Wednesday, June 20, 2018

pretty, whatever it is

Outside the kitchen window used to be a forsythia, which got overtaken by a wild rose - was that link photo just taken a year ago?

Because that seems to have been totally replaced by this - something. It was windy, so hard to get a clear shot, but so beautiful!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

repairing a satin clothes hanger

I have a few of these padded satin hangers of my mother's. On this one the satin pieces had separated in the center and the batting was exposed in the middle. I took the first piece of wide ribbon I could grab and hand stitched it along either side, covering up the space. Then, I just tied a bow with the ends!

Monday, June 18, 2018


"...what is given to you you are always afraid will one day cease to be given but what you give you can give forever. Life had taught her that at long last."

                                                      -  The Bird in the Tree, by Elizabeth Goudge

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Mr. Kibble: Our history with him

I think he first appeared four or five years ago, but time goes by so fast and I'm really not sure. But one day, I think early December but no snow on the ground (don't know why I remember that) I opened the front door to do something and a cat was there, on the top step. I hadn't seen him before, but assumed he was one of Diane's and perhaps she wasn't home. But the funny thing was that he was sitting up right in front of the door as if he was waiting for me to open it. Like he'd rung the bell. Anyway, I guess I must have brought him some food out the back door and come around to leave the food, because these neighborhood cats are often shy of strangers.

Three weeks later, to the day, the same thing: I opened the door and there he was, seemingly expecting me to open it. That winter, as far as I can recall he came along every three or four weeks, although not in that exact way anymore; he would just show up and we'd give him some dry food. I began to think of him as Mr. Kibble.

He never spoke but he would look you in the eye; he seemed to have a peaceful quality about him which was appealing. I still imagined he belonged to Diane. He has been coming around on occasion since then, less often but probably a couple of times a year. I always liked seeing him when he showed up but then tended to forget about him when he went.

This photo is from a couple of years ago, when he hung out in the driveway after eating. He looks pretty good, doesn't he? His coat was always shiny and he never looked skinny. And he always would look at you. I realize many cats do this, but he seemed a little different to me. So, I never imagined he was on his own.  To be continued.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

"every person's life"

from Magnificat:  "Every person's life is God's work of art, an expression of his creative love, his goodness, his compassion."

and that includes furry persons

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

greener grass, bluer hills

"The hills on our side of the river were green, and on the other side they were blue. They got bluer farther away.

Uncle Burley said hills always looked blue when you were far away from them. That was a pretty color for hills, the little houses and barns and fields looked so neat and quiet tucked against them. It made you want to be close to them. But he said that when you got close, they were like the hills you'd left, and when you looked back your own hills were blue and you wanted to go back again. He said he reckoned a man could wear himself out going back and forth."

                                                                    -  from Nathan Coulter, by Wendell Berry

Monday, June 11, 2018

a little stitching

I finally finished the blanket;  it's very uncomplicated, but I never devoted more than a few minutes here and there to it, so it took a while.

Just a layer of chenille and a layer of flannel. I also stitched little scallops in yellow on either short end, following the chenille "waves", just for a bit of interest and to secure everything a little better. It's hard to see, isn't it? But I took so many pictures - this was the best one.

And then I washed it, to remove Sweetie's fur and sneezings.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


O God, from whom all good things come,
 grant that we, who call on you in our need, 
may at your prompting discern what is right,
and by your guidance do it.

                    - from the Collect in today's Mass

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Mr. Kibble

I've been wanting to do a post about this cat for a year, but I knew it would result in a long story. Which it will. But I can say a little about him for now.

I thought he was a feral cat, but then I looked it up and a feral is one who was born outside to a "homeless" cat, and there is something about him which seems like he isn't entirely unsocialized. See how he looks at me taking the picture; he has a steady way of looking in your eyes - I don't know if ferals do that. But he won't let you near him. So, he's on his own, and between us and Diane up the street, we are trying to keep him safe, fed and in this immediate area. But there is more to tell and I will have to do it later. Meanwhile, please remember Mr. Kibble in your prayers, and all others like him, who depend so much upon the kindness of strangers.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

chenille baby blanket

I am working on a simple baby blanket for the girl next door, who had a baby. I had chenille left from my robe project, and some white cotton flannel. Very simple, and I hope useful for this time of year.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

joy and gladness

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.

