I’M HOME…REALLY!!!

 

Gosh!  It’s been almost eight months since I’ve returned to this page to chronicle this wild and crazy adventure.  What pulls me back is the impending ONE YEAR anniversary of having made the move to Camden, which will be for real on September 9th!  Going back through the months in words and pictures will show the process and the progress we’ve made.  As the dark days of winter and my mind edged towards the lengthening days of spring, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and what lay ahead was my new home.

 

The first major project was to reclaim the garish aqua painted room that had housed all of Bob’s stuff before his studio was built.  Now this little two part room would function as my ‘morning room/sitting room’ and my studio once I set to dealing with the chaos that greeted me each morning  when I opened the door.IMG_5147By this time, I had at least settled on a floor and wall paint and found it calming to run my brush up and down the walls and floor boards while listening to Sunday afternoon NPR programs.  However, this mess had to then be moved back and dealt with.

IMG_5148Bob set up my art table and cut my old shelves to fit my new walls.   But let me not understate the affect that this still existing chaos had on me.  It was paralyzing!  I didn’t know how to begin, to overcome the inertia I felt when I walked into that room, so I’d walk out and feel the heaviness of helplessness….not a good place for a take charge, let’s get it done girl like me!

IMG_5152How lucky am I to have a guy who can make light work out of the work that stops me dead in my tracks.  Once I got a little nudge and direction I was under my own head of steam

IMG_5151This is the other side of my little studio room…amazing how I could compress all my creative supplies into this small yet magical space.

IIMG_5184Later a new white couch and ottoman will fill out the sitting space and make for a very cozy room to greet the morning sun and start my day.

I’d say getting this room and studio to this point was also MY turning point.  A ‘room of ones own’ cannot be underestimated.  Morning news does not invite me into my day.  Up to this point, my choice was either that or the mess that had inhabited this now sweet space.  I was happy to just sit on the floor and smell the new paint, while I watched the day awaken outside the windows.  That’s news enough for me!

 

IMG_5188Pussy willows are the early March harbinger of spring.  I found them in the scruffy  growth along our roadside and felt  thrilled at the discovery.  This will be the season of surprises once the dormant earth releases its treasures.  Not to be fooled by the furry buds, it’s still pretty chilly and the inside still calls us in with a little more work to do.

20140425_205245The living room couch is sporting new slipcovers, and Pottery Barn furnished the new bell glass fixture over the dining room table…a Kollmann/Klein swap that works perfectly.

 

IMG_5303A great early spring day down the peninsula in Port Clyde with Corey and Lynda who came for their first visit.

20140425_205737…a hint of the newly painted entry and hallway floor, a little window valance to welcome you in, the  gift of flowers and a clay pomegranate that emits the sweetest heavenly scent, courtesy of my brother and sister in law, always the purveyors of the most lovely items!

You may have noticed that I have fallen in love with this shade of blue green. I can’t seem to find enough places to strategically put it without it seeming like overkill….I’m getting close!

The downstairs is pretty much complete.  Our finger print has managed to touch most surfaces, key for me in making this place feel like mine.

20140507_074012It’s May!  The outside is irresistible after a long cold winter….and hey! my garlic, planted last November from my Windward Farm garden crop proved that this new garden would be an ample home.  It was a teary moment for me when I spotted those green shoots….a reminder that we will all endure, and life goes on and cycles are comforting assurance of all that.  It’s no secret that spring is my very favorite season.  Maybe being born in March has forged a kinship in me with that energy.  So chores are begging for attention.  The one I have been waiting to get to is painting my garden shed….guess what color I chose?

20140512_113153That’s just the primer…here comes the completed job…..20140512_160440 20140530_132321We’re back in production and compared to the way this place looked and felt last fall, I can’t help beginning to feel a certain energy invigorating this little homestead.  It’s starting to cook!  And I am also feeling the relief that its size affords…it’s manageable in so many ways, without having to sacrifice the joys of living the life I have come to love…laundry drying on the line, gardens to grow, dark starry nights and morning air spiked with the scent of Penobscot Bay. This was an unexpected gift.  It reminds me of my dad walking out our front door in Oceanside on a summer morning, taking a deep breath and reveling in the smell of the salt air.  Anything that brings him closer to me is, as this does, is a happiness beyond words.

