Simon Sarris


The Map is Mostly Water

I write a newsletter on a patchwork of topics called The Map is Mostly Water.

A very simple thesaurus that includes historical quotes. I made this because I was annoyed that is slow and does not automatically focus the input box. My site automatically focuses the input box. Also it’s cuter.


Interactive garden planner that details the flowers and orchard. I update this as I plant.

You can also read a little bit Everything I know about gardening (not very much).

The Orchard

also known as The Benedict Fritz Orchard of Weird Little Apples

the orchard

In 2022 I planted two Maine heirloom apple trees, one of them was sponsored by Benedict Fritz, who wondered if he could pay someone to plant a tree (for carbon capture). My intention was to add 1 or 2 trees to this orchard each year. Instead, many people on twitter offered to sponsor a tree, and in 2023 I planted 13 more fruiting trees.

The apples and pears are all heirloom varieties.

The Garden of 100 roses

the rose garden

In 2023 I began designing a small flower garden for the front of my house. Focused on roses, it will also contain a number of companion plants. It has a few goals:

  • Be beautiful and enjoyable for both my family and passerbies. This means it should be close to the house but maximally visible from the road. Like my house, it should feel like part of the town’s architecture.
  • Be landscape-sized (large), but contain more than just shrubs. So many gardens around here have a focus on being as maintenance free and context-less as possible, and I want to create something much grander. (See: Bad gardens are often about insensitivity to context)
  • Be managable by mostly just one person, who does not own a tractor.

In the fall of 2023 I planted thousands of bulbs, which will be the garden’s foreground. There are 16 roses in beds near the house, and I have ordered over 50 more for planting in the spring of 2024 (they will arrive in April or May).

If you want to contribute to this garden, you can adopt a rose.

Designing a New Old Home

A series about designing our own home on a relatively modest budget. With a mix of careful planning and DIY we thought we could build a home with the charm that many old homes possess, and without a lot of the problems that modern homes seem to have.

The Goose Palace

the goose palace
the goose palace
the goose palace

A timber-framed 12x16 barn with carbonized siding, built from local wood. Built in 2022.

I have written a little about this project: part 1 part 2

Stone work

We had no landscaping budget when we finished our house, so we’ve been doing it ourselves slowly over the years. This includes building stone walls around the hill to terrace it a little. The initial large course is set with a tractor, and the rest is done by hand.

stone terrace
stone terrace
stone terrace
stone terrace

I have also uncovered much older stone walls around my house. They are buried under decades of dirt and poison ivy, so this is a somewhat long process.

stone wall
stone wall
stone wall
stone wall

Wood work

I mostly hand-carve things I would find useful or pretty, like kitchen spoons. I’ll add some examples here, soon.