Monday, May 29, 2023

Longer Than I Can Remember

 It has been longer than I can remember...

...but I am finally back.

In some ways, it seems like a lifetime ago.

But the lake has waited.

The paths Snowdog and I walked have begun to grow over, receding into their natural wildness.

Life here has continued regardless of my presence or absence.

While many have moved on, some friends have remained faithful...

And some have been with me for longer than I can remember.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

One Last Mother's Day Gift

 I mentioned that my mother passed away this past December.
However, all things weren't quite laid to rest then.

But let's start at the beginning.
I had a brother I never knew except from my mother's mentions of him.  His name was Keith. 
He was my parents' first child, born in the summer of 1949.
Things were very difficult in many ways back then and especially so for my parents.
When Keith was 7 months old, he died from pneumonia.

My mother carried the pain of that loss for all her years.
She, like many of that era, believed illnesses like pneumonia and colds were caused by getting cold and she frequently said that Keith would perhaps not have gotten sick had she had a proper blanket for him.

It was a statement we heard so often growing up that, one Mother's Day, my sister gifted my mother a baby blanket she crocheted for Keith.
My mother kept and treasured that blanket and, somehow, it found its way back to my sister when my mom went into assisted care and, when my mother passed, into her casket, along with a photo of Keith.

My mom had always said she wished that Keith would be buried with her when she died, but at least some of us were a bit surprised to learn that she also reduced that wish to writing and made it a formal part of her funeral arrangements.

It was bitter cold here in December when my mom died.  While the cemetery said they would be able to tent and warm the ground to inter my mother, they were hesitant about using that process to disinter Keith since he was buried in a simple wood box and they were concerned about damaging what remains there would be.
So, rather than interring my mother then and later disinterring her and Keith when the ground thawed, a difficult decision was made to have my mother's body held over at the funeral home until spring.

While spring was slow in its coming this year, it did eventually come....

...and, on Friday, Keith's remains were tucked into the blanket in my mother's casket and the two were finally laid to rest together next to my father.

One final Mother's Day gift, Mom.

Love you most.
The end. I win.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Magnolias on Monday


Happy Monday, Happy May.
The Magnolias are finally blooming.
They are such odd little things to me - putting out their beautiful blooms long before their leaves.

There is not much new here.  The days have been gray and gloomy.

{Rajah Roo}

I fear that soon that everyone here will soon melt into a morass of grayness.

I finally finished (?) hooking Early Bird (design by Lori Brechlin of Notforgotten Farm).

The question mark is there because I am not thrilled with my background hooking and the longer it sits about unbound, the more the urge to do some reverse hooking takes hold.
We'll see.  For now, it is keeping the other unbound rugs company on my table. 

I have also made progress on "Sepia Sampler," another design by Lori from Notforgotten Farm. 

For some reason, this has been a really soothing stitch - except that border.  Believe it or not, the stems are a different color than the leaves on the "clover" (at least they look like clovers to me) so there is a great deal of starts and stops.  I probably should have changed out one of the colors so the difference was more noticeable, but it's too late now.
And I'm not certain why I'm bothering to tell you this since the colors are not showing properly on the photo.

Have I mentioned it's gray and gloomy here?


In the reading department, this is one I finished a few months back already.

I had enjoyed another book by this author, Anxious People, which I mentioned in this post so, of course, I had to read another by him.
Like Anxious People, this book does not fall within the genre to which I generally gravitate.  It is quirky and different and, again, I find the author's wry humor irresistible.
It is the story of young Elsa, whose grandmother is, well, nuts.
When Elsa's grandmother dies, Elsa is charged with tracking down people her grandmother has wronged in her life and apologizing to them.
It turns into an adventure of fairy tales and imaginary kingdoms and all-too-real heartbreak.
And like any good fairy tale, there is a lot of wisdom packed inside if you're open to finding it.
It's about grief, forgiveness and, most of all, embracing being different - something some of us can relate to too well.

Well, I'm off to get some bread in the oven.  After a week of thinking I need to break my hermitage and get some groceries, I decided it's easier to bake.

Here's hoping your Monday has some Magnolias and fairy tales in it.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Anonymously Yours

 So you wish to remain anonymous?
I didn't think so.

