Saturday, April 03, 2021

Good Memories & Other Welcome Company

My post from yesterday was written in haste, and finished abruptly. Paul and Janece arrived. I could hear them from my office, which faces the front of the house. When the first lockdown, and our own concerns, relaxed, we added something we call Brekkie Club to our social calendar. Paul picks up burritos, and we hang out in the driveway, sharing breakfast, chatting. We've done this, maybe, once a month. A visit can go for hours, because the company is so nice. It gets so the chance to enjoy laughing and sharing becomes vital. Sometimes we build a fire, because it's almost too cold to be outside, and some mornings we move our chairs around, to get out of the sun and glare. Mostly though, I just feel thankful for our moderate weather, which makes social distancing possible at all. We haven't felt as stuck as people living alone, or in an apartment building, we haven't been vexed by weather, or limited space. Between Brekkie Club, movie nights, and our own in-house social group, the year has been far better than it might have been. Now so many are getting vaccinated, and we have new things to sort about engaging, traveling, being social, and I feel almost as uncertain, concerned, hesitant, as I was a year ago. I am comfortable being patient about all of it, especially if we can count on Brekkie Club, or having company around fire rings, laughing and talking, a movie, or games.
As I was looking through my phone, wondering if there's anything worth sharing, I thought about how almost everything I've shared from the last year has been around our house. There have been lots of chickens, cats, goats, flowers, meals, and whatever craft I am immersed in. Right now, it's drawing cats, and adding embroidery to my apron. Out of curiosity I decided to look back... one year, then to 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016. What have we been up to, in one glimpse, at this time of year?
April 4, 2020. These are the daffodils, Carol shared from her garden. At this point the novelty of lockdown was wearing thin, and the isolation was leaving a surreal mark on me. I remember her gift was thrilling, and really opened my heart and actions around spring, Easter, making our home ready for a holiday. Bambi was finishing her quarantine in our RV, and we began making happy plans to celebrate bringing her into our home. And we had the new chicks! So much was unknown, and strange, and everything good felt poignant, treasured.
April 6, 2019. This was a busy and exciting spring, when Mike came and made all sorts of necessary, and fun, improvements on our home. I even got to make the odd little balcony a favorite new spot in our home, by painting the walls and ceiling, and adding things, like drift wood climbing branches for the cats. Chango loved the sunny space, and with the added screens we had no worries about cats getting out, nor mosquitos getting in. I've really moved in, since then! Now I have a spare bed in there, and it's where I go to work on painting, sketching, and star-gazing. It's as much a favorite spot as ever.
March 31, 2018. The BIG Banana Adventure, before Grant moved to Japan! I took a picture of Grant, Paul, Geoff and William, before they embarked, but I never posted about what happened, what they saw, and enjoyed. It definitely included the International Banana Museum, and other desert wonders.
April 3, 2017. Here is a memory that feels like a long long time ago, when Maria and I shared another train adventure, and brought Geoff along with us! We went all the way to Portland, Oregon. And on the way back we stopped and saw family in Albany. I have such a crush on Portland. I can't even write anything, because I am daydreaming about walking all day, about amazing flower gardens in every yard, and feeling eager to go out everyday and take in all the sights we could manage. I always feel like every moment is full, vivid, when I am in that city, and sharing it only improves the experience.
One more! March 27, 2016. The Young Folks. "Take joy, I wrote 5 years ago, "there is so much of it at hand." What a fine reminder. These young folks, our friends, our family, our opportunities, our ideas, plans, hopes, are wonderful sources of joy. I am so happy to find myself in good, and welcome company.

