Thursday, March 29

Farm Photo: 3/29/07

Last Night's Late Supper, Picked By The Light Of The Moon

Once upon a time I worked in an upscale stationery store that was tastefully packed to the brim with gorgeous papers and glorious artwork. As a graphic designer, I was in heaven. As a low-paid employee, I was a bit of an idiot. I probably spent what amounted to several paycheck's worth of my hard earned cash (this was not the type of place where you were allowed to laze around behind the counter reading a book when things were slow) on merchandise. Even with my employee discount (which only served to make my buying sprees that much easier to rationalize) it was still quite a bundle. Seventeen years later, I've hardly made a dent in my stash. I will never have to buy another blank greeting card in my life.

There are two reasons I still have so much of my bounty. One is the invention of e-mail, which I both adore and abhor (because there are never any handwritten envelopes in the post office box anymore). The other is the fact that I have a hard time parting with many of the cards because I love their photographs and illustrations so much. It's like I have my very own art museum I can visit whenever I like. And if I mailed them away, how could I be sure the would-be recipients would appreciate them as much as I do?

Like most museums, the vast majority of my collection is in storage--meaning a couple of large boxes. My very favorite card, however, has been prominently displayed ever since I acquired it. At the moment, it resides right above my computer on one of my two large bulletin boards (which are supposed to be full of important notes, papers, etc. but are actually covered with all sorts of eye-catching ephemera).

It has become dirty and scuffed after all these years, so I couldn't send it to somebody if I wanted to--although I do wish I'd bought a dozen or two of them. It is, I am told from the back of the card, die stamped and printed by craftsmen from dies hand engraved on steel. The artwork is courtesy of the Medici Society Ltd. in London, and it was printed in Switzerland. In the center of the circular illustration by Minnie Aumonier is a quote in beautiful calligraphy:

When the world wearies, and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the Garden.

My garden isn't receiving anywhere near the attention it needs right now, as Lambing Season 2007 has taken over my life (it's the end of March and I haven't planted a single tomato or pepper seed!). But that is how it works on a farm--there is always something stealing your attention away from the task at hand. And animals must come before plants.

Fortunately there are overwintered Swiss chard and arugula plants* in the greenhouse, my faithful chives have made their early spring appearance once again, and the seeds I did manage to get planted over the past few weeks have already become promising little sprouts.

Of course you don't need two dozen raised beds or a greenhouse to find solace in the garden. It only takes one small clump of flowers to bring on a smile.

A year of Farm Photos ago:
3/29/06: They Certainly Do Learn Early
3/28/06: It Seems Like They Never Stop Moving

And out of the kitchen came: Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup
Note: This recipe was included in "Something For Nothing," a one-time event hosted by Lindy at the always delightful and delicious Toast. It celebrates favorite recipes for low funds, empty cupboards, and hard times--but you'd never know it from looking through this wonderful collection of mouthwatering dishes.

*Now is the time to plant arugula and lettuce in many areas. Click here to learn how easy it is to go from seed to salad bowl in less than a month--no matter where you live, and even if your garden consists of a couple of buckets and a plastic dish tub. Really.


  1. And for us urban farmers, the lettuces have already germinated, along with the radishes and the peas. We're starting to see our first mustard greens, and we have potatoes in the ground. We, too, are making salads out of the arugula and tat soi that survived a very harsh February here in the District of Columbia. We cooked the last of the over-wintered kale and turned the bed for carrots and beets. The collards are making such a nice comeback I'm going to let them go a bit longer. They are gorgeous, and so nice to see such a healthy patch of leafy greens this early in the season.

  2. Thanks for the reminder. I do need to get some arugula and lettuce planted, and maybe chard too.

  3. I can so relate to your card story. I worked at a little shop here in Key West called Kindred Spirit. I did the same thing, spent my paycheck on all the wonderful items and cards she carried. Unfortunately, hurricane Wilma did a number on our little town and Kindred Spirit had to close due to very slow sales following the hurricane. But...I still have a nice stash also!
    Yes, even though the hornworms and lizards have enjoyed my little garden, there is still plenty to sooth my soul!

  4. I think anyone who's worked in retail can sympathize here. I totally laughed out loud with the comment, "As a graphic designer I was in heaven. As a low-paid employee I was a bit of an idiot." Yeah. Same here.

    I worked at the Gap one summer(ok, so it's no fabulous stationary hide-out, but you know) while I was in college and ended up spending more than I made ALL SUMMER COMBINED.

    To me, clothes can be a sickness. I won't even tell you about my exploits with Zappos.

    And you're right to keep that card. The saying alone is enough to warrant it. A nicer way of saying, that when everything else sucks wind, at least you can go to the garden where no one talks back.

  5. Susan,
    I have a fondness for paper goods as well, not to mention my love of textiles, and electronic gadgets, and ...

  6. Wow, how awesome is that? The caption beneath your photo conjured an entire scene in my mind! I can't wait til I live someplace where planting a garden is possible. :)

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  7. It is so true that animals come before plants. I was just thinking the same myself, as I have tomato, pepper, eggplant, and basil starts that have been neglected for WEEKS!!! Wishing you a moment in which to sow some seeds. :)

  8. When I lived in Japan, I collected a lot of handmade paper and interesting stationery. Most of it remains in storage, unused. But when travelling, I always save my favorite postcards for me and write my trip journal via postcards to myself. Not only do I get to keep my favorite pictures, but I get the thrill of receiving letters from my vacation after I arrive home.

    Maybe you could use your cards to send your future self notes from the present.

  9. It's so nice to read about someone else's love of beautiful paper. I try hard, and sometimes fail, to send out at least one handwritten note on a pretty card each week.I have also started giving people their own pretty cards, in hopes that one will show up in my mailbox some day. Email is wonderful, and it has helped me sustain some relationships, but oh how I love an old-fashioned hand-written note or letter.

    As usual, beautiful photo.

  10. This ex-letter writer gave away almost all of her horde of stationary in the past few years. Sent most of the cards. But I wish I still had some of the old cards that I sent years ago...

    (Former Green Tiger Press addict.)


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