Farewell and thank you

Aldo Galli & Richard Adams

On Christmas Eve, a magical night in which animals have been known to speak, beloved author Richard Adams slipped peacefully away from us and on to his next life…presumably one filled with rabbits. Through the incredible kindness of his friend and Watership Down illustrator Aldo Galli, we met Mr. Adams last year and had a wonderful afternoon of tea and conversation with Richard and his wife, Elizabeth, at their family home in Whitchurch. It was one of the most memorable days of my life, a day that also included a memorable hike up to Watership Down and time spent with our dear friend Aldo. (You can see more photos of these past trips here and here.) Over 40 years and 50 million readers later, Watership Down has become one of the most cherished adventure stories of all time–and has been made into a new BBC animated film to air on Netflix this coming year. In 1975, in The New York Review of Books, critic Alison Lurie shares her thoughts on why the novel remains timeless: The book “became an international best seller not just because it was well written and original. It was attractive also because it celebrated qualities many serious novelists are currently afraid or embarrassed to write about… What a relief to read of characters who have honor and courage and dignity, who will risk their lives for others, whose love for their families and friends and community is enduring and effective…”

Godspeed, Richard Adams. Thank you for sharing with the “whole world” your tale of faith, courage and triumph. We can just picture you now–standing atop your beloved Down, gazing out over the English countryside…forever standing watch for your old friends.

“Dandelion, get down!” [Hazel] said. “”Why are you sitting up there?”

“Because I can see,” replied Dandelion, with a kind of excited joy. “Come and look! You can see the whole world.”

A Holiday Walk

A sweet end to a busy workday, walking in the woods with our dear friend Megan and the Minis — Charlie Horse and lil’ Humphrey. Oh, and Sammi Lu came along to chaperone the babies.

Perfect timing

sweet-potatoes

Our very first sweet potato planting was a small success! Here’s a shot of the ‘harvest’ — dug up today at the start of Thanksgiving week. We loved seeing all the funny tater shapes emerge with each shovelful of turned dirt. If the family doesn’t choose the classic casserole with marshmallows and all the trimmings, we might just opt for this yummy looking recipe from our talented friend Tara, whose delicious food ideas can be found at TaraTeaspoon.com. Let the Thanksgiving Day cooking commence!

 

Read more about the 10 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes.

 

Wide enough…for thee and me

A beautiful and comforting essay for this tumultuous week in America. By Kristin Kimball, who makes her life and living at Essex Farm in Essex, New York.

“This world surely is wide enough to hold both thee and me.”  – Tristram Shandy

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Photo by Kristin Kimball, Essex Farm

 

For the love of aprons

farm-aprons

“I don’t think our kids know what an apron is. The principle use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron – but love…”

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Source: #LoveWhatMatters, inspired by Tina Trivett’s original poem, Grandma’s Apron. (And thanks to C.W. for sharing the original post!)