After fighting a brave battle, a friend of forty-four years passed away and she leaves behind a void in the sisterhood of mankind. There are so many memories...teaching together, running an antique store as partners, living houses away from each other in Toronto (and those harrowing bike rides with babies strapped to the back), picnics with toddlers, drives along country roads to look at old houses, family Christmas Eves, walks along woodland trails and gathering rocks on the beach when she flew west to visit. She was one of the bookends of my life, a kind and gentle soul whose passion was family, friends and protecting the heritage of historic homes in Port Hope. Her ancestors from the Isle of Skye will be waiting with open arms to hold her. Godspeed, dear friend.
One of the quirks with having a dad who was a geologist meant more often than not, there were fossils at the dinner table. I grew up learning about trilobites, brachiopods, belemnites, ammonites and such. It's no wonder that years later when I was in Lyme Regis, Dorset and first heard the name Mary Anning, I became fascinated with the woman who began collecting fossils as a young girl, found a skeleton of an ichthyosaur when she was only 12 and went on to discover the first complete fossilized skeleton of a plesiosaur in 1823. Gwen gave me this book and although it's fiction, it follows Mary's story and her friendship with an older woman, Elizabeth Philpot, who became a well-known fossil hunter in her own right. All in all, a very good read and right up my alley! The author, Tracy Chevalier, has a terrific website for Remarkable Creatures.
The last time my sister came to visit, she brought along this glass cookie jar she wasn't using. I borrowed an idea I saw online and filled it with rolls of twine and string and added a pair of old scissors. Now it's all in one spot and easy to snip off a length whenever I need some. My junk "drawer" consists of a covered basket. The rolls of twine took up too much room and tended to get jumbled as I searched for stuff. This is the cookie jar solution to more than one problem!
When Robb was about a year and a half, we bought an old schoolhouse in Ontario that was our weekend home away from home. It was basically just one large room with a tiny bath and kitchen area in the old cloakroom, that still had the hooks on the wall. The most memorable time spent there was when I was eight months pregnant with Gwen and we went for the July long weekend. I went into labour after lugging wheelbarrow loads of tall grass we'd cut, had to pack up quickly and make the over two-hour journey back to Toronto, arriving home after midnight. Gwen was born a few hours later on July 1st. My doctor had told me to stay in the city, so I never did tell him that we'd gone away for the weekend. I'm glad Gwen stayed put until we got home! Imagine my delight seeing our schoolhouse in the October issue of Canadian House and Home magazine...transformed into a home. The woman who owns it has left it as one large space, with a walled bedroom area and the kitchen still in the old cloakroom!
In one of the photos that Hazel (My Little Chickadee) posted on flickr of her trip to Kings Landing pioneer village in New Brunswick, there was a large kettle in the kitchen of one of the houses. It reminded me of this one. When my friend, Jan, and I backpacked around Europe for nine weeks many moons ago, before marriage and children, I spied this in a tiny dark and dusty antique shop in Germany and had to get it for my dad. It swung from my canvas pack through several countries! Dad loved it and when he passed away, the kettle came to roost at my place, some 30 years down the road
With the hop vines tangled tightly around themselves, it took hours of clipping and chopping to finally free them from the metal arbour. It would have taken just one big windstorm and the whole lot would have blown over, so it was a fall job that had to be done. I saved only a few of the hops this year. I'll dry and store them to use wrapped in cloth for a soak in a hop bath on cold winter nights!
My daughter, Gwen, recommended this book and I've just finished reading it. It was a collaboration between Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees) and her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor...each taking turns writing a chapter describing their travels to Greece, France, Turkey and Crete and each searching for inspiration in their lives. Before I read the book, I googled the various places they journeyed to...Mary's house in Ephesus, Palianis Convent, Eleusis, Chapel of the Black Virgin of Rocamadour and so on. That way, I felt as though I was actually walking along with them at the sites. It was a great read.
All of the other blooms on the hydrangea by the front porch steps have gone from periwinkle blue to deep lavender to dark pink as fall approaches and then suddenly a new stalk shot up taller than the rest to make its mark as a late bloomer!
It's a good thing one of my favourite foods is fried green tomatoes. They'll be on the menu for a few days! *I discovered that you can freeze green tomatoes, so I may try that with some of them to use in a winter chili or soup
Mom and Joe went to China in March. I told her that all I wanted was a photo taken on the Great Wall. Mom sent through some photos today that another member of the troupe sent to her. This is the Wall photo I've been waiting to see!