Tuesday, June 23, 2015


We're going to make it. Really, we will. With our move to Virginia one week away, we have both been feeling a little frazzled. We have done a really good job at pre-packing and pre-moving, so we have most everything that needs to go already in the basement. On loading-the-truck-day, we won't have to be up and down the stairs all day, and that certainly helps.

When we weren't packing, we were watching the Volvo Ocean Race come to a close. We have followed these teams of athletes around the world, literally, and every day for the past nine months we've watched the coverage. Now it's over. We need a new hobby - a new distraction - something that will help us take our minds off the fray.

All of our days are just melting together, but that was our weekend: packing, moving furniture, eating MORE frozen pizza, watching sailing, packing, repeat. How was yours?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Reading, sort of


Well I'm not knitting. I even went to the craft store to buy yarn. Julian even went with me. The store came up short. I had the exact project in mind but the fisherman's wool wasn't there. Who doesn't stock fisherman's wool in June - especially when I feel like I'm wearing summer on my back like a hot, heavy, drippy cloak

I'm mostly just daydreaming about paint colors and where to put furniture in the new house. Stay tuned for some awesome before/after photos this fall.

We've been packing and when I get the chance of it I've been reading from Sylvia Jorrin's book, The Improbable Shepherd and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned. I wish that I had paid attention to the subtitle of Jorrin's book because it is "more" stories from the farm. The book Sylvia's Farm comes first and I would have liked to start there. But I wouldn't know any difference unless I hadn't seen that pesky "more" on the cover, so no harm done.

From what I've read so far, I like to follow her along as she reminisces and lays out her justifications for how and why she came upon this life she lives with her sheep, dogs, goats, cats, firewood. I'll say I got SO tickled when I read that she named a Horned Dorset ewe Margaret Fearnley-Whittingstall after reading the name and finding it fanciful in a Country magazine. I do not know exactly how, but I assume Margaret was somehow related to Jane and also Hugh, of River Cottage fame. Besides all that, I think Jorrin could have used a stronger editor, to melt the stream-of-consiousness fragments into more cohesive thoughts. But that's just my opinion. I can't help it. That is how we think. Fragments. Ideas. Fly Flannagan, what's in a name?

I don't know how far I'm going to get into The Beautiful and Damned before I give it up. It's "one of those stories," the one with the trust fund kid who can't apply himself with any ambition, likes to sit in his bathroom and look at his fancy dressing gown half the morning. Finds love, experiences loss, who knows how it all ends. If you read this book and liked it, do tell me so and why. I want to like it, but it's not compelling me so far.

What are you reading? Are you knitting or crafting? Show and tell here or with Ginny through Yarn Along.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

prized finds

Even as we pack and pack and pack our things (and as I look at Marie Kondo's book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up on my to-read list) we can't help but indulge in our favorite weekend pastime of yard sale-ing and junk shopping. The temptation of the possibility of finding a treasure is just too great.

What is so appealing about old stuff? Maybe the history, maybe the novelty - the shop in the pictures above offered a baby shark preserved whole in a jar. Who buys that?

I wonder when we are old and gone what people will think of our Ikea furniture and archaic iPhones or if any of it even last long enough to become a relic.

Friday, June 12, 2015

In the Garden

asiatic lilies :: purple coneflowers :: calendula :: violas :: daylilies

The flower beds are in a stage of almost-ness. Following the second wave peonies and iris, the third wave is almost here. Instead of veg, I planted wildflowers and herbs in the raised bed and they are just starting to come into their own. In the front of the house, the purple coneflowers are picking up where the roses and coreopsis left off.

I honestly don't know how they're doing it. We've been positively parched, here, the driest spring we've known here. But somehow they manage. It's going to be grand. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Impromptu Camping

vertical path :: a token along the way (we didn't see it going up but it was there when we came down) cuppa :: the audition of the little tent, success :: bacon :: eggs 
 the tiniest runty mink, bringing up the rear (dead center of the photo) :: Appalachian Glass

We went camping on a lark this past weekend. We keep saying we should camp more frequently and last summer we went to the trouble of getting everything we'd need organized in boxes: the fire box, the kitchen box, the first aid box. This way we know that what we need is packed and ready at all times. As long as we have the fire box, we have everything we need to make fire. It made for pretty stress-free packing and we set off for Cedar Creek State Park not really sure of how to get there. Low key. That was the goal.

Julian and I have now been camping five times, once for every summer we've lived in WV. We still can't quite figure out the charm of it. I think what makes it nice is finding balance. The low moments (fixing dinner on a fire while erecting a tent in the pitch black of darkness after a seven mile hike) are so low but the high moments (being on the creek bank when a mother mink toddles her six baby mink past you on a cheerful and fearless parade) are so high. It's like having a hard reset and coming back into society realigned.

