27 October 2013

Like mother, like daughter.... #expatlife



    

My lovely daughter Christine has written a little story, a story of her expat life. She wrote it today on her blog tine. and I love it (as I do all her posts). We share the gift of gab, laugh at our own jokes and have a similar point of view on life. I wonder where she gets it from? ;)


       Christine's story..

18 October 2013

creative souls, a little book of hope and martha


From Plant Dreaming Deep by May Sarton


I am one of those people who underlines, marks and folds pages in a book...even hardcover books. This is one of those things people feel strongly about, you either do or you don't. I can't help myself, it's personal. I see it as bringing the written word to the next level...if it means something to me, I don't want to forget it. To that end, I recently created a 'little book of hope'. It is a small journal filled with words that sparked my curiosity...ones that give me hope.

What has surprised me in this little quest of mine is just how insightful and revealing it is. I have had my
nose in books all week...following a trail of words. With books on one side of my desk and my Kindle
on the other, I have been bouncing in my seat with excitement. I liken it to a type of mindful therapy.

Many of you are soulmates when it comes to projects like this. We are a merry little band of creative souls. We write, we read, we photograph, we draw, we paint, we ponder life and we express it in our own way. We appreciate each other's talents and pursuits because 'we get it'. Nothing is too crazy...we just embrace life the best way we can.

If this concept is new to you...I am hoping you will create your own 'little book of hope'. Call it what you like. Grab a journal or pad of paper and start searching. You will know where to go. My guess is the words will be right in front of you.. in a book, in a card, in a letter, in that pile of notes that you tucked away for a rainy day. Mix it up...use your words and anothers. Take yourself for a long walk, meditate, crank up the music..do your thing and write. It's your story..your little book of hope...it's your secret and it's fun!

I will let you in on one of my little secrets....one that I discovered one summer's morning while reading at Tahilla Farm. I breathed in every word...

       Finally at the end of that long, rainy, glorious day, I turned out the lights and fell into bed. At first there was too great a buzz of things still to be done in my head, but at last I could listen, first to the silence, and then, through it, to the infinite number of sounds an old house contains in the night. There were small creaks, a door opening in the draught, then the scurry of a field mouse somewhere in the kitchen, and something less tangible, as if things themselves breathed very softly, as if the old furniture were settling down. All these sounds together made the house feel like a ship. I did not know where the ship would take me, but I knew it was snug and beautiful, and I know that it's passenger was both inwards and outwards bound.

Written by May Sarton in Plant Dreaming Deep



Outward bound to Tahilla Farm and Martha....



Some of you may recall 'Martha'
a mighty old girl embracing Tahilla Farm. 
If this tree could talk, she could tell a tale or two 
as she goes back some 150 years.  




There has been a great debate around Martha this past year. 
Should she stay or should she go?  She stands perilously close to the house
and if a storm gets the better of her..well, you can imagine the rest. 

I undertook a campaign to get as many opinions as possible, 
thinking the decision would be clear. In hindsight, this was not a wise
idea for it confused me even more.



Mr. H and I discussed it at length and decided to give Martha more time. 
We are taking another leap of faith that with careful pruning, cabling and a good feed 
that she will stand tall and proud for many years to come. Work starts in two weeks. 



Once our tree expert gets to the top of the tree he will have a better prognosis.
I am keeping my fingers crossed that the sun will shine on Martha for 
many years to come. All I can say to this old girl of a tree is...
All Hail Martha..she has done well to stand this long.
:)

Plant Dreaming Deep


If you would like to know more about May Sarton's work, you can read here.
You will find the book in the Brown Paper Book Club list here.
With special thanks to Tara Dillard for suggesting this book to me!
Creative souls are the best!



12 October 2013

The Brown Paper Book Club...100 and counting




In the past week we have
taken a wee peek
at our home in Vietnam...Chateau Mango,
linked in with Bowerbird Friends,
cooked Thai Food,
strolled through a beautiful garden in Vermont
and met Gordon and Mary,
looked around the property at Tahilla Farm 
and met Swift and Grace,
listened to classical, folk and jazz music,

Design, food, gardening, music...the proverbial Collage of Life!
It is only natural to follow with a few good books
and you all have had plenty to recommend.

Blogs, emails, Facebook..you have been
so generous with your suggestions,
I thank you kindly!

I have been a diligent note taker and
recently finished adding them to the
 Brown Paper Book Club,
a place where we share a good read.

If you are new to the Brown Paper Book Club, have a look below.
This is page one of 10..with over 100 book recommendations between them.
Between you and me...I think we have a great selection.




