March 6, 2015
If you’re in the northeast this week, I know what you’re saying, because I’m saying it too… enough winter already! We’ve had quite a bit of snow and below freezing temperatures for much of this season. Many of us are more than ready for spring, but Mother Nature isn’t just yet. We got another several inches of heavy, wet snow today and temperatures remain in the low 20s. I took a brief tour around the property, and while we aren’t seeing spring outside, I and my staff are inside planning for spring... with our preparations for this year’s garden tours, which I agree to host every now and then.
What also gave me hope and encouragement - seeing on the calendar that daylight saving time returns this weekend. So, remember to “spring forward” one hour before you go to bed Saturday night! If you are multi-lingual, like my grandchildren, here is a fun lesson… “spring forward” written in a variety of languages… which ones can you identify?
El resorte adelante, ileri bahar, ha'aviv kadima, gwanwyn ymlaen, musim semi maju, spring vooruit, primavera in avanti, spring framåt, mùa xuân phía trước, tavaszi előre, rebbiegħa quddiem, primavara înainte, spring phambili, jarní vpřed, spring hadapan, spring pasulong, spring maju, oldinga spring, el ressort endavant, proljeće naprijed, spring naprej, wiosna przodu, spring gancang, printemps en avant, frühling vorwärts, chūntiān qianjin, vesnoy vpered, agē vasanta…
Enjoy today's photos...
1 Here is a morning view of the farm -- yes, that is definitely more fresh snow falling. This area is expected to get at least four to five inches before it's all done.
2 I always walk around the farm during inclement weather to see how the trees, shrubs and bushes are doing. This 'Sargent' crabapple is doing just fine outside my studio office.
3 My espalier apples look to have weathered the storms quite well this season.
4 If you look through the espalier orchard row to the upper branches of the ancient apple tree, you will see a cardinal, or maybe even two, taking cover from the falling snow.
5 Cardinals are from the family of Cardinalidae. They are robust, seed-eating birds, with toes that have three pointed forward and one pointed back to help in perching.
6 The snow is coming down fast, but fortunately, the winds are not strong at all - my Norway spruce trees are standing strong.
7 This is Patrick, my security guard, shoveling the front entrance. He's done this area twice already!
8 Here are my four tall white pine tree trunks - what's left of the trees that were ruined by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. If you remember, the following year, I planted five arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis 'Degroot's Spire' to help the area look better.
9 Laden with snow now, but this is the new flower/cutting garden. It switched places with my vegetable garden.
10 While the snow falls heavily outside, my executive administrator, Susan, and my head gardener, Ryan, keep busy in the greenhouse beginning preparations for this year's garden tours. This work brightens everyone's spirits knowing warm, sunny days are not far.
11 Susan organizes all the logistics for the tours - who, when, and how many, while Ryan plans out each garden tour's walking route. My staff works closely on these projects, so every detail is perfectly orchestrated.
12 One of the first steps of this process is to update the farm's maps.
13 Things are constantly changing around the farm - gardens are moved, new trees are planted and old ones are replaced. Susan and Ryan carefully assess what has been done, so the map is as accurate as possible.
14 Garden tours at my farm usually take a couple of hours each. Ryan meticulously plans what path each tour will take, so visitors see what is blooming best when they are here.
15 The garden map also tells a little history of my farm, Cantitoe Corners, and basic information on how it is maintained.
16 Here is the map for the back fields, and a list of newly planted trees and shrubs. I always include lists like these to inform and inspire those who tour my gardens.
17 As you can see, since last year, some of the improvements include a new citrus greenhouse, a new hoop house, and a new place for my flower/cutting garden.
18 Ryan goes over all the copy to ensure the information is accurately updated. Once this is complete, the maps are ready to be printed. Hopefully, by the time they're finished, we'll be well into the next part of this process - planting!
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March 5, 2015
If you were asked to name your favorite contemporary artists, who would they be? Among mine is the late Donald Judd (1928-1994), an American artist best known for his contributions to the Minimalist movement. Judd focused his art on color, form, industrial materials, and space. He believed that the placement of a piece of art was just as important as the art itself. Many of his permanent installations are found at the Chinati Foundation, a museum he established in Marfa, Texas, and at Donald Judd's homes and studios maintained by Judd Foundation here in New York City and in Marfa.
Last month, I attended a reception at the Judd Foundation, located at 101 Spring Street – a 19th century five-story, cast-iron building in Soho, where Judd lived and worked. It was an eye-opening look at some of Judd’s finest pieces, and the works of other artists Judd admired. As you can see in the photos, Judd was passionate in his placement of everything within the building, and innovative in his approach to design.
The visit to 101 Spring Street reminded me of a 1996 story we did in our flagship magazine, Living, from the grounds of the Chinati Foundation, located on 340-acres of land on the site of the former U-S Army base, Fort D.A. Russell. I was there to attend a dinner party in Judd’s memory – it was a Texas barbecue cooked on a pit designed by Judd himself, and served in a former horse arena he renovated. I included some of the photos from that story here as well.
I hope you enjoy these pictures, and are inspired by the work and life of this great artist.
1 This row of windows is on the 3rd floor of 101 Spring Street. On this floor was Judd's studio, where he spent a lot of time working, thinking, reading and writing.
2 This was Judd's personal desk, with some of his design tools and supplies.
3 Here is Judd's wood burning stove in his 2nd floor kitchen. Judd had a very simple purpose for 101 Spring Street - that it be used for "eating, sleeping, working and installing the work of mine and of others."
