Thursday, June 29, 2017

don't do what I didn't do

I didn't check to see if it was unplugged.

Today I started a batch of fermented cranberry soda. I don't care for sugary soda (well, some Italian stuff now and then in summer) but this soda isn't supposed to be sweet. I had to find a way to use up two bags of cranberries which couldn't fit in the freezer and I wasn't interested in baking them into anything. I am terribly excited about this! I hope the jars don't explode.

Lately the refrigerator in the basement hadn't seemed as cold as the upstairs one; I've turned it up colder but suspected it was going. It is old so I didn't think much of it. Tuesday evening I went down there to get the leftover chili for supper and everything was getting warm inside. I then spent quite a while bringing it all up to the kitchen fridge and packing it all in there like a puzzle.

My brother thought we should call the repairman, who's quite a handy fellow - rather old school, who has seen too many appliances in the dump when they could have been fixed. Well, it didn't take him long to discover the problem. The plug had gotten loose.

I think this is on a par with my cake disaster story. Pitiful, but still much cheaper than the price of a new one!  As Mr. Bennet said, "It has been my own doing, and I ought to feel it."  Ahem.

But I do look forward to my fermented soda!  A silver lining, let's hope.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

bondage and freedom

"At its Latin root, the word religion is linked to the words ligature and ligament, words having both negative and positive connotations, offering both bondage and freedom of movement."

                                                                  -  Dakota, Kathleen Norris

These two things are what fascinates me about the Benedictine way of life, and I can't stop thinking about it since we went to the monastery. In their "bondage" - which isn't really that, but a fixed dedication to keeping to their scheduled times of prayer and work throughout the day -  but within that structured framework, they have their freedom of movement, as she says.

Monday, June 26, 2017

peace and beauty

We took a little trip to a monastery open house.

They make beer there. We toured the plant - so much shiny stainless steel!

But, the grounds.

They have a very large property, and the whole feeling is one of peace. And beauty.

Every tree, every thing, seems just where it ought to be and it's all perfection.

How do they do that? 

I recently felt like going through all the Brother Cadfael mysteries again, and just finished "A Morbid Taste for Bones". I could picture him here.

This is where they have chapter.  I want my house to look like this. 

Nearby is the chapel and we went in. A small, dark area, someone playing the organ. Just four or five pews, not more than fifteen feet long. I sat in the back one - near the blue blue windows, looking out on the green green summer day.

Everything about the place was just sublime to me.

The Lord said to Abram, Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. 
                                                           -  Genesis 12:1

We're in the middle of a cyclone, said the old monk as I watched him and most of the community at dusk, as sheet upon sheet of rain marched toward the refectory windows...All became heavy and still. Lightning took out the monastery phones. (A blessing, said one monk. Peace at last.)

                                                                 -  Dakota,  Kathleen Norris

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

a visit from Yogi and a new bedskirt

I desperately needed a decent dust ruffle, and I found a used one on ebay. A Laura Ashley, supposedly one hundred percent cotton.

The tag clearly says half cotton and half poly. Anyway, I adjusted it for my daybed and it looks nice.

Dolly and I sat out again today for an hour. About halfway into it, a catbird started fussing up above us; I could see him clearly as he chucked at us, and just when he began his meowing, which sounded exactly like this,  (I guess it isn't really meowing, but does seem like a cat-ish noise.) I turned and there was Yogi right next to me. So the little catbird wasn't concerned about Dolly's presence, but he took a different view of Yogi.

He let me pet him! I offered him some of Dolly's food and water (he sniffed and then declined), and he stayed nearby for a little while. Oh, why didn't I think to bring the camera out? He is a beautiful cat.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

living breezes and invisible worlds

After some very unJune-like weather, hot and excessively humid, today was much drier, sunny and breezy. But I thought the ground must be wet after last night's rainstorms, and maybe not so nice to sit out. Until I came into the house after tossing something in the trash, and Dolly ran out. I chased after her in my bare feet (she stopped near the fence under a tree, thank God!) and grabbed her. And it wasn't wet after all! So, out we went.

For two hours, on a quilt under a tree; and I thought of the words in the morning's hymn:

The glories of earth, sea and sky
Thy pow'r and wisdom magnify;
The roseate dawn, the living breeze,
The flow'r decked fields, the surging seas,
All sing in wordless song to thee,
To whom exist all things that be.

It was the words living breeze that got me for some reason. We both enjoyed that breeze today.

Of course, sitting under a tree you occasionally feel a crawly something on your neck or whatever, and these little yellow spiders kept appearing, along with tiny ants and even a daddy long legs who was suddenly in my basket! I chased him out.

Here's a bright red bug of some sort. There was so much busyness on this tiny level!

If you don't pay attention, you'd never realize what's going on out there. And I usually don't.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017


O Christ, the healer, we have come
to pray for health, to plead for friends.
How can we fail to be restored
when reached by love that never ends?

From every ailment flesh endures
our bodies clamor to be freed;
yet in our hearts we would confess
that wholeness is our deepest need.

How strong, O Lord, are our desires,
how weak our knowledge of ourselves!
Release in us those healing truths
unconscious pride resists or shelves.

-  from Magnificat, June 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017

another weed

This wild rose - it took over the forsythia that used to be there and there are patches of it elsewhere in the yard, but I don't care - the sweet scent is everywhere these June days.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

a graduation

My favorite pillowcases, now serving as cleaning cloths for the bathroom.  Well, I don't want to call it a demotion!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

side garden

The garden on the side of the house near the back door, with a gray stone border.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


"We live the given life, not the planned."

                         - Wendell Berry

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

what is a weed?

I can't believe how well these wildflowers are holding up - I shouldn't say "holding up", because they look exactly as perky as when I picked them.

My brother referred to them as weeds when I was marveling. And even though I also use the term occasionally, I suddenly saw there is no such thing as a weed. A "weed" is just a plant you can't identify that's in a place you don't want it to be. That's a weed. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

soda bottle with buttercups

Lately I'm looking at empty food jars and bottles with a new eye

and am liking them as well as any vase.