It was in the 1980s during my undergrad years at University of Maine in Orono when I had a memorable lunch at a “non-traditional” classmate’s house. We had been assigned to a small group to work on a project, the specifics of which I don’t recall. What I do remember is that the classmate who was hosting us was in her forties and had just finished hiking the entire Appalachian Trail with her partner which I really admired. She served us a very simple brothy bean soup that was completely vegan. It was one of the most flavorful yet basic soups I had ever had. I learned that good, filling food doesn’t have to be complex and can be affordable, even for starving students. (Admittedly that may have added to the flavor!) In any case, I still love a simple bean soup, and here is a personal recipe:
Here’s a simple evening exercise to help you gently step away from overly complicated living. One of the greatest conveniences of brief mental time travel (or going off the cultural grid) is that it doesn’t cost anything. No fancy machinery, expensive tickets, long lines, or invasive security searches need be involved. In fact it’s the opposite!
If you’re not from Maine, you might think the above photo is of a homemade Mounds candy bar. You’re close! But you’d probably be shocked to learn that they contain mashed potatoes in the coconut centers! They are a delicious traditional Maine candy called “Needhams” which have also historically been called “potato candy” or “potato fudge”. However, if you are from Maine and familiar with Needhams you may be surprised to discover that the modern version has gone far astray from yesterday’s healthier and more wholesome homemade versions dating as far back as 1924.
One of our wedding gifts was a pair of brass candlesticks that we decided to place in Wayne’s office. When I saw how nice they looked I wanted to keep an eye out for others knowing they add a romantic touch to winter. It’s always a difficult mental and emotional transition in November when the sun sets before 4:30 p.m. so natural light is a gift. Then, a few weeks ago at an estate sale I saw vintage brass and hand blown glass candlesticks on the floor and mantle of the home’s fireplace! I made a beeline and bought all of them for only $40. (It was also Wayne’s first ever estate sale with me since he used to work Saturdays until recently which makes them extra special.) As a wedding gift to ourselves we completed them by ordering a beautiful selection of beeswax candles made in the U.S.A. to replace the cheap and toxic paraffin tapers in use.
Last weekend was the grande finale for our honeymoon in New England! Our first stop was at a little antique school house in New Hampshire to have a hearty new England breakfast.
Wayne and I left early yesterday morning to head over to Sunday River Ski Resort to take a scenic ski lift ride. It was another great addition to our Autumn in New England Honeymoon Weekends!
Saturday was sunny and crisp. We left early for a day trip up coastal Route One to the charming town of Camden, Maine with stops in between; our first was the Maine State Prison Showroom in Thomaston.
With my acceptance of the impermanence of things has come an increasing rejection of disposables, in particular paper napkins. For many years I’ve collected vintage kitchen linens that amassed in my cupboards. I’ve been using my vintage tea towels for nine years now to dry my dishes after I moved here (no dishwasher), but napkins, however, were off-limits because I was worried about them getting stained. I enjoyed keeping them “new” and simply admired them from time to time except for use on special occasions. However, when I broke open the still packaged mind-century cloth napkins to use on the honeymoon harvest table earlier this week it got me thinking: Why not enjoy what I have right now? Isn’t being alive and well enough to eat and having a full plate of food a special occasion?! Isn’t that a way to not just say grace at a meal but show it?!
Pretty things don’t need to stay sealed and safe because life can get dirty. It’s because life can get dirty that I want to stay clean, with style.
We aren’t going on a traditional honeymoon. In lieu of traveling someplace for a week or so we’re enjoying fall in New England which is living our dream. Today we went apple picking at an organic orchard in Hiram, ate at a new-to-us airport diner in Limington and explored antique shops in Cornish.
I have two cedar chests filled with vintage linens and drapes which has enabled me to have fun changing things up from time to time. All (including the chests) were acquired at estate sales over the past two decades.* For the last couple of years I’ve been using floral and striped bed linens in orange and yellow that coordinate with my 1960s orange curtains for a groovy feel. My pink chenille bedspread and pink bedding has been stored unused since I originally purchased them years ago, and this morning I knew I needed to put that disuse to bed! But with which curtains? Surely not my orange curtains….or could I?