Friday, April 02, 2021

Ribbons & Flowers

It's taking all of my will (which evidently is insufficient) to not open this post with: Wow! It's already Friday and April! Some days it feels like it could still be March... March 2020. But things are not all together unchanged. I see Maria's hair is longer, again, since I cut it last May. Long enough to play with, trying the tutorial where she uses ribbon to make two braids wrap together. No hair ties or rubber bands! She did the first try all on her own, with a narrow ribbon, then I tried with this wider, grosgrain ribbon. If her hair grows this much in less than a year, I think this pretty style will be even more successful by mid-summer. By the way, today is her last day of school before she has a week of spring break. Not much is planned, I am sorry to say, but William is going to help her paint her room. And they might trade beds. There has been a lot of shuffling and rearranging, lately. I remarked about the house looking like five families are moving out, and five other families are moving in, all at once... and why? Because I am "cleaning!" Incidentally, I am not going to bother with paragraphs. This post is coming in fast and random, chaotic... like my thoughts! Now, let's talk about rununculus, before I head outside to meet Paul and Janece for a driveway visit: The rununculus I brought home are making me very happy, and Feynman cat is fascinated by them, too. There are flower fields in our part of the county where they grow, and I think I'd begun to take them for granted, hadn't bought any in many years. Well! What I was missing! They are an excellent warm up for peony season, I think. All of those sumptuous petals, the vibrancy of the colors, the daily evolvement as they open. Hold up! I think we have company!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A Little More Prettiness

When I started posting yesterday, there were all kinds of prettiness I wanted to share, but I ran out of time, before I was needed elsewhere. So, I am just popping in, again, to share a little more, and then, don't let me forget to make a to-do list. In the morning light, I can feel almost capable, and level headed about all the things that need doing, but in the wee hours I wake up in a panic! Objectively, rationally, I know that I have too much to do, owing mostly to the fact that under pressure, in trauma, I close my eyes and withdraw... and there's been a lot of that in the last, oh, say four years? Geoff thinks we might open our home again, have company, someday, soon, and the implication is that we might want to tidy up, or we could leave our home, go places, and that would require planning and organizing, too. Either way, it's becoming clear, that some people think that staying home forever, eyes closed, is not an option. It's rather a shame, because I have become very very comfortable in this cocoon. (Well... look at that. I note that I used "cocoon" for my metaphor, and it's staring at me, like a firm friend, as if to say, It is time for your metamorphosis. I am aware, my cocoon is not entirely figurative, you see, but is teetering on literal. I feel myself wriggling, uncomfortably confronting hard truths, growth, resistance.) Just now, anxiously, I'd like to see more of those pretty things, or close my eyes.
Ruth spent an afternoon visiting us. The weather was just right for driveway company. It was warm, but not too warm. Cool, but not too cool. We practiced all of the social distancing protocol that is routine by now. It's odd what we are accustomed to, that seemed like a hardship a year ago. Even sitting far apart, not hugging, a driveway visit is far better than a Zoom call, and we even shared lunch. I had a gift I have been waiting to share with Ruth, a little ratty brooch. Geoff had some down time from work, and was free to join the company, the young folks came out. For a time I did a little more stitching on the apron. We talked about travel, about places we might like to visit. We talked about farm houses in Wisconsin, how they tempt us. We talked about tea towels, house projects, school progress, termites, and fences. We moved into the shade, then back into the sun.
Look at what I found! After blogging about daffodils, about spring and bulbs, about never planning... and always feeling unprepared, I went to Trader Joes and right in the entrance were potted daffodils, the small ones, like I saw on our bike ride! I felt so lucky, like fate had a gift for me, and I could be part of the spring celebration, after all. And I grabbed some rununculus, too, because why not? If I had been at the market before Ruth's visit, I would have bought her bunches of flowers, probably the tulips I saw. The tulips were tightly shut, which is how I like them, so I can enjoy the whole ride, as they open up. Thinking on this, I'd love to go around all day delivering flowers to everyone I love. It would take a very long day... to get all over California, up to Oregon, over to Wisconsin, then Massachusetts, I'd stop in Georgia, pop down to Florida, then see everyone in Mexico. I'd think of everyone's favorites, and celebrate spring with them.
Ruth never comes empty-handed. She had a birthday gift for William, and a spring dish towel for our Bird House... it's covered in darling beetles. Ruth and I are in a Tea Towel Club, and so is Jennifer... you can be in our club, if you love tea towels. Ruth also brought me something special. It's from a shop in Kealakekua. It is precious! For one thing, she's kept it all these years, and thought of me, wants me to have it now. And it reminds me of flowers my Grandmother Eunice embroidered! And the print, with the cottage, and those blues and greens, the old fabric... all so lovely. Is it linen? Was this a kit? Who might know something about these? I have embroidered over fabric I painted. I painted acrylic on muslin. It's an effect I like very much. But I've never seen a sample like this. I noticed there are printed words on the frayed edge.
I have to look at the back of embroidered pieces! I have to. I love it almost as much, sometimes more, than the part we are meant to see. It's the rest of the story, the how it was made part, and it gives you a glimpse of the work, of the time and thought, even the struggles, or sometimes the remarkable grace. I love it. The printed words... I can make out The ____ House. The middle word looks like it could begin with an S. Summer, or Spring? What do you think?