- from Psalm 90

Friday, June 1, 2018

a visit to John Adams' homes

I almost forgot to post about my trip to see John Adams. A few of us went; it was a clear day, which was good.

You first go to a visitors' center where you can buy things, but they want you to watch a short film first. Many of the actors from the miniseries did the narration.  Then you wait for the trolley to come.

It runs on the road, not on tracks but it had lots of charm. We traveled for five minutes or so and ended up at an intersection and there, near these busy streets, was the house where he was born.

Seventy five feet away, the house where he and Abigail settled after marrying, and where John Quincy was born. (the 5th photo down)  If you've ever been in one of these old, New England homes, you'll be able to guess what they looked like inside: very spare and simple.

I confess I was more interested in looking and listening than in taking pictures.

After John and his wife came back to Boston from Europe where he'd been our first ambassador to Great Britain, they wanted a larger house, and that's where the trolley took us next.

He named it Peacefield. Wisteria was blooming everywhere! And lilacs. 

I've never seen wisteria up close. Inside, we saw John's study - his own spectacles were there, but the rooms were roped off, so we couldn't get close. I would have liked to have seen those. The wing chair where he had a stroke and died a few days later was there, and in a bedroom, the bed where Abigail had died of typhoid.*

There was another building on the property where John Quincy kept his library and other important things from his father. The desk at which John wrote his defense of the British officers accused in the Boston Massacre:

And a very special Bible, given to John Quincy in gratitude for defending the slaves aboard the Amistad who mutinied.

on the table 

Back at the gift shop, I was glad to see many books on the era of the Revolutionary War, and nice things to buy, not junky stuff. It was a good day.

*In the morning when I was getting dressed that day, I had the radio on. The news: "In Quincy Mass., in a daycare center, a child has been found to have typhoid fever." How strange to hear on that day, when I'd never been to Quincy before.

John Adams died fifty years, to the day, after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, a few hours earlier. It was July 4th, 1826.

Monday, May 28, 2018

a perfect blueberry cheecake

I have raved about this cheesecake recipe before, and I'm perfectly willing to do it again. But I almost went astray to try a different one.

I'm a sucker for a beautiful photo, and I had this image on a pinterest board of things to try:

I did not make this

It was called Icelandic Cheesecake, but the link didn't end up leading anywhere. After examining the image I thought that if I spread some blueberry jam on the cake, I could place some fresh blueberries on top and they'd stay put and it would look just like this pretty picture.

At the supermarket I found this,

which ended up being perfect, and the blueberries came straight from the freezer

It was entirely delicious. And since I used Siggi's yogurt, I guess I can call it "Icelandic"!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

a hope for the world

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine;
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
But other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;
May peace abound where strife has raged so long;
That each may seek to love and build together,
A world united, righting every wrong;
A world united in its love for freedom,
proclaiming peace together in one song.

- text, Lloyd Stone/music, Jean Sibelius

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sweetie listens to the ball game

Today could have been August - it was ninety, and humid. I was smart enough to get up at the crack of dawn and got a lot done before it became uncomfortable.

The cats ended up laying around limply, like in Gary Larson's Far Side comic - the Boneless Chicken Ranch.

Image result for boneless chicken ranch gary larson
(I hope it's not illegal for me to show this here)

Anyway, have I ever said how Sweetie jumps on my little radio, (like, every day), stepping on the buttons and turning it on, off, or changing the station?

I went to my room to find her sacked out on the bed, head near the radio.

I heard something - it was on. 

It was the Red Sox game.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

like dew, like light

For God, the living God, I thirst.
Like dew upon the fleece come down,
Like rain upon the desert sand,
Like light into a darkened room.

-    from Magnificat, May 2018

the gardens at Peacefield

Monday, May 21, 2018

adjusting a new bed skirt

I got another bedskirt on ebay. It's certainly easier if you can find a used one - easier than making it, I mean. But I still had to alter it, because it was for a regular twin bed, and mine is a daybed.

This one is soft cotton, like bleached muslin, with a row of faggotting, not ruffled but with a pleat here and there. But, like any bedskirt it has two long sides and one short. On my bed I need one long side, and two short. I cut off the long side which would be along the back of my daybed and cut it down to attach part of it to the short side which is "bare". I make quick work of it, not bothering to strive for perfection. But now I'm glad to have two, so when one needs washing the bed isn't unmade half the day until it's dry.

