Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Howling

"There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls..."

~ George Carlin

It is cold and blustery here. Too cold for trick-or-treating, but very typical for our northern Great Lakes region. Despite the sleet and cold air, we will put on extra layers, slightly inhibiting the impact of the boy's costumes, and trick or treat in the village. Hot chocolate and candy sorting are on the agenda for when we return home. Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you happy howling.
photo by Aisling, Sept. 2007

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Poetry Thursday - Give the world to the children

"Let us give the world to the children at least for one day
Let them play with it as if it's a spangled balloon
Let them sing and dance among the stars

Let us give the world to the children
Like a huge apple or a warm loaf of bread
at least for one day
so that they'll have enough to eat

Let us give the world to the children
so that even if it's for one day
it will learn what friendship is

The children will take world
out of our hands
and they will plant immortal trees."

Nazim Hikmet (1901 to 1963)

The words of this Turkish poet, translated here into English, remind me of why we conduct youth foreign exchange. You can find out more about this poet here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Reflections of Autumn

all photos by my daughter Haiku, October 27, 2009 in the late afternoon

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An Unexpected Visitor

This neighborhood resident came to visit me today. I wonder if he was planning to nibble on my butterfly bush? He arrived on the country lane, walking at a leisurely pace, however when our dog Maude told him in no uncertain terms to "take off Buddy!" the llama high-tailed it cross country, heading through the field behind the play house. I saw him back on the lane a couple of minutes later, heading up the long steep hill for his home on a nearby farm. What about you? Do you like unexpected visitors, or do you prefer that they call first? I'm fine with either as long as they don't eat all of my autumn blossoms!

photos by Aisling, 10/27/2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Late Arrivals!

I just added two "late arrivals" to the stroll from Sunday. Scroll down to find links to their strolls, and to visit any others you may have missed! :)

Monday Muse - Acoustic Inspiration

A little acoustic music for you this Monday morning, which is gray and rainy in my northern hills. I love this young Florida band, Boyce Avenue. They have acoustic covers of alot of popular music on Youtube, but also some original music too which I really enjoy. This makes me want to get my dusty guitar out of the case and polish up my rusty skills!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Stroll - To the Birch Wood

On my walk to the birch wood, I passed these pumpkins culled from the vegetable garden by my husband, after frost had killed the vines. To the east edge of our property, a stand of large white pines makes a patch of dark green, and the birches glow orange and gold.

In the low-lying marsh, I walked beneath this little nest... empty now and quiet.

The woods were quiet too, the late afternoon hush within the woods as mellow as the rich color of the leaves overhead. Brown leaves were falling as the wind ran through, while golden leaves clung to their branches making pretty artwork against the birch-paper walls of the little wood.

As if peering through a window, I could see the lake from inside the wood.

I could see the sky changing, as wind stirred the clouds above the treetops.

I left the woods, as I always do, feeling a little more at peace. I stood between the white pines and the birches and appreciated the view of the little lake to the southwest before returning to the cozy house where a fire in the woodstove offset the late October chill.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace and comfort.
all photos by Aisling, October 25, 2009
Scroll down to the previous post to find the links to other strollers for this week.

Sunday Stroll Invitation

"The leaves fall patiently
Nothing remembers or grieves
The river takes to the sea
The yellow drift of leaves."
- Sara Teasdale

Our creek is flowing again, hurrying past the flower garden on the creek bank. The water fills the empty spaces between the reeds and stalks and wild flowers that have grown thick in the dry months of summer. The rushing water stirs the shallows as it flows, until the edges of the marsh are fragrant with the mellow aroma of autumn decay and the sharp sweet scent of wild mint rising up into the chilly October air.

If you have time this week for a Sunday Stroll, and if your weather allows, 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. I'll check back as often as I can and try to keep the list updated.

Look who's strolling today:
Margaret at Periodic Pearls
Cloudhands at Uncarved Block
Me here at the Quiet Country House
Two late arrivals, too nice to miss!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Through the rain

It has been raining for several days, with rain in the forecast for the next few days as well. I'm just ignoring the "wintry mix" aspect of the forecast until I actually encounter it. The frequency of rain in October is a familiar thing, but all of this rain is probably why I think of October as the month of rainbows. As if there isn't enough color in the trees and burnished fields, a sudden golden light will spill through the clouds, casting rays of colored light on the sky. It is so beautiful that I wonder how everyone else can just go about their business-as-usual. I look up in wonder, catch my breath and soak the color into my being. I hope I can absorb enough color in this bountiful month to hold me through gray November and the bleak white months that follow.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you color and beauty.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday - A little quote and a little note

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~ Maya Angelou

My art education class, by virtue of an instructor whose lesson plans are a launching pad rather than a gilded cage, makes me feel young and playful. We paint, we snip off pretty little bits of colored papers, we dabble with shapes and textures and forms. It is like playing in the garden! Today we carved pumpkins. Her whole premise seems to be to prepare new teachers to be unintimidated by any art material or method. She inspires us to believe that thinking "outside the box" is ordinary, and through the class we experience an organic unfolding of the inner-artist we didn't know was hiding within.

Pictured here, my pumpkin with Zuni Sun carving

photos, and photo editing by Aisling, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Poetry Thursday - "A Wish-Fulfilling Jewel"

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we would be studying Tibet this year, to learn some history and culture of this beautiful land and its beautiful people. The writing of Woeser touches me with both veils of emotion and a stunning, poignant clarity.

In a poem, translated into English, called The Past, we read in one of the stanzas:

"This lotus, withering, cannot be my lotus.
My lotus is the lotus of the past,
Enfolding the snow mountains, lovely,
Many a prayer flag, five colors fluttering,
Oh, many prayer flags, five colors fluttering."

