Harvest Moon over Ocean Park Beach….


If you look closely at this photo, you’ll see the waning Harvest Moon over Ocean Park Beach in Santa Monica, CA. This the final Harvest Moon of 2014 and the final Super Moon, as well.

Have traded in my bib overalls and work boots for board shorts and flip flops!

Here is my list of Things To Do for the day:

*Surf Some More

More later…

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Aah, September….

Purple Corn Harvest

Purple Corn Harvest

“Try to remember, the kind of September
When Life was Slow, and Oh, so mellow.
Try to remember and if you remember,
Then Follow.

Follow. Follow. Follow.” — The Fantasticks*

Per Charles Kightly’s Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, September is the month of Harvest-Home, Hops, and Apples. In Wales, September is the month of Reaping. In Gaelic, it is the month of Plenty.

In the Garden Spot of the Universe, September is the month of Peruvian Purple Corn, Late Green Beans, and Farewells.

More later.

(*) The Fantasticks was the first play I ever saw. I was probably around 15 years old. For some reason, my mother took me to Derby Dinner Playhouse…just the two of us, which was quite unusual….we ate prime rib and enjoyed a Bus & Trunk road company production of this American classic.

About 20 years later (or more), I was cast in a production in LA. Luckily for the audience, I played “the Mute,” and therefore, did not subject anyone to my singing voice, however, I was on stage almost the entire time, which was kind of grueling and alternately, exciting. Two cast members from that production have since been on Broadway. They could really sing and were delightful. I like to think the other cast members are in prison for crimes they did not commit. They were less delightful. That’s Theatre!

Anyway, fun anecdote for me. Thanks to my Mom for introducing me to the Theatre and to Prime Rib, both of which I still enjoy to this day.

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Year 3, Column 17: GARDEN OF GRACE

Though the calendar still reads Summer, the light is changing from bright to golden even as the thermometer spikes from mild to sweltering.

The other day, I trekked over to Groundhog Hill in the wee hours of the early morning.

Dawn had struck, but the Sun had not yet risen. I, however, was on my second cup of Folgers and was ready to go cut some Zinnias.

As soon as I passed the eastern city limits, I met some of the densest fog I’ve seen this summer. The thick clouds of billowing grey felt otherworldly as I navigated Dad’s truck, now with the lights turned on, and made my way to the garden.

The sunflowers are finally blooming, and the Peruvian Purple Corn is just about ready to harvest, I am pleased to report.

The rows and rows of Zinnias are still pretty, but you can see they’ve lost their luster amidst the growing grasses and Morning Glory which seem determined to choke them.

Autumnal colors have appeared all of a sudden: Yellows, Oranges, Burnt Reds. The Marigolds are now taking Center Stage as they are awash in deep deep orange blooms.

The Pumpkins are not far behind but still have a ways to go.

Soccer ball-sized gourds are plentiful, but they are not yet bright orange in color. They are a dark, dark green and seem hopeful to remain unnoticed for at least one more month.

Even the trees seem to sense that a Change of Season is nearly upon us: Walnut, Sassafras, and Ash have begun to drop their leaves in recognition that Fall is just around the proverbial corner.

The squirrels are having a field day (pun intended) collecting the walnuts that have plopped to the ground.

Summer is nearly over and draws to a close. Time is marching on, and we must pick up the pace or else be left behind.

As I packed up my daily collection, the Eastern Sun arose over the treetops, and the garden and I were bathed in golden sunshine. What. A. Moment.

Morning had broken, and in that moment of the new day, the feelings of trauma I had been carrying around like burdensome luggage finally dissipated to an acceptable level of nothingness.

I felt a deep sense of Gratitude for these last four months as Time well-spent in Hodgenville, in La Rue County, in this garden.

This year at times, Groundhog Hill has been a garden of Renewal, of Wonders, of Wild Delights, of Little Winters, of Ugly Babies, of Corrections, of Companions, of Predicaments, of Song, of Gifts, of Tears, of Grief, and now as Summer retreats, a garden of Grace.

Thank You for sharing it with Me.

So long for Now….

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Year 3, Column 16: GARDEN OF GRIEF…

With Dad at the Master Gardener Plant Fair in Hardin County:  Apprentice and Master.

With Dad at the Master Gardener Plant Fair in Hardin County: Apprentice and Master.

This week, the garden at Groundhog Hill holds little interest for me.

The Zinnias are no longer beautiful. The Peruvian Purple Corn is no longer intriguing. The Pumpkins hold little, if any, promise for future Joy.

I feel Bereft.

The weather forecast for this week is severe thunderstorms every day, and that is perfectly fine with me.

Come, Wind. Come, Storms. Do your absolute worst.

This week, I do not wish to pick up debris, to pull any weeds, to move Forward.