Monday, May 14, 2018


We took a trip the other day to the home of my favorite president. The gift shop was excellent, but I chose just one thing, a (recycled) pewter bracelet, with a quote from the man himself engraved on it.

"To be good and to do good is all we have to do."

                             -  John Adams

I am absolutely thrilled to have been there. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

flowering trees and politics

I was breezy today, and petals from our neighbors' crabapple tree have been flying by in blizzards, so the glory of the flowering trees is already waning. Our own cherry tree's blossoms have gotten paler, but they're still attached.

I'm still enjoying the garden book:  About A Gardener's Book of Plant Names (1963), by A.W. Smith, a British military man who later settled in New England - "Under PINE, he reminds us that in the seventeenth century all the noble New England white pines whose trunks measured twenty-four inches or more were marked as Crown property and were cut and transported to England to be used as ships' masts, and that as a consequence it is seldom that a pine board wider than twenty-three inches is found in early New England houses. He reminds us, too, that this confiscation was one of the many causes of dissatisfaction leading to the Revolution."

And, about the first named variety of apple in America, the Blaxton's Yellow Sweeting: "was introduced around 1640 by the Reverend William Blaxton, one of the best gardeners of his day, he also trained a bull to the saddle and used it to ride around Boston on his daily business."

I got to see Darkest Hour, which has brought me to pick up Boris Johnson's The Churchill Factor again.

Churchill:  " has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time..." Yes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

a Big Deal

Henry is so uncatlike sometimes - the other day I picked him up, holding him firmly about chest height. He is a cat, right? No, he can't be. He was so nervous at being up high, I felt sorry and put him down. 

He doesn't play, or hardly at all. He used to follow the laser light once in a while, but as for anything else, he just watches when the other two are chasing something. 

But recently he's showing an interest in a certain ball, of two bright colors and something that rattles inside. He is drawn to it and will "play" with it - for maybe five seconds, or ten. And then one of us will say, "Look - Henry's playing!", because it's a Big Deal.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

unshaken and joyful

Be joyful, Mary, heav'nly queen, alleluia:
Your Son who died was living seen,
Alleluia, rejoice, rejoice, O Mary.

The Son you bore by heaven's grace, alleluia:
Did all our guilt and sin efface,
Alleluia, rejoice, rejoice, O Mary.

The Lord has risen from the dead, alleluia:
He rose in glory as he said,
Alleluia, rejoice, rejoice, O Mary.

O pray to God, O Virgin fair, alleluia:
That he our souls to heaven bear,
Alleluia, rejoice, rejoice, O Mary.

"May we, most of all when it seems madness, keep our faith in the Risen Christ unshaken in our hearts."

                                     -  Caryll Houselander

from Magnificat, May 2018

Saturday, May 5, 2018

brave little tree

I say this every year, I think.

But it's working so hard on blooming.

Between this and the fireflies of summer, it's our annual enchantment.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

such a difference a day makes

Oh, May 1st and it was around seventy today - tomorrow, eighty five! The warmth just changes everything; after work I decided to wash my winter gloves - not the hand warmers, mind, I used a pair this morning - but the gloves. I didn't tell myself don't bother, you've been working all day, you've done enough. Spring is in the air and I wanted to get it done. 

Now they're drying on a towel in the spare room. Yesterday I put away my tights, tying each in a knot and storing them in a tote bag. I feel like I'm getting somewhere.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Quartet, plus a few more

"There is as much intrigue in this State House as in the Vatican, but as little secrecy as in a boarding school."

                                       -  John Jay to Lafayette, 1779,  from The Quartet by Joseph Ellis

Somebody dropped off this book at the library, and as anything by Joseph Ellis must be good, I am reading it. Aside from the fact that even then, intrigue at the Vatican seems to have been well-known, I am amazed at the state of the colonies at that time.  "In the year since the war had ended, a majority of candidates elected to serve in the Congress had declined, or just failed to show up, and on fourteen occasions no business could be conducted for lack of a quorum. More dispiriting than any clash of opinions was the pervasive indifference that rendered argument itself impossible."  The book is about how this nation actually came to be a union of states, because after the war, there was little interest in any sort of unity here. Mr. Ellis attributes the change of attitude to four men, mainly: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, with supporting roles played by Robert Morris, Governeur Morris and Thomas Jefferson.

