MUSICA! So interesting to write about love in the time of Dam-Panic ~ that’s our new word, Dam-Panic ~ Joe thought of it! As a form of lemonade from hideous lemons.🍋 But let us speak of Love . . .
We had the MOST wonderful Easter! Did you? Maybe our very best ever . . . so many things went right. First off, it was also my birthday💫, an Easter birthday is a wonderful thing ~ so right away, it was something good ~ and the sun was shining. And it was Sunday!🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸
The morning sunshine through the windows lit up the kitchen. I put my jacket on and went outside with my trusty scissors to gather a few flowers!
Our trees still don’t have leaves on them, but the morning light on the forsythia hedge was perfect. Look at that oak tree in the middle, probably planted around 1900 . . . look how big it is compared to the house behind it! What stories it could tell!
I walked to the end of our driveway for a better look at the hedge . . . isn’t yellow a happy color?
Remembering again with this quiet tick-tock (so perfect for a spring day, and my birthday, on Easter, the time of rebirth and hope, a time-for-new beginnings kind-of-day) that
Is the sky getting bluer? It is! Are the stars sparkling brighter? Is the sun more yellow? Yes! Or is it only here, on the street where we live?🎵 Or is it just my imagination? Pop in some electric cars and voila, we’d be well on our way to solving the climate problem and softening these crazy storms and making a better world.💖 Silver-linings!
So, I brought some of that sunshine in to put in my little vases💛
Because I thought I might bake myself a birthday cake! So, since Joe hadn’t come downstairs yet, I filled the vases, washed my Beatrix Potter people till they sparkled, wiped down the countertops, cleaned the sink, emptied the dishwasher, and shined up my stove, so it would all be pretty on my birthday for while I was making the cake!🌷
Just then, Joe came down, said, “What are you doing?” I said, “Getting ready to bake a cake.” He said, “No, I’m going to make you a cake. Get your coat . . . let’s go for a walk first.” I said, “K💖. Wait a minute I want to take a picture of me and my cute outfit.” Loving how the elastic on my mask makes elf-ears. Did I tell you it’s still freezing here?
Yes, only 50º but out we went to big fresh air and more blue skies. It’s always quiet this time of year. We take our masks, but rarely have to pull them up. Out here, the choir is all bird song…
. . . and wind, lapping water, and seagulls . . . it’s my favorite church. Perfect place to say a prayer for the world. I go here everyday. And no need for social distancing! Want to find a walk near you? Go to this brilliant website and put in the name of your town: alltrails.com. I put Fritter Batter in the fridge Saturday night, so when we got home, while Joe was working on the cake, I made us Easter-Birthday Breakfast, hot Banana Fritters! It was sooooo yummy . . . I thought you would love the recipe too.
I got the sweetest Easter-Birthday phone calls, I heard from all my family, and there were gifts too! Look at these bunnies! I’ve written about my lovely nun friends, the sisters at the Holy Nativity Convent, and how we found each other (if you didn’t see that post, you can read about it HERE). They surprised me with this Easter basket, with the bunnies, and a lamb, and a chocolate bunny with chocolate kisses, and the most delicious loaf of sweet bread they make themselves. Mother Seraphima has not been well lately (not the virus!), she is getting better, and I think a little prayer from us would be a great help!🙏💞From my Girlfriends . . . and a gift certificate to our nursery!👏👏😘 And at 5pm? A Zoom-Birthday-Call with cake and wine! Oh yeah, it was a total Red-Letter Day.
From another friend I received two dishtowels . . . they both looked like the one on the left, which Jack and I would call a clean palette crying out for details!
And so we added them!💞 We socially isolate our mail inside the barn for 3 days after we bring it home ~ so I know there are other cards and things waiting for me there. But now it’s my turn to give gifts! Time for our drawing for the Heart of the Home cookbooks I offered in the last post. I have to say, you left SO MANY DEAR COMMENTS, you lovely people.💞 Truly kindred spirits. The hardest thing of all is choosing only three names. But it’s my job, and bittersweet as it is, it must be done! Ready?
Here we go! Unfortunately, Vanna, our virtual number generator, is home socially distancing in her chateau in the south of France as befits a person of the Eurotrash persuasion, as you probably guessed. Therefore, I, wearing mask and rubber gloves, have done the deed myself, and very well, if I do say so myself. Not, I’m sorry to tell you, as exciting as Vanna, no toes curling over the desk ledge for me, no high-diving lime-green body suit. A straight-forward grab and take as befits a dignified person who just had a birthday like moi.
First one up ~ OH! We have a winner from England! How exciting! It’s “Caroline across the pond in sunny Hampshire!”And #2, our next winner is Patti H., the Patti H. with the “11-year-old granddaughter who wants to learn to cook!”
And last but not least, our third winner is . . . “Judy from Maine!” the Judy from Maine who used to have her own gift shop!. . . for all of you! I will soon be writing you emails to request your addresses and ask how you would like me to sign your books! Congratulations! I hope you love them! ♥️ And for the rest of you . . . a more transportable gift from me to you . . . Jack the finger puppet!
You can print him on card stock, cut him out, and voila! Dancing Jack! Perfect to send in letters to a grandchild, or to your sister, or whoever you want to surprise with some kitty whimsy! Just click HERE! You know we have other free little bits and bobs, bookmarks and stationery in my web store you can print out? There’s even a . . .
perfect Mother’s Day crown pattern with a lovely Abraham Lincoln quote on it about how much he loves his Mother. Just click “bits and bobs above!”
