Thursday, November 29, 2018

A Farm Stroll and Four Hats

 Out the window
 Basil seeds
 Loofah -- dying, but with new pods and blooms

 Rosemary, to bed for winter
 Strawberry bed under its straw
 A massive volunteer cherry tomato plant, alas, too late!
 Garden beds in winter
 The greenhouse, overgrown
 Nearly-dry gourd
 Gourds curing
 Speckled poison ivy against a hurricane-felled tree
 Virginia Creeper
 Basil against a fall sky
 Farm field
 Now for some hats I made this week. It was a very "hatty" week!
This one is all wool, and long enough to cover the ears. I wanted the knitting to be sideways along the edge. Then I picked up stitches and finished the hat to the top in the standard way.
A fluffy acrylic yarn, below. I extended the edges at the ears for coverage and added the "tail." This hat narrows toward the top.
 This hat mimics the cloche style, a very fluffy yarn:
 My favorite - a heavy, warm acrylic yarn, knitted entirely sideways so that the cabling and yarn overs swirl around the head. It has a seam up the back, of course.

Are your needles busy? Have you been for any chilly walks outside?

Friday, November 23, 2018

Books and Ballet

I'm wondering if 2019 should be the year of the books, for me. I want a return to books ... not that I ever left them exactly. But Facebook (yeah, that other not-very-bookish-"book") is not only eating away at my time, it's corroding my peace of mind. I did remove nearly all of the politics in my news feed. But what's so disturbing now is the steady diet of tragic, violent news stories from everywhere. Young mother shot and killed in a parking lot somewhere. Young man killed by horrible one-pill overdose one night somewhere. And on and on. Am I obliged to know all the sorrows of the world and feel for all of it?

That sounds callous, but I don't think any of us was designed to carry all that sorrow at once. On Wednesday, I had to clear my mind of all I was reading on Facebook and snap the computer closed.

I'd like to turn to books. I'm reading about five right now, dipping in and out of them. A Trollope novel I'm not very engaged with. Still Touring Through Europe a bit with Mrs. Shackleton. Knock on a Star has been sitting on my reading table a long time too. Oh, and The Strangers Gaze also. Add to those, two more. I started this little gem yesterday:
It's a children's book written in the 1800s. See Caldecott, the illustrator? Yes, that's the Caldecott, for whom the award it named.
I also found this book today:
My mother loves this book and recommends or lends it to many young mothers she knows. I figured it was time I read it too. I bought each of these books for $1 at the thrift store. 

And ballet, did I say? Hmm. A friend (who is 47) mentioned lately that she's taking up ballet as a beginner, and I thought, "What a brave and wise decision!" Another friend (who's older than I) then mentioned that she watches Ann Smith each morning. Smith is an elderly ballet dancer and instructor who has videos on Amazon Prime. (She also has some on Youtube, but not as nice.) Image result for ann smith ballet
Her videos on Prime are so lovely -- Chopin and Beethoven as background music, and she teaches in a large, old room with tall windows. It's so calming. I like it much, much more than yoga, which always hurt my knees and feet. This is all standing, and she explains it well. Gentle, elegant movements. Solid work on the torso and core. Emphasis on breathing. I think I may be able to stick with this.

So I'm going to snap this laptop closed now, and open Bringing Up Bebe, and see what I think. Have a lovely evening, all!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Morning

On Thanksgiving Day, Adam and I share a large meal with our church family and anyone else who wants to come. Adam left early to take the turkey out of the church refrigerator. I'm sure he's knee deep in gravy and rolls by now. I set up the long table yesterday.

None of our children are here for Thanksgiving this year, so the house this morning is quiet, just me, Beau, and a Pandora station.
Beau is in charge.
This year I'm making a delicious apple pie. Here's the recipe:
Mississippi friends, this is from the Jackson Junior League cookbook, Southern Sideboards.
I used 3 Granny Smiths and 3 Honey Crisps.
 I made the crusts yesterday. I'm not a fancy cook; this is about as fancy as I get!

 It did turn out prettier than other pies I've made.
 This pie is different because after it's done, you spread a mix of butter/brown sugar ... well, you can check the recipe ... on top. It bubbles and gets crusty later.
 Normally I'd use pecans, but Adam is now allergic to them. (So, so sad!!!) So I used a blend of almonds and walnuts (not too many). We'll see.

