Tag Archive | farmer’s market

A Vintage Tree

I challenge you, dear readers, to find a blogger who has put their Christmas tree up later than me. In fact, I challenge you to find ANY person (minus my Jewish friends) who has put their tree up later than me…. We put the tree up on Saturday, December 22nd.

A beautiful live Douglas Fur.

A beautiful live Douglas Fir.

I do deserve a little credit this year as one time we actually hauled a tree off of the Home Depot lot on December 26th and paid $.25 for it. Those were the years when I would eye the trees on the curb, looking for the one with the most tinsel on it.

A traditional Christmas tree.

A traditional Christmas tree.

This tree is full of glass ornaments that I have collected over the years. I love birds and there are a lot of glass birds on this tree. I have ornaments from the 1950’s given to me by my mother and vintage ornaments from my husband’s family as well. It is a true hodge-podge of all things pretty. Nothing matches. It is just a collection of wooden beads, glass ornaments, icicles, traditional angels, and stars.

A scene in toile.

A scene in toile.

A pretty pink glass ball.

A pretty pink glass ball.

A girl playing the flute in a red dress.

A girl playing the flute in a red dress.

The wooden beads are a nod to the German influence of my mother’s family. They are bright and cheerful and every year I drape them around the tree. There are quite a few flute players on this tree, but none so realistic as the one in the red dress, almost identical to a red dress I once wore in a recital years ago. This flute lady was a gift from my mother-in-law.

The tree itself is a live Douglas Fir that I got from the local farmer’s market. It is still very fresh and drinking daily. I love the way it smells.

The Angel.

The Angel.

The angel is similar to the one I had growing up and reminds me of family. For me, the Christmas tree has never been about how it is decorated, but about the history behind the things it is decorated with. Each ornament given as a gift, each hand-made, hand-carved or handed down piece brings back a memory as I hang it on the tree. The very act of decorating the tree is the point: the music, the carols, and the family, all together. It is a celebration.

In the window.

In the window.

Maybe next year I will do something crazy like decorate the tree with pink flamingos. But for now, I am satisfied with this one, decorated with memories.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Jack London and His Square.

If you threw a rock from Jack London Square in Oakland, you could hit Alaska. Well, at least the cabin Jack London lived in, during the Yukon gold rush in Alaska. Seeing that log cabin, so basic and an obvious tool of survival and necessity, surrounded by palm trees and a beautiful harbor, is a strange site. A place where two worlds collide. Jack London, famed author of The Call of the Wild, The Sea WolfWhite Fang and other classic American novels and stories, is from Oakland, California. Thy have honored his memory and commemorated his work right in the middle of the city.

Jack London’s Alaskan cabin in Oakland, California.

This is a lovely tribute to Jack London and a reminder of the Alaskan frontier and the history of our great American West. Nearby, the Oakland farmer’s market, is the place to be on a weekend. The food, the produce, the colors, the art, are all a testament to the bounty that California has to offer.

California produce.


California seems so innovative. Buildings have green things growing up the sides (on purpose), the art is built into the streetscape, and soul food is offered up vegan. Only in California.


I tasted everything at the market: jams, olive oil, juicy nectarines, cherries, samosas and watched and chatted with an islander making pizza.  What an amazing place where so many cultures and backgrounds come crashing together and the result is this open-air market.

One day I will have one of these in my backyard.

The Art Show boasted everything from sculpture, to 3-dimensional works made with found objects like sticks, corks, and paint chips, to abstract art focused on color. These local artists displayed creative and novel pieces that could add charm or a conversation piece to any living room.

The farmer’s market in Oakland is a reminder that in Maryland, we raise chickens, but in California, they raise produce. The bounty is incredible and the scents, tastes, smells, and scenery add up to an inspiring and rich experience.

Jack London Square Mural.

If you ever find yourself in Oakland, go to the market and meet up with Jack London.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Midnight Dumpster Dive

Last night I went dumpster diving with the President Emeritus of the Diamond Hill Historical Society. Inspired by a fabulous day at the Community Market, I ended up peering into the dumpster outside of my neighbor’s house, at midnight, all because of a light fixture.

What better way to end an evening of good company, wine, and catching up, than with a well-worn piece of reclaimed wood from the dumpster? I love Lynchburg.

The Community Market is a place to gather, run into your friends, shop for locally grown food, and to feast on a croissant from the best… bakery… ever.

With a full stomach, high spirits, and coffee, we walk around seeking inspiration. It comes easily in this place.

Nearby, we shop in the quaint antique stores. We are filled with the excitement that comes when you are on the prowl for treasure; but leave with only ideas swimming around in our heads and a mission: a mission to find a piece of reclaimed wood. Wood that we can use to recreate the light fixture we want, minus the $450 price tag. This is how we ended up in the dumpster at midnight, hauling out old boards full of nails.

Community markets and farmers’ markets are springing up all over the country as a way to support local, American-grown or American-made goods. This is becoming a way of life and not only leads to good food, great ideas, affordable art, but a healthy economy as well.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio