Sunday, July 31, 2011

First Day Musings --- Storm Clouds

Impossible to tell from this, but there is a storm brewing. Wind is blowing. Thunder rolling. No lightening, but you know how quickly that can change.

When I was a wee Matty, we had a lot of storms, much more than we have today or so it seems. I was terrified by the noise, flashing lights, and, most of all, the combination of the two in rapid succession. My father's mother shared that terror, but my mother's mother didn't. She seemed perfectly at peace with all the commotion.

One day, she propped me up beside her, after dragging me from under her kitchen table where I was sucking on one of her fist-sized biscuits dripping in honey, and said, "Now, hunny, the Bible says that the thunder is God's voice and the lightening shows His power. Just sit back and think about how great our God is and you won't be worried at all."

Needless to say, there was a roll of thunder and a flash as she said those words. It was as if God was saying, "Yeppers; you listen to your Grandma, child!"

And I promptly squirted under the table.

Many years have passed since then. Grandma is serving biscuits in heaven (Lord, please let her be waiting by the Gates with a plate of steaming ones for me). I am all grown up and have been through many storms, natural and spiritual. And, not surprisingly at all, I can hear my Grandma's sweet voice reminding me that God is right here and going through the storm provides proof.

So, let the storm come. I am going to make myself some limeade, snuggle a cat and watch the fireworks. Grandma was right. It just takes trust.

Grandma's Limeade

Juice six limes.

Bring to a boil one cup sugar and one cup water to make a syrup. Let cool to room temperature.

Add syrup to the limes and add enough water to make two quarts. If you wish, add slices of lime to the pitcher before serving over ice.

This works well with lemons, too!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


You can't tell from the photo, but these are baby socks. Little, tiny, adorable baby socks that were knit in about an hour. Aren't they cunning? What is even more darling is that they have a true heel and toe! No sissy baby socks for the fella who wears these! No, sir! These are real grown-up socks!

To knit:

Yarn: This is a true sock yarn left over from a pair I made myself.
Needles: 2 or 2.5 dbl point
Gauge: Gauge is for sissies...

Cast on 30 stitches.
Knit one round.
K1P1 for 12 rows.
Knit 12 more rows.

Heel flap:
Knit 15 stitches.
Slip remaining stitches onto one needle or stitch holder.
Working on only the 15 stitches, knit 12 rows, always slipping the FIRST stitch of EACH row.

Turn heel:
Knit 6 stitches, sl 1, k1, psso. Turn work
Purl 6 stitches, P2tog. Turn work.
Continue in this manner until all stitches are knit up. You should have eight stitches on the needle.

First needle: Knit across the heel. Using a knitting needle or crochet hook, pick up ONE stitch in each SLIP stitch (should be 6 stitches).
Second needle: Knit stitches being held on the stitch holder.
Third needle: Pick up another 6 stitches along the second gusset.
Now, divide the 8 stitches of the heel onto the FIRST and THIRD needles. You should have 10 stitches on needle ONE and THREE and 15 on needle TWO.

Needle one: Knit until the last three. K2tog. K1.
Needle two: Knit.
Needle three: K1, S1, K1, psso, knit to end.

Continue in this manner until there are 8 stitches on needles one and three and the 15 on needle two. You will have 31 stitches total.

Knit 12 more rows.

Decrease for the toe in like manner:
Needle one: K to last three stitches, K2together, K1.
Needle two: K1, sl 1, K1, psso, knit to last three. K2tog, K1.
Needle three: K1, sl 1, K1, psso, knit to end.

Continue in like manner until there are seven stitches left. Cut a long tail and, using a large eyed darning needle, run the thread through the remaining stitches and pull together snugly. Push the needle through the toe center, and secure your yarn in your favorite manner.

Okay, so it seems difficult, maybe, but it isn't. Truly. These are so much fun because they knit so quickly! Won't you try a pair and let me know how you like 'em? And, if you find an error, will you please let me know, too?

Happy knitting!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Picked 57 pints of blueberries for market tomorrow. Yummers... They are perfect. Sweet. Large. Juicy. Makes my mouth water just to look at 'em.

Also got the eggs, soap, cucumbers, and lemon-poppy seed scones ready.

Can't wait to get back! See you there??

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reentry... or what happens when the woman is gone...

Today is my first day home alone. My friend Diane had flown up to spend a few days with me before we drove to Concord. And then I picked her from another conference up on my way home. I was fortunate enough to have her here another four days. Let me tell you, a Texas gal can become a North Carolina farmer in just hours if her spirit is willing! What fun we had at Camp Matty! I can't wait to tell you all about it...

But first, this is what I have done today:

Cleaned the bathroom;
Washed three loads of laundry;
Picked up two bags of trash;
Washed more dishes than I knew I had;
Made four batches of soap;
Froze three gallons of goat milk;
Wrote checks;
Mailed checks (which involved a run to the post office because my stamps are MIA);
Ordered two books with the gift certificates given by week two participants;
Cleaned more trash off the front porch;
Cleaned the cat box;
Cleaned both bird cages;
Made the bed; and,
Cleaned out the refrigerator (bleh).

And the day isn't over yet... Can't tell you why, but I am reminded of this song:

How's your day been? I've missed you!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ten Good Things

There are ten good things about being home:

10. Bed.
9.   Water.
8.   Eggs.
7.   Goats.
6.   Bathroom.
5.   Dip Dogs.
4.   Waffles.
3.   Home.
2.   Home.
1.   The Mister.

Catch you tomorrow!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baptism.. of sorts...

This is where I went swimming tonight:

Walden Pond

And, quite frankly, it was a magical moment for me  -- connected with a past that leaves a tangable memory in how all of us live our lives... looking for the simplicity of soul and spirit that gives our lives meaning. We feel the words of Henry Thoreau when he wrote:

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.

So many people are turning to, seeking for, defining what it means to live a life that is simple -- that is, less cluttered with things, stress, hurry, or demands. He asked:

Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?

In short, why should we waste our lives, our energy, in rushing through our lives instead of savoring each blessed moment?

As I floated on my back, watching the few skiffs of clouds glide across the sky, these words hit home with me. There is too much hurry in life; we want "it" (whatever "it" is) done too soon. Call it our Puritan cultural roots; a life is wasted that is not filled.

Henry observed:

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.

There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.

My world shifted in those moments as I floated there, in water that was in the 70s with an air temperature of 98-plus. A breeze danced in the trees a long the shore; children and parents, lovers, friends, splashed, dunking in and out of the water. It was as if time had stood still for everyone in that place at that time. We were joined in the pleasure of the moment -- delighting in the wafting waves, the caressing breeze, the gritty pond bottom, and the strata of temperatures in the water.

There are places, moments, in our lives that are sacred and make a change in who we are -- a deep change that we cannot describe to another. As I sit here, head still wet from the pond water, I know that I have found something, a core of who I am, in the quiet moments at the pond. The Mister and I have made many choices these past few years that have set us on a distinct path. I know it is right.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's Not All Fun... But Then...

My time here in Concord is not a fun trip; I co-direct a National Endowment of Humanties workshop on the Trascendentalists with a retired professor from Villanova. Although I get to see and do some pretty doggone remarkable things, it is, after all, a work gig and not Just For Fun! Today is a case in point.

One of our participants has decided she has bed bugs. No, she doesn't. This Inn is such a lovely place, there is no reason to even begin to think they have such an issue. She did have bug bites on her legs, but, frankly, she is wearing some pretty short shorts (okay, I am embarrassed by them) and is out all hours of the day and night running and walking. I think it is mosquitos.

Long story short, she decided she had to see a doctor Today. So, I ended up driving her to a local PromptCare Clinic where she saw a doctor and was diagnosed with, yeppers, mosquito bites. Of course, all the way there and back she whined about her legs and the itching and her sleepiness from the antihistimine and how sore it was. I wanted to knock her out and not because it would help her...

This meant that I missed the Brook Farm tour and had to run like crazy to pick up lunch for 30 people and meet them at Fruitlands about 50 minutes from where we were. Flying down the highway, I found a shortcut and managed to pick up a delicious lunch and beat the bus to Fruitlands, barely...

After lunch, and after being in more than 97-degrees temperatures, I shot out for Whittier's House. I had been told there were some documents there that I really needed to see, so I rushed to get there. I missed the director by five minutes. I headed to the Haverhill Public Library to Special Collections to see their Whittier collection, but missed them by twenty minutes. Sigh. And, yes, they had the documents I so wanted to see, Just Behind The Locked Door. All the charm in the world would NOT get those doors open. Sigh.

I consoled myself with what was to be an Iced Coffee Frappe from Hodgies. It ended up a chocolate shake, bleh, and I was too far down the road to return it.

When I arrived at the Inn, I had a raspberry-lime rickey (okay, two over an hour), a cool shower, and locked my door. I am NOT lettting the rest of today in. No way.

How has your day been??

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Inching Closer... Home Stretch

The Old Manse was home to more significant people than one can count on one hand --- nearly.

Starting out as the home of William Emerson, grandfather to Waldo, it was home for Ezra Ripley after he married William Emerson's widow, young Waldo for a short period of time, and Nathaniel Hawthorne and his  bride Sophia Peabody. Henry Thoreau planted the garden that greeted the Hawthornes when they arrived on their wedding day after a carriage ride from Boston.

It is a magical home!

It also has the distinction of sitting on the edge of the "Battle Road" field where the first shots, as Waldo wrote, "heard round the world" were fired in the first skirmish of the American Revolution.

I love this house and the wonderful people who work there! They treated us to a wonderful visit today and inspired us, once again, with the stories of those who lived there and left a mark on the world.

And, I am ready to go to MY home... sigh... I miss the goats, the dogs, the cats, and even the Mister. And, they all miss the Woman. Isn't it wonderful to matter? 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another day gone... random thoughts

Today we visited the Civil War exhibit at the Concord Museum and walked to Walden Pond. It felt like home for a few minutes... sweet.. the rain was falling and the pond was nearly deserted. I could hear the brown thrush and the wood peckers.

One thing that surprises me about being here is that, while there isn't sweet tea, folks are as nice as they are down South. Everywhere I go, folks are kind, helpful, and pleasant.

There are enough sugar and artificial sweeteners, cups and stirrers left over from serving bagels every morning that I won't need any for the next year.

I have eaten ice cream from Kimball's Dairy for supper for three nights -- so far my favorite is coffee / Oreo. Holey moley.... I even sucked my shirt where I dripped some. I am so ashamed...

Evenings have been quiet; I have completed six dishcloths and one pair of socks this week. I am starting baby socks now...

The decision to give up TV at the Lazy Bee Farm was a great idea. There is nothing interesting on TV. Boring... and I can't even sleep any more with the TV on. Go figure...

My interest in the Concord Female Charitable Society has been re-ignited. I need just one more thing to do. I really want to write a paper and maybe even a book about them... But, I don't have time... I have another writing project underway and I just don't want to take the time from it right now. Do you think I could give up sleeping???

Did you know Don Henley of the Eagles saved some of the area around Walden Pond? He rocks. Literally.

What did you do today?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

One Week Down

One week down in the Concord workshop and I am glad. I haven't had time to barely sleep much less post or visit my friends online. It has been a good time, but I am so tired.

We have seen:

Concord Museum
Old Manse
Brook Farm site
Emerson House
Orchard House

Not to mention slipping away for a few minutes to visit Liz at Riverslea and picking up some roving. I have been hoping to catch up with Karyn and Suzanne, but life is busy and I understand that!

