Friday, November 26, 2010


I've hosted at least forty Thanksgiving Day dinners in my day, but last year I said, "No more." This year Carol, our youngest, asked if the dinner could be at my house if I didn't have to do any of the work. Of course I agreed. I also agreed to make two pecan pies.

A house cleaner came. Nancy and Todd arrived with Zach and Cleo. Thanksgiving morning Carol came bearing a 23-pound turkey. Carol set to work, with Nancy and me as assistants. I thought the turkey a bit whimsical during the stuffing process.

After the turkey went into the oven, my girls went to the cool entryway to look at the wine.

What a gorgeous smile Nancy has...

but she can't keep from clowning. Carol's smile is pretty dazzling, too.

After that I put the camera away and enjoyed the day with sixteen guests. I hardly did a lick of work. What a great Thanksgiving! 

I hope that everyone who reads this had a lovely holiday, too. May we always remember that we have much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ignore All That

We need a new sliding door between the unheated entry room and the back patio. The eaves are configured to admit winter sun and block summer sun from the room. That way the room is cooler in summer and warmer in the winter. Also, the stone floor absorbs heat in the winter and feels cool in the summer. On a sunny winter day we can sit there at a table. On a warm summer day when there's a south breeze, we can sit there at a table. In other words, the room is designed for maximum energy efficiency.

This year our benevolent government is offering a tax credit for replacement of doors and windows with more energy efficient ones. Now, here's the rub (and my beef): the glass must be coated with something that cuts down on UV rays. That's so the sun won't heat up rooms. For our room, which is configured to do the same thing, but also  allows the sun to warm the room in winter, this is not a good choice.

This sort of bureaucratic foolishness irks me, but I'm going to ignore all that and rejoice in the fruits of our labor for today.

The chickens are providing a plentiful supply of beautiful eggs, some of them jumbo size.

Today I cut the first savoy cabbage.

Now the sun is setting, and it's time to shut up the chickens.

To heck with tax credits.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ode to Kale

Here's to kale, ideal food.
It's so dark green it makes me shiver.
Eating it improves my mood,
My heart, my lungs, my tortured liver.

Now is the time when kale holds sway.
Tomatoes, green beans, peas, or corn
Could not survive this wintry day,
But kale just loves a frosty morn.

Mince a big, fat garlic clove,
Rinse the kale and chop a bunch,
Simmer them slowly on the stove,
And eat a healthful, tasty lunch.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chris Cuts A Swath

Last week Chris and I were in the pasture, considering how to restore the native grasses to the graded area around the new barn. He said, "If I had a scythe, I could cut the grasses, lay them on the bare soil to hold it in place, and the seeds would fall into the soil."

"Follow me," I said.

Thirty years ago I bought a scythe at a shop specializing in old tools. For many years it has been hanging in an elm tree. The blade was rusted, the wooden handle pale and dry.

"It's yours," I said. Chris beamed and loaded it in his car.

Today he came back with the scythe, cleaned of rust, sharpened and oiled.

Off he went to the pasture.

What a pleasure it is to unite an object with a person who will care for it and use it! This is my new hobby.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Passing On

Well, Sandi died last week. She valiantly fought lung cancer for three years, but lost.

It was a lunch with Sandi and Barb that inspired my post on August 8, The End. I wanted to ask Sandi about her views on death, but my sense was that she simply refused to acknowledge it as a possibility. Instead we talked about ailments in a general sense and laughed a good deal as illustrated in this photo of my two guests.

I've reached the age of losing friends and neighbors. Each person has her own style of passing, but so far no one has talked about the process. Some, like Sandi, fight against the tide. Others, like my friend Ann, just lie down and ride it out without complaint.

A recent death-like experience of passing out made me think that death might not be as bad as I feared. Of course I had no opportunity to anticipate the event. That surely would be a different experience. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I treasure memories of those who have passed before me and take great pleasure in being with those who are still here to be loved and cherished.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Good-Bye To All That

Once upon a time, I liked to get dressed up. Shoes were especially important for some reason, and I was a sucker for fancy ones. It started when I was still in college with a pair of expensive white linen sling-back spike heels, decorated on the toes with mink fur.  I couldn't afford them, but relished wearing them on dinner dates and feeling glamorous.

Over the years I bought a lot of silly shoes, ending with this pair. Was it in the eighties? Who knows, but the soles are barely scuffed.  I suspected that this was my last pair of frivolous shoes and sentimentally kept them in a box for all these years.

I wasn't ready to give up that part of my self-image, I guess. Now I am. I no longer identify with the woman who wore these shoes and they've lost their charm. My footwear passion is still powerful, but has turned to good garden clogs and house slippers with arch support.

The golden slippers, size 10 2A, are available to anyone who will love them.