Thursday, September 19, 2013

'This Petty Pace From Day to Day'

Mornings have been looking like this--a bit of cool mist and the sun climbing the sky at a more 
southerly angle.
It is still almost dark in the bedroom when the cats begin beseeching me to arise and serve their breakfast.
I am lovingly but insistently trod upon, patted, poked.  My pillow becomes a stomping area for determined furry feet. Little chirrups of polite morning greetings quickly become rather loud and plaintive 'Meows.' I roll over in resignation and swing my feet down to the floor.
The reaction is one of feline enthusiasm. My bare toes are caressed by whiskery faces, paws reach up to encourage me. 
I am escorted to the bathroom where I retrieve my spectacles and then  herded down the hall to the kitchen.
Such intense drama for the reward of a teaspoonful of smelly 'pate' from a little tin!

The kitchen is small and I clamber over milling cats to measure coffee and water into the coffee maker.
The past several mornings I've bundled into a sweatshirt to be comfortable on the porch with my coffee--the one cup of the day.
There were bird sounds this morning--crows in noisy conversation and the drumroll of a woodpecker hammering across the creek.
A pair of bluebirds warmed their feathers on the power line.  The hummingbirds whizzed past me, darting between their syrup feeder and the clump of cleome by the big rock.
Charlie-cat who has been staying outside at night [by choice] flung himself into my lap.
I sat there savoring the morning, hands wrapped around the warm mug.

Over the years we've had insulated travel mugs pressed on us--'freebies' when we bought a vehicle or signed up for insurance.
I find them unfriendly things--horrid little slots to sip from, slight warmth to bless my fingers, the tall cylindrical shapes lacking in coziness.
We have a carefully edited shelf of coffee mugs--the sort that would be referred to by Hyacinth Bucket as 'beakers.'
I located my current favorite at a charity shop--white ironstone with a narrow black band, a soothing rounded shape. I brought home two of them--and have chipped one in the kitchen sink.

The burning bush just outside the sliding doors off the dining area.
I noticed this morning a faint blush of the red that will soon envelope the entire shrub.

This hedge was probably first planted to screen the view of an equipment shed which was demolished before we bought the farm.
It has hollow bamboo-like stems which must be cut back to the ground after the leaves fall.
New canes don't emerge in spring until the weather has settled into real warmth--then the stalks leap up in a rush. It would become invasive if we allowed.

As promised, I went in search of the stem of white cosmos I had marked with garden twine. 
It is one slender plant hemmed in by the more robust pink flowering ones.
I located it rather quickly, then found a fencing stake and tied it in.
The seed pods lack a bit of being ripe.  I'll need to watch that I harvest them before they shatter.

It was a subdued season for the trumpet vine.
Trumpet vine--so cossetted and fragile in Vermont dooryards, is a rampaging thug in Kentucky, naturalized and popping up everywhere to climb with grasping tendrils.

The Michaelmas daisies were aflutter this morning with small brown moths.

The wind was stirring the plants just enough to shift focus as I pressed the camera shutter.
This was the nicest photo from several 'takes.'

Our only fall-planted crop this season: broccoli and two varieties of cabbage.
I spotted several white cabbage butterflies hovering--must check if we have rotenone powder on hand.

I took a few minutes this morning to read back over my blog posts from the past 6 weeks.
I was disconcerted to realize that I have been quite tedious, grumbling about the wet weather, rambling on about quilts in progress.
I've photographed the same bits of garden repeatedly--even to focusing on orange/scarlet zinnias and endless close-ups of pink cosmos and phlox.
I thought about this as I continued along the edges of the garden, cats at my heels.
I have journaled intermittently for years, keeping a record that notes events large and small, interactions with people, my responses to daily life. 
I've been wary in those pages, even as I am in this blog, about revealing too much that is highly personal. 
The hints are there for me to discern, to trigger memory.
I can read a series of entries and recall whether I was feeling well and enthused or perhaps beset with aches and uncertainties. 
My world has narrowed with the move to retirement.
I am no longer living in a part of the country that is completely unfamiliar to my family and must be shared in words and photos.
We aren't building houses, no longer climbing into the truck and roaring over mountain passes to bring home lumber and windows and doors. 
There is now--and will be, I think--a certain sameness to my days, subtle changes that are prompted by weather and seasons, the demands of family and finances, the ritual of daily chores, the 
companionship of animals, the joys of creating.

