Glad You Could Hear Her Coo


My Dearest,

Just a note today for Jimmy to take to the box when he meets the school bus. It was good to talk to you last night. Funny about all the things I could think of after we hung up. I couldn’t think of a thing important enough to say on a phone call! I wonder about your clothes. Is Bill responsible for getting them? What color suit, etc. When do you plan to go to Milwaukee? [For a wedding?] And should I call the Hoyts or Millers about Thanksgiving? I think that I’ll go ahead and call Hoyts first. It has been some time since we have been together with them, and it seems easier to be with the Millers. Although I suppose that Dale would be happy if he knew we shared his turkey with the Millers. I’ll see what I shall do.

We may have the Goodpaster girls with us during the holidays as they have to go up north to get Hesper’s mother. She is going to stay with them this winter. They would be very crowded if the girls went; they will bring down all the things that her mother needs to stay the whole winter, which includes her walker. Good of the Goodpasters to just naturally expect to take her as their house is none too big.

I started Carol [not quite two months – yikes!] on cereal yesterday. She doesn’t quite understand about eating from a spoon, but we managed to get it all in. I was glad that you could hear her coo last night. She was happy after being fed.

Rather cool around here, but I’m thankful that the wind is not blowing. It has been so stormy. We want to go to the meeting tonight as it is the last night. We stayed home last night – everyone just gets too crabby when missing even an hour’s sleep every other night.

Not I had better get this in the envelope. Danny wants to go out and see the bus driver and I have to dress him. We just found his shoe. We have trouble keeping track of those shoes — no wonder he has a runny nose again. Love from all of us, especially me. The youngsters miss you heaps, but I think that I miss you more than they do. Maybe it is just my point of view, but I know that we do miss you so very much.



A Winter Travelogue

We wanted to honor our friend (my next door neighbor from Lombard, IL) and his family at his memorial service six hours away. The Pacific Northwest has been pounded with winter storms this weekend. As we studied the radar it looked like there was a break in the weather, when we could thread the needle and get through. We decided to give it a try. Except for a few dicey spots, the trip was a blessing.

Chapter 1  Setting Off


This, my friends, is Eastern Oregon.


Dry pavement. Yes!


Deer crossing


Welcome, Holly! This sign has been a source of delight for decades.

Chapter 2  Investment Opportunities


This stark landscape reminds me of the Midwest. Or Scandinavia.


A fine barn


I imagine homesteaders lived here once upon a time. Or, perhaps a school?


The detail on this fine old barn thrills me.


Roof needs repaired. Air conditioning free.


It was Tiny before Tiny Houses were cool


Chapter 3     Birds and Such 


We’ve never seen so many hawks on posts. Here, there, here again. Sidenote: I over-helped my son write a paper on the red-tail hawk in 1993. I’ve never forgotten the scientific name: buteo jamaicensis.  Isn’t it weird what sticks to the inside of your brain?


This horse has been studying and applying the Marie Kondo method.


 Hawk perched in a tree.


Waterfowl feeding


I am drawn to lonely trees


Chapter 4  Coming Home on the Rattlesnake


Driving south towards Lewiston


I wonder how this highway was named The Rattlesnake?


Looking down from above


It descends, slithers along the floor of the canyon (see center of picture),
and slinks upward to the next plateau.


S-curves superabound


Sidling up to the mountain


Chapter 5  Watch for the Light


Coming into the Wallowas, spots of blue sky


A shroud of clouds cannot cover it. The light still shines.


Light and shadow. And a lonely tree.




Winter glory


Bonus Chapter: Deer and Elk


Outside of Enterprise, deer feeding


Outside of Imbler, elk herding


I don’t have the skill to convey this magnificent sight: about 300 elk


Walking, loping, bunching together


Move ’em out!


Bull supervising the exodus

Oregon Hygge


Hygge is that trendy Danish word that fathomaway describes as the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality, and contentment rolled into one. We’ve been snowed in recently, but aren’t snow days one of life’s delicious bonuses?

{Before any further rhapsodies, let me acknowledge we don’t have sick family members, stock (countryspeak for animals; think ‘livestock’), emergencies to respond to, or young children going bonkers.}

Fresh herbs (this is mint) are an affordable splurge.

My sister-in-law crochets these in small moments. They are a benediction.

Mid-century house, old cabinets.
Curt and I worked together installing pull-out shelves.
Out with stale, in with organization.

One of the most hygge activities we do is to  listen together to Harry Potter.
We’re in year five;  Harry is our tidy-up-after-dinner soundtrack.
And then we sit down and listen the way most people watch television.
I cut out stuff from catalogs to put into the small blank spots in my journal.

