“It’s just a chipmunk.”

“As we live and as we are, Simplicity – with a capital “S” – is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.” ― Frank Lloyd Wright, The Natural House

FLW’s quote reminded me of my little booklet celebrating Squares, also with a capital “S” by Charles H Brower who stated: “Too many of us haven’t got the guts to stand up straight and dare to be square”. 

I’m feeling this more than ever right now. It’s not easy valuing creatures and ways of being that many today view as being naive or living in a bubble (which I do). I experienced this when I wrote my book, American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s which I wrote eight years ago after being annoyed with the book, “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” Something very simple such as counting calories in a healthy, measured way which for me is no different than keeping a budget in Quicken is labelled by many (as a general concept) as having an eating disorder. Doing my best to be a good Steward of my land has put me at odds with people and policies over the years. My Certification for my home being a Wildlife Habitat isn’t just a feel-good thing to mention in a blog post. Living in an outdated cottage isn’t just about pretty vintage linens and decor.

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Crazy Quilt, Candlesticks, Esmerellda

I’ve had some beautiful unfinished business tucked away in an old cedar chest that I brought to light: A handmade depression-era “crazy” quilt top that was never actually quilted. I purchased it at an estate sale years ago and figured “one day” I’ll commission someone to finish it. When I saw it at the bottom of the linen chest while changing out the blankets for the season I decided that it doesn’t need to be finished. It’s perfect in its imperfect, unfinished state. It’s now a gorgeous bedspread!

I made some new backyard friends this summer and found a treasure left behind by my dearly departed Esmerellda.

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Tomato Miracle of 2021

Hello! I am interrupting my blog vacation to share great news! Before my break I shared that our tomato plants were rapidly dying. The leaves succumbed to fungus and other ills from record-breaking rains in July. There were no new blossoms. They were basically green stalks with some green leaves on top of the plant and green tomatoes. I decided to water them once the sun returned this August. We never EVER expected that these mostly dead plants would still support and produce gorgeous ripe tomatoes and lots of them! We literally cut a black cherry tomato in half to split before dinner at the end of July thinking well, we must savor what we have. Now, with baskets full of tomatoes I’ve picked I savor each and every one more than I thought possible.

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Tomato Update: Too much rain, not enough sun.

We’ve had record-breaking rain, almost four inches above normal for July with little sun in between. Two weeks ago our tomato plants were exploding! The rich green leaves were lush with loads of baby tomatoes and blossoms! I was so optimistic I planned on canning for the first time ever and started buying supplies. Twenty-six tomato plants could mean sauce all winter and gifting jars of them to friends and family! This morning I have already pruned about a third of the plants due to fungus and many of the blossoms have died. The cherry tomatoes in the containers behind our house collapsed yesterday under the weight of the rain along with a gusty wind. Because we’ve had so little sun, and there is less sun behind our house, they had grown taller than their stakes (I read they will grow too tall if this happens) and I hadn’t yet topped them off. Now they are about half of what they were.

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Floaters and Passers-By

I went to my eye doctor last week, and I officially have my first “floater” which can occur with maturing eyes. It kind of looks like an amoeba floating by on repeat. I guess the good news is that now, instead of just tinnitus, I have a full audio-visual experience! Thankfully, just like my tinnitus, it’s not noticeable all of the time, and when it is, I’ve gotten better at not being annoyed or anxious. I also recently had an audiogram to make sure the hearing loss in my right ear hasn’t worsened and it’s actually improved a bit!

Wayne and I recently went on a ferry ride to tour the Islands which we like to do in the summer. If you visit Portland, which just made #8 in U.S. News list of best places to live, I highly recommend you take a ride!

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My Daily Bread: Home Comforts Made With Love

Baking whole grain gluten-free bread from scratch with my own hard-earned recipe made without the use of added artifice, starchy flours or gums is very rewarding. It’s also “time consuming” to do it almost every week instead of buying bread from a store or bakery. If I approach it as a chore or task it feels like a burden. When I’m aware of how fortunate I am to be healthy enough to do my own baking, can make the time, have a kitchen in which to bake, and beautiful vintage mixing bowls I bought for next to nothing while out picking, and actually enjoy eating the bread I make, it’s easy to love doing it. Instead of “gotta make the bread” I see it as a privilege and luxury.

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Out Picking: Happy Poppies Day! Free & Frugal Finds

Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dads and father figures! My father spent last weekend in Maine so we celebrated then. Yesterday one of Wayne’s daughters was in town and we met our grandson for the first time–he was born at the beginning of Covid. What a little cutie he is! I love that I’m a grandma. Before we met them for lunch I did a little picking at a rummage and yard sale, and came home with some sweet glass and artwork:

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Meditations with Summer Tomatoes

Since we first started an annual summer vegetable garden in 2016, I’ve experienced the deep healing that can occur from its creation, care and harvest. Last year I discovered that I really enjoy the task of tomato tying. Sometimes, maybe you can relate, my mind will get tangled up with worries. It never fails that when I go outside to tie the growing tomatoes to their stakes that I immediately relax and let go of it all. It’s a very simple task where I can show my appreciation for the plants and God. They leave a relaxing scent on my hands, too. I’m able to temporarily transcend my temporal concerns and feel connected to the real world of earth, sun and sustenance. It’s these “small” tasks that feed us.

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Our Two Acre Homestead is now a Certified Wildlife Habitat!

I’m thrilled to report that our land is now registered and certified by the National Wildlife Foundation as a wildlife habitat! Many of you know how hard I’ve worked over the past few years to embrace a natural lawn without the use of herbicides. I’ve fought to protect our vernal pool from abutting disturbances, turned down an offer from a local real estate broker who wanted to buy some of our land, and had our vernal pool documented by the Maine DEP to prevent improper development in the future once I’m no longer here to protect it. We also have a stream, woods, owls, fern garden, and lots of wildlife! Chipmunks, squirrels, peepers, voles, deer, wild turkeys and many other different species of birds live amongst us. We have all of the five essential elements needed to become certified, and one of them is controlling invasive species which includes keeping cats indoors if you have them. You don’t need to have a large backyard or acreage to become certified!

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Hedge Fund Investments: Divine Dividends

When most people think of a house as being an investment, it means they spend money on things that will contribute to financial gain when they sell it in a few years or more. We live in a culture of a “starter home” mentality where the belief is that one should always be buying something bigger and more expensive when able. When I bought my house my goal was for it to be my “forever” home, so one of my long-term investments for which I’m now enjoying the gains are my natural window treatments of the street-facing windows in my sunroom. A small investment in two potted perennials which have been nurtured for ten years have blossomed into the gorgeous privacy screen of my dreams!

What are some long-term investments you’ve made in your home simply for the joy it brings you and not because your ROI will be financial gain?

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