"I started photographing my domestic world and writing not just about what I had made,
but why I made it, examining the thoughts that accompany creativity and the act of making."
Jane Brocket from The Gentle Art of Domesticity p. 189 UK edition

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Home and Commissioned!

About 47 years ago, I spent my 16th summer working with my cousin Jimmy Nason and his family at Nason's Stone House Farm in West Boxford, Massachusetts, a bit north of Boston...fond memories. The Stone House is well over 100 years old and on one of the stones over the front door there is a fossil imprint of a butterfly.  This is the location that both sides of my family gathered for family reunions several times during my childhood after my immediate family moved from Massachusetts to Missouri because my dad changed employment from manager of Flying Feather Chicken Farm in Andover, Massachusetts, which closed, to Research Supervisor of a poultry farm south of Kansas City, Missouri.  The Stone House is foundational in my sense of family and purpose in a lifetime in which I have moved over 15 times back and forth across the United States.  Up until a few years ago there were pretty pink hollyhocks that bloomed year after year by the side door and they inspire me to try to grow some by my front door now. 
Cousin Jimmy telling me about life at Stone House Farm in the Fall of 2014
In the kitchen, Boston Baked Beans and Brown Bread, Meat Pies, Blueberry Pies and more yummy food is prepared.
Cousin Jimmy is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and long ago he made a beautiful wedding cake for me.

From West Boxford, my youngest son drove us for an overnight stay with my cousins Jan and Charlie in Sturbridge, MA and then on to Saugerties, NY, where we lived for 15 years in the house pictured below, although it used to have yellow siding when we lived there.  We enjoyed sharing this one acre of land having access to the mighty Hudson River, with deer, fox, raccoons, 12+ inch snapping turtles, snakes, and a host of annoying insects.  Geese, swans, cardinals, robins, crows, hummingbirds, sparrows, and other varieties of birds flew around us.

In the winter the Hudson froze solidly and the kids tried ice skating on it! Behind the trees on the point is a Lighthouse.
South of Saugerties this is a view of the Catskill Mountains looking West toward Kingston from the Rhinebeck Bridge.
In Kingston, a friend treated me to delicious dairy free sorbet :-)
I tried the Blueberry-Pomaganate, and Chocolate Mint sorbet. Yummy!! Then after four days of wonderful visits with friends in the area, a friend drove me a bit northeast to New Skete near Cambridge, NY.
It was so lovely and peaceful here, with time to try to listen for God's direction for this season in my life.
This was part of the incredible view from the balcony off the living room.  The weather was perfect for sitting in the sunshine, listening to the birds, chirp and twitter and caw. Crickets offered a steady foundation of crickety sound, while the wind gently wafted through the leaves on the trees with soothing waves of rustling from time to time.  In the distance I could hear some barking from the German Shepherd dogs the Monks and Nuns train for service.  Occasionally I heard a small plane fly overhead, a reminder I was still involved in modern, busy life in 2014.
The distinctive golden domes of the Eastern Orthodox Church seemed especially at home in the autumn light at Vespers, to me.
The icons painted on the walls of the Sanctuary are strange or depressing to some, but I am learning to appreciate them as serious, but uniquely beautiful reminders of others who came before me and lived their faith in God: Father, Son Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit and challenge me to do the same.
My youngest son, Tim drove me from New Skete south to Yonkers, NY, where I attended Education Day at St. Vladimir's Seminary, and my oldest son, David [in the photo above] and my oldest grandson, Kenny, picked me up and took me to their house for a visit. :-)
My daughter-in-law, Julie, helped me feel so loved and welcome!   <3
David, Kenny and Aron took me for a tour of their neighborhood, including their school and the Bayside Marina.
The boys and I enjoyed playing Uno and Bananagrams.
Kenny took some good photos for me, including these swans at the Marina.
Our time together FLEW by way too fast!  I took this photo as the boys were headed off to school and I headed to the airport.
Mount Jefferson ? just before we landed back in Portland, Oregon.
My youngest grandson, Aron commissioned me to knit a bunny for him !
And now that I am back home I have been playing catch up on sleep and bills and cleaning, and exercising.  But Teresa invited me to spend last Friday with Dayle and her grandsons and her to find Lost Lake near Hood River, Oregon.  We had a wonderful time and we found Lost Lake!!! Isn't it beautiful?

Have you found anything beautiful lately?

Gracie xx

Friday, September 26, 2014

Gatherings Across North America

Taking flight from Portland, Oregon over a week ago I have found the odd moment to knit a dishcloth.
My last college roommate at CMSU, Ginger and her husband Charlie were my gracious hosts in Missouri.
Ginger drove our college friend, Betty and me to the Enchanted Frog antique market.  We saw a number of items from our parents' era, that were familiar to us, as well as items we recognized from our own youth, that prompted good memories.

We also saw some priceless treasures like these Native American arrow heads that caused us to marvel at the varied history of our nation's past.

Ginger drove us to Jamesport, Missouri, a community that is a delightful mix of modern convenience and the clippity-clopping of Amish horse drawn carriages.

This house looked right at home.

After leaving Ginger and Charlie's I attended my 45th !!! high school class reunion in Lee's Summit, Missouri.
Then I flew to Newark, NJ, where my youngest son, Tim, drove me to see my oldest son and family [photos in the next post] and then to Massachusetts to visit my 94 year old uncle, who told us about his varied career, including being a flight engineer on the plane that flew over Hiroshima to take photos the day after the bomb exploded.
He has a fantastic collection celebrating Native Americans, including some needlepoint pieces.
My sisters flew in from California so that we could all visit our uncle together.
Next, Tim drove he and I to York, Maine, to visit the Nubble Lighthouse on a fabulous, perfect day.

Driving to Prince Edward Island we saw the beginning of the changing of the leaves in Fall.

My son, Tim, took this photo soon after we arrived on Prince Edward Island.
We were amazed at the number of beautiful old churches we saw on PEI.

One night we enjoyed eating delicious muscles.
While I enjoyed exploring the Anne of Green Gables national park, Tim had fun playing golf :-)
Green Gables




We visited these beauties at Green Gables Alpacas.
PEI is known for growing potatoes and turnips, and harvesting seafood, as well as being the former home of Lucy Maud Montgomery who created the wonderful stories about Anne Shirley.  I had the best time soaking up the atmosphere on PEI and hope you visit it one day if you have not already done so.  Have you read any of Montgomery's stories?

Gracie xx

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sunset Moonrise


A few blocks south of our house is a nursery where these lovely sunflowers were blowing about 9.10.2014.

As the sun set in the West, the sunflowers glowed in waning light.

The sun disappeared leaving pink and blue blankets of clouds behind to warm the earth.

Then in the East the moon began to rise to the North of Mt. Hood, from a bank of clouds obscuring the base of Mt. Hood.

Rising,

warmly glowing,

more,

and more,

until we could see it all, as a comforting night light,

making light of any darkness,

until it became a brighter more silvery light,

and we chased it in our car, my youngest daughter who took most of these photos, and I, so that we could see it light the night as day on the farm behind our home,

leaving its' song lingering:

I see the moon and the moon sees me.
The moon sees Somebody I want to see.
God bless the moon, and God bless me,
and God bless the Somebody I want to see.

I really think the Lord above, created you for me to love.
He picked you out of all the rest, because He knew I'd love you best.

If I get to heaven and you're not there, I'll write your name on the golden stair.
I'll write it big so the angels can see just how much you mean to me.



A Google search attributed similar lyrics to Brinkman and Merrill, but the version above was taught to me by my sisters, I think, over fifty years ago, and I am not certain of the source.  Do you know?

Gracie xx