Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter Memory Circles

Easter is another happy holiday, brite, cheerful, saluting the arrival of spring. I found the pattern to these Easter Baskets in the Bernina website, under projects, illustrating the use of the circle attachment. Well, not having that particular item, I set about to readjusting the pattern to fit my own circumstances, and here they are.

Using my magic circle cutter, I used various colorful scraps of material, lined them with another circle of color, added the handles of lace, and the baskets were created. Put in a few candies, and wrap them up, to send out to my GROWN children, grandchildren and a few special people. I think that no matter how old one gets, a little bit of spirited childhood in our adulthood is good for the soul. I am sure the recipients think I am a bit "unjointed" BUT thats OK with me, secretly I think they like being able to relive their youth for a couple of seconds or so.

Easter according to Scripture is a time for reflection, to rejoice in rebirth, time for remembrance. For me its a wee bit sad, reflecting back on the times when the kids were small, sewing up the finest outfits to wear to Sunday Mass, coming home to watch them search for all the hidden Easter Eggs, cooking the Easter Ham, and all the Easter bakery items including the Lamb cakes that were decorated with the many candies of the season. Visitors would come over, and if the weather permitted kites would be flown, softballs to be hit, secrets exchanged, the skies were filled with laughter. Daffodils were in full bloom long with the tulips, and maybe even the many crab apple trees along the boulevard were starting to leaf out. It was springtime in the city, and colors were out to awaken the day.

Now many years later, far away from those happy scenes, Easter becomes just another holiday, that commemorates the spring time coming,. Out here in the North land, the daffodils have not peaked through the cold earth, and there is still snow along the wood lines. The tall brown grasses belie the fact that somewhere beneath their feet, in the frozen confines will be green shoots, awaiting the kiss of the sun and the embraces of the warm spring winds. The skies are cloudy, with a hint of the coming snowfalls yet to arrive. Mother Nature secretly playing games with us, knowing full well we are tired of the winter, bored with the snow clouds, and the loneliness of the naked trees allowing the winds to dance among the branches with the abandonment of young creatures.

Down in the newly cleared ravines, stands an old oak tree, that has been stung by a lightening bolt, chastised by the raw confines of Mother Nature,still standing tall, graceful, headed for the sky, unwilling to give up the years it has guarded the hills, even though its insides that held the secret chapters of the past, had been ripped from its bowels with a single stroke. it has refused to give up its place in the world, still offering its branches for the birds to nest, sheltering the many nimble four footed animals in its base, allowing squirrels to run up and down its trunk to harvest the acorns. It's leaves still carpet the floor each fall, adding nutrition to the soil below, and though time has taken its toll, it still has a purpose.

It is then that I realise that the lessons continue, even though we have gone through the ages of memories, there are still many more different shades of color to be explored, more interests to awaken, finding all the corners of life that are still waiting to be shelved in the memories of our minds. It is not a time of sadness, but a time of continuance, just like this Old Oak Tree, watching silently as the world slides by on the wind currents, gathering the riches beyond the rainbow, placing them in the circle baskets of time.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Charlie Brown

We are in the middle of March Madness, and I don't mean basketball. A few days ago we had 50 degree temperatures, and today we have 2 inches of snow. While it is beautiful, it is beginning to wear on my nerves as there are so many things I just have an itch to do. However, I do digress, I want you to meet Charlie Brown. My daughter in law and the grandchildren wanted a pine tree just like Charlies Browns Christmas Tree, kinda scraggly, bare, looking like it needed a home somewhere. to plant in their front yard. This was when we still lived in the city and I was unaware of the powerful forces of nature. We used to come out to what would eventually be our homestead on a regular basis, just to see what was growing. One day on an excursion to escape the city, we saw Charlie Brown, on the steep hillside along the path that was one day to become our driveway. He was all by himself, struggling against the wind that is so prevalent here. There was huge rocks to his left, and brown prairies grasses to his right, and tall popples and birch trees kept the sun away from his branches, and so he was barely two feet tall, a perfect picture of what they wanted. Out came the shovels, burlap bag, and soon he was firmly tucked into his carrying case for the venture south.

