Friday, April 26, 2013

it's not easy being green

Do you remember black and white tv? Do you recall that the Wizard of Oz begins in black and white and when Dorothy lands in Oz everything changes?
There's been so little color out of doors for so long... but it's beginning to change here as well.

Planting bulbs last fall was a test of wills. I would plant, overnight something would dig. I would replant, they would redig. Frustrating. It was enough to prompt thoughts of "colorful metaphors" if you know what I mean. Finally, these little ones got planted along side the garlic in the vegetable bed behind a nice tall chicken wire fence. This morning a sweet row of purple, white and yellow decided it was time to stretch for the sun.
Even the lawns, a bit worse for winter weather and winter "guests" has a noticeable hint of green. I have been hungry for green, starving for green, nearly wild for green.
Ask the quilt shop owner who knows me best, what color I gravitate most often to when buying fabric and planning quilt tops and without hesitation, green. Can't help it. I love green. What color doesn't look better with green???
When we bought our city house, our first house, the one we're selling now after 37 years, every room and every hallway, top to bottom, covered in wallpaper. OK, we'll just strip this off and paint. Ha! Under every paper were multiple layers of paint, paper, paint, paper. It was a record of fads and popular colors back to the end of WW II when it was built. Interesting from the perspective of color popularity, but not an easy job. As a result, every room in that house is now clean, pristine, Navajo White. The kids had color while they were young, colors they were allowed to choose for themselves, but, after that, Navajo White.
I have not changed one room at the farm house since we took possession in Aug. of 2010, till now. The organ is coming in May. The living room had to be prepared. OK, time to repair the walls, replace trim, remove the old carpet and refinish the floor. Time for a little color.

No paint would do but our favorite, Behr. Color? Green. But which green?
Do you have any idea how many shades of green there are???? And every paint company has its own greens. They aren't the same. Can you believe it? (would it be fun having the job of naming all those colors?)
The living room has windows facing north and west. There are two entries into the living room: from the dining room to the east and from the sun room to the south. In other words, light comes into that room from every direction. It changes every moment of the day. The room has a 9 foot ceiling. There is lovely painted crown molding at least 7 inches deep around the ceiling. There is a medallion on the ceiling center where an ornate art glass lamp hangs. The window and door trim is being replaced as is the trim around the floor, as soon as the Douglas fir flooring is refinished. I asked for nice deep window sills for plants and cats. Clean white wood.

Yes, the new wall color is green. All the way home from Home Depot, 3 gallons of freshly mixed paint in the back seat, I worried about the choice, the color swatch on the seat beside me. All night I tossed and turned thinking what if Jerome hates this? Our first room to change the farm house from hers to ours, the room where he'll spend countless hours at the organ, where we'll entertain guests, enjoy our tea in the evenings, listen to the stereo, spend companionable hours reading, so important that it stir the soul to peace and comfort.
I was in agony.

First coat went on and the fellas asked, "So, do you like it?"
It's been a few days now. And I am falling in love with this green. Grass Cloth green.
Monday the floor gets sanded and stained. Tuesday the last of the finishes go on. Wednesday the last of the trim and painting.
OK, that's one room decided.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Yesterday morning...

a blizzard.
 Winter, will you please let go?

Today, rain, grey, rain.
No wonder I'm in a mood.
And I'm in good company. This cartoon appeared in our local paper last week.

Even so, on this Earth Day may I wish: that all your weeds be wildflowers.
Gosh, I hope we don't skip spring and go directly to summer....

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

a salve

Despite being focused on personal concerns during the past several days, I have not been untouched by the terror in Boston. Another very bleak reminder of the heavy hearts that walk among us day to day. Souls parched for what my life has in abundance, blessings for which I often forget to be grateful.
What to do?
Strengthen my soul to spread kindness in every situation. Fill my heart with beautiful to overcome ugly.
Hold onto  sweet memories in the darkest of times.
I'll share two with you.
Jerome has conducted John Rutter anthems often in his years as a choir director. Each time in the congregation I would close my eyes to absorb every note of those uplifting compositions. A particular favorite of mine, here sung by a young child, symbol of hope for our future, is All Things Bright and Beautiful.

And possibly my most precious memory of those years is the Hymn of Promise written by children's composer Natalie Sleeth and sung  by Jerome's girl's choir. Anne was perhaps 6th grade? her voice crystal and sure among the others. Jerome recorded the piece so each choir girl could give a recording to her mother for Mother's Day that year. I have my cassette at the city house where our cassette player is now, so can't play it for you here. But the link above provides the lyrics and a simple YouTube search will give you many versions to listen to. I prefer to here those sweet voices of so long ago still warm and vibrant in this mother's heart.
Perhaps the lyrics will also bring warmth to your heart during this time of human coldness.

Friday, April 12, 2013

April fool

That giggle you hear

is Mother Nature enjoying herself this morning.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


When I returned from Illinois the day before Easter, much of the snow on the farm property had disappeared but it was still too frozen to begin a garden cleanup. 
By Friday when Jerome arrived we had fine enough weather to work out of doors. For the first time since the winter began, the days were mild and dry enough for the chickens to be out of doors all day too. Our priority was to clean out their house and lay down new bedding for the spring/summer. All that we cleared out of their house went into one of the compost bins mixed with the last of the horse manure that had been sitting in a mound composting on its own since March of 2012. 
We cleaned up, cleared out, and otherwise tackled assorted garden jobs, including some major pruning.

the flock. notice how his head is up watching while his girls  peck and scratch

strawberries that survived the winter

kale, broccoli, cauliflower seedlings

dead wood cleared from around the pond
manure waiting to be layered with the soiled chicken bedding in the compost bin

Jerome left again for the city house yesterday morning and by then the rain had arrived and didn't let up all day. By night thunderstorms and high winds raged. Then the ice arrived. 

an example of what I found as I walked to the chicken house this morning

limbs lost at the base of our mighty pine

a tree toppled on our property across the road

On my own the few days between Easter Sunday and Jerome's arrival Friday morning, I had a crowded agenda: a day at the school library, a meeting of my fiber arts group, a quilt class, a video series, a good book. And the sending and arrival of some handmade joy.

blocks from last week's quilt class

Handmade Joy Exchange items that I sent to New Zealand

Handmade Joy Exchange gift that I received from Utah

Life is full, full, full and getting fuller. Jerome is putting the final touches on the city house. At the farm our offer to buy the slip of land beside our acreage was accepted and next week the surveyor arrives. Our estimate for the living room renovation and floor reinforcement has been agreed on and the work will begin within the next two weeks. When it's done we can have the pipe organ moved here at the convenience of our organ builders' schedule. Its completion will ease the planning of a closing when the city house sells.
The gardening season will be taking off as soon as the wet weather subsides. Already my spirit is buoyed by the sightings of new growth emerging where we've cleared away the debris of last season.
The days I share with Jerome at the farm pass in a quick tempo. Too quick. They are beautiful, comfortable, blessed days. We now see clearly what our future holds for us here.