Sep 17 2011

Amish and Mennonite farms present their
fall finery in tempting displays.

It’s always a shock when I wake up and realize summer’s over. It hit me today when I saw the first changing leaves. Tips of color on an otherwise summer-green tree. Sigh. It is so hard to say goodbye. I use to wait to say goodbye until I finally had to quit wearing flip-flops, but now I don’t wear flip-flops in summer and so, the move to autumn is less defined. Now I have to count on the trees to show me that time is passing. And, in that case, there is no denying the transition. It’s not subjective or based on personal preference anymore. I can’t push the envelope. When tree leaves are turning red and orange, the time to move into fall has come.

The very first bits of fall color are noticeable

on Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our drive to Pennsylvania was trying therefore, at  least it was after I noticed the tree with the color. But, putting that to the back of my mind, I had a really great time otherwise. We go to Pennsylvania to save money on food and get the best value for our money.  We buy directly from farmers to get the best food at the lowest price and it is a pleasure that enhances this time of year when winter is coming and the air is just starting to get chilled.

A fall palette of chrysanthemums waits for adoptive gardens.

After we were introduced to the teachings of Weston A. Price in 2007, we started driving to Pennsylvania to get milk, dairy products and organically grown fruits and vegetables off the farms. All of the products were so much better than we could buy at the store and we established personal relationships with the farm families. We quickly learned eating from growers we knew was comforting, because we knew exactly how our food was grown.

It always amazes me how people will fuss about having just the right designer label on their clothing, but stop for fast food to save money. Isn’t what we put into our bodies much more important than what we put on them? Food can build your body up or tear your body down. Learn to choose good, nutrient dense food for you and your family. You’ll find that, in addition to being nutritive, organic food is like medicine. It can restore and heal.

“Larksong” is the name of the organic dairy farm

in Ohio’s Holmes County owned and worked by David

and Elsie Kline with members of their family.

If you have an interest in the organic way of life, consider reviewing this lovely book illustrating the richness of living and eating organically by hovering over the link below:

Letters from Larksong: An Amish Naturalist Explores His Organic Farm

One reader review on Amazon comments:

“One key to sustainable farming, Kline says, is to “romance our children into farming,” and the key to that is to make it both profitable and fun. The Klines have managed that balancing act for generations. It requires deep knowledge of the land. So, for example, they plan their haying to allow bobolinks and vesper sparrows time to build nests, lay eggs, and raise families in the field. “Our goal is to see flying young bobolinks while we’re mowing the field,” Kline reports. They’ve seen as many as 45 singing bobolink males in twelve-acres.”

This is a beautiful book.

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Filed under: Beauty,Outside — admin @ 6:11 pm Comments (0)
Sep 15 2011

Fashion, childcare, homemaking and health care
advice were as close as the mailbox to each
homemaker. The family was the center of the
home and female figures were the core.

There was a time when printed periodical media, in other words magazines and newspapers, were centered on people and their family life. While bringing in the news, main stream media’s human interest features and advertisements focused on making life more rewarding by helping families spiral upward, economically and emotionally.  The goal was bettering each person’s vision of what was possible and what they deserved out of life.

Then, as now, selling “new and improved” product advertising was also the purpose, but it is fascinating how older magazines and newspapers focused on those family members living inside the home rather than on unrelated people living outside of the family group. In other words, while there was some mention of Hollywood lifestyles, most of the articles, ads and photos were relevant to the management of the home and its occupants. The focus was local and immediate as people felt celebrity happenings and far off celebrity relationships had no personal relevance.

Magazines didn’t promote unrealistic standards
of wealth, but demonstrated how to improve family
life. See the tag line above: “The key to happiness
and success in over a million farm homes.”

Women’s magazines in particular were emissaries of family values and home life standards that brought homemaking inspiration and camaraderie into the mailbox when the postman delivered. Homemakers were nurtured by the stories, ads and guidance found in magazines from the early 20th century up to and including the 1970s. Vintage magazines were a large part of families isolated in a culture without television and, in some areas of the country, without radio or telephone contact.

Since the 1970s, it seems cultural emphases on homemaking and motherhood have gone onto the back burner. Likewise, magazines have changed their tone from nurturing the woman of the house to pushing her into the corporate world while she tries to do all of the home chores as well without recognition. In addition, it seems what home-life advice there is, many times pushes families to incorporate false values and high levels of consumerism, concentrating on what celebrities and rock stars are doing, rather than encouraging families to relate to each other and to their neighbors in the community.

