Chef’s Garden at the Inn

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A concise 6-month history of the Chef’s Garden:  in January, on the cold grey day of my first visit to Chebeague Island, I stood on a lawn at the Inn and was asked there to create a Chef’s Garden.

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IMG_4795In March, enthusiasm was high.  The chef offered his list of desired plants and my friends at Frinklepod Farm, Noah Wentworth and Flora Brown,  started the vegy, herb and flower seedings; David Buchanan, of Portersfield Cider, shared advice on berries and stone fruits; Nance Klehm, from the Seed Temple in Estancia, New Mexico, sent seeds of the 4 sisters: Corn, Pole Beans, Winter Squash and Sunflowers.

In April, Chuck Varney, of Second Wind Farm on Chebeague Island, plowed and turned the sod, we amended the soil, and then tilled to break the clumps.  We had neither time nor materials to sheet mulch; on the island, bulk compost and mulch are available only if barged over in a dump truck, so we have worked with the soil at hand.  The ground laid fallow a few weeks and then we worked our way across the field picking out roots and clumps of dried grass.

In late-May, on a rain-drenched day, Noah and I hauled across the bay crates filled with the starts and seeds: japanese eggplants, red and white onions, varieties of tomatoes, peppers, butternut and buttercup squash, bush beans, radishes, carrots, beets, slicing cucumbers, and a potager’s array of herbs and flowers.  Some seeds failed to germinate.  Some plants have been slow to take root.  Overall, the garden is flowering and fruits are forming on the vines.

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IMG_4798The chef has said that he walks through the garden to relax during long days in the kitchen.  Today, he harvested eggplants, peppers, squash blossoms, herbs and edible flowers for this evening’s menu.

How wonderful to see an idea coming to fruition, and to know that customers have been fed from our shared efforts.


Project: Hope Process, Process Hope

The giraffes have long awaited the next members to the foil/tape sculpture family.

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A single starfish has emerged which seems to sing of loss, hope and rebirth. When an arm is lost a new grows back. Loss is so clearly a point of transition from one state to another.
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There is no stagnation only movement towards rebirth. Let the process shine.


Altered Selves

In my work as an Art Therapist and Licensed Counselor, I am helping adolescents and adults dealing with substance abuse issues.  We have been creating “altered books” as a means for journaling and self-expression. I have come to see the altered book as a metaphor for the physical body, and its alteration from substance abuse.

I am using hardcover books – cast-offs gathered from friends and the local Goodwill thrift store – that my clients have reinvented and redefined to hold words, images and transformed paper; the altered book releases feelings and communicates ideas. Covers are collaged and fixed with Mod Podge, and then about 1/3 of the existing pages are torn out from the book to relieve the binding and allow space to add new works.

This has been a powerful art experience for everyone. While there are wildly creative and endless possibilities, here are a few images from my own journal just to give the idea. A special thanks to those friends who have rallied to collect books for this ongoing project.

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the sunflower house

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Light & color: making marks

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Fairy Condos

Adding some pint size (maybe more half-gallon) magic to the property this spring with milk cartons, acrylics, Sharpies, stickers, varnish, sticks and glue gun…
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Question Box

The older I get, the less able I am to multitask. Or, perhaps it’s not age but hours of sleep I miss each night (see previous posting :). Either way, after tending to the household tasks, little ones’ needs, and work prep, by the end of the day I can only focus on one thing at a time.

It’s possible that this is in fact the time of day when my daughter’s charming curiousity cuts loose and needs the likes of Google-for-preschoolers to sate her questions: “Why do princesses have so many dresses? How did the creator create the world? Where did I come from?” Truth be told, there have been times I’ve just had to ask her to stop talking so I can finish the thought in my own head.

Several days ago I vented to our beloved Auntie Beth who, without blinking, offered up the idea of a Question Box – a special place to hold the question until I have time to give her the attention she seeks.

Using cardboard scraps and a glue gun, I constructed a small box with a piggy bank type slot on the top and a flap on the bottom to access the question cards.
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Elena decorated the outside of the box with tissue papers and aluminum foil. While the glue dried, she furiously worked on index cards drawing symbols and letters to record her thoughts. IMG_0946 Thankfully, collecting her questions in the box will allow me a little time to prepare my responses. “Why did the creator make bananas? Was that before the dinosaurs?” and “How does Peter Pan fly?”. I’ve got some research to do.IMG_0948


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