Monday, December 05, 2016

Short Hike, by the Lake

A short hike after church on Sunday is all we had time for.

Also, it was all we needed. Water, woods, rocks, moss.

Of course Felix climbed a tree.

Bonus: pelicans.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Our Home-Grown Onion

Periodically Daisy puts out an issue of our home newspaper called the Animal Times. Today Clara, in a masterful stroke of procrastination, instituted a home-grown version of the satirical Onion

* * * 

"Student Turns in Handmade Pants in Lieu of Final Paper"

Student Clara P. shook the academic community this week when she turned in a pair of pants that she had made, instead of the final paper, in Dr. Janet Willoughby-Esperanza's "Introduction to Graduate Study," a seminar-style English class focusing on the films of 1964, primarily from the perspective of gender studies and psychoanalytic film theory. Willoughby-Esperanza described the wide-leg velveteen pants as "a brilliant, radical commentary on the interplay of masculinity and femininity in the oeuvres of these filmmakers."

Clara P. was distressed by Willoughby-Esperanza's interpretation of her pants, stating in an interview with the Pleasant View Pigeon that she had not intended to make any such statement by submitting the pants: "I just didn't want to write the essay. I kept putting it off until there wasn't time to finish the pants and the paper, so I decided to just hem the pants and turn them in instead of the paper." In an email addressing Clara P's objection, Willoughby-Esperanza explained that much of current literary critical theory rejects the idea that the meaning of a work is determined by the author or creator's intention, and stood by her original analysis of the pants' implications.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School

"I could not have predicted the residue and damage that a lack of cooking skills had on people's daily lives. Among the boxes and cans, I found a larger story of perceived failure that left them struggling with guilt, frustration, and a stinging lack of confidence. . . ."

--Kathleen Flinn, The Kitchen Counter Cooking School

This fascinating book follows the author's work with nine ordinary people who don't know how to live with real food or how to function in their own kitchens. By the end of the book, Flinn's compassionate, enthusiastic coaching has transformed them.

Cook your own food, and teach your children how.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Scissors on the Windowsill

The windowsill by the woodstove becomes my temporary sewing table.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Molly's Roses

Molly flew home today, and left her roses behind. I took them to the studio to paint.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Weekend Like I Never Had Before

My head is still spinning a little from this weekend. First, Thanksgiving dinner for thirty-one. Then houseguests started to roll into town, I don't even know how many people I was cooking for, and then we hosted a giant party on Saturday night in honor of Giles and Tia and Felix and Molly. That was dinner for a hundred (I picked the meat up from the barbecue joint).

A dozen or so of the young adults spent the night and had breakfast and sat in with their instruments for our church worship service, and then slow drains at the stone house meant I had to rearrange everyone's sleeping plans and wash countless sheets yesterday and today. Oh my.

Giles and Tia and her parents (they are so, so dear! the best!) headed home today. We get Molly for one more day, although we haven't seen her in hours, she and Felix are out shopping for a wedding band . . . .

And I didn't even take a picture.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Welcome to the Farm.

Tia's parents joined us for Thanksgiving this year.

Meeting Daisy's goats.


The schoolhouse was full – almost 30 people joined us for dinner.

"Rejoice always!
Pray constantly.
Give thanks in everything,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." [emphasis added]
– 1 Thess. 5:16-18 HCSB

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Coffee in the New Almost Kitchen

Clara and I spent much of the day on our hands and knees scrubbing the stone house floors--a sign that most of the major renovating work is done and it's just about time for some furniture.

That's some hard work. 

We took a coffee break in the kitchen which is poised for cabinetry first thing Monday morning. Wednesday it fills up with guests. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cashmere Capelet

Most of this super-soft sweater has gone for other projects--but the top of it makes the coziest, most beautifully shaped little capelet. All I did was cut it off right above the underarm seam, leaving the top of the sleeve intact, then finish the raw edge with a zigzag stitch.

