Spring Has Sprung


The signs are all there now, the crocuses are blossoming, random garlic is coming up.  I say random because I didn’t plant any last fall so there must have been bulbs that I missed.  A pleasant surprise.  The leaves are coming out on my strawberries which I had given up for lost since they had been totally taken over last year.  I figured it being their first year they had been choked out.  It gives me an opportunity to weed all around them and mulch, we’ll see what happens.  No asparagus yet but the rhubarb is coming out of the ground.

The robins are back and I have to tell you there is nothing like hearing their sweet, sweet song.  I always forget how much I miss it until I hear it. There is no more obvious a harbinger of spring for me.

Sugaring is over, the last boil was this past Sunday.  I was afraid I was going to miss it altogether and had threatened to boil syrup on the stove to make sugar just so I could smell it.  The syrup made over the weekend was my favorite, dark and robust as the grading system now tells you.  If I’m going to eat maple syrup I want it to really taste like maple.

Things here are coming back down to a new normal.  Everything was in place so the transfer of property was seamless.  My father’s name has been taken off of everything.  The utilities don’t make anything easy to transfer but in my mind I figure if it all takes a month that’s okay.

Dad’s memorial service is next week.  The last thing to be taken care of.  Looking through hundreds of photographs over the past few days has given me a greater understanding of what it means to have a good life.  Sometimes he didn’t see it but he was charmed.

We all need to look through our lives like they are photographs I think.  We only take pictures of the good things.  The big family events – births, weddings, graduations.  Vacations or jobs well finished.  When it all comes right down to it it’s the little moments that make up that whole grand life. When I go I want someone to look at the snapshots and say, “Wow, her life was pretty great.” I know I feel as though it has been and I think it’s because I can drop the bad stuff by the wayside.

Live for the moment, don’t dwell on the past, you can’t change any of it.  Just remember all of the little gifts because that is what a good life is made of.

Singing the Praises of Warm Fall Weather

151106 (2)

When I opened my eyes this morning, still toasty under the blankets, the room was aglow with a warm, radiant light.  Recognizing the signs I jumped out of bed (no easy feat with these achy joints) to be treated to another breathtaking sunrise.

Autumn through spring these are expected but every single one starts the day as a huge gift.  I never see them as predictors of the weather, I see them as the beginning of a string of little gifts for the day.  It reminds me to look for them.

151106 (1)

Minutes later the fog was there and the sky had dramatically changed.  The most amazing part was it being so warm outdoors that I could throw on my Mucks and go out in my bathrobe to photograph the changing sky. I seem to recall there being snow on the ground by now last year or at least so cold I would have considered getting dressed first.

151106 (3)

The weather has been unusually warm for this time of year with it predicted to last through next week.  Thank goodness, there is so much garden work to do.  The cold doesn’t usually stop me but it definitely slows me down.  Fires have to be lit – physically and mentally in order to get going in the morning.  This blessed warm weather keeps the heating costs down.

There are a million things I should be doing indoors, this is usually the time of year when the cold weather projects come out.  I look forward to it – the weaving, rug hooking, quilting but it looks like all of it will be put off until after dark at least.  My carrots and rutabagas are still in the ground, the perennial gardens need cleaning out.  More wood needs to be cut and split.  The coop needs to be moved, buildings buttoned up for the winter.  Yeah, time to get moving and mentally sing the praises of warm fall weather.

Gifts of the Garden

150726 Amanda's Wedding

When we first started clearing the property here in Rowe the trees were encroaching on the buildings closest to the house.  The side field had been maintained but the pasture was all but lost.  Our girls were probably in their early teens.

I had been photographing weddings for years before my children were born and they were brought up knowing that the back yard wedding was their only option.  They would look at the backyard here and roll their eyes not being able to see the vision Bill and I had.  I would tell them that someday they would be married here and it would be beautiful.

This past Sunday my oldest married the love of her life in a very intimate ceremony in one of the gardens.  Their being married was something we believed would happen for over 8 years now but being cautious sorts they waited.  Amanda is one who hates to be the center of attention in any situation and they told me about 3 months ago that they were just going to city hall in Boston and getting married there.  The horror.

With much, much cajoling we convinced them to be married here with parents and siblings only.  That was almost too much for them really, the nerves were palpable on Sunday.   For what was to be one of the smallest weddings ever we did everything we could to make it a beautiful occasion and it certainly was.  From Amanda walking down the “aisle” with her father to the tune of her family humming Pachelbel’s Canon to eating al fresco in the field next to the garden it was as perfect a day as it could be for them.  It also allowed all of us to have a very intimate involvement in preparing for those vows to be said.

