big bow, books, and a heron

I had serious reservations about Sarah’s requested hair style this morning (I’m her hair stylist).  “I want the ponytail on the top of my head like this,” she turned upside down and gathered it up in her hands, “and then put the bow on.”  The bow was all of 8 inches across, large, white, with silver sequins all over it.  She won the bow yesterday by “moving up her clip” at school.  Rather ridiculous.  Still, I couldn’t see any reason to deny her.  Up up and up went the hair, with the big bow on the very very top.

Two hours later, I was sitting in the front row of the auditorium trying to find my girl, the one with the big white bow on her head.  And to my amusement, there were girls all over the place with big bows of all different colors on the tops of THEIR heads!  It’s a trend!  An 8 year old school girl fashion trend!

*****

After the concert, where I heard adorable songs sung by adorable children, I decided to check out a local used book store for more Newbury books.  I’m trying to collect all the gold and silver medal winners, and read them all, too.  Or rather, I determined I would read them, and then found myself collecting them.  I have already read some of them, of course.   And we owned a surprising amount.  But there are over 300 titles and now that I’ve set this goal as a 40-something year old woman, it will be an absolute treat to read most of them for the first time, and some of them over again.  I’ll be sharing most of my “Newbury book news” on my instagram account, with some now and then updates here, too.  Since I began my challenge, I’ve read 1)Roller Skates 2)The Dark Frigate 3)Sounder 4) Secret of the Andes 5)The Twenty One Balloons  and am currently reading 6) Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.  It feels like it’s taking me a hundred years to finish it but that’s not to say that it isn’t a good book because it is.  It’s just taking me almost a solid week to read it.  Next I’ll read Out of the Dust because when I posted a photo of it on Instagram two of my friends said it was a favorite.  If I’m going to read them all I want to own them all (a treasure of a library for myself and my family) and since I love a bargain and a treasure hunt I’ll be spending the summer searching.  It’s such fun.  I get confused.  Some of the titles I’ve never heard of and don’t know what the covers look like.  So I printed off a big long list of the titles to check and double check and rely on my phone to look things up, too.  All that said, I still have managed to end up with some “doubles”.

*****

I didn’t realize my laptop would stay connected to the internet away far over here by the chicken coop but it is and it does so I am!  The pond is just down the bank in front of me, and I am sitting in an Adirondack chair, with my purse on a little table next to me.  Inside the purse there are 8 eggs as I didn’t want them to roll out of my pockets and crack against the chair seat.  The chickens wandered around my feet for a while, one of them beaked my toes!, but have mostly wandered away, eating bugs and grass while making soft cooing sounds.  They look so pretty against the tall dark pink clover and daisies in bloom next to the coop.

*****

When I stopped outside with my book to read, I saw a heron at the pond so I put the dog in the basement (he would bark and chase it away) and put my zoom lens on the camera.

They aren’t the best photos in the world but they’re special because I took them standing on my own front porch!

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I’m mainly amused by the long legs.  And knowing eye.

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“The Knowing Eye”

After trying to hide from me in a pine tree, it flew far far away and I retrieved my laptop to try to post the photos outdoors in the very best office in the world!  Nature!  I heard someone say this morning that nature isn’t romantic it’s just out to kill you but you know what, that’s just part of the charm.  At the moment, I feel perfectly safe.  I doubt the Heron would say the same.  He probably thought my long camera was a gun.

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The parting shot.

*****

Back to Hitty!  I’m determined to finish it before 2!  That’s when I need to pick up Grace from school (she’s been helping her former HS English teacher this week!  One more step closer to her dream of becoming a teacher herself).

Happy Thursday!

such small creatures….still, so lovely

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This morning David and Caleb left for school on the bus and Ethan and Grace left together in Ethan’s new truck so Ethan could take Grace to the HS before he drove to work and that left Seth, Sarah, and Jacob still at home.  Then, Jacob left for work but texted me 10 minutes later saying, “I’m coming back, I forgot my I.D.”

