To Do

Monday is my day off. At least that’s what I tell myself. My list includes clean sheets, clean out the chicken coop, make a batch of pesto, pick more raspberries, pay bills, clean the bathroom. I don’t know. Probably a few more things. We’ll see how it goes.

I found this alternate list on my computer this morning.

  • eat swiss cheese
  • buy a new car that is either gold, hot pink, or turquoise
  • read a funny story
  • make Harriet food
  • laugh at someone really loudly and point
  • go to the park and talk to birds
  • show up at the library and scream
  • write a love letter to a bowl of cereal
  • if you need to write something for your blog get real emotional so Elisa makes you a cool card and then post the card
  • walk up to a stranger and tell them….
  • give Harriet $1,000,000 in nickels
  • make Elisa ACTUALLY clean her room
  • eat a pickle

Happy Birthday Emily

My sister lives in a tiny house with a big beautiful garden, is married to her best friend, and they are madly in love with a baby boy named Oscar Henry. She is also complicated, an artist, a hard worker, a lover of dogs and living frugally (though not without beauty), and now is a mother too. Emily, in her own environment is sight to behold.

Emily in the sun
Emily in the sun.

Happy Birthday Emily.


Last Thursday, after putting out the trash and three recycling bins,  we stood in the mud  and complained that weather so warm in January didn’t feel right. Our neighbor said he thought it was probably the cause of all the illness going around town.  It hasn’t been easy for the animals either. The thought occurred to me that I could hang laundry on the line; it was so bleak I didn’t have the heart to bring clean clothes out into that world.  Then at night the wind blew hard and everything changed by morning.

It is very cold now. There is something purifying about air so cold it hurts to breath. When we got up this morning the porch thermometer said minus 10-degrees.

Much better.

. . . . . .

  My niece came up from Maryland to buy her prom dress at a very fun shop in Syracuse. There were seven of us around her dressing room door: three cousins, one sister, two aunts, and her mother and we all agreed that one dress was perfect.  She looked absolutely beautiful.

And look at her, with bare arms in 7-degree weather! She could be a local.

middle of a week

We had a kitchen full of girls this afternoon, practicing piano, or their other instruments, eating snacks and then supper, working on math problems or drawing. The usual, but with three more kids. I was close by, at the stove or wandering through the crowd with my knitting.  After working on the same sweater for myself since last spring, I can’t tell you how nice it is to work with very thick wool on large needles. It’s like being given a paint sprayer after you’ve used a watercolor brush your whole life. Hello! In one busy day, the first sweater is a third done. I’m not amazing; the wool is just that thick.

a.m.                                                                                                   p.m.

Billy and I are working to dismantle an old building that had been hit by a tornado and then crushed in a heavy snow storm. It would have been an awful job to do in the spring mud and a pain in the summer heat and surely we would have stirred up wasp nests, but now the heat from the burn pile takes the chill out of the air. Still more to do as long as this beautiful weather holds out. The weather is worth mentioning. Today was perfect.

. . . . .

Lastly, have you seen the photos coming out of Oakland? Makes me very happy, and hopeful.


Classic Ariel.

It took a while but she did finally pick the perfect pumpkin.

It wasn’t this one.

(I love that when she saw this photo of herself, she laughed and said, “I’ve seen that look before on my siblings!”)

Tim’s Pumpkin Patch- Skaneateles, NY


Basement cleaning happened day. It took much longer than I had thought. I started this morning and then looked up and it was two. Making me wonder if somehow I just didn’t get to it last year. Hmm? No pictures were taken. It is much cleaner but is still a basement.

. . . . .

The pictures I did take have nothing to do with the day’s work. Early this morning, my dad and I took a walk, each with a camera, clicking away. Then by myself, I went through the house, checking each room as if I wanted to establish that there is order before I headed down into two years’ worth of dust.

Now it really feels like Friday. Hot shower for me, eggs collected, animals fed, girls are home from school, and everyone is up for a movie tonight!

. . . . .

to the east

and the west

my mom


My father would watch for changes in the way the light slanted across our dining room during my childhood breakfasts. You know the season has changed when the girls get on the bus in the dark. The coffee is done, dishes washed, email has been checked, and still the light is on over the kitchen table.

This morning in the kitchen the girls ate and talked while I made almond butter sandwiches for later. I suggested the potatoes which I had boiled up yesterday and left waiting in the fridge which led Billy to play a Little Jimmy Dickens song for them, Take a Cold Tater and Wait. He made them bacon and fried up the potatoes instead. Then it was late (6:50am) so they ran to get their teeth brushed and stopped short because the bus was already coming down the road.

after all that when it was light enough to see, the view from the sink

good enough

The weather this weekend was perfect for getting in more hay. After it was all cut on Sunday, our round baler broke in a way that was not easily repaired. Parts will have to be ordered which takes time, and rain is in the forecast for Wednesday. Luckily, Billy was able to borrow our neighbor’s round baler for the afternoon. They are the worst bales he ever made, so loose and floppy and the strings never tied, but we don’t care too much because at least they are done.

picking apples

Our neighbor invited us over to pick apples from his trees which we did as soon as it stopped raining, taking eggs to offer in exchange. First stop was in the barn to see the cats (there are many)  while Billy and Paul talked for a minute about the quality of hay that has been rained on repeatedly. Luckily, it isn’t our hay this time. The ground was so soft from the rain, any apples that dropped sunk into the sod. We sent the girls up and caught the ones they threw down which filled three bags and makes me feel a little less guilty about keeping the stove going this time of year. Apple sauce is bubbling as I write.

sick day

Billy was at our neighbor’s farm all afternoon and into the night baling hay, so it was just the girls with me tonight. Before supper we walked up to the  top of our hill. Homework had been going slowly and there won’t be many more days as warm as this one. Harriet left us early to get back to work, but Elisa stayed up on the hill with me practicing her jumps in “marshmallow kingdom.” On the way back she told me that her 4H presentation this year is going to be on dandelions (“I’ve already made up my mind.”) and she has also decided that this year she is going to become “an expert on Shakespeare.” She stayed home from school today to recover from a fever, and is now perfectly well again.