I love June!  While I don’t necessarily enjoy the frenetic race to reach the finish line at the end of the month, it is usually a month filled with happy occasions like the end of the school year and graduation (our youngest graduated from high school this month), weddings, birthdays (Irwin’s was on the 18th) and Father’s Day. The last couple of weeks are often chaotic and exhausting, but the days are some of the longest and the weather is finally truly warm. AND…summer finally arrives.

 

Graduation

 

Summer Arrives

These are the days I cherish, the days I long for all year. The days I hold firmly in my heart as I wade through mountains of snow in the absolute darkness of late afternoons in December.  I cling to these early days of summer as I begin the count from the shortest day of the year to the longest and am always astounded to have made it back again, another year under my belt.  It is cause for celebration: A time to truly be grateful for all that we have. And what better place to do it than in the country; where we can focus on the basics of a quality, slow home lifestyle.

 

Slow Home

 

Busy Bees

 We arrived in the country on Friday and were greeted by our neighbor Jeanne, and our four-week old garden.  Jeanne had baked a strawberry/rhubarb birthday pie for Irwin from scratch with fruit she had gotten at the local farmer’s market.  The smell of the sweet fruit wafted through the air and the plate was still warm to the touch when she handed it to me.  The garden offered up rose-colored radishes along with growth by leaps and bounds.

   

Home Made Birthday Pie

 

Rosie Radishes

Although Irwin is not big on birthday celebrations, we have grown to understand how really special each one is so we began his birthday with the gift of a waffle maker and my preparation of a delicious Belgian waffle batter from scratch along with fresh whipped cream.  The result was so delicious, that I have vowed never to use a mix for either waffles or pancakes again.

 

 Waffle Maker

 

Breakfast Remains

Then the boys gave Irwin a very special gift and card and it was then time to pass the Kleenex. 

 

A Kleenex Moment

The rest of the day was spent relaxing and taking some family photos and ended with an easy barbeque and consumption of Smores cupcakes I made thanks to a recipe shared by @RidgelyBrode

 

Four Out of Five (Middle Son Had to Work)

Smores Cupcakes

Simple and sweet, we ended the day driving our youngest to camp. 

 

The events of last weekend may not seem out of the ordinary in any way and that is exactly my point.  It was a simple relaxed birthday weekend that we were privileged to share as a family: A privilege that we would like many others to have the opportunity to share for years and years.

 

And so, we are welcoming summer with another kind of celebration.  A celebration that we would like to share with all of you.  Through the power of social media, we have collaborated with Sunbrella to introduce our latest Pretty in Pink for Life piece to benefit Susan Komen for the Cure CT.

 

Our Latest Pretty in Pink 4 Life to Benefit Komen

This fabulous fuchsia powder coated Mid Century iron ottoman covered in Sunbrella’s Canvas- Hot Pink 5462 and Steeplechase-Malibu 56064 fabrics is phenomenal and is perfect for summer fun either indoors or out!

 

So please help spread the word and help us find this wonderful ottoman a home so that Komen CT can benefit from ALL the proceeds of the sale.  It is our way of sharing the simple pleasure of birthdays with others.

 

For Details on this piece:

www.irwinfelddesign.com/index.cfm/product/1182_13/pretty-in-pink-4-life-mid-century-fuchsia-sculptural-ottoman.cfm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Modern Garden

Two months after sharing our first post about our Garden of Dreams, it has become a reality.  But as is often the case with best-laid plans, the final incarnation is much different than the original proposal.

Yes, it is true: we got carried away!  We got so caught up in the excitement of having our very own, slow home garden this summer, that we neglected to realize that our initial plan of 10’x10’ raised planter beds was waaaay too ambitious for citiots like ourselves.  In addition to it being too large and requiring serious fencing, it was too far from our water supply and would have required massive amounts of bending.  So we went back to the drawing board and our wonderful neighbor Jeanne, who is collaborating with us on this venture, came up with an alternate plan.  She found Western Red Cedar tool-free assembly elevated garden beds made by Gronomics and we purchased two from our local garden store along with a simple gardening book that explained how to prepare the planting beds. 

