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

Monday, October 31, 2011


remembering my dad today.
he loved hallowe'en
and made quite a night of it every year.

Here in our town, Halloween has been postponed until November 6th. The roads are still filled with downed trees/branches/power lines, making Trick or Treating a dangerous activity. School has been cancelled until Thursday, perhaps even Friday. Some folks may have to wait until the end of the week to get their power back. Amazingly, our house is in the sweet 13% in our town that has had power restored. (We were also one of the first to have power restored after Irene. You can bet we will highlight this in the real estate ad when we put this house on the market!!!)  It is good to be reminded of how much we rely on electricity, but it is also exasperating to live without it for prolonged periods of time.  Our yard is filled with tree trunks that have split down the middle and branches that have snapped under the weight of the heavy snow. Batman is itching to rev up the chainsaw, but that will have to wait until the weekend! Our local Rec Center is open for showering, recharging cell phones, swimming and playing basketball...much appreciated by families with young kids, I'm sure.

We have invited friends to drop by for a shower, a cup of tea, a chance to use the internet. It's the least we can do...

I do wonder about all of this severe weather. Is it a fluke or a peek at what global climate change has to offer us?

Sending all of you best wishes for a spooky evening!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Holy snowstorm, Batman!

12" of snow.
No electricity.
Iced roads.
Power lines down.
Branches and trees down.

We're hunkered in by the fireplace.


How are things at your house this morning?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

more surrender


no one


Friday, October 28, 2011

2:33 p.m.

heating pad, 
warm cat, 
freshly squeezed grapefruit juice,
herbal zing tincture,
rejuvenation herbal tea.

winter storm warning.

reluctant, and then grateful surrender.
it's good to listen to what our bodies tell us.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

recognizing gifts

There is, I remind myself, no more direct pathway to peace,
no simpler way to encounter beauty,
no better way of slowing down.
than to try to practice devotion right where I am,
doing each day's tasks as they come
and building a life around what is already here.

From The Gift of an Ordinary Day , by Katrina Kenison

Gram Lowry's applesauce cake,
 with applesauce made from our apple trees.
Recipe here.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I do believe I have been away much more than I have been home this month. Arriving back from VT yesterday afternoon, I took a deep breath and decided that today I would get myself back on track...
  • deep inventory of pantry, fridge and freezer
  • menu planning/grocery list making
  • car wash (you should have seen the mud from VT on my poor chariot!)
  • bank
  • post office
  • gas station
  • groceries
  • laundry
  • paperwork
Tomorrow will be filled with
  • baking a batch of granola
  • cleaning the house
  • (ahem) more laundry
  • baking a cake with the last of the carrots from our "bit of earth"
Then, perhaps by Wednesday, I can get back into my sewing studio and make some progress on the 101 projects that are lurking in my UFO pile and my imagination!

How about you? What are you working on as we're cruising into the last week of October? 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

coming or going? not sure.

jolly companions at a farm stand in VT
(but remembering pumpkins in IL, potts!)

burning the candle at both ends again.
looking forward to catching up with your 
comments and blogs tomorrow, friends.

Friday, October 21, 2011

back porch love

OK all of you clothesline fans out there.
Do these photos make your heat skip a beat?
A classic Vermont back porch, complete with drying lines
and a very sweet solution to clothespin storage.

not far from our "bit of earth". 

Delightful, eh?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I find myself  in Vermont for a few days 
(more about that tomorrow).
I must say, I opened the door cautiously,
wondering what I might find after Lindsey
and eleven of her friends stayed in this little house 
over the weekend.

Really, the only evidence I found was this sweet line,
jotted on the white board on the fridge.

Every one of them is invited back.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

