the second walk

Praise to the Lord,
Who oʼer all things so wondrously reigneth
Shieldeth thee under his wings,
Yea so gently sustaineth
Hast thou not seen, How thy desires have been
Granted in what he ordaineth

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Sarah wanted to go on another walk the next day so I agreed.

I also want to mention that on both days I had expressed longing to her that I wanted to find a feather.  I wished to find one.  I was looking.

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We admired an algae filled little stream in the woods, filled with the reflection of trees and sky.

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And saw frog eggs left clinging along an underwater (the clearest of water) branch that had fallen from the trees above.

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exploring

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We started to head home and to be different we left the trail to go through the woods and across the stream to home.

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Scattered among dry leaves we found a whole entire pile of yellow feathers!!

Not a brown feather, not a gray feather, not just one single feather, but many many bright YELLOW ones.

My first thought was “goodness, poor bird!” and my second thought was, “Well, I found feathers!” and my third thought was “Thank you, God, for the little things……for answering these tiny almost meaningless wishes we have, just to make us smile.”

If You care enough to answer in the little things, You must care enough to answer in the big things.

For Your good and glory.

Sarah said, “Check the bird application on your phone and see what kind of bird it was!”

And since you don’t necessarily need the bird to make a search (just the feathers), we stood there next to the pile and looked it up.

We decided it was a Northern Flicker, as they have yellow tails and wings, which obviously proved indigestible and were left behind.  We gathered them up.

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See the itty bitty red feather between my thumb and pointer finger?  Red as my nails!

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We took them home and let them soak in a bowl of warm soapy water.

Hours later, after Seth’s first little league scrimmage, and after I put the children to bed, I stood in the kitchen and carefully took each feather out of the water and arranged them to dry on paper towels.

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feather art!

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After they dried they fluffed right out again like proper feathers.  I’m saving some for my flying pig (stay tuned), sending a couple to Joanna, and putting a couple in my journal.  Some of them belong to Sarah.

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Something else made me smile this week.

I had given away a book here through the blog to Dawn R and mailed it out to her.  After she received it she asked for my address (I had ordered and sent the book through amazon) and so I gave it to her.  I was expecting a thank you card but she sent a package with a sweet little bird, a book, a note, and a lotion (my FAVORITE KIND!!).  It made my day.  Well, at the same time I was ransacking the house trying to find my Birth Certificate and to my absolute astonishment in the midst of my papers I FOUND AN OLD CARD FROM THE SAME BLOG FRIEND FROM 8 YEARS AGO!!!!  ( I save ev.er.y.thing.) So, thank you dear Dawn R, you’ve really been an encouragment to me!!!

“We have shared together the blessings of God.”  Philippians 1:7

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Last but certainly not ever least, 2019’s very first spring violet.

For Thia.

You are loved.

 

 

moss walk

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I was getting stir crazy so tied my boots on and went outside to visit a friendly cat and walk around.  I gathered four eggs and picked up some garbage off the lawn (tis the season).

Then, the schoolbus came and let off Seth and Sarah and suddenly I had a willing little friend to walk with me.  We thought we would go to the end of the road and back but she said “Can we go in the woods?” and naturally I said, “Of course!”

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We couldn’t help but admire all the moss, I wonder if it was because it was the only green in the forest and it just naturally drew our eyes.  We liked how it lifted off the rocks just like a rug.  Sarah put it carefully back.

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We even reclined on moss.

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We saw the first frog eggs of the spring, always worth bending down for a look-see.  Sarah would NOT touch them.

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But I don’t mind the feel of frog eggs, I quite like it.  The water was like ice, though, and my motherly heart just knew they would need a few warm days in order to hatch.

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She was determined to take me to Murkwood, one of Grace’s old haunts that she found and named and showed to her little sister.

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Going on this walk made Sarah’s imagination kick into high gear and soon I was being called BrightHeart instead of mom.  Her name was FlameStar which I never could get right.  She seemed more like a TwinkleToes to me.

