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 Living in an outdated cottage isn’t just about pretty vintage linens and decor.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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Presents of Presence

“Living in the past” can mean different things to different people, but what I sometimes forget is that it can include five minutes ago, not just fifty years ago. What’s specifically on my mind and I’m sure many of you is that this pandemic is going to be around for a long time. The “normal” we once knew before Covid does not exist. It sure seemed like we were almost back to it this summer! Then a few weeks ago it was evident that wasn’t the case. Yesterday I received an email that the outdoor fall fair for which we had purchased tickets this summer was cancelled. I was so bummed!

If I resent the present because it’s not like the past then I’m not going to be content. It doesn’t mean I don’t have my feelings about it! I do not like what’s happening. It’s very scary. But there is still so much beauty all around. The simple things I’ve always enjoyed are even more sacred to me now. Appreciation elevates the “ordinary”. Entitlement brings you down and demeans natural gifts.

I hope you are all safe and finding ways to stay centered and hopeful! How are you all doing? Lurkers that includes you! Please check in in the comments. You can of course remain anonymous!

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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Reader Question: Do you have a Secret Garden?

When I was living on Roosevelt Island in New York City I discovered a small area that was, in retrospect, a terrible place for me to sit as far as chemicals go! It was a bit of a landfill with empty barrels. But it also had trees. So before school, wearing my Sony Walkman headphones around my neck, I’d bring my bagel from the diner and sit in the relative silence and stillness. It was wonderful! I was able to feel moments of calm during an otherwise chaotic and painful time. It was my secret getaway.

I’d love to know if you, my dear readers, have a special place in nature, or close to it? It can be a beautiful place outside or a potted plant by a window that brings you comfort…

A Fairy Patch

It’s raining again today and I’m not sure our tomato plants are going to be able to survive. I can’t cut any more diseased leaves off because if I do there won’t be any plants left. I’ve invested at least an hour a day in them since May so it feels like a personal loss. I’m losing hope of ever having my favorite homegrown tomato sandwiches this summer. Yesterday, however, we had a day of sunshine.

Wayne and I went for a drive to visit some special places including a secret garden. Although I was surrounded by beauty I couldn’t shake off a deep melancholy that had set in. I felt powerless. Finally I stopped fighting it and let myself feel sad. It was then that I saw a chipmunk dart across my path and I went over to where it led me. It was a little patch of fairyland!

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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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