Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday, perfect Sunday

What makes for a perfect April Sunday? What are its essential elements? What would I look for?

Well, since I write somewhat obsessively about the weather, groaning at cold and wet days, rhapsodizing when skies turn blue and tulips open their faces to the sunshine, you'd look out today and say -- she must have hated this one! It's twenty degrees below average. It's wet. It's windy. You can't say many kind things about today's weather.

The thing is, it completely doesn't matter! Oh, I suppose it would have been like a sprinkle of gold dust had we a bit of sunshine on my brief stroll to pick asparagus, or to greet my family, or to walk them back to their cars, but honestly, I was too full of warm feelings to notice something so insignificant as The Weather.

Rain? Wind? Clouds? Ha! You did nothing to spoil things for me! It was, in fact, the perfect Sunday.

Once more, you'll have a page of family photos. They are my treasure trove: they speak to my delight and joy and ardent belief that in these vignettes you can find bliss.

Call this an early pre-breakfast:

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And now it's time to prepare brunch. I have company!

Snowdrop, let's go pick asparagus for the noon meal! She grabs a ride, because it's such a long distance! (Less than a minute's walk, even for tiny legs.)

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Back inside, she wants to step out on the porch and watch Ed unload wood chips. No way, Snowdrop. Close that door!

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Her aunt and uncle are now at the farmhouse and she is all smiles and giggles for them. Here, Snowdrop has entrusted her baby to my daughter, who now has to help me cook with said baby slung on her hip.

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That's right, Snowdrop: get someone to baby sit while you go off and engage in fun construction projects!

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Back and forth she goes, between aunt and uncle, loving them both and, like her gaga, wanting to hold on to them and keep them here!

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... with a kiss.

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Getting the men to play ball with her...

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And so it continues, back and forth, kitchen, play room, living room, then kitchen again.

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Everyone is finally here and we sit down to brunch (centered around a Mexican mushroom frittata from the Egg Shop Cookbook.)

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...with some pastries for dessert. Snowdrop knows that this weekend is to celebrate my birthday, this time with my younger daughter and her husband. She asks -- where are the candles? Okay! I have some! More candles, gaga! No, Snowdrop -- two is quite enough!

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Happy girl...

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Happy me!

Some presents to open from this duo...

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And then we settle in for a bit of downtime. You know, to digest it all.

Snowdrop makes a boat out of one of the present boxes and Ed, who has always used the example of discarded cardboard as the perfect alternative to the unnecessary purchase of toys ("so much more room for imaginative play!") has a smug grin. I roll my eyes, but with a smile.

Her aunt and uncle push her back and forth across the choppy seas of the living room floor.

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And now everyone must move on and return home and this should be my final photo, but in fact, the day still has at least a few elements of family, and it has the pleasure of one more meal, this time around the dinner table. (A smile and an exchange with mommy...)

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After, a look at a PBS documentary on puffins...

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... and the day draws to a close.

Yes, a most perfect set of hours.  A Sunday that will long shine for me: an example of the best of the best. Despite the miserable weather outside.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday visits, celebrations and other happy moments

A weekend of picture postcards!

Not so much outdoor ones -- it's so cold today! (Low 40sF or just upwards of 5C) But plenty of family ones. We're continuing birthday celebrations, but that's just a very small excuse to get together now.

A quick look out, to make sure it's not raining (it's not, so that's good)...

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And then off to the farmers market, where there aren't the usual crowds, for good reason! It's cold!

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Snowdrop is thrilled to have her aunt and uncle join us this week. Up from Chicago, they entertain her constantly and joyously.

Many pairs of eyes to watch her! She is one content little girl.

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(Lots of morels for sale this week. Not many takers. Expensive!)

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My very best daughters...

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A selfie...

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Brunch, at Heritage Tavern. The little one is delighted to be included!

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The three women...

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She loves bacon!

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Fixing her aunt's hair...

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Back at the young family's house...

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We all settle in to draw.

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Evening. We go out for a birthday dinner at La Kitchenette. I have just two photos for you: one, of my son in law, sitting right across from me, amidst all the glassware of a dinner out...

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... and the second, of the restaurant staff bringing out the pistachio and strawberry birthday tart. Because it is my birthday. Well, it was my birthday...

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And outside, the wind howls and the rain comes down and we shrug our shoulders and look ahead to the beauty of the next week and the week after.

Friday, April 28, 2017


There was frost last night. We were forewarned, but still, I hoped that we would just miss it. I brought in the most fragile pots and hoped the rest would muddle through. (Most likely they will: the temperature got stuck at freezing and then climbed up again; still, I'm not sure how the flowering fruit trees felt about the big chill.)

