Wednesday, December 27, 2017


ABC Wednesdasy
December 27th, 2017

The letter is Y for Yesteryear

Times gone by........

"That one of the most striking lines of poetry on beauty's impermanence
was written by a priest-killer and a thief, 
is among literary history's many seeming incongruencies".

"Where are the snows of yesteryear"

appears in a ballade in the middle of Francois Villons "Testament"
a long, otherwise irreverent poem 
skewering French noblemen, priests and prostitutes.

Villon wrote the poem in a Paris prison,  and was
never heard from again after being banished from Paris.

But Dante Gabriel Rosetti was one of the first
to translate the famous ballade into English,

coining the word "yesteryear: to capture the sense
of the French word 'anten'
which means 'last year' but also 'once' or 'in the past'.

D.H. Lawrence, in 1928, included in Lady Chatterley's Lover
the haunting question

"Where are the snows of Yesteryear"

Here are the snows of today....

More Ys here at ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

ABC Wednesday
December 20th, 2017

The letter is
for The OXEN by Thomas Hardy.

The Oxen

by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
an Elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in the hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years!  Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come, see the oxen kneel,

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

This poem has been with me for a long, long time
and when I was first married,
a city girl, learning to love the farm,
I was tempted on those Christmas Eves,
at midnight,
to slip into the barn
where the cow and the ewes
 and an occasional early lamb dwelt,

"Hoping it might be so"

More Xs here at ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Oh Well.....blame it on the warp and weft.

ABC Wednesday
December 13th, 2017
The letter this week is evidently W
for Warp and for Weft

It seems I missed a week somehow during the first part of December!!!

How did I do that?

Oh, I know how I did that - 

I was so delighted to have my eight shaft dressed and in harness 

and was too busy throwing the WEFT through the WARP

and making kitchen towels to give away at Christmas.

Just a little short Warp to help balance the loom

while my son  patiently tied

all the cords and the strings and the heddles

to dress Her Ladyship.

More Ws here at ABC Wednesday
now we're back on track.

Vintage Christmas

ABC Wednesday
The letter is V, for Vintage Christmas cards and music
December 13th, 2017

Those Vintage years, 
when Christmas meant more than a rush to get ready......

And each of these cards was accompanied
by a loving Christmas letter......

some lovely Christmas music to waft through the house
while you write those
messages of friendship and love from tender hearts

Dinah Shore

more Vs here at ABC Wednesday

Sunday, December 03, 2017

The First Sunday in Advent

December 3rd, 2017

The First Sunday of Advent

I rummage around in a box of old candles

which we have accumulated lo, these many years, -

and I find the stub of a little purple

wax wonder.

I put it in a small brass cup passed down

from my grandmother's house

first putting a bit of wax in the bottom

to make it stand true and sturdy.

Then I set it alight in the middle of the table,

and left it glowing while I breakfasted

and contemplated Advent.

There is Lent

and then there is Advent

and somehow Advent 

has always been for me

the time of soul searching...

busy as it is, with glitter and greenery,

it has always meant for me a time of

small quiet minutes in the midst of baking

or wrapping, or writing cards of love and greeting....

a time of wonder at the reality of our life,

here on earth,

and what it is meant to be.

" Emanuel
You come in silence
to my world of crooked noisy places,
places rough with agendas
that leave me bruised,
spirit light low,
a bare glowing ember.

I will give you quiet moments,
bits of silence stolen
in the clamor of the streets.

Let my silence straighten
a way for you
to smooth my rough spots,
to heal my bruised spirit,
to fan my faith's faint flame,
to prepare in me a vessel
for your incarnation."

A poem by Lisa Wells Isenhower
for which I have much empathy.

and I am reminded too of Mary Oliver's lovely poem

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good,
you do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

When the children were growing up
Sunday dinner in the Advent season always included
an Advent Wreath
which the children took turns lighting.

There was also a little box of names to draw from,
and to be kept secret throughout the week,
but with the understanding
(and expectation)
that you would do something kind for that person
each day.

I hope this is a memory they have.....
and that it was an opportunity for them
to widen their thoughts beyond
Santa Claus
and the Christmas Pageant.

Post Script
I think that I was rather a naive mother...
as a matter of fact, the older I get and the more they confide 
(or reveal) 
the more I realize that this was surely the case.....

Friday, December 01, 2017

Then and now...

I sit at the breakfast table, lost in thought of bygone days, bygone Christmases and the people who made them so special.

I am waiting for my Daughter-in-law to arrive with cleaning supplies, as it has been deemed that I am too ancient to deal with deep cleaning of dark corners, and such....and she is coming to do those lowly tasks while I weave away merrily, trying to act my age.

