Thursday, February 28, 2008

What's new at the farm

It's horse expo season and R & W have moved in for a few days while Mamma is working.The knights have come out in full force once again, this time driving a chic green car !

The little brother alternately feels like this

and then like this

I think last weekend's germs are still with us. I know I don't feel at the top of my form....

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Challenge

I like the way the sunlight slants into the kitchen early in the morning and lights up corners which are usually ignored, like the bowls stacked in this cabinet.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'm annoyed with myself. I just finished reading Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks and it was a colossal waste of time.
The book sounded good : a story of an English village which was struck by the Plague in 1662 and how the inhabitants dealt with the year they voluntarily cut themselves off from everyone to prevent the spread of the Plague. The book is based on fact and certainly had all the prerequisites of a ripping good story, but the writing was awful, the storyline totally unbelievable and the reactions of the characters were much too modern for the 17th century.
But that's not why I'm annoyed. I resent the fact that I felt compelled to finish the book , even though it was obvious a little way in that there wasn't much substance to it and the writer confused archaic language with 17th century thought and reactions. Why is it that I feel unable to abandon a patently or sometimes marginally awful book ? There are so many wonderful books out there, that you shouldn't feel compelled to spend time with the losers.
What do you do when you realize a book is not doing it for you ? Soldier on in the hopes it will pick up ? Abandon without guilt ? Is there a point of no return - do you finish a book when you have read more than half or three quarters even though it's not getting any better ?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Push pins!

Is this so cool, or what? I am going to make them ASAP! I guess that also means I need a cute little fabric covered board too. What kind of material is that? Not cork, but something else can you stick pins into? Looking for answers ...

Close ( morning ) call

The chickens and guineas had a visitor this morning.

Phew, that was a close call ! Yesterday at this time the doors of their pens were wide open and the whole flock was outside.

What a handsome fellow he is, though. This must be the same fox we saw on our pony ride this weekend - I guess he's returning our call on him at his place.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sweet Message

I've been obsessed with looking at paintings on eBay lately, and came across this one with a sweet message. I'm almost tempted to bid on it!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Next Friday Challenge

Ok, ladies, here's the challenge for this Friday : show us a corner of your house that you are especially fond of and tell us why.

The Good and the Bad

Rhys and I had a plan; we would ride to the place where there where some cut up monster trees.

First we had to ride up a big hill, where we spotted a beautiful red fox napping in the sunshine. The fox was so surprised that he hopped up on a log and stared at us for a long, long time. We were able to study him closely , especially his catlike face.

We found the huge logs and were suitably impressed.

Some nosy horses in a pasture kept us company for a while and walked along with us.

What a big jump ! We decided that Rhys wasn't quite ready for it yet.

Oh, yea, Opa came along ,too. All that was the good part, here comes the bad part : after the nap, Rhys had a temperature of 104 . Oh, no !!! What a rotten end to a perfectly wonderful day.
P.S. Two days later she is feeling better, thank you.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The noontime challenge

This is Megan's location on Fri. at noontime in NYC -on the sewing room floor and waiting for a bra hot off the machine. And the pic of the rack is Megan's location 15 minutes later showing ALL of those garments to people. By the end of the day I just want to lie around naked.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dang it

Dang it - My delicious lunch will not be appearing here on our blog. Turns out Dad's camera thingy won't download into my computer or printer so the photos we snapped during lunch will have to come later. Today at lunch I was at my desk, Dad on the other side, Nellie underneath. Martina our Chinese chef/Wonder-Assistant made us some authentic Chinese peasant food: A bowl of rice with pieces of Chinese sausage steamed in it and a plate of "garnishes". Basically a plate full of yummy steamed bok choy drizzled with oyster sauce, lots root, shitake mushrooms and bean sticks sautéed together. I of course had to have a side of my favorite sriracha hot sauce for dipping, and a steaming cup of black tea. It was sooooooooo delicious. Martina came in and described how we should hold the bowls up to our mouths and just shovel it in - periodically adding more garnishes according to our whim. How lucky are we to have lunch made by Martina every day! Dad and I chatted about his recent trip to a composting conference in San Francisco and also about upcoming projects. What did you all do?

An entertaining lunch

I had a charming little surprise visitor today. We sat down to a very civilized, well-balanced lunch .
As a little warm-up, silly carrot tricks were performed.

Things got a little out of hand and the milk was turned over. Hint : the culprit was NOT Rhys !

To calm things down a little, Rhys entertained me with the above.
Next, some lovely pickled onion jewelry was created.

And then things got totally out of hand and that was the end of our very entertaining lunch.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Friday Challenge

While lunching with Leo T. today, I was wondering where you were having lunch and with whom. So here's my challenge : post a picture of your middle- of-the-day surroundings today. Let's see - and read - what you are up to.

A Valentine's Day in the Life

The two pics of me are tests of outfits to wear to Wilhelmina to meet my agents for the first time! I was so psyched to get all dolled up and go - (I chose the olive dress with belt since it was more winter appropriate.) Of course, the day I was ready to meet them they weren't ready for me and couldn't come out of a meeting. The following visit I was wearing just jeans and a shirt and of course, had the big meeting. Next time I will be prepared for maximum stealth glamour. For inspiration on looking cute in the city no matter what the occasion go to one of my favorite blogs,

The bras are weartests that I am taking back to the respective companies tomorrow. Part of my job entails wearing bras that aren't in the marketplace yet and give the designers feedback as to how they fit, feel and stand up to my laundromat washer and dryer (ie. shrinkage, piling, etc..) So there are always bras in my purse, on the floor, in the wash - jesus, this is like cat in the hat. The credit card like thingies are the pre-paid cards for the washer and dryer.

