Author Archives: Melody


I found a new dresser for Seraphina (actually both girls will use it for a while yet, but eventually it will be her’s) for free.  Steve and Galen went to pick it up today.  I’m thrilled!!!!  Iain and Elijah are absolutely horrified and disgusted that I would consider painting it (and pink at that!), but it’s what she wants.  And also it would really be quite dark in that room.  The finish is pretty beat up in sections, even to the point of splintering raw wood.  But on the whole it’s solid and most importantly….drum roll please….the drawers open and close easily!  The fatal flaws of their current dresser are a) it’s too small for their ever larger clothing, and b) the freakin’ drawers will not stay on their tracks!  It’s endlessly frustrating for me and downright impossible for a small human to handle and maintain.  If I could refinish it and stain it a lighter color, I absolutely would, but I don’t think that will be possible.



This week’s meal plan:

*Beef enchiladas- Every year we get half of a grass fed beefer from a local farm.  I’m trying to come up with new and exciting ways to prepare all of the stew meat and roasts.

*Valentine’s Day: potato pancakes, bacon, virgin strawberry daiquiris- The idea for the daiquiris came from one of the Susan Branch books.  Chocolate piled up by each place setting.

*Yam, steak, and kale bowls- Our twist on a dish from our favorite Mexican restaurant

*Pork roast with sweet potatoes, onions, and apples

*The AIP Taco Bowls from The Casaway Kitchen

*Kale, brussels sprouts salad with butternut squash, pomegranate and candied pecans from Two Peas in their Pod

*Super Bowl Sunday: pizza, chips, seltzer


I took down the winter decorations- dried oranges, paper stars, the swag I made from bittersweet berries and other assorted things.  It felt like time.

The Eagles are in the Super Bowl, which is a big deal for some members of the household.  Me?  Couldn’t care less.  But I’m happy for the excuse to sit and knit for several hours straight.  I am genuinely a baseball fan and watch and enjoy games fairly regularly throughout the season.  But football?  Ever since I had children, all I see is other people’s babies getting concussions.

It’s a very funny thing that only one of our children has ever lived in Pennsylvania, but none of them would ever think of rooting for another team.



I’m currently listening to Seraphina singing Heart and Soul to her friend over the phone. ❤️ (I wish I could draw in these posts.  I would add little decorations and things.)

Accidental video that I took this morning:

Things I want to do this year:

*Spend time by the ocean

*Read the next 4 books in the Poldark series

*Visit a castle.  This one may be unrealistic, but more in reach than you might think!  Did you know that there are many castles in the US?  I say this as someone who has totally googled, “castles near me”.

*Paint the girls’ room

*Return to The Mount (Edith Wharton’s home) when the Italian Garden is in bloom.

*Eat out on the porch as many days a possible.

*Try a new hairstyle?

*Finally finish remodeling the downstairs bathroom

*Have at least one meal on the balcony of my favorite Italian restaurant

*Start sewing again.  Sew myself a dress.

*Attend at least two concerts

*Have a visit with my sisters

*Visit the art museum

*Return to that spot we found where the autumnal views are incredible (see below)

*Dance in the rain

*Grow a small vegetable and herb garden

*Take a few walks by moonlight

*Finish at least one of the samplers that I have started.

*See Emily in the theater

*Find a way to slowly start bringing some strength and energy back to this body of mine.

*Pitch a tent in the yard and watch a meteor shower with my girls

*Laugh a lot

*Be surrounded by flowers as often as possible.



There is something about the quality of the late afternoon light that almost seems like spring.  I pulled back my hair and quite suddenly there are these patches of grey instead of just a hair here or there.  It’s funny how it happens that way sometime.





Well, I managed to get dressed this morning, for whatever that is worth.  Seraphina is currently listening to The Little Prince, read by Kenneth Branagh (we read it together last year, but she likes to hear things over and over again), while I tried (very slowly, in fits and starts, with lots of resting) to get some dishes cleaned.  She’s significantly worse again this morning.  I’m not sure whether to worry or not.

If nothing else, I’m making quite a lot of progress with my knitting.

I’ve been trying to find a hardy rose bush that looks like my birthday roses so that I could ask for it for Mother’s Day.  I think that ‘Celestial Night’ might do the trick.



