Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts

Sunday, August 24, 2014

a glimpse of majesty

so. much. water.

The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls from just below the Hurricane Deck.

So much water that it roars. So much water that it penetrates every surface. So much water that one feels privileged to stand so close to it.

So much water that it's hard to imagine the drought on the other side of the country.

Friday, July 4, 2014

a glimpse of ferocity

These are my fierce shoes. I wear them when I need to remind myself that I am awesome and powerful.

Most recently, I wore them to do estate paperwork at the bank. It went well. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

a glimpse of midlife

It used to be that the yellowed paperbacks in my life had come into my hands with their own history, having been read and loved and given up by someone else first.

This was new when I bought it.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

a glimpse of cousins

She's waited a long time for a first cousin. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

turning chickens into quilts

I recently rehomed our flock of chickens, who are now happily clucking away at Bluebird Farm. They are also laying prodigiously, so we know they've settled in and are happy.

Back in March when Rachel and David took the chickens, I couldn't come up with a cash value number. I really had no idea what they were worth, on the market generally or to me personally, so Rachel offered me three Romney fleeces from the spring shearing. Sold!

Shearing happened last Saturday, and I spent a pleasant couple of hours this afternoon picking over the fleeces with Rachel, removing balls of lanolin and bits of hay. (Also poop. These are sheep, after all).

Thank you, Lady Baa Baa.

These three fleeces are destined to become quilt batts, the innards between the pieced top and the counterpane bottom, the innards that make the quilt warm. Adam's friend Jen offered to make quilts from his prodigious collection of interesting t-shirts for the girls and a quilt from his button shirts and some of my old clothes for me. There is enough fleece to make batts for these three quilts and also batts for Jen to keep for her own use.

I will have to pay the mill actual cash for processing, but the other exchanges in this chain are forged by friendship, trust, and the barter economy. Each trade is equitable because each party has a surplus of the other's need, and each is satisfied at the end. It's a pretty great way to turn chickens into quilts.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

a glimpse of remembrance

Your favorite film, your favorite cake, your favorite way to eat lemon sorbet.

Happy birthday, my love. Godspeed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

a glimpse of transition

Yes, that is snow in the sand under my toes.

Yes, bare feet and a wool sweater are totally logical on the shores of Lake Michigan in April.

Yes, the sun was very bright. ;-)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

a glimpse of spring

As the snow blankets my  world again today, I remember this glimpse of spring just two days ago.

The earth is there, and we will see it again.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

a glimpse of community in winter

Someday, when I have sold Rambling Farmhouse and Rustic Lakehouse and begun my life over again,  these are the days I will miss the most.

Friday, December 20, 2013


I've been bending your ears (eyes) a lot about grief, so here's a happy diversion inspired by the Friday tradition over at soulemama to post a photo of "A simple, special, extraordinary moment."

The surprise arrival of these living ornaments in the mail jumpstarted the holiday decorating inside Rambling Farmhouse this week.

Monday, February 18, 2013

on days like this...

...when making progress on the dissertation feels like climbing a mountain, I remember the time my friend Katie and I

bushwhacked our way up the back side of a mountain.

It was difficult and hot and full of branches. Sometimes the dirt slid away under our feet. Oddly, it got easier the higher we went.

We were exhausted, thirsty, and aromatic when we got to the top. But the view

was amazing.

And the way down the other side was more clear and much more quick.

Best of all, Lake Baikal was waiting for us at the bottom.

These pictures and more over here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


My love affair with the Jewish holiday of Purim started with the cookies:

kate & erin & anna & sofia make amazing hamantaschen

What’s not to love? They’re triangles! With poppy seeds! American baking does not use nearly enough poppy seeds.

For years, I made these cookies every February, knowing only that Purim usually falls in late winter, and bakeries in and around New York always had these cookies that time of year. It would have been enough just to have the cookies.

The more I’ve learned about Purim in the last couple of years, though, the more interesting the holiday is. On the simplest level, Purim is the commemoration of the holocaust that Queen Esther prevented. It would have been enough only to know that this holiday celebrates one of my favorite scriptural stories.

