Moments... Friendship

This week, rain came in waves punctuated with blue skies. I sneaked away for a walk on the trail.

It was the only walk I got this week. Instead, it was a week to spend time with friends, catching up on our lives. On a rainy Wednesday I met an old friend for breakfast, which we didn't eat... we were too busy talking. Hours later we'd done a pretty good job of catching up, with much left to say the next time we get together.

Slowly, the farmhouse is getting decorated for Christmas. There are poinsettias in the kitchen and living room and bathroom... white and red, beautiful. There is a forest of small trees on the cabinet in the living room, bright with lights and ornaments. Anna's garland hangs on the antique sideboard in the kitchen, the first piece of furniture we bought when we married, the piece that has shared our lives since we were "we," traveling from house to house, town to town, year to year. The house will be magical for a few weeks.

After a monster windstorm hit too close to home, we drove out to check the cabin, then spent the afternoon with friends. Their new home glows on the edge of the lake, and we watched the late afternoon light paint the sky, slowing turning to black lit by stars.

My homemade Christmas is nearly completed, and I spent the afternoon in my farm kitchen, cleaning, organizing, decorating. I wanted to bake cookies in the worst way. Soon, there will be oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar. But not yet.

My new silicone mug cover keeps my tea hot longer, and will also keep James out of my water glass.


She eats...

And she sleeps.

That's my cat.


The road less traveled

The window was small yesterday, that time between breakfast and sunshine, and the late morning rain. I waited too long, and my walk was cut short. It is my favorite walk, and I'm thankful every time that this piece of heaven is right in my neighborhood.

The woods are so green, in spite of it nearly being winter, with leaves on the ground. The mild days have encouraged the grass to grow, and it's bright green, the color of spring.

I took a walking stick with me today, in case the trail was muddy. It's the perfect walking stick for hiking, finished half natural with bark intact, half rubbed with a piece of beach glass until silky smooth. The stick came from the beach near Neah Bay, nibbled off by a busy beaver, and I love that one end still has the teeth marks.

The horse trail was wet and full of leaves, and the springs were running strong. But the trail is still pretty dry, so no wet feet yet.  


Moments... December begins

A surprising month so far... hummingbirds at the feeders with snow on the ground, and temperatures in the 'teens. The sunshine dappled the snow with shadows... beautiful.

A wee blond girl in pink, one of the grandkids from the house next door, has been exploring the pastures. The Pilot has new tires, ready for the winter I hope will return. I'm longing for a cold and snowy winter; we haven't had one of those for too long.

We met good friends in the city for brews and food and laughter. One more gathering in a couple of weeks, then we won't see them until the new year. I'm finding it hard to put down the new Diana Gabaldon, Written in my Own Heart's Blood. More than 800 pages, but I'm nearly through.

I'm loving my new Lenovo, especially the lighted keyboard for working in the dim light of a winter evening. The tablet mode is pretty cool, too. Perfect for recipes and sewing projects; doesn't take up much counter space at all.

The cold nights brought two farm cats to our barn door, one yellow and white, the other black with a white bib and feet. I've seen them in the barn in the early morning hours. One has claimed a piece of old carpet, the other a pile of cedar shavings. I'd like them to stick around, so will put out food and water for them. They can keep the old truck company.



Today was one of those days when everything went right.

James is past her "no, I won't eat" phase and is eating like a horse... or at least like the big-boned old cat that she is. Jessica's horses made the trip to their new home near Shelton, two acres of shady green pasture and a big sand arena for keeping them in shape over the winter. Best of all, there are miles of trails nearby... which means lots of fun rides with my niece in my future.

I made good progress in the studio today, finishing the biggest part of one project, and getting started on another sewing project. The Christmas cards are addressed and ready to mail, and I even have enough stamps, so I can give the post office a wide berth.

The sun came out for about eight minutes in the early afternoon, enough time to grab the camera and run down to the pond to take weed pictures.

Tomorrow I'm meeting a friend for lunch, and will finally get that walk I've been craving. I'm counting on a long, rambling walk on my favorite trail, even if it rains. And who knows what my camera will find?



The full moon rose over the small valley that I call home, brushing the tops of the trees as it climbed higher and higher, to flirt with the clouds. On its way, it colored the night sky a rich blue, gilded the edges of the clouds in orange and gold, and nearly disappeared in a flare of brilliant white light.

As the clouds blew through and the moon took sole possession of the night sky, the watercolor textures disappeared, replaced by stark grey and silver floating in a sea of black.


It's been 26 years since my father died. I think of him, of my mom, so often.

It's true that the ones you love will always be with you. I know, because they are with me every day. I carry them in my memories, like a blanket that keeps me warm on cold days.


814 pages later...

Holding this book nearly broke my wrist... but it was worth it in the end. Worth putting aside my quilt for five days, turning my back on laundry and the basement floors that need mopping. Worth ignoring the patio furniture that needs to be stored in the barn for the winter, and the pots that should go to the shed. Even worth putting off finishing up a few Christmas gifts.

The snow helped, as did the frigid temperatures that came along with it. Working outside was not remotely what I wanted to do. And the basement is cold, too.

So it wasn't at all hard to choose to read instead, snuggled down in my favorite chair by the wood stove, with my cat within reach.

That's what the short winter days are made for.


Ring around the moon...

The moon was rising as I walked back from the mailbox, and it was breathtaking. Bright and clear in the midnight blue twilight, with a clear ring circling it. The clouds are coming in fast on an east wind... there will be rain tomorrow. 

It's always best in fall or winter, this ring around the moon. Or maybe I take more notice of it, because it rises so early. Or because it always makes me think of the Dan Fogelberg song, In the Passage:

There's a ring around the moon tonight,
and a chill in the air.
And a fire in the stars that hang
So near, so near.

There's a sound in the wind that blows
Through the wild mountain holds
Like the sighs of a thousand crying
Souls, crying souls.

To me, it's the moon of the high country, the mountains, the wind blowing fast and sure over a desert landscape. It brings out a longing in me for those quiet places, the wild places. Somewhere away from the traffic, and the noise that drowns out the sounds of nature.

That's where I want to be.


Photographing trees

I'm on a mission, now that the leaves have fallen and branches are bare. A mission to find those perfect specimen trees to photograph.

There's one in my neighborhood, just a couple of miles from home. A towering maple tree, which stands straight and full in a corner of the pasture, protecting an ancient wooden barn. It's gorgeous in the autumn in yellow and orange, and in spring wearing bright green. But I've never photographed it in winter.

The best stretch of trees I know is in the wide greenbelt of I-90, between North Bend and Snoqualmie Pass. The trees are spectacular here, all kinds from maples to Douglas fir to alders and vine maples. I never pass this way without wanting to stop and pull out my camera. Unfortunately, the roadway and traffic would be in every shot.

These lone specimen trees aren't all that easy to find, at least not trees that are good candidates for photography. I think the search would be a good project for winter.