Thurs. Sept. 9, 2021: The Difference in Air (and Earth)

image courtesy of Kevin Craft via

Thursday, September 9, 2021

First quarter waxing moon in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Vine

Cloudy, rainy, humid

Yesterday, we drove to the Cape and back, doing a storage run. The contrasts are so amazing,

The air here in the mountains has a tartness to it. Even though it gets very humid (especially with all the rain), when it’s not humid, there’s a crisp dryness to the air.

I’m looking forward to watching the colors turn and reveling in all things autumn.

The air on Cape is saltier, of course, because the Cape juts out between the bay and the sea. The tang of it is different. It was sunny yesterday, and bright, but still, the air felt heavier. Also, because of all the increasing traffic, especially over the bridge, and the fact that so many trees are cut down daily, the pollution hangs more over the area, and there’s an oily layer from it that coats everything.

The air smells different in both places, and feels different when it hits your skin.

I’m surprised how different the food tastes, too. Part of it is that the water is much harder here. But also, the soil is different. So a tomato grown here in the Berkshires has a very different taste than one grown on Cape Cod. They both taste good, but the taste is very different.

I’m starting to understand what is meant in wine when they discuss “terroir.” It affects everything that’s grown.

And it’s one reason why recipes made from local ingredients in both places taste so differently on Cape Cod than they do here.

It’s fascinating.

The Canal looked beautiful as we went over the Bourne Bridge, and it was busy with boats.

I still love the Cape’s beauty, although I’m deeply saddened how those who are supposed to protect it, instead allow its destruction.

Not that everything is so perfect here, either, pollution-wise. But I love living tucked in amongst the mountains, and within the neighborhood trees that people aren’t constantly trying to cut down.


Aug. 12, 2021: Making Friends With My New Area’s Nature

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Waxing Moon First Quarter in Libra

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Hazel

Heat wave: hot, humid, hazy

It’s been a few months since I posted. The photo above is the enchanted garden we’ve set up on the back balcony at the new home in the Berkshires.

We also have a screened in front porch, where we have our Adirondack chairs, the blue wicker chair, more plants (especially herbs, because of the Southern exposure), and more of our outdoor décor.

It was painful to say goodbye to Che Guevara Chipmunk, the murder of crows, the Gemini Oaks in the front lawn, the lovely Maple in the back. The covered back deck.

We couldn’t take many of our large potted plants with us, such as the Roses of Sharon, various lilacs, forsythia, etc. We gave them to neighbors who love to garden, and will either plant them in their own garden, or find them good homes. We gave away a lot of pots, and a lot of garden tools, including rakes, hoes, spades, the lot.

For a decade, we’ve loved that third of an acre, even when things like the mowing were difficult. We had a close relationship with the plants and wildlife. I’d done a lot of rooting work, psychologically, and it was difficult to disengage.

We’ve moved from the ocean – where, due to the increased tourism and the local attitude that ONLY tourists matter, not residents, so the pollution increases as habitat is destroyed – to the mountains.

Technically, we live in a city. Yet there are so many trees all around us. And grass. And plants. We are tucked into the Berkshire mountains, with mountain views out the front and the back. The buildings here have porches or balconies, up and down. Most residents create their little patches of garden enchantment.

It’s very different than on Cape, and each region is beautiful in its own way.

The air is quite different, lacking the salt from the ocean. Also, even though we’re in a city rather than a village, there’s less pollution. The oily residue that’s taken over the air, the dirt, and even the fog on Cape isn’t in everything here.

The soil quality is different. While Cape Cod is known for mounds of gorgeous blue hydrangeas, the hydrangeas here tend to be white or pink and white. Black-eyed Susans (one of my favorite flowers) are popular here, as are sunflowers, and mounds and mounds of petunias, spilling out of baskets on porches and along public streets.

I have to learn the native plants, and figure out what we can grow next year. This year was too late to start much; we bought some pots of herbs, and some flowers, but next year, I will try to start more from seed.

I’ve visited the nearby lake, and I’m looking forward to visiting the Botanical Garden, and some private gardens, and the community gardens that are so popular here, and learning about the gardens and plants that thrive here in the mountains.

While I miss the space and the variety in my Cape garden, even though so much was in containers, I don’t miss the mowing, or the constant pressure for the property to look more landscaped and not be a habitat for the local wildlife.

Our back balcony is habitat – we have two birdhouses and a nest that were already occupied when we moved in (the landlord takes delight in them, too). They are bratty little birds, but an awful lot of fun to watch.

A pair of crows has found me, and visit every morning, when I write on the front porch. They’ve started to stop by and tell me the news. I enjoy my time with them.

I’m excited to see the beauties of autumn, winter, and spring here.