The Velveteen Rabbi discusses the cookies and the story in terms of concealment and revelation. In the text of Esther, God works through Mordechai and Esther, though He is never mentioned directly. Like the poppy seeds (or apricots, or prunes), God is concealed, hidden from view. It’s a beautiful reminder to look for God in the people and events around us. Though, if your hamantaschen, like ours, tend to ooze open, flaunting their secrets all over the cookie sheet, this metaphor works less well.

I love the cookies, and I love the story, and I love the holiday which reminds me to enjoy them both each year.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Nurturing Life

These are food. Let’s get that straight from the beginning. They are babies and they are cute, but they are food. That is why the hatchery inseminated their mother, incubated their eggs, and shipped them to us as hatchlings. That is why my friend kept them in with her batch of new turkeys while we were abroad. That is why they are in my yard now. Their destinies are Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Sylvester, and Easter.
But…They are not food yet. They’re not ready, so I have to take care of them. Furthermore, I don’t want them to become food for the fox, coyote, or raptors in the woods around my house, so I have to take care of them.

In some ways, they are like having four more chickens. They share the chicken coop, they eat from the same feeder and drink from the same water tank. Their instincts tell them to walk around and look for sustenance at their feet. In fact, these four are even better foragers than the chickens. The tom has already won several battles on our behalf in the War Against the Slugs. The chickens, though, came to us as adults, while these are still very young. At the farm that started them for us, they were in a pen in the garage with hay bales for sides, loose hay on the floor, and food and water in the corners. They ate and slept in this area. Here, though, they have to navigate the ramp of the Poultry Chalet to find safe sleep on the second story and good food on the first floor. They range free during the day and have to find their way back to the Chalet in the evening.

While the chickens tolerate their presence, the old biddies are in no way interested in fostering and caring for these young whipperschnappers. So, it falls to me. The first night they were here, they bedded down in a pile on the lower level of the Chalet, so husband and I fished them out and put them up top. The next morning, I had to nudge them down the ramp to find the food.

Generally, during the day, they are happy to wander and forage. They make a yippy cooey noise that helps them stay together, though the smallest female has a tendency to wander a bit from the group. Periodically, I hear a different noise. When I go to investigate this loud peeping, I find them standing together looking around rather than eating, often in the middle of the stone patio where there isn’t food anyway. I lead them back to a food source in the yard or back to the Chalet, and they are happy. As a break between other daily tasks, I mosey through the property listening for their soft music and looking for the way they make the tall grass sway until I find them, and sometimes they come looking for me. As I was beginning this post, they were particularly peepy and distressed, pulling me from the kitchen to the patio twice, so I brought the laptop out to the picnic table where they foraged at my feet for a bit before wandering off.

They are amazing creatures. They take good care of themselves, but, like all young, sometimes they just want to check in and make sure they are in the right place. Right now, their right place is here in my yard, foraging for their nourishment and peeping when they need a nurturing presence. Eventually, it will be their turn to nourish me and my family, and we will get back all the nurturing we have given them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Making Pirozhki

Read Write Poems's NaPoWriMo #6 Converse with an Image

Making Pirozhki

roll, flatten
scoop, fold, press
set to rise

Many hands on the small table
harmoniously dance
in and out of the dough,
in and out of the filling.
then the dough
roll, flatten
then the filling
scoop, fold, press
set to rise

A molehill
of flour water onions eggs
becomes a mountain
of pirozhki.
roll, flatten
scoop, fold, press
set to rise

Saturday, February 6, 2010


This is the product of my very first attempt at making cheese. I started with a quart of raw goat's milk from the dairy up the road, added heat, cider vinegar, and time. Voila! Queso blanco.

A whole new world of culinary exploration awaits! (Just as soon as I procure the necessary ingredients and gadgets, of course.)

So, you want to bake some challah?

This post is in response to Thirty Things to Make While I'm Thirty by my friend at Apple a Day.

Challah is not the easiest yeasted bread to make, so try this only after you've had French bread or wheat bread turn out well a couple of times.*

Hallah (abbreviated recipe)**

2c. lukewarm water

3 pkg yeast

8 c. flour

1 ½ c. sugar

1 ½ t salt

½ lb butter or margarine

5 eggs (1 will be reserved for glaze)

Mix water and yeast in super-huge bowl. Add 3 c. flour and 1 c. sugar. Let rise for ½ hour. Meanwhile, mix salt and remaining flour and sugar. Cut in margarine until texture of coarse meal.

