Cycles of CFS

“I will fix a place for my people Israel; I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place without further disturbance. Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old, since the time I appointed judges over my people Israel. I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also reveals to you that He will establish a house for you.” (2 Samuel 7:10-11)

Rest.

When you’re dealing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the need for rest, or the ability to sleep on a dime, can creep up on you at any given moment. Changes in daily routine, work schedules, etc. can wreak havoc very quickly. And it takes forever to “catch up”, as if we ever can.

Knowing better, I still stayed up a little later than usual last week. I think I went to bed around 11:30 Sunday evening. For someone who habitually gets up between 3:30 and 4:30 each morning, that is definitely NOT enough sleep time. So, as I was off work Monday, I slept in until 7:30-ish. It’s been a few days of insomnia, trying to get back on an early to bed routine…and a struggle to get out of bed even before 5 a.m. Of course, then there’s the frantic push to get goats, cats, rabbits, chickens, ducks and Smoky the Cockatiel fed and watered for the day…while “skating” across the rink that is my barnyard in this week’s deep freeze.

Why do I torture myself this way???

I had my second lesson in textiles this week, too. Thursday was weaving. I loved it, loved everything I was learning. And both instructors made it interesting and fun. Every time we sat down to go over something in our binder of notes, whether it was terminology or learning to read weaving patterns from the 1830’s, I was struggling to stay awake. I hope neither instructor thought it was a fault of her teaching; far from it! A part of me was pumped to learn everything and anything; the sick side of me dealing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the brief moment of insanity that decided to play Pyramid Solitaire for an extra hour or two Sunday night, left me nodding. It’s the nature of the beast.

There are days when I can’t help but cry out, “Lord, please slay this beast!”

But, if I had listened to that little voice that said, “Hello? It’s time for bed” a few hours’ earlier, the beast would’ve never reared it’s ugly head. Praise the Lord for this storm; there’s a lesson in managing this beast better.

May God bless you & keep you!

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Spinning Wheels Got to Go Round

“Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Dorcas. She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving. Now during those days she fell sick and died, so washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, ‘Please come to us without delay.’ So Peter got up and went with them. When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs where all the widows came to him weeping and showing him the tunics and cloaks that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to her body and said, ‘Tabitha, rise up.” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. He gave her his hand and raised her up, and when he had called the holy ones and the widows, he presented her alive.” (Acts 9:36-41)

In the Catholic faith, when you make your Confirmation, you choose a new name. This isn’t a legal name. It’s usually a name from either Scripture or one of the saints. And, in essence, by choosing the name, you are choosing your patron saint.

I chose Tabitha.

In a world where churches are lucky to be half-full on a Sunday morning, and everyone spends more time in front of the boob tube than reading the Bible, you can imagine the quandary this choice created. Even my own mother thought I was choosing a “witch name,” as she called it. In her defense, some translations of the Bible do not mention the name “Tabitha” when recounting the story of Dorcas. And, of course, Elizabeth Montgomery immortalized the name when, as Samantha Stevens in the old sitcom, “Bewitched”, she and husband, Darren, christened their daughter, Tabitha. Who, of course, like her mother, could twitch her nose to make things happen.

I chose the name because the story represented to me a rebirth, much like the one that occurs when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. And Dorcas received a new name just like I was in being confirmed.

However, just as some translations don’t mention Tabitha, the Catholic Bible I quoted from at the beginning of this post, only touches on the fact that Dorcas/Tabitha was a seamstress. She sewed and spun and wove fine garments for people in need. This translation has the widows showing Peter some of the garments she made for them, but the translation states instead that she “was completely occupied with good deeds.” I like the other translation better. And, maybe it’s not just the story of rebirth but the humble tasks this dear lady used to help those in need that won my heart and led me to choose her for a patron saint.

Thursday I had my first lesson on the Great Wheel, the Spinning Wheel, the Walking Wheel at work. It has many names; all of them correct. Wool did not traditionally get spun on the little treadle fed spinning wheels we see at the local “Sheep to Shawl” competitions at our local Ag fair. Those portable little wheels more closely resemble a flax wheel. And flax may “Someday” become a crop here at The Herbal Hare Homestead…definitely if this homestead eventually relocates, which is a tentative plan on the horizon (more on that later…). But, for now, I’m spinning wool.

On a Great Wheel.

And loving it.

