seasonal flowers

THIS WEEK IN FLOWERS

 
seasonal flowers in an east fork pottery egg vase by samantha spigos
seasonal flowers in an east fork pottery egg vase by samantha spigos

“You may not be rich;

you may be unable to bequeath any great possessions to your children;

but one thing you can give them is the heritage of your blessing.

And it is better to be blessed than to be rich.”

— Saint Ambrose


+ More wisdom from the saints to be found in this favorite guidebook.
+ “I must have flowers, always, and always.”
+ Swiss Blue.

This Week in Flowers is a series where I combine my love of arranging fresh flowers with my love of books. It is a simple way to share with you what's in season around me, and what words I'm finding particularly inspiring. What books do you love that I ought to know about? 

last time in This Week In Flowers: Guess How Much I Love You


—S

THIS WEEK IN FLOWERS

 
farm fresh tulips and anemones in a vase by samantha spigos
farm fresh tulips in a vase by samantha spigos

“I love you right up to the moon,” he said, and closed his eyes.

“Oh, that’s far,” said Big Nutbrown Hare.

“That is very, very far.”

farm fresh tulips and daffodils in a vase by samantha spigos
farm fresh daffodils and tulips by samantha spigos
farm fresh anemones in a vase by samantha spigos
farm fresh anemones purple and pink flowers in a vase by samantha spigos

“Then he looked beyond the thorn bushes, out into the big dark night. Nothing could be farther than the sky. “I love you right up to the moon,” he said, and closed his eyes. “Oh, that’s far,” said Big Nutbrown Hare. “That is very, very far.” Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him good night.”

from Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney + illustrated by Anita Jeram


+ A series of photos to set your heart and mind abuzz with Spring.
+ Another classic parent / child bunny book.
+ For the littlest among you, little flower nesting blocks.
+ Flowers for a wall rather than a vase.

This Week in Flowers is a series where I combine my love of arranging fresh flowers with my love of books. It is a simple way to share with you what's in season around me, and what words I'm finding particularly inspiring. What books do you love that I ought to know about? 

last time in This Week In Flowers: The Bluebird Effect


—S

AFTER THOUGHTS + APRICOT BREAD

 
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Between moving, leaving our jobs, and becoming pregnant, we have veritably Kicked Up the Dust.  If our hearts are a home, we picked up the dirty rugs, beat 'em real good, swept the floor and carried on (rugs in tow . . . I would never leave the rugs). Ever a fan of the metaphor. But we did literally make that move, not just metaphorically. And now the dust is settling. There is much left to discover and even more to discern, but I can say with a good solid amount of clarity that Mark, baby and I are charting the right course. I do not know how to explain how a house can take care of someone—repair someone, even—but this is quietly, very quietly, happening.

We moved back to Ohio and into my grandma's house two months after she died. This was not the plan. The plan was to move in with her. I felt collapsing sorrow when she died despite knowing she is imprinted on my soul + lives, without suffering, brightly in my memory. But to know me is to know how much I cherish the women who raised me. Long before we had any notion of moving back to Ohio, when we imagined farming in Vermont for years and raising babies in the green mountains, my grandma sent us a piece of mail entitled "after thoughts" which was a pros and cons list of moving in with her. Pros included things like "running hot water" (a luxury we did not have at the time); cons such as "old woman hard of hearing" (ha!). A year later, she's gone and I'm sitting in her kitchen; my kitchen. At the top of the stairs lives "after thoughts", framed and hung with prominence. It is something of a tangible reminder that opportunities can be subtle, can be sweet, can be written with shaky cursive on a scrap piece of paper (in the case of "after thoughts"). It gives me reason to suspect that even when we're not open to them, opportunities might just come back around. And I love this. 

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As for the house, it is imbued with my grandma, the kitchen most of all. The thick plaster walls are home to some of her best paintings—like the mama goose and her gosling (pictured above; It is a particularly poignant painting for me, because Mark calls me Goose and we both call the baby our Gosling. It feels as though she made that painting to encourage my own journey into motherhood. I hold firmly that these things are not coincidental.), or the wood-burned peg rack of a paddling of ducks that has hung in the same spot my entire life. When she died, I was gifted her great-grandmother's 100-year-old quilt and her recipe book. Both are treasures worth more than gold. I christened her oven by baking a recipe from her book that I had never tasted: apricot fruit bread. I did not alter a single ingredient, which means I used shortening in lieu of butter or oil. And you should too, if you give it a try. And you should give it a try, because recipes only make it into grandmother's cookbooks if they are time-tested and Very Delicious.