Speaking of books... it is so exciting~


Alice Munro
Photo by Derek Shapton

Congratulations to Canadian, Alice Munro, for winning 
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature.
At 82 years of age,
she is the 13th woman to win the prize since
it's inception in 1901. Wonderful!

Alice has written fifteen books, she says Dear Life,
her latest book of short stories is her last book.
I have added it to the Brown Paper Book Club.


via


You can find a collection of her work
with Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group here

For previous winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature, read here


A view from Chateau Mango
 From rainy Saigon...wishing you
a wonderful weekend!

Jeanne xx


09 October 2013

A jazzy kind of beat at Chateau Mango



it' a jazz thing

There was a time...long ago, 
before I tied the knot with Mr. H,
that I loved to hang out in piano bars. 
The scene was Manhattan and I would
meet up with friends to sip on a cocktail or two
and listen to great music...mostly jazz.

It has been a long time since I 'lounged' 
and I had forgotten about those days in Manhattan
until I heard the music of Cecile McLorin Salvant.
She brought it all back. 

Chateau Mango is rocking to
the jazzy beat today of Cecile and much more.
I thought a few of you might enjoy the beat too!
(Heather...this one is for you!)




You can view in iTunes here and her website here





and more jazzy beats with...

Billie Holiday ...Body and Soul

Cassandra Wilson ... Red Guitar 


Elaine Elias...Girl Talk

Mary Stallings... Dream Dancing

Gretchen Parlato...Holding Back the Years

and my all time favourite

( Mr. H...this one is for you xx)


Carrying the beat in Central Park in 2012

all that jazz
Manhattan 2012

jazz photos around Manhattan
snapped by me
;)

06 October 2013

Meanwhile back at the Farm.... #tahillafarm


Taking stock...Tahilla Farm

It has been one year since I went house hunting down a dirt road from the coast of Maine to finding and purchasing Tahilla Farm in New Hampshire and what a year it has been!

I mentioned earlier in the summer that Mr. H was visiting Tahilla Farm for the first time and during his visit frequently mentioned bulldozers. What I have not mentioned since then, is that bulldozers and a whole lot more pulled into Tahilla Farm at the start of August and as of this week, the first week of October, they are done. I couldn't mention it until now because it was too unsettling for this tree hugger to think about...until now.

me and my shadow...Tahilla Farm

Before we started the project, I was told by our 'super forester', Swift Corwin, that I could expect the worst...and then it would get better. Swift likes to tell it like it is and I am glad he did. There were no surprises. I liken my anxiety to the neck pain I have had these past few weeks which has all of a sudden improved..I am thinking there might be a connection between the two.

We cleared parts of Tahilla Farm to bring back the land, to provide new grazing areas for animals and to give Tahilla Farm a new life..one that had been long forgotten.

These past few weeks, reports and photos have been coming in to our home in Vietnam, 
Chateau Mango from all over. Family, workers, friends, visitors, tradesmen, passers by...it has felt like a party...and I was missing it.

Once the trees were cleared, the inevitable happened, the land gave us what New Hampshire is best known for...granite. Rocks, rocks and more rocks in all shapes and size appeared in the most interesting places. They were more like boulders, creating a sea of stone at every turn.



The photos continued to come in and I thought surely...we were done for..our land would forever be a rocky mess. What had we done? My neck pain intensified.

Swift told me not to worry, he had a plan. He is like that...he is a poet, he has a way with words and ideas. Brief and to the point. My confidence in his abilities never wavered. So I sat patiently and waited in Vietnam.. and pestered him for more reports and photographs. I am a master 'pesterer'. He happily complied.




Swift hired one of the best to work alongside him and guess what? 
He was right. It started to work.



My sister is visiting Tahilla Farm this weekend and sent me a few photos this morning. 
My mother's petite dog, Muffin, is the white speck in the field. 
I have to remember to tell my sister about the bears... 
and Muffin about the hawks.


The autumn foilage is starting to show it's colour 
as is the newly formed stone wall that Swift created on one side of the field.



and on the the other side...



and the other.



This week, the seeds were sown in the fields and now we wait.






And there is more...


for amidst the fields..




and trees


brooks..


 and rivers of stone...


a walking trail will take shape. 




Swift has a plan and I know it will be just right!
After all he is a poet...
and he has his ever faithful
canine companion, Grace, by his side
to inspire him.
:)




With thanks to Joe and Gordon for recommending Swift.
It's all coming together. Our village is growing.

The photos above are from all over. A few from Swift, a few from my sister, Kathleen,
and a few from me. With thanks to Swift and Kathleen and everyone else for keeping me posted!

