Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hallowe'en party

One of the many, many glorious things about living so close to our daughter and her family is that we are often included in their get-togethers. 

Because there is no trick or treating this year, Margaret decided to have a Hallowe'en party. The people who came are all those that they see regularly, and/or children Hazel knows from school. And it was an outdoor party so everyone felt comfortable. And thankfully, there are no cases in our town.

Matt and Margaret and Hazel decorated their house, yard, and made a little "haunted trail" coming up the road to our house. She gave us goodie bags to hand out that she had packed for the kids at the end of the trail. Luckily it was a perfect, sunny, warm day and evening. The families arrived in the late afternoon and walked up here around 6:15 when it was dark. I'm still smiling thinking about it. 

And now for the pictures. 

At the house

Heading up the road

A swing we put up that same day for the grandchildren

And then up at our house

Margaret brought this for us to turn on when it got dark

There were more kids but the photos didn't come well. I have ordered a new phone with high hopes for better pictures! iPhone 12. Supposed to take good night shots.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Today's song, and serious talk - Joe South - Walk A Mile In My Shoes (1970)

I happened to hear this song today on a show I've mentioned before The Mop Tops and the King. It was done by Elvis, but I found the original sung by Joe South.

FIFTY years ago, and I swear it feels like we still need to etch things into our brains. I know that I don't write about controversial things here, but today I must. During the time of the virus and the Black Lives Matter movement, Michael has been the victim of racism. As you know we adopted both our kids from South Korea. 

Because the virus was said to come from China, Asians were targeted. Michael has been accused of bringing the virus, and told to go back to where he came from. A friend of his, who is part Chinese was in the store and someone took some soap out of her cart, saying you don't deserve this. Margaret hasn't had any encounters, but early on she was afraid to go into Walmart, fearing the same kind of negative response. 

Throughout the years, there have been episodes in both their lives, far more for Michael than Margaret. Always from men. You will know that this just kills me. 

Yesterday, a few people from his town's Democratic party were standing by the side of the road just holding signs for the various candidates running in this election. A man yelled from across the road - first saying that the Presidential candidate was a word that I will not put in my precious blog. You must have heard it. Apparently there is a group that is putting this forward. And then he targeted Michael and told him to go back to where he came from. My son didn't go across the street and confront him, thank God, but he talked back to the guy. I think the guy finally just walked off. 

This is what people of color face all the time. We white people can choose how we present ourselves to the world. We can color our hair pink, or wear makeup or none. We can have tattoos or piercings, or not. We can shave our heads or wear our hair long. But the thing is - it is our choice. A black or brown person is judged the minute they step out the door. And some of those outside places are scary and dangerous. 

This is an awful time we are going through and it just makes me cry. All this and a virus, too. How much can we take? 

I thought of disabling comments just for this post, but wasn't sure if that would take away all the comments since 2006 so thought I wouldn't touch it. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Snow Day

Yes, you read that title right. First snow of the season overnight into the morning, after raining all day yesterday. A friend's birthday is tomorrow and his wife says that 9 out of 10 times the first snow comes on his birthday so this is normal for us. The only concern was the lilacs and honeysuckles were bent down by the heavy snow. Tom and I went out for 1 1/2 hours getting the snow off. Most of them came back just fine, but there is one broken branch, and a couple others seem weak, but we'll see when the spring comes. The problem was that there were still leaves and they were weighed down. Very unusual to have foliage and snow at the same time. But everything else is strange this year so I shouldn't be surprised! 

I took these pictures in the morning.

I put bird seed on the road so the ground feeders could eat. We had bluejays and juncos and some kind of sparrows all day, and then in the evening this crew showed up.

There were a dozen in all. One of them jumped to the top of the clothesline, twice. Just for fun, I guess.

Addendum: Tom said the turkeys were here early the next morning, and he saw deer tracks so we are officially in the restaurant biz for the next few months!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Today's picture - wild turkeys


The photo isn't anything to write home about, but it sure gives the idea of what I saw out the window the other day. I managed to count 21 turkeys, and they stayed for over an hour! This happened in the summer, too, with mothers and their babies.

I've heard that Theodore Roosevelt wanted to make the wild turkey our national bird. I am so fond of them. The wing colors are beautiful, they are pleasant company, other birds and our hens are not afraid of them. Sometimes they go right into the pasture and graze with everyone else. Just the best.

