Tag Archives: Henry David Thoreau

Pumpkin Time in the Shenandoah Valley!

fall harvest arrangement 2013We love pumpkins!  This year the pics have begun and quite splendid they are, too. Some images of our pumpkin harvest, intermingled with peppers and popcorn from our garden, by daughter Elise.

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”  ― Henry David Thoreau
Grandbaby Chloe, (age 3), did sit on a collection of our pumpkins and have them all to herself.  She held a small one in her lap and is saying ‘this is a Chloe sized pumpkin,’ or words to that effect. Children and big people love pumpkins and we are enraptured by them in this house. Large portions of the garden are given over to pumpkins, but it’s never enough and they wind and climb everywhere with very little protest from us. Now and then, we relocate a particularly vigorous vine. Mostly, we are just grateful if they thrive. Each year we swear this summer we will grow the biggest pumpkin ever, but nasty vine bores create challenges.  We must content ourselves with what we wrangle from them. And again, we research what is to be done to thwart these garden menaces–organically, of course. We are open to suggestions from other organic gardeners.
Chloe and pumpkins 2013

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
― Lauren DeStefanoWither

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple…”
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

***Our pumpkin and mum arrangement. Many of these are Cinderella Pumpkins.

Pumpkin fall arrangement

 “For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.  For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.”  
“Oh how we love pumpkin season.  You did know this gourd-ish squash has its own season, right?  Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin…. We anxiously anticipate it every year.”  
~Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer, October 2010
fall pumpkns in wheelbarrow“The days may not be so bright and balmy—yet the quiet and melancholy that linger around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power.”
***Our faithful wheel barrow filled with goodies, including our beloved pumpkins.
Next year, we shall have the biggest and best, most sincere pumpkin patch ever!

A Lovely Summer Day in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia–Beth Trissel

lavender in the garden

(Lavender, dill, and cosmos in the garden–image by daughter Elise)

“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.”  ~Jane Austen

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”  ~John Muir

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.  ~Henry David Thoreau

lovely pool of water

A tranquil pool of water back in the country–image by Elise

“To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.”  ~Helen Keller

white kitten in garden“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”  ~e.e. cummings

“The poetry of the earth is never dead.”  ~John Keats

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”  ~William Shakespeare

(Kitten in our garden. Image by Elise)

“Joy all creatures drink
At nature’s bosoms…”
~Friedrich von Schiller, “Ode to Joy,” 1785, translated from German

“To one who has been long in city pent,
‘Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven, – to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.”
~John Keats, Sonnet XIV

hyssop in the garden“I know the thrill of the grasses when the rain pours over them.
I know the trembling of the leaves when the winds sweep through them.
I know what the white clover felt as it held a drop of dew pressed close in its beauteousness.
I know the quivering of the fragrant petals at the touch of the pollen-legged bees.
I know what the stream said to the dipping willows, and what the moon said to the sweet lavender.
I know what the stars said when they came stealthily down and crept fondly into the tops of the trees.”
~Muriel Strode, “Creation Songs

“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”  ~Rachel Carson

(hyssop in our garden–image by Elise)

“The garden is the poor man’s apothecary.” ~German Proverb–Beth Trissel

herb garden“A man may esteem himself happy when that which is his food is also his medicine.” –Henry David Thoreau. 

“All that man needs for health and healing has been provided by God in nature, the challenge of science is to find it.” ~ Paracelsus (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) (1493-1541)

“What can kill , can cure.”

“Yesterday I had peas and pot herbs, today pot herbs and peas; tomorrow I shall eat peas with my pot herbs and the day after pot herbs with my peas.” ~Benedictine Monk, 1053.

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.)

herbal arrangement

“Garlic is as good as ten mothers.”
~Traditional European Saying

“Eat leeks in oile and ramsines in May,

And all the year after physicians may play.” (Ramsines were old-fashioned broad-leafed leeks.)

