The Good Earth

Planting time

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

Audrey Hepburn

The good earth — fresh from the compost

The ground’s generosity takes in our compost and grows beauty!
Try to be more like the ground.



The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,
but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

Masanobu Fukuoka

Photo Challenge — Earth

Whytecliffe Park

Come sit with me on this rocky ledge
And gaze into the bay
Water greengrayblueandwhite
Splash-splash-crash and spray

I had read to watch for seals that frolic in Horseshoe Bay at Whytecliffe Park near Vancouver, British Columbia. Still, it was a pleasant surprise.

Even without the frolicking seal, I could have sat by the water all day.

New Use for an iPod

For a couple of years, my father kept saying, “I need one of those things,” and he would mimic someone holding a device in their hand and tapping on the screen.

We tried to convince him that an iPad would work well for him — it’s bigger and does a lot of the same things — but no dice. He was sure he needed a smart phone.

Last summer one of my sons upgraded from a iPod Touch to an iPhone, so we gave his iPod to my father. We could connect it to wi-fi in the house and it would function in basically the same way as a phone. My son set up an iTunes account for him, and I had my sister send him his one and only message.

At 87, this is one new trick the old dog can’t learn.

It sits on his tray table. I charge it about once a week for him. The one time I forgot, he told me that we needed to buy new batteries for it. Modern technology is hard for an older person to understand — even the basics of recharging a device.

But every day, he picks it up and pushes the home button. I put a picture of my mother on his lock screen.

“Good morning, Elinor,” he says, and then he sets it down.

I think he finds some security in seeing her face each day.

He found a use for the iPod I wouldn’t have guessed.


Yesterday my father kept commenting on the fog.

“I can’t believe how foggy it is out there,” he said every time he looked out the window.

The dense fog lingered all day. When I went for my evening walk, a heavy mist still rested on the fields.

My father had been bemoaning it. “It sure would be nice to see some blue skies,” he said.

But I thought the fog was lovely.

I could still see the farm buildings.

I knew the river lay beyond the trees because I know this land. I’ve walked this road a thousand times.

The road I’m walking with my father is newer territory, though.

Even though my mother had dementia, my father was her main care-provider. When he made the decision for her to go to the nursing home, we all knew it was the right thing to do. The nursing home was well-staffed, and we knew she would receive good care. I helped, but I wasn’t the main care-provider.

Now I am. I marvel at the job my father did. Often, though, I don’t feel equal to the task. I wonder about the cost to my family.

On my foggy walk last night, I stopped and looked at one tree for a long time.

It was so lovely against the backdrop of fog. Strong and independent.

Maybe as I walk this road with my father I need to look for those beautiful places.

We may not have blue skies, but there’s such beauty in the fog.

Lakefront Park

I clearly remember that morning.

I had tossed and turned all night. My thoughts were a twisting turning knot of turmoil.

Before dawn, I left the house and drove to the lake.

Water soothes me.

If I lived near the ocean, I’m sure I would have been at the beach, digging my toes into the sand. Instead, I was at Lakefront Park in Cooperstown, walking in dew-laden grass, looking out into the heavy fog that rested on the lake.

As the invisible sun rose and lent a little light, I took a few pictures. The lush green of summer was accentuated by the grayness of the fog.

The fog obscured the distance, but it helped me appreciate what was closest to me.

I haven’t forgotten that lesson.

The Sidewalk Taken (or, Sidewalks of Cooperstown)

Warning: This is probably one of the most boring posts every. I walk around town and take pictures of the sidewalks.

“Now this is a sidewalk,” Bud said to me as we started our walk the other day.

We parked at the Clark Sports Center and headed out on the route I usually go around the perimeter of Cooperstown.

Susquehanna Ave

Susquehanna Ave

The sidewalk on Susquehanna is wide and new. Little kids ride their bikes on it, with plenty of room for mom or dad to walk beside them. The fellow in the distance was on his skateboard. It’s not unusual to see friends walking 3 or 4 abreast on it.

This sidewalk used to look like this:

The other side of Susquehanna

The other side of Susquehanna

On the east side of the street, this sidewalk reminds me of what we used to walk on.

I always turn up Walnut Street. There are shorter ways to get downtown, but when I’m going for a walk, I’m not looking for shortcuts. I’m looking for the long-cuts, to prolong the experience.

Walnut Street

Walnut Street

From Walnut, I turn onto Delaware Street. One of the joys of living in a small town is that so many of the houses also contain memories — friends I went to high school with, kids I’ve coached on swim team. The house represents a person or a family, and I treasure them as I walk past.

Delaware Street

Delaware Street

Delaware to Beaver. Beaver Street is a  direct shot between Rte 28 (aka Chestnut) and the hospital. At the juncture of those two roads, it’s really hopping with two gas stations, Price Chopper (the only grocery store in the village) and the new location for a giant CVS.

Beaver Street

Beaver Street

I take a little jig-jag on Chestnut, quickly turning off it onto West Beaver.

Beaver Street

West Beaver Street

West Beaver kind of turns into Maple Street.

Maple Street continued

Maple Street

At the end of Maple Street, I cross Route 28 again — except now it’s Glen Ave. Oh, the joy of small older villages! Streets  take twists and turns and change names — just because they can.

I have to cut through a parking lot here. In the summer, it’s busy, but the rest of the year only a handful of cars park there.

Credit Union parking lot

Credit Union parking lot

On the other side of the parking lot is the top of Main Street. It’s a nice walk down, but tourists don’t know that. They shell out their $2 per person to ride the trolley, which actually is pretty cheap entertainment. The trolley makes a circuit around Cooperstown, and some trolley drivers give spiels about the village which are often full of alternative facts.

Upper Main

Upper Main

Just past the ugliest office building in the history of beautiful small villages, I turn onto Nelson Ave, a street of beautiful homes. It’s another stretch of homes that I identify with people I know or knew.

Nelson Ave

Nelson Ave

From Nelson, I turn onto Lake Street.

Lake Street

Lake Street

Oh, look!  There’s the Otesaga! That’s where the Hall-of-Famers stay for induction weekend.

I walk a long stretch of Lake Street, all the way to where it ends at the Susquehanna River and River Street.

River Street

River Street

One block on River, and I reach Main Street again — but this is lower Main.

Main Street (going east from River Street)

Main Street (going east from River Street)

The sidewalk ends just after crossing the bridge, but that’s okay. I’m heading to “The Path” — no sidewalk at all, but one of my favorite places to walk.

"The Path"

“The Path”

The Path goes along the river, past where Cooperstown’s hanging tree was in the early 1800s (or so I’m told), past the stone bridge (gosh, it’s lovely), past the Sugar Shack (where I suppose someone used to make maple syrup), past a colorful pile of kayaks and canoes, all the way to Mill Street/Brooklyn Ave.

I choose Brooklyn Ave. We used to live here. It is a wonderful street.

Brooklyn Ave

Brooklyn Ave

The sidewalk doesn’t go all the way down Brooklyn Ave. It ends as I leave the village. The condition of the road changes, too. It’s easy to tell where the demarcation between Village of Cooperstown and Town of Middlefield falls.

I walk all the way to the end, back to Susquehanna Ave, but now I’m at the end of Susquehanna that doesn’t have wide new sidewalks. In fact, it has no sidewalk at all, but that doesn’t stop me from walking along the shoulder, back to the gym, and back to my car.

The road taken by me is usually a sidewalk. I love walking.

I love it even more when my husband can join me.