early november, all in a row















Kind of a grey day.

The dogs went on a little walk with me.  My dogs are not fenced in.  They could go anywhere they choose.  They could go to Canada or Mexico.

Mostly they just stay in our yard, though, waiting on dinnertime.

I find it funny, though, that when I go on a walk they chase after me and wag their tails and bark and make this huge loud deal out of it, and run down the road and through the woods, heralding us to all quiet nature, as if they are now free from their containment and chains and are finally able to go somewhere.


Oh, I see The Home Depot has had a data breach.


Sorry, what? Oh, yeah, the walk.  Well, I was done.   That was it.  We just went on a walk, and it was kind of cold and grey, but pretty, and it sounded like dogs.



the finest of afternoons


My mom told me once that (someone had told her) our minds seek harmony.

I think that’s true.  Balance, balance, balance.  One can never rest for danger of tipping the scales in one destructive direction or another, not truly, not completely…not here.

But there are moments, for me at least, when I can relax and breathe and everything feels fine, just fine.

Yesterday afternoon was fine, walking around a friend’s garden, seeing her point out Japanese varieties of this and that, and her wee tea tree, and nasturtiums, and then her vintage Shasta camper.

And this afternoon was fine.  Walking through the woods with another friend and her little boy and little girl, and my not-so-little-anymore girl, all the while collecting mushrooms and exploring these tiny secret worlds of color in decaying trees and poking their way up through packed-down leaves.  The color and beauty and sheer exquisiteness take my breath away.

Beautiful people, beautiful places, and beautiful, wonderful things.


zucchini bread days

This is a very rare bit of baking advice from me.  When making zucchini bread, shred your zucchini then toss it in, oh, half a teaspoon of salt.  Let it sit in your sink for awhile in a colander.  Every so often mash it all down and then toss it again.  Repeat after a few minutes.  The salt draws out a lot of the water in the zucchini.  Then make your zucchini bread, but omit at least half, if not all, of the salt your recipe calls for.  Unless you like really heavy, thick bread.  Which some people do! And that’s OK!

This is a between week for me.  Last week was helping teach a quilting camp/running my daughter to horse camp week, next week is art camp week.  So I’m working on my own projects.

P1070300My daughter’s quilt top is done.  I’m basting it together now.

I think I’ve got our school year mapped out.  But I think I’ve got it mapped out every year, and I don’t.  This is as organized and clutter free as this shelf will be for the next twelvemonth.

P1070309A few weeks from now I’ll be like, “Why cannot you guys just keep this clean?!  Whose socks are these? Why are they on the shelf? Where are the rulers? Where are the pencils? Where are the pencil sharpeners? Why is this library book here with the not library books? When was it due? What is this?! Is this food?!  Is that mold?!!”

Yes, these things will come to pass, and more.  And yet I cannot do anything to stop it.

Trying to enjoy summer.

P1070305My flower garden makes me very, very, very happy.

And we got goats.  They’re doing a fabulous job of eating the woods behind our house.  Every day they’re like nomnomnomwoods all day, and the woods are just disappearing. It’s phenomenal.

You proably know this because you payed attention in life, but I didn’t know that goats made this crying infant sound all the time.  I mean, I knew they made a goat-ish sound, but I thought it was occasional, and when they are under duress.

So it’s taken me a few weeks to teach myself to 1) not cry a little bit when I hear it 2) not go rushing out to check on them when I hear it.  I’m still learning to accept it.

But it still sounds like like little babies crying.  But they’re fine, apparently.  I run down there and they stop eating the woods for a second and just look at me like  “What?”

And my dog, Scout, got bit by a poisonous snake.  We thought he was a goner, but he pulled through.  He gets himself in so many scrapes.  I’m waiting on his annual skunking.  Just hope he doesn’t corner the skunk under my neighbor’s car like he did last year.  I’d look over there and see all the doors open on it where they were letting it air out and feel kind of responsible.  I know it’s not uncommon to drive over a dead skunk or drive past a skunk, but when the skunk skunks right under a car, man, that’s like ground zero.  For a while.

Oh, and a bat flew into our garage last night, but our cat took it out like the assassin she is.

The deer that eats apples from my neighbors apple tree just had her a baby deer!  And I want to hooooooooooooold it!!

One time I was driving and a deer and her fawn were in the road.  The mama saw me and went Oh, no! and jumped deftly over the goat fence next to the road.  The baby saw me and went oh no! and tried to jump over the fence, but instead jumped right into a square of it and got stuck.  The fawn was like days old, so tiny.  It was wiggling and crying and couldn’t get unstuck.  I got out of my car and went over to it because I though maybe I could help.  The mama turned around and walked straight toward her fawn, toward me.  The mama was snorting loudly.  She got right up to the fence, snorting, and just then the baby wriggled free and ran down the length of the fence, and her mama ran down the other side of the fence and then jumped back over and they disappeared together in some brush.

Mamas will do anything for their babies.  It’s pretty amazing.




there now that’s better


I just wanted some flowers to be inside so I picked all the things, even the things that aren’t supposed to come in.

A few big fat bumblebees are hovering around my hollyhocks.  The bees are so covered in pollen that they look like sloppy toddlers who’ve just eaten too many powdered donuts.

