Thursday, August 16, 2018

Indy Fringe!!


Tonight the IndyFringe opens!

Hope to see you there!
6:00

Monday, August 13, 2018

This week's column for my sons...

s
Tara, Adam, Aaron and Rachel


Today is the birthday of my twin sons. It is amazing how fast time flies and how much I still miss all three of them under my roof. I wrote this week's column for them and here it is!
 


Mid-August shows up with the heat of the thunderstorms, and the heaviness of the vines in the garden. The first smooth, fresh zucchini is long gone and replaced with baseball size zucchinis that you cannot even give away! The tomatoes are heavy too.

As much as I love each month of the year, August is my yin and yang. My twins were born on the 13th at the end of the Pleiades. Every year on their birthday, we took sleeping bags and thermos bottles of hot chocolate outside  to wait for the shooting stars. Sometimes we waited for hours, and just before we were to give up, a star would whiz across the inky black sky. Then we had to wait for another one. It was beautiful on the farm in those days. There were no businesses to cast light, just darkness up on Windy Hill Farm.

August was full of canning beans and the last of the raspberry jams: yet still waiting for the cabbages to split down the middle for kraut making. The apples were still high in the tree and waiting for applesauce and cider making.

For me, the sadness of August came with the beginning of school. Aaron used to ask me not to tell him when school started until the night before. As a young boy he knew the magic of “sucking the marrow out of life” stated by Thoreau. We had a ritual of the night before school. Our ritual was not that of new clothes…never new clothes. We piled the bikes into the back of the truck and headed over to Pokagon for biking. Returning home, we took a long, deep swim in the pond to cool off, and then to bed with freshly ironed lavender sheets and pillowcases. Stories ended our evenings. There were always stories no matter how late the night.

When my little ones were tucked into bed, I went out to the porch swing, wrapped in a quilt, and cried my eyes out. Another school year. Another year older. Another year closer to my little boys packing their satchel and going off to seek their fortune in the world.

As I sat on that swing, the only sound was that of Doc Headley out in his fields on his tractor. The only light was the dim headlight on that tractor.

The farm is long gone. The boys have left to seek their fortune. Doc is also long gone, leaving me with stories and memories and seeking my new normal.

August brings for me now time with my new (used) kayak. Why did I wait so long for this pleasure, I ask myself. There is such joy in gliding on the still, quiet water, and with 101 lakes, I must hurry if I plan to kayak on all of them in the years to come. My kayak sits next to my fence just waiting for the next adventure!

This past week August brought me the great pleasure of an early morning Yoga class outside under the trees. My friend, Anita Workman, gave me a call asking if I would like to join her in this class. “Just the two of us?” How could I say no?

I arrived early, and we set up outside under her trees with our instructor, Amanda. Amanda currently lives in the Caribbean and teaches Yoga on the beach, but on this morning, she is our teacher next to the Indiana cornfields, and we take our place on the blankets with towels and cool water next to us. I feel so honored to have been the invited one. There was no sound but that of a woodpecker in a faraway tree, and the rustle of the corn. It was a magical morning in which I thought, each morning should start like this.  After an hour and a half, it was time to get back into the real world, but oh, it was a wonderful way to start the day.

August.  I re-read one of my favorite books, “Dandelion Wine,” by Ray Bradbury. It is the month of the shooting stars and the return of the constellation, Orion. It is the month of school starting, and gardens ending.

It is also a month of new beginnings. New friendships. New kayak adventures, and if I am lucky, someone will call and say, “Hey, Lou Ann, do you want to?” And I will say yes. I will always say yes.”

Happy star gazing, and happy birthday to my sons.

 

 

 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Saturday night!

Here I am in my garden studying seed packets!!


This week I have circled the state of Indiana with shows! The remainder of the time I have spent rehearsing on my front porch!

This weekend I am pulling out one of my older Fringe shows, Hoosier Roots. I will be telling this story at the Spoken Word/Stage Left of the Woodstock Opera House with Jim May, 7pm.

If you are in the area, come on out and hear our stories. On Sunday I will scurry home to begin final preparations for Mary Shelley! Yes, the Fringe is almost here!!

Friday, August 03, 2018

Picking Berries....


