Thursday, May 31, 2012

rolling along

(sorry the image is so tiny...i used my phone camera)
Today I drove over the Allegheny River, and the Miami River too, past patchworks of farm fields, some plowed, some planted. Rock and roll oldies on the radio...Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Eagles, Earth Wind and Fire. So many "wide loads" had me guessing about their mysterious cargo. But check out this towing old blue Cadillac, that looked like it had just seen the light of day after sitting in a barn for decades! What a beauty. I wonder where she's headed.

As I watched two lanes of heavy truck traffic stream along on the other side of I-40, I wondered about the folks who drive for a after day. And I wondered about a nation so dependent on shipping our goods from one end of the country to another. I find there's plenty of time to ponder, while those miles tick along on the odometer. 

Thanks for your comments yesterday. They were fun to read.

I'm safely in Richmond, IN, home of my beloved Earlham College, with good work to do tomorrow. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

on the road again

Over the beautiful Hudson River in the Batmobile (OK, so it's really just a black pick up truck...) and over the Susquehanna, through the deep canyons of blasted rock on I-80, and on into the "Pennsylvania Wilds" I've been. I didn't listen to much on the radio except a few bits of Doc Watson, may he rest in peace. Mostly just the quiet shoosh of the wheels on the highway, and a head full of thoughts and ideas.
As the sun set it gave my hotel room a magical glow, and I've climbed into bed with more reading to do.

How remarkable it is, this network of interstate highways. Really. If I came to pick you up in the Batmobile, where would you want to go? Tell me here in the comments.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

in one door and out the other...

dawn, after a very stormy night
at our "bit of earth".

I will not be back to our bit of earth for a few weeks and these are the things I will miss while I am away.
  • the false indigo and lupine are fully budded, and will likely be past blooming when I return.
  • the beautiful barn swallows, who swoop and chatter and dive at us.
  • the goldfinches, their blazing yellow dotting the balsams with color.
  • the four groundhog babies, nesting under the shed (and nibbling on the garden) and tumbling in the sunshine. 
  • the ritual of drinking tea and soaking in the view every morning
  • the welcome chill of evening air as it tumbles across the road and down into our open windows.
  • the good work of each day, the holding of hands around the dinner table and the comfort of sleep.
  • the whinny of the neighbor's horses deep in the night and the whistle of the train down in the valley.
Just safely back in CT, I'm reading, doing laundry and packing again. The next week or so will be a jigsaw puzzle of travel, work and fun. I'll post from the road... 

Sunday, May 27, 2012


our bit of earth has hosted
 extended family this weekend.

the hours have been filled with
corn hole, visiting, eating, laughing,
reminiscing, resting.

as the different generations sat together,
the blue chairs added to the sentimental mood.

are you finding time to catch your breath
sometime during this long weekend?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

thank you!

oh, dearest friends.
i am so grateful for all of your recent, encouraging comments.
batman and i have been burning the candle at both ends here in CT...
with a new power washer,
a broom,
trash cans,
paint brushes,
screw drivers,
aching muscles
and a grateful partnership.

it is good, hard work,
and it needs to be done,
and it is so purposeful and intentional.

and transformational.

i just stumbled upon this irish proverb
and i love it...
You'll never plough a field by 
turning it over in your mind.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

hard work

 dogwood, green grass and a green chair.
the trilogy of calm after a sweat equity filled weekend
here in CT.


i hope this all pays off.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

citrus dreams

someday i will have a greenhouse.
it will have a gravel floor, and ferns will drink up its humidity.
there will be room to tuck a wicker chair in the corner.
i will drink steaming cups of darjeeling tea there.
it will have a view of the green mountains.
jasmine will bloom from hanging baskets.
seeds will be started in the latest days of winter, 
and salad greens will grow when there is snow on the ground.
i will read the secret garden to our grandchildren in its shelter.

until then, i am intoxicated by our blooming
meyer lemon here in CT.

you can be sure it will find a place of honor
 in our greenhouse some day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Handmade Joy Exchange

Thanks to a suggestion made by my buddy Judy, (you can find her over at Hartfelt), I enjoy reading a blog called My Giant Strawberry, written by a very creative and thoughtful young woman. Anne has been sharing a "joy list" on Mondays, where she articulates what has given her joy in the past week. It has become a ritual of sorts and it has helped her find gratitude and happiness in a very thoughtful way.
A while back, Anne invited her readers to participate in a "Handmade Joy Exchange". She asked us to send her our name and address, and she swapped all of us around and assigned each of us a name. She included a link to that person's blog, if they have one. I received Sharon's name, and popped over to her blog, The Tea Cup Incident. Sharon shares recipes and beautiful table settings, and she's very fond of birds. I decided to stitch her a set of four linen napkins, with a bit of appliqued birdy fabric. I also read that Sharon likes sachets,  so I made her a balsam sachet with needles from our trees in Vermont.
I wrapped everything up in white tissue paper, string and added my signature bit of birchbark to the package. It arrived safely at Sharon's house, and I like to think of her setting a pretty table with the simple napkins I stitched here in CT. 
I was a very lucky participant, because Anne had my name, and look at what lovely things arrived in my mailbox! Anne created a very pretty blank journal and a sweetly crocheted bracelet. I love the bracelet so much that I custom ordered another from Anne's Etsy shop. It just arrived and I love it.
It's quite amazing that a bunch of folks can have such a fun interaction without ever meeting in person. The world grows tinier by the day...

