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 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 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 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 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 I can go on to other things to be accomplished.......with practice.....!

Monday, February 2, 2009


I stepped outside last week and noticed a 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.