Sunday, February 5, 2017

Have Herbs, Will Travel

It's a simple pleasure for sure. And pretty much a just a summer thing.

Heading out of town with a bouquet of homegrown herbs in the drink holder for some seasonal cabin cuisine. 

Time to plan this year's kitchen garden. 

Basil, basil, tarragon, basil!

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme...

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dreamers Gotta Dream

Of a better world for man and beasts.

We all live under the same sun. 

One light, one sun... one sun lighting everyone.
One world world turning everyone.

One world, one home... one world home for everyone.
One dream, one song heard by everyone.

One love, one heart... one heart warming everyone.
One hope, one joy... one love filling everyone.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Just One in One Thousand

Somehow we just happened to notice that this post would be the 1,000th for NDL.

We deliberated about whether that called for something significant to mark the milestone. 

And then we thought, "nah", let's just carry on as we would have. 

So here is what was next in the queue of drafts. It is a photo taken last spring of a jumble sale sign from the UK village of Temple Guiting.

Make that an Extraordinary Jumble Sale sign!

Back in the  80's we read several books by Barbara Pym*. 

Mostly what we remember about them is that the characters were perpetually preparing for church jumble sales while having tea and talking with or about the vicar.

So imagine our delight to spot the jumble sale sign outside this lovely church yard,

across from a sunny tea room,

in a charming English village

on a beautiful day in the middle of a long ramble through the countryside.

The only thing missing really was a vicar sighting.

Sometimes we feel apologetic about the number of times we have traveled to the same country when there are so many other places under the sun that we have not seen. Days like this, however are why we return again and again. Every visit holds in store a new delight.

*Very coincidentally Wikipedia tells us that Barbara Pym died on this very date in 1980. It also tells us that " A superficial reading gives the impression that they are sketches of village or suburban life, and comedies of manners, studying the social activities connected with the Anglican church. Her works are deeper than that, however. She closely examines many aspects of women's and men's relations, including unrequited feelings of women for men, based on her own experience. The dialogue is often deeply ironic. A tragic undercurrent runs through some of the later novels." 

Looks like we will be putting Barbara Pym back on our book list to see what 35 additional years of life experience brings to a rereading.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Vintage Viscol for a Waterproof Winter

Get ready.

Triple action will be needed....

to get us through the rest of winter and...

April showers.

Pumps, Brogues, Sorrels, wellies, tennies, Birkies, Mary Janes, spectators, mules.

Protect them all with Viscol.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Redux

Blog - short for web log. Now a verb. "I am going to blog about day to day life and neighborhood happenings."

We're not in this for fame or fortune. Just to keep a record of things we see and do and like, but so far not the things that drive us crazy. We have tried harder than you may know to avoid "the rant" and keep this a positive place; a place of magical thinking you might even say. One day we may unleash some feelings about a few things (do not get us started on TV actors "drinking" and handling supposed hot, full cups of coffee), but that day is not today.

This month we are going back to 2016 to post some things seen (that are not sheep although we cannot promise there won't be any more sheep) with more, but probably less narrative. 

Let's start with....

Ed's Feed Service. We walked past this building in Bloomer, Wisconsin and were quite taken with it's ghostly grayness rising out of the gray day. So we took a phone photo that doesn't really do justice to its rural skyscraper architecture and history of being a place instrumental in helping Chippewa County farmers feed a lot of people and animals for a very long time.

A man named Travis Dewitz has taken some beautiful photos of this building, inside and out, front and back.

There is a story that involves the railroad tracks that run alongside Ed's Feed Service that is legend in a certain family, and probably all of the watering holes in Bloomer that may or may not have happened on exactly the piece of track that runs through the adjacent intersection, but is worth telling anyhow.

A man, let's call him Stan, drove up to the tracks just as a train was coming. As he stopped to wait for the train to pass he heard his father's voice from the past saying that it is not a good idea to put your car in Park while waiting for a train even if it looks to be a long one. Just at that moment a braking school bus coming up behind Stan's car slid on some ice and bumped it right onto the tracks as the train was bearing down. Because he had heeded his father's voice the car was still in Drive and he was able to take his foot off the brake, accelerate and clear the tracks just in the nick of time. The poor bus driver had to wait until the entire train had moved through the intersection before he could see what had happened to Stan. He was safe and sound on the other side. Whew! Small town tragedy averted.

Thank goodness for the voices in our heads. Most of them anyway.

Add this one to your collection if it is not already there and listen to it often.

 "Let's be careful out there."

And have a very good new year.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Cross Country Xmas

Wherever you are, whoever you're with, however you got there, for whatever amount of time you are together...

..have a very Merry Christmas with the ones you love.

Julie Paschkis card from Artists to Watch.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Really! They Were Just There a Minute Ago!

At the time we visited the quilt exhibit at the American Swedish Institute this delightful space was in place for the small visitors to the castle.

We entered the village walking past friendly trolls,

crossed over the old troll fishing hole,

stopped by the roaring felt campfire,

and finally arrived at the 

quilter's studio.

It was all very charming, but apparently we dreamed it or are seeing things.
Exhaustive attempts to search both the ASI website and the internet show no traces that the lovely little troll village does now, or ever did exist and is as imaginary as Gus the Griffin.

