Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Year of Letters

The view outdoors today is a little different from the one I used on my first blog entry, November 22, 2006. In a year's time, as is always the case, some things have changed and others have stayed much the same. For the first time since I was a young girl and faithfully kept a diary, I have documented a full year in my life. The difference is that this journal is on view to the whole world whereas that little book I had was kept under lock and key.

Because the actual blog anniversary comes on our Thanksgiving, I thought I would write today about what my year of letters has meant to me.

First off, I want to thank Les for helping me with tons of technical advice and encouragement when I finally decided to enter the blogging life.

Elizabeth Winthrop, the writer, says that her blogging brother:

suggests that it’s useful to try to stick to one subject when I write in this online journal as it gets a conversation going, but another brother and I discussed the other day how, in our professional lives, we’ve been grasshoppers. Whatever catches our attention pulls us in a new direction. Editors have commented often that I write for so many different ages and audiences which is a consequence, I believe, of my grasshopper nature, so I expect the same will happen here.

I am just like this. I am a general practitioner, rather than a specialist. My "letters" are as they would be if I were composing handwritten notes. When my dear readers come by they may find something about the garden or the animals or a recipe or a book. On "interesting" weather days, Mrs Bale likes to pop in and offer a report. Some days I let the photographs tell my story. There are times I don't write, and there are other times I may have three entries a day. My blog is full of letters to the world, while at the same time it is a kind of country journal that perhaps my children, and possibly grandchildren might enjoy years hence. Sometimes I wish I were the kind of person who focused on one thing, but that just isn't me. And this is probably why I enjoy being home. It is a life full of variety. I may go from putting in a load of wash, to starting bread; from taking photos, to reading; from hanging that wash or rising that bread before heading out to the garden to see what's available for supper.

I view the many blogs I read as novellas or short stories. I can go on a journey without leaving my house (my favorite kind of traveling). Some mornings I'm in the mood for a little touch of homelife in Scotland. Another day, when the light is just right, I remember my 1998 week in Texas, and drop in on Patty to bring back the feeling. There are blogs too numerous to mention which I visit when I want to read a good book review. When I want a quote which will stay with me all day I stop by Kay's. Each blog I visit is as different as the person who keeps it. I can go from seeing bees in New Zealand to my old friend, Heidi's house in Holland. The blog experience has proved an excellent way to keep in much better touch with people I have known for years via email groups. You may have noticed that my blogroll on the sidebar gets longer all the time. My lists are a bit like a TBR (to be read) shelf. I guess I might call them TBV, to be visited. I don't get to all the blogs I love every day or even every week. But as I go along in my day, I might find myself wondering how Lizzie's twins (two sets!) are doing, and I'll go visit. I am in contact with people of many ages, from twentysomethings to seventysomethings. What an incredible thing.

I really, really love all the blogs on my sidebar. My life is deeper, broader, wider because I know these people all over the world. I think of bloggers, at least the ones I read, as a real force for change in the world. They are filled with kindness, fine spirits, intelligence, love for their families and friends and homes and gardens and books and for life itself. I have learned immeasurably from each one. I mentioned on someone's blog that I no longer read any book reviews except those of bloggers. They are all I need. They are smart and witty, and these people write better than most reviewers in publications. I find sustenance in my gardening endeavors each time I visit one of the many garden blogs. There is a hospitality that comes through in blogs. A "welcome to my world" sort of feeling. But it doesn't stop there. These very busy people find time, indeed make the time, to drop by at other blogs. It is an incredibly wonderful network, and I thank each of you for enriching my life immeasurably.

On this day, I find myself thinking about what I might like to do in the next year.

I may want to focus a bit more on movies, including reviews of rental dvds.

I think I want to do a weekly garden tour of the flowers and vegetables, probably beginning in early May.

I want to do more book reports. I have joined some challenges, all of which involve reading my own books, and I hope to write about the books I read.

The other day I had a comment asking for more recipes, and I will try to oblige. Are there subjects that you would like to read about when you come by to visit?

It is fitting that this letter comes at Thanksgiving time because I am so very thankful to each of you who leave your own notes on my blog. I love to read them. You cheer me, you encourage me, and you enlighten me. As a little thank you, I am going to give one of you a present to celebrate this year anniversary. I bought a wall calendar with gorgeous photographs of my area. All you have to do to be entered in the drawing is to leave a comment on my blog from today, November 20 through Saturday, November 24. On Sunday, the 25th, all the names will go into a basket and I will pick one.


  1. What a lovely post, Nan. I am sneaking a visit to your blog while at work because I just need to take a moment to breath. Visiting Hill Farm always brings comfort, calm and peace to my heart. Thanks for being!

  2. Nan,
    We also thank you for sharing glimpses into your life and the beauties of your farm. Your stories bring comfort, like an old sweater on a cold morning.

  3. As one grasshopper to another... I love that term! It's perfect! Anyway, I'm so happy that we both are grasshoppers. It's fun to jump around from one thing to the other.

    I do stick to pics of my city in this blog and to pics of the seasons, in this one. But in my regular 'smilnsigh,' I might put anything, and everything. :-)

    Happy First Anniversary in blog land. May you have many, many, many more. And may you always enjoy doing this.