Five hours later Charlie Brown arrived at his destination, on a corner lot in the city, ready to face the tide of cars, trucks, bikes, and people. Firmly implanted with the utmost care and love, he faced at least three winters of salt spraying, from the winter city trucks, fumes from the large trucks, traffic on busy street, and the hassles of sparrows and squirrels climbing his fragile tree trunk in hopes of finding a tidbit here and there to eat. The children mowed the lawn to perfection, manicuring every corner, planting strategically placed flower beds adding color to the city landscape for the summer and played hopscotch on the busy sidewalk. However, something had happened to Charlie, and he stopped growing, the pine needles didn't fall, he didn't wither away, he just stopped growing, something was very wrong in the heart of what should have been a very strong pine. So it was with much regret, out came the shovels, into the burlap bag he made his way back home.

By this time we had moved from the city, built our pole shed house and were on our way to becoming homesteaders in this lonely quiet country. We picked one corner of our lawn, overlooking our garden, to the right, and overseeing the goat yard to the left, and settled him in, not expecting much if at all to happen. By this time he was a little over three feet, still sparsely branched, looking almost as he did when he had made the journey south, not much had changed. It was spring time, the mud had settled, the garden was being tilled, so we didn't give him much thought till one fall day, I looked through the window, and there was Charlie Brown, he had grown a foot, sprouted some new branches, and standing tall. Charlie Brown was back home, where he had sprouted from a tiny seed, on the far hillside, done some traveling, and like most of us as we get older and have seen the world, came back home. He survived a goat mangling when one of the kids escaped the fenced yard, and decided one of his branches was pretty tasty, the use of my big whites, (German Shepard dogs) as a fire hydrant....hence the fence around the bottom, and is now well over 12 foot tall, heading for the sky. He sheds his needles in the fall, adds pine cones in the spring, and is companion to the many birds that head his way. Charlie Brown is home, and I wonder, maybe I am too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Magic in the air

The woodlands are beginning to tell a new story, for this proud year of 2009. Rivulets of water are dashing down the sides of the ravines, bringing news of warm weather to the ponds below. Tell tale signs of deer are showing now along their inner secret trails, used during the deep winter snow, pounding down the fallen leaves into deep tracks of sinking mud. The ponds still carry their blankets of ice, and the winds out of the north still carry a hint of winter not quite ready to give up its realm to the southern wind currents beating at their door. Over head the first sounds of geese coming back to wander about the tall dead grasses to find the perfect place to raise a family. Deep in the ravines come echoes of the calls of long legged emu like birds, the Sand Hill Cranes, which here in the north land signals the first real signs of spring. But the most enticing hint of spring, are the bluebirds, circling my cement bird bath, sitting on the meadow fences, trilling the sounds of mother nature, finally issuing the command of the warm spring spirits. Mother Nature has kissed the finches, turning their dull brown jackets into happy yellow formals touched by a bit of green. Let the celebration begin...the band is warming up for the spring and summer session, awakening the the leaves, and grasses, signaling the earths return to the lighter side.

Here on the homestead the pond has filled to its deepest depth due to the run off of snow, and the geese are happy little bobbles , washing off their winter grime, sailing to the corners of the water, diving to the bottom muddy reservoir, finding little gems of enjoyment. Our young neighbors on the East rim of our acreage brought out their Cat to clear away all the prickly wandering brush that is so prevalent here on the woodland border. We were chipping away at it with chainsaw and elbow grease, the last few years, not ever accomplishing what they managed to clear in just a few short hours. Now the proud 100 year old plus oaks stand tall among the fallen leaves, clear of the barrage of ugly prickly woody stems that harbored many alarms to anyone who dared cross their path. We found age old crab apple trees, that were lost in the shuffle, which we pruned for a new years growth to feed the deer in fall.
One of the joys we found was an old oak tree that may have been struck by the force of a strong lightening bolt, shearing away a major part of its branches, hollowing out the trunk to make a perfect den for any four legged creature in need of shelter. The Oak continues to live, spewing out more branches, defying the laws of nature, while sheltering any homeless creature that may happen along its destiny. With out the help of our young neighbors we may have never been able to peer into the magic of the woods, their thoughtfulness is a treasure that seems to be so scarce these days of pressure and doubt. Now we can take our almost ancient bodies up thru the paths they have carved out over the 80 acres for us and walk up and down the ravines to find more treasures hidden among the fallen giants of the woods, struggling at the top of the steep hills for breath, and sliding down the other side like gleeful children , on the slippery leaves, searching for magic that Mother Nature has left behind.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The diamonds of March

It is easy to compare March to the facets of a diamond, all distinctly separate, but yet all the same. Mother Nature stands in the middle of her galaxy trying to decide whether she should sweep her intricate fashioned snowflakes out the backdoor and usher in the warm sweet currents of spring in the front door. In her confusion, the children, Rain, Snow, and Sleet run in abandonment among the clouds, sometimes awaking the Thunder who loudly claps his disapproval, while the sun escapes their melee by hiding under a gray mass only to come out when they are asleep. It is a circus of events, awaiting the final approval to sound the trumpets of Spring, while the mortals kneel at her feet wringing their hands in consternation of her lack of clarity.

