Poetry Feed

Reds and Greens and Orange and Blue ...🍂

(And yellows and browns and black!)

Happy Friday, my friends! Here's a little bit of Autumn from my home & garden to yours ... 💛

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Autumn is truly settled in around here as you can see - inside and out! The weather has been just glorious, as it tends to be in New England at this time of year: brisk, bright and OH the colors! Although ... we are expecting a brief return of summery weather this week - 80s even! - but since St. Luke's Day is this Tuesday, I'm not one bit surprised. ;)

Why you might wonder? Well, have you ever heard of St. Luke's Little SummerAccording to The Old Farmer's Almanac ...

Lovely, summerlike days that occur around October 18 are called St. Luke’s Little Summer in honor of the saint’s feast day. In olden days, St. Luke’s Day did not receive as much attention in the secular world as St. John’s Day (June 24) and Michaelmas (September 29), so to keep from being forgotten, St. Luke presented us with some golden days to cherish before the coming of winter, or so the story goes. Some folks call this Indian Summer, but that officially occurs between November 11 and November 20.


This brief warmup may be unseasonable, but it will be nice ... because any day we can throw open our windows and spend time outside comfortably is a gift. Dark and gray days are coming, I am ever aware! I can feel my internal clock slowing down, taking its cue from the world around me. The crickets are still chirping but more slowly, and the breeze is a noisy rustle as crisp leaves shake from their branches and head for the ground. I don't mind this slowing down though - in fact, I relish it. It's all part of life's rhythm and, after all, we humans are part of that great cycle, even if we can ignore it with all our modern conveniences! I feel it's a good thing to embrace the season's changes ... I've been turning more of my attention to the inside of our home (and the inside of my head), concentrating on domestic comforts and inner lights - cooking, reading, writing, planning, nesting ... preparing my family for the long winter ahead.

Anyway, speaking of domestic appreciation, here's my dinner menu for the coming week. It's been way too long since I've shared this (and to be honest, it's been too long since I've been consistent with meal planning)!

S - (Full Hunter's Moon) Hunter's Stew (A chicken-sausage/sundried tomato dish served with rice - one of Bill's specialities!)

M - (Practice night) Baked ziti, meatballs, garlic bread, salad

T - (St. Luke's Day) - Burgers on the grill, corn-on-the-cob, farmstand salad, fries

W - (It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on TV tonight!) - grilled cheese with tomatoes and ham, chicken soup, apple-pumpkin dump cake & steamed almond milk w/spiced pumpkin marshmallows

T - meatloaf, roasted multi-color carrots, stir-fried broccoli & whole grain rice

F - (Practice night & Bookworm home for the weekend!) - crescent dogs, baked beans & brown bread, tater tots

S - (Family Anniversary Lunch) - leftovers since we'll be eating a big lunch!

Well I guess I'd best wrap up now, as this post is getting rather long ... but as always I thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and would love to hear how your autumn is unfolding if you have a chance. In an upcoming post (hopefully sometime this week) I will give you a tour of my new desk and chat a little about how I'm keeping organized these days. I am also working every moment I get on the next set of seasonal planning sheets. I'm hoping to have Late Autumn pages available to you well before the end of the month!

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, my friends ... see you here again very soon!

p.s. Don't forget to watch that moon rise tonight! 🌝


Themes & Plans for May (Updated!)

Violet in grass

(Note: This is a post originally composed in 2008. I have fixed any broken links and updated the content to correspond with the current year, 2016. Hope you enjoy!)

May brings flocks of pretty lambs, skipping by their fleecy dams ... 

It's no wonder it's called the merriest month of the year - there is just so much to love about May! And it's no surprise this post is a day or two late - the call of "the wild" gets stronger every day. :) I hardly ever find myself at my desk anymore - and boy, does my inbox show it!

So, what follows is just a sampling - of things to do, things to notice, and things to remember this month. I hope you might find something useful in my ...

