Monday, June 26, 2017

peace and beauty

We took a little trip to a monastery open house.


They make beer there. We toured the plant - so much shiny stainless steel!

But, the grounds.



They have a very large property, and the whole feeling is one of peace. And beauty.



Every tree, every thing, seems just where it ought to be and it's all perfection.





How do they do that? 

I recently felt like going through all the Brother Cadfael mysteries again, and just finished "A Morbid Taste for Bones". I could picture him here.


This is where they have chapter.  I want my house to look like this. 

Nearby is the chapel and we went in. A small, dark area, someone playing the organ. Just four or five pews, not more than fifteen feet long. I sat in the back one - near the blue blue windows, looking out on the green green summer day.


Everything about the place was just sublime to me.


The Lord said to Abram, Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. 
                                                           -  Genesis 12:1


We're in the middle of a cyclone, said the old monk as I watched him and most of the community at dusk, as sheet upon sheet of rain marched toward the refectory windows...All became heavy and still. Lightning took out the monastery phones. (A blessing, said one monk. Peace at last.)

                                                                 -  Dakota,  Kathleen Norris




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

a visit from Yogi and a new bedskirt

I desperately needed a decent dust ruffle, and I found a used one on ebay. A Laura Ashley, supposedly one hundred percent cotton.

The tag clearly says half cotton and half poly. Anyway, I adjusted it for my daybed and it looks nice.



Dolly and I sat out again today for an hour. About halfway into it, a catbird started fussing up above us; I could see him clearly as he chucked at us, and just when he began his meowing, which sounded exactly like this,  (I guess it isn't really meowing, but does seem like a cat-ish noise.) I turned and there was Yogi right next to me. So the little catbird wasn't concerned about Dolly's presence, but he took a different view of Yogi.

He let me pet him! I offered him some of Dolly's food and water (he sniffed and then declined), and he stayed nearby for a little while. Oh, why didn't I think to bring the camera out? He is a beautiful cat.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

living breezes and invisible worlds

After some very unJune-like weather, hot and excessively humid, today was much drier, sunny and breezy. But I thought the ground must be wet after last night's rainstorms, and maybe not so nice to sit out. Until I came into the house after tossing something in the trash, and Dolly ran out. I chased after her in my bare feet (she stopped near the fence under a tree, thank God!) and grabbed her. And it wasn't wet after all! So, out we went.


For two hours, on a quilt under a tree; and I thought of the words in the morning's hymn:

The glories of earth, sea and sky
Thy pow'r and wisdom magnify;
The roseate dawn, the living breeze,
The flow'r decked fields, the surging seas,
All sing in wordless song to thee,
To whom exist all things that be.

It was the words living breeze that got me for some reason. We both enjoyed that breeze today.

Of course, sitting under a tree you occasionally feel a crawly something on your neck or whatever, and these little yellow spiders kept appearing, along with tiny ants and even a daddy long legs who was suddenly in my basket! I chased him out.

Here's a bright red bug of some sort. There was so much busyness on this tiny level!


If you don't pay attention, you'd never realize what's going on out there. And I usually don't.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017

petition

O Christ, the healer, we have come
to pray for health, to plead for friends.
How can we fail to be restored
when reached by love that never ends?

From every ailment flesh endures
our bodies clamor to be freed;
yet in our hearts we would confess
that wholeness is our deepest need.

How strong, O Lord, are our desires,
how weak our knowledge of ourselves!
Release in us those healing truths
unconscious pride resists or shelves.

-  from Magnificat, June 2017



Monday, June 12, 2017

another weed


This wild rose - it took over the forsythia that used to be there and there are patches of it elsewhere in the yard, but I don't care - the sweet scent is everywhere these June days.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

a graduation


My favorite pillowcases, now serving as cleaning cloths for the bathroom.  Well, I don't want to call it a demotion!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

side garden


The garden on the side of the house near the back door, with a gray stone border.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

given

"We live the given life, not the planned."

                         - Wendell Berry



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

what is a weed?


I can't believe how well these wildflowers are holding up - I shouldn't say "holding up", because they look exactly as perky as when I picked them.


My brother referred to them as weeds when I was marveling. And even though I also use the term occasionally, I suddenly saw there is no such thing as a weed. A "weed" is just a plant you can't identify that's in a place you don't want it to be. That's a weed. 


Thursday, June 1, 2017

soda bottle with buttercups

Lately I'm looking at empty food jars and bottles with a new eye


and am liking them as well as any vase.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

always dishes

It seems I always have dishes needing to be washed, and sometimes it's tiresome.


But then I remember that this is a working kitchen, not a "show" kitchen, so of course there will always be dishes. And I feel better.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day, anyway


The sunrise was so pretty that I thought the weatherman must be wrong, but he wasn't. It was another one of many gloomy and rainy days lately, and rather cool, too.

But inside we had company, and peanut butter cookies.


Monday, May 29, 2017

tomatoes from the old country

A friend stopped by and brought us three tomato plants: a Polish one like we had last year, and two Italian. From Italy - his grandfather's tomatoes, the seeds saved every year by his family! 


That's exciting.

