"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


  1. Sounds like a wonderful soul searching trip. The mountains are beautiful and what a blessing to spend time with your family. NY holds a special place in my heart too, but we were from a little further North in the Adirondacks. Enjoy your evening and welcome back, Heather

  2. Gracie, what a calming and lovely tale of your 3 week adventure! I think it's wonderful that you planned it all and accomplished it - all by yourself! I admire you so much! I sure did miss you while you were gone and am so glad you joined us for our adventure of.. finding Lost Lake. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  3. Oh Gracie. I'm so glad you're back. I've missed you my friend! Your trip sounds wonderful and full of lovely family times. I'm so anxious to hear about your time of retreat and the decisions you've made. You're photos show an extraordinarily beautiful part of our country with so much history attached to it. Welcome home Gracie.

  4. I knew I had not been keeping up with my blogging friends posts, but I was surprised to see I missed your past THREE!! and now I am all caught up! What a trip!!! You saw so many thing! Such beautiful scenery! The fall leaves..oh my! You have such a handsome family! And it was fun to see photos of your sisters too! You all resemble one another a lot! I read Teresa's post on your adventure the other day. So fun!!
    Now rest up!
    xo Kris

  5. Glad to know that you had a great time. I enjoyed reading through your post and the pics :) looking forward to see your bunny.

  6. What an amazing trip, how wonderful to make more memories and reflect back on some with family and friends. Some beautiful photos which you will be able to look at and revisit.

  7. I love your family trips all over the place. What a great way to spend precious time with precious people. Jo x

  8. Enjoyed all the photos! It must have been awesome to be with your family! The soda fountain looks like a neat (And delicious) place to visit, and the sanctuary looks interesting.

  9. Your trip looks wonderful , how good it must have been to visit locations that mean so much and bring back those lovely memories! Sarah x

  10. Hello Gracie what a wonderful time you had. Such an interesting post with beautiful photos. Your family are lovely. Hugs Anne x

  11. Love the photos of your sweet family and of all the adventure you had. I am looking forward to seeing updates on the bunny. That is the perfect yarn for the bunny, too. Wishing you a most lovely day. :)

  12. I loved seeing your family Gracie, it looks like you had a wonderful time on your trip. That stone house is just amazing. I love your love for your family, it shows in every picture you take. Glad you are home, I know there are a few little girls that missed you.

  13. Gracie, I can only imagine how full your heart must be after such a wonderful trip! And what a treat for us to get to meet more of your beautiful family! Is there anywhere on earth more beautiful than New England in the fall? I can't wait to see your grandson's bunny all finished.

  14. Oh what a wonderful trip and time with family they all look lovely and that they enjoyed having you visit them too.
    Look forward to seeing that bunny too ♥

  15. Lots of happiness and peace in this blog post. I am finding great beauty in the fall colours here in Glasgow.

  16. You were visiting up in my neck of the woods. Went over the Rhinebeck bridge on Saturday on my way home from the Wool and Sheep Festival! Your photos are beautiful - it looks like you had a lovely trip. How wonderful for you to have that special time with your family

  17. It was wonderful to have you back with us! Was looking to see photos of us?!? Maybe we broke the camera....lol. So great to be together with Becky, Anne & Bob, Liz, wish more could have come. Glad to see the pics of the boys and David's family -- beautiful! Hope we can get to your side of the country some day....Hugs, JoAnn

  18. I see that yarn you were talking about...very cool!!! You'll have to show us the bunny!

  19. This post was such an interesting read, dear Gracie. I enjoyed all your beautiful photos, and learning more about your lovely family and the farm and places you lived. You did so much in the time, and had a lot of fun! And I hope the peace and tranquillity of the retreat helped you too. How lovely you are knitting a special bunny for your grandson...the yarn looks just right!
    Wishing you a happy week back home again.
    Helen xox

  20. Enjoyed your vacation photos very much. Sure would of been nice to see you though. I know, it's hard to see everyone in just a few days. Take care and I do pop on face book just not often enough. Good that I saw this.
    Rose Gaetjen

  21. Wow my dear Gracie you have been a busy bee traveling all over ... I'm amazed how much you do and all the wonderful experiences you had this year. Your son has a wonderful family and the boys are so cute.

  22. I just popped in and now I need to catch up with your trip. I have not found Lost Lake but I have a good idea where it is. I have a map! Looks like you had a good last part of your trip. I love flying out/in to PDX. I love the mountains. Take care!

  23. A real fun visit and yes the lake is beautiful.


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