I had an irritating errand to do this week in order to get re-hired for my job (I job-share with someone else — they work part of the year, I work the other part, and because we’re temp employees we have to get re-hired each time and it’s always a hassle-y process). In the past I had to just go to the HR office nearby to get fingerprinted but this time I had to drive to the next town an hour away for this stupid, simple 10-minute task — a waste of my time, energy, and gas.
I decided that in order to have a good attitude about the errand, I needed to make it fun for myself. So after the appointment, I stopped in at an antique shop across the street and took my unhurried time looking at everything. I got three little things including a little kitty picture frame, and this great book The English Country Home and wooden jar. I walked to a nearby cafe and got a fun treat-drink, and then I drove to a little town I’ve always been curious about, and stopped at a public open space area, which I had all to myself, and absolutely basked in the feeling of being in the mountains. I had forgotten how good it felt and how much I had needed it. The smell!!!!!! Spicy, earthy, pine-needle-y, heavenly smell. I’d forgotten how good the mountains smell. I came upon a little creek and spent a lot of time poking around there and soaking in the sound and sight of the moving water.
It all felt so incredibly good. It seemed like terrible timing to be away for a day since I have so much going on especially with all the garden produce flooding in. I miss a day and I get behind. A vacation day was extra-needed, and I didn’t realize it until it was happening. I’d done something Fun that day (!) and I came home feeling uplifted and renewed. I spent the next day flattened and fatigued unfortunately, but I made that stupid errand ‘work for me’ and it was worth it!
Look at that sky!
When I was a kindergartner, I had a wonderful ‘daycare mom’ who was an artist named Karen. Her soulful, cocoon-like home was as warm and welcoming as she was, and she especially loved filling giant canvases with luminous oil paintings of soaring, heavenly clouds. Just beautiful, beautiful works of art. To this day I think of her every time I see a sky like that one.
Well we have had some glorious flowers in the garden this year. Look at them! So beautiful. ♥
It’s a busy time of year in my garden; in late August the produce is really starting to flood in, meaning a LOT of kitchen time between now and October!
All the time and effort spent thus far in my garden is really starting to pay off though. We have our own private organic farmer’s market just outside the back gate! Here, I’ll show you…
Let’s start in the fruit “orchard” where we have one apple tree, two peach trees, and three or four grape vines. Believe it or not, these are two of the peach trees I started from seed, documented in this post from 9 years ago! I make the grape jam that I love from the grapes, and have been starting to use our cut-up Winesap apples as the fruit in my morning green shake. Later on, I’ll make big batches of applesauce with them.
Standing at the North end of the garden:
Standing at the South end of the garden:
Care and artistry are worth the trouble. They can be a satisfaction to the practitioner and a joy to all beholders.
In early August of last year I visited Forest Farm with my family on a special trip to Maine, and it was one of the top highlights of the entire trip. What a special place; I didn’t want to leave. Forest Farm was the entirely hand-built homestead of Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of many books including the classics Living the Good Life: How to Live Sanely and Simply in a Troubled World and its sequel Continuing the Good Life: Half a Century of Homesteading. (Still relevant! The value of old books… see previous post.) My copy of Living the Good Life came down to me via my dad, from his mother many years ago. Growing up, his family would take beloved summer vacations to isolated Harborside, Maine and they would hear about the “commie” Nearings who lived nearby. Helen and Scott’s door was always open to those interested in observing, helping, and learning, and Forest Farm still welcomes visitors as The Good Life Center, carrying on the Nearings’ tradition of sharing and showing.
I took many photos! Are you ready for a visit?
Driving to The Good Life Center through tiny Harborside:
Arriving at the Nearings’ driveway. It was a peaceful, hot, still, muggy afternoon here.
It was very quiet; bees buzzing, small waves lapping the shore in the cove across the street. A few other visitors sifted through while we were there. You just park and amble in. Very laid back, you’re welcome to wander and stay as long as you like, soaking it all in.
This is the caretakers’ cottage over the summer:
Helen and Scott’s beautiful hand-built stone house:
Here is a photo of Helen doing the stonework:
Let’s go in. Here’s their kitchen — an airy, light-filled, feel-good space:
Those were the beautiful bowls and spoons they used.
Here’s their kitchen as it was:
Now we walk into the living room, with a cozy wood-burning stove, book shelves lining the walls, and a wonderful view of the surrounding forest and out to their cove:
Here’s more of the house; this area is used as the little bookshop now. Visitors aren’t allowed upstairs to the bedroom but you can peek up the stairwell:
Let’s go out to the garden and greenhouse now. There’s a little apple orchard in the protected area between the house and the walled garden:
Here’s that lovely walled vegetable garden:
Behind the greenhouse:
Overlooking the walled garden toward the house and greenhouse:
Compost piles on the left, outside the garden:
The rest of the land is forested. There are some walking trails you can take through tall trees, ferns, tall grasses, and dappled shade.
Here’s their cove across the street:
And here’s the mission statement of The Good Life Center:
That concludes our visit to Forest Farm. I hope you enjoyed it!
Just up the road is Four Season Farm, owned by Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch — names you might recognize if you’re a gardener. The land was once part of the Nearings’.