Spent some fabulous time at the Whittier homeplace yesterday. This is the third year I have traveled to the house and have fallen more and more in love with Whittier, "the Poet" as he is lovingly referred to by the fantastic staff there.

Hope to get back to my 'normal' life next Saturday... P.S. I miss you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Only 40

Picked up my friend from the airport today and, for a treat, was going to take her to the Dip Dog for dinner. The light on the gas gauge had come on about eight miles from home, but I thought (and so did the Mister) we had enough to get to the nearest station on the way. After all, it was only 15 miles, so it should be fine. Right?


As we started up the last mountains, there was a sickening lurge, sputter, and then, stop. We coasted off the road, and the Mister said, "Do you think it will coast back to the store?" Our cell phones had No Signal, so this seemed a good idea.

Fortunately, we coasted down to Jerry's store where there is a pay phone. Unfortunately, no one answered at Shelly's house (they were the closest) and we had only $1 in change and didn't want to use it leaving a message that they might not get for a while. As we debated who to call next, two trucks stopped and some fellas were chatting. I walked over, smiling in my most charming manner, and asked one of the men if he would either give my husband a lift or bring us some gas.

He brought us gas. Really. And he had to pay for the gas can to do it! Of course we paid him more than what the gas, can, and his gas cost, and were very grateful to do it. He even stayed until the car started to be sure it would.

While we didn't get to Dip Dog, we did manage to find a Hardee's (bleh) that was open and had some dinner. Now, we have another trip planned, with lots of gas in the tank, to get that elusive Dip Dog,

Isn't the world a wonderful place? Oh, and we now know that the car will only go 40 miles when the light is on and another 2 on fumes...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Testing ... one... two... three...

The Mister wanted me to try something "artsy." This is my best effort at it...

Remember when I painted the kitchen red and white? Well, here is how it looks now... I love love love it! The old labels came from New Orleans and the cherry sampler over the door I did a million years ago...

This is the studio... It is on the front of the house and gets the morning sun. It is my favorite room in the house because of the light in the morning. The spinning wheel is from Saltville, VA, and came on a wagon from Ohio more than 150 years ago. It is in perfect order. My goal is to spin on it this winter!

The guest room... It is a sweet room, I think, and will be cozy for our friend. The bed is from the 1880s and the cedar chest was my Mother's hope chest. This room looks out over the pastures on the right side of the house and on the pear tree and maples in the side and back yards...

These are just part of my books... The shelves are solid maple and came from our college dumpster when the library was redone. The Mister saved them and brought home enough that we will never needs shelving again! I am glad because they are so sturdy; we have even left the shelf tags on them!

This is the upstairs landing where we can sit on the floor and watch the moon and stars. We have used the telescope for star gazing and watching eclipses. The missionary organ is an old pump organ a friend gave us. It had been in her family for quite a while and no one wanted it. We did! The books on the top are hymnals I found in this house when I bought it years ago. The quilt behind it is the only quilt I found in the house. It is not filled with cotton only. It also has milkweed for the batting as well. This tells me it was made in the 1930s or early 1940s when cotton was hard to get.

We decided to fill our stairwell with items from all the trips we took in our marriage. You can see there is quite a variety, including our wedding picture. There is an interesting blend of prints, cross stitch and posters. The only problem we have now is getting higher than we can reach...

So, there is a quick little tour of the Lazy Bee Farmhouse. I hope that my photography isn't too painful and you have enjoyed our time together. You know...I think I am going to be great friends with this little guy...


This is giving me hives. I took the plunge and bought a digital camera today. The only one we had was the Mister's and I lived in fear of doing something to it that couldn't be undone. So, I found one of these and am going to give it a go. I know it is more interesting to see pictures than to read them... so....

Thus far, I have gotten the battery charged and in the camera. I have set the time, date, and even year. Even more remarkable. I have Turned It On.

Now... let's see if point and shoot really works... pictures coming...

