I love this sign that is on Route 1 outside of Damariscotta. Words to live by, don't you agree? It always makes me smile when we drive past it.
Leaving Damariscotta and South Bristol was difficult, but this journey is a joy. We've hooked up with so many of our dear friends along the road. Shared meals, catching up on life, and doing a lot of laughing, too.
Most mornings (especially when I'm doing a television segment) begin early, early. We need time to check our props, make mixtures, load the car, unload the car at the stations, and set up the props in the order in which the hosts will be using them in mixtures.
What did we do before the age of GPS on Jeff's iPhone??? That kind voice directs us through city mazes. Here we are entering downtown Boston on a stormy Sunday morning.
We always have to account for traffic jams and other circumstances. We never want to be late for an event. Here is Jeff beginning to set up for the talk at the Boston Public Library.
Two of the first arrivals are our dear friends Frank and Aline Cullen. They were there for moral support, and they took us to a great lunch. Seeing them there was a joy.
One of the best parts of a book tour is meeting the owners and employees of bookstores. This is Jen; she is the manager of Andover Bookstore, which was founded in 1809. Now that is longevity.
When a book is released, it is common practice to visit bookstores to do "spot signings," which is what I did at Andover. You don't do an event or talk, but you do stop by to talk with the employees and sign your books.
That night I stopped by The Odyssey and did a talk to a small, but wonderful audience. IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, an old cliche, but TRUE. It was raining rabbits and monkeys, but my friends kj and Janet (who I met through blogging) still took time to brave the storm and stop by. We all went out to dinner afterward, and I laughed so much my face ached the next morning.
At the Odyssey, I finally got to meet Emily Crowe, an active reader, critic, reviewer, who I know through her blog As the Crowe Flies (and Reads!).
So what does this pile of old barn beams have to do with anything? For those of you who know and love The Squibb House Bed and Breakfast in Cambria, California, you'll soon see these beams used in a new building (that looks authentic and old) on the Squibb property. Bruce Black, designer, builder, and innkeeper, saved the beams from an old barn on his family property in Pennsylvania. The barn, which was built in 1870, had fallen into disrepair, but Bruce managed to salvage these hand hewn beams for his new/old Squibb House project.
He also saved, and will use, these incredible hand made pegs that held the barn together. Wow, what superb craftsmanship must have gone into building this old barn.
John Scheafnocker is the owner/operator of the small Pennsylvania mill, Timber Trails, that will split and saw the old beams for the new building. He has a neat operation and a stockpile of fine, aged woods, like black poplar, walnut, and more. If you have any need of custom mill work, John is your go-to craftsman.
Once we hit the Ohio border, we headed off the main highway and onto the back roads that meaner through the rich, rolling farmlands.
One of the places I always love to visit in Ohio is Malabar Farm, the historic home of author/farmer/conservationist Louis Bromfield. Bromfield is known as one of the pioneers of organic/sustainable gardening/farming, and his 1,000 acre home site in Mansfield, Ohio, is now an historic site. Bromfield is the author of 31 novels, many of which were made into movies and published in many languages. His 1927 novel, Early Autumn, won the Pulitzer Prize.
Malabar Farm's historic farm stand includes a bubbling spring often visited by Johnny Appleseed.
I watched as a gentleman filled empty bottles with the water from this sweet, bubbling fountain. Ok, I thought, if it is good enough for Johnny Appleseed, it is good enough for me! And it was! Sweet, cold, and fresh from Mother Earth.
A cluster of bee hives greet you as you meander up toward the farm.
Malabar Farm from a distance.
I couldn't get all of the meandering farmhouse into my camera lens. It is farmy, but grand. The tours are great and the stories of the luminaries who visited Louis and his family, are so much fun. Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart were secretly married here in a small wedding in the home. Tours are available and the docents are great storytellers. You really feel how it was to live here.
Louis was passionate about soil conservation, agricutlture, gardening, and conservation. He devoted much of his life to learning and living what he believed in. He banned pesticides on his land long before others even thought of the consequences. Be sure to visit Malabar Farm when you are in the Mansfield, Ohio, area. You'll also enjoy their new visitors center with wonderful interpretations of Bromfield's life and beliefs.
The morning after we arrived in Ohio, I did a segment on "Good Day Columbus." Jeff lays out the props and is pouring some of the ingredients for my Bird Booster and Songbird Mush recipes.
Me mixing things and threading some apple cores for the birds.
My hosts were Lisa Colbert and Shawn Ireland, and they were a HOOT. We had a ball talking about my book and they loved the "Splat! The Story of Bird Poop" spread the most.
Please remind me WHY I ever wore my Cardinal apron on television??? Yikes, not flattering. Notice how the hosts wear jackets over the clothes? Live and learn.
Saturday morning we arrived at the Duke Energy Center to be participants in the Books By The Banks event in Cincinnati. Wow. Thousands of people, dozens of authors and illustrators, many, many happy children with painted faces, autographed books, and tired parents.
Jeff made me pose with a view of the set-up. I'm holding a "purse" in my hand that is composed of my book covers. Love it. The little white spots on my jacket are mini books with my book covers.
A woman approached the table and asked, "HOW IS LUKE?" Who was she?? Darla, who is a frequent reader of my blog. She knew that something had gone awry with my newest grandson this summer and was concerned. I caught her up with Luke's progress, and she was happy to hear all about him.
I was lucky to share the table with Marjorie Galen, author, creator of this new Workman Publishing release, The Fashion Designers Handbook. Here's the scoop on Marjorie's book and kit.
Getting to know Marjorie was one of the best parts of this time for me. Also, an extra joy was having my friends Bonnie and Nancy Heraud (Lemon Verbena Lady) come to the show to visit us and share a meal.
Only an herbie would do what Nancy did, which was to bring a jar of her homemade scented geranium wine that we shared in our hotel room before we went to dinner. Way to go girlfriend!
Must run to Lexington, Kentucky now for a visit and talk at Joseph Beth Bookstore. I will also be visiting with a group of friends I first met at an herbal luncheon a few years ago. I look forward to them and to all my other friends along the way. Then onward to Pinehurst, North Carolina and Raleigh, North Carolina for a talk at Quail Ridge Books.