April 26, 2023

Village Diaries

Hello friends. I must be honest with you. Over these last months I have felt myself feeling overwhelmed and helpless at times. This is not a new feeling and If you have read a headline this past decade or so you might understand. I realized that it's very important to limit my intake -especially of angry, screaming headlines, talking heads who benefit financially from scaring people and politicians who are money hungry and trying to gain power by wielding fear. So I've stopped and asked myself what I can do, how can I contribute in any way to make my little world better. I've decided that is just by being kind: to strangers in a store, to servers at a restaurant, to the person I'm passing on the street, to my friends, neighbors and to myself. 

I wanted to pull myself out of the anxiety that I feel when I feel helpless. I got quiet. I again started noticing the beauty all around me. I started reading things that make me happy. I take walks or sit on the porch with my pup. I'm focusing on my health. I work in the garden taking time to talk to neighbors who are walking by. I notice how amazing something as simple as a bleeding heart flower is. I mean look at that. It's an actual miracle.

And then I've begun writing it down- collecting my memories of this amazing Village that has given me joy every day for the last 13 years because, I want to remember these simple, seemingly unimportant details about by life here. After picking up one of Gladys Taber's books about Stillmeadow, my first but definitely not my last, I was inspired to share some of it here. Maybe it will lift your spirits when you need something more gentle, to share in my Village days. 


Today is a beautiful day in the Village. It has warmed back up a bit, we are headed to a high of 59, but most importantly, the sun is shining brightly. One of my favorite things about living in the Village is the vast number of trees. After years of living in new neighborhoods with minimal mature trees, I recognize it for the blessing it is. As I look out the window onto Maple Street from my perch in the studio, I am drawn to the sight of the dappled light dancing on the road as a gentle wind ruffles the leaves of the trees above. 

This morning I watched two squirrels play tag, round and round Don's big maple tree. This is not an unusual sight and never fails to make me smile. I am beginning to think that tag must be high on the list of a squirrel's favorite activities. Some time later I looked out to find one of those frisky squirrels having a nosey in the studio garden bed. He was unfazed by my tapping on the window to get him to look elsewhere for tasty bulbs to thieve. It took me going onto the front porch and loudly clapping my hands for him to decide to move on. I sometimes wonder what the neighbors think. I can often be found in the garden, deep in conversation with a squirrel and now it would appear that I am standing on the front porch giving them a standing ovation. 

February 15, 2023

Sooo Long, but Not So Long

These last months have passed in a haze of unpacking, nest fluffing, entertaining, celebrating, kitchening (a word used here to describe spending as much time as possible doing whatever I can think to do to spend more time in the kitchen) and a really good amount of time in the studio. 

Life has been treating us really well. I believe we have seen the last of subcontractors for awhile, we are loving only paying living expenses for a single residence, we've had entire weekends given over to doing absolutely as little as possible, our new grandbaby is an absolute delight of round, cherubic perfection and we are generally just settling back into our lives.

Spring has been showing up a bit earlier in fits and starts to give us a little taste of what is ahead. I sit here in my studio, the sun streaming in and warming my hands and heart. We have had so many grey days that the sunshine and the shadows that play on the walls have become a novelty I cannot stop feeling wonder about. I get in the car to go somewhere and think what is that bright light shining in my eyes? I need sunglasses! Where are they even at? I can't recall the last time I wore them!

Generally, I'm spending as much of my extra time as possible making whatever I am led to make on any given day- a new journal, wax seals, practicing caligraphy, art journaling, bad paintings, slow stitching pages for my 100 day stitch project, visible mending, a colorwork sweater vest reminiscent of All Creatures Great and Small- a show which is inspiring every wardrobe choice I make these days. Also, every wardrobe choice I make for my Sweet Man. I ask myself, would Helen wear that? Would Mrs. hall? Would Jim wear that sweater? What about Tris or Siegfried? It's such a lovely and cozy world to escape into and sometimes that is what I need. And for the life of me, I cannot find much else of value to watch on television. With all of the choices out there, I find there isn't too much that appeals to me.

I'm just now starting to come out of the renovation fog and starting to think about next steps and doing some projects to finish up some areas that got cut because, I don't know if you know this but, everything is SO expensive right now. I'm so grateful we were able to move ahead with our project but that budget did not stretch as far as we hoped so we cut things we could do ourselves. The tricky part is finding motivation but I find that I'm starting to dream about the next layer of prettiness and while our wallets are still in a bit of a fog, we will be tackling some small things here and there this year.

Late spring and summer promise to be full of life with Emmy graduating from College and moving to Ohio for a job, a couple of fun trips on the calendar and all the fullness of Village life when the temperatures are steadily above 60. I look forward to being in the house for spring and summer and savoring all of the things we missed last year. I'm excited to get my hands in the dirt and to get to look outside to my gardens whenever I like. I'm going to porch sit like it's my job. 

I don't know if anyone reads blogs anymore. I know I forget to. I forgot my own blog for awhile until Maddie sent me a link to one of my recipes on it today. That made me nostalgic reading about what 2014 Jen was up to. I do love recording what's going on in my life here in my little diary. Thank you for coming back and checking on me for all of these years. I've gotten so out of touch with getting my camera out but have plans to do that as well. I didn't take a single photo with it last year and am embarrassed to tell you that I forgot how to turn it on! Seriously. So as soon as I figure that out ;) I want to start seeing the world through my lens again. Until then, I hope you will kindly put up with these photos from my phone that likely have nothing to do with anything but are here purely to give you something pretty to look at while reading my drivel.

I hope to do a more in depth post of our house soon as well as before and after photos for all of our amusement. I even want to do a video tour and put it on youtube for anyone interested in seeing more. We had our contractor over for cocktails a couple of weeks ago and she asked if there was anything we'd do different and you know what? There is not!

I'd love for you to say hello and tell me what you've been up to if you are so inclined. This space will always be a special place for me.