Life as I know It

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

Saturday, April 26, 2014

"Married to Amazement"

"When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement."
from Mary Oliver's
New and Selected Poems

What would I do without my daily doses of poetry? Ethel Pochocki, Mary Oliver, Emily Dickinson, Wendell Berry, Robinson Jeffers,  Billy Collins, Theodore Roethke are just a few of the writers I turn to every morning. I guarantee that you'll find something, even if it is the tiniest constellation of words to help you through your day.

Pick up a book of poetry, take time to let the words soak into your soul, and I promise you will grow to love these spare, telling words more every day.

Yes, yes, I've been away. We've had surgeries in the family, caregiving, lots of guests, and lots of changes, but this afternoon I hope to share a short visit with you. And, stay tuned. I have an amazing give-away donated by Serenity Health & Home Decor to the lucky winner who is drawn from our latest posting.

The garden is bursting with life. Bees everywhere, birds everywhere, and blooms. Hurrah! Tall stands of hollyhocks sway in a slow garden waltz, hummingbirds empty feeders and visit blossoms until nightfall, and mamas and papas and baby birds now visit the birdbaths and fountains. I am in

Please stay with me to the end of the posting and you'll see what a great give-away we have for you!

Glimpses of Paradise

My pomegranates are in bloom, and I've got my fingers crossed for fruit.

A favorite of the bumblebees. The backyard is literally a mini-forest of hollyhocks now.

A native Mimulus (monkey flower), which I grow in a huge pot.

The native Ceanothus attracts a host of beneficial insects.

This is the only violetta artichoke I grew because it has wicked bad barbs that always find their way into my hands and arms. But, the taste is incredibly good.

Many succulents are in bloom.

We always call this lavender Peter Rabbit.

Scented peppermint Pelargonium has huge, velvety leaves and tiny, tasty little white blooms.

One of my succulent mosaics. I just love these big pots of texture and form.

The hummingbirds are ALWAYS visiting the Cuphea for nectar. This is the busiest hummingbird plant in the garden–busier even than the Salvias.

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden's Tour

Maybe some of you don't realize the rich, complex offerings of a California spring. It is beyond belief and will touch your heart. This is one of my favorite places in the world, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, which is where I learned plant propagation from Dr. Dara Emery, one of the greatest teachers ever. When we were in Santa Barbara, we attended a garden tour of about 8 or 9 local homes.

On the garden tour, we saw this old, iron outdoor couch, which had fallen to wrack and ruin. A very special lady turned it from a disaster into a fairy-sized landscape for her grandchildren.

Running Out of Night Begins its Run

I hope to soon be doing even more school and library visits. This was my first group from a local school (Hawthorne) at the home of Liz and Dan Krieger,  and I got to read a few pages from my new book Running Out of Night. My book will not be released until November so I read to the kids from my advance reader copy, which is sent out to reviewers, etc. The kids were enthusiastic and filled with curiosity and appreciation. I love working with children...

...and I love watching children exercise their sense of wonder.

A Going Away Party for Dear Friends

Our dear friends Frank and Aline rented a fabulous cottage in the town of Old Edna, which is owned by our friend Pattea. We celebrated together on one of their last nights in California. Pattea set up this table in front of the cottage, and we shared tapas out in the company of flowers and owls. Oh, and don't you love the treehouse they built for their son? The old tree died a few years ago, but the treehouse lives on.

I took homemade bread and flower cheese,on a platter surrounded with edible flowers.

Pattea decorates her porch as amazingly as the insides of her cottages. Yep, that's me.

The Old Edna store in the background.

Pattea's office. Don't you love it?

Part of the table decor.

My girlfriends. Left is Debra Prinzing (Shed Style, The Fifty Mile Bouquet, Slow Flower movement and more), and Aline Cullen, who is one of the dearest people in the world.

Pattea's gypsy wagon where...

...all of us girls read stories and talked. Sorry, Frank, no boys allowed!

Ok, I know that I've wandered everywhere in this posting, but I had some catching up to do. Right?

Now I want to hear from YOU. And do you know how I am going to thank you? You'll have an opportunity to have your name drawn for the offering of this fantastic fire-pit. 

We love ours and think you'll love one too. All you need do is leave a comment on this posting. Sorry, out of country entrants excluded. It would cost a fortune to mail it out of the continental US. 

Love across the miles,


p.s. Due to the large number of spam comments coming from "anonymous," all anonymous comments are set to be deleted automatically unless your comment begins with "Sharon."