He was not happy as he tore around the house (all 6 feet 2 inches of him) looking for it.  I finished up what I was doing and told Seth to keep an eye out for the bus so he wouldn’t miss it as I helped Jacob.  “He can’t find his I.D, Seth, do you know where it is?”  “I don’t even know WHAT it is,” he said.  “It’s his picture on a shoe-lace type necklace.”  “For work?”  “Yes”  “I didn’t know he had to have his picture taken for work…….”  Jacob stomped through the room again.  “I ALWAYS PUT IT ON MY DRESSER AND IT’S NOT THERE!”  He’s getting more and more steamed.

“Did you look underneath it?” says Seth……

A minute later I found Seth’s big brother Jacob on the floor looking under his dresser.  Lo and behold….there it was.

I ran up the stairs, “Seth, Seth!! you saved the day!  It was under the dresser!”

21 year old big brother Jacob was right behind me, very relieved, and we found 9 year old little brother Seth waiting for us, doing a slow clap and nodding his head up and down with a knowing smile, because he saved the day.

*****

Yesterday evening there was a house FULL of young people and as I was scrolling Facebook I saw a photo of a PINK praying mantis (young one) and it immediately made me want to go outside and look for insects to photograph.  It’s one of my favorite things to do at 6:00 on a Sunday evening when the house is super loud and crazy and my husband is away on a business trip and any other time, too, really.

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What shiny eyes you have, dragonfly.

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Can you imagine having antenna this long and graceful?  Did you take whiskers from a cat?

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I laugh at bugs because they are so smart.  As soon as they see me they *quick as a wink* hide underneath whatever leaf or grass they are perched upon.  It’s a great game of hide and seek.

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Look at it’s tiny black eye.  Just the tiniest of dots.

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buttercup pedals // heart

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This flower is about the size of a dime.  So lovely.  6 pedals with pointed ends of the loveliest shade of purple.  They grow on the tops of thick grass-like stalks and are a flower of my childhood.

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There is a bug underneath all that spit.

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Lovely red cloak

I had to twist around the stem to take the photo because he kept going behind the flower to hide from me.  Imagine spending time in a buttercup.

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butterflies and moths are impossible to get close to, I only got this photo because it was dead.

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It’s so beautiful!!!!  I bet he would be fun to draw.

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a couple of these photos will not contain an insect.

Yarrow is just coming into blossom.

Their whiteness looks so lovely in a sea of green grasses.  Their stalks are still nice and bendy and tossed back and forth in the wind in a very sea-like wavey way.

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mating bugs

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I admit this one gave me a creepy feeling.

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Teeny tiny spider and two teeny tiny black bugs.  Do they know they are being watched by a spider?

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“What big eyes you have, Grandmother!”

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I imagine this is one of those super-hero bugs wearing dark shades and a business suit and out to save the day *like Seth*.

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with pedals

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and without.

And all God’s people said……….

new lens in the great outdoors

Next month at this time I will be in Alaska with my friend Hannah.  Joanna suggested getting my hands on a fisheye lens so as to be better prepared for the gorgeous Alaskan spectacles of nature that I will be sure to see and want to photograph.

The lens came last week and as soon as I was able, I went outside for a long long walk and took photos of everything.  These are the ones that made the final cut:

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First off; it seemed fitting and right to take the first photo of the hens after I let them out of the coop that morning.  This one seemed especially interested in my new lens.

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And on I went; there are many varieties of ferns in the woods.

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Butterfly

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Strawberry Blossom

I must remember where I saw this so I can go back and eat the berries later.

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A lovely bunch of white violets.  All the violets were at their peak of loveliness in the woods (by the house they were done blooming) so they were a joy to see.

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Quaker Ladies//Bluets grow everywhere.

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Thanks to recent rains the outdoors has become a stunning shade of emerald green.

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Unfurling ferns

I was lying on the ground to take some of these photos.