Here I am at the end of berry picking!!
“For a full week, the blackberries would ripen. At first, just one, a glossy purple clot among others, red, green, hard as a knot. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet like thickened wine …” so wrote Seamus Heaney, the beloved Irish poet.

I heed his words and fill my Jeep up with friends to go blackberry picking. We could buy them at the grocery and ignore the smell of blackberries on the vine and the stained purple hands, but we do not ignore this beauty.

I print the poem and Kathy reads it as we pull out. The day is an Indiana beauty. This day … this moment … is one of the reasons I decided to stay put in this small town and to keep my life centered here. The drive is rural, of course, as we head out to Walters Berry Farm. The ivy-covered barn is the first scene to greet us, and I take a photo just for my own keepsake.

Our berry pickin’ pails vary from Mary’s Tupperware to my red enamel pails used for my own red raspberries. We stumble onto the field and I stand and let the day sink in as the scent of these warm berries fill up my lungs and soul.

My memory serves me well as I begin this summer ritual of picking fruit off the vine. When I was 8 years old, I had a job with my great Aunt Essie to pick her gooseberries. With my 6-year-old sister in one hand and my battered pail in my hand, I headed to the patch. I did not enjoy this job as an 8 year old, but it was one of my first paid jobs so I did it without complaint. For each pail I picked, I was given a nickel.

Picking gooseberries was a dangerous undertaking. The thorns were larger than our small awkward fingers, and, since we did not wear gloves, we always came back with blood, smeared between our stained hands. My great-aunt Essie turned those green and red berries into pies for the church ice cream social. She usually brought most of the pies back home, as it was not always a hit at the social. But, pail after pail, we still were asked to pick the gooseberries. Now I wonder if she really wanted the berries or was it just a way of giving me a stash of nickels, the summer I was 8.
That summer I did other odd jobs and earned enough money for the used bike down the way. By the end of August, my nickel stash was enough to buy the green bike with the pink plastic streamers on the handlebars. My sister, Jessie, and I walked down the dusty road to buy the bike and decided we would ride it back to my Grandpa’s farm. It was then I realized I did not know how to ride a bike, and, with Jessie on the handlebars, we crashed into the first tree. We were both OK, but the bike was not. We pushed that broken bike back to the farm hoping our grandpa could fix it back up, all the while, bemoaning those pails of gooseberries.

I laugh out loud as I remember this story while picking with friends. I just give a wave to them as we pick these delicious, succulent berries. With our pails and Tupperware containers full, we pay for our berries. Luckily, for us we do not get weighed to measure those we consumed while on picking duty.

The scent of berries fill the Jeep as we head back to town … back to chores … back to our regular lives. I ask Kathy to read the poem again as we weave through farmland. She is always a good sport and obliges.

“We trekked and picked until the cans were full, until the tinkling bottom had been covered with green ones, and on top big dark blogs burned like a plate of eyes …” Heaney.

As we pull into town, I exclaim, “Hey, maybe there will be gooseberry or blackberry pie at the ice cream social this week!?” I am referring to the once-a-year event at the Collins School House on Sunday.

I decide I must go and see what pies are presented on Sunday under the tent awning. Ice cream and pie. I will wear my hat with the flowers and sit daintily (kind of) on a folding chair and ask, “So, did you pick the berries yourself?”

LOU ANN HOMAN-SAYLOR lives in Angola at the White Picket Gardens where you can find her gardening or writing late into the night under the light of her frayed scarlet lamp. She is a storyteller, teacher, writer, actress and a collector of front porch stories. She can be contacted at locketoftime@aol.com.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Where did the three months go??

Where, I ask myself, did the three months go? I love this blog, and am a bit distressed about letting it go.

So, what did happen these three months? Traveling, family (lots of family), storytelling, gardening, writing, performing, and getting ready for Mary Shelley!!

I plan to get back to my blog and just chat about life.

See you all soon.

Lou Ann

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Lou Ann Homan is out and about with Blanche on Ocracoke Island.


Blanche Joliff Howard, of Ocracoke Island, was one of the loveliest folks I have ever met. Blanche died this week after a long life of stories and hard work!
I spent lots of time with Blanche and recorded her stories as often as she would let me. Here is one of my favorites! Enjoy.

Thank you for everything, Blanche, you will be missed by so many.


Poetry on the Square!

