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Today Mark and I were honored to be able to attend a talk given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Divinity School, at the Memorial Church in Cambridge.  Being in the presence of the Dalai Lama has been on my life list, and ticking it off in this way was truly a remarkable experience.

Full video of his talk can be seen here.

He entered in his red robes, not even five feet tall.  He is old but child-like and strong, sharp and sincere but bold and straightforward in his speaking.  He has a kindness and calmness about him.  You could sit with him for hours listening to him speak.  Or not speaking too, just sitting with him quietly you’d still feel his wisdom. He sat in a carved wooden chair, first removing his shoes and then pulling his feet under him before beginning his talk.  He spoke on teaching love and compassion.  On the similarities in all of us being more infinite than the differences.  How violence is not the solution but discourse, compromise and love can lead to positive action.

There was a moment where he spoke about the love and affection given by mothers, and how it shapes a child and how they show love and compassion towards others as they grow older.  He told a story of when he was a child his mother would hold him up on her shoulders, and he would pull on her ears to get her to go left or right.  He thought it was very kind of her to let him pull on her ears, but that her love and affection towards him shaped who he is today.  Someone from the audience asked if he ever doubted his faith, and he answered “No.” Full stop.  He went on to say that faith is not something that he just believes blindly, but that he questions constantly, and is something for which he is always seeking and learning about, and in so doing he becomes stronger in it.  Another question from the audience asked: “How do we know God?” And he answered that God is too big for us to ever comprehend.  God is bigger than all of us and every thing.  He is wise beyond anything I will ever understand.  I am truly amazed that I had this experience today.  Thankful.  Honored.

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Afterward we were able to watch him plant a tree with President Faust outside of the church.  It is a birch tree.  He heaved in several heaps of dirt, and then took a bottle of water and poured it over top.  He spoke for a moment.  Here is a short moment of him speaking about nature (my apologies for the poor quality):

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We have need for jars like these.  All shapes, all sizes.

If you have jars like these and don’t want them, or would like to give them up to us, we would be most happy to receive them for our ever-growing container garden.

Let us know. We’ll give you an address.

Love,

Anna & Mark

Based on  your emails and comments, we know what you, our loyal readers want to see: more of the plants. We’ll get to those in a minute.

But first, here are a few shots of how we celebrated Easter this year. As Anna wrote earlier, my sister, Annie, who lives just down the road in Boston came over and we had a feast. Anna’s creations from her new Wyoming cookbook proved ready to go into the permanent rotation. Here we are posing for obligatory pre-meal photos before digging in:

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After brunch, Annie opened her Easter basket. Gordon was especially interested in its contents:

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What can we say, he knows what the good stuff smells like:

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Apparently, begging is exhausting. It always amazes us where and how Gordon can fall asleep:

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It was a lovely holiday and a great opportunity to think about our families and friends and reflect upon the magnificence of winter turning into spring.

Speaking of spring, ok, it’s time for some plant seedling updates. I’m happy to report that we have removed the greenhouse lids on two of the flats because the seedlings have outgrown their roofs. Here’s the latest:

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They are all mostly in the 3-5″ tall range. The green beans are especially happy, already sprouting little leaves!

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My favorite upstarts have been the sunflowers. They sprouted up a few days ago, with the seed coats a clear giveaway for what was coming up out of the ground:

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We’ll probably have to start transplanting the squash, beans, and cucumbers soon. We’ll put some more pictures up when we do. Send along your own if you are taking the plunge into container gardening. It’s easy and incredibly satisfying.

Until next time, Happy Holidays and happy spring!

Hello All,

Wishing everyone this morning a Happy Easter, and hoping spring comes soon with new life and fresh moments of happiness and hope and love for the coming months.

Today I feel mixed feelings of happiness and sadness–happy because it -IS- almost feeling like spring, and we have new sprouts popping up that will bring good produce to us this summer; happy for the buds on the trees and the flowers popping up all around; excited for the coming of summer and all the warm days will bring.  But sad because I’m missing my family today… I know it’s hard for us to be away from our families on holidays, but for some reason Easter gets me every year.  And picturing my mum and dad at home dying eggs by themselves just breaks my heart.  So to all of our families far and wide:

WE LOVE YOU!  We miss you!

We will be having a nice Easter brunch soon and be celebrating the newness of the Spring with Annie–we’ve cooked up some yummy treats for her–Sunrise Enchiladas and Blue Ribbon Cinnamon Rolls, from a special Wyoming Cookbook given to me by my mother.  I’ll put photos up soon.  We’ll also be trying to plant some of our sprouts that have grown WAY outside of their little peat packs (roots everywhere! It’s incredible!) in hopes that they’ll be able to grow much bigger and faster outside…

Enjoy the day!  It’s a day of new life!

Seeds went into the ground Saturday… and we already have plants! Well, you can judge for yourself:

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Simply beautiful! They they did require some coddling (spray bottle water feeding, evenings bathed in “natural” light from the plant light). BUT a bunch of little guys have responded well to this treatment and have started poking out of the soil. I especially like the ones that lift up big pieces of of soil on their way out of the ground. This one seemed particularly strong:

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Nearly all of the vegetables have shown at least a little bit of green above the surface. Even the tomatoes, which we figured would be the hardest to grow from seed. The quickest growers have been the lettuce. They are fun little sprouts and particularly phototrophic, growing at an almost 45-degree angle toward the window:

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More “growing updates” to come soon. Happy Spring, and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Hello Friends.