I’ve tried my hand a few times on the more modern pseudo-flax wheel; I much prefer the Walking Wheel. First of all, it’s a simpler rhythm. And I chose the word rhythm on purpose because the “walk” is almost like a dance as you step to the left while angling the roll of wool away from the spindle, pull it out to thin out the clumps, give the great wheel a turn with your right hand to strength those thinner areas on the roll then give it another gentle stretch. A couple of more turns of the great wheel then we step to the right, turn the wheel slightly in the opposite direction to bring the now yarn up onto the “cone” of the spindle (wound yarn that has built up on the opposite end of the spindle from where we spin it; best way I can describe it) and then slowly step forward while turning the wheel clockwise again to roll the yarn up and back to the left again. Your feet form an almost perfect triangle.

It’s all in the feel, as the wonderful ladies who have been teaching me tell us. Us, because there are 5 of us learning this wonderful art. What wonderfully encouraging instructors we have, too! I was prepared to beg for some practice time towards the end of the day yesterday but I need not have worried. Both ladies were willing to accommodate. And one of them told me yesterday that I was doing very well; I hope so. This is one skill, this and next week’s weaving class, that I really want to master. I suspect every spare moment, if possible, I will be trying to sneak in some practice. I may have to comb some estate sales and auctions. I am envisioning a Great Wheel here at The Herbal Hare Homestead…albeit, I’ll be doing this spinning “dance” to some music. I’m not sure yet what effect spinning yarn while listening to Megadeth will have…

May God bless you & keep you!

A Day for Nostalgia…and some Postponed Mourning

“Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.” (Isaiah 35:10)

Yesterday started out as a bit of an early spring cleaning day. I spent the earlier part of it dusting, chasing away cobwebs on the ceiling and just some general tidying up.

Until I got to the cedar chest in the downstairs hallway.

Originally, the cedar chest has been a place to display family pictures. The wall behind it has a montage of photographs in mixed-and-matched frames; so, too, the top of the chest. Everything of real value that, once Mom, pets and I were safely out of the house, I would run back in to rescue before the flames overtook it (heaven forbid). In more recent years, it has also become the depository for the beloved remains of departed pets, the artwork done by a beloved aunt of special needs and even a few cat toys left in the lane of traffic from the stairs to the rest of the house.

I’ve been avoiding it like the plague.

Dust? You ain’t seen nothing, honey.

Feeling ashamed and full of sorrow, I took a folding chair and sat down in front of it, duster in hand, and carefully, painstakingly, began dusting off each and every item. The canisters of Bear and Trooper’s remains were tough. I’m not really a fan of cremation, despite my environmental leanings. I hate the thought that a tiny canister of ashes is all that is left of this beloved St. Bernard and mischievous feline, respectively; it seems a sacrilege of some sort. Granted, the countless cats, dogs, chickens, rabbits, ducks, birds, rats and guinea pigs buried behind the house are just as unrecognizable to the lively and lovable creatures who once shared this home with me…and a bit of “hold” for this property that, in my more honest moments, I would love to sell. As this is rapidly becoming a more commercial area of town, the thought that they might be dug up or paved over for the next strip mall horrifies me. So I stay. And continue to struggle…but that’s another blog post for another day.

The beloved aunt was also cremated. However, her ashes were buried behind her parents’ graves in Providence. Still, pictures of her smiling face stared up at me…along with the framed pen-and-ink drawing of an elephant she’d created years’ ago; she had so much talent.

A part of me wanted to abort this mission but I carried on, lifting the lid of a keepsake box atop the chest, and feeling a bit of bittersweet delight in the treasures contained therein: an old felt hat worn by either my paternal grandfather, great-grandfather–or both! It’s a child’s hat. If my grandfather’s, he was born in 1905 so at least 100 years’ old; my great-grandfather was born in 1878. I have photos of both wearing a similar hat as young lads. The crystal candy dish that always sat on the end table between my paternal grandmother’s chair and the sofa, always filled with starlight candies. The…I’m not sure what you would call it…I’m going to say little yellow goblin that my maternal grandfather purchased and sent home to St. Louis with my mother after she’d visited RI for her sister’s wedding…or, perhaps, her brother’s funeral, I’m not sure which. It used to hold a little plastic sign that said: You and Me, Me and You, That’s the Way It’ll Always Be. One of my dogs did away with the sign; amazing that I still remember what it said. But it’s imprinted on my heart. A carefully wrapped Hummel given to me when my maternal grandmother died; it used to grace the shelf in the window by her front door. An Indian necklace of silver and turquoise, also given by my maternal grandfather as a reminder of our Native American heritage. And, for some strange reason, my cap and now-faded tassels when I graduated high school.