In One the Road, she tells us:
"On the road,
I clutch a flower not of this world,
Hurrying before it dies, searching in all directions,
That I may present it to an old man in a deep red robe.
A wish−fulfilling jewel,
A wisp of a smile:
These bind the generations tight."

In that same way that an other-worldly flower and a smile can bind the generations tight, so Woeser's words can bind cultures together. To learn more about her writing and her stuggle, and to read these poems in their entirety go here. As I read her poems and consider Tibet, I find myself thinking, If only there were a wish-fulfilling jewel...

photo above from June, 2009, with "water-color" photo-editting enhancement.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Northern Skies

Note: I used a photo editor to "equalize" the colors in the last photo so the rainbow would be more visible; all other photos are unedited.
photos 1, 2, and 4 by Aisling
photo 3 by Haiku
October, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Muse - Indie Films

In addition to informative and oft-times inspirational documentaries, Netflix has afforded me the opportunity to watch many Indie Films that don't play at the local theater, nor appear in my local video store. One movie that I watched recently really spoke to many of my interests... in stories, in cultures, in connection and friendship. That movie was Arranged. The trailer below will introduce you to the two young women whose stories intertwine in this gentle, quiet film. I just loved it!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Stroll - Tree Walking

The fiesta maple, with its two trunks and lush display of leaves, beckoned me out to the garden this afternoon. Earlier, when the wind was softer and the air a bit warmer, I planted tulip and daffodil bulbs in the butterfly garden. With the wind rising and the temperature dropping, I walked briskly from tree to tree and tried to catch images of the autumn leaves in mid-flutter. The white pine at the north end of the butterfly garden is full of firm green needles and immature pine cones.

The Chinese Elm, the anchor of the butterfly garden, is one of the last trees to change color. It is still providing a green canopy above the fading perennials that grow along the garden trail.

The little Japanese Maple (cultivar Waterfall), growing under the elm's green umbrella, is crimson and gold in mid-October.

I left the butterfly garden and headed down into the wild uncultivated edges of the property. Several years ago we found another little self-planted white pine. It is taller than I am now, and this year some of its needles are turning gold and dropping onto the ground beneath the tree.

At the edge of the marsh in the southeast corner of the propoerty, our oldest daughter's Weeping Willow towers above the shrubs and small trees.

At the end of the garden, this paper birch grows tall and slim and leaning (like so many of our trees) decidely to the east. This tree was planted by our younger daughter and her father 11 or 12 years ago.

Bosc pears are still clingly tightly to the branches of the southern tree in our miniature orchard, and the leaves in the next tree, a Luscious Pear, are a delicious glowing orange-red.

Near the front porch, the leaves on the thundercloud plum are the same deep rich purple they have been since Spring. In the background, autumn colors are evident on the hill just to the east of our property line.
Before hurrying back into the kitchen to start mulled cider and nibble roasted acron squash seeds, I turned to the western edge of our scenic perspective. There is not a great deal of autumn color in that direction, but the blue clouds and the quality of the light give evidence of this mellow season. Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you beauty and contentment.

all photos by Aisling, October 18, 2009

Sunday Stroll Invitation

"Fiery colors begin their yearly conquest of the hills, propelled by the autumn winds. Fall is the artist."
~ Ikkaku, Hosaka and Kawabata, Animal Crossing: Wild World, 2005

If you have time this week for a Sunday Stroll, and if your weather allows, 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. I'll check back as often as I can and try to keep the list updated.

Look who is strolling today:

Margaret at Periodic Pearls
Christiane at Spiraling
Jessica at Four Square Schoolhouse
Cloudhands at Uncarved Block
Me here at the Quiet Country House

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Muse - Inspiration

Replacing our old dial-up connection with wireless a few months ago has changed my internet experience considerably. Netflix has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of that change. I hardly watch any television and our local video store's selection of offerings does not match my viewing taste. How nice that I now have almost everything to choose from.
Recently I watched a documentary called A Man Named Pearl. This man, a topiary gardener, is truly inspiring, and even if I were not a gardener, I would have found him fascinating. If you have a few minutes and have not heard anything about this movie, you might enjoy watching the trailer I've linked to below. There is also a website about this inspiring gentleman here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Stroll - Changing Skies

With heavy clouds above my me and lush green grass beneath my feet, I walked through my garden this afternoon. Tiny hard pellets of snow had fallen just a minutes earlier. You can see them on the porch in the photo below, and falling in streaks of white near the pond in the photo after that.

This cosmos, the tallest in the patch, towers above my head. There are still many unopened blossoms. I hope that those blooms, and the little white hollyhock in the next photo, have time to unfurl before cold weather stops the long slow parade of blooms that I have been enjoying since early spring.

For now, the trend in the garden is toward yellow, silver, pale apricot, and more and more bare patches of earth. Here are some glimpses of the garden trail, starting at the south trail-head and leaving at the north-west end in the newer section of the garden where the cosmos are blooming.

There are a lot of brown leaves and dying vines in the vegetable, and very few actual vegetables remaining. There are still a few cantalopes and acorn squash amid the orange and green pumpkins. I hope those dead-looking vines still nourish our pumpkins until they are fully ripe... maybe just in time for Halloween.

As is so often the case in October, the skies have changed every few moments today. The frenzy of snowflakes was followed by mellow sparkling sunshine for a while. Later, a chorus of clouds and frosty air ran through the hills singing softly of shorter days and longer nights. At their urging, I made a warm, filling dinner of corn chowder and dill biscuits. The sun is shining again, just in time to set beautifully into the little lake down the hill. Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you warmth and happiness.

all photos by Aisling, 10/11/2009