Meanwhile here at the homestead, it is the time of Taxes, and Seed ordering, setting up the nest boxes for the geese and ducks to establish their quarters, time for the chickens to go off strike and lay again, after taking a few weeks off to relax in the very cold weather. Its time for the alpacas and goats to travel out to the meadow to find what winter has left behind in the way of old grasses after a winter of dry hay. The pond fills up with the melting snow and the ducks enjoy the brief respit before the warm weather takes the water away. Thanks to Turbo Tax. the years taxes take about three hours of my time, and the computer whisks them away to be filed somewhere in syberland and then later deposited in my savings account.

The seed catalogs however present a different problem. I have been sinking in the mire of catalogs sent out starting last December,,,,every company still in operation has sent at least 2 of their brightly colored wish lists, describing every plant and seed one could hope for. I have read each one for hours on end, finally deciding on five of the worlds in which to favor my requests.Its been a long arduous task, and probably the only real reading I ever accomplish.

This spring I will finally order some components to make my life easier, such as the bean cutter from Vermont Bean Seed Catalog http://www.vermontbean.com/ , rather than cutting each one by hand. This year I will also inoculate all my beans, peas as last year my peas has a poor showing. Johnny's seeds out of Main, http://www.johnnyseeds.com/ , will get my sweet corn order as they now have specially treated corn for cold soils, last year my corn failed as many other farms did also...due to either poor seeds, or weather, plus will be ordering meadow grasses to reseed the meadow, which is sure to delight the alpacas.

Lehmans out of Ohio, http://www.lehmans.com/, has a Pea sheller that is guaranteed to work with fresh peas along with a stainless steel vegetable slicer to take care of the rest of the products from the garden. I am still debating on the bean frencher cutter for french styled beans for the freezer. All these items will aid my hands from becoming stubs in the summer canning season.

On the sewing scene, I have actually completed my first daughters birthday gifts, ON TIME, yes, she was born in MARCH, by making her the 6 or more pillows she needs for her home....two have been made with the cathedral style quilting patterns, one sewn by hand, the other by machine, machine sewn is so much easier, and then one was appliqued with patterns from the FatCat Patterns, http://www.fatcatpatterns.com/ . I love her patterns and have copied each one down for future use. The others were simple quick easy shapes to add to the decor. I even made a few for myself,will wonders never cease. Now with spring almost around the corner, there will be less time for sewing so need to make use of all options now. All I have to add is a tiny kitten made out of scrap material from Wee Wonderfuls Pattern....http://www.weewonderfuls.com/, and I can package it all together for the trip by Post to Land O Lakes. Each birthday of my eldest reminds me of how fast the years are passing by, and what I have yet to accomplish. The faster I go, the slower I get.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


March brings on new trials to this homestead. These are the days when I think I will never make it as a farmer. My brother down the road has no problem "dispatching" his steers when they are ready, even tho he has raised them from birth....but for me it is a problem. In my working days, dispatching meant sending out the trucks to deliver our product to the five state area...but here on the hill it means an entirely different thing. It is time to cull out all the extra roosters from last years hatch, as they are now full grown, and feathered out like Indian headdresses, ready to catch every hen in sight, not once but many times. The poor hens are losing feathers from the spurs of the roosters, and are thoroughly hassled by the male population. Therefore, I must "dispatch" at least 8-10 of the beautiful proud strutting romantics to the end of their destiny. My mother never had a problem with her feathered flock, every Sunday or Saturday she would stride out with ax in hand, for Sunday dinner. We as children never had a problem with it, living on the farm, it meant food for the table...so what happened as I grew older and retreated to the city? I became accustomed to just picking up table ready chicken out of the grocery freezers with nary a thought of where they came from. Now, raising them from fluffy little chicks, to full blown rainbow colored walking suitors, shielding them from the huge black turkey buzzards swooping down for a quick meal in the summer, or the quiet stealth of the red tailed hawk watching high in the trees calling out to their mates that there is dinner waiting down below. Months of careful feeding, watering, and making sure they were in their coop at night, makes this homesteader queasy at the thought taking them out of circulation. But, its part of the logic of the earth, so with heart in hand, into the coop I venture, handing them out to hubby, who has no problem with this fact of life, to do the dirty deed. These are times when I think its time to become a vegetarian, but as the days turn into weeks, the idea fades, and life returns to normal....which brings me to the fact...I wonder how the pioneers made it through the long winters, and cold, cold days, in tiny homes out on their own prairies. Our tiny house, seems to start to cave in at the walls about this time, cant start the plants in the green house yet, cant go walking out on the icy covered road, too cold to even hang the clothes out on the line....March is my nemesis, lets hope I make it thru with at least part of my sanity.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cabin Fever