 

A garden in a Box

 

 

Read and Seed

 

We initially planned on placing the beds, which measure 34” x 48” each, in front of our shed, but after waiting patiently and unsuccessfully for days and days and days AND days for the sun to make an appearance so that we could ascertain if the location was indeed sunny enough, we decided to plant them in our driveway, where we were sure that six hours of daily sun would not be a problem.

 

Sun-where?

 

So this past weekend, in between the thunder, lightening and soaking rain, we assembled the beds and planted the garden.

Our intern: Zippy

 

Simple Assembly: A Family Affair

 

The finished product

 

  Thanks to Jeanne’s diligence and research, we filled the beds with a mixture composed of:

1/3 Vermiculite

1/3 Peat Moss

1/3 Compost mixing three kinds including organic compost, a compost/humus mix and compost Jeanne had accumulated last year.

How to make your garden grow

 

For Peat Sake

 

We began by spreading a tarp and combined the mixture for each bed separately so that it would be more manageable.  Then our youngest son shoveled it into the beds where we continued to mix it and water it so that it was well blended and moist.

three kinds of compost

 

Blending the ingredients

 

Raking it in

 

the perfect blend

 

the good earth

 

hands on work

 

 

We planted one bed with plants including two kinds of lettuce, two kinds of mint, arugula, spinach, jalapeno peppers, red peppers and thyme and the second bed with seeds for carrots, cucumbers and radishes along with several kinds of beet plants.  We are planning on filling in with other herb plants this coming weekend and are still discussing how best to house tomato plants.

Separating the arugula

 

Almost done

 

put to bed

 

great greens

 

ready to grow

 

 

our dream team

 

 


 For now, both beds are covered with bird netting to discourage the deer, possibly the only animals that can reach the comfortable height of 32 inches.

 

 

Net worth

 

Just born but sure to grow to love our garden

 

There is something so wonderfully rewarding about getting your hands dirty and planting food to harvest that we all, including our youngest, were swept up in the excitement.  We were so thrilled with our initial planting, we ran back to the farm store for more plants!

And this is just the beginning.  If we are successful with these two raised beds this season, we will plant the larger raised beds we had originally planned, next year and use these two raised beds for herbs.  And there I go again, getting ahead of myself, but it is almost impossible not to.

The simple pleasure of this modern take on ancient agrarian farming has really inspired us and the possibilities are endless. With our Garden of Dreams taking shape, can Alpacas be far behind?

our future??

 

So, as you begin your holiday weekend, think about building your own Garden of Dreams, however small.  The results will be magical!

 And here is the proof: Our first radish sprouts popped up yesterday, just three days after planting the seeds.

A sprout even the green giant would be proud of

 

 

 

A Garden of Dreams

It is late March and despite the subfreezing temperatures and the promise of snow later in the week, we just met with our gardener to discuss the vegetable garden we want to plant this spring.  The snow has finally melted, for now at least, and it appears as if some “early birds” are already nest hunting around the house, confirming that spring will arrive…eventually and our Garden of Dreams will become a reality.  The excitement is palpable.  Well OK, maybe it is not as exhilarating as winning the Mega Millions, which I tried unsuccessfully to do this weekend or even as stirring as the status of March Madness, but for Irwin and I and our slow home lifestyle, it is absolutely thrilling.

 

Irwin & our gardener measuring for the garden

 

An "Early Bird" Nest Hunting

 

We have been discussing the possibility of planting a vegetable garden for eleven years, ever since taking title of our home in the country. The thought of growing food along with caring for farm animals has been a dream of ours from the outset. It is almost impossible NOT to consider a slow home, farming life when surrounded by lush farmland, rolling hills and babbling creeks, but the reality of our weekender status never allowed us to move forward with either. 

 

lush Farmland, rolling hills

 

 

 

babbling creeks

 

 

However, that never stopped us from dreaming about as well as continuing to discuss it.  Early on, immediately following our first visit to the local county fair, I was convinced that raising animals was our destiny.  After looking at all of the beautiful farm animals brought to show at the fair, I knew that would be a part of our future in the country.  And while my dream of an Alpaca farm is still on the back burner, our dream of building a garden and growing our own vegetables is coming to fruition. Now that is progress, country style.

