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Posts Tagged ‘Yarns and Knitting’

So beautiful . . . the crunch of wind-felled leaves, and chestnuts harvested from beneath their tree in the park, just a few feet from our front door.  No one else wants chestnuts, and the park lawn mower would destroy them if I didn’t get there first.

People stop and ask me what on earth I am doing.  When I offer chestnuts to them, they ask, “Can you eat them?”  Of course the answer is no—these are horse chestnuts, not real chestnuts as in “Chestnuts roasting o’er an open fire . . . .”

The next question is accompanied by dumbfounded looks.  “So what do you do with them?”  And my answer:  “I look at them, and hold them.  I have years and years of chestnuts all over our home.”

Now speech becomes abrupt, and the looks tend to get strained, as if the person who has paused in his or her stroll can’t get away fast enough.  “No thank you.”

I do share chestnuts with visitors, if I feel the gift will be welcome.  People who deliberately come to our home are not so apt to be freaked out by our lifestyle as those who whiz by on the park path.  Children invariably love chestnuts, just as I did when I was a kid sitting in our front-yard chestnut tree in Chilton WI.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m still a child.  I never even began to grow up, and I certainly don’t intend to start now!

As you scroll down the page, you will see a plate brimming with some of this Autumn’s chestnut gleanings—gleaming like gorgeous polished wood.  And you’ll see many other glimpses of life in Nashotah, at that season when we once again spend more time indoors.  You’ll see tea party bits, some art, knitting, and some of our fun and funky home décor.

Joe and I are celebrating the many textures of Autumn, indoors and out.

Autumn 1

Autumn 3

Chestnuts

Royal Doulton

Special things

 Rust

Season of mellow fruitfulness 1

Fall Arrangement

Fall KnittingIndian Village again

And, in my estimation, the most painterly Autumn poem of all in our beautiful English language:

Ode to Autumn

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring?
Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies                         
                                                                  John Keats

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Frog daysDahlia

I don’t want to let go.  Our summer has been so ineffably sweet, I will hang on to it forever. 

Beautiful weather.  No need to run the AC—except that we occasionally put it on for Baby Dylan when we have to leave him for a few hours in the closed-up home.  Okay there were a couple of times when at home, that we broke the humidity by turning on the AC for very short spells, but always with the doors and windows wide open to the out-of-doors.  And due to the ubiquitous AC in most every indoor place, our favorite summer restaurant has become a local pub with outdoor seating. 

Leisurely early morning strolls around our park.  Visits with friends.  Plenty of summer knitting, which always brings woolly recollections of being 8 years old and learning to knit on the porch of our family cottage at Lake Winnebago.  Bookish naps on our shady afternoon patio.  And best of all, mellow days with the three generations which have resulted from our marriage of 61 years!

Too too sweet

More pool

Leo again again again again again

Mia Mia 2

musician

Recently Joe and I had the (probably once in a lifetime) experience of having our portraits painted by a friend, Janet Roberts, who is a professional artist.  We didn’t have to sit it out, as Janet works from photographs.  You can check out our portraits (“Joe in Winter Hat” and “Margaret in Summer Hat”) on Janet’s website.  Just GOOGLE “Janet Roberts, Brookfield Wisconsin Artist” and click on “Gallery” from the home page menu,  Voilà!

Our portraits have inspired a lot of mulling and musing.  With all the wonderful photos I have today—hundreds in albums and hundreds more in my computer files—a painted portrait is something unique.  I reflect on how for centuries paintings and sculptures were the only way a person’s image could be captured and preserved.  I think of the court painters such as Holbein, sent out by Henry VIII so he could visualize a future wife.  (I’d sure hate to have been one of those!)  And commodious stairwells lined with ancestors in great houses down through history.  Photography is an amazingly wonderful art, yet there is something ALIVE about paint in the hands of an accomplished artist such as our friend, Janet.

Mellow days, and a summer to remember.  A summer of quiet contentment and simply joys.  A summer of plenty in a world that grows more crazy, more sin ridden and tragically brutal every single day.  A summer in which I feel compelled to share at every possible opportunity, the one and only LIVING HOPE—that hope which is more real than this keyboard on which I type. 

In the midst of a world where an American journalist is decapitated against the background of an American president deeply engrossed in golfing and fund-raising, Our Lord Jesus Christ will return!  As He came to earth 2000 plus years ago to die for our sin and rise victorious over evil, He will return—to gather His own to Himself, and finally to reign for 1000 years in Jerusalem:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Margaret L. Been, September 2014 

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Our east-facing patio which opens directly off our living room is one of the greatest joys that Joe and I have ever experienced in a home.  We are sequestered in a courtyard, sheltered on three sides, and our neighborhood has been mosquito proofed.  Last summer I think I saw three mosquitoes—and so far this year, none.  The daytime and early evening quiet is punctuated by the sounds of trains and happy voices from the nearby park.  In the night we hear trains and wind, all of which we love.* 

The above-pictured fountain is a new feature on our patio.  The water runs constantly, powered by a small pump which is hidden beneath the top pile of surrogate rocks—actually fiber glass.  Knowing that Joe and I currently live in challenged bodies, people have asked me how we set up the fountain.  For me, it was the proverbial piece of cake.  I transported the box of parts from van to patio on my 4-wheeler walker, and assembled the whole bit as instructed by the clerk at the store.  An outdoor electrical outlet is conveniently situated in the brick facing, behind the bench next to the little girl and her ducks.  Voila!  Cascading water!