Inspired by mom's beautiful pictures (hey em I am loving the re-arranged dining room! It looks so formal and elegant - way to go) I am posting a few from my day in the no particular order. This is the big vase with new paperwhites which I just started last week. I'm so psyched to have the aroma and a little hint of spring especially in light of the winter blast we just got in nyc. The vase is on the cabinet next to the computer table.
Happy Valentine's Day Mom and Em! I love you both and hope you have a great day today.
xoxoxoxo Daughter/Auntie Megan


Happy Valentine's Day !

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ice in the City

The aftermath at our house was definitely not as dramatic as in the country but we had almost an inch of ice on our steps this morning!! I was very creative and scraped it off with an old metal dustpan while R (ready for school and waiting to descend to the car) and Nellie (anxious to go potty) looked on. Poor Nellie! At one point I gave her a little shove back with my elbow (hot, stinky breath in face) and she slid off the steps and hung by her leash in the neighbors front garden!! Luckily her hind feet touched the ground so she didn't choke and I get her leash off as fast as I could but it was still pretty traumatic for both of us. Then R, Nellie and I skated our way to the car, went to school, only to find that school was closed! R's response to a school closing? "OH GOODY! Now I can go back to bed and listen to the rain pitter patter on my window!! Do you know? I didn't really want to get up this morning" ... and on and on. This reminds me of when R was just a babe in the snow:

Ah those were the days!

The morning after

Every little twig is covered in ice, the trees are bowed down with the weight of it and icicles are hanging from every horizontal surface. It's still incredibly slippery : Jonesy took a tumble off the porch when he stepped out the door, the chickens can't stay on their feet and a guinea slid right off the roof of his house when I came in the pen to feed. The horses are staying in their stalls - very wise- and the poor dog still can't seem to keep her feet from sliding in 4 directions.
My barefoot hike is showing signs of consequences - I am developing what my German mother called " einen tuechtigen Schnupfen". The dictionary defines tüchtig as competent, capable, efficient, sizeable,industrious,hearty,good and proper and Schnupfen is a cold. So I'm taking tons of vitamin C in the hope of making the Schnupfen not so tüchtig.
Good bye Jack London, hello Linus Pauling !

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Power of Wool or How to Impress Yourself

Here's how :
1. leave home without checking weather report
2. drive a car which is totally unsuitable for winter driving
3. arrive in town and spend hours rearranging Emlyn's furniture

4. take break and give her a little surprise I just finished knitting ( note date at top of mittens !)

5. go out to lunch and fool around taking pictures of cool buildings while a gentle ice rain falls on bare head ( forgot hat )

6. go shopping until dark , then stay for tea and cookies until weather gets lots worse. Drive home on ice covered roads in second and third gear, slipping and sliding all the way. Drive home takes 3 times as long as usual. When driveway is tackled by unsuitable car, car loses and can't make it. Get out and realize that it is literally impossible to stand up ! Realize that hat and gloves would be a nice thing to have at this point since ice rain is still falling.

7. Take off shoes and walk up 1/4 mile driveway in total darkness and in stocking feet. Stocking feet are comprised of wool socks I knitted ( see above ), .When I get to locked gate, I can't climb over fence, because fence boards are too slippery. Have to stand on bottom board and wait until socks freeze to board before I can heave myself up and over.

8. finally get into house and peel off socks. I am totally amazed and impressed : my feet are not frozen clumps of ice, they are toasty and warm !! I feel like Admiral Perry and Jack London rolled into and I'm completely impressed by myself. The tulips ? Couldn't bear to leave them in the car and carried them up the hill in icy darkness.
Footnote : it took the dog several tries to negotiate up one step to the mudroom door landing. The ice is too slippery even for 4 feet !

Friday, February 8, 2008

Spring Fever

It's another gloriously warm, sunny day and spring fever is setting in in earnest. Even though the countryside looks wintry , things are starting to happen !

Daffodils are pushing up their green spears through last year's oak leaves,

the first clump of crocuses has appeared under the birdfeeder,

in front of the house the winter jasmine is blooming

and here are more winter aconites, lifting their little flat faces to the warm sun.

All the lilacs have fat buds on every branch - they've packed their bags and are ready to go at the first signal of spring. You can practically feel them straining at the leash !
Every day I go outside, curious to see what has changed overnight , but there are still many days of winter in store for us . This February reprieve is just a little taste of things to come, a little glimpse of the mighty workings that go on unseen under the seemingly dead ground. It should encourage us when everything seems dead and flat in our own lives, when we think that there is no progress, no change, nothing happening at all, but underneath there is always change, more profound and inevitable than we realize.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Garden Fever

The warm temperatures ( 70 degrees ! ) have infected me with gardening fever and I have spent the day cleaning up the vegetable garden, pulling up old tomato plants, removing the stakes and cutting asparagus foliage. Now it's nice and neat and ready for spring planting.

That pile of dead stalks is 6 feet high.

The flower bed in front ogf the greenhouse got a haircut, too.

And this is what I found under all those dead stalks - winter aconites, just starting to bloom.

And someone else got a haircut, too ! Spring fever must have temporarily disabled the hairdresser - T's head was positively shaved.

How many peanuts does one family need?

This is what you get when you order a bag of environmentally friendly packing peanuts ... I thought it said five pounds? Apparently they are very lightweight.

No I have a lifetime supply of peanuts and it also happens to be the least expensive and most exciting toy my children have come across in a long time, they both love it!