Nolichucky West

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What I Learned In June

I finished reading Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I have read it two or three times before, but this time it seemed to resonate more within, perhaps because I am going through one of those life changes she wrote eloquently about. She spoke of simplicity, of filling your pockets with every beautiful shell you discover in the sand but then realizing you only really need three or four. I went through my sea shell collection and pulled out a few shells that are similar to the ones she wrote about. I made a tiny shadow box by fitting a box to the back of a little unused frame. This can serve as a reminder to pursue ” sign posts towards another way of living. Simplicity of living, as much as possible to retain a true awareness of life. Balance of physical, intellectual, and spiritual life .…A few shells. ”

This was Mother’s copy of Gift From the Sea and she had underlined certain passages through out. Sometimes I would wonder why she found some statements so significant.  I guess it helped me understand her a bit more. This book was originally written in the 1950’s but often felt so timely and relevant.

I know I will pull this book out next summer to read again, perhaps it will mean as much or more.

I happened upon a little article about my favorite puppet makers, Folkmanis. What an interesting story. Their carefully designed menagerie was a daily part of my life as a teacher of young children. They were wonderful friends for the children, but each puppet also had a higher purpose corresponding to a state teaching standard, and served as an additional ”teacher”. I enjoyed reading their story. Many of my puppets have found homes in other classrooms, some are waiting to be “adopted” by deserving teachers who see their value, many  are still around my home providing whimsy and entertainment for the grandchildren.

This scallop puppet has places in the back for your fingers to make him open and close and wiggle his eyes. I took him along on our beach vacation.
The tortoise is still favorite around here. He’ll go back into his shell if you are too noisy. He’s on the bookshelf with some science books.
The bird’s nest full of baby cardinals sits inside a wreath that collects funny family snap shots and hangs in my work room.

I didn’t realize how many puppets I still had until I walked around taking pictures. There’s so many more than what I have shared here; a screech owl with a head that turns, mother possum and her baby, an upside down bat, a fawn, and a funny cartoon cat. Keeping most of my teaching puppets seems to contradict the idea of trying to simplify life, perhaps when the grandchildren are a bit older I’ll be ready to say goodbye and find them new homes.

I have written before about my favorite new cookbook, The Forest Feast – Gatherings by Erin Gleeson. I have set out on a quest to try as many of these recipes as I can, even if I am the only one who is going to be eating them.

I’ve marked days on my July calendar with Forest Feast so I can continue trying new recipes. I find if I write it down somewhere it is more likely to happen. So far I have enjoyed every new recipe I have tried.

I have discovered that I am not moving as much as I should be. As a teacher a physically active day was inevitable, but now it all depends on me. The American Heart Association recommends walking and I have found walking workout videos on You Tube by Leslie Sansone that I have been enjoying when I feel I need to move. It is too hot to go for a walk outdoors, but I can turn on the video, play some of my favorite fast paced music, and walk a mile while underneath a fan.

I am still rescuing little rose bushes from the clearance table at the grocery store. This one has so many beautiful blooms now. I think it’s very happy in it’s new home.
I’m not sure about my pumpkin plant. This little guy “volunteered” and sprouted from my compost bin. The seeds were from my Halloween jack-o-lantern. Every afternoon the leaves become so wilted in the hundred and something degree heat.
This tomato plant is doing well, everyday there are a few cherry tomatoes to harvest. Some of the leaves on top are a bit sunburned, but I think it will survive the summer nicely.There is also lots of herbs that are hiding under the gangly tomato, taking advantage of it’s shade. I try to go out to the garden first thing every morning.

I have been documenting what I have been learning monthly since I began this blog a few months ago. It truly makes me realize how swiftly time passes when I stop to reflect on a regular basis.

I’m going to check out another recipe, hopefully I will find one that requires cherry tomatoes.

Thanks for listening. Take care.

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