Spring

May 20, 2009 at 6:35 pm | Posted in art, baby, country life, faith, family, gardening, knitting, Life, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance, summer | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

20may09_prettyriver2As the world wakes up outside our windows, many magical sites and moments bubble up to be seen if you catch them at just the right moment. Lately there have many many of those just right moments.

Last week our neighbor phoned to tell me she had spotted a nest of bunnies by “the third tree from the road” on our little strip of property across from the farm looking over the river.

My daughter and I headed over to see if we could sneak a peak, but neither of us had ever seen a nest of bunnies so we had no idea what to look for. We went to that third tree from the road and we walked around and around it but saw no hint of sign of a bunny of any kind.

We looked all around over there for any other tree among a stand of trees that could logically be described as “the third tree from the road”, but no other tree made sense.

20may09_appletreeThe other thing that didn’t make sense was that if there were a nest of bunnies at that tree, why? There was absolutely no cover of any kind. The bunnies would just be huddled up against the trunk of the tree with no shrubbery or flowers or anything to hide behind should a predator come by.

Not that these concerns mattered at any rate, because there were no bunnies.

So, we went looking around the bases of other trees that looked more logical as hiding places for bunny nests, abandoning altogether the instructions about looking for the third tree from the road.

Still, no luck.

Then a thought struck me, and I said to my daughter, “Wait a minute, don’t rabbits go down holes in the ground?” So we went back to the third tree from the road and I looked around on the ground for a hole and suddenly I saw a little hole with little bunny faces staring up at me.

20may09_bunniesOh … my … goodness. It almost looked magical, as if there were a little portal there to a bunny world and the bunnies from that world were pressed up against the portal looking back at me.

Fortunately I had a long lens on my camera so I was able to maintain a somewhat respectable distance from the bunny hole nest and get some great photos of the little guys.

I realize that soon those cute little bunnies will be leaf eating, crop nibbling pests that I might not like to have around very much. Hopefully, the cats and dogs will help keep them at bay, but for now I think they are awfully cute and I worry as to their safety.

Speaking of crops, the farmer who rents our land has planted clover this year. Later, the clover will be made into haybales but for now it is lush and green and sprouting little flowers everywhere. My husband tells me that at some point there will be millions of flowers out in the fields and thousands of butterflies will be flitting around. That should be beautiful, and more magic for the journals.

20may09_bunnies3We have finally gotten our six varieties of pumpkins going, and their seeds are busy germinating (hopefully) this very minute down on our sun porch; we had so much fun planting them together. While my husband gathered small plastic pots and filled them with soil, I held Sweet Pea in my lap and showed her all of the varieties of pumpkins we would be testing on her behalf. As I showed her the seeds, I also made little signs to stick in the pots with the names of the varieties on each.

Then there is the magic of Sweet Pea herself. She grows, she smiles, she makes an ever increasing number of dear little coo’ing sounds. Her favorite thing is to lie beneath her Care Bears Mobile watching the little bears fly around above her to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. We have that mobile on her changing table, so she sees the Care Bears quite frequently.

Last Friday afternoon I helped my husband mow our three acres of lawn. It had been nearly a year since I have driven the tractor and helped with the lawn so it felt great to get out there and go round and round while surveying all of this loveliness.

20may09_prettyriverI could see the fields of clover stretching out north and east of the sections I mowed. I could see the house wherein my sweet family resides and our memories are being generated. I could see the lush lilac tree in rich contrast to the backside of our 200 year old barn. I could see the grand old willow tree, the piece of land near it where we Sweet Pea’s Sincere Pumpkin Patch will be planted and hopefully thrive. I could see the apple trees, the mulberry trees, the birds, the bees, and Blu dashing about the yard.

At one point I looked up as I mowed a section of lawn facing south toward the house. There was my husband working on a section of lawn with a push mower. I raised my hand and waved to him from way back behind the barn. He lifted his hand and waved back, smiled, then continued with his work.

When we were looking forward to our marriage a little over three years ago, before we had even met, we were both anticipating the joy of the little happy moments of a shared life in this peaceful, rustic place just like that brief wave a few hundred feet away from each other as we worked the lawn together.

I knew that moment meant quite a lot to him, just as it did to me.

I smiled, and continued with my work as well.
20may09_clover550

Advertisements

Pumpkin seeds and tea cups

May 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Posted in art, baby, blogging, country life, country living, dating, dogs, faith, family, flowers, gardening, Life, love, marriage, pets, photography, relationships, romance, travel | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

21apr09_teacakeWhen my children were babies my parents tried to tell me how very different it is to be grandparents as opposed to being parents. I did my best to understand what they meant, but I realize now that I needed to be a grandparent myself to actually get it. So, Dad and Mom … I get it now.

[FYI: New knitting content was posted at The Knitting Blog 20 May 09.]