I'm also making my usual sweet potato casserole, my mother's recipe:
We'll have about 22 or so eaters today around that table, and it will be delightful. Right now we have two folks in our church family who are in the hospital in New Bern, and their loved ones are, I'm sure, struggling with Thanksgiving today. Many of us are. It's an old saying, but we must focus on the good, on God's blessings and the joyful things in our lives, and not let the dark overtake us. But that's hard, especially when the dark is coming from people we love, which it often is. This is true of many friends I know right now. How do you put a loved one in the back of your mind and forget about that grief for today, and turn your mind to joy? Doesn't it feel like turning you back on that person? I struggle with that.

Well, not to end on a down note, I hope you all have lots of pie!! I nearly made a cranberry pie, which I LOVE, but I remembered that often nobody loves it but me, and I don't want a whole cranberry pie sitting around the house afterward. Someone else is making delicious pumpkin pies, and for Adam's sake I could not make his very favorite: pecan pie. (So, SO sad!!!) So I made his favorite apple, and I hope that compensates. There are usually compensations for losses on Thanksgiving, if we think about it. Love to you all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Like all of us, it begins in dark earth.

A speck grain in dirt awaiting water.

Much waiting, much later, it reaches air,

And three elements are knitted again --

Grain, water, bubbling breath, awaiting fire.

Deemed the humblest of meals, of little worth

Except to inmates as workhouse fodder,

Yet daily we whisper for it in prayer,

The food of angels, descended to men,

The body of God, our hungry desire.

copyright by M.K. Christiansen
Bayboro, NC
Nov. 21, 2018

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Time for a Catch-Up

Hi, all. I seem to be as spotty and disorganized in my blogging these days as I am in other parts of life! 'Tis the busy season. Tonight is our Community Thanksgiving Service -- ecumenical, crowded, beautiful, liturgical, warm and welcoming, musical. I'll be in the musical part.

Adam is nearly finished installing our new heating/AC system.
 The machine above is the compressor, which is outside. It's mounted on sturdy braces well above the flooding line.

This (below) is the inside unit - there are three of them, so we can zone the house. We operate them with little remotes that have little cradles on the wall.
The lines that run from the inside units to the compressor were all over the side yard as Adam organized them for hooking up.

That sad space heater above just died the other day. It's served us well for over 25 years. The house is chillier, and I'm ready for Adam to get our new heating cranked up tomorrow.

I've spent lots of time shipping out copies of "The Thanksgiving Mice." It's sold so well, much better than "Punkin and the Littlest Mouse." I've sold 40 copies so far.
Adam says the more books you have, the better they sell. I'm already working on my next one.

We took our church's OCC shoeboxes to the drop off location across the river. We had 34 boxes, our usual amount.
 The ferry was running on a reduced schedule, so we stayed over there and ate Mexican for lunch.


I'm curing gourds this winter outside. A good video I watched said to let them cure in the weather and grow their normal mold. Isn't it cool-looking?
A rosemary plant a friend gave me -- it was not feeling well -- is now recovered and replanted in the garden.
 Adam does the cooking now in our family, but this week I had a yearning to make a pot of spaghetti sauce. I used some of the last of our fresh herbs. Soon they'll be frozen and gone.
 I tidied up that scarf that I thought was so messy. It actually turned out really interesting. I cut the warp yarns that I'd left unwoven, and tied them up in knots, and it gave lovely texture to the scarf.
And I wove that autumn one. Then I pulled out this funny lap loom I bought for $5 at the thrift store, and gave it a try. It worked!
 That rigid heddle (the rectangular piece with all the slits in it) is tricky to handle, but otherwise it worked.

I bought a magazine about using herbs. I love herbs.

I like that quote.

My "teenager" hens are now laying. Their eggs are darker brown than my silkie hens', and rounder. 
This will be an evening of Thanksgiving in our community. I'm thankful for my life, for my husband, for the closeness of God in the middle of life's griefs, which are many. I don't tell you my griefs, and I know you don't tell me yours, here on our blogs. But we know they're there. May you find comfort and joy in spite of them, and the strength to keep moving forward. Love to you from our little farm!