Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Hello, spring!

Hello! It has been quite a long while since I last posted (six months!). Sometimes I am too busy with family obligations to write, and sometimes being on the internet depletes my spirit, but even in the best of times my natural tendency is to retreat to my garden, my books and little projects, and to keep my own quiet company. In 2018, I wrote only eleven posts--not a lot, but something. I have thought about closing my blog, and I have thought about posting more often. All I can say is, time will tell which way the wind blows.
Spring in New England is three parts silvery rain and one part cornflower skies and sunshine. I always forget this ratio in the middle of winter when I am dreaming about sunny days in the garden: pansy days,  strawberry days, lily and rose days. πŸŒΌπŸ“  When the snow is swirling and the wind is biting, the imagination can only be decorated with blue skies and flowers. The guinea pigs, Honey and Blossom, imagine their cage is a parsley patch and dream of blueberries.
Today is cold and mizzling and of the kind that makes my joints and head ache. I had to go out anyway, because I made plans to do my Easter shopping (sunny days, at this time of year, are best saved for walks in the woods and gardening). I bought some lovely chocolates beautifully wrapped in foil and a few little gifts to put in my kids' Easter baskets--kids who are grown-ups now; the oldest is twenty-six, and the baby is almost thirteen!

My entire stack of books, at the moment, revolves around a single theme: gardening. I love every one of these titles and am reading them all concurrently--a little in this one and a little in that one each day. The Solitary Summer is Elizabeth von Arnim's second book. It was sent to me by a dear friend and I love it every bit as much as Elizabeth's first book, Elizabeth and Her German Garden. Both books are written in the style of journal entries and are considered to be autobiographical novels. The books are full of Elizabeth's gorgeous descriptions of her garden, as well as insightful, witty, social commentary that is still relevant today. (She is also the author of The Enchanted April.). I absolutely adore Elizabeth. But I am obsessed with Beatrix Potter.

And that is a topic for a future blog post. :)

In March I started crocheting this "neat ripples" afghan. I worked on it madly for a couple of weeks, but then the gardening books stole my attention, and also the Spanish television series "Grand Hotel", which (for me) requires reading subtitles, and the blanket has halted at half-done like so many of my other yarn-y projects.
This guy showed up at my feeder this morning wearing half winter and half spring plumage--much like my own wardrobe just now. I'm sure I look just as funny as he!

The kittens are almost a year and a half old now and still very playful and kittenish. This one is Rhys. He has the more serious and dominant personality. His eyes are brown, and he likes to curl up in a lap of an evening. Both cats have more than one nickname. We call Rhys "Squish" because he's squishably soft and goes limp when you hold him.

This is Wyatt, aka "Stripes", and "Wild Herb" (a play on the name Wyatt Earp). Wyatt is very sweet and affectionate. He is great friends with our boxer Presley and will curl up with him in the sunshine in front of the sliding glass door in the morning. His eyes are green. Both cats have four white socks.

We went for a few walks in the winter woods last month.  

As we walked through the Pine Forest, we were thrilled to hear the hoo-hoo-hoo-hooaawww of a barred owl calling from the top of a tall pine. I'm not sure if it was one of the babies from last spring, or one of the parents, but we were so pleased to get another glimpse of this magnificent bird.

One day in March, we went to the beach up in Gloucester.  Everything was winter gray: sand, sky, and water.

The tide was as far out as I've ever seen it--we walked and walked.

With the sandbar exposed, we got close to the lighthouse!

Back at home, we saw some gorgeous sunsets over the last few weeks, of an intensity I usually associate with October.

These two rascals make it very hard to keep the bird feeders filled. But they sure are cute, aren't they?

