"Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future?" Jacqueline Kennedy

Monday, September 16, 2019

This Wednesday, NYC Parks Department To Share Preliminary Carroll Park Community Vision Plan With Carroll Gardeners

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Welcome to fall in Carroll Gardens!
You may remember that the New York Parks Department invited the Carroll Gardens community to a public visioning session for the future of Carroll Park back in February 2019.

The last top-to-bottom renovation of our beloved neighborhood park was in 1994. As we have all noticed, the park has begun to look a bit tired and will need a makeover in the near future. To prepare for that time, the Parks Department asked local residents to contribute their ideas for a park redesign.

Almost 150 people, young and old, attended the February visioning session to make suggestions and discuss options for a new design.

The Parks Department is now ready to come back to the community to present the Carroll Park Community Vision Plan "that was created after hearing your feedback."

This is the meeting notice from the Parks Department:
Remember that this is just another step towards a park redesign. there will be ongoing opportunities for discussion and modifications to the design. It will take some time to secure funding and to reach consensus on a final design. However, we should all be involved in making it the best design possible.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Pardon Me For Asking Is Back After A Long And Glorious Summer In The Auvergne, France

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Pardon Me For Asking Is Back!
I know, I know! It has been a very long time since I updated this site and for that I apologize.
I would like to thank my many Pardon Me ForAsking readers who reached out this summer to inquire about me and about PMFA. First, let me assure you that everything is fine and that the long silence was due entirely to catching up with family and friends during a glorious summer in the countryside of the Auvergne, France. Every time I meant to sit down to post a few photos or write about this glorious place, my attention was drawn away from the computer and I won't lie, it felt good to enjoy life away from the internet for a bit.  
I just got back to Brooklyn a few days ago, and am ready to slip back into my Carroll Gardens life once again, but before I do, I just wanted to capture summer 2019 for those of you who enjoy following our tales of the Auvergne.
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As many of you know, I spent part of my childhood in this part of France, which is right in the center of France, known for its chain of volcanos (a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2018) and its unspoiled countryside.
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Every summer, for as long as I can remember, I have returned to this glorious place, to a small village high in the mountains, where people remember me as a child, and where my parents bought an old stone farmhouse in 1971.
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By the time my husband and I arrive in early summer, the sunflowers are in bloom
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and daylight only fades at 10 pm,
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giving way to some of the most spectacular sunsets.
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I love the open sky, the fact that I can see the weather changing in the far distance.
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The weather can change in a moment in the Auvergne, but
the summer of 2019 was one of the hottest ever recorded in France and temperatures hovered at or above 100 degrees for days on end.
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Only occasionally did it rain this year, but when it did, we had some rather spectacular storms pass over our house.
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We even had two hailstorms that luckily did not do too much damage.
However, almost immediately afterwards, the sun would reappear, relentlessly baking the earth.
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When I say that we are deep in the countryside, I really mean it. 
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There are fields, cows,
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the occasionally, donkey,
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and many other domestic animals.
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As I mentioned before, my parents bought an old stone farmhouse in 1971, just months after my family moved to the Auvergne from Germany.  It was our week-end and summer house while we lived here.
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This is it a year later,  after my parents had done some work to renovate the 1866 house. When, we moved to the United States in 1975, my mother insisted on keeping it, so she could return to France often.
This is my mother at the house in the early 1970s.  She was never as happy as when she was in the Auvergne and came back to it every year until she passed in 2003.
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Obviously, I share my mother's love of the place, which holds so many memories for me.
Here I am at the weekly market in Ambert, buying herbs for the garden.
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Going to the market is a real thrill and a big part of our vacation.
There is a market in different little towns every day, and the produce they offer is just wonderful.
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Not only is the fruit full of flavor
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the prices are still pretty low for the quality offered.
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Just look at this garlic
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and the fresh fish on offer.
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This is the view from my kitchen at the house. Many a meal was prepared here this summer.
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This was a fresh beet and red endive salad I made one night.
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And this was a sourdough bread I baked,. I scored my initial in it, but the K was not very recognizable when it came out of the oven.
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The house in the summer of 2018.
As in years past, our time here was spent working on the house. After having a brand new tiled roof put on in 2016, new window openings added in the attic in 2017, the back façade of the house repointed last year, it was time to attack some more projects.
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Local artisan Christian D. made yet another new window opening into the house in the spring, before we arrived.
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He used granite stones to line the opening
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and then covered it until the ordered window can be installed.
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When we unblocked the opening, a flood of light came into that part of the attic.
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The new view over the valley is quite spectacular.
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The biggest undertaking this year was to continue to repoint the stones on the front of the house.My husband had always wanted to do this part of the renovation himself, though it seemed like a huge job. He began work on the façade last year and immediately started again this summer after we arrived. At first, he was perched on a ladder, which was rather dangerous.
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Later, our friend Christian D. lent him his scaffold, which made things so much easier...and safer.
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Glenn spent day after day on that scaffold,
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first drilling out the old lime and sand mixture, before applying new 'chaux',
which is formulated pretty much the same way as when the house was built in 1866.
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This is a section of the façade before, with its nasty cracks and holes,
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This is a section that has been repointed.
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Soon, our son and son-in-law arrived to help and things moved right along
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Sometimes, this is what vacation looks like when you take care of an old stone house in another country.
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My favorite improvement this summer was the little oak window my husband made for the round opening at the top.
You may remember that baby falcons had nested in that opening in 2016.
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Doesn't it look nice?
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Another big item off our to-do list was to move a giant 900 pound granite stone that had been used as a bench in the garden for as long as I remember.  Unfortunately, its location was not the best and no one had really sat on it for a very long time. The plan had always been to have it placed in front of the house.  Once again, Christian D. came to help.
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He brought over his small backhoe and lifted the stone up,
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and placed it exactly where we wanted it.
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My husband Glenn, Christian and me with Libellule, Christian's dog, trying it out for the first time.
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But by far the best part of summer 2019 was the time spent with Dove, our two year old grandson.
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He is the fourth generation of my family to love the Auvergne.
This was his second summer here in paradise.
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He was busy all day long
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and in between,  I stole many hugs
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and kisses, too.
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Can you tell he had fun?
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Sadly, all summers come to and end. It was time for last hugs,
and good-byes from dear friends.
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It is always difficult to leave this place to return home.
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Here, just a few more photos after all the work was done and the scaffolding was taken down.
The left side of the façade is all done. Next year, work continues on the right side.
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A double rainbow behind the house a few days before we left.
I tell you, this place is magic!
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PMFA will resume posting about Carroll Gardens now that we are back. We hope you will check in soon, as many things are coming up in the neighborhood.