Saturday, February 25, 2012

Catching the light

The snow was swirling it was like being in a snow globe. A pretty storm, with strong wind and splashes of sunlight. The sky was sometimes gray, and then sometimes blue, and filled with billowing clouds that the sun would hide behind and then emerge to cast long shadows over the brilliant snow.
 I dashed out with my camera, trying to capture the beautiful play of light, shadow and swirling snow.

Trying is the important word here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


rolling out pie crust
a filling of home canned fruit
summer in snowstorms

Monday, February 20, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wintery day with Ivy

Ivy was sweeping the snow from the back steps when the School Bus went past, she knew that soon Skye would be there, he always was.
Someone had sent her two holly bushes, just after Halloween, and she had planted them on either side of the steps, hoping that it was protected enough there for them to flourish.  Ivy asked everyone and no one admitted to sending them, however she felt sure it was Gus, because he knew that Ivy and Will had met  at the Christmas Concert and in High School and when he was a little overserved or in a particularly jovial mood, he always called her Ivy Holly, even burst into a chorus of "The Holly and the Ivy".  "Funny", Ivy " mused to the shrubbery,"those days were so sweet, but thinking about them doesn't make me sad anymore, and I like that!"  "And  here's my, Skye." Skye came bounding across the snowy lawn, and through the partially opened door, then directly to his corner of the kitchen. Skye burrowed into his blanket until all you could see was his shinny black nose and pink tongue.

Ivy pretended not to notice Skye, and Skye watched Ivy intently as she put the finishing touches in the soup, looking in cupboards and rummaging in the fridge, opening jars of the vegetables she canned last fall, everything went into the pot on the stove, and the aromas blended into a bouquet of autumn bounty.  Mug filled afresh, she sat sown at the table and sliced off some of the bread Della had made, it was Dallas first attempt at baking bread, after thanking her heartily "Bread Baking is a lifelong learning process." she told Della, "my mother buried the first batch of bread she made in the garden, and when it started to rise it popped right out of the ground, Dad wasn't sure what he was looking at, he thought it was a puffball mushroom. So he went up to the house and got Mom and brought her down to see this miracle mushroom. My first batch turned out OK, but the second didn't and I dug a really deep hole for it."  

"Here, my little Pupsicle, have some of Della's nice bread."  Skye raced over and hopped up on Ivy's lap, "you have cold feet!" she exclaimed.  Skye perched himself on her lap and held onto his piece of bread like it was a great treasure, Ivy knew he would hide it in his blanket and gnaw on it all day. "think I will leave you home while I take some of this bread and some soup over to Gus. too cold for those little feet and I can't carry you and the soup across that bridge."  As good as the last year had been for Ivy that is how bad it had been for Gus.

They both watched the fluffy snowflakes falling,  it was late February but because there had been so little snow this winter, it was still something to watch, especially with Skye to keep her company. Sleet began to mix with the flakes and Ivy said" Upside Daisy, buddy, I gotta get this over to Gus before the freezing rain starts," Skye was already in his blanket before ivy finished the sentence.  And out the door before freezing rain began to tap on the window.  Gus, stood at the window and watched Ivy cross the bridge over the creek. it was frozen in the shallow places.  Gus, stood at the window and watched Ivy cross the bridge over the creek,which was frozen, in the shallow places. After she crossed he made is way to the front door to let her in. Gus followed her into the kitchen, and took the coffee pot from the stove, pouring each of them, he said, "i can get around pretty good now, but I still can't make soup like you can. so I made the coffee, strong, Swedish coffee, AND!" he announced " and some home made cookies." Gus, walked haltingly into the pantry and emerged with a large blue tin, with pictures of dainty cookies, and bright green lettering. "I made these myself, don't break a tooth." 
The table had been set, with bowls and spoons. "Linea even set the table for us." Ivy offered
"Gus set the table! I am turning into a good house wife!!! And I am glad you brought soup!" he roared with laughter "When these old bones heal I will be right back to farming and milking, just no tractors, I'll leave those to younger men with better reflexes. Now lets eat."

"Good coffee," Ivy said over the rim of her cup, "and, you my friend, you are looking much better than last week." Gus looked up from his meal only briefly, to nod in agreement. Ivy remembered Grandma Nelson saying "stänga dig mun och äter maten." The clock ticking, and the tap of freezing rain on the window.