I read this online:

  • Native only to North and Central America, the wild turkey was discovered by Europeans in Mexico in the early 1500s.
  • By the 1930s, the wild turkey population was at less than 30,000 birds; a victim of market hunting, subsistence hunting and widespread habitat destruction.
  • Over the next 50 years, state wildlife agencies funded by hunters’ dollars and working with the National Wild Turkey Federation, captured more than 200,000 wild turkeys and released them in quality wild turkey habitat.
  • Today there are more than 7 million wild turkeys roaming the woodlands and river-bottoms across the country.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Feeding the birds, again

 Almost exactly a year ago, I posted that we were not going to feed the birds that fall and winter. But as the weather cooled down this month, I felt myself longing for birds. It was very quiet last winter. There has been no sighting of the r-word, so we are going to begin again! It is a bit expensive as I noted last year, but those birdies give so much pleasure. We've changed the spot to the clothesline. The feeders used to be strung out the kitchen door (across the road) in the lilac and honeysuckle trees, but this will be an easier place to reach when the snow is deep. In just a few days, we've had chickadees, bluejays, a woodpecker, and juncos. It is lovely to hear them through the open bedroom window in the morning. 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

For Real - For Tom (Official Lyric Video)

A bunch of my favorite musicians doing this wonderful tribute to Tom Petty. I loved his work, and this is such a special song. More about the song, if you are interested:

I read a comment someone left somewhere: "Son Rock". Ain't that the truth! Willie's sons, Bob Dylan's son, George Harrison's son. Pure magic.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

The Cambridges ask Sir David Attenborough

I thought this would be cheering in these difficult times. What a wonderful man, and such adorable children!!

Friday, October 2, 2020

Today's poem by James Hofford

 Today's poem comes from a book I have called

I thought I'd just take a picture and post it, rather than try to type it out! It is absolutely true of the way the colors are this time of year at Windy Poplars Farm, and all around us. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Standards

 I grew up with parents who had been through the Second World War. My father was in the Army and my mother was a nurse in a hospital at home. I became aware of the American Standards, or the American Songbook, very young. The Dorseys were familiar names in my house, and I am pretty sure my mother saw them. She sang as she worked around the house, and those songs are always in my head. 

A few years after she died I found myself wanting records of the old music. I went to my local book and record store. The owner said the music just wasn't available anymore. This was ages before the internet, and there were things that were impossible to find. 

And then, in 1978, when I was 30, Willie Nelson came out with his Stardust album. 

I was in musical heaven. Here they were - the old songs that I so wanted to hear. 

Willie was 45 in 1978. 

And now a technical note. When I used to post a video from YouTube, I would embed it but now when I try to do so, and look at the preview it is only the address that shows up. There is an actual "blogger" tab to hit, and it comes right up on my blog. However, I don't seem to be able to write anything with the video. Thus, I will post Willie singing "September Song" from Stardust in another blog post. And then, treat of all treats, I'll put up Lukas Nelson singing it with Micah and Willie playing along. I had Tom close his eyes and tell me who was singing, and he said "Willie" immediately! Lukas will be 32 this year. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Blogging and me

The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates

I have said that Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility - William Wordsworth, preface to Lyrical Ballads

I am definitely not these fellows, but I do understand each of them with relation to blogging and me. I need to write down things that are swirling around in my head. Writing is very different from talking. Talking involves other people's thoughts and opinions, and mine can be lost or changed in conversation. This introvert needs the quiet of writing to sort out exactly what I think or feel about something. Even if I write only a few lines, or quote someone, or share a poem, it does me good. 

I haven't written nearly as much in later years. Well, duh! Three grandchildren came along in quick succession. And my emotions have been coming fast and furious without much time to "recollect" them in any sort of peaceful moments. But now the children are older, and though we still see Hazel many days, we don't see the boys as often because of distance, the busyness of the family, the virus. 

So I would like my compensation for their getting older and starting school to be  writing my "letters from a hill farm". A part of this is also spending more of my time at your blogs. I have visited as often as I could but not nearly as often as I wanted to. Reading another person's words and taking the time to respond is another kind of recollecting. I can take my time thinking over what they have said and then write back if I feel I have anything to contribute.

I am quite happy about my resolve to do this. I have really missed the connections, and have missed taking the time to write about even the small things. It is good for me. It clears my head and helps me to notice things I might not have in the bustle of the day. 

Today's Poem - Hare Drummer by Edgar Lee Masters

Autumn began in my part of the world at 9:30 this morning when the sun went into Libra. I went back to my beloved 

for a poem to share. This is from Masters' Spoon River Anthology which is a collection of poems that are epitaphs of people who lived in Spoon River. You may read more about it here. It has been a very long time since I've read it or thought about it. Tom remembers he didn't like it, and I wonder if we were both too young to understand. I feel encouraged to pick it up again since I really loved this poem. I'm much closer to the age for an epitaph now! 😲

Hare Drummer

Do the boys and girls still go to Siever's

For cider, after school, in late September?

Or gather hazel nuts among the thickets

On Aaron Hatfield's farm when the frosts begin?

