Home Tomagrams 5 Things I Learned This Week: Entry 1

5 Things I Learned This Week: Entry 1

5 Things I Learned This Week: Entry 1

tall clover farm house

Lesson 1: Early mornings can be magical.

The clock reveals an early hour, and yet I feel rested. Birds court through song. Boz snores deeply and with conviction under the sole ray of sunshine gracing the porch. The modern world awakes; sounds of approaching cars wane within seconds, the distant din of a jet makes me wonder what adventures await the travelers onboard. Under my big leaf maple, the morning gives way to light and shadows, and the promise of a day well spent.

branches ripe sweet cherries

Lesson 2: Ripening times can determine crop yield.

I venture to say, there is not a crow or robin on Vashon Island innocent of thievery in the case of cherries. What I’ve found though is the local orchardist has a better chance of harvesting cherries if he or she plants late harvest varieties. Birds devour early-ripening cherries; late-ripening cherry cultivars, not so much. For example, the cherry tree branch in the top photo is Lapins, a sweet bing-like cherry that ripens later than the Stella cultivar, which is shown in photo below it. When my Stella cherries ripen early, the birds are relentless and strip the tree of cherries with a fervor similar to me removing kernels from an ear of corn. Three to fours weeks later, the Lapins cherries are ready, but there’s plenty of fodder for the birds, including wild cherries, so the robins and crows tend to ignore the Lapins’ ladened limbs. If I had to do it over again, I would only plant mid-summer to late ripening cherry trees.

Lesson 3: Never turn your back on a kiwi vine.

Lesson 3: Never turn your back on a kiwi vine.

One day I had lunch on my porch; the next day, this fuzzy kiwi vine had reserved the table. (Cheeky little bugger.)

broken mirror

Lesson 4: Gravity always wins.

My massive dining room mirror worked tirelessly for two years to test Newton’s universal law of gravitation. It succeeded in proving the theory last night.(No bulldogs were injured in the experiment, but one homeowner was found crying in the corner.) Of course, there are many lessons to be learned here, not just one. For example, no matter how big the nail, locating a stud always takes precedence over the need to center the object on the wall. Of course, this could be an inside job, perhaps my farm house was telling me something; neoclassical design has no place here. (It may have a point.)

oxo cut glass tumblers.jpg

Lesson 5: Hugs and Kisses, truly never misses. (O – X – O)

Sometimes when melancholy’s afoot, the universe conjures up a little encouragement. It’s best to always pay attention.

Life’s lessons keep on coming. At this rate, I should be a genius in a couple more years. I’ll keep you posted on my progression: things I learned, the never-ending story. 😉


  1. Drinking my second cup of coffee, enjoying the lovely pics and witty writing (snoring deeply with conviction-shouldn’t we all?) I learned the restful, restorative benefits of a slow Sunday morning, browsing the Internet-thanks Tom!

  2. Tom, Thank you for sharing your beautiful morning with us. It moved me — all of it, especially this line….

    “Under my big leaf maple, the morning gives way to light and shadows, and the promise of a day well spent.”

    I’ve scribbled it down on a scrap of paper and pinned it to my office wall. I’m not retired yet and have a ways to go until I can — but this lovely line will help to keep me going.

    As to your mirror — oops! Well, at least you evaluated the situation, looked around and found nobody else to blame. 😉 But seriously, repair the mirror and hang it again. Don’t worry if it doesn’t scream “country” or “farmhouse” — Eclectic is always so much more interesting anyway , it always says — “I love this piece no matter what anybody thinks, it’s my house, and I’m putting it right HERE. ”

    Hope you’re day was magical!


    • Thank you so much Cindy. I’ve already started a list for this week. Each day provides an amazing classroom some lessons more difficult than others.

  3. Dear Tom,
    Just want to say thanks for providing a sweet moment to read about your farm happenings. Yours is the only blog I always make time for. Your writing and gardening pointers are funny and excellent at the same time. I appreciate it all!

  4. Clever Kiwi. Determined to get what is obviously one of the best seats in the house. More than just a hirsute face.

  5. Hi Tom,
    Just spent a delightful evening catching up with all the missed blog reports. Sometimes life gets in the way of the little things that we love (your blog for one). I’ve been saving all of them and now feel “caught up”. Promised myself not to let anything get in the way of life’s simple pleasures again.
    p.s. I thought I was the only one that looked at a jet and wondered about the people aboard.

  6. Hi Margaret, thank you for making me smile this am. Life’s simple pleasures, indeed. I’m really touched and hope to continue rambling for years to come.

  7. I agree with all of the previous comments — especially Cindy G. on your mirror. Eclectic is always better! Always enjoy reading anything you’ve written…

  8. Just discovered your blog from a comment you’d left on the Saveur site in 2009 about using a less expensive wine to make dessert w/ peaches. You planted a seed there!

    I, too, live in the middle of no where and love my animals and cooking and all that jazz so look forward to getting to know your blog. Ahhh, retirement, it’s heaven. Even w/ a little broken glass and vines that invade.

    • Hi Debra, How wonderful to meet you and let me personally welcome you to my life on the farm, blog and all. Sounds like you have you’re own slice of heaven to revel in. Thanks for the visit, and welcome, here’s to you new retirement adventures!

  9. Hi Tom

    I’ve been reading your posts for a long time , today felt compelled to make a comment. I thoroughly enjoy reading them. It makes me one day want to visit your part of the world.

    • Hi Paul, thank you so much. When I started my blog years ago, I did it for fun, and fun it has been, especially when I get hear from great folks in my own back yard and from great distances away, like you in Australia. Do let me know if you ever make to our little corner of the globe. Best regards, and thanks again Paul.

  10. The Black Tartarian died and I was looking for a replacement – since the birds always strip the Bing tree, your Lapin could be a crafty replacement, if the cross-pollination logistics will work.

    • Good news Zambini, the Lapins variety is self-fertile. The fruit is very large and somewhat crack resistant. Good Luck. I also have a new cherry called Utah Giant that I’m impressed with.

      • Utah Giant sounds excellent (good info on usu.edu website) but still liking your LapinS variety very much!! Maybe grafting could be my solution (read your Greenmantle posting) “fruit for thought…”


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