~ Themes & Plans for May ~ 

Nature

  • Flowering trees at their peak.
  • Lilacs bloom around Mother's Day.
  • Tulips are up now.
  • Violets and wild pansies in the grass.
  • Warblers in the tops of the trees.
  • Orioles passing through.
  • Goldfinches are brilliant yellow.
  • Cool rainy days are possible ...
  • ... but so are 80 degree days!
  • The lawn might need mowing ...
  • ... but watch for toads in the yard!
  • The orchard is frothy and white.
  • Wood ducks are returning.
  • Nests spotted at the pond.
  • Tent caterpillars in the trees.
  • Morel mushrooms sprouting.
  • Spring butterflies are here.
  • Watch for hummingbirds.
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit in the woods.
  • Last frost occurs this month.
  • The Full Flower Moon rises on the 21st.

Folklore

  • Birthstone: emerald
  • Flower: lily-of-the-valley
  • "A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay ..."

Food

  • sweet onions
  • rhubarb
  • early strawberries
  • new potatoes
  • radishes
  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • baby lettuces
  • morels
  • peas
  • spinach
  • mint juleps
  • pecan pies
  • edible flowers
  • spring herb soup
  • first barbecue of the year

Faith

  • May Devotion ~ The Blessed Mother
  • Season: Easter; Ordinary Time (Summer) begins
  • St. Joseph the Worker (1)
  • Minor Rogation Days (2-4)
  • Ascension Thursday (5)
  • Our Lady of Fatima (13)
  • Pentecost Sunday (15)
  • St. Isidore the Farmer (15)
  • Trinity Sunday (22)
  • Corpus Christi (29)
  • The Visitation (31)

Household (& Garden)

  • Mow lawn; leave grass clippings down as mulch.
  • Clean and arrange deck/porch furniture.
  • Clean the grill; fill the propane tank.
  • Inventory/organize the kids' backyard toys.
  • Hang hummingbird window feeder.
  • Visit the family graves on Memorial Day ~
    • Tidy and add new flowers.
  • Purchase citronella candles or torches.
  • Famly physicals this month.
  • Launder spring linens and hang in the sun to dry.
  • Make travel plans for summer.
  • Clean car and organize for summer activities:
    • Beach
    • Picnic
    • Road trips
  • Plant garden on Memorial Day weekend.
  • Hang the American flag.

Life

  • American Bike Month
  • National Duckling Month
  • National Salsa Month
  • National Strawberry Month
  • National Egg Month
  • Be Kind to Animals Week (1-7)
  • National Postcard Week (1-7)
  • National Wildflower Week (2-8)
  • National Nurses Week (6-12)
  • National Herb Week (1-7)
  • National Police Week (8-15)
  • May Day (1)
  • Mother Goose Day (1)
  • Star Wars Day (4)
  • Cinco de Mayo (5)
  • Midwives Day (5)
  • The Kentucky Derby (7)
  • Mother Ocean Day (7)
  • Village Plant Sale (7)
  • Mother's Day (8)
  • National Apron Day (12)
  • Leprechaun Day (13)
  • Tulip Day (13)
  • Letter Carrier Food Drive (14)
  • National Train Day (14)
  • World Fair Trade Day (14)
  • Chocolate Chip Day (15)
  • Hug Your Cat Day (27)
  • Indianapolis 500 (29)
  • Memorial Day (30)

Book Basket

Field Trips & Outings

  • Visit the apple orchard to sketch trees in bloom.
  • Nature walk to the pond.
  • Visit the cows at a nearby dairy farm.
  • Purchase herbs at the garden store.
  • Lilacs walk at the arboretum.

Crafts & Activities

  • Make homemade bread and butter
  • Decorate fresh butter with clover.
  • Look for 4-leaf clovers in the yard.
  • Find a special spot in your yard for a Mary Garden.
  • Celebrate Derby Day:
    • Read the papers and choose a horse to cheer for.
    • Make "Juleps" for Derby Day (herbal iced tea)
    • Wear big fancy hats while watching the race.
  • Make a paper bag piñata on Cinco de Mayo.
  • Decorate a canvas (field) bag with leaf prints.
  • Decorate a plain canvas apron (smock) on Apron Day.
  • Make nature playdough.
  • Collect and press wildflowers; begin a herbarium.
  • Plant a sunflower house.
  • Make a toad home.
  • Attract orioles passing through.
  • Spend an afternoon coudwatching.
  • Learn about waterfowl: ducks, geese, gulls.
  • Visit a duck pond and observe nesting behavior.
  • Play Duck, Duck, Goose!
  • Make a feather collage.
  • Make wind chimes with flower pots.
  • Go on a mushroom walk after a few damp days.
  • Make a catnip toy (with real catnip!) for the cats.
  • Eat rhubarb stalks with dixie cups of sugar for dipping.
  • Paint and fill herb pots for Mother's Day gifts.
  • Mix up some herbal mosquito repellant.
  • Make a handloom; weave it with rainbow yarn.
  • Fill a box with food for the letter carrier on the 10th.
  • Work ahead on handcrafted Father's day gifts.

