The summer has got by me and I think this is only my second “mess” of shore greens. It may also be the last as it is September already. I always loved these greens best as a child, perhaps it’s the saltiness or perhaps it’s because they always came from my very special Grandfather. He would pick them and cook them with new potatoes and salt pork add butter and vinegar when done and it was a true treat. I now leave out the salt pork but use plenty of butter.
I am so glad I made him take my sister and I out to the bay in his later years to get a lesson in which plant it actually is (we had to have our bags dumped once because of picking the wrong thing) and how to pick it.
My own house is right on the bay as I never wanted a time when I could not gather these delicious greens.
Today It was cloudy and windy. I found a horseshoe crab shed. Ducks and seagulls were playing in the wind. One lone red leaf landed on seaweed. I filled my basket and it started to pour! I ran back to the house just in the nick of time.
A Sunday in April in Moss Hollow turned out to be warm and sunny and full of great accomplishments. The herb garden got cleaned out and the chives divided and replanted. The overgrown oregano found a new home where it can stretch out. The soil is ready and waiting for some new plants, but I must be patient and remember April is a fickle month. (So is every other month in Moss Hollow, Maine.) The little kitchen garden under the flower patch is waiting for lettuces, peas, beans, and onions that are just starting inside.
The rest of the day I walked around the mossy woods looking for spring signs of fairies and gnomes. I think they have been here but will know better after the ferns come up. The brooks are still babbling and no black flies yet. The most perfect little blue scillia flowers are blooming all over the place. Perhaps the fairies are here after all.
Moss is everywhere! and remnants of past caretakers of The Hollow in the form of a funny iron face sculpture.
This little barn has been standing in our next door neighbor’s yard for all of my life. As you can see it is falling forward and the windows are broken. What you cannot see is the huge gaping hole through the roof on the back side. It was scheduled for demolition this past summer. While drooling through Pinterest photos of a similar nature, I remembered that we have this beauty just outside my door, so I dragged my props over and snapped these. (I did get permission) I am so glad our local fire department was a bit slow with the demolition. I am going back in an hour or so to see how the sun changes.
Among the old and tattered things in this house is an autograph book that my mother found at an antique store. She was attracted to things like this because of the superb handwriting and lovely sentiments inside the worn pages. I had a fun afternoon looking through this one that was laying on a shelf unnoticed for some years. I bet she bought it for the wonderful velvet cover and the sweet and humorous poems inside. Also, the name of one of the ‘signatees’ has the same name as my Great Aunt that lived with us. This book starts with signatures from “Grand Central Station”? in 1886 and ends with one from 1929. I have no idea what Grand Central Station is referring to as they all had Hancock County addresses and to my knowledge there was no such station here.
Have fun reading (trying to) the pages that I photographed.
Mostly the boys signed with with just their names. I do wonder what all those quotation marks mean, seems as though there were some personal jokes! I also wonder how they would feel all these years later knowing that their words are on the web. I feel some guilt…But not too much.
I need to research more, I have always wondered if these poems were memorized for just such occasion as a friend pulling out her autograph book or how many were made up on the spot. These are such fun looks into the past.
Today is Book Group Day. It is my turn to host. My house is not quite ready for guests, (see Winter Sewing) so I am having it at my cousin’s. Our group is perhaps a bit more about the food than the books we read and being hostess means crafting some sort of fabulous soup to go with all the other pot luck items. We are rarely disappointed so when it is my turn I feel a tiny bit of stress to come up with something a) different and b) edible.
You might remember me talking a little about snow this winter. Well it hasn’t stopped yet. A snow day from school again. While the white stuff was piling up outside and a 40 car pile up was being cleaned up in Bangor (very scary stuff) and my husband took off to sno-blow ours and the neighbors’ yards I pulled out all the things I bought yesterday for my soups (2) and realized it was another blog post in the making! I searched through all my cook books and the recipes I decided on were Asparagus Vichyssoise and Lettuce Soup. Both from this cookbook
Here are some photos of the process, I think you will see why I felt Okay about posting this on Gathering Greens! When life gives you white, go green any way you can.
Oh I forgot to tell you what we are reading this week.
A Maine story and author, no snow involved. (well maybe a little)
I just found this book at a nearby library and decided to bring it home on a whim, after all, it is way past Christmas and we are all a bit tired of winter around here. I am happy that I allowed myself this opportunity. I was attracted initially, I think by the “Little House” quality of the pictures and of course the old fashionedness. (I know that is not a word) I now love it because of the tree. That apple tree is reminding me of my own from my early years, right outside this door. Mine is not doing too well these days but is well over 100 years old and still hanging on, barely.
This book, “Apple Tree Christmas” by Trinka Hakes Noble was published in 1984 by Dial Books for Young Readers, New York. I believe she also did the illustrations as the dedication page says,
‘For my wise and wonderful Father, who made a drawing board for me many years ago… on which I drew this book for him, many years later…’
In this book the family still live in a cozy, barn “apartment” with the animals below as the father has not had time to build the house yet. They are preparing for winter by picking apples to save for cider, pies, the horse and Christmas decorations from the large and lovely apple tree in their yard. Once the apples are harvested the girls can get back to their tree house activities. One likes to swing from a vine that grows with the tree and the other, the author, likes to sit in her special spot that she calls her studio, to draw. As Christmas approaches they must batten down the hatches and stay inside as a three day blizzard comes. (We can relate this year!) The blizzard takes down their tree. The only thing Dad can do is chop it up for firewood to keep them warm. The girls are very sad about losing their friend. Enjoying the Christmas preparations is not easy this year. Ah, but Dad has a plan, as he is chopping away down below, he saves the very most important parts of the tree for special, always to be remembered, presents. He hangs the vine from the rafters for a swing and he built a desk from the “studio” branch.
