Saturday, November 5, 2016

Thars uh frost on the pumpkin doughnuts, tonigh'!




"Thars frost on the pumpkin, tonight!"

...said no true native Vermonter - EVER!

It's a phrase that only 'out of staters' (a.k.a. 'Flatlanders') would use. (That would be my side of the family, we're talking about - every year - repeated several times - each...)

There is a Vermont accent, though, but before I go on, you first need to understand that to be considered a 'true' Vermonter, one's family line needs to go back, at least, three generations. For example, the king gave my husband's family their land; so, he's pretty safely considered a true Vermonter.
  

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

One time, Tom was taking me for a ride on a back road up into the hills of our little town. Our passage was considered a class four road; so, you can understand that we were really 'off roading' or 'four wheeling' on a wide path that was wending it's way through the hilly, woodsy landscape. The lane would jiggity-jog over and through the ruts and along the edge of rocky ravines and the reward was to be a beautiful waterfall hidden away for those few who knew about it.

We weren't three minutes off the highway, when we encountered a cow in the lane. Tom (having spent many summer's living in a cabin on the family farm) knew what to do. He climbed out of the truck and went out to chase the cow back through the gap in the fence that surrounded a tiny pasture scooped out of the trees and brush. It stays cold in the shady pockets of the hills that don't see much sun and there was a little farmhouse - smoke curling from the chimney - and an old timey farmer came out the front door to see what the ruckus was about. Well, they took care of the cow and, then, Tom and he proceeded to have a conversation that I couldn't understand at all - not one word! I recognized the accent and was surprised to hear how 'Canadian' the vowels sounded. I knew they were speaking English - but I had no translation for what the farmer said and could only catch bits of what my husband spoke.

I realized the treasure I was witnessing. An old farmer - Vermonter - lost in a hidden pocket of history.

Quite honestly, it was a very 'Brigadoon' experience!!

Well, they chatted on.... a while... a long, looooooong while.... 

(If you're from here, you understand and you're chuckling, too.)

That was twenty years ago and that unique population is disappearing fast - if it hasn't dispersed, already, into thin air - like the wisp of smoke that was curling from the old farmer's chimney...

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ 

sigh. Ache! Anyhoo!


I've been working on a gluten free recipe for pumpkin pie doughnuts. I thought that these were an epic fail but, then, the next morning, discovered that they simply needed to sit over night. Light and fluffy and moist - these are a little bit of golden amber heaven!!

Happy International Doughnut Day!!

(I know... right?)

These take time but if you'd like the recipe, I'd be happy to share! Just let me know...

(Alright, I've had a request... I'll be back later to type it all up... =) )




Heavy frost in our 'backyard'....






xo







A little autumn, Appalachian music...





Monday, September 19, 2016

I don't know...




It's just sort of a day like this and I wanted to reach out and share it...






xo




Monday, September 5, 2016

Berry Season



We had a wonderful summer - despite all of the renovations, but, alas, it ended. There must be lots of heart broken songs about this phenomenon - the end of summer blues - but I can't think of a one. The only thing that I am so glad to see the back of is the heat and humidity that came to stay through August! Fare the well! And don't come back! The very, very nicest thing about having cooler temperatures is that I can cook again!! The stone fruit and the berries have been beautifully delicious - perfectly ripe - all summer!

So, heigh ho! The boys are back to school again, tomorrow, after the long weekend and, Lliam, who graduated last year from high school has his first day of classes tomorrow at our local community college. We're kind of lucky to have him home for one more year before he goes off to wherever. (Art school is the plan!) Whether they're home or off at school, this time of year is so homey. We haven't gone into winter hibernation, yet. There seems to be just a little bit of mellow, outside festivity left in us and it's so nice to come back in to something sweet and sticky to eat! This cake was really tasty and had the most wonderful texture!! One could really sink their teeth into it - especially, after a night in the fridge - the flavors just settled in together. Really lovely!! It's a kind of lemony pound cake that is... gluten free! =) You can find the recipe here.

In the meantime, I've been considering going up to the power lines in the back 20 acres to see if there are any berries up there but.... there's been a bear in the neighborhood.... of course, I wouldn't see him. That would be just too coincidental but... there's a bear in the neighborhood.... hmmm! Maybe Tom will take me! :)

One last thing! On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, I will be guest hosting on Bella Grace Magazine's instagram page. If you could come by and say 'hi', that would be soooo encouraging!!! I'm slightly nervous/mostly in a creative hum.  







xo






Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fresh Eggs!



Hello! I'm still here! I'm still around!

After several years of craziness and tough 'life', this year has been spent LIVING!

Our family has been doing beautifully well.

I've been cleaning house - both literally in this big old farmhouse and figuratively on the inside in my heart and mind. It's been a beautiful thing! It's been taking a lot of courage! There have been lots of ups and lots of failing and falling down. It has meant, though, that I've been living right on the edge of my energy reserves and, by the time I usually get to the computer, I'm "a bear of very little brain." (~Winnie the Pooh.) Not very conducive to blogging, alas, but I have been active on instagram where the thoughts come in shorter sound bites. ;)

One of the happy projects that I've been working on, this year, is cleaning out the last frontiers of messes and boxes from our move. (Yes, the one that happened eight years ago.) There was this one catchall room that I've been avoiding. Every time there's a project or a holiday, things would get stuffed in there until there was this impenetrable wall of boxes and mess. Well, we've been working on it since March and, yesterday, we finished cleaning it all the way out!!! We'll start patching nail holes and painting next week and here comes the breathless news.... it's going to be a photography studio for me!!! What a lucky girly I am!!!!