“The leaves and floures of Borrage put into wine  make men and women glad and merry, driving away all sadnesse, dulnesse, and melancholy, as Dioscorides and Pliny affirme.  Syrrup made of the floures of Borrage comforteth the heart, purgeth melancholy, and quieteth the phrenticke or lunaticke person.”
~John Gerard, The Herball, or General Historie of Plantes. 1597

herb garden with parsley“The revival interest in herbal medicine is a worldwide phenomenon.”
~Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council

“Oh, the powers of nature! She knows what we need, and the doctors know nothing.” ~Benvenuto Cellini

“Botany and medicine came down the ages hand in hand until the seventeenth century; then both arts became scientific, their ways parted, and no new herbals were compiled.  The botanical books ignored the medicinal properties of plants and the medical books contained no plant lore.” ~Hilda Leyel   

“Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.” ~Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard’s Almanac

“Time is an herb that cures all Diseases.”
~Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790,  Poor Richard’s Almanac 

“Eat an apple going to bed , make the doctor beg his bread.”

“What is Paradise? But a Garden, an Orchard of Trees and Herbs, full of pleasure, and nothing there but delights.” ~William Lawson, 1618.

“With the growing recognition of the value of herbs, it is surely time to examine the professional therapeutic use of these herbs. There are profound changes happening in the American culture and herbal medicine, ‘green medicine,’ is playing an ever-increasing role in people’s experience of this transformation.”   
~David Hoffman, past President of the American Herbalist Guild

“The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven.
I can scarcely expect bread.” ~Thomas Jefferson

“I borage, give courage.”

“He would live for aye, must eat sage in May.”

“Gardening with herbs, which is becoming increasingly popular, is indulged in by those who like subtlety in their plants in preference to brilliance.”~Helen Morgenthau Fox 

Come Into The Garden–Beth Trissel

To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.  ~Beverly Nichols

iris_2 smaller

The lighting this morning was exquisite and Elise took some pics of the garden. Now it’s pouring rain again and thundering, but for a time, it was heavenly. So join me for a tour of my lovely May Garden. I think May is the most exquisite time of year. Balm for the soul.

“I hope some day to meet God, because I want to thank Him for the flowers.” ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. ~Terri Guillemets

(***A shorter form of iris)

No two gardens are the same.  No two days are the same in one garden.  ~Hugh Johnson

wood hyacinths from Uncle Houston

***Wood hyacinths given to me by my late Great Uncle Houston, like fairy bells.

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.  ~Walt Whitman

From an aunt, long ago:  “Death has come for me many times but finds me always in my lovely garden and leaves me there, I think, as an excuse to return.”  ~Robert Brault

tulip_pink and white stripedMany things grow in the garden that were never sown there.  ~Thomas Fuller,Gnomologia, 1732

My garden is my favorite teacher.  ~Betsy Cañas Garmon,www.wildthymecreative.com

Shall we compare our hearts to a garden —
with beautiful blooms, straggling weeds,
swooping birds and sunshine, rain —
and most importantly, seeds.
~Terri Guillemets

(Late season multi-colored Tulips)

I sit in my garden, gazing upon a beauty that cannot gaze upon itself.  And I find sufficient purpose for my day.  ~Robert Brault

tulips late seasonThe kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
~Dorothy Frances Gurney, “Garden Thoughts”

Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Where man sees but withered leaves,
God sees sweet flowers growing.
~Albert Laighton

(Late season tulips that are just gorgeous)

That God once loved a garden we learn in Holy writ.
And seeing gardens in the Spring I well can credit it.
~Winifred Mary Letts

tulips against the barnAnd Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast rose from the dreams of its wintry rest. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant

Every spring is the only spring – a perpetual astonishment.  ~Ellis Peters
Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men.  ~Chinese Proverb
(***Tulips with our old red barn in the background)

The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze.
~Julian Grenfell

poppy_ lovelyI think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?  ~Edward Giobbi

Spring has returned.  The Earth is like a child that knows poems.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke

(Heirloom orange-red poppies that have bloomed every May here forever)

The sun has come out… and the air is vivid with spring light. ~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens

Images from my May garden by daughter Elise


Who, being loved, is poor? ~Oscar Wilde–Beth Trissel

Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.  ~Jean Anouilh

Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame.  ~Henry David Thoreau

 We loved with a love that was more than love.  ~Edgar Allan Poe

 “Do I love you because you’re beautiful, 

Or are you beautiful because I love you?”

