dreamy summer afternoons

dreamy summer afternoons

Today is the first day I have completely free in two months. I celebrated by spending the better part of the day in a comfortable chair reading Amor Towle’s new book Table for Two. Towles is one of of my favorite contemporary writers. If you have never read his work, I recommend it. Start with A Gentleman in Moscow. I took a little break mid-afternoon to make this still life composition which, upon reflection, feels a little whimsical and dreamy. Not unlike my day.

still life composition of dried botanicals

  • Carol says:

    Amor Towles – yes,yes,yes! I read The Gentleman….. once a year, I am never disappointed- only when I come to the beautiful last page.

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  • Old Lady Gardener says:

    Oh, this is indeed a dreamy composition, I just love it ❤. Well done, MJ. While a single specimen is always good to see, your eye for a good “shaped” comp is exceptional.
    Yes, Amor Towles is wonderful. Just finished his newest. Glad you had a relaxing day, finally.

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eye see you

eye see you

My husband has taken up gardening in the last couple of years. He sites several reasons for why he has started gardening, but one of them I hear him repeat often often is that gardening was one of the most common denominators in the Blue Zones of longevity. Have you heard of or read Blue Zones? According to wiki: “A blue zone is a region in the world where people are claimed to have exceptionally long lives beyond the age of 80 due to a lifestyle combining physical activity, low stress, rich social interactions, a local whole-foods diet, and low disease incidence. Examples of blue zones include Okinawa Prefecture, Japan; Nuoro Province, Sardinia, Italy; the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; and Icaria, Greece. The name “blue zones” derived simply during the original survey by scientists, who used a blue pen on a map to mark the villages with long-lived population.” The combination of getting physical exercise from gardening and also eating fresh whole foods at their peak is a one-two punch for good health. Whatever his motivation, I am all in. Now…what does one do with this many garlic scapes?

garlic scapes

  • Ata says:

    thank you for taking a picture again today. I’m a long-time admirer of your work, even tried to emulate your style back then, once for my own creative expression, when I thought nobody knew of your work and nobody would ever know of my efforts, but plagiarism didn’t sit well with my conscience, and apparently, I lacked the discipline. I saw your book and couldn’t put it away. I’ve been returning to your blog often for this ever-so-present need to connect with the organic world around me you so skillfully present. Every time it takes my breath away. Thank you! I’ve recently heard you on the Cultivating Place podcast. It was fantastic. I’ll start to be STILL again. By the way, I so share your husband’s views on gardening, though it’s a demanding work, it gives the opportunity for the close and closer look, you so masterfully apply in STILL photographs. Garlic scapes? Sauté them to use on salads, in salad dressings, sauces, eggs… pretty much everywhere @the table. Thank you for doing STILL.

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On manners

On manners

My son just had a one of his college friends, Amanda, from NYC visit us in Minnesota for three days. While she was staying with us, a box of flowers arrived. I opened the box, saw that is was a bouquet, and just assumed it was from one of the participants from my recent workshops thanking me for inspiring them. It wasn’t. It turns out, it was from our 20 year house guest, Amanda. What? Wow. I don’t know about you, but I certainly did not raise my kids to think to make such a thoughtful gesture.  I wonder: Are Amanda’s parent exceptional? Or am I just a bad mom?  I am so impressed by this young woman’s manners. And now it has me thinking about all the other things I forgot to model for my kids before I released them into the world.

a deconstructed thank you bouquet from Amanda

  • AmandaFronsea says:

    Hey darling, want to hang out? – http://surl.li/ulebc?steem

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  • AmandaFronsea says:

    Hey darling, want to hang out? – https://is.gd/2xVU7z?steem

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  • Old Lady Gardener says:

    What a beautiful combo – apricot colored roses, eryngium, and craspedia. And striking composition, too.
    Cut yourself a break, MJ. How do you know your kids don’t do similar things?? Perhaps Amanda got the very best of her parental genes and would have been this way regardless of how she was brought up. Set aside your worries, gal. Why do we, as parents, tend to beat ourselves up over our child rearing skills? Joe had the good sense to choose her as friend, which says something about how he’s turned out, yeah?

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some houses are fancier than others

some houses are fancier than others

My husband and I were invited out to dinner the other night at a local French restaurant. Naturally, we ordered oysters. I like oysters, but my husband loves them. So, any chance he gets, he starts a meal with a dozen oysters.  So I have seen a whole lot of oyster shells in my 34-year marriage to Steve. And this one struck me as unusually interesting. I wish I could remember from whence it came. But alas, I am an extrovert, and by the time the waiter was explaining the oyster selection, I was half-way into a glass of Champagne and in deep conversation with our tablemate.

oyster shell

  • Old Lady Gardener says:

    It’s a beauty, no doubt. It appears to be shared living quarters and I love the added interest of the barnacles.

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  • Ginny says:

    PS – I love the interview on Cultivating Place!

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    • Ohhh, I am so glad you liked it! Thank you Ginny :-)

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a metaphor for adulting

a metaphor for adulting

Happy  summer solstice everyone!  Here in the north we will have 15 ½ hours of daylight with 45 minutes of twilight on wither end.

I am photographing a lot of stems lately, because I am still quite busy with book launch events. Last night was the 2nd of a two-night STILL-inspired Tasting Menu at a local Minneapolis restaurant called Bûcheron. The whole experience was almost beyond words–the chef-team ran with the STILL theme and carried it to dizzying heights. Phenomenal.

These thistle stems reminded me of the paths we take in life. Some people know exactly what they want and go straight for it. Others wind around, trying this way and that. But in the end, most of us find the sun one way of another.

eryngium thistle

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