Rural Living

The Martha in Margo

by Margo Oxendine, Contributing Writer

Margo Oxendine

I cannot count the times friends have said to me, Margo, you're Bath County's own Martha Stewart.

I cannot count them because, well, no one has ever said it.

Perhaps in a moment of hopeful optimism, a friend recently gave me a subscription to Martha Stewart Living magazine.

The cover screamed, Take it easy! I have no trouble doing that.

It promoted A Laid-Back Beach House. Had one of those already, although it looked nothing like the cover photo. Perhaps it was the surfboards leaning up against the living room wall. Surfboards in the living room? Really, Martha.

There's a special section entitled Grilling 101. I could really use that. Step one for me: Buy a grill.

And then, there are Simple Crafts Inspired by the Sea. I am not the least bit crafty. My mind boggled when I scanned the article. It suggested making rice paper prints of fish. First step: Cover your work surface. There goes the kitchen table. Brush drawing ink onto a rubber fish form using a sponge brush. I have no drawing ink. I cannot imagine where to locate a rubber fish form. As for the sponge brush, well, there just might be one in the basement.

I guess what intrigues me most about Martha's magazine is that she publishes her monthly calendar in it for all to see.

I found Martha's June calendar quite fascinating. It amazes me, really, just how similar we are. On June 16, for example, Martha will take clothes to dry cleaner. I do that, too! On Fathers Day, Martha will have friends over for lunch on the porch. I will, too! Early in the month, Martha will Have vintage Edsel station wagon serviced in Maine. I will bring my aging Honda to Clifford for an oil change that very day! And on June 15, Martha must finish my column for Living. Well dear, I must finish my own Living column that day. This is uncanny!

I dare say Martha works harder than I do. The poor darling will spend two days weeding vegetable beds. Shell be planting sunflowers, sowing pumpkins, gourds and eggplant seeds. Shell be edging grass along the roads and plant beds, and harvesting the last of the greens from the cold frame, whatever that is. Something tells me, though, that Martha will actually be overseeing a paid laborer to do much of this.

Heres something interesting. On June 23, its time for Friesians and miniature donkeys to get their annual checkups. Martha immediately jets off to London that afternoon. That Martha is certainly the multi-tasker. Were I jetting to London on an afternoon, it would take me five days to get ready.

Martha is going to London, I surmise, because her godson, Augustine Booth-Clibborn, will graduate from Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. I have a sister born in August, who attended a university, and has driven through a town called Pembroke. What a coincidence!

Speaking of birthdays, it seems as if there are none that slip past Martha. During June, she marks the calendar for her niece Erica Scott; her godson, the aforementioned Augustine; her property director, Mike Fiore (what exactly is a property director?); and even Lawyer Larry Shires birthday. My oh my.

In between making fresh vegetable juice using produce from the garden, and drinks and dinner with friends (I do that, too!), Martha must find time to send horses to East Hampton (its the place to summer in New England, dont you know), and to continue fertilizing houseplants weekly with compost tea.

I have houseplants! They consider themselves fortunate if theyre watered weekly. To my knowledge, they do not drink tea.

Martha has a curious entry on June 30: Deadhead peonies. I never particularly liked the Grateful Dead, but I have known many a diehard Deadhead in my life. I just cannot seem to make the connection to peonies, somehow. Perhaps other pages in Marthas mag will provide a clue.

Sadly, there are entries on Marthas calendar that I will never make on mine. Prepare guest rooms on yacht and put up net on tennis court, for instance. Take inventory of wine collection. That, I can do in about 30 seconds.

The last thing Martha will do in June is buy non-perishables in bulk, and store them in the basement. I would have to drive 150 miles to buy anything in bulk. But, if I were to store it in the basement, perhaps I might find that sponge brush.


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