Saturday, March 26, 2011

St. Fiacre-Irish French Patron of Gardeners, Potters and Florists

Today my friends and "Garden Advisors". Jack and Marty Roberge,  visited my Sylvester Feeley Abundant Life Garden.  (Jack and Marty were the ones who advised me to choose the spot on The Mount last year. It is on a hill just behind cypress groves.  It was cultivated back before the 50ties as a peach orchard and possibly in the 60ties for potatoes.  It gets about 9 hours of good spring and summer sun each day.  I had pretty good luck last year as a first time gardener.  Starting in early April I planted carrots (which never came to much), red and green leaf lettuce which were very productive, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini and Beafsteak Tomatoes.  The tomatoes did pretty well.  But I did not stake them well and the voles ate a lot of them. I also did not get after the hornworms that weakened my tomatoes, but all in all the tomatoes did just great.  My best tactic was surrounding my garden with a ring of marigold, which are natural pest controllers.  My 2nd planting was of bush beans which did just fine, cauliflower which the slugs got.  (I put the cups of beer out too late!!!  They had already taken care of the cauliflower)  Marty and Jack gave me this anachron done by Patricia Baker    who does each one individually.  This saint, Fiacre was born in Ireland but emigrated to France where he became a kind of agricultural hermit.  He is said to have had quite miraculous powers of planting and also of healing people.  However he has the bad reputation of having excluded women from his monastery because of a woman who claimed he was a sorcerer.  (You can google information on Fiacre, but one has to know that myth gets confused with fact and real history with this ancient saints. (Notice the phrases above and at the sides of this anachron. Also notice all the details of fruits, birds, owls, butterflies, and all kinds of vegetables.) Join me in praying hard to St. Fiacre for my and all gardens this spring!      

You can find pictures of Patrica Banker's anachrons at  and also at                                                                                                                                               

Thursday, March 24, 2011


This video is down by a group called SELAH.  It seems that the word SELAH comes from the Bible, mostly from the Book of Psalms.  It has varied meanings.  But one of its meanings "rest" or "interlude" gave rise to a kind of peaceful, meditative christian music as is this video.  (Here at Mt. St. Alphonsus on a Wednesday of each month we have a TAIZE musical concert in our chapel with lights, soft, beautiful and meditative music which is probably a lot like the SELAH musical concerts begun in 2000) THIS VIDEO IS 6 MINUTES LONG.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Even though we are still having snowfalls, IT IS SPRING.  This video made in Mt. St. Auburn Cementery in Galveston Texas is truly beautiful.  Even in the height of Spring Migration down in Central Park, NYC one does not see as many Neo Tropical warblers as in this video.

Mt. Auburn Cemetery 5/22/2011 from Jackson Childs on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

FANCY --by Reba McIntire and a LENTEN REFLECTION

Last Sunday, travelling on NY Rt 42 towards Monticello, NY to say a Mass for Hispanics I heard Reba McIntire's version of "Fancy  that tells of a poor girl from New Orleans whose Mom and little brother are sick and dying.  The Mom, despite her poverty, prepares a beatiful dress for her daughter and implicitly insinuates that she "go where she had to and do what was necessary" to have a better life. It is a powerful song that shows how poverty and desperation and the indifference of others can drive persons to sacrifice their human dignity.  This video by Reba shows a "good end" to a terrible life journey.  I think Lent calls us to help ourselves and, most especially others, out of journeys of pain, aimlessness and self destruction towards journies of HOPE, LOVE, SOLIDARITY AND FAITH IN GOD.  The song was written by Bobbie Gentry in the 60ties.


"Well, I remember it all very well lookin' back

             the summer that I turned eighteen.

We lived in a one-room, run down shack

on the outskirts of New Orleans.
We didn't have money for food or rent

to say the least we was hard-pressed

when Momma spent every last penny we had

to buy me a dancin' dress.

Well, Momma washed and combed and curled my hair,

then she painted my eyes and lips.

Then I stepped into the satin dancin' dress.

It had a split in the side clean up to my hips.

It was red, velvet-trimmed, and it fit me good

and standin' back from the lookin' glass

was a womanwhere a half grown kid had stood.

She said, "Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down!

Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down.

God forgive me for what I do,

but if you want out girl it's up to you.

Now get on out, you better start sleepin' uptown."

Momma dabbed a little bit of perfume

on my neck and she kissed my cheek

Then I saw the tears welling up

in her troubled eyes as she started to speak

She looked at our pitiful shack and then

she looked at me and took a ragged breath

She said, Your Pa's runned off, and I'm real sick

and the baby's gonna starve to death.

She handed me a heart-shaped locket that said

"To thine own self be true"

and I shivered as I watched a roach crawl across

the toe of my high-healed shoe

It sounded like somebody else was talkin'

askin', "Momma what do I do?"

She said, "Just be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy.

They'll be nice to you."

She said, "Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down!

Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down.

God forgive me for what I do,

But if you want out girl it's up to you

Now don't let me down,

now get on out, you better start sleepin' uptown."

That was the last time I saw my momma

when I left that rickety shack

The welfare people came and took the baby.

Momma died and I ain't been back.

But the wheels of fate had started to turn

and for me there was no other way out.

It wasn't very long after that I knew exactly

what my momma was talkin' 'bout.

I knew what I had to do.

Then I made myself this solemn vow:

I's gonna to be a lady someday

though I didn't know when or how.

But I couldn't see spendin' the rest of my life

with my head hung down in shame.

You know I mighta been born just plain white trash.

but Fancy was my name.

She said, "Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down!

Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down.

God forgive me for what I do,

but if you want out girl it's up to you.

Now get on out, you better start sleepin' uptown."

Wasn't long after that a benevolent man

took me in off the streets

One week later I was pourin' his tea

in a five roomed penthouse suite.

Since then I've charmed a king, a congressman

and an occasional aristocrat

and I got me an elegant Georgia mansion

and a New York townhouse flat.
Now I ain't done bad

Now in this world there's a lot of self-righteous

hypocrites who call me bad.

They criticize Momma for turning me out

No matter how little we had.

But I haven't had to worry 'bout nothin'

now for nigh on fifteen years

But I can still hear the desperation

in my poor mommas voice ringin' in my ears.

"Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down!

Oh, here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down.

God forgive me for what I do,

but if you want out girl it's up to you.

Now get on out, you better start sleepin' uptown."

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Before I chose this short video on Lent, I had listened to Stephen Colbert.  I like Stephen Colbert, most especially for the strong stand that he "seemed" to have taken regarding the need for Immigration Reform.  He recorded his program up at Gill's Corn Farm  In West Hurley, NY.  last summer. It was both funny and made some strong points about how the Immigration System has been broken and needs reform.  As Stephen is a practicing Catholic he will often link his humor to this. On his first program this year near Ash Wednesday he did a skit where he had ashes on his forehead.  Then he explained that traditionally LENT was a time when Catholics gave up something.  Then he improvised saying that, Catholics should give up something that is very important to them. Then he said (and it was meant to be a joke) So since my Catholic Faith is very important to me I have decided to give it up for Lent.  I still like Stephen Colbert, but his approach was really misleading.  You can find his sketch at this link
Maybe you found it funny, maybe not.  But this video hits the "target" on what Lent is about.