Monday, September 24, 2012

To Celebrate a Simple Life

"I can't do this, Sam. "I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something." "What are we holding onto, Sam?" "That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

How can you read these words and not love Tolkien?  I'm a bit of Tolkien geek. And I'm fortunate to have good friends who feel the same, and are happy to geek out in blessed fellowship. Did you know that, being the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, September 22nd has become Hobbit Day? (More importantly, it's our grandson Rembrandt's first birthday, which was celebrated on the other side of the country with his parents and those other grandparents...we're not jealous, are we, no...*cough*) So although our thoughts were with little Remy deep in the heart of Texas, we distracted ourselves with wonderful Hobbity pursuits.

"There was a buzzing and a whirring and a droning in the air. Bees were busy everywhere. And such bees! Bilbo had never seen anything like them. … They were bigger than hornets. The drones were bigger than your thumb, a good deal, and the band of yellow on their deep black bodies shone like fiery gold." --The Hobbit Friends brought some fifty pounds of honey from their hives which we worked together to extract (they also brought some Hobbit food to share). Extracting honey from the comb is an all-day affair, let me tell you. To keep up your strength... have second breakfasts, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. The handsome lad wearing the bandanna is a genius. Eli has been raising honeybees since he was a young boy. he helped us inspect our hive. We learned more from him during a thirty-minute hive inspection than we have in all of our beekeeping studies. You're awesome, Eli. Thank you again. Now, on to the feast.

Gotta love that Tookish grin. "As I was saying, the mother of this hobbit - of Bilbo Baggins, that is - was the fabulous Belladonna Took, one of the three remarkable daughters of the Old Took, head of the hobbits who lived across The Water, the small river that ran at the foot of The Hill. It was often said (in other families) that long ago one of the Took ancestors must have taken a fairy wife. That was, of course, absurd, but certainly there was still something not entirely hobbit-like about them, - and once in a while members of the Took-clan would go and have adventures. They discreetly disappeared, and the family hushed it up; but the fact remained that the Tooks were not as respectable as the Bagginses, though they were undoubtedly richer." --The Hobbit

Coney soup. "Gollum withdrew grumbling, and crawled into the fern. Sam busied himself with his pans. 'What a Hobbit needs with coney,' he said to himself, 'is some herbs and roots, especially taters--not to mention bread. Herbs we can manage, seemingly." --The Two Towers

"You can drink your fancy ales, you can drink them by the flagon, but the only brew for the brave and true...comes from the Green Dragon!" --The Return of the King

Mushroom pie. "Hobbits have a passion for mushrooms, surpassing even the greediest likings of Big People. A fact which partly explains young Frodo's long expeditions to the renowned fields of the Marish, and the wrath of the injured Maggot. On this occasion there was plenty for all, even according to hobbit standards. There were also many other things to follow, and when they had finished even Fatty Bolger heaved a sigh of content. They pushed back the table, and drew chairs round the fire." --The Fellowship of the Ring

Lembas bread. "'I thought it was only a kind of cram, such as the Dale-men make for journeys in the wild,' said the Dwarf. 'So it is,' they answered. 'But we call it lembas or waybread and it is more strengthening than any food made by men, and is more pleasant than cram by all acounts.'" --The Fellowship of the Ring

More lembas bread. "Well, let me see. Oh yes, lovely. Lembas bread. And look! More lembas bread. I don't usually hold with foreign food, but this Elvish stuff is not bad." The Two Towers

Victoria sponge and seed cake to "fill up the corners", as Bilbo would say. "After the feast (more or less) came the Speech. Most of the company were, however, now in a tolerant mood, at that delightful stage which they called “filling up the corners”. They were sipping their favourite drinks, and nibbling at their favorite dainties, and their fears were forgotten. They were prepared to listen to anything, and to cheer at every full stop." The Fellowship of the Ring

Sunday, September 16, 2012

To bend and bless

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to bend and bless
With fruits the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage trees,
And fill all fruits with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er brimm'd their clammy cells.

~J. Keats

This time of year always makes me think of one of my favorite poets, John Keats. Winter is saved for Robert Louis Stevenson. But anyway, the nip in the air does something funny to my brain, so thoughts and artistic outworkings lean to the mossy, poetical and romantic. Times of being awake and seeing are a blessing. A harvesting. Finding little bits of beauty to be thankful for in the everyday. Life is rich.

Counting blessings

499 - Thankful for my young friend Audrey, who not only shared her awesome recipe, but illustrated it as well. What a treasure!

500 - fair light, fair maid and flags

501 - tonic

502 - the rustle of corn and the clack of kindlng

503 - sunlight on a shelf

Joining Ann today

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What would happen if - update

Hello there, friends! Eeep! It's been almost a year since the last post about this little project. A few of you had asked me how it was progressing. Slow, but sure. Things made here sort of evolve over time. I'm still not certain how it will turn out in the end, but it hasn't fallen into the "epic fail" category yet, so that's a good sign. La de da...well, it's been a quiet week here in Lake Wobegon er, that is, Curious Acorn studio. Heavenly. And speaking of quiet, listen to this quote:

"Quietude, which some men cannot abide because it reveals their inward poverty, is a palace of cedar to the wise, for along its hallowed courts the King in His beauty [stoops] to walk."
~Charles H. Spurgeon

What a blessing and an inspiration these words have been. Reading them over and over again, I wish I could paint the feelings and images that they evoke. The quote was found in a most excellent book-- Journey to Authenticity, by R. Sonny Misar. The read has been refreshing and an encouragement for spending quiet mornings with my Maker, and quiet afternoons in my studio making. For me, these two things go hand in hand. Anyway, here's a little peek at what I've been up to.

Besides the screen door experiment, I'm working on some small acrylic paintings...

...and another what-would-happen-if thingy I'll be posting about later.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Monday morning musing

"There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings."

~Gerald Manley Hopkins

Chambered Nautilus
~Andrew Wyeth

Oh, happiness - I was able to meet another blogger in person, the lovely Linda from Under the Gables. If you've never visited her blog, do. She writes about the ways of women and their work. It's wonderful. (Wow - can we say alliteration?) Anyway, it is wonderful. I am always enriched by reading her posts, and I like to tease her by telling her that excursions to her blog are expensive - I want to buy every book and rent every movie that she reviews and recommends. Linda and I spent the afternoon together at the Brandywine River Museum. We had excellent conversations about life, art, and everything. And I'm pleased to count her as a friend.

We took photos of each other in one of my favorite shady spots outside the museum. I'm calling the portraits "Belles Femmes parmi les Fougères" or in the common parlance, "Beautiful women among the Ferns". Heh, heh

Que pensez-vous, Linda?

Today I woke up to one of my favorite kinds of mornings. The house was quiet except for the sound of rain through the open windows. I wish you could hear it.

The rooms were filled with a soft gray light that makes other colors glow.

I wandered around the house with my I-think-it-may-be-dying digital camera

The pictures are dark and fuzzy, but I don't care

Looking at each little space filled me with peace

and gratitude

for holy stillness,

for making new friends, and for that which broods over the world.


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