Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Quiet Country Blog

In a busy month, what has been missing is time in nature.  Only one long walk in the woods so far this month. December here has been shockingly warm; full of rain, clouds, and wind.  Finally, yesterday it began to snow for the first time since Thanksgiving.

I have been busy with a lot of family matters, and proofing a book that I have been working on for over a year.  Hope to be back in a more regular blogging rhythm soon. 

Look for a post about my book and a "big reveal" in January.

In the meanwhile...where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy and peace.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Days of Gratitude - Tabula Rasa

I am thankful that
each day is a clean slate
and a fresh, new beginning.

Sunday there was heavy snow to the south of us. We were travelling back from a family gathering, and we stopped a while beside the Manistee River.

At home, there was just a dusting of light snow, soon gone.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you the blessing of new beginnings.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Days of Gratitude - November Blooms

I am thankful that sometimes 
roses bloom
 in November.

Snapdragons and lavender 
still greet me,
as I pull thyme and sage from the herb garden 
on a cool November afternoon.

A few sassy nasturtiums still sparkle in the old iron sink on the porch, 
mocking the November sun with the audacity of their yellow glow.

December nears. 
Winter approaches.
 But still we bloom.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you delight in your surroundings.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

On a Rainy November Afternoon

Walking onto the trail, 
I notice that,
although autumn's color have faded, 
the woods are filled 
with silver and gold.

I am walking
 in a 40 acre nature preserve,
and it is quiet except for 
the autumn song of Lake Michigan's resilient tide.

I see a car leave 
as I arrive.
And then, as I depart,
two women walk down the lane.
toward the lake with their dogs.

I am glad I am not the only one seeking Nature's treasures,
all that silver and gold,
on a rainy November afternoon.

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

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Pace of November

 There is still plenty to do on the farm in November. We are still harvesting a few late season gems from the garden: Brussels sprouts, tiny second growth cabbages of red and green, even a few lingering florets of broccoli, among other things.  We will be making apple jam this weekend, and digging up some horseradish to grind and preserve.

We are deep cleaning animal shelters and canning room floors after a busy summer.  The pantry needs to be emptied, scrubbed down, and put back in better order.

Despite that long list, the pace of November is slower.  The very air is more still since birds have flown and leaves have fallen.  The wind skirts through bare branches these days.

The morning is a soft sigh and the night a long, deep exhalation. I feel the cool, calm of November fill my being and I breathe it in.

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Road Trip

One afternoon in October, we set out to find autumn in the Appalachians. it was a long drive though several states, but worth every mile. Over creeks and around and through mountains in West Virginia we drove.

Then on through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, we traveled, betwixt and between the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Up through Pennsylvania to listen to beautiful music and watch the beautiful people of all stripes in downtown Philadelphia.

Antique shopping on a Sunday aterrnoon in Amish country, while the humble folk clip clop home from their gatherings in black buggies.

We returned on a blue sky Monday , heading north and west, back to the comforts of home and the familiar routine.

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

Sunday, October 18, 2015

First Snow

Yesterday was Grape Harvest day on our farm, but we woke to the season's first snow.  By the end of the harvest, I was soaked from head to toe.

The scenery was beautiful yesterday, but it reminds me of all the unfinished tasks we must scurry to complete before the real winter sets in.

As for today, on to canning grape juice. We make our grape juice just like my mom did when I was a child.  So, that means good memories and good juice!

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace of mind.

Monday, October 12, 2015


In autumn, the trees glow. Walking with my son through our woods on Sunday afternoon, I began thinking of the many trees that glow in my memory.

There was a mulberry tree in my childhood where my brothers and I climbed, and perched and dreamed.

There was a fast growing Chinese elm at the center of my butterfly garden that my children climbed, and beneath those fine leafed branches they played while we grew together in the garden.

There was a willow tree by the river in our town. Generations of children played along its sturdy trunk over the gentle flow of sweet water.  This summer a wild wind took it down. When you visit the park where the willow once stood, memories flow like the water in the river, poignant and sweet.

There are so many trees on this farm; some fresh and new, others brittle with age.  The stately sycamore guards the house and a host of cedars greets and guides us on our woodland rambles.

How long has it been since you climbed a tree or sat beneath one lost in a book or a long slow daydream?

Where ever you are, whatever the weather I wish you the comfort and company of trees.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

On the Shores of October

Walk with me to the lake shore

We'll keep our shoes on this time...No toes in the lake in October.

Nights have been cold, and the lake is already leaning into November.

At the edge of the lake, 
Mallards linger in the marsh,

then rise.

We'll linger too,
and really notice Autumn...
the look of the sky, 
the feel of the air, 
and the insistent sound of the waves on the shores of October.

Where ever you are,
whatever the weather,
I wish you serenity and awareness.

Friday, October 09, 2015

A Little Song for October

It's chilly outside
and the skies are gray.
The clouds press down
like a weight today.
I think I'll stay inside
where the fire's burning
and dream a few dreams
of the season turning.
I'll sigh a few sighs
while the kettle sings.
I wonder what
tomorrow brings?

Will it be chilly outside?
Will the skies be gray?
Will the clouds press down?
Are they here to stay?
Will I stay inside?
Will the fire be burning?
Will I dream a few dreams
while the world keeps turning?
Will I whistle a tune
while the kettle sings?
Will I run outside?
Will I stretch these wings?

 I might tomorrow...
but not today!

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, 
I wish you comfort.  And Mabel recommends a good, long nap!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

October Sunrise

It is early morning, and I am lighting a fire in the wood cook stove. The year's last batch of tomato juice is in a large pot. Water in the canner hums softly as it comes to a boil.

A beautiful sunrise splashes rosy light in through the eastern window, and the beauty of the light lures me from the task at hand.

Stepping outside I am awash in dawn-light. The morning is still.

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

Friday, October 02, 2015

The Temple of Falling Leaves

After I have done all I can,
when I have nothing left to give,
I need some time
in my green sanctuary.

I lay down 
in the soft grass
in a room that smells of
cedar and solitude.

In this temple of falling leaves
there are sacred artifacts
that remind me that there is
beauty in imperfection.

Light pours in
 through the canopy
with a message so elemental
It cannot be expressed in words.

So I breathe
I simply breathe
until the tension leaves my body
and the frantic drumming
 of my heart
eases to a 
steady tranquility.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather I wish you restoration and peace.