Friday, September 11, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
It has been one year since we moved out here (can that be?!) And almost one year since I started this blog. I've had fun keeping track of all the eye and heart-opening experiences that have taken place in this first year of our new life phase. I'm still in complete awe that I live here.
I'm so grateful to those of you who have read this blog and commented on it, whether in person or via the comments section. Thanks to all of you!
I will be keeping up with all of your blogs and I will be back in touch soon.
Monday, June 1, 2009
I dream about the horses almost every night. I wake up filled with the sense of horseflesh close by. I wonder if those two can feel my attention beaming at them all the way in Texas?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
I'm tucking it in my mind's pocket (which is deep and has some lint) so I can pull it out and look at it when I wake up tomorrow in the shuttered bedroom of the apartment.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I think mid-May might be my favorite time of year. Even though I could go for higher highs temperature-wise, the freshness and tidiness of new green growth is so...hopeful, to use a cliche. Everything seems manageable in terms of growth, as if everything will stay petite and contained and lovely all year. It is a delicate tasting on the tip of the tongue--not the voracious gobbling of huge summer mouthfuls. The woods are exquisite. The leaves are all out, but still small, allowing a generous filtering of light to the forest floor where the undergrowth is demure. The meadows are green, grasses not yet gone to seed as they do surprisingly early in June. When the breeze blows, a tide of dark green billows across the hill. It is simply lovely and one is right and lucky to be outside when it happens, holding on to her hat with one hand and a camera, useless to capture the scene, in the other.
We are working outside, cutting up dead locust trees in the woods to use as fence posts, planting containers, painting windows (with the windows open) and staking and re-staking the horse barn site.
A twig-mimic caterpillar crawled up my arm in the woods. John flushed a field sparrow off its precariously placed nest in the grass. I walked the lower woods trail and heard and saw so many different birds busy with their lives. I slipped into "don't know mind" and enjoyed it all without any striving to name it.
The month of Bliss indeed.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
That was some hard packed clay soil, people. It is now ready for some fine tilling with the Troy-built, which, theoretically I should be able to handle.
I'm going to keep that husband of mine around, though. He is a super-nice guy and I like him.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
In her bedroom
my mother sewed jumpers
encircled us with her yellow tape
mended our pants.
We grew up amid doll quilts,
Tammy clothes that matched our own,
ric-rac trim and searches
for her thimble.
Snips of thread ran through our rugs
like lost veins.
While her machine gathered our sleeves into cuffs
traced our middles to make a dress
of a bodice and a skirt,
I lolled on her high bed with the cherry posts,
keeping her company
as the venetian blinds striped the wall,
the stale smells of passion safe
beneath the white chenille spread.
She never told us she loved us
not straight out.
I grew up thinking those were words
for when the bedspread lay folded back—
love for children was assumed
like the cup of water I boiled for my father
as soon as I got up.
How could she know we’d search our childhoods
for a single phrase?
I think about her
when I draw the covers about my son,
practice telling him I love him
while he is too small to know
I am still trying out the phrase
tugging its seams
searching its pockets.
--- MJ Abell
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
This item cracks me up, because it is, to me, the epitome of what I call cowgirl style--useful things that you will definitely use--all prettied up with, say, your name engraved in a scrolly font. Love it.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Kathy and I squeezed in some antiquing and she bought me the cutest little blue vase you ever did done saw...
Here is the chair I painted and plan to fix with perhaps an old feed sack for upholstery a la this cool one in Country Living magazine:
Detail of the bed table painted in the same antique white:
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I need a little help with the initial back breaking work, but then I'm good to go.
I love the placement of the potager plot. It is between the house and the cabin. In the summer, you can sit on the upper deck and gaze upon it. You can walk right out the kitchen, through the screen porch and pick some fresh food for dinner. It sits on the hill, facing south, so it will have a nice breeze and a great view. It is the one thing around here that was a no-brainer for me in terms of location.
Oh, plants are great things! Every year, the gardeners I know are full of plans. Even the experienced gardeners who know that, by August, things will be much different than they envisoned, even they are stoked in April. Even if all you're going to do is a couple of containers for your porch, it's still something to design, something full of promise. You get a fresh chance. Every year.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Little wood violets are out, too. Their heads were hunkered over from the rain, but that color was unmistakable. Soon, they'll be everywhere--enough to make a small bouquet in a tiny vase.
While I was gone, John was busy finishing the stairwell in bittersweet vine. It is impossible to photograph. You'll have to come see it in person.
I'm with LeRoy in thinking that it is the coolest thing ever. I feel like I'm walking up into a treehouse every time I climb the stairs.
And we won't have to worry about small children falling off the stairs anymore. He's still got some work to do finishing the railing around the whole upstairs. Guess I'll have to travel off again for a long weekend so he can get busy!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Uh, we do?
"He's a real..."
Piece of work?
"Well we didn't take any of the ornery out of him, but we didn't put any in, either."
It seemed for about a week that he had matured. He laid down and gazed pensively, blinking his eyes in recognition of you, just like mature, zen-like kitties do. He wasn't jumping Clare every five minutes. He purred bodaciously when you stroked his pretty fur.
