Dancing in the Sunlight

To get from one of the larger cities near us to home, I take one particular route most of the time. It's a pretty drive that passes through an historic village and goes past centuries old homes, barns and farmland, a babbling brook, and many other quintessential New England beauties. While flying along that well-traveled road the other day, something caught my eye. And in an instant I had past the property, and wasn't quite sure if I'd really seen what I thought I had. I made a mental note to check the next time.

A few days later, I was headed home again, so I slowed as I passed that property. Sure enough. It was an entire slope of daffodils! But alas, no camera with me!

Yesterday, knowing I was going that way, I brought the camera along. I pulled in at the drive, where the lady of the house was outside with her mother and son. I told her I SO admired her daffodils, and asked if she'd mind if I took a few pictures. She sweetly let me and answered all my questions. She and her mother planted them all last fall. They used a trencher to cut rows because there were so many bulbs. It begged the inevitable question, "How many did you plant?" The answer...7,500!

They talked of planting up into the woods for next year. I hope so!

Setting Goals

Near the end of every year (or the beginning of the new year), I usually set some goals. Not resolutions, per se, but things I want to learn, or ways I want to grow, or things I want to do. It is certainly a testimony to how exhausted I must've been (from everything that happened with our granddaughter and all the travel I did at the end of the year) that its taken me until mid-April to even dream up any ideas. But suddenly, in a moment of inspiration, all the ideas fell into place, and I had a quick, mental list of goals for 2016. In no particular order, they are:

- teach myself to make soap
- read Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "The Cost of Discipleship"
- learn how to make half a dozen cocktails well
- take a couple of online French language courses with Colette (a refresher for me, but new to her)
- learn more about figs
- take a distance learning class from a British university, "The English Country House: History, Architecture, and Landscape"

I'm super excited about that last one! The class started this week. My books arrived. And I'm taking a college class for the first time in 28 years! 

Let the year begin (finally!).


Chocolate-orange gelato! It was a nice, little treat at the end of an emotion-packed week.

Portland Head Lighthouse

After we saw Max off at the airport (pass the Klennex, please), we drove down the coast and did a bit of exploring around the Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. I love the color of the sea when the sky is stormy! And the rocky shore and the foaming, white sea made for such beautiful contrasts!

Just offshore, there is another, non-operational lighthouse.

To read the tale of the Annie C. Maguire, click here.

Serving His Country

On Tuesday, Max took the oath and was sworn in as a U.S. Coast Guard recruit!

A very proud moment for us all! So proud of him for the choice he's made and the man he's become. Grateful to God for the character He has wrought in his life. Heart overflowing!

We took him to the airport in Portland, Maine, and he was off to Cape May, New Jersey for eight weeks of boot camp. 

And, like a mom, I've been pretty teary all week. Missing him SO much! But I'm very happy he's getting to do what he wants to do!

Sabbath Rest

This Tuesday, Max gets sworn in and enters bootcamp with the U.S. Coast Guard!
Today we had a family dinner, and Felicity, Walter, and their kids said their goodbyes.
Prayers appreciated for our son!

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, 
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea! 

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea! 

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour; 
From rock and tempest, fire and foe, 
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

--William Whiting (1860)

New Marketing Bags in the Shop

Farmers' market season is coming! We can hardly wait! I've been busy creating some marketing bags for Jiggety Pig. Click to view them!

Click here to view this one:

Click here to view this one:

And, lastly, click here to view this one:

The Last Bits of Cold Weather Treats

It's been a chilly spring here in New England. I think we might be rounding a corner to sunnier, warmer days. But while we've still been bundled up in wool sweaters and confined indoors by the rain, we've been indulging in the last of the cold weather treats. This winter, we discovered stroopwafels! They are a Dutch treat...two, thin, crispy waffle layers between which is sandwiched a layer of caramel.

You can eat them straight from the package or tin, but the proper way to eat them is to set one atop a cup of hot tea (or coffee or hot cocoa) for five minutes. This warms the waffle and softens the caramel to a sticky puddle of sweetness. Just a little crisp, just a little warm, just a little sweet...ohhh so comforting!

Look for them at specialty food stores and import stores. If you live in New England, you can find them at The Concord Cheese Shop in Concord, Massachusetts, OR you can find them at the brand new Cost Plus World Market (Natick/Framingham, MA), OR order online from Cost Plus World Market!

Ranunculus in My Favorite Color

They do just take my breath away! All those petals! And this one, in a mixed color bunch from Trader Joe's, just happened to be in my favorite color...watermelon pink. Ranunculus perfection!

Weekend in the White Mountains

Last weekend, our whole family headed north for a stay in the White Mountains! The rain and clouds made for some beautiful scenery on the drive there.

The next morning, we all ate a scrumptious breakfast together. Breakfast with a breathtaking view that stretched for miles.

Something about eating breakfast out is such a treat for me! And chef-prepared omelettes made to order are the best!

Then we had a blast in the inn's indoor water park! Unfortunately, I didn't really get a single good picture. But trust me...it was great fun!

Afterwards, the guys were all talking about how they wanted to go to this sporting goods store and that one. The guys were planning a shopping trip? This is highly unusual! So, they took one car and went and did there "manly shopping", and we girls took the kidlets and headed to the outlet mall. It also happened to be Felicity's birthday. So, while she did some clothes shopping, Colette and I entertained the kids.

Then we all met up for a birthday lunch for Felicity at the Flatbread Company. They do woodfired flatbreads cooked in their giant brick ovens. They split the wood for the ovens right on the spot, which entertained the kidlets for a long time!

Precious times together!

What is Tartan? What is Plaid?

Happy National Tartan Day! With a nod to my Scottish great-great-great-great-grandfather this day (and because I adore textiles!), I thought I'd briefly explain the difference between tartan and plaid.

The term "tartan" refers to a pattern of threads woven together. There are many different tartans, and Scottish clans traditionally hold claim to one particular tartan.

The term "plaid" refers to a length of cloth, of a tartan pattern, wrapped and draped about the Scotsman, as shown below.

Image credit here.
So, tartan is a pattern, and plaid is a garment.

And that lovely tartan ribbon (above)...well, look for that to show up trimming a Christmas stocking for the shop later this year. But until then, have a Happy National Tartan Day!

Asparagus Season

Spring is here! Although, at our house, it snowed all day long and only got to 23 degrees today. But in the kitchen, it was springtime. And spring means asparagus! It's super simple to roast asparagus.

Rinse. Snap off woody part of each stalk. Place in a roasting pan or on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Roast at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.

I served this tonight with roast chicken breasts and couscous. Delicious!
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