The Bees may enjoy the Sunflowers to their little heart’s content if, in fact, they have hearts. As for my own, I know it’s there, but I do not feel much: Numbness. Dull aches. Lethargy.

This week, and this week only, all Feelings are for the Birds.

As for Thoughts, well, I can’t seem to stop having those. Cursed brain.

I think I’ll feel better soon. I think I’ll return to the garden once the ground dries. I think I’ve been here before…in This Place…..in Grief.

Grief is that dwelling that’s just down the hill from the towns of Anger and Denial and is not far from the village of Acceptance. However, once you arrive in Grief, your ability to see beyond the county line is diminished.

You lose your Ability To See.

In Grief, all sounds are muted. All colors are faded. All touch is unheeded.

Also, there’s nothing to eat in Grief but funeral food: Endless trays of finger sandwiches and sheet cakes. Not a salad to be had.

The population of Grief varies.

Upon arrival, it feels like a Town of One. However, there are visitors in Grief who have stayed for quite a long time, and only since my arrival, did I realize where these people whom I see every day actually dwell.

In Grief, you are isolated from another. Compassion, Empathy, and Love are powerless. Grief can trap You, ensnare You, immobilize You.

I know from past experience that the best way to get the hell out of Grief is to just sit there for a bit. To not resist. To feel what you feel.

If you are among the Lucky, time spent in Grief does not last.

Love. Love lasts.

More later.

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Great Idea for Using Up Some of Those Ripe Tomatoes…

Heirloom Tomato Tarte Tatin

Heirloom Tomato Tarte Tatin

My brother, Will, made this dish last night for supper garnering rave reviews from two other foodie-siblings (Paula, Philip) which is not easily done!

This must be Tomato Week as they are all ripening at the same time hoping to get picked before the really hot weather, I suppose.

Give this recipe a shot! Basically, it’s the French version of a Tomato Pie…best of all, it’s made in a cast-iron skillet.

(Recipe to follow on the Recipes & Such page shortly…)

Let me know what you think should you make it!

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Year 3, Column 15: GARDEN OF TEARS…..


Apprentice and Master.

Apprentice and Master.

Over the last several days, I have watered the garden with my own tears in between pop-up thunderstorms.

Sobbing has been a State of Being, and I have been taken by surprise each time and each place where you are just hit by a new wave:  Hospital Stairwells, Parking Garages, inside my truck, the Ab Zone at the gym (weird, I know)…

My father, the Master Gardener, has bid his Farewell and makes ready to Depart This Earth.

To have lived 95 years is quite an accomplishment.  To have lived 95 years happily is an even greater one.

Dad’s life was filled with countless blessings, however here are a few:  A terrific childhood mostly spent growing up on a farm; a great set of parents; sisters; riding a horse named Old Charlie to school each day; a long marriage to a woman whom he truly loved; children; grandchildren; great-grandchildren….

And always, there were Friends, Family and Connections.

Growing up, Dad seemingly knew everyone, and to me, it seemed everyone knew Dad.  He was a man of connections, a person to whom it was easy to feel connected through his warmth and kindness.

Planting a garden never seemed like a chore to Dad.

He simply loved to do it, to grow things, and to feed his family with Summer’s Bounty.

These last few years, we grew close without realizing it as we sat by the garden at his house, discussing how wide the rows should be, the exact number of seeds to sow in each row, and my inability to create one without it somehow veering left.

We would marvel together at a successfully grown Turnip or ponder the dreaded Blossom End Rot on a Tomato, or curse our wretched Luck at growing Asparagus.

Many an afternoon and early evening were spent watching Green Beans grow or Corn mature.  We were nearly always joined by his favorite Pet, a tiger cat named Moses, who would roll around at Dad’s feet and then go lay on a freshly tilled spot of garden.

These quiet, mostly non-verbal times spent together were really nice, and I feel deep Gratitude to have lived them.

Whether Crops succeeded or failed wasn’t really important because the Time we shared creating them was our Measure of Success, a true gift I shall forever treasure.

With the garden, Dad & I always has Something To Talk About and To Look Forward To, no matter the season.

My Love For Growing Stuff comes from my Dad, for our Family, for Our Town, which as you know, Dad believed to be The Garden Spot of the Universe.

He felt so happy Here.

“Sweet the Rain’s newfall, sunlit from Heaven

Like the first dewfall, on the first grass

Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden

Sprung in completeness, where His feet pass.”

–Morning Has Broken, a favored Scottish Hymn of Praise.

More later.

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Tough Week…

IN MEMORIAM: James D. La Rue Jr. 1919 - 2014

James D. La Rue Jr.
1919 – 2014

With Dad at the Master Gardener Plant Fair in Hardin County.

With Dad at the Master Gardener Plant Fair in Hardin County.

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