"Before he departed for Paris, Jefferson was interviewed by a visiting Dutch nobleman, who asked his opinion of the current American government. The members of Congress are no longer, generally speaking, men of worth or distinction. For Congress is not, as formally, held in respect; there is indeed dread of its power, though it has none."

It's hard to believe, but I do.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

the Paschal journey

"Almighty ever-living God,
constantly accomplish the Paschal Mystery within us,
that those you were pleased to make new in Holy Baptism
may, under your protective care, bear much fruit
and come to the joys of life eternal."

-  collect from today's Mass, the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Thursday, April 26, 2018

a quiet time was had by all

I am always grateful for these peaceful cat moments. Everyone was very low key today, including me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

for the Easter season, which it still is

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid him, Love whom we had slain,
Thinking that he'd never wake to life again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Up he sprang at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Up from the dead my Risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain,
By your touch you call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

from Magnificat, April 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

why we read

"...we are not reading for the mere acquisition of information but for the sake of relationships with knowledge, with words, with heroes, and with ideas."

                                         - Karen Glass

"If then, the manners and the destinies of men are shaped by knowledge, it may be well to inquire further into the nature of that evasive entity. Matthew Arnold helps us by offering a three-fold classification which appeals to common sense - knowledge of God, knowledge of men, and knowledge of the natural world."

                                         - Charlotte Mason

All from Consider This, by Karen Glass.

Monday, April 23, 2018

dreaming of pies

This is a picture of the blueberry pie I made for Easter dessert (we also had chocolates, and wonderful ice cream from a lovely place in the center of town). The blueberries were from a co-worker's freezer. She's had surgery and a slow recovery - my brother has gone over there a few times to cut her hair. He wouldn't take money, so she paid us in blueberries - so many!

Today we went there again and came away with So Many Bags of: frozen peaches, strawberries, black raspberries, and more blueberries. How exciting! Think of all the pies!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

our little queen turns fifteen, the rest of us being barbarians

Our girl has a birthday today.

 And she's quite well, thanks for asking.

The other day at work I had a sudden desire to read a gardening journal of some sort. I looked through the 635s and came up with Onward and Upward in the Garden, by Katharine S. White.
She was married to E.B. White - yes, him! - and these are essays published in the late 50s through 1970. I don't think I'll glean any practical advice from them, but the first few entries are critiques of seed and plant catalogs ; I've never thought deeply when looking at one of these, but now I'm thinking I've been remiss. 

She then moves on to books and here she speaks of a Mrs. Loudon, author of The Ladies' Companion to the Flower-Garden. 

"[Mrs. Loudon] even includes a few unpopular flowers, the most invigorating of which I think is

The Squirting Cucumber. An annual gourd-like plant, with woolly leaves, and yellow flowers, the fruit of which resembles a small cucumber; and which, when ripe, bursts the moment it is touched, scattering its seeds, and the half-liquid, pulpy matter in which they are contained, to a considerable distance. This quality made it a favorite, in gardens, a century ago, when some people were yet in a state of sufficient barbarism to find amusement in the annoyance of others; but it has now deservedly fallen into disrepute, and is seldom grown.

I'm afraid I know several little modern American barbarians who would be delighted if their grandmothers would grow them a supply of squirting cucumbers."

Don't we all. I may be one of them. :D

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Psalm 71

It is you, O Lord, who are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, since my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth,
from my mother's womb you have been my help. 
My hope has always been in you.

I will declare the Lord's mighty deeds
proclaiming your justice, yours alone.
O God, you have taught me from my youth
and I proclaim your wonders still.

Now that I am old and grey-headed,
do not forsake me, God.
Let me tell of your power to all ages,
praise your strength and justice to the skies,
tell of you who have worked such wonders.
O God, who is like you?

You have burdened me with bitter troubles
but you will give me back my life.
You will raise me from the depths of the earth;
you will exalt me and console me again.

So I will give you thanks on the lyre
for your faithful love, my God.
When I sing to you my lips shall rejoice
and my soul, which you have redeemed.

verses 5, 6 16-22a &23