Archive for the 'home' Category

pine cones

Monday, January 11th, 2010

It was very windy over the holidays and when I went out to get kindling one morning I ended up gathering armloads of pine cones, blown down from the Norway spruce. For fun I filled a casserole dish with them, tightly lined up side by side.

A couple of days ago I found some of the cones on the floor and thought I knew for sure who the culprits were. But last night we heard a strange sound and when we investigated, discovered that the cones have been expanding in the heat and popping themselves out and away.

Not everything can be blamed on the woozles.

wee group

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

I’m not usually in the mood for cleaning come Spring, wanting instead to run outside after the long cold. But the turn of the year seems like the best time to rearrange and pay attention to the corners of my home.

At the foot of the stairs I hung the framed print of my grandfather’s book plate — illustrated with a thistle, for Scotland, and a bee since he kept hives. Above a tiny solo mitten holds a dried hydrangea blossom that blew into the driveway from the neighbors. Below the volunteer fireman certificate earned by the 1861 owner of this house and miraculously recovered on ebay by the owners before me. And for company, a postcard of a dancing lady tucked into the light switch.

The clean floor is dirtying fast, but the little grouping delights me every time I pass.

happy boxing day

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

There is a “wintery mix” coming down outside and after shoveling the walks and bringing in wood for the stove we do not plan to venture out again today.

I turned the rubber plant into an ersatz tree and so far it is surviving the excited onslaught of the wee ones.

We have a fridge full of leftovers. For our vegetarian feast on Christmas Eve I made Nutmeat Paté in Brioche from the 1972 classic The Vegetarian Epicure.

(A cookbook worth checking out if only for entertainment value since many recipes list MSG as an ingredient and there are notations on what to serve after “sharing a pipe”.)

M, despite his Texas roots, was entirely satisfied. Although who can complain about any meal that ends with pie?

Today I picked some lettuce from one of the raised beds!

I couldn’t believe it when I saw the perky leaves, I had given up on them and yanked off their row cover last week.

Spring is feeling very far off so it was a treat to carry the handful of green indoors.

week of giving thanks

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. This morning I said goodbye to the last member of my holiday visiting family and drove home from the train station in the rain, feeling suitably glum and wintery.

Some houses still have pumpkins on their stoops, but this was obviously the weekend for getting out holiday decorations – lots of glowing icicles hanging from eaves, and May-pole shaped ‘trees’ made of Christmas lights strands. Some blow-up snowman snow globes of which I will not speak another word.

My decorations are on my radar but not up yet. And the idea of getting a tree was collectively nixed the minute the word “kitten” was mentioned. I need some time to come up with a solution to that energetic, furry problem.

On Thanksgiving day we went up to Sam’s Point and walked in the fog,

and were given the gift of blue sky when we reached the lake at the top of the ridge.

There was fog dew on everything.

We came home and ate turkey and then leftovers, leftovers, leftovers for days.

On Saturday we visited the fairytale Mohonk Mountain House for lunch (and a menu change).

We got lost, briefly, in the garden maze but managed to find our way home.

It was a real vacation. We watched movies, played with cats large and small, and talked and laughed a ton. So good. It felt both long and short – how the best days always feel. I am grateful.

catch up

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Beware what you wish for – I have so much jewelry to make that I feel like I’m in a tightly choreographed dance, moving from beads to chores to paperwork and back. I am not complaining; it’s the good kind of busy, plus there’s cat play and coffee breaks, and excursions to the village board meeting and pilates class (variety is the spice).

In the middle of this twirling we’re going to Scotland and England to visit my family. A welcome break from the daily busy. Or at least it will be welcome once it’s here. I can’t wait for the moment when there’s nothing more I can do to prepare. Too bad if I’ve forgotten something; they sell toothbrushes in the UK. For this glorious “it’s too late” moment I have purchased yarn, and I plan to knit as many of these as I can. Mindless pleasure perfect for airport/airplane/visiting with relatives.

Since posting has been slim, despite my camera being full, before I leave I give you a little catch up of the past weeks here:

I made jam for the first time.

And it was good.

The kittens learned the value of a perfectly-sized box,

the importance of packing toys as well as yourself,

and the usefulness of recycled materials in lieu of those pesky packing peanuts.

The blight took out my solo tomato and all my potato plants.

My harvest was a few pounds of Dark Red Norland spuds,

and five green tomatoes which were respectfully chopped up and cooked into a chutney. (I’m hooked on canning.)

There were wonderful moments of feline détente between the young and the old.

Even, miraculously, between Miss Hissy and Maxie. (Actually I’m not sure that she knew he was there.)

And just in the last few days the leaves from the maples along the drive have taken flight.

As we’re about to do.


Sunday, March 29th, 2009

I gloat only because I have finished the task after a month of staring at my own tarp-covered pile.

When the subject of stacking wood comes up I find that even the burliest of hard-working men says, “Stacking wood – that’s good exercise!” And believe me it is. It’s bruising and exhausting, and a challenging technical puzzle. When I started to rush I caused a tumble and had to start over. So a practice in patience as well.

I am pausing to note my accomplishment before it all goes up in smoke.

the door

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

After posting the picture of the wreath on the front door I thought I’d share some before and after photos:


Stripped of paint



It’s good to be reminded of the changes this past year. In my mind I’m already on to the next challenge and I need to dwell more on what has been achieved. But that mail box is definitely on the challenge list…

there’s someone at the door

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

I still have my holiday wreath up because a pair of finches visit it daily.

At first I thought they were building a nest which would have been a very bad idea. I pictured myself dealing with eggs and newly hatched babies while collecting my mail and was ready to nix it but closer inspection showed no signs of nest material accumulation. Perhaps they’re collecting?

They’re very chatty, and the porch ceiling amplifies the sound so that I can hear them upstairs. When I come down to see them they peek around the makeshift curtain at me.

And they drive Annabelle wild with desire. Or at least as wild as her 14-year-old self will get.

If they keep visiting I may still have a wreath at Easter .


Thursday, March 5th, 2009

He came from space, expressly to steal peanut butter.
Must find squirrel kryptonite. Or a bigger, heavier, better, tougher baffle.

dear deer, please leave.

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

First it was the birds, who came for the feeders I put out. There was a blissful week of nature romance; hours spent watching them and identifying their colors in my Sibley.

Then came the squirrels, clued in by the birds, who brought the dream crashing to the ground and started me on my campaign to find the perfect baffle.

And now this gal and her friends.

She’s so pretty, and will probably reduce the sunflower bed I’m bound to have growing under the feeders come spring, but come on – I want to garden! Vegetables. Fruit. For me. Not deer salad bar!!

When I get back from Phili I’m buying a book on fencing. And figuring out how to get rid of the mice. ‘Cos yeah, they’re here too now.