Thursday, December 19, 2013


Things slow way down on the farm in winter.  The pace settles into a gentle, determined rhythm... and to that steady beat, you do all that you must... and, sometimes, little else.

It is time to pull close to the fire.

It is an introspective season.

This year, winter is at my doorstep and has been for several weeks, despite what the calendar proclaims, and yet, I am still a bit frenzied and frantic.  I have learned over the years that I become scattered and unfocused if I do not maintain certain practices.  Because of the demands of the farm these past few seasons, I have sadly neglected the following healthy habits:  a daily walk in nature, yoga and meditation.

Sometimes, people suggest that I have been "shot out of a canon" because I spring to life each morning and tackle my tasks with energy... but without the quiet moments of reflection so abundant in walking, yoga, and meditation, I notice that I can be quite busy, scurrying about, and yet not accomplish much.  Sometimes, my thoughts dart about as I try to listen to someone I care about, which troubles me greatly.  I need to take a deep breath.

This winter will be my season to re-establish my commitment to quiet moments, to slow food, slow living, and deep listening.

Note to self:

Breathe slowly and listen.
Breathe and slowly consider.
If you must speak, 
speak slowly and gently.
Then be quiet.
Be still.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Farm Style Fairy Tale

Before she moved to the farm,
She did not know whether she was made more of
Daisies and dreams
Or mystery and moss…
Or perhaps mostly of midnight and memories.

She came to the farm so that she could sprinkle radish seeds on cool soil
And then pull them up a few weeks later with the joy of a child opening a gift,
And then roast them slowly and stir them into a soup to feed to her loved ones.

She came to the farm so that she could sing native water songs
To friendly chickens as she fed them. 

She came so that, when the world became too tangled and complex,
She could walk through the quiet forest and slowly unravel
Then sit un-moving on a sun-dappled slope
And listen as the wind whispered endearments to the Earth.

After a while, she realized that she was made of 
Much more than just daisies and dreams;
She was an elemental,
In the song that Life sings.

by Aisling, December 10, 2013

Saturday, December 07, 2013


I see snow falling... bright bits of lace falling on an eastward angle.  One large flake rolls upward a few inches and then drifts to the east while another soars in a long lazy arc, like a shooting star.  I make a wish... just in case.

hear wind against the windows and fire crackling in the woodstove; the sound of cold and the sound of heat. A log falls with a rustle.  Another snaps.  I hear my son sorting through his papers, as he sits on the warm slate close to the woodstove, looking for a blank sheet to start a drawing.  His pencil scratches across the page energetically.

smell chai in my mug, as I take a break from deep cleaning the kitchen.

taste the vanilla spice of my tea.

feel comfortable... happy... blessed.

It is bitterly cold here today, as it must be in many other places.  It feels good to be tending the fire indoors... out of the wind and yet listening to her song.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you comfort and joy.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November Lullaby

November Lullaby

Gray and brown November
Where blue overhead is unexpected
And cold white blasts unwelcome.

It is so hard to roll easily
from Indian Summer
To deep November slumber.

And so I make of myself a seedpod
Keeping all my green freshness
Tucked inside
Awaiting spring.

On the inside I practice unfurling,
While I settle into the leaf drift
That hums softly
Beneath the bare-branches of your days.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace.

poetry by Aisling

Saturday, November 09, 2013


I see the wind sculpture on the deck slowly turning and branches swaying in a dance that never seems to end on this windswept ridge.

hear my sons chatting... one voice deep and the other still lilting in the sing-song tones of childhood. I am adding to the cheerful clutter of sound as I hum some of the music from the Native American drumming group I sang with this morning.

smell acorn squash roasting and fragrant steam rising from chickpeas, freshly cooked in the pressure cooker and ready to be made into falafel as soon as I get motivated!

taste warm, spicy tea.

feel glad for the social activities which keep us active and entertained, and even more glad for the quiet comfortable retreat of home.

It continues to rain... on and on and on.  We are adjusting and especially joyful at every glimpse of sunlight or blue sky.  There have been no glimpses of sunshine today, so we are making our own light and warmth in the kitchen.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you comfort and light.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sunday Stroll - A Long Walk

Finally, a blue sky day.  
With so many shades of blue beckoning
I just had to go for a long walk.  

