--- crafting a rural spirit ---

Sunday, March 31, 2013

white on white




Crunchy, snowy bootsteps.
Snowmelt spilling down the fence line.
Ghostly beech leaves rattling in the wind.
Bird flock call and response high in the ash tree.

Sometimes there is perfection in this world.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

it's a goat thing

Lindsey and Gretta with twin kids.
"Tulip" is their Mama.
Climbing/resting on Mama.
Waiting for fresh hay for lunch.
The two newest babes, snuggled in the birthing pen.
I want one.
Many thanks to Steve and Judith who's 
generous hospitality allowed us to stay and play
for the better part of the morning.
Find their award winning goat's milk caramel here.
Their chevre is awesome too.
The maple chevre is one of my faves,
 and the syrup they use is wicked local!
Happy spring from Vermont!

Friday, March 29, 2013

r&r at "a bit of earth"

snow squall across the valley.
plow leftovers in the driveway and a resident penguin.
shed roof melt.

the very last sunflower, bent with age.
birch love.
a non-skid solution on an icy path.
(it smells wicked good).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

dreaming of bees

Feeling a wee bit overwhelmed with all that's been going on around here lately, I've carved some time out of this afternoon to do some day dreaming. As they often do, my thoughts floated off to the "when we live in Vermont full time" neighborhood. 

I've given thought to keeping bees. I've even taken a few workshops about bee keeping and apitherapy at various NOFA-VT conferences.

The tiny bee is part of the hardworking team of critters that help keep our natural world carefully balanced.  Like so many other species, they are having a very hard time. You can read about colony collapse and why it matters to everyone here. Here's a good read about some solutions to the problem. (Thank you Gretta, for sending these sources my way).

While exploring the Vermont Beekeepers Association's website I found this very beautiful Vimeo of bees close up, busy at work. I am intrigued by these industrious, cooperative and remarkable insects.

A few weeks ago, I watched this video, "Revive the Hive with The Beez Kneez Honey House" and donated some money to the Kickstarter project because it just plain old made me happy. (And maybe the crazy gals in antennae reminded me of my own girls).

There would be a learning curve for me, and start up expenses, and an electric fence to keep out the bears...but I think I would like to lend the bees a hand.

Thoughts? Have you kept bees? Know someone who has? Any advice? Cautions? Fun stories? Please leave a comment! Thanks. xo

PS What are you dreaming of these days?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

8:30-9:30 tonight

Join us as we turn everything off and sit in peace for one hour tonight. We will be celebrating EARTH HOUR, and you can read about it here.

No matter your time zone, hemisphere or country...if you do it you'll be part of the wave that floats across the plant...a wave that's filled with awakening, solidarity and hope.

Hope. Isn't that something we could all use a bit more of?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

they taste like dirt (in a good way)

golden, chioga and red beets, chopped and ready

Vermont Life magazine has shown up in my mailbox every month for decades, way before we found our bit of earth. No matter where I was actually living at the time, the pages would transport me to the hills and valleys of my beloved state, and remind me of why I longed to live there "someday". Even now, as a part time Vermonter, the pages make me happy when my feet are not in the state. 

In the "cooking in season" section of this year's spring issue, Gretta and I were thrilled to find an article about BEETS. Adapted from chef Jeff Egan, kitchen manager for Hunger Mt. Co-op in Montpelier, this recipe for Roasted Beet and Wheat Berry Salad caught our attention.
I made a batch today, and the many different flavors and textures in this dish are sure to keep this salad on the favorites list in the Reed kitchen. There's a link to the recipe here. There's also a recipe for "Pretty in Pink Pancakes" that has me very intrigued.

Even as we get antsy to plant seeds in trays on the windowsills here, the sturdy and dependable root veggies help tide us over. Someday, when our root cellar in Vermont is fully functional and our road is so mired in Mud Season that we won't be able to navigate it, we'll try those Pretty in Pink Pancakes...with a glug or two of Vermont maple syrup poured over the top.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

the swat team

Benjamin Moore's

THANK YOU, GIRLIES, FOR ALL OF YOUR ENERGETIC, SASSY AND GOOD NATURED HELP THIS WEEKEND!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

the reinforcements have arrived!

I picked Lindsey up at the train station this morning
and when we got home we put a roller in her hands.
Here's Hannah working on a shelf and Shaker pegs.
Gretta is putting the finishing touches on a closet
 door that was missed first time around.
We're starting to think about staging and so 
we brought the dollhouse down from the attic.
My Dad made this for Lindsey when she was 
a very little girl,
the same Christmas that he made
 the curio cupboard for Stewart.
The tiny autumn leaves he painted on the roof 
of the house get to me every time I see them.
Batman served as foreman today,
working a bit, and then taking an after lunch siesta.

It's been flurrying all day long.
The snowdrops are up in the garden and
the hellebores are showing signs of life.

Tonight we'll all have tacos and Margaritas.
It's good to have the high energy 
of the Reed girls back in the house. 
Many hands make light work.

Friday, March 15, 2013

fresh and uncluttered

a few yards of white cotton fabric, a measuring tape, 
a rotary cutter and quilter's rule and cutting mat, 
some straight pins, an iron, a sewing machine
and a curtain tension rod... 
...made quick work of laundry room
camouflage.

(there may be room on that top shelf for a pretty
basket or two. or maybe leave it empty?)

another project crossed off the "to do" list.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

painting furniture before and after

This past weekend, with Batman tucked snug in his bed, Gretta and I took some old furniture out into the sunny driveway and scrubbed it down. Well, really, Gretta did the scrubbing. The blue bookshelf had been in the kitchen, holding the KitchenAid, some big bowls, the coffee maker...that sort of thing.  The purple table had been in Hannah and Gretta's room when they shared space way back when. The two bedside tables were in the master bedroom, not sure what that color choice was all about, but those were different times. All well used and banged up, they needed a freshening to compliment the beautiful new colors that are floating around our home.
I bought a gallon of "Advance" Benjamin Moore paint in satin finish. Honestly, I was not super impressed with it. It promised an oil type finish, with water clean up. Meh. Next time I'll stick to the more affordable paint.

I tried to pick a color that would go well with all the rooms the furniture would end up in, and I'm delighted with the Shaker Gray 1594 that I chose. Here in the newly Wedgewood Gray kitchen, it looks handsome with our maple Shaker style cupboards. Once it has dried thoroughly, I'll put all my carefully culled cookbooks within easy reach of the kitchen island. All that other stuff will be stowed behind closed doors.
Here is one of the nightstands, in our Misted Green bedroom, complete with new drawer pulls.
I'm always amazed at how quickly colors change according to the light. Compare this to the first photo above...it's hard to imagine they are the same gray!
This little table is in the Mesquite room (which looks a whole lot like the Misted Green this afternoon, but they are actually different).

Batman continues to heal. Yesterday was a two steps forward one step back kind of day, but his doctor said he might have a few of those. Spring approaches, house work continues and our dreams are getting closer to reality. Patience, deep breathing and hope...that's where it's at these days.

Curtain magic in the laundry room tomorrow...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

keeping it simple

bowl by two potters in vermont.
snow drop by mother nature.

  • we sprang forward. :-)
  • gretta and i have been painting furniture. i'll post before and after pictures later this week.
  • we've planned the week's menus to be sure we are eating clean food. thinking ahead seems to make meal prep a little easier.
  • batman continues to rest and heal and improve, but one of his ears is bigger than the other right now. *giggle (all three of us)* 
  • new internet haunts of mine... fabulous embroidery. gorgeous linen. beautiful food.
  • i just bought this on etsy. made of birch and oak, it will help me remember to keep my eye on the prize.
  • i signed up for the second handmade joy exchange. i participated last year. won't you join us this year? there's still time...
  • my friend, the queen of everything, became a grandma on tuesday. little blake shares a birthday with gretta. xo
  • my buddy potts is due to become a grandma in august. oh, that will be a dear child.
  • i continue to keep dr. kveton on my gratitude list. 
how about you? what has caught your eye lately? share a link or two...

Friday, March 8, 2013

still resting

*thank you Liz*
Dear friends and family,

We are more than 48 hours out from Batman's surgery and so I thought I'd give you a brief update.

He's been up and about a few times, and this morning I caught him watching The Squawk Box on TV for details on the market. Sheesh. I made him hand over the remote.

He's resting a lot, and still a bit weary from the anesthesia and pain meds. All the snow has slowed everybody down around here, and it's been great weather for napping. Crossed fingers...still no trace of vertigo!

Gretta has been a cheering presence and Hannah will join us for dinner tonight. Stewart and Lindsey have checked in from afar.

Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts.

We remain blessed by your care,
Karen

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

recovery

Today we were reminded of the power of love.
Batman, Gretta and I were lifted up 
by the thoughts, prayers and TLC showered upon us
by friends and family both near and far.
It was comforting, reassuring and wonderful.

For about 25 years Batman has been haunted by
Meneire's Disease, a degenerative disease that
eats away at the function of the inner ear.

Meneire's has flitted in and out of his life, often striking
just when we had been lulled into a false sense of security.
The last nine months have been especially difficult, 
with the symptoms of vertigo
literally stopping him in his tracks again and again.

This morning we went to Yale New Haven Hospital 
and he had an endolymphatic shunt implanted in his inner ear.
A fabulous surgeon, an amazing hospital 
and blessedly good health insurance
have given him a second chance
at a better quality of life.

Time will tell if that second chance will "take"
(it's a 2 out of 3 proposition).
In the meantime, Batman is resting.
We are all resting...
from the labor that we have so doggedly undertaken of late,
and from the worry that has distracted us.

Peace and quiet.
That's a prescription I like.
xo

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

a birthday and a special request

(no goats, so we settled for a cow)

Happy Birthday #22
Margretta Elaine!

Ten things I love...
  1. The way you say, "Marmie, use your big girl words" when I get exasperated and befuddled.
  2. Listening to you playing your guitar and singing (even though your door is closed).
  3. Your support and help as we push our way through the never-ending "to do" lists.
  4. Trying new recipes and puttering in the kitchen with you.
  5. Rockin' out to tunes in the CRV, so I don't get old.
  6. The way you and Batman share a sense of humor (?).
  7. Your constant effort to lure Henry into your good graces. Patience, Grasshopper.
  8. The stories you tell about the little kids when you get home from substitute teaching.
  9. Your inner light. It amazes me.
  10. Your obsession with goats. I made you an Etsy treasury. xo
And the request, dear readers? Batman will undergo some surgery tomorrow and we need your good thoughts and prayers. He will be OK, it's just going to be a little scary. We'll fill you in tomorrow. Many thanks, friends. xo

Monday, March 4, 2013

devoted

a companion, i think, is someone who 
stays by your side through thick and thin.
no questions, no judgement.
i have many companions,
but henry is one of the very best.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

buckets of truth




One may go 
a long way
after one is tired.

-French proverb