  4. Nan,

    I have so enjoyed taking this blogging journey with you over the past year. When I heard you had a blog (heard through either Aisling, or Rapunzel, can't remember which)I was so excited to read your daily thoughts.

    Many blessings you have given me this past year, and I hope you are blessed tremendously in the new year to come. I look forward to another year's journey with you, my friend.

  5. Good morning Nan from Aotearoa in the South Pacific - I am so happy I have met you through your delightful blog. I pop in most days for an always interesting read - I to enjoy the glimpses into your life ..

  6. Nan, I've loved reading your blog all year long. You are one of the first people I *met* online from a long ago bookgroup I think..You introduced me to the Bachelor Brothers! I especially love your recipes....

    Looking forward to reading your blog for a long long time..

    Jeanie in KY

  7. Congratulations on your blogging birthday! I'd love to read more posts about your garden--I particularly enjoying seeing that part of your life. Thanks for sharing!

  8. What a beautiful letter to your dear readers! Your blog is one that I visit on a daily basis and I'm so glad you decided to join the blogging community. Has it only been a year? ;)

    I've known you for over 10 years now, but in spite of having never met face-to-face, I feel as if I know you better than some of my closest friends. I love seeing all the photos of your home, garden, family and pets. Makes it feel like I've come for a visit. Maybe someday!

    Happy Anniversary, dear friend. Here's to many, many more years of letters.

  9. Congratulations Nan! I love visiting your blog and seeing your beautiful photos - you live in a lovely place, thanks for sharing it. I hope you carry on blogging just as you do now - I like all your letters. I used to have a few penfriends when I was a teenager and now many years later I love the idea that I can "meet" so many people around the world through blogs.

  10. What a lovely post, Nan. Yours is one of the blogs I visit every day because there is always something interesting to read or see. There's a very real feeling of love of life about your writings and I for one am glad I found your blog.

  11. I found your blog today and so glad I did! What a lovely post. I will surely be back to read more. Congratulations on a year of blogging!

  12. And what a wonderful year it has been to be able to visit your blog and find something of interest each time. I'm proud to be on your sidebar, and proud to have you on mine.

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  13. Dear Nan,
    Your blog is one of the real pleasures of my day, each day. I love to visit your Hill Farm see what lovely thought, or photo, or recipe, or humor, or music you have to share with us.
    Happy blogging anniversary!

  14. Happy anniversary, dear Nan, my sweet, sweet friend. I visit you every day and have loved reading all the bits and pieces of your wonderful life. I have been honored by meeting you face-to-face and I we'll get to see each other again someday. However, if we don't, we see each other through our blog journeys. You're on my list as someone to be so thankful for and I wish you and your whole family a wonderful holiday. 10 years have flown by haven't they? Hugs to you!!!

  15. Wow...I somehow stumbled upon your blog this evening and was blown away by warmth and nostalgia I felt. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and congratulations on your blog anniversary!

  16. Ah dear Nan! You know how I was thrilled that you started a blog. I always had you on my mind when we each on and off would no longer be in one of the Yahoo lists. There was something special there that always made me think of you! And now I can at any time, simply get on your blog and visit with you. It has been great for us to keep in contact.

    I love coming here and finding how often we are on the same wave length which is colored by the nuiances of our own individual lives and geography.

    Your blog is not one which dwells on a subject because it dwells on living. We spend each day of our lives moving from one moment to the next no matter who or where we are. That movement from ideas and tasks makes life worth living. I thank you for sharing your life with me dear friend! Here's to another year and even more perspective in blogging!

    ~~ Heidi ~~

  17. Nan, Happy blogging anniversary! I truly love my visits here at your hill farm blog. I look forward to the new things you plan to do in the next year, but also to "more of the same." Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us in this way.

    hugs, Aisling

  18. I hope you had a very nice Thanksgiving. This post felt all cozy- thanks for that!

  19. Our thanks to you, Nan, for allowing us to enter your world through your blog, and here's to the next enriching year of "Letters"!

  20. A beautiful post, Nan! I didn't realize that you'd only been blogging for a year ... I thought you'd been here much longer. I love visiting your blog ~ especially when Mrs. Bale drops by for a visit. Happy blogging anniversary and I hope you continue just as you are for many more years! ~ hugs, Lynda xo

  21. What a thoughtful and kind gesture for you to do! I have just found your blog and am happy that I have! Happy Thanksgiving.....Cindi :)

  22. Nan, Congratulations on a year of blogging, and thank for such a beautiful post. You've touched my heart again, as you do each time I visit you here as well as each time you visit me. You've given me words of support, friendship, humour and so much more. Thank you for being here and for sharing so much of yourself.

  23. Dear Nan,
    I came across your lovely blog about a month ago during a time of deeply missing my mother who died 14 years ago and immediately thought, "Is she channeling my mother?" I read my way through your archives and thought, "Were we seperated at birth?" :) Thank you so very much for sharing your life and heart through your quotes and poetry selections, scrumptious recipes and delightful books. They bring such joy and comfort into a world that can be so overwhelming at times. I look forward to many years of future Letters from your Hill Farm and getting to know you. May you continue to be so richly blessed and willing to share the blessing. MizB


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