Heavy dew this week makes for magic mornings. The apple blossoms are just starting to open on the north side by the henhouse. Violets and dandelions sprinkle the lawns, along with fallen branches from winter winds and snow—now just a memory.
12 May 2013 7 Comments
17 Apr 2013 20 Comments
I’ve been traveling for work over the last two weeks, and am reeling from the sad news in Boston. Boston is a three hour drive from here and I’ve been there twice in the last two weeks to fly out of Logan airport. Boston is in our New England neighborhood. We return there tomorrow to fly to Ireland.
Then we woke this morning to find our beloved lamb, Ivan, was attacked and killed in the night. We called Ivan our sheep dog. He was so dog-like in his friendliness and devotion to us. I still have that ache in the pit of my stomach from the sight of him, and it builds on the ache I feel since the attacks in Boston.
And so, I say farewell for the next ten days as we prepare for this long anticipated trip. I leave our hill with a heavy heart and the hope to return uplifted after days of walking the windy hills along the sea in County Cork. Strong tea, thick brown bread and pints of stout usually give me comfort.
I wish you all some comfort in these days when we realize the fragility of our world, but recognize the great amount of kindness and goodwill that live within it too.
30 Mar 2013 6 Comments
in Art Portfolios, Artists, Creativity, Design, Holidays, Spring, Vermont Tags: covet garden, Easter, easter spirit, Masako Kubo, montreal, nature, Rabbit, Spring, spring weather, Terrain, vintage birdcage
A tiny touch of spring weather is in the air for Easter weekend here (this means sunny and a high of 48 F, with possible high 50s for tomorrow). The snow is receding. The farmyard is muddy. The sugarhouses will be boiling today.
I came across this rabbit artwork by Masako Kubo on the Covet Garden blog. A tea towel of the art is available at Terrain. I was smitten with its simplicity and it, along with the sunshine, are putting me in the Easter spirit. Masako’s illustration is so clean and fresh. I like her simplified palettes and use of words and emblems. Her rabbit may just inspire us to decorate some eggs today.
Yesterday I perused my photo libraries from spring in the last few years. All the blooming crocus, daffodils and tulips don’t show up until the April 20s of later, so I’m going to have to be patient. Tiny tips of green are popping up on the south side of the house where the snow is gone. And in three weeks we’ll be in Ireland where there will be plenty of green and spring flowers.
I leave you with two photographs I took in Montreal last May. A vintage birdcage that I plan to paint in a loose style on canvas (I’ll share if it’s worthy), and a cheery display from a favorite fleuriste.
21 Feb 2013 10 Comments
How funny, then, to wake up to winter paradise the next morning. It’s like Mother Nature overheard us and decided to win us back. Well done, Mother Nature. I am in love with you again. At least until the next blustery night when the windows rattle and clumps of heavy snow fall intermittently from the roof.
Winter self preservation: a bouquet of tulips and a bowl of green pears. The last one asked to be photographed and I obliged.
09 Feb 2013 5 Comments
It’s hard to measure a snowfall on a morning with the wind howling and snow blowing about forming clouds in the otherwise blue sky.
We braved the weather to feed the animals, shovel some paths, clean off the cars. And now we’re warming by the fire and watching the snowscape shift and reshape itself under the sunshine and tree shadows.
13 Jan 2013 15 Comments
in Creativity, Design, DIY Tutorials, Garden, handmade, Natural world, Seasons, Vermont, winter Tags: cloche, creativity, DIY, DIY tutorial, gardening in winter, gathering moss, handmade, handmade gift, indoor garden, moss, terrarium, winter garden
The days are lengthening, I can already tell. The chickens, who took a break from laying for a few weeks, are sharing an egg per day.
Around now the indoor greenery is keeping my spirits up. The tips of narcissus are reaching toward the ceiling, and the amaryllis has a fat bud that looks promising. Also green and thriving is the winter garden with moss and stones.
I gathered moss before the snow flew back in December and put this winter garden together. It was so easy to do and sustains my link to the dirt under all that snow. About once a week I take off the dome and spray the moss to keep it moist and green.
If you are able to find some woodland rocks on a south facing slope, you can still gather moss. Even with a ton of snow on the fields, I’ve seen some green spots peeking out here and there on my back-road drive to my parent’s house. I have plans to collect moss to surround the amaryllis bulb I mentioned.
What you need:
- a plate or container for a little soil and stones (moss only needs stone and a tiny bit of dirt and moisture to thrive)
- glass dome (I found this at my local thrift store)
- gathered moss—if you can find a few different varieties it adds to the interest of the garden. Some mosses will become cushioned and velvety. Others will send up little shoots like small antennae).
- a small porcelain item can be a nice decorative touch, or a small cut branch with winterberry for some color.
- spray bottle filled with water
Arrange your stones on a plate, or fill a container with stones and then soil. Moisten the soil. Top with several stones for the moss to grow over.
Collect your moss and blanket the stones and soil with the pieces. If your moss is in tiny pieces lay them together. They will fill in quickly as the moss grows.
