From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Gnomes in the News

Life in Germany... Some Interesting News...



I heard a story on Fox News this morning about a garden gnome theft at Keller, TX. In order to answer the call about the theft, police abandoned the idea of investigating a pickup truck without lights that had just run a stop sign. As it turns out, this pickup was probably driven by the thieves, making a sneaky get-away with the stolen gnomes.

Garden gnome moundThis gives me a reason to post a photo of the largest garden gnome settlement I've ever observed. These little fellows lived in a garden near our apartment on Heinersdorfer Str. in (West) Berlin. I took the photo in the spring of 1991. (Do you think this display hints at obsession?)

I'd never seen garden gnomes around the various neighborhoods (central USA, Bolivia) where I'd lived before we went to Germany, so I was quite amused by them when I saw them in German gardens. A little garden and hardware store on Heinersdorfer Str. had a prominent display of gnomes in their window and I often stopped with Keely and Isaac (who were very little then) to admire them in the window.

German gnomeKnowing that I wanted gnomes of my own, Dennis took Keely to the hardware store on a couple of occasions and had her choose a gnome that she thought Mom wanted. One of them is pictured at right. He's ceramic and I'm still fond of him, so I don't let him go outside. He might get broken (or turn up missing, you know.)

Usually, he sits with my houseplants, but for this photo, I moved him to a less distracting background. He has a gnome comrade who plays a concertina (a mini accordian-like instrument) to help provide soothing music for the houseplants to grow by.

Sometime since the early 90's, gnomes have migrated in great numbers to the New World and I've even seen a few in Hopkinsville, KY.

Garden gnomes are versatile little creatures capable of much more than horticulture. A high school German teacher in Lancaster County, PA, uses gnomes to give her German IV students practice in written and conversational German. Students are required to write a series of essays (in German) about their experiences with their gnomes, and they seem to enjoy the learning experience.

Senior Hayli Cingle said her gnome, "Anna," will accompany her on a college visit next week. "I've got to ask my gnome what it thinks," Hayli said.

Hayli said having a gnome and talking about it regularly in German has increased her vocabulary. "It definitely has kept me in a German frame of mind," Hayli said.

Source: "Sprechen sie gnome?" by Madelyn Pennino in the Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, PA), posted to web on Feb 10, 2007
The above story was one of the nicer ones about gnomes in a Google news search. Too many are about "gnome-napping" which does not amuse me. It is simply theft with a cute name.

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I originally published this post with the title, "Gnomes in the Gnews," but I had to change it! That corny misspelling hurt my eyes every time I looked at it!

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How about you? Are there any gnomes around your home or garden?

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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