We still have autumn color, but recent winds are bringing the leaves down.  
Some flutter to the ground. 
 Others are caught, as if the tree is trying to hold on to autumn...
 just a little bit longer.

The creek is laughing and skipping with the pure joy of an autumn full of rain.  
I walked quietly beside her, but my heart was skipping along.

The light was amazing.

 I lay down in the heart of a wide open meadow
 just to feel the sun's warmth
and to look up and get lost 
in those many shades of blue.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Warm Comfort

It is another gray day, though no rain or snow so far.  I can't seem to gather enough energy to get things done.  Rather than check things off my long to-do list, I decided to cook a great big pot of Red Lentil and Root Vegetable Stew.  As usual, I didn't refer to a recipe (though I love cookbooks as inspiration!)... rather I wandered around pulling richly colored root vegetables and let the garden write my ingredient list. These photos give you an idea of what went in my soup pot.

A little pan of flat stovetop bread topped with olive oil, garlic and thyme paired nicely with my soup. Though I was eating alone, I took the time to serve myself in the china I inherited from my maternal grandmother, and I garnished my bowl with a spring of thyme and a wedge of beet. Aren't the insides of these Chioggia beets beautiful?   I craved this infusion of color on such a gray day.

Feeling satisfied, I sip my nettle tea and enjoy the quiet.  The house smells warm and comfortable, as the earthy aromas of the stew mix with the scent of the wood fire.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you warmth and comfort.

Monday, October 21, 2013


This week the emphasis on the farm is on preserving peppers and cleaning up the garden rows.  These bells are being made into stuffed peppers for instant gratification, and roasted red pepper puree to savor in the winter.  There are also hot peppers to pickle and to string up for drying.

Apparently, this is monsoon season in our neck of the woods... We are on our fifteenth or twentieth day of rain.  The extended forecast predicts rain and snow for the next ten days as well.  We get a little damp around the edges gathering our harvest, but the house is warm and comfortable... and with tomato sauce in the crockpot and peppers roasting in the oven it smells good too!

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you comfort, color, and joy!

all photos by Aisling, 10/20/2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Autumn Busyness

I have not posted since early September.  It has been a busy month on the farm.  Also, our rural internet connection has been very unreliable.  We have so few options here for internet!

The month has included:
  • Canning Tomatoes
  • Canning Green Beans
  • Canning Pears
  • Cleaning up the garden
  • Harvesting and shelling dried beans
  • A new part time job
  • Substitute teaching
  • Canning Tomatoes
  • Walks in the woods
  • Gathering Wild Apples
  • Making Salsa
  • Putting away summer clothes
  • Pulling out sweaters and hats
  • Going to the Homecoming Football Game
  • Canning Tomatoes
Yes, lots of tomatoes and it wasn't even a very good year for them here, but we planted so many!   October is nearly upon us, and I am contemplating mulled cider and pumpkin bread, and cozy weekends!

Monday, September 02, 2013


I see gray skies through the kitchen window.  Against the sky, branches are dancing, leaves waving wildly.

hear the hum of a fan in the basement, urging away the damp that crept in with the last rain.

smell breakfast in the skillet: turnips, sweet onions, and farm fresh eggs.

taste morning coffee.  Hazelnut.

feel blessed, content in the haven of my country home.

It was summer yesterday, warm and muggy.  I woke in the wee hours of morning to cold air blustering in the windows.  I closed the glass against the chill.  Suddenly, it is September.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you awareness of your blessings.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Farm Stand Reflections

When I went back to college a few years ago, I did not know it would lead to this...
    I am sitting on a hot day in August on the side of a busy highway.  In front of me, there is a table partially covered in a red-striped cloth.  A basket overflows with sweet Walla Walla onions.  Beside them is a display of yellow cooking onions.  So far, no one else has noticed them.  Traffic flies by.  Busy people are on their way to somewhere.  But to me, these onions tell the story of my year.

     In the winter, I ordered seeds and onions sets.  In spring, I planted.  All summer, I hoed and weeded and watered.  Now, as cool nights and hints of color in the maple leaves remind me of Autumn's approach, I have harvested and cleaned these onions.
  I think they are beautiful.  They are large, and for the most part, unblemished.  They were grown with nothing but nature and good old fashioned exertion.

    So, I sit here, alone with my thoughts, as the cars fly past.