Many, many thanks to Anne for inspiring and organizing us via the Handmade Joy Exchange! Be sure to pop by her blog today to see what everyone else has done!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

bits and pieces

Today's post is an anthology of bits and pieces... 

As I've been cleaning out drawers and cupboards here in CT, I've added to my list of things to do. This pretty silver necklace that Batman brought me from a trip to Mexico needs a pouch sewn of tarnish preventing silver cloth. Fortunately I found some in my sewing studio, so this morning I'll be stitching up several custom sized drawstring bags.

We finished painting a bathroom, and now I need to come up with a simple and airy window treatment. Any curtain ideas for a room that tends to hold moisture?
 (photo courtesy of batman)
We headed to VT on Wednesday night. We did, indeed, get 100 balsam seedlings planted, with many thanks to our daughter Lindsey and her friends Dave and Melissa, who came up from Boston for an overnight visit on Saturday/Sunday.

On Friday, we took a road trip with my cousin Kristen and her partner Gary. We visited Cady's Falls Nursery and Elmore Roots. The gardens at Cady's Falls are meticulously kept and filled with inspiration. The motto at Elmore Roots is, "If it grows in Elmore, it will grow where you are." Both places are terrific resources for New England gardeners.
this collection of old wheels at Cady's Falls Nursery caught my eye
Batman and I bought two blueberry bushes and two raspberry bushes to expand the berry patch. I also bought a wild indigo and we added a peony plant to Batman's collection, and a trillium for the shade garden. It's just so dang satisfying to plant things in the ground up there, investing in our future.
We spent hours weeding, planting, mulching and breathing in our "bit of earth" this past weekend. We hauled the picnic table out of the garage and the rain barrel out of the shed. We had a great supper party
on Saturday night, with some of our favorite people around the table. We ate fresh out-of-the-soil baby bok choy and radishes from the Green Mountain Girls Farm. Some of us even saw the rings of Saturn with Batman's telescope and enjoyed the season's first evening around the firepit. It's hard to put into words what that place means to us. It is a balm, an oasis, an antidote, a dream coming true...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

arise, all women who have hearts!

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

1870, "Mother's Day Proclamation"
Julia Ward Howe

Saturday, May 12, 2012

i will not forget

erin elizabeth potts
who would have turned 21 today.

if you are in the chicagoland area today,
please consider making a blood donation in her honor.

my "e" is with me always,
gently reminding me that
every day is a blessing. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

We have stolen away from our regular lives to spend four days at our "bit of earth". This afternoon we are expecting the UPS truck to come up the dirt road to deliver a box of 100 seedlings, this year's investment in our balsam orchard. We'll pull on our gloves and plant them in batches over the next few days. This is what "crafting a rural spirit" is all about, and my spirits are lifted as we make progress toward manifesting our dream.
We never tire of waking up to this view from our bedroom window. It reminds me of something Wendell Berry wrote, “Be joyful because it is humanly possible.” 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

farewell to a creative genius

children despair of you if you
don't tell them the truth...
-Maurice Sendak

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Board meeting this morning...
painting woodwork in a bathroom this afternoon...
a glass of wine and some lunacy is next.

Won't you join me?

Friday, May 4, 2012


a few tags, drawn with my new favorite pen,
purchased back in january.

it's such fun to find inspiration in craft supplies, eh?

happy friday!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

wildwood inspired library tote

an old corduroy dress, up-cycled into a roomy 
wildwood inspired library tote.
lined with a sturdy cotton, 
fitted with a pocket for your library card
(in the story, a murder of crows flies away with prue's baby brother!) 
and handles that will fit over your shoulders,
this tote is listed over at the family shop,
now i am off to sew some more!

(Oh my goodness, it sold already!)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

leaping greenly spirits*

Every spring there is a morning when I wake up, look outside and realize that overnight the world has turned green, and I think of the fabulous poem by e. e. cummings*. Today was the day.

In celebration of all things green and in honor of e. e. cummings, I blended up a green smoothie for breakfast. Drinking a glass full of vitamins and minerals is a great way to start the day. I often eat better all day long when I start out this way.

I always start with about three cups of washed and chopped kale, but any leafy green veg will work. The greens go into the blender, then I add a variety of fresh or frozen fruit. (Sometimes, when bananas that have been sitting on the counter become a bit too ripe, I peel them and store them in a zip lock bag in the freezer. Green smoothies are a great way to use these up). When using apples or peaches, I leave the skin on. I usually throw in a few tablespoons of lightly ground flax seed, and for a very special treat, I add a little bit of maple syrup. I pack the blender pretty full, then add water to about 2-2 1/2" below the top of the blender, put the top on tight, and blend until fairly smooth. 

This recipe makes enough for two to share, or (since Batman is not interested in enjoying this) I usually drink half for breakfast and the other half as a mid-afternoon energy boost. (Thanks go to Heather at Beauty That Moves and her 30 dayVegan Challenge for getting me to try a green smoothie a little over a year ago).

Now I am off to a morning in my sewing studio, and a chance to finish up my embroidered fern project.

May your spirits leap in a greenly way today!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

the merry month of may

The temple bell stops ringing
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.