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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Tomato Update: Too much rain, not enough sun.

We’ve had record-breaking rain, almost four inches above normal for July with little sun in between. Two weeks ago our tomato plants were exploding! The rich green leaves were lush with loads of baby tomatoes and blossoms! I was so optimistic I planned on canning for the first time ever and started buying supplies. Twenty-six tomato plants could mean sauce all winter and gifting jars of them to friends and family! This morning I have already pruned about a third of the plants due to fungus and many of the blossoms have died. The cherry tomatoes in the containers behind our house collapsed yesterday under the weight of the rain along with a gusty wind. Because we’ve had so little sun, and there is less sun behind our house, they had grown taller than their stakes (I read they will grow too tall if this happens) and I hadn’t yet topped them off. Now they are about half of what they were.

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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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On Earth as it is in Heaven

Twenty-seven years ago today I stood in a church basement in Burlington, VT. My mind was dark as I walked through the door. I kept my head low and sat in the back of the room. I was the only female besides a motorcycle mamma. The men drank instant coffee from foam cups, and unlike in the bars, none of them looked at me as I sat down.  Even so I did my best NYC don’t **** with me face and looked at my feet.  I wanted the meeting to start so no one would try and talk to me.  It was noon. The meeting chairman knocked on the metal chair next to him to signal the beginning.

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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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My Daily Bread: Home Comforts Made With Love

Baking whole grain gluten-free bread from scratch with my own hard-earned recipe made without the use of added artifice, starchy flours or gums is very rewarding. It’s also “time consuming” to do it almost every week instead of buying bread from a store or bakery. If I approach it as a chore or task it feels like a burden. When I’m aware of how fortunate I am to be healthy enough to do my own baking, can make the time, have a kitchen in which to bake, and beautiful vintage mixing bowls I bought for next to nothing while out picking, and actually enjoy eating the bread I make, it’s easy to love doing it. Instead of “gotta make the bread” I see it as a privilege and luxury.

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Out Picking: Happy Poppies Day! Free & Frugal Finds

Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dads and father figures! My father spent last weekend in Maine so we celebrated then. Yesterday one of Wayne’s daughters was in town and we met our grandson for the first time–he was born at the beginning of Covid. What a little cutie he is! I love that I’m a grandma. Before we met them for lunch I did a little picking at a rummage and yard sale, and came home with some sweet glass and artwork:

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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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