PART 1 – RAISING A GLASS: To Neighbors . . .

Some vintage cocktail glasses with freshly candied rims ready for a party with my neighbors.

Fair warning: This blog post is part one of three, possibly four, maybe more.

We could all use a diversion at this dark, quarantined time, so, to that end, let’s raise a glass (or two or three)! To neighbors. To friendship. To love. To life . . .

Part 1 – To neighbors!

In 2015 at Christmastime, I was given a beautiful gift of friendship in the wake of my husband’s death the previous year. My neighbors, along with their family and friends, came from across our street to my place, my “Pub” to be precise, for drinks on Christmas Eve, allowing me to make them cocktails at this very special family time.

Making drinks is something that gives me great joy even in deep sorrow.

– Karen England

I should mention, since it’s important to this series of posts, that my neighbors just happen to be the parents of two of the three members of a band that you may have heard of, Nickel Creek – and their (adult) kids are Sean and Sara Watkins.

Nickel Creek band members, from left to right, Chris Thile, Sara Watkins & Sean Watkins.

Sara and her husband came home for Christmas that year and so did Sean, who brought his new girlfriend, Dominique, to meet his family.

Sean, myself and Dominique in my Pub.

So, when I tell you that they all came to my house to have drinks with me in my newly minted “Pub”, you can know that it was not lost on me what a huge gift that was. These world class musicians work very hard all year long writing, recording, performing, touring, and traveling, etc., . . . Coming home at Christmas to be together with their family is sacred time – personal, private, family time, something they treasure. And they gave that time to me. Makes me cry, even today, as I write this.

All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors.

-John Calvin
What used to be my Soap Shop/Garden shed is now my “Pub”.

My “Pub” is really a glorified garden shed on my property that was once my “Soap Shop”, back when I had a home-based, handcrafted herbal soap business called Edgehill Herb Farm. That soap business closed when my husband passed away, I just wasn’t able to keep it going alone. With the help of my best friend, that old soap making shed was transformed in 2015 from an ugly mess of no longer needed stuff into a really cute home bar after we cleared out the junk and moved in a couple of cheap Ikea leather arm chairs and some unused antiques that I had piled up in the back of the garage.

Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there.      

-Franklin P. Jones

As forlorn as I was, my friends and neighbors collective sweet kindness in giving up precious family time to spend even a part of the holiday with me, was one of the nicest things that has ever happened to me.

Well, that is until recently, when (spoiler alert!) in 2019 Sean married his beloved Dom at his parents’ house across the street and I was given the great honor of praying during their marriage ceremony and the absolute joy of pouring their wedding drinks, four of them; the “His”, a “Bramble” cocktail, the “Hers”, a drink known as the “Sidecar”, both of which were served at my Pub, and the “Theirs”, a combination tipple of a Bramble and a Sidecar based on a drink called the “Loudspeaker”, and, to end the festivities, last call was the “Ours”, a “Rosemary Rusty Nail” by the bonfire at midnight at my neighbors’ home.

Yep, that is me, Karen England, praying during Sean and Dominique’s wedding. It’s a joyful prayer that I will share with you in another part in this series.

These three (maybe four, we will see . . .) blog posts are really about different aspects of their beautiful, incredible, glorious wedding but from my perspective – from the Pub across the street.

My Pub.

There is an idea abroad among moral people that they should make their neighbors good. One person I have to make good: Myself. But my duty to my neighbor is much more nearly expressed by saying that I have to make him happy if I may.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

The end of Part 1.


There are a lot of links that I want to give to you in this series and I hope you will follow them all! And, since you are quarantined, you might just have the time . . .

You can follow us all on Insta:

We all love Instagram! And we love raising a glass together during this quarantine on FaceTime!

Karen is @edgehillherbfarm, Sean is @seanwatkins & Dominique is @domsingdom on Instagram.

Here is music by Sean & Sara:

Nickle Creek – http://nickelcreek.com/

Watkins Family Hour – https://www.watkinsfamilyhour.com/home – New album, “brother sister” available April 10, 2020. Singles “Just Another Reason” and “Fake Badge, Real Gun” available now . . .

Sean Watkins – http://www.seanwatkins.com

Sara Watkins – http://www.sarawatkins.com

I’m With Her Band – https://www.imwithherband.com

Here is music by Dominique:

Dominique Arciero – https://music.apple.com/us/album/wanted-it-to-be-you-single/1475612186

That’s my dog Dover with Dominique in my Pub on the Album Cover for her 2019 song release “Wanted It To Be You”.

Here is the Junebug Weddings blog about Sean & Dom’s wedding:

https://junebugweddings.com/wedding-blog/bride-wore-handmade-dress-pastel-wedding-vista-california/

Here is the book that I am selling, in stock now!

I have contributed a chapter to this book on the 2020 Herb of the Year – Rubus, Celebrating Blackberries, Raspberries and More! all about the “Bramble” drink! And it just so happens to be the “His” cocktail that I served at Sean and Dom’s wedding last Fall. https://edgehillherbfarm.ecwid.com/NEW-BOOK-Rubus-Celebrating-Blackberries-Raspberries-and-More-Herb-of-the-Year™%EF%B8%8F-2020-p177301524 GET YOUR COPY NOW!

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Epilogue:

A very Norman Rockwell-esque photo of that 2015 gathering of my neighbors and friends at Christmas in the Pub.