So enamored am I with this fountain that I get up at least once each night and slide the patio door open, so I can listen and make sure the water is still falling down those fiber glass rocks.

Along with watching and listening to the waterfall, what else do we do on our patio?  All the things that make one’s summer sing.  We drink iced tea, slurp rapidly-melting ice cream sundaes, gaze at our patio garden, read, snooze, watch the clouds, visit with family members and friends, and snooze some more.  Sometimes I bring a spinning wheel outdoors, and spin a yarn. 

And I knit.  A die-hard knitter never breaks due to weather, regardless of 90 degree heat.  Winters are long and often severe, and we knitters realize that warm garments constitute the bulk of our wardrobes.  What better time than summer, for “knitting up” the next winter?  I’m knitting hats—one for each of our great-grandchildren who presently number fifteen.  The hats will be Christmas gifts.  (Maybe the children are wondering why this Great Grammy is always staring at their heads!)  

Below you can see my progress thus far—thirteen completed hats, number fourteen on the needles, and number fifteen about to begin.  The boys’ hats have a plain ribbed edge, while the girls’ hats are embellished with a crocheted ruffle on the ribbing.  Hats are easy and constitute a wonderful summer agenda, in addition to watching the waterfall and all those other summer patio delights!  🙂

 

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

*We’ve added coyotes to our list of thrilling local sounds.  Last week, deep in the night, I heard a pack of yelping youngsters—just like we frequently heard in our northern home.  Coyotes abound in our county, and the wildlife sanctuary on the far side of our park affords good habitat.  Our Dylan slept through the night chorus.  When it’s his sleepy time, he couldn’t care less what his wild cousins are doing.

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Yesterday I savored some mellow moments in the little town of Delafield, just 5 minutes from our home.  My first stop was a yarn store where I bought baby fine cashmere/merino blend yarn for seaming my knitted sweaters. 

From the yarn store, I went up the block to an antique shop in an old Victorian era home.  I’ve been visiting this shop since the 1970s, when the (then young) husband and wife who own the shop had just moved in.  In the beginning, they sold out of the dining room on the main floor of their home.  That was exciting, because as well as being able to browse in a gorgeous period dining room, one got a glimpse of the adjoining living areas—all packed with family treasures.

Now the shop is in 2 cozy basement rooms, also packed with treasures and ambience.  What a treat to know these people.  Like me, they grew up with antiques, and their appreciation goes far beyond the mundane level of market value.  Enjoying antiques is all about cultural history, family roots, a love for beautiful craftsmanship, and the art of filling space with objects of interest—things that really mean something! 

A home antique shop is nearly an anachronism in our current age of shopping malls.  When I was a child, many of the antique shops were in homes—with the exception of galleries and outlets in cities.  When my parents and I “road-tripped” we wandered through the small towns, as freeways and by-passes were unheard of back then.  Residential neighborhoods contained homes with a sign in a window, advertising “ANTIQUES”.

I’ll never forget the wonder of entering these private sanctuaries overflowing with porcelain, glassware, old kitchen gadgets, and boxes of sheet music and books.  I was taught not to touch.  Nothing could tempt me to violate that rule, as I didn’t want to jeopardize my special privilege in being allowed to walk around in the shops.  With my hands clenched behind my back, I relished a feast for my eyes.  Bits of information were given out here and there by the shop owners, and I absorbed all I could of that enchanting world of antiques and collectibles.

Pictured above, is my small collection of shell art jewelry boxes.  I purchased the center one yesterday, at the home shop in Delafield.  The others were acquired via EBAY—a fun place to shop, but not nearly as satisfiying as browsing in a store!

The vintage evening bag, hanging above the shell boxes in the photo, was a gift from one of my nieces in Colorado Springs—my nephew Andy’s wife, Sandy. 

The elegant handkerchief under the center shell box was carried by my Grandma Rose on her wedding day in 1892.

The toothpick holder on the little shelf was my VERY FIRST COLLECTIBLE.  It was given to me when I was 6 years old, by an antique shop proprietor who was impressed by my quiet, “hands-OFF” behavior in her store.

The toothpick holder has tiny forget-me-nots painted on it.  It has gone with me nearly everywhere all these years, with the exception of the time I lived in university dormitories—definitely not places for treasures. 

The forget-me-nots remind me of never-to-be-forgotten mellow moments!

Margaret L. Been ©2011

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