Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Misty Mountain Memories Tickle My Senses

Last Friday, Trisha, Emily and I ate out at Big Mamou-great Cajun food! Em is a rather shy young woman who giggles easily, while Trisha and I are old hands at hanging out, telling stories and laughing over a good meal and a drink. It rained when we arrived, then the sun blasted out. We giggled a lot and had a great time. I like nothing more than enjoying a good meal and drinks with good friends!

After enjoying a mojito, a bowl of gumbo with cornbread and a hot spicily dressed salad, I was ready to go for the ride Trisha suggested in her new car with a moon roof. She drove, I navigated and Em took pictures, giggling to herself in the back seat. The first goal was to share a siting of the Woman in White, who I have never seen when anyone was with me. A figment? A spirit? A sprite? True to form, she didn't show for us. Em was ready with her camera, just in case.

On Ashfield Road, the mist was rising and the clouds were flirting with the last rays of sun. (this picture is of a sunny evening!) The road wound through the fluffing, oozing greenness. Trisha remembered to open the moon roof and the windows stopped fogging up. We were inundated with the moist humusy air. A hot humid night in mid to late summer is the most interestingly scented place! The ferns and weeds on the side of the road, the swamps, the horsey smell of the farm of the percherons, mold, flowers~loamy fertile odors.

We saw deer in the meadows, squirrels and a tiny bunny hopping into the roadside growth. Trisha flipped her hand at a soft green meadow and said, "Now, wouldn't you think there'd be a few deer or a bear~maybe a couple of moose~cavorting over there?" More giggles all around. (Trisha still fondly remembers Yogi Bear and Boo Boo cavorting in Jellystone Park, though the Flintstones were her favorites! I would roll my eyes and go up to my room and read.) But we saw no more cavorting animals till we came to a small herd of Galloway cattle. Lovely black cows and bulls with a wide white stripe around the middle. The calves were especially adorable. I told them about the Guinea pig I had just taken care of with the same coloring. He was so cute and quick!

When we got back to town to go our separate ways, the sky had turned pink and the heavy misty air had a peachy glow. Getting out of the cool car was a shock, as it was still in the high 80's with humidity in the 90's. Hopping into my quickly cooled car, I drove west following the darkening sky home, giant moths swooping in the headlights.

This highly humid heatwave has lasted since July 3rd without a break.  No AC at home, but I can't drive around forever! Coming into my warm humid house the scents are not so pleasant. There is the vinegar smell of the fountain by the door. Vinegar, you say? It keeps the mosquito larvae at bay and won't harm the cats. The kitchen drain is rather nasty smelling, but the peaches smell ripe and delicious. Then there is a slight cat odor, though I've been meticulously cleaning it of late. Moving into my office, there is the moldy smell that I can't hide. Even the new wool rug is outgassing some ghastly chemical scent. The only comfortable spot in the house is in the recliner with two hepa-filtered air cleaners pointing my way. I have even been sleeping there! One advantage to sleeping in the recliner: in the morning my wrinkles are greatly reduced by not smooshing them into a pillow~seriously!

August 3rd I'm going to Colorado and New Mexico with my brother Jim and his daughter Diana. I can't wait to show them my favorite places. I lived out there for 20 years, 1974-94. That dry, semi-arid climate still calls to me. After you find a good moisturizer and your nostrils adapt, you realize you don't have those damp, swampy smells. It's always cooler in the shade in the dry air. The mountains and the desert cool off every night and offer sweetly scented breezes. The fresh air has the crispiness of a fresh cut watermelon. The scent of sagebrush wafts through the air. Pines and spruces have their way with your senses. Campfires smoke with the perfume of Pinon pine and Juniper. The freezing water of a babbling creek makes all your hairs stand up with the essence of cucumbers! Nibble on the tender light green tips of pine needles and your breath is suddenly fresh. Crush the leaves of sagebrush into your sleeping bag or rub them on your pulse points-who needs air fresheners and perfumes? Focus on the leaves of a quaking aspen~look up and watch the stars~they are a mile or two closer there!

I like to stock up on Pinon incense and sage smudge sticks while I'm in New Mexico. I bring the campfire back to my New England home. As I light it, it slowly fills the rooms with the sweet perfume of New Mexico evenings. I play Carlos Nakai on the stereo and dream myself back to the high desert. If the windchimes dance in the evening breeze, I'm so there! They say New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment. I've been totally enchanted there, that's for sure.

