Sunday Dinner: Abundance

December 13, 2015 CW 129

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“Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love;

it will all come back to you in abundance.

This is the law of nature.”

.

Steve Maraboli

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December 13, 2015 CW 106

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“Honor your desire for a new life.

Say yes to the small inklings of interest and curiosity

that present themselves each day.”

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Lynn A. Robinson

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December 13, 2015 CW 026

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“Love opens all channels,

while Fear closes them down.

Love facilitates sharing,

while Fear demands selfishness.

Love allows us to be exposed,

while Fear insists we be covered.

Love provides unconditional acceptance,

while fear stipulates requirements.

Love enables abundance.

Fear chases abundance away.”

.

Donald L. Hicks

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December 13, 2015 CW 100

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“Making a dream into reality begins with what you have,

not with what you are waiting on.”

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T.F. Hodge

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December 13, 2015 CW 101

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“Gratitude is the key for the door of abundance.”
.

Debasish Mridha

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December 13, 2015 CW 141

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“Herein lies the paradox:

If you want more of whatever it is you desire,

you have to first prove to the universe

that you are capable of having it

by developing a consciousness

that affirms there is no shortage of it.

The only way to do this

is by creating a vacuum or space for it to be received,

and the only way you can create a space for it to be received,

is by letting go of what you do have,

trusting that the universe knows what it is doing.

That’s the law of circulation in action.”

.

Dennis Merritt Jones

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December 13, 2015 CW 083

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“You are heir to a heavenly fortune,

the sole beneficiary of an infinite spiritual trust fund,

a proverbial goldmine of sacred abundance

beyond all common measure or human comprehension.

But until you assert your rightful inheritance

of this blessed gift,

it will remain unclaimed

and forever beyond your reach.”

.

Anthon St. Maarten

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December 13, 2015 CW 082

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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December 13, 2015 CW 165~

All photos taken at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

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December 13, 2015 CW 138

Apples, Pine Cones and Artichokes: Ornamenting the Wreath

December 13, 2015 CW 213

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What is beautiful?  What is not?

Our answer is often a Rorschach test of our own personality.

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December 13, 2015 CW 126

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Wreathes, a most ancient symbol of eternity and eternal life, come to us from deep antiquity.

We find traces of them in the earliest evidence of civilization we can find.  Whether made from precious metals and ornamented with gemstones, carved in stone, or woven from olive branches; wreathes remain symbols of celebration and commemoration.

~

December 13, 2015 CW 176

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Wreathes woven from evergreen branches mark the winter solstice holidays.  They symbolically promise that despite the ever shortening days and cold weather, life goes on and the sun will soon return.  And we decorate these evergreen wreathes with the seeds of new life.

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December 13, 2015 CW 194

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Fruits, cones, berries, cotton puffs, nuts and seed pods, our favorite ornaments for our wreathes, all bear seeds inside them.  They contain the promise of next season’s fertility.

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December 13, 2015 CW 019

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The early Virginia colonists likely brought branches of evergreen trees into their homes to mark the  Christmas holiday.  But the certainly didn’t construct the beautiful fruit laden wreathes we admire around ‘Colonial Williamsburg’ today.

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December 13, 2015 CW 166~

To quote Theobald and Oliver, writing on the official Colonial Williamsburg website in an article called, ‘Deck the Doors,’  :

“Never mind that no one in the eighteenth century would have been caught dead with real fruit tacked to his front door.  Anyone hanging fresh fruit outdoors in the middle of winter to rot or be devoured by squirrels would have been thought, at best, highly eccentric by his neighbors. “

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December 13, 2015 CW 168

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The unique handmade wreathes, swags. sprays and baskets, constructed of only natural materials and lacking ribbons and bows, were first created in the late 1930’s; after the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation opened up for business and wanted to attract a crowd in all seasons.

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December 13, 2015 CW 088

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They were greatly admired and photographed.  Soon a contest for the most beautiful wreathes in this style evolved, and the ‘Della robbia’ or ‘fruit covered’ wreath style of Colonial Williamsburg was launched.

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December 13, 2015 CW 086

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In some ways it makes sense that these beautiful wreathes, constructed of ‘found’ materials, caught on at the end of the Great Depression years in America.  Wreathes in this style may be constructed very inexpensively with whatever may be at hand.

