News: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful


The bad news first: We have lost our wonderful, dearly loved dog, Shebab. Her last days were spent in the garden with me, and when her time came, she suffered for only a brief moment. She was my constant companion for 14 years. Good bye my dear friend, we will miss you very much!

And the good news: I know she would not want us to be sad and lonely. She was always there to make us smile, guard us from harm and show us what love is all about. Fortunately we have been given the gift of puppy love in the furry warmth of a joyful Border Collie that we call Bella. Thank you to my darling daughter, Dana.

And the beautiful: At this time of year, we awake with the sun. I'm drinking my coffee by 6 a.m. and headed for the vegetable garden by 7. The alluring beauty of these summer days is a feast for my spirit. I awake with annoying energy, my head filled with projects to do. I have always loved the early morning hours, even in winter when the dawn light is a violet blue and the trees are like charcoal sketches against the sky. There is such promise in the first rays of the sun; the light following darkness, the life and energy of the plants and birds in summer, and the quiet drama of a harsh winter morning. I am filled with joy while working in the garden surrounded by such natural beauty and sounds, with the morning conversation of the lambs and ewes in the pasture and the birds chattering away in the branches above my head.

The past weeks have brought soft breezes, bright blue skies, and days filled with summer warmth, chasing away all memories of winter's howling winds. The elderly maple tree in our front yard that serves as a Peacock perch at night, shades us with a luscious canopy of green leaves. The Day Lilies are blooming along the path and the vegetable garden is nourishing us with salads, onions, potatoes, courgettes, herbes, and far too many peas.

The wood for Tòti Bleu has arrived and looks beautiful. The work has begun! My dear sweet husband, Mark, is teaching me as the work progresses. The framework will be constructed with Paulownia wood from a plantation in Spain. We chose Paulownia because it is lightweight, strong, and is a non-toxic sustainable wood. Our order arrived on time and is excellent quality. It was a pleasure to work with Miguel at Alaia. Take a look at this site for complete information. Http://

The top and bottom plates have been “scarfed” (my new favorite word). Mark is now notching all the studs and plates in preparation for gluing. Everything will be glued together with epoxy. We are using Entropy resins. They are vegetable based, from sustainable and renewable resources with a low environmental impact. Here's the site we used:

Joubert Okouplex 5mm plywood will cover the walls and roof. The entire housing of Tòti will be held together with epoxy. The roof will have laminated beams, and plywood covering. Linen and epoxy will seal the plywood to assure that it is waterproof.

Lots of friends have stopped by to have a look and ask lots of questions as well as give advice. After nearly a year of planning, the dream is actually taken on a solid form. The financing for this project has come entirely from friends and family. The interest and encouragement of many people has kept our attitude positive and exciting. Our neighbor has not only contributed financially but he has also offered us the use of his workshop and tools. I am constantly reminded of how important we are to one another.




About Suzanne

American living in France. Artist and lover of nature, gardening, all living beings. Married to the love of my life, mother of two wonderful daughters and grandmother.
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