While I was finishing the denim circle quilt that was way past due for my daughter, Mother Nature was snuggling in her children with another blanket of white fluffy snow. There were deer grazing along the wood line underneath the oak trees, looking for the last of the acorns that had fallen there last fall, when everything had been put to sleep for the winter. This month has been a short but enduring period, the departure of an aunt of 94 years , and the arrival of two babies in our extended family, providing the ebb and flow of life, which as we grow older, realize is the natural way of life. It is this time of year that Cabin Fever comes knocking at my door, and almost crosses the thresh hold, so I must beat a hasty retreat up to the Michigan Border to see the kids. The three hour trip was made longer, by the continuing flurry of snow storms, when I became aware of the new world we were entering. The long rows of one sided pine trees, which had been cut by the electric company to save the wires, bordering unending acres of white empty fields, gave way to forests of hardwoods, and pines, and huge snowdrifts, hardly touched by the fingers of time.....and then we began to notice , hints of alien beings, darting back and forth, thru and around all the standing trees, over and through the snowbanks, leaving powder puffs of white sifted crystals in their wake. Bright lights coming through tunnels of the lifting gray clouds made me wonder what planet I had unwittingly entered, and then as the fog cleared, I realized I was in the land of "Sleds". Long snow crusted trails led along the highway and then disappeared into the landscape, only to be seen again miles down the road, or crossing the blacktop seeking a retreat on top of a frozen lake. Like charging Buffalo, they came in herds, big, shiny black images, screaming and snorting as they waited impatiently for us to pass so they could fly into the next untamed territory. We pulled into town and parked the car in the driveway, and opened the doors, to the sounds of a bee hive full of very angry bees, careening into the gas station, to fuel the next episode of dreams. Marshmallow like beings got off and stretched their legs, called to their partners and laughed loudly as they strolled into the gas station to pay their dues, and warm up to hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. This is SNOWMOBILE LAND, where it didn't make a bit of difference if the snow was blinding or the cold was chilling, this is the land of adventure, where adults become children and children become adults , indulging in all that Mother Nature has to offer in her castles of ice and snow..
My daughter loved the quilt, blissfully ignorant of all the mistakes in the making, or the time lapse between her birthday in November to this last week of February, and we conversed in the warmth of the family, and the happenings of their lives oblivious of all the action that was taking place around us.
Later in the day, as we traveled back down the road toward our homestead we were escorted by strings of lights leading the way down the snowy, powdered sugar road for at least 30 miles when all went dark again as they turned off unto destinations unknown, leaving us alone in the with the memories of a very special day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Colors of the wind

While assembling the final Valentine pillows, on a thread of desperation, I wondered..........

Why is it I can put words together, black on white, in fashion that one can understand, but I cannot color the wind. In fact, I cannot fashion colors to the extent of understanding and harmony as I can words. Maybe in college I should have taken art and the color wheel rather than bookkeeping and accounting. My fat quarters sit quietly on the top shelf, looking down on baskets of colored materials collected over the years, whispering secrets of beautiful quilts, in a language that I cannot understand. When I sort out the colors I think would be perfect, they stand out like mischievous children, not really naughty, but not really nice either. And as soon as I turn my back to find another perfect piece of cloth, colors collaborate into a jumble of jigsaws, and triangles and squares, making my head spin, and my brain collide in a mid air disaster with the wind. Stars, and rectangles, strips and stripes, calico and polka dots, jump back and forth over the waves like a kaleidoscope, never giving me time for a breath as they merge as one, and then disentangle themselves again into a pile of dissatisfaction. I gaze at all the pictures of the breathtaking masterpieces of color put together with love and thought, and wonder how I managed to get lost in the maze. Is it a gene you are all born with that managed to escape my burst of energy, flying away on the wisps of the wind, that I will never be able to capture.