I walked with my friend today.  Walking in East Tennessee in June is exactly the same as sitting in a sauna.  It’s no wonder so many people don’t exercise here, because it doesn’t really feel like safe exercise. There’s no wicking.  One’s internal temperature just builds; the sweat streams down in rivulets.  It’s almost as if…as if… one is melting, instead of moving.

There are turtles everywhere here now.

Box turtles–I pass them all along the way.  When we walk at night our dogs give them a quick sniff and a happy little tail wag.

Snapping turtles–Last week I had to stop as a car was in the middle of the road, it’s driver walking around in front of the car trying to corral a snapping turtle.  The turtle did not like the man.  The man nearly got snapped.  I think he might’ve been interested in killing the turtle and taking it home to eat (people do that here; people eat everything here), but he got bashful when he saw me and let it go.  I felt like saying, “I don’t care! You can eat that turtle!”

When I was little I’d catch little painted turtles at a pond near here.  They were the size of half dollars.  So, so, so cute.  I would sit in the shade with my Dalmatian, who had social anxiety just like me, and I’d sort of line my turtles up in order of ascending size.  The two biggest were, of course, the mom and dad, then there’d be some teenagers and little kids and always a baby.  I’d kiss the baby.  My mom would’ve probably not been super happy about me kissing turtles.  I also had an animal graveyard for animal corpses I would find.  I did little funerals for them.  Sometimes I’d cry.  But I don’t think I was absolutely, legitimately sad; I’d just sort of make myself cry because I liked the idea of being sad.  Also I shared suckers with my Dalmatian.  I’d take a few licks, then let her, and so on until it was done.

Good times.  Good, good times.

ok so now it’s done, and moth


mothWe all agree: the putty-colored bits look like golf course sand traps, and the grass is scary green, and it generally has the feel of camo….but it will do; it does look vaguely like a church near trees and a mountain.

I’m cool with that.

Now I just need somebody to cut the painted part away from the rest of the plywood.

My best friend Lucy is coming to stay for a few days!!

Lucy and I are so at ease with each other.  She’s the best listener.  We go way back.  And she likes pretty much everything I do, like sewing, and walking, and reading, and she’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  She’s the only one of my friends, though, who spends time in my dishwasher licking the food bits off the plates.  It appears to be a cultural thing.  She’s from Maryville.

I took a picture of this same kind of moth probably three, four years ago in this same exact place on the front of my house.  Wouldn’t it be weird if it was the same moth?  I think we should name her.  She looks, to me, like a green-eyed silver screen goddess.

So how about Ava (Gardner):

Ava{via here}

or Sophia (Loren):

Sophia{via here}

What do you think?

getting ready, and mountain lions

If we receive no more snow, I’m cool with that.  When it snows kids and dogs run in and out, in and out of this house, which makes Tennessee clay mud on my pickled white floors.  I spread out beach towels for the kids to put their wet stuff and muddy boots on.  I try to wipe the dogs’ paws.

To no avail.

It’s just a big muddy mess for days until the snow is finally gone, and then I swoop in and clean like a madwoman.

We’re waiting on Spring.  We’ve had a few wonderfully balmy days.  Ordered some seed from a new (to me) company called Sow True Seed out of Asheville.  I’m waiting on a grow light kit to come in the mail.  Cleared out a corner, got out the card table, seeds upon it….

P1070006In the very meantime I’m trying to wrestle this quilt through my machine, and finish a scarf for my sister, whose birthday is in a few weeks.

P1070010That movie there is a must see, according to my dad.

P1070011I love the smoke coming out of his gun.  Looks like a trick lighter.

Also helping my daughter make a demo quilt from a pattern in this book for quilt camp this summer.

P1070005So, more rambling, but a few weeks ago some animal cut through the wire on our chicken coop and helped itself to a chicken.  I’m a little depressed about it.  We always see evidence of animals trying to dig under the coop (they’re unsuccessful–the wire is buried, with concrete pavers around the perimeter for good measure), but in seven years nothing has actually sliced through the wire.  We know there are coyotes, bear, racoons, and skunks on our property.  Probably foxes too, although I’ve not seen them near our house, just a few miles down the road a bit.

My dad, who lives next door, said that’s interesting because he saw a mountain lion last week behind their house.  I thought he probably meant bobcat.  Because mountain lions are an animal that lives far, far, far away from here, like in California.  I Googled it.  Turns out mountain lions do live around here, and most of the sightings have been in Sevier county.  Where we live.

Mountain lions.

Lions.  That live on mountains.  They’re like 4 ft. long and well over a hundred pounds, and their teeth can cut through a tortoise shell, and they like fowl.  And attack people.

We’ve had so much trouble with predators, it’s not even funny.  Mainly coyotes, raccoons, and snakes.  The lone bear that walks his lonely, long circuit seems to stay back, happy to just eat blackberries and stink.  My friend has otters come into her yard and chase her chickens, but she’s a lot closer to a big river than we are, so otters haven’t been a problem for us.  But mountain lions? Seriously? Wow.  New level of concern.

Speaking of cats and prey, have you seen this?

OnceUponATimeIAteYourHampster{via here}

Ohhhhhhhh that makes me laugh.