Thursday, March 31, 2011


March 31st. Perfect timing for a fundraiser. You thought they only happened in the summer didn't you? Nope, Nantucketers do fundraisers year-round. This one was for Yvrose Ismael and her family. Yvrose is a Haitian lady married to a preacher who has taken in 16 kids, none of them born to her but all of them her family. Here they are:
Well, wood cutouts with their faces glued on and incredible outfits applied by my middle school Sunday School class. The dinner was spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and lots of desserts. I made rice crispy treats. It's such fun to catch up with everyone you haven't seen all winter. I love seeing everyone work together to pull it off. We served between 400 to 500 people. I was mostly scraping plates so I didn't count the people coming in. The plate scrapings went to my chickens.

 Woo-hoo! Happy, happy chickens...and happy Haitian kids.

Peat Moss

I'm so out of winter mode even tho' it's 44 degrees out and grey. Bleah. So, in search of green I headed to the swamps. Swamps have little green bits all winter, like Sphagnum moss:
This is at Squam Swamp.

And this is at Masquetuck- click on it twice to get the full green effect:
Lots of folk on Nantucket add peat moss to their gardens to improve moisture retention. I don't like to as it grows so slowly and isn't currently sustainably harvested (except in New Zealand). 
         The topsoil on our property was less than an inch thick when we first built our house. A quarter century of compost and henhouse cleanings have given us lovely rich soil tho' we still plant winter rye every year. Today is the day I let the chickens in to scratch it all up so we can plant peas after Daffodil Day. I'll post a picture of one day's damage tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


We're growing plants in the green house by two different methods this year. David's just started up the hydroponic system today.
 The rainwater comes off the roof:
Into the greenhouse, into a lobster tank, no it doesn't have lobsters, they require sea water:
to the fish box with a sumppump:
Which pumps the water across the clay marbles:
Past the plants which aren't there yet and back into the fishbox:
A little bit of summer (inside):
The chickens so wish they could get in:
Hang in there girls, summer's coming!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Super Moon and Mesclun

Just because I didn't know how to get a picture of that huge orange moon doesn't mean Islanders weren't all out at the beach to enjoy it. Dr. Hinson actually knows his way around a camera and got some beautiful shots. Check them out:
David has been hard at work making perfect growing conditions for our mesclun salad greens:
They are obviously thriving under his care:
As are we, the first salad of the season- on March 29th!:
Our tomatoes aren't quite there yet, but I'm content to wait. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nantucket Looms

The Nantucket Looms is an island weaver's paradise. Oh, the fabrics and oh, the colors. As I am a weaver myself, granted I weave neckties which is strange but it's still weaving, I stopped in to see if they'd be interested in carrying my story seats. If you'll indulge me "A place to put your feet up, park a child, or set your tea tray, then tell a story." They said yes! So here's a couple of my story seats and a ladies' rocker I did  in. the. Looms:
Can you tell I am thrilled down to my toes? They have price tags and everything. Of course, as my husband says, "It's just a weird hobby and not a business until you make your first sale." But still, the Looms!

Fairy houses

Although our town library, the Atheneum, is quite an imposing structure:
It is also much loved. Wish flags, appearing all over the island this week, flutter in the library park:

Fairy houses multiply beneath its trees:

With over 44,000 books and an entire DVD 'library' there's plenty to keep island folk busy at the Atheneum in the winter. Plus, the park to play in.


Went to town this morning for breakfast with David at the Even Keel. Plenty of seats. Delicious meal. then wandered around. The morning light shone on the Atheneum. This picture is exactly as taken-no 'photoshopping':

Guess where this is:

A hint:

Yes! It's the Dreamland going back up. The construction manager says they hope to open by Christmas. They requested permission to work through the summer so everyone will get a peek. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fishmonger offspring lunch

Whenever one of our older kids comes home for a visit from America, we like to make sushi and nigiri together as a family. Shrimp tempura's a favorite. The vegetarians among us like caterpillar rolls and asparagus tempura. Sushi night makes for amazing lunches the next day:
The purple top contains soy sauce. I love family traditions. The plant in this planter was my mother-in-law's mother-in-law's. How cool is that?
The planter itself I found at the Take-it-or-Leave-it the other day. Score! A Tioli's find becomes a family heirloom. It just needs a gorgeous little plate to replace my clear glass one. Next time...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Officially Spring...or not

Woke up to snow this morning. So I had to pop out to Masquetuck and take pictures.
The vernal pool isn't quite ready for fairy shrimp:

 Daffodils snuggled in snow:
And the little tete-a-tetes were quite bowed down this morning:
The snow never lasts long on the island tho', the same flowers by noon :

The 'Step-into-Spring Flip-Flop' is buried in snow:
Frozen silverfish, are they hibernating in the mud?
Still, there are folk out building fairy bunkhouses:
An admirable attempt to lure them back.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nantucket Lichens

Lichens fascinate me:

There are so many kinds and they're found in the most obscure niches. Nantucket is covered with them. Scientists use lichen growth as an indicator of air quality:

No problem here. The coolest thing about lichens is that they're a symbiosis of fungus and algae. Able to function in a way together that they couldn't do separately. Same as us

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Day of Spring

Started out sunny, then snowy, then slush falling the rest of the day. A regular island Spring kind of day.  The Scotch Pine liked it:
As did my backporch rocks:

