Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hooray for Fall!

I love the change of seasons. I do appreciate and enjoy each season, and love that each one is distinct here. While I do love each season, about two months into every single season I begin to long for the next.

Today was an ultimate fall day. Knitting, sunshine, family lunch, apple picking, sheeping, fresh apple cider, making applesauce, homemade garden tomato sauce, beautiful fall leaves, crisp fall evening, warm cozy sweaters, toes and fingers that are still warm, crunching leaves underfoot.

While I may appreciate all the seasons, fall is my favorite.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall food and putting up squash

Oh it is so good to be home (for at least a couple days ;) ) and it's fall!

The leaves on the trees are starting to turn here and there and it's getting chillier.

Over the past couple of days I have made:

Spaghetti Squash

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Delicata Squash

Garlic Baked Squash Seeds

Vinegar and Coriander Baked Squash Seeds

Roast Chicken Legs


The first three are on their way to the freezer to be pulled out over the winter months and the last three won't make it to tomorrow :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Things for which I am especially grateful:


Friends who keep me sane.

Friends who are still willing to take care of me and help me out.

Having a beautiful (if untidy) house.

Things that are red/peach/orange/salmon/golden/pink.

Fresh air, sunshine, shade trees and fresh produce.

All the times I have been able to talk to my husband.

Safe travels.

Natural fibers and chemical free living.

Yarn and bamboo knitting needles.

This life in this world.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Aaaaaand... He's gone.

I cannot express how truly grateful I am to have had the chance to spend the last few days with my husband, including our one year anniversary.

It's odd to think that one year ago we were filled up with wedding planning, relatives visiting, and just staying sane. Now he has been deployed for a month and a half, we have a new house, a 10 month old puppy, and life seems to have slowed down.

Nothing puts life into perspective like having your husband leave for a deployment.

I am so thankful for this opportunity to be present to what really matters, the chance to step back and reassess what is important, and the luxury of leaving out the rest.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

knots in my stomach - leave in Baltimore

One might not think that having knots in ones stomach would be a good thing... But in this case, it is.

A month and a week ago my husband, Joe, left for pre-deployment. Tonight, god willing, I get to pick him up at the Baltimore airport. I will have to drop him back off at that same airport, but only after a few days together!

Aside from all sorts of reservations about driving in general and unnecessary worries about what I'll leave behind: I get to see my husband! I get to see my husband!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another strawberry?!?!?!? MY FAVORARRGTHMMGPTHOMNOMNOM!!!!!!!1!!!“

( The Happiest Tortoises on the Planet )

Life is pretty great. This is my conclusion.

I finally feel like I'm getting into my own rhythm again. It feels so good and it has been far too long - years, not months.

I feel like I am where I'm supposed to be and doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I have so many wonderful, loving, caring, inspiring, supportive people around me.

I like this. I think I'll keep it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Yay for the Franklin County Fair

As I was out of town last weekend for the Tri-County Fair in Northampton, the Franklin County Fair was my first of the season.

As always I left the roundhouse inspired and heartily ashamed at myself for not having been more crafty over this past year, left the baby animal exhibit with a full cute-o-meter (hooray for baby bunnies, pygmy goats, and chicks :) ) and left the 4H display full of wonderful nostalgic memories.

After lunch at the Leyden Church booth and some fried dough with maple creme (from the only local fried dough vender) my stomach was also well satisfied. :)

I have a tradition of having fried dough once a year and cotton candy once a year, although since my first experience of maple cotton candy no other kind will do, so that tradition will have to wait a few weeks for the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts festival. :)

Yet another reason not to mow the lawn...

I've pretty much stopped mowing the lawn.

I insisted that we buy a reel mower instead of a gas or electric model on the grounds that I wouldn't use either of the latter.

Aside from wanting to keep as much greenery alive on our property as possible for ecological reasons, I like allowing whatever is there to bloom and thus having the delight of watching the bees, bumble and otherwise, in addition to the beauty of the flowers.

Delightfully I've also discovered that other than the front patch (in front of the bushes) none of the plants in our lawn get higher than four or five inches on average. The air smells wonderful and even in our semi-suburban area we have wildlife.

This morning, while listening to The No Impact Man on the back deck while knitting away at christmas presents, our little wild bunny was perusing the delightful bunny-banquet that is our lower lawn.

While fencing the side to keep jake from hopping down onto the neighbor's driveway I love that nature has full access to our lawn from the woods.

Hooray for bunnies :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

There's treasure everywhere! - Wild blackberry harvest

What a delightful place. I love it up here in Surry and always think of this as "home" in addition to wherever I happen to be living.