I spent a few moments questioning whether this life of mine has an appeal for others.
I know that I enjoy the day to day sharing of my favorite bloggers.
I love knowing about the weather in Wales--or Dorset--or Somerset--all the places that I've read about in English literature. I enjoy the photos of a walk on the moor--or a ramble through the New Forest, an  
outing in Scotland.
When I read the latest from an American blogger her landscape comes to mind--Florida, Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, New England--the states of the southern US--those are familiar areas.
I can read and nod in sympathy over the humidity in Georgia, the harsh winds on the plains.
I am inspired by the sharing of projects, photos of gardens and baked goods, crafts, cats, dogs, horses.
I suspect that if these 'friends' from far away could pop through my back door I would smile in recognition and put the kettle on!
I am never bored, even when the pattern of my days runs along with little change.
Friends who garden know that weather is important.
Those who have pets understand the wrenchings of grief when we must put down a beloved creature, the delight we have in the antics and distinct personalities of the animals who share our homes.

Those who love crafting, reading, writing, thrift-shopping, preparing food or putting it by for the winter, share in the homey satisfaction of these pursuits.
And so, I console myself that my 'day to day' as expressed by my blogging journal has its tiny place in the vast scheme of things!
And--just maybe--orange zinnias adapt well to rainy summers!

I could have wandered about the dooryard for hours, pondering concepts great and small, waiting for the perfect shot of a butterfly poised on a blossom.
The sun was gaining strength, the day heating up.
There was a load of laundry waiting to be pegged out, the daunting stint of book keeping to be tackled again.
I turned reluctantly toward the house, procrastinating, snapping photos as I walked slowly along.
The bristly brown seed heads of coneflower caught the sun.
A cow in the neighboring pasture bellowed.
Hawks wheeled overhead, their sharp cries slicing the sunlit morning.

Bobby McGee paused to sniff at the dark composted manure which J. has flung on the garden. 

Sunflowers, brown and crispy, loom against the blue sky.

The stalks are ready to cut down. My neighbor, Gracie, has asked for a head of seeds to serve in her bird feeder. Sunflower seeds stay viable for a number of years--and I have saved seed enough for a plantation of sunflowers, but I will shuck out a few fresh ones as I've promised to share them come another spring.

A bee hums in the fuzzy blue blossoms--I rootled around at the base of the plant hoping to find a name tag.
Identified or not the flowers add to the richness of an autumn day---another precious day!


  1. You writing paints such lovely pictures. I find them comforting. Personally, I like to read about ordinary days. Perhaps because they validate that I am not alone in my somewhat routine existence. And I always love seeing pictures of your cats, gardens and especially your quilts!

  2. Jane; I think in that one word 'validate' you've hit upon what I was trying to convey. We are blessed in sharing our quiet routines. I'm glad you enjoy my words and pictures--that's heart-warming affirmation.

  3. I was saying over on GTM's blog, that I like blogs by people who live - if not "ordinary" lives - then lives which are on a mundane rating along with mine! I don't do the Cherrymenlove type blogs where people live in Country Living type houses and everything is colour-co-ordinated and perfect. Don't change anything about your blog, I love it as it is, and your wonderful way with words.

    I am with Jane on her comments, and you with yours in that if any of us arrived on your doorstep, we would feel right at home!

    P.S. Your prayers have been answered and I can BREATH again . . . More in email later.

    1. Jennie; Yours is one of the first blogs I discovered--and the one that enticed me to create a blogger profile so that I could comment. 'Ordinary' we may be in terms of not becoming widely known outside our own small spheres, but as we share through our writing and photos of daily life I think we are celebrating both our common ground and our intriguing individuality.
      [I was relieved to read at your blog that your breathing issues have lessened--may the healthier mode prevail!]

  4. I love reading about your life and daily doings. It's like visiting over the back fence. To me there is something uplifting in sharing our lives. We women help each other in living our lives, one day at a time. We share gardening, recipes, crafts and other tidbits. We care for one another, we pray for one another. Seeing and hearing about where others live is like taking mini vacations to places we'll never be able to visit in this life.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

    1. Lorraine; You wrote' We care for one another, we pray for one another.' I think that is one of the blessings of the long-distance friendships discovered in blogland--we really do care about what is happening in some one else's life. We can't pass a home-baked loaf of bread over the garden fence or offer a physical hug--so we read and leave a comment from the warmth of our hearts.

