Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Drinking from Johnny Appleseed's Spring

Dear Friends,

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.

Pennsylvania sunrise.

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.




Vee said...

You have been busy! Yes, I do love that sign. Just saw another sign of a similar nature at Linds' Rocking Chair Reflections.

My Amazon order just came yesterday with the Bird Book and Feeder. I'm so tickled with it. I think I won't be able to wait until Christmas to give it to my grands as the snow will fly and it will be impossible to place it where they might want it because of the drifts. So I must certainly give it sooner...perhaps instead of candy in a few days. I'll give them candy for the birds oh and, yes, I'll toss in some for them, too.

There's another little bookshop over our way should you ever find your way to the western side of the state. I'm imagining right now...

Blondie's Journal said...

I feel like I'm on the road with you, Sharon! It really must be lovely to meet all these new and wonderful people and catch up with old friends. And your pictures certainly tell a story! I know you are having a wonderful adventure!

Keep posting...I love hearing about your tour!


Susan Freeman said...

It is always so reassuring to see independent book shops with longevity surviving in the world of B&N and Amazon! So few are left. Your trip must be so rewarding. Congratulations to you.

Big Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Julie Marie said...

Good morning sweet Sharon... wow!... you are having an amazing the Andover bookstore and how fabulous it dates back to 1809... and to see the spring where Johnny Appleseed drank from... once in a lifetime memory... all of your fans love you!... and I am sure you enjoyed meeting some fellow bloggers who were kind and caring and concerned about how your grandson is... so happy to hear he is doing well!... you look so cute in your apron on tv... I am glad you wore that instead of a jacket... the book fairs sound like sooo much fun... and I am still hoping and wishing really hard that you come to Utah... wish you were here right now to enjoy our luscious Autumn colors everywhere... have fun, as you always do!... sending much love to you... xoxo... Cousin Julie Marie... PS I am ordering your book from your site, will call the phone number you have listed for an autographed one just for me!...

Susan said...

Love the sign and your trip is just so much more magical with the fall backgrounds. I have tears in my eyes with the photo of The Odyssey Book Store; a place my girls went, especially Kelly.
Safe travels, XOXO

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What an enjoyable little trip for me while sitting here at my computer.

It looks like you had a great time. I follow and chat with Nancy so it was neat to see a picture of her. How nice to have gotten some of her homemade wine. What a treat.

Happy Autumn ~ FlowerLady

Pondside said...

I've been out working in the yard and decided to come in and treat myself to a break and a read of one blog - and one only. I'm so glad I picked yours because it truly was a break. Lots to read, some new places to visit and bloggers to bookmark for later. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The recommendations you discussed here are really useful. It absolutely was such a fun surprise to have that awaiting me after i woke up to find this event. Thank you very much for the tip!

Michelle said...

It looks like you are so busy, but what great stops you are making! I love the Joseph Beth Bookstore. Such a great place. Nice to see those beehives :)

Carol said...

Dear Sharon, It has been too long since my last visit and I am so sad to see that you were in my neighborhood and I did not know it! The Odyssey bookstore is only a half hour from me. If indeed it is the same one in South Hadley. Boo Hoo!!! I hope you had a great welcome to the valley. I have been so crazed that blogging has suffered. Wow, you are all over the place and I am tired reading about your road trip. It must be exhausting but so much fun too. Congratulations!! I love "raining rabbits and monkeys." I recall a night like that just the other night. Virtual hugs . . . I would have loved to have given you a real one. ;>(

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Hello to my Virgo Sister and Herbal Girlfriend and my favorite Phone Man,
Got home this afternoon. Had a fabulous time with you both. Sending our love to you and wishing only continued good birding vibes for your journey and fun with your fans, both old and young. xxoo Nancy (& Bonnie)

Darla said...

It was a joy to meet you! I have thoroughly enjoyed your books and blog through the years and just wanted to say hello in person, since you were so close. I wish you made a little pit stop at one of our local independent book stores, so you could interact with children and families vs. sitting at a cramped table. When I came to say goodbye at Books By The Banks, you weren't in your seat, as directed. Good for you...challenge authority and spread your wings! And, no I didn't think you were asking for sympathy by sharing Luke's story. There's strength in numbers and Luke has many people thinking of him. I look forward to our next visit, via internet or in person. Safe travels and happy book tour!

Nellie said...

Oh, what a great time you are having! I so wish you would have been able to be in my area!

Sending along continuing good progress wishes for that grandson, and for the book tour, as well.

Bonnie K said...

Holy cow you are all over the place. Glad you get to see so many wonderful things. Malabar Farm looks so interesting. I would love to visit there.

kj said...


an honor, a treat, a feast, a joy, a friendship.

behave, you two. you are doing great. :^)


troutbirder said...

What a busy, interesting and I'm sure exhausting lifestyle. I did love that very first sign on this post and Mr. Appleseed is a favorite historical character of mine...:)

rebecca sweet said...

Thanks for such a detailed post, Sharon. You and Jeff are so important to so many people (me included) - it's such a thrill and such a treat to come along for the ride with you!

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