20140520_190039Bob’s chorus buddies hold this rehearsal at our house and sing a house blessing song to honor our new home.  [Wish i know how to download it so you could hear it]20140531_144349Buying some holly bushes.

It felt so good to know that the favorite plantings we left behind, we could buy and grow in our new yard.  Bringing home the purple Smokebush, Miss Kim lilac, the most venerable Mock Orange bush and Fire and Ice hydrangea made me feel far less homesick for the plantings we had cultivated and left back on the farm.

20140601_075742Couldn’t resist this photo…look carefully and you will see on the fencepost atop my black iron crow a bluebird perched…this one’s for you and me Lynnie!!!

20140628_110938A bit startling to see this come up, but I have to invite my mother into these words and pictures.  She will never know this new home as I do, but including her in this space is the only way I have of sharing it with her and honoring the old among all the new.

We visited with her in late June and then celebrated Ollie’s fourth birthday,  the youngest member of the family the next day.

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July brought lots of visitors.

20140727_111254Addie, Jennette, Ollie and Emma, having moved from Ithaca N.Y. to Acton MA.  are only three and a half hours away.  I love having them in the “New England Corridor” with the rest of the gang and it means we get to see each other more often.

20140706_201146Beck and Jay bring their gang for a July fourth visit.  Ice cream at River Ducks completes the day.

20140706_110445…a short rest in the shade on the trail head up to Maiden Cliff.

20140615_180312…a raucous time with Alec, Tricia and Sara at Shaws’ for the mid summer lobster dinner.

In a few weeks, Alec would have his one man show at the Littlefield Gallery, in Winter Harbor, and Sara would be singing at the Strand Theater, in Rockland.  Some of us are born to punctuate the air with a creative energy that must be shared with the many.    These two offspring are inspiring examples of such callings.

20140711_112407My dear friend and college room mate, affectionately called “Shills”, made the long trip from New Haven CT. for a visit.  It’s always a creative adventure with her…..20140711_151837I got a little jewelry making tutorial and then we headed off to the Glendarragh Farm to pick lavender.

20140712_150717Our bounty hanging out to dry.

 

20140716_14323420140817_11142520140901_12065520140903_074906My how she’s grown!  This garden is a first year miracle!  No flea beetles, cutworms, slugs…. even the weeds haven’t found her.  She has provided a remarkable harvest and asked very little of her most grateful gardener.  With a fraction of the work and the self inflicted angst of my former garden, this one represents much of what we had hoped for…a full and fruitful life, a simpler existence with the happy absence of the clutter that thrives in bigger spaces.

 

20140731_173109 A year of life in this house has made  a few clear changes apparent.  Fran Lloyd Richardson has built this model from the architect’s plans.  We missed a mud room and mostly some outdoor spaces…..an open porch to pull up a chair in out of the hot sun, a screen porch on which to enjoy summer dinners and evening thunderstorms.  Those of you who have visited have understood the need for an upstairs bathroom redo and that wraps up the hopefully final transformation.  Stay tuned to see how this all progresses.

 

The Windjammer Festival is the traditional Labor Day event and it wraps up the summer of our new lives.

20140829_18391720140829_183942….and who better to spend the last day of summer with, but my sweet Sarie.

 

20140903_075052Yup, it’s home sweet home, finally. I’m not wanting to leave you with the impression that this Pollyanna sounding epistle has me writing with my rose colored glasses on.  These are hard won words.  Check back to my earlier blogs and you won’t have to read between the lines to hear the voice of a deeply lost soul, wondering what in hell she had done.

I make myself remember every step I have taken during this past year and in part, that is why I have devoted three days to putting this together.  A year is a span of time that seems to be just the right amount of time to heal, to adjust, to transition, to get comfortable again after a big change, whether welcomed or not.  Would I have gotten through this any easier if I knew that, or remembered that?  Probably not.  A year is a long time to be out of your familiar groove and it’s hard work to carve out a new one.  But, the hardest work is behind me, and I say  “Thank you God for showing me the open window and giving me the courage to step through it.”  I look back and wonder how we ever did it, and then I get all goose bumpy and look around me to make sure it really happened.  And it has. It’s for real.  And I say ‘Thank you”, every day, I say ” thank you”.