We read on the stage at the Brokaw on the last day!!


This past April was once again Poetry on the Square in my hometown of Angola. This was my third year to share my love of poetry every day.

At 3:30 every day my alarm went off and I hopped onto my bike (except for the days it snowed!!!) and headed off to my downtown to read poetry in front of the beautiful Brokaw Movie House. Some days I had full crowds, other days just a few wandering folks came by to listen!

I showcased a different poet each day by giving a brief history and then sharing a few of their most popular pieces. The poets ranged from Sylvia Plath to Sam Hamill. Each day I opened it up to others to read their favorites also. 

By the middle of April, I often wondered "what was I thinking?" But then the month ends, and I have loved it, and others have loved it, and reading poetry on the square every day is a pretty good thing...especially for a small town.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day 2018

Dear Friends,

Here is my Earth Day column which was first published on April 22 in the KPC Newspapers. Enjoy, and as my friend, John says, we don't have any where else to go?

Paper straws, anyone?

Lou Ann 

My spring garden blooming today! Ahhh....finally!



I spent my first Earth Day celebration sitting in the warm sun at Maple Wood Nature Center. My children were small and they ran around in the sunshine participating in all the activities. I was invited to share my love of stories, books, and poetry (nothing ever changes!). I sat out on a sun-kissed bench and read “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Scott Beam reminded me of that when we chatted at maple syrup days last month. It is always lovely to be reminded of such sweet events.

Earth Day has become such an important part of my life…and yours. Out on the farm, when we were young hippies with visions to live completely off the land (and we were very successful for a while!), it was easy to be green without even trying. There was no garbage pick-up, and it did not matter as we had none. We made everything by hand including yogurt, mittens, sorghum molasses, and just about anything that came off the land. My children never knew the word “green” as we simply lived it. 

Moving to town was an adjustment for me, but in a good way. I had to decide how to live the way I was accustomed. It was easier than I thought and the silver lining was the community that seemed to be waiting for me. Perhaps the love of community replaced milking cows, herding sheep or chasing the geese out of my garden.

Last year at Earth Fest I put together a list of ideas, “Inside my Garden Gate” which is the mantra by which I live. I thought I would pass on a few to you as we celebrate this day. I do have a small yard as my barn/garage takes up quite a bit of space, but nonetheless, I use it to the very best! Inside my garden gate you will find my herb garden, raspberry patch, kitchen garden, rain barrel, clotheslines, compost bin (two of them), and a fire ring for those lazy summer nights we just don’t want to end. All of this is enclosed in the white picket fence, which you hear me speak of often that needs painting. Anyone? Just thought I would check.
I also keep a note (taped to my kitchen cupboard) about how to recycle and how to compost. I love my guests learning about these two subjects just by visiting me. Often they will comment on how they also need to do this. Uh, yes, they do!

I love knowing I can participate in “green” even in town. There are so many ways to pass the word! On Wednesday Amy Oberlin, Brandy DePriest, Luke Martin and I had lunch at Auntie V’s. She brought our drinks and then put four straws on the table. All of us spoke up quickly, “Oh, we are not doing straws anymore.” She looked at us and then said on her next order of straws she would order paper. Mission accomplished…at least in one establishment. Who will be next? Easy as pie. It may seem like a small part in the world of going “green,” but actually according to the “GetGreenNow” website, there are 500 million plastic straws used in the United States every day. That is enough to circle the Earth 2.5 times. It also takes 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose. Hooray for Auntie V’s! Why not start a movement here in our town, or in your town! 

Today the Earth Fest celebration will take place at Briali’s Winery. The day is beautiful, the morning sun is warm, and you will see friends and neighbors strolling by booths, listening to talks on the environment or music, and be part of this big event across our world. Come on out and join us, and take the time to say hello!

Sometimes at night I sit outside on my stoop and just listen to the sound of the world…peepers, birds singing themselves to sleep, and yes, the neighbor children reluctantly going inside after the day is over. This week the moon is young and is dancing with Venus…free for the taking, or the looking I should say.
It is peaceful and calm, and even though I cannot solve the problems of the world, I can compost and recycle. I can hang out laundry and water plants with fresh rainwater, and yes, perhaps it isn’t much, but maybe one little town can learn to go without plastic straws.

It is a start. I’m in.