September 

 

I like to sit on our door-sill

and watch the place above the hill

get lighter every minute till

the moon comes up all bright and still.  

 

from The Moon by May Morgan

Children's poem

Dried Sunflower

September 9

My father kept chickens during the last years of his life, and I used to enjoy walking with him down to the barn and coop he built.  He always said it was a relaxing job; and sure enough it was.  Their simple, unhurried movements were mesmerizing. 

He and I would stand for a long time perfectly still, simply watching the white and speckled hens peck and mutter.  No need to talk, no need to be in a hurry.  He had names, of course, for all of them; but mostly he just called them "the girls."  

There was no rooster so there was no crow to hear at sunrise, but no one seemed to miss it terribly.  When he and my mother lived in Tennessee and bought their first hens, the rooster he got to complete the mix attacked my mother one day as she was on her way up the hill to their roost.  He jumped on her back with his large claws and dug in.  We don't know why and he didn't live long enough to tell us. 

Ever since that time"the girls" were just that -- girls only.  

Fresh Eggs for Breakfast

The fascinating thing about chickens (and, yes, they are fascinating) is how beautiful they can be.  If you searh for the more unusual varieties, you find their coloring and pattern of feathers can be amazing--such a striking design for so humble an animal.  

There is a vast and efficient world of creatures we never notice; creatures who carry on their mesmerizing work to music we never hear.  Occasionally someone notices, like my father who stays still long enough to see, and who, I'm glad to say, passes that treasure on to me.  

"If you know somethin' well, you can always paint it;

but people would be better off buyin' chickens."  

Grandma Moses, folk artist 

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

A Dozen, Please


September 13

Bee Balm

* * * 

I have an old drying rack I found many years ago at an antique shop, that I use for drying herbs from the garden.  It's made with slats of wood and a screen and looks to be hand built. It's also quick, non-electric, and has no parts to break.  Perfect.

To make sure I don't get caught outside when the wind blows cold and gray, I start in September to gather the herbs I want to keep before winter comes.  Yesterday I cut some lovage, peppermint, lemon verbena, and cutting parsley, then brought the small bundles of greens inside to wash. The smaller stems I placed apart on the drying rack, and the larger ones I tied into clumps with string, gave them a shake and hung them from the mantle, all to dry and fill our house with that unique scent of herb upon herb.

I've simplified the process quite a bit from the early days of my herb gathering when I tried to grow some of everything.  Instead of jars and jars of carefully-labeled herbs sitting on our pantry shelves (yes, it looked wonderful), I now have only one or two blends for what ails us.  That way whatever you're "down with," there's sure to be an herb in one of the blends that will help.  One jar is for stomach ailments and the other for colds and flu. 

It's all part of a new plan I have to do more with less. I try not to worry so much  about getting everything exact and beautiful, because I found out I can't anyway.  I take whatever I'm given and make it a good thing.  That's all.  It's that simple.  

Everything else, everything unfinished or poor in spirit is left to go to seed.  

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

Friday, September 14, 2018

Linda's Clock I

Linda's Clock II

Linda's Clock III

Here are my favorite clock pictures from the Rabbit Hill Studio.  As it turns out, all of them belong to my sister, who is quite a clock enthusiast.  She lives in a sunny home in the pines, in the pines of north Florida; and everywhere you look her home says "hello!"

 

A clock is a dignified thing, upright and understated, like an English gentleman.  It wakes us up each morning and at night tells us we're past our bedtime.  Now-a-days mine is telling me "keep it moving."

 

So I do.

And so I do.

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

September 17, 2018, Wash Day

Monday Wash Day

When I was a young wife with a four-year old and a 4-month old baby, I used to hang our clothes out to dry on a clothesline.  I never minded this chore, even in chilly weather when my fingers turned stiff and white  I hung child-sized shirts and pants, colorful towels and baby blankets in straight rows to watch them from the kitchen window of our tiny duplex swing back and forth in the light breeze. 

 

Then when the sun soaked everything dry with warm light, I unpinned them from the rope line, placed them in a basket, and carried them inside where I folded each familiar piece of fabric into a perfect little square.

 

What was there not to like ?   

 

They say women have lost the sense of community they had throughout much of history in part because they no longer meet at the water's edge to wash clothes together.  It's true we have come a long, long way from that.  But the sun and the sky and the Tennessee breezes I once enjoyed weren't a bad substitute. 

 

Today I washed three loads of laundry and dried them lickety-split in a hot drier.  It was quiet and efficient.  My fingers were warm and dry.  I carried what I folded upstairs to the linen closet, and carefully placed two perfectly-squared stacks of linens along the edge of a shelf.  The sun's light fell in even slats on the door and hallway floor as I turned to open the window...the same air I smelled in Tennessee, the same breeze I felt from that tiny duplex window.

 

The road can be long at times, but the view is often the same.   

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

It's time to order supplies for this year's ten batches of soap I hope to complete by Christmas time.  I know it's time to get started because the cypress vine is covered with tiny red flowers, which means it's fall, which means it's time to make soap.  

 

Homemade soap has been around Rabbit Hill so long I've forgotten what store-bought soap smells like.  I don't even know the current brand names anymore.  But I can tell you all about Calico and Foxfire and Appalachian Spring. Now that's fine soap!

Red Rooster Coffee

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

Friday, September 21, 2018

Carrot Cake

 

We have a saying around here.  If you're having an especially good day, you are having "a carrot day."  And if you really want to do it up right, make a carrot cake to go with the carrot day.

 

While you're at it, don't forget that a good cake deserves a good display.  When you go to the trouble of getting out all those spices and eggs and carrots, common sense tells you it needs some flair.    

It just so happens (well, it doesn't just so happen--I tend to go out looking for these things), that I have a black cake stand and dome ribbons that do justice to an orange-tinted and cream cheese iced carrot cake. 

 

So come September, I enjoy mixing the cake and smelling it in the oven of course; but the real excitement comes when I put it on the black cake stand and top it with the dome and its flairs. 

 

It makes for a true Carrot Day at Rabbit Hill.   

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

Thursday, September 27, 2018

 

It rained again today, same as yesterday and the day before that.  Drizzle mostly.  The dog and I tried to carry on in our usual cheerful way, but I soon gave up and spent the day straightening out the upstairs closet.  He took first to barking at the rain streaks on the window, then hid under a blanket. 

 

I have an addiction to the sun and its smiling face, left over from my days living in Florida where they don't allow cloudy weather. When I draw or paint, it's usually of a sun, either a folk art image or a kindly round man-face.  Otherwise, what's the point? 

 

Under the Weather

Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun."  (Eccl. 11:7, NIV)

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit