"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment." Fanny Price in Mansfield Park
I've had a few days of reflection while on my beach holiday, and one thing I've decided is that I need to get outside more.
This never used to be a problem. As a child, I practically lived outside. I remember the time when that changed and I started staying inside more. It was after the birth of my first baby. I remember feeling so much resentment because now I had to stay home while my husband continued much as before; playing ball several nights a week and going out into the world every day to work.
Not that I wanted to have a job outside our home. I didn't. But we were used to playing together, and all of a sudden that stopped. It was a very hard adjustment to make.
Thirty years later, home is my favorite place to be. I don't want to get out much at all anymore. But occasionally the walls start closing in and I need to get away from the constant work that a home requires. So I'll take a slow walk around the field, down the road, or through the woods, and all is right again.
I think I get overly introspective if I stay inside too much, and that's not good. I tend to think too much anyway....overanalyzing things to the point of depression and futility.
So I'm going to try and spend more time out-of-doors. My garden sure could use an overhaul.
This is the view from the back deck which overlooks a small lake. I'm on Fripp Island for a few days to plan, rest, read, etc.
I brought Pat Conroy's Cookbook with me. I don't usually read cookbooks, but this isn't an ordinary cookbook, and Mr. Conroy isn't an ordinary writer. Put the two together, and you have one part lyrical autobiography and one part food from around the world.
So I began reading about making stocks when he says to take a whole chicken, wash it inside and out with cold water, then pat it dry. Why on earth would you do that, when the next step is to put it into a pot of water for boiling?
I've wondered the same thing at Thanksgiving. Why wash the turkey only to pat it dry? I never do that, and mine is always moist and flavorful.
Any of you cooking experts out there have an explanation? Seems a silly thing to me, but there's probably a good explanation I don't know about.
I had a fun two days this week rearranging ALL our books, culling out some, and counting them.
I didn't intend to do this. I had walked to the big bookcase in the library looking for a particular book and noticed that the shelves were looking messy and that a lot of books weren't in their proper categories making finding them difficult.
When you have as many books as we have, you have to categorize them or you'll never find anything! I arranged them by the Dewey Decimal System several years ago.
"And how many books do you have?" you might ask. I'll tell you; 2,506! I figured that if I read one a week, in 48 years I'll have read them all. I'll be 104 by then. Fortunately, lots of them are children's books and ones I've already read. Whew! I'll only be 98 by the time I finish the rest.
Another year of shows is able to begin this Saturday. Here's Darcie on her horse Red at one of the local shows.
She won second place overall in the Walk Trot Division. I was pretty proud of her since it was her first year showing.
Red is half arabian and half thoroughbred. The circuit she rides in is hunter/jumper. He's not the best horse for this circuit since he doesn't jump anymore. He's sixteen and has a little bit of arthritis. He really should be showing in an Arab circuit...oh well.
So considering all that, she did pretty well last year.
I took some photos last night during a jumping class which she's suddenly loves. She used to be scared of jumping, and I don't blame her! The horse she's riding belongs to the stables. I only stuck around long enough to snap a few....makes me too nervous to watch for long.
I've had them run across the road in front of me while driving in the car.
I've had them mosey out in front of the car, stand there and look at me, then saunter off the road on the other side.
But I've never followed a group of black bears riding on a trailer!
Last time I was in Tennessee, I followed this truck and trailer out of town. They looked to be the kind of sculptures made with a chain saw from large blocks of wood. They were well done and were probably going to some craft fair or antique store.
I got a good chuckle out of them. Looks like there may be an owl there on the left. This is why I take my camera everywhere with me!
I've been keeping a list of the books I read each year for a long time. This year's total was 75. Not too bad, I guess.
Some of my favorites were:
The Pace of a Hen-Josephine Moffett Benton
The Year of the Great Grandmother-Madeleine L'Engle
Shakespeare by Another Name-Mark Anderson
And the Miss Julia books by Ann B. Ross. I read several of them. They are so Southern and so funny. I was always laughing out loud. I especially enjoyed listening to some on audio as the accents are hilarious.
I'll post soon about my reading goals for this year. I'm still trying to decide some things.
I still haven't packed away any decorations. I'm aiming for Thursday when we'll be coming back into town. I'm headed to Tennessee for a few days to visit my parents.
These three ornaments are all that's left of the set that adorned the Christmas trees of my childhood. I don't hang them on my tree for fear of them falling and breaking. So they're safe on the dining room table. They make me happy.
These little Gurley candle choristers are so sweet, aren't they?
In the month of December, I only read books about Christmas. I found quite a few new ones and revisited some familiar favorites. By far, my favorite was A Sister of the Angels by Elizabeth Goudge. Such a sweet English story told in her usual quite way. I feel so at home in her stories.
Another good one was Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans.
And I found another Christmas story by Miss Read called A Village Christmas. I had read her The Christmas Mouse some years ago. I always love her writings. I definitely have a thing for small English village life.
I'm making some decisions about my 2012 reading and will be sharing those soon. On this trip I'll be finishing up The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon. I need to have read by Friday Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport for my bookgroup. Anyway, more on reading later.