Mostly she said, “Come on, BrightHeart” but one time when I was in front of her she said, “Slow down BrightHeart, you don’t want to get too far ahead of your leader.”  And then I knew she really was imagining things.

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I thought I found a hedgehog but then I realized it was just moss again.

(I started imagining things, too)

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I carried this pretty twig the whole walk and guess what?  Sarah, I mean FlameStar, changed my name!!  To TwigHeart.  I wasn’t sure what to think of that.  I guess I have a heart of wood.

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This made my heart happy.  I saw in the distance a flow of sticky pine pitch down the side of a tree so we went over to take a look and discovered a tick STUCK fast to the pitch.  As I look at this photo I can also see a tiny black caterpillar stuck there, too.  The tick was still alive, too, but stuck.  I was intrigued but Sarah looked off into the distance and waited in disgust for me to be done.

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Skunk cabbage, I broke a piece off to have Sarah smell it and she hated it.

She’s particular about what she wants to experience.

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However, she loved the water… she loved the rocks …she loved the trees …she loved the moss.  She was happy.  Just please don’t show her ticks or make her smell skunky things.

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There are many different kinds of moss.  If you touch them, some are soft and some are rough, some are wet and some are dry.  Some look like tiny ferns and some look like underwater grasses.    Some is short like carpet, some is fluffy and makes you wish you were tiny enough to snuggle within it.  Some is bright green, it hurts your eyes, and some like the moss growing on this boulder, is the deepest darkest forest green.

 

quick trip to Jekyll

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Good morning, so sorry for my absence here, it felt long to me!  I haven’t posted in over a week!  Because………

……..last week at this time I was flying to Georgia with my husband for a very quick visit to Jekyll Island.  What can I say about it?  It was a whirlwind, I was tired beyond words because we had to get up at 3:30 in the morning to make our flight, and it was freezing cold.  However, on the positive side, I didn’t have to worry about my children with good ol’ Michael in charge here at home, I was able to relax and look at some beautiful magazines on the plane and start a good book, I ate good food, and I was able to see some lovely sights and visit my brother!!

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We stayed at the Jekyll Island Club resort where it is beautiful all over and there are huge old trees draped in spanish moss.

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The little coffee shop at the resort.  (love the floors!)

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This is what I wore on the plane and I’m smiling because I have my coffee in hand and there are pink flowering shrubs behind me.

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The trees, the trees, the glorious trees.  It was a treat to feast my eyes on the green and the flowers.

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Rich had to work in the hotel room so I was off on my own for several hours and managed to get cold and wet in the rain, although quite happily.

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driving

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A little place we found.

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visiting

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view out the back of the cottage

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It was raining hard, with lots of wind……

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The next morning it had cleared some, but it was still chilly so I wore the black leggings again plus a long skirt, a black shirt, and a sweater.

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We had an appointment that morning and then went shopping.

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The shops were next to the ocean so I ran down to put my feet in.

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The clouds and the sea.

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And then, guess what?  By God’s providence we were down on Jekyll Island the very day David and his girlfriend arrived for vacation!!!  I was able to meet dear Ann and it was an instant friendship.  The four of us met for a nice seafood lunch.

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With a beautiful view out the window.

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My very first best friend, and we are still the best of friends these 40 years later.

I love you Dave!!!!

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One last walk on the beach (Tuesday evening) by my lonesome, Rich was out running.

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I sat by the window and Rich sat on the aisle, with an empty seat between us.  I thought my thoughts and read my book and even dozed now and then.  It’s always a little bit of a relief when the plane lands for the final time (we had a connecting flight) and you realize you survived yet another trip (I’m a slightly anxious traveler)…….I was happy to get home (Wednesday afternoon) and see the children again although the house was pretty messy.  It didn’t take too long to get it back into order (the kids did most of it).

