Guess what I made today in the wood stove at Old World Wisconsin?  Rhubarb pie!  First time I’ve ever made it and first time I’ve ever used a wood burning ovenIt’s a display pie, meaning no one is going to eat itThe crust was a tad dark on one side, but it looked pretty good.  I have no idea how runny or crunchy the inside is.  Maybe someone will cut into it tomorrow.  It was lovely just sitting by the wood-burning stove, keeping toasty in the 50 degree rainy weather, smelling the pie bake and hemming handmade linen towels.  We didn’t have many visitors, so I felt like I was having a cozy day in my own little corner of the 19th century, by myself.  Nice work, if you can get it, I think.

So now that I’m back home, I’ve got to figure out if there’s something I can whip up for dinner in this century.  Plus, I’ve got 3 days of dirty dishes in the sink to wash. Domestic bliss.  For your entertainment, let me showcase a guest photographer: Steve.  He took this shot while we were hiking on the Ice Age Trail on Monday.  

Infinity pines


Memorial Day

Steve and I are headed for adventure again today, an opportunity to make more memories This time, we have to remember to feed Steve before he gets all ornery.  This was taken on Friday when we finally found a restaurant.  Food was ordered, but hadn’t arrived at table when I caught his listless expression.

Keeping family members in mind today: Alice, Jim, and Dad; and Steve’s Dad, too.  Blue skies and wispy clouds remind me of the great unknown adventure they are having today.

Lake Effect

Memorial Day weekend.  Boats wind their way down suburban streets in search of water.  Summertime’s officially opened.  Here in Wisconsin, there are lots of little lakes and one Big Lake, Lake Michigan.  Steve and I found our way to the shore on Friday, where we were taken for the first of the summer traffic.  We stopped south of Door County (which is way too commercialized) and met some of the locals in Algoma.  Two guys named Tom told us their stories: one owns an antique store, the other is handicapped and zips around town in an electric car that looks like a mini Smart Car with a yellow caution siren on top.  Both of them invited us to go visit their barns and have a beer with them later.  Unfortunately, we had to drive back to Milwaukee right after our early supper.   I can picture us becoming a pair of “colorful locals” some place.  Steve, with his long ponytail, and me “au naturale” (meaning without makeup or coif) — we look like aging hippies, I guess.  Tom of the electric car has renovated his barn and made part of it a stage for storytelling.  He shares this space with local artists.  It’s the greatest discovery, he tells us, this “sharing”.  It makes his life fulfilling.  Here are some photos I have to share:


St. Agnes-by-the-Lake Episcopal Church

Boardwalk…or birdwalk?

Enjoy your local color, everyone!

Growing Up Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Life never ceases to enthrall me.   The will to take hold and thrive is powerfulPoor soil can take its toll on some plants, but others seem to do just fine clinging to nothing but rock.  I admire the adaptability and tenacity of plant life.  No excuses.  Grow where you are, or become soil for someone else.

But even tough cedars get sappy sometimes.

Friday Adventure

Steve & I went on a driving excursion today through rural Wisconsin.   Today’s post will just be a teaser; I promise there will be more substance when I have more time.  We began the day by re-reading W. H. Auden’s poem“In Praise of Limestone”Little did we know that we would chance upon a cave by a river later that afternoon….

I hope everyone can make some stunning discoveries this weekend!  Go out and enjoy the world!

New World Wisconsin

I spent yesterday in the 21st century instead of the 19th, as I wasn’t working at Old World Wisconsin.  Here are some photos from my afternoon walk around the neighborhood. 

Actually, we do have peonies at OWW, too, but not this color.

Urban cottontail rabbits are much more brazen than the ones out in the country.

The weather is warm and breezy, and begging me to take a nap!  We had school tours for 4 solid hours today, meaning that I only stopped talking for 20 minutes during one rotation that only had 2 groups, and then for 30 minutes at lunch.   That nap is sounding like a real good idea!  


While investigating a new follower, GYA today, I watched this YouTube clip from his May 17 post.  Again, I had to ask myself about the source of my tears.  (see my post Why These Tears? from 2 days ago)  Watch it and see if you don’t have the same questions.

Okay, I’ll wait while you go get a tissue.  Or watch it again.  (I did both.)

I love his choice of song.  It really puts the focus on the force of consciousness.  What does your brain spend time on?  Did you catch the comment by the one judge who said that it made her think that the things she worries about are “pathetic”?  Pathetic.  Sad.  Sorrowful.  Tearful.  That we get stuck in negative and depressive patterns of thought surrounding circumstance is very sad to me.  That there are other options, that we do have the capability to change our focus and probably our futures is the great joy.  The tears are a double whammy.  I am sad that seeing physical deformity and hearing the story of a child’s abandonment brings me to focus on depression by default.  I am overjoyed to see that assumption shattered by the reality of a young man who enjoys love, the gift of a beautiful voice, and the opportunity to create a life that is satisfying to himself and an inspiration to others. 

I hope that anyone reading this can take the time to IMAGINE today.  Imagine the things you worry about dissolving in a broader perspective.  Imagine your limitations transformed by the transcendence of judgment.  “Handicaps” aren’t handicaps.  Reality is neutral.  You can make a positive or a negative judgment about them, and that will effect your experience of them.   I really believe this is what we do with our enormous brains, but most of our culture thinks that’s metaphysical hocus-pocus and that quality of life is found in the nature of circumstances.   “IF” conditions are right, you can be happy.  Why not just be happy and never mind “conditions”?  This is not my own idea, of course.  It stems from centuries of Buddhist thought about suffering.  I have only recently begun to see it illustrated in my Western life.   So here’s the million dollar question: what is happiness and how can you discover it?  My mother used to quote, “Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.”  If so, joy is everywhere.  Happiness is everywhere.  It’s already here, then.  It doesn’t need to be discovered; it may simply need to be uncovered.  “Cleaning the windshield” is what Steve sometimes calls it.  Get rid of the crud that keeps you from seeing the happiness that is all around.  Imagine!

Living for today…

Borrowed Beauty

Today I have been impressed by the beauty and grace of others.   I sometimes think that is intimidating, but more and more I am learning to appreciate and celebrate what I notice without turning in judgment upon myself.  I admire the woman who gave me a “Thank You” gift for taking her shift at work.  This gift was hand-crafted, creative, personal, AND included chocolate!  Plus, it was totally unexpected, as she had already thanked me in a note the day I agreed to work for her.  This woman took the day off to go to her granddaughter’s school for Grandparents’ Day.  She is also an expert woodchopper, using the twitter and froe like a man half her age.  I told her that I struggle with that chore and frequently get stuck on the knot holes.  This is what she tucked into the little bag of chocolates for me:

I admire my next door neighbor’s garden and appreciate that she shares that beauty with the entire village.   I love the look of her irises, like bridesmaids dancing in the wind.

So, today I just wanted to take these graceful, thoughtful, beautiful gifts and pass them on.  I appreciate all the other bloggers out there who share their best on a regular basis.  Perhaps we can be a more graceful species after all.