Not All Are Welcome. Jesus Loves You.

Four years ago Wayne and I wanted to attend a service at an Epsicopal chapel in a tony area but we were told we were not welcome because they were not open to the public. Services were for the “locals” only. It’s not a good feeling to be turned away from a church that has an “All Welcome” sign in the front. One doesn’t expect a church to be run like a country club, but to be clear we no longer were interested in attending services there. Even so there is a kind of outrage and sadness at the mentality and hypocrisy.

I just had a somewhat similar experience only this was at the level of state government. Maine has a “Maine Made” program with the mission to “build recognition for Maine products, their producers, and Maine industries.” As a Maine business in good standing for twenty years (and I pay the state $85 annually just so I can be in business), I wanted to apply to once again have a business profile on their website now that I have my new line of Christmas luminaries. I had been a member for over a decade until I took a break from making cards and crafts four years ago. Now they are more exclusive and only accept people whose products have been in existence for three years with a few thousand minimum in sales of that product the year prior. The program director told me that when I reached a point where I had to “quit my day job” was when I could contact them to apply.

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Vintage Maine Recipe: Banana Fritters

I have too many bananas that ripened at once so I decided we’re going to have banana fritters for dinner. This simple, thrifty, gluten-free recipe was inspired by Ms. Ann Knight’s 1930s version in The Fellowship Cook Book by Members and Friends of The Second Congregational Church in Norway, Maine. These fritters are mini pancakes with a creamy texture and taste best when hot from the skillet. They have no refined sugars other than the optional dusting of powdered sugar for presentation simply because they don’t need any!

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Thrifty Yankee $30 Transformation: Sun Room to Moon Room

In the twelve plus years I’ve lived in my home I’ve spent little time in my sunroom after dark other than occasional candlelight suppers. (Anyone else think of Hyacinth Bucket just now? Love that show!) For only $30 I transformed it into a jazzy “moon room” filled with dappled light that looks like moonlight through the trees. Jazz is courtesy of an independent music station broadcast from my a.m. transistor radio. I purchased hanging light globes and a couple of fairy-light lanterns on Amazon, all made with crackled glass and solar powered for greener, economic use. Read on to see the transformation!

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“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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