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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

hiding

I have been heartsick listening to the news. It is difficult to bear the waiting. For no good anything. I wonder if you are feeling this way too. Come with me. We will find some places to hide for a bit. Amongst the rainbow Swiss chard in the late-afternoon-dipping-to-the-mountain sunshine. 
Or we could gather under the late planted sunflowers, finally getting ready to open their sentimental faces to the September sky. I will be reminded that every day is a blessing when they bloom.
I have found shelter in the comfort of house guests; friends and family alike. They have come from near and far, and soak up the peace of this place while they are here.

I have read some wonderful books this summer...they are another great place to hide. I have been taking A Life in Stitches, by Rachael Herron to the laundromat with me. Her sweet book, filled with short stories, "knitting my way through love, loss and laughter" was recommended by Anne at My Giant Strawberry via her Instagram account. It is a gem and I recommend it to you.

I found The Language of Flowers and The Snow Child via Alicia's lovely blog, Posy Gets Cozy. You may remember her as the creator of sweet Miss Maggie bunny. Both of these books were a treat, that transported me for afternoons at a time.

Have you read An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler? Bobbie Lewin and I were reading it at the same time and we both raved about it. If you like to garden, cook and eat locally/carefully, this is a must read! It will open a whole new way of being in the kitchen for you.

I have Neil Young's autobiography on my bedside table and read a few chapters at night. It is rambling, quirky and inspiring all at the same time. He is one of my favorite musicians of all time and so I am really enjoying it. The title is Waging Heavy Peace, A Hippie Dream. Perfect for a summer fraught with peril.

My sewing machine has provided another hiding place. I wish you could pull up a chair. I would brew you a cup of tea and we could chat while I stitch. Maybe you would have your own sewing to do, or knitting, or crochet. We could forge ahead with projects, as folks have for years and years, stitching hope and calm and intention into each moment. A project that has been languishing this past month got hours of attention today, and it felt dang good to connect with my machine again. My Bernina and I have been friends for years, and I turn to her for solace. You can read about her here.

So, dearest readers, let us hold our fragile world close to our hearts, and send hope out to those who sit in places of power and to those who have none as well.

(Imagine. 
-John Lennon)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

still dreaming

No, no, we are not satisfied, 
and we will not be satisfied 
until justice rolls down like waters and 
righteousness like a mighty stream.

at the "March on Washington"
1963
Rev. Martin Luther KIng, Jr

full text here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

waning

Lake Champlain pebbles, stacked.

And so the summer winds down...
  • the lumbering tractors of neighbors who are cutting, tedding and baling hay.
  • a full moon, glowing orange, dropping to the horizon near dawn.
  • henry, at 2:30 am, chattering at the bats, swooping near the open window.
  • the mountain ash berries, growing more orange every day, with branches bending under their weight.
  • the first apples, piled on the kitchen counter.
  • the bounty of yellow wax beans, in the garden, in the colander, in the freezer and in my belly.
  • special guests, here for a very short time, sleeping on the three season porch, walking on the road and chatting into the night.
  • a lovely afternoon, with Gretta, exploring both the public and "off the beaten track" parts of Shelburne Farms. Gathering, stacking and leaving behind the gorgeous pebbles of Lake Champlain.
  • spotting a black bear cub, rummaging beside the road.
  • goldenrod, hummingbirds, grasshoppers, spiders, a pair of hawks.
  • watching a fireworks display down in the valley, while sitting by a comforting blaze in the fire pit.
  • savoring the last of the local sweet corn.
  • scheduling furnace maintenance. ordering firewood.
  • red and orange tinges at the top of the maples.
What are you noticing as the seasons change in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

a fine day, a fine man

Vermont marked The Battle of Bennington Day yesterday, and state offices and courts were closed. Many historical sites were open and free to the public. My cousin Kristen, her partner Gary and I went over to the Justin Morrill Homestead in Stratford. Justin Morrill was a self made man and served in both the House and the Senate, and he introduced the Land-Grant Acts, which enabled colleges to built in each state. These colleges offered women and other minorities free access to affordable higher education. 
Indeed!!!
Morrill helped design the house, and it is caught in between both the Gothic and Victorian styles. It's full of quirky features, artwork and hidden cupboards. The library is just as Morrill left it, filled with many handsome leather bound volumes. Researchers appreciate the collection of primary sources on the Civil War.
There are stained glass and hand painted glass windows in several rooms. The Morrills enjoyed time spent in Scotland, and this scene is incorporated in one of the library windows.
An avid horticulturist, Morrill's gardens are now maintained by folks participating in the local Master Gardener programAn orchard and berry patches fill a hillside above the gardens. 
An ice pond sits at the top of the property, and a series of aqueducts brings water to the different buildings The ice house was in use until the 1940's, when electricity was finally brought to the village.
The maid who lived with the Morrills for years ("the girl", as she was referred to...perhaps the Morrills were not entirely enlightened...) had a suite of rooms to herself. The walls in her sitting room caught the afternoon light in a most magical way, thanks to the tiny mica chips that were often an ingredient in the paint pots of the time.
I loved her work room, tucked under the eaves, where she mended and stitched. 

So many of the features of the homestead were a reflection of good stewardship and I often wonder if all "progress" has really brought us to a better place in history... 

Our costumed tour guide did a great job of sharing a sense of the times with us. I don't know her name, but think I'll write her a thank you note. I'll bet she'll get it.

(Sorry for the weird formatting today, Blogger and I had a tussle. Blogger won.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

august evenings...




For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
-Wendell Berry

Monday, August 5, 2013

happy birthday, wendell


Dear readers,

Do yourself a favor.
Carve out some time.
Brew a cup of tea.
Go here.
And especially here.
His biography is here.

Happy birthday to Wendell Berry, one of my favorite people that I've never met.
His heart amazes me.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

snapshot

the garlic and the blueberries dance together
on the gardening calendar,
and the chard swoops into the swirl right about now.

a few weeks ago, i harvested the garlic scapes, 
cut them into small pieces,
blanched them, drained them and popped them into well-
labeled containers and tucked them into the freezer.
(one tablespoon chopped scape=one medium clove).
today i dug up the garlic, and now they are in the
woodshed, curing in the dark and airy space for a
few weeks before I trim them and store them.

the blueberries are prolific this summer,
and they have been frozen on cookie sheets until they 
sound like marbles clacking together.
then they go into the freezer in bags,
the tiny low-bush berries packed separately from 
the fat berries from the taller variety.

these gardening rhythms that mark the sun's arc across
this sweet land are such a comfort.
on days like today, there is nothing better
than being outside in the wind and the clouds
 and the sun and the sprinkles of rain.
with batman.

and in february,
when we saute some garlic in a pan
and the house smells like heaven,
and when we make a batch of blueberry muffins...

we remember the work and the joy and the satisfaction
of standing at the brink of the meadow,
hands on hips,
breathing in deeply the blessings of this place,
of this life, of this love.