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December 13, 2015 CW 087

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They are also a reaction, at least in part, against the commercialization of Christmas.  They feed our romantic notion of what life could have been like ‘back in the day’ before silver tinsel trees and Christmas ornaments imported from Asian factories became the norm.

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December 13, 2015 CW 118

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But the truth is, even though wealthy residents of 18th century Williamsburg might have eaten pineapples and citrus fruits imported from the Caribbean colonies, they didn’t fashion outdoor decorations from them.

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December 13, 2015 CW 120

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And the Colonial Williamsburg wreathes today ask us to broaden our thinking about what is appropriate as a Christmas decoration.  Dried okra pods?  Skeins of yarn?  Artichokes?  Why not?

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December 13, 2015 CW 027

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Beauty often transcends the materials and shines through the design, the geometry, the harmony, and the  colors used.

The making of these wreathes is a 20th Century phenomenon; not an 18th Century fashion.  But they blend so beautifully into this reconstruction and reinterpretation of a Colonial Virginia town.

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December 13, 2015 CW 091

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If you find them beautiful, please try your hand at making a della Robbia wreath of your own.  Begin with a wire, straw or grapevine base.  Gather some evergreen branches or Magnolia leaves.  Bay leaves and citrus leaves work well, too, if you have them.

Then gather things you find beautiful and meaningful:  fruit, cones, shells, pods, dried flowers, vegetables, nuts and berries.  Use wire, hot glue and floral picks to build your design.

You might even make an ‘edible’ wreath of fruits to serve at a party.

~

December 13, 2015 CW 171

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The trick is to express yourself and create a wreath which has meaning for you.  Create something beautiful to ornament your own home at the holidays.

The materials don’t matter, so long as they bring you joy.

~

Can you see the face? All of the ornaments on this house follow a 'Star Wars' theme.....

Can you see the face? All of the ornaments on this house follow a ‘Star Wars’ theme…..

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All photos were taken in Colonial Williamsburg this December

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'Light Sabers...."

‘Light Sabers….”

~

Woodland Gnome 2015

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December 13, 2015 CW 121

“A Forest Garden 2016” gardening calendar,  featuring some of our favorite photos from 2015, is  available now.  Write to me at woodlandgnome@zoho.com for details.

Wordless Wednesday: The ‘Time Warp’

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

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“It’s being here now that’s important.

There’s no past and there’s no future.

Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now.

We can gain experience from the past,

but we can’t relive it;

and we can hope for the future,

but we don’t know if there is one.”

.

George Harrison

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December 13, 2015 CW 096

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“I give you this to take with you:
Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can
begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.”

.

Judith Minty

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December 13, 2015 CW 081

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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December 13, 2015 CW 093

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“A Forest Garden 2016” gardening calendar,  featuring some of our favorite photos from 2015, is  available now.  Write to me at woodlandgnome@zoho.com for details.

Shells in Christmas Decorations

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

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Sea shells may not seem like a traditional Christmas decoration, but they certainly can be lovely ones.

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December 13, 2015 CW 153

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Shells are commonplace for those of us who live near the coast; especially those shells left from a meal of oysters, clams, or scallops.  These wreathes on display now in Colonial Williamsburg feature shells as an important part of their design.

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December 13, 2015 CW 151

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We’ve probably all seen scallop shells transformed into angelic tree ornaments and white starfish hung from ribbons.  The della robbia wreathes at Colonial Williamsburg incorporate many surprising and commonplace materials, including shells, dried flowers, fruits, vegetables, vines, cotton, seed pods, nuts, cones and berries, as well as evergreen stems and leaves.

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This wreath hangs at Chowning's Tavern, in Colonial Williamsburg.

This wreath hangs at Chowning’s Tavern, in Colonial Williamsburg.

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These are unusual and playful decorations for the Christmas season.

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December 15, 2015 vase 001

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I used shells and pearls in  decorations for a ladies’ luncheon earlier today.

My ‘vase’ held branches pruned from our Mountain Laurel shrubs, dusted with gold; ‘flowers’ made from Lotus pods; white seashells; and sprays of fresh Magnolia.

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December 15, 2015 vase 004

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Carved wooden birds perched in the branches of the arrangement.  Several of the small Christmas trees on the tables were made entirely from shells and pearls.

