Be joyful even though you have considered all the facts...practice resurrection. -Wendell Berry

Thursday, July 30, 2009

good byes

The bed linens are pegged on the clothesline out in the sunshine and breeze. The breakfast washing up has been done. The recycling has been sorted out in the woodshed. Ra, Nelson and Keith are driving on to other destinations. It is quiet at a bit of earth. I miss them all, fiercely. That's what love does.  And still I am willing to pay the price.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

a long, wonderful day

gretta and i hopped in the car on saturday morning and drove south
over the bridge
and through the tunnel and on through boston.
south a bit more.
we got to my brother doug's and sister-in-law ra's in time for lunch.
hugs, hugs, hugs.
my mumsie was there, my cousin nathan,
 and my brother nelson from london and his partner keith.
i had already met keith via skype, but it was fun to hug him in person.
then peter arrived from ct, lindsey from boston,
cousins lisa, andy and his wife michelle,
my aunt margretta and uncle david.
cousin ben and his wife lynn arrived in style.
they took folks on a ride along the ocean. 
we ate good food, caught up on life, laughed about childhood antics.
there were lots of lump-in-my-throat moments.
 
we discovered that loving boston cream pie and lemon meringue pie
is a genetic thing.
and that duct tape can get you into a bit of trouble.
and that you always need to be on your best behavior,
 'cause you never know where you might bump into people who know you.
we were missing stewart, dawn and hannah.
and the swedes, kristen and scott. 
and nathan #2 and anthony.

 peter and i saw a crow on the roof peak.
peter said, "maybe your dad IS here".

doug and ra always hold us all together with their hospitality.

gretta and i got back to vt at 11:30pm.
tired, but happy.

and tomorrow, ra, nelson and keith come to a bit of earth for a few days.
and i remain, blessed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

anticipation

looking forward to some family fun..big time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

working and playing

batman and i worked on a project on sunday afternoon.
i finished it up yesterday afternoon and installed it.
a netting frame to keep things away from the berries.
ellen has given me some mylar ribbon to add, 
to frighten the birdies and keep them from getting snared in the netting.
the pruning worked! look at these apples!
and here is one of the pears, lovingly planted and staked.
local food.

our friends from CT, mala and keshore, came up for the weekend.
and gretta was here.
we had a dinner party saturday night
with our friends ellen and don, too.
such flavors!
mala showed me how to roast an eggplant
 over the burner on the stove.
add red onion, spices and yogurt.
yum.
plantains, sweet potatoes and bok choy roasted under the broiler
and chicken on the grille.
fresh local mozzarella, sliced apple and 
chutney with cilantro layered on top of toasts, 
bubbled under the broiler for starters.

conversation, laughter, wine, old friends.
stargazing with the telescope.

the important things in life are not things.


Friday, July 17, 2009

after the storms

I was listening to VPR last night
when I heard that odd "emergency" sound from 
the National Weather Service.
Tornado warning!
Go to the basement, right now!
OK, OK.
I have not done that since we lived in Illinois.
Oddly enough, it passed south of us, 
and all I saw were very dark clouds.
Barely any wind.

These gorgeous clouds, with the sunset reflecting off of them
were all that was left when I came upstairs.  

There was, actually, tornadic activity southeast of us.
Hail the size of golf balls and trees down.
What a crazy summer!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

breathing in and out

Yesterday, my friend Ellen and I spent the day prowling gardens and nurseries. The photo above was taken at Cady's Falls Nursery in Morrisville, VT. Converted from an old dairy farm, this nursery is amazing! Their plants are beautiful, and the strolling garden is full of ideas.
Some of their mini hens and chicks, planted in a muffin tin!

We also went to Arcana gardens and greenhouses, where everything is grown organically. Then we wended our way over to Crossview Gardens, where Ellen's friend Harold gave us a wonderful tour of his gardens. He specializes in daylilies and hostas. His gardens are open to the public four times a summer. I'm not sure which is more spectacular, his gardens or the view!

By the time we got home, it was about 5:30 and I was very tired. So much to see and process, I guess. I jotted notes down to keep track of all the ideas the trip inspired...both gardening and quilting!
Years ago, Peter's Mom gave us this bench. How I wish she could see it now, perched on the edge of the hill here in VT. She would have loved this place...endless projects! 

Sometimes I sit here with my morning cup of tea. On many a weekend evening, Batman and I end up here with a glass of wine. We watch the birds, the clouds, the setting sun and we still find it hard to believe that this gorgeous bit of earth is ours. We dream, we solve the world's problems, we hold hands. Perfection.

This week has finally brought us a string of sunny days, punctuated by late afternoon/evening thunderstorms. The ground trembles with the thunder, the sky cracks with lightening, the hair on the nape of my neck stands on end. And afterwards, the birds sing and the meadow sparkles with the raindrops.  