I read Love from the Heart of the Home by Susan Branch almost in it’s entirety in bed this morning.  From the section on Potions, Spells, Supersitions of Love:

Air your feather quilt on a line the first clear day after the vernal equinox-put it back on the bed-your love will be refreshed and renewed.“  I think that’s just solidly good advise.  I doubt it will do much to renew your love, but your bed will certainly be refreshed.  I think I’ll make a note in my planner about this.  Bed linens that smell of spring sound luxurious just now.

Just before bed, hard boil an egg, cut it in half & discard the yolk.  Salt the halves of egg.  Sit on something you never sat on before & eat the egg.  Walk to bed backward.  You will dream of your future mate.“  Yeah, I don’t really see myself getting anything out of that one.

Frozen windows

When I came down Steve already had the kettle on because he could hear me coughing away.  Sweet.

This body isn’t going very far today, but I’m in full-out planning mode in my head.  In the last 24 hours I’ve decided how I want to proceed with the rest of Seraphina’s school year and what I want to do with her next year.  I’ve made plans for a little long-weekend sea-side vacation.  I’ve finally decided what I want to do for Galen’s birthday (there has been a great internal debate there). I’ve made all sorts of plans for reorganizing, rearranging, and fixing up the house.  I’ve planned a new sweater and the alteration of dresses and planted an entire garden in my head.  And probably many other things that I’ve already forgotten.  I’ve written none of this down.  So, a day and a half from now all of it may have disappeared like a pouf of smoke.  Also, I’m really kind of out of it, so I keep falling asleep or half-dozing  mid-plan making leading to some utterly bizarre daydreams (hallucinations?!?) about things like decluttering.




I’ve had the Tea Hot Toddy with Ginger from Sunday Table saved to my pinterest for a few months now.  I’ve never had a hot toddy of any sort, but I had a presentiment that I might wish for it someday.  I fixed myself one tonight.  It just sounded like exactly what I needed.  I haven’t been comfortably warm like this in days and my throat feels ever-so-much better.  Usually we don’t even have alcohol in the house.  It was just happenstance, leftover from another recipe.  I didn’t actually follow the directions, I just threw something together with similar ingredients, including steeping it with two big chunks of fresh ginger.

A funny little story: I order our groceries on-line and then we pick them up.  On New Year’s Day I like to have a celeriac mash as part of a celebratory dinner.  Well, whomever was working the produce department that day must have been totally clueless, because they sent us home with a giant bag of fresh ginger instead!  Galen discovered the bag and asked me what on earth I was planning on making?!?  We all had a good laugh when we realized what must have happened.  And all’s well that ends well.  Ginger freezes quite well.  Just pop it as-is in a ziplock back.  It can even be grated frozen.  So, we’ve had fresh ginger, whenever needed, ever since.



“Glory of glories! Fresh mint tea with organic honey.” ~Seraphina

We have a space heater going in the basement, trying to keep the pipes from freezing.  The water from the faucet is still so cold that it hurts my teeth.  We’ve lost power three times now, but it keeps coming back.  If it goes down for a day or more we have no hope of saving the pipes.  The good thing about losing power in a rural area is that you tend to still be able to keep warm.  Most houses have a wood stove.  We heat almost our entire house with ours.  However, the basement isn’t connected to the main living space.  It stays just about warm enough, most of the time, from the heat radiating down.  But there are moments….  The bad things about losing power in a rural area: water pumps are electric.  Quite suddenly you have no running water.



Winter has finally arrived with a major cold snap.  Wind chills tonight are supposed to be between -40 and -50!  The wood stove is roaring, but still the chill is seeping in.  I’m hoping that all of this wind will knock some of the dangerous hanging branches.

There is sickness in the house now.  Our week has been turned on it’s head.  I’m *CRANKY* about it.  Lately, I do not take well to changes in plans.  I don’t know what has gotten into me, but I have very little tolerance for such things.  And I. had. plans.  At this point, disposition-wise, I’m essentially just a slightly over grown, w-a-y overly tired toddler.  Everyone else will recover, quickly and well, I assume, but there is no telling, and never is, how long I’ll be down for and to what degree I will recover.  I can’t imagine being more exhausted than I already am, and I know that worse is coming.  Goodness, I feel defeated.

This is the way these things work: Elijah gets something and brings it home to the rest of us.  He’s sick for 3-6 hours, (just long enough to spread it around well!) and the rest of us end up miserable for an indefinite amount of time.

There is nothing for it!  What is, is.  Seraphina and I are going to cuddle up with big mugs of tea and watch the rest of the Gussets and Godets Vlogmas.