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December 15, 2015 vase 006

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Christmas decorating is far more fun when we can take a light and playful attitude. It is fine to change things out a bit year to year, trying out new ideas and revising old ones.

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Another Colonial Williamsburg wreath.

Another Colonial Williamsburg wreath.

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This is especially true in the fabulous wreathes which come from the  CW workshops each year.   Walking the old city streets each December is an adventure, as new and creative designs manifest year after year.

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December 13, 2015 CW 017

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Woodland Gnome 2015

A Colonial Winter Garden

December 13, 2015 CW 034

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Those fierce souls who founded our nation knew the importance of taking care of business.  And their business always included raising food for their own family’s table.

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December 13, 2015 CW 055

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Our country was founded by serious gardeners.  Even  luminaries such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington maintained gardens, tended orchards, had fields of crops to use and sell, and raised those animals needed to keep meat on the table.  Although they, and others of their class kept slaves in those days; they still took a very active hands-on interest in their garden.

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December 13, 2015 CW 041

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Colonial Williamsburg maintains many gardens, but this remains my favorite.  It is a very well maintained colonial vegetable garden tended in the 18th Century style.

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December 13, 2015 CW 067

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It looks even more lush this December than usual.  But that is likely due to our fair weather these last few months.  It is a pleasing mix of herbs, flowers and vegetables.

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December 13, 2015 CW 039

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Fruit trees may be found around the edges.  There are vegetables growing from tiny seedling up to ready to harvest cabbages and collards.

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December 13, 2015 CW 070

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These vegetables are used in the CW kitchens.  They are lovingly tended up to the moment they are authentically prepared and gratefully consumed.

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December 13, 2015 CW 046

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We strolled down Duke of Gloucester Street on Sunday to enjoy the ingenious Christmas wreathes.  But as you might guess, I was distracted for quite a while by the garden.

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December 13, 2015 CW 043~

It was  a grey day, completely overcast and damp.  A few drops spritzled as we were leaving.  But it was warm and comfortable; a great day to enjoy the wreathes and seasonal decorations on every building.

I’ll share a few with you each day for the next few days.

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December 13, 2015 CW 042

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I’ve not yet made any wreathes myself,  this year. 

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December 13, 2015 CW 047~

But there is still time before Christmas Eve, and a dear friend gifted me with a bucket of Magnolia branches later Sunday afternoon.  We used some of the Magnolia while decorating for a community luncheon we’re hosting tomorrow.

And yes, there is a vase.  I just haven’t photographed it, yet!

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December 13, 2015 CW 035

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Evergreen Magnolia is one of my favorite native plants.  They grow wild here in Virginia, and my friend has a wild seedling grown large in her garden.

You’ll see lots of Magnolia used at Colonial Williamsburg in their holiday decorations.  It has wonderful color and holds up for the several weeks of our festivities.  One can’t eat it, but it decorates many holiday dinner tables and sideboards.  We spread it liberally around our buffet table and the beverage tables for tomorrow’s gathering.

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December 13, 2015 CW 142

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Which in a round about way brings us back to my neglect of wreathes this season.  Our  front doors are graced with old ones from ‘the wreath collection’ which hangs in our garage at the moment.  They are fine from a distance, with red silk roses and moss on a grapevine base.

And I just may recycle the Magnolia leaves off the buffet table into a stunning garland to hang round the front doors this year.  Southern Living Magazine has any number of fine projects featuring Magnolia leaves this December.

If you are a Virginia neighbor, you might have been admiring the December issue right along with me.

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December 13, 2015 CW 217

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It still all comes down to ‘taking care of business’ for our family and our community.

As modern as our lives might feel at times, our foundation remains in hearth and home;  friendship and family; good food and hands-on self sufficiency.    It is part of our heritage not just as Virginians or Americans;  it is part of our human heritage and a fundamental value around the world.

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December 13, 2015 CW 095

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May you take time for those things which bring you real joy this holiday season.  And may you take care of business such that you assure yourself and your loved ones of a very Happy New Year, too.

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December 13, 2015 CW 048~

Woodland Gnome 2015

Photos from Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

“A Forest Garden 2016” gardening calendar is now available, featuring some of our favorite photos from 2015.  Write to me at woodlandgnome@zoho.com for details.

Sunday Dinner: Hope

December 13, 2015 CW 012

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“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.

