Bedlam Farm Blog Journal by Jon Katz

18 May

Robin, Jean’s Diner

by Jon Katz

On Saturday mornings, we sleep late if we can, and then head out to Jean’s Diner in Hoosick Falls, N.Y. We both love the oatbran pancakes there. Jean’s is the kind of place where everybody call you “hon,” and where my decaf coffee and Maria’s herbal tea are waiting for us when we sit down.

Robin is a superb waitress. She memorizes what everybody likes to drink and brings it as people are taking their jackets off. The service is lightning quick and  friendly, the oat bran pancakes are exceptional. I also loved the whole belly clams I got there a couple of weeks ago, and I am serious about my clams.

I think we will be regulars there. We might even get a regular table. The diner is iconic, I imagine it hasn’t changed a bit in 40 years.

17 May

My Favorite Farmhouse

by Jon Katz

My favorite farmhouse sits off of a nearby highway, I’ve wanted for a year or two to catch this beautiful white building in the afternoon sun, but I never seemed to drive by on the right day or time.

Today was the day, Maria and I were on our way to Bennington after Bingo to get some dinner and ice cream. As we went by my favorite farmhouse, I saw the setting sun was just in the right spot for the photo I wanted.

Maria understands this and turned the car around  and I had my monochrome black and white camera. I got the photo I wanted to have, the sun lit up my favorite farmhouse.

17 May

The Mansion: Tracing Paper For The Bingo King

by Jon Katz

Tim was the Friday night Bingo King, he won four games. Tim is a pure creative. He paints, sketches, reads books, takes pictures, loves music. He is recovering from an amputation of one of his legs, it has been challenging for him. He is always cheerful, engaged.

He is voracious reader, both in fiction and non-fiction. Every month I buy him a $25 gift certificate at Battenkill Books and every month he goes down to the bookstore on his motorized wheel chair and picks out one or two books.

He loves to talk to Connie and the bookstore staff about the books he gets, they look forward to seeing him.

Tim asked me today to get him some tracing paper, he wants to draw on wood, he got hold of a book about tracing on wood and has some ideas.  We sat together and looked online, and we found 30 sheets of carbon tracing paper for wood.

I’ll get it on Monday and bring it over.

These creative tools have kept Tim sane, he tells me. Creativity lifts him up in much the same way it lifts me up. He lights up so when he has a gift certificate or something draw. We have been working together since I first came to the Mansion, I have never heard Tim complain or express any form of self-pity.

At Bingo, I gave Burt two large print Word Search books, and Sylvie four small canvas tote bags. A member of the staff asked me last week if I could get three new chairs for the office, the ones there are old and creaky and hard.

I found some great discounts online and ordered three office chairs for $150, they have excellent reviews and guarantees. The people in there work long and hard, and this will be a surprise for them.

Ellen wants a stuffed cat, and I found a good one, it’s coming on Tuesday. Bingo is fine, we get a good crowd every week. I  sing sometimes, and they all roll their eyes and laugh at me.

Red couldn’t make it tonight, he is having trouble walking. Everyone asked for him.

If you wish to support my Mansion work, you can donate via Paypal,, or by check Jon Katz, The Mansion, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

Thanks for supporting this important work.

17 May

Fullish Moon, Shining On Humility

by Jon Katz

It’s a beautiful night to be in the country, beneath open skies, the stars starting to pop out everywhere, an almost full moon rising between our two favorite trees, the apple tree and the birch. I feel close to nature here, I feel humble here.

Humility is a virtue, not a neurosis or flaw.

Humility sets me free to do what feels really good to me, it shows me my illusions and lies.  I practice a humility that shows me that I am broken and incomplete and flawed, but even so, I have an obligation, even an obsession to strive for the truth about myself.

Humility is a great motivator, it reminds me of how insignificant I am, yet never stops me from trying to be whole. Quite the opposite.

It is staggering to think about the very few things I know about the world when I think about it and the unfathomable number of things about which I know nothing. The sad thing about humility is that it can never be fully successful, fully realized.

The good thing about humility is that it keeps me trying.


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