Friday, April 9, 2021

one foot in front of the other

As of today, we have been in the state of house chaos for 8 months. Though I can say nearly everything has been accomplished, there is still "a list." Those things that are waiting to be finished. Until then we're in limbo. Can't quite move forward to regain some of our living spaces. The feeling of not being in control is maddening and forces me to look for something I can control.

OK, outside! I made a promise to myself to spend some of every day in April out in the gardens. Though the first two days were cold and too windy to be comfortable,  I had promised. Bit hard on the body but satisfying. As April progressed the weather warmed. Hey, it's too hot for this time of year! And it's dry here in SW Wisconsin. There have been many brush fires in our county, cleanup fires that have gotten out of control. One day last week I smelled smoke on the air and heard sirens in the distance. Not a common sound out here. And a bit of a scare.

Today it's chilly and damp. Not a real rain, but misty. Very grey and for once the air is still. Perhaps a good day for trimming and pruning shrubs, trees?

But that will wait until after lunch. This morning it will be lovely to hang about our new kitchen, baking and assembling dinner in my new dutch oven. 

Come on inside the new kitchen, It started out as our bathroom/laundry room. Since the former kitchen was about half the size of this space, we decided to switch the rooms during our renovation. The old kitchen would become our new laundry room/bathroom.  

Old windows out, new window in. 


We actually had to shower in that tub from August to the end of December until our new upstairs bathroom addition was complete. Happy days..... The window you see over the new kitchen sink is the window that you see behind the old shower head. And do you see my dutch oven on the new gas stove in this last photo?? 

My word for 2021 is STRETCH.  I've surprised myself by the multiple ways I've been pushed to put that word into action this year. I marvel at the serendipity of the universe. Just recently Mary Englebreit posted a quote from Audrey Hepburn. "Nothing is impossible. Why the word itself says, I'm possible." Ain't it the truth, friends. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

welcome March

Happy March.  Her tune is contagious. Her lyrics hopeful. Her sun, not so eager to set now,  pulls ever more brilliant hues to the horizon as it dips below. And the twilight lingers and lingers still.

Recent heavy snows are retreating.  My hens explode out their door each morning. Mud makes walking to their house a game of watch your step. So much of the property between our house and theirs is bare ground due to fall's building excavation. We walk on planks and scraps of wood but the chicken yard, too, is mud because we dug a trench to their door to lay an electric line one very mild day last December. 

For me, turning the calendar to March has a power like no other. I'm instantly back in 1976 when I turned the calendar to March and realized the next time I turned a page my life would be altered forever.  This morning, 45 years later, it comes to me so clearly: that optimistic, eager, innocent and ridiculously happy girl I was then. My due date was March 26. Anne arrived 4 days early. 

Earth's population has had a year like no other since last March. In my wee space deconstruction, renovation and reconstruction have brought lack of privacy to Covid isolation and constant chaos where a safe retreat into our private nest should have brought balm. Nearing the end of these there is a very real feeling of moving out of the darkness into this season of light. Soon we "spring forward" and greet the vernal equinox. Sap is already rising here and it feels like something similar is rising within me. 

It feels good. It feels alive. It feels like a blessing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021



Hello 2021 and a good year wish to each of you. 

We're having our first full sun day today in a very long while, following on the heels of several days and nights of freezing fog. It's been a wonderland but under the influence of old sol and no hint of breeze the frosting is slipping to the snow below. Sunlight on the wall of windows on the new family room is filling the house with warmth and the cats are taking full advantage. 

I have a mental image of a dog coming out of the lake and having a good shake. It's the feeling I feel today. It's time to shake much off that stifles. 

It's time for a word for the new year. Stretch. On every level I hope to put it to practice. 

May 2021 be our best year yet.

Monday, October 5, 2020

And the days dwindle down to a precious few, September...

 Ok, so my good intentions to post more frequently dissipated with the August heat. Hey, life is FULL right now. And I'm distracted by a little thing called house renovation. (Just one little teaser photo appears at the end of this photo journal.)

Apple season. 

Our trees have never been more abundant. And despite not being sprayed, the quality of the apples has never been better. And it delights us to share them with neighbors and friends.

The vegetable beds have provided so many good things that had to be dealt with like, right now. 

Despite several nights of frost since the start of October, there still is much out there to be put by.