That myth is more potent than history.

That dreams are more powerful than facts.

That hope always triumphs over experience.

That laughter is the only cure for grief.

And I believe that love is stronger than death.”

.

Robert Fulghum

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December 13, 2015 CW 020

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“Listen to the mustn’ts, child.  Listen to the don’ts.

Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts.

Listen to the never haves,

then listen close to me…   Anything can happen, child.

Anything can be.”

.

Shel Silverstein

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December 13, 2015 CW 015

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“The world is indeed full of peril,

and in it there are many dark places;

but still there is much that is fair,

and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief,

it grows perhaps the greater.”

.

J.R.R. Tolkien

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December 13, 2015 CW 219

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“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

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December 13, 2015 CW 207~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

December scenes captured at Colonial Williamsburg

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December 13, 2015 CW 014

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“A Forest Garden 2016” gardening calendar is now available, featuring some of our favorite photos from 2015.  Write to me at woodlandgnome@zoho.com for details.

~

December 13, 2015 CW 005

 

 

Sunday Dinner: Changes

November 1, 2015, fall drive 019

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“In every change, in every falling leaf

there is some pain, some beauty.

And that’s the way new leaves grow.”

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Amit Ray

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 031

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“When we resist change, it’s called suffering.

But when we can completely let go

and not struggle against it,

when we can embrace

the groundlessness of our situation and relax

into it’s dynamic quality,

that’s called enlightenment”

.

Pema Chödrön

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 015

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“Fret not where the road will take you.

Instead concentrate on the first step.

That’s the hardest part and that’s

what you are responsible for.

Once you take that step

let everything do what it naturally does

and the rest will follow.

Do not go with the flow.

Be the flow.”

.

Elif Shafak,

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 013

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“Consciousness is only possible

through change; change is only possible

through movement.”

.

Aldous Huxley

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 008

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“Man cannot remake himself

without suffering, for he is both the marble

and the sculptor”

.

Alexis Carrel

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 005

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“Anyone who knows me, should learn to know me again;
For I am like the Moon,
you will see me with new face everyday.”

.

Rumi

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 002

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“Nothing endures but change.”

.

Heraclitus

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 017

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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November 1, 2015, fall drive 018

National Blog Posting Month

NaBloPoMo_1115_298x255_badges

Inspired by The Daily Post’s     

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

One Word Photo Challenge: Eigengrau

April 12, 2015 flowers 120

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Eigengrau, (read: I’-Gen-growl, both g’s hard) is the color your brain sees in the absence of light.

Jenny has chosen a very esoteric color to end her color challenges.  Her final ‘color’ is the absence of color in the absence of light.  Those who understand these things explain that eigengrau is more of a dark grey than a true black, by the way.

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April 12, 2015 flowers 119

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Also explained as ‘brain grey’ or  ‘dark light,’  this color describes what you might see upon opening your eyes in a dark room.

This is a new color term for me, and a fitting way for Jenny to close out this challenge.

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April 12, 2015 flowers 109

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Don’t worry, Jennifer begins a new ‘One Word Photo Challenge’ next week using weather themes.  She starts us off with an easy one:  rain.

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Colonial Williamsburg in late afternoon

Colonial Williamsburg in late afternoon

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I am choosing to interpret eigengrau as the dark grey one sees when an object is seen in silhouette against a background of light, and the deep shadows where light cannot reach.  Although the Germans, who coined this color term, elaborated an entire cult to celebrate the very esoteric ‘Black Sun;’ I celebrate the life giving sun of visible light. 

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April 5, 2015 Parkway 015

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The photos I’ve chosen celebrate the light, which nourishes all life, while also showing us the shadows.

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her

One Word Photo Challenge:  Eigengrau

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April 12, 2015 flowers 035

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

One Word Photo Challenge: Taupe

Redbud tree seedpods

Redbud tree seedpods

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Taupe: Tan, brownish grey or greyish brown; 

Khaki?

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November 28, 2014 thanksgiving 074

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Not my favorite color, but sadly, much of our garden fades to taupe in winter.

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December 5, 2014 ornaments 003

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This is the dried out husky color of dead grasses.

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December 3, 2014 CW wreathes 165

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The bleached left-over color of fallen leaves and dried seed pods. 

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December  11, 2014 cold 045

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It is the background, the default; Nature’s neutral. 