Why cant I color the wind?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Country Roads

February seems to bring out the best in all the country folk around here....why?...because our sweethearts called "Country Roads" turn into witches. Country Roads beckon in the spring and summer, their sweet curves calling out to you to travel up and down the winding hills, into the forests and around the lakes, over the rivers into picturesque dreams of running wild in the wind. Come Fall, they even become more enticing due to the beautiful colors displayed along the ditches and the daisies nodding farewell as the October moon smiles down on the unsuspecting rouge that decides to stay the winter. The first snowfall is quiet and soft, with no promise of what the future holds, ....then it happens...the fickle COUNTRY ROADS turn into witches riding broomsticks of ICE...slick curves lined with naked trees and ditches filled with three feet of salty snow hiding the treachery that lies below. Each year my husband falls prey to the hidden dangers lurking behind every solitary curve...in fact the tow truck number has a special dial on the cell phone just for such incidents. I cannot understand how he can maneuver a 90,000 lb. rig thru ice, sleet, rain, snow, with nary a problem, yet not be able to stay out of the Country Roads seducing ditches with the van, or for that matter the pick up truck.
The answer lay in earlier on a cold December morning when on his way to work at 2AM, he was followed by brite lights for a few miles...thinking that this was just another soul with weird hours, he continued on. Suddenly the road lit up with piercing red lights, and a siren howled mournfully in the dark night, bringing him to a screeching, sliding halt. The young uniformed county cop ambled over and asks him if he has been drinking...then proceeds to tell him that he had been traveling to the left of the yellow line...on this lonely, snow covered COUNTRY ROAD deep in the heart of nowhere. That yellow line will not be visible till Spring when the three inches of ice melts and the flooding starts.....meanwhile the COUNTRY ROAD is laughing softly to herself, having brought another victim to his knees. The result of that lesson is that he travels on his side of the road, maybe just a bit too close to the icy shoulder, while the COUNTRY ROAD waits in silence for one tire to kiss the ditch and slither in to her cold embrace. Well he didn't get a ticket, just a warning, and now the COUNTRY ROAD has merged with Mother Nature and left the ice on our long drive way, just waiting for him to slide down the hill, past the the curves into the magic of the swamp, which is probably the beginning of another new story on the hill.
Hope your roads are treating you better till next time..........

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dedication of Love

It was one of those crisp cool Autumn mornings, the sun was fresh, everything sparkled, trees has just started to change their uniforms to the reds and yellows so familiar here on the hill, but warm enough yet to have dew on the remaining garden inhabitants. Geese were flying overhead, heading down the long route to winters habitat, honking and making waves in the sky, it was a good morning. With that similar thought my own huge Toulouse geese, decided it was prime time to fly over the fence into the garden to see what morsels still lie there to enhance their diet, little did they know that danger was lurking, and watching. I open up the garden in late fall and let the dogs run, giving them a little more room for exercise, since there is nothing there that can be harmed. Avi, my young Siberian Husky, alias Killer of the feathered beings, was watching closely, as, one, two, three geese flew over the garden fence from their very safe yard into the awaiting delicacies. There was a flash of grey, a flurry of wings, and feathers flying in every direction, by the time I got there, two had flown back across, but one had gotten tangled up in the left over fence, and mauled by the ambitious dog. The only thing I could do at the moment was pick her up and toss across to safety, to keep her from the snapping jaws of that beautiful Siberian from hurting her anymore. She was injured, breathless, laying there in a heap, and I thought, that was the end of that saga. I traveled back into the fenced in pasture to retrieve what I thought was a venture gone wrong, when I noticed her mate, shielding her from me, and the barking dog on the other side I picked her up and took her into the alpaca shed, put her on a pile of hay, brought in a water dish, and decided to let nature take its course. It looked as though she may have a broken leg, or severely injured right side. Meanwhile her mate hissed, and spread his huge wings, and dared me to do anymore for his injured mate. As the days progressed into weeks I watched as she hobbled out to the yard, her mate right behind, and settle into the warm sun. Each day he gently nestled her neck and preened her maladjusted feathers,let her rest in the warm sun and kept her warm at night. Each day I brought special feed out to her, and her mate would only let me come so close, and then he would coach her gently to the fallen feed, and made sure no one else would eat till she had her fill. None of the other geese even ventured close, as he would stretch out his neck, hiss, and give warnings no one, even the Alpacas dared to cross. One day I went out and the pair was no where to be seen, the yard was empty, the chickens were contentedly scratching in the dust below the hill, Guinea hens were up in the trees watching on guard duty, and the Alpacas were out in the pasture grazing........when suddenly down the pasture lane came the gaggle of geese, and very slowly, a bit behind, came the injured goose, limping gamely, but with her mate right behind, coming in from the pasture where they had been feeding on the last of the clover and alfalfa. I watched as they came into the area, he waited each time she took a rest, till finally they made it into the yard when corn and tidbits lay waiting for their pleasure. She eventually grew strong, and recovered, but it was with the help of her mate that she persevered thru the painful days that now were in the past. This Valentines day, the lesson to be learned is love is necessary for survival, be it child, favored one, or mate....to make the cool crisp Autumns of life memories...... ones to remember.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