For those of you living in New England...this one is for you. 




Lyrics
When Fall Comes To New England
Words and Music By:
Cheryl Wheeler

When fall comes to New England
The sun slants in so fine
And the air's so clear
You can almost hear the grapes grow on the vine

The nights are sharp with starlight
And the days are cool and clean
And in the blue sky overhead
The northern geese fly south in stead
And leaves are Irish Setter Red
When fall comes to New England

When fall comes to New England
And the wind blows off the sea
Swallows fly in a perfect sky
And the world was meant to be

When the acorns line the walkways
Then winter can't be so far
From yellow leaves a blue jay calls
Grandmothers walk out in their shawl
And chipmunks run the old stone walls
When fall comes to New England

The frost is on the pumpkin
The squash is off the vine
And winter warnings race across the sky
The squirrels are on to something
And they're working overtime
The foxes blink and stare and so do I
'Cause when fall comes to New England
Oh I can't turn away
From fading light on flying wings
And late good-byes a robin sings
And then another thousand things
When fall comes to New England

When fall comes to New England

9/29/90
(P) May 27, 2003
Penrod and Higgins Music/ Amachrist Music
ACF Music group
International Copyright Reserved


Love gardening?
More village talk here.




02 October 2013

A Country Garden in Vermont




Please sit with me a spell.
I have two things to share with you today.
One is a garden, the other is a gardening workshop
and they are both in Vermont.

I had the very good fortune of being introduced to garden writer, lecturer and landscape designer, Gordon Hayward by my good friend Joe @ Notes from Juniper Hill.  From the moment I met Gordon, I knew my search for a landscape designer was over. 

We met in April to discuss Tahilla Farm and have been plotting and planning ever since. He has a clear vision and embraces a project with you and only you in mind. It is a collaboration of mindsets and in our case, we are right in tune with each other. I think the best way to describe Gordon style is to see his work, in particular, the garden at his home in Vermont. One of my many special memories this past summer was the chance to visit his extraordinary garden. Gordon and his lovely wife, Mary, graciously welcomed us into their garden where we started the most beautiful journey. 

Mary and Gordon Hayward
Yankee Magazine Sept/Oct 2013
Photo by Ian Aldrich

I am going to give you glimpses of their garden only because I think that to truly appreciate the nuances of this garden, you have to see it for yourself. It's a feeling..a wonderful feeling. Gordon and Mary's garden is open to the public on special occasions during the summer. To find out when, you contact Gordon here.

Glimpses of an Intimate Country Garden...
designed by Mary and Gordon Hayward



It is easy to see that their garden is a labour of love. 
They work together, thinking big and small, 
tilling the soil in their 1 1/2 acre garden alongside 
a 240-year-old farmhouse in Vermont with love and devotion. 
It shows in everything they do. 






There are times you wonder 
if you are in a country estate in England 
or a rural country farm in Vermont. 
I just love that about this garden.








  I should mention that Mary is an English gardener 
who married an American gardener. 
Gordon and Mary draw much of their inspiration from England 
where they have a beautiful cottage in the North Cotswold Hills of England. 






 Gordon and Mary wrote a book about their beautiful garden, 
 This book is one of many fabulous gardening books written by Gordon Hayward.
You can read more by visiting here.





Something very special is coming up in the gardening world.
Garden Inspirations Workshop 
on January 25, 2014 in Brattleboro, Vermont.

If you live in New England, plan to visit Vermont in January
or know someone who will...it would be wonderful if you could 
spread the good word.


A gardening workshop will be held by four gardening gurus 
to benefit the historic Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Small town love at it's best!

THE PROGAM

Fine Painting as Inspiration for Garden Design

From Practical to Fantastical: Building a Dry Stone Landscape
and
Screening of Dan Snow's video 'Stone Rising'
The Work of Dan Snow

An Insider's View of the gardens at Great Dixter

Landscaping Ideas That Work
and
Screening of Julie Moir Messervy's "The Music Garden", a video
about making a garden with Yo-Yo Ma. 
A garden in Toronto designed by Julie.

The event will be held at the Latchis Hotel and Theatre 
in Brattleboro, Vermont



This would make a wonderful Christmas gift 
for the special gardener in your life.

You can call, email or print this form 
and pop it in the post.





If you go, please let me know!
I want to hear all about it!

With that I leave you from Saigon with
Yo Yo Ma and Bach's Cello Suite No. 1
"The Music Garden"



and that is the end of my story!


Thank you for sitting with me for a spell.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, I hope you did too!


All garden photos taken by me
on a tour of Gordon and Mary's garden.
August, 2013

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