4/20/2015

TO LIVE DIFFERENTLY

    
There isn't a week that goes by that someone doesn't ask us, why did we move to this small town?  For the most part, I think they're truly interested in why we chose to live here, but I always hear a little condemnation in their voices.  For the folks that have grown up here, they understand.  They say they wouldn't live anywhere else, but as for the new generations, they only see what the rumors and the gossip wants them to see.  You see, there's poverty here, houses that have been swallowed up by the pine forests, store fronts that are empty and falling apart, vacant schools and buildings, no jobs and no economy, no stability.  It's the poorest county in the state, but it used to be the wealthiest, and if you look closely you will see that.  I only write about this because the questions and the judgments happened again this weekend, and after defining my thoughts about the house, the town and our decisions, I've finally come to the point that I no longer feel we need to justify anything.

There's land to the left, land to the right, the vegetable garden on one side and the ivy garden on the other.  A good amount we have, maybe just a little too much for us, but this is our world right now, one we happily chose.  It's where the flower garden and the family parties and the vegetable dreams are. This is where they live, and every day they burst open a little more and show themselves in golden sparkling ways.  The tearful laughter, full hearts, content stomachs, tiny new buds, strong arching branches,  delicate white petals, these are all their gifts.  Those are what are important to us. Our desire wasn't for bigger or smaller, richer or poorer, our desire was for different.

Embracing the seasons, the land, ours and around us, the people of this very small town and their hard work
 
Nurturing our own hard work, kinder giving hearts, our passions, family, friends, time together and the in-between times to slow down

Living with less stuff and more space, with things that tell a story, ours or others, and to always be mindful of the privilege we have of living in a historical home.   
 
That's what different is to us.  And different will make us richer in so many ways. We're sure of that.


Aside from that this weekend,  I started digging up old quartz rocks that lay buried deep in the red clay.  I can tell they were paths from long ago, some of them leading to nowhere.  My plan is to put a special ending on each of them, like the arbor we were lucky to find a few weekends ago.  That happens to us a lot, we just luck into the thing I'm looking for, and even better, the people we meet.  Some of them we still talk about twenty years later. 
I wonder what they would think if they knew that . . . or if anyone talks about us?

I hope you all have a beautiful start of the week!
 

4/17/2015

A CREATIVE PLAN




























April showers are here. They came three days ago and haven't left, only giving up brief pauses, just long enough to check on the garden or brush off the endlessly muddy rug.  It feels more like a midwestern spring day to me, where the gray and the black and the yellow and the green sky tumbles and mixes, grabs a ray of sun and becomes brighter than a sunny day.  Then, in an instant, turns darker than night.  And when the light does return again, everything is a beautiful shade of sunny green bean on the vine and there's not one trace of storm in the sky.  There's always a rainbow. Hopefully you see the rainbow.  That's how I remember spring in Nebraska.
 
I welcome the rain.  It's soaking deep in the ground, feeding the vegetables and flowers and popping up little purple and pink weeds. They're coming up in perfect little patches of color so they get to stay.  It's washing the deck and filling the birdbaths and has taken away the guilt of not working outside while I've been a little under the weather this week.
 
Inside, good things are happening, projects are started, ideas are written down and a creative plan is taking shape.  Mostly, it's a plan to find a place for me, something of my own, a way to be creative and a way to contribute. But what I'm finding, though it's my endeavor, is that we're coming up with ideas together, sitting at the table after dinner, talking and brainstorming like a good team. There's no doubt we are, a good team.  I look around our house and it amazes me and makes me so proud of what we've done together.

Certainly we can put together a little shop on the edge of our property, just on the edge of town.


Remember the windows that peek through the trees?
 

4/15/2015

A VISIT TO THE GIRL AND HER GRAPES

Remember the girl and her market stand that I found last fall, who so sweetly shared with me a bowl of grapes from her vineyard. As I drove the back way into town yesterday I saw her freshly painted signs along the side of the road, finally she's open again.  

We went by later in the afternoon and interrupted her while she was twisting grapevines down the sides of the stand.  She was just as friendly as I remember, asking us how we liked living here and all about the house.  She showed us baby rabbits and took us on a short tour of the new rows she planted in the vineyard, like an old best friend.  And then, just as cute as can be, she turns towards Chad and asks him if we've planted a garden and how it's coming along. 

 
I do believe she has a little crush on him. 
 
He answered  and they talked for awhile, mostly about simple stuff, dirt, chickens, grapes and the rain.  And then the big gray cloud that had been looming all afternoon finally opened up and poured down a warm spring shower on us. The rabbits scurried and she quickly filled us a basket with vegetables for dinner and told us how happy she is that we're here.  Out my window I watched her wave goodbye to us all the way down the road.
 
My heart swells at the goodness of people. 
 
It's dark and cool today, more like a spring day back home.  I put a big pot of vegetables on the stove to simmer all day, and if it turns out good, I think I'll take her a bowl.
 
 
Thank you so much for your compliments on our new kitchen.  It's finally all coming together around here. 
 

4/12/2015

HOW THE KITCHEN CAME TO BE

I was up this morning before the sun, and the birds come to think of it.  I tiptoed out of the bedroom and came downstairs to a dark and very quiet kitchen.  Chad and the cat and all the creatures outside were still sound asleep and I sat at the table waiting for the sun and for everyone to rise. Waiting for the day, but yet, hoping it would linger on just a little longer.

Chad turns 40 something today so I made him a birthday breakfast. Usually he likes a calm day with no balloons, no parties, no surprises. Sometimes he spends most of it alone, contemplating his life I guess, but we always do breakfast together. 

And as I was preparing everything,  I found myself thinking of all the wives and mothers before me who cooked meals for their families in this kitchen.  How many celebrations, after school snacks or intimate dinners have taken place in this very same room.  Did you know that there are nearly 49,000 days in 134 years?  That's nearly too big for me to grasp.  Certainly, things have been changed through the years, but the soul of this room, I can tell you, has not.  It's the life of this home today, as I'm sure it always was.


Unfortunately squatters who lived here with no electricity and no running water, left it in the filthiest, most deplorable condition I have ever seen.  I almost didn't give the rest of the house a chance.  The more we stood in kitchen though and came up with ideas,  the more I knew the little twinge in the bottom of my stomach that kept telling me that I will come to love this room, was probably right.  It became stronger than my desire to run away.  I could see myself sitting at the table by the windows, early in the morning with a cup of tea watching the sun rise through the branches of the old trees . . . just what this very morning was made of.

I said here that this room was a mix of compromise, and it was, every single day.  We had one common goal though and that was to make it warm,  inviting and simple.  Nothing fancy, trendy or expensive we agreed.  I got black open shelves and he got to choose the stove.  I got an old primitive cabinet for a pantry and he got to choose the refrigerator.  We both got the white washed floors and we both agreed that the fireplace will one day be the center of everything that happens in this room.  Everything in here has come from an estate sale, a thrift store, or simply just found.  There is more history and stories weaved into this room now than I can imagine.  I do wish the walls really could talk.

The sun streams in all day long.  That's my favorite thing about the kitchen, the sun.  Sitting at the table in the warmth, like a comfy chair and a good book in the living room, it's so simple but so pleasant.  So worth slowing down for.  That's what our lives are now, that's what this kitchen is, simple and pleasant.  I'm sure that's what we talked about the day we stood in the middle of the filth and that little twinge told me to wait and see.            

So this was today, another beautiful one, joining the 49,000 others.