I have every reason to be merry about my weaving.  Our youngest son turned the melancholy month of November into thirty days of delightful anticipation.

He came from the Chilcotin to rescue and restore my eight shaft Glimakra, which/who was put into retirement when we downsized and I no longer had a wonderful roomy studio for her to live in.

And when I felt I was no longer able to crawl into her nether parts to change treadles...

But Vince was, and he set her up, dressed her beautifully in new Texsolv lam and treadle cords, and was so meticulous about what he did, and how he did it, that when we pulled the Jack Pin all was in balance and ready for me to start weaving the warp I had put on when he started working.

It is possible that this video will not work, but even the photo gives
one a good idea of the patience and contemplation required!!

Shafts all even  - sheds amazing with no out-of-place threads for the shuttle to catch or run under...perfectly wonderful.  His father's son, no doubt about that!!!!

And I am so grateful......

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Unicorn, along with the Lion

ABC Wednesday
November 29th, 2017
the letter is U for Unicorn

Symbolic of the United Kingdom
Heraldic supporters, appearing
in the full
Royal Coat of Arms

This combination dates back to 1605 
and the accession of
James 1st of England,
who was already
James V1th of Scotland

It followed that this verse below
was written, read to
and recited
by the children of England.

(Did the Scottish children know it too??)

"The Lion and the Unicorn
Were fighting for the crown
The Lion beat the unicorn
All around the town.

Some gave them white bread,
And some gave them brown.
Some gave them plum cake
and drummed them out of town."

It's all terribly political,
both then, and perhaps now.

Lewis Carroll got involved with the Lion and the Unicorn
when he wrote "Alice in Wonderland"
as you might recall....

If it is a long time since you have read
about Alice and her adventures
down the rabbit-hole
now is a good time to refresh yourself....

Lots more Us here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who maintain this meme.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mr. Toad

ABC Wednesday
November 23rd, 2017

The letter is T for Mr. TOAD




Lots more Ts here at ABC Wednesday

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Akond of Swat

ABC Wednesday
November 15th, 3017

The letter is S for the Akhond of Swat

A truly living person who reigned for many peaceful
years in the Country of Swatz..

and upon whose death Edward Lear wrote the following!

Is he wise or foolish, young or old?
Does he drink his soup and his coffee cold,
                                                or HOT?
                                           The Akond of Swat?

Does he sing or whistle, jabber or talk,
And when riding abroad does he gallop or walk,
                                                or TROT?
                                           The Akond of Swat?

Does he wear a turban, a fez, or a hat?
Does he sleep on a mattress, a bed, or a mat,
                                                or a COT?
                                           The Akond of Swat?

When he writes a copy in round-hand size,
Does he cross his T's and finish his I's
                                                with a DOT?
                                           The Akond of Swat?

Can he write a letter concisely clear
Without a speck or a smudge or smear
                                                or BLOT?
                                           The Akond of Swat?

Do his people like him extremely well?
Or do they, whenever they can, rebel,
                                                or PLOT?
                                           The Akond of Swat?

If he catches them then, either old or young,
Does he have them chopped in pieces or hung,
                                                or shot?
                                           The Akond of Swat?

Do his people prig in the lanes or park?
Or even at times, when days are dark,
                                           O the Akond of Swat?

Does he study the wants of his own dominion?
Or doesn't he care for public opinion
                                                a JOT?
                                           The Akond of Swat?

To amuse his mind do his people show him
Pictures, or any one's last new poem,
                                               or WHAT?
                                           For the Akond of Swat?

At night if he suddenly screams and wakes,
Do they bring him only a few small cakes,
                                               or a LOT?
                                           For the Akond of Swat?

Does he live on turnips, tea, or tripe?
Does he like his shawl to be marked with a stripe,
                                               or a DOT?
                                         The Akond of Swat?

Does he like to lie on his back in a boat
Like the lady who lived in that isle remote,
                                         The Akond of Swat?

Is he quiet, or always making a fuss?
Is his steward a Swiss or a Swede or a Russ,
                                              or a SCOT?
                                         The Akond of Swat?

Does he like to sit by the calm blue wave?
Or to sleep and snore in a dark green cave,
                                              or a GROTT?
                                         The Akond of Swat?

Does he drink small beer from a silver jug?
Or a bowl? or a glass? or a cup? or a mug?
                                              or a POT?
                                         The Akond of Swat?

Does he beat his wife with a gold-topped pipe,
When she lets the gooseberries grow too ripe,
                                              or ROT?
                                         The Akond of Swat?

Does he wear a white tie when he dines with friends,
And tie it neat in a bow with ends,
                                              or a KNOT?
                                         The Akond of Swat?