150716 Aerial view

Bill and I built a rustic arbor out of trees we cut across the field a couple of weeks before the ceremony and set it up at the beginning of a stone path.  It was a little wonky but fit the bill with our “rustic chic” theme. I ordered baby’s breath and lemon leaves from my niece’s flower shop to augment the flowers in my garden and picked some at my sister-in-law’s the day before.  They were a huge help in the quick planning of this.


Draped and decorated.

Arbor Flowers

I tried to put flowers everywhere and took a lot of photographs.  Day lilies are so beautiful and fleeting and I knew once the sun set the flowers would be gone too.  Sort of temporary art.


I had also picked some “weeds” along the power line and in the back forty.  Queen Anne’s Lace and Joe Pye Weed. Places were set with sprigs of herbs that smelled heavenly – pineapple sage, rosemary, lavender, thistle.


A garden riot of flowers on the table.


Lemon Raspberry cake made with garden fruit.  Molly Cantor made a cake stand just for the occasion.

Weddings are monumental occasions in people’s lives.  They represent a new chapter for those getting married but also for the parents of the bride and groom.  It doesn’t matter how long your child has been out of the house or how old they are when they marry.  As monumental as this ceremony is it’s just a fleeting moment.  In the span of a few hours my world shifted a little, in a wonderful, beautiful way.  I did what I could to make it a beautiful memory in a place where more memories will be made.


Everything is now gone but the undecorated arbor and the flowers from the day.  They are taking their time in wilting away, a little gift in a way.  A reminder of an occasion but also of how much beauty is constantly around me that can be pulled together and shared.





On Blogging

White CleomeIt was just a little over a year ago that I spent a day with Jenna Woginrich, Jon Katz and Jim Kunstler at Jenna’s house on a snowy day listening and talking about the way of words.  Their creative process, their commitment to producing material that is fired out into the ether for anyone to read.  The baring of souls in some respect.  I made a commitment that day that I would write something on this blog every weekday for a year.  For the most part I did it.

This has been an interesting endeavor.  I have a few followers (more than I ever expected), many of who comment here.  I have cyber friends that are like-minded.  One of the most interesting things for me is the number of people who tell me in person that they enjoy reading my blog.  That makes me laugh a little bit but it also adds another little dimension to what this started out to be.

This has been a difficult year on a personal level.  I have tried to keep everything here positive even when things weren’t that way in real life.  If I keep the story going it will become a reality – and in some ways it has.  It forces me to look at the little things that make up each day and pay particular notice to the gifts that are right in front of me.  I like to point them out here so the blog has made me much more aware of the good things happening around me even if they are very small.  I’m always looking.

It has helped me consider photography in a way that I had not for many years.  Images were the way I made a living for a long time and it seemed exhausting to me to take the camera out to capture a sunrise or the birds in the garden.  I made the commitment to post a photo a day with the blog and it helped me to see again.  Not only do I listen for the little gifts I look for them as well.

So my year commitment is over but it will continue without the urgency of a New Year’s resolution.  I have found that looking for the gifts and sharing them here has become a minor addiction and one should never overlook the good things no matter how small.



131114 SunsetThis was the sunset over Enfield last evening.  I was stunned with its beauty and for the first time, after photographing it, I realized why so many people use the hashtag “nofilter”.  I manipulate images all the time before posting them – to me that’s part of the fun of Instagram.  Take a mediocre image and play with it a little then post.  Instagram says it all for me – Instant.  I have to say that most of the time I try to post something that is worthy of a look and take time in composition, exposure, etc. even if it is on my phone.

When I stopped to photograph this last night it was with that usual little panic about finding the right spot (as I’m driving), then that level of frustration about using a phone to try to do justice to the scene.  I took 6 shots, I deleted 4.  As I photographed I would look at the finished result and think to myself, “Is this the best representation of what I am seeing?”  Honestly a panoramic would have done a better job to relay what I was feeling about this sunset sky, the enormity of it but in the end this was what I got.  I posted it with just a comment about its stunning beauty and felt many of the people who saw the image probably would have seen this sky in one iteration or another.

Some times nature is so beautiful it defies words or photography.  When I see stunning photographs by excellent photographers I doubt their authenticity sometimes.  In this day of Photoshop it is easy to doubt.  At the same time I think we need to trust that the people who are posting wonderful photographs are giving us what they want us to see.  Everyone’s idea of beauty is their own and by sharing what they think is a beautiful image should be taken just for what it is – a glimpse into their soul.