Add 4 beaten eggs to yeast in the super-huge bowl and stir well. Add flour-margarine mixture to yeast mixture. If sticky, add up to 2 c. flour. Knead on floured board 'til smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise in an oiled bowl 'til doubled (2 hours). Punch down. Knead lightly and divide.

4 small-medium loaves 30 min

3 medium loaves 30-45 min

2 large loaves 45-50 min

1 super-huge loaf 50 min +

Divide each loaf into three long snakes and braid. Place in oiled loaf pans and let rise as long as possible (3-5 hours). Brush top with beaten egg and bake at 350°, time per size of loaf.

Some notes:

-In the Phoenix area, you may find that you need less flour for kneading, etc. because the air is so dry. Don't feel like you need to use all that the recipe calls for.

-Fresh, free range eggs with bright orange yolks will make a more dramatically yellow bread. You can also add saffron to the lukewarm water at the beginning if you want to amp up the color.

-You are welcome in my kitchen for bread baking any time you want!

* If you're looking for a good place to start with yeasted bread in general, check out The Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown. It is published by Shambhala Press, but should be available through your favorite book store. I like this bread book above all others because of his artistic approach to baking. He tells you how the dough should feel and behave rather than giving only times and amounts. There is also a nice section on different ingredients and how they change the bread. (In the muffin section, check out the recipe for Something Missing Muffins.)

** I don't have the un-abbreviated recipe. This is the way I got it from my bread guru, otherwise known as Uncle Jill.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Brazilian cuisine excels at barbecue and pastry. My students delight in presenting new foods to me, watching me experience them for the first time, and then teaching me to say the Portuguese name. Nothing, apparently, is cuter than hearing their English teacher struggle to wrap her tongue around Brazilian food and Portuguese pronunciation.

The food of the day on Thursday was the beijinho (j=zh; nh=ñ). This delectable confection is like a soft white truffle rolled in coconut. If I understood correctly, the main ingredients are coconut milk and condensed milk, and at least a platter of these is de rigueur at Brazilian birthday parties, which we had since several of us gain a year this month.

After a grueling explanation about how the name 'kiss' is already occupied in English by a small chocolate candy and so couldn't be used to describe this coconut ball which is, sadly, completely lacking in chocolate, we settled on a new word: -- OED, are you paying attention? – kissinho.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I've always wanted to see an owl, to look up in a tree and make eye contact with one of these centered beings who land and settle and are secure in their space. I got my wish this month, though not in the way I had envisioned. Here in Brazil they have burrowing owls who live like rabbits in the ground. (Apparently they also exist in the US in warm places like South Carolina, but I'd never heard of them. Yo, South Carolina, why didn't you tell me you had such a cool bird?)

Some of you will probably look at this picture and say, wow, her shutter speed was way off, why is she sharing this with me? So, let me tell you that I rather like the motion in this frame. I like the way the grass and the feathers slide in opposite directions. And, you know what, it captures what I saw. This owl was a blur to me. I got too close and – whoosh -- there he went.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Living in Brazil: Accomodations, Part 3

Hey, Ladies! Here is the last set of pictures for my room.

I have 4 beds in my room. The one closest to the window is the one I sleep on. The next one is my couch.

The other two beds are my wrinkle-free closet extenders. (They didn't give me any skirt hangers, so I've laid mine out flat over here.)

Here's the rest of my wardrobe. This piece of furniture was designed for a very tall person!

This is my kitchen.

And the bathroom.

So, what else do you want to know about?

Living in Brazil: Accomodations, Part 2

Hi, gals, here's the next installment.
This covered walkway connects the Men's Dorm to the Guest Housing. It doesn't look like much, but it keeps the evening rain and the noontime sun off.

This is the entrance to the wing where I am living. There is no sill on the door, and most of the time it just stands open like this. When they wash the floor they pour soapy water all over the place and then squeegee it out the door. It looks like fun. I don't think it would work at home, though. My room is down the hall: second door on the right.

This is the first thing I see when I walk into my room. Those windows look out on the big tree from the previous post.

Can you imagine me with all those empty shelves? Where are all my books?

Isn't this a funky painting? I like it a lot. I think the orange bit looks like a tiger-skin rug, and the green lady is dancing on top of it. Then, there's the stripety snake. What do you see? (Click on the picture to make it bigger.)