IF PRACTICE MAKES ONE PERFECT, AND NO ONE IS PERFECT, WHY PRACTICE? I looked up from the material I was cutting to see my husbands quizzical face looking at me with a hint of laughter in his voice waiting for the answer. How long did it this subject weigh heavily on his mind before he decided to test my patience to see just where I stood in his universe. If the truth be known, I know he had heard this on Sirius radio in between the shows of THE SHADOW KNOWS and PUDDLY DINK while on one of his long boring trecks, and waited for the opportune time to spring it on me. Having suffered thru three children growing up , a mother is used to just about anything...so with out missing a step I just shrugged shoulders in disbelief and said .".to accomplish goals."...and left it at that. However, later that evening, it dawned on me....with out practice the cave man would have never thought about fire, and the wheel would never have been discovered and we would have never made it to the moon.. It is with practice that we make mistakes, and with mistakes we make new discoveries, with the onset of new discoveries we practice more, and the world goes round and round, as we strive for perfection. So is perfection the result of practice, or is practice the result of perfection? Well that being the object of an oncoming headache,.... here is the results of the answers to the above....one of the pillows I took apart four times, till I had to cover the stitches with another piece of lace, due to the imprints of the needles. I could have just started all over again with a new piece of material....but instead I kept practicing as the results of the mistakes, and finally ended up with with a pillow that almost passed the test. Tho still not really satisfied with the results, its going out any way to one of the grands, along with the CQ valentines ....so I can go on to other things to be accomplished.......with practice.....!

Monday, February 2, 2009


I stepped outside last week and noticed a change...it was very, very quiet, in an eerie sort of way. We live high on a hill, surrounded by ravines full of hardwoods, quiet ponds, and lots of noise....bird noise that is. In the winter there are chickadees, woodpeckers, finches, blue jays, and in the summer the robins and orioles , and cardinals add to the chorus. I walk out in the morning to do chores, and the birds are chattering away on the tops of the naked trees, gossiping I suppose, uncaring that I am listening down below. But now, you can even hear the leafless branches crack under the cold, and ....nothing. Bird feeders are full, water dish crusted with ice on the sides, looking like a margarita glass edged in salt. Even the persnickety red squirrels are no where to be seen....and there is nothing to be heard. This went on for some days, and then while looking out the bedroom window one morning....I saw the a motionless figure on a broken branch, regal, calm, dressed in a blue gray cape and a black mask surrounding his eyes. It was the Zoro of birdland, only instead of the cold cutting edge of a sword, there was the curving beak of distruction, watching every move of every small woodland creature with nary a sign of remorse. This stately creature had come for a visit, probably attracted by the numbers of birds at the feeders, and had never before been seen in this area . It was a strikingly beautiful Shrike, with the patience of a Jobe, watching, waiting, for his next morsel of food. His visit to this part of woodline, created a aura of silence, as he sat there, patiently, watching, never stirring, for the next brave creature to fly into the arena to steal a sunflower seed or dip into the bird bath for a drink. Suddenly, like in the movies, there was a flash of grey, a flurry of snow, and a vole had stolen his last black seed, I watched as the Shrike flew away to his own private dining room, successful in his query, till the next venture. He stayed for about a week or so, and then one brite sunny morning, there was music in the air again, birds crowded around the feeders, and bird bath....and he was gone just as silently as he came. It was another chapter of the wilderness closed for the season, waiting, silently, quietly to be opened again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lightening strikes