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Dappled sunshine

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Jack-in-the-Pulpit

A favorite spring flower.

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I hung my jacket off a tree branch at the old beaver pond in the woods as I explored.  There was a water lily bud about to bloom that I will go back to look at soon.

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Please pardon some of the edges of my photos which is a hazard of the fish eye lens.  I am learning to be more careful about adjusting the lens so there are no shadows in the corners.  But this chair was found in the woods by my daughter and I a few weeks ago and it gave us a bit of a creepy feeling.  Has anyone ever silently sat here and watched us walk by?

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Standing up high on a boulder and admiring the stream.

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There were violets growing everywhere and it was about this point when I lost my lens cap and had to retrace my steps to find it again.

I had no pockets so I was putting it down my tucked in shirt, and when I bent over to take photos it fell out.

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I know I have a lot to learn.

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But these photos make me happy today.

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And I hope you liked them, too.

*****

I’m thankful I can go for walks like this without having to drive anywhere, I can just walk out the front door and be on my way.

It never gets boring, there is always something new to see.  New flowers blooming, insects, small creatures, birds, mushrooms, plants, water, pinecones, trees and bark, leaves, and so on……….

And always thoughts of God and the Creator of such good things.

“I think this is how we’re supposed

to be in the world–

present and in awe.”

Anne Lamott

 

 

 

 

 

 

wild violets & a trip to brimfield antiques show 2018

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We haven’t had our lawn mowed yet so there are wild violets growing everywhere.  They are abundant and I found myself wandering around picking a tiny bouquet of them.  The white ones are the most fragrant; beautiful, creamy white with deep purple lines from the middle pedal and just a hint of yellow there, too.

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We are blessed in violets.  Another kind that I noticed was white with a deep blue center, with blue veins coming out from the blue.

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Also noticed was a thin grapevine twisted around and up a tree, just the right spot for another photo opportunity for my violets.

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My very favorite one is light lilac in color, with thin delicate pedals and a flat face…in the photo it is the one closest to my hand, picked last.  I only know of one small patch of these.  The most common purple ones are growing everywhere.

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Tied with a ribbon, they dress up the kitchen windowsill very nicely.

****

Yesterday was opening day of the Brimfield Antique Show so when the children left for school, I drove to the show.  I arrived early enough to get parking easily.  Later on when I left it was crowded and some of the parking lots were full.  It cost 10 dollars to park at the church, and I always park there each time I go.  When I got out of my vehicle I heard one of the attendants call over to another older parking attendant to ask “Which one of these trees did you plant?” He laughed and looked back and forth to a couple trees; “That one.”  It was stately tall and mature and I marveled that it had grown so much in the man’s lifetime.  Already I was collecting beauty and inspiration from people…….I wanted to go home and plant a tree.

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I thought of Jo and Dawn when I saw these darling little tap shoes.

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Within 10 minutes I had made a fiesta purchase; a tea cup and saucer in the hard-to-find-and-afford lilac color.  (to match the violets) at a great price!

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And I thought of friend Hannah, and my dear mother, whenever I saw sewing things and fabrics.

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Vintage fiesta ware

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I bought a vintage yellow dessert plate with stripes.  Someone mentioned on the fiestaware FB page that they thought it was part of a Sears cake set sold years ago.

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I found a shiny and perfect medium green plate (most rare of all the colors) and was able to purchase it for 30 dollars.

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I normally go to Brimfield with someone else (or two or three) and I wondered how I would enjoy going alone, but I simply loved it.  I would rather go with one or two of the children, or my sisters, or aunts, or friends of course but going by myself this time ended up being a much needed treat.  I loved thinking only of myself and quietly going around watching people and looking at all the things people were displaying and selling.  I took my lunch and ate it as I walked; a pb and honey sandwich, a cliff bar, an apple.  All in all, I spent almost 4 hours and walked about 4 miles before I left.

