postcard: mrs. lincoln’s garden

DSC_0356 (5)Jessie Lincoln Beckwith Johnson Randolph loved her mother.

It must be so.

It must be true.

In my imagination, Jessie was a daughter who loved her mother so much … she created a garden just for her. And not just any garden. A garden with thousands of blooms. A garden with borders and pathways. A garden planned and planted by color and symmetry.DSC_0353 (7)Maybe Jessie wanted her mother to have a garden as majestic as her new home.  Maybe she wanted to remind her mother of the years she lived in Europe. Maybe Mary Harlan Lincoln, daughter-in-law of Abraham, was a woman who had everything … except for a formal, parterre garden.DSC_0343 (10)Or maybe, just maybe, Jessie wanted to gift a garden that would bloom and bloom her love forever and ever.

And so far it has.DSC_0350 (8)A garden like this one doesn’t happen by accident and deserves an inspirational setting in which to take root.  This mother-daughter garden grows at Hildene, ancestral home of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, in Manchester, VT.DSC_0334 (6)It’s said Mary Harlan Lincoln could see the whole expanse of her garden blooming before her as she stood at her second floor, center bedroom window.  Now known as the Hoyt formal garden, I prefer to think of it as Mrs. Lincoln’s garden.  Stunning from any view, the garden is most beautiful, perhaps, from that second floor – planned as it was to resemble a cathedral stained glass window. DSC_0348 (9)Hildene, a beautiful 24 -room Georgian Revival style manion, is but one generation away from the single-room log cabin Abraham Lincoln was born in.  Tucked into the beautiful Vermont green mountains, visitors can walk, self-guided, through most of the home with many of its original furnishings and features, including family artifacts and a historical timeline perspective of President Lincoln’s life and death.

You can read about Hildene’s history  here.DSC_0354 (7)It’s the garden, though, which captured my heart.  I’d love to take tea with Mrs. Lincoln out on the porchswing in the early warmth of mid-June. We’d swing, and sip, and marvel at mountains and the never-ending beauty of Vermont.DSC_0344 (6)And the sweet scent of a thousand peony blossoms would remind us both of the ever-blooming love between a mother and her child.

 

 

 

 

postcard: billings farm

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Step into the 1890 farmhouse and make yourself right at home.

Can you smell the biscuits in the oven?  Feel the curve of the pump handle in your hand?

Don’t get too comfortable though, there’s work to be done.

Maybe the cows are ready for milking.

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Or it’s time for butter-making in the creamery.

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Could be there’s ripe tomatoes ready to pick in the heirloom garden. Or supper to cook on the kitchen’s grand black stove.

There’s always work to be done, but be sure to make time for a quiet moment to graze awhile and simply smell the sunsoaked grass.

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Are you ready to receive visitors in the front parlor?

Or is it time for bed after a long day’s work?

Early to bed, early to rise is a way of life on the farm.

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There’s so much to explore at Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock, VT where blue skies and green pastures meet at the horizon and the rural history of Vermont is a  just short walk back in time.

An interactive museum, the Billings Farm features films and exhibits on farming history, maple sugaring, ice cutting, and life in the farm community.

The farm animals befriend visitors right there at the pasture fence or back in the barns: draft horses, dairy cows, chickens, and sheep.

The 1890 Billings farm house offers you a home and hospitality from the past: the business end of farming and function in the farm office with its majestic standing desk,  family living quarters, and the glorious pastoral views from every window.

Billings Farm is owned and operated by The Woodstock Foundation, Inc., a charitable nonprofit. An interactive museum and working dairy farm, be sure to try some of the Billings Farm cheddar cheese!

Open daily, May 1 through October 31, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

www.billingsfarm.org

802-457-2355

 

 

walkabout

Spring’s here, summer’s coming, and I’m going walking.

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Every day, probably, but especially on Sunday.

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Each Sunday, I’m planning a walkabout. You know, a walking tour somewhere away and beyond the usual. Somewhere new and undiscovered – at least by me.

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And I’ll share it all here – with you. You’ll see everything I’ve seen along the way.

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Like a blogging picture postcard.

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Maybe a line or two? A note from one life traveler to another.

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P.S. I hope you write back.

The Glory of Slow

Recent travels taught me the glory of slow. So lately, I’ve been moving about half speed.

Normally, I run at a high internal pace. All the gears hum. And it feels a little like I’m vibrating. Get it done. Do it now. Before time runs out. Before the sun sets. Or rises.

I now understand this is a race I will not win.

With only a few adjustments,  I’ve discovered I’m getting just as much done – maybe even more – than I did when breakneck was my go-to pace and I felt all frenzied inside. I’ve just about done away with a to-do list, trusting in myself instead to know what needs to be done and then doing it … one, and only one, task at a time.

I may not live a life of leisure exactly, but I live more leisurely and delight in this new tempo. Decisions are deliberate. Any movement I make is just this side of meandering. I’ve even been eating breakfast. At the table. On real dishes. I begin each morning with my bed made and end each work day with my desk cleared.

Like changing the shutter speed on my camera,  I’m learning how to manually slow the speed at which I live like the pace at which I shoot, so I’m able to study, frame, and capture the moment.

Life’s more gentle at a slower speed.

So whether traveling afar or walking to the end of the road, go slowly … and let your travels teach you.

 

life lessons: in spring

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Maybe the most difficult time for a flower is just before its bloom.

Still tight and taut, but ready and waiting. Endlessly waiting. Eternally waiting. Impatient. Tense. And probably cranky.

But bloom it does, finally and slowly. Unfurling and stretching, open face forward into the warming sun.

Free.

The release renders the wait all that more poignant and perfect.

Necessary, after all.

So many life lessons learned just out the back door.

Spring hope.

Making Peace

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It seems like I shouldn’t have to try so hard to feel peaceful.

Shouldn’t Zen just sorta flow or something?

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Honestly, sometimes  I turn the most mundane circumstance into Much Ado About Nothing.

So I’ve been working pretty hard to simplify. And again, that feels sort of oxymoronish – should simplicity feel so complicated?

I organize. Purge. Usher all the ducks to their respective rows. And wipe clean my surfaces. (Almost) every morning begins with a clear desk. So to speak.

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But sometimes finding peace … means making peace. With yourself.

I chucked the very-long-list the other day and went for a walk in the cold, bright blue with my camera.

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Peace made.