The greenhouse window in the kitchen,looked out on the kitchen garden and the fields of stubble beyond. there were no seedlings in the window yet,  nothing to obscure the view. "Are you going to plant garden this year, Ivy?" 
"Oh, I think so, I wish I could grow Brussels sprouts, but I can't. Gus, why are there egg shells on the garage roof?"
"Those are from the blue jays, I put them out where they can find them so I can watch them squabble over them. I sat here too many hours this winter looking out that window, just thinking, 'cause what else could I do?  Some days, little Cameron, well he is not so little anymore, would keep me company. We would tell each other stories." He shuffled over to the stove and returning with the coffee pot, replenished their cups. "Now I really did make these cookies, so don't go breaking your teeth on them. Take a couple home for that little white dog."
"Don't you like coconut cookies, Gus, they are Cams favorite?" Ivy smiled,"what kind are you making next?" Gus stifled a grin but didn't answer. " Skye, likes anything he shouldn't have, especially if it is sweet. You know I am really getting used to having him around, but I know he belongs to someone." Gus grinned but just continued dunking his cookie. "He comes to the door every school day right before the kids get on the bus, and leaves when it drops them off. don't you think that's strange?" Gus just shrugged his shoulders and dunked another cookie.

The sky was still dark but, there were a few breaks of sun, dashing rainbows off the prisms hanging in the. Ivy gathered up the dishes, and Gus brought out the Scrabble board.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

so NOT about the politics, it's about love

This post is so very NOT about politics, it is about LOVE. I have no desire to write about politics or religion, but I do want share some very wise words. I want to talk about love, not nessesarily romantic love, but the love that we should carry in our heats at all times,the love that reaches out of and breaks our isolation,the love between two people, love between a parent and child, the love of family and friends, love between one person and humanity, and most inportantly love between and person and their conscience and peace of mind.

Transcript of Rep. Maureen Walsh’s (R-WA) speech in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage

“I don’t wax as eloquently as most of the people on the floor here, but I’ve allowed my heart and my mind guide me in decisions that I’ve made on a lot of different issues that have been before us in the legislature. And I think sometimes that’s what we have to do.
I too don’t want to wag my finger at anybody about which way you should vote on this. It’s certainly an issue of conscience to me, and certainly one that I have been weighing very heavily for the last few weeks.
I was married for 23 years to the love of my life. He died 6 years ago, and you know, I’m a lonely old widow right now. I’m 51 yeas old, looking for a boyfriend. Not having much luck with that.
And yet, when I think of my husband, and I think of all the wonderful years we had, and the wonderful fringe benefit of having three beautiful children, I don’t miss the sex. You know? And to me that’s kind of what this boils down to. I don’t miss that. I mean I certainly miss it, but it is certainly not the aspect of that relationship — that incredible bond I had with that human being — that I really, really genuinely wish I still had.
So I think to myself, how could I deny the right to have that incredible bond with another individual in life? To me it seems almost cruel.
You know, years ago my daughter was in elementary school. Many of you have met my daughter, she’s a fabulous girl. She’s wonderful. My boys are great too, but my daughter is just something special. She was the light of her fathers eyes.
And she went to school and there was a whole group of kids just picking on another kid. And you know, my daughter stood up for that kid. Even though it wasn’t the popular thing to do, she knew it was the right thing to do.
I was never more proud of my kid, knowing that she was speaking against the vocal majority on behalf of the rights of the minority. To me, it is incumbent upon us as legislators in this state to do that. That is why we are here.
I shudder to think that if folks who have preceded us in history did not do that, frankly I’m not sure I would be here, as a woman. I’m not sure other people would be here due to their race or their creed.
To me that is what’s disconcerting. Someone made the comment that this is not about equality. Well yes, it is about equality. Why in the world would we not allow those equal rights for those individuals who truly were committed to one another in life? To be able to show that by way of a marriage?
My daughter came out of the closet a couple of years ago. And you know what, I thought I was just going to agonize about that. Nothin’s different. She’s still a fabulous human being, and she’s met a person that she loves very much, and some day, by God, I wanna throw a wedding for that kid.
I hope that is exactly what I can do. I hope she will not feel like a second-class citizen involved in something called a “domestic partnership” that frankly sounds like a Merry Maids franchise to me.
Thank you Mr. Speaker, that’s all I want to say. Thank you for the civil, wonderful debate today. It’s been great.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be my Valentine

Be my Valentine!