For some time now, Blogger has been messing with at least some of us bloggers.
Things keep changing and rarely for the better.
Several months (a year maybe?) ago, I started having problems leaving comments on certain blogs when using my Ipad or phone.
I could not comment on at all on some blogs, and others only "anonymously" even though I was signed into my Google account and could comment on others using my blogger profile.
This meant I would either have to wait until I was at home, and my pc decided it would cooperate, or I would have to use the "anonymous" option and hope I remembered to identify myself so the blog post author would know whose comment it was...and it meant that the poster would not be able to respond directly to my comment.

However, I could comment on all blogs without issue if I were using my pc.
This was irritating me as I knew there had to be a logical reason.

It took an unduly long while, but I finally figured it out.
It's something called "cross website tracking."

I know there are others out there who have also had this issue* as I've seen the number of "anonymous" comments increase...and I'm not talking about those who choose to comment anonymously because they are cowards and don't want to own their rude or snarky comment(s).

This "fix" is simple, so if you would like to remove your cloak of anonymity, here's how you do it:

1.  Go to your "Settings" on whatever device you are using and from which you are having difficulty commenting (the screenshot is from my Ipad).

2.  Scroll down to the list of your apps (the list is usually nearer the end - after all the "general" stuff and is in alphabetical order).

3.  Click on the name of the web browser you use for blogging.  In my case, it's Chrome.  This is will bring up a larger box on the right side of your screen that gives you the info and options for the browser.

4.  Click on the toggle that says "Allow Cross Website Tracking"
to enable it.

5.  Say "thank you Crow."

You're welcome.

{*Note: This only affects those who use multiple devices - such as a phone and an Ipad, pc, etc. for   If you only ever use 1 device, you will not have encountered this issue.}


Monday, April 17, 2023

Monday in Nod

 The current view outside my window invites a bleakness of spirit.

Another 10+" of snow fell overnight and it is snowing still.

I know it won't stay long, yet that is of little comfort as it seems that any snow this time of year, no matter how soon it melts, is more wearisome than during winter proper.
The cold reaches deeper, the wind bites harder and, at least for some, sleep beckons more insistently.

{Liza Bean}

Since I had no intentions of venturing out, I baked a boule of artisan sourdough wheat bread.
Thinking it's going to be another soup night.

While the bread was baking, I pulled the last stitches in my Easter stitch.  This is He Is Risen - a design by Jenny Hoffman (Country Rustic Primitives). 

This evening I will return to my hooking on "Early Bird" by Lori Brechlin of Notforgotten Farm.
(Sorry for the crappy photo...I was too lazy to take it off my frame to photograph...some Mondays are like that.)

And then, later, of course, I will lose some hours with a book.  This is one I just finished:

I had previously read and posted about Ms. Setterfield's "Once Upon a River" (you can check that out here) and loved it, so I had to read another of her books.
I was equally enthralled.  
It's hard to condense this rich book in a few sentences, other than to say it is a haunting story, beautifully and magically written.
It begins with a young William Bellman shooting a rook with his slingshot...and the turns his life takes after.
A little bit of Dickens...a little bit of Poe...a lot of wonderful.

And, finally, a Mia update for those of you who inquired.
Mia came home from the NICU sooner than anyone anticipated.
Unfortunately, however, after a few days at home, she was struggling to breathe and had stopped eating, so ended up in the ER and a brief stint back in the NICU.
She is once again home and, once again, doing well. Thanks to everyone who prayed, and who wished her well.

And that's a Monday in Nod.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

The Not-So-Little Warren in Nod.... growing.

Welcoming the newest member of the fluffle:
{"1842 Folk Art Rabbit" - design by Lori Brechlin of Notforgotten Farm}

He is stitched on 36-count Vintage Country Mocha linen with most of the called-for flosses (one or two substitutions....); finished with a simple, primitive, hem stitch and tucked in an equally simple and primitive shadow box.

May your fluffles be full and your Easter joys be many.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Tell Me Again...


....why do I live in Nod?
I know full well it could be much worse - my heart hurts for those suffering in the aftermath of the tornadoes and other storms down south but, all the same, I am winter weary.
(And, unfortunately, our turn at tornado season will come as well.)

I am (desperately) trying to focus on the promise of spring.

Since I can't shut out the view of white out my windows, I tried distracting myself by pulling a few of my favorite bunnies out of hiding.
(Ok, truth? I'm also avoiding doing taxes....)

All but one of the bunnies in the below photo are antique/vintage German candy containers.
These are one of my favorite things.  Ever.

But I like other bunnies too....

{Spun Cotton Bunny Baby}

And pussy willows....(not real...too cold and too much snow here yet.)