Friday, May 26, 2017

hoping for hummingbirds


For a change, I bought a yellow hanging plant at the sale; it's lantana - something that's only an annual here. They said it should attract hummingbirds.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

neat and organized


This is how it looks when my brother does the garden.  I'm glad he's found time for it again.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

the second thing

"...the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more 'literary' you are. That's my definition, anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often...So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life...Well, there we have the first thing I said we need. Quality, texture of information."

"And the second?"

"Leisure."

                                                -  Fahrenheit 451,  Ray Bradbury



Thursday, May 18, 2017

coy peas

Today it was plenty over ninety, but I reveled in it - we've had so much chilly, rainy gloominess; it felt great! I made this favorite pasta salad.


And if you make it with pipette, the peas try to hide in them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

it isn't perfectionism

"It is not doing perfectly this or that particular work or exercising a particular profession perfectly that grafts us into union with the Church; it is being so driven by Christ, wherever we are, that this small action of ours in the world is truly his.

It is not because we can organize the world that we will be grafted in marriage to the Church, but it is in carrying within us each person in the world, each person that we meet; it is not in organizing their lives for them but in giving them the right to live in our life; in sharing with them everything that we are, all that is ours, from our bread to God's grace."

-   Madeleine Delbrel,  from  Magnificat, May 2017

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Light Exists in Spring



A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period -
When March is scarcely here.

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope, you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay -

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

-  Emily Dickinson

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"like a jewel from the bottom of the sea"

"The object of salvation is that which is unique, irreplaceable, incommunicable - that which is myself alone. This true inner self must be drawn up like a jewel from the bottom of the sea, rescued from confusion, from indistinction, from immersion in the common, the nondescript, the trivial, the sordid, the evanescent.

We must be saved from immersion in the sea of lies and passions which is called 'the world'. And we must be saved above all from that abyss of confusion and absurdity which is our own worldly self. The person must be rescued from the individual. The free son of God must be saved from the conformist slave of fantasy, passion, and convention. The creative and mysterious inner self must be delivered from the wasteful, hedonistic, and destructive ego that seeks only to cover itself with disguises.

To be 'lost' is to be left to the arbitrariness and pretenses of the contingent ego, the smoke-self that must inevitable vanish. To be 'saved' is to return to one's inviolate and eternal reality and to live in God."

                                        -  Thomas Merton, from Magnificat, May 2017

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

clouds of white


I had to put up this photograph of a local crabapple tree. Fabulous.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

let us rise

Let us rise in early morning,
And, instead of ointments, bring
Hymns of praises to our Master,
And his Resurrection sing:
We shall see the Sun of Justice
Ris'n with healing on his wing.

Go ye forth, his saints, to meet him!
Go with lamps in every hand!
From the sepulcher he riseth:
Ready for the Bridegroom stand:
And the Pascha of salvation
Hail, with his triumphant band.

-  from Magnificat, May 2017



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

When I bought this skillet last summer, I did wonder if I wasn't being greedy. After all, I had one very similar at home, one with the same heavy bottom and the same diameter on top.


This Calphalon is narrower at the base and a bit deeper, different enough for all kinds of cooking. and cleans up like a dream. I'm not feeling greedy anymore - I'm glad I bought it!

Monday, May 1, 2017

more from Mother Goose

There's been a chickadee flapping against our front windows yesterday and again today. I heard a tapping in the spare room and saw him trying to get in. It was so cloudy, it can't be that he was seeing his reflection; still, I headed over to pull down the shade but Dolly was there before me, leaping onto the sill and trying to get him through the glass. I think that scared him off.


Once I saw a little bird
Come hop, hop, hop;
So I cried, "Little bird,
Will you stop, stop, stop?"

And was going to the window
To say, "How do you do?"
But he shook his little tail,
And far away he flew.

-  from Mother Goose



Saturday, April 29, 2017

the valiant cherry tree

Our dear little cherry tree is blooming hard.


There's a dead branch which needs to be removed, but the rest of it is adapting as best it can to its injured state


and doing a darn good job of it.


It's like a fairy thing.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

finished

The library throw is all done, except for an identifying patch of some kind we want to attach. It's really hard to get an accurate photo of it; it's brighter than this.


After looking at several types of borders I decided to make a scallop, and this pretty iris yarn - with sparkles! - was perfect.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

rain

Rain on the green grass,
  and rain on the tree,


Rain on the house-top,
  but not on me.


from Mother Goose.

Monday, April 24, 2017

a buttonhole

I tried again with parchment paper underneath the fabric, but it still stuck in the machine, so today I made a buttonhole by hand. It wasn't so bad; the fuzzy fabric covers up my stitching, so I guess it's okay.


But this is why I wanted real buttonholes with these great buttons.  I only need to make two more, but not today.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

hymn for Easter Week

Glory to God! The morn appointed breaks,
and earth awakes from all the woeful past;
For, with the morn, the Lord of life awakes,
and sin and death into the grave are cast.

Glory to God! The cross, with all its shame
now sheds its glory o'er a ransomed world;
For he who bore the burden of our blame,
with pierced hands the foe to hell has hurled.

Glory to God! Sing ransomed souls again,
and let your songs our glorious Victor laud,
who by his might has snapped the tyrant's chain,
and set us free to rise with him to God.

-   from Magnificat, April 2017