inhale...exhale...relax your shoulders...repeat as often as needed

Friday, July 30, 2010


6 am.
49 degrees in the breezeway.
i gulp up the changes.
and smile.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

non-numerical accounting

+fabric for a new tablecloth for the dining area.
+walking on the road by the light of the full moon.
+a very busy clothesline.
+(and related to that), the practice of hospitality.
 +wendell berry poetry to start the day.
+the pleasure of drinking ice water.
+more blueberries.
+spotting a pair of eastern kingbirds.
+greenhorns buttons.
+remembering that "at this very moment"
is all we know for sure.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


four little pots by four little children...
nestled on a shelf at "a bit of earth".

each similar, yet different,
with little fingerprints in the clay.

and this month they are (temporarily) in far flung places, 
stewart in new mexico,
lindsey in guatemala,
hannah in italy and germany
and gretta just an hour down the road here in vermont).

doing their grown up work.
just as it should be.

Friday, July 23, 2010

sugar shack, for making maple syrup!

Suz and Jane, you both crack me up!
(See yesterday's comments).

Actually, this is a mighty fine sugar shack,
built by a group of teens and their counselors, 
who came up from camp for a few days.
They pitched their tents and set to work,
using mostly salvaged, recycled and repurposed supplies.   
Wood storage is on the left,  the evaporator (a big old pan)
and fire box is on the right.
(Modest operation, to be sure, but that's all we need)!
Despite some mighty severe thunderstorms, 
alternating with some more heat and humidity,
they managed to build this in just a few days.
(They also enjoyed a dip in the chilly river down in the valley
and an afternoon trip to the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory).

I loved the energy and spirit around here.
And my friend Terry, from Connecticut, 
who was here for a few days
was a really good sport, she jumped right into the fray.

This place just gathers so many people up and works its magic.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

what's this?

can you guess what was built up here
"a bit of earth"
this week?
(hint: it's not an outhouse)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

sum sum summertime!

our friend ellen's daylily gardens.
happy 92nd birthday mr. nelson mandela!
gretta and the garlic.
5 quarts of blueberries.
bundles of catnip, drying in the woodshed.
inspired by the darby house graduation party...
"a bit of earth" has a homemade, hoosier
corn hole game.
(yeah for collaboration, batman!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

coming out of my stupor

i am so not a summer girl.
it has been hot and humid for two weeks here in vermont.
no ambition, no gumption, no enthusiasm.
so in between the very necessary chores of life, i've been READING (the library is air conditioned).
and i've been WATCHING (two my very favorites)...Hallmark Hall of Fame's Sarah Plain and Tall and Skylark starring Glenn Close and Christopher Walken.
our meyer lemon really likes this weather and is very fragrant in the bay window.
this morning was the first time in ages that i felt like heating up the oven.
these berries went from the bushes to the batter in minutes.
hot, blueberry buttermilk muffins and a mug of tea for breakfast.
and a drier, breezier day in the forecast.
O.K. that's more like it! 

what have you been up to this summer?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

leaving well enough alone

these chairs came from my gram's kitchen,
and have sat in our basement for years.
 i was going to strip the many layers of old paint
and give them a fresh coat.
it hasn't happened yet.
so i scrubbed them 
and decided to embrace the "shabby chic" look. 
 i found the perfect calico fabric for a tablecloth
and now i am glad the chairs are still "grammie lowry blue".

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Merck Forest Sheepdog Trials

(photo courtesy of Gretta)
Go on over to Gretta's blog to see what we did today!
(this will be an annual trip!)

Friday, July 9, 2010

hot fun in the summertime

when lindsey and her friends dave and emily pulled into 
the driveway at "a bit of earth", i went a little nuts for emily's car decor!

she had cut shapes from flexible magnetic vinyl 
and stuck them on her car.
(can you tell dave is a rock climber?)

then emily pulled a roll of the stuff out of her car
and we had a "morning activity"
where all of us had fun sketching and snipping.
lindsey did this great praying mantis 
and i could not resist a needle and thread.
it has been SO HOT AND HUMID, even up here.
the company of young adults,
and then an overnight visit with a dear buddy from our illinois days
has helped distract me from the realities of this heat wave.

thunderstorms and flash flood watches in the forecast
may bring some wild relief!

hope you are OK!

Friday, July 2, 2010

independence and interdependence

Growing up right outside of Boston, my childhood was steeped in American history. I attended the Revere School. A bell forged at Paul Revere's foundry hangs in the bellfry of the church I grew up in. With Lexington and Concord just a bit north of us, we knew about "the shot heard round the world".

And this morning, as I sipped my morning cup of tea, gazing out at the view here in Vermont, I was thinking of Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys.  And listening to The Declaration of Independence read aloud on NPR.

The Bill of Rights and Constitution are two mighty fine documents, put together by very bright and thoughtful people. People with big and courageous dreams. They created a new nation and a new governmental framework, filled with hope.

Sometimes I wonder what has happened to all that.

While we celebrate this 4th of July, I wonder how we can move forward without co-operation, bi-partisanship and interdependence in Washington, D.C.

It's easy to get exasperated and discouraged, eh?

But that's when I sometimes hear Sweet Honey in the Rock's amazing voices, (inspired by June Jordan's poem) calling me back to reality..."We are the ones, we are the ones, we've been waiting for...".

Sure, some of those folks in D.C. have the big power, but all of us have power, too. Power to do what we can in our families, our friendships and our communities to create positive change in our own small part of the world. And our small part of the world sits next to another small part of the world and so on. We really are all connected, and interdependent.

My head is filled this weekend with thoughts of the courage, vision and hope of the New England revolutionaries of the 1700's. And I wonder how we will shape the future of our neighborhoods, our nation and the world. Will compassion and non-violence and interdependence help us find the answers, once and for all? Isn't it worth a try?

(Check out this very cool interview on VPR about the book Authentic Patriotism.  It's inspiring.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

mending and repurposing

the flag at a "bit of earth" had torn and frayed.
a few rows of the zig zag stitch, and, presto!
waving proudly, once again.

beautiful kitchen towels, out of the drawer
and now decorating the wall in the guest room.
gretta's beets have found their perfect home.

old, high loft batting+muslin pillowslip=insert
for a repurposed tote bag/small hammock pillow.
cut the tote handles, hem them and they become tie ons.
it was 55 degrees in the breezeway this morning,
with heavy clouds...not exactly hammock weather.
but the forecast is for mid nineties and humid this weekend.
hey, it's new england...