A Lavender Breeze

Dirt belongs in a garden.

 The spring makes me want to read poetry . The season comes in so gently that it seems to sneak up on you, like a romance you couldn’t have planned. The light of spring fills the heart up with contentment and gratitude. Violets bloom and birds nest-and the rabbit patch gets cleaned until it sparkles and smells like lavender. It is no small event, but for some odd reason, I do not find it an unpleasant task.

I am convinced that a good deal of the rabbit patch around “Sweet Home” is in the house. It is behind the piano, under furniture and on those wide baseboards the old houses have. I never know how or when it happens, but it does. The “Holiday” cleaning obviously did not take or maybe it was a temporary state of affairs, only.  All I know for sure, is that there is no rhyme or reason for what I have seen today.

I sing a lot of praises about the benefits of country life-and they are all true, but country dwelling comes with a price. The March wind deposits some of those beautiful wheat fields inside my kitchen every chance it gets. A bird comes with it several times a year.

Firewood bits seem to have a life of their own and show up in the oddest places along with the once fresh pine needles that I brought in at Christmas. Of course, I do blame Christopher Robin for some of that as he was sure that such things were brought in for his benefit. He napped today while I was “tearing up the house” and the dogs did too, not even amused with the big production I was putting on.  I love to see them sleep though and took great comfort knowing they are part of the rabbit patch way of life.

I always cook a supper that needs to simmer when spring cleaning.  It just makes things go easier, if the kitchen smells like  “home-cooked” fare. Even the hum of the washing machine  means progress and acts like a tonic on me. Linens will have a faint scent of lavender. Curtains will too. The clothesline adds the smell of sunshine and is worth the time it takes to hang things out. Thank goodness for a still day so the pollen stays put.

Every season demands that I make a gallant effort to put the rabbit patch in order. Every act performed today will need to be repeated, and often.(  A big part of the summer garden will also end up in “Sweet Home” .)   When I am weary of the relentless way of country life, I renew my vow to down-size in the future. But when twilight comes  and the air stirs just enough to whisper through the curtains- then a lavender breeze will drift through “Sweet Home” like a song-and that is something else to love.




I Love You Like Rain

Rain fell  on the rabbit patch easter Sunday morning

artist-Susan wheeler

and everything got wet.  No amount of scurrying made a difference. The rain had come to stay awhile. 

The spring showers and the mud it created did stop our grand plans of Lyla’s first easter egg hunt-and we did not set up the outside table for desserts. I felt sad  for the youngest children that either hunted bright colored eggs in the rain, or not at all-but a holiday is still a holiday, whether or not it rains. 

The kitchen smelled like an occasion. We decided on a traditional easter meal of ham, potato salad  and the last of the string beans that were put up last year for such occasions. We were up early to pull it all off.  Soft lights twinkled here and there inside, and they chased away any thoughts of gloom. I was determined to have fresh spring flowers and so ventured out in one of the first showers of the morning. I ended up with a nice arrangement of jasmine,azalea and rosemary. Jenny pulled out her best dishes and the table was set.

Sisters came to Easter Sunday dinner. Will’s mom and her sister, aunt J, came in the midst of a shower with sweet potato biscuits!  Things got lovelier when they showed up at the rabbit patch. They talked as only sisters can, correcting one anothers recollections of past events. Several times, I realised that they would protect one another,no matter the odds. Their banter was harmless and I laughed at their way of conversing. Sisters love the same people- and one another,like rain.

The rain fell all the while-almost gently and quite steadily. It always sounds like a lullaby when it does so to me.  When I was young, the older folks in the family would often say, “I love you like rain.”  I was so accustomed to hearing that phrase  that it made good sense to me.  They also said things like “as right as rain”. Rain seemed to be a good thing and I took a fancy to it early on. When I grew up, playing in spring showers was a right for children, as long as it wasn’t thundering.  My own children did the same. There was always some complaints from some adult that declared we would surely catch our “death of cold”, but no one ever did.

This easter may not have dawned with sunshine. Children did not get grass stains on their easter outfits and easter eggs did not get the glory they deserved-but it was easter none-the less. The rain did not change the joy of gathering with loved ones for a holiday. Families gathered and we were reminded who we belonged to and who belonged to us. It was a time to say,  “I love you like rain.”

