MAY, 2014 ISSUE #156

May, full of flowers, friends and family with perfect weather and a big trip up north (1565 driving miles) for our first glimpse of family in two years.




Camille’s final moments with Stephanie in which they realized that if there were to be a book jacket photo of the two authors together, this might be the right time to take it. Stephanie staged the shots and took one after another on a timer but wasn’t getting what she was after until she tickled Camille and got a big laugh.



20140501ArmentroutFarm  20140501CatherineMark

On the way home, Camille stopped at Catherine and Babe’s farm in Keezletown for a howdee do and some lunch.




It is indeed, a dog’s life.




This is one of the prettiest valleys on earth as far as we’re concerned.



20140501RobotBernson  20140501RobotDetail  20140501Bernson

Camille didn’t get more than a tenth of a mile past this mysterious work of art before turning the car around and going back for pictures. It towers above an empty parking lot, a militaristic robot with an alien pilot inside his torso standing atop a tractor trailer cab. The name Bernson is on the water tower off his left arm but there is no town in Virginia by that name.



20140503PampasGrass  20140503PampasFlame

Pampas Grass requires a good burning every few years so Bob took on the project. We moved Spot out of harms way, he brought in buckets and ran a water hose to the site. And then, Poof! all the old growth was consumed in a mighty flame.



20140507LisasCats  20140507LisaAndreaCaroyln

Lisa invited Camille, Andrea and Carolyn over to slice apples for ten pies she promised to make at her son’s Eagle Scout ceremony. It was a beautiful day, the cats were sprawled on the lawn, the dog lazing about too, barnyard animals pecking around. We sat down and prepared twenty or so pounds of apples in no time, passing the time with stories and laughter. So it’s come to this, Camille thought – kitties and apple pie. What a perfectly wholesome life.



20140507RoostingFowl  20140507TomTurkey

Meanwhile, in the yard below, three hens lay together incubating eggs, one turkey and two chickens and the Tom strutted and fluffed his magnificent feathers.



20140508MugDetail  20140507BestDayEverMug

hen Camille returned home from the Shenandoah, a package sat on her desk. The card inside, signed by from BJ’s mother Kathy began “Here’s a little surprise for you…” And what a surprise it was to unwrap this cute little mug. Kathy explained in her note that she and BJ had run across these mugs and bought three of them with Camille in mind. She said she was inspired by our blog post from January 11th titled –  The Best Day Ever. Now every day begins with a cup of tea and a reminder to make the most of the day ahead.



20140509Peonies  20140523DonnaBobGarden

From our lovely peonies in North Carolina to Donna Mease’s happy vegetable garden in Pennsylvania.



20140526BobNedAlison  20140526RhododendronBonsai

We always look forward to spending a few days with Ned outside Washington DC on our way up to Pennsylvania and on the way back. He is like a brother to us, we enjoy similar activities such as strolling the National Herb Garden’s bonsai exhibit this year and the stopover breaks up our drive. Plus, Camille’s Aunt Jeanette lives nearby and brother Joe can fly into Dulles and jump in with us for the drive north. As an extra bonus this year we got to spend some time with Alison. For the whole story, go to: Cabin John and DC



20140519BobJoeFrankJim  20140520TwinLights

Tradition also dictates that we join our cousin Frank and his family for dinner, go to the beach and hike around the grounds in Highlands. Check out all the fun on this page: Rumson and Sandy Hook



20140522JohnCamilleJoe  20140522BobQuarryRock

Brothers John and Joe are as into that nature thing as we are so we all spent an afternoon exploring the trails up on North Mountain, picking up rocks and critters and clowning around.  See it all on: Hiking on North Mountain



20140523DonnaCamille  20140523DonnaCamilleHammer

We enjoyed a memorable few hours at Donna’s place getting caught up, trading stories, drinking tequila concoctions designed by Bob and investigating her yard, flowers and gardens. Her irises were nearly as big as Camille’s head! Camille and Donna became friends in 1976 when they lived in the same apartment building and have stayed in touch through countless moves across many continents. Donna dug an old hammer out of her tool box and told a story about how Camille told her all those years ago that if she was going to be an independent woman, she was going to need a hammer and gave her that very hammer. Camille was twenty at the time and Donna was eighteen.



20140523MattBobCows  20140523Ewes

Next stop, Matt and Jenn’s place with a slight detour to another nearby farm focusing mainly on growing mushrooms. We got a little carried away with the cow and sheep photos but who can resist when the sunlight is just right. Livestock and more on this page: Touring Dickinson Farm




The gem of our annual trip north is a meal for everyone. Jim drove down from Jersey, Bob and Deb from Lancaster and Maggie and Brian from Gaithersburg, John took beautiful pictures, we all brought food, the kids played, gifts from Ghana dispersed and good memories were made. See John’s photos and a few of our own at: Family Reunion



“They lived through by main strength all the grimy, secret, oblique phases of growing up and got past the crises safely if anyone does.” – Katherine Ann Porter from Noon Wine, 1937

“So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one.” – Ester Perel

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” – Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions


The best way to locate a page or photo from past issues is with this handy Search Engine

Get the back story via our blog at Plastic Farm Animals


[Troutsfarm] * [May, 2014] * [Cabin John and DC] * [Rumson and Sandy Hook] * [Hiking on North Mountain] * [Touring Dickinson Farm] * [Family Reunion]