Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shades of blue...

If I had to pick a favorite color, it would be blue. And here is one reason... so many shades to love.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Today a huge flock of Bohemian Waxwings was zooming around our yard. They landed, amid a snowstorm, in the Crab apple tree. Skittish birds, every movement or sound makes them go "scree-ing" away, then noisily return. These birds are stunningly beautiful, but it is hard to catch more than a glimpse of them. I stood outside until my fingers were numb with cold, trying to catch a good picture. I got several pretty shots, some with them in mid gulp as they stripped the old fruit off the tree.

When we lived in Memphis a flock like this descended on our Holly tree one day. Four year old Rachel was standing at the window and called to me, "Oh Mommy! The birds are so happy with our tree!" Such a perfect description . I was so happy to have them in my tree today.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Links in a chain...

Lately my camera lense keeps finding chains. It found one on the rocky shore by the harbor, covered in ice and barnicles. The chain pictured here is hanging, abandoned, in the window of a tumbledown barn I explored recently. Then there is the chain attached to the gate where my horse lives. A few of the links on that chain are worn perfectly and uniformily smooth. The old metal glints dully. These are the links that are touched each day as the gate is fastened and unfastened. The links that hang below the simple hook are untouched- rough and rusty, though still strong and useful.

And all of that makes me think about the links that anchor us here on this spinning ball. From the stuff we are all on a mad quest to acquire, to what really matters... the relationships we have with our fellow travelers. Luckily as I grow older I treasure those links more and more.

I have people in my life whom I rarely see, but think of and treasure. I have people in my life that I care about though I have never met them. My only communication with these people is though a key board and a blue-hued screen. And there are people I meet briefly out in the world and share a quick conversation that warms me all day. Those are the links on my chain that are real, and strong and wonderful, but perhaps a little rusty and lacking shine. And then, then there are the friends and family whose faces are as familiar as my own, whose smile will dependably reflect one of mine when I flash it, and whose laughter is the music to which my life's best dances are set. Gleaming links in a wondrous chain that makes just everything worthwhile.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Doesn't this make you....

Wish you were a honey bee? Or a hummingbird? I can't believe I am able to make something this sensational bloom in my dining room. Magic!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Muse...

I am a journalist. I get paid and everything, so that makes it real. I have a nice little "office" to write in, but sometimes I work at the cozy kitchen table. Poppy likes to help me write, no matter where I am. She will snooze endlessly by me while I research and type and revise. I cannot tell you how many hundreds of thousands of words I have put to paper with the soft, rhythmical sound of her muffled snoring urging me on. She never seems to tire of being by my side. The other dogs are content to lounge around the house, or on the floor near me. Poppy wants to be next to the computer. She is a funny little dog, a sweet muse, a constant companion. Who says money can't buy love? She is the best $50. I ever spent.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chow grooming before and after...

One reason I have been enjoying blogging is that it is a different creative outlet than the grooming outlet that so much of my energy is devoted to. But I had to share these images and the story. This Chow, when he walked in the door of our shop, was every groomers nightmare on four feet. He had matted, thick, oily, smelly coat covering every inch of his body. And for non groomer types, Chow's are notoriously difficult dogs to handle. The story was that in a divorce situation, he went with the husband. A long, long time passed, and the wife was called and asked if she wanted the dog back. The first image is what the dog looked like when she got him back. Several hours after we got our hands on him, he was nearly finished with his makeover in the second photo. Luckily for all concerned, he was a total gentleman for the entire process. He had a serious bounce to his step when he left us. This was a makeover story that warmed us all.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Roses in a mason jar...

Sometimes in the middle of winter I crave a little color. Yesterday I treated myself to a dozen roses ($12.!) and they are now in an old blue mason jar on my kitchen table. It makes me smile to have something blooming when the world outside is a monotone palette.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


My porch, a breezy haven in the summer, is not a place to linger in January. My winter visits are hurried things. Today, as I passed quickly though, I noticed that the antique prisms from a long ago chandelier hanging inside the windows were mirrored by natures prisms on the outside. The setting sun glinted rosily off all that ice and glass... a promise of warmer days to come... when the porch holds us in its peaceful grasp for long, happy hours.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snow shoes...

At first when you strap on snow shoes, it feels like wearing big, funny clown feet. Today Chris and I spent an hour and a half out exploring winter. We both fell down once, and got back up, and laughed and talked and discovered muscles we were not real familiar with. We clambered up and down, trudged into the woods and down a stream bed. The woods were nearly silent, but if I listened carefully I could hear the faintest hissing sound of snow hitting the trees. We startled a turkey, which winged off, skimming the tree tops. It has been snowing since dawn, with no sign of stopping, and that suits me fine.

Cozy back at home the wood stove crackles, music plays and the dogs drape themselves artfully on the furniture, snoring softly. Our snowshoes are propped on the deck, waiting for our next excellent adventure.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Beauty and the beast...

Oh how magical these ice crystals are on the heated birdbath! Somehow, however, crystals just like this in my water pipes did not seem lovely to me. At all.

Pipes thawed. Crisis averted.

Temperature... -25. And THAT, ladies and gents, is cold. But yes, the ice and snow is still stunning. When all is said and done, I am eager for more winter. Bring it on!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Temperature outside: -9.
Only 4 more months till I see the above in my front yard.
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Things that make you say, "huh!"