Most vintage magazines marketed to women have
“home” or “family” on the front. Compare that
to today, when most women’s magazine covers
say “diet,” “sex” or “staying young” while
homemaking magazines are androgynous.

The words “family” and “home” were inseparable in vintage magazines. This created a home sanctuary and a safe place for family members to fall and at that time, most family homes were organized by women.  Then, as now, the family homemaker did not have to be a women, but now, it would be nice to have more literature showing women affirmed and complete in the focused role of being a homemaker. While it was timely in the 1960s and 70s to open up work force options for women who wanted them, it was not good to demean the family group and the traditional “women’s work” that provided for it.

While it is heartwarming to recognize new types of relationships and different types of families, the lack of support for homemakers who happen to be women continues to be glaring. All homemakers should receive support and affirmation, including women who like traditionally feminine rolls. We need to move away from presenting women, who are married with children as “burdened” as all people and their vocations of choice have value.


Inner Peace For Busy Women

A “5 out of 5 Star” Review: Inner Peace For Busy Women By Dr. Joan Z. Borysenko is a very nice surprise in that it is not a lot of advice about how to meditate, although this is one of her prime suggestions as a daily practice for gaining inner peace, but this 2 – CD set is her private sharing of the demons she has faced throughout her career as first a medical student/mother/poor housewife and through the years through divorce, single parenting, and balancing a demanding career as a doctor. The pain she experienced and the wisdom she gained she shares openly and especially deals with the persistent guilt of the working mother who is told by society that she can have it all, but in reality she is living a juggling act that kills relationships and individuals. She and her children succeeded through it all and have a loving adult relationship, although her marriage did not. She gives sage advice and encouragement to any woman walking this tight rope. EXCELLENT!

If attaining inner peace sounds like a good idea to
you, hover your mouse over this link to preview:

Inner Peace for Busy Women: Balancing Work, Family, and Your Inner Life

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Filed under: Comfort,Roof — admin @ 5:46 pm Comments (0)
Sep 12 2011

A 4′ x 4′ garden in front of a Whole Foods Market shows
how little space is needed for food production.

Ok! That DOES it! No more Mr. Nice Guy! I don’t want to hear anyone saying that they don’t have room for a garden.  Between container gardening, those upside down hanging tomato things and this 4′ x 4′ garden in front of a grocery store, it’s time to acknowledge that “where there is a gardening will, there is a way.”

When I went shopping at the local Whole Foods Market, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I went to get my shopping cart. There, proudly sitting in between the concrete of the parking lot, was a small garden holding four or so plants, ready to belt out some serious food production.  This was small garden that was mighty in its intent and demeaner, and I delighted in it whenever I saw it.

Ready made corners make a raised bed garden
easy and affordable.

I really enjoyed watching this little garden grow every time I went to Whole Foods. Two heirloom tomatoes, a pepper, squash and a couple other vegetables did their growing thing out there next to the shopping carts, setting a great example, all summer. What a wonderful way to get across the point the Whole Foods vegetables are fresh and sustainable gardening is a priority. In fact, I can’t think of a better way to show city gardens, even though small in space, can be mighty in impact.

Here, you can see that Whole Foods has made a fast and efficient raised bed garden using ready made corner brace sets. Usually they come two to a box. By planning your garden and buying whatever length boards will suit your plan, these corner braces fit on the boards allowing you to get your garden up and running that much faster.

One doesn’t even have to dig in the dirt to fill one of these raised beds.  Just buy the big bags of organic soil, dump them in, rake until level and begin transplanting or sowing seeds. Raised beds take some forethought and labor, but they are not hard to make. That being said, having corners to join the boards securely is a big help, especially if you are working by yourself.

Apartment gardening just takes some creative thinking…
…and educated tenants.

The more I get into growing food, the more extravagant strictly ornamental gardening seems. Food is beautiful, in all of its stages and becomes ornamental in and of itself. Some of the fanciest formal gardens in Europe were actually kitchen gardens for the propagation of food.

On another front, I’m one who loves grass and the carpet beauty of a well kept community lawn, but I like the look even better when I know the grass has been grown naturally. It’s rewarding to grow grass with organic nutrients that won’t destroy wildlife either in the yard or in our run-off waterways. The best of all, though, is to have some of the land, regularly used for a nice cityscape lawn, turned over to the growth of heirloom garden vegetables and herbs.