 

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HOME…….more and more

Almost at month five and the days slide by more effortlessly, one to the next.  Such a change from the angst filled movement of time I experienced in the first few months.

There is a metamorphosis that takes place both in the house and the owner  when the former changes hands.  This old house seems to have its adjustment  to the way we live in it; differently from the people before us. Being caught up in the adjustment on my end of things, I never spent much time thinking about how the house might feel.  I surely called it unkind words, held it at arm’s length like a naughty child, and yet expected to feel warmth and comfort in its space.  Watching this relationship grow, I more deeply understand how much I am the house and the house is me.  Really now, nasty names and punishing behavior do not suggest ‘Welcome’.

The grand teacher, Time, holds me gently by the shoulders and looks kindly into my eyes.  She reminds me to be gentle and kind with myself, a new opportunity to learn an old and way over due lesson.

Moving is as much about cleaning out the junk inside of me as well as the junk I’ve collected outside in my life.  The outside stuff had an obvious place to go…Goodwill, the Dump, but where does the inside stuff go?  I am becoming more aware of tossing out the thoughtless things I  tell myself, and instead try each morning to walk down the stairs and look at what is sweet and beautiful, and that, embarrassing as it sounds, has to include me.  It’s all one, right? I will trust that you see these pictures and changes in that light, and know how hard it is to have the outside and inside match sometimes.  Sure the butcher block top is a  great improvement…. and so am I,…becoming.

IMG_5092 That kick started me to go to the fabric store with the thought of making a valance for the kitchen  window.  The storekeeper was well-meaning and that said, drove me nuts. Suggestion upon suggestion, she was non stop.  Between that and her distracting Pandora music station, I struggled to keep my focus.  As you know, making decisions these days is like and Olympic event for me.  Thankfully, another customer came in and she buzzed around them, leaving me to make my selection in peace.

IMG_5094I’m still stuck on paint colors for the living room to the right of the kitchen and the hallway to the left.  Teacher Time lovingly rubs my back.  I take a deep breath and tell myself that it’s ok to not know yet.  I must admit, that I am so itchy to paint, it hurts!

Another dilemma I faced was what to do about the cats clawing the new rug and eventually the new slip covers for the couch.  Each morning I would scrutinize the rug, looking for places where the wool was pulled.  Something needed to be done because this issue was not going away.  Respected friends suggested having the cats de- clawed.  I wanted to believe that solution was a good one.  Taking the ‘cats by the claws’, I called the vet and asked to make an appointment.  “We don’t do that”, she said, and proceeded to give me a list of reasons why.  I was half relieved and half disappointed.  Her alternative, clipping their claws and gluing plastic claw covers on them, to a woman who can’t even get her cat in the cat carrier, or feed it a pill, seemed impossible.  I took down the website she gave me  that sold the claw covers and figured there was no other alternative.  Take a look….

IMG_5088A feline manicure!  And I can’t believe I did it!  It really wasn’t so hard.

The next big adventure was having Bob’s studio completed.  It is a beautiful space and his paintings look gorgeous!  Really, this studio will sell paintings.  It is a confident space, and fortunately, Bob moved through the process that way.  Outside and inside match!

Having checked that off the list, the little room I was intending as my studio/sitting room has become available now that he is fully moved into his studio.  I am totally in the dark as to what I want and how I want it to look.  When the room is ready, it will invite me in and  tell me how it needs to be.  After all, we have just met!

In the meantime, I priced a garden shed back in November, but began to feel gun-shy about all the money we were spending.  Maybe by spring I will be ready.  Bob encouraged me to call and order it.  It’s funny how we each take turns reminding each other that this is what we promised ourselves when we made the move, and that we budgeted the proceeds from selling the farm for just these purchases.

So here she comes on a snowy Saturday…

IMG_5059IMG_5063Uh oh!!!  This was not pretty to watch.  The flat-bed spun its wheels and got stuck in a gully.  Finally, they had to tow it using the pickup truck.  Can’t wait to see what my yard looks like next season….

IMG_5077She’s cute, right?