Rabbit Patch Fever

5dc79847421102fc9487746a2419235fWhen  a fever comes to the rabbit patch, things go mighty slow.   It’s as if a spell  has been cast on the entire community that calls it home. Even the birds have hushed their cheerful songs and rabbit sightings are scarce. 

Cash and Christopher Robin abandon their usual play and take to moping. They lay by the morning table united in despair by the current state of affairs. Something hateful has invaded “Sweet Home” and folks aren’t acting right. They do not quarrel, but sleep by me-and what a comfort it is to have their company.  One thing I am certain of is that Cash and Christopher Robin are not “fair-weather” friends.

There is a window by the “sick bed”, so I watched the spring outside today and felt the warm sunshine coming through the glass. Some of the little pink promises have bloomed on the peach tree.  Sadly, last nights’ frost, ruined their debut. The daffodils did not seem to suffer a bit. They do not look like warriors, but they are!  The rose bushes are full of tiny green leaves-and tulips are waking up.  Finally, some sparrows showed up to eat fallen seed from that desolate bird feeder. That was a sweet sight. I took note of all these things happening on a Tuesday morning at the rabbit patch.  It was like getting in on a ” secret”- and it was a nice way to occupy the time.

I think it is a good practice to fill the heart with good thoughts, especially on the occasion of  a  few days “under the weather”. It helps keep things in perspective and probably does a lot more good than harm.

Soon, it is Easter and so I thought about that today. I do wish that that the dogwoods and azaleas would be in full attire on Sunday.   Some early-bird azaleas are at least considering the idea.

There wasn’t anything but tragedy on the television today. I couldn’t bear it, so I turned to my favorite books by Gladys Taber.  Her books are out-of -print  now and it’s a shame.  She was a columnist for the “Ladies Home Journal” and then “Family Circle” in the 50’s and 60’s and she wrote the “Stillmeadow” books. She wrote of things that I love-the home and the treasures within-and the art of “running a household”.  I am thankful that she wrote a lot about life when the children have “grown and flown” too.

I was just telling my daughter yesterday how unfamiliar this part of life can be. All of the issues of young adulthood come back again, it seems, but with less options. Once again, one considers housing needs -and employment in later years may change or be altered.  Aging, when considered, is quite sobering.  It is comforting for me to remember that the most wonderful and significant things in my life, I did not plan.  The things I most worried about, did not happen and everything I have ever needed was provided. Therefore, I convince myself that all will be well.

There will be a beautiful full moon over the rabbit patch tonight. The quiet day has become a quiet night.  Moonlight is something else I love.

When Flowers Appear on the Earth

10405628_230464637301046_2460218135546075693_n When the days are born gently, when the breezes pass softly, and  when flowers appear on the earth-it is spring. Everywhere I look, something is announcing the arrival of the fairest season. Daffodils and hyacinths are the first with good tidings -but they aren’t the only ones. The spirea bushes with their stark white blossoms are especially beautiful. Their flowers, when properly examined, look like tiny roses, fit for a fairy wedding-and in the spring such things are possible. We always stood in front of spirea for “Easter Sunday” pictures.

Many of the trees are as lovely now as they have ever been. Their blooms of pale pinks and lavendars are in drastic contrast to their appearance just a few weeks ago and are nothing short of a miracle, really.

A few days ago, I was riding with a dear friend of mine, Jo Dee, when we saw a bright red cardinal sitting in a young bradford pear.  We looked at one another and without uttering a sound, we celebrated. Such ways can only be practiced among the dearest of friends. Friends that understand the heart of one another- and even the coming of spring can not  “out-shine”  that.

Of all  the seasons, it is the spring that makes me remember the most. I remember that  in my earliest times, the spring meant that little ponies and goats were born on the farm. That was bigger than Christmas for the children that called the farm home. We would get up early, hoping we would be the one to find the new arrivals. At least once, I did. What a big production unfolded when there was a birth of a foal! The men would separate the mom from her baby briefly for a quick examination of the foal. It was always a big commotion for a few minutes and the children were allowed in on it. Within a few weeks, this foal would be following us around like he was one of us and had been there all along.

Rabbits are not born cute-that takes a while. The goats had twins and triplets!  Spring is a time to be born.

When the women visited one another in the spring, it meant long  walks around the yards to see the flowers that appeared on the earth, and to hear long stories of their origins.

 For me, it was like sitting through long sermons. I heard how an old aunt had “broken off a piece” of something, and now it was a fragrant bush. Some of the flowers came from cousins “over the river” (which now a-days is called Pitt county) And there were always flowers that mothers had shared with daughters. “From mama’s garden” was in everybodys’ yard. They shared small pieces of plants, roots and stems to stick in dirt, and wait for.

I remember that time now fondly. Today, we go to garden centers and find large assortments of  about any plants we have read about-we do not need any “ties that bind”. We will not tell long stories about how this bush or that flower bed came about. Children may not hear that not only did Aunt Agnes have the most beautiful bed of “thrift’-but that she made the best pickles too.

The hope of a gardener remains unchanged. They are a people of perpetual hope which is most often rewarded- and pleasant surprises occur regularly. Forgotten fall bulbs show up in the spring and finally a bush blooms that didn’t do so the last few years. Young trees begin to cast shade. Gardeners see these things and unknowingly, gardeners transfer their sense of hope to other seasons of life. They “wait and see” often, and expecting the best outcome , go about their business . What didn’t go well once, may the next time. Hope is a wondrous thing and quite necessary  for  a person.  It has come in handy at the rabbit patch on more than a few occasions.

Spring is a time for jasmine breezes and my Pop’s “goldenrods”. It is a time to be born. It is a time of inspiration from the past and it is the time of beginnings  for our future . Hope  settles in the human heart and inspiration stirs in the soul when flowers appear on the earth.


































































Unchanged Time

10286968_226969860983857_2229955252922814156_o Time will not change in the rabbit patch.  Life will not be hindered in the least as the coming and goings of that community do not care what hour it is. A rabbit patch is no place for such nonsense.  Oh,  to live in a rabbit patch!    I have never understood the benefits of “daylight saving time”. I will not argue about it now, but will continue to harbor some resentment.   The birds are noisy this morning and seem to be making great plans. They are country birds with a lot to do. The bird feeders are unattended and lonely often here at the rabbit patch. Only sudden changes in weather draw a crowd. It is as if the birds would just rather do things themselves!   My friend, Rae lives “in town” and has a complete feeding station in her backyard. The city birds put on quite a show at that place.  In the summer, where clocks don’t live, she and I passed a few hours watching the antics of the birds with great amusement. Of course, she had given them names, being on such friendly terms. She takes bird-feeding quite seriously-and her birds seem happy about it. When the shadows fell low and the birds had long been gone-the holiday was over. I drove home in ” moon shine” many nights, feeling pleased with myself for “using time wisely”.  Morning birds have a morning song. They sing in celebration. They work frantically and sing about it. They make squawking sounds when they are fussing-much like people, I think. If an argument gets too chaotic, birds just fly away, like people ought to, I think.    Once, I was sitting out back of “Sweet Home” filled up with despair about a turn of events. Birds were flying with their music loud. They seemed to be drowning out the sorrow I was lifting up and I didn’t like it. They seemed to take no account of my  pitiful state and I was sure the heavens didn’t either with all that ruckus going on-so i gave up.   While i was sitting there, trying to complain, I had taken notice that the barn looked shabby.  I found some paint and cleaned up a small section with white-wash. It looked better, but I thought to paint birds too-and then I thought, what about some cheerful words?  I never  have a plan when I write anything just because I want to write. I didn’t  have a plan on that day either-I ended up with a verse and it is still there today. “The heavens declare the glory of God”!.  When it was finished, I looked up. Things had changed. Light had shifted creating evening shade and the birds had all flown taking their music with them .  I did not know  when all of  that happened!   As I was cleaning up the paint and brushes, I realised that somehow  I didn’t feel so bad, after all.  The time had changed and so had my heart without any gallant effort on my part-and I liked that.