After setting it all aside, I finally lifted the lid of the chest. At least a dozen photo albums and countless envelopes of photos greeted me. My heart wrenched even as I picked up one of those envelopes. I took these photos. My photos tend to be predominantly of my pets. And I’ve lost quite a few over the last several years.

Yup. There’s Ariel, younger, healthier, livelier, sprawled out on the kitchen floor, looking up at me with those bright eyes and a smile on her little kitty face. I could hear the echo of her very distinctive “Me-o-ow!” Trooper hanging nearly upside-down on the kitchen chair. His was more of a “Rr-i-owww!” with the mouth doing a little arch as he uttered it. Picture Chewbacca’s voice but somewhat muted. (Chuckle) Megan, Woody, Alice, Roxy and Bear. Tessa, all white-faced in the later years of her life. The almost twin photos I took by the back gate first of Tessa and Hooch when I first moved here; then of Roxy and Bear shortly after they arrived. Rueben the Rat, poking his little twitchy nose out, looking for treats. My first 6 chickens: Rusty, Ruby, Rouge, Copper, Penny and Amber; Delilah Duck. Other chickens, too: Pierogi, Wiggy, Lil’ Peep, Flame, Autumn, Beauty, Charity, Linen, Flax, Patience, Blessing, Black Velvet, Squire, Winnie & Mannie. The budgies: Nigel, Jamaica & Skye. Guinea pigs, Harry, Ron and Hermoine (Yes, a Potter fan!); bunnies, Gizmo, Choo-Choo, Jillian, Isabella, Tango & Cindy Lou, Moxie, Splash, Mr. V, Violet, Rose & Lily, Orion and Lemony Snicket, Rainy. Mom’s dog, Max, lost three days before Christmas; he wormed his way into my heart pretty quickly. And, I confess, my heart started feeling a bit heavy. I realized that some of the depression and lack of motivation in recent years is simply grief. I’ve been in mourning yet, somehow, unable to really let it all out. Sure, there’s been tears with each loss but I’ve tucked most of it away somewhere, where it’s festered and scraped and left this raw, aching hole.

Worse, seeing pictures of that beloved aunt and hearing her tell me yet again how something is “too much like work”…or asking me “Wasn’t I darling?” when I looked at her baby pictures. The step-father I never wanted to claim as “father” because of his abuse. I’ve blogged about how forgiveness is more for ourselves, how it’s not about condoning the actions of the individual–and I could never condone that; I know how much it hurts, how difficult a hurdle it has been to overcome through life–but a means of letting go of something–hurt, anger, etc–that hurts you more than the person you’re holding that emotion towards. Yes, the forgiveness has been there. But I haven’t really allowed myself to grieve. As if grieving the passing of this man would somehow be hypercritical. And maybe to some people it would be. But without him, I also wouldn’t have a brother, whom I love more than life itself; beautiful nieces and sister-in-law that I wish I lived closer to, had more of an opportunity to know better; another family of beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I lost that third grandfather, my stepfather’s father, a year after my stepfather. Raw, aching hole…

Hypocrisy be damned.

But, you know what? Even with all the sorrow, the grief that I’ve been holding inside, bottling up, there was also a bit of healing yesterday. Despite the losses, I could look at these photos and, oftentimes, laugh. I could watch Trooper’s funny face hanging upside-down from the kitchen chair and remember his antics with real joy and appreciation for the years I got to share with him. When he showed up on my doorstep that night, my life was truly blessed. Ditto for every other pet, family member and friend. And, along with faces that I will no longer see in this life, there were photos of baby showers, and trips to the Big E Fair; of fiber fests, Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations. And, suddenly, over the grief slid a sort of wonder and awe at how richly my life has been blessed. I’ve been focused on the negative: the losses. Instead of looking at all the goodness that has also been part of my life.

Of course, I shared the laughter with Mom. Mom’s not good with grief. She understands it, probably better than most, but she’s quick to mouth platitudes that I’d rather not hear, platitudes like how this pet or that is no longer suffering and in pain, or how I should think of all the little children in hospitals with cancer (I’m not sure the logic behind that one being of comfort…whether we’re talking beloved pets or family members or good friends). She means well. But she also gets anxious, as if it is a sin past bearing that one should openly exhibit emotion. But I have to. I have to let it out. Finally. Because I do mourn both human and humane. But I also rejoice in the memories. And was able to share those memories with someone else I love dearly. And that was the greatest healing of all.

