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

Monday, August 31, 2020

bookends for the day

 this wee fawn and her mama wandered near the deck 
as i was stretching early this morning. 
 we harvested the carrots and beets today.
 due to our hot and dry summer, our root cellar
is not yet cool enough to store our veggies.
 we set the carrots out to dry a bit on the porch, 
then tucked them into our mini fridge that 
we use when we have a houseful of guests.
(which clearly isn't happening right now...).
we'll hold the veggies here until the root cellar cools down.
 as we tidied up after our gardening, the sunset caught my eye...
...and created a pretty reflection in the window of the workshop.

check back tomorrow to see some  sewing projects for miss magpie.

hope you are hanging in there, friends.
unprecedented times.

Friday, August 28, 2020

morning sky

Oh, friends, what a week it has been. 
I thought you might like to see the morning view out our bedroom window.

A clean slate.
A fresh start.
New possibilities.

Each morning asks of us...
What have I done to ease the pain in the world?
What can I do today?


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

"bit of earth" quilt book

snapfish had a special going last week, 65% off photo books.
even with the discount, this little book was pricey,
but it's such fun to have this project documented!
their turn around time was amazing!
one week from placing the order til i had it in hand.

Two links for today

Saturday, August 22, 2020

meadow weaving

 my second try at weaving bits of the gardens and meadows.
 the thinner string broke when i tried to pull it tight
as i set up the warp.
so i went with a softer version of the highly twisted string i 
used on thursday's version.
(nice to have three different types of string on hand!)
 birchbark, feathers, bits of lichen, a birch twig, 
grass stems and some aromatic sage.
 a stem of indigo, more birchbark 
and some rosemary.
tansy blooms and more rosemary.

It really was such fun, walking the gardens and meadow, clippers in hand, gathering bits to weave into some sort of homage to late summer. I have yet to figure out how to get the weaving safely off the loom and arranged to hang it. I hope it may hang somewhere in the house so that in midwinter it may remind us of the abundance of these August days. This weaving echos the quilted wallhanging I stitched some years ago at just about this same time of year..."meadow's ebb"

I have tried a few times to get into Robin Wall Kimmerer's book, Braiding Sweetgrass, and I am trying again! It's funny how some books sort of wait for you to find them, while others just jump into your hands.

A few of the things on the "to do"list this weekend

  • tidy up the root cellar, remove cobwebs, air the sand from storage buckets, spread out on a tarp in the sunshine.
  • prep the garlic, which has been curing in the woodshed, for storage.
  • sort the potatoes by size and let them air out for another day or two.
  • try winging a recipe for a crustless quiche topped with Black Krim tomato slices.
  • process the rest of the chard for the freezer (sautée with onions and garlic).
  • double check on dye supplies. what needs mordanting? what is ready to go?
I'm thinking of the week ahead. What would you like to see here, friends? 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

managing and navigating

 sunset on tuesday.
 sunset on wednesday.
  foggy morning, 
looking over to the white mountains in new hampshire from
the road along the ridge. 
weaving with string that is too thick.
will be trying thinner string this afternoon.

getting to know danica boyce over at fairfolkcast
still curious about what it's all about.
swooning over the embroidery of amanda cobbett over here.

 i feel my   
my heart going deeper into the natural world,
collecting scavenged bits of things,
finding solace and comfort and groundedness
in bark, feathers, twigs, blooms.
walking barefoot, looking up at the clouds, 
listening to the birds and bugs.
noticing dew on the cobwebs, and the hush at dusk.

a quiet mug of tea as the day starts,
stretching on the deck with deep inhales and exhales.

sitting on the brink of the hill with batman 
as the late afternoon slips into the early evening,
digesting the day,
collaborating on what to have for supper,
closing up the hoop house,
checking the mailbox.

doing what we can to manage 
how we navigate this odd world we are living in.

hope you are safe and well, friends.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

ballots and bread and roses and suffragettes

Alice Paul's "Jailed for Freedom Pin",
photographed at 
August, 2017.
(One of the most extraordinary museums I have visited).

Remembering that
100 years ago today the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified,
enfranchising (white) women and declaring for the first time
that they deserved all the rights and
responsibilities of citizenship.