And one more luv-lee gift . . . it’s for the memories . . . a Courage Dream Charm . . .
To remind us all how good we’ve been and that this too shall pass . . . and perhaps we will make from this terrible dam-panic a better world because, as we all know, if we dream it we can make it so.💞
A dream charm, with gold foil and a slash of pink (the color of universal love), which we will ship to you for free. 💝And so, back to my Red Letter Day! While Joe was putting together his cake . . . I went outside to take a picture of the weeping cherry tree . . .
We’ve had a dastardly crap-job of a worm coming here for maybe the last five years, it’s a moth actually, that arrives in November and flitters around charmingly and then begins to lie in wait for spring where it turns to a very nasty web-spinning green worm that eats ALL the flowers off our trees, takes bites out of the new leaves so they all have holes in them! It’s been a blight! But LOOK.⬆️ They did not come this year! Isn’t that wonderful?
The tiny flowers are just beginning to unfold! And there’s a robin singing in the tree! A Red Letter Day✔️. Then the robin flew away and I heard a rustle in the tree on the left behind this one and looked up to see what it was . . .
Hello. I could barely see him, he was in so much shade, but when he finally came into focus I could see he was a HUGE hawk, lurking. I ran to get Joe!
Very exciting! Out came the bird book. He is a young red hawk and not a bit afraid of us. And he’s watching our feeders and our garden to see what looks delicious for lunch,
which I would rather not think about. I hope he doesn’t live in that tree!
So I went in to check on my apple trees lapping up the sunshine in our kitchen windows. Yes, I planted them from SEEDS I found inside an apple I was eating. Just wanted to see if they would grow!
And guess what! They did! And they still are! A third poked his head up this morning! HA!(Aside:) Watching EMMA (Gwyneth and Jeremy) right now as I’m writing you, at the end, crying my eyes out (not under my blanket, but I love it so much!) . . . Marry Me?Then what, oh yes, then I did some Birthday writing on my new book, 😊 then I took a short Birthday nap 😴💤 . . . and then it was time for my Birthday Party!
And everyone started popping in . . . some of us live next door to each other, some of us are in different states, and see there? Rachel and Paul who came to the party from England! I love Zoom. Have you tried it? You should. It’s free and much more gratifying than you might think!
As the little squares filled in I wanted to sing, 🎵 There’s a story, about a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls . . . 🎶
It was like a real party ~ and with dearest friends . . . Ray and Paul brought Alice, their dog . . .💞
There was wine, and martinis, and talking, and laughing. Margot had her granddaughter Georgia, who wished me Happy Birthday in her little 5-year-old voice (Red Letter✔️).
It was like a real party, especially when Joe surprised me by bringing the cake in with lit candles and everyone sang Happy Birthday🎶 and then they pulled up cupcakes with candles of their own! And we all made wishes! And blew! Of course that part was way too exciting for me to remember to take pictures! I’m lucky I got these! It was a PERFECT day. Maybe my most memorable day … Love in the time of Dam-Panic.💞
So off to the kitchen to stuff ourselves on Joe’s old-fashioned icebox cake!✔️
Jack was rolling around on the table happy to have the attention back on him again where it belongs, and enjoying the light of the setting sun!
After dessert we made a delicious little dinner . . . asparagus and a great big baked potato ~ And I thought you’d like the recipe for this delicious thing, so here goes: Preheat the oven to 425º ~ then wash, dry, and cut off a slice of potato at the bottom to make it lie flat. Rub soft butter all over and salt it. Lay chopsticks on each side of potato, and cut-down in thin slices, (not all the way through). Put the potatoes on a baking sheet, brush between slices with a mixture of 2 TB melted butter, 2 TB olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, and zest from half a lemon ~ and put them in the oven. After 25 min, brush them with butter mixture again ~ then back in the oven for another 25 min, brush again, salt all over, and back in the oven for the last 25 min, till crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. After that, we were off to watch our favorite 800 Words on TV (on Acorn). We all know the dark side of this Dam Panic . . . it is very dark, and very sad and so much harder on some than others, which we all know and feel to our deepest roots. But I am going to leave that to the never-ending news causing us no end of anxiety and talk about something else. Because . . . Something amazing is happening: Ask people stay home to protect one another and here’s what happens: they unselfishly do it! And suddenly, everything changes.💝 No school shootings this March for the first time since 2002 🙏, our air has gotten cleaner, our National Parks and all the critters are breathing easier, families are having dinner together, people are nice to each other and reach out to help, the earth gets a rest, we’re becoming more spiritual, angels are popping up everywhere, people are singing and clapping for each other from balconies, and kindness abounds: healthcare workers at a Boston hospital are gifted with lifetime Red Sox tickets as a thank you, a patriotic 99-year-old army veteran in England spends the lead-up to his hundredth birthday walking to raise money for the National Healthcare Service, my single-mom sister gets to stay home with her twins because she works for Starbucks who continues to send paychecks to their employees just as if they were working, and Andrea Bocelli sings Ave Maria to the entire world. And we all cried at the same time. It’s beautiful to see that we are part of a larger plan, a world cause, we are in it together. Turns out the gift is proof-positive and something we’ve always known: that the true heroes are the regular people, the unsung heroes of the world.
With quiet, good-natured, resolve. ♥️ Queen Elizabeth II
I love us so much, I’m so proud! Aren’t you? Can’t we figure out how to do this without a virus? Stay strong dear ones, it’s not over till it’s over. Sending so much LOVE, you’ll never know! XOXO Until next time . . .