I had a few days to myself while my boys took a road trip to California last weekend and used them to work on a project I'd been wanting to tackle for some time.  I painted the bathroom including the vanity and built-in cabinets and drawers, put pulls on the vanity doors and drawers, took down the blinds that always got stuck / put up a rod and curtain, replaced the sink faucet, and replaced all the cabinet hinges.  I don't know how long the old faucet had been in place, but the four nuts holding it to the water lines were absolutely fused on and it took over three hours and much swearing to get them all off.  Frustrations aside, I love getting lost in a project like this.  It's nothing fancy, but I'm glad I persisted and that our little bathroom (our only bathroom) has been given a lift.  And it feels good to have done it all myself.

So many projects in process and still in mind for this new little place of ours.  I've gotten a small herb garden going, a greens bed, and miscellaneous plantings here and there, but the ice storm that brought down a large part of a neighbor's tree, and part of our own willow tree as well, have us dealing with big piles of branches and debris that we have moved up onto the back portion of the yard.  I had really hoped to use that area for shade planting, but I don't think that will happen this year.  I've been cutting up the smaller branches, but the bin only holds so much and at some point we are going to have to set aside what we want to keep and haul away the rest just to have the space back.  Along the side yard in the back is a row of sickly-looking arborvitae that we're going to take out.  It's one of the few places in the yard that gets sun and is prime planting real estate, so they were doomed even if they weren't sickly.    

The red shed/to-be dining hall has one coat of paint on inside, and I need to get cracking on that since the weather is just getting nicer and nicer now.  We also want to paint the exterior of the house and shed, and that will be a process unless we actually hire someone to do it, which I doubt we will.  

These are the things I love about spring.  The projects, the ideas swirling about, the days ending feeling bone and body tired from working outside - the very best kind of tired.  And the hummingbirds ... always the hummingbirds!

Evenings are for getting out - rambling along the Willamette River in different spots, walking the hills of our neighborhood to and from the park, or maybe sitting outside in the sun at a downtown spot for drinks.  This time of year feels so magical, as we unfurl our winter selves and start reaching for the sun in all the ways we can.

slow notes:  

⩥  This, from Laura Marling
⩥ This, about Gordon Hempton & silence, by Kathleen Dean Moore.   I'm fascinated by his work.  (Mentioned here last year.)
  This, from Haika Magazine
⩥  This, on Nan Shepherd's river from the BBC's Slow Radio.

book notes:  

I've given up trying to have a diverse reading list this year (not that I've ever had one, but I always have the intention).  For the most part, I always want to read nature-oriented books, preferably involving solitude.  Those by writers of Britain and Ireland, with their deep reverence for such things, really resonate with me, and I've started making my way through a very long to-read list, with a few random reads/listens in there, too.  I'm making time every day, several times a day, for quiet reading, even if for just a short time.  Somewhat related, did I mention we cancelled Netflix after 11 years?  

I listened to two audiobooks while working on my project, and I really loved them both: 


Until next time ~ keep reaching. 

phlox & moon


Just a quick note today.  This morning I made friends with a crow and noticed that the old apple tree out back is blossoming - happy, hopeful things after a night of little sleep.  I've been feeling the pull of the moon and have sown more seeds - more chamomile, some California poppy, red clover, and a native wildflower mix.  A full moon supper will be had this evening in honor of the Full Phlox Moon.  It won't be a grand spread, but just enough, simple and earthy, with freshly-baked homemade bread, spring greens, and small gold potatoes.  After the moon is up, stones will be placed throughout the garden and seedlings left on the patio for their full moon bath.  Last year's Phlox Moon gave me so much hope, and this year I'm feeling that hope more than ever.  Are you?

slow notes: 

I'll be moongazing later, but for now, the clouds are clearing and the river is calling.  Until next time ~

earth day



We've been getting out together a lot lately.  It's a glorious time of year in the Pacific Northwest and we don't want to miss any of it. 

Some wise words for Earth Day: 

"Know the ways of the ones who take care of you, so that you may take care of them.  Introduce yourself.  Be accountable as the one who comes asking for life.  Ask permission before taking.  Abide by the answer.  Never take the first.  Never take the last.  Take only what you need.  Take only that which is given.  Never take more than half.  Leave some for others.  Harvest in a way that minimizes harm.  Use it respectfully.  Never waste what you have taken.  Share.  Give thanks for what you have been given.  Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken.  Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever."  /  Robin Wall Kimmerer in Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.  

I feel like we all know well the things we should be doing to lessen our impact on this earth at this point, and that most of us could work a lot harder at those things.  I'm not perfect and don't always do as I should, but I try to more often than not.  It's my hope if we all keep putting one foot in front of the other and going down a path of reciprocity and respect for the earth and all her creatures that we will start to see them flourish.  There's a much bigger, more complicated picture as far as who and what needs to change, but you and I can take steps to change our habits and mindset about convenience, quality, how to spend our time and money, and what really matters.  

I haven't saved any slow notes since last time, so instead here's a short list of a few books I enjoyed recently:

Poetry from Tom Hirons

The Worship of Place 

There is a temple I know whose roof is made of sky.  
On its ceiling are painted clouds and stars
And the rooms and corridors are made of leaves and branches;
Its doors are open to all people, day and night.  
Anyone may enter, whether or not they listen
To the wise words spoken within.

I know a synagogue through which a river flows
Against boulders inscribed with scriptures of moss, 
Where salmon leap in exaltation and wild doves sing.
The rabbi has a beard of green-grey lichen and
His prayers are carried on the gurgling silver stream.

I know a mosque in which every direction is sacred. 
Within that holy place,  I see the face of the beloved
Beneath every stone and in the heart of every flower. 
Fallen oak leaves are the flurries of the faithful, dancing;
The call to prayer is sung upon the whirling, wild wind.

The priestess of this shrine bars entry to no one; 
She greets me in silence and in silence I depart.
Everyone is welcomed in for worship;
The congregation of all creatures give praise
And offering to the hallowed sanctuary; 
The object of their veneration is the world itself.

When I arrive in this boundless cathedral,
With my eyes unclouded by guile or cunning,
I know the presence of such exquisite beauty
And a joy so intense it's almost unbearable. 

I fall over myself trying to find the best way to worship;
I press my back against the trunk of a broad tree
Or a tower of cracked, stacked stones; 
I tell my confession to the twisted heather,
And bow down before the yellow-flowered gorse;
I renew my vows in the presence of the damsel fly
And receive the blessing of the magpie and the wren.
All the while, skylarks carry my prayers to heaven.

At the altar of this great temple,
There is a fountain, invisible to my eyes.
If my worship is whole-hearted, I am washed 
Clean of sorrow and all my restless thirst
Is quenched.

Standing in this sublime sanctuary,
I am cracked in two and an old well
Bubbles in my heart once again. 
The water is so clear and delicious,
I cannot keep it to myself. 

Will you come with me now to that fountain
And fill your cup of longing from this endless, 
Untamed spring? 

Happy Earth Day!  Give your Mother some extra love today. 
by mlekoshi