. It kind of looks like an amoeba floating by on repeat. I guess the good news is that now, instead of just tinnitus, I have a full audio-visual experience! Thankfully, just like my tinnitus, it’s not noticeable all of the time, and when it is, I’ve gotten better at not being annoyed or anxious. I also recently had an audiogram to make sure the hearing loss in my right ear hasn’t worsened and it’s actually improved a bit!

Wayne and I recently went on a ferry ride to tour the Islands which we like to do in the summer. If you visit Portland, which just made #8 in U.S. News list of best places to live, I highly recommend you take a ride!

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I Live in a Bubble, Or, Living in the “Real World” vs Living in Reality

I received a message on my blog from a heckler who said that I “need to grow up” because I “live in a bubble”. I appreciate that they provided me with an excellent topic for a blog. So, the secret is out that yes, I do in fact live in a bubble, and I want to tell you all about it because it brings me great joy! For the sake of this post, I will define “bubble” to mean sheltered. I am totally sheltered and you can be, too!

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Meditations with Summer Tomatoes

Since we first started an annual summer vegetable garden in 2016, I’ve experienced the deep healing that can occur from its creation, care and harvest. Last year I discovered that I really enjoy the task of tomato tying. Sometimes, maybe you can relate, my mind will get tangled up with worries. It never fails that when I go outside to tie the growing tomatoes to their stakes that I immediately relax and let go of it all. It’s a very simple task where I can show my appreciation for the plants and God. They leave a relaxing scent on my hands, too. I’m able to temporarily transcend my temporal concerns and feel connected to the real world of earth, sun and sustenance. It’s these “small” tasks that feed us.

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Coastal Maine is in Bloom!

So many Rhododendrons are in bloom, along with lilacs and not-known-to me flowers. Sunday morning we drove down to St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunk where chipmunks run freely and the scent of flowers is in the air. After our walk we were approached by a lady who gave us little works of original art!

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Our Two Acre Homestead is now a Certified Wildlife Habitat!

I’m thrilled to report that our land is now registered and certified by the National Wildlife Foundation as a wildlife habitat! Many of you know how hard I’ve worked over the past few years to embrace a natural lawn without the use of herbicides. I’ve fought to protect our vernal pool from abutting disturbances, turned down an offer from a local real estate broker who wanted to buy some of our land, and had our vernal pool documented by the Maine DEP to prevent improper development in the future once I’m no longer here to protect it. We also have a stream, woods, owls, fern garden, and lots of wildlife! Chipmunks, squirrels, peepers, voles, deer, wild turkeys and many other different species of birds live amongst us. We have all of the five essential elements needed to become certified, and one of them is controlling invasive species which includes keeping cats indoors if you have them. You don’t need to have a large backyard or acreage to become certified!

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