I Hope This Finds you Well

12717946_226006977746812_6238446392449395488_nI am thinking a lot these days about words. One of the most comforting thoughts that I have had recently, is that though the world changes at an alarming rate, for me any way-some things do not lose their value or place. Words are one of those things that are  of dependable worth.  There are so many varieties   now of communication-and I do miss some of the less modern modes  of exchanging thoughts-but the value of words will never decline, and I like that.  I remember as a child, writing letters to my cousin. She was only a few hours away, but telephones were party-lines in my earliest memories of them-and they weren’t installed for children to chat. Getting a letter from my cousin was one of the best things about the mailbox that I knew of.  Sometimes, mama would get a letter from a relative and she would have a ceremony of sorts, when she read it to the family.  Friends and I wrote to one another as young adults-now 30 years ago that’s been!  I do not remember when or how that custom was abandoned, but what a loss.  It is odd to me with  all of the conveniences  and all of the”instant”-with everything faster than before- that we are too busy to even send cards to one another. I am ashamed that I can’t recall the last time I did such a thing !   Now, my mother continues this beautiful practice and so today, my son, Christian will find some love in the mailbox for his birthday.  I do feel that writing from the rabbit patch is a good habit for me, and I have a notion that it may inspire me to be much more diligent about future correspondences.  I like to share the sweet things I find in a day.  Today, as I was rushing to complete a task that required an errand, I looked up from my parked car, to see a calico cat sleeping in a window sill. There she was without a bit of hurry in her,gazing out the open window. I watched her as I waited and the peace of those minutes, about made me drowsy. Driving back, I saw daffodils dotting the edges of fields and woods. I wondered who had planted them long ago. An old abandoned house had quite a few to brag about. Someone used to love it-the daffodils are the proof of that. What a nice legacy.   There is a rosemary bush that I walk by pretty regularly. I do not pass it without complimenting it on that sweet green scent it lends the air. Today there were a few little purple flowers decorating it for spring.  It was a lovely day we had today and I tried to take great notice of it. The treasures of this season, like ” a word fitly spoken” have a  beauty that will not change with time-and I like that.


A Time To Rest

12801520_225350421145801_4568637826967462597_nThere are a lot of ways to spend our time.The rabbit patch provides plenty of options. I rise early, but not quite “ready” and so I use a bit of time just preparing for the new day. I hardly ever listen to the morning news as it seems the most of it is about things that went wrong in the night. I feel bad for everybody involved and their parents too. I remind myself that I can’t fix any of it, but it bothers me still-so it’s best for me not to be in the habit of letting the whole world in to “Sweet Home” all at once.  I prefer to wonder instead, if the peach tree, with all of its tiny pink promises might bloom today. I hear the birds making a ruckus in the yard declaring the glory of the heavens and the sound seems to urge me to  send hopeful wishes out to the whole world. I read something beautiful for good measure- and it makes a difference. I leave the rabbit patch with its serenity and comfort, determined to bring some of its goodness to the world.    My own world isn’t as big as I once thought it to be. In youth, I had lofty intentions of having an important impact on the planet-but as it turns out, I do well to be  a good neighbor and friend-and as it turns out, that is enough. That is what I can do for the world. I think the world could use some “cheer” and we ought to do our part. It’s a pleasant task, after all.   My return to the rabbit patch provokes a celebration of sorts, for Cash and Christopher Robin. They both spend a fair amount of time “showing-off” for a while-especially Christopher Robin as he has a new collar and is quite proud of that.    I start cooking as soon as I put my pocket-book down. The minute the stove “gets on its own” I check the laundry status. It’s always the same, so I put on a load.    I have noticed the days are remarkably longer and soon I will not be able to ignore the untidy yard. Evenings at the rabbit patch are born in stillness. Quilts are still necessary and the country air can not yet boast about honey-suckle and jasmine.  ” Jack Frost ” will show up for a while more with his “bucket of shine”, so it is not time to plant.   It is still a time to rest.    After “supper” is over and the kitchen “put back”- I have coffee,which does not hinder my sleep as it does for some. I try not to watch TV-but if there’s a good black and white movie on the classic channel, then I am happy to indulge. The plots are usually simple and usually end “happily ever after”  like a good bedtime story ought to.   I stay up long enough to sit quietly  for a bit. I think of the things that were right in my world today. On the best of days and the worst of days too, something has to go right. If I have any difficulty remembering that, then I go out and look up into the last of the winter night skies. The constellations jump out boldly in winter and I like that.   The peace of the night settles in my heart like a lullaby. . . “remember the best, it is time to rest.”

