Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Friends and Other Animals!

With apologies to Gerald Durrell and thanks for my title today.

Yesterday was a wonderful day of stuff happening: good medical reports from visiting nurse, happy aide visit full of reports of her little girl's progress and their upcoming trip home to Ecuador to reunite FIVE generations of her family, lunch and visit from old neighborhood friend up here for a couple of weeks from Florida, lovely visit with her, total catchup, including tips for me on a tshirt quilt (to use up a bunch of colorful old tshirts of HP's which have meaning to him but are not really wearable any more, too small for someone who needs a lot of help dressing, but will be a great bed cover in the cold weather) and tips for her on starting a blog, which I fervently hope she will.

She's a person with all kinds of talents, has gone from high powered professional work into equally high powered volunteering, including learning xeriscaping for the landscape of her Florida development, better for the climate, to playing poker with veterans in a local hospital and enjoying their lives and stories, to adventures in art and craft and travel and who knows what else. She has a ton to say and I really hope she gets going to say it. I plan to be a follower as soon as she gets under way!

And one of her major talents is for friendship. She not only included the Adams menage in her brief trip up here, but brought lunch with her to save me the extra work, knowing my life is pretty hectic.

Wonderful lunch from Whole Foods, complete with sourdough bread, various salads, strawberries. And a soup which I completely forgot to serve, which just shows, even when someone does all the work for me I still forget something. Nonetheless it served us for today's lunch, with the rest of the salads and sourdough. Carrot ginger soup, very very good, and HP wants me to make it as soon as I find out how. The weather turned obligingly cool and wet, just right for soup.

Said friend, Bernadette M., and we were talking about how we don't like to be given objects as gifts any more -- we have enough stuff, and it's just more stuff. We all agreed that we loved consumables and services much better. And I suddenly realized that I'd described the gift of shopping and bringing lunch -- that was both a service and a consumable gift, and such a terrific thing to do. HS arrived in the evening, to do the pacemaker check successfully, so that was a full day, including a viewing of Foyle's War, until we both fell asleep over it...

And then today, along the lines of opportunities that were NOT missed, unlike the sunflowers and sundogs, on the way back from the libe with various things for HP's reading and viewing pleasure, I had three things happen all at once: when I passed the horse farm, there were horses out on the field, munching and nudging each other and being horses, there was NO traffic so I could get off the road, and I had my camera with me.

So I got pix! and realized, that as I was angling my camera through the fence for a better picture, that the horses were equally interested in me! in fact I had to back off to get one into the picture. I'm guessing they saw something in my hand and figured it was worth finding out if it was edible. So they posed for their closeup, which took place after one finishing peeing copiously all over....a bit excited over company maybe.

Just off on a tangent: these horses are in sight of the place where Orson Welles' famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast fooled people into thinking the Martians had landed -- Grover's Mill.

It occurs to me to wonder, don't ask me why I wonder stuff like this, I just do, the labyrinthine recesses of the human mind are impenetrable, if there's a connection between equine, as in horses, and equinox, as in equal day and night. I must pursue this.

Then almost home and I stopped off at Stultz Farm, a pick it yourself family owned operation for generations, and I have to pay homage to a Republican governor of NJ, Christie Whitman, under whose reign if that's the word, the TDR act came into force.

Now it's not often I acknowledge good work from Republicans, even though once in a while I do vote for Susan K knows(!) but fair's fair, this is a brilliant piece of legislation for a state that was once all agricultural, and is rapidly being paved over because the location between NY and Philly is very very valuable real estate, not to mention it's a shore state with harbors and ports, etc., all good for business.

TDR , if you will allow me to bore you a moment, is Transfer of Development Rights. It means that farmers who are paying terrible taxes because their lands are being pushed up and up in value beyond their ability as smallholders to stay in the farming biz, rather than throw up their hands and sell for a lot of money to developers, can offer instead to sell the development rights to the state of NJ for a very very fair price, in exchange for farming there in perpetuity, either by succeeding family members or tenant farmers. Either way, no building ever ever to take place.

Quite a bit of farmland (second in yield per acre only to the Shenandoah Valley, you see why it's crime to build on it) has been saved around here, including this farm. Which I have pictured for you, to see how lovely it is, simple, clean, fertile, growing a huge variety of crops and flowers. Close to home, not quite walking distance but not far.

And the value is sky high if you think of the old quality of life cliche!

It's a huge gift to the rest of us -- not more stuff, wonderful land full of consumables and a service to us, too. Yay.


  1. Great story, nice photos. I'm glad your life as it currently is includes wonderful days (and photo ops, missed and seized).

  2. Good to have thoughtful friends. Carrot and Ginger soup? Sounds interesting.

  3. Another wonderful read and beautiful images from you, Liz! (What an interesting and Liz-like stream of thought you've raised for me now re: the equine/equinox equation!) As much as I look forward to glimpses of your outings, I can only imagine the joy they bring to HP. I'm looking forward to "meeting" your friend, Bernadette, here, too.

    I'm grinning with appreciation here at my desk in Texas at YOUR appreciation of the TDR act (yes, brilliant!) Anyone who knows you at all, Liz, knows you're nothing if not fair and smart about things that just make good sense!


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