Monday, February 28, 2011

Building houses in Haiti

First one has to get there:
A Missionary Flights International DC3. Remember Air New England flew these? Spacious. Then a truck:
 Here loaded with roofing materials. Everyone travelled standing up. Past the tent city outside Port au Prince airport:
To the mountains:
To the jobsite:

The green is watercress
It was so steep, some places had ropes
Then working:
Brothers in the Lord working together, lots of singing on the  job
 Temporary house next door:
And done!
And another, dedication day:
 And one more, three houses in a week:
Rugs on the windowsill are knotted from t-shirts
Stop in and ask David about his working vacation--there's plenty to do in the winter, just not all of it on This island... 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

David is home from Haiti

Yay! He was in Fermenthe, 11 miles outside of Port au Prince. His team, Haitians and volunteers from the US,  finished 3 houses last week. I'll post you lots more pictures tomorrow. The houses were 10x20 with two rooms. David's main impression of Haiti was how ruggedly beautiful the countryside was and how dignified the people.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Historic Church: leaky roof

Up to the church attic
bell rope through a pulley
It's Friday and it's pouring out. That means I need to go down to Summer Street Church and empty buckets. This is the improvised tarp and bucket system one of the guys in our church set up:
Nice job, huh? Sadly, today's leaks were in new spots. My son and I set a few new buckets and dried  a couple of pew cushions in the sanctuary. Such a lovely old building. The attic space smells of dusty wood, like history. Full of stories. Do you know any? Click on where it says comment  and a box will appear. Tell me a story...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Girls of Summer

Baking is another off-season option. It heats the house and makes the kids feel loved. We got a cupcake idea from a library book. They looked like this:
Our sports teams are the Whalers. The whales are supposed to be made from Twinkies but there are no Twinkies on-island in the off-season. Shocking, I know. Another reason to only come here in the summer. I used Ho-Hos instead. The cupcakes were for the Whaler Fall Sports banquet. Here's my team:
Lady Whalers varsity soccer. A joy to watch, all the way to the playoffs.

TIOLI Literature

Some folk, in the winter, hibernate. Stay inside, keep warm, read a good book. The Atheneum, our town library, has over 44,000 volumes. If they don't have what you want they'll order it for you. Have I mentioned how much I love librarians? If you prefer the serendipity method the Take-It -Or-Leave-It can help:

It's best manners to tidy up as you search. This was an extra busy day. Someone was moving off-island and cleaning out. Yes! I got a copy of Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. Excellent read. Now I have to go on CLAMS, our interlibrary loan site, to order his Stones into Schools. If one isn't in a reading mode there's also:
Some of these are in Japanese. I resisted the temptation to get an entire DVD season of Emergency--we don't have TV for a reason. Then again, watching Emergency episodes might keep me going on the treadmill. Hmmm...next time. There's always a next time.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Going to America

Nantucket is really flat. Our highest point is just 109 feet. This makes us perfect for biking and running but not so much for appreciating the majesty of God. It says in the Bible, "since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made...Romans 1:20  The ocean gives a sense of His majesty when it's stormy but I don't have a good picture of that. So, we go to America. Big trees:
And big rocks:

Lead to big thoughts. Yosemite is just the place for it. Ansel Adams says:" Yosemite Valley to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space."  Seeing all that bigness doesn't make me feel small. Rather, it helps me see the greatness of God. It's soul stretching.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Aisha Ava the Hedgehog

This is Aisha Ava, my daughter's hedgehog. We got her from Hamor Hollow, a breeder in New Hampshire. My daughter was begging for a small pet, not a fish, and I have an aversion to the entire Rodentia order. That eliminates gerbils, rabbits, hampsters, lots of critters. So my kid goes on-line and finds an insectivore. A very cute and curious insectivore. She needs her nails clipped and regular baths but in general is an easy pet. This is one of the cool things she can do:
The fox has many tricks. The hedgehog has but one. But that is the best of all. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, February 18, 2011

Frosty Morning Run


My husband is a runner. He started a few years ago with the Brant Point 5K. This fall he did the NYC marathon (I went along as hero support). No one goes from 5K to marathon without lots of training runs, which can get lonely. And boring if you can't figure out your iPod. So he organized a 10K on a frosty but gloriously clear morning. The run was from Brant Point along Cliff Road. The bike path isn't finished so some parts were on Cliff Road. I was at the half-way water station:
The sign says: Winter 10K--4 Mile Mark--Nantucket well water:
There was hot Ghiradelli cocoa at the finish line.  One of the things folk do in the winter: they run. Not me--I prefer to bike.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Click on any picture

Oh, cool, if you click on any of my blog pictures they open in a new window. Bigger. If you click on that picture you'll get an even bigger detail.  Here's a path through the tupelos behind Stumpy Pond. You can hear the surf and small birds and rustlings. It reminds me of a line in a Yeats poem:

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,...

I wonder how many folk think of Nantucket as their Innisfree?

Winter Sky

Such a shiver inducing sky. I was out behind Stumpy hiking with a friend and the sky went all mackerelly. I was lost but she wasn't so we got back ok. My youngest had already started dinner. I never worry wandering around the moors as eventually I'll come to a road. Whoever comes along that road is probably someone I know, who'll be glad to give me a ride; just so they can laugh at how I managed to get lost in a place I've lived for over thirty years. I love small town life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Come along with me...

Past the squirrels' nest in the tupelos...