My daughter and I lived with my parents when she was born, and we lived with them for her first two years. Today my daughter and her daughter live with my husband and I and they will continue to do so for a few months still.

She and I take turns at night, being the one on call to listen out for little Sweet Pea, change her diaper when needed, rock her back to sleep. Of course, she takes care of all the feeding and I am on call as her back up doing what I can to help make sure this new mother gets some much needed sleep.

I alternate back and forth between some sort of super-human adrenalin-induced state that precludes my normal need for sleep and the sudden, instant onset of a “must sleep now” command that only hits at a time when I am not on call. Some parts of my body are feeling older than I thought I could feel, while emotionally and mentally I still feel complete odd calling myself “grandma” … it sounds so much older than I ever think of myself as being.

21apr_crocusMy mother was several years younger than I am now when I was the first of her five children to make her a grandmother. She didn’t look like any grandmother I had ever seen, and I suppose I don’t look like that mental image picture I have in my mind of what a grandmother is. My mental image is based on my own grandmothers, who seemed quite old to me when I was a child.

Oh well, what does it all mean anyway. Age is both relative and inevitable. There is a certain unavoidable math involved in parenthood and grandparenting. I believe you would need to be at least approximately 25 years old to become a grandmother, and as some of we women have proved, you can be two times that or older to be the mother of a newborn child.

I wonder, as I write this, what image might be in the reader’s mind of what I might look like now that you know me to be a grandmother. Picture me as a tiny little round orb of green-blue light orbiting round your garden on a hot summer night … remember, I am a firefly not a human being. What does that make Sweet Pea?

21apr09_7We have already begun making progress on Sweet Pea’s Sincere Pumpkin Patch project. A while back I ordered seeds for several varieties of pumpkins:

  • Big Moon Gigantic Pumpkins
  • Wee Be Little Pumpkins
  • Howden’s Field Pumpkins
  • Rouge d’Etampes Pumpkins
  • Cotton Candy Pumpkins
  • Long Island Cheese Pumpkins

We are going to try to make one or two vines of each variety grow and see what kind of pumpkins we can make appear by the end of summer. Pray for us, because we are not farmers even though we live on a farm. Well, pray for the vines and the pumpkins that God and the powers that be might be merciful with them and grant us (me in particular) a super-firefly ability to make this garden grow. [As I type this we are already behind schedule on starting our seeds indoors. Hopefully this is not a fatal error. It is, we will learn from our mistake.]

21apr09_5We will requisition a piece of our arable land back from the real farmer who rents from us and make that our experimental pumpkin patch. The idea, if you don’t recall, is that my husband and I will experiment with growing pumpkins and see what we can learn and accomplish within the next three or four years. If we can figure anything worthwhile out about it and produce some viable pumpkins, we will then pass on our knowledge and experience to Sweet Pea to help her grow her own pumpkin patch each year — that is, if Sweet Pea has any interest in this project.

Hopefully we will all become proficient enough that we will be able to have an annual “let’s go pick out our own jack-o-lantern” pumpkin picking day and Sweet Pea–if she is so inclined–can have a roadside pumpkin stand to earn a bit of her own pocket money and learn something about being an entrepreneur.

21apr09_1Spring in our area came early this year and is especially sweet and beautiful. The photos I am sharing on today’s blog are a bit outdated, because we are beyond this point by now. The fruit trees are all loaded down with blossoms, the lilac tree out by the back of the barn is plump with an abundance of lilac buds, some of the heirloom/antique vines and shrubs growing around the farm are alive with color, Rhoda (my heirloom tree peony) has so many buds this year I haven’t even counted them all.

Last week one morning I stepped out to take my daughter’s dog out for a stroll and it was beautiful outside I literally caught my breath. It was one of those perfect moments of spring beauty when the light is still golden after a morning shower that has just barely cleared out.

There are three swans hanging out on the piece of river we see from our kitchen and living room. I love the very fact of being able to walk through my house, look out the window and see a river and get the bonus of three swans lingering and feeding our side of the bend.

21apr09_4Saturday my husband was out restaking the white flags of the electronic fence for the dogs when I had a powerful urge to go out and tell him I love him and give him a hug for all the work he does around here. So I took off out through the yard and the field of dandelions, amongst the apples trees along our drive, past the willow and her little “gum drop” evergreen buddy. The sky was dark and stormy but in a soft, sweet spring sort of way. There was something so powerful about the scene with the dark clouds in the distance, the muted lighting in the immediate area, and all of the space surrounding us. Meeting up with him out there and sharing that instance of time and nature was one of those perfect little moments you come across that burns itself into your mind and heart forever.

