Changes at the Apple Farm

The weather has been strange, occasionally cold, then often in the 60s or even the low 80s.   One night and early morning it was nearly freezing.  All the plants, with the exception of a very heavy indoor-outdoor tree, are now in the house.  Many lost their glow, several their leaves.

Today Autumn, Fall hit hard as I drove out to town.

View from Little Wagner's driveway ©

It is fascinating that Pantone colours can closely approximate nature.

Pantone colours ©

What colours would these be in paint?


The fabulous Gs: Goulet & Gazebo

I like small shops, personal and personable.

Today the two Gs: Gazebo & Goulet proves why it still pays to buy local or as local as you can, and by that I mean the small business, not the mega-stores.

I haven't lived in the Pioneer Valley since 1996, yet when I phoned Gazebo today they had all my previous sales on record, walked me through some purchases, and will send my order by regular mail, not for a fortune, but at cost. 

If you are ever near Northampton, take yourself off the Main Street and walk down Center Street, visit the shop & get excited about women's undergarments.  Always pleasant, always helpful, never overpriced and in business for as long as I visited or lived nearby over twenty years now.  In fact, for quite awhile my office was above the shop when I worked for FP.

Then there is Goulet, pens that is.

The married couple, young, energetic, learning and now experienced, who run a small business that is accessible also offers choices in merchandise & shipping.  You don't suffer the pangs of buying an ink sample and paying more for the postage than that itty bitty vial.   I placed an order for a bottle of the De Atramentis Document Black & three samples around 2pm, and received notice at around 3pm DST that it had shipped USPS 1st Class.

I also talked to Askew & Taylor today, and as always received the best service although I ultimately did not place an order.

I don't want to live in a mall, go paperless and stop using a pen.


Shall I take a sojourn with Woolf?

The National Portrait Gallery (UK) is exhibiting a rather extensive look at Virginia Woolf's life.

Some audio is available here.

Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision runs through October 26.

Would I have time to prepare an overseas journey? 

Would I stretch it out and visit friends in Scotland & Ireland.

Or will I stay at Little Wagner and write in a room of my own?


The Hat

Two dozen years ago, Shirley Valentine and I went Christmas shopping.

At one of several local sales, she bought me a writing hat.  No, the hat didn't write, but rather this was to be the hat I wore to write.

It was all part of our authentic voice discussions.   We hadn't seen each other for a couple of years as she went off to Edinburgh in 1988, and I moved to Providence a year later.  When we both lived in the City, we'd meet once a week, often eating Indian food on 6th Street, or around the corner on 2nd Avenue.

Our friendship was bonded by the tossing of after dinner fennel seeds at each other and a Masters in Psychology she earned while I learned. But before that we both worked on separate projects in the same medical school.

It was her then and now former husband, DA, that brought us together.  He and I were the best of adversarial friends in science and literature.   He'd come to my office, put his feet up and we'd fuss so badly, on occasion, that folks would be afeared outside the closed, but not locked door that we were killing each other.   He came down from Harvard to do molecular biology in '82.   He married my weekly dinner friend about a year later.

DA and I never gave up our fussing or friendship, but somewhere or sometime it was the wife and not the husband that I met each week.

Today I brought down that Shirley Valentine hat and put it close to my desk.

Not tomorrow when I have an early appointment, or even Thursday when I have three meetings already scheduled, but Friday, the hat is going to write.


Warbler Burial ... no ritual!

I was clearing one patch of ground near the house bit by bit.   And when finished I would lay down a nice layer of mulch and hope to plant on it next season.

While raking I noticed an unusual colour.

Not a weed, but a bird.   Dead.

I don't know when the bird died,  but on the day I discovered it, ebird was describing two similar Warblers--the Blackpoll & the the Bay Breasted.

Bay-breasted Warbler (Wiki)

Blackpoll Warbler (Wiki)

I thought I'd read the article, see if I could determine whether this bird was one or the other, but I found myself bereft. 

The discovery brought back very unpleasant childhood memories.

Today I dug a grave, put a marker at the spot and hoped the images would diminish.


Banned in Vermont

I found this article intriguing: Banning the use of electronics in the cafe in Burlington (Vermont).

When I lived in Guilford (a tiny town outside of Brattleboro) I had no Internet or land line phone service on the farm;  hence, I would go to the most comfortable cafe, have coffee, often lunch of a scrumptious soup, and do my Internet business.

Blue Moose on High Street

Calls, then, were made on my cell.

Will other cafes follow suit?


Sullivan County (NY)

More on this at the end of the month.


Zuihitsu in Hobart

It didn't matter one iota what it was called.  I only knew that Cheryl Boyce Taylor would be doing a workshop on the topic, and that of all the poetry workshop facilitators I've encountered Cheryl inspired me the most.

She didn't disappoint. 

Two and one half hours later, I was loaded with new inspiration, the names of several poets I was either unfamiliar with or with whom I needed a new introduction.

The workshop, "Zuihitsu," was liberating and the women in the workshop filled the small back room of the Blenheim Hill Bookshop with incredible energy, beauty and amazing talent.

It happened at the 2nd (now annual) Festival of Women Writers, and this year several male figures appeared, envious of the excitement about the number of writers who would be presenting, reading or offering workshops.

In addition to Cheryl's workshop, I attended Ginnah Howard's workshop entitled, "Making the Leap from Real Life into Fiction" and Esther Cohen's workshop "Good Stories."  

Ginnah shared how she made her real life a publishable fiction, more than once, while Esther really made writing a good story seem easy.

Hobart is not your average town.  It is not big, no bigger than one long narrow street, and a few shops off the Main Street, but what it has that few other towns possesses is "bookstores"--six or eight depending on how you count.

I was able to pick up a second hand copy of a compendium of Flannery O'Connor's work in excellent condition at Barbara's (Blenheim).

I ended my adventure in Bloomville at Table on Ten with a great Irving Farm iced cup of coffee and a baguette of prosciutto, mozzarella and pesto (just yummy).