Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cosmic Thoughts

This is the COG crossing a stile.

The COG's last name comes from 'stile' which is a structure allowing people to cross through or over a fence or boundary, while keeping the animals confined.  My last name comes from the word 'bridge',  a structure allowing people to cross over a river, ravine, road or other barrier. Presumably each of us had an ancestor who lived by one of these structures and who became known by the name of the structure. And here we both are, millennia later, still straddling two worlds.

It's sometimes difficult to feel as if I have two places where I belong. Two places where I want to be. I've always kind of envied people who live in the same place all their lives and run into people they've known as long as they can remember at the supermarket or the library.  But then I think of what I would give up, if I only had one place, if I'd never left home. Then, feeling divided seems a small price to pay.

Every place you go, you miss something you left behind. But if you never go anywhere, you miss all the things you would have discovered in new places.

So, no complaints. In fact, I kind of like the sense that I am somehow fulfilling an imperative built into my DNA.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Has this happened to you?

I had a stack of nice clean towels to put away.

But the linen closet was stuffed so full and was such a mess that there was no room. I had to pull out a few things to refold them.

Before long,  I had emptied the whole linen closet on the floor.  But why stop there -  why not include the linens in the trunk in my bedroom?

I pulled everything out of the trunk in my bedroom to discover that a lot of it had been discolored by the unpainted wood inside the trunk.  Searched the internet for cleaning suggestions and soaked and washed them. And, with all the stuff on the floor next to the linen closet, I took the time to paint three coats of paint in the trunk before putting anything back.

I started sorting. I made 3 stacks: 'discard', 'keep', and 'what the heck is it' - the latter being mostly white sheets of unknown size.

I went to Target to get the same boxes I always use when organizing anything and discovered that they don't carry them in white anymore - only deep purple, lime green, and black.  (?? what? who thought that was a good idea?) After some hunting, I found a similar kind of box at a different store.

So I refolded and sorted like with like,  in labelled plastic bags and then into the boxes by size (twin/double/queen).  I had a marathon session on the computer printing labels for everything.
I sorted towels by color and size and pruned a large number of unneeded towels and sheets. Which necessitated a trip to the vet, because they re-use old linens for bedding.

In the linen closet, I found a lovely piece of fabric - sheer cotton organdy with dragonflies painted on it - just big enough for the window in the bathroom.  I quickly stitched up the curtain - a panel with hems at top and bottom and found a tension rod to hang it with.

But then,  I discovered the window in the bathroom rather desperately needed painting- the inner frame only had a thin primer on it. So I put three coats on the window and the dormer around it, finishing yesterday, and today I hung the curtain after it dried.

It has taken 10 days or so to finally finish what I started when I went to put that stack of towels away. And I didn't even paint the inside of the linen closet, which I want to do but decided to defer.

Wo-he-lo, Campfire Sisters

I've been discussing pine trees over at the FrenchKate blog and the discussion reminded me of a Campfire Pledge.  I must have learned this when I was about 9 and I have never forgotten it.  I'm pretty sure they must have changed the wording since the 1960s.

As faggots are brought from the forest,
Firmly held by the sinews that bind them,
I will cleave to my Campfire sisters,
Wherever, whenever I find them.

I will strive to be straight like the Pine Tree,
To be pure in my deepest desire,
To be true to the truth that is in me,
And follow the law of Campfire.

Note: I love Google - this is called the Wood-Gatherers Desire and dates to 1914.  It must have been changed before I learned it in the late 1950's because I stand by my memory of the pine tree and the first person.  Perhaps it's just not used anymore.  Also, I find the note by the first line 'here faggot means a bundle of twigs tied together' kind of hilarious.  Way to suggest to 9 year olds that there are other meanings not used here.

Here it is the version I found online:

WOOD GATHERER's DESIRE (1914) (spoken)
As fagots are brought from the forest ["Fagot" here means "a bundle of sticks tied together."]
Firmly held by the sinews which bind them,
So cleave to these others, your sisters,
Wherever, whenever you find them.
Be strong as the fagots are sturdy,
Be pure in your deepest desire;
Be true to the truth that is in you;
And--follow the Law of the Fire.

Short Video of Kitchen Garden at Standen

Friday, April 13, 2012

Kitchen Garden at Standen

We saw a wonderful Arts and Crafts house while in Brighton. Now owned by the National Trust, the house, Standen, was designed by Philip Webb and decorated by William Morris and other artists in his circle. The house was wonderfully liveable, but it was the Kitchen Garden that was my favorite part of the day. The gardens of National Trust properties are always full of wonderful ideas, but this was great, even for them. And the cafe at Standen uses the produce for it's menu, which is another very nice thing about National Trust properties.

This first picture gives a sense of the size of the kitchen garden and you can see that it was entirely enclosed by a hedge, with a gate at least 3 of the 4 sides.

Among the many delights of the garden are the old espaliered fruit trees, which function almost as architecture in the garden.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Don't these lovely tulips look cheerful on the counter behind the sink.