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’…”

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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.

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December 13, 2015 CW 005

 

 

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Sunday Dinner: Meditation

December 4, 2015 Gloucester 062~

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope,

for hope would be hope for the wrong thing;

wait without love,

for love would be love of the wrong thing;

there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought,

for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light,

and the stillness the dancing.”

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T.S. Eliot

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 068

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“Looking at beauty in the world

is the first step of purifying the mind.”

.

Amit Ray

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 069

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“So many leaves have fallen on my life.

Some settled nicely to rest,

but most fell, withered to bitter cold and drifted on.

But, after all that, I would brave all the coldness of humanity again

for the sight of a few more beautiful yellow leaves

falling on Aspen, and the birds….”

.

E.S. Lehman

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 024

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“It does not matter how long you are spending on the earth,

how much money you have gathered

or how much attention you have received.

It is the amount of positive vibration you have radiated in life that matters,”

.

Amit Ray

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 018

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“Through my love for you,

I want to express my love for the whole cosmos,

the whole of humanity, and all beings.

By living with you, I want to learn to love everyone and all species.

If I succeed in loving you,

I will be able to love everyone and all species on Earth…

This is the real message of love.”

.

Thích Nhất Hạnh

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 053~

“An awake heart is like a sky that pours light.”

.

Hāfez

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 025

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“The mind can go in a thousand directions,

but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.

With each step, the wind blows.

With each step, a flower blooms.”

.

Thích Nhất Hạnh

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 014

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

All photos taken at Brent and Becky Heath’s display gardens in Gloucester, Virginia December 2015

A Forest Garden 2016 calendar is available now.

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December 4, 2015 Gloucester 021

“A Forest Garden 2016”

December 3, 2015 Calendar 004~

Our 2016 garden calendar is here, and we are thrilled with how very beautiful the finished calendars look.  The joy of actually holding it in our hands, and turning the pages one by one, is beyond words.

I work on our calendar for the entire year, always mindful that the photos we take each day might end up published in its pages.

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December 3, 2015 Calendar 010

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By early November I’m pondering what theme will guide the quotations we select and the photos we include.   This year, I spent the better part of a week on research and photo selection.

A calendar is a very special thing.  It helps us mark the passage of time, yes.  But it also helps us make sense of those cycles which repeat with the regularity of the rising sun.  It helps us anticipate the changes and the celebrations of our lives week to week, month to month, and year to year.

Our A Forest Garden 2016 calendar does all of those things, and more.  In addition to dates you might expect, like first and last frost dates in Zones 5-9, the moons, daylight savings time and major holidays;  there are also notes of special celebrations like ‘Husband Appreciation Day,” “The Great American Smoke-Out,” “World Kindness Week,” “The Great Backyard Bird Count,” and “Faerie Day.”  There are web references for some of the special events and observances listed.  Major saints days are noted along with other holidays special to many faiths, the solstices and equinoxes and the Native American designation for each full moon.

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December 3, 2015 Calendar 007

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There are gardening tips and reminders for each month of the year.  There is a reminder to set out feeders for hummingbirds on their annual spring migration.

And there is a quotation to ponder each month.  Our theme for 2016 is the power of gratitude to work miracles in our lives.  We hope this is a theme which speaks to you, as it speaks to us.  Each of us certainly needs a miracle or two, and we all grow stronger and wiser as we focus on what is good and beautiful in the world around us.

Each month’s page features those seasonal animals, trees, flowers, foliage and landscapes which bring us joy.  We’ve included some of our favorite photographs taken in December 2014 through early November of 2015.

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December 3, 2015 Calendar 008

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We compile these calendars each year as gifts  for our close family and our gardening friends.  But we have a few extras to share, should you want one to enjoy during the coming year.  Please write to me at woodlandgnome@zoho.com to request a calendar for yourself or a loved one.  I’ll put one in the post to you as soon as I receive your check for $15.00, which simply covers my costs for the calendar and the postage.

This is a labor of love, and we are happy to share the fruits of that labor with those who will enjoy it.

Younger folks say to me sometimes, “I have a smart phone.  Why would I need a calendar?” 

For those of us who still love real books, photos printed on shiny paper, and a lovely calendar hanging in the kitchen;  the answer to that question transcends any words we might offer in explanation.

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December 3, 2015 Calendar 005

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Woodland Gnome 2015

WPC: Transition

November 27, 2015 color 014

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Transition: N. The process of passing from one state, stage, place, or subject to another : change or movement.

The garden remains in a state of transition, week to week and season to season.  But some weeks are a bit more dramatic than others.

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November 27, 2015 color 016

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This past week brought our first true frost.  A few more beautiful plants have faded from the garden.  In fact, we just finished cutting back the ginger lilies.   They were withered on Wednesday morning, after our first hard frost.   Last year they made quite a mess when we left them in place, draped across one of our perennial beds.   So we cut them today, before they had a chance to topple over.  That whole area is opened up again to light and air after the lily’s dense growth all summer.

Quite a few things are still ‘looking good’ in our garden this week.  ( Many thanks to Gillian at Country Gardens UK for hosting this theme each Friday, reminding us to appreciate what we have. )

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Autumn Brilliance fern, which will remain evergreen in our garden. New fronds in early spring open a rosy bronze before maturing to green.

