A Vermont Country Store Catalog Cover I Treasured This Summer

My favorite catalog published a cover photo that combined two themes prominent in my mind these past few months.

At a local park, I discovered a pair of Adirondack chairs – my favorite outdoor seating – far removed from the most populated paths. There I sat one entire afternoon, relieving stress as I overlooked the surrounding landscape. I hope to repeat the experience soon.

I’ve also reflected often these days upon my trips to New England over the years. Whenever I recall Vermont, I think of purplish hued mountains like these. Until I’m able to travel there once more, I’ll treasure catalog covers like these, and articles in Yankee Magazine. It’s changed over the years, but still retains the classic spirit of the Northeastern states.

Parsley and Memories

My first experience with herbs was in the backyard of the farmhouse where I lived as as a young child. Parsley was the only herb my foster grandmother grew, but it made a great impression upon me.

I remember picking the pungent stems, just the way she showed me, chewing a few of the curly little leaves while I worked. The taste was pungent, savory, peppery, the flavor of spring, of tradition. My grandmother told me stories as we harvested, of life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when she was young.

She was nearly ninety, when I was born so the tales she told of tradition, of gardening, and just plain living, were nearly forgotten by most, even then.

Some years I’ve cultivated nearly a dozen varieties of herbal plants. This spring, I lacked time and energy for so many, but I couldn’t resist starting a couple pots of parsley, in memory of Grandma Lee.

Parsley loves cool weather. It’s sometimes healthy and full at Thanksgiving, ready for use in holiday turkey dressing. I’ve never planted it in late summer, but perhaps that’s a possibility.

Another Photo I Didn’t Share Earlier from my Springtime Adventure in a Rural Cemetery

When seated in the country cemetery I described in an April post, small strange clouds floated above, like spirits visiting from another realm.

A crazy concept you say? Perhaps, but it was just one of those moments–like people say about a hilarious experience that falls flat with only mere words to describe it – you simply “had to be there” to believe it.

Each season holds its special experiences. Spring and fall seem the most spiritual to me.

October is another month when I begin to feel a closer presence of those who have passed on. But in a positive way. Nothing to do with skeletons and scary seances. The feeling comes to me as I see trees at dusk silhouetted in the sunset, feel the heartbeat of the earth, sense the imprint of all who have walked upon it.

Queen Anne’s Lace Adorns a Ragged Grass Clump at a Wal-Mart Parking Lot

Inspiration often arrives in non-conventional ways. Stepping from my car, donning mask and gloves to shop in the new normal, I found the sight of this Queen Anne’s Lace plant oddly cheering.

It’s a survivor, amid a clump of straggly grass, its bloom one of the most perfect I’ve seen from this type of wildflower. A species I love, no matter how common.

Stopping by my Favorite Farm Stand on a Sunny Afternoon

My favorite farm stand received a remodel since last year. Metal roof and siding now protect the exterior; panels mounted on the sides shelter the selection of produce from the rays of the sun. A new sign featuring a strawberry and sunflower was mounted on the side of the building.

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The little spot is a cheerful site as I pass on my commute each morning and evening. I can’t resist stopping occasionally to purchase a crisp green pepper, bright yellow summer squash, or a few deep green zucchini, if I can find some slender young ones.

My only complaint about warm season squash is that most gardeners in this area feel bigger is better, but actually small squash, short of maturity, are so much more delicately flavored and tender.

When they become overgrown,zucchini squash are much better when grated for zucchini bread than when sliced and fried or mixed with pasta and lemon, my favorite ways to enjoy squash in the hot months. 

But whatever is on the table, stopping at this cute little farmstand is always a pleasure. The imitation vintage linens covering the display surfaces are especially delightful.

Window Shadows and Wine Bottles

I impulsively snapped this photo of a subject some would consider odd. But I loved the play of light and shadow on this window, the blue and green wine bottles on the sill, shaded by the reflections of breeze-swayed trees.

Another Lovely After Storm Sky

This southern view highlighted by artistically sculpted clouds of pink and light bluish gray was calming after a particularly severe storm this summer.

Nature has many ways of showing her two sides, just as we do. Duality seems a requirement of life on earth, for some particularly puzzling reason.

A New Crop of Hay Rounded Into Bales Dots the Landscape of a Local Farm

They don’t make hay like they used to, and that’s a good thing I suppose. Less labor, but more expense, perhaps, with the need for a more expensive baler and a tractor attachment to lift the cylinders and move them.

Plus, you can’t build forts and horses, and all manner of creations with them, as kids used to on rainy days playing inside the barn. Here’s another view that includes the house and outbuildings.

So sad that family farms are disappearing, consolidating into mega-businesses without a sense of pride and connection the land, plants, livestock, the people who purchase their products.

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A STILL ACTIVE FAMILY FARM IN THE AMERICAN MIDWEST

 

 

Robins On the Lawn Trigger Memories of Secure Times

Watching robins hop across the lawn seems mundane to some, but for me it conjures the peace I experienced when I was a child, with nothing more pressing to do than study the details of nature playing out in the front yard.

Wherever I am, when I see the robins, a timeless species which doesn’t unnecessarily change its habits, in my mind I observe them from the window of a home that hasn’t been mine for some time.

My parents are there, my pets from that era. Cares were few back then, except for the responsibilities I invented so I would have something to attend to over summer vacation.

Some days life seems exceedingly difficult. But moments with the robins refresh my spirit. I take a deep breath of the summer scented air, and go on living, with a bit more optimism

Forest Sourced Carpeting Anyone?

I’ve always loved moss, since the days when I played under the majestic maple trees in front of our huge white farmhouse.

I built fairy abodes and residences for my Barbie dolls amid the crevices at the bases of the massive trunks. The apartments for these creatures formed by myth or Mattel, came with plush wall to wall carpeting of beautiful green moss.

Not a fan of shag rugs, into which crumbs pass, never to be seen again, though we know they are there, or really carpeting of any variety, I might change my mind if I could bring moss inside.