I've also started on some more spring-like projects and, yes, located my wayward hook.
This is "Early Bird" - an adaptation of a Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten design by Kris Miller.

(The colors look a bit washed out here - they're better in person.)


And books...well, there's really no season to them.  I don't think I'll ever catch up with sharing them all, but I will again try to include a recent read in posts again.

"The Museum of Extraordinary Things" by Alice Hoffman was a most satisfying read.  I know I once said I'm not much for love stories, but this one had so many other things going on that I could really forget it was, in reality, a love story too.
The protagonist, Coralie, performs as a mermaid in her father's "museum," (i.e., a Coney Island freak show).  She meets a young Russian immigrant who has photographed the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and becomes tangled up in a young worker's disappearance.

It is part love story, part mystery, and part history but so artfully told it casts a spell that is hard to resist.  I was especially impressed with the accuracy of the author's depiction of early 1900's New York.
And, yes, I will be reading more of this author.


Hoping things aren't quite as white where you are.

Monday, March 20, 2023

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and (Wo)Men

I am out of practice with all things social.

Hermitage does that.

Yet, in anticipation of welcoming a new little crow to the nest, I came out of hiding and attempted to plan a baby shower (emphasis on attempted).  (And you were wondering where I was?)

I surrendered early on and enlisted the magic of my friend Mel (from Back Forty) who brought the whole thing to life.

{Setup photo - the "clouds" had fairy lights in them that were lit on the day of the shower.}

{Centerpieces by Mom-to-be....}

Invites - check; decorations - check; centerpieces - check; food/cake - check. 
But, so much for plans.

Enter the Mouse:
{Mia on her way from delivery to NICU}

...The newest member of the Crow family - our little changeling, Mia.

She arrived - all 3lbs. 12oz. of her  - 8 weeks early...and one week and one day before her momma's baby shower.

She is still in the NICU and will be for some time, but is making great progress.
While she is still on a feeding tube, she can now maintain her own body heat and breathe on her own without a ventilator or oxygen.  She has also started to gain weight and, as of today, weighs 3 lbs. 14.9oz.

She has a long journey ahead, but I am sure that corner of my heart she stole when I first laid eyes on her will only grow in the days and years to come.

Sometimes, it's the littlest things that take up the biggest corners of your heart.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Lull Between Storms...

 The sun is dancing off the icicles making a fairy-tale light, but the light and the allure are deceiving.  

We are just digging out from a major storm that dropped ~15" of snow Wednesday afternoon and Thursday (ALL day Thursday)...and another 3-4" on Friday.

The ubiquitous turkeys who aren't graceful enough to fly to a tree for left-over fruit and seeds are left scavenging the gravel in the drive. (And they seem none to happy about it.  Then again, turkeys never seem to be happy.)

And there is another storm moving in tonight - this one promising to bring more snow...and ice. 

Yup, that's exactly what I'm thinking.

Storms, like pregnancy, bring out a nesting instinct in me...which, inevitably, leads to comfort food.

The consumate comfort food - mac n' cheese...on the decadent side.
 Then I made some bordelaise sauce and the smell of it simmering all day was like a blanket wrapped around me.

The wait was so worth it.
{Pommes Alligot, Asparagus, and Strip Steaks with Sauce Bordelaise}

And I baked some bread...

...and cheesecake.
{It may look a bit "naked"...I did add homemade caramel topping and fresh whipped cream eventually...but couldn't resist a taste test. Trust me, no one would have missed the caramel and whipped cream.}

If the storms keep coming, I will need a new wardrobe.

Nesting, at least for me, also involves some sort of handwork. Since my hooking mojo is still on its walkabout, I took solace in my needle and thread.

I think I am pleased with both the linen and floss choices on this piece.
Perhaps the fog is beginning to lift?

And since no proper hibernation is complete without a book, of course, I've been reading.

This author is new to me, but she captivated me with this tale with her beautiful and melodic prose.
The tale begins with a little girl who is brought into an ancient inn on the river Thames on a dark midsummer's night, most surely dead.
But, by magic or miracle, she lives.
Three families stand at the ready to claim her as their own but, she being mute and amnesic, cannot explain what happened or to whom she belongs.
The book is a mix of fiction and fairy-tale - of just the right kind in "my book."
I enjoyed it more than I initially thought I would, and its messages, like many rivers, run deeper than one first believes.

Lulls are a good thing....