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IMG_5081The next morning, in 10 degree weather, I traipsed back and forth, from the garage to the shed, loading the tools, and all things garden, into their new home.  The work table from my old studio has been re-purposed into a potting/seed starting surface.

IMG_5084The garage has really opened up and is waiting to be transformed into a workshop and a place to park my car!

IMG_5054Is life all about untangling messes and creating order?  That appears to be my job description recently and I’m not complaining….it’s satisfying.  So  I thought in preparation for moving my creative life into the now empty room, I had better organize my yarn stash.

IMG_5097Time to pull down the night curtain on a productive and satisfying weekend.  This is the time when the dreams come and I must admit,  only recently have they taken me to my old house, the farm.  I am often sneaking into the driveway and entering when I am sure the new owner is not home.  I look into the rooms and don’t recognize them, as they are often filled with garish colors and old furniture.  When I inch my way outside, the garden is overgrown and old wooden benches, looking as if they’re about to give way, are scattered about with little children sitting on them.  In most dreams, the owner comes upon me, not angry or accusing me of trespassing, mostly disinterested that I am there.  I tell her I forgot something and came by looking for it.

I am not ready in real-time to go back and see the farm yet.  I fear I would pull into the driveway and walk through the mudroom door as naturally as ever, feeling that it is still  my house .  I guess when I have more roots to anchor me here than what remains of the withering roots back there, it will be time to visit….maybe the dreams are helping me get to that time?

Soon the light will be different as February and a visit from old friend groundhog is less than a week away.  Wishing you all happy times as we live into each new day.

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Fall, Winter and on into the New Year

There’s so much to say, so much time has gone by since I last posted, that it’s hard to know where to start.  I think I’ll take you through the past two months mostly in photos, sharing how fall and winter show themselves in this little town of Camden, inside at 34 Hosmer Pond Road, and inside me.

IMG_4753Our first fall hike in the Camden Hills on a foggy day had us wanting more…IMG_4802A great windy day up “Maiden Cliff” with a view of Lake Megunticook.  The next photo explains the story behind the name.

IMG_4810IMG_4832 Our final hike of the season.  The beauty of living in town is having these spectacular views just a  five-minute drive from the many trail heads that link the Camden hills together.

IMG_4819Heading home through the center of town with one more garden chore to do before fall ebbs away.

IMG_4846I was very determined to plant these few heads of garlic I saved from July’s harvest.  It symbolized my own ability to plant myself into what still seemed like strange, new earth. Come spring, maybe we would both poke our little green noses up, take a look around and say to each other, “We made it”!  As for now, we are both sending down roots into the dark ground and as for the outcome, we will have to wait.

I must admit, those words were truer two months ago at October’s end than they are now. As I sit here on New Year’s Eve day, I can speak more confidently about my emergence.  As for my garlic, I can only hope.

IMG_4861 I love driving past this ‘conserved’ farm, on the way to our house, just a quarter-mile up the road.  It’s funny the little things that call out to you.  This was one for me.  It wore fall so beautifully and I could only imagine what it would look like cloaked in winter.  Here, I’ll skip ahead and show you.IMG_4983IMG_4975one more frosty one….IMG_4980

Turning the calendar pages back a month, we had our first Thanksgiving with Sara, Alec and Tricia.  Sarie and I sat on the edge of our seats, as we always do, watching Santa ride onto 34th street in his glorious sleigh.  I love that it never fails to thrill us!IMG_4880The bird is in the oven and the familiar smells of so many thanksgivings past fill this new house with a sense of continuity.  All we were before and are today lace together into one, the whole being just a little bit richer for the addition.

IMG_4886That bird was as tasty as she was good-looking!

IMG_4895This was the last big family meal at this table.  As much as we loved it, it was way over sized for this dining area.  Adam and I struck a great deal.  He would take our table and we would take his.  I’ll skip ahead and show you how great it worked out!IMG_5011Dontcha think?