Monday, March 29, 2021

Some Prettiness

Yesterday, on our bike ride, I saw a small patch of daffodils, growing in the nearly wild spot, my bit of forest. They are the small flower head kind that make me think of the French name, jonquille, with deep yellow saucers and yolk-orange cups. It's always in the middle of spring that I remember that I do like spring. Fall is my favorite season, and spring always comes last in mind, but that's a pity. It's a pity that in the Fall, when I am in love with crunching leaves beneath my boots, and bringing home too many pumpkins, I cannot be bothered with planting bulbs for spring. I don't want to imagine there will ever be any season but the home season, the brisk weather, and calm evenings season, with warm colors, and softening light. When I saw those few jonquilles, I felt a sharp pang of regret. It's spring now, and I wish I had planted daffodils and grape hyacinth, freesia, ranunculus. I wish we had wisteria coming into bloom, and a trellis for my Cécile Brünner roses. I even admit that I regret buying too many pumpkins... no, maybe not that. Maybe, because I have confessed my contrition, next Spring little daffodils and some grape hyacinth will pop up in our garden, because this Fall I will have saved some room in my Autumn dazzled head for Spring, and will plant those bulbs.

And now for a Liberty report! And another admission, from me: Around October I noticed our dear old hen was doing poorly, and by December I was practically composing her eulogy in my head. She limped, walked in circles, her comb was pale, she even lost her balance and rolled over. I am one of those weak kneed farmers that has never actually culled a chicken, which I know can be a merciful thing. I spared Kamen, after the bobcat shredded her, which, thankfully, turned out to be the right choice. I gave Liberty affection, private space to eat, and extra helpings of treats. I lifted her to the roost, and I brought her in the house during inclement weather. And I kind of held my breath, knowing it could be any day. But, I was wrong, or maybe the doting helped. Because it's late March and she's walking fine, roosting, again, and practically spry for an ol' girl! The other night when all the hens came for evening treats, I saw Liberty already roosting, and knowing what an effort it takes for her to get up there, I decided to pamper her, some more, and I brought her snacks to her. She is, and always has been a favorite hen. Gosh, it's hard loving pets, and caring for them, knowing that sooner or later, we will lose them... and so, it's one of the delights of being a farmer to dote, and comfort, when I can.

About that bee... he, too, was looking sapped and poorly, when Cairo and I found him clinging to the balcony screen. I brushed some honey water where he could drink it, and the little guy lapped it all up, then rallied. And I got to make another Reel for Instagram, which I enjoy doing.

There is lots more to share, like a visit with Ruth, and progress with embroidery. I'll save for those another post, because we are out of milk and bread and cheese, and clean socks. Happy as I am to sit here and revel in all the prettiness, I suppose I should rally! Happy Monday, friends.