We were able to attend our son's last two tournament weigh-ins at the Mississippi. He had his best season yet.  

I was able to get my Bernina serviced at the quilt shop in Decorah where I purchased it. I grinned when I spotted this poster in a shop window.

We are enjoying picking small handfuls of raspberries from our renovated raspberry bed. The deer have discovered the canes and seem to enjoy them as much as we enjoy the fruit.

Sadly, the two fawns we've been watching all summer may have met their end, too casual about crossing our road. This weekend we spotted a bald eagle cleaning up road kill on both sides of our road and when we spotted the doe on Saturday, she was alone. Nature's cycle of life and death.

We lost one of our funniest hens in September. We called her MeMe because she was always first in line for treats. When she was young she would leap and fly up to your shoulder to get your attention. As she aged she still leapt pretty high to grab at whatever you were holding. Here she is facing the camera. Everyone else content to snack on the kale clipped to the fence. A Rhode Island Red, she was on high alert to see if anything better might be on offer. She was Jerome's favorite and a good pal of mine.

In the final days of September we also lost our grandcat, Pepper. What a sweetheart. He added so much to our lives.

Despite the fact that we removed our pond there have been more frogs and toads this summer than ever before. Each a perfect little creature, the result of living on organic land, I believe. You have to keep a keen eye when mowing. This little fellow was a nice chubby one. Glad to have them feasting in my vegetable and flower beds.

I tried to appreciate all that was going on in the gardens, contemplating them as joy, wonder, grace. Though not always energetic, taking walks and being filled with wonder at what goes on despite our lack of daily observation. Our sweet autumn clematis managed to climb and bloom without my help. Plants I had thought did not survive our drought conditions, surprised me with late season blooms. An abundance of wild aster showed up in the meadow. Our young crabapple brilliant with red fruit. The natural world a balm in unnatural times.

I remembered to check the sunset on the equinox. Yes, there is old Sol, slipping down on the south side of our road. 

And now it's October. The colors here evolving daily. This is a pic I took on our walk along our road yesterday morning. This is the farm of our neighbor (who also happens to be the man whose business did the cement work for our first floor addition.) 

I took this photo of the excavator that dug the hole just outside our back door. Scary, fascinating, this fellow could have used that bucket to hand you a cup of tea, he was that good.
As was the fellow who maneuvered the cement truck into such a tight spot.

It is week 9 of our house renovation. Today the last of the fascia, soffits, and roof trim is being added. The siding has begun. Then the interior work will commence. As promised here is a peek from the outside from the end of week 8. Second floor bathroom addition on the right. First floor family room looking out to the farmland beyond. 

We're waiting for windows but if you look closely you can see dark shadows under the wrap where they will be. The deck will extend out from the house toward this mound of soil, with the house on its north side. Great place to sit and sip, read, stretch, visit. Watch the night sky. 

I have been by turns crabby, excited, nervous, worried, overwhelmed, confused by the chaos in every corner of the house, impatient. I feel selfish spending in a time of world need. I know we are creating a home where we can stay the rest of our lives, in whatever health we may face. Alone or together, snug, safe. 

Yes, September has flown, I suspect October will do the same. 

Monday, August 31, 2020


Much to my amazement I have arrived at the end of my month of blogging daily graces. Considering all that has been pulling my attention elsewhere, 21 out of 31 posts isn't too bad. 
Now that I've taken the time to pay attention, I can see that whenever I need it grace surrounds me. The air I breathe, the sunshine I feel on my skin, the song of the chickadee, the fragrance of the hydrangeas just outside the window. The warm juices of a just plucked tomato. The yolks of our hens' eggs that rival the hues of the setting sun. Just to wake in the morning and put my head down on my pillow at the close of day, privileges beyond so many on this God's earth. 
Beyond all this, my deepest grace can be seen in the faces of these dear, dear ones. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020


 Who is that masked man?

Went to watch the FLW weigh in at the Mississippi yesterday. The first we were able to attend this season. Good thing too, as Phil placed 12 out of 102! In typical Phil fashion, he focused his facebook post this morning on his coangler John who came in 3rd as a coangler and had his best finish ever. Oh, by the way, John is 74!

Weigh to go, fellas!

Friday, August 28, 2020


10 years ago today.

Home is the nicest word there is.

L. I. Wilder

 (photo by Matthias)