April 15, 2021: Spring in A Changing Neighborhood

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, April 15, 2021

First Quarter Waxing Moon in Taurus

Celtic Tree Month of Willow begins

Cloudy and cold

Yes, that is a photo of my potted forsythia, started a few years back from cuttings from the forsythia in the yard. It started blooming in the garage. Last weekend, I moved the forsythia, the potted lilac, the two potted Roses of Sharon, and the clematis onto the deck, with the Adirondack chairs and the small table. We might as well enjoy whatever nice days we have left here.

We have a few daffodils blooming at the front and side of the house.

It’s been much cooler here than in the rest of the state, although Worcester is set to get snow tonight into tomorrow. Here, it will be heavy rain, which we desperately need.

People move to Cape Cod, claiming they move here for the beauty. Then, all they do is cut away trees and bushes and add chemicals to grasses and make it look like any subdivision in any bland spot in the world. Why do people come here to destroy? Why can’t they ever appreciate the beauty that’s here?

Coyote mating season is February/March. This year, I didn’t hear a single coyote call. Not one. Usually, they keep me up for at least a few weeks while they get busy. This year – not once.

Between the idiot with his landscaping and heavy machinery across the street, and the sketchy neighbors on the property behind with their late-night deliveries, odd heavy machine noises, and stack of old mattresses stacked in their back yard, this neighborhood is turning into a mix of industrial park and short-term rentals. It’s very discouraging.

On a happier note, we are moving into the Tree Month of Willow. I love Willow trees. They are about healing, growth, and protection, all of which I could use right now.

Yesterday was a nice enough sunny day, albeit a little chilly, to sit outside. Willa and Charlotte wanted to come, so I put them in their playpens, took a book and a glass of white cranberry peach juice, bundled up in a jacket, and sat outside for about an hour.

The traffic is as bad as it would be in midsummer. The neighborhood idiots keep buying bigger and louder leaf blowers, and running them all day every day EVEN THOUGH THERE ARENT’ ANY LEAVES. Quiet enjoyment of one’s space is no longer an option.

But the perennials in the terraced bed are poking up again, determined to make it for another year. The lilacs – both the old lilac by the fence, and the two potted lilacs I have near the fence – are starting to bud. There are some birds. Somebody built a big old nest in one of the oak trees.

Charlotte was a good little princess out there on her playpen. She sniffed the new smells, gave herself a bath, played with the toys in her playpen, and settled down to enjoy being out.

Willa did sniffy-sniffy and paced like a caged lion. She had a few things to say, and also played with her toys. But she’s learned how to roll her playpen, and I have to keep an eye on her, because she’s gotten pretty good at it, and can cover a lot of ground fast. I don’t want her rolling down the steps and across the yard.

Tessa, meanwhile, was up in the window, and in her new bed (more about that on today’s Ink in My Coffee post on the other blog).

Even with the noise and the chaos, it was nice to sit outside in semi-fresh air (all the leaf blowers and heavy machinery leave a weighted scent of machine oil around all the time, so it’s hard to smell what’s budding).

Maybe, just maybe, it will clear up a bit over the weekend, so we can sit out again.

In the meantime, how’s your garden growing? Have you started any seeds?


Saturday, February 19, 2011
Waning Moon in Virgo
Saturn Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Ash
Sunny and cold

I know I’m going to regret this, but I’m going to plant zucchini.

How could I possibly regret it? I eat zucchini, I cook with it a lot. I’m planning on growing two kinds of eggplants, two kinds of tomatoes, and peppers. And herbs. So all that’s missing from the mix is zucchini and I’ve got all the home-grown ingredients for one of my favorites, ratatouille. I adore the recipe from the original MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK.

On Cape Cod, there’s a running joke about zucchini. People who grow them joke about how they sneak around in the middle of the night, leaving baskets of zucchini on other people’s doorsteps — sometimes the doorsteps of strangers. People who don’t grow them joke about finding far more zucchini than they could ever use on the front doorstep when they go out to get the paper in the morning.

But I’m growing it anyway, albeit cautiously, because I want to make ratatouille with home-grown ingredients from my garden.

Hey, I’m growing cucumbers, too, and I’ve already been warned about those . . .


The Sense of Being “Home”

Saturday, January 22, 2011
Waning Moon
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Now that I have a place in which I love living, I don’t like to leave it. I’ve always suffered from what friends call “itchy feet.” No, it’s not some kind of a fungus. It’s a need to travel. I love traveling, seeing new places. A place will “call” to me, and then I can’t rest until I’ve gone there and experienced it. Sometimes it stops calling. Sometimes — in the cases of Scotland and New Orleans and Iceland — the call gets even stronger once I’ve visited, and I long to go back.

I always felt that way about the Cape. My dad was transferred to NY for work in the late 1960s, and immediately, we spent time going to either the Cape or the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The Cape always spoke to me. I always felt I belonged here, in a way I never felt anywhere else.

