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

Monday, October 23, 2017

tiwhll #3

We had a very weird growing season here in central Vermont. A wet and chilly spring and a dry and warm autumn had everyone confused. We had a string of four days near or at 90 degrees in late September. This past weekend Batman and I put the gardens to bed in mid seventy degree weather. Our foliage season has been completely off kilter. Mother Nature is expressing the unease so many of us feel...

My brother Doug helped Batman build four new garden beds and treat them with linseed oil. This weekend Batman and I installed and leveled the beds. We hauled a truckload of composted manure up the hill and divided it up between the four beds. Then we harvested some amazing kitchen compost from our homemade compost bin and dumped it on top. We'll let everything settle over the winter and then have fun planting seeds next spring. The garlic have already been tucked into one bed and we covered it with straw from the wedding bale.  The leeks and some of the herbs are still braving the chilly evenings. Sometimes I find green sage nestled under the snow as late as December.

Later we mulched the fallen leaves from the yard and piled them in the now empty kitchen compost bin, to mix with kitchen scraps over the winter. Just trying to keep the process as local as we can.
So, farmers and gardeners, as we get ready for colder weather here in the northern hemisphere, let us take a leap of faith and let us hope with fierceness that all will green up again in the spring. May we trust that the circle will come round again to growth and nourishment and food security for all. 

And may we all take pleasure when the seed catalogs start arriving in our mailboxes later this winter. Hope. Pages and pages of hope.
(This picture is especially for Simone and Andrea)
xo

Saturday, October 21, 2017

tiwhll #2


this is wilma,
trying to catch cluster flies
flitting about the bathroom window.
she is filled with hope
and she persists.

i've been at a loss for words these days.
perhaps you have been too.

i listened to this episode of on being on tuesday
and i will listen to it again this weekend.

and this instagram post
is a gem, too.

i love that sometimes other folks find beautiful
and comforting words when we are struggling to find
our own voices.

there is hope in that,
don't you think?

xo

Sunday, October 8, 2017

tiwhll #1

676.9 miles
38 hours.
to brooklyn and back.

sitting in a cafe
with a small group of friends and family,
showering gretta and ben with love and hope.

on a bench,
side by side with my youngest child,
with my hand on her full belly,
the warmth of
my first granchild
right there, under my palm.

if that is not hope
i do not know what is.

tiwhll...This Is What Hope Looks Like...an autumn series with occasional posts, starting today.
(photo shared with permission of  auntie-in-waiting hannah)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

choosing

Each morning provides a fresh start...
a chance to notice and celebrate all that is
beautiful and good in the world.

Let's choose hope today.

Let's persist and work for positive change
wherever we can.

Are you with me , friends?
xo

Monday, October 2, 2017

again...

In a world under siege
we can find sanctuary in the breath.
Deep inhale, relax shoulders, deep exhale.
Repeat.
Then love and hope and persist
with all our might.
xo

Thursday, September 28, 2017

the way


a fabulous drop in temperature.
a flower jug from a dear friend.
pick-your-own-flowers from our csa.

very often it's the littlest things in life that can
open the way to relief and restoration.

#persist

xo 


Friday, September 22, 2017

september 22, 2017


i'm grabbing a word for autumn 2017.

hope.

xo

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

seeking perspective, a story about beets

We've planted gardens on this land for nine years now. Many of those years we were part-timers, coming up to our "bit of earth" when we could manage it. Ever since we became full-time Vermonters we've loved being here for the whole growing season...from planting to harvest. We've never had trouble with deer. 

Well, this summer our luck has changed. Several times we have found the beds overrun with hoof marks. In early August the deer trampled and chewed on my precious indigo crop. I nearly cried when I discovered the damage. But, indigo is resilient and much of it has grown back.

Rows of chard, beets and lettuce were chewed to the ground. Batman, fueled by his optimistic attitude planted new rows and crossed his fingers for a late fall harvest. This morning, I went out to water (it is dry here) and noticed that every beet green had been trimmed off and many of the globes had been pulled from the dirt. 

So, I gathered them up and rinsed them and left them in a bowl on the counter. I went off to do other things to distract myself from the frustration.

I know those sweet fawns we see out in the meadow in the early summer grow up to be hungry deer. I just hoped they'd find what they needed out in the acres and acres of field and woods that spread out all around them. 

