Sunday, April 15, 2018

This pond, and the surrounding woodland, is the heart of the town where I live. It is an enchanted place that abounds with many stories and legends, some dating back to pre-colonial times when the water was known as Lake Innitou or Mirror of the Spirit by the Aberginian people. Over the years at least forty-five people have drowned there, which is astonishing considering that the average depth of the pond is about ten feet.

There have been many sightings of ghosts and other unexplained phenomenon at the pond.  One Native American legend claims that the pond was the ancient site of a battle between the gods of light and dark. The gods of light trapped the gods of dark in the water and drowned them. Some have seen mysterious blue lights floating over the water and in the woods. Last year, hundreds of fish washed up dead on shore. No one knows why.

Several local writers have collected the many legends and tales about the pond and the surrounding woods and hills of our town. Some of the best can be found in Marie Coady's, Woburn: Hidden Tales of a Tannery Town and Parker Lindall Converse's, Legends of Woburn (1642 -1892) [The full text of this book is available at the link.]
The pond is a place of remarkable beauty with some of the best bird watching in the area. I walk its wooded trails every day I can--it is my favorite spot on all the earth.⚘

 I have been thinking lately about stories and how they bind us to places and people. Perhaps it is the stories we hold in common, more than anything else, that imbue us with a sense of belonging and identity.

The digital age, with its emphasis on the individual, has led to solitary narrative building which has done much to unravel the old stories' cultural relevancy. Time will tell what effect this will have on us--both inwardly and outwardly. So far, I see a lot of  people desperately trying to find "themselves" (and a community) by grasping at each passing trend from simplicity to plant-based diets. Long ago, before fossil fuel made us magically mobile in our high speed trains, airplanes and automobiles, we were defined primarily by kith and kin. Kith referred to the land. The phrase "kith and kin" originally denoted one's geography and relatives. Out of those two elements sprang the ultimate uniting force: tradition--shared songs, stories, rituals, crafts, and folkways. 

Making my Great Aunt Clarabelle's scrumptious custard for banana cream pie.

My mother's dear friend Carol's braided Easter bread.

In these rocky New England hills bordered by the sea, I follow a path consisting of hearth, garden, woods/pond, and church. I never tire of this well-worn geography. Much of my time is spent in the kitchen making food for hungry people from "receipts" given to me by family and friends. There is so much love shared in recipes.

Despite weekly snow flurries, nature is slowly beginning to emerge from her slumber. On a recent pond walk, I saw a muskrat swimming in a vernal pool while the spirit of a birch tree watched on from one of his wise, old eyes. 

April ~ Pink Moon, so named for the wild ground phlox that blooms this month

Wyatt (gray) and Rhys (cream) turned 5 months old on April 6th


Last week I made a Hummingbird Cake from this recipe to mixed reviews. The frosting was excellent; we all agreed on that. If I ever make this cake again, I would double the pineapple and use half as much banana as the recipe calls for.

This past week there has been painting and knitting happening. Amy, Emmeline and I painted eighteen rocks the other day--little treasures for people to find on  the trail at the pond--as part of our town's "Kindness Rocks" project.

I'm knitting a peach colored, seamless yoked sweater and snowbaby bootees for my nephew's first little peach due in June.

If I'm honest, April has been a pretty miserable month weather-wise and otherwise, as well, with too many doctors appointments and generally low spirits; but, I know there are rose days ahead, and there is always, always plenty to be thankful for on a daily basis. ♥

Love and roses,

PS: My blog redecorating inspiration: Elaine, Sarah, and Lisa 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

March. Only one more week; I will be so very glad to welcome April. : ) This week was a hard one, with doctors appointments every day, including an unpleasant medical procedure. Plus, I did our taxes last weekend--a task that always leaves me feeling anxious. Every March I say, "Next year we're hiring an accountant." But when tax time rolls around, I can never bring myself to spend the money.

There is still a lot of snow on the ground from four nor'easters in as many weeks. The weather is one thing reticent New Englanders are willing to talk about--and it's truly never a dull topic!

On St. Joseph's day (last Monday) Seth brought home a box of zepolle from the bakery--such delicious pastries! I am reading The Tale of Hill Top Farm, a quiet, cozy mystery featuring Beatrix Potter, by Susan Wittig Albert. There is just something very special about stories set in an English country village. Nothing extraordinary needs to happen; village life is interesting on its own.

In the last month I have ordered thirteen different colors of wool to knit into birds. I am making a flock of spring migrants that are flying up from the tropics of my imagination. : ) I have no idea what I will do with them, where they will land. A completely useless project that is all joy!

The kittens are growing fast and are a constant delight. I love them deeply, deeply.♥ It is apparent from watching them (and from raising other pets, as well as human children) that gentleness is learned through relationships, whereas wildness is innate. It is tempting to think of these qualities as conflicting, but it strikes me that harmony between these two qualities is necessary to complete the essence of the creature.

Brief notes from a hectic week. : )

Love and roses,
Sue xo

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


On Sunday we went to the beach and ran in the sand and looked for shells in our winter coats. The sunshine was dazzling and the sky was summertime blue. But today snow fell all day long, a thick white blanket--two feet thick. Typical weather for mid-March in New England.

So much time has passed since I last posted that I feel quite out of practice here. I don't believe in catch-up posts; how does one summarize the terrible beauty of life without being misunderstood? The story of today holds the past in its heart, anyway.

We have two new brother kittens who are currently making things lots of fun. ♥ (I hear them rumbling now upstairs in the girls' bedroom!) The cream and white one is Rhys and the gray and white is Wyatt. They were named after two characters in a story I wrote. Our pet tally at the moment is: two dogs, two kittens, two guinea pigs, three parakeets, one big bunny, and one very big snake. Oh, and two red hens in the yard.

I've been knitting little birds after my work is done (school and housekeeping and helping in the office for my husband's business) from patterns in the book Field Guide to Knitted Birds, by Carlos and Arne. The book is absolutely gorgeous and knitting birds is addicting--so many possibilities.

For breakfast on several March mornings, I've made Irish Soda Scones. I highly recommend this recipe. These scones are light and delicious with a lovely texture and authentic Irish soda bread flavor.

Love and roses,
Sue ♥