Jackie Thorne and Her New Book Of Poetry. Just In time for the Bedlam Farm Open House

May 24th, 2016
Jackie and Connie in Battenkill Books

Jackie and Connie in Battenkill Books

I guess in a way, this is one of those things that began at the Round House Cafe.   It was over a year ago when I was helping out one night at the cafe, taking orders and running the register.  On the other side of the counter was a woman who looked familiar, but who I couldn’t quite place.

“Maria” she said, “it’s me Jackie.”   I hadn’t thought about Jackie in years, but we worked together in a frame shop around the time I first moved upstate.  Almost 20 years ago.

I always liked working with Jackie.  She introduced to me to feminist writer Angela Carter and adopted my frog and newt when I took a trip cross country.  (she gave them a better home than I ever did and they lived longer than anyone expected them to)

How could it be that after all that time  Jackie didn’t seem to change at all.  We easily slipped back into a friendship, meeting at the Round House for lunch, visiting each others homes.

And we had a creative connection too.  Jackie’s a writer, photographer and painter.  She’s been writing her whole life and when she told me she never had a problem writing, that it came easy to her and she loved doing it, we started taking blogs.

It didn’t take long for Jackie to create her blog (she’s also a graphic designer) Creative Journey Woman.  Then she started taking Jon’s writing class.  And now Jackie is publishing her first poetry book called Gone to Ground.   

There’s nothing sentimental about Jackie’s poetry.  It’s beautiful and real.  She doesn’t just observe nature, but  sees it as the place to go to look for the answers to the questions in her life.  And that taps into the wild place inside of her, which isn’t always pretty, but is beautiful and very real.

Jon and I had lunch  with Jackie at the Round House Cafe today to talk about her book and how to best promote it.  We went back and forth about what  each of us thought would be the best kind of cover for her book.   Jackie’s designs, though well done, were  subtle.   Jon was urging her to create a more striking and eye-catching cover.  I understood what Jackie was doing with her designs, but thought they almost looked too much like a poetry book cover.

Then we went next door to Battenkill Books where Jackie and Connie got to meet each other and discuss Jackie doing a reading there.

We invited Connie into the book cover conversation and were standing in the poetry section, looking at book covers when Marilyn, (Connie’s mom who works at the book store and is showing her paintings at the Open House in June) who is generally a quiet person, came over and told Jackie that as the person who stocks the shelves, she’s more likely to put a book with a  colorful or interesting cover on the front table or in the window to get people’s attention.

If Jackie still had any doubts, I think Marilyn’s input  convinced her to rework her cover.  (You can see Jackie’s first designs for her book cover here)

Jackie will be reading her poems and selling her new book at the Bedlam Farm Open House on June 25th and 26th.  You can read her poems and prose and see her photo’s here.

For more information about the Bedlam Farm Open House just go to my Event’s page at the top of my blog or click here.

Marilyn Brooks, Painter and Bookseller at Battenkill Books

Marilyn Brooks, Painter and Bookseller at Battenkill Books

“gone to ground”       By Jackie Thorne

“weathered stones
rough in my palm
scrape and peel
carving their way
into my bones

stiff thorns break
thin pale skin
blood flows, ready
to meet the air
kiss the ground

silken soil slides
through my fingers
under my nails
down to the quick
never to come out

going down now
into the ground
again, taking up
my place, kneeling
here on earth

finding a heaven
lies in the dirt
the rock, the wet
and sky, as above
so with me below”


“Third Chance Scarves” Sold Out

May 23rd, 2016


Third Chance Scarf #1

“Rose” Sold

I finished making all my Third Chance Scarves today.  I have seven for sale.

I made them from two different dresses that someone sent to me.  The dresses were themselves made from scraps of fabric.   So this is the third time these fabrics are being reused.  I do wonder what they’ll become next.

My Third Chance Scarves are about 60″ long.    They are  $45 each + $7 shipping (shipping is a bit more outside the US, please ask me about it)  If you see a scarf you like, just email me here at maria@fullmoonfiberart.com  and let me know.  I take checks and paypal.

