Windows On My World.

Someone literary once said, “The eyes are the windows of the soul.” Maybe, it was Shakespeare. Maybe, it was someone else — but no matter. The words are true. When speaking of houses in the same terms, it stands to reason that a house’s windows are the windows of it’s soul. Well… Of course!

A window says so many things — conveys so many messages. Because our house is so old, we can only imagine all the events that have been watched from those windows. Halley’s Comet, three times. Union soldiers, marching off to war. Redcoats, marching in for war. Lenne Lenape indians. Wildcats, boars, countless cattle and maids in white dresses. Porsches, Model A’s and wagons. Travois.

What kind of windows do you put in a house that has seen so much, yet keep in the heat and keep out that howling winter wind that whips down the valley? I chose Silverline, very pretty white vinyl windows with dimensional grilles and gas-filled panes. They look just like lovely colonial windows, only are absolutely air tight, and tip in for cleaning. Windows made by Anderson, that do all the exceptional things wooden Anderson windows do, only without needing paint.

I deliberated over this for quite a while. I’m in my early 50’s, still strong and limber enough to climb ladders and wield paint brushes, and wash buckets. How will I paint those windows in 10 years? In 20? And that is the reason I heeded the vinyl siren’s call. After feeling bad about another “unauthentic” choice for the house remodel, I thought a little about the Second Amendment.

The first Americans expressed their right to keep and bear arms by owning flintlocks and Kentucky long rifles, because that was the technology of the day. What guy from 1780, if teleported to today, wouldn’t say, “Oh, hell yeah!!!” if given the opportunity to take a nice Remington .270 rifle, or an AR-15 back in time upon his return? So I drank the vinyl window Kool-Aid.

And the ones installed so far… look great. Absolutely great.

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Friday Poetry.

I have been busy packing up the excess stuff at our house in order to make it more desireable to prospective buyers. I found this small poem tucked inside a sewing magazine down in the studio. I wrote it in 2002 and it has no title:

My heart flies on its journey
through the dark and distant night
past the towering timbers
gladed forests
musky, damp
the ground’s steady breath
reaching skyward,
to that dimly reddening dawning
of some distant horizon
where you are.

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No. 8.

Dumpster Number 8 has arrived on the scene. 8. Eight. Ocho. Holy moley!

Billy, Contractor Mat and I had placed a whopping one dollar bet at the beginning of this – who could guess the number of dumpsters we would use? I said six, Mat chose seven, and Billy picked eight. I never thought we would have that much debris – and Number 7 was 1.5 tons overweight (and an extra $152, thankyouverymuch).

I have a feeling we may see a NUMBER NINE in our future. We still have the big hayloft to do, and the dairy room isn’t cleaned out yet.

Number nine…. number nine…. number nine….


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My Book Has Arrived.

Fantasy has become reality. Last fall a book publisher I had (honestly) never heard of called Adams Media contacted me about writing for a project they were working on called, “Honey Crafting.” That’s right up my alley. I looked up the company and was rather unhinged when I found out they were a dividion of F+W Publishing, a really reallyreally big New York City publisher. This is the stuff my dreams are made of. OK, the big dream involves me and a widely-read work of fiction (a la Jane Austin) but non-fiction is cool, too. So I signed up, wrote the writing, and was simply delighted when the check arrived. Bliss is a check from a publisher!

A big box arrived at home today and what was inside? You guessed it! Two dozen freshly-printed copies of Honey Crafting, written by Leeann Coleman and Jayne Barnes (the other beekeeper who contributed to the book). It is just an insane, indescribably giddy feeling that bubbles up the spine every time I see my name printed there on the cover in large, serif type. Just insane. Wonderfully insane.

The book is available in a few places, which surprisingly everyone pretty much has heard of:, Barnes and Noble, and Sam’s Club. And of course, from me! I’ll post it up on my Etsy site later this evening after I return from dinner with my best friend, Donna. If you want it autographed, send me a note with your order.

Just insane!


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Quotable Sunday. A football pro speaks. Tweets, actually.

“Americans are held hostage by the tyranny of political correctness.”

-Robert Griffin III
Quarterback, Redskins

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New Porch and Roof.

Roof NewFront Porch New

href=””>Front Porch New

Mat has torn apart the old porch and rebuilt it to resemble more of what a porch from 1730 would have looked like, the exception being that this time around, it was constructed with pressure-treated lumber. I think it is quite authentic. We love it. It will certainly be our favorite place to hang out, barring that bone-numbing icy wind that blows down the valley in the dead of winter. We will paint the floor battleship gray and the rails and posts will be white.

You’ll have to use your imagination a bit, and visualize the wide (very wide) set of stairs descending gracefully down to the rose-filled front garden with its curving brick walkway. We’ll get there, but first some sort of retaining wall will need to be built to keep the new stairs from following the old ones down the slope.

The old roof was completely ripped off, as well as the plywood underneath. The bathroom was vented into the attic previously (and there was no ridge vent), causing the sides of the sheeting exposed to the attic to be covered in black mold. The roof leaked badly, so the sides of the sheeting facing the outside were soaking wet and rotting. All in all, not a pretty picture! Now the roof is dry and tight, and looking awesome. We chose GAF Timberline shingles in a charcoal gray/black color combination.

It’s really nice for Bill and I to be able to sit and enjoy something new, and not have to be thinking about how we will have to rip it out and throw it in the dumpster.

(PS – Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. Sissy and I miss you a lot.)

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(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday. Package Bees – A few photos

This gallery contains 3 photos.


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Package Bee Day.

Today the package bees were ready for pickup. There’s an older gentleman in our bee club, by the name of Tom Webb, who drives down to Georgia every April (practically every beekeeper in northern NJ knows him as he’s been a beekeeper for 75 years!) and picks them up for himself and for anyone who wants to buy them from him. He arrived home last night with 300 3-lb. packages of bees. Bill leaves work early on Fridays, so he drove up and got them. I think he’s very brave, my sweet city boy, to drive all the way home from High Point with stray bees flying around in the cab of the pickup. He only got stung once. Tomorrow I will take them all to the farm and install them into their new hives. I promise to take photos!

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Bad Poetry for a Good Friday.

I walked my field
A switch of blossoms in hand
And wondered —
How many feet have walked this land?
Three hundred years a farm
Is but a day
How many other soles have trod this way?
How many hands have cupped the soil
Smelled the loam
Led out the cows from their red wood home?
Who has planted maize and beans
By the happy stream
That bubbles out from the ground
While children played with happy sound
Among these willows?
To call this farm mine would not be true
It has belonged to the generations
And some day to you
Child who has not yet been born.

While it is yet my turn
I will love this land deeply.

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(Nearly Wordless Wednesday) More on Eaves.

Our new mud room will be built under this roof.  No farm shoes in the house!

Our new mud room will be built under this roof. No farm shoes in the house!

Mat is building eaves onto the house.  To do that, he must chip away at the exterior and expose the structure.

Mat is building eaves onto the house. To do that, he must chip away at the exterior and expose the structure.

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