Breakfast, inside! With the furnace running!

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Outside, momentarily sunny! Will it be enough for all the crab apples to march forth with their dainty blooms unbothered and undisturbed? I hope so...

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My afternoon has elements of both daughter and granddaughter. This tickles Snowdrop (and me!) no end. Add to it a croissant and her cup is full.

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(She hears a lawn mower outside and asks her usual questions of what and where and why...)

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Upstairs, we dig out toys from her younger months...

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And after her nap, she shows us that she has percussion skills! Oh boy.

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So the day is a bag of weather troubles and wisps of sunshine and streams of rain and a little girl banging away and laughing at it all.

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Well, I didn't see it, but they say that sometime in midmorning, the fat drops of rain looked awfully much like fat flakes of snow. Oh brother!

The temp hovered near 40F (a whopping 5.5C) for the better part of the day. The cheepers weren't complaining, but what do they know!

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Breakfast is very much indoors.

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The rains stop just as I am picking up Snowdrop and so despite the cold, we go for a shortened adventuring walk in her school's neighborhood. It really is a beautiful time of the year and the colors in the yards are just sublime!

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Still, we do not pause and indeed, at one point I find myself running behind the stroller, so that we can get back to the warm car faster.

If Snowdrop misses the sunshine, she does not show it. True, we do not pause on our walk from the car to the farmhouse, but the little girl is in great spirits and once inside, plunges into play as if she hasn't seen her favorite toys in weeks!

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She is now so full of stories and questions that it makes your head spin, but all in the nicest way!

(In the kitchen, telling me my tea is ready.)

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(With her baby, finishing off a snack. Oh oh, she notices my cake dome. It's full of cookies.)

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Earlier in the day, I had stopped at a bakery to get some croissants for Snowdrop and I also picked up some cookies for Ed. I made the mistake of leaving them in full view. Snowdrop does love oatmeal cookies!

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And so the clouds hang low and the air stays on the nippy side, but the house is warm and there is so much to do...

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... and if you glance out the window, you see spring in full view before you! How lovely is that!

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As Snowdrop naps, I stroll down to the old orchard, in full bloom now, and pause there for a few minutes.

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It's overgrown, it's secretive, it's bordered by a meadow of grasses and flowers. Magic. You don't need heady temperatures and sunshine to feel it: pure magic.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


We have before us a week of rain. Now, rain in April is not an odd thing. From a gardner's perspective -- it's a welcome event. But a week of it, even if we're told it'll be on again off again, well, it feels like you have to put your outdoor life on hold.

Too, I've been spoiled by warm temperatures. I don't want to go back to the 50sF (low teens C). That's long sleeves weather.

Do you see what I mean? We can be so unappreciative of all the riches before us, grumbling away at how it could be, should be!

Because the reality is that it's not that bad out there! For example, today, despite the showers, the clouds, the crummy forecast -- we can still have breakfast on the porch! (Ed says -- don't you think it's a little chilly? I shrug my shoulders. We eat outside.)

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Looking out our bedroom windows, I see that the lilac is really blooming up a storm! Its period of great beauty is short, so you'll forgive me for going back to it just a few more times...

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The daffodils are a bit droopy from the rain...

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But by mid morning, the showers do pause and both Ed and I are quite happy with this, as he can work on fixing the old John Deere (which was left behind by the previous farm owners and which he at long last intends to sell)...

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... and I can offer Snowdrop an adventuring walk after school.

Playground! (No, I am not going to tell her that there is a right boot and a left boot. What does it matter for now?)

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Happy child!

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And though the clouds never recede, it's still immensely beautiful outside! This is the time that the apples and crab apples enter their blooming days and both Ed and I think it's a spectacularly gorgeous here, at the farmette!

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As Snowdrop gets out of the car, I tell her there is a tractor in the garage.

She is willing to give the old John Deere a try, but in the end, when Ed offers her a ride, she opts out. I'm not surprised. That darn thing is louder than a bulldozer.

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The girl can be rambunctious and spunky, but she will always especially love the gentle, quiet moment -- admiring an egg that Ed has picked up from the barn...

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Or, inside, returning to her favorite stack of books for the week.

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After her nap, she is energized! I ask her -- do you want to play music? The guitar? She looks around her and spies the yoga mat: let's do yoga, gaga!

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The amount of energy she puts into this project may give pause to the serious yogi, but for me, she has the formula exactly right: a stretch, a kick, a sense of power and joy.

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Weather shouldn't set the mood. I've said this again and again. And it doesn't. But I do like to grumble about it when the day pulls out the clouds and the drizzle and offers no prospect of sunshine. For now.