Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Daylily Farm

He was mowing lawn when I pulled in the driveway. Intent on his task, it took him a couple of minutes to notice my arrival. Turning off the mower, he walked over and offered a soft-spoken and slightly shy greeting.

A weathered wooden sign announces this floral oasis off a little side street in Wise, Virginia. Here Mike Marsingill tends an acre that features 200 varieties of daylilies soaking up all the available sunshine. Talking flowers broke the ice.

Recently featured in article in the Kingsport Times, I included the farm on a Saturday itinerary that already had me in the mountain community. My plan is to scrutinize the photographs that were taken and select one or two, okay maybe three favorite flowers. On my next trip up to Wise, I'll ask Mike to dig out and sell me those flowers that my garden just can not do without.

 Mike would have dug flowers that day, but my decision was to wait. I have the farm's address and phone number. Transplanting at the height of bloom is likely less than ideal and asking an older gent to dig in hot weather is assuredly less than optimal.

Besides, it is an excuse for another pleasant drive up into the mountains.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Elderspirit - Brave Old World

A few Sundays, back I attended a garden open house at Elderspirit. Arranged by members of the landscape committee, the focus was on the various gardens and offered my first invitation to visit to the Elderspirit grounds.


I had been only minimally aware of Elderspirit and this offered an opportunity to find out more about this intentional community that offers a unique lifestyle choice for older adults. Components include co-housing in a mixed income community, member-management, a focus on spirituality and mutual support.

To watch a video about Elderspirit go to this link

 Elderspirit achieves mixed income status by combining owner occupied dwellings with more economical and affordable apartments. It's guiding ethos utilizes outside the box thinking that appeals to community-minded individuals and based on the bumper stickers on cars in the parking lot leans a lot more Democratic than Republican.


Talking to people in the community of Abingdon, I got several different takes on Elderspirit. One person characterized the development as "a hippie commune on Geritol." And another commented that if the residents were in their 20's and 30's you could be sure that the law would be up there all the time, which is entirely amusing when you know several ex-nuns reside there.

Someone else told me that while there was general pride in Elderspirit, it was expressed with one raised eyebrow, as it brought people from outside the area into the community. Indeed several folks I spoke with had been looking for a place like this and moved here when they found it.

This place has an open feel. One resident related a story of a friend living in a condo apartment in Ohio. While she was able to garden there, plant heights were restricted to 2 feet tall, so she was training her tomatoes to grow on horizontal lead wires.

As decisions here are based on committee consensus, silly rules like that could be reworked and renegotiated.


After touring the various garden spaces I joined other visitors and the community for a buffet.

For additional pictures and information on Elderspirit see this link.

Gotta love a space that combines bicycles, motorized scooters and rollators.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Calypso a.k.a. Butchie - A Tribute

April 1997 to June 2012


The dogs who've shared our lives
In subtle ways they let us know
their spirit still survives.
Old habits make us think we hear a barking at the door.
Or step back when we drop
a tasty morsel on the floor.
Our feet still go around the place
the food dish used to be,
and, sometimes coming home at night,
we miss them terribly.
And although time may bring new friends
and a new food dish to fill,
That one place in our hearts
belongs to them...
and always will.

---Linda Barnes---