Saturday, June 4, 2011


"And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul? "

"Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?
While the soul, after all, is only a window,

and the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep. "

These lines are excerpted from Mary Oliver's poem "Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?"  The photo is from a recent field trip with my eight year old son's class.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


“Farming feeds
the world, and
we must remember
that pollinators
are a critical
link in our food

-- Paul Growald,
Co-Founder, Pollinator partnership

Check out this worthwhile project here.  I downloaded and began to read the planting guide for my region today.  I am beginning gardens in a little rental home.  Though I wont be able to take the gardens with me when my lease is up, I can leave a little beauty behind for the next tenants, and for the pollinators as well!

Monday, May 9, 2011


May flowers bloom at your feet...

May blue skies cheer you...

May you walk in peace
And if you need to, may you start anew.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy.

(all images are from Mother's Day: around my home and from a hike with 3 of my children.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother Earth

The poetry of Mary Oliver sings of the beauty of our mother earth so perfectly, so I chose this poem to post on Mother's Day.  
Morning Poem

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver
© Mary Oliver
Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011


As I sat, elbow-deep in end of semester projects and case-studies and professional development portfolios, snow fell outside.  Not gentle April reminders of winter, but a rather fierce gusty blizzard.  Gray shadows fell through my windows, as I sat at the computer.  I watched night fall over the continent of Africa, on the World Sunlight Map, and marveled at how small the world has become during the years of my life.

Though I am up against deadlines, I found time to slowly brew sweet Turkish coffee in my tidy little kitchen, and to mix up some chocolate almond cookies.   I listened to some favorite Indie bands and enjoyed the sanctuary of home, as nature roared her contrary song outside my windows.

Thank you to my friends, old and new, who have checked in on my here during my quiet spell.  I am hoping to post more frequently... just a few days left in this seemingly endless semester!

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Winter Walk

On the last day of winter, two of my children and I
took a long ramble through quiet woods and down to the waterside.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Sorry to have been so quiet.  We lost a good friend to a long-term illness this weekend.  He was only 51.  So, taking a little time for reflection and mourning. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

I see morning sun, glittering on a fresh blanket of snow

I hear the tinny mechanical music of my eleven year old son's hand held video game.  The rest of the house is quiet; the other children still dreaming.

I smell and taste hazelnut coffee.

The sun is dazzling.  The sky clear and blue.  All the world looks fresh this morning, and I feel renewed on this first Sunday in March.
Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Just a little note...

No Sunday Sonnet this morning.  I am considering all that I have to do over the next few days, and have realized that I can't possibly write all the papers, prepare all the lessons, do all the financial/legal paperwork, make it to all the classes.  I will have to edit my to-do list, but everything on it is an obligation or a committment, and how do you eliminate those in good conscience?  Hmmm...

Instead of my sonnet, I am writing a lesson introducing poetry to first grade students.  I'm excited about it.  What a fun exploration it will be... I think I'm just going to ignore the length of my list and take one thing at a time.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you time to dream.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday - Days that Shine

Some days shimmer.

Other days shine.

This morning on my way to assistant teach, the orchards on the roadsides were flecked with glitter.  The bare branches, diamond bright with frost and icicles, glistened in the sun.  Who says waiting for spring has to be dull?

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Inspiration - Urban Homesteading

This is just a nod to the folks who are extremely dedicated to the Urban Homestead movement.   I do live on a village lot this year, compared to my previous 15 in the country.  It will be an interesting gardening year, especially because I am renting a cottage which goes on the market in the spring.  If it sells, I will have a couple of months to pack up and move.  I am planning to garden primarily in containers for this reason.

My favorite Urban Homesteading blog is Little Homestead in the City.  What they accomplish on their city lot is inspiring - not just to gardeners, I believe, but really to anyone who eats and cares about our natural resources.    I really love to look at their photos!  So much bounty and beauty in such a small space.  What a beautiful way to nurture!

