Posts Tagged ‘gardens


Princeton U. – A Good Life

I’ve been negligent about posting and checking on my favorite blogs for a lot of reasons, which I’ll explain when I figure them all out myself. One reason I do know of is that I had to prepare for the last of my consulting gigs, this one at Princeton University’s art museum.

While I was there, Caroline (not to be confused with the Caroline who cuts my hair), my host took me to eat lunch in the faculty dining hall where they have a fresh floral arrangement in the foyer every single day.


I loved the contrast between the fuchsia and pink of the flowers against the rust colored walls and wanted to remember the combination for future design inspiration.

I knew Princeton was well financed, but it never dawned on me how well until as we ate I remarked about a beautiful garden outside a nearby window. Caroline said that it was endowed with so much money that they have a hard time spending it, so they change every plant in the garden on a monthly basis, with the exception of the boxwoods and what looked to me like a few arborvitae.

I didn’t have a ton of time to tour the campus, but what I saw was really lovely. Here are just a few photos of buildings I thought were interesting:




Oh, one more fun note. Princeton is an elegant sounding name, isn’t it? Before the school was moved to Princeton and adopted the village’s name, Princeton was known as the College of New Jersey. A good PR move, I think.


Back to the Farm?

While playing around with the search term “postmodern food” (related to some writing I’m doing on Southern cooking for gen-x and beyond) I ran across a title by Bill McKibben called Deep Economy – The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future.    Rev. Mike loaned it to me because he had already read it, of course.

McKibben’s book challenges the notion that “more” is always “better.”  In fact, more in some instances is better (poverty+an ability to provide for your family=better), but there is a point at which more actually makes things worse (amount of space needed to house family of 3 comfortably+10,000 square feet≠better).  What does this have to do with Good Home?  Well, on this blog I play around a lot with the notion of “good enough.” Do we need the finest and newest of everything to make us happy?  No, nor could we afford it.

But why pay retail when a trip to a local auction yields recycled and often more interesting pieces that didn’t require a semi full of non-renewable resources (oil) to get here from say North Carolina, not to mention the trips that other large trucks (more oil) made to ship supplies there.  Only to have furniture (plastic covered – more oil) sitting in acres of air-conditioned and over lit (more non-renewable fossil fuels) warehouses.

I know, where do you start and where do you stop?  I don’t really know, but that’s the question I’m starting to ask.  And local food is starting to look smarter and smarter to me for some of the same reasons.  And what if the world’s goal is to raise it’s level of consumption to that of the U.S.?  God forbid.  Given our already depleting sources of fossil fuels, imagine if all of India and China decided they needed as many cars per family as we think we do?   And why shouldn’t they?  Their economies are strengthening.   

I’m really starting to wonder if my grandparents and their self-sustaining farm, not to mention their continued support of local economies, didn’t have a better handle on energy consumption than we do.   Oh, who am I kidding?  They totally did.   

But is having a farm what John and I need to do?  I really don’t enjoy sweating that much and I have a developing asthma issue.  What would  other alternatives  be?  Could I just cook for our homestead?  What about food cooperatives?  Maybe we get our food from them.  More plentiful small urban gardens?  My church is starting some interesting work with a project called “Eden in Indianapolis” working with area gardeners and local restaurants.  I’m kind of interested to see how it will turn out.   

Open to suggestions.