Oh well. You will just have to trust us that it was cute. In our dreams!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


The American Swedish Institute housed in the beautiful Turnblad Mansion

There were many interesting and provocative pieces on display,

but our favorites were the quilts of Minnesotan, Mary Chalmers

located and filling entirely the upper level ballroom.

This one is made of wool and intricately hand-stitched.

This one also.

The jewel tones of this garden lattice quilt are very pleasing

and the combination of contemporary Bali batik on a traditional ticking type stripe very clever and effective.

Sadly the exhibit ended in October, but in case you did not get a chance to attend we thought you might enjoy seeing a small selection of what was on display. 

In future will try to inform you in a more timely manner of events that might be of interest.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

There is a Balm in Bromeliad

The title of this post makes no sense, but it is what we think when we see or say "bromeliad".

Anyhoo.... this weird plant came from a a craft fair about five years ago. 

We were assured it would eventually bloom.

One day when giving it a drink down the center as we were instructed, and as it would naturally capture rain and dew, we saw this.

Which became this.

And then this.

And soon it was a real flower-like thing.

This pretty pink emergence is just an extension of the plant leaves as are the colored "petals" of the poinsettia plant.

But soon it started to send out true little flowerlettes from the bracts.

Multicolored no less.

Our reading about the life cycle of the bromeliad tells us that this lovely event is actually the beginning of the end.

The plant will start to slowly die, but if we are lucky it will send out some side shoots called "pups" that can be re-potted to start new plants. That is how we got ours. Apparently the lady who sold it to us has raised many litters of pups and finds good homes for all of them. No paper training or shots needed. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sheep Wreath

Sheep in the holiday spirit?

Can you guess how the farmer got his friendly beasts into this orderly formation?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Squash Justice

We had just three little Delicata squash on the vine in our community garden plot.

At the going rate of 68 cents per pound we thought we would at least break even on our investment in the two squash plants we had purchased at the clearance price of 79 cents each.

But then there were only two.

Squash thievery! 

We were very upset. More upset, some thought, than the situation warranted.

With our new, amazing, community garden "wildlife enclosure" (which is actually a "produce enclosure") it was unlikely the usual suspects, the Duncan Creek whitetail herd, were the culprits.

The generous soul in the household supposed someone hungry was benefiting from the free food.

The suspicious soul in the household who has observed youths pass through the garden on the way to the skate-park, basketball court, and swimming in the creek, felt that the oblong squash's resemblance to a football, and an overwhelming temptation to spiral one into the crick for a teenage version of Pooh Sticks was the likely motive.

In any case, the generous soul, when assigned to cut down the massive clump of comfrey growing next to our home compost bin found, hiding under the tangle of leaves, this beautiful little bonus, volunteer Sweet Dumpling sprouted from last year's discarded squash guts.

In telling this tale to another generous, wise, if only politely interested soul rooted in this household, he proclaimed it "Squash Justice". Hear, hear!

And so, whether a full belly from eaten squash, or the thrill of the toss of same was the mystery history of the Delicata, we wish the "borrower" well and hope it is the first in a series of pay it forward events.

Cucurbit Karma, if you will.

Peace, man.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Shotgun Wedding

We were at the John Michael Kohler Art Center and the event in their auditorium looked to be classy.
No air of hurriedly made arrangements.

Just a hint of true Wisconsin crept in with the golden shotgun shell boutonnieres.

But the exhibit of the season was Wisconsin through and through. 

"Seeing Wisconsin" had elements of the old curiosity cabinet.

And a long view of what the deer sees while the hunter is trying to see him.

But the famed art center attractions that people come from near and far to see. 
The ones that remain as the galleries undergo change of artist and theme several times a year are the washrooms

Artists, with support of Kohler and use of their foundry were invited to create the washrooms of their dreams.

This one near the main entrance is called simple "The Women's Room".

If you go to Sheboygan to go to the Art Center make sure you "gotta go" cause you are going to want to see them all.

And, this is one place where gender will not keep anyone out of the "ladies" or "gents" as a kindly docent would be happy to help you investigate any of the facilities as long as the "coast is clear" of anyone trying to actually do their business in any of them.

Go! Have a look in the loo. And then go some more.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Withdrawn, But Not Forgotten

The library book sale.  $6 a bagful! 

It is a great time to try authors you have been meaning to read, own old favorites, or take a chance on something that might be too quirky or, wonderfully quirky.

Sometimes you find just the book that speaks to you in multiple ways. Badgers. Check. Great illustrations. Check. Heartwarming narrative. Check!

We cried.

We laughed. 

We cried some more.

If you choke up too much to read a book out loud you know it is a winner.

And eventually, with practice, and the desire to share the story with your little badger, you will get the words out. And if he or she is snuggled on your lap, where all the best story times happen, they will not be able to see your glistening eyes even if they wonder why you are taking unusually long pauses between pages.

Can You Do This, Old Badger? - Two thumbs up, five teardrops, and five chuckles for this charming story of a little badger learning the ways of the world from his old badger grandpa. - NDL Review