4 Here I am in Judd's kitchen in front of his wooden dish drying rack. He was very fond of his large industrial sink.
5 Judd purchased this industrial sink in New York City especially for his home. Many of the items you see on the shelves are how Judd kept them, or the way his children - now on the Board of the Judd Foundation - remember them.
6 This is Jennie Moore, the Director of the Chinati Foundation, the museum Judd established in Marfa, Texas. This event was a reception and talk for Chinati's Robert Irwin Project, an installation expected to be completed next year.
7 This photo was taken through one of the windows at 101 Spring Street.
8 This row of vaulted lights under the cast-iron grates provides light for the Judd Foundation offices located in the building's basement.
9 Here I am looking down through the lights - that's my shoe at the bottom of the image.
10 A couple years after Judd died, I visited the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. This was a horse arena before Judd renovated it and removed the wood floors that exposed the concrete supports you see here. (Photo by Todd Eberle)
11 Here is the outside of the arena Judd renovated. When Judd found it, the arena was worn and dilapidated. (Photo by Todd Eberle).
12 This shows the kitchen at Chinati. Judd designed the furniture in Marfa and had it built out of planks of pine. Notice the very straight lines in his design. (Photo by Todd Eberle).
13 Here, you can see the parallel lines made from the concrete supports on the floor of the arena. It was the setting for a beautiful party planned in Judd's memory. (Photo by Todd Eberle).
14 Here is the Judd designed barbecue pit that was used to cook the meats for the party. (Photo by Todd Eberle).
15 The table was set very simply with white Buffalo china and enamel flatware. (Photo by Todd Eberle).
16 In the back of the arena, you can see the white, paper bag luminarias. Can you find me sitting at the table? (Photo by Todd Eberle).
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March 4, 2015
Usually by the beginning of March, we’re able to start some of the outdoor grounds work here at the farm, but of course, little can be done when we’re still buried under several feet of snow… And here's a surprise - the northeast is expected to get more this week! In fact, as we write this blog, it is snowing heavily in New York City and the weatherman promises eight to 10 inches in Bedford with ice as well as snow! So, to keep my garden crew busy and out of the cold for extended periods of time, I thought it was a good idea to tidy up the Equipment Barn. Keeping seasonal supplies well maintained and properly stored will always save time in the long run.
My Equipment Barn is quite large - about 40 by 120 feet, with a substantial amount of height. On one side, I store mowers, blowers, John Deere tractors, and other pieces of machinery. For this cleanup, we cleared the area, swept the floor and inspected every item before returning it neatly to its spot, so everything is organized and ready for spring. It was quite a task, but it’s always rewarding to see the finished project…
Depending on how long it takes to thaw from this deep freeze, I may need to come up with a few more important indoor chores!
Enjoy these “before” and “after” photos…
1 The Equipment Barn is used to house all the farm vehicles as well as the hand tools and carts and mechanics tools for daily use.
2 We have an assortment of trucks - heavy duty pickups (Ford) for snow plowing, and carrying plants from the nursery and to my other homes; John Deere tractors - a 65 hp and a 95 hp, for mowing, haying, lifting, etc.; a dump truck; a Hi-Lo for changing windows, roofing, masonry, etc., and many mowers, wheelbarrows and even our old Martha by Mail truck.
3 In addition to the cleanup of the shed, we are also painting and staining all of the wooden outdoor furniture we use on the farm. That project is going on in another building.
4 Here's Chhewang moving the trucks and tractors out of the way... Do you recognize the truck on the right?
5 It's the old Martha by Mail truck, which is also safely stored in the Equipment Barn.
6 I have some antique lawn mowers, some old tractors, and haying equipment, too. The Martha by Mail truck was a postal delivery truck from the 80's which I bought years ago and had painted green.
7 Smaller pieces of equipment were moved, so the area underneath could be thoroughly swept.
8 The lockers on the back walls are used by the guys to store their work clothes and boots. You can see why the area was in such need of a cleanup.
9 In this corner, we store wheelbarrows on end to conserve space. They also look much more tidy this way.
10 We use Fords, GMCs and some Chevrolets on the farm. They are cleaned and stored in the Equipment Barn in front of the hand tools - rakes, shovels, pitch forks, etc.
11 I tried to use very utilitarian lighting and fans everywhere on the farm - there is an overriding theme of slate, galvanized metal, practical, utilitarian fixtures, heavy duty hardware, etc.
12 After each piece of equipment was dusted off, checked for sharp blades, clean filters, and proper oil/gas mixtures, it was wheeled back to its proper place in between the wood chipper and my John Deere tractor.
13 The concrete floor looks much better.
14 Mowers, blowers, tillers and generators all parked neatly together and ready to use.
15 This John Deere tractor is great! It is often used for mowing the hay fields and plowing the carriage roads.
16 This Cub Cadet is one of the favorite tools for mowing the paddocks and the few lawns on the farm. It gets a big workout every year.
17 Next to the John Deere tractor is this vintage Allis-Chalmers tractor from the 1940s.
18 I did have this tractor in working order at one time. It has not been put to use in a long time however.
19 Quite a different look from the John Deere. I would love to see how fast the fields could be mowed with this old tractor!
20 Everything is back in place - just a little more sweeping and it will look great!
21 Here is another view from the other side of the wood chipper.
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