I went shopping:

Pink boa pajama pants with a tail
The Take-it-or-Leave-It has the Best Stuff. I think I'll start posting finds every Monday. And yes, I did drop off more than I took. If you don't your own home becomes the landfill.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Back to Nature

When things seem grey and broken it's good to go out to the woods and listen. Not in a 'be one with Nature' kind of way but more of a see and learn how to deal with brokenness kind of way:
Broken yet offering shelter...
Sometimes still standing:

Broken yet reaching for the sun...
Sometimes tiny bits of hope coming up among all the brokenness:
As Aragorn says in The Two Towers, "There is always hope." Pastor Rich spoke on this yesterday. The Scripture was Exodus 14, at the Red Sea. First the people panicked, then cried out to the LORD, then were told: do not be afraid, stand firm. Then my favorite line: Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on." I love this! Go on, my people, I've got your back. You can trust me always. Although Pastor Rich did warn us God's faithfulness doesn't always look like this. Sometimes He walks with us through hard things rather than destroying them with His mighty hand. 
In the end though, there is always hope.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Moonrise and dashed hopes

The moonrise was spectacular tonight, did anyone see it? So orange and huge on the horizon. Last night I got pictures:
moon rising over the compost pile
 And turn around to see the sun setting:
I'm sorry to report the fundraiser for Tim only raised enough to finish out this school year. Even David's Lobster Clambake only brought in $200. So it's back to setting and clearing tables in the fall, unless the Lord does something else. And with Jesus you never know. He promises that all things work to the good of those that love Him so we'll have to be patient to see how this disappointment turns out. It's much easier for a mom to see her own chances put aside than her kid's. 

Sunset, happy beef and fried lettuce

Sunset over the Aran Islands:

So, how did we end up in Ireland? 25 years of marriage and a sister willing to take care of our 6 kids plus two amazing Irish women who had come to Nantucket a decade earlier looking for summer jobs...They rented from us and got to know the family. They could actually speak Gaelic. Cool. Anyway, when we were thinking of where to go we thought of Ireland--ancestry and beauty mostly. So we contacted the 'girls' all grown up and married now. One of their families had a holiday house we could stay in free for a week. What a blessing! And they both insisted on having us stay with them in Dublin. A great trip, we learned all about grass-fed beef:
David got the movie 'Food,Inc.' from the library last week so no more Stop and Shop beef for us. It's ok, we eat mostly fish and eggs anyway. The Irish cows did look happy. 

 Ireland was soul-restoring, so much connected to the land, like God's original intent. It's why gardening can be restorative too. The lettuces are coming along:
Although I accidentally fried all the middle ones on a sunny day, hard to judge it when the temperature changes so much. David, practical-minded, went ahead and planted more seeds. Will let you know about  Timmy's fundraiser tonight. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Timmy's Team

My nephew, Tim, has Down syndrome. He also has a clueless public school system. Instead of the three R's, they wanted Tim to learn Life Skills. This involves going to the store and learning how to pick out the Macaroni and Cheese box. Without addressing how that isn't actually Food, let's stick with how that isn't education. High School special needs kids in his district are in charge of cleaning up after the 'regular' kids in the cafeteria. 'Educated' for janitorial work. Not Tim. His mom found a private school for him, Jacob's Ladder. It costs $740 a week. She's a single mom with five kids. Again and again God has provided the funding for Tim's school this year--through His people, through unanticipated funds. Tonight, there's a fundraiser for him to cover the last $1000 of his first grade tuition and, hopefully, summer school. This is David's contribution:

A Fabulous Lobster Clambake for 8 !

8 each 1 3/4+  lb live lobsters

Succulent and fresh, packed in rockweed

2 quarts Quahog chowder base

All you add is the cream & milk

5 dozen littleneck clams

Sweet and tender from Nantucket

With lobster crackers and bibs
All shipped overnight via FedEx in an insulated box
excluding June 15 –Sept 6  (too hot)
Uncle David, fishmonger
No, you don't get this one, we already ate it...
Generously donated by David of
Timmy’s favorite uncle on Nantucket
retail value: 395 dollars
Did I marry the best guy ever or what?

Many friends on Timmy's Team are donating art and musical talent and their home for the fundraiser tonight. I'll let you know how it went tomorrow. And if you're wondering, besides various therapies, Tim is learning to read, write and do arithmetic. Yay, Jacob's Ladder.

top o' the mornin' to ye

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I have a story about my Irish grandfather. Then some pictures. So, my grandfather was a cop in Brooklyn. He had a wife, Berthe, and four children. One day he was going past a candy store when a man inside pulled out a gun to rob the place. My grandfather rushed in and was shot in the chest. He went down. The robber escaped. The people in the store gathered around poor Officer Paul Higgins to see what they could do. When they opened his shirt they found a huge bruise but no wound. Huh? In his shirt pocket, nearly punctured by the bullet, was his 3x4 Bible. Saved by the Word. Body and soul.

St. Patrick's mission field:
the River Shannon in a rainstorm
Serenading the sheep
They liked it
Worship open to the sky

O Death, where is thy sting?

These are from a trip we took a couple of years ago. More tomorrow! Too gorgeous out to stay in today.

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