Whew! As posts go (and mine can go long) that was a big one! ;) Thanks for reading through, and thanks, as always, for stopping by. I hope you'll enjoy the lovely new month which begins in but a few days ... and I hope you'll let me know what you love the most about May!

See you all again very soon ... :)

"What is so sweet and dear
As a prosperous morn in May,
The confident prime of the day,
And the dauntless youth of the year,
When nothing that asks for bliss,
Asking aright, is denied,
And half of the world a bridegroom is,
And half of the world a bride?"
~ William Watson, "Ode in May," 1880


Tuesday Tidbits: Frost, Frosting & Wintry Fun!

Frosty sunrise window

Happy (frosty) Tuesday, everyone! :)

I have just a few quick things to share today ... but first! What is the weather like where you are right now? It is SUPER cold here in my neck of the woods - in fact, I don't think we'll see 20°! Theres snow on the ground (a few inches) and plenty more on the way this weekend ... but such is January in New England!

Now, a few of you asked about my birthday cake frosting - it is a favorite in my family and one my mum is expert at making! It's called "penuche frosting" and it is buttery and sweet and fudgey in texture ... here it is if you'd like to try it sometime:

Penuche Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
hot water

Melt butter - add brown sugar. Bring to boil. Lower heat and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add milk and bring to boil. Cool to lukewarm.

Gradually add confectioner's sugar and beat.

Add hot water if too thick.

Also, while I'm here I wanted to mention - for those of you on Pinterest - that I have a few new boards set up. These are each specific to my seasonal planning and I'm using them for links to go along with ideas, activities and special days coming up. So here is the January-February board if you'd like to take a peek. :)

2016 Planner: January & February Links

If you are not on Pinterest, I can do a post with links sometime if that would be helpful. I just added some wolf coloring pages this morning in light of the Full Wolf Moon coming up this weekend! :)

Snowflake lesson 1

This week our seasonal theme is "snowflakes," and I have some fun things planned for the boys - the bigs and the littles! Something I'm working on this week, too - and I meant to mention this during the planning chat last weekend - is the concept of craft bins for seasonal planning and organization. Someone asked me not too long ago (and forgive me for not remembering who) how I keep the craft materials and other resources for the week organized ... and believe me, it's a challenge! I haven't really tackled the craft bins we moved from the old house - nor the craft storage here in the new house! My thought is to have bins for the seasons though - and as I plan and prepare for certain projects I will add those items we'll need to those bins. There should be six bins in all once I'm organized, and you can be sure I will post about them once they're established!

Kitchen window poem

And finally, I had to share this pretty page from a book I have displayed at my writing desk right now. I think I've shared it before, but it's worth another look. It's such a lovely sketch - a mother having her tea and gazing out her kitchen window ... taking such joy in her "lot" in life, days spent at home with the children. The stanza below resonates with me so much ...

***

She has a kinship with the earth
Though busy in her own domain,
And comprehends its noble plan
From just a kitchen window pane.”
(Milly Walton)

Well my friends, I will be off now, but as always, I thank you for stopping by! It's a busy week of lessons, therapy and activity here ...  Bookworm's back to campus and our relaxing holiday routine is well and truly over. I'll be posting as I can, though - and there are lots of planning posts coming up! In my next post, I will show you my planning sheet "in action" so you can see how I'm using it for seasonal planning. And I am currently working on the next set of printables (Early Spring) as well as a big post about making time in your schedule to DO the planning! Giving all the WHAT a WHEN! I also have a couple of "cozy nests" posts in the works ... 

So I hope you'll stay tuned! Enjoy the rest of your day and I will see here again very soon ... :)


Creating Seasonal Themes: Corn Week!