 

A Fair to Remember:

Howdy Cowdy

 

 

 

A couple of kids

 

 

This big piggy

 

 

Seriously, she's got Milk

 

 

Alpacas...on hold

 

 After sharing the fresh salad our neighbor Gloria, a master gardener, brought to our Road Party last summer, we revisited the possibility of planting a garden this year.  Gloria had offered to mentor us, which was just the impetus we needed to get the ball rolling.  While we had what we were hoping was the ideal location, there was still the issue of maintaining the garden during the week, when we are in the city.  That glitch was remedied when our wonderful neighbor Jeanne suggested that we collaborate on the vegetable garden.

 

Gloria's fresh garden salad- helped make our dream a reality

 

The plan was simple.  We would house the garden on our property (Jeanne does not have an appropriate spot) and she would help maintain and water it as best she could, when we could not be here.  After initial costs were calculated, we would determine appropriate shares of cost and harvest and go forward from there.  All we needed to do was wait for spring.

And what a wait it has been.  Despite several glorious spring days, we in the Northeast, are still experiencing winter weather daily but are hoping that eventually, (and by that I mean before July) spring will indeed arrive.

So here are the basics of our plan:

A ten by ten or smaller sized garden with raised beds. We don't want to bite off more than we can chew, at least initially.  A fence eight to ten feet high surrounding the garden to keep out the deer that use that area as a thoroughfare as they head up and down the mountain and chicken wire under the beds to deter woodchucks.

That is it: Simple and sweet, at least for now.   Much like our life in the country.

We'll see how this plan pans out.  I am sure like most other things, it will be a process with many lessons learned along the way.  But have no fear, I will be sharing updates as they occur and spring’s renewal as it transpires.

Just wanted to leave you with these beautiful faces of Charlie’s friends in the country. They stopped by to say hello while we were out making plans for our vegetable garden.

Finnegan

 

collie

 

 

And share this beautiful pair of bouquets, which are always in full bloom.  All the proceeds from the sale of these spectacular chairs will go directly to Komen CT.

 

 

 the entire proceeds from the sale of these beautiful chairs will go directly to Komen CT

 

Spring's Bouquet Awaits

If you have been a reader of our blog, you know how much Irwin and I love our country lifestyle; how we bask in the glow of that simpler slow home life surrounded by the beauty of nature in every season.  And while we adore every moment we are able to spend there, I have to admit that returning to the country this past weekend was slightly depressing.  While we were the ones who practically hearkened the plague of Snow Days that befell us this winter, we have exceeded a point of satiation and are longing to see grass, however brown or soggy it may be.

When we arrived in the country we were greeted with exceedingly muddy roads bordered by massive banks of blackened snow.  Our patio, still buried in gray frozen matter, revealed the season’s wrath with our spun fiberglass table literally crushed from snow weight and the glass top of our bar precariously perched on winter’s muddled remains.

Remains of the season: Crushed

 

 

Design: Fallen Asunder

 

But the temperature was above freezing and although the pervasive dreariness seemed to hearken back to an early English Gothic novel, rain was on the way and with it the long awaited, much overdue disappearing act of the snow.

As promised, it rained throughout the night as well as the following day, which included our entire ride back to the city.  So imagine our surprise when the alarm company called us the following morning to advise us of a power outage in the country. It seemed that the rain turned into snow and ice, devastating our entire area and leaving almost three hundred homes without power.  The highly anticipated cleansing promised by the foul weather turned into an ice storm with trees and power lines down.

A bleak trip

 

 

a wet welcome

 

 

 

A Hauntingly beautiful yet destructive surprise

photo courtesy of  J.Debonis

 

Three days have passed and we are still awaiting power restoration, which has already been pushed back four times.  We are desperately hoping to avoid receiving that dreaded “low temperature” call from the alarm company and the possibility of frozen pipes as well as extensive damage.

Which brings me to my much-circumvented point: Life is unpredictable. There are so many things we have little or no control over on a daily basis.  What we do know for sure is that we must embrace all that we have, hold on to our seats and hang on for the ride, taking the wheel whenever possible and ALWAYS wearing our seat belts.

Despite the length and severity of this winter, spring will indeed arrive EVENTUALLY, and with it, the beautiful, bountiful bouquet of scents, textures and colors that remind us all that life, despite its unpredictability, is spectacular.