So just a little mention, to coordinate with the facebook Urban Homesteaders Day of Action.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Sonnet - Ready

Awake in the soft hours of the morning
I walk barefoot across the cool wood floor
I slow down the thoughts so busy forming
And listen to the stillness in my core
I stand at the window looking aloft
The air is silken gray and pearly white
The clouds hover low and full, winter soft.
I breathe in the morning, drink in the light.
My reverie dissipates like lake-mist
As practical considerations rise
Not ready to tackle the to-do list
But ready for children with sleepy eyes
We will fill this day more than weather
We’ll tell stories, sing, and laugh together.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - Riches

I see the pale winter sky through a bare window.

I hear the beautiful music of guitarist Ottmar Liebert, a song called "Letting Go."  This late in the morning, the children are still sleeping, enjoying the second morning of a very brief mid-winter break from school.

I smell the indulgence of a third cup of steaming black coffee.  I taste the intense flavor of a dark cherry, still slightly frozen and still bursting with  mid-summer freshness.

It is so tempting sometimes to focus on what is bleak and difficult, especially in these gray winter days.  And yet, as I sit here in my quiet house, I feel rich beyond measure.
Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you an abundance of beauty and love in your days. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Meditation: Whirling Dervishes

If these gentle souls can find mediation in spinning, I might be able to find meditation and ease in the frantic busyness of my week days! 

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Slow-Motion Sunday - Wholehearted

I began to write another sonnet for my "Little Songs for Sunday" series early this morning when the house was very quiet and still.  As I wrote, my eight year old son came padding into the room.  A constant stream of chatter ensued!  It wasn't long before he trotted back to the bedroom and woke his eleven-year-old brother, who is starting to understand the fine art of sleeping in on the weekend.  My writing time evaporated and I gave myself over, wholeheartedly, to spending a day with my sons in preparation for Valentine's Day.

We made chocolate-kiss roses instead of Valentine's Cards.  I am not thrilled to be contributing to the sugar feast that will occur with the school holiday parties, but this was a cute idea that both of my sons were interested in trying.  To offset the sugary treat for tomorrow, I did my grocery shopping today primarily in the produce section (as I usually do.)  We are all set for some light pasta dishes and some delicious salads this week.  I'm looking forward to a huge salad of greens and herbs, with strawberries and pecans!

I'm writing out "Olivia" themed Valentine's cards for the students in my first grade classroom.  I love the picture book (and maybe tv show?) character Olivia.  Do you know of her?  She is a lively, intrepid character who lives every moment to the fullest.  I aspire to be like her!

Signing off now to read another chapter or two of Kathryn Lasky's Wolves of the Beyond: Lone Wolf to my 8 year old son.  This book is set in the world from the Guardians of Ga'Hoole but focuses on the life of one little outcast wolf (one paw is slightly splayed causing his removal from the pack at birth.)   My son is completely absorbed in the story, and is constantly asking me to read more.  This is a book he could read to himself, but he would struggle with some of the vocabulary.  Because he just wants to get lost in the story rather than work his way through it, we are sharing it.  I am loving every moment of having his little head on my shoulder... his energetic body still and relaxed... as we get lost in a far away place together.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace and moments of joy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - Mellow

I see morning light, easing in through the vertical blinds.

I hear the quiet.  No one home but my eight year old son and I.  He is sleeping.  The refrigerator is humming softly behind  me.  I have not yet chosen music for my mood.  At 8 am, do I even have a mood? 

I smell lavender scented dish soap in a sink full of warm bubbly water, waiting for me to get busy. I taste the warmth of morning coffee, brewed as the winter sun rose, pale and silvery, on the eastern edge of town. 

I feel mellow as I ease into this day.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Sonnet - Quiet

Quiet, a sonnet by Aisling

The quiet of the house envelopes me
Enfolds me in the shadows and the light
The whistle of the kettle sings sweetly
One last cup of comfort to toast the night.
My candles flicker softly on the hearth
My thoughts flicker more softly to the past
I pull my memories close against my heart
Relive them, let them go, and watch them pass.
But when I rise to tuck me into bed
The echoes of those memories rise again
They sing of yesterday within my head
I listen to the lullaby of then
The quiet is a comfort and a prize
It soothes my fall, then inspires me to rise.