Speaking of perfection … I asked an artist friend of mine to create a pencil portrait of sweet Blu as a birthday gift for my husband. His birthday isn’t until the end of May, but I received the portrait in April so I gave it to him as an anniversary gift instead. He loved it, and I am certain you will see why if you follow the link I provded. Christine Sargent is the artist; she draws and paints children and pets primarily, but also landscapes. She is a dear, dear friend of mine for many years from the L.A. area and a very talented professional artist. She was thoughtful enough to include a free print of the portrait as well as the original. So, we have one here at the farm to hang on the wall and he was able to frame one to hang in his office at work. Quite a treat, quite a treat indeed.

And yes, it was our anniversary just recently … April 29th. We have been married three years and are now grandparents together. In just three short years we have already faced some tough situations together and experienced much joy. After three years we have decided that this little Internet experiment of ours is working out just fine; for us the whirlwind romance of meeting online and getting married three months later worked out better than we even thought it would.

It’s a good life, and I am joyful and grateful to have found someone to help me make it so and that I can do the same for. Here’s to us, honey! May others find something like what we have found.

Taking in Upstate Western New York

September 26, 2007 at 4:37 pm | Posted in art, blogging, country life, country living, dating, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, knitting, love, marriage, photography, recipes, relationships, romance, yarn | 20 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An apple orchard on the road to Clayton New YorkLast weekend my husband and I took a three-day road trip exploring the Thousand Islands area of New York, the Adirondack Mountains, and a drive back home via Route 67 from Saratoga Springs going west toward the Buffalo/Rochester area. Our first day out, we left before dawn on Friday morning and arrived in Clayton, New York up in the Thousand Islands area before noon.

We both love the feeling of being up and out on the road at early morning dark and through the various, sometimes misty, stages of dawn while much of the world is still asleep. There is something exciting about being up and out on an adventure when others are not even thinking yet about their day. I don’t know why, but it has always been that way for me. As a child I used to get up at five or six in the morning and go outside to run around the neighborhood with my dog. I could feel an energy that was all my own, and only my own, running around in the quiet of a new day just beginning to bud. I carry the feeling with me still today, and it is one of the things my husband and I hold in common.

A misty morning lake on the drive to Clayton New YorkOur morning drive took us along the shore of Lake Ontario much of the time, and through farming communities along the way. The apple orchards flowed one into another and farm stands seemed to be around every bend.

I continue to be amazed at how much agricultural activity there is in the state of New York. Before meeting my husband, and before coming here to see it all myself, I never had any clue that New York was such a farming state … a beautiful, simple, humble farming state.

It is also a state of many old barns, old mills, and factories. I find the old buildings more beautiful than those that are newer. Older building had such character of detail and materials. I know there is a practicality and economy to new methods of building, but the lack of charm stands out in stark contrast when you take a drive through an area like this that is so rich in heritage. You see the old places along the way that are wasting away, and somewhere further on you come across a pocket of “new” and you can’t help but feel a yuk inside … well, I certainly can’t help it.

Door of an old deserted mill on the drive to Clayton New YorkWhen we arrived in Clayton we were delighted to find the place we had reservations at was a cute little 50’s/60’s style roadside motel with a few rooms in a one-story building and then, down the hill by the water half a dozen sweet little cottages of the same era. It was clean and tidy with a beautiful view of the St. Lawrence river and the beginnings of the Thousand Islands.

The folks at the motel let us check in early, even though it wasn’t even noon. We were able to take a bit of a nap to the sound of … nothing but a light breeze and a few crickets. Then we headed over to my husband’s favorite museum: the Antique Boat Museum. We wandered around the museum for two or three hours, viewing their wonderful collection of antique wooden boats of all kinds. Another thing I didn’t yet know about Upstate New York until this trip is how prevalent boating and canoeing are up this way and what a rich part of the history of the state they are. Of course, it completely makes sense when you consider the abundant supply of water. Keep in mind though, I am used to living in the desert of Southern California and this thing of being around so much water is a new experience of senses and awareness for me.

It was quite warm that day, so after the boat museum we headed back to our motel so I could change into cooler clothes and get my hair up off of my neck. Then it was off again to do some photography in the countryside and find a place to eat. After driving over to Alexandria Bay and turning back to Clayton, we finally chose to eat at a restaurant in a converted Victorian house across from the Boat Museum, The Harbor Inn. The food was wonderful … my favorite was their fresh homemade hummus served with little triangles of whole wheat pita bread. I would love to know their hummus recipe, because it was some of the best I’ve ever had.

Sunset on the St Lawrence river in Clayton New YorkAfter dinner we walked through Clayton (small place, doesn’t take very long) and landed out on a peaceful bench along side the St. Lawrence river where we spent two hours sitting quietly, enjoying the relaxing flow of beautiful river and the little bit of activity that was going on … two or three people fishing, seagulls, a handful of sailboats and other vessels enjoying the last couple of hours of hazy sunlight, a couple of large freighters going by. Oh, I sigh just thinking about the utter feeling of peace and relaxation.