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(Plus a bit of book news at the end!)

Happy Wednesday, my friends! Sorry I've been a bit out of touch lately ... we've had a lot going on here at the house these days!

We're gearing up for a new year of home learning, and we're getting Bookworm ready for his move back to BC, and we're starting Earlybird on a new, daily, home-based, fairly intensive, behavioral therapy. All very good things, but all things requiring a lot of time, energy and attention. (And did I mention, energy?) Also, as August winds down, we're trying to squeeze the very last drops of goodness out of this fast-fleeing season ... we'll have warm weather here for several more weeks, but for all intents and purposes, Summer pretty much ends after Labor Day.

So I thought I would share some of my notes for this week with you all! As I have mentioned before, I enjoy shaping my family's year by assigning seasonal themes to each week. This helps me weave in all the little comforts and joys of the season I might otherwise overlook. And though I really get into planning these themes out with all kinds of details, I try not to set my expectations too high. Because real life often runs over my plans, and a particular "theme" might not get explored very much ... so some years we might manage something small (a special recipe, perhaps) while other years we might go all out and really work that theme into our homeschooling and home life! Either way, I think it's always good to have a plan. And to be aware ... I think as seasons pass, the beautiful rhythm of the year truly wraps itself around my family however much attention we pay it. That is my end goal! :)

Anyhoo, this current week is devoted to the very timely topic of CORN. In New England (and I suspect, across much of the country) corn is in its peak season these days. Corn-on-the-cob is just heavenly right now - partaking daily is not out of the question - and cornstalks will factor into our home decorations in the coming weeks ...

But enough gabbing on my part! Here are some of my thoughts:

The Full Green Corn Moon will rise on Saturday, August 29th @ 2:35 p.m., and it's a Supermoon this month! We'll have to be sure to look for it after dark and plan a special farmstand supper - starring corn, of course! - for that night. 

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We'll visit a local corn field ... we drive by it often and always marvel at its size. This time we'll stop the car and get out - observe the field, its sounds and smells. What wildlife is flying overhead or scurrying underfoot? What do we hear? (Is that the corn making that sound?) What can we smell? (Vegetation, earth?) How does the air feel right now? (Hot, humid?) Now, we won't touch these stalks because we don't have permission, but we might visit a local farm and ask to do just that. I'll see what our schedule allows and how much interest has been piqued. Before we go, we'll take pictures of the cornfield from various angles. 

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We'll visit our favorite farmstand and buy plenty of ears of fresh corn. We'll ask where the corn comes from and how many ears they sell each day. We'll buy some to eat and some to use for exploration/activities ...

At home, we'll pile some ears on the table and take out our colored pencils and sketch pad: "Still Life with Corn!"

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We''ll enjoy some nice books from the library all about corn:

Corn book 2

The Life and Times of Corn

Corn book 1

Corn

Corn book 3

Corn is Maize

Corn book 4

The Popcorn Book

Corn book 5

Raccoons and Ripe Corn

(These might be in a basket or set up as a display on a nature shelf.)

🌽

We'll play some pretty lullabies ... and discuss how/why corn was so important to Native Americans

Corn music

Under the Green Corn Moon (Native American Lullabies)

For craft day we'll make a corn husk candle - a small glass votive surrounded by corn husks with a tiny beeswax tealight tucked inside. That will look nice on our table! (We could also try making this or this ...)

Or we could try making a corn husk doll (and research the history behind it) ...

We will pop popcorn for snack ... and we might even make marshmallow popcorn bars for a tasty treat!

We might do a taste test: boiled corn vs. grilled corn. 

On baking day we will make a pan of corn bread, and serve it with honey butter.

🌽

We'll learn a poem called "A Green Cornfield" by Christina Georgina Rossetti. We'll add that poem to our nature journal, along with our pictures/sketches.

 The earth was green, the sky was blue:
I saw and heard one sunny morn
A skylark hang between the two,
A singing speck above the corn;

A stage below, in gay accord,
White butterflies danced on the wing,
And still the singing skylark soared,
And silent sank and soared to sing.

The cornfield stretched a tender green
To right and left beside my walks;
I knew he had a nest unseen
Somewhere among the million stalks.