I guess love ,is like a garden.
If you plant it and neglect it, it doesn't really go away.  Even neglected it still can grow,  you can pull out the weeds and  tie up the plants, shown some attention it will flourish again.  And it feeds you body and your soul, especially if you work at it. 

If a storm destroys it, though it may be in ruins , you can make it grow again, it you want.
And it can go on long after the gardener has crossed over, even  years in the future some traces will remain.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spring Fever meet Synethesia

This was one of those days when I had more errands than I thought I could finish, and besides it was cold and rainy and I wanted to stay in bed.
But I loaded up the plastic, metal and glass recycling , and the packages that needed to be mailed, and the, hardware stuff they needed to be returned,  scribbled a list for what I need at the Dollar General and a list for what I needed from Baughmans, and put supper together, ready to bake up when I came home.

Then I was off, tunes blasting, hoping that I wouldn't see any sights that were worthy of a photograph because one, I was feeling too lazy to get out of the car and two, I had forgotten the camera, and that would make me even grumpier.

First step, er I mean stop the Library, for tax info booklets and forms.  The Library is a wonderful resource, there it is the world of information at your fingertips.  I can't say enough good things about  Public Libraries.

Next recycling, oh my do I love the sound of those recyclables clunking into the bin.  I get jolly proud and self important about my recycling efforts....and because I am worn out by just thinking about my day, I will spare my gentle readers any further comment on this subject.

Next the Post office, another wonderful convince that politicians like to pick on. Politicians, bah humbug!

First aid stuff bought, I stop for some veg and 50 pounds of potatoes....but what ho??? Jelly beans, spice jelly  beans, no less.  Well I know sugary stuff is unhealthy, which is code for tastes good and sets off the contentment centers of the brain And so I bought a  couple of pounds. 

The dinner safely in the oven, I sat in my favorite  chair, and watched the icy rain falling.  I felt very cold inside, and more than a little bit sorry for myself.  Then I reached into my sack of spice jelly beans, picking out first some black ones, because I don't like licorice very much. then the spicy pink, yellow, green, it was like seeing springtime and Easter, remembering that in my childhood memories,  there are no Jelly Beans, and jelly beans were for Easter only. I swear the sun started to shine and there were crocus. and forsythia blooming.  And may-be even birds singing.  Now where is my Easter Basket???    I am not one to get a sugar rush and there really isn't much sugar in jelly beans anyway, they are mostly gelatin, which is high in protein, or so I am told.   My contentment centers were very pleases with me.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Long Silences Moon

We  crossed over the midpoint of winter,  though it is still a long way to spring.  For our ancestors this was time for careful stock taking and perhaps rationing the remaining food and fuel.  but at least they knew spring was coming, no mater what the weather looked like. The weather  could trick you into thinking it was spring. but the moon and the stars were constant and could be trusted to correctly mark the passage of time and seasons, in the time before clocks and calenders.

The deep and bitter cold of winter lessens its grip and instead of snow, there is icy rain, that clings to everything and sends tree limbs and power lines crashing to the ground. The landscape sparkles, with its glossy layer of ice, as beautiful as it is dangerous.
The stars and moon  seem so much nearer and clearer at this time of year, the whole universe has drawn in and appears to be sleeping, but that slumber is becoming fitful, roots begin to grow under the protective ground, a few hardy bud begin to swell, Owls have begun there nesting and bear cubs are born, the sweet maple sap will soon be rising, and so will our winter weary spirits.

February Moon names

Ice (Celtic).
Old Moon (Cree).
Gray Moon (Pima).
Wind Moon (Creek).
Winter Moon (Taos).
Nuts Moon (Natchez).
Avunnivik Moon (Inuit).
Geese Moon (Omaha).
Bony Moon (Cherokee).
Purification Moon (Hopi).
Little bud Moon (Kiowa).
Snow Moon (Neo-Pagan).
Lateness Moon (Mohawk).
Shoulder Moon (Wishram).
Rabbit Moon (Potawatomi).
Sucker Moon (Anishnaabe).
Long Dry Moon (Assiniboine).
Little Famine Moon (Choctaw).
Storm Moon (Medieval English).
Sparkling Frost Moon (Arapaho).
Running Fish Moon (Winnebago).
Coyote Frighten Moon (San Juan).
Spruce Tips Moon (Passamaquoddy).
Raccoon Moon, Trees Pop Moon (Sioux).
Hunger Moon : Dark, Storm Moon : Full (Janic).
Snow Moon, Hunger Moon, Trapper’s Moon (Algonquin).

