Out Picking: Antique Embalming Fluid Crates from Boston!

This past Sunday on the way to church Wayne and I stopped at the flea market, or rather, he sat in the car to read the New Yorker as I made my rounds. I had decided earlier in the week that the antique primitive jelly cupboard that I had repurposed into a shoe closet in my home office is too glorious to not be in my kitchen. I simply needed to find three antique crates that would stack nicely to coordinate with the others I had to take its place.

While I think it’s a sin to pray for material possessions, especially luxury wishes, the flea market fairies with whom I had shared my wishes delivered in a very crafty way! The price was right and I carried my new treasure all the way back to the car which, true to a flea find, was dusty and a bit dirty. It left some light soiling on my chinos as it brushed up against my legs as I walked. Yikes! I quickly decided it was simply a patina on my pants and it was fine for church.

Continue reading “Out Picking: Antique Embalming Fluid Crates from Boston!”

Sunny’s Miracle

The last time we saw Sunny, the chipmunk who had only a stub left of her tail, was a few days after our wedding in September. According to my research chipmunk’s tails do not grow back. As you can see in the photo above from last summer, whatever happened to Sunny caused her to lose not just her tail but the fur around it. Because the other chipmunks went underground for their winter torpor at the same time (one to two months earlier than the year prior) I was confident then that she was safe in her burrow. Even though I hadn’t seen her this spring I wasn’t giving up since we’ve had so many cold rainy days that it has felt more like March than May.

This morning after more days of cold rain the sun rose and quickly warmed things. I still had seen no sign of her, even after I walked over to her house entrance and called her name.  Not long afterward I was standing in my backyard speaking with a salesman about an estimate when Sunny suddenly appeared (after Buster had followed me around like a little puppy and Tailor tried to chase him away)! However, what I saw next filled with such hope and joy that I had to share it with you here!

Continue reading “Sunny’s Miracle”

Let’s Dish: Sustainable Soap

When I gave up Facebook for Lent (I’m keeping my Facebook account because I use it to log into other accounts but am hardly on it now), I was more present. I began to pay attention to waste in our house and wondered how we could become more kind in our consumption…and cleaning. I was no longer OK with buying bottled dish soap (we do ours by hand) and hand soap due to the plastic waste. I had read online that some people were using Dr. Bronner’s Castile bar soap for both their dishes and hands, but Dr. Bronner’s contains palm oil. Palm oil and its derivatives are in almost everything including and especially soap which isn’t always clearly labelled. Why is that of concern? The cultivation of palm oil is destroying rainforests and killing orangutans and other wildlife. I’m also not sure I trust “sustainably sourced” palm claims. So what would be the best choice?

Continue reading “Let’s Dish: Sustainable Soap”

Early Garden Prep

We’ve been having a record-breaking cold and rainy spring so far but it’s still time to start with gardening prep, both ornamental and vegetable. It might seem strange to those not from Maine to think of people flocking to the plant nurseries in wet and blustery cold weather to buy annuals that will only live for a short season. It makes complete sense, however! Summer in Maine is a Very Special Occasion deserving of festive flowers and the planting beautiful life forms. It’s still too early to plant, but never too soon to buy as long as you can keep the plants warm.

Continue reading “Early Garden Prep”

Book Title Update: The Retro American Diet™

My book-in-progress, formerly The New England Diet, is now titled The Retro American Diet. While Wayne and I live on a traditional New England diet, the principles and practices also draw from national sources. My first vintage diet book, American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s, was an in-depth look at the marketing of obesity to American women, the complicity of the medical profession and softening of metrics used to determine healthy weight. The Retro American Diet is going to be a “how to” for both men and women with clear guidelines and meal planning suggestions. It’s not just a book about eating, but about living! Eating retro is a lifestyle filled with gratitude, simplicity and accountability.

But there will be something big missing from the book. Also, who am I, anyway, to write such a book?!

Continue reading “Book Title Update: The Retro American Diet™”

Tailor the Chipmunk (named after Elizabeth Taylor!)

We have a new friend and neighbor in our yard. If you look closely you may notice that she has a light colored “ring” around her tail. I thought “Tailor” would be a fitting name since Elizabeth Taylor loved both chipmunks and jewelry. She seems to be a bit sassy since she’s sticking out her tongue in the above photo. On my Instagram you can see a video of Tailor enjoying her mandarin slice and one of Buster running over to me to get seeds and pets!

Continue reading “Tailor the Chipmunk (named after Elizabeth Taylor!)”

A Simple Truth: Dairy Farming is the Veal Industry.

I’ve previously mentioned on my blog that I once lived down the road from a lovely (now defunct) small family-owned dairy with very happy-looking cows. I enjoyed gazing out at them as they grazed on grass. Sometimes when they were close to the fence by the road I would talk to them. (No one else was around.) This image of dairy cows stuck with me and was a model of everything that industrial factory farming is not. However, it wasn’t until a local news story came out about Peace Ridge Sanctuary that provides a forever home and care for formerly abused and neglected farm animals that I learned that veal production is the “byproduct” of dairy farming. Cows give birth to both bull calves and heifers, but only the female calves will go on to produce milk. So what happens to the baby bull calves, and does buying organic or from a small farm make a difference in their fate? 

Continue reading “A Simple Truth: Dairy Farming is the Veal Industry.”

My Repurposed Antique Cedar Chest Coffee Table

I had purchased our previous coffee table at an estate sale about ten years ago straight from an in-law house with early 1970s furnishings. I liked it at the time (never loved it) up until this past weekend after I visited an acquaintance living in a 200 plus year old home. I loved the look of an antique blanket chest as a coffee table which they had in their living room, so much so that when I got home I decided I wanted a “new” coffee table. Antique blanket chests can be quite expensive and I don’t see them often at estate sales. Then I remembered the cedar chest in the sunroom!

When I bought it (also at an estate sale and it was packed with vintage linens) it was covered with watered down white paint, so we had covered it up and been using for storage and gardening supplies. Inspired, I went into the sunroom with a scouring pad, sponge and soapy water.

Continue reading “My Repurposed Antique Cedar Chest Coffee Table”