gathering gratitude

  • Sometimes I marvel at the twists and turns that my life has taken. Despite being an average student at Earlham College back in the 1970's, I have somehow found myself, years later, serving on its board...a deep and precious honor for me. Working with fine people to move the mission of the school forward is a blessing I hold close to my heart. Being part of Saturday's Inauguration celebrations was indeed a special treat. To read David Dawson's Inauguration Address, click here. It's a long read, but filled with hope and wisdom. 
  • Every time I am on the campus at Earlham, I remember how grateful I am to have met Batman there, in the fall of 1974. Seriously folks, what luck!
  • Hannah was able to come over to campus from her place in Ohio and we had some really good time to visit, both as a mother/daughter team and with some of her friends as well. As I walked across the heart after the ceremonies on Saturday, my phone rang and it was Stewart, just calling to check in. And Lindsey had spent the weekend at our place in Vermont with a posse of 11 (!) of her friends. She began a brand new job yesterday where she will be able to answer her call to to be working with teens. And I finally had a chance to catch up with Gretta (on the phone) who's still in love with Australia. Count them...four kids...all doing good things in the world. How cool is that?
  • We are in the midst of my favorite season, and I am soaking up the scent of the leaves underfoot, the bounty of autumn veggies on our supper table, the pinch of chill in the air and the magically filtered light that I can't seem to get enough of.
  • I've been yearning to find a way to gather my days, and I found a very sweet format (via Pinterest) that I think I'll try for a month or so, here.
  • As the days close in on colder weather and more indoor activity, here's a wealth of ideas for books, movies and music. Many thanks to a very sweet blog, "tiny happy".
  • Tomorrow I head back up to Vermont, to help my cousin Kristen and her partner, Gary move into a house they bought while visiting us this summer. I know! How crazy is that? Soon, we will be living about 7 miles from one another. We are three months apart in age, our Moms are sisters and I love her to bits. We haven't lived near one another since before we each went off to college. For this wonderful turn of events, I am most grateful.
What happens when you count your blessings? Do they tend to snowball, or do you struggle to find things to count? Sadly, living in this world can lead us in either direction...what are your thoughts?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

oh, what a day it was

the swing on "the heart" at earlham college.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

in the midwest

From Vermont to Connecticut to
La Guardia to Dayton to Richmond, IN.
For some board work and some institutional celebration.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

autumn retreat in pictures

henry, catching some late afternoon rays.
the "bracken" hat was finished.
the sky was just one night shy of the hunter's moon  last night.
i've grown to love our funky little kitchen...
...where we made applesauce with fruit from our very own, 
well tended trees.
progress was made on the "scrappy tote",
all 194 stitches for the cardigan were cast on,
and it's been growing ever since, slowly but surely.

we walked on the road,
ate local, organic food,
hosted some friends from both far away and near,
schemed with my cousin (more later!),
did reading for an upcoming board meeting,
bought end of season plants for 50% off,
went on field trips,
did yard work,
were stunned anew by the determination and resilience
of the great people of the state of vermont.
well, you get the picture...

props at bread and puppet circus

we are blessed to have our "bit of earth"
to melt into every once in a while.

Monday, October 10, 2011

guest post from hannah

Every Friday in my Spanish classes, I select a different song to listen to and sing. The first time, we listen, and students try to fill in the blanks of the lyrics (I omit some words they would easily hear). Then we talk about what it means and translate some of the lyrics. The second time, we sing along with the music. I pick songs from different genres, and try to keep it interesting.

Last week, though, I did something different and showed this video. The first go around, we simply watched the video. I witnessed my students become quieter than I have ever seen them. They were mesmerized by the beauty of the people and places captured by the lens of the camera in Calle 13’s video.

I have traveled to several Latin American countries, studied Spanish and Latin American studies for years, and been truly intrigued and inspired by the diversity of culture, geography, and languages I have seen. However, none of those experiences prepared me for the way this song captures the heart of a people. I have learned, and taught my students, not to make generalizations about multiple countries, tribes, and histories. But this video does an amazing job of bringing to light all of those differences, while still celebrating the common thread of Latin America that may not even be possible to articulate. The true essence of diversity, I guess.

The lyrics are poetic, too. In a world rampant with consumerism, greed, and colonization of people and spaces, the words say,

“Tú no puedes comprar al viento.
Tú no puedes comprar al sol.
Tú no puedes comprar la lluvia.
Tú no puedes comprar el calor.
Tú no puedes comprar las nubes.
Tú no puedes comprar los colores.
Tú no puedes comprar mi alegría.
Tú no puedes comprar mis dolores.”

“You can’t buy the wind.
You can’t buy the sun.
You can’t buy the rain.
You can’t buy the heat.
You can’t buy the clouds.
You can’t buy the colors.
You can’t buy my happiness.
You can’t buy my pains.”

So much of Central and South America has been exploited physically, politically, economically, and environmentally for centuries. But this song makes a claim for an essential spirit of a people who continue to struggle for visibility and equality, and a place that can’t be bought.

Maybe my view is too simplistic, but I felt humbled and appreciative to see this video, and know that some musicians are still fighting a good fight for social justice in the world.  Critics are already saying it should win song/video of the year at the Latin Grammys in November. Hope you enjoy it!

(Hannah is Reed child #3. She teaches at Olney Friends School, in rural Ohio. Click here to get a peek at her arrival there, just over a year ago).

