Friday, October 30, 2009

Why do people own dogs..?

I have 4 dogs. They are really a lot of trouble. Smooch, seen above, has been messing about with some all purpose flour. My dogs are prone to toilet drinking, trash dumping, counter surfing and unbridled shedding.. There is even the occasional potty-on-the-floor indiscretion. Any sane person would want to know; why do people have dogs? Because really, life would be so much simpler without them.

The reason is this: when we come home after a day at work or running errands, there is a wild, exuberant greeting at the door. No human is EVER that glad to see us. And when I am home and puttering, a dog will follow me from room to room, as if I am the reason for it all. Then, on the sofa in front of the fire, there are dogs tucked in behind my knees, and over my legs, all warm and snoring softly. And when someone comes up our driveway, there is a cacophony of sound, warning, warning us of something afoot. Then there are the special, just for pet owners, glimpses of unbridled joy that we are privy to. Every. Single. Day. Joy in the waking, the running, the eating, the loving. Pure, simple, amazing joy. The kind of joy we as humans knew once, long ago, when we were small.

Owning pets is like a memory. A reminder of simpler times, when we noticed the joy in the sunrise and the sleeping and the happiness and the greeting of those we love.

That. THAT is why I own dogs. It's the constant reminding.

The snuggles are a bonus.

Monday, October 26, 2009

To do lists...

Today dawned crisp and clear, and the morning warmed up swiftly to gift us with a slice of perfect October day. I had a cup of hot apple cider and wrote out an ambitious "to do" list. On the list were normal day-off cleaning chores, plus putting the gardens to bed for the winter, planting spring bulbs, working on refinishing the two tables I am stripping, polishing candlesticks for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, re-potting some plants and oh! so much more.

Then the phone rang:
"Hi! It's Jane. Want to go riding?"
I looked up from my tidy list, and out the window where the trees and ground alike were painted in tones of burnished copper, sun drenched. I replied:
"Oh, I really can't. What time?"

We had a wonderful ride. There is something magical about how the world looks when viewed between a horses ears.

I still manged to cross a several things off my list, and stored away a memory of a few magical hours. All told it was a day well spent.

Crow Haiku

He is sky lofted
Winged whisperer on blue
Master of autumn

Saturday, October 24, 2009

signs of the times...

I saw these two signs in the past few weeks. The first at a "pick your own" apple orchard. The second at a paddock that once housed Scottish Highland cows with impressive horns.
Both seemed to impart not just specific information, but rather general life information, as well. Now I find I am looking at signs wherever I go... to see if there is some deeper meaning. Meanwhile? I am picking gently, not climbing, having fun and being aware of horns.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Night owls...

Sometimes I hear the question asked, "What is your idea of a perfect date?" Answers from others vary from trips to Paris to wild champagne filled parties to romantic starlit cruises.

We had a perfectly lovely date tonight. It involved none of the above. After 25 years of marriage we think a great night is a quiet dinner at home... but tonight we were "night owls!"
We went to hear a lecture given by the Chewonki foundation, all about owls. The focus was on the owls commonly found here in Maine. Three live owls came to the event, this Horned owl, (which treated us to a smattering of seductive hoots) a wee Screech owl and a lovely Barred owl. We have Barred owls living near our house, I hear them calling often. I love to lie in our quiet room at night and hear them, their call sounds like they are saying, "Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all?" Sometimes two of them will call back and forth, chortling and chatting each other up.

After the interesting lecture we went to a favorite haunt for a yummy meal... and conversation about plans for the future. I remember that when I was a little kid I figured that life was pretty much over at 50. Yet, here I am... pushing 50 hard and still making big plans for exciting changes and projects for my tomorrow.

Yup, sometimes going out and being a "night owl" is a welcome change.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I have a full, busy life. And I love it. But sometimes I feel too busy. Overwhelmed with home, yard,work, animals, family, friends, side jobs, helping others, writing, creating, cooking, living.... My "to do" list seems endless and daunting.

You know what helps? Taking a moment to focus on something simple.
This is an ornamental kale. I love the color, the texture, the amazing veins of pink spreading through the leaves. I love the prisms of rain drops that pool and shimmer and glint.

Taking time to STOP and look with wonder at the world around me helps me to focus on what is important. And it gives me time to dream, too. I read today that taking even a moment or two to focus on our dreams opens up possibilities. I want to be open to what the future holds. So, I pause and take time to focus on the little things, and time to dream about the big things. Do you?

Monday, October 19, 2009

My daughters hands...

When I was a teenager I dated a boy all through high school. He had an angel for a mother. She taught me how to knit and how to quilt and how to cook. She gave me much-needed guidance through those difficult teen years. Her gifts of time and teaching have colored my entire life.

In turn I taught my daughter to knit when she was only 6 or 7 years old. I love to watch her seamless hands as she loops the yarn and forms stitches that interlock to form something of warmth and beauty.

Life is like that. We are all connected, colorfully, and it is beautiful.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Signs of autumn...

There are signs of autumn. Chrysanthemums, ornamental kale, scare crows, pumpkins....
There is frost on the grass and piles of wood to stack. Today I turned on the furnace for the first time of the season. I've been keeping the wood stove burning 24/7 for a few weeks, but it needed to be cleaned out so I let it burn down and allowed the furnace to stretch its legs.

