Freedom To Create


Retherford history5

Easter with dresses made by mom. Me on the left. My handsome father and two sisters.      I was a middle child.


I wanted to be an interior decorator since it wasn’t going to be possible to become a fine artist, as far as I could tell. It turned out that decorating would be mostly about selling things. I wasn’t really any good at selling, unless I was passionate about what I was selling. The passion was in the design end of it, but that far from satisfied employers.

“You know what your trouble is?”

“I just don’t understand. You have such a good command of the English language.”

“Are you still working on that one?”

“Just give them anything. Anything you put together is going to be better than anything they might do.”

“People don’t like you.”

The last comment came almost immediately after one of my clients had come in and sat right in front of me, with my fellow workers looking on, to rave about how happy they were with what I had done for them and just how much they really liked working with me.

The trouble was, I couldn’t stand for someone who thought they knew better than me about what motivated me telling me how to do things. And that particular boss had all of the other salespeople by the nose, but couldn’t quite catch me and it infuriated her.

Money was never the motivator. Freedom was. Freedom to create. It was the sheer act of creating that delivered me to a zone of utter euphoria. As a very young girl, I spent countless hours alone in the fields behind our house dragging things around to create virtual communities for my friends and family. It was all in my head, of course, because even then, “People didn’t like me”.

I didn’t care much though. I liked me. I didn’t think so for a very long time because society forces one to think that if one doesn’t have countless friends, they don’t really matter. What I discovered eventually was that I truly enjoyed being in my own mind, and, for the most part, being with others, crippled that some.

Turns out, I am an extreme introvert. I do love other people and enjoy them immensely; however, interaction exhausts me. I have to crawl back into isolation and recover. And creativity allows me to regain my life force before, during and after such interactions. Any kind of creativity.

One of the first JOBS, (four letter word), that I truly enjoyed was as the Customer Service Manager of a well respected furniture store. I found my life-long BFF at that job, which only put the frosting on the cake.

I took that job after I had a run in with the owner of the same store while I was trying my hand at selling. He didn’t like my performance with a customer he had been hawking me working with, (I knew he was watching and I am NOT a performer), and cornered me later to tell me how to do it better. I watched him pick up that same customer and send them out the door exasperated after having had him use every trick in the book to try to work them.

I wasn’t impressed. During his badgering me, he looked at me and said, “I don’t think you like what I am saying.”

My friend later said, “You don’t have to say a thing. It’s written all over your face.”

So, to preempt what I thought would lead to eventual firing, I saw an opening and asked to be transferred.

I really loved the customer service job. It was mostly paperwork, which I really didn’t like all that much, but it was also schmoozing vendors and customers, (selling just the same), but on a whole other level. And it was creating systems that allowed for the whole thing to run more smoothly and getting things in order, which I still love to do.

Creating. That’s the key to my happiness. Any kind of creating.

After years and years of running in the squirrel’s cage, I finally found a way to get off and out of the world that would rob your very soul. Now I am peacefully planting food and moving things around, creating things and putting things in order; just as I have always wanted to do. And it matters not one iota that I don’t have fancy schmancy things or the latest greatest. In fact, it is far more fulfilling to see what can be made of whatever is on hand. Every time an appliance fails, I try to figure out a way not to need it.

All I need is this, (the freedom and ability to create my own world):




Trash to treasure




…and after




…and on it’s way to after

The time and inclination to build a #SquashPit.


No cost, resources rescued from garden centers wherever they might be found.


#5HugelBed; nothing goes to waste.

Supportive ‘friends’ along the way..


The joys of nature and purple.

I hope you are doing what you love and having all the freedom you need to do your own creating, whatever that might be.


Like a Kid Again

Mammoth Sunflower

Mammoth Sunflower

Yesterday I turned 62.

As early as was allowed, Social Security Benefits were applied for. They hold back a month and then there was the issue of my late-in-the-month birth date. Checks start rolling in August. Existing funds have been being used with great frugality to stretch to then as odd jobs have been relinquished in anticipation of this event. It’s like giving notice at a job you hate, it’s nearly impossible to work out your notice. I didn’t bother.

The goal is to finally start doing creative sewing. No longer being dependent on the hodgepodge of little jobs that have been sustaining me for years now, sewing/alterations/housekeeping/shopping/errands/taxi service/yard work/etc., they have been quit earlier than they might should have been so that I could focus on organizing my studio for maximum efficiency for this anticipated creativity.

Always working with the bird in the hand, I say that I live defensively; but I actually plan quite a bit. At least in my head. This has been planned for a long, long time. It always seems that the time will never come and then suddenly, there it is. I’m so excited and so very happy to finally be feeling this kind of freedom.

