Sunday, November 29, 2009

2:30AM Dec. 2, 2009

December is truly graced by having 2 full moons this year.
This the first moon, is called the Oak moon, Cold Moon, Long night's Moon, Yule Moon, Moon before Yule, among other names, our Victorian ancestors called it the Flowerless moon, please don't tell that to my flowering cacti.
The names are so tranquil and gentle, suggesting a well earned rest, before the hard work of keeping from freezing or starving during the coming depth of winter. The canning is done and the shelves lined with 'summer in jars", the potato and onion bins full and the apples are safely packed away. firewood is piled to the eves. Yes, all appears ready, time to sit back and take a moment to admire the fruits of your labor, and to reward oneself with a long winters nap.

photo by a friend

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The mouse that made me Roar

A mouse in the house is nothing new, especially if you live near the woods and/ or fields. My house has been targeted by the mouse from HELL!
He or she cleans the traps without setting them off, leaves me little presents, and scoots merrily across the floor, taunting me.
You see the problem with mice is how cute they are, and they are cute, especially when they are caught in a trap. Whoops! sorry did I say that?? Anyway, I really thought they were cute when I was a youngster, and would put out snacks for them, until got caught doing it.

At one time a mouse chewed a hole in a potato sack, my parents set traps for the little cutie and one of the traps was set next to the sack of potatoes. Late that night we heard my mother shriek,we rushed to see what was the matter, as she was not in the least afraid of mice, we found her laughing uncontrollably, she couldn't speak, but she pointed to the trophy in the trap, it was a potato.

This morning as I was preparing some of my infamous red potato salad, I dropped a potato and it rolled under the counter, setting off a trap. It took awhile, but I stopped laughing long enough to write this.

May-be it is a sign, tonight may-be I will catch that mouse.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a book

When I hear someone say that a book changed their lives, I feel the need to tell that that any book , if you read it and pay attention to what you are reading changes your life.

For a long time now I have wanted to write about the book Yes, it is a childrens book, I was watching "Reading Rainbow" with my then very young son, and it was the featured book of the day, read by none other than Lorne Greene, his deep and expressive voice
blending with the gentle story of The Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall. The book was an expansion of a poem that first appeared in the New Yorker on October 3, 1977.

Ox Cart Man

by Donald Hall
In October of the year,
he counts potatoes dug from the brown field,
counting the seed, counting
the cellar’s portion out,
and bags the rest on the cart’s floor.

He packs wool sheared in April, honey
in combs, linen, leather
tanned from deerhide,
and vinegar in a barrel
hooped by hand at the forge’s fire.

He walks by his ox’s head, ten days
to Portsmouth Market, and sells potatoes,
and the bag that carried potatoes,
flaxseed, birch brooms, maple sugar, goose
feathers, yarn.

When the cart is empty he sells the cart.
When the cart is sold he sells the ox,
harness and yoke, and walks
home, his pockets heavy
with the year’s coin for salt and taxes,

and at home by fire’s light in November cold
stitches new harness
for next year’s ox in the barn,
and carves the yoke, and saws planks
building the cart again.

In 1979 The Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall and illustrated by Barbara Cooney was published, and in won the 1980 Caldecott Medal.
I was watched in total delight, thinking with so few words how someone had described the year and the spirit of a family working to establish themselves. Is this story for the adult who reads it as well, possibly even more so?
the book followed that family through the years activities, and ends in the late fall with the return of the Ox-cart Man, from market where he sold what he and his family had gathered, grown or made, the purchased what he needed and could not make and walked home The journey was a 10 day walk, each way.
Not to be overly romantic about the "olden days" , I have a deep appreciation of indoor plumbing, electric service and grocery stores, and central heating. The changing seasons have lost some of their meaning, we no longer need to, spend out winters inside looking out, dreaming of spring, mending harnesses and making cloth, knitting mittens or whittling brooms.
And it is no longer necessary to spend out summer and fall making preparation to survive the winter, making candles and splitting wood, maintaining livestock and tending a garden.
I feel that the changing seasons are part of making a life, if no longer part of making a living.
That the richness making something or growing vegetables, gives us roots we can carry with us where ever we may end up..

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I don't know

Do you find these words scary, if the TV commentator is to be believed we do, we must have answers.
Do we fear the unknown, and that makes any answer better than the simple truth in "I don't know."
I have made up my mind to say "I don't know" more often. It may indeed be more important to know or to have and answer than what the content of that answer is.
I don't know.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Remind me

Remind me even though I don't need reminding that the snow and wind of winter is just a few weeks away, remind me instead of the way the first warm rays of sun signal the end of winter, remind me of the lengthening days, and the promise of warm breezes and flowers.

And there , a tiny buttercup, in Novembers bright but cold sun.

Saturday, November 7, 2009



by Thomas Hood

No sun--no moon!
No morn--no noon!
No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
No sky--no earthly view--
No distance looking blue--

No road--no street--
No "t'other side the way"--
No end to any Row--
No indications where the Crescents go--

No top to any steeple--
No recognitions of familiar people--
No courtesies for showing 'em--
No knowing 'em!

No mail--no post--
No news from any foreign coast--
No park--no ring--no afternoon gentility--
No company--no nobility--

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member--
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

slightly wordy Slent Sunday on a road

Not every picture is worth a thousand words, but the memory it represents is.