Third Chance Scarf #2

“Lily of the Valley” SOLD


Third Chance Scarf #3

“Pansy” Sold


Third Chance Scarf #4

“Rhod0dendron” Sold





"Purple Flowers"

“Purple Flowers” SOLD


"Pink Flowers"

“Pink Flowers” Sold

Suzy’s Three Sister’s Gloves

May 23rd, 2016
Suzy Fatzinger's fingerless gloves...in progress

Suzy Fatzinger’s fingerless gloves…in progress

I’m just starting to seriously think about the June Bedlam Farm Open House, but my friend Suzy Fatzinger is already spinning and knitting her fingerless gloves for the October Open House.

Suzy sent me this photo this morning,  a pair of gloves in progress.  Corn, Beans, Squash she texted.   Yellow corn, green beans, orange pumpkin.  Just what I planted in my Three Sister’s Garden.

Good Morning From Bedlam Farm 5/23/16

May 23rd, 2016

Planting The Three Sister’s Garden

May 22nd, 2016
My Three Sister's Garden

Three Sister’s Garden

I stuck the pitchfork into the ground and jumped on it with both feet, using the whole wight of my body to dig it deeper into the earth.  Then I pressed down on the handle separating the grass, its roots and the topsoil, from the layer of soil beneath it.

After reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s chapter The Three Sisters in her book Braiding Sweetgrass, I knew I wanted to plant a Three Sister’s Garden.  But thinking about pulling up a big enough patch of grass, one shovelful at a time, to make a garden, I was immediately discouraged.

This was hard work.  And it was going to take a long time.

I pictured the size of the garden I wanted and was overwhelmed.   So I stopped  and tried to remember  why I was doing it.

My answer to people when ever they ask me if I have a vegetable garden is that there are plenty of fresh veggies where I live.  So many people grow them, someone has to buy them.

But eating the vegetables that I grow is only a part of why I’m planting a garden.   It’s about forming a certain relationship with the earth.   About being a part of an ancient practice, and experiencing it my way.   It’s about the shared experience of a Three Sister’s Garden with people I’ll never know, throughout time.

I don’t need to grow these vegetable to feed myself.  I won’t stave without them.  But the ancestors of the Native American’s who keep the story of The Three Sisters alive did often survive on the  corn, beans and squash they grew.

The corn grows first making a pole for the beans to wrap themselves around.  Then the big prickly leaves of the squash create shade to keep the moisture in and also keep the caterpillars away.  The beans provide nitrogen which the corn needs to grow.    The three plants grow better together than alone.

And the three also provide the essentials for humans to survive.  The corn is starch, the beans are protein and the squash is vitamins we need.

In her book Kimmerer tells one version of the story of the Three Sisters.  How  three sisters came to a village in the winter when food was scarce.  The people of the village generously fed them what food they had.  As the sisters left the people saw that one sister was corn, the other bean and the third squash. The sisters gave the people these three seeds to the people   so they would never go hungry.

I thought of all this as I stood at the edge of my garden, pitchfork sunk in the earth contmeplating why I wanted to  spend my time and energy making his garden.  And I thought about how I cried when I read Jon some of the passages from Kimmerer’s book about the Three Sisters.

So it was more about a feeling I got when I thought of the garden than anything practical.  The idea of dedicating myself to this garden.  To creating her the best I could and continuing to care for her.  Giving her the love I might another person and letting her, in her own way, love me back.   Seeing the garden not as an “it” but as a her.    Taking care of her as best I could and accepting what she had to offer me.

It’s an incredible basic exchange this one with the earth.  And I want to experience it in this  direct and simple  way.

So I slowly pulled up the grass one square foot at a time.  And I was glad I was turning the soil by hand, that I hadn’t rented a  rototiller, which I could have done.  I welcomed the slow process.  This was all a part of the new relationship with the earth I am forming.  A reminder that a garden grows in natures time, not human time.

