Category Archives: musings

The Cold Room

Standard

When I was a kid, and our family lived with my grandparents, one of my favorite places was “the cold room”.

It was at the far end of the 2 room basement, on the back wall of my grandfather’s workshop.  To a little girl, the basement was a scary place -dark, and dreary, only partly finished, with some creaky linoleum in one room,  a b & w tv,  a chair, and a freezer chest ( I remember the cover of that freezer chest coming down one time and hitting my grandmother in the head- she may have had to get stitches!).

The basement had 5 windows, as I recall, 2 in the partly finished room, and 3 in Poppy’s workshop. The windows were small, rectangular casement windows that were above the outside window wells- their height even with the grass. There was not alot of light coming thru those windows, even on the brightest of days.

The best time for me to be in the basement was when my grandfather was at his woodworking bench.  Poppy always had time for me and my probably endless questions, and then, after bothering him a bit, I would wander over to the cold room.

The cold room was exactly that – COLD!!! I later came to learn, it’s real name was the COAL room! The house was built in the early 1900’s, so that little room was where the coal was stored- or so the story goes………

Even as a child, I had to duck my head to go into this little cubby.  Up a couple of wooden stepladder type steps, and down  2 or 3 stone steps.  Thinking back- I now think this space may have also stored all the canning jars of food put up way back then. There were narrow wooden shelves along the walls..they were perfect for stacking canning jars.

During the time my grandparents lived there,  those shelves held what to me seemed an endless supply of BOOKS!!

Worlds to travel to, stories to ignite one’s imagination- I was in cold heaven!!!

This was in the 1950’s -very early 60’s – but the books were from the 30’s, 40’s and maybe some 50’s.

It was here I first encountered Tarzan thru’ the words and imagination of Edgar Rice Burroughs ( and later the tv version with Johnny Weismuller!), the books of Albert Payson Terhune (I think I have read them all), Black Beauty, Bobbsey Twins, Judy Bolton, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and who can forget Maida and her journeys all over the world.
nancy drew hagrid cornered

brandes book

There was also The Wonderland of Knowledge- an ancient encyclopedia set that I used for research, outdated as it was, for reports in elementary school. The encyclopedias were later moved upstairs to a bookshelf in the front foyer for easy access. That’s how I did my “googling”, without a nearby library, and in a  pre -computer world!

That little cold room was my own personal vintage library….

I think Grandma’s book collection set me on a lifetime path of reading – I was an amateur bibliophile in the works- and now, I can’t seem to pass up a vintage book that needs a home!!!

IMG_3884

IMG_3885

IMG_3889

Whenever I open an old book, and the scent of timeworn pages surrounds me- I am taken back to that “cold room”,  good memories of  time spent with  Grandma and Poppy, and the happy memories of escaping to  exciting new worlds with the characters within those  hardback covers……..

 

 

book cover
********************************************************************************************
PS- pictures just supplied by my brother, who recently drove by the old homestead- it may spoil your mind’s eye image of the house- it has been changed over the years, altho’ lovingly kept up and updated.If I can find my old pic of the original house, I will add it to this post….

Bottom right of the house, in the foundation is a tiny window- that one was over Poppy's workbench- the  cold room would have been under the front of the house, far left of the foundation in this pic

Bottom right of the house, in the foundation is a tiny window- that one was over Poppy’s workbench- the cold room would have been under the front of the house, far left of the foundation in this pic

Front of the house VERY updated- lots of trees and shrubbery are no longer there- all windows have been replaced, bay window added to the front parlor (there were tall individual windows all around that room, replaced by one bay)

Front of the house VERY updated- lots of trees and shrubbery are no longer there- all windows have been replaced, bay window added to the front parlor (there were tall individual windows all around that room, replaced by one bay)

Artful Gardens

Image

Art is everywhere- flowers are the most art-full of all things….

I may plant them, but Mother Nature is the true artist. I provide the “paper”, she creates them every year.

