Whatever happened to ol’ Bernie?

November 29, 2006 at 5:28 pm | Posted in country living, dating, faith, family, free knitting patterns, humor, Knit Alongs, knit-a-long, knitting, love, Thanksgiving, yarn | 19 Comments

Barn of the HorsearseBack in the summer, on our way back from church one Sunday morning, we stopped up the road a bit so I could shoot a photograph of a nice old barn I admired. I got the shot I wanted, but as we pulled away I caught sight of a second, smaller barn that was back a bit behind the first one. The second barn had boards falling out of it, and light spilled in from the back side wall, lighting the little barn up from within.

Standing near the door, and with only his rump and hind legs showing, was an old sway-backed white and grey horse. The lighting was perfect for lighting up his rump … and I thought to myself, “That’s the shot!”

But alas, I did not say anything to my husband who would have gladly stopped and gone back for me to capture the moment. The next week I made sure to take the camera with me, hoping to see the shot again. It didn’t happen. For weeks afterwards, anytime we went that way I took the camera along and looked for the shot, but the horse was never standing right there at a time when the barn was lit just that way again.

Fireflys Post Thanksgiving Photo OpsMy husband and I have shared a number of jokes about what to call the shot if I ever get it. I would actually like to make a watercolor painting of it. My final conclusion is that the horse wants my attention and he gets it as long as he fails to provide me with the shot I am looking for. He is guaranteed, as long as he doesn’t stand just that way in just that light, that I will look for him and look at him whenever we drive by as long as we both shall live.

I’m cool with that. I have come to feel very fond of the sweet old sway backed horse. He has a cow for a friend and a good sized flock of geese. Those geese will often stand milling about in the road early in the morning. As we approach in our truck they just stand there gabbing and looking us up and down. They are quite reluctant to budge although they usually do waddle away complaining loudly as they turn their backs and step aside after bringing us pretty much to a complete halt.

Perhaps they just want some attention as well.

There was a turkey walking amongst them for a while, but I believe he is elsewhere now. Oh well, such is the life of a turkey I suppose.

Fireflys Post Thanksgiving Photo Ops 2My grandmother on my father’s side (we called her “Granny”) had a goose named Bernie on her farm when I was a little girl. He was a big, white goose with a strange sense of humor and a bit too much mischief for my taste at the time. For some reason he liked chasing me through the rows in her garden, nibbling at the buttons of my coat and pecking peevishly at my legs. I have a vivid recollection on one sunny autumn day of me running back and forth amidst the rows with the goose chasing after me while Granny chatted amiably with someone in the garden, seemingly completely undisturbed by my anguished flight back and forth through the rows.

Bernie was also mischievious with my grandmother’s pigs. He would get in the pig pen with them and chase them around, annoying them no end I am certain. His favorite antic was to grab a hold of a pig by its squiggly tail and then run along behind the pig flapping his wings and lifting off a bit as the pig ran squealing all around the pig pen.


One Thanksgiving Granny went out to feed the pigs and found clumps of feathers and Bernie’s beak in the pig pen. Horrible though it is to think of, the pigs evidently had a Thanksgiving day feast that morning at Bernie’s expense and the feathers and beak were all that remained of our mutual tormenter.

Oh Bernie. You were a pretty goose, despite being an annoying tease. You frightened me, but I have never forgotten you, you old goose.

The moral of this little story: Don’t go messing with a gang of pigs on major holidays. Evidently they have their own way of dealing with lawlessness and it ain’t pretty.

I mentioned in Monday’s post my husband took me out on a drive late in the afternoon this past Saturday to see if we could find some photo ops. Our first stop was the Barn of Horsearse (as we sometimes refer to the barn I described above). We also shot a couple of red barns glowing in the golden hour light. I have such a thing for barns.

I love going out shooting photos with my husband. He lets me use his wonderful Nikon digital camera: even though he is as much of a photographer as I am, he is happy to be the driver when we go on a shoot. I can ask him to stop anywhere, go back to any point, turn this way and that with the vechicle, wait for me while I take twenty shots of the same thing … and never a complaint. He seems quite happy to offer that kind of support to my artistic habit.

Did I mention I love him?

I think back to when he and I first met … he sent that email to me on January 29th of this year. By the weekend after Valentine’s day we were talking on the phone for the first time, and by the first week of March we were already making plans for our wedding to be the last weekend or so of April. At that time, we still had not met face to face.

Fireflys Hand Knit Blue Boa for a Little GirlI was speaking with him about it again a few days ago and told him that though it seems like such a “leap” of faith we made back then, the truth is it wasn’t a leap at all. It was definitely faith. But, a faith so strong and secure there was no “leap” involved. It was sound judgement on my part and on his to act on faith of that character.

I’m so glad we did.

What does faith mean to you? I mean faith itself, faith in yourself and in what you know and see whether it relates specifically to your relationship with God or not. I am interested in knowing more about you.

