Pigs and Plans

Do you smell something? 
You might be able to catch a whiff of sausage stuffing, 
the fragrance of baked bread, 
or the savory scent of gravy. 
Oh, I didn't cook all those things today, 
but the take-home leftovers are smelling pretty good right now.
I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving feast to the very fullest!

I'm hatching a plan over here ...
a series of blog posts, daily December visits.
 Every year, I search for a devotional to read during this festive, sacred month, the 
very end of our calendar year. I thought this year, it might be worth a try to do my own.
We'll see how it goes. Let me know what you think, or what you'd like to read here.
I plan to include some how-to's, like how to make a no-fuss Christmas memory catcher, 
and how to give a simple, priceless gift of words.  
A recipe or two might find their way into a post.
I'm working on group of shareable scripture photos.
And most importantly, of course, we'll ponder at the edge of the 
manger, and try to catch a fleeting glimpse of the incarnation miracle.


This pig nose brought to you from Redman Farms.


Old Maid

I found this charming girl among a group of old photos,
letters, and postcards at a summer yardsale.
Hers is the one I kept to mark my place in my favorite commentary.

You know why I kept her photo, don't you?
An engaging smile in the first frame 
and wistful examination of a bouquet in the next.
Wide eyes, clear skin, and a generous bundle of curls.

And yet, the back doesn't record her name. Not even a turn-of-the-century nickname ...
"Dear Fan"  or  "Lovely Pearl".

How could it be that it says -

The other photos were used to personalize a vintage bowling bag. 
Check it out here.


Closing Season

We closed the gardens this weekend, even though there were lots of blooms left to admire.
For the first time, we cleared with a weed whacker instead of by hand.
It was a little shocking to watch the garden fall in such a noisy, violent way ... 
but it sure was efficient! 

After the plant were cut down to about two inches, we raked and spread a layer of compost 
in the open areas. All that topped with a cozy layer of leaf litter and voila'!  
No more gardening until spring.  

I marked a few plants that were new this season, knowing that I will completely forget them 
by spring. A new painted fern transplant, some blue billows cuttings, and a 
hand-me-down peony from my neighbor, split into three sections and named after her.
 The summer chairs are wintering in the shed, the greenhouse is tidy, and the late hydrangea blooms 
have all been gathered. The growing season is over. Now we have plenty of dark hours 
to linger over coffee, light candles, and enjoy the peace of winter. 

I tried to stay focused on the work this weekend, but beauty was everywhere, in the most unlikely places. The cement birdbath in the flowerbed is currently filled with sweetgum and red maple leaves. Once they sink under the rainwater, their bright colors change to dull browns and depressing grays. I was glad to capture this single leaf point still above the murky water, channeling the afternoon sun.


Something to Hope For

Wouldn't it be nice if this really happened?

I know the more jaded gardeners out there are snickering right now. 
Yes, we all know that plant tags are only plastic bits of high-flying imagination.
You'd probably laugh out loud if you knew I planted another
butterfly bush this fall. 
Go ahead and guffaw. 

But if this happens, I'll be the one laughing!


Songbooks for Free

It was a brisk morning at the farm sale / flea market on Wednesday, 
and I was only browsing when the seller shouted his announcement:
"Everything on the long table is FREE!"
In the fray, I scooped these into my stash. 
The pure drama of revival hymnbooks--it's gripping, isn't it?
The covers of these portable songbooks are soft with the sweat of hundreds of hands, 
maybe even thousands. They're artifacts,
I would like to say Silent Witnesses, but I know I'm getting carried away,
from the revivals and camp meetings that swept the Midwest in the early twentieth century.
After all, Cane Ridge is not so far away.

Possible Back Story:
Lillian swayed in her spot, the heat and noise in the tent making her woozy. Perspiration welled from the top of her head and seeped past the muslin band on her her straw hat. Thank goodness she had worn her old one. If she had chosen her new one, fresh fabric dye would have mixed with the sweat, run down her face, and made a fool of her. She felt like a fool anyway. What in the wide world was she doing here, in the middle of a bare cornfield, under an ugly re-made carnival tent, when most decent folks were already in bed? She clutched the songbook more tightly as the preacher launched what had to be the tenth verse of "Just As I Am."