Our gardens here at Mountain Meadows have a long way to go before they might be eligible for a spread in Country Living, Architectural Digest, or Country Gardens……but, we love them anyway. They are a work in progress. Sometimes, the flowers don’t wait for us to place them – they just show up- volunteering to bloom, in a place they see fit!!!

My coneflower garden was purposely put there- taking volunteers who kept trying to bloom in my herb garden!! I decided these needed a home of their own – and they finally got the hint!!!

IMG_3756

Teasel grows wild – everywhere but near me- so I finally got some to grow right outside my basement door. I love it for dried arrangements in the fall. Bees love it now!!

 

IMG_3759

 

IMG_3779

Day lilies are in bloom along the sides of fields and the roads. The bloom lasts one day, dies, and then the next one opens. They are VERY prolific. The old farmhouse garden is so filled with them, that alot don’t even bloom. 6 years into living here, and I finally convinced Mr. Green Jeans I need HELP moving and thinning these out!!!

 

IMG_3772

Lavender is also in bloom – as I try to furiously weave lavender wands each day, from the tall English lavender bed in my front garden.

IMG_3830

My cactus flowers are starting to slow down now – their bright yellow bloom also lasts for only a day – but there are many new ones each day.

 

IMG_3463

The baby magnolia, will probably never be a grownup in my lifetime!! There were 5 blooms this year…….so, if you are planning on getting a magnolia tree – if you can afford it, go for the big one!! They are slow growers….

 

IMG_3458

The vegetable garden is starting to produce – this small harvest was from last night – crook neck squash (from Baker Heirloom Seeds), zucchini, several kinds of heirloom string beans, snap peas,  snow peas, and after a rough start – basil is doing well!! Can’t wait for the corn, amaranth, melons, tomatoes, eggplants…….

IMG_3854 

Every day, the blackberries are ripening and being thoroughly enjoyed by me!!! I haven’t even made it to the wild berry patch in the woods, my homegrown patch is doing so well!! Mint and hops are flourishing within  the berry patch too!!

 

IMG_3689

Thought I would just share a little view of Mother Nature’s floral works of art around the farm – time to get off the computer, and get pickin’ ….all is well, bright, and sunny, at Mountain Meadows this morning…….

 

 

Tea on Tuesday

Standard

I thought I would get a head start on posting for tea, since I have missed the past couple of Tuesdays!!!

I am sipping a lovely Provence Rooisbos, with an orange flavored honey from my daughter. She discovered the honey in Charlottesville’s Whole Foods- it is delicious!

I usually have a locally harvested honey from Mud E Acres– I LOVE tea WITH my honey in the morning!!! But, if someone gifts me with honey – I will always be happy to use it!!! Mud-E Acres is also on Facebook@

I am excited about having bee hives on my property come spring. I will be attending a mini workshop on hives on the 16th- even tho’ I will not have to do anything with the hives here, except to admire them from afar (very far!!) I am very interested in what they are all about- the building and the upkeep, etc. “My”  hives will live here, courtesy of Mud-E Acres. I am excited!!!

Since today is all about tea- I found a few tea related photos-these two adorable little tea whimsies are created by local artist Deborah Sherwood

I have several of her creations hanging in my kitchen window! The first one is “tea for 2”- a teapot with 2 little dangling teacups!

Image

Image

The Great British Tea Party on Facebook is a great source of anything tea related!

Here is my kind of tea party!!!  Gertrude’s Tea Party by Greg Becker

Image

If anyone watched Downton Abbey last night – I bet they did have tea after their rousing game of cricket!

Imagethis is Wattle Park, Victoria, Australia circa 1936

I LOVE Wind in the Willows- Rat and Toad have tea- 1908 EH Shepard

Image

In 1907, a tea party in Co. Louth., Ireland – (courtesy of Nat’l Library of Ireland)

Image

Edwardian tea party-

Image

And, last but not least- what tea fancier would not want to own one of these?????

Sequin teapot purse (www.mellowmayo.com)

Image

I hope you are all enjoying a hot cuppa this morning – especially, if you are reading this post from one of the snowbound states!!!!!

