My mission at the farmer’s market last Saturday was tomatoes, which are now, and finally, in season.  However I paused in front of a booth devoted to garden flowers, admiring the variety and freshness of the flower lady’s colorful stock.  She told me that she keeps cut flowers healthy in her home for as long as a week by simply tending them daily. That I believed without question. She also said that strawflowers make great dried flowers and that these would be an interesting color once they opened.  I just had to trust her on that one.   I bought $6 worth of her blooms, selecting three different varieties, and she made them into a bouquet for me.

I had no idea if these flowers would make it home in the hot car, and I suddenly realized I didn’t even have a proper vase to put them in once I arrived there. As I paid her the $6, I asked her if I could leave the bouquet there with her, wrapped in wet newspaper stuck in a bucket of water beneath her display table, while I solved this problem.

Off I went to a nearby flea market to find a vase, tomatoes all but forgotten.  Mind you, I was fully aware of my 2015 commitment to cull – to simplify my environment – which in part means to only buy something if it is either exceptionally beautiful or useful, and to pay as little as possible in the process – value spending.  A vase is useful, but at what price? After the better part of an hour in the shop, I finally settled on this ceramic pitcher, which I loved all the more because of its $8 price tag.

I have carefully tended these flowers for five days now, following the flower lady’s guidance. The flowers and their vase give me great pleasure, of course, every time I enter the room where they reside.  Most importantly, now I have even more incentive to return to the market and thus give the vase its raison d’etre.




Sometimes “the back way” means a little-known shortcut. Other times, it means the more scenic route. I make the 480 mile trek back and forth between west central Florida and the mountains of north Georgia several times a year, and I refuse to take the interstate highway. That, of course, results in a trip that is at least 1.5 hours longer than it needs to be.

I’m good with that. I don’t have to sit at complete attention, alert to what the cars around me might do at 80 mph, because there are very few other cars. I can set the cruise control and truly cruise for an hour or more at a time. I can, and do, stop whenever I feel like it, even if it means abruptly turning around for something I missed. In this case, it was an old abandoned farmhouse standing guard in front of a very healthy field of Georgia corn. Once I had rolled to a stop, standing alone in the morning sun and hot breeze, listening to the rustle of corn silk, I forgot about the house and was smitten by the corn.



I have an enduring love of these ancient mountains – the Blue Ridge Mountains of Appalachia. Especially on a morning like this. I sit very still, curled up and warmly comfortable, reading and listening to the low growl of thunder and patter of a soft cool mountain rain that is predicted to last most of today. Having so recently explored the nearby mountain woods of Lumpkin County, Georgia, I can visualize this same summer rain as it is happening there, indiscriminately soaking the tall oaks and poplars, rhododendron and ferns, and the rich red soil, while streams slowly swell and spill their way forward, out of these old hills toward the sea.