Thursday, June 26, 2014


I was reading this piece in the paper about this fellow who is building his future home in the form of what is called these days a Tiny House. It's a minimalist idea that seems to me to be like putting on your house like you would a large coat and wearing it. You have about as much room to move about in one of those places as you have in the coat.

Some years ago, I owned a 20' self contained travel trailer. I always felt I could "do this", so to speak, as a primary home. While staying in campgrounds and meeting other people who were "living" full time in their travel trailers, it became obvious to me that there was an entire sub-culture out there doing this, and some of them were doing it in style in expensive and quite comfortable units. Small and compact but not exactly minimalist. I always dreamed of a 27' Airstream. While not exactly a Tiny House experience, it was nevertheless compact and efficient. My twenty footer was not as elegant but had all the necessities including thermostat heat.

I was a lot younger then and spent some time sleeping on the ground in a tent so I felt it would be no big deal to downsize from the four bedroom ranch, in which I lived at the time, and live in a nice self contained travel trailer. Well, I don't sleep on the ground anymore, nor do I dream of traveling around the country in a self contained "house" on wheels, but, put such a thing in the right place and I think it would be just fine.

I am convinced that for two people to share a real tiny house experience there would have to be "adjoining" tiny houses. It seems to me to be a single person idea. However, I guess I would have to admit to having met a person or two along the way who had so few personal boundaries that they could live happily "cheek by jowl" with someone else. Neither of us find that possibility appealing. We need our private spaces. And this is the issue: downsizing and preserving privacy. How far down can the sizing go before it gets to be a problem?

We're so used to this sprawling place and the three acres of outside in which to wander around. It's difficult to visualize the scenario that would meet our various needs, when finally we turn that page.

Meanwhile, it's a rainy day schedule today, just right for the quieter pursuits. There are several options for where to spend time and do things in this rambling house. Truth is: I don't have any interest at all in downsizing. Truth is #2: My interests and what actually happens are not necessarily the same thing. Truth is #3: There are times when I just hate the truth.

Friday, June 20, 2014


It's that time again when the morning sunlight comes in a window that faces northeast and the evening sunlight comes in a window opposite that faces south west. This phenomenon only occurs for a couple of weeks on both sides of the summer solstice.

I notice this piece of meteorological shuffling while sitting in my easy chair most mornings, where I make a transition of my own from actually lying down to actually standing up, while nursing a couple of cups of steaming hot darkroast coffee. I'm sure I can begin my day without this gentle ritual, but I can not think of a single rational reason to do so.

In some form, I have enjoyed this morning routine since childhood when I would sit with my grandfather on his back porch next door sipping that same darkroast with real cream and enough sugar to qualify the concoction as a confection.

May summer bring to you fruition and warmth at last - and I am sure it will. May summer bring reunion with loved ones. May summer bring you to an ocean overlook - a rock perch on a quiet pond - a mountain top vista - a woodland grotto - or a place in your own heart of peace and joy as you close the day with your own concoction of choice.

Love -


Jerry Henderson

Friday, June 6, 2014


I was 12 years old. The times were frightening, thrilling and filled with foreboding. We hung on every word in the news broadcasts and our eyes searched each frame of the Saturday MovieTone News at our local movie house.

I woke up that morning to the smell of bacon and the voice of Martin Agronsky reporting from a landing craft approaching the Normandy coast. No one spoke. Each of us - mother, father, my brother and I went about the business of beginning our day with a subdued, almost reverent attitude.

It was Monday morning, and the subject of conversation at home, in my father's barber shop and even at school had been decided. We sensed, hoped, that it was the beginning of the end.

It was the beginning of a week, by the end of which we were reminded that the machine of war moved slowly and at great cost. It seems such a clear message, such a profound lesson: and we have yet to hear or learn from it all.

Peace . . .

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


It's a dreary morning made more so being preceded by a series of beautiful sunny spring days during which we have hustled around to get the gardens in shape. We got a late start but it seems we are in a good position to see some success.

The grass is looking healthy too. A bit too healthy. It'll be handled soon but it seems a bit damp to try just now. I'll get over it.

Over the years, we have tried growing just about everything in our garden. We have filtered out much that would be nice but ends up not doing well or not at all and the cost benefit thing makes us come to conclusions like: we can buy the stuff and plant something that works.