Nola opens the gate of the Shearman Street Community
Garden to harvest carrots in winter and show us
what’s possible off season in a city garden.

Making raised bed gardens in the city is lots of fun and affords one that country feeling of getting close to the earth. Not only is the experience of sowing and reaping enjoyable, but you’ll create the promise of organic food conveniently located close to home. And “close to home,” doesn’t necessarily mean a single family dwelling. The front yard of a town home or even the entrance way to a large apartment complex can be a haven for city gardeners. So, as we used to say in the 1970s, “Try it! You’ll like it!” Try a small raised bed garden and hold on the for ride!

Ready made corner braces are the secret
to easy raised beds.

The comer sets can vary in price quite a bit. These seem to have the best bang for the buck. Try them and let me know what you think! If you have an interest in trying some of the raised bed corners, hover your mouse over this link: Scenery Solutions Div Vegherb AJ2-18 2-Pack Anchor Joints

Whole Foods Market’s web site is packed with great information and videos on sustainable farming in the city.  Watch this one and get ready to be amazed at the resourcefulness of this San Fransisco family:

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Filed under: Food,Veg Garden — admin @ 5:43 pm Comments (0)
Sep 07 2011

This antique postcard has always reminded me
of Laurette and Julie.

(…continued from August 31, 2011)

Yes! It was true. I was reading an article detailing the passing of one of my favorite childhood friends, Laurette. And death is very final.  All of the good intentions I’d had about finding her, saying, “Hi!”, and sharing old times would remain forever unrequited. She had transited on to another place while I was left to think about it all. It was a real wake-up call that has not gone unheeded. I learned much from the whole process. That is, taking Laurette for granted all those years, that she would always be alive and well for me to enjoy once again and then finding out that the reunion would never happen.

Our lives are intertwined, whether or not we can see each other.

I couldn’t stand the thought of eternal separation. I search the Internet until finally I was able to find one of Laurette’s siblings. I called immediately and was not disappointed. By finally making contact with a member of the family I was able to find out about Laurette and also about Julie. What a relief to make a connection with someone who knew and loved those girls! We had a great talk and signed off looking forward to getting together. I was so glad I had found out about Laurette and reestablished a relationship with her family.

From what family members said, Laurette was looking to
her next existence, when it became time to pass over

I learned that Laurette was in fine health, but suffered from an unexpected freak accident. And this is where a second wake up call from her rang loudly in my head. I was reminded that each of us lives on the edge of the next moment, never knowing what may happen and never having our next day promised to us.  We must all be grateful and enjoy each moment as an unfolding miracle. Change, good or bad, can happen very quickly.

Routine things can become remarkably notable in a hurry.

Laurette was just going to drink a cup of hot tea, like any of us might do. No skydiving, no riding a motorcycle or anything out of the ordinary. But, she had an accident happen and it eventually proved to be fatal. The accident occurred on a Friday night.  By the next Thursday, after several operations, she slipped away, dying with her family gathered around.

Tulips for Laurette. I know that wherever
she is, it is always springtime.

The power of the human spirit was exemplified by my friend Laurette. She had the funniest sense of humor and wry smile that, when she locked eyes with me, always caused me to laugh. She had, although it never once became apparent, a congenital physical difficulty that most people don’t have to entertain. Never did she complain or see life as anything but a lark, for the years that I knew her.

(To be continued Wednesday, September 28, 2011….introducing Laurette’s Favorite Toy…a vintage pattern to purchase and print out.)


Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was a pioneer of death and dying discussions at a time in the 1970s-1980s when the separation process was not common public dialogue. Her powerful insights are not only comforting, but offer a change in reality perception as acceptance and integration of the dying processes are verbalized and even embraced.

If you are in a process dealing with the transitions
of life, or if you have an interest in in expanding your
understanding, hover your mouse over the link below:

Tunnel and the Light: Essential Insights on Living and Dying

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Filed under: Head,Intangibles — admin @ 5:39 pm Comments (0)
Sep 02 2011

Mme. Akhmedova, of the Akhmedova Ballet Academy
or ABA in Silver Spring, MD, instructs a student.

