Monday, July 27, 2009


One thing that really inspires me these days is on-line radio, such as Pandora, GrooveShark, or Dizzler. We live in an area with a fairly limited number of radio stations, and though I like a couple of them, the online outlets allow me to select from a broader range of music. Generally, I log onto to, to access one of several stations I am building for myself. I have one just for studies with baroque style music, but I also have an old-school punk station and some newer alternative on another just-for-me "station."
I also like logging into a band's myspace page and listening to whatever they are streaming there. I've got a little Spoon playing right now... very unproduced, pretty low key, perfect for my evening of cooking and taking it easy.
What inspires you... musically speaking?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Stroll - Watercolors

all photos by Aisling, July 26, 2009

The Front Garden:
1) Night Beacon Daylily 2) Queen Anne's Lace and a little worker 3) Along the Front Garden looking south

The Butterfly Garden:
4) Proof that two little boys share this garden with me 5)(Peach) Cannes Lily, with butterfly weed and artemesia 6)Ester Lilies in Moon Garden 7) Pink Freckle Faced Lily (my name for it; I think it is Sorbonne, but I need to look it up in my records) 8) Lovely Fragrant Hyperion Daylilies 9) self sown Black Eyed Susans

The Rose Garden:
10)Pink Gertrude Jekyll Rose 11)close up Gertrude Jekyll Rose

Sunday Stroll Invitation

There is little chance that meteorologists can solve the mysteries of weather until they gain an understanding of the mutual attraction of rain and weekends. ~Arnot Sheppard

Perhaps you've guessed from my choice of quote this morning, that it is raining here today. It is, and has been for most of this week. Our basement is flooded, our little dirt lane washed out on the edges, our yard and gardens soggy. I will walk in the rain if it slows down something less than the downpour that is going on as I write this, though taking photographs may be really difficult!

If you have time to stroll today, and if your weather permits, please post about about it on your blog and then come back here with a comment and a link to your post. You may use the Sunday Stroll button at the top of this post on your post or side bar if you would like. I will add participant names to this post so other strollers can walk through your garden too.

Look who's strolling today:

Ruth at Musings of an Everyday Woman

Heather at Heather's Homemaking

Margaret at Periodic Pearls

Nan at Letters from a Hill Farm

Me, here at the Quiet Country House

Cloudhands at Uncarved Block

Abbie at Farmer's Daughter

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Poetry Thursday - a haiku

sun on the water

yet more beautiful and bright

daughter on the dock

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Things I love about Home...

Company is welcome… You can see this from the two large sofas that dominate the living room. (Nope there’s no flat screen tv to assume that role.) In fact, 8 to 10 people can sleep, sitting up with their head on the next person’s shoulder, on the big sectional sofa… and they have (mostly teenagers.)

You can’t tell how beat up and stained the counter tops are, because there are usually some dirty dishes stacked there. This reminds me of two things: the people in the house are busy doing things other than washing dishes and lots of good food has been prepared, from scratch, in this kitchen. The evidence… pots, pans, mixers, bread boards… is all in plain sight.

It’s ok to wear shoes in the house, make costumes, do crafts, or create great inventions on the living carpet. It’s pretty obvious from the wear and tear that others have “crafted here afore ye.”

You can put your feet up on the coffee table without fear of reprisal. It’s already broken in and a few more scuff marks will just add to its character. What? You splashed a little of your coffee on the table? No worries. By the way, when you scoot over to the kitchen for a towel to clean it up, why don’t you start another pot of coffee in the big silver percolator that sits there, ready to serve a crowd (or just one very sleepy family) on a moment’s notice.

Photos by Haiku, 1) Maude in the dining room... 2) Tiggy demonstrating that there is room on the couch for 8 or 10 people... or one sprawled out kitty. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009


Here is a quick list of five things that inspire me:
  • vibrant people
  • stories
  • music
  • poetry
  • new ideas
What inspires you?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Stroll - July's Palette

July's palette is not only the blue of chicory at the roadsides, but also the soft pink of rosebuds in the garden. As I walked this afternoon, the gardens glowed with pink and yellow, orange and purple. The sky overhead was gray and the hills all around me were many shades of green.





photos by Aisling, July 19, 2009 1) rose bud 2) fairy rose 3) monte negro an lipstick pink lilies 4) "burgandy" wave petunias 5) stella d'oro lilies 6) blanket flower/galliardia 7) yellow lupine in the front garden 8) orange daylilies in the butterfly garden 9) more blanket flowers (this time categorized as orange instead of yellow - since they are both!) 10) an orange daylily and lemon thyme in bloom 11) potato blossoms 12) an oddball petunia - looks like the lavender wave variety that I planted last year. 13) little grapette daylily in the front garden

Sunday Stroll Invitation

A Walk

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance -

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Robert Bly)

Hopefully, I can borrow a camera today so that I can share my little corner of the world with all of you. If you have time to stroll today, and if your weather permits, please post about about it on your blog and then come back here with a comment and a link to your post. You may use the Sunday Stroll button at the top of this post on your post or side bar if you would like. I will add participant names to this post so other strollers can walk through your garden too.

Look who's strolling this week:
Me here at the Quiet Country House
Cloudhands at Uncarved Block
Margaret at Periodic Pearls

Saturday, July 18, 2009

October Lake

It is July... we all know that. Except for the lake and sky. The lake thinks this is October. Abrupt white rimmed waves are churning beneath the clouds. Reflecting that moody sky, the water is cold steel gray. The sky reaches down, with fingers of cool damp air, and catches pedestrians in an uncomfortable grip. Wind tosses long hair away from disappointed faces. Summer at the lake is supposed to be white sails on blue water, brightly clad people on smooth sand, sunlight caressing warm skin.