 (The first in a series of "little songs" for Sunday.)

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you comfort and joyful memories.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - Joyful Noise

I see the clutter of days spent at home with energetic by the door, books on the hearth, a plastic toy on the kitchen counter.

I hear the joyful noise of two small boys playing "Zombie Pillow Fight."

I smell brownies fresh from the oven, and taste the rich dark flavor of evening coffee, brewed as the sun slipped down into the bay. 

I feel blessed.

 Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you blessings and joy!

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Monday Monday

Is the difficulty of Monday mornings universal?  I keep telling myself that I need to devise something wonderful for Mondays.  For example, wouldn't Mondays be better if they held the best evening meal of the week?  Or that Monday afternoons included a stop at a favorite cafe for a delicious healthy snack?  Or if Mondays meant a cup of tea with a dear friend?  For me, this semester, Mondays mean assistant teaching in the morning and classes in the afternoon (today is an exception) so I haven't built something extra special into my Mondays... Don't misunderstand me, I LOVE my hours at the school, but it still involves getting up TOO EARLY on a Monday morning!

On this particular Monday, the last in January, one little girl in school was struggling with the absence of her parents.  Her sadness was leaking out her blue eyes and trickling down her sweet face.  I asked if it was a school problem, a friend problem, or a home problem, and she told me that her parents had gone on a trip without her.  She was really missing them.  The teacher whispered to me that her parents are coming home today, so when I got a chance, I asked the girl if she wanted a hug and told her I heard that her Mom and Dad would be home today.

"Isn't that great news," I asked her.  She nodded, still crying.

As we read in a small group in the hall, she leaned against me, sagging with the heavy weight of WAITING for something good to happen.    But, she got interested in the booklet we were reading, all about different books by Eric Carle and about the creatures he writes about and illustrates so colorfully.  Pretty soon, she was chatting and involved.  When I passed her on my way out of the building, she gave me a quick hug and a smile.  I asked if she was doing better and she said yes, with a generous smile.

I like how she handled her emotions.  When things are too tough, and you are waiting for things to get better, get fully engaged in what is going on around you!

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you comfort and joy.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Slow-Motion Sunday

"I wish that life should not be cheap, but sacred. 
I wish the days to be as centuries, loaded, fragrant."  
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The sun was brilliant today and the skies were blue and bright.  Despite that, it was very very cold and I kept my outdoor activities to a minimum.  I stayed in, except for a quick jaunt to the market for fresh produce and locally baked bread.  Often our bread is VERY local, because I enjoy making it myself!  I love to open my refrigerator and see the shelves well-stocked with lush greens... baby arugula, and romaine lettuce, and a fragrant bunch of cilantro... crisp bright carrots... blood oranges and intensely green locally grown Granny Smith apples.  Yum!

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, 
I wish you warmth and full and fragrant days!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - Light

I see the soft light filtering through the blinds, as afternoon eases into evening.

I hear Golden Days by the Damnwells.  "Baby please don't rush...Keep the tempo slow and blue...Let me hear the words you say... Let's go and get tangled in chains of golden days..."

I smell a tiny white lilac and lavender candle, as it flickers on the counter next to me.

I taste Spearmint chewing gum, and feel refreshed and uplifted, as I contemplate my plans for the remainder of the day.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you good energy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - Song

I see my eight year old son making a sandwich of three throw-pillows from the love seat, as his song of childhood flows in a constant stream of chatter from his lips.

I hear Regina Spektor singing and playing her piano, and if her music was color it would glow, vibrant and shimmering, through this softly lit room.

I smell rosemary and thyme from the Mediterranean Vegetable Soup with dumplings that I made for dinner.