There were near-vertical, strenuous hiking paths, rambunctious campground neighbors, and a "professional" raccoon. But there were also baby orioles being fed in their cozy nest, a red-breasted nuthatch, and a masterfully executed campfire breakfast to make it all good again. Nice how the cream floats to the top.

All that said, I think next time, one of us ought to bring the soap.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Kitchen Notes


slaw :: sweet potato fries :: preacher cookies :: dinner with friends
the last one standing :: fried pork chops

It's been a good week in the kitchen - better than last, at least. I've been able to prepare some semblance of "real food" and even host our friends while still keeping it manageable to show when a Realtor calls.

Julian and I are both, however, lamenting the absence of comfort food. There is no room for flour, sugar and butter on the counters and floors when the house needs to stay ship shape. And besides, the cookbooks are all packed. All but one... hmmm.

I am craving coffee cake of all things. Rhubarb and coffee cake.

What's happening in your kitchen?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Reading and Dreaming

I am not currently knitting anything but I am dreaming of knitting - really! I am having nightmares about knitting!

Julian pulled out my Ultimate Sweater Machine (I convinced him to buy it for me years ago - before I learned to knit - and haven't touched it since the day I got it) while he was sorting and packing. I browsed my Pinterest board for knitty-ness and found a pattern I'd like to try: the Speckled Shrug. I thought, "Hmm, that's a good project for the ultimate sweater machine..." and got pretty excited about giving the gadget a go when we get to our new house. Then for THREE nights in a row I had panic dreams about being in the store and Memorial-Day-weekend-sales causing all the appropriate yarns to be SOLD OUT!

*Mass hysteria for yarn on Memorial Day* Yeah - who's ever heard of such a thing?

Yeah, me neither. Moving onward.

I finally went past the local library to renew my membership. I get so many of the books I read on my phone or Kindle from the eBook program that when my membership expired two weeks ago, I reading life came to a screeching halt. Sure, I have a zillion books on my Kindle already but the only books I want to read and, or course, the ones I can't!

I've jumped right back into my audio books with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. It's too soon to tell but so far I've not found anything to not love about the story!

I also finally found my Kindle charger (a tricky thing to keep up with since we've switched to iPhones and the Kindle and phones are now different) so that is back in operation. It says I'm 71% finished with The Ladies Room and at this point I'm just reading it to have it over with. Sure, it's cute and happy and worry free. It doesn't plague my conscience or keep me up at night. But its just too sicky-sweet. The man in the book, Billy Lee, is just too good to be true. I understand liking to be pampered, but for real, I wouldn't be able to trust a man who made my sandwich every day.

Moving onward, I've added these books to the queue:

  • Sylvia's Farm and The Improbable Shepherd by Sylvia Jorrin - I requested that my library purchase them in eBook format, they DID and then while my card was inactive, someone else checked them out so I am waiting in line. 
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - I am behind the eight ball on this one because I had a hunch it was a good book months ago but didn't read it. Now a bunch of gals who like the same books I do are reading it and I am waiting for it from the library. If you've read it, don't give away spoilers!
  • The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald - I really loved going back to The Great Gatsby as an adult (stupid book report book) and reading it just prior to the movie release. Both books are set in the same era/social scene so I am looking forward to jumping in. 
  • The Life-Changing magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo - Julian and I have been so overwhelmed by packing the house for our move. I need to find some way of reconciling my sentiment and my desire to recapture.

What are you reading and dreaming about? Comment to share and/or join me at Ginny's Yarn Along!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


It's been a long time since I've been this excited about seed starting. Years.

Our first spring in WV was a good one for me and my seeds. I had peppers, lots of peppers. I started hardy hibiscus that still thrives, butterfly weed, zebra mallow and a whole host of other perennials to fill out our barren lot. Since then, my seedlings have been met by doom - being started too soon, growing mold, not enough sun, or getting fried before they have a chance to harden off. I also have a really bad habit of trying to "help" a seedling that I think is struggling and actually obliterating it with my clumsy fingers. I honestly think I have a knack for gardens but seed starting - not really my thing.

We will be in our new house with a lot TEN TIMES the size of this one (sure, it's just 1.1 acres, but really, ten times...) in 29 days. So today I started seeds.

We also picked up several plants on sale that included herbs, more heirloom tomatoes, rhubarb and a globe artichoke! What am I going to do with artichokes!? I guess we'll find out.