May God bless you & keep you!

Walking by Faith

“So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-7)

Walking by faith isn’t easy for someone with my background. It means trusting someone other than yourself…in this case, Someone. In the past several years I’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul; oftentimes, finding Peter’s pockets empty, too. This is true financially and equally true where time is concerned.

Maybe more so.

It’s not easy being a homesteader, working towards that day when that homestead might also be a source of income; a full-time college student; a writer; blogger; minister–while also working a full-time job with a 2 hour round-trip commute. I’m not complaining, mind you. I love what I do. And I won’t always be a college student. But there are plenty of days where I wearily look at that alarm clock, that commute, the mountain of homework due by week’s end and think, “I can’t do this anymore!” Burn out happens more often than not.

The week before Christmas I caved in to that burn out. I had a two-part final paper due on plastic pollution. It was due Sunday evening by midnight (online degree program). I started working on it a couple of weeks’ in advance, researching, gathering data, pictures for the PowerPoint presentation that was due with the paper…and found myself on Sunday night thinking, “Damn! This is another all-nighter.” Exhausted, I looked at the work again, the time; my body was trembling, my head swimming with fatigue. And I made a rare decision for myself: I went to bed early, got up in the morning and handed in the assignment a day late, knowing it would mean a 10% loss of grade.

But I didn’t care. I was that tired.

Some part of my weary mind gave it over to God. He knew I’d been working on this steadily. He knew this wasn’t a case of my usual tendency to procrastinate. And, suddenly, though the lower grade didn’t sit well (I tend to be the Hermoine Granger type…), I found something in me that was willing to accept it.

Because a good night’s rest was more important.

I got a perfect score anyway. The professor’s comment started off with a “Wow!” and a “this deserves full marks”. (Okay, so I’m bragging again but, truly, it is only by His grace that I managed to get such a high mark when class policy is set for a 10% loss of final score…unless previously arranged otherwise with your instructor; this wasn’t pre-arranged.)

Anyway, I am sharing the PowerPoint presentation here. (I hope it plays okay…I’ve never tried attaching a presentation to my blog before) Though Environmental Science is my minor, each class has inspired me more in reducing my carbon footprint…and is giving me yet another direction to take this blog. Concern for the environment, for all the many species of life that are becoming extinct–or at least are classed “endangered”–due to global warming, is one of the main reasons why I homestead. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. And, if I can raise greater awareness of the problems Mother Earth is facing today, maybe more people will take a stand and start lowering their carbon footprint, too. Enjoy!

And may God bless you & keep you!

SNHU Eliminating Plastics Presentation

PS If it cannot be opened/run via this blog, please someone leave a comment below; I will try to remedy. Thank you!

Remembering the Sabbath

“Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you.” (Exodus 20:8-10)

Remember the Sabbath day…and leave your cellphones, your tablets, etc. at the door. Seriously. There is nothing on your device that is more important than the message being spoken in church, regardless what church/denomination we are talking. I know I’ve preached this before. At least twice, in fact. But it bears continuous repeating. The enemy of our soul looks for any and every opportunity to distract us from God, our Father. Distracted worship ought to be outlawed like distracted driving is in many states (even if, like Connecticut, it isn’t strictly enforced…). We keep taking God out of the picture…and then wonder why the world is in such chaos.

Of course, if you’re an emergency worker, leaving your cell at the door isn’t a viable option; I get that. However, it should be on vibrate and in a pocket or a purse…not in your hand while you peruse your email messages or Facebook posts. Being on emergency call doesn’t equal a “get-out-of-church-free” card. The Lord wants us there, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and above all, spiritually.

And, while some may argue that they listen better when they’re on their cell (I’ve heard reasons of the mind not wandering as much), the light from your cell may be a distraction to fellow parishioners. You wouldn’t like someone playing on their cellphone and lighting up the movie theater after you paid top dollar for that latest blockbuster hit.

Jesus paid with something much more valuable than that “top dollar”; He paid with His blood, with His very life for us. And His word is far more compelling and important than any movie.

In most cases, it is only an hour of your time. I am reminded of Mark, Chapter 14, when Jesus was undergoing His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked Peter, James and John to keep watch:

“When He returned, He found them asleep. He said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.'” (Mark 14:37-38)

If one hour is too much time, be thankful this isn’t 19th century New England. Though the Puritan church of the 17th century had all but disbanded and compulsory attendance with it, 19th century Congregationalists (descended from the Puritans) spent two hours in the morning, took an hour to an hour and a half dinner break, and spent two more hours in the afternoon in worship service. There were no stoves/hearths in the church. Your meal was cold…because cooking was work and that wasn’t allowed on the Sabbath. And yet, people attended willingly. Today that may seem crazy to some but it is only one example of how the further away we get from nature and an agrarian lifestyle, the further away from Him we also get.

“Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has made. As a result, they have no excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

There’s a bigger sermon growing from this…but for today, let us walk through those church doors with naught but our Bible in hand and His love on our hearts. Let us sit in comfort in a church that is typically well-heated with a modern day HVAC system…and go home to a hot meal. Let us remember the many blessings He has given us…yes, even modern technology, to enjoy after the sermon.

May God bless you & keep you!

A Different Sort of Art

“Wisdom has built her house, she has set her seven columns; she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table” (Proverbs 9:1-2)

We hear of plenty of feasts in the Bible but the lowly cook, or baker, is seldom mentioned. Granted, cooking and baking is rather commonplace. Doubtless, there seemed little purpose in mentioning whether or not a feast was tasty or not when stacked up alongside of Jesus’ miracles, or the words of wisdom spoken by the prophets of old. Yet, we all must eat and drink to survive. Who among us, when given a choice, would not choose that fresh, vibrantly-leafed spinach salad over the pale, lifeless and wilted specimen from a can? And who hasn’t grumbled over a meal that didn’t come out “just right”? Though commonplace, the chemistry and magick that is cooking and baking is nothing short of a miracle in itself.

Today such miraculous wizardry is being lost to packaged, processed convenience. The result is unhealthy people and animals, and an unhealthy planet from all of the plastic wrappings. We have lost touch with our food. And that’s a sad thing.

I remember years’ ago, when I first got rid of the microwave once and for all, wanting a bowl of popcorn and finding only microwave popcorn in my larder. It actually set me into a bit of a quandary. I think that was my first real step away from processed foods. I bought a bag of old-fashioned popping corn (at a fraction of the cost of a box of microwavable popcorn!), heated some olive oil on the stove and gently shook the covered sauce pan back and forth until it all popped. The lifeless cardboard that is microwave popcorn has never been seen–or eaten–at The Herbal Hare Homestead again.

Since then, I’ve spent a number of winters learning how to cook and bake from scratch, searching through numerous cookbooks and trying new recipes; some came out well, some not so well. But I learned. Eventually, I purchased a cookbook by Alana Chernila entitled: The Homemade Pantry: 101 Things You Can Stop Buying and Start Making; it was a gold mine. Everything from a delectable recipe for baked mac n cheese to homemade marshmallow fluff. And, before any modern folks complain about the time lost in cooking, it is time much better spent than sitting before the boob tube. In fact, for me, it became a sort of “zen” time, a time to cast aside any worry or complaint and just “be”. It recharged the mental and emotional batteries…and the end results recharged me physically. Who wouldn’t feel completely blessed sitting before a roaring wood stove with a bowl of homemade lentil soup, fresh-baked rye bread and, while it came from a local package store rather than my bees, a glass of smooth mead while the snow piles up outside your window? (I haven’t tried my hand at homemade mead yet…stay tuned for future endeavors)

Microwaves, dish washers and Keurig machines are banned here at The Herbal Hare Homestead. But I still use an electric stove, toaster oven, drip coffee machine and even a bread machine. There are no plans to replace the latter once it burns out but these are the tools of modern cooking and baking from “scratch”.

Now, as I meander through 19th century cooking and baking at my job, I’m finding a new level of zen in antiquated kitchens…and discovering a whole new meaning to the phrase “cooking and baking from scratch”. Coffee doesn’t go through the drip machine–or even the percolator my grandmothers used. Raw, green coffee beans are roasted on the fire, sending out an aroma that puts the drip machine to shame; the dough is set to rise overnight in the bread box–a long wooden vessel that resembles an infant’s cradle–and then, as the fire is lit and kept roaring in the bake oven for, roughly, 3 hours before being ready for baking, is kneaded by hand and set to bake on the bricks. I am amazed at what 19th century women accomplished with little more than a fire, a kettle or two, a “spider” (skillet with legs)…and maybe some sturdy twine to dangle your meat over the flames to slow roast. They didn’t use (or need) fancy gadgets or tools, and yet, they created small miracles, small masterpieces of art everyday. Cooking and baking claimed much of a woman’s morning and early-afternoon in the 19th century (kitchen fires were typically banked after the midday meal and cold leftovers, or bread and cheese sandwiches, served as a light repast before bed). Few women worked outside the home (though factories were changing that for a younger generation of ladies) so “convenience” food was relegated to cold pies and bread, and the beans you baked overnight on Saturday to be eaten for the Sabbath. (Any “unnecessary” work was avoided on Sundays…and that included cooking and baking.) Cooking in a kitchen where all I have to do is turn a dial to get an electric “flame” seems almost like cheating now. (I wonder if 19th century clergy would consider our modern methods “work”…)