Friends, let us not squander the legacy of the Suffragettes!

Be sure to plan ahead and find a way to
in this mayhem.

Here's a sweet listen for the day...
Bread and Roses,
originated from a speech given by American women's suffrage activist Helen Todd.

Friday, August 14, 2020

some friday links

Hi friends,
Thought you might appreciate some interesting alternatives to the daily news, which these days is unbearable. 
Black Krim tomatoes, sun gold cherry tomatoes and zebra tomatoes are piling up on the kitchen counter. We are tucking a bumper crop of green bell peppers into the freezer...sliced, chopped...ready for winter soups and stews and chilis and stir fries. The onions are beginning to flop over, the carrots are ready to pull and it's time to tidy up the root cellar. The days are still steamy, but the evenings are cooling down nicely.

Yesterday Maggie and I had a zoom call. We each played with a pile of Duplo blocks, even though we are about 300 miles apart. I read her a story, too, and we chatted about an adventure she took to the shore one morning. We have not yet met Flora in Detroit, but we see lots of photos nearly every day. Weird times.


Monday, August 10, 2020

a "bit of earth" quilt

Begun in January 2018 and finished this week, sewing this sampler quilt was quite an adventure. 

I bought Tula Pink's book City Sampler,100 Modern Quilt Blocks at Capital Quilts, near Washington D.C. while visiting with my daughter Lindsey just before she moved to Detroit. Folks were making a square a day back then and the idea of an ongoing project appealed to me. But a square a day, not so much. So I began "Tula Tuesday", sewing and posting a square a week. I had no plan for the finish, I just added squares to a pile in my sewing studio.

I decided to work from my stash and not buy any new fabric for the quilt. A few weeks into the project I took off in two different directions with my squares, and things got a bit muddled from there. But after a while I found some clarity.

One group of squares came together in a "grandma quilt" I made for myself, to use here in Vermont, when little ones come to stay. You can read about that quilt here.

The other squares were inspired by things going on around here at our "bit of earth". If you use the search box on the right of the page, you can find most of the squares in process. A few of my faves are here, here and here.

I did use stash fabric for the squares, but ended up buying fabric for the backing, binding and the wonky lattice strips that I used to even up my squares. Determined to try a color waaaay out of my comfort zone, I went with an orange the color of bittersweet berries. The backing is a very low volume beige. I took a pic of the back of the quilt spread out on the lawn so you can see the simple quilting I did, and that's an orphan block I plan to use for the label.

That sweet nasturtium block is made with my friend Anne's fabric from Spoonflower.

I am still not sure I love the color choice I made, but I have confidence that it appeals to one of my home decorators, Wilma. And come November, it will add a bit of coziness to our chilly evenings, legs tucked up, with book in hand.

And what luck that my last spool of orange thread made it to the end of the machine binding!

My next project has me pretty excited. I am working on a photo book. I plan to have the quilt square on the left hand page and the photo inspiration on the right hand page, creating a spread for each of the 35 squares.

Do you have a fave vendor for photo books? Give me a holler if you do! Thanks. xo

Friday, August 7, 2020

wherever we are


My friend Sharon spotted goldenrod at her place in Wisconsin a while ago, and I took a stroll out in our meadow this afternoon to find some here in Vermont. Sharon and I are kindred spirits in many ways, but our love of the autumn season binds us as these summer days give hints of waning. 

As I drove down the hill this morning, our chilly temps created tunnels of trees filled with whips of fog. On these mornings, I do not listen to NPR or Spotify. I just listen to the wheels crunch on the gravel and relax my shoulders. I exhale and I smile. I am able to be fully present to the simplicity and beauty of the present moment. What a gift it is, to be able to live in a snapshot of perfection.

The real world always finds its way back to us, doesn't it?

But we can find sanctuary in noticing. In listening. In breathing. 

Wherever we are.


Thursday, August 6, 2020


Today marks the 75th anniversary of the destruction of the Japanese city of Hiroshima at the hands of the United States and a nuclear bomb.

I revisit the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes each year. It is sobering and bittersweet.

And this website is filled with information to help us remember what happened, because we mustn't ever forget. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park sponsors the annual 6 August Peace Memorial Ceremony. 

Perhaps as the quiet of evening settles around your place, you might join me in lighting a candle of remembrance and take a few minutes to consider our place in that chapter of world history.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

storm update

the quilting crew here.
just checking in to let you know that 
we weathered the storm just fine.
lots of much needed rain,
manageable winds
and no power outages.

hope you're OK too.

current events have reminded me of our very fun family trip years ago to
YOSEMITE National Park.

90 days until election 2020, friends.

not that i'm counting or anything...

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

marigolds and storms and courage

My friend Pauline (who I have dyed with) works at her family farm, Golden Russet Farm, over in Shoreham, VT. Batman and I drove up and over the gaps to visit the farm in the late spring. We had an appointment, wore masks and did not dilly dally when it was our turn to shop. We came for a very specific item. Indigo starts. :-) But I digress...

On Sunday, inspired by an idea Pauline had, I sat in an Adirondak chair on our front porch and strung marigold blossoms onto heavy thread and hung them just outside our breezeway. Once they have dried, I'll set them aside. I'll harvest a few more batches of blooms as the summer rolls along, and string them as well. Once the cooler autumn days set in, I'll pull out my dye pots and brew up a batch of sunny color to dip some cotton and linen into.

We have had an elderly birch tree leaning precariously over the road. Removing it has been on our "to do" list for a very long time. The forecast for driving rain and high winds coming with the tropical storm today lit a fire under our butts. Yesterday we went out to take the tree down. We were able to fell the tree, cut it up into manageable lengths and clear the road before a single vehicle came by. And that, my friends, is why we love our neighborhood. Batman cut it down and I stacked the 16" lengths by the side of the road. 

We really need the rain here in Vermont, but we are hoping things don't get out of hand. Many of us remember Tropical Storm Irene with great trepidation. We have done everything we can to prepare for the storm. We invested in a generator this past spring and may be glad we did. Our pantry is still in good shape, as we have kept it well stocked during the pandemic. Lawn furniture has been put away and most windows are shut tight and latched.

Farmers have been haying in earnest, trying to get their bales in before the rain. Green Mountain Power is on high alert and warnings are going out about flash flooding and high winds. Various construction projects in the neighborhood are battening down their supplies and equipment.

If only we were as well prepared for the storms that are gathering around our upcoming election....

Voter fraud is such nonsense and pales in comparison the very real crime of voter suppression.
Our postal service has been hijacked by money and corruption.
A certain someone has CORONA virus blood on his hands, and he doesn't even realize it.
Dark times.

I have absolutely no interest in "getting back to normal".
I envison a more inclusive, just and joyous future.

Courage, dear hearts.


Sunday, August 2, 2020

night bloomer

After supper last night we went down to Laura and Nora's place to wander their lovely gardens. They had been keeping a careful eye on their night blooming cerus all week and alerted us that it was ready to bloom. 

Laura and Nora have become the best sort of friends and in the midst of the pandemic, they have become more trusted and dear than ever. They are some of the very few people we visit with, being careful to maintain recommended distance when we gather. Here in Vermont our COVID numbers are some of the best in our nation and despite temptation to do otherwise, we are paying strict attention to protocol. We are being mindful of our "COVID exposure budget" as our VT Commissioner of Health calls it. 

We admired the budding flower when we arrived, then Laura and Nora treated us to grilled peaches topped with chèvre made with milk from their goats. We peeked at the bloom a bit later and it was beginning to open. We sat for a while in the side yard, listening to the chickens settle down for the evening, we watched the sunset and heard the bells as the goats milled in their pen. Their two pups ran in and out of the woods, searching for fun. They both have light markings, so we could see them passing through the darkening foliage like ghosts.

Just before we got ready to head for home, the flower had opened fully and we shone a bit of light on it for photos. Such a magical bloom!

Once back at our place, we stood out on our lawn and watched the clouds trace past the nearly full moon. Yes, there are so very many things we are missing, to list them here would make me sob. But we are in a precious place, with so much in our lives to be grateful for, and all of that has anchored us to hope and patience.

May you, fine friends out there, find hope and patience wherever you are. I remain grateful for your friendship here, both in comments and emails. Friendship is too dear to take for granted, especially these days. xo