Once I made the decision to go into the production end of theatre, rather than write full-time, the Cape was not an option. Yes, the Cape has a lot of theatre, and a lot of GOOD theatre. But it doesn’t have Broadway, and I wanted Broadway. There’s only one Broadway and it’s in NY.

I got Broadway, and I kept visiting the Cape as often as I could. For quite a few years now, it’s been my birthday destination. I talked a lot about wanting to live there, but, as long as I worked on Broadway, that’s not an option. A four hour plus commute each way each day? No. Once I left the city proper and commuted in from the burbs, three hour round trip, it was too much.

As I wrote more and tech’d less, the possibility of the Cape came up again. And, when the opportunity presented itself (okay, so I sort of created it) last fall, I jumped.

Now, I live on the Cape. I feel connected to the land. I’m getting to know the little patch I’m currently stewarding, and the surrounding area. I’m learning as much as I can about local flora and fauna, and how best to nurture them. I feel connected to the sanctuaries I walk, the beeches, even the small village sidewalks. Instead of a sense of longing, which I had for so many years, I feel a sense of BElonging.

It’s a wonderful feeling and I hope it grows, but there is a flip side. I don’t want to leave. As I drive towards the bridge, I can feel my home tugging at me. When I cross the bridge and keep going (as opposed to, say, going to Target in Wareham and returning), I feel the sense of longing again. It’s a physical sensation as much as a psychological one, and I spend a lot of my time and energy while away missing my home.

As someone who’s never been homesick (and never had much patience for those who are–stop whining and enjoy where you are already), this is a new and disconcerting sensation. I retain the capacity to enjoy where I am — and I take full advantage of it when I travel for work because you never know when the next gig is, so soak up as much as you can because someday, it will come in useful to the writing. But I always feel the house, the yard, and the Cape itself, tugging at me, reminding me to come home.

As I return to the Cape, I feel lighter and happier the closer I get to home. When I cross the MA border, my shoulders relax and stress lifts off and flies away like a bird. When I cross the bridge to the Cape, I’m practically giddy with joy. When I return to the house, I walk through it calling out to the cats AND the spirit of the place (both the house and the yard have very distinct spirits of place — call them Lares, like the Romans, or Devas, or whatever you want — they’re there and they want attention).

It’s a new experience for me — having a place where I truly feel “at home.”


The Kindness of Neighbors

Saturday, December 25, 2010
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month: Birch

I’m used to apartment life. Yes, I had to shovel out the car in the parking lot, because the plow’s idea of plowing the lot was to scrape the center and bank all the snow against the backs of all the cars. I knew it would be different in a house. However, I thought I could ease into it.

But I was taken unaware, last weekend, when we had a foot of snow. I had a shovel, but it was heavy, wet snow, and I knew it was too much for me to handle.

I knew that one of the neighbors down the street runs a plow business, so I was strapping on my boots and shrugging into my coat, planning to traipse down the street, knock on the door, and see if he could fit me in at some point in the day.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the door to find that two of my neighbors brought over their snowblowers and plowed me out — just because!

Now that’s what I call Christmas Spirit!

Have a Merry one, everyone!


Winter Solstice – New Beginnings

Winter Solstice 2010
December 21
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Snowy and cold
Full Moon
Lunar Eclipse

This year, it will be different.

How often have I said that? Every year since I can remember. For years, I’ve had the fantasy of a garden. I’ve grown whatever I could in various apartments, be it right off Times Square, or in a Westchester County apartment where scumbag landlords used toxins so severe plants and animals died.

But this year, it WILL be different, because I no longer live in an apartment. I no longer live in New York. I am living where I’ve wanted to live for many years, on Cape Cod. I have a yard that’s about three times bigger than I realized when I rented the place. I’ve learned how to rake and bag leaves, how to take them to the dump. I’ll have to buy a lawn mower, which, to me, is more intimidating than walking down 42nd St. at two a.m. I have a still room for my herbs, and I’ll be growing some my own herbs and vegetables.

I can’t wait.

I have a lot to learn — from Times Square to Cape Cod is quite the shift in scenery (and everything else).

I look forward to learning, trying, and even making the mistakes.

I sit here, inside, watching the lovely snow pound down, wondering when I should go out and start shovelling, but, mostly, enjoying the peace and the ability to genuinely experience the ebb and flow of the seasons.

I hope you’ll join me on the journey. Your comments are always appreciated. I plan to post once or twice a week, more often during the summer if it’s appropriate.

And why not start on the Winter Solstice in the middle of a lunar eclipse that hasn’t happened this way since 1638 or 58 or whatever it is?

Merry Solstice, may the light shine on your flower beds, and may there be GENTLE rains!