It’s been quite a while.  And we know that, because last time we blogged there was a giant freaking snow pile in our driveway.  And now, alas, there is not… nothing like actually, and especially today.  It was lovely outside.  And if I don’t see snow for another whole 8 months I’ll be a happy bear.

This weekend was good and fun and filled with good food, good friends, good games, and too much sugar.  Let’s do this thing in three categories:  Gardening; Friends; Sugar

Gardening:

YEEEAAAAHOOOOOOOOO! It’s _almost_ that time of year again, that time of big tomatoes, little squashes, and other fresh delights hanging out of our pot garden.  To get a kick-start this year, we drove over to our local Home Depot… which by the way is a great place.  Families of all shapes and sizes picking out seeds and gardening stuff, big guys with their little girls loading pink paint and lights into carts, and crafty types picking up wood and nails for their next projects, all with big happy smiles on their faces, and nice folks in orange aprons there to help you out.  Anyhoo, we were there for one thing: Starting Kits.  You can make your own if you have boxes, REALLY heavy duty plastic bags or plastic liners, wire of some sort, and plastic wrap.  OR, you can spend $5 and buy a reusable box with 50 little holes for 50 seed starts with its very own plastic top.  While we’d love to do our own thing, we couldn’t not spend the $5 plus $4 for a bag of special seed-starting peat moss stuff.  It seemed like a good idea, and we’ll see about that.  We also bought seeds for tomatoes, squash, beans, carrots, lettuce, various flowers and herbs.

We brought our wares back to the house and got straight to work:

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We organized a work space, and filled the box with the 50 spots with the peat mixture stuff…

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sprayed it with water, and added various seeds in rows…

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then we gave it a good drink of water and put the top on.  We did this three more times, and set them up in our back room under a plant light and turned the space heater up to 71.

Apparently these things like this kind of special warm wet climate… and the little boxes create a bit of condensation and sort of make it swampy… perfect conditions for turning from seed to sprout.

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We hope to have seedlings in about 7-10 days… and don’t you worry, you’ll be kept very well informed.  Yay for gardening!  Yay for pots and dirt and seeds!  Pot gardens!  Yeaaay!

Friends:

Later on Saturday evening we brought ourselves over to good buddy Seth’s house for some Settling of Catan and good food with our other lovely Anne Marie friend.  But boy were we surprised to see Jamin too, in Boston for apartment hunting (congrats to Jamin on his match at MGH!)

Settlers of Catan is a great game.  And you can call us nerds until you go blue in the face, we will not stop playing, nor will we take your teasing.  It is, a fantastic game.  See here if you don’t believe us.  You trade commodoties for other commodoties, all in the hopes of building roads and huts and cities and longest roads and largest armies.  And no, it is not like Risk.

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We played for about three hours… and I’ve never seen a board turn out like this (and I say that because, unlike most games, the board and state and rate and style and outcome of play is different every time).   Mark and I were on a side in orange against Anne Marie in red, Seth in white, and Jamin in blue.  Three parallel roads!! Craziness.  Anne Marie had the HUGEST road… like 12 lengths long or something (see the pic above), and everyone was so close (8 pts each with 11 to win in this game–we decided).

Seth kept moving the robber (yes! there’s a robber!) and stifling our sheep and brick winnings… and then the robber came off and Mark and I dominated, and then it was over.  But fun.  And funny.  Because everyone has their endearing ways of playing, such as in trading:

(Jamin: OK, guys…so here’s what I want. I have bricks. I want wood. Anyone? Anyone? OK, let me repeat myself: here’s what I want…)

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and evading the robber: (Anne Marie: But I only have two cards! I’m not strong! — except that she is strong… it’s just a ploy) and pointing out other players strength when they put down a road or settlement (Seth: OOOOOH… she’s strong! Oooooooh! Look how strong she is!) and me, I just like to deny everything… No! I don’t have any ore. Sorry.  Not today.  Sorry… (when I perfectly well do have ore, just not to trade with you).

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And Mark? Well, he’s generally just very tricky.  Very tricky indeed, and not to be trusted.

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Suffice it to say, it was good fun.  Mark made marinaded chicken and he and Seth skewered up some kabobs with yummy veggies, and we enjoyed good kabobs with some sort of cous cous that was spicy and delightful.  Good times.  Good eats.  Good friends.  Good game.

Sugar:

So today I probably consumed a pound of sugar. Or so.  Maybe two pounds.  But it was worth it.  Sammy Pants friend came over for a while and helped bake the lovely Easter Cookies.

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We made maybe 3 or 4 dozen or so…

And they are awesome.  Sammy is a cookie decorating machine.  Here are some of our finest:

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And anyone who knows anything about decorating cookies KNOWS that there is frosting everywhere, and it seeps out of every place.  And if one looks bad, you eat it.  Or if an ear falls off, you eat it!  Or if a giant glob of frosting accidentally on purpose falls off the knife, you have to catch it on your finger, and EAT IT!

And so we crashed.

And it was good.

The end.

Of a lovely weekend.

I cannot wait for summer.

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