I have an affinity for things that are real, well made, and local (at least insofar as they are domestically produced and don’t find their way here on gigantic freighters). It’s harder than you might imagine to find these things, and when I do, I want to share them. So here are some things I just think are neat.
Based on the original gnomes that were made of clay, not plastic or resin, these gnomes are made in the US, using fired-on glazes, not paint, and glazed inside and out for extra durability. I especially like this one, named the Burdock Folk Art Gnome. I’d love to bring him home one day. From Kimmel Gnomes. You can read all about the history of garden gnomes on their website.
Continuing the theme of garden art, Catherine Murphy of Haw Creek Forge in Asheville, North Carolina, makes copper sculptures like this vocal rooster above, plus a variety of insects, including striking butterflies, praying mantises, and dragonflies.
Santa Barbara Bells is a fun shopping experience because you get to hear the sounds of each of the chimes when you click on them. They’re made of aluminum and redwood. My favorite, at the moment at least, is the Piccolotte. Sprightly yet relaxing. And made by one guy. It’s not a super-slick website and some of the pics are a little fuzzy and for some reason I love that. You can buy through Paypal, or send him an email. He’s having a summer 2016 sale at the moment.
How about a 100% beeswax pillar candle from Tennessee Wicks? I picture this a part of some late night porch sitting, listening to the cicadas and pond frogs make some of that Tennessee music I try not to take for granted. I tell you, sometimes it gets so loud you just have to stop trying to talk over it and just sit back and listen. And gaze into the candlelight. If you prefer, they also have beeswax votives or mason jar candles.
Lastly, in the you’re only just now reading this? category, I’m wrapping up my summer reading list with Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. A longtime reader reminded me I needed to read this book, and she was right (Thanks, Pam!). Required reading for the slow food movement, this book solidifies for me a lot of what I learned in Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America.
Namely, that we need to support responsible agriculture, whether that means getting our food from local, sustainable farmers and/or growing our own food, with integrity, as best as we can. Kingsolver’s book takes us through a year of her family’s determination to eat food “produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air.”
One of the things I’m most thankful for in this book is the reminder of the importance of eating seasonally. Not just the importance, but the pleasure of eating seasonally. I like having to wait for good things, and then reveling in them when their time has arrived.