Friday, November 29, 2013


A few years ago Chris and I celebrated Thanksgiving with a large pizza and a bottle of wine overlooking the lake. Six wild turkeys paraded past just as we were eating. The male's display is spectacular - as impressive as a peacock.


Americans eat 45 million turkeys every Thanksgiving. 
That's about a billion since I moved to this country.
President Obama pardoned two turkeys, as per tradition. 
Facts: Domesticated turkeys live about 10 years. \
Turkeys bred for food live a few months. 
Wild turkeys live 3-5 years. 
Pardoned turkeys are selected at birth to be pardoned, and especially fattened up. They are allowed to live out their natural life, but are typically so obese that they last only a year or so.

What's with this 'pardon' thing? For the crime of being tasty
Am I alone in thinking this practice genuinely distasteful?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shambhala latest

This is the latest! Calum made the fancy rock-faced wall on the right. And the sinkhole, with its highly 'organic' associations, has been all cleaned up.
I am searching for suitable meditative sounds.

Adieu II

Yesterday. Goodbye to Johan from Amsterdam. He wrote in the Writers Cabin, was visited by Mandu the irrepressible lover cat, and enjoyed the solitude.


Goodbye to Eric and Rebecca today. Off to Johnson City for Thanksgiving. A great couple who left their mark on Shambhala, on the garden, on the basement and on the coffee table!And before that, to Nikki, and her cats Timmy and Ajah. Nikky totally uncovered Awakening Words at the Peace Circle. By hand. A labor of love. It rose again from the weeds, like Smithson's Spiral Jetty from the Great Salt Lake. Art as renewed/ing event.

New trails

Calum will clear the way for the Kyoto Trail today. It passes by beautiful mossy rocks reminiscent of the moss gardens I saw in Kyoto, carefully tended by monks.  Walking meditation. Need to make a bench. Sitting meditation. Perhaps a bench long enough to curl up on. Dreaming meditation. Is there a common theme here? The moss seems to be cascading over the rocks. Note the attendant icicles.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November has seen a change in the weather. And with it:  pipes (to the cabin), Bob's fence-busting beefalo, escaping horses, garden produce all but ended (except some chard and other greens), and ladybugs invading the cottage and cabin in plague proportions. They are expecting to hibernate but when we turn on the heat they think its spring and reappear inside and out in huge numbers. Paying guests at the cottage just cancelled the whole month on arrival day and left. They are not the pretty things we English call ladybirds, but a more aggressive 'Asian' variety that will dive-bomb and bite, and have a nasty smelling yellow blood. They still eat aphids, but we're out of aphids right now. I used insecticidal bombs in desperation. They died in genocidal numbers, and then came back.

In the last weeks we have had four wwoofers. Nikki (from North Carolina, with cats Timmy and Asia), Eric and Rebecca (from California), and Calum (from England). We have been rotating cooking, and eating like kings. Shambhala now has a clean floor, and a retaining wall behind. I'm searching for a glass dome.The garden is clean and tidy, with a rye cover crop. The basement has been cleared and re-organised. And the Peace Circle's Awakening Words has now been revealed. Some parallel with Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty re-emerging when the water level dropped. Art as EVENT!! A fire-pit is happening on the runway towards the white tree. Terry is making a custom front door, probably in red oak.

Calum mowed around Lily's last sculpture (four blue balls nesting in a recumbent osage orange tree). 

See photos on her website @

Nudging DeeAnn to feed her horses hay and trim their hooves. Horse ownership ain't cheap.
Red (Houdini) escaped a few times until Eric and Rebecca and I fixed three real holes in the back fence. Got to meet my neighbors. Bad fences can make closer neighbors! Reminds me of the Chinese good luck story which starts out with horses escaping. Bad luck. But then the army recruiters come by and the son is off chasing the horses. Good luck! And so on.

Thanksgiving. Going with Hathaway to Gabby's (with Calum), and then to Chris and Heather in Nashville. Should leave a snack for our wild turkeys.