And as I paused to hear his song
While swift the sunny moments slid,
Perhaps his mate sat listening long,
And listened longer than I did.

🌽 

We'll consider "Kansas Corn Field," a painting by artist John Steuart Curry in 1933:

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***

I also have notes for some Indian Corn activities but I'm not sure if I can get it at the nursery yet. Also, those might wait for a later week in the fall. This week is really more about fresh, or green, corn. :)

So there, in a nutshell (or a kernel!) are my simple ideas for celebrating the goodness of corn during this last week of August. Remember - they're all just possibilities! I can't imagine fitting them all in in any one given year.

How do you enjoy corn at this time of year? Perhaps you grow it yourself or have a favorite recipe ... let me know in the comments below! In the meantime, and before I go, I wanted to mention my book briefly, because I've had a few people ask recently about how my progress is going ...

So, I have been working on it this summer - here and there, not as often as I'd like! - but it took me a while to get going because I wasn't entirely sure WHAT I wanted to write about. I have a few subjects I enjoy very much and there are a few topics people ask about more than others ... well, I finally found my focus! And that enabled me to get rolling ...

I am going to do a book about the file crate system - describing how I do it (and why) and the basics of setting a system up for yourself. That will be the first half of the book ... the second half will focus on seasonal learning (and living) ... and how I use my FCS to manage my family's year. So my hope is to have an outline of 52 (weekly) *seasonal* themes to present  along with activities and books and observations. And tips for using the folders to make it all happen! (Or most of it ... some of it ... well, you get the picture!)

Sometimes when I describe this it all sounds so straight forward and simple - these are my two favorite topics, after all! It seems like the two sides of the equation should work well together ... I need the folders to make the plans happen! But it's possible I may need to separate the two topics ... goodness knows I can get wordy!

(Case in point, this post.)

I will most likely be self-publishing so I'll need to do a WHOLE lot of research into that. I have my eye on a neat contraption that will allow me to bind things at home ... and I am looking into permission for using things like scrapbook papers and poems, illustrations, etc. 

Much to do, much to do! But I'm excited ... so I wanted to update you all .. and I will of course keep you all posted. For the time being, if you have a prayer to spare, or good energy to send, I would be grateful ... I'm desperately trying to find the time in my new schedule to just ... get 'er done!

 :)

Thanks so much for stopping by my friends ... enjoy the rest of your Wednesday and I will see you here again very soon!


Leafy Days

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me ... 🍂 ... Fluttering from the autumn tree."

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 * Lines above from "Fall, leaves, fall" by Emily Bronte 

It's a mild and blustery day here, beautiful weather for this time of year! We spent some time in our yard this morning, enjoying the leaves flying above us, and laying in colorful piles at our feet. We gathered some to bring inside to begin an autumn leaf study ...

A little rain shower just passed through - we watched it from our windows as we ate our lunch - and now the sun is back out. Making everything shiny and fresh.

:)

 Well, my friends - I hope your Tuesday's going well ... and thank you for all your apple thoughts yesterday. We sure do love our apples! Today however, Mum and I are making up a small batch of picallili ... green tomatoes are hard to find this year!

Thanks as always for stopping by ... see you here again very soon!


Poetry Friday: Christina Rossetti

Violets in jar

O wind, where have you been,
That you blow so sweet?
Among the violets
Which blossom at your feet.

The honeysuckle waits
For Summer and for heat
But violets in the chilly Spring
Make the turf so sweet.

(From Sing Song, by Christina Rossetti)

*

Good Friday morning, one and all - another week come and gone!

I wanted to pop in quickly this morning and share that pretty bit of verse. I spotted some violets growing beside our church last Sunday, quivering in the shade outside the west door. And oh, how I love violets! They're so tiny and unassuming but when you look at them up close, they are just exquisite ...

But violets in the chilly Spring make the turf so sweet ...

My friends, Earlybird has an appointment with his neurologist today and we're hoping to get some answers regarding his EEG results, medication, etc. These visits are alway a bit of a trial - between getting us all into the city (and home again) and easing EB through the anxiety of it all - it's a stressful situation on a lot of levels. So I would especially appreciate your prayers and good thoughts today ... I am working on finding my center of "peace" this morning, so that I can be a source of peace for my boy, too ... I know he'll need it.

