Monday, September 15, 2014

Are we there yet? Said the hippo.

 The other day, someone asked me to tell them about my life in Vietnam. 
I thought my brain was going to seize up on the spot. 
Vietnam? you mean Tahilla Farm?
Where am I?

Catching the morning sun at Tahilla Farm.

I have learned over time that it is best for me to process one life at a time.
When in the USA it is all USA and when in Vietnam it is all Vietnam.
As was the case for Australia, New Zealand and England.
My heart travels better that way.

 I have been out of touch..
off the blogging radar screen, as they say,
in an effort to get ready for some big changes at Tahilla Farm.

Back to storage... "Collage of Life"

There was packing to be done and farewells to be said.
The greatest farewell of all was to "Martha"
our large maple tree. If my New Hampshire friends are reading this, 
they will be shrugging at this moment and thinking..
"There she goes again"
they heard it all..again and again.

For reasons too many to recount, 
we had to make the call and we did and she is gone.

Adieu Martha...

She left us a gift..a view we had not anticipated.
For we could never see the view through her frail branches 
and all of a sudden we could.

Mrs. H gets an idea...

The moment I saw the expanded view,
 I immediately messaged Mr. H and our architect, Sheldon,
suggesting we might want to rethink our current renovation plans.
And we did.
 We have added an extension to the master wing 
so that we can wake up to the mountain and the morning sun.
Thank you Martha.

Farewell last look.

With that, I packed my bags, took my last look
 and made my way from Boston to Saigon by way of Tokyo.

and while I was sleeping across the miles...
construction at Tahilla Farm started with a mighty roar.

As was to be expected, 
my arrival into Saigon was not without a surprise or two.
After all...Mr. H was home on his own for four months.
Just as he was two years ago 
when he selected the colour for our house.
 I said beige, he said mango and 
Chateau Mango was born.

As we drove into Chateau Mango last week, 
I knew something was up when I spotted
the large backside of an enormous animal at our front door. 
Not your everyday welcome.

Guess what?
Mr. H looked at me and said..
"Meet Henrietta Hippo"
(I really have to stop creating names for animals)
He fell in love with a similar hippo
in a hotel lobby in South Africa this summer. 
When he returned to Vietnam,
he commissioned one to be made...for us.
I thought..great, if we were in the hotel busines, 
which we are not.

What would you say?

So..we have an enormous wooden hippo that required a crane
to be lifted off the truck that it arrived on. Mr. H thinks
it will be great for the front porch at Tahilla Farm. 
I think not. 
Tika agrees.
After all Henrietta is all posture and no action.
I think Tika thought she had a new playmate.

Never a dull moment with Mr. H...that's for sure!
Wait..maybe I am dreaming this.
Pinched myself...not. are thing's going with you?

 PS..if on reflection, you are thinking 
that Henrietta's head looks more
like a dragon, you would be correct. 
She is a Vietnamese interpretation of a hippo.
Care for a seat?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Making friends…extraordinary ones

If you have been following my Tahilla Farm days at Collage of Life you will know that I have a fondness for naming animals. I feel a kinship to some animals and often bestow a name, the first name that comes to mind. We have "Priscilla" the Porcupine and her baby "Pia", two turkeys…"Thelma and Louise" and have recently brought two others into the fold, one I call "Stupid"  and the other one…"Harold".

Let me tell you about "Stupid"…the woodchuck. I call him "Stupid" because that is what I call myself every time I see another plant in my garden chewed to bits. "Stupid" because I had a heart and did not call Mr. Critterman to  trap him and move him onto yonder pastures as I have done with others. "Stupid" because I gave him a second chance and a third chance and he knows it…and he flaunts it as if to say…"You silly woman…don't you know that is what people do in these parts?" "Serves you right and I am going to chew all your lettuce leaves just to prove it." BTW…" If you think you will ever be able to catch me…forget about it!".."Stupid"

I really should have wised up when "Stupids" family went to work on creating a tunnel under our granite steps last summer and managed to create a sinkhole in the process. We trapped several woodchucks and moved them on…except we were never able to catch mother woodchuck. I have to be honest..the use of smoke bombs has crossed my mind. You think crazy thoughts when you start to call yourself and a woodchuck…"Stupid". ;)

But..then another friend came along and gave me faith, 
a hawk who glides effortlessly, weaving in and out of the trees around Tahilla Farm. 
He is truly special and I think he deserves a name he can be proud of.
I call him "Harold".

Because…I think he looks like a "Harold". I thought of "Harry" (Hawk)…but
he really feels like a "Harold" to me. What do you think?

He just has that way about him.

Some might say that when one gets around to naming the animals 
on her property it is time to move on. 
That will come soon enough… 
but in the meantime…I am just going to enjoy them all. 

They are a delight….even "Stupid".

Extraordinary friends in and around our home, Tahilla Farm,  in New Hamphsire.

But then again….
I have a few friends waiting back in Vietnam..
of the more colourful variety… here.

Extraordinary friends waiting for me at our home, Chateau Mango, in Vietnam.

Best wishes to one and all for a wonderful week.
I hope it is filled with extraordinary surprises.

Jeanne xx

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

If you live in New England…..and love gardens

If you live in New England
and love gardens...
there is something pretty special 
happening in our corner of the world.
I think you will love it!

 2014 Open Day Program for the 
is finally here.


On Saturday, August 23rd 
in Francestown and Peterborough, New Hampshire,
Six beautiful private gardens will be open to the public,
 including the garden below of my blogging pal,

I do not want to give too much away because you really need to "experience"
the garden at Juniper Hill Farm….it is one of my favourites.

Juniper Hill Farm, New Hampshire
Photo: Joe Valentine

Juniper Hill Farm, New Hampshire
Photo: Joe Valentine
Juniper Hill Farm, New Hampshire
Photo: Joe Valentine

Juniper Hill Farm, New Hampshire
Photo: Joe Valentine

To top off the day…you can attend a lecture
and book signing by garden writer Tovah Martin, entitled
It will be held on Saturday, August 23 at 7:00pm at Bass Hall
at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, 
19 Grove Street, Peterborough, New Hampshire


Consider it a garden weekend
for on Sunday, August 24, five enchanting
private gardens in Bellows Falls, Westminster West, Hartland,
Springfield and Windsor, Vermont will be open to the public. Details here.

In addition to all this, Broken Arrow Nursery will feature a plant sale
at Juniper Hill Farm in Francestown, New Hampshire on Saturday
and again on Sunday, August 24th at Gordon and Mary Hayward's Garden in
Westminster West, Vermont.

I wrote about a visit to Gordon and Mary Hayward's garden last year…here
I took the photos below last summer. It is a very special place.

Gordon and Mary Hayward's Garden
Photo: Jeanne Henriques
Gordon and Mary Hayward's Garden
Photo: Jeanne Henriques

Gordon and Mary Hayward's Garden
Photo: Jeanne Henriques
Gordon and Mary Hayward's Garden
Photo: Jeanne Henriques

I do not want to give to much away because you really need to wander
each garden to fully appreciate the hard work
the owners put into the planning and care of their gardens.
It will be well worth it, I promise!

You can read more about the individual gardens below:

Saturday, August 23

Peterborough, New Hampshire 

Francestown, New Hampshire 

Sunday, August 24

Windsor, Vermont

Springfield, Vermont

Hartland, Vermont

West Westminster, Vermont

Bellows Falls, Vermont

Admission to each garden is $5.00, 
payable in cash or check at each location.

Hope to see you there!!


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