Using the spray bottle thoroughly mist the top of the moss.
Add any decorative porcelain birds or small berry twigs now.
Place the dome on top. If condensation forms, prop the dome open a little with a utensil to allow some moisture to escape for about a day. You can leave the winter garden in the sunshine to help speed the drying. Then close the dome again to keep most of the moisture in.
Spray the moss about once a week. If it gets brown, don’t worry. Spray it and it will revive again in a few days.
06 Jan 2013 11 Comments
Today I took down the Christmas tree. The momentary sadness was instantly replaced with the euphoria that comes with moving the furniture around. I trimmed the rosemary plant of dry ends and woody twigs, filling the house with its piny scent, to replace the traces of balsam that went out the door moments before.
R placed the now-bare tree outside the window in a snowbank like we always do, and found a wild turkey feather in the snow which he tucked into the branches. (A flock of turkeys have been roosting in the crab apple tree each night and eating below the bird feeder in the mornings.) We’ll try to add to the feather as we find other natural flotsam and jetsam that flies in on the wind.
This afternoon was windless and not very cold. We walked down the road and then snow-shoed onto a trail nearby. Breaking new trails in deep snow is never easy.
Farewell to another holiday season. What new trails will we break in 2013? Time will tell.
23 Dec 2012 11 Comments
Winter kept us waiting. But yesterday seemed to seal our chances for a white Christmas. Curtains of snow fell, finally blanketing the last of the kale in the garden, and coating each branch with nature’s best holiday tinsel. Even the animals seemed to enjoy the snow.
The world is still after a windy night. I filled containers to make ice lanterns (how to make them here). The mercury will dip well below freezing tonight.
A friend sent me a lemon curd recipe and the house filled with the sharp crisp scent of citrus as I zested three lemons this afternoon. Sun streamed into the kitchen—a welcome sight after a gray week—and the curls of zest cast their own inner glow.
From the eve before Christmas Eve I wish you and yours a festive holiday time of togetherness, warmth and gratitude. May the peace of the season be with you all.
02 Dec 2012 4 Comments
in Christmas, Creativity, Friendship, handmade, Holidays, Natural world, Seasons, Vermont, winter Tags: "Barrett Hall", Christmas, holiday traditions, Jingle Bells, old town hall, prints in snow, snow, Strafford, Strafford Vermont, Vermont, winterberry
Fresh snow fell yesterday morning. A nice way to begin December.
I pinned the first of Peggy’s jingle bells to the hem of my coat, opened the first of my 24 advent packages—a gorgeous garland of rustic wooden stars—sent from my dear friend in France, and headed to Strafford, Vermont.
Who is Peggy? Why did I go to Strafford?
I wrote about Peggy’s jingle bells last December 1. Here is an excerpt. See photos and the entire post here.
My daughter is the one who found the little red box full of jingle bells and safety pins.
We were at the rummage sale last summer in the old town hall near where my parents live.
It was my mom who told us who the bells had belonged to, and the reason for the safety pins.
Peggy used to live in the old brick Cape cottage across from the town hall. She moved into assisted care housing last year, and her nieces and nephews went through the house to choose things to keep and things to sell. Many wonderful things arrived at the rummage sale, and I am now the happy owner of things from Peggy’s house.
Among these things, are the bells.
On December 1—every year—Peggy would pin a jingle bell to the hem of her skirt. On December 2 she’d add a second bell. And on and on, up until Christmas day when her hem was a sparkling, jingling masterpiece.
I pinned the first bell to the hem of my coat this morning.
Strafford (home to July 4 parades featuring dachshunds!!) had its holiday extravaganza yesterday and we Henhouse Fibers and ilo collective makers set up a table and had a great day hanging out in Barrett Hall—a classic Vermont building with high ceilings, big windows, a stage, good cheer. It was full of local artisans and folks coming through to do their Christmas shopping. Very festive.
Outside the snow fell gently all day. Inside the air smelled of pine boughs.
22 Oct 2012 32 Comments
My husband came through the door about 30 minutes earlier than usual this evening. “Quick!” he said, “Let’s plant the garlic before the sun goes down.”
I was fiddling with an image in Photoshop and the glow of my computer screen temporarily blinded me. Hadn’t the sun already gone down? But there was still time.
We raced to the barn where the garlic was drying in the rafters after we pulled it up in late July. Grabbing the best bunch of the largest heads (R had marked these so we wouldn’t eat them), we bee-lined down the hill to the garden, the sky darkening in strips of purple and magenta behind the tree branches, turning them from dimensional forms to flat silhouettes before our eyes.
R husked the cloves, papery chaff falling across the grass like wedding confetti. He had the furrows hoed in a flash and I started tucking in cloves, six inches apart. Fingers in the dirt—an instant cure to stresses from the day—from the last week that still linger. The soil just soaked them up, thank you very much. And left my fingertips muddy and skin dry and smooth.
I was glad that we ran out of cloves and I had to run back to the porch for a few more heads. It gave me an excuse to grab the camera. All before the sun went down.