Now we will need to consider ways to protect next summer's gardens.

Later today I'll cook up those little beets and put them in a jar to marinate. They will find their way into salads and bowls of grain. 

And I will reluctantly send a tiny bit of gratitude to those lovely long legged neighbors for trimming the beet greens for me, releasing my frustration into the ether. There is just too, too much going on in the world right now to hang on to negativity.

Exhale....

Monday, September 18, 2017

a lifting fog

This morning we woke up in the clouds. The house was nestled in a thick fog cover. Just a few minutes ago I looked up and found that the fog has shifted, as it often does, and rearranged itself around our place. And then I noticed that our friend Rhett had been over to do the brush hogging while we were away. You can see the top of the freshly mowed meadow just past the green lawn here.

And do you see all those tracks in the lawn? We've had a parade of wild turkeys wander through our yard most mornings at breakfast time. They congregate under the crab apple trees for a bit, checking on the supply of windfall apples before they parade across the road and up into our neighbor's meadow.

We've driven to Ohio and back since I last posted here. We were swept up into the flood of friends and family who had gathered for Batman's Dad's memorial service. What a celebration it was! Tim's sense of adventure, zest for life, passion for music and huge heart were just the beginning of his life's story!

Tim had an extensive CD collection of jazz and blues music which was dispersed among the kids and grand kids. We drove east yesterday to the fabulous rhythm of some fine '60's Chicago blues, and it felt like Tim's spirit might have been riding in the backseat. 

Sometimes these epic occasions come and go...pulling generations together, reminding us of what is important in life, and then scattering us all back to daily life.

Our summer has been bookended by a wedding and a memorial service. Such richness of spirit.

The fog is lifting in our yard and in my heart. By paying attention to what is essential in life and taking time to celebrate it, we are able to hold on tight to love and then release it into the world. I am feeling lighter this morning, with a clearer focus for what comes next. And the hashtag to all of it is #love.

From the order of service for Tim's Celebration of Life...
When you are alive, you have a heart, and that's where you live. But when you die, your heart stops. That means you get to live in the hearts of everybody who was ever your friend and everybody who ever loved you. -from A Child's Understanding of Death

xo

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

holding space

meditative stitching inspired by 
making magazine.

(from their spring issue, here).

my cupped hands are holding space at
sew and sow life
for everything that is swirling 
both around us and within us.

i'll be fully present here next week.

don't forget to b-r-e-a-t-h-e.
xo

Friday, September 8, 2017

advice from wilma

Okay.
Now let's get our feet back under ourselves,
dust ourselves off and get on with things, shall we?

The most beautiful season in Vermont is unfolding 
right before our very eyes.
There are veggies to harvest,
new garden beds to be dug,
a quilt top nearing completion,
good work to be done out in the world...

Let's take a deep breath and get out there and 
#persist!

What, dear readers are you doing to persist?
Inspire me!
xo

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

naming it

1984
Dearest readers,

I am writing to you today to name the weight on my shoulders. It is grief.

I am holding it with me for a bit. I am honoring it and letting myself feel it.

The pictures from Texas are heart wrenching. Utterly staggering.

And as I watch the path of Irma, I am remembering the four years I lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I'm remembering my life as a young mother, birthing two babies on that island. Remembering enchanted evenings with dear friends, under the stars on our interior patio. Remembering the drumming circles in the Old City that lulled us to sleep on the weekends. Remembering the cobblestone streets, the pan de agua I'd buy through a hole in the wall bakery. Remembering the antique gentleman who I would buy fresh fruit from in the plaza, with an avocado "para hoy" and a free banana for "Estuar". 

And I really can't wrap my head around the ruins in the Pacific Northwest. I have wended my way along those gorgeous roads, walked beneath Multnomah Falls, gazed out from overlooks and hiked trails where the fires are raging. Ash is raining down on my brother's deck. He is grateful for the air filtering system at his job site, it makes breathing easier. When will it stop burning?

And DACA. The cruelty of this #notmypresident is stunning.

Yes. Grief. 

All of this nipping at the heels of our family's loss of our beloved Abi Tim. It feels a bit crushing.

For those of us who have been paying attention, these catastrophic disasters have us shaking our heads in recognition of difficult truths. We just cannot go on like this. 

But for now, I am just naming it and feeling it.

My usual resiliency is missing.