It's wonderful to have the windows open, with the breezes coming in the front windows and right on out the back ones! I've finally dried clothes out on the line, with the wind snapping them dry in no time at all.

The neighborhood has been humming with the sound of tractors, as the farmers play tag with Mother Nature's rain. They are trying so hard to get their haying done! And yesterday, we were caught on the road in between culvert repairs in one direction and the grader in the other!

The other night, I borrowed a movie from Ellen, called The Real Dirt on Farmer John. It's offbeat, fun and inspiring. She got it from Netflix. I recommend it.

I've been feeling very "unplugged" lately, and sometimes miss the time to read all your blogs. But it's nice to see the world thru the eyes of VPR, where the big news has been the quadracentennial  of the "discovery" of Lake Champlain, "eye on the sky" weather reports and daily doses of The Writer's Almanac. On Tuesday I felt a little cranky in the late afternoon and realized I was so engrossed in things that I had forgotten to eat lunch!

That's my slice of life. Hope you are all well...


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

henry's sabbatical in vermont

keeping an eye on the robin 
(upper right hand corner, double click for detail!)
and her nest right outside the kitchen window.
taking full advantage of the sun when it makes an appearance.
resting required after a collaborative effort on common rural problem 
(mouse abatement).
trying to blend in.
tight squeeze.
tidying up.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

enough already!

day in and day out.
still.
so i snapped, and went a little Kaffe crazy...
i've loved this chard fabric for ages.
 just ask my girls, 
they will tell you it's been sitting in my favorites pile forever.
the orange will be the binding, the lavender dots, the backing. 
i had thought i'd do chinese coins, with other fabrics, too.
but it just wasn't working, so i simplified it.
it's fun, for sure.
today i will try basting with safety pins.
(thanks, deb).

the blue one will be next.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

life is good

For the first time in a long, long, long time, on Sunday we woke to sunshine that spilled over into Monday. A relief, a blessing, a celebration! So I spread this quilt top out on the lawn and snapped a picture.
I love how this fun polka dot border sass-i-fies this quilt. Now to baste...

Peter got here safely for the weekend. Gretta was up for her day off. Recent bit of earth projects...set up japanese beetle traps, ordered lady bugs (to fend off aphids), pulled up the rest of the old carpet and now the upstairs has a whole new look, put up the kids' old blackboard in the breezeway for fun messages, scrubbed the porch floor, weeded between downpours, deadheaded lilies, ate lettuce from the garden...

Saturday night we were wowed by the K-12 performance of the King and I at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

Batman and Gretta left Sunday morning. And on Sunday night I finally got to see the inside of the Braintree Hill Meetinghouse. I saw a hand lettered sign on the road. "Concert Sunday at 6 PM" it said. So I went. The evening sun was slanting in the open windows. No electricity or plumbing. Wooden pews with little swinging doors for each. Timeless, I think. And oh, the music! Teens from the Village Harmony camps. American shape note music, some clogging and Georgian Polyphony. It was magical, spirited and just plain amazing. Go to www.villageharmony.org

And I've had some more fun with color play. I've been cutting pictures from magazines for ages. Mostly from my guilty indulgence of an occasional British version of Country Living magazine. I arranged them on poster board and hung them up to create some relief from the wood panelling. Here's two, side by side.

A close up of the "naturals".
Even closer.
And a closer of the "pastels".
Henry has discovered two robin's nests in the crabapple tree right outside the kitchen window, with babies. He sits on the windowsill and chatters at them and flicks his tail. In the evenings he moves to the front window and watches the barn swallows swoop and careen. There's a flock of goldfinches that skitter among the monkshood and out over the meadow, too.  He is one sleepy cat at night. 

And my elusive brother Nelson really is coming to the states for a visit. He lives in London. I love him and miss him. Not sure where we'll all get together...but it's something to look forward to.

Life is good at our bit of earth. Hope you are soaking in these longer, gentler days, too.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Vermont spectrum









This morning we saw a rainbow in the meadow.
Before I could grab my camera, it faded.
Here's my home grown version.

And happy birthday to this sweet land of liberty. 

Thursday, July 2, 2009

tut, tut, looks like rain...oh bother!

the other day, my friend ellen and i 
got into a wee bit of trouble:

here's a picture of yarn i bought, for the prayer shawl i just started,
and a fat quarter i bought along the way.

we are under a flash flood watch.
i actually came down to the library 
'cause it's getting a bit dreary up on the hill.

peter is driving up tonight, 
i asked him to DRIVE CAREFULLY, please.

are you all growing gills and webs
like i am?


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

done in a day

It's July first, but it sure doesn't feel like it.
Butterick 5057.
 The XL turned out to be too big, so I made a bit of a pleat at the front.
Looks sort of goofy, but this is mostly for gardening.
If the rain ever stops and I can get out there. 
Fabric is "figgy pudding" from Moda.
And that's Gary Gingko peeking around the edge.