Spring's Bouquet: Arriving shortly

 

In celebration and in anticipation of spring, a season of rebirth and renewal, we are once again teaming up with Komen CT to raise funds and awareness for and about Breast Cancer.  Our pair of Pretty in Pink 4 Life Mid Century Bouquet Club Chairs in a bold hot pink floral print are available individually or as a pair, and as with the beautiful Pretty in Pink 4 Life bench, all the proceeds from the sale will go directly to Komen CT.

 

Our Mid Century Bouquet Chairs: Pretty in Pink

 

 

A Beautiful addition...for life

 

Help us celebrate the beauty of springtime and the gift of life itself.  Please share this  so that everyone can be Pretty in Pink for Life.

 


What We Bring to the Table: Part 1

I have to admit, the upcoming Holidays really snuck up on me this year.  I was so busy capturing the lingering summer blooms I all but ignored the changing leaves, the changing of the clocks and the fact that whether I was ready for it or not, Thanksgiving was arriving.  

  

One of summer's last blooms

 

The imminent approach of Thanksgiving did not crystallize in my mind until I saw the magnificent Edward Wormley for Dunbar Dining Table that arrived in the Gallery last week.  When I saw it I was so overwhelmed, I could hardly catch my breath and I thought: What a magnificent table to celebrate Thanksgiving around.  Sometimes a piece of furniture can do that to you; it can evoke true feelings and memories in all of us.

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Dining Table with three leaves

 

Thanksgiving is the holiday of choice in our family, and our youngest son’s favorite meal of the year.  No matter what is going on around us; work, show houses, school applications, tests, papers etc., we always come together in the country for that day to gorge ourselves on the usual holiday fare and spend quality time together watching football, playing scrabble and monopoly and running around on the front lawn with Charlie.

 

Charlie

 

It is the simplicity of the day that everybody loves.  A time for true decompression and accordingly, no major pre-requisites or dress codes are required in our house on this day.  It is a come as you are, slow home, kick off your shoes, chill kind of day, ideal for celebrating life and giving thanks for all that we have. 

 

Come on, Kick them off

 

The table we gather around is perfect for the occasion.  While old and ruggedly honed, storing years of memories in every nick and scuff, it still offers us infinite possibilities for creating new memories every year. 

 

Dining: Country Style

 

And with the sounds of whistles from a far away football field echoing through the house, before we finally settle around the table, before we attack the cornucopia of another year’s harvest, I sit quietly at the table alone and listen to the sounds of the house.  I close my eyes and try to imagine our house in its earliest days, when much like Little House on the Prairie, it was a single room with a sleeping loft and an attached barn. 

 

little house on the prairie home
  photo courtesy of kansastravel.org

  

My mind drifts back to a simpler time and I begin to wonder about the man who built our house.  He, like us, had three sons and although his original acreage was substantially bigger (over 200 acres) and the house much smaller (originally a single room with an attached barn), I can’t help but ponder what else we share in common.  What I know to be true is that we share a love of this home and this land and for that, I am thankful.

The grave of the man who built our house- located in a cemetery down the road

 

So, no matter the size or extravagance of our table or celebration, what is most important is what we bring to the table.  Not the food or libations, which are a given, but the time together with friends and loved ones reminiscing and making new memories.  Enjoy the simple beauty of a day that reminds us to pause and give thanks Everyday.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Part II of this post: After Thanksgiving

 

Making Every Word Count

This past weekend, with Irwin out of town, I spent most of my time catching up on work while our youngest began to work in earnest on his college essays.  As we both sat working on our computers, I observed my son struggling to capture his thoughts and best articulate them within a maximum word count and I was struck by the precious nature of each word we utter as well as write.

As an active participant in Social Media on Twitter and FaceBook as well as being a blog writer, I understand the significance of accounting for the written word.  But what about the words we speak?  What if they were subjected to a word count as well?  Despite the fact that I have actively adopted and have been working on a slow home way of life inside and out, I have not yet confronted the editing of my spoken-word; a task that I find a bit intimidating.

 

While be limited to 140 characters, I've still racked up over 14,000 tweets

 

 

 

I always try to limit posts to a single typed page

 

Perhaps if we had a word cap on our spoken word, we would take more care with what we said. Maybe we should consider a word allowance similar to the speed limit on a highway, or the calorie count of a diet.   Having a maximum word limit along with a minimum limit would afford us the ability to strike a better balance between excess and deficiency.