It seemed like forever that I  just couldn’t move off-center, which is to say I was stuck.  I was beginning to doubt my ability to make a decision, even one as simple as choosing a paint color for the kitchen, let alone invest real money to buy a rug.  I bought more trial jars of paint at Home Depot and painted these 8×11 sheets of paper to stick on the wall and still I couldn’t decide. Really, it’s just a can of paint!  There was more going on inside me that had to do with doubting myself, with being swayed by other people’s opinions, with an old fear of making a mistake.  That’s a tight noose around the neck if you know what I mean.  Strange as it seems, it was December 9th, exactly three months after we moved in, that I really felt the log jam begin to ease up.  I bought a can of paint and didn’t even try it out like I’d done before.  We bought a rug and I ordered a butcher block top for the island in the kitchen.  I had a few rapid heart beats after each purchase and second guessed myself after I placed the order, but I just had to get over myself.

IMG_5013The new pillows and the rug….

IMG_5014IMG_5015 In a week, the butcher block top will be delivered and then I’m pulling the purse strings tight for a while.  We’ve upped the ‘cozy factor’ and I feel myself moving in more deeply and putting my ‘scent’ on this place.  Feeling more like home!

A quick dash onto winter with a few photos of our celebrations round the tree with the fam.IMG_4924The preparation of lobster bisque for Christmas Eve dinner will be a very special memory.  Sometimes when the ‘feel’ is just right, for me, that’s when the hour casts just the right light, when the aromas smell warm, the music is lovely and Rob and I are like hand in glove, I guess I could be making mud pies, it wouldn’t matter, I close the shutter on that moment and save it for all times.  This was one of them.

IMG_4952Santa filled our stockings even though there was no mantle to hang them on or fireplace to come down. I guess we were good!

IMG_4957Yummy Christmas morning breakfast….eggnog french toast and oranges with cranberry coulis a la silver palate recipe.

IMG_4967Christmas day walk and

IMG_4959one beautiful frosty face!

IMG_5001Beck, Jay, and the kiddoes fill the room with lots of life and cuddles.IMG_5003and round the table once more.

Today Adam, Jennette, Emma and Ollie will come for New Year’s and place their energy in this house along with the other family members that have visited so far.  Each visit brings another layer of life into each room the way they say that with each successive loaf of bread you make, yeast spores remain, making the next loaf rise more easily.

IMG_5020Emma working on her crafts, transforming a pine cone into an owl!IMG_5019Adam, Jennette, and Ollie and Grandpa hanging out, happy to bring in the New Year all together.

IMG_5038Welcome 2014!  A bright, cold New Year’s Day had the last of the visitors heading for home.

We took down the tree, vacuumed the floor, fluffed the pillows and settled down  to enjoy the last few sunlit hours of this first day of the new year.

As for resolutions, I think as I grow older, there is less  resolving and more to just keep practicing.  Patience and trust are not new to me, but they can slip through my fingers like a watermelon seed. So I will practice  turning my mind towards the places of comfort and acceptance of what is, and  feeling the love that surrounds us all  remembering that includes me.

Happy New Year!

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Upside down, Everywhere and Going Nowhere!

IMG_4648September 9, 2013.

We’ve just returned from the closing and are giddy as we are about to cross the threshold, right foot first of our new home.  Fortunately, we a re never really privy to what lies ahead, because our right minds would tell us to stay put, don’t dare, it’s a tough ride and hey, things aren’t so bad the way they are, right?  I don’t know if that’s the ‘right’ mind talking or not, but it is  pretty persuasive.  And as I write this next post, I’m not out of the dizzying questioning battle with this mind, right or not.  I seem to be making enough headway to share the next crazy chapter.

Within twenty four hours, I looked more like this:IMG_4657Kind of a quick swing.  There are just no words for the overwhelming power of this experience.  Inside of one day,  I left a huge place empty, and sparkling clean, only to enter small place caught in the path of a tornado.

IMG_4653Just the tip of the iceberg…hang with me and my weather metaphors!

IMG_4651I haven’t shown you the over packed garage whose doors couldn’t close, or the storage unit we filled and thankfully succumbed to.

Just plain shock was the mood of the next two weeks.  Where did all this stuff come from after we thought we had rid ourselves of so much?  I tell you, when they ask me now if I want a bag for my purchase, or offer to send me home with another paint chart, I just say ‘NO’…thank you.  Every extra piece of non essential material brings back that overturned feeling in my stomach when I looked at all we had to find space for.

