Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day...

Mother Nature definitely has her knickers in a twist. Saturday she gave us 3 hail storms over an 8 hour period, covering the ground white hail storms. Lightning, thunder, rain.
Sunday rain all day long. By dark the wind had begun in earnest and the temperature began to drop.
This morning we woke to this…

In front of the potting shed the new hoops over the strawberries are struggling to support the row cover.

Yesterday the chickens appeared totally unaware of getting drenched as they eagerly gobbled up the worms that appeared all over their puddled yard. Today they took one look out their door and told us just what they thought of this turn of events.

The frogs in the pond, however, continue to sing along merrily. Perhaps we should take a cue from them.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

a day out with a gold medalist

My good buddy and partner in crime, Mary, got me involved in something (AGAIN) this time with a local rosemaling group. Now, I've always admired this art form, enjoying the annual show at Swedish days in Geneva, Illinois for many years. When our children were small we sometimes stopped at a McDonalds in Norway, Michigan on our way to or from Uncle Dan's in the UP which was entirely transformed inside with rosemaling and is still the only McDonalds I've ever been in that had oilcloth tablecloths and real flowers on the table at breakfast. But I had never once thought I'd be taking up the craft, and certainly not at this stage of my life!
This winter, Mary, who can do everything and really well, attended a quilting retreat where she met a woman who will be teaching a 3 day rosemaling class this September. Spending time with this woman while quilting and chatting and eating and quilting some more rekindled Mary's interest in the art form, caused her to dust off her painting supplies, and led to talking me into joining her. Before I knew it we had both become members of the local rosemaling guild. Oh dear….
This past Tuesday I attended my first meeting which was a day long demonstration by a gold medal winner, Irene Lamont. What an amazing day. All of the ladies (and one husband) in the group were friendly, talented, experienced and probably Norwegian. You see, the guild is based out of Westby, heart of Nowegian country around here. Irene was their guest artist this month. And she wasn't the only gold medalist in the group, nor the only one who has works displayed in the famous museum in Decorah, Iowa.
What a marvelous day. Irene painted two oval wooden plaques during the course of the day. In the late afternoon she asked us to put our names into a basket for a drawing. She was giving away some of her art, downsizing before moving into a condo, and among the prizes would be the two samples from her workshop. Now I seriously began calling one of them to me, I mean seriously believing I would be taking one of them home.

Irene at work

in process

finished piece

examples of her line work

in process surrounded by tools and a few finished pieces

the finished piece

And I did. That lovely work painted on the black background now has a place of honor here at the farm. I was so thrilled when she called my name I burst into tears and everyone in the room cheered and some of them got teary eyed too, happy for this newcomer to be so excited by an art they've loved and respected for years.
I guess it's time to pick up some brushes and paint and get started with a new sketch book before the class this September, because, you guessed it, my buddy Mary and I will be enrolled.

Monday, March 31, 2014

goodbye March

March, that sometimes awkward passing from winter to spring, a full month ending on a high weather note of warm temperatures, high winds, and a chance of thunderstorms. Snow is lingering in the shady spots and where we piled it high to clear paths, mud everywhere the ground is open, evidence of much tunneling in the lawns. Chickens enjoying their yard, birds everywhere, the pond nearly free of ice and soon the spring peepers will call.
Meanwhile, flying days have not been empty.

                                                          a new doily for the guest room

                                          planning the garden, planting and tending seedlings

 piecing and quilting placemats to coordinate with a fun woven cotton table runner

                                  quilting and binding a lap quilt I pieced for a class ages ago

growing sprouts to satisfy our need for home grown greens while the ground is still frozen in the garden

We rejoiced at the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, or English time as our Amish friends call it. They do not change their clocks, preferring to stay on what they call Slow Time, though they do interact with all of us on our time schedule. If you make plans you just need to clarify whose time you mean!
On the first day of spring here, the Redwing blackbirds returned, I spotted my first Robin of the season, and I took Anne to get her Wisconsin driver's license. We've been tracking the sun's angle of descent each evening and see that now she is definitely out of her winter route.
We shared Anne's birthday, taking a day trip into the "big city" for shopping and lunch in a new restaurant. (Her choice and really delicious.)
This past weekend my sister Terri was able to visit again, bringing her energy, lots of good food, a game she introduced to us and that we now love to play called Rummicube. She and I crossed the Mississippi into Iowa and visited an amazingly crazy shop called Horsefalls which specializes in remainders where I found some marvelous French General double sided paper and a couple of paper punches for lots less than half price. It was a lovely day for a drive along the Mississippi where we saw both ice fishing and lots of boats on the open water almost within sight of each other. We discovered a new tea shop where I bought Terri a gift and then back here in town visited a few local shops where she bought me one.

I spent a day working with my good friend Mary assembling flannel baby quilts for charity. Later today we will try to finish quilting them.
Well, this summary helps me to see the month DID involve some good work along with lots of good times with friends and family. All in all a fine segue to spring.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

happy birthday, Anne

Can't let the day slip past without expressing my thanks to my beautiful daughter for bringing such riches to my life.

Happy birthday, sweet. May your new year bring all you hope for and more.

Monday, March 10, 2014


This weekend the start of daylight saving time has stolen an hour and delayed the sunrise.

My best sleep and clearest dreams usually occur between 5:30 and 7 am. Just for now it's more likely that I'm about to rise just about the time the sun is. Lucky thing… I would have hated to miss this.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Welcome, March!

Turning the calendar at the beginning of March never fails to bring a smile to my face. It's when I call to mind that first of March in '76 when I turned the calendar and realized that before I turned it again my life would be forever changed. What did I know about being a mother? That love would have to fill in any gaps.
On my desk is a calendar illustrated with Anne's lovely watercolor paintings. Delicate daffodils this month. The daffs at the farm are slumbering under a couple of feet of snow at the moment, and more snow is falling now. And it's cold, cold out there.
But inside...
fragrant blossoms encourage.

The mammalian urge to curl up and nap is difficult to resist.

Mya and Dovey don't even try.
Within a week we change the time and soon we'll reach the equinox. March. Thank goodness.

Monday, February 24, 2014


A lovely sunny last Monday of February here on the ridge today. Cold but only a light breeze. Despite the ice and snow the chickens eagerly leapt out of their front door tired of being confined. 
Happily Anne and Matthias safely returned from their trip to Ohio and yesterday we spent a sweet Sunday together. Though their days were full (I'm sure you'll be seeing some wonderful photos of their work on Anne's blog soon) Anne took the time to bring back "Thank you for house sitting" presents.

This little cyclamen smells divine. Who can resist those heart shaped leaves and happy blooms? The book by Susan Loy, autographed by her, Anne found at Half Price Books thinking she was buying it for herself. She knows of my long long time interest in Susan's work and assumed I had a copy of the book already. When she showed it to me and found out I did NOT have a copy, she handed it over without hesitation.
Thank you sweet Anne and welcome home.