     It strikes me that life is like a maze; full of twists and turns, false starts and dead ends.  It doubles back on itself sometimes.  I wonder... am I spiraling out, away from the center of things, or flowing in toward the heart?

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you a heart full of gratitude.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Stroll - Bramble Walk

Today, when I take a walk, I will head out through the deep woods to the clearing where the wild blackberries grow.  Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours picking, got wet from toe to hip because of heavy rain recently, and only got two cups of deep crimson blackberries.  They taste like a hint of heaven and their harvest is just beginning.  We will have to pick berries daily for the next week or two in order to keep ahead of the birds.  Having said that, there are plenty to go around.  The berry bramble flourishes here, with little interference on our part.

We will be planting a few blueberry bushes on the farm today.  We bought five plants from a roadside stand the other day.  The "blueberry guy" who sold them to us was country folk, pure and simple, and for over an hour regaled us with stories of growing organic produce and roses.  His description of how to plant the blueberry bushes was detailed and exacting.  I am going to attempt to follow his instructions to the letter.  He sounded as if he knew what he was talking about.  There is a special wisdom in people who work with the earth and growing things that I can't ignore.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you contentment and joy.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Slow Down

Summer is flying.  I want it to slow down.  I begin teaching summer school next Monday, and suddenly I am realizing that this beautiful season will soon be gone.  I will love and embrace autumn when it arrives, but until then, I want to be gloriously and completely saturated by summer.

Let the deep rich joy of being in the garden permeate my soul.  Let the fresh air move through my spirit and brush away the cobwebs.  Let the colors and light lift me out of dull routines and sloppy habits.

Let me bloom and grow...
            hair down,
                 feet bare,
                       heart wide open.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you fresh air and an open heart.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

My Sanctuary

My sanctuary has thousands of birch leaves rustling softly,
Bird chatter,
And wind song.
My sanctuary has ancient apple trees,
Extending arms full of tiny green apples.
There are dappled pools of sunlight,
Flecked with black-eyed Susan, field daisies,
And tall grasses whose seed heads dance.

I do not need to pray in my sanctuary;
My sanctuary is a prayer,
of gratitude,
and wholeness,
and belonging.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you sanctuary and belonging.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


So much of my life on the farm involves being observant.

I must notice when it rains, and when it has been too long so that I know when to water.

I observe the health and activity of my hens and their rooster.  Has one hen gone broody?  Has she been sitting those eggs too long?  

Will it get cold again tonight?  Are there any plants that I need to cover?  I know the sweet potatoes will not respond well to these 45 degree nights.

This morning, I took my usual walk to the chicken coop.  The rooster "assaulted" me several times.     Apparently, he woke up on the wrong side of the roost!  I also stopped to watch the new bee hive. It makes me very nervous that I observed nothing at the hive.   It may be that it is so cold they have crowded up inside the hive.  I will be keeping my eye on them today, watching for that bright flurry of comings and goings that I usually see as the bees hurry off to the field full of daisies, buttercups, goats beard, clover, and sweet delicate blue flax.

I have an all day event to attend today.  I will enjoy my time with friends, but I have to admit that I am wishing I would be at home on the farm, tending to gardens and livestock and cooking something with fresh, just-picked, ingredients.  

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy in the small things.

Photo of the grapeyard looking southeast down the long field, taken earlier this week.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Rainy Sunday

It rained all night and is raining still.  On this cool rainy day, I will stay indoors and catch up on some housework that has piled up on brighter days.  The garden is flourishing, but I hope some brilliant sunshine follows the several days of rain that we have had recently.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you contentment.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Stroll

Today will be a gardening day here, rather than a walking day... although I hope for a ramble in the woods after the work is done.  I will not be able to post photos even if I walk; still experiencing trouble with the tablet that serves as my camera.  However, I will check back for other strollers and add links if any one strolls.

So... if  you stroll and post about it, please leave a link here and I will make a list so others can find you and share your stroll.  

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you a happy contended spirit.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Day off from the stroll... 

Cold and windy here and family coming to visit. 

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you a beautiful day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

I have a hundred farm chores to do this weekend, but rain arrived over night and it looks as if it will stay for the next several days, along with some very cool air.  I will need to make a new to-do list, of indoor tasks.

What do you like to do on a rainy spring day?

I think some cleaning and organizing are at hand, but also work on aligning the tension on my old Singer treadle sewing machine so I can actually do some sewing on the NEXT rainy weekend!

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy and a quiet sense of accomplishment.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Wacky Wednesday Meal Plan

Am musing between two dinner ideas for tonight:

Idea 1: Dips and Dippers, including a Sorrel Pesto recipe that I sought out. I have fresh lemony sorrel in my herb garden and making a pesto seems like a great way to use it.  Might also make hummus and a peanut butter dip with apple slices as a dessert.

Idea 2: Tempura Veggies, including sweet potatoes and maybe some early local asparagus that is starting to appear at farm stands.  My own asparagus is in its first year and I am supposed to "leave it alone" for this year.  I'm trying but I may have to sneak a little nibble!

What are you making for dinner tonight?  Do you plan ahead or just decide on the spur of the moment... or like I often do, after a frustrated foray in the pantry?

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you a lovely day and a beautiful evening meal!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Meal Planning Rut

It is that point of the year at which I am tired of winter foods, but it is not yet time to pick fresh bounty from the garden.

For these next few weeks, I am going to try this:
Movie Night and Munchies on Monday
Taco Tuesday
Wacky Wednesday (Just picking something fun  and unusual)
Thirsty Thursday (Get out the Juicer and have fresh juice and a salad or sandwich)
Friday Feast (loads of fresh fruit and veg)
Soups, Stews and Stirfries on Saturdays and Sundays

Monday, May 06, 2013

Monday Muse - Bird Song

This post is in response to a comment from my friend Nan, of Letters from a Hill Farm.

Though not all are what you would call songbirds, these are birds that I have seen and heard frequently this spring.  I know I am forgetting a few.

Blue Jays
Nut Hatches
Sand Hill Cranes
Mourning Doves
Pileated Woodpecker
Hoot Owl

Mostly I see and hear my brood of barred rock hens and their ringleader, the rooster.  People think of roosters as noisy, and at the break of dawn perhaps they are, but you haven't heard a ruckus until you've heard one of our "girls" lay an egg!

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Sunday Stroll Invitation

"Look at your feet.  You are standing in the sky.  When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth."

  ~Diane Ackerman

If you have time to stroll, please let me know in a comment and I will link to your stroll so that other gardeners and nature lovers can walk along with us.  

My walk with my son last week was lovely, and I was unable to share it with you because of technical difficulties.  I am still having the same problem, so today will share my stroll in words rather than photos...

This morning, the sky is translucent... a pale robin's egg blue.  
The air is alive with bird song and playful breeze.
The ground is lush from spring rains, and beginning to burst into bloom.  
In the north yard, bright yellow trout lily with her speckled leaves is unfurling.
In the herb garden, daffodils and hyacinth have awoken 
so late that they are joined in the dance by orange, purple, white and yellow pansies.  

The day is a bountiful offering from the Earth.  I accept it joyfully.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Stroll Invitation

"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. 
 Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, 
quiet enough, to pay attention to the story." 
 ~ Linda Hogan

Yesterday was the first truly lovely day in my region this spring.  It finally felt as if winter had receded, and spring settling in for a good long stay.  Today's forecast is promising, and though I have a lot of projects and gardening work to do, I hope to take my ten year old son up to the natural area a mile up the road for a walk along the lake shore.

If you have time today for a Sunday Stroll, and if you share your stroll in words or pictures on your blog, please comment here and I will provide a link for readers who visit here. 

May have to post my own stroll photos tomorrow.  Can't get my tablet, on which I took photos, to connect to the internet.  Will try again tomorrow if I have time.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Stroll Links

To share our Sunday Stroll's, please scroll down to the previous post to see mine, and head here to see Pom Poms.  If anyone else "comes out to play," I'll add their links here to keep the link post at the top position on my blog.

Sunday Stroll - Morning

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,

 places to play in and pray in, 

where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”  

John Muir

Morning crests the hill,

Light glides down the long field.

Ice gilds the forest pools.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, 
I wish you 'beauty as well as bread.'

Sunday Stroll Invitation

~ John Muir

When one goes looking for quotes about nature one finds, of course, the wisdom of John Muir.  I will walk in nature today seeking refreshment and renewal.   What do you seek when you walk?

If you have time today for a Sunday Stroll, and if you share your stroll in words or pictures on your blog, please comment here and I will provide a link for readers who visit here. 