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MARIELLEN'S APRICOT BREAD
makes two 9x5 loaves or one 9x5 loaf if halved

INGREDIENTS
1 c. dried + diced apricots
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
4 eggs
4 c. sifted flour
2 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 c. milk
1 c. pitted + diced prunes or raisins or currants (optional)
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

STEPS
—Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
—Cover apricots and prunes (raisins, etc) with hot water and let sit for 5 minutes; drain and set aside.
—Cream together the sugar and shortening for 3-5 minutes.
—Add eggs and beat until light in color.
—Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the eggs alternately with the milk.
—Stir in the fruit and nuts.
—Pour into greased and floured 9x5 pans and bake 60-65 minutes.
—Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
 

WE WERE SUPPOSED TO GET MARRIED TOMORROW

 

 "Wouldn't it be nice to live together, in the kind of world where we belong?"

The prospect of writing another post about Pink Cameron seemed unlike us. After all, we would be writing on the mess we are still sifting through, the mishaps and, yes, even a few miniature triumphs. But our lives are more than farming and renovating a camper—schedules be damned. We were brainstorming on what to write about this week when it hit us: if we had kept our original schedule, we would be getting married this weekend.

"Maybe if we think, and wish, and hope, and pray it might come true.
Baby, then there wouldn't be a single thing we couldn't do."


Instead, we have been married five months. If you're new to our blog, the abridged version is this: We were on a long drive, listening to The Beach Boys' song 'Wouldn't It Be Nice', a song that would change the course of our lives. By the end of the car ride, we had decided to bump the wedding up five months, giving ourselves just five weeks to craft a day about feasting: on food, on communion with loved ones, and on choosing to enter willingly into an indelible union. As if it were a dream, everything just happened as it should. 

Beloved family & friends traveled on short notice from several countries, and states ranging from California to Virginia, to surround us with love. Bouquets made of kale and rosemary, table settings of rose hips and scotch pine, a boutonnière & a nature wand (carried by our Godson Isaiah, pictured above) — these were a few of the provisions foraged from Ohio's wintry landscape the week of the wedding. The playlist that Mark had spent weeks crafting song by song, in order that it may all flow together, did not even come on until midway through our celebration.

But when the infectious rhythm of Jumpin' Jack Flash filled my parents retro basement, bringing everyone to the dance floor, it recalled one of my most special memories. Six years ago, my Uncle Jay surprised my sister and her husband at their wedding by playing that song on his bass guitar. Scleroderma would soon take his life, but in that moment everyone was alive . . . very and totally alive. Six years later and dancing to the same song, tears poured down my cheeks and I laughed at how absolutely present Jay was in the room. I suspect his four-string, adorned with pride on the basement wall, was vibrating.

" . . . You know it seems the more we talk about it,
It only makes it worse to live without it.
But let's talk about it.
Wouldn't it be nice?"

Our nascent married life has been nice, albeit challenging. Rather than pampering and readying ourselves to walk down the aisle this week, we are unloading & stacking hundreds of hay bales in the barns at Consider Bardwell Farm and Wayward Goose Farm. We are catching the field mice who keep finding their way into Pink Cameron (see why we decided to take a week off from camper posts?). We are missing home, but also find ourselves pursuing the rustic & enlivening lifestyle that we were dreaming about when we listened to that Beach Boys song back in December. All things considered, it seems that we have been rewarded heartily for deciding to go with our guts. More than just our guts, though, it was that we chose Kairos time over Chronos time. Kairos is the 'supreme moment' in ancient Greek, understood in the Catholic and Orthodox church as God's timeline. Chronos is chronological time. Take it from us: choose Kairos.

If our wedding were happening tomorrow, given what we know now, it would be the single best day of our lives. Instead, January 16th was. If no day is ever as good as that one, it would be very, very alright. Incalculable joy was moving through both of us that day, from morning until night. I cannot see how a joy so monumental could exist again, but hell if I'm not open to it!


—S