Other moon names : Wolf Moon, Wild Moon, Quickening Moon, Solmonath Moon, Chaste Moon, Horning Moon, Red Moon, Big Winter Moon, Cleansing Moon.
~Everything Under the Moon

The whole world seems to have slowed to a crawl, almost as if we are all holding our breath, waiting, waiting here in the growing light of the approaching spring for the first true sign that spring is near, and they we are not being fooled by the weather.  Waiting and listening for the long silence to be broken by the song of the first robins.   The Long Silences Moon, will be my personal name for this moon, and I will  be waiting with you, under the Long Silences Moon.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Clouds of ice???

When I first saw this photo I was amazed and confused, I had never seen anything like it , is it real, is it caused by a volcano or tornado or what?  So of course I Googled it.  Looking at it I can understand why people might think it was a portal of some kind or the end of the world.

photo by~Joshua Earth & Space Museum
"How does the hole occur in the clouds ? - the puffy clouds were likely composed of ice crystals and very small super-cooled liquid water droplets. Studies have shown that very small supercooled liquid water droplets can exist well below freezing (as low as -40 degrees (C, or Centrigrade) ). The temperature in the cloud layer was around -24 deg (C) at the time of occurrence. Sometimes...when ice and the supercooled liquid droplets coexist within a cloud...a process occurs whereby ice crystals grow at the expense of the droplets. If the mixed cloud is agitated...the supercooled droplets freeze instantaneously. It is understood through microphysical arguments that water vapor must evaporate from the surrounding supercooled droplets and flow towards the ice crystals. This would start a cycle whereby newly formed ice crystals cause the surrounding droplet to evaporate...resulting in a circular form void of clouds with a mass of crystals in the center. Many photos taken that day seem to represent this process."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Past halfway

Welcome Imbolc, a farewell to winter,  in the northwoods it is really more like the midpoint. or the "quickening  under the snow", even though this has been one of those rare bare ground winters, it is still makes one feel glad to know that we have crossed the midpoint of winder.
A day to call back the fires of the sun, and to encourage the ever lengthening  days to continue.  And a day for making predictions, and divining the future, empowering the spirit and looking forward
Marking the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, has a very long history.  The ancient Egyptians, celebrated this day as the feasts of Nut, who's birthday is Feb 2, on the Gregorian calendar was the adoptive mother of the sun god Ra.
 The Romans  celebrated the founding of  Rome, at about this time of year.

In Northern England this day is called Wives Feast Day, a day on which the tender of hearth and home is honored, with a meal prepared by her family, and small gifts are exchanged, and hopefully she gets a little extra help with the household chores. It would be easy to learn to like this  celebration. Though it has little spiritual connection with other celebrations, it does honor the home fire, the hearth fire, and the person who tends it.

Most celebrations of this day include fire or candles in some way, Candlemas in the Catholic Church is also called the Presentation( purification) of Mary, a day on which candles are blessed. The candles used in the blessing of throats on Feb 3, St Blase Day, are often wrapped with a red ribbon to signify that he was a martyr.  I cannot help but wonder if this was done at least in part because the days were lengthening and the improving weather was causing folks to venture out to exchange not only news, and gossip, but germs with their neighbors.

Then there is the groundhog, and Groundhog Day, or Hedgehog Day.  A day with bonfires and celebrating, plenty of libations and of course the weather prediction, that all of us winter wear  folks are waiting for. "If Candlemas be bright and clear," but this year it is dark and snowy, so the only way that Ole Phil could have cast a shadow was using the lights of the many news men and revelers who gather on Gobblers Knob anxiously awaiting his prediction.

In those time before clocks and calendars became commonplace, many crops and lives where lost before time was reckoned by the position of the stars, crops failed because they were planted to early or to late and people starved  and like their crops sometimes froze.  Weather may lull someone into believing that the seasons have changed.  The stars, which were easier to see them because of the absence of outdoor lighting, except for bonfires, were a constant.  A reliable constant.

Silent Sunday~~~Hedgehog Picnic

thanks Coleman