My lovely little niece sent me a private message on Facebook to say, “Happy Birthday Aunt Sarah! I hope your day is absolutely wonderful!!” To which I replied, “Thank you sweetie. I’m living my dream, so most days are great. Love you.”

I feel like a kid again. Free to be.

I don’t have a lot of close friends, being quite the loner. The ones I have are cherished greatly. Fitting the characteristics of an introvert, I love interacting with people, but it exhausts me. Where an extrovert is energized by it, I need time to recover. My inner life is rich and the outer life has been fitted to me like a glove. I made all the alterations myself.

So, for my birthday, I did what I love to do, I worked in the garden and puttered around in my simple life of peace and abundance. I couldn’t have been happier.

It has been so scorching hot, 110° one day. Probably hotter, but I don’t check often, just now and then and to post sometimes. I don’t suffer as much as I think some of the plants do. Yes, it’s uncomfortable at times. Most of the time I just don’t think about it. The most discomfort is for the plants and animals.

Working on strategies to increase water retention and soil fertility for a long time now, things just haven’t evolved enough to matter much. Yet.

Squash and melons seems to be able to tolerate it the best.

Suddenly, in leisure mode, an idea came for a way to create some shade to hopefully cool down the soil surface temps and keep the plantings from transpiring  quite so much. 4′ stakes were pounded in where they would benefit hose movement as well as to allow for jute string to be strung crisscross for hanging something to shade. Some bags of mulch had just been emptied, so were made into fringe to drape over the string.

That was just too much fussiness and aesthetics are important too.

Another idea emerged. The strings were removed and restrung to run from the back fence to the front fence and then a seed catalog was taken apart and cut to make a more attractive fringe and then draped over the string and secured with tiny clothespins from a crafting stash dating to the early 90’s.

Much better. It is about to rain, so we’ll see how the slick paper survives. We’re officially in Monsoon season now.

Corn in the #SquashPit area doing well. Another artichoke flower opened. Something new for the bees. They are crazy for it. Its fun to watch them crawl in. It’s also fun to see what becomes of what might have been food.

#RaisedBed in the #NorthFacingFrontYard

#RaisedBed in the #NorthFacingFrontYard

The straw was pulled back for two new rows. Beet seeds were sown in the one close to the nasturtiums and also to fill in on the row already growing where some went missing. The next row will be sown with beets in a week or two so a succession will occur, hopefully. Chives are barely visible in the last row. Planted too late it seems, but mostly for their benefits as a companion plant. Popcorn on the right side of the cinder blocks. I tried transplanting one since they are so close together. Not successful.

Corn needs plenty of space for two reasons — it is a heavy feeder, and it is primarily pollinated by wind. As grains of pollen are shed by the tassels that grow from the plants’ tops, they must find their way to the delicate strands of silk that emerge from newly formed ears. To make sure silks are nicely showered with pollen, grow corn in blocks of short rows rather than in a long, single row. In a small garden, 15 plants set 1 foot apart can be grown in a 3 x 5-foot bed.

I guess I should have grown at least another row of corn there. Is it too late?

Well, Summer is here. Can’t remember it being this hot, this early. So timely that information about this book crossed my path lately, “Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land. Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty” and it has been ordered. Hopefully it will shed some new and encouraging light.

Continuing to simplify and de-clutter my life, I pulled down all of the books from shelves I built in my bedroom to let go of most of them. It was impossible not to read through some of them just to see if I was sure they should go. Some took no thought at all, i.e., design/drapery books. I have no desire or intention to revisit that way of making a living.

“Our society is much divided. There are fewer and fewer things that people agree about. The furor of the sixties has died down, but the conflicts that caused it persist. The bitterness has merely been diluted with despair. The war is over, but peace has hardly reached epidemic proportions. Our economic structure is crumbling. Cities are going bankrupt. We are exhausting our physical resources while our human ones lie fallow. The quality of all our services- transportation, communication, health, education, and so on- deteriorates, while their costs increase. Some people can’t afford to heat their homes because we all want to ride expensive vehicles on crowded roads at high speeds, killing one another and polluting the atmosphere. During the years that we tried heroically to annihilate the Vietnamese population and destroy its countryside, we slaughtered half a million Americans and did massive damage to our own landscape just driving around. Intent seems to have nothing to do with it. ” The Pursuit of Loneliness-American Culture at the Breaking Point ~ Philip Slater, revised edition, 1976

This book I kept. I only post this excerpt to bring light to the fact that “the more things change, the more they remain the same”.

I firmly believe that “All the world’s problems can be solved in a garden” ~ Geoff Lawton

I think we try too hard to make it difficult.

Let’s all simplify. Shall we?

Me at age 9 with my one friend and my  babysitter.

I still love anything gingham, especially red.