Unlike years past, it often takes me a day or two to provide all of the links or even get my own photos posted.  I hope that is not inconvenient, but it is the pace of life here on the farm.  Things other than technology take precedence and the walk itself is more important than the blog post about the walk.  Sometimes, I don't even remember the camera anymore... then I just breathe the air and drink in the beauty with my eyes.

Please waltz on over to Pom Poms's blog to see her stroll.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Outdoor work

With the first really sunny day in a long stretch, I did get outside quite a bit yesterday.  I even took a quick Sunday Stroll through the cedar wood with my ten year old son, following him along deer trails as he ran and darted under low branches and leaped puddles.  Unfortunately, we did not have the camera with us.  

We also worked in the garden, pulling some of last year's plants that we left in last fall.  There are earthworms and tiny green weeds, both signs of spring.  We look for those signs eagerly, after such a long winter.

I also began spring cleaning the hen house with my thirteen year old son.  That project will require more work on another day.  The forecast looks hopeful so the work will continue throughout the week, though the mid-forties temperature predicted are cooler than normal.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you fresh air and spring green.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Stroll Invitation

"Every moment of light and dark is a miracle." ~ Walt Whitman

If you have time this week for a Sunday Stroll, time to capture and notice some of the miracles in the moments of the day, 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 I can and post links.  I may be a little slow in that regard today as we are spring cleaning the hen house.  The sunlight is lovely and the air is fresh and sweet though some snow still lingers in the shadows.  It will be a good day to get outside.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Two Words

Freezing rain.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Sunday Stroll Rocks

"Geologists have a saying - rocks remember."  ~ Neil Armstrong

In our wonder over stately trees and delicate blossoms, we often over look some of the other natural beauties in our woods.  Today, I hiked out to visit some favorite rocks.   Sadly, my camera malfunctioned again, so you have my narrative and just a few photos to document my Sunday Stroll.

I headed first to a large boulder that stands as a trail marker for a path that cuts through our southwestern cedar wood.  It is streaked with pink quartz and flecked with moss, and leads to a deer trodden path through the cedar wood, bare of undergrowth... shadowed and still on this April afternoon.

On either side of the trail are two other large rocks, a meeting place for two companions to rest as they walk the quiet trail.

In the eastern hardwood forest, are many other mossy coated boulders... marking paths and offering landmarks.   A favorite is this large flat rock with a basin on the top.

 It catches snow melt and rain fall in this month of April, with its confusion of winter and spring weather.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy in natural beauty.

Sunday Stroll

 If you have time this week for a Sunday Stroll, 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.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Evening Calm

Spring weather nudged us outdoors these past few days.  We tended a rambunctious patch of wild black raspberries on Thursday.  Last year this patch offered up tart, flavorful berries which we shared with birds, deer and rabbits.  It felt good to be out in the heart of our forest.

We have pruned our grape plants and nibbled chives and bright, tender lemony sorrel.  We have snow in the forecast, but blue skies and forty degrees sure felt good for a few days.

My technical difficulties with the camera have prevented more posting this week, and will probably not have an opportunity to post a Sunday Stroll tomorrow with family coming for Easter. 

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you blue skies and good company.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Stroll Along the Creek

am having tech trouble. will post asap.

If you have time this week for a Sunday Stroll, 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.

Though I could not get my photos to post, there is a lovely stroll to view at Comfrey Cottages!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Stroll - Song of Spring Approaching

"You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait.  We know the current is there, hidden, and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us.  What the river says, that is what I say."  ~ William Stafford

Out past next year's firewood

and beyond the grape yard

 through a door of golden light in a cedar wall

I peek in at the mushroom laying yard.

All is still.

I walk along the cedars, past the tree where crows roost.

There were no crows here when we came, nearly a year ago.

I am grateful the crows have returned to play their role 
in keeping nature whole and balanced.

Ahead lies the trail into the woods.

Sunlight and shadows,
dimples in the snow, 
a wild meander of animal prints.
The wind leaves her mark here too,
in wind-dance patterns on the snow.

Elegant, elongated tracks lead into shadow
and to the quiet edge of the dark water swamp.

I look toward a stand of slender silver maples.

All is still.

My feet crunch on the snow.

The sun pours silent golden music down through the trees...

the Song of Spring Approaching.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you golden music and the joys of spring.