This weekend was quiet as usual, the machine and I were one humming along quite happily, when this thunderbolt struck the house with such force that the pins fell off their magnetic holder, the spools of thread bounced off their keepers, and the britely red, white, and pink strips of material that were to be placed in my CQ valentine hearts were dancing wildly thru the air. The source of this disturbance was echoing from the cushion on the sofa....."Do you think we can afford 40 dollars for a bee keeping seminar in Menominee in February? It is always polite to ask the keeper of the checkbook far in advance in this economic era for something out of the ordinary. As I struggled to stand up, hitting my head on the table in the process, the cushion took on the vision of my husband..and I thought I was having an hallucination. My husband is a trucker, he works anywhere from 1o to 14 hours a day, depending on delays, and on the weekends he and his two favorite buddies, the Remote, and the sofa, spend hours together listening to the taped episodes of favorite programs of the previous week, or the bloody stories of cops and robbers at the OK corral. This big, wonderful Teddy Bear, actually used my electric wheelbarrow to carry out the garbage...some 25 feet away....and He is thinking of a Hobby. Will miracles never cease to exist. He has been beaten by a chicken..the chicken won....bitten by a docile but exuberant alpaca, and told by the ER doctors to stay away from gentle creatures....and he wants to raise bees. The end result of this eye opening scenario, is I have encouraged him to take the all day seminar, the only thing that can happen is he can get stung and we find out he is allergic to bee stings.........right?

Monday, January 26, 2009

This is what I have been waking up to the last few days, at least until the temps drop to 18 below zero like this last weekend. There is so much beauty in this arena, but frankly, Being snowbound is taking it tole on my resolution to be brave and get other things done. I think that this blog will be more therapy for me then interest to others. Today, I must finish the valentine pillows for the grands, and get on to making CQ valentines to send out to special people...they are so much fun to make, and use up some of the laces I have had stashed now for years. I have decided that Crazy Quilting and applique are my projects for the year. Now that it down in writing, I must comply.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Make your own.....?

I am reading on other blogs, on how to make your own soaps, like for laundry, dishwasher, etc. Now, I have tried making regular bar soap, with the help of another, and didn't like the effect, or affect so haven't tried to again....but this sounds very interesting since I already make more items then I buy. The problem lies in getting all the ingredients, such as Fels Naphta Soap for instance. This was something my mother used many...many years ago, but I havnt seen it on the shelves in a coons age. My husband bought me a bar, a couple of years back, when I ran into the mischievous plant called poison ivy....someone said that it would help to wash the skin with that particular brand....but I haven't looked for it since. So, after I finish making the Valentines Pillows for my grand children...will post pictures....I will go on a scavenger hunt to find this particular soap. We have many Amish families in the area now....and they have a store near by, that may be my first stop. At the least it will make an interesting trip in this below zero weather we are having and break the monotony of the winter..

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A new beginning

So this is it, the beginning of an adventure, away from the comforts of easy city living, noisy streets, blaring sirens, to absolute silence....50 miles away from the largest city, 18 miles away from the nearest town, and a mile off the main road. Deep into the heart of the north woods, high on a hill, surrounded by thick woods, singing birds, and all the trappings of woodland creatures. In the months to come, we would be visited by black bears, cougars, white tailed deer, wolves, coyotes, wild turkeys, pheasants, Fischers, all new to this long time city gal, coerced by my husband to invest the last of our remaining years in the silent recognition of another world.

The next few years, I will have learned animal husbandry, put my gardening skills to use, remember and use lessons learned in the childhood days of canning and freezing, start sewing anew, go back to quilting, and using my imagination, to bring sounds and sights into the very calm, and quiet world of the country. Now on the once empty field stands a house, we built ourselves, an acre garden, sheds to house the animals, and a mile long driveway to walk for excercise to get the mail. Long cry from opening up the door to greet the mail carrier. All the knitting, sewing, weaving, spinning, crocheting lessons learned in the city, where there was easy access to all, will now be put to use. The techincal age of the computer has helped me keep my sanity, make new friends, learn new lessons, and best of all keep in touch with all the people we left behind. Gone are the days of ordering pizza to be delivered, running to the grocery store to pick up ONE item, and chatting across the fence with the neighbor next door. Now I make my own bread, run to the city maybe twice a month for a LIST of groceries, and listen to the wind blowing in the woods, which is never ending here on the hill. This is our NEW AGE.