Saturday, October 8, 2011

man=carrot circus

Traditionally, on Labor Day weekend, 
we drive up and over the Rochester Gap to see
Bread and Puppet  perform in the amphitheatre
Since Rochester was completely cut off from the world
by the ravaging floods of Irene,
Bread and Puppet had to give their fans 
quite a huge rain check.
Batman arrived last night, to join me in a little fall retreat.
We were delighted that the circus rescheduled for this weekend.
Don't you love these tall carrots on stilts?
 Here is a finger pointing puppet,
in honor of those in Washington, DC.
A banjo playing goat, who serenaded the audience.
The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant was shut
down by empowered granny protesters,
despite the best efforts of the NRC!
 This wild ape made quite an impression on the kids in the crowd!
There was a fabulous skit where "YES" and "NO" mellowed
into "MAYBE".
And a powerless point presentation on how to
help your company get back into "the black" simply 
by painting all of your products green.
There was also the signature moment of silence for
those killed and injured in Iraq and Afghanistan,
civilians and soldiers alike,
with a tally board noting the numbers.
Really, it turns out, the answer to the 
challenges in the world,
is to simply embrace your local carrot.
For both we humans and our carrot friends
all end up as dirt anyway.
 We like to support the puppeteers by buying some
 of their "cheap art" after the show.
This is our 2011 purchase,
newspaper and acrylic on cardboard.

To see posts about other performances click here and here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

war and peace

The tenth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkul Karman,
winners of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

eau du autumn

The sky was so clear and the wind was so crazy
that the towels out on the clothesline ended up as fluffy
as they would have been in the dryer.
But they smelled a whole lot better.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

eventide gratitude

Thank-you, Great Grandfather Strength, for pushing these ancient Green Mountains up out of your belly.
Thank-you, Great Grandmother Earth, for covering this ground with your fertile dirt and leaves and worms.

Thank-you, Mother Sky, for freshening the air and bringing the rain.
Thank-you Father Sun, for shining down on this land.

Thank-you, Uncle Seasons, for bringing the changes that fuel the rhythms.
Thank-you, Auntie Fauna, for bringing the birds to sing in these branches.

Thank-you, Mountain Man Reg, for planting these apple trees.
And thank-you, Batman and Lindsey, for bringing these trees back with your TLC.

As I cut into this tartest of apples tonight, I appreciate all that brought me to this exquisite moment.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

field trip to green mountain spinnery

While at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival on Sunday, Franny and I were quite taken with the Green Mountain Spinnery Cooperative's booth. Their commitment to sustaining a worker-owned business, and to serving local shepherds really intrigued us. We were delighted to learn that they offer factory tours on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month, and so this morning, we drove down to their factory in Putney. Sixty percent of their business is done as custom orders, the other 40 percent of the skeins wear the GMS tag. The photo above shows bags of raw fleece waiting to be processed.
After the fibers have been soaked and washed, they are spun until nearly dry in this circa 1896 extractor, acquired from the laundry room of a now defunct, local hotel.  
After being washed and dried, the fibers are "picked" and then carded. The carding machine, above, was built in 1916 and it's still going strong. After carding, comes blending and roving and then it's twisted and plied into yarn and steamed, and skeined or coned.
We lingered in the factory store while I tried to decide if I had the courage to attempt a cardigan, and then, what color? I went with glacier lake in a 70% wool/30%yearling mohair blend.
I'm going to give Maureen's Cardigan a try. The pattern is from 99 Yarns and Counting, More Designs from the Green Mountain Spinnery.  While there, I had my book autographed by 6 members of the co-operative. I am very excited about being able to knit really long sleeves for my really long arms!

I always love a good factory tour, must be a leftover from my days of watching Mr Rogers with my little brothers. :-)

Sunday, October 2, 2011


My buddy Franny came over from Maine,
and we spent the day at the
Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival.
We strolled the vendors who were selling fleece, yarn,
spinning wheels, drop spindles, baskets, needles and patterns,
hand looms and lanolin products. 
This photo is for Gretta, Ra and anyone else who is
in love with sheepherding pooches.
(check this out).
We were spellbound, once again, by watching shepherd,
dog and sheep work together.
Shearing demo.
The wooly and the bare naked!
Needle felted flock.
Gorgeous woven blanket.

Alpacas, sheep and a few goats were penned among the vendors.
There were folks promoting farm stay vacations, b&b knitting stays
and even a guy selling portable fencing.

The crowd was filled with very good looking hand knit sweaters,
and most folks were wearing "sensible footwear", because
it's still raining in VT!
It's so inspiring to be in the midst of hand crafters
and folks who are devoted to working close to the land.

I am working up the courage to knit a cardigan.
Franny, who is my knitting guru, has promised to help me get started.
Check back tomorrow to see where we are headed next.
I can't wait.

And I can finally let you know about Gretta's internship
in Australia. I am beyond jealous.
Read this to find out why.