For many times with the laughing girls and boys

Played I along the road and over the hills

When the sun was low and the air was cool,

Stopping to club the walnut tree

Standing leafless against a flaming west.

Now, the smell of autumn smoke,

And the dropping acorns,

And the echoes about the vales

Bring dreams of life. They hover over me.

They question me:

Where are those laughing comrades?

How many are with me, how many

In the old orchards along the way to Siever's,

And in the woods that overlook

The quiet water?

Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950) 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Back To School

 I am tempted to say "the new normal". Though we are probably all sick of hearing it these days, it really is quite a good phrase. And I would say especially for children.  They go with the flow in a way that is hard for most adults. What is, is, and that's it. 

So here is our granddaughter Hazel today on her first day of school since March. 


Those eyes are still smiling under the mask. 

Nana is doing my best at not being nervous. We have no cases in our town as of now. The children all live here. Some have traveled over the summer, but have quarantined when they returned. Most have stayed right here, and had their own "pandemic pods". These groups have mingled with others as the summer has gone on, and we all feel pretty comfortable. We wear masks in stores and in outdoor groups like the Farmers' Market. 

The grandsons, Campbell and Indy are being remotely schooled at home. Their school is a bit different in that the kids come from different towns, and the boys' parents wanted to see how things are at the school before letting them go back. So far, so good.

Addendum: Just got a text from Margaret, and Hazel had an "awesome day"!!

Monday, September 7, 2020

Poem and song for these times in particular

The news from all around is so very upsetting and hugely anxiety provoking. It seems the "opening up" and the going back to school, maybe particularly colleges with their large, mask-less parties, are bringing new cases just when we had begun to relax because the cases had gotten fewer. And the tourists. If you live in a tourist area, you know. I can't understand why people feel they have to travel now. And these aren't poor people who are stuck in terrible city conditions. Tom saw a Tesla in our little Co-op parking lot and he looked up the price, and mon dieu, the car's base price is 80 thou. Our local lawyers are crazy busy because of people buying houses to get away from the cities and the virus. Anyhow, it's enough to drive one mad so here is a little respite. 

If we can't actually be there, let us have such a place in our hearts and imaginations when we are "on the roadway, or the pavements grey". 

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
By William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Eating like a child; and another sweet grandchild saying

 Last night, this is what I had for supper.

Lettce, yellow beans, and corn from local farmers, our cucumbers and potatoes, and a glass of milk. These happen to be all my childhood favorite foods for summer suppers. The only thing missing is peas, which we will probably have tonight. 

And before supper, Hazel Nina and I were outdoors at our new fire pit which we haven't lit yet because the weather is too hot. She suddenly told me I looked "so cute" that she had to go get a phone to take a picture. As with Campbell Walker's adorable words the other day, I will say again, how many 72-year-olds hear that adjective applied to them! She also moved around a bit because she wanted to include the barn. Photographer in the making?

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Blueberries - 2020 Report

 I just went looking through the blog, and apparently I didn't post about the blueberries last year. I'm so surprised because I had been doing so for a few years.

Anyhow, today was the last of the blueberries we bought from our neighbor. 

This year the price was $5.75 per quart, down from $6 two years ago. Who knows why? What I do know is that there weren't very many - 17 quarts in all.

July 30 - 4 quarts

August 2 - 3 quarts

August 4 - 3 quarts

August 6 - 3 quarts

August 10 - 2 quarts

August 12 - 2 quarts

In 2018, we got 26 quarts, and we thought that was a small amount!  In 2017, 43 quarts. In 2016, 61 quarts!

We are friendly enough with this man and his wife, and in fact sell them a dozen eggs a week, but we don't know them well enough to comfortably ask them why they think there has been such a steady decrease each year. One year, I did give the man a list of the differences in amounts for a couple years, but he gave no response. I sure wish I knew how many we got last year! 

We've eaten quite a few fresh, and the rest are frozen for breakfast smoothies.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Dennis Waterman - New Tricks Theme EXTENDED

The Traveling Wilburys - End Of The Line (Official Video)

How did they get away with it?

 I'm watching the British television show New Tricks for maybe the sixth time, and every time I see it I wonder how Mike Moran, the man who wrote the theme song got away with such a copy of The Traveling Wilburys song, End of the Line.

I have searched and searched and can't find any controversy about it, though I did find this:

A version sung by Dennis Waterman was used as the theme too for the pilot of another BBC production, New Tricks, although this was soon replaced by a similar-sounding song, "It's All Right", by Mike Moran, which is easily mistaken for End of the Line.

Yet, apparently, there was no brouhaha, no lawsuit, and as I've found, barely a mention.

What do you think? 