The next morning, we were up and away early again stopping for breakfast at Beefer’s Family Restaurant to try out their “famous” breakfast buffet. We were their first customers and couldn’t have been treated any nicer. An older gentleman greeted us as we came in as if we were old friends. He told us they always wait until their first customers arrive before they start cooking eggs and pancakes, etc. for the buffet because they want the food to be as fresh as possible.

We could hear sizzling coming from the kitchen as the cook hopped right on it, and we were shown to a nice little booth and served piping hot coffee. Within a few minutes the buffet was ready to go and we each had a nice assortment of scrambled eggs, pancakes with hot syrup, house potatoes, and bacon. (I am a vegetarian, but oddly enough bacon is the one meat I eat on occasion). The breakfast was hot, fresh, and delicious. Even though it was an all-you-can-eat buffet we were both fine with just one serving of our choices then off we went, headed for the Adirondacks.

A stand of autumn trees in the Adirondack MountainsWhile Western New York has been showing early signs of autumn since mid-September, the Adirondacks were in full bloom when we drove through them. There were still some green trees, but the fall colors were glorious. Most striking was the brilliant red leaves which were showing in abundance. I fell in love with the Adirondacks as they reminded me of a perfect combination of North Carolina (where I grew up part way) and everything I have come to love about Western New York. Water, water everywhere, soft old mountains, and trees to delight the eyes.

At Blue Mountain Lake we stopped off at the Adirondack Museum for a couple of hours and I went into sensory overload. I literally could not take any more in, it was all too much. It got to a point where I was feeling quite dazed and “full”. The collection at the Adirondack Museum is impressive in size, and the quality and character of the wonderful old artifacts of boating, sporting, farming, living, creating, etc. is … well, I am speechless to tell you the truth. The entire experience of driving through those lovely mountains and stopping off at the museum left me wanting to return to the area many times in the future to settle out my feelings of being a bit too “full” of everything I had seen.

View of Blue Mountain Lake from a deck at the Adirondack MuseumMost exciting to me is the idea of taking our canoe up there next year sometime to do some camping and canoeing along with sight seeing. We both want to do that very much, and had quite a bit of fun as we drove south through the park discussing some ideas and details of the trip we might make.

If you have read my blog since last year, you have heard me mention our friend, Winnie of the Buttons as I like to call her. I gave her that name on my blog because she gifted me with a huge collection of antique and vintage buttons last year before she moved away to Queensbury, New York to a retirement community. Our primary mission on this trip was to pay a visit to Winnie which we promised her we would do before summer’s end (we were only a couple of days late for that).

A peaceful scene on the way to Saratoga Springs New YorkAfter leaving the Adirondacks, we arrived in Queensbury about two-thirty and checked into our hotel there. I have to say, and I am sorry to say it, but we were not fond of Queensbury–at least not the part of it where our hotel was. It was a complete contrast to the peace and beauty of both Clayton and the Adirondacks. Busy streets, shopping malls everywhere, crowds of people, wall-to-wall cars.

However, the area where Winnie’s retirement residence is situation is much more quiet and we could tell she is completely happy to be where she is. She drives out into a more rural area to attend a country church much like ours that she left behind and it is great she has the opportunity to do so. We had a wonderful afternoon and evening with her and then it was off to our hotel for a not-so-restful night of attempted sleep in spite of the loud sounds of a drunken fellow who, for some odd reason, decided to sit down right outside of our door with a couple of his friends at one-thirty in the morning. Oh well, the contrast only goes to make the early parts of the trip even more beautiful.

The next morning we were up early again and spent the entire day, from eight in the morning until six at night, making our meandering way back home. Route 67 (and later Route 5) was a picturesque alternative to Interstate 90 as we made our way through village after village, continuing to demonstrate to me the abundance of farms and croplands in Upstate and Upstate Western New York.

The trip was wonderful, scenic, inspiring, educational. Even after all of the beautiful places and scenes we saw, I was still happy to get back home to our farm.  It has become my most favorite place on Earth. There is just something about home, a friend waiting for you with open and familiar arms.

A little girls hand knit sweater pattern available soonKnitting News: Here is a photo of a little girl’s sweater not designed or made by me. It was designed and knit by one of the owners of my LYS (Local Yarn Shop for non-knitting readers) and she has agreed to share the pattern on my blog. Today I can show you the photo, and next week sometime I hope to have the pattern available. It is a scrumptious little thing, and quite affordable to make. The materials come to less than $20. The plan at this point is to start utilizing knitted creations by the two ladies who own the yarn shop (they are the source of the yarn I make available on my website) and my daughter as well as continuing to share my own with you. That way I can bring you even more quality knitted items and more knitting content while also continuing to do the other things I do (photography, writing, and painting).

Have a beautiful day!

~firefly

« Previous Page

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: