Wednesday, March 1, 2017

turning the calendar on March

Always a bit nostalgic... the beginning of March.
Some years ago when I turned the calendar from February to March I thought "Before I turn the calendar again I will be a mother." Yes, March is Anne's birthday month. That morning I could not have predicted the bountiful blessings she'd bring to my life.
My birthday month is half a year from now. And though I admit that autumn is my favorite season, I am more than glad that we're in Anne's birthday month and not mine. There is much to love about spring. The shelves under the grow lights in the basement are full of sprouting seedlings: leeks, kales, onions, spinach, lettuces. Soon there will be perennial seedlings joining them.
The chickens are laying very nicely now. They've come through the winter in fine form but this morning are a bit annoyed by the new layer of white outside their door.
This morning March is holding onto winter. An absolutely beautiful, and perfect snow, is falling.


There's an older gentleman who works at our local Walmart who is a real life cowboy...he rides in the Wild West Days parade every summer and gives stage coach rides at the annual event. He told Jerome the other day that he has a 40 year old horse who correctly predicts the arrival of spring every year by when it begins to shed its shaggy winter coat. Thirty days later spring will arrive to stay. The claim is it's never been wrong. This year's beginning of spring? March 10. I love stories like that. We'll have to wait and see, but the red wing blackbirds have arrived, and some have heard robins as well. Maples are swelling, daffs are popping up along with the eager tips of resurrection lilies. Lots of green near the ground around perennials and buds swelling on my favorite clematis behind the potting shed. Gotta love it all.
Last year there was a late freeze that hit the grapes and apples especially hard. Every year I hope that spring will move slowly, steadily in a forward direction. In March of Anne's birth year, we had just that. A perfect spring. I was out taking her for walks in the old hand me down buggy every day after bringing her home. Stopping in the local park, sitting in the shade, feeling so very blessed.
And by turning the calendar it all comes back to me. Vivid. Real. Beautiful.
Welcome, March.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

be my valentine



Woven into my self tapestry are fibers of each of yours.
A tug in your life tugs mine.


Love, the magic multiplier.
the more you give it
the more it comes back to you.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

east and west



Viroqua, Wisconsin population just over 4200.
AnDa Union in our historic Temple Theatre last night.
A Youtube video of their performance at Kennedy Center on Feb. 6  here.)
Music's power.
Still vibrating with their frequency this morning...



Thursday, February 9, 2017

working through the dis-ease

Thank you for your good health wishes of late. I am fully functional just now but as Anne Shirley once said, "Considerably rumpled in spirit." The national news and the local weather take a hefty toll.

At times like this it's natural to focus on what you can take charge of. Lately, not coincidentally, this thought has been expressed on many of the blogs I follow, and shared in conversations with non-blogging friends and family. As Mary Engelbreit so aptly illustrated:

 


Lately for me it's been my quilt guild challenge. Personal round robins with directed border choices. Determined to learn all ten border techniques I have been sewing two quilts. Yesterday I finished the third round on the second quilt top.
Here they are so far:


pineapple paper pieced center with 9 patch, sawtooth, and piano keys borders in place.



8 point star center with chevron, appliqué, and flying geese borders in place. More appliqué to come once I know which 2 borders will come next.

Last night a nearly full moon in a brilliantly clear sky, today total sunshine on a rising barometer. The best medicine. Daytime play dates with chickens and a lapful of cats in the evenings. Amazing antidotes.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

a selfish request



Please give your heart some thought this month...


your lives so richly improve my own.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

now



It is the final day of January 2017.
It is day 13 for Jerome.
It is day 6 for me.
In the early days, illness. Days of fatigue and discomfort. And finally an unrelenting nuisance. The winter head cold/flu bug. Such a bore.
What's good about it?
reflection
cloister
time
When we were working folk we'd have to, as our son says, put our game face on and get the job done.
Now, we can be gentler with ourselves.
(Mantra: I will feel better. Winter will pass.)
And in the meantime?
Scroll through those garden photos and believe again.



Simmer a pot of soup, to clear the sinuses, feed the soul.
Watch favorite old films, laugh, cry.
Nap. Nap again.

January has been nearly sunless. Its muddy thaw has given way to a thick blanket of new snow. We take turns feeling well enough to visit the chickens and Jerome has done a heroic job of clearing snow for us, for them.


Despite the lack of direct sun the noticeable increase of daylight has impacted egg production. Most noticeable are the return of araucana eggs.


Just a few of the hens are still rebuilding their feathers after their first deep molt. They look wonderfully well. Even on the coldest days you can feel their body heat through your gloves when you hold them close. What they have contributed to our lives cannot begin to be put into words.
For them and for the wild birds I am so very grateful.
And the first month of the new year draws to a close.
Winter will pass.
I will feel better. I do already.






Tuesday, January 24, 2017

lately

Mother Nature has been having her way with us in SW Wisconsin, and as a result we have been mostly housebound. Many days the ice made walking to and from the chicken house a risky venture.


Lately it has been fog and mud. I miss the sun.
We've finally removed the last of the outside Christmas decorations. Always, always Dovey takes her roll as supervisor very seriously.



Being housebound has its advantages to be sure. I'm spending lots of time in the kitchen keeping our physical fires stoked. Jerome, who is active on the antique tractor club Facebook page, just couldn't resist posing a recent lunch to share on his page.


(The miniature tractor was a gift from the man who sold Jerome his his first two cylinder tractor, a 1947 John Deere B.)
Beef barley soup is just the thing. It's full of vegetables and  I'm happy to say some of them are from last season's garden.
Another advantage of being inside most of each day is lots of time in my sewing room. My quilt guild is running a season long challenge of personal round robins. I described the project in an earlier blog posting. Here you can see some of the progress I've made on each.


The pineapple block now has its second border, sawtooth.


The 8 point star has been given two coping strips and then a few chevrons on each of the four sides. I am now working on appliqué ideas as the second border motif. I'm playing with this round, a nice break from the fussy requirements of piecing the other borders.
Unfortunately, our guild meeting for January had to be cancelled due to ice and fog. An email arrived announcing that the two borders for the third round are flying geese and piano keys. I've never done any of these and find it all a good workout for my little grey cells and actually quite good fun.
In the evenings I still like to do handwork so I don't feel totally guilty about spending time in front of the tube. I've just finished a cross stitch piece that required every lamp in the living room turned on. Working on black cloth is not easy!


This little book of cross stitch designs has an inscription in the front inside cover which reminded me that I bought the book at Half Price Books while visiting Anne and Matthias in the Cleveland area years ago. There are so many lovely patterns included. Since finishing this one I'm working on others in a series that are done on a light ground, thank goodness,
Two of my seed orders arrived in the mail yesterday. It'll soon be time to sow the onions and leeks. Joy! Rapture!
A winter storm is on its way so I best be about tending to last minute things.
Thanks for visiting.