Resigning myself to this brief spell of Autumn in Summer's midst, I have nestled under some blankets with a text book and a warm mug of coffee. Oh... and my laptop! Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you comfort and contentment!

photo by Aisling, from autumn

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Favorites - Country Study

One of my favorite family traditions is choosing a country to "adopt" or study each year. My college courses have kept me so busy that the most I've done this year is to briefly consider a few different countries. We began this tradition 15 years ago when Senryu, my oldest, was 4. (I've written about it before on this blog -- the search term "doll" or "country" would probably help you find other posts about it.) It doesn't surprise me at all, all these years later, that Senryu is the one to ask if we can study a particular country. She asked about Tibet and had already checked a book out of the library.

I am enthused about the possibilities of learning more about Tibet, teaching my little sons about a place in the world they have barely heard of, and about sharing some new experiences with my entire family. Imagine the possibilities... prayer flags fluttering on our northern hill, Tibetan dishes simmering in our kitchen, and mandalas made by two curious little boys.

The photo below shows one aspect of our tradition of studying a new country each year. We dress a doll in a costume which reflects the culture of our adopted nation. From left to right, these dolls represent Sweden, Ireland, Mexico, Australia, Peru, Japan (the tiny one in front), Greece, India, Kenya, Russia and Poland. Since this photo was taken, we have also studied Taiwan (the year that Senryu was an exchange student there) and Turkey (the year that our exchange student, Sonnet, spent with us.)

photos by Aisling

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Poetry Thursday - Haiku for July

dusty bare feet walk

clovers catch between my toes

sun bathes me in light

~ haiku for july, by aisling, july 14, 2009

photos by my daughter, Haiku, summer 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Summer Blues

all photos by Haiku, from the last two or three weeks, Summer 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Dreaming Chair

When Limerick and I were expecting our first child, he gave me a wooden rocking chair for Christmas. I sat in that chair before she arrived, dreaming of who she would be and who I would be as a mother. Once she was born, I spent hours in that chair, rocking my girl ,singing every song that I knew, and making up new ones. As she grew, she would climb up on my lap and nestle her hair, with its bright copper lengths of hair, against me, and ask for songs and stories… past times she still pursues with enthusiasm.

Three years passed and a new baby came along. There were more hours in the rocker, more dreams to dream, and sometimes two sweet girls tucked into my arms, one with penny-bright locks and the other with fetching dark curls. The stories grew longer and more complex as the little girls revealed their interests and vibrant personalities. In later years, I sat in that chair alone and read aloud to my daughters, while they built with legos or did somersaults and cartwheels across the living room (furniture carefully arranged to allow room to tumble.) We began homeschooling and the rocker symbolized the focus of our life at that time: family, home, nurture, and lots and lots of stories and songs. We learned to try to maintain that focus in our family, even after our homeschooling years came to a close.

Six years after our second daughter arrived, our first son was born. My daughters had always had some wiggles and wails to get out of their systems in the twilight hours, but this new tiny boy was easy going and relaxed. He loved to be rocked too, always with that gentle, lazy smile on his chubby face. New songs, with rocket ships and funny frogs, were composed to suit his fancy.

Another three years, another baby born. This one was another son, a dark haired imp, full of energy and verve right from day one. Six and a half years later, I wonder how I got him to hold still on my lap as we rocked! Nevertheless, we did sit together in that chair, celebrating the mother and child bond with songs. His songs had to be especially soothing to transition him from the activity of day to the quiet tranquility of night. He woke in the night-time hours more often than any of our other children and I walked with him or rocked with him again, singing softly while moonlight streamed through our windows and the rest of the family slept.

Sometimes, when the children were outside or away from home, I would sit in that chair alone, rocking and remembering. I remember receiving the chair as a gift of love… How little we knew in those moments, and how full of hopes and dreams we were, my husband and I. I remember each child’s baby face with perfect clarity; the expressions of wonder and interest and that drowsy little flutter of lashes as sleep prevailed.

I have sat there dreaming my own dreams too… looking out my windows at weather painting my landscape, seasons passing, years rolling by. It may look like an old wooden rocking chair to someone else now that one runner is sadly damaged and in need of a costly repair, but to me it is a sacred place… irreplaceable and comforting… my dreaming chair.

photo: recycled from an earlier blog post, by Aisling, 2007

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Muse - Spanish Guitar

The children are still sleeping and Limerick has already headed off to work. The house is quiet and still, except for the soft hum of clothes tumbling in the washing machine and the hushed whirring of the percolator as it keeps the coffee warm. I did homework for a while, but needed a little "brain break" so I listened to this spanish guitar composition while I watched the slide show in my side bar. This guitarist, C├ęsar Berlanga, might be a bit of a character (note the stuffed animals on the couch beside him; so cute!) but the music is serene and lovely.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Stroll - Through the Seasons

My camera is not working at this moment (I hope it is an easy and inexpensive repair!) so I am strolling back through the seasons using older photos. I began with summer above, and rotated through autumn, winter, spring and back to summer again. In each of these photos, if you look closely enough, you will see a tiny bit of my path through the garden. So come along, if you will, and follow my garden trail through the seasons.



It was a lovely day, with blue skies and a light breeze, so I took a walk through the garden without my camera in the beautiful afternoon hours. Where-ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy as you walk slowly through the seasons.

all photos by Aisling 2007 - 2009
1) blue butterfly delphinium 2) cosmos 3) the bare chinese elm 4) jetfire narcisscus 5) orange daylily