Five Things to Love About Blueberries

  • Post published:09/03/2014
  • Post comments:7 Comments

There are more than five things to love about blueberries, but these are my top five things to love. First blueberries are hardy and really easy to grow, especially in Heath where the soil is suitably acid. Blueberries require a pH between 4 and 5.5. I never tested the soil in the berry patch, but my highbush blueberries are  healthy, big and productive. And have been for 30 years. This year I am getting a bumper crop. Blueberries…

Beijing, June 4, 1989 – We Were There

  • Post published:06/04/2014
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On April 16, 1989 my husband Henry and I left NYC for Beijing .  We never imagined the events  of June 4 that were even then beginning. Our only thought was about taking up my year long post as 'polisher', a kind of sub-editor, for Women of China English Monthly Magazine published by the All China Women's Federation. We arrived at 2 a.m. Beijing time, exhausted, but met by excited members of my work unit. They drove us…

Tree Peony Extraordinare – Guan Yin Mian

  • Post published:03/18/2014
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Guan Yin Mian is my favorite tree peony, a native Chinese plant.  Guan Yin is the bodhisattva of compassion, or in terms more familiar, the goddess of mercy. During our years in China I became familiar with Guan Yin who is much given to appearing in visions, giving women the babies they and long for,  and who laughs that  we can struggle so - as she helps us. She is often shown wearing a gown with a rice…

Cabbage – Here and There – Beijing

  • Post published:03/16/2014
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  Cabbage. Such an ordinary vegetable. We don’t give it much thought. We shred it into a salad, dress it into coleslaw, or boil it up with corned beef, but there are many types of cabbage in the world, and many ways of serving it up. Think of corned beef and cabbage!             I began thinking about cabbage this week when, while sorting through some old photographs, my husband and I found a few shots of the ai…

Chinese Cabbage – Beijing 1989

  • Post published:02/19/2014
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In the fall of 1989 there was a bumper crop of Chinese Cabbage in Beijing. This was before 'capitalism with Chinese characteristics' and everyone was required to buy 40 kilograms (over 80 pounds of cabbage). The Chinese cabbages were trucked into Beijing, piled up on street corners, in front of the state stores - and everywhere. Then it had to be bought, taken home and stored, in courtyards, in apartment building hallways and balconies - everywhere. Chinese cabbage…

Garden Planning III – Mixed Borders and Rock Gardens

  • Post published:01/26/2014
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                     Garden Planning takes a new direction after you have decided how much time you have, what activities you want to enjoy in the garden, and what the garden needs in terms of soil improvement. You will also have decided whether you want a strictly ornamental garden, or if you want to include edibles.             In urban and suburban settings the first consideration is the front yard. Most front…

Thanksgiving at the Friendship Hotel, Beijing in 1995

  • Post published:11/27/2013
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As I prepare for Thanksgiving in my nice American kitchen I cannot help thinking of  other Thanksgivings, most notably two that were celebrated in Beijing where we lived in the Friendship Hotel. The first was in 1989, and the second in 1995. While many things had changed in those five years, much much more car traffic, much much less bicycle riding (because of the vehicular traffic), the arrival of big department stores and McDonalds  and Kentucky Fried Chicken,…

International Women’s Day – Beijing Memories

  • Post published:03/08/2013
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On April 16, 1989 my husband and I flew to Beijing where I had taken a job  with a women's magazine. There I first learned of International Women's Day where it is a  big event. And certainly I learned a lot about the life of Chinese women while working as  a 'polisher' for Women of China English Monthly.  I worked with translators (whose English was excellent) who translated articles about women in China's history, and the women who were taking…

Visitors from China Explore Heath and Environs

  • Post published:11/19/2012
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When our friends LiSha and Chris visited us, all the way from China yesterday we spent the day celebrating. After sharing lots of family photos and stories  we took them on a whirlwind tour of the highlights of Heath and Shelburne Falls. We began with a visit to Bob Dane's glassblowing studio to show off his artistry and shelves and shelves of beautiful glass ready for his local sale on December 8-9 and 1-16. Unfortunately, we  couldn't take our…

My Ornamented Life – Part 4

  • Post published:12/17/2011
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During our two different years in Beijing, China, Henry and I were untethered from all our usual responsibilities and routines. This was sometimes exciting, and sometimes unnerving as we learned about the 5000 years of Chinese history and culture, made wonderful friends from around the world, ate great food, and saw amazing sights. We learned about the great Chinese classic, Journey to the West, and read the children's version. We also met a five year old American boy…