IMG_4674 Order, my new favorite word, was making brief appearances.  The kitchen was slowly getting unpacked and items shuffled off to their designated corners.  This saving grace nestled right into the only corner of the room, had me bow every time I passed it  for bringing Order to a reverential high!

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IMG_4670Boxes are mostly gone in the kitchen so a view through to the end of the living room  is possible.  Lots of stuff still looking for a home.  Some days, I think the same for me.  I wake up and wonder where I am.  I walk down the stairs in the morning and my feet don’t know these steps. I have no routine to use as a hand rail.  I realize I have lived in my previous home longer than I have lived anywhere else, so this disorientation should not be surprising…but it is.

IMG_4676It’s September 24 today, a day shy of two weeks since we moved.  Only on the surface do things look like they are coming together, but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth.  I’ll take anything that has the semblance of tidy and neat.  It’s a brain thing that reassures the humble human that some modicum of control is within reach, and I’m not too proud to grab hold with all my might.  I’m in control deprivation mode right now…..scaaaary.

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September 27:  The “Black Dirt Guy” comes and delivers a truck load of garden manure.  Yes!  This feels familiar and comforting and down to earth!  Earlier, I went to the dump and gathered piles of old newspaper, wet it down and spread it over the 18×30′ garden plot.  The next day I came home, the sun had dried the newspaper , the wind had come up and scattered it all over the lawn.  Two hours later I had gathered it, re-spread it, and reasserted just who’s Boss!  By the way, that’s not the one sitting in the chair!IMG_4681IMG_4679First laundry hung out on my newly strung line!

IMG_4684Even found time to braid and store the onions I grew this summer at the farm.  This was the best day, what I love most, getting things done!  Garden set, laundry drying outdoors and a little time to reap the harvest! YES!  And it is the last weekend in September.

IMG_4693Time to close with this little peek at what October has in store for us.  Bright sunny days are real handy when my inside sun is struggling to shine.  My clouds pass quickly and my weather is unpredictable,  and it is only one month since we moved.

Basically, I like change.  I bring an optimistic nature to it, mostly thinking that change is exciting and full of goodness.  Maybe that’s why I fall so hard when the change, at least short term, uproots me and feels scary.  I was expecting fun!

The upside to being older is knowing that there is a larger stage that all this is playing out on.  When I focus in on my little part, I can’t see the whole story.  Then the narrator, like the guy in “Our Town” taps me on the shoulder and reminds me that all is well in Grover’s Corner’s

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LAST DAYS IN THE BASKET

I finally feel ready to write about the last six weeks, YIKES! is that ALL it’s been?  Change can be so disorienting that weeks feel like lifetimes, which is true for me right now.  I feel Dorothy and I have shared a tornado experience.  For right now, I will let a bunch of pictures tell the outside story which could be titled ‘Lots of Lasts’

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…a last canoe ride on the lake

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…dining room finale.  Always a great way to start the day with the welcoming sun streaming in from the east.

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We pulled together some camping gear so we could share our last meal in the house.  Just happened to be the first night of  Rosh Hashana, new moon, new year, new beginning.

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Off we trundled to the pop-up where we slept for the next six nights.  It helped with the transition of leaving the homestead.Image

Would you have ever believed we could peel ourselves and all of our stuff out of this well lived and loved in room?  This was the heart of our home and I have mixed feelings seeing it so empty.  I like to think that she’s all spanking clean, waiting for new stories to come through and bring life to the space.  Ours, we will take with us, as I hope you will too.  We will hold fast to the times we have shared together in front of the wood stove , piled on the couch or sprawled out on the floor.

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One last trip out to the garden to gather the harvest.  Certainly not the bounty of previous seasons, but it was simple and about all I could handle.

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My final morning’s meditation.  I knew the view from the back deck would be unrivaled for me.  I was able to say goodbye to that piece of heaven, always grateful that it was ours for a while.Image

…A welcome to Marianne and a farewell for us, our last parting gesture.Image

We hitched up the pop up, and started down Youngs Hill Road…..Image

a wave to the farm…

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and one last look at the barn.

This ties up Part One of I don’t know how many more parts to come in chronicling this adventure.  I remember feeling genuinely excited and completely at peace with leaving.  The most helpful notion was being able to take a long distance sighting of the whole process.  When I could do that, seeing our time at this house as a magical phrase in a story begun long before we were even born, I could take comfort in knowing that the story will continue, written by other lives lived there.  It reminds me that we just visit here, we own nothing, and impermanence is our address.