The timing couldn’t have been more fortuitous!
A friend gave me a box of Blue Apron meals. (Thank you, Dana!)
We have everything  needed for a restaurant quality meal.
I supplied salt and pepper. Yum!

The smell of bread baking in the oven has to be hygge!

dsc_0971One way we keep warm.

Abacus gallery sells poster calendars with artwork by Dana Heacock.

This is more OCD than hygge, but I’m indexing my journals.

Candles seem a big piece of hygge. My husband is allergic to the scents.  I roast garlic each time I turn the oven on. The fragrance wafts through the house.


Rethinking Winter

photo credit: National Audubon Society

photo credit: National Audubon Society

Ought not
in allegorical designs,
rather be represented by
such things that might suggest HOPE
than convey a cold and grim despair?
the withered leaf, the snowflake,
the hedge-bill that cuts and destroys—
Why these?
Why not rather the dear larks for one?
The lark, the bird of the light is there
in the bitter short days.
Put the lark then for winter,
a sign of HOPE,
a certainty of

…the bud is alive in its sheath;
the green corn under the snow;
the lark twitters as he passes.
Now these to me are the allegory of winter.

— from Out of Doors in February
by Richard Jefferies


Some days (often Tuesdays) the web is wonderful.  I can’t keep these to myself.

~ I’ve already linked once to Nancy Wilson’s post on January attitudes.  It’s worth a second look.

~ I received a trial (print) subscription to Books and Culture.  I knew I would never get any “real stuff” (read cleaning, cooking, dusting, teaching) done if I received this oversized periodical on books regularly.  Instead I get the free newsletter which comes on Tuesdays and is manageable. 

~  Today’s Book and Culture newsletter has N.D. Wilson’s article about the debate between atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian pastor Douglas Wilson. 

Cindy had a sidelink to a reading schedule for Calvin’s Institutes.  My dear friend Lisa and I have been talking about doing this together for a while.  Lisa moved last year and is still unpacking boxes of books.  Start digging, Lisa, before we get too far behind!

~ We are moving towards a more liturgical approach to the calendar.  We’ve been celebrating Advent for a few years; today we’re celebrating Epiphany.  We’ve kept our decorations up (that involves a changing of the mind) and our lights on.  I am encouraged by Kristen at This Classical Life who writes:

When Yuletide ends there is a mixture of sadness and joy, the sadness of knowing that every day cannot be a holiday, but the joy of knowing that each season brings newness and fresh delights.

I really like the words Yuletide and Eastertide.

~ The end of the Christmas season is called Little Christmas in Ireland.  The men take over all the household chores and the women go out to restaurants and pubs.  Hmmmmm.

~ A friend on Facebook recommended The Book of Ebenezer Le Page for those interested in Guernsey after having read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  Her quote from Ebenezer will make you want to get the book today.  

Meanwhile it snows.  My husband went to work yesterday at 4:00 a.m. and shoveled snow for ten hours (not his normal duty).  He came home, ate dinner and went to bed at 5:30 p.m.  One trip to see our Seattle grandson has been canceled due to snow; it is quite possible our plans this week may go the way of the snowplow.  I have pictures of Noah, but it’s not the same as cuddling him myself. 

The monochromatic landscape is beautiful and achingly quiet.  Yesterday my neighbor took me to her back window.  There were 100 birds on her apple tree having a feeding frenzy.  Some birds looked drunk.

I have new and old books to read, pots of tea to drink, real work to do (gasp!), and food in the freezer.  We’re hunkering down.  Life is an adventure!       

The Old Year Now Away Is Fled

Sung to the tune of Greensleeves, author unknown

The old year now away is fled, the new year now is entered;
Then let us now our sins downtread, and joyfully all appear.
Merry be the holiday, and let us run with sport and play,
Hang sorrow, cast care away, God send you a Happy New Year!

And now with New Year’s gifts each friend unto each other they do send;
God grant we may our lives amend, and that the truth may appear.
Like the snake cast off your skin of evil thoughts and wicked sin,
To amend this new year begin, God send us a Merry New Year!

Stamp Thine Image

It is a particular delight to discover new verses to familiar songs.  On Sunday we sang a verse to
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
I had never heard before:

Adam’s likeness, Lord efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.

Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”

A line from Athanasius, On the Incarnation (the emphasis is my own):

He made all things out of nothing through His own Word, our Lord Jesus Christ; and of all these His earthly creatures He reserved especial mercy for the race of men.  Upon them, therefore, upon men who, as animals, were essentially impermanent, He bestowed a grace which other creatures lacked–namely, the impress of His own Image, a share in the reasonable being of the very Word Himself, so that, reflecting Him and themselves becoming reasonable and expressing the Mind of God even as He does, though in limited degree, they might continue for ever in the blessed and only true life of saints in paradise.