I fondly recall standing in the middle of a sweet sage covered plain watching the clouds march by in formation. The whole sky is mine~nothing blocks my view. Maybe it was a dream? My heart has another home in Taos, New Mexico.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Hello my friends! Thanks to all of you who commented and became followers since my "Where Bloggers Create" post! It's been so fun to read all your comments. I really hustled to get the room done up, and I have not had a minute to create anything since!

My friend Sara at Make Great Stuff has a solution to this problem, which I am hoping to try-The 20 Minute Club! She is a talented collage/mixed media artist with drive! She also offers web classes, using the 20 Minute challenge to do something every day. She likes to have lots of projects going at once so she can just pick up whatever she wants and works on it for 20 minutes, no matter how she feels. She has some great ideas for working the creative process. AND her art is really special. Check her out!

We're having a heatwave this week. I tried to sit at my computer to visit you all, but I melted! My house stays cool till the humidity rises, and it sure did this week. Swimming and wading is the only fun outdoor activity when it's this hot.

Fortunately, last week, when I was on vacation from the office, it was wonderful dry, breezy weather. Great for sleeping and getting some things done around the house. I was petsitting the whole time, so I commuted back and forth until the Fourth! Then Jim and I had a big cookout with lots of friends and relatives over-we gathered under the willows and cherry trees in the back yard and hung out all afternoon and half the evening, eating, drinking, storytelling and goofing off.

I say drinking-I think two whole 6-packs were consumed. We all grew up and stopped being drinkers a long time ago. I often think I'd like to have a little sip of something in the evenings, but I can't figure out what I want. I hate to get tipsy, but I like to relax. I don't much like wine anymore, it makes me headachy. The creamy drinks like Bailey's are too fattening. I like a highball once or twice a year...brandy is just too strong, sherry is yucky, though I think it would be funny to have it as my signature drink.

So tonight I cleaned out the fridge and made punch. I had 4 partial bottles of various sweet wines that I had tried, one was apple-maple, one was chamomile, one was blackberryish, and the other a merlot. I dumped them all in a gallon jug with a spigot on it and added a bottle of cherry cider from Trader Joe's! Only 1/3 was wine and the rest cherry cider--Voila, punch with a little punch! Enough to make a wine connoisseur cringe--I wouldn't make a steady diet of it, but it will give me a little evening sip.

The drink I made for the Fourth was gingerade. I partially peeled and cut into chunks a whole ginger root that had been in the freezer. It is easy to peel with a spoon when it starts to thaw, before it gets soft. Of course fresh might have been better, but this turned out GOOD.  I boiled it in a medium pan of water for about 10-15 minutes, took out the root and added sugar to the water and stirred it well. Then I added it to cold water to make a gallon (with a spigot!) Make sure to pour the hot into the cold and not directly into a glass container. I reused the same root to make 2 more gallons, which I didn't sweeten, then sprinkled a little stevia in as I drank it. I carry it to work and in the car. I've cut way down on coffee and I'm drinking more liquids. You can reuse the root several times if you keep it refrigerated. It beats buying tons of flavored water!

When I was petsitting in Deerfield last week, I drove back and forth through Whately, which is a beautiful town. Rolling hills opening into the fertile flats by the Connecticut River. You might remember my old header picture:

There are such pretty farms there--mostly they were growers of tobacco, corn, asparagus, potatoes, cabbages, cukes, etc. Many of them don't farm anymore, but they preserve their old barns when they can. I picked this one out on two different days. One morning I looked up as I drove by and saw a huge elbowey bird with no head. Whaaa? I stopped the car, dug out my ever-ready camera and discovered a turkey buzzard preening on the roof. His head kept disappearing under a wing. He (she?) posed a while then flew away. Jim always tells me they're crows--I showed him!

Another day, driving back "to the dogs", the barn was bathed in evening light and shadow, just begging me to stop and shoot it. I love the red patina-the old wood is probably some ancient hardwood like chestnut, enduring for a century or two.

On yet another day I found these gorgeous Percheron beside the road. I do love it here!

What better time than the middle of July? Long days, yard sales, fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, blueberries, veggie stands by the side of the road. Who needs to cook with all this fresh food? I'm so inspired that I've given up sweets for the month! My body says thank you!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!