This is a picture of a broodie chicken. Her name is RoBirda. I didn't know much about broodie chickens until this year. If you don't know, either, you might find this to be of interest. Chickens get "broodie" when they want to hatch eggs. We have bred the broody trait out of many birds so that they will produce eggs and not try to hatch them. When they are broody they stop laying eggs. Their sole and single minded purpose is to keep the nest warm so chicks will hatch. Robirda goes into this state where she she is perfectly still for hours on end. She only leaves the nest once or twice a day to eat, drink and defecate. Or if I lift her off and put her outside! When I do lift her off, she remains in her hunkered down position, staring into space for several minutes. Then she shakes herself, preens, flaps her wings a bit and eats a little, then heads back to the nest.

I don't want her to brood, because as we have no rooster, there are no fertilized eggs, and because brooding can be hard on a birds body, and it is very, very cold here now. I'd rather she be up eating and moving around, not starving herself in the frigid weather. But she has other plans. I took this photo today when I lifted her off the nest and put her on the picnic table. She remained there, in the snow, like a bird statue until I took pity on her and got her back to the coop.

Her behaviour is something that makes me say, "Huh!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


This sweet little sign hangs by the entrance to our home. I love the simplicity of both the design and the sentiment. What more could one wish for in a house blessing?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Frozen forcast...

The upcoming forecast shows temperatures below 0 for several days in a row. I wonder... how do the wild things survive this brutal weather? How do ducks dabble in the harbor without freezing their feet? How do the tiny Chickadee's at my feeder stay warm and alive during the long, dark winter nights? I looked out the window today and saw a Robin. A Robin! In the middle of January. Then I realized he had a whole flock of friends with him. Where will they find bugs or fruit to eat under the foot of snow outside?

I think there are lessons to be learned from watching nature. The wild birds don't complain or whine about their fate, they just keep on the business of living. And they do it beautifully.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Embracing winter...

January wraps this place in blankets of monotone silence. Unless you look closely, the world is shades of white and gray. To better explore my surroundings I acquired snow shoes. Yesterday we tried them for the very first time. Skimming across the new snowfall was easy. We crossed the swells of meadow, into the treeline and down to where the brook etched an abbreviated dark line under the snow. The sky provided a pale backdrop for barren tree branches... delicate as winter lace. Rather than enjoy the view from the window by the fire, we breathed in air so cold it burned, and caught some ember colors by surprise.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Delicious x 2... (or three?)

Yesterday when I was at work my sweet husband called and told me he was cooking me a special supper. When I got home, I walked first to the back yard to let the dogs do their thing. As I passed the kitchen window I saw the table nicely set, with crystal wine glasses, and the red oil lamp glowing warmly. What a welcoming sight! When I came in, Chris poured me a glass of wine and dished up a fabulous, spicy scallop and pasta concoction he had dreamed up.
And the left overs made the ladies very happy, too!
They in turn will make me eggs, so really, the delicious will be x3~ !!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Florida room for the ladies...

My chickens are experiencing their first winter, and they are not amused. Where once they had a fenced acre of grass to explore, they now huddle miserably in their coop. The snow on those big yellow feet makes them fretful. What could we do, but build them an addition? Some wood, a sheet of plastic, a bale of clean straw and some nice fall leaves we saved just for this... now the girls have a place to hang out and scratch, looking for the corn and seeds that I toss in there. The morning sun warms the room a bit, and the girls look pretty happy with their new venue. All they need now is a palm tree and some fruity drinks!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Joy on four feet...

Sometimes I think living with dogs is highly over rated. They are loud. Messy. Expensive. Other times they make me stop and just appreciate life in a different way. Dazzle is finding the new snow intoxicating. This morning I took a break from shoveling to share her joy, lighter than air...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Evening view from my back door....

My evening chores were interrupted by the above view. Photos seldom do a good sunset justice, but you get the idea. Nice job, God. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Guppy Bubbles...

My bubbling blue eyed Guppy girl is 19. I wouldn't be 19 again for anything. She is taking on the BIG choices, swimming hard upstream. It is difficult to be the mom now. I can't fix the problems, heal the heartbreaks, guide the choices. But she has the basics. She is smart, kind, compassionate, generous and funny as heck. I can't wait to where she swims to next.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My decorating color palette...

Out for a walk today I discovered my decorating color palette. Birch bark on snow, white on white! Nature inspired! It made me grin...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Winter scene...

Chanel thought the only way to add to the beauty of this New England winter scene was to put her fuzzy self into it!

Adding a little hay just made everything better still. (Marion Whitman photography)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Living colorfully...

We had a family gathering at the home of my niece and her husband in Portland, Maine on New Years day. Their house is decorated in brilliant colors. The walls are hung with tapestries from their travels, their carpets are rich in hues like Merlot and henna. I was particularly taken with the vibrancy of the pottery in their kitchen. Each serving piece and bowl boasted chunky heft and jewel tones. My own personal decorating taste tends towards shades of white and more white, (which my sweet husband calls "the decorating palette of the uninspired.") I love the way my house looks, it suits me. But this home fairly glowed with color and warmth. It is a place with both taste and flavor. We had a delicious visit!