And then sew on some bugle beads, of course. That was the best part.

Monday, November 14, 2016

November Sunshine

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Line in the Sand

Clara and I have managed to reupholster the couch to this point--it's only lacking the bottom fabric and the fronts of the arms. Meanwhile, I've been making the cover for the seat cushion, but today the sewing machine drew a line in the sand. Stopped me in my tracks. Said it simply wasn't capable of sewing through six layers of upholstery velvet where the piping has a seam and is being sewn to two panels.

I was almost immediately okay with that, and found a shop in town that will finish my cushion cover at a very reasonable price. I got it over there today with a huge feeling of relief. No more green velvet to sew for the forseeable future.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

An Out-of-Season Sprig

Honeysuckle in November, who knew?

Monday, November 07, 2016

Hey, A Kitchen Floor!

Remember back in August when we had to take the kitchen floors in the stone house all the way back to the joists?

They stayed like that forever while the invisible but important work of plumbing, wiring, and ductwork went on.

Finally we got to close up the space, and the Composer and Nick, our darling carpenter, threw those subfloors down this weekend. Hurray!

Then the tile crew came in this morning and did all this: wow. 

Tomorrow the same thing happens in the two bathrooms!

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Alabama Chanin: Beaded Magdalena Corset

This is made from two layers of medium-weight jersey, stenciled with the Alabama Chanin "Magdalena" stencil, and then each shape was stitched around with bugle beads.

It is such pleasant work.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Woodpile, Still Waiting

We have a large and lovely woodpile all ready to go . . . and we're still running the air-conditioner. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Head Above Water, Barely

Whew. This is just a busy, busy season. Travel, wedding, giant party, whole-house renovation, work. My idea is that all of it will be finished by January, and then I will sit down with Sister in my arms. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Eightieth Birthday

It was that time last weekend--my father in law's birthday. And this was a big one. Eighty.

We kept it on the quiet side, since my step-mother-in-law was still recovering from an ankle replacement. In fact, the most exciting moment of the evening was the stair climb.

I lifted the menu straight out of my 1936 cookbooks, which was fun. And I included some insights on the menus.

As is so often the case, the appetizer plates were the most interesting. I followed the cookbook to a tee, and served "radish roses, a mound of coleslaw, an olive stuffed with almond, an olive stuffed with celery, and three shrimps marinated in French dressing and served on a lettuce leaf."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Not That It Needed It

Today I borrowed the neighbor's power-washer and started in on the front deck. To my knowledge, it's never been washed in thirty-five years. It took a long time to do a little bit, so after a couple of hours I decided I'd do better working at my desk, billing for my time, and hiring a professional to do the rest. He'll be here Saturday morning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New Walls in the Stone House

The living room is painted! Still waiting on the new slab of stone that will be the mantel above the gorgeous fireplace.

The small bedroom is painted! All that's left to do is hang some curtains and clean the floor.

The hallway is in the process of becoming Enchanted Forest Green. With lots of white closet doors.

The kitchen still looks like this, sadly, but will receive its subfloors this week. After that, it's full speed ahead with sheetrock repair and tile floors. The cabinets will arrive in mid-November.

And turning back around, here's the view out onto the front porch!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Last Apronful of Tomatoes

Clara and Daisy and I went to New York this weekend to meet up with our kids there--it used to be the boys, but now it's Giles and Tia and Felix and Molly--Felix was able to join us for the weekend. Actually, we were a secondary consideration. He was there to see Molly, and boy was he happy.  Bella couldn't get off work but plans to make the trip in December.

We met Molly's parents, shopped for bridesmaids' dress fabrics, and looked for special tea and chocolate croissants. 

We got back really late last night and Clara had to plunge right into teaching her classes at 8:00. Daisy and I eased into things a little slower, and I found time to check the garden for one last apronful of tomatoes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Foliage in a Gray and White Room

Foliage looks good anywhere.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sister, No Caption

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