I told myself the story of the three sisters as I did.  Imaging the corn growing first,  the beans giving it time so they could curl themselves around the stalk.  I imagined the giant squash and pumpkin leaves creating a shady green ocean.  It’s soft yellow flowers then hard fruits, so many of them  we’d want to give some away.

And because someone had given me the seeds, I planted sweet peas instead of beans on half the garden and put cucumbers and peas against the fence and a sunflower in each corner.

I surrounded the garden with chicken wire and mulched it with old hay.  And although there was a light rain throughout the morning as I planted, I still watered her.  I wanted to make sure she knew I was going to be there for her.  Tending to her the way I would any living being in my care.

And I wanted her to know that I understood that this wasn’t a passing fad for me.  That if I had planted the seeds to deep or too shallow,  or too close together, or the if the soil wasn’t healthy, that next year I would learn from my mistakes and try again to do better.  And at some point in time, I would put those tiny seeds in the ground and know from my own personal  experience, through the years,  between me and my garden,  that there was a really good chance they would grow.


Three Sisters Garden

May 21st, 2016


Fate and the piece of earth to grow a Three Sisters Garden.

Fate and the piece of earth where I’ll  grow a Three Sisters Garden.

Today I started my Three Sisters Garden.  Corn, beans and squash.  I’ll plant the seeds tomorrow.  It took me a good part of the day to dig up the grass, making a plot about 7″x8″.

I read about the Three Sisters, in the book Braiding Sweetgrass while we were away this week.  I’ve heard of the this kind of planting before, but when I read Robin Wall Kimmerer’s description of the garden and it’s meaning, it touched something deep inside of me.

It’s not  about wanting  this garden for myself, but wanting to be a part of this ancient tradition.  Wanting to work with and get to know the earth in this way.  This exchange between me and her.

I’ll write more about it tomorrow, after I plant the seeds.

The Donkeys Touch Me Like The Ocean

May 21st, 2016
Photo by Jon Katz

Photo by Jon Katz

I felt it immediately when I squatted down next to Fanny and Lulu after coming back from Hampton Beach.   It was as if I was back on the beach, the distance of the horizon drawing me out of myself, the sound of the waves enveloping me in calm.

I would think such small and sturdy creatures had little in common with the vastness of the sea.  And yet, I realized  I  get the same feeling when I’m quiet with Fanny and Lulu as I do when I’m being quiet with the ocean.

They both make space in my head and my heart.


Hampton Beach Sewer Grates

May 20th, 2016

sewer grate 1

I suppose it may be a strange thing to be drawn to when you’re at the ocean, but the sewer grates at Hampton Beach caught my eye.

Hampton Beach is the first beach I’ve ever been to where if you’re walking up the boardwalk (which is really more of a sidewalk, its made of cement) and you look to your right you see the horizon.  A long stretch of ocean and sky.  So easy on the eyes, it’s like a meditation just to look.

But when you look to your left, it’s a chaos of cars and shops filled with fluorescent colored plastic stuff, cheap clothes and fried food.  It has the exact opposite effect on me of looking at the ocean.

And with all of that, it was the sewer grates that I chose to take pictures of.

Maybe they somehow fall between the two.

There’s something about the yellow arrows and the simplicity of the grid of the grate…

sewer grate 2

…  the lines the cracks in the  blacktop make.

sewer grate 4

The texture, the shapes the color and even the cigarette butts that settle in the cracks seem beautiful to me.

Me and Jon, At the beach

May 20th, 2016

me and jon

Back On Friday

May 17th, 2016


I woke Flo up when I took a picture of her snoozing on the wicker bench on the front porch.

I woke Flo up when I took a picture of her snoozing on the wicker bench on the front porch.

When Jon and I go away I think of  Minnie and Flo, how they sleep about 15 hours a day.  In between maybe they do a little hunting and have some fresh meat or  if not, they can depend on someone to bring them a bowl of dry food for breakfast and dinner.

Jon and I are going to Hampton Beach again, this time for three nights,  (yay)  I’m planning on behaving like our cats except I’ll swap reading for hunting and dry food for seafood.

Be back on Friday….