Saturday, February 6, 2016

quiet, drifting

 After eleven feet of snow last winter, I've been happy to have a mild winter, although it didn't feel quite right. There wasn't the invigorating briskness of autumn or the freshness of spring, just something that felt in-between and kind of blah. Yesterday we had the perfect storm--about eight inches of snow, heavy and wet, so it stuck to the trees creating a Dr. Zhivago/winter wonderland effect.

 I put seed out under the eves close to the house and eventually birds found it. I sat for a long time, quietly watching them, and realized that sitting and watching is probably what serious bird watching is about. That's something I could get into. Wrens, juncos, titmice, sparrows and cardinals (spectacular against the snow) found their way to my deck while the cats and I observed. Nature is so lovely and complicated and poignant. Watching birds is surprisingly (to me) absorbing. It reminded me of what I've heard people say about fishing. It's mostly about being out on the boat, quiet, drifting.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

deep purple

Somewhere in December I hit a painting wall, 
so I took some time off, didn't even think about it. 
But I became obsessed with a color--
a deep purply black.

I only saw it in my mind's eye, and I don't know why,
but when I returned to my studio I painted this.

Then this.

I've been painting thicker and faster.

tree bark, Providence Rhode Island

I suppose the lesson is than when stuck
it really can help to step back, take a breath,
to let my mind, and my eyes, 
and my mind's eyes

Friday, December 18, 2015

Merry & Bright

Season's Greetings from the Freshtown bear.
Freshtown is our Catskills grocery store, 
and it is well populated with carved bears.

Every year I do less and less holiday decorating
and enjoy it more and more.
Just imagine a single wreath on this old barn.

Deer festivities,

mantlepiece whimsy,

and a tree. Greens scattered here and there.
Outside, a tree with colored lights.
Inside, the first time I've used white lights in many years.

We are doing our family Christmas with the boys this weekend.
Christmas Eve I will find a candlelight church service,
and on Christmas proper I will be at the cat shelter in the morning,
then a movie and Chinese food.

I am almost free of tradition, and it is liberating.

Monday, November 30, 2015


When in the country the waterfall is the center of attention. It is majestic and loud and beautiful. It slows people down, they pause and contemplate. The stream it feeds into becomes an afterthought. So I've been trying to pay more attention to what goes on downstream. The smaller falls, swirls and eddies formed by rocks. The rocks themselves. Mossy, ferny twiggy things.

 Icy bits are starting to form.

Thanksgiving was an eclectic bunch of friends, everyone brought something. I  made my favorite applesauce cake. I boil apple slices in apple cider so it is very apple-y. Holiday lights went up in the little towns, a wonderful thing when it gets dark at 4:00. There were lots of leftovers, and Reader, I read Jane Eyre for the first time.

xo, Jennifer

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Catskills, something new

Most of you who read this blog were with me when I had my little store in the Catskills.
Now, my family is starting a new venture. We've bought a commercial property
in the rural hamlet of Andes, New York, in the Western Catskills .

Over the years it's been a creamery, a lumber mill, and a feed and grain store.
It's right next to the old train depot, where in the early 20th century, cans of Andes milk
 from the creamery were loaded onto the train for delivery to distant places.

There's plenty of sunny land to start a flower farm or grow blueberries
or, maybe one day, have donkeys or goats.
Thanks to Delaware County's Right to Farm Law
you can have a farm in the middle of town.
(Read more about that here.)
Though at 3.5 acres we won't be doing any serious farming.
But still, flowers...(for the goats to eat?)

One day I hope to have a painting studio inside that door,
with a view of the rolling hills and changing seasons.

There are also two huge pole barns,
for tractors or square dances or art installations.
There are a lot of unknowns,
but there's plenty of space for dreamers to implement their dreams.

I'm a little nervous about it. It's a real, long-term commitment. Not something I expected or asked for, but it's a wonderful property, and I'm feeling some love for it. It's about five miles from the house where we've been weekenders since 2002. The Rail Trail is on one side, the Tremperskill Creek on the other, and it's two blocks from Main Street. The best part about having my store was the friends I made, of feeling like I was part of the community. This rural region of upstate New York makes my world a better place, and I hope we can return the favor.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

around here

I'm savoring autumn, taking in details,
storing them away, 
for bleaker days.

I collected leaves, and remembered doing so as a child
and with my own children--
the colors, that spark of wonder.

I've been volunteering at a cat shelter.
In case you want a pet, 
but not the long-term commitment that comes with owning one,
shelters are always desperate for foster families.

My palette has changed with the season.

I take a walk every day,
try to stay in the moment more
and worry less.

I hope you are enjoying autumn, or spring, depending where you are.



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

a country weekend, autumn

 I rarely get to the country at the peak of fall colors,
always a little early or a little late. 
But this year it couldn't have been more beautiful. 

 Mesmerizing, inviting reverie and giddy moments,
fleeting glimpses of the profound.
Nature. Earth.

The backroads of upstate New York ablaze.

For the first time, I saw the changing color of the ferns, 
how lovely they are.
Our property is shady and damp, filled with ferns, 
so why haven't I ever taken this in before?
I could study this landscape for the rest of my life 
and never see it all.