On a bowl to sea went wise men three

on a brilliant night of June.

They carried a net; and their hearts were set

on fishing up the moon. 


Thomas Love Peacock, English novelist/poet

Trumpet Vine

Friday, June 7, 2019

Quiet on Main Street

This is what some days look like when you live in a small town south of the Mason Dixon Line.  Life itself sits quietly, all in a row, you might say, waiting to see who will walk by next.  The picture you see here is of a small town north of here that we like to visit when we can, just to remember what stillness looks like.  All the folks are probably off fishing somewhere.   

When we moved here 25 years ago, our own little burrough was quiet as if patiently waiting for a parade, but that was before the outlet mall and the amphitheater arrived.  It's not that Rabbit Hill is that close to either of them, but you know how agitation migrates. 

We live in a split personality kind of world, most of  us . . . running in place as fast a we can, while at the same time, hanging up pictures of weathered barns and sleepy mountain streams on our walls.  Can't we bring them together somehow?  

I'm sorry to say it, but I've been wondering lately if that will ever be possible.  At one time I could keep the wolf at bay outside our door, but that's becoming more and more difficult to do.  Just this week they started putting in a road for another subdivision in our area, the tenth one within a year.  Tenth!  Out goes the little two-clerk post office, in comes the fitness center and truck-loads of cable.  The wolf wants to come in and knock things around a little bit, and who am I to say no? 


Here's the irony, though. Several years ago we drove for miles into the country to see a home that was for sale.  Miles.....

The farther we drove, the more conscious I was of how far away we were from . . .  everything!  No cars, no homes, no people.  It was like driving through a tunnel  of sun and grass that had no end.  All we could do was keep going going, farther and farther away.  I guess you would say "away."  Who would know?  The isolation began to weigh heavily on me. 

I twisted my hair.  I counted my fingers and pretended to sing.   At last we drove into the driveway of the home we had come to see.  Neither of us moved--too lonesome to get out of the car. 

"Can we go back home?" I asked.  "Yes," my husband said.  

I was quiet all the way home--startled by how the whole experience had effected me.  I had always longed for "a place in the country."    

That was 20 years ago, and yes, I still long for the simplicity of small town living, in spite of that endless drive, especially as construction continues around us.  I read recently that another mega multi-use development is likely to be built several miles from us come next spring. When I read the article in our weekly newspaper, fretting crept in again like a bad monkey .  "More construction?" I thought to myself.  "More congestion?"  I twisted my hair.  I counted my fingers.  

Then I remembered the trip through the long, lonesome tunnel, and the miles of isolation.  Fretting eased up a bit.  It didn't feel as urgent or as pushy as it once did.   

It has been said of Atlanta that its people don't know how to drive unless there are orange barrels on the road.  That's true, we don't, even up here well north of the city; constant road construction is part of what makes for a fast ride and fast people; but I have to admit now, people bring energy too, and new life, and connection.    

Not to mention that our little piece of  progress here in the foothills of Appalachia is still remarkably like small town living. I have a garden that may or may not give us tomatoes and herbs this year, and Tucker the Dog to keep everything well-balanced.  We have crickets and plenty of trees and neighbors who bring us peppers from their garden.  And cows right around the corner.  

Oh, and the woods.  Don't forget about the woods.  

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

"keep the wolf at bay":  to stave off or delay disaster of some form.  Implies desparate circumstances.  

Online dictionary

Monday, June 10, 2019

Summer Setting

Just in case you've forgotten how cheerful June is, here's a picture of what it looks like, brought to you by none other than a beautiful place setting on which to enjoy the fresh taste of Something From the Garden.  If only I had such a thing this year.

Remember when I planted cherry tomatoes in the early spring, two starter pots and two patches for seeds?  Alas and anon, they recently gave up the ghost, all but the orange variety, and I'm not sure about that one yet.  The Head Rabbit watches in disbelief while another garden year discretely slips into history. 

Not to worry, though.  Gardens are eternal, and what I do have in the meantime is plenty of blueberries--plump, frosted blueberries by the bucket-loads.  The Boys and I have been picking a small basket full each morning before the squirrels come for breakfast; and then yesterday the whole bush seemed to ripen all at once.

"I've never seen so many!" said one of The Boys.  He was right--the abundance was staggering, and our harvest was full.  We picked freely, swatting June bugs and talking about the cobblers to come.  