Thanks so much, everyone ... I'll see you here again very soon.

**


Poetry (Flashback) Friday: The Swing

Swinging

How do you like to go up in a swing,
   Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
   Ever a child can do!
 
Up in the air and over the wall,
   Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
   Over the countryside—
 
Till I look down on the garden green,
   Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
   Up in the air and down!
 
(Robert Louis Stevenson)
 
**
Remembering all those wonderful, warm days swinging at my grandparents' house when I was just a little girl ...
 
Such sweet, simple times.
 
:)
 
Happy Friday, my friends!

Poetry Friday: "A Kitchen Window"

Kitchen window poem 2

She hears the twitter of the birds

Finding the largess she has spread,

She sees the beauty snow has wrought

Where winter berries flaunt their red.

The lonely cries of circling gulls

Touch minor chords in her own heart;

In lace-clad tree and crystal bush

She feels a magic counterpart.

 

She likes the snowman’s pixie charm

Created by her wee one’s hands;

And looks up from her homely tasks

To share the whimsey he commands.

 

She has a kinship with the earth

Though busy in her own domain,

And comprehends its noble plan

From just a kitchen window pane.

This poem was written by a Milly Walton in 1949. I found it in a charming little book my folks gave me - which they found while cleaning out their attic - The Beauty of Motherhood: Selected Writings About The Joys of Being a MotherI think it must have been my mum's, perhaps a present on one Mother's Day or another ...

But I was so struck by this sweet and thoughtful little poem - so perfect for so many of us! - I just had to share it here. The sentiment (and illustration as you can see above) is especially lovely for this time of year!

Well, my friends ... this is my little Valentine to you ... a wish for a simple, sweet moment like this. Delighting in the beauty of nature, and relishing the joy of your home. :)

Happy Weekend, my friends ... see you all again very soon ...


Picture-books in Winter

Picture books in winter 1

Summer fading, winter comes—
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
Window robins, winter rooks,
And the picture story-books.*

A Good Tuesday, my friends. And how are you all faring this fine February morning?

We're all on the mend here this week - thank goodness! - despite sporadic, lingering coughs. That was quite a virus we had! And it sounds like many of you have also seen your fair share of illness lately. Ugh. I'm feeling a bit tired of winter already. Howsabout you?

But what I really wanted to show you today were these absolutely beautiful picture books (shown above and below). They were a gift from a very generous, thoughtful mama friend ... Nina's children have outgrown these books, so she wanted to pass them along for another child to enjoy ... namely my Little Bear. What a lucky little boy!

:)

And oh my goodness, what gems! Have you ever heard of Molly Brett? There are many of her titles here - The Jumble Bears, The Runaway Fairy, The Untidy Little Hedgehog, etc. Nina also sent along a few Tasha Tudor treasures, including First Graces and First Poems of Childhood.

Picture books in winter 2 

Winter is a wonderful season for curling up in a "nursery nook" (or on a couch, in a bed) with our children and just read the cold days away. Spring will pull us outside and onto other things, but spending our winter hours inside, indulging in good books, is a seasonal luxury we can all afford, even if it's just now and again.

Homeschoolers may have more home-hours to "play" with, but if your kids are in school, then snow days are perfect for this, as are Sundays ... or afternoons, or after-suppers, or anytime really! I think it's great for kids to see their parents not just collecting books (which is very easy to do) but making time to read as well. That's not as easy in our "busy-busy" lives, but important, I think, for the overall rhythm of the home ... and for developing a patience for quiet times and mind-stretching, soul-feeding literary pursuits.

I am grateful to Nina for sharing these books with my family ... Little Bear and I will spend many sweet hours getting to know these new "friends!" He's already a fan of books - though many of them go right in his mouth! Right now his favorite is Owl Babies - I swear I could recite that book in my sleep!

**

Well, have yourselves a happy and healthy Tuesday, my friends ... see you here again very soon!

*From Picture-books in Winter by Robert Louis Stevenson


Friday Photos ~ November begins!

