Fleur-de-SecretGarden

While I was arranging and watering hay bales, my son Richard and his Nonna were conspiring with their own project.
Richard got the idea after spending a weekend at the farm, visiting his dad for a Lynch family cookout. The festivities centered around “Stonehenge,” the fire pit and stone benches we built near the former shop.  Stonehenge is surrounded by in what many people refer to as “the hobbit village,” the miniature log cabin, wishing well, lighthouse, etc. built by W.A. Saul in the 1960s after he retired as a schoolteacher.
Secret Garden Entrance
When Richard returned to State College, he decided his Nonna’s house needed a fire pit—and he knew exactly where it should go—in Nonno’s Secret Garden. About the time my father became a grandfather he decided to create a secret garden. He placed an arbor at the entrance and planted climbing hydrangea to clamber over top. Then he cut a path, a good 80 yards or so, into the woods that opened into an area with tall shade trees. Between two of them, he stretched a Pawley’s Island hammock, thus creating a sanctuary.
Last week was finals week at Penn State, so Richard didn’t have classes and devoted much of his time to resurrecting Nonno’s Secret Garden. With a list, lawn mower, machete, wheelbarrow, shovel and rake, and a property that lives and breathes fieldstone, my 20-year-old man of muscle created his version of his grandfather’s hideaway.
Richard’s Circle of Fire
The pathway is lined with solar-powered lights and opens into a clearing. In the center, Richard built a double ring of stones for his fire pit. Tiki torches line this “room”, which has a stack of firewood, a small charcoal grill, benches encircling the fire pit, and artwork. Artwork?
Richard was born on his grandfather Richard’s 70th birthday, and they share more than a name. When Richard was clearing the secret garden, he found two marble figures that my dad chiseled during an adult-education sculpture class. They apparently got lost in the undergrowth of the woods. The two sculptures have the patina of age, and a good deal of moss growing on them, but Richard could see the inherent beauty of the female form.
Shy…
“Boob statues,” he calls them. Nonno’s artistic expression and Richard’s folly.  Laurie Lynch
Purses with a Purpose: Shopping is one of my least favorite activities. But sometimes I’m shamed into it. While I was visiting San Francisco, Trig saw the fraying innards of my long-loved tapestry purse and said, “You really need a new bag.”
In the months since I’ve made half-hearted attempts to look for a new purse, but how many possibilities are there in plant nurseries and supermarkets? Then I noticed an article in the local paper about a philanthropic organization selling one-of-a-kind purses at Seven Mountains Winery over the weekend. Wineries are another shopping haunt.
The bags (which range in price from $15 for cosmetic totes to $300 travel bags) are handmade by tsunami victims in Aceh, the Indonesian province that was destroyed by the earthquake and subsequent tidal waves the day after Christmas, 2004. From that disaster, Laga Designs International Inc., not a charity but a business with a mission, was born in California. The company was formed to empower people who lost their livelihood as a result of the 2004 tsunami.
The bags are intricately embroidered with Acehnese designs that have been handed down through generations.  One medium-sized bag takes a full day to complete. You can check them out at www.laga-handbags.com and, if you’d like to order one, contact Jill Lillie at jlillie@lagahandbags.com, the State College, PA, Laga consultant.
Written on Slate: “I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.” –Groucho Marx
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