Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bloom time

I have a black thumb. I promise. Used to be I couldn't keep a houseplant alive to save my life. I even almost killed the "impossible to kill" plant my mother-in-law gave me when we got married. It was a cutting from her plant which had started as a cutting from her mother's plant when she got married some thirty-odd years prior to that. Oh, it was one I couldn't kill but almost did. I'm happy to say it's alive and well now and I'm determined to keep it's legacy going.

So I got better at paying attention to the plants around me with that same self-determination that allowed me to teach myself to knit, crochet, cook, bake, not kill some important things and learn to grow others. It helped that I landed on an old farm with it's rich black soil and so many long-lived plantings all around. Despite my ineptitude at gardening they just kept on growing or coming back every year if I did something wrong or the dog trampled them to death.

It was that forgiveness if you will that alleviated my fear of planting, growing and possibly killing what I put in the ground. I learned that not every dead plant was my fault and that plants are some of the most forgiving living things you can involve yourself with. All you have to do is pay a little attention to what they need and respond accordingly.

I'm no perfect gardener still, mind you. I've given up on competing with my Martha Stewart-esque mother-in-law who lives next door and my other neighbor who is a horticulturalist/landscape architect whose work is pictured every few years in Southern Living Magazine (you think I'm joking but I'm not). I'm clearly outdone. My yard, to quote my husband, "Has bits of beauty in it but then it looks like napalm went off every so often." He's referring to the deep chasms dug by the dog and her propensity toward making beds in my lilies. I just laugh and keep on planting, realizing that not everything is in my control, really hardly anything is.

All I know is I'm usually surprised by the garden. Depending on the weather, where I put things and how much attention I pay them, some things have their best year ever. This year goes to the clematis, that no matter which direction you look at it from,

is just one big cascade of purple goodness.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Winter knitting

sitting in the nook
listening to the steady pour of rain
knitting up some special orders
some off-season winter knitting

big pink scarf
baby sweater

searching for the right dog to adopt
watching movies
thinking about the morning's baseball game
hoping to see a rainbow later
happy lazy Saturday

Thursday, May 20, 2010

the nook

I feel like a kid again who found a secret hideout. Like when I used to make forts out of sheets strung across the furniture all taped and tied up any which way. Or when I'd climb a tree or play in the attic or crawl down to the end of my sleeping bag with a flashlight and a book.

There's something special about small places with walls, windows or fabric all around. It feels different, it sounds different and the sense of protection, safety and even annonymity is undeniable.

This place is for knitting, or reading, taking pictures (as you've seen), helping with homework, having long talks, or just daydreaming. I've been wanting my own nook, I just didn't know it. Thanks to my special nook-maker I now have one. I hope you do too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Give a girl a camera

And if that girl happens to be your 13 year old niece,

or your 11 year old one,

you'll never know what you'll get.

But these two surprise me every time.

(okay, so I did a little editing, but still!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010


As summer fast approaches and the wardrobe shifts to open necklines and unconstrained clothing, so increases my jewelry selection. Perhaps the best thing about making jewelry is that I have an ever-changing personal collection.

I make, I pass on, I give, I sell, I re-make. I couldn't be happier.

If you're looking for simple, these pieces fit the bill. Any of them. But you can't get more pared down or easy going than my basic black. It goes with practically anything. Or, at least that's how I wear it.

The view from above

Recipe for a perfect Friday afternoon:

1. 85 degrees and sunny
2. pack up the boat and children
3. grab sandwiches on the way
4. go to the river (the close one)
5. hang out

6. draw
7. read
8. catch fish (just the boys this time)

9. knit a little

10. knit some more

11. throw everything in the catchall family bag upon hearing thunder

12. fall asleep to a Spring thunderstorm

I can think of so many reasons why this is the start to my favorite time of year.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I welcomed the rain today which is odd for me because I usually don't. I like to take the dog for a walk in the afternoons or go for a run or do anything but sit inside. But today we needed the rain. Me and the grass.

It's a good day for sitting and making and reading the latest magazine to come in the mail, from which I found stereomood.com. I first tried picking my mood but the music didn't match, so then I tried picking the music and found out what mood I was in. Let's just say it wasn't "raining".