Guest Quarters

We have a house guest coming which has necessitated cleaning the upstairs and creating a "real" guest room. The Mister and I have so many interests that each room was overflowing with our interests and not guest ready. In short, it was a mess!

He collects radios and is a ham operator, thus, one room was just for those. I have two large looms, so one room was just for weaving. As a musician, he has everything except a bag pipe (read: five drum kits alone), so there we have a music room (which is moving to the recording studio in the fall, I hope!), and you can just imagine how very many books an English teacher has... to fill the last room which is a library.

But, one problem: no guest room.

So, yesterday was committed to moving and rearranging the entire space. Since the studio is on the project list, the music room was transitioned to a full loom and needlework studio. The back room is again a real guest room and the library is really a library. The landing is empty except for our telescope and the missionary organ. The studio is darling and full to the brim!

The guest room, though, is my favorite. It is the Airman's bedroom and has his 1880 sleigh bed, 19-teens pine chest, a spinning wheel (of course), bookshelf filled with children's books, 1920s wicker table, orphan chair, and my mother's 1940's Lane trunk. I love the space. It feels quaint, comfy, and peaceful.

As I cleaned, I thought about material possessions and the conversation my friend Sara and I had about it.

"If you think about it, we are blessed to have so many things," she suggested.

I thought a minute and responded, "I am not so sure it isn't from the Enemy, Sara. After all, we get so caught up in stuff that we forget other things that are far more important."

So, as we have cleaned, we have been selective and have opted to donate to charity what we don't really need. The result has been, well, invigorating. Less is more. Really. And, I think it is the start of trend in this house. Poor Mister. He will be like I was when I was ten and Mother got on a "tear." I hid my dolls and favorite stuffed animal at the neighbors until her fit passed.

What kind of redecorating are you doing these days??

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

This says it all... and Neil Diamond is easy on the eyes, too!

Thank you to all our Armed Forces for their service to our Nation!
May God bless this nation, again, and soon!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mind Your Own Beeswax... Literally!

Our Farmer's Market is terrific, but we have, as of late, gained a couple of really nosey folks. They are the kind who snoop around, looking to see who is doing what and if that what is legally done. And, if they decide it isn't they either 1) call the health department, or, 2) tell the Market Manager.

This actually happened to us today over our honey. We have it labeled properly, but another beekeeper, who has spent the last three weeks trying to see our honey, actually came down while I was unloading it, picked it up, read the label, and literally ran to the market manager to tattle tale. She is such a dear person and very level headed, so she came to talk with me. And, we agreed that we were okay and kept the honey on the table.

In the meantime, I nearly went down and told him what I thought of him and his tattling. But, the Mister wouldn't let me.

However, I felt okay about it after I watched this guy load up all his honey and leave early because we were selling and he wasn't. A good friend recently loaned me a book called "The Diamond Cutter" which is a combination of all the world's religions' concept of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The author postulates that if we help others be successful, we experience success as well. His theory is simple; if we are doing right and honorable toward others, somehow the Universe, God, or whatever higher power one believes in, keeps the world in balance and you will receive the same.

As a Christian, I have to state that I agree with this.

Three weeks ago I wasn't very helpful at the market. I was tired, felt bad, and just didn't want to be there. I didn't suggest other vendors and didn't help folks find things if I didn't have them. It was our worst week all season in sales. The next week, though, I was right back on it and our sales doubled.

Now, I am not saying that God always rewards us for being nice people. Rather, I am saying that by doing the right thing, we received it back in kind. There are days when I work hard to help others and I barely sell enough to buy gas home. But, it seems that the good days are far and away more frequent than the slow ones.

I felt kind of sorry for this guy when he left. Obviously he couldn't stand competition and seeing others be successful. I have to wonder what kind of pleasure one gets in life if it is all about them. Regardless, after I have stewed a little about this, I will move on. But, in the meantime, it is a good reminder to practice kindness, fairness, and understanding.... although I still want to shout: "Tattle Tale, tattle tale... hang your britches on a a nail..."