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December 12, 2014 ornaments 003

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It cloaks the marshes and carpets the forest floor. 

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December  11, 2014 cold 090

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We distract ourselves in December with pine green, berry red, cone brown. 

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December 3, 2014 CW wreathes 170

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We gild it all with frost and snow. 

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November 28, 2014 thanksgiving 063

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But Taupe is patiently waiting. 

It’s death-mask tranquility will still greet us

in January, February, March. 

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 December  11, 2014 cold 044

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Beaten by rain, blown by wind, bleached by sun, rotted by time;

Taupe will not  surrender

Until it is overpowered with fresh spring green growth.

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December 3, 2014 CW wreathes 185

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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March 31 2014 flowers 007

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her

One Word Photo Challenge:  Taupe

By the Numbers

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

 

12/13/14.  Have you noticed the date today?  My partner tells me this date won’t repeat this century.

Our world is structured by numbers in so many ways.  Even the ancients explored the mysteries of number, and expressed their understanding through architecture, music, sculpture, and engineering those monuments which have survived for centuries or more to intrigue us still today.

And this wonderful technology we use is all based on numbers.  Not that I understand binary code. 

 

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

 

Frankly, it seems like modern day “magic” to type this on my computer and know that a friend in Belgium, Indonesia, or Australia can read it as quickly as my friends down the street.  And what pure pleasure to come to my computer at any hour of the day or night and enjoy photographs and ideas  just posted from people all over the planet!

 

December 3, 2014 CW wreathes 074

 

I began this morning by sharing photos of the dragonfly which visited LiJiun’s garden, with my partner.  It brought back such warm memories of the time I spent photographing dragonflies in our garden this summer.  (Dragonflies don’t startle easily, and don’t mind having their photos taken, I’ve found.)

Now in the WordPress Community, the link I just created for you to see LiJiun’s photos is called a “pingback.”  WordPress bloggers frequently create these to link the reader to another interesting blog we want to share with you for some reason.  And up until recently, they’ve always worked just fine. 

And part of the way they work includes sending a message back to the other blog’s author, so they are aware of the link you’ve created.

 

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

 

I’ve asked fellow bloggers who want to participate in the Holiday Wreath Challenge to just create one of these “pingbacks” in their own post about wreathes, so I know they are participating.  Then I’ll include  links back to their blog  in a post early next week;  so we can all find and enjoy one another’s photos of the wreathes we’ve made this year.

 

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

 

And then last night, my friend Barbara sent me a message in the comments  about her beautiful post.  And she had a link in her post back here to Forest Garden.  But no pingback ever turned up.

And that is when I realized that the pingbacks aren’t working properly on WordPress in general.

 

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

 

Some of us have been aware that WordPress pingbacks haven’t worked properly for some of their own challenges in recent weeks.  But now I realize that pingbacks aren’t working at all…. and probably haven’t been for some time now.

 

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

 

It’s all in the numbers….  My guess is that the volume of traffic has grown so much on WordPress in general, that the sheer number may have overwhelmed this part of the system.  But that is only my guess.

But it leads me to wonder whether I might have missed some of your posts about your wreath and holiday decorations…..

 

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

 

If you have posted, and created the pingback I suggested to join in, just know that I didn’t get it.  Please follow up with an email or a link in the comments.  I’ve responded back to everyone whose posts I’ve found thus far.

I hope you are planning to share in this holiday wreath challenge. 

 

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

 

What fun if we could travel all around the world sharing the beauty of the season with one another, through the magic of the internet and our vibrant blogging community.

 

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

 

If you have already posted, please just send me your link (again) even though you created that “pingback.”    If you plan to post sometime this weekend, please just send me a comment or email with your link.

 

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

 

If you don’t have your own blog, you can still join in.  Just attach your photos to an email.  Please tell me know whether it is OK to use your name and location in the photo credit.

The excitement builds little by little all through December.  Each day brings us closer to the beauty and fun of the Christmas season.

 

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

 

Please watch for a compilation post of photos of all your beautiful creations, and links to your posts about them,  by next Wednesday, 12/17/14.  

Let us all share in the joy and beauty of the season.

 

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Colonial Williamsburg, 2014

Woodland Gnome 2014

woodlandgnome@zoho.com

 

 

 

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