It felt wrong in a way to leave Brimfield and go straight to an antique store (because Brimfield is nothing but antiques as far as the eye can see) but I had remembered a few things that I had wanted to buy a few months ago, so I headed to one more shop before going home for the day.  The things I was looking for were gone, but I still enjoyed browsing.  Antiquing is like a little history lesson of ordinary life.

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Jus took at that big red fiesta platter (not purchased, but admired) The colors are so energizing and cheerful.

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~A chartreuse display (fiesta disc pitcher)~

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Well, then I drove back home and determined to stay in my kitchen until it was spotless so I turned on some music and mindfully washed up the dishes, cleared off the counters and scrubbed them, and swept the floor.  It’s more fun when you can concentrate on what you’re doing rather than rush through to get to the “next thing”.   Pictured above are the fiestaware pieces that I bought yesterday.  But I have already thought about NOT buying anymore of it for a while.  I am content with my collection.  I have a piece of every color and then some.  I have vases and teapots, pitchers, canisters, vintage, and new.  Salt and pepper shakers, spoon rests, trivets, pie plates.  Plates galore.  Common pieces and rare.  Some to display and others to use everyday.  It’s a satisfying collection.

Photos of other finds brought home:

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A Tasha Tudor craft-type book, paperback, which I had never seen before.  I can’t wait to look at it slowly and try some of the projects.

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A lady in Brimfield had a “just my style” booth that she told me she started doing when she retired.  She does all three Brimfield shows a year and also does her own show.  She had pieces of furniture, and housewares, vintage laces, baby things, new and old.  At the counter she had a display of scrapbooking packets that she put together and I couldn’t resist buying one.

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More old papers for scrapbooking and journals.

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L O V E

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L O V E     **Eloise Wilkin**

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This was such fun.  “My School-Day Autobiography” owned by Doris Jeanette Reid. Perhaps you know her.  I would love to send it back to her, or her descendants.  How do things end up being sold and bought by strangers?

In the meantime, here are some of the pages:

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“Stay as sweet as you are and you won’t have a hard time getting a husband.”

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“Best wishes to a bad girl.”

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“Your one of my best friends I mean it”

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BEAUTIFUL script and blessing

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Taped on the last page.

*****

sarah & mom blog post

“Set me a task in which I can put something of my very self,
and it is a task no longer;
it is joy; it is art.”
 Bliss Carman

We went for a walk together in the woods–all her idea–and then I found a paper in her backpack from the field trip she took to a local wildlife sanctuary.

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What did I hear?

“I could hear water, the crunching leaves, and birds chirping.”

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What did I see?

“I saw, trees, and a squirl, and deer poop, and pine cones, and birds, and vernal pools.

fullsizeoutput_5484We found a bone so we slipped it on her “adventure stick.”

What did I smell?

“I could smell skunk cabbage, and a fresh nature smell.”

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How did I feel?

“I felt rain, and the cool air, and the cruching leaves under my feet.”

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first violets & secret garden quote

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For all the February babies, including myself, my son and my friend ~Thia~

Mary did not ask any more questions. She looked at the red fire and listened to the wind “wutherin’.” It seemed to be “wutherin'” louder than ever.

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I wasn’t even looking for them yet.  We’ve had almost entirely cold cold spring temperatures.  These grew in a warmer spot, by the kitchen door.  Oh it was such an encouraging moment to see these first deeply rich purple wild flowers.  I bent right down in the rain to pick them, knowing that soon there will be hundreds and thousands of them.

At that moment a very good thing was happening to her. Four good things had happened to her, in fact, since she came to Misselthwaite Manor.

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She had felt as if she had understood a robin and that he had understood her;

she had run in the wind until her blood had grown warm;

she had been healthily hungry for the first time in her life;

and she had found out what it was to be sorry for some one.

~The Secret Garden

Sarah and I have been listening together and enjoying it very much.  A beautiful book.

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“I found them in a book last night, these withered violets.”

I ended up closing the first spring violets in-between pages of poetry given to me by my friend Marcia, years ago.

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