Larry, Grand Marshall, Memorial Day, 2008
Friday, August 21, 2009
Larry, Grand Marshall, Memorial Day, 2008
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I beleive this is a stand of wild larkspur. I didn't wade through the knee high vegetation to view it close up. I tried the zoom on the new camera but it didn't magnify as much as I expected.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
In the photo you can see the long wooden planter box on the south-facing porch railing. My Grampa Mac was the gardener of the family. Each spring he added fresh dirt to the planters, enriched with home made fertilizer. This involved "stewing" up some horse poop for a week or two in a bucket of water. During the fermenting process my sister and I enjoyed the daily stirring of this evil smelling brew. Grampa never seemed to mind that we were at his heels and let us take part in many of his chores. We were sometimes returned to our mother in a rather grubby condition.
The little wooden box on the left railing contained a handful of rain lily bulbs. Every autumn the box was stashed in the "shed chamber" to winter. Early in May the box was set outside to catch rain water from the roof and I watched for the lovely pink flowers to appear.
I looked through plant catalogs for a number of years for rain lily bulbs. I see they are now available. I wonder if the deer would allow me to cherish a few in a porch planter.
The photos of rain lilies in bloom are from the web.
I looked out of the camper window when a Dodge truck roared by and realized the mule drawn covered wagons had already passed quietly beyond our campsite.
When I approached the horse corral there were several enormous ravens bouncing over the ground with out-spread wings. They were searching for any bits of food dropped by the dudes or [yuk] bits of grain to be prized from the piles of horse droppings. The ravens flew into nearby trees and scolded in their harsh voices while I was there snapping pictures.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The big buck is a lone visitor this morning. There has to be choicer munching on the property than this stand of weeds and native sunflower stalks. We've been surprised to see how long the antlers remain in velvet.
Whereas we've been seeing the buck all summer in groups of 3 or 5, perhaps as rut season approaches they are starting to feel competative. We are seeing them singly or two at a time. This big fellow has a slight injury to one leg, which may put him out of the running with the ladies or make him an easy prey for a hunter. He moved off down the driveway by the guest cabin when J. opened the garage door. These are Mule Deer, known here as "mulies." We also have the White-Tail Deer, an import from farther east.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
All during the past summer I puttered in the kitchen of my grandfather’s house. I perched on the high stool to shell peas, rolled biscuit dough at the Hoosier, washed grit and tiny snails from garden lettuce. I scooted out of my uncle’s way as he charged from stove to sink bearing a steaming kettle of potatoes or macaroni. At mealtime I laid two places on the oilcloth-covered table in the narrow dining room, taking the white ironstone plates from the big cupboard, bringing milk from the icebox, half a pie from the broad shelf in the pantry. All summer I helped to choose the groceries on twice-monthly trips to town, adding little delicacies to the list of staples which seldom changed.
Now it is autumn. After school I change quickly to old clothes and walk through falling leaves to my grandfather’s house next door. My uncle relinquishes the kitchen happily, retreating to endless little tasks elsewhere in the house or yard. Left in charge and free to experiment, I spend these late afternoons scrubbing potatoes, searching out a pretty bowl for applesauce, stirring up gingerbread from a neighbor’s recipe tucked in the dog-eared old book which bears my great-grandmother’s notes.
My grandfather stumps up from the barn during a break in his chores and stays long enough to peel the potatoes and quarter apples for the sauce. He keeps the kitchen knives honed to razor sharpness, and doesn’t trust me, I think. We share an apple, slice by slice from the point of his jackknife, eating it with Royal Lunch crackers and cheddar cheese, to fortify ourselves until suppertime.
My grandfather replenishes the wood box and heads out to attend to the milking. I check the progress of my gingerbread, then wander through to spend a few moments in the front parlour. Two of the windows face westward, and the slanting sun of early October filters mellow amber light through the fading red and gold of sugar maples on the hill. The light touches the gilded oval frame which surrounds the portrait of my great-grandparents, Eddie and Eliza, caught forever in the graceful dignity of mid-life. In shadow on the south wall hangs the military portrait of their son, Lawrence, killed in the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918. The old piano is here too, stolid on the worn ingrain carpet, on its dark-varnished top an unearthed box of my grandmother’s music, stashed away after her death years ago. I play at random from the Pilgrim Hymnal, The Golden Book of Songs, and attempt a few bars of waltzes and “rags” from the yellow tattered sheet music of the early 1900’s.
