*January*

 

 

"The weather is so foul

it is beginning to be exciting."

 

Gladys Taber in

The Book of Stillmeadow

 

 

Slush Boots


Thursday, January 3, 2019

I awoke this morning to rain, more rain, and a flood watch for our area--the second one this week.  The weather was warmer than it has been and the whole world was back to its usual caffeine-laced ways, me included. 

 

In January all the thoughts I collected in December for a thousand New Year's resolutions lay jumbled in my mind like a box of animal crackers--on hold, full of promise.  I couldn't wait to get to them.  In the mud and yuk of January, it would be fun to see if I could make any sense of them.  The rain only made it more fun. 

* * * 

Stack of Dishes

I have a notebook of New Year's Resolutions going back about 10 years.  If  I read them all at once, which I have done a time or two, they read the same, only the words are shuffled around like scrabble letters.  And yet?

 

And yet, every year I'm pleased all over again with the good things I expect to accomplish during that coming year.  That's why New Year's Resolutions are important to me--I trust them. 

 

With the rain and pleasant dullness of January, I could tell 2019's resolutions were going to be just as good as they always were. This year I would keep it simple.  Here's my list:

 

1.  Keep it simple.

2.  It's not about me.

3.  Unwind

 

There now, we'll see how it goes.   

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

* * *

Mole continued to practice.

Years went by.

Mole got better and better. 

 

from "Mole Music" by David McPhail


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Linda's Clock IV

The woods out back have lost all their leaves now.  Only gray and brown is left, and the slow-moving things of January have settled in.  Did I mention that it's still raining? 

 

I'm ashamed to say I've had trouble getting attached to January, which comes as no surprise, I'm sure.  Isn't January the month when clinical depression spikes?  

To make it all fit together, last week two of our family came down with a bad cold--or was it the flu?  It's hard to tell.  We've been fighting flu season with a kind of desparation ever since the last two winters when the whole family was sick  all season, unable to get out of bed, two winters in a row.  It was a bit much and a little frightening, so we stocked up on vitamins and zinc and grapefruit juice two months ago in the optimistic belief that it would do some good .  It's better so far, but we keep a wary eye on each other.  

 

There was a cartoon in the New Yorker many years ago of a man slouching down the sidewalk, saying to himself, "it's about time for that old left foot to be coming around again." 

 

January can be like that--the era of low expectations, you might call it (which was the title of the cartoon, by the way).  To tell the truth, I hate to see the first month of our year take such a beating.  I mean, we're out of the gate running now.  Shouldn't we all be in high spirits for the 2019 cross-country race ahead of us? 

 

And yet, there sits January, looking at us with that long face, that runny nose, that dry, half-smile.  Sure it's easy to take pot-shots at it.  

 

Tomorrow I'll get out my various lists and notebooks, warm up the left-over broccoli and cheese soup, and think about the months ahead.  I feel sure there are undiscovered charms beneath all that gray landscape outside. 

 

I'll have to see what I can do about that in the next few days.  

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

* * *

I'm so low I have to reach up to tie my shoes.

 An old joke, often told by my dad


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Planning Day

No, this isn't a new quilt; it's an impressionist look at all the notebooks I've been using to plan and plot and consider the overgrowth of thoughts in my mind these last several days.  It's what Monet would paint of his journals if they looked like mine.  

 

It's a well-known fact around these parts that I like to make lists.  In fact, I even have a book of lists.  What a joyful thing it is, too.  When things get cloudy or mundane in January, I have only to get out my book of lists to see what former things excited me and where i might put some of my pent-up energy.  

This week I chose January as the month in which all my future jumps off of.  "Why, I could take this whole month to do nothing more than design and record important stuff," I told myself, "and feel organized at the same time." 

 

So for the last four days, after I opened up the house, said hello to Tucker the Dog, and checked out the sunrise, I sat at our tall deli table beside the fire with my coffee and carefully spread out all the books that would soon form my world.  Or maybe I should say I hoped would soon form my world.   

 

The table stayed covered with lists of things to buy like soapmaking supplies and ribbon and card stock; books about things to do like paint a new "herb" sign, find a place for next year's wrapping station, and organize The Pony Closet; lists of reminders to add to my new calendar; notebooks with quotes to remind me of the big picture; and notebooks with lists of handwork I would like to try this year.  Ahhh, sweet optimism.  And I'm not finished yet.  I have all of January to go.

 

It's been a nice fit with the rain and the after-holiday unwinding I needed.  It feels very productive in fact, so I hardly feel any guilt at all for not carrying a more noticeable workload.  As a result, so far I have emptied the Pony Closet and  rearranged the beads and colored pencils in my loft studio.  I hope I don't lose my momentum.  

