It’s mid April and the earth is showing faint, hopeful signs of waking. The pastels of spring are still only seen in the skies at dawn and dusk, but they’re coming soon to blooms everywhere. I cannot wait.
Mid April, and this means, too, that my next montly letter is coming soon (scroll down for an exerpt of last month’s letter). Near the first of each month, I pop a length of words (and photos, too) into the online post, sending it to all who’ve subscribed.
I’ve so taken to this relaxed way of writing - something about it being a letter and all, like a visit with a long-distance friend. Love that. Also in the letter, there are sections called Reading, Lately, Food, Lately, and Favorites, Lately, where I get to connect you with people and things that I’ve enjoyed lately and think you will, too. Then, there’s the Q & A section, where I answer one, sometimes two, questions submitted by readers regarding simple, intentional living or interior design.
If you’d like to receive these pages every month, sign up here. If you’d like to submit a question for answering, I’d love to hear it! (The question pool is dwindling!) Email it to: email@example.com.
The snow has melted, leaving winter’s grass to catch the morning’s frost, a landscape between snow and green with its own visual calm, especially when captured in early morning sun.
I’ve been snatching minutes, lately, at the end of the day (and sometimes while munching lunch) to fall into the pages of The Magic Apple Tree. Sometimes just one page, sometimes two or three. Never whole chapters at a time (oh the luxury!), but enough to remind me how I like gems-of-books that can be taken in delicious bites, their paragraphs rich enough to carry me for a good while even if I have time to read only one.
You probably remember this one (good things bear repeating, and all). A reader recommended this book to me a few years ago and it seems, every spring since, I want to read it again. Something about how it follows the seasons. Something about the simple, exquisite writing that scripts so well the author’s appreciation for living in a cottage with a kitchen garden and flower beds right outside her door. Something about all that being on the edge of a small village with open countryside all around. Although hers is English and mine is American, the similarities are enough for me to forget about the lands and oceans, borders and boundaries between us. This book and it stories draw on the cords that aren’t bound by such things, thank goodness.
And this, my third or fourth time through, and I’m still finding things I’d not found in it before.
Like the coconut shell bird feeders. In winter, she writes about winter birds and how she fills half coconut shells with a mixture of suet and birdseed, then hangs them in the apple tree, sentinel of her garden (and namesake of the book), and how the birds make short work of these seedy servings, scraping the bowls clean within days. And wouldn’t you know, when I reread this part, my eyes popped because, just the week before I’d seen a teetering stack of half coconut shells on a thrift store shelf and had wondered what I’d do with them.
Then, there was the onion epiphany. Why have I been devoting precious space from my small kitchen garden to growing onions? Like she, I’d decided a few years ago to forego growing potatoes and winter squash in favor of giving more garden space to things like peas and strawberries, tomatoes and flowers. But I hadn’t thought of not growing onions. Brilliant idea to purchase these along with potatoes and winter squash from local growers who have more room than I. This one little adjustment has me giddy with excitement. More room! Maybe I’ll even be able to rearrange in such a way as to devote a whole bed to a cut flower garden!
I’ve reached the pages about the flat of summer now. When, as she writes, the air seethes, with heat, and dust, and quietness. And the shade is not cooling and refreshing, either, but close and stale, pressing in on me like felt. There’s much to love about high summer, I’ve always thought, but then again, there’s also much not to love. It’s refreshing to read that someone has written about all its truths.
I may have slowed my reading in recent days, not even realizing that I’ve done so. Surely, it’s because I’ve only got the rest of summer and autumn to go and I don’t want it to end.
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