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Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi

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When you see a statue of a saint in a garden, more than likely it will be of St. Francis, with a bird usually in his hands or on his shoulder.

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St. Francis may have been the protector of birds and animals in the garden, but the actual patron saint of gardening was a monk named, Saint Fiacre. Since medeival times, Saint Fiacre has been recognized as the real gardeners patron saint.

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Fiacre was raised in a monestary, and it was here where he learned and became a most skillful user of the healing properties of herbs. Once he earned fame for his knowledge and usefulness of plants and healing abilities, thousands flocked to him.  Once realizing what was happening, Fiacre fled the area for more solitude, where he  established a hermitage where he built an oratory in honor of the Virgin Mary and a hospice where he received strangers.  He himself retreated to a solitary life, preferring a life of prayer and manual labor in his gardens.

Once again when word spread of his healing abilities and ‘miracles’, people began flocking to him for foods, healing and wisdom..

He once again was venerated by followers (which is how and where I believe ‘ social media’ truly came to form. 🙂 and so it was decided  a monestary was to be formed.  The monestary grew vegetables and fruits to feed the hungry, and cultivated herbs and flowers to aid in the healing of the sick.  Visitors to Fiacre’s garden brought along with them seeds and plantings from afar, and so, his ‘solitary gardens’ grew and became famous throughout Europe.  After his death, visitors to his monestary claimed that it had healing powers.  The shrine still remains a destination today with pilgrims near and far, seeking relief for many ailments.

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Saint Fiacre is depicted in art and statuary today as an elderly man, carrying a spade… when truth be known, Fiacre was a gardener and an herbalist, in a time when herbs were not just pretty or tasty–but rather, an essential part of medicine.

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I believe as the followers that made their way to Saint Fiacre’s Monestary in the healing properties of a garden. He will always be with me, in mine.

 

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❤ Love you and miss you every single day, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!

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Peace. Solitude. Beauty. A much slower pace. A throw back in time. Outstanding and plainly Monhegan Isle!

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From the moment I stepped onto it’s rugged shore some twenty-five years ago, I was smitten from day one. I knew it would feel like an adventure, even though only a few hours north from home; I knew instantly it would be charming; I knew the hiking was going to lead to dramatic sea views, along with moss covered secret fairy villages.  What I didn’t expect was the quiet, peaceful sense of time moving more slowly, the natural beauty of it all and losing time taking it all in, right down to watching the sun go down at the end of each day.

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It’s a mite rustic for some, however, my needs are few–being back on this gem of an island, but my goodness, the sense of calm and joy that can bring in a world (especially my crazy world) bustling with people, appointments and an often never-ending list of things to do and places to be… to an amazing halt. Just what the doctor ordered. In my quiet cottage, I found much needed solitude.. and even a room with a view!

I love this picture!

Typically I don’t get to make it up north until the end of my growing season, when things are just beginning to settle down a bit. But this year, I opted to throw caution to the wind for these past few days to take in the beauty, breathe in that marvelous salty air, climb her dramatic cliffs to just pause, and as a bonus.. captured the middle of lupine season as well! It’s easy to see why I fell in love with this stunning island.

 

 

 

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The month of May consumes me with such joy. It’s the busiest month of the year for me with readying the farm, preparing for farmers market, and life in general. It’s what I wait ( though impatiently 🙂 all winter long for!) I suppose being a May Day baby has its perks… but how could anyone not pause when seeing these wonders of nature.

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We finally saw some rain, and with it, everything just popped up and out of the ground it seems overnight. It’s during this time I will put the farm, and responsibilities on hold, (and not feel guilty for a moment) simply to capture and visit the beautiful surrounding of woodlands and my home gardens. The season is so short.. I know I’d regret it, if I missed this precious time.

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It’s hard to say which I love the most, because many hold a personal history, or remembrance or a meaningful time in my life. Others, I simply just enjoy their form, colors and humble, though striking stature. But in my mind, they all bring me back to my woodland gardens on our beloved farm.

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The trilliums are striking this year. The Solomon’s seal, Lady slippers, Blood root, May apple, Bleeding hearts, Lily-of-the valley,  Black cohosh, Wood violets, Colombine, Hepatica, Elderflower,  Purple loosestrife, Claytonia, Marsh marigolds and Jack-in-the-pulpit… steadfast in their role in Mother Nature’s master plan, in spite of our worst winters–to endure and continue to go on. Maybe this is why I love them all so very much; their dedication, stamina and purposefulness in this world.

 

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…. Spinach seedlings, that is.

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And though I got them off to a late start this year and thankfully May showered us with some fine weather they seem to be thriving well. It looks like we have some good sowing weather ahead too, so who can complain? Believe it or not, I’m praying for a few days of nice steady rain. We need it badly.  I’ve been so busy getting my seed in the ground and still cleaning out the beds and adding even more raised beds. I needed to make some room for warm weather crops like peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. The onions, leeks, and shallots are in and I’m thrilled the spinach and chard and kale are looking good! I can’t wait to make a spinach frittata 🙂 It’s just about ready to start harvesting.

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A few weeks back, I made an executive decision this season, and though it tore my heart apart, 😦 (literally) but for health reasons, it was necessary to close the farm down after ten years of working the land there. I will miss it dearly, but made a deal with my doc to cut back.

So I did. To just a quarter acre from now on. I still get to play in the dirt, the land is closer to home.. I can now walk to it… primo land and no rock nor weed! The property is lined with old fashioned lilac bushes with a few miscellaneous perennial beds and even a garden bench to rest upon when I become weary.

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I’ve been busy getting it all prepped, amended, new beds made and sowing for weeks now. Even managed to build a new cold frame for my new nursery.  Digging, digging and more digging up and transplanting from the old farm and moving to the new took a lot longer than I’d anticipated, but that task is behind me now. It’ll be a new adventure, but I’m as happy as a gull with a french fry to continue on.  And all of Papa’s 109 year old rhubarb patch made it through the move beautifully! There was no way in hell, I’d be leaving that behind after all the years’ it’s been with me.

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But alas, I had to say good-bye to my grapevines 😦 Just too big an undertaking for me to move all of them. But a farming friend has moved them all to her vineyards, instead, so I’ll still have my fair share of all the grapes I’ll need for my jams and wine.

I didn’t get my peas planted as early as they should go in the ground either, into the new garden and they’ve just popped out of the ground, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed we’ll have a few more cool nights, and they will be just fine. The transplanted garlic are looking just great in their new home!  I won’t be 100% settled until I find my first scape emerge… then I’ll know they are good to go. Today I’m going to take a gamble and set the scarlet runner beans around the teepee poles, and set the remaining beets, carrots, plus an additional 100 more onion sets. Lastly for today, I’ll be picking the new flowering chive heads to go into my chive vinegar for farmers market that will be opening in just two weeks! Gads, what a busy time of the year it is… but wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Plus, this little guy seems to follow me wherever I go… so I’m pretty certain everything’s gonna be just fine.

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The garden is finally beginning to look like a garden. I had no idea what an undertaking I had taken on with this project. Ugh 😦 But all in all, it’s finally taking shape. One thing’s for certain.. I’ll never be without fresh salads, organic veggies and herbs for the next few months. Happy gardening!

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