On Friday I had the pleasure of visiting the home of Tim and Onnalee Nicklin. They are vendors with our farmers market, and I have been curious about where they come from. They are known as the "berry folks" with an absolutely charming display built right in the back of their pickup truck (Tim's creation). Their market stand is complete with stunning artwork (horses seem to be her favorite theme) by Onnalee.
The Nicklins have mastered the art of product packaging and presentation to such an extent that I was predicting, after only their first market, that they could become one of our bigger, most successful vendors.
I don't know what, exactly, I was expecting, but when I turned off the dirt road onto the winding drive that led down and across a little creek, I was so captivated by the purple flowers blooming on the hillside and the sight of their home sheltered by trees and green, that when I got out of the car I declared almost immediately that I might never leave. The Nicklins gave me a tour of their raised bed gardens, fenced to keep the abundance of deer who are their neighbors out. The whole place was in the early stages of bloom and abundance.
These are people who simply exude peace and creative spirit. As I followed them, listening to them talk about their space in this world, I found myself daydreaming about spending a little more time in my own yard. I could grow this kind of beauty, I thought. My home could be more livable and lovely if I just spent a little more time practicing skills of craft and design.
Inspired, yes, but when I got home, I found myself opening a notebook and writing the details of our visit rather than rushing to my own neglected flower beds. I found myself pouring through the photographs I had taken and capturing scenes and words (I really didn't do justice with my photographs).
- Deer pushing at the garden gates to see if they could get in.
- Asparagus growing outside the fence, because it is the only plant the deer are not attracted to.
- An orchard filled with nut trees and fruit bearers.
- Squirrels deterred, sometimes, by low electric fences.
- An old black cat who recently defended the house from a bobcat kitten.
- A couple who has built a home with their very own hands.
- A man who makes bookshelves from barn wood donated for kindling.
- A woman who says she can live without electricity, but has come to believe that running water is a crucial comfort.
- Flood waters that rise and recede by several feet in a matter of minutes, but haven't made it into the house yet.
- Stone strawberries that train the birds, early in the season, that there is nothing worth eating here.
People who live with passion and purpose can often infect us with their energy. It is a pleasure to experience often, and sometimes a temptation to redirect our own aspirations.
I might have been inspired to grow a garden, but ended up planting seeds for growing stories instead.