Wednesday, November 30, 2011


"People look east, the time is near of the crowning of the year. Make your home fair as you are able, trim the hearth and set the table. People look east and sing today, 'Love, the Guest, is on the way.'" --Author unknown (to me)

As soon as the days grow shorter, our family takes dinner by candle light. In the season of Advent, besides the wreath, we light our Klockspel! I'm hoping, during this Advent season, to post and share with you our little Christmas doings every other day.

When we got married and had children, my husband and I were determined to create a joyful home, especially during the holidays. And because He made it possible, my gratitude will always be to Love, the guest, Who came to stay.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gracefully (as in growing old)

"Whatever a man's age, he can reduce it several years by putting a bright-colored flower in his buttonhole."
Mark Twain

Well, tomorrow I'm another year older. Looking back over the past year, there's so much to be grateful for. It hasn't been all smooth sailing, but I choose to count the blessings over the sorrows. It's sort of akin to the bright-colored flower in the buttonhole. Or maybe even better.

I need to count in Linda at Under the Gables. Unbeknowst to her, she participated in my birthday doings. Actually in my pre-birthday doings, since I'm known in my family for milking my birthday for all that it's worth. Linda talked on her blog about a Bucks County artist named Fern Coppedge.

I was so captured by the images that I Googled the painter and found out that many of her paintings are here:

Wahoooo! This museum is only an hour and a half from home, in Doylestown, PA. Happy birthday to me! And even better, they were having a special exhibit...

...featuring a collection of the works of Bucks County's finest painters. It was a treat to discover two painters who up to now were unknown to me: Fern Coppedge (1883-1951) and Daniel Garber (1880-1958). Both of these artists have styles that are completely different from one another--Coppedge rich in color; Garber rich in light. Their masterful creations left me swoony and inspired.

The program featured Garber's painting of his daughter, Tanis.

Across the street from the Michener museum is the Mercer Museum. I couldn't resist snapping a photo of the chimneys on the building. Are they cool or what?

Afterwards we took a little Saturday afternoon stroll around town. Oooh, looky here...

Black coffee, Bakery Blue Berry Butter cookie gelato. I love the letter 'B' - as in Birthday

This is the face of a happy camper. Yes, I am short.

Riding off into the sunset

Counting blessings

467 - Under the Gables blog - you should visit!
468 - Museum tickets
469 - My generous family
470 - Italian bakeries
471 - Sunsets and the gift of seeing another day
472 - La bella vita

Joining Ann today

Friday, November 25, 2011

Keeping traditions

The house is quiet and tidy, so no distractions there. It seems like a perfect time to settle down with imagination, pen and ink, and lots of love for my grandy-babas far away. Now there are three--Izzy, Remy, and Tilly. I hope to continue this tradition for as long as I can. You can read about it here. I'll give you a peek when I'm finished.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Inside, Outside, Blessings mine

I'm a homebody. It's in my hobbity nature to be so. But then again, I am a hobbit of the Tookish sort, and do relish the occasional adventure. On autumn days when I was little, I used to like to stand with one foot in the door and one out on the front step, trying to decide. "In or out, in or out?" my grandmother would scold. "I'm not paying to heat the neighborhood!" Ha--funny memory. In or out, in or out...I guess I love them both.

Counting blessings

460 - bringing in some bittersweet

461 - off with the fairies

462 - the clean smell of soapy steam

463 - finding the sky in the creek

464 - the company of a good book

465 - loving the sound that crows make

466 - home fires

Oh, and happy Thanksgiving, everyone. xox

Joining Ann today

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Last day- huzzah

Start of the day - neat as a pin and fresh as a daisy.

End of day - cinder soot and smelly, too. Good-bye, farm, until spring.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Upstairs, Downstairs - Kinda

This is the final week of my indentured servitude on the farm--till spring, that is. I had a wonderful time hearth cooking today. The children were lovely, along with their teachers. It's days like this that make me glad to be here. Just a few snaps of the house when I was free to wander. Yeah, farm livin' is the life for me. Or at least interpreting it.

18th century medicine cabinet. Something you might find in it is a purple concoction: Pick wild violets, boil them in a sugar syrup, and viola. Cough syrup.

Turning flax into linen is a skill I hope to learn in the future. This girl needs a change up from candles and cooking. Just sayin'.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Out my door

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Well, in this case it wasn't actually dangerous, unless you count the fact that I spent some of my pin money when I wasn't intending to. By the way, don't you just love the phrase 'pin money'? Very old fashioned. I like it. According to BING, pin money became an English phrase to describe extra cash set aside by wives to run the household at the turn of the twentieth century. I earn mine by performing housewifery 18th century style. But never mind that. Back to our adventure.

Do you know what I discovered? Ten minutes from my home, back in the hills, as they say around here, is a little mill town. One of the old mills built in the 1700's has been turned into an artist colony of sorts. And once a year, they open it up to the public.

Local artists have created studio spaces to work and display their pieces. I got to chatting with one of the painters. She informed me there was a room left for a studio if I was interested. No thanks, I said. I have a makey-room at home, and it's free. Yes, she replied, I have a studio at home as well, but I always find myself getting distracted by other things. Ain't it the truth? But don't tempt me, Frodo. For the time being, free is free, and I'll remain free.