Does he like new cream, and hate mince-pies?
When he looks at the sun does he wink his eyes,
                                              or NOT?
                                         The Akond of Swat?

Does he teach his subjects to roast and bake?
Does he sail about on an inland lake,
                                              in a YACHT?
                                         The Akond of Swat?

Some one, or nobody, knows I wot
Who or which or why or what
                                         Is the Akond of Swat!

More interesting Ss here at ABC Wednesday!!

Monday, November 06, 2017


ABC Wednesday
November 8th, 2017

The letter is R for Remembrance

When you go home

tell them of us, and say,

for their tomorrow 

we gave our today

John Maxwell Edmonds

more Rs here at abc wednesday

Monday, October 30, 2017

A quote by Anna Quindlen

ABC Wednesday
November 1st, 2017

The Letter is Q for Quote and Quindlen

I have just finished reading Miller's Valley

by Anna Quindlen

I have a feeling that I have used Quindlen before

in my search for ABC Wednesday's quirkiest letter

but Miller's Valley did not exist then,

although many of Anna Quindlen's other books

had delighted me.

An American author, journalist and opinion columnist

I first discovered her when I read

"A Short Guide to a Happy Life"

and she says of her writing that it is always about families,

they being the metaphor of all of living.

And it is so with Miller's Valley.

Read it if you can, - you will love it!!

As to one of her quotes...

"Think of Life as a terminal illness,
because if you do you will live
it with joy and passion, 
as it ought to be lived".

More interesting Qs here at ABC Wednesday...

Saturday, October 28, 2017

This and that....

October 28th,  2017

Saturday evening, and I wore myself out in the garden today, snipping back spent flowers and plants and preparing the beds for winter.  I am about half way finished, and the wheelbarrow is piled high!!!

A cup of tea, a cookies, and a little nap revived me enough that I was able to start winding the warp  for my new planned project on the loom, having finished the last batch of tea towels. 

as they came from the loom

washed, pressed and awaiting hemming

This warp is delightful, - not as long, nor as wide - prospects of beaming and threading and sleying just eight inches of ends instead of twenty-four.  
The warp is a lovely wheat coloured Bambu and the weft a delicious yellow.....

I can hardly wait, but there are only a few days left to enjoy lovely October sunshine
and brilliant blue October skies
while I fill the wheelbarrow and feed the compost bin.

And then the Melancholy Month of November....

ah well - Christmas comes after and I have lots of weaving plans
for November.

Monday, October 23, 2017

ABC Wednesday
October 25th, 2017
The letter is P for Polliwog

Do you remember,
or did you ever
bring a bucket of frog spawn home with you
from the lake, or the pond???

And then watch it,
day by day, as the eggs developed into tadpoles
and then the tadpoles into

The word "polliwog" comes from the old English
Pol meaning head
and Wygle - to wiggle.

And how they do wiggle!!

Here is a nice poem by Albert Garcia
entitled "Frog Eggs'

They started as a small slime
of black dots.  After
wading through the pond
you and the boys,
sloshing a plastic bucket,
poured brackish water
into a clear bowl, and there
they were, a little jelly packet
of lives that grew daily
under our magnifying glass.
They're turning flat,
you tell me as you peer in
this afternoon, and I admit
I'm as caught up in this
as the boys who announce
any wiggle, any sign
of the tail, legs, gills.
But I'm content
to watch you watch the eggs, you
hovering over the bowl,
hair encircling your face
like dark ferns surrounding a pool
before a waterfall,
holding, accentuating the light.

and a light video on the life of a frog
hosted by Kermit!!!

There must be something to be said
for those lazy, hazy
polliwog days!!!

For more Ps visit here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to those who maintain this meme.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

O is for Owl

ABC Wednesday
October 18th, 2017

O is for Owl, and for Mary Oliver

Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard

by Mary Oliver

His beak could open a bottle,
and his eyes - when he lifts their soft lids -
go on reading something
just beyond your shoulder -
Blake maybe,
or the Book of Revelation.

Never mind that he eats only
the black-smocked crickets,
and dragonflies if they happen
to be out late over the ponds, and of course
the occasional festal mouse.
Never mind that he is only a memo 
from the offices of fear -

it's not size but surge that tells us
when we're in touch with something real,
and when I hear him in the orchard
down the little aluminum
ladder of his scream -
when I see his wings open, like two black ferns,

a flurry of palpitations
as cold as sleet
rackets across the marshlands
of my heart,
like a wild spring day

Somewhere in the universe,
in the gallery of important things,
the babyish owl, ruffled and rakish,
sits on its pedestal.
Dear, dark dapple of plush!
A message reads the label,
from that mysterious conglomerate:
Oblivion and Co.
The hooked head stares
from its blouse of dark, feathery lace.
It could be a valentine.