See that bright blue bit of fluff in the photo with the teddy bear? I am knitting a “boa” for my husband’s nephew’s little three year old girl. She loves to play dress up. My husband wanted us to give her a little something extra along with the bigger toy we ordered for her, so I offered to knit up a boa. It is a cute little pattern I devised using this incredibly soft polymide fiber. I’ll post yarn info and directions on Friday. It’s a quick one-evening knit, so there is still time to make one for a special little girl you know.

Have a beautiful day.


This creative time of year

November 27, 2006 at 3:20 pm | Posted in country living, faith, family, free knitting patterns, knitting, love, recipes, relationships, Thanksgiving, yarn | 16 Comments

willowmorningWe had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. We went from a hard and heavy frost Wednesday morning to Indian summer weekend days. Saturday was so warm and pretty it led to yard work by my husband and a vigorous porch sweeping by me. We have a good sized, partially enclosed porch and it was nice to clear the leaves off that had been gathering over the fall months. My husband mowed the lawn and mulched the many leaves from the lawn.  In the photo of the willow here, the lawn looks pale green.  I shot that photo on Wednesday when frost was still on the ground.  Today, however, our lawn is a deep, dark green because of all the rain we have had. Lovely and strange for late November.

Saturday, late in the afternoon, we went for a drive looking for photo ops. The trees, even in the apple orchards, are pretty much completely bare. Now you can see the tangle of the tree trunks and limbs in the wooded areas and more streams and rivers are visible all along the road. So swiftly the glow of golden willows has faded to a quiet yellow gray. Just last Wednesday our willow stood out brilliantly against a bright blue sky but now it too has assumed a more sublte appearance.

Each day the visual array out of doors changes dramatically, revealing a new style and new voice of beauty. My husband has warned me that, come real winter, there will be a period of no change. I suppose I will burn more candles then, to warm my heart and soul. We’ll see.

We spent time this weekend “candling up” as my husband put it. I loved that expression. He was referring to his tradition of placing candles in each of the windows of our home (we have more than forty windows). My tradition in California was always to put Christmas lights on the outside of the house, his has always been the candles in the windows. I wasn’t sure what that would look like, and felt I wanted more of a festive look to the house. We resolved our differences peacefully with this compromise: his candles in the windows, my Christmas lights outlining the prettyfront porch.

He wanted to put a lit Christmas tree in my art studio, because it is on the front of the house and is enclosed by windows on all sides. He thought it would be a pretty showcase. He also had an idea of placing a string of “rope” lights around the front door, on the inside between the regular door and the storm door, to create a light box effect.

All in all, the effect of the entire package is very pretty. We both like it because it is simple, quietly festive and not over-done. I enjoyed the experience of working out our apparent differences by discovering what we agreed on and moving into a co-create together. We make a good team that way; I think the world could use more of this approach to life.

luckyglovesThis weekend I finished a pair of fingerless gloves for my ex-mother-in-law, who I am still very close with. In fact, over the years she and I have become good friends and truly love one another. This pair of gloves is my own design and pattern; the yarn is so soft it feels like mink: I just want to keep stroking them because the feel is so soothing. They feature vintage buttons at the wrists, to indicate “left” and “right”. I will share the yarn info and pattern later this week.

I also finished a set of Critter Carolers to place on the stone window sill by our fireplace. I found some beautiful bark from an old elm tree in our yard, and had the idea of making a set of carolers to stand on the bark. Notice the tiny little handknit scarves I made them … one is made from a leftover scrap of the ultra alpaca I knit my Lavender Scarf and Hat from.

crittercarolers3I made the first of some grapevine wreaths for our home last night; wild grapevines grow everywhere in this area. My husband had to trim some of the vines off of our barn recently, and he set them aside for my wreaths. Saturday we went through the pieces and selected those I would use. These vines have plenty of little squiggly feelers or whatever you call them sticking out everywhere. They make beautiful wreaths. After giving them a good soaking in the tub, last night I wove three wreaths and am very happy with the results. I’ll share photos Wednesday.

I love this highly creative time of year. We are busy preparing for my parents and my son who will be here at Christmas for a visit. My daughter is already here, so we will all have a wonderful time of it. This is quite a change for my husband, to go from being alone in this farm house last Christmas to having in-laws and two step children … as well as a loving wife … this year. Such changes, so quickly, so big.

By the way, the server my photos are usually hosted on is having some issues and many of my photos from previous posts are not showing up today. We are working on getting it resolved, so please be patient. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Have a beautiful day!


Celebrate gratitude

November 20, 2006 at 3:33 pm | Posted in country living, dating, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, Knit Alongs, knit-a-long, knitting, love, pumpkin recipes, recipes, relationships, soup recipes, squash recipes, stockings, Thanksgiving, yarn | 18 Comments


In the lifetime of a human being
There are many things to be grateful for
Too numerous perhaps to consider individually
And yet
In the open, roaring sea of my gratitude
I see you;
I am overcome
Most of all
When I consider you.

Happy Thanksgiving
~ Celebrate Gratitude ~

To forward this peaceful message to a friend click here.

Copyright © 2006 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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