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HOME FREE!

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These summer mornings, I start my day out on the deck, coffee and book on the arm of my chair and wait for my chipping sparrow to officially start my day.  Her numerous songs are as familiar to me as my name.  I hear her everywhere and especially love it when she perches with feet of me.  Take a close look at her beak, head tipped back and imagine the breath filling her little body so as to send out this bright trill of notes, so happy and hopeful it makes me want to cry at her generosity of joy.

july 2013-015As of today,  48  mornings remain with me, in this chair, in this place.  Don’t ask me how I feel, because I try not to get stuck in that track.  Mostly, and happily, we watch the progress of a project that came to us last fall, after a camping trip in the ‘pop- up’ to Prince Edward Island.  The take away from that vacation, was the experience of how light and free we felt when managing life so simply.  Coming home to lawns and gardens, to harvest time and canning, to wood-stacking and outdoor furniture storage, seemed overwhelming in comparison to the week we just spent. We saw the window open and we seized the chance to climb through. That was last fall, and here we are in high summer with a good deal of the squeeze and pain receding slowly in our rear view mirror.

IMG_4395We started emptying out the barn stalls and the various storage places that an old farm with out- buildings afford, sorted through the mountains of accumulated stuff of the last fifty years easily, Bob would say more, and staged it in the barn.  The next step was inevitable.

IMG_4485Our realtor called a week before the scheduled yard sale to tell us an offer was pending on our house.  Having experienced the ‘cold feet’ syndrome of the previously interested buyers, we didn’t get our hopes up.  Our highest mountain was yet to climb, the building investigation!!!! Need I say,  my naturally tightly tuned constitution, forged by my dad’s mantra ‘First Things First’, and fed by my mother’s  fear of the lion lurking always outside her door, was at its highest tension.  I allowed myself little respite from the mounting list of chores that lined up in front of me and worked hard to stave off the fear that our house wouldn’t pass muster and therefore be unsellable.

The day of the ‘investigation’, I hooked the ‘Home’ milagro necklace around my neck that my sweet friend Suellen sent to me and took a moment with my crows.IMG_4477When I arrived home, this is what ended the day…..IMG_4481I know I’m telling you two concurrent stories, so hang in with me, cause we’re stepping two days forward to the Yard Sale, Saturday, the 20th of July.  Up and out at 5 a.m., we start moving the stuff from the barn on to the lawn.IMG_4486IMG_4487The early birds are starting to gather….who cares, let the games begin!

IMG_4488IMG_4489Did I mention that it was HOT, or as Becky would say, hotter than Hades and, that my weather magic husband managed to hold back the forecasted thunder storms until we were ready to pack up?

IMG_4491These pictures can’t possibly express the kindness of all the people who shared the day with us; the man who came back to hand me the quarter he owed me, the little girl who shyly asked if the five dollar bill she had was enough to buy the doll house that Bob had made for Sara, the woman who said that driving by our house every morning settled her nerves and gave her a peaceful feeling, and mostly having our family with us, each personality shining in the way they do best, Alec the protector, Tricia the organizing business woman, Sara the charmer and hydrating specialist!  It was a day to remind us that the world is a good place!

If it’s possible to feel invigorated and exhausted at the same time, that’s how I would describe the way we staggered into the house at the end of the day.  The phone rang just as our bottoms hit the counter stools. It was our real estate agent. ” No contingencies, you have a solid cash offer on your house!” were his words.  Grateful doesn’t come close!  july 2013  So we took ourselves out to dinner and early to bed!

Stay tuned for the next episode, for there’s sure to be one soon!

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Cleaning out my basket

What a trip this is.  I first thought it was just about selling a house and looking for a new one.  Little did I know what else was in store.  I give myself some leeway, seeing as the last time we did this, we turned one house  in for another in just five  short weeks.  It was quick and decisive.