But it's fun to dream. And speaking of dreaming, I had to keep telling myself that I was still in PA, right in my own backyard. This quaint borough has an Appalachian feel about it--isolated enough to make me feel like a gawking tourist. It had century-old churches nestled between small but charming mill houses, and a big old stone mansion at the top of one of the hills. Which got me to wondering - had it belonged to the owner of the mill back in the day? Hmmmmm...

So, we saw a lot of beautiful art. I asked permission to photograph this neat piece made of found objects. Gosh, I love stuff like that.

Airplanes made out of old door hinges? Some people are just SO clever!

And my pin money went to a nifty little pile of antique textile scraps. The patterns are yummy, and I can feel the creative juices flowing.

Last but not least, when I came home that evening, I found a package in the mail. Now I can join Miss Emily Dickinson and "put a trinket on" - thanks, Ethel.

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.

Emily Dickinson
Nature XXVII, Autumn.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


My favorite gold drop earrings were the final bit of my getting dressed for church on Sunday morning. As I popped them into my ears, I was reminded of something that happened many years ago while on vacation with my family. I need to tell you what I was wearing - it's important to the story. It was a hot summer day. My outfit consisted of a skirt, flip-flops, and a tee shirt with a design and scripture that commemorated our church's 25th anniversary.

Anyways, my husband, my daughters and I were strolling through this small little town (our boys were on a missions trip in Brazil). There was a book store advertising home school supplies that caught my attention. I took the girls in with me while Mike went for ice cream. As I was perusing the shelves, the proprietor wandered over.

Shop guy: "You're a Christian?"
Me: "Yeah. (smiling)"
Shop guy: "Really? (frowning) I noticed that your ears are pierced. That's pagan, not Christian."

He proceeded to inform me what I would look like had I been a genuine believer. He went on to tell me that a group of teenagers wandered into his shop last night claiming to be Christians, too. They were part of some church youth group. But he sincerely doubted the authenticity of their faith. At this point, I was getting a bit nervous. The shop was small. I saw my husband standing outside with the ice cream, waiting for us. Shop guy followed my gaze.

"Is that your husband?"
"He's wearing shorts. The men in our church don't wear shorts.
"We're not in your church."
"He wouldn't be allowed in the door."

"Must control fist of death" was the thought zipping through my mind. I put down the books I was planning to buy, and even though I was furious, said (without shouting, by God's grace alone), "You and I may look different from one another, but I will never allow anyone to tell me I do not belong to Jesus Christ." Shop guy just blinked.

Angry and dazed, I left that store. It felt as if I had been repeatedly punched in the head. I complained to the Lord as we wandered back to our car, "How could you have let that happen? I'm on vacation!" Just then, walking towards me was an elderly African-American woman, slightly stooped and leaning on her cane. And whether you believe it or not, this is true. She was wearing the same outfit as me--a skirt and the same celebratory church tee shirt, the church name being the only difference. We looked at each other. She laughed. "Well, look at us, girl", she said. "We're different. But we're the same. Praise God." She laughed again and went on her way. I was still in a daze, but less heart-sore.

So what did I learn from this experience?
1) hateful behavior is often fear disguised. I had to forgive Shop guy and pray for him. Pray that his faith would overtake his fear. My friend JoAnn at Ostriches Look Funny says it best - "square people always have a hard time spinning". He claimed to be a true believer, which would make him my brother. End of story.
2) No matter what, God has your back.
3) Sometimes ministering angels are disguised as little old ladies with cackly laughs.

Joining Emily today

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Squirreling Away

"...No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

Thomas Hood

These are the final lines of Thomas Hood's poem November. I could have printed the whole thing but I find it depressing, and better suited for February, which I find depressing. I'm sorry, Mr. Hood, but I think you're mistaken. There's plenty to appreciate in month eleven. For instance, a certain blogger celebrates her birthday in November *ahem!*. And as for beauty, just look at these frosty fields.

My friend Kristi at Thicket House, who shares my affection for acorns and squirrels, captures the spirit of the month best when she says: "Squirrels are a good symbol of the 'all is safely gathered in' theme of November".

So the man and I had a wonderful weekend of doing just that - gathering in. Lookit! All these peppers from the garden in November. Whaddya say to that, Tommy Hood?

And using up the last of the heirloom apples (some of which, by the way, can still be picked in November, H.)

Squirreling away some homemade applesauce... keep company with other remembrances of the summer garden

And while birdsong may cease, the music of the axe chopping wood is lovely to my ears

No worries, no complaints--November

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It was Supposed to be Just Gingerbread

November already? Hard to believe, but here we are. It's been another week of ups and downs, I tell ya. Like the downer of a sudden snow storm that took out several of my honey bees--but not all, thank God. And then the up of a delightful house guest. And the next best thing to the house guest, the motivation to clean the house before they get here.

And speaking of house work, I found myself breaking into fits of praise this morning while sorting through dirty laundry. Why? Peace of mind. I remembered that my last laundry day was fretful, waiting for news/a biopsy report. It's amazing how knowing you're healthy can make the mundane so precious. Wow, I'm all over the place today. This post was supposed to be just about gingerbread cookies with lemon glaze.

Are you loving my rolling pin? It was anniversary gift from my sweetheart two years ago, and like I said before, some women can be charmed by a rolling pin for an anniversary gift. If you'd like to know where to find one, go to The House on the Hill. And this is the best recipe to acompany it: here

The recipe for the glaze is confection sugar mixed with water. I substitute lemon juice for the water, because lemon and gingerbread are best friends.


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