Please come back anytime, not just Tuesday- and be sure to drop by Patty’s blog for a list of other tea lovers!

The Skateboard

Standard

Since  it is Tea on Tuesday, here is a scene that I would love to be inside of- since my thermometer reads 10 degrees (maybe even 9!) at 7:30 am!

184754_498039346915475_1114869301_n(1)

                                                                                          Photo courtesy of LINK

Today, I would like to share a childhood memory that came to me while sipping my tea………

When I was a kid, skateboards were becoming the “in” thing to have. I remember a neighbor, Pam- I would like to think she was a friend- but really I think, most of the time we were frenemies.

Seemed like Pam had everything. She had a St. Bernard named Bernie, some bunnies in a hutch out in the back yard. She was popular- having grown up in the neighborhood I had only recently moved in to.

She was the doted on baby of her family, got everything her heart desired- in my child eyes.

Her grandma made clothes for her dolls and trolls. I did get Pam’s grandma to make a nitegown and cap for my favorite stuffed bunny (I still have it somewhere!) She probably felt sorry for me- and I am sure I was a pest!

Pam even got boobs before I did – and probably a boyfriend- and to show off that blossoming figure, had a brown madras dress I so coveted!!!!

Pam and I would play together, walk the ” balance beam” on the white board fence that edged her yard, put secret notes to each other in a tiny cubby in the fence post, and rescue baby animals together. When her rabbit had babies, I got one – named Joey, and my grandfather built him a wonderful hutch.

But, I digress…….

When the neighborhood kids started to get skateboards, Pam, of course, got the best one ever!!

Her dad had a great wood shop in his garage. He made this beautiful polished wood aerodynamically shaped skateboard that was the envy of the neighborhood – and ME!

I know I must have begged her to ask her dad to make me one – but she did not. In my mind, she loved to lord it over all that she had the best dad AND the best skateboard.

My parents knew how much I wanted a skateboard, and set about making one for my brother and I.

Dad did not have a wood shop, and was not that proficient in that area, as far as I know. But, he and my mom were talented roller skaters- so they had that going for them.

My mom was artistic- and they put together these skateboards and painted them for my brother and I.

Of course we loved them, but I’m guessing I did not appreciate them as much as I should have – being a kid that had been bitten by the green eyed envy monster.

My skateboard was “merely” a rough plank of wood- probably slightly larger than a 2 x 4- with roller skate wheels and painted by my mother. I think the paints were from my father’s model airplane paints – one of the boards was painted silver with a black arrow. Dad attached a little eye hook at the end, so the skateboard could be hung in the attic storage when not in use.

I know I spent endless hours riding that board down my street- but it in no way compared to the aerodynamic wonder Pam’s dad had crafted. Kids are cruel, and I know I did not appreciate what my parents had created for me- as I do now!

I still see that skateboard in my mind’s eye, and wish I still had it – when I could have passed it down to my kids. But, my son had a store bought skateboard- very modern, aerodynamic, and expensive. I hope he appreciated it back then, I think he did.

It is still in the basement – he won’t part with it…..

Unseasonably Sunday…….

Standard

Yesterday was the best Sunday in a long time!

It is January, but the temperature was a little above 70! Overcast, but that was fine- I can just imagine how much warmer it would have been, had the sun been allowed to shine!!!

While Mr. Green Jeans was finishing painting the guest room, I flitted around from one thing to another!!!

First a light Sunday brunch-my French style local organic scrambled eggs, with muffins and red grapefruit.

Then, barn duty, and taking the blankets off the big boys!!!

IMG_0040

Took the dogs out to play, and later they got a walk thru the woods, and down to the river.

I was going to give Mycon a bath, but, that needs two people, and Mr. Green Jeans was still painting.

Cisco , wondering why John gets to free graze.....

Cisco , wondering why John gets to free graze…..

John and I went for a ride-  at the end of every ride, his reward  is to be allowed out to “mow” the lawn. He was so eager to get to munching, he was fussy as we walked thru’ the fields- snorting and stopping and turning to look at me- mildly protesting about WALKING thru’ all this grass he could be EATING!!!!