It’s that time of year! School is starting. But, not just graded schools teaching reading, writing and arithmetic! In addition, it is the time of year when schools of the fine and performing arts begin their academic year. And so it is with the Akhmedova Ballet Academy in Silver Spring, Maryland where dance is taught with an eye toward perfection, but with an emphasis on enjoyment and delight.

The Akhmedova Ballet Academy opened in February, 2011 accompanied by an informative article in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area Gazette newspaper. The article was complete in creating a mental image of how Jacqueline Akhmedova, the owner and namesake of ABA, manages her studio to bring out the best in each student.

Bringing out the best seems to be easy for Mme. Akhmedova as she laughs and instructs in a gentle, but direct manner. Not only does Mme.’s command of the discipline allow her to make quick, astute determinations, but the studio space itself creates a sanctuary conducive to a dancer’s focused concentration.

ABA’s Vaganova Studio is named after Russian dancer
Agrippina Vaganova who devised the instructional discipline
studied by some of the most famous ballet dancers.

The three ABA studios are appointed in a soft powder blue which is soothing and reminds one of the mists swirling around the stage of a Swan Lake production. The color, in addition to lilting measures of classical music, creates a inspirational ballet environment freeing dancers to leave their worldly thoughts at the door and immerse themselves in their art.

Mme. Jacqueline Akhmedova, born in Munich, trained in Russia
at the Bolshoi Academy, had a twenty year professional career
before she retired in 1997 to mentor young professionals.

Mme. Akhmedova is a commanding figure in the world of ballet who has taught several accomplished dancers of note: Hee Seo is a currently a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre out of New York City and Deanna Pearson who has won many competitions both here and abroad as featured in the news article found here. You can enjoy Ms. Pearson’s talents by clicking on the video below which was recorded when she danced at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia in 2010.

Ms. Deanna Pearson dancing Paquita at the
Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Moscow, Russia.

The Akhmedova Ballet Academy has classes for all age levels, from beginner to very advanced, some of which Mme. Akhmedova teaches herself, and some that are taught by other highly trained professionals. Classes are generally offered in a group format or semi-private lessons with no more than eight in a class. Private lessons are also available. These individual classes are specifically tailored to a student’s needs thus encouraging each dancer’s maximum development and progress.

The 2011 ABA Cape Cod Summer Intensive. Come audition and
join the class located every year off site at the Academy of
Performing Arts School in Orleans, Massachusetts.

ABA classes are not limited to classical ballet. By attending the Akhmedova Ballet Academy, students also can excel in contemporary and modern dance allowing them a firm foundation in the most innovative trends in performance movement. Workable class schedules with state of the art dance disciplines encourage each student to achieve and become accomplished.

Alice Belle Wylie, a 200RYT certified
Yoga Instructor, teaches Yoga and Pilates.

ABA teaches yoga and Pilates classes to develop the strength and core stamina required for ballet, one of the world’s most demanding athletic disciplines. Alice Belle Wylie is not only certified in Yoga, but also has her BA in ballet and French giving her insight into dancer’s needs for goal fulfillment. In fact, Ms. Wylie feels yoga is an embodiment of joyful, mindful and meditative movement, much like dance itself.

If you or someone you know is desirous of a course of dance study in a disciplined, but pleasantly productive atmosphere, get more information on classes and options by going to the Akhmedova Ballet Academy web site, e-mail or telephone 301-593-6262.

Mme. Akhmedova and students from the ABA 2011 Summer
Intensive located on site at the Silver Spring, MD studios.

The Akhmedova Ballet Academy teaches the Vaganova method. This book was written by Aggripina Vaganova in 1948 after she designed instruction combining classical Russian ballet with elements from French and Italian influences.

If you have an interest in the Vaganova method,
hover your mouse over the link below:

Basic Principles of Classical Ballet

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Filed under: Beauty,The Arts — admin @ 5:36 pm Comments (0)
Sep 01 2011

Having been a child of the 1950s and living the early years of television without one, I remember the day in 1954 when our TV arrived. I was taking my nap in the afternoon, and conveniently “out of the way” when I heard a commotion downstairs. I tip-toes down and looked past the wall that hid half the stairs from the living room and peeked around the wall over the banister. What a strange sight I saw!  Two moving men with a dolly gently trans-versing the living room from the front door over to the den. What WAS that odd rectangular box on the dolly?



Face Morphing

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Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 5:32 pm Comments (0)

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