Lots more interesting Os here, at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to those who maintain this meme.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Swan Lake (Part 7)

Sunday Evening
October 15th, 2017

This afternoon I watched 
Anthony Dowell's legendary production of Swan Lake, 
which includes designs inspired by Imperial Russia of 1895, 
when the ballet was first performed.

A few weeks ago I watched Swan Lake
 as performed by a
 less dramaticaly costumed company.

Very beautiful
 but lacking the verve 
which you will see if you watch the video above!

Sorry for the poor quality of the video, 
but even with the little flashing interruptions
 I found this fun to watch....

This is part 7 of the production..
Youtube has videos of the rest of this production
of Swan Lake
(in small portions)
which you might be enticed to watch
if you are a ballet fan.....

If not, perhaps you love children dancing???

Along with Tchaikovsky's beautiful music


Friday, October 13, 2017

The garden in October

October 13th, 2017

I had meant to post this earlier.

The title of this poem is

October 10th

and it describes so beautifully

the little jungle out the back,

we call the garden.

Now constantly there is the sound,
quieter than rain,
of the leaves falling.

Under their loosening bright
gold, the sycamore limbs
bleach whiter.

Now the only flowers
are beeweed and aster, spray
of their white and lavender
over the brown leaves.

The calling of a crow sounds
loud - a landmark - now
that the life of summer falls
silent, and the nights grow.
Wendell Berry

I have just come in from walking with Bruce 
in the quickening dusk of autumn.

Reading Wendell Berry I am reminded
of our early days farming,
and the part Louis Bromfield played
in our philosophy of farming,
and his influence on us
in establishing a flock of sheep
in the orchard.

An early Wendell Berry.

I search the shelves for his 'Malibar Farms"
but it seems to have disappeared
(probably on the shelves of one of the children)
and I have to be content with his novel
'Early Autumn'

It takes me back.
and the memories are so good....

Monday, October 09, 2017

Ogden Nash and his search for his Noumenon

ABC Wednesday
October 11th, 2017

The letter is N for Nash and Noumenon

Ogden Nash, 1902-1971

  1. A writer of droll and humourous verse
with unconventional rhyming

and spelling.

Regarded with great respect by the Literary Establishment!

A collection of his books have been on my shelves

since the mid forties...

and in the one entitled "Good Intentions"

is this verse.

"Has anybody seen my Noumenon"

There is one point which I am more than human on,
And that's a noumenon.

On due reflection we are apt to find
That it is noumenons which lead us to believe that just this once
two pairs will beat three of a kind.

It is noumenons which whisper to our heart
that our futures will be better than our yores

And noumenons which encourage us to laugh off
the black clouds in the west and go ahead
and move the supper table out of doors.

It is noumenons which convince you that you can meet
the next tax installment without have set aside
the sum that is requisite,

And noumenons which stir the fancy that M. Lavel
may someday reject an order from Berlin with a cry
of "Ze hequisite."

It is noumenons which, if you have no excuse
for flouting natural laws, they supply it,
Such as kindlng the hope that you can remain trim
and lissome at forty without the nuisance
of exercise or diet,

So now I shall go out and consume a hearty lunch,
but I know I shall remain trim and lissome in spite of it,
because I have a strong noumenon,
or overwhelming hunch."

Which brings us to the point where we must define a noumenon

Ogden Nash interpretation

* an object known only by intuition,
apart from any evidence of the senses.

In other words,  existence without sense or perception

can't see, can't touch

KANT explains all this in his philosophy
but I think I go with Nash

"an overwhelming hunch"

easier than trying to interpret Kant

More Ns here at ABC Wednesday
enjoy, with thanks to those who maintain ABC

Friday, October 06, 2017

October 6th, 2017

Early in the Garden

I do rise early
partly because by six o'clock my knees are whining and whingeing 
and begging to be up and moving, 
and partly because I know Bruce has one ear cocked
 and is about to clatter down the hallway, 
waiting to go out and greet the morning.

This morning was no exception.
It was dusky when we first arose
but by the time
I had pressed the button on the coffee maker
daylight was brightening
and soon the air was suffused
with a most beautiful rosy glow.

Bruce bounded out to greet the day...
I went more sedately with my ipad....
both of us glad to be out and about!

The garden was quiet 
with the lovely early morning stillness
autumn brings.

I took some pictures,
and some of them so delighted me I have them
in my header, up above.

Here are a few more...

and in the house a whole day of weaving awaited me....

Life is good!!