IMG_0064

John got into the routine when we got to the old road, but as we neared the end of the ride, his pace picked up- enough of carrying me around – he wanted the after ride reward!!! The old guy can still move, when he has too!!!

IMG_0036

Went in for lunch, and then cleaned off the bird feeder “balcony”! A whole seasons worth of seed hulls needed to be shoveled off the porch. This little temporary deck was added on the 2nd floor back door when the house was built- ’til we got a real deck. Seven years later- still waiting for that REAL deck.  So, for now ( and into the unforseeable future), it is a bird feeding station!

Next, it was out to the front garden for some pruning- I cut down the dried hyacinth bean trellises, and culled 2 small bowls of seeds. We had Showtime free for the weekend- so spent some time with the seeds and free movies!!

 

IMG_0087

Some of the bean vines that wrapped around the twine trellises might make a nice weaving project! I will be back out there tomorrow for more pruning and weeding (after a trip to the local apple orchard to get one more bushel  before the season is really over!)

 

I also managed to get some camera time in (no big surprise there!) – trying to figure out all the settings on my new camera- and trying to find a perfect picture for a new Art House Co-op photo project I signed on for……..Reading the little booklet that comes along with the camera told me nothing!! Guess I will have to watch the dvd that came with it. But, I figured out a few things on my own, purely by accident.

IMG_0079

Another walk with the dogs- it was too nice a day to stay indoors for too long!

Then, it was time for dinner- pasta with a freshly made sauce made from my garden tomatoes, and basil, dill,tofu, and cheese.

Back to the barn, for the horses’ dinner, and putting the blankets back on- even tho’ it wasn’t supposed to get cold – the weather report seemed a bit iffy- and the “old man” needed to be kept warm and dry from the rain that might come during the night.

The evening ended with Downton Abbey – a new passion of mine- I missed the 1st 2 seasons, but have caught the “fever” and am watching as often as I can remember! Just love the fashions!!!

Today is another overcast day – rain in the forecast, but still unseasonably warm –  that won’t last! As the week progresses, we will ease back into true January weather.

It was fun while it lasted!!!

IMG_0103

Tea on Tuesday – The “Eyes” Have It…..

Standard

Cold, cold, cold here in The Gap….

So, I am sipping some Lady Grey, in my thrift store Denby pottery mug.  This is my mug rug, one of several I made for an online swap last year. I am working on a few more for belated Christmas gifts – sssshhhh…..!!!

IMG_0016 This one was made of batik scraps, just sewn together willy nilly, with a blue autumnal leaf fabric I dug out of my stash. I use this mug rug (and the others received in the swap), more than I thought I would – perfect size!!!

At a loss for subject matter for this Tuesday’s tea – I thought I would just share some random donkey photos- totally unrelated to tea- but…….

I was trying to get a really good photo of Finnegan’s blue eyes- but donkeys can be notoriously UNcooperative- and as you can see by my attempts- the little trickster was true to form!!! And, always very curious about that clicking camera thing!!!!

IMG_0027IMG_0033IMG_0035

IMG_0037

IMG_0028

IMG_0031

IMG_0036

IMG_0038

my favorite

Soon, they got bored with the photo shoot, and went looking for trouble – the hose is always a good play toy!!!

IMG_0019IMG_0020

Welcome to a day in the life…………….my camera, my donkeys, and always with a cuppa TEA !!!

Drop by anytime for tea on Tuesdays, or any other time – leave a comment, let me know you were here, visit a while…

Shutterbug Tendencies………….

Standard

If you get a chance – check out my latest photos!

These were all taken with my point and click. Editing is so much fun, and then some days, there is a capture that is so absolutely perfect, just the way it is………

Just got a new camera- what fun I will have now!!!!!!

 

Matted signed prints available upon request.

LINK

 

IMG_9948

Wyeth inspired……

dirt barn

hagrid pole barn

hawk 2