spring

PRUNE THE GOOSE, DEMOLITION + OTHER SMALL JOYS

 
mother and child by samantha spigos
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daughter and father enjoy morning coffee by samantha spigos
daughter and father enjoy morning coffee by samantha spigos
daughter and mother enjoy morning coffee by samantha spigos
daughter and mother enjoy morning coffee by samantha spigos
dismantling a ramp outdoors by samantha spigos
dismantling a ramp outdoors by samantha spigos
dismantling a ramp outdoors by samantha spigos
babies at a water table by samantha spigos
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Today is Mariellen’s birthday. It would have been her 87th year this side of heaven. Instead, we have filled the rooms of her home with growth and vibrancy, and lately those same qualities have been finding their way to the flower beds, Ghost’s grave, the onion patch, et al. Yesterday was Mary Frances’s birthday. The queen of my heart and, by all scientific measures, an actual earth angel. We ate rhubarb pie together, the unofficial food patron of our family. Tomorrow is Janet’s birthday. A Chicagoan who blessedly moved to Ohio and raised the man I love most on Earth, plus flower beds that you’d swear sing with gladness. Grandmother, Mother, Mother-in-law: the marvelous trifecta of matriarchal birthdays.

I’m taking notice of this abiding peace. It is settling somewhere that I hope can’t be, or won’t be, easily penetrated. Decisions made in the name of Family and Hope and Possibility are bearing ripe and abundant fruit. Certainly nothing exotic. The boys dismantled a ramp with hammers and drills and saws, while I readied an “orange plate” consisting of every orange-colored provision I could find, and my sister set up a Slip ‘N’ Slide. When the work was finished the little ones made haste to throw on their swimsuits; as for mine, she waited exactly five minutes before pooing in her brand new swimsuit. Like I said, nothing exotic. But good, good, good.

A too-early morning with a too-full heart, if such a thing exists. Prune is settling in nicely; it is as though the spot between the rose bush and the bird feeder was waiting for a concrete goose. The sparrows don’t mind her and, oh! would you believe it, a grey catbird came to visit — a first. Subtle changes, big feelings.


“There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.”

— Gerard Manley Hopkins


—S

ON MAY + THE FIRST ICED COFFEE

 
iced coffee pourover and stoneware cup by samantha spigos
iced coffee with cream spilling over a stoneware cup by samantha spigos

Iced coffee season is upon us. April turned May, officially closing the maybe-fullest month of my life. We spent the final hours of April stripping the remnants of wallpaper from a room that is asking to become a dining room. Stripping wallpaper, at least the way we did it (hot water + fabric softener + elbow grease + some cursing), reminded us of our days renovating Pink Cameron. When we bought the house at the beginning of the month, we anticipated moving quickly on several indoor / outdoor house projects. What we did not foresee was just how many hours each would take, or how much my belly would grow, or that we would be burying our cat at the end of the same month. It was a month of joy and grief. Spring waits for no one, and so we propel onward.

May brought seventy degrees and sunshine, which necessitates two things: stepping outside and drinking iced coffee. Also, the fence crew arrived, which means soon our Very Fast Child will get to roam around without her mom and dad on her tail every step of the way. I truly cannot wait to simply observe her in the outdoors—not monitor or direct her footing so that she doesn’t hurl herself into the road, but just observe her.

white vinyl fence posts by samantha spigos
child with phlox against a brick house by samantha spigos

One more thing: our Main Street is lined with ornamental pear trees, from which delicate white petals have been cascading onto the sidewalks, atop cars, and through open windows. It’s heavenly. Mark called it our very own Macondo.

Wishing you a very exuberant and grounded May. What small wonders are surrounding 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

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE + A DOZEN DONUTS

 
rosemary child puts her hands in the soil image by samantha spigos

You know my grandma’s red brick house in town that we have been living in for just under two years? The house where our daughter was born, and where I have a great view of the hardware’s red clog sign? That house. We bought it. My grandmother’s house has become our house, if it wasn’t already. How many years we will live here, I can nary say. The dream of land and farm is hardly gone, but for now our dreams are right here in town. I sense the farm dream is more realistic for buying this house, not less. If you have been following along for a few years (bless you), you know Mark’s and my desire to tend land and livestock. You know that we used to farm together in Vermont, and that we tried and valiantly failed at buying a farm of our own last autumn. So to write with sincere enthusiasm that we bought a house that opens its door onto Main Street and boasts a mere 1/4 acre backyard might seem funny. It is. Life is funny.

new spring growth by samantha spigos
rosemary puts her hands in soil and crocuses image by samantha spigos

On Rosemary’s first birthday in January, Mark was playing with her on the upstairs landing while I sat on the steps below, looking around and reflecting on the hours of her birth. I can recall the exact Aha! moment that I looked up the stairwell and said, “Maybe we should buy this house.” I said ‘maybe’ but had pretty conclusively determined that it was Just Exactly What We Should Do.

The process was smooth and timely, very unlike the fevered rush to buy that farm. (Let me just put out into the universe right here that I think we still might buy that farm, someday, some way.) I want to share everything with you — how affordable this is for us; how excited we are to have the white fence installed (don’t worry, it’s low) and to plant our garden beds; how we are stripping wallpaper and painting rooms to look like spring lilac and golden yellow sunbeams; how two apple trees are soon to set roots in this soil; how we want to grill you dinner and invite you into this small, abundant home that has nurtured us deeply.

We store our wooden spoons in a crock that my grandma painted when she was practicing painting clear cylinders. It’s sturdy and aging with a delicate motif—just like her, just like this house. A blog post hardly does justice to what is a rich storied house that we are delighted to be adding our family’s imprint to. The first property title that we have record of is Martha Haney in 1889. After Martha, every title belonged to one of our family members. We are the fourth generation to own it — surely there will be more to unpack and share on this space. Over time, slowly and without concern for When and If and How the future will look, we’re giving this red brick house a go.

crocks filled with wooden spoons by samantha spigos
buttermilk sour cream donut by samantha spigos
box of cake donuts by samantha spigos

But about the donuts . . .

Mark and I met in Columbus, Ohio during our second year of college. We fell hopelessly in love rather quickly, just a week before school ended for the year and I moved north for a summer internship. A very vivid flavor of those earliest summer love days is the fried cake donut from a landmark shop near campus, Buckeye Donuts. Nostalgia makes anything taste better, but theirs are objectively very good donuts. Having not had them since graduating school, Mark brought home a dozen from his quick work jaunt to the city. Having these around feels an apropos celebration of where we’ve been and where we’re at. And if you are asking yourself, “can they really polish off a dozen donuts before they go stale?” Absolutely we can.


—S