Happy Monday!

searching for sugar

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I was highly amused the other day when I came into the kitchen and saw Seth start from one end of the counter and inch his way to the other end of it, carefully exploring and rummaging around in each cupboard.  “What are you looking for?” I asked.  “I don’t know,” he said, and kept searching for it.  So I stood and waited to see if he would find it and he did.  He found a box of Christmas Godiva chocolates that I had hid from the children and then promptly forgot about, and he quickly ate one.  Then, a few doors down, he found in the last cupboard an almost empty bag of Luden’s Wild Cherry throat drops and ate one of those, too.  He jumped off the counter and went on his merry way.  I understood.  He needed a sugar fix.

book giveaway/maple syrup photos

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(from a page in a book David is sending me)

The cats absolutely love to go outside and roll back and forth back and forth in the dirt.  Bagheera was at the window wanting to come in (we have low porch windows that they can easily jump through) and when I walked over to open up the window he jumped through with his shiny black fur just as dusty and dirty as can be, I had to laugh!

I was gone for a few hours this morning.  After I got Seth and Sarah on the bus and wrote a long long letter to a penpal, I received a text from a friend wondering if we could go walking together.  I’m finally feeling better and energetic after the awful cold I had so I happily said “yes!” and off I went to her house.  We walked over 2.5 miles together in a bright and cold New England morning, with the sky as clear and blue as the deep blue sea.

We walked past a wooded lot that had maple trees tapped for sap.  The sap was dripping from the trees into long thin plastic tubes, which led to clean white plastic containers but I like the looks of the old fashioned way the best (although I admit for large operations it’s much better to use tubing and tubs!).

My Mom and Dad boil sap in the spring and collect it using hooded metal buckets.

I’ve never been able to be home on a boiling day, but my brother David took some wonderful photos on Saturday (full of freshly fallen March snow!) and sent them to me and I wanted to share them here.

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Mom was talking about how to make Pesto while Dave took this video.  I asked Dave why there was a big pot in the middle of the pan of sap and he said that they add the cold sap to the pot to start warming up so that they can add it warm and keep main tray of sap at a constant good boil.

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Mom and Dad in their open shed, with their dog and wood and small homesteading maple syrup operation!  So satisfying.

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This is how they do the final straining of the syrup.

They make jars and jars of syrup and can use it all year long.

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Leave a comment on this post or on my FB page and I’ll draw a name tomorrow and send this book to the lucky winner!   As you know I’ve been reading through all the Newbery books and this 1957 winner was so charming and perfect to read at this time of year.   I will order the book for you on amazon and have it mailed, so you will have to give me your mailing address.  I’ll post the winner tomorrow at this time!

One of my little pleasures is warming up the children’s pancake syrup.  Rich’s Dad also boils sap for syrup and he gives us lots and lots of it every year.  Later on, after breakfast is over and done and I’m cleaning up, I like to stand and dip my finger way down into the leftover syrup and then pop my finger into my mouth for a nice clean mouthful of pure, sweet NY maple syrup goodness!  What a blessing!

‘”The sap running gives me a feeling I can’t describe,” Mr Chris said.  “Like it’s the blood of the earth moving.”‘  Miracles on Maple Hill, by Virginia Sorensen

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my parents, my friends

“Remember this, that very little is needed to make a happy life.”  Aurelius

Good morning, it’s 7:50am and 38 degrees here in our neck of the woods.  I didn’t get to see David and Caleb this morning as I got up after their bus came and left.  I woke up Seth with a kiss and he asked his typical, “Can you  make me an egg sandwich with cheese and ham?  Do we have bacon?  No?  okay, than with ham?” and then he took a 20 minute shower.  I had to go back upstairs to knock on the door and tell him, “Your egg sandwich has been done for ten minutes!”  Sarah Joy didn’t sleep well last night, and neither did I.  When I got up at 2 to drink some milk, I found her sleeping on the couch.  The dog was a few feet away, snoring and snoring.  It was rather cozy I must admit.  She was back in her bed this morning and didn’t want to get up.  The sooner she realizes that she can live life even when super- tired the better.