Things I Love in the Rabbit Patch

12814572_222384714775705_6469608502351904297_nThere are a lot of things to love in life-and more ways to find them than I ever imagined. I love Saturday mornings with its lack of obligations. I rise when I see fit and drink coffee for a long while. I “find my day” slowly and with great consideration of its content. My loyal dog, Cash and naughty kitten,Christopher Robin ,sleep by my morning table unaware of all my contemplating.  I read, write and watch the light change-and all is well. I treasure this uncomplicated time and need it like sunshine. What you do with your time is how you spend your life, after all.  There is always work to do at the rabbit patch and it awaits patiently. The barns are always complaining about something-loose tins and loose doors recently. The yard beckons with old leaves and winter debris and even “Sweet Home” whines like there’s no tomorrow, but my determination not to rush wins every time. I am not sure when rushing about became “normal”. When did clocks acquire such power over the human race? Maybe it distresses me because it wasn’t so in my youth. The farmers’ clock is a calendar-and I like that. The rabbit patch is part of the Farmlife community and the residents here, seem to  agree with me on this matter. The only time I see folks dashing madly is when a storm is coming. There are frantic attempts to batten down and if anyone is seen in a bind, help comes swiftly without invitations. Other than that-life is pretty deliberate here.    I wish I had a dollar for every time that I have come home and found some love on my doorstep from a Farmlife neighbor. Finding a bushel of sweet potatoes, not long ago made me remember something else to love. There they were without a note to define who sent them. Fanfare wasn’t necessary for this act of generosity.  This is a common practice around the rabbit patch and is as ordinary here as tractors and dogs.  On Saturday mornings, I plan the Sunday dinner.  I put great thought in this event as if my life depended on it, because in a way, it does. I have an” old-fashion”  heart .  I am well aware that things change-but sometimes they ought not to. Sunday dinner is one of the latter. The food ought to be cooked slowly and the table ought to be pretty. It’s a time to use china and whatever you can find for a pretty centerpiece. A good Sunday dinner is a small celebration of sorts. It is time well -spent. . . and another thing to love.  special note:   A dear friend, Janet sent me a card this week congratulating my attempt at blogging. It was full of sweet thoughts and good wishes for success. On the front was the picture you see of a rabbit patch! I continue to have trouble with paragraphs- and pictures? You may see them but are just as likely not to. Good friends come in handy in life and make all the difference…and friendships are something else I love.

March Gladness


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March brings us many things to be glad about. It is a time of hyacinths and daffodils-a time of blackbirds flying and wind songs.This year, it brings us Eastertime too.  In March sleeping things wake up and begin celebrating. The peach tree will bloom with its pale pink blossoms and violets will soon follow. I do not find violets lowly as some do. They spring up all over the rabbit patch and I consider it a good thing to find bunches in odd places. The daffodils are a hardy lot. Cold winds blow,but still they grow! They are the birth flower for March and rightly so.  The March winds are useful as they send seeds flying and they will also prune the apple trees. The wind gusts in Farm Life are quite extraordinary. The faint of heart need not venture out. I am as housebound in March as I am in January many days. It makes me weary to think of the branches and pine cones that will litter the yard here-but small fires on spring evenings are nice events to look forward to. Winter wheat is more beautiful to me than most things. It is a constant pleasure from the time its planted til it goldens up in June. In March the fields are emerald green and I suppose that is my favorite moment of the crops’ cycle. Once, I had the good fortune to be in a wheat field-in March-when a flock of blackbirds passed overhead. For a long while, the sky was filled up with birds and sunlight. I have not forgotten the magic of that-so many things I loved at once!  The farmers almanac predicts a “cold snap” in mid-March-maybe with snow! I set great store by the almanac as my “Pop” did. He wore them out with his consulting of when to plant and when not to. Spring snows are usually insignificant though. Pop loved the forsythia in March. He called them “goldenrods”. I corrected him many times when I grew up and thought I knew something. It had no impact on him. He called them goldenrods so much that it started to sound right and so I call them goldenrods too. I never see one that I don’t remember him.  The woodpile is low at the rabbit patch and so is the pantry. There are enough stringbeans and bell peppers in the freezer for alittle while. It must be March . The grand finale of winter and the prelude to spring is March ! March is a time of gladness.