Friday, May 28


is this week's prompt over at Photo Friday and I immediately thought of this photo I took just a few days ago at Fiorella Farm. Pat Fiorella and I arranged a painting and feasting day at Pat's beautiful little organic farm, with me organizing the artists and Pat providing the homegrown, gourmet food. It was a delicious, beautiful and fun day.

In fact, it went so well that Pat and I are going to arrange another painting/feasting day in the autumn. I guess this neat row of cabbages might be gone, but there should be pumpkins and sunflowers to feast the eyes!

Friday, May 21


I've been falling behind on my Friend Fridays! Too many friends doing amazing things these days!

First and foremost, I wanted to let everyone know that my husband (and friend) Paul Downs has begun writing for The New York Times! He is writing a feature called Staying Alive for the NYT's blog You're The Boss, aimed at small business owners. I am thrilled for him and so proud! (Extra thrill: I took the head shot they are using!) It's a fascinating group blog in general, but you can follow just Paul's writing, here. Way to go, honey!

My old college friend Susan Senator recently published her second book! The Autism Mom's Survival Guide (for Dads, too!): Creating a Balanced and Happy Life While Raising a Child with Autism This is a book of stories and great tips culled from Susan's own experience and that of many other "autism moms" she interviewed (including me!) on ways to keep themselves and their families happy and sane. It is so easy to let a child's special needs take over the family dynamics. Here is a zestily written guide on how NOT to let that happen! Or as Susan puts it, "allowing yourself to find your own joy even in the midst of great struggle." Tell it Susan! You can buy the book at various bookstores around the country or online here.

My friend Linda Lou Horn invited me to her current show but I could not attend the opening reception. I caught up with Linda, and her co-exhibitor Ellen Sall, yesterday. And so did a whole lot of people...for some reason a small horde decided to come see the show yesterday too and it was almost like a second opening reception (sans vin, alas! ;-) Fun, creative and amusing: this is one art show you can even bring the kids to without hearing complaints. Instead, guaranteed laughs and smiles as you view these amazing, ingenious creations wrought from junk and discards and imagination!

Tossed and Found
Recycled and Found Object Art by Ellen Sall and Linda Lou Horn
May 7 through June 6, 2010
St Asaph's Gallery
27 Conshohocken State Road
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
gallery hours: M-F 9 am to 3 pm or by appointment

Linda Lou sharing a tender moment with one of her sculpture beings!

Thursday, May 20

What's New in the Garden

It's a special time of the year, when you've just seeded and planted your garden. Hope fills your heart, expectations of future joy fizzes in your blood,and dreams of a delectable future waft through your brain. The gardener can't help this feeling of thrilled expectation even knowing full well you may soon have to face early blight, late blight, powdery mildew, blossom end rot, hornworms, drought, floods, aphids, rabbits and deer. Doesn't matter at all to the unreasoning joy and hope percolating through the gardener's soul in the early spring sunshine. This condition is similar to the early stages of pregnancy: sheer blinding thrill!

My Gardener's Gloat List:
Pole Beans (Trionfo Violetto and Kentucky Wonder)
Radishes (French Breakfast and Red Cherry)
Lettuce (Merveille de Quatre Saisons seeds and green oak leaf "volunteers")
Carrots (Danvers)
Cucumber (Armenian)
Tomato Plants: Mr. Stripey, Pineapple, Brandywine Red, Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple
Pepper Plant: Jalapeno
Potatoes: Red Norland and this unidentified small white

Parsley (Italian Flatleaf and Curly)
Thyme (French and English)
Rosemary (Upright)
Basil (Lettuce Leaf)
Chocolate Mint

Nasturtiums, Rudbeckia, Coreopsis, Shasta Daisy, Sunflowers (Autumn Beauty), Cosmos, Marigolds, Four-o-Clocks, Zinnias, Chinese Lantern, Tithonia, and Alyssum!

Of course, my garden is small, teeming with wildlife and bugs and boys with soccer balls and basketballs and whiffleballs, and I am an organic (slacker) gardener, all of which means half these things won't make it. But there is no hope so unreasoning as the hope of a gardener! Let me dream on, for a few more days at least! ;-)

Saturday, May 15

Climbing Peace

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

~Thomas Grey

It is hard to bloom unseen in a small garden with a sharp-eyed artist on the prowl, but this beauty was almost overlooked nonetheless. Climbing on a fence thickly shrouded with vines, it was only a chance, flickering, beam of late afternoon sun catching a corner of a flower petal that caught my eye. And then, the scent of it...a deep honeyed sweetness that catches at the back of the throat. Kind of like gingered apricot chutney. So glad I looked up at the right moment.

My friend Helen M gave me this Climbing Peace rosebush as a birthday present six years ago. I love roses but feel I don't have adequate space and time to devote to their culture right now, and so I shoved this lovely plant in a corner, and hoped for the best. Although unfed, unwatered, unpsrayed, unpruned, and essentially untended in any way, it still does its best and surprises me every spring with a few blooms of unsurpassed beauty. Its persistence is a kind of genius. And also, a mystery.