They have left for school now, leaving me home alone.  I’ve been feeling rather lonely lately and think I’ll try making a list of things to do in order to fill up my day and feel more productive.  This morning I want to blog, shower, get some groceries, clean the coat closet, go for a walk, and get some laundry folded.  Then this afternoon I’ll have to think of some more things to get done.

Sherlock the orange cat is stretched out on my art book, which I keep out on the table in front of the window here in the livingroom.  I have paints and pens and papers, my Bible, note cards, glue, and books all over the table and he seems to feel at home there.  Our black cat Bagheera is curled up next to me on a red wool blanket.  I am sitting cross-legged on the couch with a pillow on my lap, with the computer on the pillow, typing away………at times I reach out and stroke his beautiful black fur and he always purrs in reply.

I’m thinking about what I was doing last week at this time.  I was at my parent’s house and mom was frying us eggs.  She fried four; one for me, one for Dad, one for her, and one for the dog.  Dad mixed a few nuggets of dog food in with the dog’s egg and put it on the floor for him.  Mom made gingerbread pancakes for me and herself.  Dad didn’t want one.  We all had bacon.  Just as we were about to eat, Aunt Carol came.  She lives just up the road from mom and dad and recently lost her husband.  She would normally walk down for a visit but it was only ten degrees outside so she drove.  Dad made coffee and we all enjoyed having a cup together.  Mom showed Aunt Carol the scrapbook she is working on and I enjoyed watching the two sisters look through it, sitting side by side, and talking together about childhood memories.

I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for my family, each one is so special in many ways.  I’m glad that we have each other.  I’m glad I have parents who love me so much and want me to visit them.  Mom took Monday morning off so she could be home with me and not have to go to work until I had to leave.

We looked at old family photos, ate a yummy St Patrick’s day boiled corned beef dinner, watched tv, worked on Mom’s scrapbook, talked, went for a wonderful walk outside, and just enjoyed each other’s company.

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With my dear Dad!!!

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Little me, with my mom and dad over forty years ago.

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A meaningful quote in Dad’s writing, found propped against his books.

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These words are engrained in my mind, as I remember reading this plaque through the years.  The truth of them astounds me now, and comforts me.

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The sisters looking at mom’s book.

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Mom and Dad tap maple trees and boil sap in the springtime, so we walked up to check the buckets.

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And guess what?

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The sap was hanging from the spigots as icicles!  Dad had boiled a few days before but knew he’d have a few days off since it was freezing cold.  I love that they make syrup, there’s just something so satisfying about it and they have mason jars full of the finished product to enjoy all year-long.

My brother David sent me photos from this weekend that I’ll share tomorrow of the boiling.

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There is something deep inside that is always put at ease when I am home again, especially outdoors.  I find myself again and I’m me, just me, my mind relaxes as I listen to quiet and smell and see all the familiar things.

“I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world—present and in awe.”  Anne Lamott

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Just Shanda, out on a walk with her Mom and her Dad.

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Dad was telling Mom about the tree he found to cut up for firewood and mom was telling him all the ways to do it safely.

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Mom stopped to admire this rock.  I smiled.

“I tell you the truth, if they kept silent their praise of the Lord, the stones themselves would cry out the message.”  Luke 19:40

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Beautiful morning frost on the moss.   I got right on the ground to get closer.  Look at the perfect patterns!

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There is loveliness all around us, we just need the eyes to see and hearts to appreciate.

“The earth has music for those who listen.”  Shakespeare

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Back inside the warm house…..I gave mom the mushroom Joanna gave to me!  I knew Jo wouldn’t mind, as she loves my mom, too.  It just goes so well with mom’s corner collection (the one from me and Jo is on the green leaf).  Look, she even has a mushroom planter which maybe I’ll try to steal next time I visit………….

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Mom made this recently!

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Look at the back!  This was all her creation, no pattern, just some lovely fabric and an artsy soul.

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Time for this girl to go home to her own house and family.

But first a hug from mom.

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And a hug from Dad.

Time with you is always precious to me.

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My parents.

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My friends.