This proud eight-foot tall blueberry bush that gave us its soul has been around Rabbit Hill for about 20 years, ever since I bought it from a man selling plants in his small backyard greenhouse.  It's called a rabbit-eye variety because of the eye-like design on the bottom of each berry, and has become somewhat of an icon outside our backdoor because of its faithful harvests each summer.  Not that I've done anything myself to make that happen.  

Blueberry Harvest

The truth is I'm not as much of a garden expert as I'd like to think I am.  I did get a perfect set of five small pumpkins one year, which I lined up over and over again in various places around the house.  Oh, and there was that small cantalope one year.  That was tasty.  But other than that, the pickings have been slim.  

By the afternoon, however, I wasn't thinking about whether my garden was successful or not, because our home smelled like berries and buttercrust, that unmistakable scent of "something in the oven."   While it was cooling on top of the stove, I took out a spoon and scooped up a bite of warm cobbler.  In our family we call that "eating out of pie formation," and it's highly frowned upon.  But as the cook, I can do that.  It's called Head Rabbit Privilege, and is one of the most prized perks of my position around here. 

I now have a water gun positioned outside the backdoor to scare away the squirrels who come in packs at the height of harvest time.  One must keep vigilent.  We can probably count on at least two or three more small buckets of berries if I keep my eye on them. 

If you like cobbler, this is your month.  Come on over and I'll spoon us out some.  There's ice cream too.  

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

Gimme them jolly little berry dots,

them blue and merry catch-me-nots;

them frosty little



ice cream covered golly whats;

eat 'em up fine like polka dots

quick before they sits and rots. 


The Head Rabbit, poet and blueberry fancier

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Woodland Moth

I sat on the porch this afternoon before dinnertime, basking in the fullness of summer itself. The crickets were in full song, and I wondered as I drifted, if I should make a poster of all the bugs and other creatures The Boys found so far in The Deep Dark Woods.  I liked the idea, and decided to start with a poster of the "woodland moth" we photographed this morning.  At least I think it's a moth.  I made up the woodland part since I don't know the actual variety.  I only know that it's a beautiful clay-orange color.  

Mid June is a perfect time and place to stop and look at things like moths and grasshoppers that reside off the merry-go-round.  I call it "heads up" thinking, as opposed to "head burried in something so deep I can't look up easily" thinking, and it's one of the best ways I know of to refresh a weary mind.

Given that I needed such refreshment, I sat outside on this mild summer's day with a turquoise-colored pen and lined notebook, writing a list of bug pictures to work on while I listened to the crickets high up in the trees.

Ahhh. . . the lullaby of summer.  I sank into the melody, aware that my year would move quickly from here on out, and that one day I'll hear the last cricket of this year's summer, only I won't know it was the last. 

Porch on the Edge of The Deep Dark Woods

Lightening bug.  Caterpillar.  Dragonfly.  All good things to fill up a quiet afternoon.  If I could wish for one thing on this lazy day spent on the porch, it would be to join the crickets in a song.  It would be about children and blackberries and about things nearing completion.

It would be about this slight longing I have for all my days of summer to come back again.  

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

"The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever."  

E. B. White, author

from his children's book "Charlotte's Web "

Monday, June 17, 2019

We followed the signs along a street near ours this week to a home sitting back from the road at the end of a long, curved driveway.  "I (HEART) TOMATOES" the signs said, with an arrow.  

The summer quest for home grown fruits and vegetables was underway.  

Tomato Basket

An older man and his teenage son were working to the side of the driveway in a lush garden with corn, zucchini, and lots of tomato plants.  They were loading a small tractor with four or five baskets of just-picked tomatoes and met us at the top of the hill near their house.  

Inside the covered backyard patio were two tables, a couple of chairs, a cardboard box for money, and several baskets for their fresh tomatoes. On another table off to the side were several jars of honey they had bottled as well.  

They looked pleased to see us.  

"Need some good tomatoes?" the older man asked.  "I'm all out of green beans."  

I was mesmerized, as I always am when we stop at such places, and couldn't wait to hold each warm, red tomato and decide just which ones were the most perfect.    

Every summer I make it a point to eat at least one perfect tomato sandwich.   It's royal in its simplicity:  a thick slice of ripened homegrown tomato (juicy) with plenty of mayonnaise, on soft wheat bread, homemade if possible, and a little salt and pepper.  

I wait for it all winter and summer.