This picture is what is left of my childhood tree. It is hard to tell with all the snow but it sits close to our driveway, below a stone wall. It had a natural border of bushes and smaller trees so it was close by home but still private. This limb is one of two that used to run parallel. The other is gone now but was right underneath this one and ran along the ground until meeting a large rock and then swung up and over the rock. It was my house, my horse, my garden and kitchen, elephants on safari, whatever we happened to be playing at the time. The best part were the two rocks that were right underneath. The large roundish one made the perfect throne with the flowering limb right above and the other was a flat, moss covered wonder that made the perfect floor to all the games we could come up with. Paradise really.
Someone recently asked if I wanted him to prune and take away the dead parts in return for apples for a cider press. He can have all the apples he wants but I don’t think I will let him do the trimming, yet. Maybe someday I’ll be ready for my own desk or horse made from that branch.
This is the look we are dreaming of these days.
I love to collect old children’s books. The covers and pictures are sure to be interesting at the least, and absolutely amazingly beautiful at best. My Little Library, the one we are seriously trying to bring up to date, is full of these treasures. As with most of my passions, this one is full of contradictions. I want to update and bring in the new, but really cannot bear to get rid of these fabulous old treasures. I fear my house will end up with sagging book cases. Who am I kidding? It was long ago that I had room on the cases, the books are stacked all over floors, shelves, beds, tables…
Here are a few I have been enjoying this winter.
Happy Days on the Farm by Ella H. Hay Beckley-Cardy Co, 1941
pictures by Jack Merryweather
Pretty adorable book about a couple of city kids going to live with their grandparents on the farm while their parents are away. It has all the usual adventures, rides in horse carts, puppies being born, the county fair and an old clunker of a car adds to the fun. My favorite part? The description of getting the mail, “Some got letters. some got postcards. Some got nothing at all. They liked to talk to their friends and watch other people get their mail.” Sounds just like the post office in my town when I was a kid.
Jeremy Mouse by Clara Atwood Fitts, Beckley-Cardy Co, 1937
Ills. by The Author
Jeremy Mouse finds a happy home in the attic studio of an artist. He shares the space with a collection of characters, dolls that come to life when the owner is out of the room and creatures borrowed from nature, living in a fish tank.
The best part of this book is the way it came to me, It was a party favor from a very fab wedding I attended last summer. There were stacks of vintage books and salt & pepper shakers and other cool things on all the tables for the guests to choose from. I am so glad I was assigned the table with this book! I mean LOOK at those illustrations.
I just realized that the these two books have the same publisher.
Now for This Charmer, Maggie Rose Her Birthday Christmas by Ruth Sawyer, Harper & Brothers, 1952.
ONE of the best parts, Pictures by Maurice Sendak.
“This was her secret place. She had claimed it from the woods that stretched from the plowed fields to the other side of the Point-the respectable side of the Point.”
I cannot even begin to tell of the thrill I got when I discovered this gem on the shelf of my little town library. As I have mentioned before I am the President of the newly re-formed library group that is working hard to keep this sweet little building full of treasures alive and well.
Ruth sawyer had lived in or visited (not sure which) Hancock Point, Maine, The town right next door and wrote this charming tale of a little girl from a rather large, perhaps lazy family referred to as “those Bunkers”. She is the third of seven children who although they never have much to eat or new clothes or a house to be proud of are still full of love and fun. Maggie Rose is the sensible member of this family, she wants nice things and tries to clean up her parents act, they, in return think she is the most special creature ever born because she is so different from them. She really wants a special celebration for her Christmas Birthday this year, 1951. She goes though a summer and fall working extra hard to make enough money to have a party with all the town invited. As you can imagine, she has a few misadventures on the way but in the end, with help from all, gets the party and the family she has always wanted.
This book is full of characters that actually lived right here in my neighborhood back in the 1950’s. The retired sisters, the Crabtree’s and Captain Foss who had a schooner named the Jerry B. that he sailed around Hancock Point and Frenchman’s Bay. Of course the thing that really caught my fancy is the fact that I have Bunker ancestry too! And of course, do not forget that the pictures are done by MAURICE SENDAK!!!
Since I found this it has been passed around to all the board members and other town folk and we are all in love with Maggie Rose. Some of us have even ordered our own copies.
Do other people have a fabric addiction? I think they do. I can’t be the only one. I may be one of the few that buy cloth just to look at, however. I really am not much of a sewer but I have a Singer
( I think I’ll call her Maude) and sometimes I actually do cut a piece of fabric to make something, hopefully of use.
Yesterday I decided to go to our local discount/salvage store and buy some white cotton to finish off the curtains for the “new” kitchen we are working on.
The word “we” may be untruthful, I have not done
much any work on this project it is really all The Husband.
I was seriously ONLY going to buy the white stuff and nothing else when I walked in but you see there was this really awesome row of plaids and one in particular caught my eye. The fact that it was green helped me justify my need for it. I could do a blog post about Gathering Green fabric, cool I really need it! and this other one that works as a nice contrast, and those packages of ric rac and iron on ribbons…
I started the curtains, actually got three sets done (three more to go), but I knew I had to get on with that plaid. Today is snowy, again, and what better way to spend a snowy day in February, the 986th snowy day, than making balsam pillows. I made eight, one is quite a bit smaller than the others due to the fabric width and my inability to do proper math.
Cut, Iron, Sew (leave space to fill), Fill & Sew. easy