The thump of boots in the shed announces suppertime and I hurry back to the kitchen to put the meal on the table while my grandfather splutters and splashes at the hand sink, burying his face in the roller towel. I move the vinegar cruet closer to his plate and pour tea. My grandfather pulls out his chair, sniffing with pleasure at the homely aromas of simple food. The old dog clicks across the linoleum to be nearer in the comfortable assurance of handouts. Spoons tinkle against china, twilight moves softly against the windowpanes, extinguishing the afternoon’s gold. We eat slowly, companionably; an old man, a girl, and a dog, warmed by each other’s presence and filled by the savor of beef stew, applesauce and gingerbread.
Sharon D. Whitehurst
Wentworth, NH 1997
Side front view of spec house just before completion
Friday, August 14, 2009
Maisie sprawled on the windowsill
J. and J.--the twins
Thursday, August 13, 2009
essay from writer's retreat
Wentworth, N.H. 1997
The thunderstorm moves in just as the evening milking is nearing completion. All day the August sun has climbed, a brass ball in a sultry sky, shrivelling the long green streamers of the field corn, wilting the dahlias along the north end of the house. The cosmos near the front porch droop delicately, their soft pink petals faded and limp, their frothy leaves dangling on listless stems. In the yard the hens scratch in the dirt, clucking querulously.
My grandfather has not lingered over his noon dinner today, has foregone his usual doze in the rocking chair. Leaving his pipe and the can of Prince Albert on the living room table, he gathers the hired men, the pitchforks, the water jug and clambers stiffly into the passenger seat of the farm truck. The truck bumps down the rough track to the meadow, lurching over the ruts, its slow progress marked by puffs of dust.
I scuff along to the meadow gate to watch the slow loading of the hay bales, the jerking stops and starts of the old truck. Three times the men return to stow the neat tiers of bales in the bay of the big barn. Their blue shirts are stuck to their backs; when they swill from the common jug of ice water, the wetness dribbles onto their chins, drips and mingles with the sweat of their forearms, spatters onto their dusty shoes.
In the northwest sky the clouds pile, white shading into ashy grey and purple-black. My uncle fusses about the dooryard, shooing the hens toward their coop, muttering dourly about "thunder heads." A sullen wind stirs up acrid dust, rushes through the branches of the apricot tree, turns up the leaves of the maples.
No one needs to fetch the cows home for milking; an hour early they cluster uneasily at the gate. We stand guard while they cross the dirt road and plod into the barn, cowpies splotting behind them onto the dry packed earth. The old De Laval milk pump sputters and drones, the sound harsh in the heavy air. The clatter of pails and milk cans, the scrape of the hoe pushing manure into the gutters, create a dinning discord as the wary hush deepens outside.
I lurk at my grandfather's heels, getting in his way, as edgy as the stable cats, until he installs me on an upturned bucket in the alcove between the milking barn and the hay barn. A tiger cat weaves around my sneakered feet, his eyes glowing amber in the strange early dusk.
As the milking machine is pulled from the last cow the sky outside the open windows is slashed with fire, yellow-white cutting against a horizon gone an angry blackened green. Thunder crescendos, the timbers of the barn creak. The cows plunge in their wooden stanchions, straining, frightened. At the third crack the lights flicker and go out. The milk pump whines to a stop. My grandfather appears beside me, his bulk familiar and reassuring in the gloom. We walk out to stand together in the roofed passageway between the barn and milkhouse. Rain pounds on the tin overhead and sluices in sheets past the open sliding door, drilling a trench as it hits the gravel of the driveway.
There is a pause like a gasp of indrawn breath, a split second before the rain is followed by a staccato of small hail. Steam rises from the ground and the smell of old dust gives way to a cool scent ---like snow in summer. In a few moments the din eases, familiar shapes loom through the silver veil of wet, the thunder creeps off, still grumbling.
My grandfather reaches back inside the stable doorway, plucks his ragged denim barn frock from the peg. He wraps me in the coat, the woolen lining scratching my bare arms. Hoisting me, he plods through the green twilight toward the house.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
This is "sissy" camping--a motor home instead of a tent!
Will share the photos when we return.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Standing: Eliza; her MIL, Ann.
Seated: Eliza's step-daughters, Minnie and Helen.
circa 1910 at the home in upstate New York .
Eddie and brother, Amos.
Eliza and SIL Belle.
Eliza and Eddie in front of the Vermont farmhouse.
My Favorite photo of them.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Muslin used as setting triangles after blocks were "promise stitched"
to worn muslin backing
Two of the dark triangles had been pieced of small scraps
Returned from the frame shop
Monday, August 3, 2009
Egg nestled under sagebrush root when found.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
50th Wedding Anniversary, 1991