Jake and I just got back from a walk out to the closer swimming hole on the
river out back and returned with rocks in my pocket for my garden and these wild blackberries bundled up in my shirt. There used to be blackberries all throughout the gravel pits in the army corps land behind their house, but now there are only a few secret stands at the edge by the marsh. I am so delighted to find them out there again. Annie, one of my childhood dogs used to eat them straight off the bushes :D Jake is pretty good at finding the dropped ones on the ground, but he's young yet. :)

I did a bit more painting on the upstairs bathroom. I won't be able to finish it until next visit but I think it will come out really well when I'm through. It's so lovely to get to give back to Fred and Mary who make such a wonderful contribution to my life and use my talents, doing something I love, to make a difference.

Doin' Art - Lakehouse view

For our wedding my dear brother and his lovely lady gave us a gift card to Pearl Art. One of the fantastic things we got was a travel water color set.

This weekend, at the lakehouse of my wonderful friend Jesse-pancake, I finally got to break it out and use it. Amidst numerous distractions I was able to eke out this little study.

It truly does not do justice to the view and with my artistic license I cut out many of the details. It was so lovely to sit and create.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thank goodness I'm not the only one... - Why I still need to be told I look nice

Without My Husband, I Still Need Good Hair

Katie Dyer

May 21, 2009 By myheroesathome
Posted at YouServed - military blog and podcast

I did a magazine interview yesterday about what it’s like to be the wife of a deployed soldier.

“What’s the thing you miss you the most while your husband is gone?” The interviewer asked.
“Being told that I’m pretty,” I said.


“Don’t print that,” I added quickly. “I meant to say, I miss having someone tell me my hair looks nice.”


As embarrassing as it is to admit, it’s true. When your husband is gone for a year, it’s the little, intimate, romantic things that you miss the most. Things you never really noticed until they were gone. I’m not talking about sex. You will notice that the sex is missing. But you won’t wake up three months into the deployment thinking ‘no one has said they like my outfit in a really long time.’ You will just feel less sexy, less attractive, less confident, and you will wonder why. Maybe you get your haircut differently. But you come home to an empty house and no one is there to notice, so the thrill of ‘the new, fresh-from-the-salon you’ is gone. Maybe you buy a new dress, but there is no one to take you out to dinner in it.

In those tiny, everyday moments, I feel the loneliest. At the office, I have work to keep me occupied. I can take girlfriends to plays or gallery openings and have more fun than if I had dragged Paul along. Even on holidays, extended family keeps me busy and we usually get a special phone call from overseas. But on random Tuesday nights when I am watching the Dancing With The Stars results show and there is no one there to rub my feet or listen to me complain that Giles’ scores should have been higher… those are the moments when I hate the deployment.

Supporting our troops is critical. But supporting the families of deployed military personnel is important, too, and it’s easy. You don’t have to babysit their kids or mow their lawns for them. (Although, I don’t know many military spouses who would turn down those offers of help!) Instead, just treat them with kindness. Remember that they are doing it all alone right now, and that gentle support and love that we get from our spouses is missing from their lives.

Give hugs. Never under-estimate the power of physical touch. When Paul is deployed and I’m sleeping alone every night, it’s hard to get used to not having that contact. No one hugs you or kisses you or holds your hand. I know I can’t ask my girlfriends to make up for the kissing or hand-holding, but a heartfelt hug and a ‘how you doing?’ can mean the world to me on a stressful day.

Complement me. Everyone likes to know their outfit is pretty or their hair looks good. Usually, we count on our spouses for that validation – but sometimes it can mean even more coming from girlfriends (my husband has no idea whether my shoes are cute or not!) Or better yet, when is the last time you sincerely complemented a neighbor or co-worker? It doesn’t have to be physical. How about throwing a little praise my way because my yard looks great, or because I’m holding on to my poise even though you know it must be hard being without my soldier.

Include me. Just because my other half is missing, doesn’t mean I don’t want to hang out with you and your significant other. People are so afraid of drawing attention to my married-but-single status and making me uncomfortable as the ‘third wheel,’ they don’t invite me to do anything at all. Maybe a table for 3 would be awkward at our favorite restaurant, but I would still love to come to your house for a BBQ. Please, make the call.

Talk about my soldier. He’s in a foreign country, but he still exists. I assure you; not mentioning him does NOT make me miss him any less. Even if we’re not talking about him, I’m still thinking about him; wondering if he’s safe; obsessively checking my cell phone for his call. It would make me feel good to know that you’re thinking about him, too. Just keep it brief and upbeat.

Say ‘Thank You.’ It really doesn’t take any more than that. Just two words. Remind me that you know that I am serving our country, too; that I am also making sacrifices. And that you appreciate it. It may not make me feel pretty, but it will always make the burden of deployment a little easier to bear.

Read more from Katie Dyer at Heroes At Home

Friday, September 4, 2009

lovely invitations from lovely people

Yesterday my dear friend Chandra emailed me with an invitation to spend yesterday evening together.

It was so lovely to walk around the reservoir, chat, and head back for a bowl of fresh cooked greens from their farm share.

what a delightful time for which to be grateful.