I like to plant the fun stuff. Tomatoes, peppers, carrots, squash (delicata and zucchini), leeks and onions, herbs and my favorite - garlic. The tomato gods, however, have frowned upon our efforts lately so we are doing most of them on the deck with a couple of Beefsteaks in the garden. And although we have made every effort in the past to adhere to organic principles - and we intend to keep to that high road principle in so far as it is practical - we intend to fertilize and augment with whatever works, by all the gods that care about such things.

I am reminded of our last sojourn to PEI where we stayed with the Elizabeth and Doug Borman in Cable Head on the north shore. She was a gardener and everything she grew looked like the examples in the slick magazines. We walked out to her patch of cultivated red dirt and there were her tomato plants laying all over the place - not a stick or cage in sight - with grapefruit sized tomatoes glowing like the setting sun all over the ground. I couldn't believe it.

I quizzed her at breakfast about her secret. After some prodding she admitted to using commercial stuff to feed her garden. Read: Miracle Grow! There are other things but she adamantly refused to use chemical weed treatments or other toxic substances to retard insects. She minded her crop manually.

I grew up in a garden with my maternal grandfather, Shug showing me how to pick those horned tobacco worms off the tomatoes with my bare fingers. He did this daily. He did the same thing with squash bugs and other pests. I also remember Shug applying some grayish powder fertilizer, that he purchased down at Hebert's Hardware, on the roots of those tomato plants at certain times. The results were memorable.

Well the clock is ticking on the garden of 2014. I'll let you know what happens. Don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


It isn't much of a secret that CA and I have recently completed a three month "vacation" in the south. This was a retirement honeymoon - a celebration trip - a fact finding excursion and a reunion with family. We are keenly aware of the phase of life in which we live. Gears are shifting, breaks are squealing, the numbers are totaling up faster than we can count. It's fun and it's sobering. Bartender - can I have another? 

As I write this, the sun is setting at 7:30 and shafts of evening light are cutting through the woods in the back, bouncing off one tree and then another until all is in shadow. Evening time. A parable of life as I know it.

I have tried to come up with a meaning for it all.  It's what I do, you could say.  So far I have come up empty.  The entire trip was, as I have said, a celebration of retirement. That's as close as I can get, and I am satisfied with that. A friend asked me if I had kept a journal of the trip. I was sorry to say that I had posted a few blogs but had not kept a daily journal. I always keep a journal of sorts but did not do that on this trip. 

One of our intentions - other than enjoying the ride - was to "see" if living in Florida was a viable choice for us. The answer to that question came up soon into the journey.  No, it is not a viable option. More exactly, we just don't want to do that now. But there is a fundamental lesson we have all learned a long time ago: time changes everything. Never say never.

Meanwhile, we drove to the very tip of he country in Key West, a mild disappointment, which I have spoken of elsewhere.   CA swam with the dolphins at Grassy Key.  Her swim partner was a direct descendent of the original Flipper. This was #1 on her bucket list.  #2 is to ride a mule to the bottom of the Grand Canyon next summer. Oh boy!

We toured Savanna, drove the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Shenandoah Skyway.  We walked beneath the "Natural Bridge" - the most commercialized natural feature on the continent - and touched the Viet Nam Wall on Memorial Day.

If there is a pop quiz today, I would have to say that the meaning of it all is that I am glad to be home in Maine where most of the garden is in, and most of the grass is cut. I mean, how good can it get?

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Here's the latest: WiFi on the moon!  (  And just in time for the summer tourist season.  The only hang-up I was having about our reservations at the Hotel du Lune on the Sea of Tranquility this summer was wondering if it's free.  I mean the cost of the ticket should include free wifi, you'd think.

Just a week ago I was in this fancy hotel in Falls Church, Virginia and the wifi was not free! We've been in a number of hotels for the past three months and the wifi was always free.   OK, you usually have to put up with their pushy sales pitch just to log on, but it was free.   Not at the Marriott on Fairview Park Drive.  If you want connectivity in your room it's $15 a day!  I think it's blazing fast, but for that price it should be.

I have to confess, we were getting a rate way below the sticker price for the room.  We were part of a wedding group for which a block of rooms had been set aside.  Still, it kind of rubs you the wrong way.  Yet it must be said that the wifi fee would still have been less than we have been paying for places like the Holiday Inn Express.  It's just the idea, you know?

I still managed to get online without their pricy connection.  I just plugged my iPhone into my laptop and used the fast LTE phone signal to get online.   Worked like a charm.

I still haven't heard back from NASA about the "free" wifi at the Hotel du Lune.   If I don't hear back soon, I'll cancel and sit under my own umbrella instead.  Besides, we have the best food, fastest wifi and the most liberal happy hour in the solar system.