 

Should we apply these to our spoken-Word?

 

 

to strike a better daily spoken-word balance

 

 

It would be an immense relief, at least for me, to improve my self-editing of the spoken word.  What I would give to not fall victim to excessive word use while always being assured of using a minimum amount of words to guard against  leaving necessary things unsaid.  It would be like attaining “word nirvana”.

 

 

 

I already know that this is more easily written than said, so I attempt to devise an experiment to see if it is actually possible to monitor and limit the words I use in my daily verbal dialogue.  Although it is physically possible to count the words that leave my mouth; that kind of concentration is going to so drastically alter everything I will say, that just thinking about it is generating angst.

 

A spoken word experiment: More easily written than said

 

Feeling that kind of anxiety is more telling than any experiment I could possibly enact and I immediately know that this level of achievement is much more difficult than I had even imagined. This startling realization clearly illustrates the substantial difference between the written and oral word and how differently we process and deliver each.  

the subject: My mouth

 

 

I have always preached the “five second rule” to my children but, as in several of my preaching categories, I do not do as good a job in practice. I am at a loss and am hoping to wake up tomorrow morning with some startling self-realization.

 

I left this post unfinished last night because honestly, I didn’t know how it should end.  This morning, however, I realize that there is no definitive ending; at least not for the moment.  What I did remember this morning as I put up the coffee, was to be mindful of my spoken word.  So relieved to not be the subject of my own experiment, I felt an unexpected exhilaration, like I had just been granted new empowerment. 

 

the spoken-Word...In print, of course

 

And maybe that is precisely the point.  If we simply acknowledge the supreme responsibility of being the keepers of the spoken word, we are on our way.  And, much like a calorie or speed limit count, if we measure the amount and quality of the words we choose, then maybe, just maybe we have the chance to achieve “word nirvana”; making every word count.

 

New Beginning: A Slowhome Lifestyle Inside and Out

As I emerge from the beauty, self-evaluation and repentance of the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, I am struck by the difficulty of the task that lies ahead of me and the enormity of work I have to do…on myself.  But like with many other aspects of life, this transformation is not simply a one-shot deal or quick fix, but rather a slow, deliberate attempt to make the necessary changes.

As we all learned in Psych 101, the first step in making any real change is the acknowledgment of the changes we need to make.  Although I am acutely aware of some of my shortcomings, self-reflection can be somewhat overwhelming; like looking at our reflection in a magnifying mirror under the harsh florescent lighting of a hotel bathroom.   Seeing things in this glaring light makes it more difficult to strike the appropriate balance and focus on our whole being.  The little blemishes in our persona seem exaggerated and we become so transfixed on looking at our shortcomings we neglect to acknowledge our accomplishments.

So how do we go about an inner redesign?  How do we untangle the intricate web we’ve spun? 

Tangled web

Well, I’ve decided to take a slow- home approach to my inner being, much the same as Irwin and I have adopted in our country lifestyle.  Rather than embarking on an extreme make-over, which would be much like throwing out the baby with the bathwater, or doing a home tear-down when only one room needs attention.  I am approaching my inner décor redesign slowly, with forethought and a definite plan. Segmenting that image I see in the mirror and tackling one section, “one room” at a time. 

\

Segmenting the mirror

this particular one is our 20th century wagon wheel Mirror

 

I will make small changes, re-purposing where possible, then stepping back and evaluating before moving forward. While I know that any change can be difficult, I also know that less is often more and in order to create a sustainable inner core, I must let go of much of the clutter that I’ve accumulated over the past year. 

 

Much like the serenity prayer, my goal is to “accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference."  While I know there may be setbacks along the way, my direction will remain constant-moving forward slowly and deliberately learning and growing along the way.

Serenity

Wishing all of you a wonderful year filled with health, happiness & prosperity!

 

 

A Labor of Love

The last hurrah of the summer season with its long lazy days, its bright blue skies and sumptuous outdoor meals has finally arrived.   For as long as I can remember (and on a good day that can be quite an extensive period), I have approached Labor Day with a mixture of excitement and dread.   The excitement of beginning of a new school year, with infinite promise and expectations, tempered by the impending dread of early darkness and frigid days.