Gradually, though, he's reverted back to his very ornery, playful, and sometimes ridiculous self. He wrestles Clare (poor old gal), jumps up onto the kitchen counter and table, looking for scraps and leaving muddy pawprints, and climbs halfway up trees like a madman when following us on walks.
He has a new "toy" in the house. John is building the staircase, slowly but surely, out of bittersweet vine (its gorgeous). LeRoy thinks that he is doing a swell job and highly approves of the work. When you think about it from a cat's perspective, this whole house is one big scratching post. It is nice, from a human perspective, that I don't have to worry about them ruining the woodwork. These old posts can take cat claws and then some.
And he loves playing in the bathtub with the rug that Sarah and Jorge gave me for my birthday in Mexico. I have it hanging over the tub, whereupon he pulls it in and wrestles around with it making all kinds of racket that causes one to look up and ask, "what in the world...?"
Ah, the kitties. What would I do without them?
PS: Thanks to Heather for the Picasa tip. I'm still learning! It's fun!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Here's what happened: John and I got all busy. And when we get busy, sometimes we bite off more than we could possibly chew in a hundred years, much less a weekend. Around here, there is so much possibility, so many things to fix up, so much that we want to do. And John and I are doers. That's how we got here. We don't usually sit around talking about what we want to do and then just go have a cup of coffee and a smoke...
And like everything in the world, that quality, that thing, has a light side and a dark side, or good and bad if you like. The light side is, you know, we get things done. The dark side of it is more complicated of course, and harder to put my finger on exactly. It has to do with worrying about the end product all of the time instead of enjoying the process, or realizing that the process is all there is. Because end products are all ephemeral anyway, even if some take more time to disappear than others.
We started to stake out the location of the horse barn on Sunday. The speculative nature of the task brought back a rush of feelings similar to what I felt all last year as we navigated the building of the house. "I don't know," was my response to everything. Should we put it here, or would it be better there? Should we put the hay storage here, or here? Is eight feet wide enough for a grooming aisle or not? At one point, I threw up my hands and cried, "Oh my god, let's forget this!" As much as I want horses back in my life, I felt so overwhelmed by yet another project where I'm asked to envision three-dimensional space, which I suck at. Real bad. (And then the rototiller kept stalling while we tried to till up the garden, and then I mis-measured a curtain for the bathroom and had to tear the stitching out--two times. Process? I got your process right here!)
This might not sound like a big deal. But it's my lesson and the tide was gathering, dragging all sorts of notions that I have about myself to the shore with it. Notion one: I am not actually capable of anything outside of normal, safe, suburban life. Notion two: I need to make this place perfect so that everyone will like coming here. Notion three: I'm too old to be doing all this. Who do I think I am anyway? And a few more variations on those themes.
After some gin and popcorn, we settled down. That night, I had this dream: I was fixing a large, unwieldy display of some kind. It was like a holiday display at a department store or something--I couldn't see the whole thing. I was applying a wet, sticky cement-like spackling to it, trying to seal it up, make it tight. It wasn't working too well and I realized that I had to get help. I ended up talking on the phone to an old gradeschool acquaintance who owned the Oscar Meyer company. He remembered me right away and as I talked to him, the spackling started to work.
So...I'll leave you to analyze that as you may : ), but I will say that it made me feel good, upon awakening, that I apparently have psychic access to an astute businessman who remembers who I am and can make the spackling work.
Breathing deeply the next day, I called the county extension office to ask if an agent could come out to advise us on the location of the barn. He's coming April 23. And then, the most beautiful, wonderful, blessed thing of all occurred. I received an email from my Aunt Lainey in Texas. She wanted to know, did I want two horses instead of one, and would I perhaps like for Uncle Jack to come up and help build the barn?
Wait a minute. Are you kidding me?! (you gotta know that Uncle Jack is really, really good at building barns, houses, you name it. And you might as well know that we wanted a horse for John, too, and that horses need company anyway.) Um, yeah. Yes. Two horses and Uncle Jack, we'll take it.
So, I got to learn my lesson and eat it too? I'm not sure why or how things work out the way they do around me. All I know is that I am grateful. I've learned my lesson again. For now. Even though the end product is coming into clearer focus, I'm not worried about it anymore. This is just a place to live. These are just things to do. I'm just living a regular old messy life and taking my lessons in the form that they come in around here.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
The biodiversity is there in part because of the varied terrain throughout the state--an arid central valley to cloud forests at the top of the mountains and several different zones in-between. There are two seasons: rainy and dry. We were there at the end of the dry season, so it felt very desert-like to me, and yet there were tropical plants everywhere. In the dry season, the tropical plants drop their leaves and put their energy instead into flowers. Those are pollinated, then the rains begin and leaves and seed production get underway. It is astounding (to me) to see how well adapted the moisture loving tropicals are to the dry season. They hunker down like the cacti and wait.
I could go on, but it is time to quit as anyone who has posted pictures on blogspot knows (oy, the scrolling!). I leave you with a shot of Sarah gazing from a perch in the Santo Domingo convent onto the botanical splendor of her current home.