Friday, December 31, 2010

Auld Acquaintance

Perhaps you have often wondered where I've been this year. Well, I have, too. It's been a busy one, full of many continued transitions, adjustments and a few minor blips on the radar. Nothing bad–just disconcerting at times and occasionally transformative. I realize it is the year, of the five of the In the Pantry blog, that I've written the least. It's not that I haven't wanted or intended to blog, it's just that some things–like real life–take precedence at times.

Books and gnomes––two of my favorite things.

We have been busy on the farm and building more needed buildings, while increasing our cattle herd. I tried, for much of the year, to pursue several full-time writing-related jobs off of the farm. Several potentially ideal opportunities were presented to me but none came of anything. What did happen, after six months of pursuit and follow-up, is that I realized, for now, that I'm supposed to stay in my own back yard. And I'm meant to write, right here. I've been publishing, too: several articles this year. It's never all for naught, just remember that!

I've been told these gnomes are really creepy, perhaps even inebriated.
A favorite gnome from a dear friend.

So, 2011 will begin with a new and renewed focus. I'm going to be launching a new blog in the coming weeks, one that better reflects my life as it is now. When I started In the Pantry I was living in an 1803 Federal mansion, filled with family heirlooms and layers of history. We were in the midst of a Currier and Ives New England village setting. I was writing my first book. Our daughter was a teenager and our boys were eight and five! Visions of a farm of our own were dancing in our heads with various scenarios and outcomes. I have often shared those here and will continue to do so in the new format.

Our hen house on Christmas morning––of course we were up before dawn!

Fast forward and here we are, five years later, on a farm on a ridge in Kentucky. Now we have land spreading out so far and wide, we have stuff in storage and we live in a comfortable doublewide. We raise much of our own food or buy it from local farmers. While there is much I often think about or miss in New England, we are blessed!

My husband's birthday "Robert E. Lee" cake.
I promise that my new blog will be integrating the essence of In the Pantry that you enjoy, while also adding other "bits and pieces" of my life [thank you, Katherine Mansfield for forever imbedding that quote in my mind]. I will also still post here on occasion, especially if it is pantry-related, or The Pantry book-related. [And copies of the book are still available from my website at]
Our annual pudding of York! [Yes, that's its real color: from our own eggs!]

I am also looking forward to starting my 11-year journal tomorrow! I just ordered a 10+ Journal from Lehman's (on sale!) and it chronicles 11 years (A decade plus) in small format on one page per date (with eleven entries: one for each year's date, in five lines or less). So you can track, in Twitter-like brevity (or let's make that more like haiku-style notation, as I will never be a Twitterer!), the events of your life, day by day: or the weather, or your diet, or highlights in your family. I used to keep many extensive hand-written journals, many years ago, but this will be a short chronicle. I'm looking forward to the exercise and the meditation of it, while the blogs will continue to be my postcards to the world.

I wish you a very happy, healthy and special New Year and thank you for visiting here all of these years! I'm not going anywhere, I'm just shape-shifting a bit. Stay tuned for an announcement of the new blog in the weeks ahead.

My very best wishes to you and yours,


Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Snow Sifting Down"

Snow on the ridge ~ a few winters ago.

Today there are flurries on the ridge and a scurry of activity inside, too. Yesterday it was snowing starlings: thousands of them, in great whirls of blackness and clatter. I am reminded every year at this time of our dear Lucy, who the starlings seemed to lift heavenwards in the days after she died on December 3rd.

It is December, the darkest month of the year and yet a time of shining light within our hearts, within ourselves and our families, too. Let there be light and peace on Earth (please?)!

I just wanted to share this beautiful poem which arrived in my inbox today, as they do, every day, from The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor: a most wonderful compendium of literary tidbits and poetry.

Everywhere, everywhere, snow sifting down
a world becoming white, no more sounds, 
no longer possible to find the heart of the day,
the sun is gone, the sky is nowhere, and of all
I wanted in life – so be it – whatever it is
that brought me here, chance, fortune, whatever
blessing each flake of snow is the hint of, I am
grateful, I bear witness, I hold out my arms,
palms up, I know it is impossible to hold
for long what we love of the world, but look
at me, is it foolish, shameful, arrogant to say this,
see how the snow drifts down, look how happy
I am.

"Manna" by Joseph Stroud, from Of This World. © Copper Canyon Press, 2009.