 

PS.  If you don't yet know what The Pony Closet is, it's a small closet near my loft -studio where I keep the things I collect for gifts, artwork, handwork, decorating and such.  It's the one place I allow myself to be a hoarder, and the most exciting room in the house.  It was named The Pony Closet when I wouldn't let my young daughter go into the closet one Christmas "because there might be a pony in there."  The name stuck and so it remains.  Everyone that knows us respects and admires The Pony Closet.

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

* * * 

"I like things to happen, and if they don't happen I like to make them happen."

 Winston Churchill


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Winter's Work

* * *

 We watched the lunar eclipse Sunday evening from our backyard patio.  It was straight up overhead in the sky, pretty as you please, and lasted from 12:15 AM to about 1:45 AM.  They called it the Blood Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse because everything amazing about the moon coincided at once.  Not only was the math and science all lined up, but the sky was more clear than it's been in weeks, and the 22 degree temperatures helped make it feel like an adventure of a lifetime.  I could see two bright lights through the woods out back in an otherwise dark world, and I wondered if someone at those homes stayed up to see it too.  I'm glad we all did. 

It's a good thing to stop once in a while and look beyond ourselves.  Sometimes I have to remember that my ordinary life is important, and an event such as a lunar eclipse helps me remember.  There are, sure enough, things bigger than what makes me tick.

 

I got out my yarn this week and selected the colors and textures for a hand-knit potholder.  Simple. With time coming in shorter bursts than it used to, I like to have something quick and useful that still lets me be creative in the design.  A hand-knit potholder fits that very nicely.  I can think while I work and drink hot tea by the fire, away from the bitter cold outside my back door. 

 

But the benefits don't end with tea and yarn, good as that is.  

 

Potholders Take On Art

I've seen quite a few birds outside the backdoor windows this month.  They came to dig around for seeds and water in the Up-Close Garden, and I heard several of them singing loudly this week.  A few days ago I watched three or four bluebirds (my favorites) sweeping in and out of the birdhouse near the porch.  They must be shopping for their new home, come spring.  

 

"Don't you think this one is big enough, dear?" one of them says.  "Well, it's a bit small" the other one answers, "but maybe we could add a room."  I'm just sure it goes that way. 

 

They probably didn't know about the lunar eclipse Sunday night, being busy as they were.  Don't you like the way birds and their kin never ask themselves what their purpose is or if their work is important enough?  I like that about them.  Busy and singing--that's who they are, and that's what it's all about.  

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

* * *

It belittles us to think of our daily tasks as small things;

and if we continue to do so, 

it will in time make us small. 

 

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Author/Little House Series


Friday, January 25, 2019

Red Teapot

 

I've been thinking lately about our herb garden.  Last summer I became discouraged because of the weeds and squirrels, the heat and the lack of time to tend it all.  So I made an executive decision to remove much of it and see if life could be easier. 

 

It wasn't easier, and neither was it a good decision.  So here I was five months later on a Friday morning, wondering which herbs I would grow again, were I to do such a thing.  Harvesting fresh herbs from our backyard garden just isn't something I can not do.  

 

* * * 

I got out a special fine-point pen, a notebook with flowers drawn on the front, and my favorite red teapot.  I made some hot tea and poured a little into my fancy lady's teacup, and then I wrote down "lemon verbena" as neatly as I could.  This was going to be fun.  Peppermint, parsley, basil. 

 

But it didn't stop there.  Somehow, through the mystery of online browsing, by noon I had decided on not only herbs, but a lemon tree, a kumquat tree, and a lime tree.  Dear me!  I already had an orchard in my cart. 

 

That's the danger of a red teapot. It's a gateway tool, and it leads to other things.  I was on a roll.  By the weekend I had bought three packs of seeds for salad greens and seeds for sprouts!  I know for certain the rabbits are already lining up.     

 

The truth is, it feels good to have my garden plans in place this early in the year.  Sometime in mid-April I'll find tarragon, sweet woodruff, and bay laurel at my front door, along with lovage, garlic chives, lemon verbena, and lemongrass.  I know just where I'll plant them too. . . in red pots along the porch deck.  

 

If you come by to visit this spring, I'll make you a salad with strawberry yogurt dressing or a sandwich with sprouts. If you don't see me, I'll be out back harvesting the lovage or lemongrass.   

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

* * *

"pullin' 'sang" 

 

What old timers in the southern Appalachians call it when they collect ginseng roots from the wild to sell. 

They bring a good profit since the number of ginseng plants has been greatly reduced in recent years due to overharvesting.