Tuesday, April 30, 2013

With a Brief Peek of Sun, Learning Something New, Home

1. Day after day of mist and drizzle, but I don't mind it one bit. The grass is thick and long. I make a point to remember it this way for the hot, dry months ahead when it will turn brittle and brown.
2. Of the five on our committee, only one knows how to use Skype and he's the "younger" guy. We joke and kid one another about our technologically challenged capabilities. Eventually we get my daughter and her husband on the screen and it's very exciting and why haven't I done this sooner?!
3. In a moment of sentimentality, I grab my CD of Italian music for the drive. My hands and eyes are maneuvering the car, but my mind is far away in memories of my mother, young and tanned and strong, cooking in the kitchen. It was summer, the doors and windows were open, and she always sang in the kitchen. She didn't just hum or sing softly, she sang a performance for herself. We happened to be the lucky beneficiaries.

Louis Prima was one of my Dad's favorites. It's hard to sit still for this one. Tess has danced it with my mom...in the kitchen. : )

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rock Climbing, Gray Skies, Comfort Food

1. I'm thrilled when I check my daughters' blogs and see they've posted new entries. Because we are far apart, our blogs help us keep up with day to day activities. Today I opened this one. My daughter caught Marian doing this in search of candy:

 2. The rain came as promised, watering in all the new plants I put in yesterday. It felt like a true day of rest with the dim light and hushed sounds of rain.
3. An old-fashioned meal of baked chicken, mashed potatoes, etc. New recipes are fun, but the tried and true meals from our childhood are pure comfort.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Planting Ajuga, The Field is Ready, Anything Made With Pizza Dough is Good

Ajuga from Hanover Farms in Richmond. They specialize in ground covers. I bought five flats which were enough to plant under four trees.

Nice, moist cow compost on my knees!

Spacing for Ajuga is 6-9". I went with 9" since I know they spread heartily.

Baby Ajugas set out and ready to plant.
1. My gardening motto this year is "Simplify". To facilitate easier mowing, I'm planting ground cover under all the trees. Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' will form a beautiful carpet where it's planted. I'll return to these photos at the end of summer to see how they're filling in.
1.a. I think of gardening as play. I can crawl around on the ground, get dirty, lie on the grass and gaze at the sky, and not care what I look like (unless someone is snapping my photo).
1.b. Gardening is also work. But Steve helps me and it's an opportunity to work on something together. He hauled the topsoil and manure home and helped me dig out more sod.
1.c. Gardening is a creative outlet. It's about dreaming up ideas and turning them into reality. It never becomes dull because a garden is ever changing.
2. Audrey works in the horse pasture, tightening the fence, scrubbing out the water troughs and generally getting things ready for horses to return next week. The elderly Cahoon brothers stop their truck and chat with her for a minute. Other neighbors wave and beep as they drive by.
3. A satisfying dinner of Stromboli. Click here for recipe.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Where Were You around 6 a.m.?, First Harvests, A Quick Visit

1. Reading Lynn's blog, I discover she and I were both outside listening to the birds sing to the setting full moon at the same time this morning!
2. I love the satisfaction of harvesting something fresh from the garden, then carrying it only a few steps into the kitchen for our meal. Tonight the garden yielded fresh asparagus for our dinner and rhubarb for our dessert of strawberry rhubarb pie. (The tiny ingredient that transforms this pie from wonderful to spectacular is a little bit of orange zest in the filling.)
3. Walking across the field to the neighbors' carrying a warm pie wrapped in a dish towel. I baked two pies, one to keep and one to share. Eating one made me very happy and giving one, the same. : )

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Love My Morning Commute

I enjoy seeing this old truck tucked in the shed each time I go by. I also like how the farmer plows right up to the edges and all around the shed.

This beautiful property is at the stop sign where I turn.

An old structure from a bygone era. I want to open the door, hear a bell jingle, pull a green glass bottle of 7-up out of a chest freezer and use a bottle opener to snap off the cap. I'm glad they keep the building in such good repair.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dealing With It, Clearing the Air, Altering the Course

1. A table full of third grade girls screams in high-pitched squeals because a tiny spider is hanging down near them. I'm charging past on a different mission and can't stop to properly deal with it, so I clap the spider in my hands as I breeze by. (I surprise myself because I would never do this at home- kill a spider with my bare hands. Adrenaline will do crazy stuff.) The stunned silence that follows is comical. The girls stare at me with wide eyes and open mouths like I am some kind of monster. Suddenly, new squeals break out. Squeals of grossed out, third grade girls. I can't win.
2. After dinner, just as we are leaving the house, a heavy rain storm begins. The purple and gray clouds are low and menacing. Several miles down the road, the sky lightens and an vivid rainbow arches to my left.
3. We're supposed to be doing a book study, but we end up chatting instead. We're good at that sort of thing, bending and altering to meet our current needs...or whims.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Save or Delete?, A New Look, Click, Click, Click, Ding!

1. It's emotionally exhausting for me to delete my text messages. Some are too sentimental to delete, so I go through them one by one and delete only those that are dispensable. Consequently, I see the sender's name, who are mainly my loved ones, and the opening line. Some are funny, some are serious, all are important. I am too obsessively compulsive to ever just delete the whole kit-and-caboodle. By the end of the ordeal I've read a creative combination of opening lines:

 "It's packed real No hurry That's up top you Hi Lee OK I was with 3 I'm stuck in the Channel 13 ??? What do you Not yet I start We can see the On our way I love you a lot..."