I will rally. That is what I do. But for just a little bit, I am depending on the illumination of a candle to keep me connected to some small bit of hope.

Know that I am keeping thoughts of all of you, dear readers, and our whole human family close to my heart. We are all in this together.

#persist 

Monday, September 4, 2017

triptych 41




there are still so many flowers waiting to open.
just like september, they are searching
 for sunshine and warmth this year.

this is our annual sunflower planting in honor of
Erin Elizabeth Potts,
whose shining life was cut short by cancer.

these flowers bloom here on our ridge in vermont,
but their beauty shines all the way across the miles to illinois.

now more than ever,
we are reminded that

xo
(september is childhood cancer awareness month).

Thursday, August 31, 2017

good riddance august

don't let the door hit you in the butt on your way out.

(what a cluster cuss of things to deal with--
and poor texas!!!!)

looking forward to a completely fresh outlook...
and better luck... in september.

see you on the flip side, dear readers.
xo

Saturday, August 26, 2017

triptych 40




  • roasting cherry tomatoes. how to here.
  • makeshift design wall in the breezeway. 
  • better get your sweatshirt, the temperature is dropping. :-)

Friday, August 25, 2017

near the end of august


fleeting.

here.
now.
noticing.

appreciating.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

persisting

tansy, ready to bloom.
(for the dye pot later this summer.)

i invite you to watch this amazing animation on the
secret life of flowers. 
it's just under 4 minutes long and absolutely gorgeous.
i found it via one of my favorite blogs,


this too, posted on the day of the eclipse,
from the american friends service committee.


respite.
sanctuary.
peace.

xo

Monday, August 21, 2017

eclipsed


the colander technique of eclipse viewing,
one minute before peak here in vermont.

the 2024 eclipse will go right over our house.

:-)

i've been working on coming out from under the rock i've been hiding under. thank you for your sweet comments, notes and phone calls.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017





august,
you threw us a curve ball.

on top of all the shit*y news in the world,
you took our beloved "abi tim".

i will never forgive you.



comforting myself amidst the simplest of things.
my dear father-in-law died early yesterday morning.
he had lost consciousness by the time batman got to his side.
hearing is often the last sense to go.
i hope he heard all the murmured, loving words. 
(can we ever say "i love you" too many times?)
rest in peace you gem of a man.
xo

Monday, August 7, 2017


huh.
i'd forgotten how much energy is released by tidying up and organizing a workspace.
my sewing studio stands ready for a renewed commitment to making.

where are you in your creative journeys, dear readers?
how is the ebb and flow of your work these days?
what makes you hum...in the garden, the kitchen, your desk, your studio?

i'll be away from this space for a few days.
be well.
xo

Sunday, August 6, 2017

rambles

This summer, Batman and I joined the 251 Club of Vermont. We had been meaning to do it for ages, and in our post wedding relaxation mode, we did a bit of research, sent in the application and now we are official members.

Here's the original idea...
I propose to organize a 251 Club to be made up of Vermonters and others who can show that they have visited, not merely driven through, the 251 towns in the state.
—Dr. Arthur Wallace Peach (1886-1956)

 You can read more about the club and its many members and their adventures on the website here.

Lately, Batman and I have been spending a bit of our Sundays exploring new territory in Vermont. Today, we drove up and over the Brandon Gap. Vermont's Long Trail winds its way through the mountains here, and crosses the road at the Gap. Photos above show Mt Horrid, where the trail goes up these cliffs. This is one of the few places in Vermont that provide habitat for Peregrin Falcons. In fact, many places to observe the birds are closed to protect the nesting birds. It was very windy and a chilly 57 degrees up at the Gap, and we were lucky to see a few from the road, wheeling on the breezes.
Another place we stopped along the way was Salisbury where we found this beautiful building. An honor roll is posted on the front of the building, listing the names of those who have fallen in service to the nation.
The Palladian windows surely are beautiful, but I'm really curious about the funky little peaks at the top of the building. I wonder if they are original...

Let me know if you'd like to see more snippets from our 251 ramblings. We sure are having fun finding places we have never been before.

Later today we pulled the garlic from the garden, Batman mowed the lawns and picked more blueberries and I finally finished doing a huge reorganization of my sewing studio. My "to do"list has been refreshed and I have a brand new iron. 

August...watch out!

