4 March

Mansion Van Fund: Now At $8,125. $1,875 to go.

by Jon Katz
Mansion Van Fund

The Mansion gofundme van campaign passed the $8,000 mark today, it is now at $8,125. I can sniff the goal line now, and I will make certain you get to see what your money has done, I will take some van rides with the residents. We only need $1, 875 more dollars to meet the goal of $10,000, the Mansion owner is putting up the other $10,000.

This is one of the most rewarding projects I have ever been involved with. A van is a lifetime for people who live in assisted care, it connects them with the outside world, their doctors, families, field trips, visits to parks. I am exploring getting the Mansion residents to a play at Hubbard Hall, but without the van we have no way of getting them there.

They hope to re-visit my farm and see others farms and parks but their van is collapsing, they have to have a new one. Word of the possible van purchase – the owner say she hopes to purchase it by the end of next week – is circulating among the residents. They are excited.
Me too. The Army of Good is righteous, not self-righteous. We do not argue or divide, we just try and do good. You can follow the gofundme campaign here.

I appreciate the democratic spirit of crowdsourcing. Large numbers of people contribute small amounts of money, they know exactly where it goes and what for. This makes me feel strong and proud, and also hopeful. People want to do good, given the chance. You will never see this story on the news, but it is a big story in the hearts and souls of so many people.

Thank you for your generosity.  And for your compassion. At a time when so many hearts seem to be turning to stone, your hearts are turning to gold. We are almost there.

(The Mansion is a Medicaid assisted care facility in Cambridge, N.Y., a loving community of souls at the edge of life, yet so very much alive.)

4 March

George In The Apple Tree

by Jon Katz
George In The Tree

It was 14 degrees with a heavy, continuous wind and George was as comfortable up in our apple tree as he would be on the beach in July. I was impressed. He works on trees for a living and he knows what he is doing. He cut off all of the dead or dying limbs and branches and the tree looks as if it got a haircut.

I cannot imagine walking around up in a tree like that for hours, but he could not have been more sure or comfortable. He’s coming back in the Spring to take a look at our big old maples, one of which struggling. Hope he can save it. If you drive by an old farm, you will almost always see a stand of big old maples, planted to provide shade, windbreak and some beauty.

Our trees need some loving care, and are getting some. George ways the apple tree is unusually large, he says it will be around for a good while.

4 March

Saving Our Trees

by Jon Katz
Saving Our Trees

George Conety and a friend came by today with their climbing gear to help save two of our favorite trees, the old apple tree (in the rear) and the white birch tree along the side of the house. These are two exceptionally beautiful trees with a lot of character and a lot of history.

George says the apple tree is at least 150 years old, and the birch might even be older. They were obviously planted by the first generations of farmers to live on the farm, which was built soon after 1800. We love these trees and George climbed way up in the bitter cold and wind to trim deal limbs and branches off.

A lot came off, but he said both trees were strong and healthy and would last a good while longer. We are always working to care for our farmhouse and the grounds, like everyone else, we don’t have enough money to do everything we would like to do, but we have made steady progress over the last few years.

Every winter, we marvel at the good and solid shelter the farm has provide for us, and for so many people before us. We are so grateful for it, it is where we should be. We have been so happy here, and so productive. I could not believe these two young men crawled around those trees for hours in cold so intense I could not be outside for more than a few minutes.

The cleaned up every twig and branch and hauled them off in a trailer. Maria said it was as good a gift as she could be given on her return from India, but it is a gift to both of us, and to the farm, which has been so generous to us.

4 March

Windowsill Gallery: Touches Of India

by Jon Katz
Touches of India

The first touches of India have begun appearing in the farmhouse, it began the day Maria returned. The farmhouse’s character and color will be changing once again and for awhile. Our farmhouse is a living gallery of art and light and color, thanks to the artist who curates it. This morning an umbrella from Udaipur, India went up in the window, it is going to be hung from the living room ceiling.

There was never any question of using it – we don’t use umbrellas in the country – only of where it might go. Today it will find a permanent spot.

I love the idea of our farmhouse as a living work of art, it is different every time I look at it. More to come, I will try to capture the new evolution.

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