Don’t Need a Weathervane to Know Which Way the Wind Blows

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I drove all over our exquisite corner of the globe to check out likely places to kayak that we hadn’t paddled before.
Jay and Goldie in Goose Pond marshes for web
No matter how long we live here in the Upper Valley (and it’s been a bunch of years), we always manage to find a great road we haven’t traveled before or notice something new.

One of the paddling possibilities we checked out was Goose Pond in Canaan, NH. This is a pretty big body of water if you’re in a kayak but we discovered there’s a nice marshy area on the north end of the water to explore. So we were back last weekend. (Note that our little girl Goldie is wearing her winter jacket and Jay has on a fleece hat. It was CHILLY.)

We had to take a detour to get there because the main road into the pond is closed for repairs on a dam.

I’m so glad we did because we discovered one of the great weathervanes of all time. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure.
VW bus on barn 1 for web

Quilting for Lauren

I have a friend who’s had a rather trying house experience.
Lauren's quilt for web
As in she bought a house that the previous owners knew had serious problems but did not disclose.

Long story but by the time my friend uncovered the hidden treacheries, it was too late and the lawyers too expensive to go after the former owners for fraud.

Which is what should have happened.

Anyway, after a ton of persistence, asking questions and finally getting attention for the dire condition of the house, my friend managed not to get strangled by the red tape machine (which I think is kept in the same closet as Murphy’s Laws) and became eligible for a nifty little modular home that I think will do her well.

We’ve been watching this drama unfold for quite a while now and she’s FINALLY on the verge of being able to move in. So a housewarming quilt is in order.

The three house blocks down the center of this quilt are part of a block exchange initiated by members of my guild. I twisted them because that just seemed appropriate for what she’s been through. The scrappy blocks down the sides were done in the “bits and pieces” technique (which for some reason I find boring—I like foundation-pieced flip-and-sew better), and then I chose a quilt pattern with bats (the kind that fly) in lime green thread to finish it off.

My friend’s a caver and lover of all things bats.

This was quilted by Joanne Lendaro. You can find out more about her on her blog, Splitting Stitches.

Stopping by the River on a Foggy Morning

The river steams every morning at this time of year, filling the valley with fog that lasts until mid-morning.
Sumac leaf with a little red for web
This is one of the magical times when the start of a new day merges with the departing night.

I love the subdued colors, the hush, the sense of not-quite-knowing what’s up ahead.

Sometimes you can just dimly make out the dark shape of a great blue heron prowling for breakfast in the shallows of the river on legs that Ichabod Crane would envy.

Sometimes you round a corner in the path and meet headlong with a deer.

And sometimes a little spot of red just catches your eye.

The Fine Texture of Water on Bridges

Being a quilter, graphic designer and newly-obsessed Zentangle maker, I confess to a profound love of texture. In fact, I have quite a photo gallery of texture pix that get used in lots of different ways.
Water ripple texture under bridge 2 for web
One of my favorite textures—and the one that’s among the most difficult to capture—is the play of light reflected off water onto other objects.

In our house, one of our summer heralds is the ripple effect of water on the ceiling of our living room off of the White River. I’ve tried taking pictures of it but all you can see is a white painted surface.

But yesterday, as we explored this great inlet off the Connecticut River, Jay, Goldie and I came up on a low concrete bridge that turned out to be the perfect surface to capture this natural event because of the deep shadow under the bridge.

This is one of the many pictures we took of it. I love the geometric. Makes me think this would make a great inspiration for an abstract quilt.

Nooks and Crannies

Jay, Goldie and I got on the Connecticut River pretty early this morning, putting in on the New Hampshire side in Orford.
Jay and Goldie on the CT River 2014
When we studied the map of the river last week, Jay noticed a sizable inlet just north of the Orford put-in and we made for that.

It was perfect, full of birds, little nooks and crannies to poke around in.

We explored for an hour, paddling slowly.

At one point, we reached a spot where a brook flows over a little waterfall on its way into the big river. The sun was dancing on the water, making a perfect backdrop for my annual “Jay and Goldie in the kayak” photo.

Crafting the Connecticut (We Hope)

Warm and very humid today. The weather folks around here are predicting t-storms to clear this hard-to-breathe air out of here.

Sure hope so because we all want to get out on our kayaks tomorrow so we want the rain in and out of here, followed by cooler and drier weather, stuff suitable for September, not mid-July.

We did a recon mission last Sunday, scouting out good locations around the region for an upcoming article that I’m doing for Upper Valley Life magazine and we’ve scheduled ourselves to put into the Connecticut River up in Orford in the morning.
Grafton Pond-Goldie in the back of Jay's kayak 2 for web

Remembering Mom

My husband and I recently watched a two-part series on PBS about the Great Plains, how they have been abused and some of the folks who are trying to reclaim their wildness.
Mom at 17 for blog
Over and over again, the folks who are trying to conserve this amazing area talked about how they wanted it to be there for their grandchildren.
Mom's kids for web
It’s four years ago today since my Mom died. That’s her high school graduation picture at the top of this post. My favorite.

I’m the oldest of eight children. We were and probably still are the center of Mom’s universe. That’s us replicating a photo we took for our Mom and Dad’s 25th wedding anniversary on the day of her memorial celebration. (Please note that the third person from the left is my niece Natasha filling in for her Dad, our brother Jim, who was not there that day.)

My Mom faced many challenges in her life but she always made us her priority. She could be the fiercest hen in the barnyard when it came to keeping her chicks together and safe.

She sacrificed herself in ways that I probably still don’t understand.

In the last months before she died, she asked me to make her a smallish quilt because the bed-sized ones I’d previously made were too heavy for her to handle. Parkinson’s disease had left her fragile.

I made her a log cabin quilt, her favorite pattern, and it became the first quilt made for what became the Parkinson’s Comfort Project, though I didn’t know it at the time.

Her request became the inspiration for an effort to bring the comfort and compassion of handmade quilts to others with Parkinson’s disease. The effort started in her memory grows all the time.

There are lots of ways to reach into the future. The conservation folks in the Great Plains know that. So did my Mom, Marcia Luey Hakala.

Author of the Carding, Vermont novels, quilt books, and book publishing guides.