Autumn Brilliance fern, which will remain evergreen in our garden. New fronds in early spring open a rosy bronze before maturing to green.

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Transition is not all good or all bad.  Some transitions may be a bit more pleasant than other ones; but all bring us to  new territory full of both challenges and joys.

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November 27, 2015 color 022

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After winter sweeps away a season’s growth, we have the opportunity to begin again, making different choices.  It is a little like shaking an Etch-a-Sketch or wiping the chalkboard clean.

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November 27, 2015 color 018

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Frost withers everything tender, cleaning up both flowers and those last pesky weeds.  We pull them, cut them back, watch them fall; rake, mulch and sweep away the remains of the summer season.

And then next spring, we begin anew.  As the Earth warms the whole unfolding begins again.

It is novel and a little bit surprising, to watch the shoots push up through the thawing soil  and buds explode from woody stems.  Fallen seeds sprout in unexpected places.  Bulbs have multiplied and perennials grow stronger than ever before.

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A late bloomer. It makes us happy to see new buds opening even as the season fades.

A late bloomer. It makes us happy to see new buds opening even as the season fades.

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I’ve just watched the whole, beautiful unfolding of 2015 once again through my thousands of photos.

It takes a very long time to look through them all, selecting just a few to represent each month of the year, as I build my annual garden calendar.  But what a deeply satisfying experience to revisit those photos and appreciate all of the magic and beauty each month offers.

The practice reminds me how quickly the garden grows and changes each year.  It shows me just how deeply ever-spiraling time changes every aspect of our lives.

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November 27, 2015 color 003

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Our calendar is finally complete for this year; a labor of love which consumed me for several days. 

A calendar is a special thing, as it chronicles so many cycles of change.  I’ve never found one on offer that provides all of the information I want each year.  Which is what inspired me to construct our first A Forest Garden calendar back in 2014.

The normal holidays are all included, of course; but also the moons, the first and last frost dates in Zones 6-9, the many different cultural observances of  the ‘New Year,’ and selected holidays for Christians, Muslims, Native Americans, Jews and Wiccans.  Since we are all one human family, it is good to know when and what our neighbors are celebrating, too! Some saints days are noted, election day, American bank holidays and of course the major modern shopping days.

And yet there’s more!  There are notations about bird counts and environmental clean up days, the year’s solstices and equinoxes, special weeks, monthly commemorations and a whole year’s worth of gardening tips and reminders.  This is the most informative calendar you will find which isn’t offered as an ‘Almanac.’

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November 27, 2015 color 004

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The A Forest Garden 2016 calendar is a tangible celebration of transition.  Our theme this year is the power of gratitude and appreciation in our lives.  And we are so excited that it is completed for another year, and will arrive from the publisher early next week!  I am very excited to finally hold it in my hands after working on it for so long.

We create these calendars each year  for ourselves and as a special gift for our family members and for our many gardening friends.  But I’ve ordered a few extra to share with visitors to Forest Garden, who might also enjoy the companionship of this calendar through the year ahead.

If you would like to order one for yourself or for a friend, please email me at  woodlandgnome@zoho.com  The calendars are $15.00 each, which covers my costs and includes postage within the United States.

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November 27, 2015 color 024

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We’ve passed another milestone of the year this week.  Thanksgiving is cleaned up and the holiday season finally is upon us.  I won’t mind holiday music on the radio for the next few weeks.  It is time to hang the twinkle lights, mulch the leaves, hang the mistletoe and fill the kitchen with the fragrance of baking.

This is one transition I always enjoy….

Woodland Gnome 2015

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November 27, 2015 color 001

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition

 

Happy Thanksgiving

November 11, 2015 Parkway 055

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I believe in the uncommon, the unusual and unlikely,

even the miraculous.  

I believe in nearly all things except impossibilities.

That I can’t fathom. ”

.
Richelle Goodrich

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November 11, 2015 Parkway 054

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Gratitude is one of those ‘graces’ of the spirit, which once we find it, transforms the quality of our existence.  I’ve learned it is more an attitude, a habit of mind; which colors each day with openness to what unfolds.

We can find the workings of good fortune and infinite love in the midst of our lives, even as we face the challenges each new day brings.  It is in working through our challenges that our lives grow, in often unexpected ways.

It is usually  in the shadows of our day to day struggles that we come to understand the truth of friendship and loyalty; the self-less love which binds families; and the miraculous nature of our multiverse.

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November 11, 2015 Parkway 052

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“Gratitude” is the theme of our A Forest Garden 2016 calendar,  just off to the publisher on Monday.  It is filled with photos celebrating the beauty of our garden as the seasons unfold.  And each month offers a new quotation about the power of gratitude and appreciation to shape our lives and transform our world.

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November 11, 2015 Parkway 057

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I wish each of you happiness and warmth on this new Thanksgiving Day.

May each of us find joy in the day, wherever we may be, and with whomever we share the holiday this year.

And may each passing year bring us closer to living in the grace of gratitude.  May we realize the power of a grateful mind and heart to fill our lives with joy. 

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November 20, 2015 garden 008~

Woodland Gnome 2015

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