Tuesday, August 31, 2010


You're supposed to be ordering them now, planting in October for blooms at Christmas. But nobody told Shirley...or her amaryllis.

It's left over from a Christmas gift last year (you're welcome) and it did this all by itself. Check out John Scheepers for bulbs. And yes, Shirley, you have a green thumb.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Herb Guy

I bought sage and basil, dill and parsley. Sorrel and lemon balm. Must remember to protect the lemon balm in the winter.

He is the Herb Guy at the Danville Farmer's market. He tells me the business was started by his kids who are now in college. He is an executive: I think nostalgia - and friendships - keep him coming back. I'm glad he's here.

You can check him out on his web site - www.wiersiggsrdenplants.com - or you can meet him in person at the Danville Farmer's Market on Saturday morning.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I have just finished the best book I have read in years. Gloryland by Shelton Johnson. Almost didn't buy it, he's a ranger in Yosemite and I thought it would be dry and preachy. Wrong!

This guy can write - do yourself a favor - run do not walk to your nearest bookstore, open it up and start reading. I promise you won't be able to put it down.

Pain, love and loss, redemption. Connections that transcend time and place. Opens the lines between this world and the ones behind and ahead. Love, indifference, beauty. The truths that are found only in silence and solitude. And in connectedness. And what this man can do with the English language is wrenching, uplifting, astonishing. Get This Book!!

It's a weird and wonderful place...

Helicopters chasing the moon over Glacier Point...
...clouds chasing each other across the sky.
It's a weird and wonderful place, Yosemite. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pent Up Posts

So this what happened to my poor peach tree...

I have not learned how to stick a photo in an iphone post. But I will.

It may be heaven, with fabulous scenery, but  Tuolumne has no wi-fi...
Communal dining. Communal bathrooms. And you know my idea of camping is a French restaurant with the windows open. Yet here I am.

No heat except for a wood stove that takes about two hours to heat up - it gets warm just as the sun heats up your cabin. No AC. You can see your breath in the morning before you rise, and without a warm fuzzy hat sleep is an iffy thing. 
Four lakes in four days...
This one is called Hidden Lake.
Michael and two friends joined us to hike up to Gaylor Lake. You start at almost 10,000 feet. Then you go up. Straight up. Gasping for air. But the wildflowers are stunning.
A small friend in the water at Hidden Lake...Danger Rave tells us he is an aquatic garter snake, and very shy.
One fantastic day of fishing after three days of thinking about taking up needlepoint and sacrificing flies to the trees. At Elizabeth Lake (close enough for a family walk and a picnic and oh so beautiful!) The water was so clear (and my glasses so polarized) I could see the fish swim by, see them think. See them lunge for my fly and then dance across the water on their tails as I pulled them in. And see them dart for the shadows as I let them go. Well, not all of them...
  A happy fisherman. 

Stickery socks.

Velvet black sky with stars so close they scrape the tree tops. Cool breezes making the trees talk. The sound of the river lulling you to sleep - the cold waking you. Sheets that side off the plastic mattress when you turn over. As close to heaven as I have been.
If you can’t be happy here perhaps you can’t be happy anywhere.

Monday, August 9, 2010


This is why it's important
To thin peaches...

apparently I didn't thin enough. Lost the whole top of the tree. So sad. Will assess the damage come fall and try to make it right.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm dreaming...

I'm missing the beach...
the boats
romantic walks along the water...
and the style. looking good is so important - 
and they do it so well. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Villa Clarisse

She's only seventeen months old, but she's about to have her own hotel. This is what it looks like now:

An old house on a street just steps from the divine Hotel Toiras in St Martin de Re. A blank limestone front, a door right on the street. But inside, ah, inside...a hallway to a courtyard. Paved in ancient stone, overgrown with hollyhocks and palm trees, low wildflowers that have seeded among the paving stones, The house wraps around  three sides, the fourth is a high garden wall. You can see yourself having breakfast here, curling up with a book on a summer afternoon. Perhaps a fireplace? to warm a cool evening.

Open the door at the back of the courtyard (expecting a toolshed, a dusty closet) and you are in fairyland. A garden stretches back for what seems like miles. There are ancient fig trees, more hollyhocks. Roses scramble up the garden walls. Tall grasses have seeded in and wave in the breeze. It is like being in The Secret Garden - remember the Francis Hodgson Burnett book, and Mary and Colin and Dickon? This place has that magic.

Olivia showed us - if you open the street door, the door to the courtyard and the door to the Secret Garden, you can see all the way to the very back of the garden. She will put glass in all the doors, there will be a tantalizing view from the street. A sunny reception area, rooms and suites with the old tile or stone floors that are still there. Beamed ceilings, light on all sides.

A pool in the back. WIth glass for the cool days. A spa. A garden that reflects the gorgeous wild landscape of the Ile de Re. Places to walk, places to sit. Places to just be.

The woman who owned this house wanted Olivia to have it, to keep its character and make it better. And she has left treasures - a Captain's hat sits on a newel post. Huge dusty baskets are piled on a hearth.  A collection of old tools is laid out on a floor upstairs. Two sleigh beds sit opposite each other in the huge beamed room above the front door. Collections of old cooking pots fill the old kitchen. A treasure in every corner.

This place will be magic. Olivia has made Hotel Toiras feel like the home of a wealthy but unpretentious friend...

This will be different. It will have the essence of the island distilled into muted colors, more rustic fabrics, gardens that echo the wildness just outside the walls. Peace. Calm. With impeccable taste and unpretentious luxury. In possible the most perfect town in the world.

She plans to be open within the year. Clarisse will be two and a half. I plan to be one of the first guests at the Villa Clarisse. I recommend you book early -  it will fill up fast.