I created my own masterpiece on a 19th century hearth. This was baked in a kettle instead of a bake oven. And, while it won’t merit the term “miraculous” in any biblical terms, still, I’m claiming some bragging rights. (And, yes, I know all about the sin of pride…even we ministers have human failings…)

May God bless you & keep you!

REFERENCES

Chernila, A. (2012). The Homemade Pantry: 101 Things You Can Stop Buying and Start Making. New York: Clarkson Potter.

No School Fosta-Glosta!

“Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become as white as snow; Though they be crimson red , they may become white as wool” (Isaiah 1:18)

In light of the massive curtain of blowing snow outside my window, this old world–at least the northeastern part of the United States–ought to be washed clean in no time flat. It is a total white-out again; the second time since mid- to late-December. And it’s only January 4th…

My heart just gave a pause as I typed the date. My maternal grandmother went home to be with our Lord, Jesus Christ on January 4, 1990; can’t believe it has been so long. This has absolutely nothing to do with the original intent of this post. But I hope everyone reading will forgive the pause; such blizzard-like conditions, when the world around me is rapidly being blanketed with fluffy, white cold, always makes me a little nostalgic, providing a much-needed rest to think and reflect.

And plan.

In the midst of a snowstorm, I’m thinking about springtime and gardening, planning each bed, what plants to grow, etc. I’m contemplating some time today watching more of BBC’s Gardener’s World with Monty Don (although that is often because of Monty, himself; sorry, Sarah, but that husband of yours is certainly pleasing to the eye); No-Dig Gardening with Charles Dowding and Growing your Greens with Jon Kohler. I confess, I watch gardening shows as religiously as I lamented Mom’s obsession with HGTV. No cable TV anymore but we do have Roku; that’s actually better. We can watch what we want, when we want. We spend most of our down time on YouTube watching these shows, or else music videos. Amazingly, I’ve gotten Mom into Blackmore’s Night, Casting Crowns and Kate Bush. I’m not making as much headway with Within Temptation but she’s also got me listening to Brothers Osborne and Carrie Underwood. Go figure!

There’s another side of me today feeling like a little kid. My supervisor called me last night, telling me the museum was shutting down completely for the storm (other than the farmers who must still tend to the livestock there; pray they, and the stock, and the feral cat colony, all make it through safely). I am thankful not to be driving in this; I probably wouldn’t have anyway. My menagerie of pets need extra care, too, in this storm. However, for just a moment, when I got the call, I could almost hear the echo of Salty Brine’s familiar voice singing out: “No school Fosta-Glosta!” For those of you who grew up in Rhode Island, you will totally “get” that remark. Every Rhode Island school kid wanted to live in either Foster or Gloucester! For everyone outside of Rhode Island, “Salty Brine”, born Walter Leslie Brian in 1918, was a disc jockey, newsman and talk show host for WPRO for 51 years (Flynn, 1999; NEHS, 2018). He is a legend in these parts.

And, I guess, this snowstorm is making me more nostalgic than I thought; it is certainly taking me back. Although, as I am no longer an elementary school student, I am grateful that this storm will NOT be cutting into my summer vacation with “make-up snow days” in June. I’ll likely be puttering around the herb gardens (mine or the museum’s), planting, planning and pruning away by then. But it is nice to go back and remember snow days at Grandma’s house, when Mom would leave me there before going to work, and my youngest aunts and uncle and I would sit and listen…and pray Salty would sing out, “No school Warwick!” too. Today’s date has a relevancy after all.

May God bless you & keep you!

REFERENCES

Flynn, R. (1999). “Walter “Salty” Brine Papers.” Rhode Island Historical Society. Retrieved January 4, 2018 from: http://www.rihs.org/mssinv/Mss1029.htm

New England Historical Society (n.d.). “Salty Brine for 51 Years Announces News, Weather and No School Fosta Glosta”. Retrieved January 4, 2018 from: http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/19838-2/