Though it has been several many decades since I endured tropical temperatures in order to don my newest corduroys and long sleeve shirt for the first day of school, the emotions I felt all those years ago are still palpable and easily brought to the surface. 

It began Sunday night as I started to put the house in order.  I was achy, tired and cold.  At first I thought it was just exhaustion from helping our middle son move into his dorm the day before (a tale to be told on another day) and it was not until Monday morning that I realized that I was encountering that old Labor Day anxiety.

 There are just some things we never really outgrow. Like most emotions, they must be acknowledged and put into perspective before we can move forward.

On this particular Labor Day, it was easily done simply by taking a walk around our property.  Our garden, obviously taking slow home to heart, was still miraculously in full bloom.  This amazing vision easily quelled my ancient emotions and reminded me once again, to take the time to enjoy the subtleties of life and its changing seasons.

A virtual walking tour of our garden:(all photos taken 9/6/10)

 

While this seemingly endless bloom our garden is experiencing is probably the result of our early spring confusing nature’s clock, I prefer to think of it as nature’s Labor of Love, a very special anniversary gift for a very special anniversary: Our 30th.

Yes, today is our thirtieth anniversary and while I am back in the city, Irwin is in Brimfield; the first time we have ever been separated on this day.  And irony of all ironies, to celebrate our anniversary remotely, Irwin decided to surprise me by sending me photos throughout the day; photos he had taken yesterday at the house of things that really symbolize our love for our home, family and each other.

this is the image that I awoke to:"Happy Anniversary from Home"

 

Then, by mid-morning:"FTD Delivery" My favorite bouquet-No care required

 

 

At Dinnertime: Anniversary Dinner (taken by his hotel)

 

And Finally, this evening: "the sum of us"

The etching on the glass says:Authentic - like us!

 

 

The photos, along with captions were the sweetest gift and brought me to tears; truly a Labor of Love. The funny thing is, he had no idea what I was planning to write for this post, nor did he have any idea of the photos I had taken.  What can I say, after thirty years of marriage, you do think alike.

Happy Anniversary Honey! Here’s to a hundred thirty more years of love and laughter….

This past Saturday night we hosted our first “Road Party” in the country and it was  spectacular!  It was attended by nine families including ours and was so successful, we have decided to make it an annual event.            

Our House

 

Unlike suburban neighborhoods with streetlights and sidewalks, our road in the country is light-less and dirt. While our home is situated close to the road, most of the other homes that dot our road are nestled in the mountainside at the end of dirt driveways, many of which are a half mile long or more. 

Our Road 

 

That being the case, it should come as no surprise that after ten summers in the country, we knew little, if anything about our neighbors.  But all that changed last summer, when we met our new neighbor Jeanne and her dog Zippy.

Zippy and Charlie became fast friends and Charlie (as well as Irwin & myself) eagerly anticipated Zippy & Jeanne’s impromptu visits before or after their afternoon walk.  Jeanne, living here full time for half the year had managed to meet more local people in her first month here, than we had met in the ten years previous and it was through her that we finally met some of our neighbors last Labor Day.

Zippy & Charlie: Best Buddies

 

This year Jeanne had a brilliant idea.  She suggested we collaborate and host a “Road Party” to get to know more of our “hidden” neighbors. Because there is nothing we enjoy more than hosting a party, we immediately offered our home for the event.  Jeanne dropped mailers in every mailbox and under every front door she could find on our half of the road (the road is over three miles long) asking people to RSVP and bring an appetizer, side or dessert.  We had no idea who or what to expect and the result was more wonderful than we could have ever anticipated.

Our neighbors regardless of whether they were able to attend or not, called and emailed telling us how much they loved the idea of a road party. Despite never having any discussion about specifically what anyone was bringing, the collaboration was astounding and the resulting menu blended together seamlessly and needless to say, the buffet was plentiful.

In keeping with our slow home philosophy, we re-purposed cloth napkins and dishes that we had originally purchased and/or made for our children's B’nai-Mitzvah years ago and made a tablecloth from an upholstery fabric remnant.  Using our own silverware, the only disposable items used at the gathering were about thirty plastic cups, which were recyclable.

Tableware set up: Nothing Disposable Here

 

Irwin took two colors of napkins from the assortment and in lieu of napkin rings, he used a roll of twine we had and rolled and tied each napkin with a simple twine bow; an easy and inexpensive touch that made tremendous visual impact.

