“A Welsh Childhood” by Alice Thomas Ellis is a nostalgic book that recollects her childhood and her years of raising her own children in Wales. It is filled with beautiful black and white photographs of Wales and of course Ellis’ sharp wit. I love Alice Thomas Ellis’ Sense of humor but my favorite part was when she wrote of her grief.
“We were living here when our second son, Joshua, died, and his death formed a hinge in existence. Everything that happened before led up to it, and everything that has happened since is only afterwards. He lies in the graveyard across the fields and one day I shall lie besides him, and it won’t matter anymore. I do not know how people contain such pain. His father wrote this epitaph for him.
Joshus Haycraft Who died 21 May 1978 Aged nineteen years After a fall
Joshua, For whom the sun Did not stand still, But as you fell headlong So set for you, As suns return You too, most sweet beloved, Will return And in the name of him Whose name is yours Rise again. “
My younger brother died at 12 falling from a tree and my older brother wrote an Epitaph that is on his gravestone. The loss of my brother is still with me just as she describes – a hinge. I saw my parents ruined with grief and wondered the same, how could they contain such pain? How can anyone?
It discusses how and why you want to keep your fruit trees under six feet. Although the topic of large and established fruit trees is briefly discussed, it does not focus on how to manage these trees. The main focus is on selecting, planting and pruning your first little fruit tree and learning techniques that keep it under six feet. Here are the main takeaways: – Buy a little bare root fruit tree (these will be dormant and usually available in Feb) – When purchasing a tree smaller is better than bigger. The trunk should be the thickness of a thumb. – Plant it in the ground – Prune it knee high. This will seem extreme do it anyways. (She has illustrations of knee-high trees to give you courage to make that first counterintuitive, aggressive prune!) – Now that the tree is planted and knee high, it is your job to keep it small and manageable. you should prune mid Summer And Winter. The Mid summer prune will help stunt height growth and direct the growth to the remaining branches. A winter prune will manage the structure of the tree and does not stunt the height growth. You cannot keep the tree small with just winter pruning. – There are two types of prune cuts: Heading and thinning. -Heading cut removes part of a limb buds below this cut will become new growth -Thinning cut will subtract the branch entirely. There will be no new growth since you trimmed the branch at its point of origin. The book illustrates these two types of prune cuts.
The book also discusses thinning fruit, close planting techniques, dwarfs and semidwarfs, fruit varieties, zones, watering, harvesting and is filled with helpful illustrations. A great book for backyard gardener growing in small spaces!
“Stand back. Forget what you read on the Internet. Attend to the tree before you. Observe the growth pattern of the tree. In Pruning, as in any good design, negative space plays an important role. Well-Pruned trees have an airy quality. Yuki Nara of the website Way of Maple says that a bird can fly through a well pruned Japanese maple- good standard for a fruit tree, too.” Ann Ralph
*Here are more book recommendations from David Good. I look forwards to reading them.
The Potatoe plants were beautiful, the potatoes delicious, we didn’t have to deal with any diseases, and not one Potatoe bug! Not one. Slugs weren’t a problem either which I’ve heard can be with deep mulching. My husband is no longer a skeptic and this March I once again threw some potatoes on the ground, covered them with leaves, mulch, grass clippings and waited for what seems like an impossibility- new life.
“Working in the garden . . . gives me a profound feeling of inner peace. Nothing here is in a hurry. There is no rush toward accomplishment, no blowing of trumpets. Here is the great mystery of life and growth. Everything is changing, growing, aiming at something, but silently, unboastfully, taking its time.” Ruth Stout
I highly recommend Ruth Stout’s book Gardening Without Work to anyone who is interested in gardening or thinks gardening is too much work. This is not Stout’s first book on gardening but it was the only one I could find at a reasonable price (some titles are out of print). I hear all her books are worth the read. She even wrote a few nongardening books which look interesting. Her casual, articulate, and witty tone reminded me of Alice Thomas Ellis (they both wrote weekly columns). This was such a delightful read I didn’t even feel like I was reading a gardening book. It was more like enjoying a cup of coffee with one of your opinionated, knowledgeable, funny, lifelong friends.
Her advice is simple: stop tilling your garden and apply a thick layer of mulch to your soil instead. Stout preferred spoiled hay but said that old leaves, straw or wood also work. As The mulch breaks down, it feeds the soil. It also stops most weeds from growing and keeps the soil moist all season long even during dry spells.
Stout didn’t start gardening until she was 46 and only started her heavy mulch method years later because she was tired of waiting for the plowman. I found this encouraging since I’m mostly self-taught. My last garden was urban and done solely in containers everything did well. It was certainly much easier than the traditional tilled method that I did in years past. This year we’ve moved and have some raised beds. I started my no till garden and threw some potatoes on the ground and covered them with old leaves. My husband remains a skeptic of this method. His skepticism did not (and rarely does) deter my enthusiasm. Time will tell.
“If you have the soul of a gardener, not for anything would you work with gloves on.”
“Why not plant asparagus in the tulip bed? The flowers will be on their way out and their leaves will begin to die and look ugly just about the time asparagus turns into an attractive fern. And think what fun it would be to “tiptoes through he tulips” to gather your asparagus.”
P.S. I wonder if Wendel Berry ever talks about her no dig, no till, heavy mulch method? If you know please let me know. Wasn’t he against greenhouses? to which I say, “Bah!”
-Mrs. Karl T cooper, Jr.
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A Breath of Air by Rumer Godden is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Tempest. Filled with juxtaposition and tension the story unfolds: The sophisticated playwright/ the Islanders, the pagans/ the Christians, the masculine father / the feminine daughter, lovers/ the world.
Although this novel is not one of Godden’s best, (Greengage Summer remains my favorite) her writing always makes me think. There were themes that I never really thought of while reading the Play that struck me anew in this fantastical retelling: The need for culture, its limits and fragility, Civilization [Liturgy] as a birthright.
I liked this step by step guide. It shows you how one inspirational piece can inform the overall vision of the room- creating a domino effect. It separated the trees so I could appreciate the forest and create my own. Also, the cover is so pretty I’ve put the book on my coffee table just so I could enjoy it.
I find a lot of interior design books impractical and flashy but not this one! Desha Peacock’s book was down to earth, showcasing many different homes and designers, many of whom were not professionals, just happy and creative homeowners. It wasn’t pretentious or obnoxiously lowkey and bloggy.
I finally read this cozy little book, mainly because I loved the cover. While the book isn’t an interior design book per se, it is helpful in realizing that the simple pleasures in life are important, home comforts can contribute to our overall happiness and can bring a family closer together. It off balanced my minimalist tendencies nicely, and allowed me to relax about the very “lived in” look my home seems to cultivate so well.
KonMarie: Are you sick of me recommending this book yet? I’m recommending it again. decluttering your home will go a long way in designing your home. Really you should start here. I feel as if I’ve almost reached that click point konmarie talks about. Where you have just the right amount of things and they each have their homes.