I just realized that it was father’s day weekend 24 years ago, that we drove up Youngs Hill Road and found this house, and then one year later, June 16th we moved up for good.  Today is June 15th, father’s day weekend.  I’m not sure that portends  anything, but yes, I do, to be honest.  Here’s another story that falls in the same category.  A few days ago, I met my friend for lunch at this dinky cafe we go to between our two homes.  On the screen door, as we were about to enter, there was a Luna moth big and bright and bold firmly attached to the screen,  totally blase about the customers coming and going ,and  showing no awareness of any harm coming to her.  The first week of moving to Windward Farm, I saw my very first Luna moth holding fast in the same way to the screen door outside our bedroom.  And here’s another.  When we  first moved in that summer, a woman named Delphine, who had a little girl about the same age as Sara, came to say hi and offered to have us over for dinner.  Months went by and I never heard from or saw here again until the end of the school year.  We were sitting next to each other at the final assembly and she apologized for never following through on her invitation.  I wasn’t so forgiving to be truthful.  I didn’t mind making her squirm.  I needed that invitation back then during a very lonely time of being new in a strange place.  Since then, time has softened my position and I no longer hold a grudge.

She drove by our house this April and asked about the on the For Sale sign on our lawn.  she said she would like to have us over for dinner, adding that she would surely follow through, not like the last time.  She e-mailed and asked what weekends we were free in May.  I responded.  It is June 15th and you know the rest of the story.  My point is that so many beginnings are repeating themselves as endings, sort of like bookends to this Washington, Maine experience.  I have to laugh, and actually, they make me feel safe, like the patterns of my life are being woven by competent hands, and they don’t belong to me.

So since the “Here’s our offer  to buy your house” contract signed pending the building inspection and then the “Sorry, we can’t buy your house” [not said, but implied, we got cold feet] it has been a rocky road.  And then we essentially did the same thing, put a bid in on a house in Camden only to have to back out because the truth is, we can’t afford to carry two homes.  It was fun feeling like I  lived in Camden for those  five hours  while our bid was on the table, but the greater relief was climbing back down from a limb that  was too far out for us.

What do you do when you realize you have no control?  Where do you put that force that wants to get things moving?  Here’s my take on that.  I pack!  Hardest of all was coming to the decision to move.  With that behind us,  the going forward was easy, well, relatively speaking.  So we can’t move till we sell and that sets up a stuck sort of situation.  No point continuing to entertain ourselves looking at houses on-line.  The solution, the only one available to my mind, was to pack,so  off to Wal Mart for boxes, packing tape and markers .

We began by emptying out the cabinets and window seat benches in the family room, the repository of our children’s, and now our grand children’s toys.  Those had to be boxed for the time when they would next visit and immediately run to find the ‘polly pockets’ they all  love, and the Brio trains and that crazy colored plastic contraption that has the marbles passing through it.  Then it’s the boxes of handmade cards from children and the store-bought one with the shaky hand writing from Grandma Hilda.  All those kindnesses, what do you do with them?  It is all so overwhelming.  But I carry on like an armored tank operator in Afghanistan, rolling over rocky terrain, taking no prisoners, and making the call to recycle or dump.  After a day, I really feel shell-shocked from all the unprocessed emotion, all the years that have sped by as I separate trash from treasure.
When I take a break,  slumped on the love seat, looking out the window to the garden with the pink and purple spikes of lupine, I begin to hear my thoughts.  They say to me that it doesn’t matter what I throw away, or how much of my “stuff” I purge. I am really all there is.  Whatever I need, I can find inside myself.   I’m ready to leave room for what ever else may interest me.  That brought me comfort and was a good antidote for the loss of the way I had come to know myself in these past 30 years…the knitter, the basket maker, the dried flower collector, the crafty girl who just loved making things.  I looked out the window and felt a peace in the emptying out of a life, not because it’s ending, but because it is getting ready to start again.  It was a lovely moment.

If you’re still with me, you have been very patient since I have entered very few photos, but here are a few:IMG_4395Here is the staging area for the tag sale we hope to have July 4th.  And the next photo, while small and seemingly insignificant, holds more than I have words for.

IMG_4386It’s the “chatter phone”,  that remains pretty well intact after being pulled around by each of my three  little children.  This will not meet the dumpster!

There may be a little left in me today, so I’m back in my tank and rolling towards my studio…….

Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddys here and beyond.  We love you all!

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