And if you're wondering why I didn't post anything to commemerate Mother's Day let me just tell you I thought about it, but anything I was about to say just didn't do it for me, so I figured it was better to be quiet. If you really want something to speak to you about motherhood, just click here. If you're a mom you'll know exactly what I mean. If you're not one, it'll make you want to become one. Enjoy the rain.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Unlike the flower petal

.....Bend sideways, reach to the ceiling, hips to the left, arms to the right, like the flower petal opening....

That's what she says, or at least something to that effect at my local Bikram Yoga class. It's a script they follow, every class the same 26 postures in a room kept somewhere around 107 degrees, but my body responds differently each and every time I go.

Only today I was nothing like the flower petal and came out more like a lame horse midway through the class at which point I was sure one of my hamstrings had torn completely off it's insertion. It was far from lovely.

And as I hobble, sit on ice, take ibuprofen and gently move and stretch I'm concerned with only one thing. Will I be able to make it to the next class? Oh yes my friends, this could definitely become a new obsession.

For the adventurous and slightly crazy among you who have no fear of heat, perspiration and doing yoga next to a sixty-something gentleman who blows his nose, cleans his ears with Q-tips and looks to have spent his life up until that point at the bottom of a whiskey bottle (I get stuck next to him every time), I say go for it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Meet the boyfriend

I'm not quite sure who's more smitten, me...

or Sunny.

When Quill showed up a few months ago I secretly hoped he was in need of a home and found out that he's just in need of a home with a little more going on. I worked hard on tracking down his owner and (unfortunately) did. Not that the owner is a problem, but rather I was really thinking he would be the perfect addition to the family and a fantastic playmate for Sunny, but kidnapping someone else's dog is not my style. We just borrow him.

He comes to visit whenever he can, traveling about a half mile through the woods and fields from his home, our distant neighbor. I'm pretty sure he smelled poultry and was on the prowl for some female companionship and hit the jackpot.

He plays with the kids, practically falling over to be petted and loved when they approach. He goes for jaunts in the backyard with Sunny and sleeps on our porch. He used to terrify the chickens but after just one scolding he now keeps his distance. So smart. Except he smells like skunk just about every other visit.

He had a brief encounter with the lawnmower, trying to attack it so we put him in the fence when there's cutting going on, the kids would be scarred for life if he were to have an accident. I have dreams that his owners will for some unforseen circumstance need to find him a home, our home. But for now I'll have to be content with him helping me take pictures of peonies.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

That's how it's supposed to taste

The farmers market is open again and not a moment too soon. Before we dug into these strawberries my son said, "Man, they're small."

"Just taste them," I said.

"Mmmmmm! These are so good."

"That's how they're supposed to taste," I explained.

I find myself saying that quite a bit when I take the time and plan what we're eating and try to make the most healthy decisions possible, buying fresh and buying local when possible. We're already spoiling ourselves with fresh eggs from our chickens which are completely different from what you can buy in a store, even if the label says organic or free range. Really, there's just no comparison to the color, consistency and most of all taste. Bake with them and you'll immediately see and taste the difference. But you really can't just take my word for it, you'll have to try it yourself.

So why not scout out your local farmer's market this season? If you're not sure where to start, try these helpful websites: Local Harvest, where you can find the producers in your area directly, the markets they serve and even your local CSAs where you can feel like part of the farm and even have their goods year round, not just during market season. Or try the Buy Fresh Buy Local Guide serving your region. This link happens to be for Virginia, but with a little searching I'm sure you can find information for your state.

You may or may not see the merit in this post, ever, or maybe one day you will. Mabe one day when you're nearing 40 or 50 or 60 and your husband has a miserable stomach ache and rolls over and tells you that if he has another Diet Mountain Dew he thinks it will kill him. Instantly. Maybe that will be the impetus you need for change. Or maybe you're 10 steps ahead of us, already eating well, taking care of yourself and being smart about what goes into your body because you see and feel the positive change. If you're one of those folks, share your wisdom with us, please. I for one can use all the help I can get.

But for now it's baby steps in this house. At least I have a captive audience and a husband and children who will eat what I serve. As long as the Pop Tarts and chips are less prominent and found less frequently on the grocery list, and I take the time to really plan my menus, I think we're on the right track.