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Prairie Friends

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hi everybody! Sitting in JFK Airport on a Monday afternoon layover, wading through hundreds of offers for Cialis and Rolex Replicas, answering an email here and there. Jet Blue rokks. TV's in the back of the seat, free wireless in the terminal. As you may know, I don't watch TV much...American Idol in the winter and Entourage from time to time, but that's it. Phoebe and I watched a Project Runway marathon all the way to Maine and got irretrievably hooked on this strangely fascinating show. What fun! We are mini fashionistas now. We're on our way back from a week in Maine. It was superb. There was no Internet or cell service. Yes, you read right. Superb. Weather was great; people were even better; ocean was beautiful and so were the birds. You'll see...but first you'll be hearing about North Dakota for awhile.

There has been some talk on this blog of sadly misguided but sweet people wanting to be adopted so they can live at Indigo Hill. Well, we’ll have to leave you a key, because I want to be adopted by Ann and Ernie Hoffert of Pipestem Creek outside Pingree, North Dakota.

These folks live gently on 5,000 acres of land that was farmed by Ann’s family for decades. She lived in other parts of the country for 22 years, and in 1987 she and Ernie returned to the Reimert farm. Ernie grows crops for seed, so you know he grows the finest crops on that deep black loam. Ann uses four acres to grow flowers and ornamental seed-bearing plants. She has a thriving business, making ornamental wreaths, edible bird feeders, and other home decorating accents for such clients as Martha Stewart and Smith and Hawken. Everything is grown on the farm, and hung to dry in outbuildings that Ann and Ernie have salvaged and moved before they were to be destroyed.

We have Pipestem Creek wreaths and creations all over our house, and love them. They're all natural, all locally-grown, and simply beautiful.

To say that Ann has a way with plants is a vast understatement. These peonies, on the verge of bloom, will all be dried and included in her exquisite creations, if they’re not incorporated in impossibly lush bouquets in their beautiful ranch house.Salt of the earth—it’s a cliché, I know, but it describes Ann and Ernie. They are constantly watching and appreciating the birds that populate their land. They love the sky and its moods, and they can linger for hours in a marsh and let the beauty wash over them.These red admirals and monarchs were swarming all over a late lilac in their yard. It’s a lushly planted garden of delights. (Remember what I said about stretching spring out? Lilacs on June 11? Please!! And I just got done sniffing the last fading flowers on traditional lilacs and late French lilacs like these in Port Clyde, Maine...on June 24!! It's a thing now.)Ernie has a wonderful baritone voice, and he plays guitar and sings beautifully. Ann is so kind and and solicitous, and she made Phoebe and Liam feel appreciated and included when her monomaniacal parents were clicking away at grassland birds. I always think of Jessica Lange when I see Ann. She has an egret’s elegance, even when windblown. I think she likes it when we visit, because we “get” this land she loves so much, and she can see it anew through our eyes. If they’ll have us, we’d like to be adopted by Ann and Ernie. Instant grandchildren! Think about, OK?My sweet father-in-law has kindly sprung Chet Baker from Puppy Prison as of Monday morning. He'll be waiting in Phoebe's bed, most likely, when we get home. That's where he likes to sleep when we're away, because he can hop up and peer out the window at the driveway, awaiting our return. Being greeted by Boston kisses is the next best thing to kid kisses. Since we have the kids with us, we'll take Baker's welcome gladly. He's going to be one happy puppeh.
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