I'll slay you yet.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

august light


i try to keep my word.
but i missed a few days of august loveliness.
maybe i let you down.
i didn't mean to...

i'll press onward.

tonight the light is gorgeous.

after a few toasty days, this morning we awoke to overcast
skies and a few showers.
now the breeze is cool and the sun is setting.

do you see those amber waves across the road?
yesterday i realized we've crossed over the peak of summer.
the sun is our shepherd,
guiding us through the seasons so faithfully.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

trouble with a capital "t"


hello again august.

in an effort to take some of the sting out of your 
reign this month,
i've decided not to take you too seriously.
i bought something today that will help distract me from your
heaviness.

++++++++++++++++

 i've seen letter boards all over the internet lately.
(they must be "trendy"?)

letterfolk's IG feed is fun.
they sell very spiffy products, 
but i found this letter board on super sale at a big box store.
(not my usual shopping style)

yup.
i think batman and i are in proper trouble now... 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

wrestling (as usual) with august


Oh, August, here you are again...my least favorite month. At least you have arrived in a well-behaved manner...not too hot, not too humid. But I will keep an eye on you. 

In an effort to resist your usual effect on me (that would be a slothful mind and lazy body) I pledge to post summertime loveliness here at sew and sow life every day in August.  

I may take a few days off next week for something special, but otherwise I'll do my best to bring you, dear readers, a few ways to resist the summer blues. 

I'll start my August promise off with snail mail and a book.

Did you know that 2017 marks the centenary of the birth of Andrew Wyeth? These handsome postage stamps (above) were issued to mark the occasion. Wyeth is on my top ten list of favorite artists and so I have hoarded a few sheets of these beauties to use for special snail mail. (I'll be happy to send a bit of snail mail with a Wyeth stamp on the envelope to the first person to leave a comment below).

Our book club is reading A Piece of the World for discussion this month.  A novel inspired by Wyeth's painting Christina's World, and written by Christina Baker Kline, you can read about it here. 

"See" you tomorrow.

xo

Friday, July 28, 2017

hello again...









after days and days filled with delightful guests and inspiring travels, i find myself here at "a bit of earth" with a few quiet moments to savor summer in vermont. here are some snapshots you may enjoy...

-fabric procured at gather here in cambridge, ma.
-my japanese indigo, soaking up the sun in the garden.
-freckled lettuce. from the garden to the salad bowl in minutes. freshest.
-the blueberries are ready!!!
-black-eyed-susans and some of her cousins, filling the meadow with their fragrance.
-"green and white is always right", complete with lingering wedding memories.
-an open window in the kitchen, lentils soaking under a bamboo mat, destined for lemony marinated lentils from at home in the whole food kitchen, by amy chaplin.
-tiny wooden spoons, stored in a miniature abenaki pack basket, (with a prosecco cork celebrating the baby news), set by the kitchen sink. brings a smile each time i see it.
-print by jennifer judd-mcgee, purchased at her shop, swallowfield on mt. desert, me. "always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder."   -e.b.white

As we continue to watch the nonsense in our nation's capital unfold, I have found myself seeking out beauty and loveliness with great intention. It has become my summer treasure hunt...to visit places and see things that defy the darkness. Keep an eye on this space in the next few weeks...I'll do my best to share some of the things that have sustained me. 

"Life can sometimes be a wrestling match between love and fear. We can CHOOSE which to embrace. Every day. On my "to do" list? Breathe, hope, notice, invite, love, create, wonder, celebrate. "
-monday, january 19th, 2009...my very first day of blogging.

xo

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

noticing

someone is arriving this evening for a visit.
i brought a bit of the meadow to her bedside.

The summer seems to be evaporating. 
In a good, life is filled-to-the-brim kind of way.
So many exciting changes in our family...two moves and a grandbaby on the way, too.
A grandbaby.
Our first.

Life.

It moves along even when you wish you could capture it and slow it down.

So I am noticing.

Little things.
Like the slant of the light at all different times of the day.
The stars in the pitch dark sky of the night.
The warmth of a smile.
The coyotes' call and response in the dark.
The freshest of vegetables, prepared as simply as possible.
The hum of the ceiling fan, and sleeping under just a cotton sheet.
The tang of icy cold lemonade.

It's a practice, this noticing.
A spiritual practice.
Being fully present.

As the summer slips into the dog days, what are you noticing friends?