Past the water nymph's doorway...

Under the arms of Treebeard's brother...
Across the bog bridge (who dwells under?)...

and listen...
Shhhh...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Vernal Pools and Fairies


This is a Swamp Maple leaning over a vernal pool in Squam Swamp. Do you recognize it? The trunk has all these awesome holes just right for fairies. So, a couple of years ago I put my youngest into public school, fifth grade. What can I say? It seemed like a good idea at the time. But just because she was in public school didn't mean we couldn't have fun, right? The day before they were scheduled for a class trip to the Swamp she and I made a couple of dozen fairies with acorn heads and silky flower petal skirts. I dropped her off at school and headed to the Swamp where I hid fairies in tree holes all the way to the bridge. It was scrumptious: what a surprise for them!
Where's the fairy?
I couldn't wait till she got home. "So, what happened on your field trip? did you see the fairies?" "No, mom, it was boring. We weren't allowed to go off the path." Back to home school. Off the path, seeking fairies, is the best part.

Mesclun Miracle

Somehow they know. It may be February on Nantucket, but the lettuce seedlings know Spring is coming. This is our greenhouse where my amazing husband is building a hydroponic garden. These are obviously growing in soil but Oh! to have fresh grown greens in the winter. You may notice the cord hanging down on the right. This is the sneaky person's plant secret; heating pads. Yes, we hornswoggle those little green sprouts into thinking it's Spring already by warming up their personal ground. Like wearing a sweatshirt in the house all winter. It might be freezing inside but my skin doesn't know it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Squam Swamp

Go in Peace

TIOLI Score!

A Guatemalan tablecloth, 4 yards of fabric to recover my ratty armchair--but not the time to do it--a book to dream, a book to rebuild the composter, an illustrated Walden for David. Score! Oh, and one necktie--purple with white stars. Doesn't anyone have a sense of sartorial decorum on this island?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

TIOLI's Redemption

TIOLIs is where I, and so many other marvelous folk, shop. It's the Take It or Leave It at the town dump in Madaket. A lovely mish-mash of people and their cast-offs. I wove the seat of this little stool with neckties saved for me by a friend at the Mall. She goes every day and somehow, amazingly, finds neckties. Aren't neckties wonderful? The colors and patterns and shiny, silky, um silks. I can't ever find any but my friend has a knack for it. Doesn't the weave remind you of the potholders you made in Girl Scouts? Anyway,
the problem with this island, the only one I see at the moment, is the men don't wear ties. They buy one Marry-and-Bury tie and that's it. Oh, wait. The Board of Selectmen started wearing ties a couple years back. Score one for mainland tradition. And another, the Hockey Team is required to wear ties to off-island games. I'm going to TIOLIs tomorrow--can't wait to show you what I score!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bored Games


The question is, "What to do when it's too cold and windy out to play?" The answer: Scrabble. As a homeschooling family we love Scrabble. Vocabulary, spelling, math, negotiation skills. What's not to love?  Our oldest's crowning glory was to beat John, down at The Bean, before she went off to college. Sort of a local kid's rite of passage. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sushi Splendor

On the grayest days of the Gray Lady's winter, sushi is just the thing for supper.
As we make sushi more than most folk, we have a rice cooker. So cook up the rice, add some seasoned rice vinegar, matchstick your spring onions, carrots, cucumbers, 
asparagus, and avocado, slice up the salmon and tuna, pass your nori over flame and you're ready to roll. 
Sushi making is a group effort. Perfect for families. Especially families with vegetarians.
We all work together then sit down to a feast.
A feast of color, flavor, texture and family time.
Praise be to God for His good gifts.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Meeting the King

Nantucket is a little like Narnia. Hard to get to, full of memory, and stamped with the character of the One who made it. See this lamp-post? It's on my street and always makes me think of the one in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. Passing this lamp-post Lucy journeys to meet the King. I took a similar journey to meet Him in our world.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Nantucket Winter Activities

The perennial question: "What do Nantucket Folk do all winter?" You know, Year-Rounders...spoken with either pity or envy on Daffodil Weekend by the recently returned Tan Folk. Here's what I do:
Sort m&ms.
The blue ones are the best.
Trust me.
Then go on a hike or bike ride somewhere on the island. It depends on wind direction.
If there's too much wind I have to go on the Dreaded Treadmill which experience is made
bearable by the addition of this laptop and Hulu. 
I wouldn't have to go on the Dreaded Treadmill if I wasn't so fond of m&ms.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

#2: Good night, sweet dreams.

#1: Let's begin with a story

Because the God I worship is a storyteller. Do you see the weave in this chair seat? Those are neckties. My dad was a businessman. Every morning he'd put on his tie, take the 7:27 train into Chicago, and work. He ran a marketing firm designing ad campaigns for food companies. Cereal box giveaways. Harlem Globetrotter sneakers. Puppets for HoHo boxes. All day long he'd tell stories--that's what marketing is. And every night he'd come home to his freckle-faced lady and six kids to disrupt our homework. "Whatcha studying there? Western Expansion? When your mother and I went West in our covered wagon...and the stories would begin. Nothing was sacred. "Don't jerk on that door! Why when I was a doorknob..."All wildly dramatic. All featuring the same amazing hero: Dad. So, in honor of all those tie-bedecked heroes who poured out their lives for their families, I weave ties into chair seats. Have a seat, please, and tell me a story...
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