And after I wrote the above sentence, I went to YouTube and tried to insert the video of both songs, but something has changed. This may be to do with the new Blogger. Anyhow, as with most things in life there is good and bad about it. I can now "share" immediately on a blog post, but I don't seem to be able to insert into a blog post. The only solution I have for right now is to put up both videos in separate posts, and hope you come back here to see why in the world they are there! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Quote du jour/Campbell Walker

Our grandson Campbell Walker spent the night at his cousin, Hazel Nina's house for the very first time last night. The two of them showed up at our door this morning and I was in my nightgown. Campbell said, "You look like a young girl!" How many 72-year-olds hear those words first thing in the morning?!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

July, with a touch of the first day of August

I can't believe I wrote so little in July. I meant to post about many things that are in my head!  

I have written a few times about one of my favorite songs, "You Go To My Head". It has that magic line "like a summer with a thousand Julys". The weather, the flowers, the ease of life - there is no other month in my year which offers so much pleasure, so much pure joy. 

Even in these times, July gave so much to brighten spirits. I could talk and talk but I'll just post some pictures of this past glorious month.

First up are the CSA flowers. I didn't sign up last year but this past Christmas Margaret gave me a present of the first six weeks of this season! What a joy they have been.

June 24

July 1

July 8

July 15 

July 22

July 29 

Such beauty! They take my breath away. 

We watch Gardeners World on Britbox faithfully each week, and we have learned so much over the past couple years. The most important thing is about pollinators. We've had flowers for all the years we've lived here, but mostly they have been daylilies. There have been a few others - iris, sedum, aquilegia, hollyhocks, but for the main summer season we have been awash in daylilies. They are wonderful and are themselves good for the bees, but we wanted to be a little bit more helpful to the butterflies and bees. Several plants were talked about on the show, and I ordered a few of them. We dug up a whole bed of just daylilies, and moved them to another area of the garden, and planted several new-to-us plants. They have been a grand success. Everything has grown and they have brought in scores of pollinators.

Achillea millefolium or yarrow. The yellow is Coronation Gold and the red, Paprika. 

Perennial hollyhocks. I hope they do indeed come back. They have thrived with just a bit of rust on the leaves. 

We planted Walker's Low catmint a few years ago in honor of Campbell Walker, our grandson, but we got another plant and put them both together because it is a real favorite of the bees. It was loaded with pollinators the whole month. The pink flower next to it is my beloved mallow that I've written about over the years. It has been gone a couple years but popped up this spring in force! Mallow is another favorite of pollinators.

We have two Monarda plants which are just beginning to blossom. It is also known are bee balm. This is a zone 3 variety so I'm hopeful it will come back again next year.

And then there is the Echinacea! It has been a butterfly airport! The other day there were eight at a time.

I just took this little movie of the action.

The daylilies have been in their glory with color after color just exploding throughout the month of July. They'll be around for a few weeks yet, I hope.

One of my favorite views because it shows the coming, the here, and the spent daylily. My daughter just told her daughter it is like life itself.

This one is Indy Charmer in honor of Indy Thomas, our grandson!

Little Fred, bought in honor of a man we both loved.

I'll stop. You get the idea. There are daylilies all over the place, in every direction you look. And when Margaret and Matthew moved into their house down the road ten (!!) years ago, we dug up bunches of them and planted them down there so they, too, are surrounded by these beautiful flowers.

And then there is the veg garden. More glorious than last year, its first year. I've written about the calendula coming back. 

I just went out and took some pictures so you could see it as it is right now!

The amazing, amazing tomatoes, bought locally and two were gifts. There is one nearer the house, too, and we've had four tomatoes from it. There is nothing in the world that tastes better to me!

Potatoes. They've been eaten a bit by the dreaded potato beetle, but I think the potatoes themselves will be great, and coming soon!

I bought some special red corn this year.

Cukes and peas are coming fast and furious!

A zucchini plant bought at the Farmers' Market.

Sorry everything looks so washed out in the photos. 1:36 pm with bright sun. You may notice the dryness. We've had to water more this summer, though we've been lucky to have some good rains in between.

The Farmers' Market has been the highlight of my weeks. I've bought vegetables and homemade ice cream and homemade pastries and Thai spring rolls. A veritable feast. This virus time has been a locally supportive time. Everybody is cheering everyone else on, and supporting all the farmers and cooks and artists. My instagram account is a happy place to visit every day, and the Market on Sunday mornings.

Ran into some old friends one day.

Pulling her mask down to pose for me!

We celebrated birthdays - Margaret's 38th and Indy's 5th in July. 

We've seen Margaret's family the whole time. We are kind of like one family in two houses. And now it's so good to be seeing the boys again! They kept themselves quarantined for a few months, and then we all began to get together again. We are quite safe here, and we are all careful. I still am nervous about tourist season, but local businesses are really good about masks and distancing, and we don't travel very many miles. None of us know what the fall will bring but I'm thankful that we can all be together again.