 “Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defense.”  ~Mark Overby

Let your love be like the misty rains, coming softly, but flooding the river.  ~Malagasy Proverb

Love – a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker. ~Author Unknown

 Love one another and you will be happy.  It’s as simple and as difficult as that.  ~Michael Leunig

 The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it. You and you alone make me feel that I am alive. Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough. ~George Moore

Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones, as the wind blows out the candle and fans the bonfire.  ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

We choose those we like; with those we love, we have no say in the matter.  ~Mignon McLaughlinThe Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly.  ~Rose Franken

Love is like dew that falls on both nettles and lilies.  ~Swedish Proverb

It is astonishing how little one feels alone when one loves.  ~John Bulwer

‘Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark our coming, and look brighter when we come.  ~Lord Byron

 Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is a winding path walked arm in arm.  ~Robert Brault

 Love is the poetry of the senses.  ~Honoré de Balzac

 Love is a game that two can play and both win.  ~Eva Gabor

Without love, the rich and poor live in the same house.  ~Author Unknown

We don’t believe in rheumatism and true love until after the first attack.  ~Marie Ebner Von Eschenbach, Aphorism

True love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about and few have seen.  ~François, duc de La Rochefoucauld

Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.  ~Elinor Glyn

“If you can keep your head about you when all about you are losing theirs” –Beth Trissel

An eclectic mix of shared wisdom from some great minds.

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it”- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

“There’s a limit to how many times you can read how great you are and what an inspiration you are, but I’m not there yet.”- Randy Pausch (1960-2008)

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”- Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), Inaugural Address, January 20, 1953

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”- Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

“Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.”- George Eliot (1819-1880)

“If you can keep your head about you when all about you are losing theirs, its just possible you haven’t grasped the situation.” ~ Rose Kennedy

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

“In any contest between power and patience, bet on patience.”- W.B. Prescott

Most of these quotes are from this terrific site, so visit it for more.

***Royalty free image

My Fall Garden in the Shenandoah Valley–Beth Trissel

Saturday Sept. 29th, was a splendid day to be outdoors and work among the flowers and vegetables in my garden(s). So inviting, in fact, that I overdid it and hurt my back, but back to the beauty of my autumn garden. Daughter Elise took some wonderful photos I’m pleased to share with you, though nothing truly captures the garden like being there. Still, we try, and both of us love this time of year. 

The first image featured is of the old red barn in the background with perennial New York Asters, also called  Michaelmas Daisies, and Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) in the front. These flowers attract an amazing variety of butterflies, bees, and all sorts of pollinating insects. The air is murmurous with the hum on a sunny afternoon and iridescent wings sail from flower to flower. I also grow zinnias, phlox, and other butterfly friendly plants, and don’t use any harmful sprays, so have a paradise for them.

Fairies also delight in my garden, so my seven-year old niece. Cailin, tells me. She said her favorite fairy, Florist, often lives among my plants–though she still visits Cailin–and there’s  a whole fairy school in my garden. Good to know. I’m honored, and feel certain the tiny fairies are clever enough to evade the Praying Mantis busy catching a last snack before frost (usually mid-October) carries them away. Their egg cases are safely tucked among the leaves in readiness to hatch out next spring, then baby mantis hop all over the place.  Finding an interesting new bug or sighting a lovely butterfly is all part of the joy of the garden. Several of my grandbabies and two young nieces reveled with me in the glory of the day.

“In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November.” ~Percy Bysshe Shelley 

***We love our pumpkins. This a Cinderella pumpkin–our favorite.

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Autumn is as joyful and sweet as an untimely end.”  Remy de Gourmont

‘Autumn arrives in early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day.’ ~Elizabeth Bowen

***Zinnias and Asters

Gardens are a form of autobiography.  ~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993

‘There is no season in all the year so beautiful, so radiant with glory, as the early autumn. There is no time when the human soul drinks in so fully the glory and beauty of nature. All objects of beauty are more beautiful while passing away from us. The closing up of a beautiful life—the fading of the holy stars in the dim light of morning—the ending of a quiet summer day and the passing away of the bright summer glory, are all more sweet and lovely as they are lost to us. The death-glow always beautifies anything that wears the trace of beauty ere it goes back to nothingness. We do not understand the secret of this principle, yet we know that it is some law of the infinite mind.’ ~Northern Advocate

***My youngest grandson, Owen, with some of our Cinderella Pumpkins, an heirloom variety used for the original illustrations in the famous fairy tale.

“Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year’s end and day’s beginnings.” ~Terri Guillemets

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple…”  J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

***Pumpkin blossom with a pollen covered honey bee

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” ~ Lauren DeStefano, Wither

“She looked like autumn, when leaves turned and fruit ripened.”  ~Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells

“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”

Jane AustenPersuasion

“I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.” ~ Lee Maynard

“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.”  ~Lindley Karstens, noproblemgarden.com

***More of our much-loved Cinderella Pumpkins, like orange jewels. Surely, we have the most sincere pumpkin patch around.

The Vital Importance of the Storytellers–Beth Trissel

“I come from a family of great readers and storytellers.” Katherine Dunn

So do I, and I’ve given much thought to the inestimable value of the storytellers, both in the family and those with a far broader reach. In each generation, the storytellers remind us who we are, where we’re going, and most importantly to me, where we came from. The keepers of the story pass on that knowledge, those family accounts, the history. Someone must keep the stories alive, lest we forget. I am blessed to come from a family with a rich wealth of genealogy and lines traced back as far as Geoffrey Chaucer, and farther. I know who I am and where I came from and hold it as a sacred trust to pass that on. In this crazy world, it’s more important than ever to remember. So I tell my children, my grandchildren, my nieces…and reach out to the world through my writing. I am one of the storytellers.

“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.”
Peter Handke

“Reach High, for Stars Lie Hidden in Your Soul.”–Inspiring Quotes and Images–Beth Trissel


I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
Pamela Vaull Starr

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
Henry David Thoreau

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
Patrick Henry

Hope is the dream of the waking man. ~French Proverb

To unpathed waters, undreamed shores. ~William Shakepeare

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly. ~Lanston Hughes

Dreams are the touchstones of our character.
Henry David Thoreau

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E. E. Cummings

“Great minds have great purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.”

Washington Irving

“The start is what stops most people.” – Don Shula

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosby

“To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard

“It is during our failures that we discover our true desire for success.” ~ Kevin Ngo

“Don’t wait for something big to occur. Start where you are, with what you have, and that will always lead you into something greater.” – Mary Manin Morrissey

*Royalty free images

People with Goats Succeed!

I saw this quote: “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” E. Nightingale–But I read goals as goats, which got me to thinking.  Would it really make all that much difference, goats, goals???  Either one gives you purpose and sure as heck keeps you busy.  Ever tried to confine a goat?  They’re escape artists.  We once had a baby goat (for a short time) living in one of our calf pens with a calf, of course.  But the noisy kid didn’t want to hang out with the calf and bleated most pitiably which is why he went to live with the goat clan.  It was either that, or import a flock to keep him company and goat-proof all our fences…if that’s possible.

Other great quotes for motivation:

One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have whole-hearted enthusiasm. One needs to feel that one’s life has meaning, that one is needed in this world.” –Hannah Senesh

Again, this is very true, and again, goats might well provide that.

“Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” —Helen Keller

Such as keeping goats.  I also suggest gardening, which is a worthy purpose  and can be quite gratifying, depending on the vagaries of weather, bugs, and whether the goats have gotten out and eaten everything…or the cows…or (insert name of varmint here).  I’ve had many trials in gardening, also inestimable rewards.

“I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”Henry David Thoreau

And he may well meet with escaped cows galloping through his yard and garden, or goats.

By all means, count me in for the unexpected success.  I’m up for nice surprises. But am more likely to encounter cows out, or barnyard geese too near the road–again.

Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get goats!

And, People without goats are going nowhere.

(These particular cows are in our meadow where they belong. Image of me and daughter Elise on a walk)

***Royalty free images of goats