I loved this book so much that I renamed my blog in honor of it. ♥  

Six months have passed, but as you can see, things are mostly unchanged in my little world. Every day is different yet the same, and now it is springtime once again. :)

Recently, someone asked me if I am having a good Lent. Well, if  I'm honest, I've never cared much for Lent. Late winter/early spring is a difficult season for me, physically and mentally, and forty days of forced suffering is truly beyond me. Besides, I have never found that giving up the things I enjoy has increased my Faith, Love, or Thanksgiving; it has, however, added to my misery (and I am convinced that the kindest thing we can offer our loved ones on a daily basis is our cheerful presence). So, I am continuing to learn to trust God completely, and to give Him thanks always and everywhere for everything, and to be of good cheer. 

Wishing you all the delights of spring!

Love and roses,

Friday, September 28, 2018

Summer was hot and dry. So far, autumn has been cool and wet. It is good weather for reading novels, writing letters, knitting, drinking tea, and playing with cats.

Twice in the last month--twice--Presely the boxer was sprayed by a skunk which he then dispatched. I am beginning to wonder if he is really a prince or not. Right now I'm thinking not.

There are so many books I want to read. I have a list and the beginnings of a nice stack. I just started reading The Little Stranger a few days ago. It is an atmospheric, gothic tale about a house--I have always loved books about houses. All the better if the house is creepy and mysterious.

Autumn is my favorite time to walk in the woods. There is a feeling of anticipation as plants scatter their produce and animals gather and store.

In my photos, I try to capture what I really see and how I see it, so I don't use filters at all. This was the sky outside my house the other night at sundown:

 And this was the sky just a few seconds later:

The world's problems are so large, and I am so small--smaller than most it seems. The world has changed so fast, and it keeps changing faster and faster. I don't know what to think, to be honest. I went to the doctor's the other day, and while going over my history, the nurse said, "Still no work?" Well, actually, I do quite a lot of work: I keep house and cook for seven people, educate my children, care for several pets, tend a large garden, provide hospitality multiple weeks of the year for out-of-town guests, and do all of the bookkeeping for my husband's business. But, yes I am a housewife, a once common occupation that is now considered obsolete, insignificant, and the opposite of "working". 

However, there is no point in dwelling in negativity and other people's perceptions. Far better to dwell in leaf fall and candlelight, stories about spooky houses, the magic of handwritten letters, and the mystery of wild peace. ♥

Love and roses,

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Yesterday was dark and rainy--really dark--as the remnants of hurricane Florence moved up the coast. I was glad for the rain, because now I don't have to water my plants for at least a few days.

I drank lots of tea and finished reading The Forbidden Place by Susanne Jansson--so good! A spooky novel that is far more than just a story. So much to think about and record in my notebook.
Do you make these "Apple Babies" on autumn days? Peel and cut two apples into eighths. Cut crescent dough triangles (the refrigerator rolls) into two long triangles each and roll each triangle around an apple slice. Place in pan and drizzle half a stick of butter over all. Generously sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Pour a 1/4 cup of apple cider or orange juice in spaces around pan (not over the top of the apples/dough). Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. They are too easy and addicting. 

September is the month for rose bouquets at my house. My rose bushes always go crazy in September--wild and huge and producing continuous blooms. I cut at least a dozen stems a week.

The September sky can be darkly moody or so blue and bright that it leaves me breathless. I love the sky so much.

 The days are growing shorter, the nights cooler. The in-drawing-cozy-time has come.
I have taken out this cardigan project I started last spring. I am only knitting on it a little each evening, but maybe I will finish it this fall. The color of the wool doesn't photograph well. It is a true moss green.

These two never stop making me smile.

 Zach stringing-up. Always there is music at my house ♪

I have said before that I think Presley is really a prince in a dog suit. Look at those eyes. So much love and kindness for everyone. Except for when the skunk sprayed him in the face a few weeks ago. He was all dog then.

 I can't remember the last time I watched television. I watch the birds and animals instead.

 Look closely now:

 And look who is watching from the fence!

Leaf fall has begun.The leaves are just beginning to lose their chlorophyll.

The pond is splendid with purple loosestrife, orange jewel weed, goldenrod, misty mauve love grass, and wild aster.

It has taken me awhile to get going, but we have finally started back to our home school lessons this week. I think it is the latest we have ever started. But, better late than never, right?   

Love and roses,