I taste Tulsi Sweet Rose Tea from Organic India and feel its comforting warmth while outside an arctic wind sings wildly. I think I'll stay inside tonight; I'm pretty comfortable where I am.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you comfort and song.

Just a note:  All the photos on this blog, thus far, have been from my little inexpensive cell phone.  I am without a camera at present, but like to give you at least a little glimpse of my corner of the world with each post.  This was taken today, in the late afternoon in the village.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Snapshot - Drifting

"Seeing, hearing and feeling are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle."
~ Walt Whitman

I see blowing and drifting snow moving in vertical sheets across the frozen surface of the lake.

I hear Linkin Park playing on Grooveshark, drifting through the otherwise quiet house.

I smell Indian incense, called Vishwa Shanti, drifting in fragrant, curlicues of smoke through the kitchen.

I taste Organic White Tea with vanilla and feel it warming me from the inside out.

I am sort of drifting through the day... a little cleaning, a little homework, a little guitar playing, a little reading.  I have a small gathering to attend this evening, and afterward I will probably drift off to sleep listening to the wind that is forecast to blow all through the night.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you contentment.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thrifty Thursday

As a facet of my "new life," I am having to be more thrifty than ever.  I have always avoided senseless waste, but am having to find new ways to stretch my limited dollars.   I have recently learned (the HARD way) NOT to buy coffee at the dollar store.  Do not let the small cute package fool you.  It is not good coffee, in a small quantity, being sold for a dollar.  On the other hand, the 100 orange & black pekoe tea bags for $1.00 is very decent, and a good buy.  How can I complain about a  hot cup of freshly brewed tea for just a penny?

Other great dollar store buys that I enjoy include flashcards and other cute teaching materials and Yardley's bar soap.  I love Yardley's English Lavender or Lemon Verbena soaps and I love that I can find both every time I stop in at the dollar store.

What are your favorite $1.00 finds?

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy in small things.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Tales

One young lady arrived at school today fashionably attired in a fawn-brown tunic sweater with long pink sleeves and a pink ribbon tie at the waist, soft brown leggings, and tall brown boots that I wish I could find in my size.  I complimented her on her ensemble saying, "I love your outfit."  To which, this self assured six year replied, "I know that."

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace... 
and the confidence of a six year old girl in a GREAT outfit!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Motivation

"The potential possibilities of any child
are the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation."
~Ray Wilbur

Up bright and early.  Today is my first day of assistant teaching.  I am heading off soon, down a snowy winding road, to meet two classrooms full of lively, interesting  first graders with whom I will be interacting for the next sixteen weeks.  Wish me energy!

I have a lot to look forward to in the weeks ahead.  What are you looking forward to?

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace and good energy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Slow-Motion Sunday

"Slow down and enjoy life.  
It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - 
you also miss the sense of where you are going and why."
~ Eddie Cantor

For me, no matter how busy the rest of the week might be, Sunday is a S L O W motion day.   I take the time to make a decadent cup of Turkish coffee.  I gaze out the window... accomplishing nothing for long slow stretches of time.  I take too long in the shower.  I cook something messy and time consuming... but only if I feel like it.  

Outdoors, the snow is piling up, as it has been for the last week.  The walks I shoveled yesterday have vanished in the soft chill of the day.  They can wait until tomorrow...  I have daydreams to linger over.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you contentment.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fresh Start

"Things will happen in your life that you can't stop,
but that's no reason to shut out the world.
There's a purpose for the good and for the bad."

---"Crazy Pete" Sims (Walter Sparrow), Now and Then

Since I stopped writing my Quiet Country House blog last July, so much has changed in my life. For one thing, I am no longer living in the Quiet Country house, but rather in a tidy little cottage in the village which I sometimes featured in my Sunday Strolls or other posts. I am going to begin again, here at this new blog.

This coming week I will begin the assistant teaching semester of my university experience in a local first grade classroom. I am inspired and excited to begin! I will post when possible, sharing glimpses of this new journey I am beginning... in both my evolving personal life and in my professional endeavors.

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you peace and inspiration.