It is bittersweet to hear the furnace rumble in the old stone cellar. I am so grateful for the warmth it quickly sends surging through the rooms of our home... but twisting that thermostat seems like the final nail in summer's coffin. Before I turn that knob, I can lull myself into believing that there will be more warm days coming. Once the furnace starts it seems the cold weather is here to stay.

And yet... and yet... it was sheer luxury to step out of tonight's shower and feel warm air billowing out from the bathroom radiator. My towel had been lying there, so it wrapped me in toasty comfort that was oh so welcome.

And tonight? Snow flakes are dancing in the pool of light cast by the lamp over the door. Perhaps that is a sign for another post. Signs of winter. They are coming soon... to a blog near you!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Things I admire...

There are qualities in human beings that I particularly admire. Things such as honesty, kindness, ingenuity, wisdom, generosity, sense of humor, flexibility and tenacity.

This large tree, growing out of a granite outcropping, made me think about some of these qualities. To me this tree is an excellent illustration of tenacity. It has grown quite tall and appeared to be healthy, with its roots purchasing little more than cold stone.

I have been surprised over and over by people who have similar strengths. An acquaintance of mine told me today that she had a mastectomy 6 months ago. She said, "They wanted to keep me in the hospital, but I went home the same day. I was doing business on the phone that afternoon," (She and her husband own a small business.) I know I would not have that kind of gumption, but oh! how I admire people who do.
Trees, too.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Jack 'O Lantern time...

Tonight we embraced the childish joy of carving pumpkins. Our friend Meg brought pumpkins grown right in her family garden. We watched movies, giggled and carved. Then we roasted the seeds. The pet bunny hopped around the room and snacked on pumpkin slices. Rachel made her pumpkin look like a bunny, too. There is something about the warm glow from the insides of pumpkin that just makes smiles happen.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Big sky...

Today the sky was so big and the day so fine it made us feel as if we could never imagine not being alive. And today we hope the heavens made room for the soul of our friend. We cannot imagine that he was not alive with us today. And we can't imagine he won't be here tomorrow or ever. Today was a perfect slice of autumn, but our hearts were too heavy embrace it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Boogie down...

And in October nature breaks out her brightest colors, just for fun. The colors of sunset get splashed on the trees, and later those same colors dance through the air. Some waltz, some pirouette- the best ones boogie! They carpet the ground in color that crackles underfoot. Nature is such a show off sometimes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Decorating my life...

Decorating for fall makes my heart happy. Tonight I draped grapevines and twinkle lights over the hutch in my front room. This is the first thing one sees upon entering our home. I stacked an old dough bowl with squash, gourds and Indian corn. Tomorrow I'll polish up my favorite copper bowl and fill it with dried Hydrangea blossoms. Apple/cinnamon pot pourri tints the air with the scents of the season.
Chris is busy stacking cords of wood in the basement. When I open the cellar door the smell of trees and soil wafts up. A basement full of wood makes me feel rich as we head into the cold, long Maine winter. It is a whole different kind of decorating.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Conner luck...

My husband and I joke about the "Conner luck."

This "luck" includes such things as finding the perfect parking spot, having great weather on a day forecast to be lousy, stumbling upon fabulous bargains or meeting just the right person at just the right time.

This weekends Conner luck was multi faceted, including viewing this amazing rainbow when we reached the summit of Cadillac Mt.

The Conner luck... a good thing to marry into! It is spangled with rainbows.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Amazing adventure!

I am just back from the kind of once in a lifetime adventure that makes one feel infused with joy.
Along with three other women, we trailered our horses to Acadia National Park. There we bedded our trusty steeds down in the comfortable Wildwood Stables. Acadia is known for having miles of carriage trails, put in by one of the Rockefellers.

Riding these trails, we were treated to up close views of the fall foliage that New England is famous for, granite outcroppings, ferns and lichens, babbling brooks and rushing streams. There were open meadows, and then sudden breathtaking views of the ocean and/or scenic ponds.

Chanel, my Halflinger mare, did beautifully... even kept up well with the larger horses and their much longer legs. The whole trip was a stretch for me, pushing me out of my "comfort zone," and making me try to new things and grow and change. And as I rode I was struck over and over with the realization of how truely blessed I am in all aspects of my life.

This was an experience that I will keep in that corner of my mind where the happiest of memories dance brightly in the shadows.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Lilly the boxer has a dog bed that is just about the right size for her. And some friends. When I light a fire in the wood stove, I pull the bed up close to the heat. Lilly is old and she really enjoys the warmth. The pugs do, too. Sometimes the Standard poodle wedges in there, also, her curls spilling out around the margins of the bed.

There is something so comforting about snuggling up by the stove. And even the dogs agree, it is better with friends to share the joy.

The Magic Window...

There is a small window in our upstairs bathroom. The three little girls who lived in this house before we did called it "the magic window." When I look out of it, this is the view I see. I (and the little girls before me, and doubtless the people before them) have seen wondrous things through that glass. Autumn foliage and mist, rainbows, sunrises, moon rises, shooting stars, flitting birds, deer, fox, wild turkeys. Once, I even saw a porcupine.

In truth, every window of this old house is a magic window.