Welcome to Lydia McCauley's Garden of Simples Blog

The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get from it, but what they become by it. - John Ruskin

Lydia McCauley and Kurt Scherer are owners of STONEHOUSE ARTIFACTS, offering Treasures from Colonial India. Online Here.

Our shop is located in Bellingham, Washington. We welcome you to come and visit our small estate, enjoy the grounds and share a cup of Chai.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Welcome Marionettes

An afternoon show with the Welcome Marionettes has become a summer tradition for my family and friends. The puppets are designed and made by Laura Carroll of Deming, Washington. Laura and Mike live in a stone cottage of which Laura built herself. It is set into the woods with magical paths going here and yon, leading to a creek and gardens. A delightful place indeed!

I asked Laura to write her thoughts about her occupation, when she began, what inspires her, and the benefits she receives from this work. We corresponded by mail - and it was very dear to receive this letter of hers. Here it is.


In response to your question my occupation was art teacher. I taught for a while and enjoyed it much. I quit to pursue sculpture, my media is wood. I got very tired of sanding. In and around this I helped my husband Mike with his gardening business. When I hit fifty I decided a change was in order. Marionettes were a natural choice, my parents had been puppeteers. For twenty years they built and performed The Scotts Marionettes. The show had been more of a myth than a reality for me, as it ended with my Father's death when I was twelve. The puppets were destroyed by fire some years later. Now all that remains of their show are photos. I felt a new beginning was in order. At present, building and performing marionettes is my primary occupation. It has turned out to be a delightful one.

The marionettes and their operation take every thing I have ever learned and more. They are sculpture and engineering, they are theater, music and painting. They are all the doll clothes I ever made for my daughters. They are scriptwriting and production, promotion, and business. And as a dividend we get to perform. After months of practice alone in the studio, what a delight to hear the audience response. On top of that we get paid. How good can it get?

I have been very fortunate to have the help of my husband Michael and my neighbor Betty Ann Abeid. Mike is a musician with a special flare for children's music, and as it turns out a fine gift for marionettes. Betty Ann, already an accomplished seamstress has discovered a talent for singing and acting. The marionettes have taught us all a great deal about ourselves. The three of us have been performing together for the past seven years. We have built over sixty puppets and the larcy classical stage we work from. We are now in the midst of fittiing out a trailer from which we can perform for outdoor events. And of course, another show.

You ask what inspires me to create. I hate to sound flipped. I have given your question due thought. All I can truly say is that it is the same thing that inspires me to breathe.

Thank you for your interest.
As always yours,
Laura Scott Carroll
Welcome Marionettes
PO Box 292
Deming, WA 98244
Tel. (360) 220-3144


Welcome Marionettes have produced several shows which include:

TEDDY BEAR and THE KING'S BREAKFAST - from A.A. Milne's set of poems - When We Were Very Young, and Now We Are Six


PETER AND THE WOLF, complete with music by Sergei Prokofiev

A MUSICAL MEDLEY of all sorts of fun!

Here are some of the venues where they have performed:

Everett Public Library
Bellingham Public Library
Mt. Vernon Public Library
Bellingham Public Schools
Lummi Island School
Ballard Seafood Festival
Stillaguamish River Festival
Magnolia Family Festival, Seattle

For more information please visit their blog at http://welcomemarionettes.blogspot.com
Contact Laura Carroll or Betty Ann Abeid
Tel. (360) 592-2203
That's Betty Ann's grandson Theo in the photo above!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thoughts on Peace

"Peace cannot be obtained by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." -Albert Einstein

"Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn't try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence, even well intentioned,
always rebounds upon oneself."

Tao Te Ching
Trans. Stephen Mitchell

"...every great artist is a man who has freed himself from his family, his nation, his race. Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a "universal" without patriotism, without home, who has found his people everywhere." Chaim Potok, The Art Spirit, from MY NAME IS ASHER LEV

The photo above is of Kurt, and our daughter Hannah who was visiting this summer from San Francisco. We got the hanging brass gong in Burma. They are used by the monks in their morning waking bowl ceremony. The flags in our garden were given to us by a Tibetan friend in India. Here is his house in Bela Kuppa, India.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Thoughtful Radio Program

Thank you to Jerry Nelms for his kind permission to post a portion of the notes from last week's radio broadcast.

Beyond The Lakes Playlist for November 9, 2008

Music from Beyond the Lakes
Produced by Jerry Nelms and Namdar Mogharreban Sundays, 8-10 pm Central Time, USA WDBX, 91.1 FM, Carbondale, Illinois (www.wdbx.org) Streamed LIVE at wdbx.scientistsuperstar.com Listen by going to www.wdbx.org and click on "Listen"

This program featured music by Soulfood with Peter Schimke; Johan Agebjörn; Deuter; Gregory Kyryluk; Lydia McCauley; Jane Sibbery; Davol; Jeff Pearce; John Gregorius; William Ackerman; Michael Logozar; and Dan Kennedy.

November 9, 2008

“The Lessons of Honor and Dignity” (produced by Jerry Nelms)

Time: the morning after the 2008 election.

It’s almost like a dream—that Barrack Obama won the election. People were cheering in the streets, crying with joy, in spontaneous celebrations all over the country, all over the world, for that matter. It was a landslide victory, and Obama gave a wonderful speech in Grant Park in Chicago last night. And I am so delighted that my late-night anxieties the other night, my distrust in the American electorate turned out wrong. And I think, maybe, I was wrong about John McCain, too.

McCain gave a gracious concession speech in Arizona. Indeed, McCain’s speech marked for me his return to genuine honor. He said: I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too. But we both recognize that, though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation's reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States. Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.

Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

That concession speech, to me, may have been the most meaningful thing said last night. As novelist Hermann Hesse once wrote, “It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see [others] and honor [them] for what [they are].” The lessons of honor and dignity continue to be taught—and sometimes, they spring from unlikely sources.

And so, this evening, let’s consider these important human values through a program of acoustic and electronic music entitled “The Lessons of Honor and Dignity.” We begin with this airy, contemplative music by Soulfood in collaboration with pianist Peter Schimke, from Serenity. We’ll continue with a confident piano and keyboard composition by Swedish librarian and electronic music artist Johan Agebjörn from Mossebo; dream-like piano and keyboard textures from native German multi-instrumentalist Deuter’s Atmospherics; and a lovely, lightly bittersweet melody by Gregory Kyryluk from Ephemeral Highways. In our second half-hour, we’ll hear two solemn tracks from Washington state pianist Lydia McCauley’s Quieting, also featuring Jami Sieber on cello; a short poem by singer-songwriter Jane Siberry, set to music by Morgan Fisher, from Siberry’s retrospective collection City; shimmering, gently flowing atmospherics by Johan Agebjörn, again from Mossebo; a richly textured radio mix of a new composition for a video project entitled Truth by Colorado electronic music artist Davol; and finally, shadowy ambience by Indiana Chapman Stick player and sound artist Jeff Pearce from Rainshadow Sky.

We’re contemplating “The Lessons of Honor and Dignity” on our program tonight, ongoing lessons in our own initiations, lessons that can come from unlikely sources and take us to the higher realms of our human nature and give us a glimpse Beyond the Lakes.


Soulfood – Serenity – Soulfood Music – 2002
“Harvest Moon”

Johan Agebjörn – Mossebo – Lotuspike – 2008

Deuter – Atmospherics – New Earth Records – 2008

Gregory Kyryluk – Ephemeral Highways – Harmonic Resonance Recordings – 2005
“Tomorrows Journeys”


Lydia McCauley – Quieting – Brimstone Music – 2008

Jane Siberry – City – Sheeba Records – 2001
“Narrow Bridge/Millennium”

Davol – Truth – GIRA Sound – 2008
“Truth (radio mix)”

Jeff Pearce – Rainshadow Sky – Jeff Pearce Music – 2008
“Harvest Storms”

We’re contemplating the importance of honor and dignity on our program tonight, those sometimes seemingly antiquated names for beliefs and behaviors that speak to our higher human aspirations and values and how lessons of honor and dignity can sometimes come from unlikely sources.

We begin our second hour of these considerations with four sparkling compositions from the debut album of John Gregorius, Heaven and Earth.

Later, venerable guitarist, producer, and co-founder of Windham Hill Records, William Ackerman, will perform new recordings of two of his classic compositions, both from his new CD collection, Meditations. Deuter returns to begin our final half-hour with another coolly ethereal track from Atmospherics. We’ll also hear two delicate, bittersweet compositions by Canadian-born pianist Michael Logozar from Coming into View; and two lovely melodies by Amherst, Massachusetts, pianist Dan Kennedy from Lantern.

“The Lessons of Honor and Dignity,” tonight on Music from Beyond the Lakes.


John Gregorius – Heaven and Earth – 03e/Spotted Peccary – 2008
“Secret to Light”
“Heaven & Earth”
“Sackcloth to Ashes”

William Ackerman – Meditations – Compass Records – 2008
“Hawk Circle”


Deuter – Atmospherics – New Earth Records – 2008

Michael Logozar – Coming into View – Michael Logozar – 2007

Dan Kennedy – Lantern – Dan Kennedy – 2007

Profile of Beyond the Lakes:

Music from Beyond the Lakes was first aired on Easter Sunday evening, 1996.

Jerry Nelms began as the show's sole producer and host. Namdar Mogharreban joined as co-host that summer and began producing his first programs in the fall. Beyond the Lakes airs eclectic new age and contemplative world music, both ambient and rhythmic; electronic and acoustic; instrumental and vocal. Beyond the Lakes is thematically programmed each week. Jerry's understanding of "new age" music: it provides a space for the imagination, and, so, can take many different forms but always functions in that way of allowing the listener space for the play of the imagination.

Contact Jerry at gnelms@verizon.net.

Send all promotional materials to the following:

Jerry Nelms
Beyond the Lakes
114 Magnolia Lane
Carbondale, Illinois 62903

Thanks to all musical artists for enriching our world!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rehearsal at Meadow House

My sister Mary and her partner Charlia came to visit us this summer. The band (Lynne, Phil, and Frank) came over for a rehearsal and Mary caught it on her digital camera. It was lovely to have them here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Beautiful Beautiful Change

We are celebrating this new change today, and are so very grateful for the election's outcome. Congratulations to the whole world. Congratulations to Barack Obama. May Peace Prevail on Earth.

The Master doesn't talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, "Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!"

Tao Te Ching
Trans. Stephen Mitchell

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trust the People

If you don't trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.

Tao Te Ching
Trans. Stephen Mitchell

The practice of putting others in the center is not simply a crusade to do "good." It is a practice based on the understanding that our own happiness is inextricably linked with the happiness of others.

Dzigar Kongtruil, Light Comes Through

Christ is the population of the world,
and every object as well. There is no room
for hypocrisy. Why use bitter soup for healing
when sweet water is everywhere?

Trans. Coleman Barks

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Voluntary Simplicity

"Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer conditions. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose."
-Richard Gregg, 1936