What a blustery start to the month! It's surprisingly mild here, but the wind is gusting like crazy! Can't help but think of that Clare poem: "I love the fitful gusts that shake The casement all the day ... "

Just a few photos from this week ... how I love the colors at this time of the year! Not fiery and vibrant like October, but more subdued and mellow. Earth's getting sleepy it seems ...

Owen blustery day 3

Autumn sunset with chickens

November begins 1

November begins 3

November begins 4

Farm 10

Farm 12

Farm 13

Farm 15

Farm 17

Farm 18

Farm 20

 Don't forget to "Fall Back" this Saturday night! How will you spend that extra hour Sunday morning?

Have a great weekend, my friends!


Friday (Frigid) Photo

Frosty sunrise 3

Sunrise through a frosty bedroom window ... another cold day upon us!

Taking a breather from our daily survey posts ~ stopping in to say hello and check in ~ and wish you all a happy weekend!

Any special plans for this bitter winter's day?

It's "Burns Night" in the UK (and elsewhere), a time to toast the beloved Scottish poet, Robert Burns. I'm American of course, but I've got a good deal of Scottish in me, and I love to share that part of my heritage with my boys . My beautiful grandmother would always make sure people knew she was Scotch-Irish when discussing her ancestry - her mother, my great-grandmother, was from Scotland, in fact. :)

Now I don't go so far as to make haggis or even neeps and tatties, but I can make a fairly nice shortbread ...

Shortbread 1

In fact, Jamie Oliver has a lovely sounding recipe here for a "Cranachan Sundae" which I may have to try. It involves berries, cream, oats, honey, shortbread and a splash of whiskey. All marvelous things on their own - all the better together - and all things we just happen to have on hand ...

Right!

So I'll be putting myriad male hands to work on that dessert (following a typical American supper - sloppy joes, waffle fries and corn) because it's a few days more "rest" for me.

And while I rest (by the fireplace, I might add), I'm knitting and sipping cup after cup of warm earl grey tea (decaf, natch) ... I'm also catching up with all your wonderful comments, working through my reading basket and writing out a layette list for the wee babe ...

And I'm focusing on all the blessings in my life ... the baby's doing great and I'm very fortunate to be able to relax, surrounded by the comforts of home and the support of my family. "Going slow" and "letting go" can be hard for me, but like any mother, my children come first - and right now this little one needs for me to go slow. So I'm enjoying these quiet, homebound days ...

Quiet being a relative term in a family of three (soon-to-be-four) boys!

;)

So I wish you all a bonny day, and I thank you for stopping by. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and I will see you here again very soon!

O my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
O my Luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

(Robert Burns)

**


Happy Summer!

"That beautiful season the Summer! 
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; 
and the landscape 
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood." 
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Summerflowers

The Summer Solstice arrives at 1:16 p.m. today, the longest day of the year. But from here on out, every day gets just a little bit shorter, so let's enjoy the light while we can!

Have a great Tuesday, my friends!

:)


Our Sunday Visitor

Sundayvisitor1-2

We finally got our hummingbird feeders back up, and so far we have at least one very active visitor! This is a female ruby-throated hummingbird ... isn't she just lovely?

I actually saw the male last week before we had the feeders up. I spied his tiny form zoom across the deck, making a beeline for the kitchen window (where a favored feeder hung last summer). I marveled to think he "remembered" where he got fed this time last year!

Above you see "Hazel" perched on a pussy willow branch. (Her mate we call "Harry.") Honestly, it was like she was posing for us - she stayed still for several minutes while we snapped pictures through the kitchen window.

But then she got down to business ...

Sundayvisitor2-2  

Sundayvisitor3-2 

Sundayvisitor4-2 

Such a wondrous thing to watch, this fast, flying jewel ~ a bright blur of motion and color. (And by the way, Bill took these pictures while the rest of us oohed and ahhed behind him.) 

Before I go, how about a little Frost on this fine spring Sunday?

"A Prayer in Spring"

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stand still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! I will see you again sometime soon ...

:)


Happy First Day of Spring!

Morningdew

"The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven— 
All's right with the world!"
~ Robert Browning

It's finally here! We're free of Winter at last!

Well ... just about. I am pointedly ignoring the snowflake shown in tomorrow's forecast, and focusing instead on the lovely day ahead. A sunny, calm Sunday ~ the First Day of Spring. 

