our place


(source: pinterest)

I’m several years behind the times but I recently finished watching the entirety of the BBC series “Lark Rise to Candleford” on amazon prime.  It originally began airing in 2008 and was a beautiful series in so many ways.  As soon as I realized I was nearing the end of it, I ordered the trilogy of novels (of the same name) by Flora Thompson and am currently on page 251 of 556 delightful pages.  The novels are described as “the quintessential distillation of English country life at the turn of the twentieth century.”  (source: back cover of the book).

Here is a description of what “home” meant for the people of the hamlet at that time:

“But, as fond as they were saying, money isn’t everything.  Poor as they were, every one of the small cottages, so much alike when seen from the outside, had for its inmates the unique distinction of being ‘our place’ or ‘ho-um’.  After working in the pure cold air of the fields all day, the men found it comforting to be met by, and wrapped round in, an atmosphere of chimney-smoke and bacon and cabbage-cooking; to sink into ‘fey-ther’s chair’ by the hearth, draw off heavy, mud-caked boots, take the latest baby on their knee and sip strong, sweet tea while ‘our Mum’ dished up the tea-supper.

The elder children were either at school all day or lived out doors in fine weather; but, as their mothers said, they knew which house to go to when they felt hungry, and towards dusk they made for their supper and bed like homing pigeons, or rabbits scurrying to their burrow.

To the women, home was home in a special sense, for nine-tenths of their lives were spent indoors.  There they washed and cooked and cleaned and mended for their teeming families; there they enjoyed their precious half-hour’s peace with a cup of tea before the fire in the afternoon, and there they bore their troubles as best they could and cherished their few joys.  At times when things did not press too heavily upon them they found pleasure in re-arranging their few poor articles of furniture, in re-papering the walls and making quilts and cushions of scraps of old cloth to adorn their dwelling and add to its comfort….”

Home life is important, and although there are too many sad and broken homes, this little picture of an old English hamlet is what I wish it could be for everyone; comforting, filling, nurturing, special, enjoyable, peaceful……..

It is also a good reminder to continue making my own home as welcoming as I can, despite how tiresome it can be.  (laundry & messes forever, it seems).

But is it the cooking and cleaning that really matter?  Deep deep down, even with the never-ending messes, it’s the heart of the home that truly matters.  The soul.  There is beauty is a mess, too, of a full and messy life, my children, my husband, our living, our love.  There is a lot to be said for the woman that can, in wisdom, overlook the less important thing like a perfectly clean home, so that she can enjoy the things that truly matter;  a calm spirit, giving, listening, sharing, understanding the ones that she cares for.

Oh yes, I want that.  The trains on the floor ready to be played with, marker on the toddler hands as a sign of creativity, spending an extra hour in pj’s because we can, and it’s comfortable.  A cat curled up beside me and Sarah with her blanket.


Some photos from around our place, and our happenings.


I love my husband so much.  He’s been extra busy this week with work.  He had a long meeting last night, so important that one of the executives, who had tickets to the World Series final game, had to miss it for work!  (so sad)  Anyway, this man of mine grew up on a farm and at the end of an axe, chopping wood for his Dad…..and he was thrilled to order logs to be chopping for our own fireplace this year.  In typical fashion, he ordered way more than necessary, and I’m sure this amount of wood will last for several years.  In the meantime, he now has his boys at the ends of the axes.  His boys, plus Mike.  (who is like family)




The kittens are good and trained to behave like babies.


Sarah had pretty hair!


I have been organizing toys and as soon as the blocks were all in one basket rather than five toy boxes, they were played with again, under lamps, on the floor, by the book basket and the little rocking chair from Grandma and Grandpa.


Sarah at my side as I was taking pictures of the woolly aphids.


I have a lot of pictures of Sarah.  Going to her first dentist appointment!


She was so funny in the chair.  Three tiny cavities!  The shame of it!


Kara, my chickens are molting.


Now that we’ve had our killing frosts, I’ve been pulling up dead plants in the garden.  To our surprise and joy, we also pulled up two fat toads, first one by the rosemary, then the other by a tomato plant!  They were so cute tucked away under the ground, already drowsy and ready for hibernation.  Seth kept them in a box as I worked, and then we put them back.  See you in the spring, Mr. and Mrs. Toad!


Playing with my dishes!  I’m slowly working my stuff out of the storage room and into our new space.  I washed a pile of fiesta plates that I’ve had tucked away for a few years; a vintage red, cobalt, rose, and turquoise, a discontinued evergreen, and yellow.  Also, my “genuine fiesta collector” plate that I ordered years ago from the old Betty Crocker catalogue.

out moose

(someone else’s internet photo of “Our Moose”.)

My friend Caroline stopped at the end of our road yesterday because there was a crowd of people looking at, and taking pictures of, A MOOSE, which is rare in these parts.  This was exciting, but at the same time, she also met the new neighbors, who moved into our old gardener-friend’s house about a month ago.  And she found out that they are born again Christians!  They had already heard about me, and wanted to meet us, because their daughter has EIGHT children, and homeschools.  I wasn’t able to be a part of all this excitement, because I was gone for the day at CBS, but it was an absolute thrill.  A moose and Christian neighbors and the possibility of new friendships!  I love how God works.


Shall I mention Halloween?

My children have been counting down the days for over a month.  They are “dying” to dress up and go.

But, will it storm?

Will Rich get home in time to help me drive them around to knock on doors?

This is a sincerely scary day for yours truly.

7 thoughts on “our place

  1. i also liked Larkrise to Candleford! Blessings of ordinary life. Aah, yes. All the everyday, made special. Thanks for sharing a peek into your day. I love visiting here:)

  2. Poor babies! I have been wondering how your chickens are doing. Actually just the one looks bedraggled…the rest of them look really good! The moose is too cool!

    I’m so excited to hear about your new Christian neighbors and their daughter/grandchildren. It truly is amazing how God works.

    Your household is the epitome of ‘home’. That’s one reason why I like reading your blog so much. I think you have that one down…no worries.

  3. I adore the lines you included from the book! Making a home a real HOME is so dear to my soul, and I love to talk about it, and hear others talk about it! Also, I’ve been late to the game as well, but now I think I must watch the video series you talked of. 🙂

  4. I love the Fiestaware photo! I tried watching larkrise to candleford, but unfortunately amazon prime won’t allow it to play in Australia. I suppose it will be waiting for me when I return! I hope your kids got to trick or treat. After taking three years off, Sophie and James went around trying to find doors to knock on last night. They had a wonderful time, and didn’t seem to realize that their haul of candy was paltry compared to what it would have been in Pittsburgh.

  5. Shanda I think you are already doing a fine fine job at making your home comfortable and inviting while not too uptight for the enjoyment of life within its walls!! I admire you! Some days I feel as though I cannot breathe! Perhaps I don’t have that balance of work/enjoyment worked out quite yet…or I need to learn to take more enjoyment from my work…either way….when I read the quote from the book….I immediately thought of you, your family and your home!!! I would love it if you shared with me how you find this balance!!!

  6. We sure do like the same shows/books. I just recently watched that series too…I found it at the library! Your Rich sure is a hard worker. What a pile of logs. Looks like a great project for the young men. So cute to see the kitty all sprawled out like a baby 🙂 I have always thought your Fiesta dishes are so colorful, like a quilt, and your hutch is so pretty. You do a great job with home and family!

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