Re-purposed napkins tied with everyday twine

 

Irwin then strategically placed cut flowers from our garden in vintage silver plated champagne glasses as well as a collection of vintage vases we have accumulated over the years.  He supplemented our garden’s bounty with flowers Jeanne had purchased at a local farm to complete the arrangements.

Vintage silver plated champagne glass with farm flowers

 

More home grown flowers

 

Farm Flowers in our vintage vase

 

More local flowers in a vintage silver plated bowl

 

 

And...More local & farm flowers

 

our miniature roses

 

And the food, have I mentioned the food? Well, all of the food we prepared as well as the food that our guests brought was made with locally grown or purchased ingredients and was amazingly fresh and tasty.

Irwin's Fresh Mozzarella, tomato & basil salad-locally grown with toasted ciabatta bread & hummus

 

 

a new twist: hummus served in margarita glasses

 

 

Can't you just smell the fresh basil?

 

 

Jeanne's home made roasted chicken salad

 

My home made pasta w/arugula pesto sun dried tomatoes goat cheese and local grilled corn

 

Our neighbor Gloria's garden salad made form vegetables she grew in her garden (sorry for the leftovers photo)

 

Drinks including water, Iced tea and my special vodka cocktail

 

Jeanne's home made peach & plum pie made with locally grown fruit

 

 

my home made cupcakes

 

 

 Charlie: Ready for guests

 

 

 

Although I stopped taking pictures when the guests arrived, I must list the delicious additions they contributed to the event:

  • A home made Ceasar salad
  • A home made Goat Cheese & Pesto Torta
  • A home made grilled summer squash salad ( squash grown in neighbor's garden)
  • Home made crab filled finger sandwiches
  • A fruit salad that included sever types of locally grown plums as well as peaches
  • An assortment of local artisanal cheeses
  • A rustic peach pie made by a local farm as well as a mixed berry pie from our local Biodynamic farm

But more than the wonderful food, the time spent getting to know our neighbors was priceless.  We met new neighbors to the road as well as long standing residents; weekenders like ourselves as well as full-timers. We shared a meal as well as our love for this special place on our planet and as the evening came to a close and we cleaned up, we all agreed to do this again next year.

 

Glasses that we frosted for oldest son's bar mitzvah in 2001 now staples in the country

 

As the moon set I set the alarm for two am, yet by midnight I was still awake.  I could not shake the events of the past few days and I could not get this phrase out of my head: “More being, less doing.”

 

The moon setting over "our" mountain

 

It is no secret that we love our life in the country. We have managed to rebuild a slow home that we have furnished with vintage and mid century pieces and live an intentionally slower life that we fully embrace.  We even held off bringing internet into our home for over ten years, fearing that it might inhibit the quality of life we enjoy here.  I write about it all the time, the slower pace, the thoughtful lifestyle, paying attention to the little things, making memories, taking the time to smell thethe rebirth of spring, but never had the importance of this lifestyle become clearer to me than this past week.

I attended the memorial service of a friend’s sibling, an extraordinary individual who passed away too soon. Although the situation was tragic, the celebration of his being was stunning and I walked away wishing I had known him in life. His wife’s words resonated in my head as she reflected upon their life together, wishing that there were “more being and less doing”.

More Bee-ing

 

So simply stated, it was profound: More being, less doing. Which brings me back to Friday night.  Setting the alarm and getting up at 2am would probably have not been a priority two or three years ago.  I would have probably set the alarm with good intentions and then shut if off and gone back to sleep.  I now know better.  Given the finite amount of time we are privileged to be here and how quickly it flutters by, every day & every experience is a gift to be savored. The time spent “being” is why we do all the ”doing” in the first place.

Life Flutters by

 

Although I know that inherently, and write as well as talk about it, I often forget to do it.  My children remind me of this all the time and to be honest, I am not always the best at practicing what I preach, but I am going to try each and every day as I chant my new mantra: More being, less doing.

So, Irwin and I took a blanket outdoors after 2am and lay under several more as we faced the Northern sky awaiting a five thousand year old event that did not disappoint.  We spent over three hours gazing at the meteor shower and the enormity of the heavens; just being, not doing.

Perseid Meteor Shower

 

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