I had originally planned to make pasta "primavera," in honor of the equinox today, but for a variety of reasons the menu has changed. Instead we'll have an onion-crusted chicken, baked potatoes, maple roasted carrots and a spinach-artichoke spread with French bread for our Sunday dinner. Fairly springy, but still a hearty, warming meal for a still-chilly day. I foresee my boys out there cleaning the yard and working up a good appetite this afternoon. ;)

And how about that moon last night? Were you able to catch the Full Sap "Super" Moon in all its bright, beautiful glory? What an amazing sight to see!

Well, thanks so much for stopping by today ... I hope you are all having a nice weekend. Our prayers continue for the people of Japan - and especially for Sue's family. Hoping to hear good news soon, praying God watches over them through this crisis and brings them all together as soon as possible.

See you all again very soon ... :)


An Ode to October ...

Dear October, how I love you ...

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Octoberfarm

Brilliant leaves in the trees, on the ground, whirling in the air ...

At the orchard we pick the last of autumn's apples ~ for sauce, for pie, for just plain good eating.

Squirrels scamper and chipmunks scurry - preparing for hard times ahead. We watch and an ancient instinct kicks in ...

Squirrelinleaves

There's a distinctive crunch underfoot; weekends are spent raking (and jumping in) the leaves. Tiny bulbs are planted in fertile hope of a distant spring.

Octoberpics6

Lazy days are over - it's all bustle and busy-ness now. Our thoughts turn from sandcastles to schedules.

The mornings are much colder ~ a sweater is a must before the sun rises and warms the air.

And sometime overnight, Old Frost left his kiss on the last blooms of fall ...

Intheyard2

We return from a walk in the earthy damp woods, our pockets full of acorns and other fall treasures. We relish time spent outside before winter shuts us in.

But more often, the kitchen is the place to be these days ~ warm, bright and smelling so good. A hearty supper lures us inside before dark ...

Pumpkins are plentiful in the field and at the farmstand ~ which one should we pick? 

Octoberpics9

"October is nature's funeral month. Nature glories in death more than in life. The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming - October than May. Every green thing loves to die in bright colors." ~ Henry Ward Beecher  

Octoberpics1

Standing in the bleachers, watching the big game, clutching a cup of hot cider to warm us inside and out.

Distant honking draws our eyes to the skies ... a familiar V passes overhead and pulls at our heartstrings.

The landscape is ablaze with color - from orange to yellow to red. 

Walden17

We make journeys big and small ~ a leaf peeping tour through the country, a canoe trip down a quiet river, a hay ride through the farm.

We visit the Country Fair and come home sticky and tired and grinning ear to ear - remembering giant pumpkins, ferris wheel rides and prize-winning hens. 

Ferriswheel

At home we dig out candles, and craft baskets and change cotton for wool.

Our thoughts turn to the holidays ... and making plans for guests, goodies, and gifts.

We create cozy corners to invite readers and nappers alike. Our need to nest these days is strong ... 

Cozycorner

October's blessings are many ... as rich and varied as the palette itself.

Fallflowers

How lucky we are it returns every year. 

Happy Autumn to all of my readers ... I hope your October is off to a great start!


Happy April!




Shepherd "The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March."
 

~ Robert Frost

The storm has moved on and the flooding has receded - though we still have pumps running in the basement! - I'd have to say March went out like a Lion rather than a Lamb.

On a happier note, our forecast calls for warm, sunny days ahead ... a possible high of 80 on Easter Sunday! Can't wait to watch Spring do it's thing over the next few weeks. :)

Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone !


Ring out the Old, Ring in the New!

Just popping in to say I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. :)

Many blessings to you and yours this Happy New Year!

Bells 

 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
(From "Ring out, Wild Bells" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson)


When the frost is on the pumpkin ...

Snowpumpkin1 

Nevermind frost! We had our first SNOW here this morning!

I honestly can't remember the last time we had snow this early in the year!

***

It's been a while since I posted and I have lots to tell you about, so I will carve some time out this weekend to write. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the weather ... whatever the weather ... wherever you are. :)

"Oh it sets my heart a-clickin like the tickin of a clock, when the frost is on the pumpkin and the fodder's in the shock ..." John Whitcomb Riley