  5. I will inject my feelings also here that I love what you share with us. I live a very mundane life now, except with what is going on isn't mundane at the moment, but I love the sharing, the exhibit of lives here that I am now getting back into getting my cup of coffee, tea and sitting down and "visiting" everyone in the morning before I get going. Its my sanity saver, my solace, my reprieve from what I have happening in my life now. You are a friend, and I love your life you share.
    You have coached me from afar on quilting, and helped me to pursue it more. How wonderful is that to have someone from a long way coach!
    Please continue to do so, I do not grow tired of you doing so.

    1. Vicki; You've touched on two very important points here: those precious moments in busy [often discouraging or frustrating] days when we take our teacups and park ourselves to see what is going on in the lives of our friends. When joy is shared we are enriched--when frustrations or losses are mentioned by far-away friends, we realize that we aren't the only ones who come upon hard times.
      The other thing is the 'coaching' and 'you can do it!' encouragement we find when we get 'stuck' in a new-to-us craft--someone out there has tried it and has an answer!

  6. I was afraid, part way thru, that you had grown weary of your blog and would give up writing. Such a relief that you are not, because this is such a warm and comforting place to visit. After a lifetime of being boxed into a job, dealing with endless traffic and all that, this stage of life is wonderful to me - to simply LIVE. Enjoying our daily pleasures of tea, cats, gardens, needlework, etc., and knowing there are others like us that rejoice in the same small things. I don't always manage a comment, usually because others have already said the same thing I would, in a better way, but I am always reading and enjoying all that you have to share. Thanks!


    1. Marilyn; I blog in part to keep a record for myself and sometimes when I read my own pages from the past I find I enjoy what I've written! I did think I'd gotten terribly repetitious just lately, but I doubt I'll quit my online journal.
      Retirement has its own challenges, but one of the delights is surely that we can justify using more of our daily hours to savor small things--if we sit with a cat on our laps or linger over a cup of coffee in the morning--there is no clock watching involved.

  7. I also love reading your posts. I have a soft spot in my heart for rural Kentucky and you bring it home to me every time I read of your meanderings through your property.

    Also, I know just what you mean about Hyacinth's beakers - I have a couple of those, too.

    1. Lillian; Your blog is one I greatly enjoy--if you're not tweaking a recipe, then you've completed a quilt, or posted some of the photos and tales of your own family. I also appreciate the vintage treasures which you collect and display.

  8. I love to read blogs like yours filled with domestic detail and descriptions of your garden and animals. It resonates with the kind of life I lead too. I love the description of the way your cats wake you up and escort you to the kitchen in the mornings. You have the knack of making me 'see' the scenes. So keep on keeping on:)

    1. Rowan; Yours is also one of the first blogs I began following. You, too, have a knack for sharing the events of your days--walking with the dog, baking and preparing for family visits, your involvement in area history. I'm pleased that you are again appearing on the blogging scene more often!

  9. It is your awareness and your wonderful way of painting word pictures that draws me back to your blog each time I see a new posting. I understand that we all have periods when inspiration seems to dry up, but soldier on! If we never lose the wonder and the awe and the satisfaction in every day life eventually the need to portray it comes back, - I am hoping this is so, anyway, as the last ten months I have found myself in that position as well.....

    1. Hildred; Your blog is an inspiring example of 'soldiering on' after the death of Charles. I credit a number of people in my childhood for instilling and nurturing the gift of awareness: my father and my maternal grandfather were each [in different ways] very attuned to nature and their surroundings. My mother, who taught first elementary grades and then later public school music and private students, encouraged the honing of word skills to express the nuances of what I observe and experience.

  10. What a pleasure this post was to read, I loved every word of it.

  11. Briony; I visit your blog in anticipation of the updates on your feline house-mates.
    Although I don't excel at any form of hand stitchery, I can admire the intricacy and originality of your projects. It is inspiring to realize that whatever crafting skills we have, others are planning and making and sharing lovely things.

  12. Hello,

    Just dropping in from Edinburgh in Scotland and wanted to say that I love the way you write. I also love cats and gardens. I'll be back!

  13. Isabelle: So glad you enjoyed your first visit here. The love of cats and gardens makes for a powerful bond between friends.
    There is considerable Scots in my bloodline--I've always wanted to explore your country.