Saint Gertrude of Nivelles

I wish I had known about Saint Gertrude of Nivelles in Belgium (626-659) last week. It is National Women's History Month and Saint Gertrude with her cats could have shared the stage with St. Patrick and his snakes on March 17. At the age of 10 Gertrude stated she would have no other bridegroom but Christ. In 639, after her father died, her mother established a double monastery, one for men and one for women at Nivelles.  She…

Christmas Lists

  • Post published:12/09/2010
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I have barely begun my shopping, but I admit that much of my shopping is done in the bookstore.  On the other hand many gardeners like to get plants - or gift certificates for plants to be used in the spring.  I did let a comment slip about how many new roses I'd like in the spring. Fountains and birdbaths attract the birds, but they are also a beautiful ornament in the garden. Of course some things wear…

Hen House #2 – Mine

  • Post published:12/07/2010
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When we moved into our house I was thrilled that there was also a hen house in the back yard.  The building is about 30 feet long, divided into three sections. We store the feed, kept in metal garbage cans, as well as bales of shavings, in the first section. We also brood our chicks in that section when they arrive around the first of June. There is a chicken door that allows the chicks to go outdoors into a…

Travelling to Holiday Village

  • Post published:11/12/2010
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The Walking exhibit at the Art Garden in Shelburne Falls has closed but I am carrying the image of this joyful road by Pamela Snow and Ursula Snow with me as I start on the road to the holidays, beginning today when I set up the Silent Auction for Holiday Village at the Charlemont Federated Church. The Silent Auction will have everything up for bid from bags of Donovan's potatoes, blown glass, gorgeous jewels, and passes for the Zoar Outdoor…

Arbor Day Celebration

  • Post published:03/24/2010
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I got the most wonderful present in the mail today - Arbor Day Square - written by my good friend Kathryn Galbraith. We met more than 30 years ago when we both lived in NYC and were taking a writing class at the New School of Social Research.  Kathryn and I both left the city at about the same time, but she left for the State of Washington where she went on to write beautiful books for children.…

Year of the Tiger

  • Post published:02/17/2010
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The Chinese Year of the Tiger has been rung in with drums and dancing, and jiaozi, the delicious stuffed dumplings  that are said to be shaped like silver money and symbolize a year stuffed with good things – and riches. We have celebrated many Chinese New Years since our first trip to live and work in Beijing in 1989. While there we learned that while there are 12 animals in the 12 year Chinese zodiac, the full cycle…

Winning Hamentaschen

  • Post published:02/16/2010
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I won a box of hamentaschen from  I made a comment on one of my favorite blogs, Our Grandmother's Kitchens, and this is my reward. Hamentaschen are a treat served at the feast of Purim when the beautiful Queen Esther saved her Jewish people from the machinations of the wicken Hamen. I am ready to celebrate all holidays that are commemorated with sweet treats like this.

My Valentine

  • Post published:02/14/2010
  • Post comments:4 Comments

As we prepared to leave the bookmaking workshop at The Art Garden, Jane Wegscheider, our teacher and muse, said those of us planning to attend the Valentine workshop should start collecting the memorabilia or photographs that we would need. Hmmmm. This suggested that we would not be making traditional Valentines with lace and ribbon, or even clever and artistic Valentines like those Sandra Denis was selling down at the Arts Coop in Shelburne Falls. I was particularly taken with…

New Year’s Day 2010

  • Post published:01/01/2010
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Red Brocade by Naomi Shihab Nye The Arabs used to say, When a stranger appears at your door, feed him for three days before asking who he is, where he’s come from, where he’s headed. That way, he’ll have strength enough to answer. Or, by then you’ll be such good friends you don’t care. Lets to back to that. Rice? Pine nuts? Here, take the red brocade pillow. My child will serve water to your horse. No, I…

Will She or Won’t She?

  • Post published:11/25/2009
  • Post comments:6 Comments

My Thanksgiving cactus has been budded for weeks and I thought she would be blooming right on time. But right on time is tomorrow!  I'm inviting her into the warm room of the house today.  I should have thought of that earlier. There is no question that this calendar will prompt me to get everything done on time. This beautiful calendar prepared by the University of Massachusetts Extension Service has 12 gorgeous photos of plants, exotic, common and…