Tuesday, March 15, 2016


I had lived here, in Vermont, for almost 20 years and had often seen the sign for the turnoff to St. Gaudens National Historic Site. However, most often, I was on my way to take one of my epic, bi-monthly, grocery shopping trips and had no time for exploring or lollygagging around. Besides, though I LOVE living in Vermont - in the country - many, many museums and house tours aren't really to my taste. I think that I have more of a European aesthetic and the heavy, small time, country Victorian vibe just doesn't thrill me.

Eventually, however, two summers ago - in late August - I realized that, because of biopsies and operations, I hadn't been out of the house (except to go to the hospital or store) but once in seven months. In pure desperation and with a serious case of wanderlust, I went for a long explore and wound up, finally, at the home of Augustus St. Gaudens. The road was charming, the winding, small drive through the pine forest up to the house was secretive, the parking lot...? Well, I've seen larger vegetable gardens! I got out of my car and was presented with a very tall hedge and the glimpse of a house just beyond.

As I followed the path around the walkway and went through the hedge, I was not prepared for what I found. Something small but mighty!

As it turns out, if you have ever been to New York City, you know who Augustus St. Gaudens is. On the lower, East corner of The Park is a tremendous and glorious statue (now, newly regilded and shining gold) of a man - an officer - mounted on a noble steed - upright - being led by a glorious angel - a woman with hand outstretched - named 'Peace'. That is the work of this gifted sculptor of no little fame, influence and standing. One does not often find such an artist of international renown in the rural hills of Vermont/New Hampshire but, St. Gaudens loved his summer home - making it his permanent residence towards the end of his life. Born in Dublin, raised in NYC, studied in Paris and Rome - his home - especially, his gardens - have a resounding European sensibility. What's more, the soul of this man who was so encouraging and inspiring to other artists, still seems to reside here. Being the smallest National Park, it doesn't feel like it belongs to the state hardly at all. I don't quite know how to explain it but.... it feels 'real'. Like the voices of the artist and his family, friends and community are still echoing here.

What's more, it appears that this is the best kept secret ever! You will see that there are no people in my pictures. That's because, more often than not, when I go at the end of the day, I AM the only one there. Actually, I bought a season pass that allows me to stay on the grounds from dawn till dusk and, as any last wandering stragglers leave, the garden is mine! All mine!! My own secret place!!!

This place is a maze of hedge rooms and small gardens - patios and porches - courtyards - a beech allĂ©e - and a tremendous sweeping meadow carved out from the woods with glorious views - all wrapped in silence - all curving and winding and opening out into each other. 

I've come to explore many times and am always discovering some other nook or corner. This time, I brought my oldest and youngest son with me. They brought their sketch books. We took a hike down to the watering hole where St. Gaudens and his workers would go on hot summer afternoons. The most astounding discovery, this time, however, was in a hedge, fronted with a row of fruit trees whose change I had often admired in the different seasons. After staring and appreciating so many times, how had I missed the archway leading to the cutting garden? It must be a secret garden - only opening up to those who wait for it long enough!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


I have to confess to a great overwhelm as I've contemplated approaching this post. I have over a thousand pictures.... that's why I've put it off for so long but, finally, the story must be told!

It was last February.... One evening, when Lliam went out to the barn to feed the chickens, he found a surprise. In a box that we had made insulated and warm for the stray cats....


As it turned out, gray mama kitty did not appreciate us handling her kittens and, the next morning, when we came out, we discovered that she had moved them.

Then, one month later, the day before I was due to have another operation (silly, dang things, those operations!), Tom saw mama gray kitty moving her babies into the milk house. Tom opened the door and there they were. He scooped them up and brought them in and, instead of cooking dinners ahead and preparing for the next couple of days recuperating, I stared at and tried to tame wild, ferocious kittens.






(it's hard work being fierce and ferocious, apparently!)

We very soon convinced them to bottle feed and to try a little bit of canned food...
(poor little hungry dears!)

...and, slowly, they learned to trust us.

Still, it was exhausting work, being cute...

and, finally, they began to call me 'Mommy'!

To be continued....

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Each day is brand new...

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Such a truly strange year. There is no way to relay to you where I've been or how it's been going with me. But, one thing I do know, hard as it was - scary, even, as it was sometimes - I am so very thankful for this past year - the good - the hard - the growth!!!

I have to confess, though, to be relieved to turn around after Christmas and to see, for the first time in ages and ages, a blank page! Oh, my goodness! I can do anything I want!! (Famous last words - I know! ;) ) So, though I don't usually hold with making resolutions, I do feel the need to come up with a direction. Haven't quite, yet, though.

and, so, there isn't any wisdom or any formed thoughts from this girly, tonight!

Just hope!! Expectancy!!

and, I thought I'd share a word that I found on Pinterest a while back...

Sophrosyne n. A healthy state of mind, characterized by self-control, moderation, and a deep awareness of one's true self, and resulting in true happiness.

I'm laughing. Sounds like the ultimate resolution to me! :)

Wishing you all the best of New Years!!



Friday, December 25, 2015

Mild He Lays His Glory By!

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped
 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness,
and, being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross."
Philippians 2:6-8 ~ the Bible

The mind boggles!

In a world where power seems to be money, opportunities, connections and military might, God had another plan....

to come to be with us, to walk with us, to relate with us, to save us...

and He came in the most ridiculously opposite way that any human would ever dream up...

in extreme frailty and vulnerability ...

because humbleness, love and truth are what God values... are what God is...

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." ~ I Corinthians 1:5

...and, in a funny little coincidence, that's how God asks us to come to Him...

Just plain and simple and real - in truth - no posturing...

He doesn't want us to come to Him when we're perfect and feel strong or extra good, but He wants us to come like children... on the most genuine and real level - with love and need!

I can do that!! Poor as I am, I can do that!!

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
a breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

~Christina Rosetti

Wishing you the happiest of Christmas celebrations!!!