1:11 pm

Our garden.mother's muse

...and then there is our garden.  Inherited land, mom's "other farm", a childhood woods, rolling hills, fertile soil and god's half acre of mother's old garden, one of two or three, depending on how you count, and one she toiled in for at least 60 of her 90 plus years.

As a youth, it was a chore for me, for her it was heaven's gift.  She loved the dirt, hated the rocks, loved the feel of freshly dug potatoes (lots of potatoes), onions, garlic, beans, all part of winter's larder.

Life drifted on, life drifted away and she worked mostly alone.  We all tried to help on weekends, but the edges crept in, there were a few more weeds, but mostly splendid nonetheless.  Hay grew where lawn once grew, the old pumphouse grew silent.  Time passed and she eventually had to give it up.  She grew and tended to small gardens aroumd her house pretty much until the end.

Future trips revealed natures ultimate reclaimation.

But them a funny thing happened on the way to the forum...I started getting older (not that you'd know it by looking at me!)

We always tended our own little city gardens, but the new found wealth of mother's old garden was calling us home.  A few weeks ago we bit the bullet and had it plowed and tilled by our local good Samaritan, Sam.  We planted squash, onion, beets, beans and carrots; we planted watermelons and other melons and even brussel sprouts.  We weeded and fertilized and only lacked the bread of mom's gardening life, manure.

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I borrowed a brush hog to cut down the tall grass and weeds around the garden and old barn and by last weekend I had it good enough to mow.

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As the dust settled Sunday evening we declared that it was good. (no rest on the seventh day in summer gardening season).  As we drove away we knew that mom was looking down and smiling.

Patrick


1:11 pm

Frieda

My mother in law, Frieda Klancher, passed away a couple of weeks ago.  She was 94 and led a long and fruitful life.  Mother, teacher, grandma, friend.  Loved family, taught for so many years in a small rural area that practically everyone from 30 to 70 had her for a teacher.  Went from a one room schoolhouse to almost the computer age. 

A tough woman, wirey, mowed her own lawn into her late 80's.  In her youth, I heard she could carry a full milk can in each arm.  Farmed at night and weekends, taught school during the day got her 4 year degree at 46.  All in all a good life.

Her son Paul and I built a schoolhouse themed casket for her toward the end complete with blackboard.  Wrote "Mrs. Klancher" on the blackboard, her great grand daughers each drew their goodby pictures.  Maybe the most poingant moment came when two little children went up during the wake, scribbled some silly pictures and squealed "look what I drew mommy".  Perfect.

frieda

I wrote a little something sitting out on the deck last night.  Hope you enjoy.

She was a coal miner's daughter
teaching us all
from humble beginnings yet standing tall
High school learned
college too
an unheard goal in '42

One room schoolhouse
daughter in tow
ten little indians, all in a row.

She taught us wisdom
she taught us to play,
she taught us to smile at the end of days...

Lessons learned, no lessons lost

"Oh yea", "too sweet", "clean it up" she said
but sometimes she'd snatch our plates instead.

Naively innocent, frightfully strong,
perpetual motion, she could get around.
Hard to keep up,
no matter how hard we try,
but we learned to remember,
never ask "why?"

Goodby mother, grandma and friend,
there are still many letters from heaven to send.

Patrick


1:11 pm

Mother's greenhouse?

I never wondered what kind of greenhouse my green thumbed mother would own as she had no such aspirations, I'm sure.  Labors of love are rarely rewarded with wealth and fame.  She grew for food, she grew to share, but she mainly she grew because she loved it all.  Even the weeds, I think, if for nothing else than the saisfaction of eliminating them.

Nonetheless I never really wondered about it until Kay and I started following a little sign that said, "plants".  Down blacktop roads, one acre lots, small ponds and more houses.  At the end of the street, along a woods and small lake stood mother's greenhouse.

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I never wondered what kind of greenhouse my green thumbed mother would own as she had no such aspirations, I'm sure.  Labors of love are rarely rewarded with wealth and fame.  She grew for food, she grew to share, but she mainly she grew because she loved it all.  Even the weeds, I think, if for nothing else than the saisfaction of eliminating them.

Nonetheless I never really wondered about it until Kay and I started following a little sign that said, "plants".  Down blacktop roads, one acre lots, small ponds and more houses.  At the end of the street, along a woods and small lake stood mother's greenhouse.

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Kay got a free flower because he planted "too many of the damn things and probably wasn't going to sell them all anyway".  He wouldn't sell us a Streptacarpis because he had to separate it and if we came back next spring he'd give us one.

One box held plants that were obviously zinnias but were labeled peppers to which his reply was "don't look at the labels."

Another customer asked for a particular kind of tomato which he was out of, but he said "just a minute I'll dig one out of my garden" and off he went.

{side note:  I'm sitting on our deck on lovely summer evening and notice how crappy carpentry done ten years ago eventually looks charming when wrapped by a vine with flowers on it.  The same could be said about a dishpan full of petunias, I suppose.}

Another neighbor came by to see how the wood duck nests were doing and got the reply of "full up".

I learned a lot that morning. I learned to plant begonias so the leaves point toward you, cause that's the way the flowers will come.  I learned about wood ducks and tomatoes, peppers and brussel sprouts.

But mostly I learned about the simple joy of a labor of love that was rewarded with a wealth greater than gold...and I saw what kind of greenhouse that would have owned mother.

Still thinking about you, mom.

Patrick


1:10 pm

Cousins February 2011

Cousins

Gotta love them.

Nag, mag, what comes next?

A loaded question

  a friendly text?

Dream on Patrice

   the wall has fallen,

   the dike has burst

   the mist has risen,

to quench the thirst.


I'm back...


1:10 pm

I am sitting here without my camera

I'm sitting here without my camera and see several things I could have shot.  A chickadee, 5' away struggling with a seed pod, a twisted bush making an incredible shadow on an ivy covered wall, reflections in a window of a rehab downtown loft.  I can't come back tomorrow, it will never be the same...

That's my approach to art and photography and furniture.  Each one is unique. Each thought, each view, each design changes from day to day, moment to moment.  If I just get closer, if I wait another 10 minutes, if, if, if...sometimes it works, sometimes it vanishes completely.  That's art, that's life.