2. She cut Marian's hair and gave her some little bangs. She looks like a different little girl now, still and always adorable.
3. From behind a closed door in another room comes the sound of typing... on a typewriter! It's a pleasant, old-fashioned sound.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Panorama, Jacket on the Back Seat, Long Day

1. In a breathtaking arrangement by nature, Redbud and Dogwood bloom all along the interstate. A green, mountainous backdrop provides the perfect contrast behind it all. Granted, man's hand in landscaping is pretty, but nature has done a spectacular job on this one.
2. It's one of those, just-the-right-temperature days, somewhere around 64° and sunny. Jackets are optional and it's perfect for any kind of outdoor activity.
3. We have fifteen minutes to wait in the car so we both lean our heads back and doze, Tess and me. This little nap gives us a second round of energy to get through the evening.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Pitter Patter of Little Feet

1.When a baby looks you right in the eye and smiles like you're the greatest thing in the whole, wide world.
2. Mari's rendition of "Qwinkle, Qwinkle Littwle Star".
3. There's a tiny little dimple in Jack's earlobe.
4. Eyelashes wet with tears only moments ago now smile brightly.
5. Observant two year old when shown a photo of a man in graduation cap and gown:
"Why does that funny man have a kite on his head?!"

Friday, April 19, 2013

Can We Talk?, Jon and Vangelis, Getting Ready

1. Amid the chaos of spilled milk, ketchup packet explosions, and general Friday craziness, I was asked the following:
"Is Santa real?"
"Does cancer make you die?"
2. Driving with a great CD today.

3. Rushing home to make preparations; frosting cupcakes and carrying the highchair to the kitchen. The grandchildren are coming!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

That Time Again- So Soon, Refreshing the Pile, Stretching the Day




1. "And the seasons, they go round and round..." Joni Mitchell

2. The library had a little stack of books waiting for me.
3. There was enough daylight left to go outside and dig in the dirt after supper. And then a little more time to hold some boards for Steve to nail.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Peaceful Slumber, Bananas are Healthy, How Could I Forget?

1. A lone horse stands sleeping under the shade of a tree. It's a peaceful scene, making me wish to find my own shady tree for a nap.
2. I ate a banana split for lunch. I had no self control, but I also had no guilt. I enjoyed every fudgy, melty, nutty, vanilla, creamy bite.
3. Each spring I am ever surprised at how green and lush the world becomes. Winter lasts long enough to accustom my eyes to see only its barrenness. I forget the green world which existed way back in August, almost like forgetting the details of a loved one's face after a long absence. I want to ask spring, "Were you really this beautiful last year? Could I have forgotten?"

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Golden Day, Golden Thoughts, Golden Years

Forsythia against the morning sky.


Every year I tell myself I need to separate these daffodils and then I forget.

1. If I had to use one word to describe this weekend it would be "golden". Each time the bright colors caught my attention, I stopped working and commented to Steve about the stunning golden view. Then he would pause in his work and we'd admire it together, just to repeat it again twenty minutes later.
2. Projects that were in my head all winter slowly begin to take form with the help of tools, muscles, and time. Old garden beds are dug up and plants get moved around, and new wood paneling goes up on the porch ceiling. As Steve labors I rattle off more ideas; it's enough to make his head spin.

 "You know the depths of my heart and you love me the same." 

3. These beautiful lyrics sung at church today. They take my breath away.
4. My strong, beautiful mom turns ninety-one today. She tells me the story of her birth for the bazillionth time, of which I never tire.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Keeping Company: Numbers One, Two and Three

1. Outside sounds float into the house through the open door and windows. I hear many birds, especially operatic singing mockingbirds. House finches have found the net bag filled with thistle seed hanging in the crabapple tree and robins hop around on the lawn, poking at bugs.
2. My first walk across the field of the season to visit with the neighbors. Good neighbors are a special gift, never to be taken for granted.
3. Storms roll in at midnight with loud thunder and lightning. We're all awake now, Henri-the-Schnoodle, Tess, and me. We find solace in each others company and end up all sleeping together.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Two Kinds of Velvet, Greetings and Love

1. Plump chickens roam the front lawn of a farmhouse. They wear dark, velvet colored feathers of burgundy and black. It's an idyllic scene and would make a beautiful, pastoral painting.
2. The buds of the magnolia blossoms are encased in a green velvet shell. Each time I pass the little tree, I rub the softness between my fingers.
3. I'm there for a meeting in the front room, but I hear the lady of the house washing dishes in the back kitchen so I pop in to say a quick hello. I get a big hug, soapy wet hands and all.
4. A note is tucked into this little guy's lunch box. It reminds me that each child is someone's precious treasure.

Love, Mom

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes (or Thirty Years)

1. When I first read Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon in the early 1980's, I hadn't traveled more than a few hundred miles from my New York home. I could only imagine the places he was describing. As I re-read it today I realize how far time has taken me. I've now been to many of the places he describes; I recognize the names, the history, and the dialects. I never imagined in a million years this would be my life. What an odd feeling it is, thinking of then and now. Places I thought I would only read about have become my own reality.
2. If you can't taste the scrambled eggs the first night you eat them, then eating them a second night in a row won't matter. It's all new.
3. I leave the shades up, allowing the sunshine to stream into the room. I also move the yellow orchid to a spot where I can see it from my chair. It's all so bright and cheery.

*Another good book along these lines is, Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck. It's rather dated, but that's part of what makes it interesting today.
** I highly recommend, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage . We listened to it on audio. This is the gripping, unforgettable true story of a 1916 Antarctic expedition.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Where Was I? Life Went On Without Me, Music

1. Groggily emerging from the fog of flu, I look around and take stock of the week I lost. That was rough. I am so relieved to leave it behind.
2. The world is bright and new and green!
3. The birds are singing every kind of song. I can't decide which is my favorite, but the evening song seems to pull at my heart the most. It's soft and quiet and tells of a day well done.