Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Great Place to Write

This morning I climbed (and I do mean "climbed"!) up to the top of our ridge, wearing my backpack laden with camera and other assorted necessities (i.e., walkie talkie, compass), and found a comfy log where I spread out my indian blanket and sat for awhile to write. Unfortunately, the wind was howling, making me uneasy with all of those creaking, swaying trees around me, and it became so COLD that I could barely hold my pen! But it was fun to be in the woods for a change, after a long winter of staying indoors for the most part. I startled a deer that snorted but never revealed itself. Vultures soared over my head, making strange calls as though laughing at me: "Look at that fool!"

One reason I went up was to see if there are any morel mushrooms yet. I didn't find any, which doesn't mean anything since I usually can't find them, but our neighbor went up yesterday and he didn't find any either which means they aren't out yet since he
always finds them! I guess it is a bit too early.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy the challenging climb and the commune with nature. It looked like the sun was shining behind the mountains in the distance (it wasn't shining here!), and the shimmering glow was pretty to view.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Great Author - Barbara Kingsolver

I am reading Barbara Kingsolver's book, Small Wonder - Essays, and as usual, I am impressed. I have read most of her novels (The Poisonwood Bible, Prodigal Summer, The Bean Trees, Pigs in Heaven, and others), and am never disappointed. She writes with such clarity and sensitivity that I find her books difficult to put down once I start reading. Her descriptions of characters and locations in her books are lively, colorful, and intriguing. I can't say I have a favorite - I love all of them that I've read - but Prodigal Summer is dear to my heart because it takes place in southern Appalachia and, as the back of the book describes, is a "hymn to wilderness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself." I also love her novels that take place in the desert. Having visited there, I know how despite its dry barrenness, the southwestern desert holds a special allure for those of us who are romantic dreamers. Her books on the desert capture my heart and provide inspiration.

In Small Wonder - Essays, she tells the true story of a baby in Iran who became lost but was found safe and sound, being fed and cared for by a black bear. She also writes about a young bobcat that came up to her window one day where she was sitting writing in Arizona, and stared into her eyes for several moments before turning away. She writes movingly about our country and its policies and how we are shaping our own destiny by our attitudes. To quote the flap of the book: . . . "these essays are grounded in the author's belief that our largest problems have grown from the earth's remotest corners as well as our own backyards, and that answers may lie in those places too."

Barbara Kingsolver and her family divide their time between a home in Tucson, Arizona, and a farm in southern Appalachia, where, as she describes in Small Wonder, they reside in a log home built of chestnut logs in the late 1930's. Her descriptions of their old tobacco barn and the surrounding countryside remind me of the area around where I live.

Her latest book - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - is based on "you are what you eat." It is the story of her back-to-the-land living with her family in Appalachia. I am ordering a copy today!

Men at Work/I Just Had to Have It

Okay, I don't get fixated on much, but I saw this bathroom faucet in a friend's house and it just stuck in my mind until finally I said, I just have to have one too! It is rustic pewter and fits right in with our rustic-style home. The old faucet (I forgot to take a picture of it) was also a rustic style, but silver and, unbeknownst to us, the previous owner of this home had painted it gold. We discovered that when the paint started to fleck off. It looked awful and we didn't want to keep on painting it. It was still functional but when the men took it off, it literally fell apart so it is a good thing we replaced it! Well, that's what I tell Doug, who was not enthused about the idea. See, he and plumbing jobs don't get along very well. Our neighbor, Al, luckily, did that kind of work for a living so he came over and they worked on it together. The directions made it sound so easy and that all you need are a mere four tools; isn't that what they always say? Al, who is familiar with such things, brought his entire toolbox anyway and lucky he did because three hours later, they got it put together after using most of the tools in his box! We bought the faucet at Lowe's. They had some at Home Depot that were similar, but the color wasn't quite the same and I like this one better.

I bet I'm the only person in the whole world who is blogging about their bathroom faucet! :)

Penelope the Bunny has a New Home

I won this adorable bunny and vintage apron from Phillis' giveaway on her blog at Phyllis' View! Isn't the bunny adorable? Don't you love her whiskers? Her name is Penelope and she has a special place to sit on my vintage barrel chair! She smells so sweet, too! And the apron is so cute!

Thank you, Phyllis, for your generosity and sharing your wonderful crafting talents! I never win anything and Penelope is truly special!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Busy Pussy Willow Bush

Spring has definitely sprung in our neck of the woods! Today the temperature surged to 71! The pussy willow bush was loaded with honeybees. It was fun to watch them flying about, sacks of pollen sticking to their legs. I wish I knew where their hive is, but it is probably a farmer's field on the other side of the ridge. I know that honeybees travel far and wide to gather their pollen. Two zebra swallowtail butterflies (presumably male and female) also flitted about the bush and actually landed together so that I could get a family portrait!