In other news, David has taken over the entire egg business which used to be shared between all three boys. He's been up in his room doing all sorts of calculations and has been excited to see that, since he took over four days ago, egg production has gone up to two dozen a day!! 

It called for a photo op on these gorgeous old wood floors in my new 'studio'!! You can just see the old square nails, there. Now, the dilemma.... I had planned to paint the floors... and we do have more wood floors in other parts of the house like this... but these are just so gorgeous.... how can I even think of covering them up? Then, again, it's always been a dream to have those Swedish style, grey painted floors....



 
xo







Monday, July 4, 2016


  
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

~Emma Lazarus





A week and a half ago, I went to New York City with my mom, dad, sister and two of my guys (a.k.a. sons - Toby and David.) It was a short but very sweet and fun visit and for the first time - finally - I had a chance to see this beautiful lady with my own eyes. We took a clipper ship sail at sunset and that's how I got these pics but, actually, we took the subway down to Battery Park, got off the station, rounded the coast guard building and a fresh ocean breeze blew in my face and I saw her and...


I was moved to tears!!







Happy Independence Day!!

=)

xo




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Aspet



I had lived here, in Vermont, for almost 20 years and had often seen the sign for the turnoff to St. Gaudens National Historic Site. However, most often, I was on my way to take one of my epic, bi-monthly, grocery shopping trips and had no time for exploring or lollygagging around. Besides, though I LOVE living in Vermont - in the country - many, many museums and house tours aren't really to my taste. I think that I have more of a European aesthetic and the heavy, small time, country Victorian vibe just doesn't thrill me.

Eventually, however, two summers ago - in late August - I realized that, because of biopsies and operations, I hadn't been out of the house (except to go to the hospital or store) but once in seven months. In pure desperation and with a serious case of wanderlust, I went for a long explore and wound up, finally, at the home of Augustus St. Gaudens. The road was charming, the winding, small drive through the pine forest up to the house was secretive, the parking lot...? Well, I've seen larger vegetable gardens! I got out of my car and was presented with a very tall hedge and the glimpse of a house just beyond.

As I followed the path around the walkway and went through the hedge, I was not prepared for what I found. Something small but mighty!

As it turns out, if you have ever been to New York City, you know who Augustus St. Gaudens is. On the lower, East corner of The Park is a tremendous and glorious statue (now, newly regilded and shining gold) of a man - an officer - mounted on a noble steed - upright - being led by a glorious angel - a woman with hand outstretched - named 'Peace'. That is the work of this gifted sculptor of no little fame, influence and standing. One does not often find such an artist of international renown in the rural hills of Vermont/New Hampshire but, St. Gaudens loved his summer home - making it his permanent residence towards the end of his life. Born in Dublin, raised in NYC, studied in Paris and Rome - his home - especially, his gardens - have a resounding European sensibility. What's more, the soul of this man who was so encouraging and inspiring to other artists, still seems to reside here. Being the smallest National Park, it doesn't feel like it belongs to the state hardly at all. I don't quite know how to explain it but.... it feels 'real'. Like the voices of the artist and his family, friends and community are still echoing here.

What's more, it appears that this is the best kept secret ever! You will see that there are no people in my pictures. That's because, more often than not, when I go at the end of the day, I AM the only one there. Actually, I bought a season pass that allows me to stay on the grounds from dawn till dusk and, as any last wandering stragglers leave, the garden is mine! All mine!! My own secret place!!!

This place is a maze of hedge rooms and small gardens - patios and porches - courtyards - a beech allée - and a tremendous sweeping meadow carved out from the woods with glorious views - all wrapped in silence - all curving and winding and opening out into each other. 

I've come to explore many times and am always discovering some other nook or corner. This time, I brought my oldest and youngest son with me. They brought their sketch books. We took a hike down to the watering hole where St. Gaudens and his workers would go on hot summer afternoons. The most astounding discovery, this time, however, was in a hedge, fronted with a row of fruit trees whose change I had often admired in the different seasons. After staring and appreciating so many times, how had I missed the archway leading to the cutting garden? It must be a secret garden - only opening up to those who wait for it long enough!























Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Smitten

I have to confess to a great overwhelm as I've contemplated approaching this post. I have over a thousand pictures.... that's why I've put it off for so long but, finally, the story must be told!

It was last February.... One evening, when Lliam went out to the barn to feed the chickens, he found a surprise. In a box that we had made insulated and warm for the stray cats....

video


As it turned out, gray mama kitty did not appreciate us handling her kittens and, the next morning, when we came out, we discovered that she had moved them.

Then, one month later, the day before I was due to have another operation (silly, dang things, those operations!), Tom saw mama gray kitty moving her babies into the milk house. Tom opened the door and there they were. He scooped them up and brought them in and, instead of cooking dinners ahead and preparing for the next couple of days recuperating, I stared at and tried to tame wild, ferocious kittens.


Hisss!



Hiss!



Hisss!!



Hi...s....



Zzzzzzzz.... 

(it's hard work being fierce and ferocious, apparently!)



We very soon convinced them to bottle feed and to try a little bit of canned food...
(poor little hungry dears!)






...and, slowly, they learned to trust us.
















Still, it was exhausting work, being cute...






and, finally, they began to call me 'Mommy'!





To be continued....








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