Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In the Grace of the World

A give-away awaits with a special bonus for members of the Grimy Hands Girls' Club.

"For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."
Wendell Berry

Dear Friends,

Sometimes I just need to stop, brew a pot of tea, pick up a favorite book,  and settle into my kitchen 
rocker for peace...

...and the pleasures of one of my beloved old books, My Friend the Garden, by Fernand LeQuenne (translated from the French version). See the pieces of paper marking some of my favorite passages? Here is one of his old adages: "February warm brings spring with a storm." It surely did that today. Our first day of spring and brrrrr, it is cold and winter like.

So much is going on in our small and fragile world. I need to give thanks for the bounty and simple joys that keep me going, and I need to remember and offer up prayers for those who are not as fortunate.

Won't you join me for a few happy minutes in a small and well-loved (and used) kitchen? I'd take you out into the garden, but you'd want to hurry back indoors. The skies are dark, the winds are as blustery as a Winnie the Pooh day, and the rains have pounded my new seedlings into the ground.

I'll brew a pot of tea, take down the honey, and my Grandmother's pottery teapot, sugar, and creamer...

Slice and sautee some fresh-picked veggies...

...pull out the last of the cold-storage apples, pick a lemon, mix some sugar, spices, and berries...

...for a comfort food dessert.

I'll whip some cream with Zelda, my new/old mixer, a find from our local thrift store.  Zelda doesn't weigh much so she is easy for me to use, and she came with a selection of bowls and attachments for grinding meat and...

...for squeezing fresh orange juice. Oh, and when she is whirring along and doing a great job, she has an aroma that reminds me of baking with my grandmother.

Jeff will juice pounds of oranges; I'll mash the softening avocados into a spicy guacamole sauce and process the pears for freezing.

Just a few hours of quiet work helps mend the tattered and frayed pieces of life. I appreciate every minute at home, but also love the times I've shared with others. This past weekend I presented talks at The Kindergarten Forum in Saratoga, California. This was probably the fourth or fifth time I've participated in the Forum, which I LOVE for its attendees who are educators still filled with a childlike sense of wonder. These folks are the first nurturers of the spirits of our youngsters, our most precious resource.

I loved this gathering. We had people writing poetry, making wool roving dolls, knitting, drawing, doing needlepoint, and even...

...spinning! Nobody in this group wasted any time.

We sang children's songs, did rhythmic storytelling (even some African stories), and shared a bountiful potluck meal together. That is author-teacher Anna Rainville leading the singing.

Today is my peaceful, stay-at-home time, but starting tomorrow things change. Our favorite house-sitter moves in, and we journey north to the home of author Rebecca Sweet for a special party and celebration of the book Garden Up! written by Rebecca and Susan Morrison. It is a fabulous book and should be in the libraries of serious gardeners everywhere. We will also get a sneak peek at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, which we will photograph and share in a future posting. Then ONWARD to The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, in Lexington, where I'll be giving a special presentation on Thursday evening and a morning after talk on children's gardens. On Friday afternoon, Jeff and I will be the guests at a special tea hosted by the Bluegrass Herb Guild.

I'd love to meet some of you after the lecture. This should be FUN!

Here is the wonderful gardening/cookbook From Seed to Skillet, written by Jimmy Williams and Susan Heeger, that some lucky reader will win. Leave a comment to participate. Members of the Grimy Hands Girls' Club will have double-luck if their name is drawn–an extra gift, which will be shipped with the book.

Here are just some of the envelopes, which I've stuffed with goodies. Jeff will print the labels (thank goodness I don't have to hand print them), and when we return from Kentucky, we'll mail them out to you. The first 100 charter members receive extra surprises (sorry, we've already closed the charter membership). All other members are eligible for special prizes, too.

Back to my book, then packing and getting ready for an adventure. I hope to meet some of you in person.

All joys to you,


P.S. Thank you for featuring Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars in this video.


Unknown said...

Dear Sharon,
How nice of you to share your " stay at home" day with us!Looks like a cozy and productive day in your well used kitchen. We had clear blue skies and equally blue waters today here along the southern shore of New England. It was ALSO bitterly cold for the first day of spring. Still, change is in the air and signs are clear that spring is in fact here.
Safe travels and can't wait to read your next post!
much love,

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear Sharon ~ Once again you have made me feel peaceful by reading your blog and seeing your photos. I love your kitchen, and the different tools that you use.

What a fascinating, fun week you have ahead of you. I know you are going to enjoy it, and I also know that you will enjoy getting back to your little home there in CA.

Love and hugs to you.

Happy Spring, Happy Living,


Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I really feel like I've had a nice visit and a cup of tea.


Bonnie K said...

I love your honey jar! What a great idea. Our bee keeper gives us 4 big quart jars and I needed an idea for smaller servings. I am amazed at the versitility of your mixer! That is so cool. Enjoy your time at home before your travels. I am a homebody. I just got back from a week at my sisters. We had a great time, but nothing beats sitting on my loveseat with Ella curled next to me. The Kindergarden Forum sounds like a grand time. The place where it is held looks like it invites creativity. Well, enjoy your rocker and your cozy kitchen. Good luck on your travels.

*Ulrike* said...

The first day of spring around here also felt like the first day of fall! After having temps in the 70's and 80's, poof!, back to wearing long sleeves again. Isn't it nice to find "old" mixers that keep on going? Too many things break so fast these days. It sounds like your days have been pretty busy, and if I could make it up to Lexington to hear your talk I'd be there in a heartbeat. I can't wait though for the envelope for the Grimy Hands Girls' Club...I'll be checking my mailbox! Bye for now,

Kay's flowers said...

Dear Friend,
My cup of tea will be sweeter after reading your lovely post. I pray you lhave a lovely adventure and can't wait to hear all about it. I wish I lived close to one of those places so I could meet you after your talks.


kj said...

'Just a few hours of quiet work helps mend the tattered and frayed pieces of life'

thank you sharon, for this post, for your friendship, for who you are and how you live.

reading this was almost as good as wrapping my fingers around that hot cup of tea.

i wish you a wonderful journey. you will be with people who cannot help but love and appreciate you.

this time i wish i would be among them.

with love

Susan said...

If I can't be with you in person...this was the next best thing! I can smell the veggies cooking and was just thinking--it's 6 weeks away from our Farmer's Market opening before local fresh is available. I'm so envious.
Love you, XOXO

Melissa said...

It is the perfect day in Northern CA for curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. I am planning to read The Country Garden of an Edwardian Lady.

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Very comforting spending time with you through your blog! Safe trip dear Sharon and Jeff!

Farmhouse Soaps said...

Thank you for another wonderful post. I know what you mean by taking a moment to slow down, brew some tea, enjoy a good book, and regroup. This past weekend gave us sun and warmth on Saturday, then rain and thunder on Sunday. But, we were lucky enough to get one entire garden bed ready for spring planting. My daughter is a Hort student at our local college and we helped her put in a "Lasagna Garden." Layering composted manure (thanks to our horses) and lots of old hay. It will be fun to see how it turns out!
Have a glorious week ahead!
Be blessed,
Spend the Thyme Farm

Pat said...

You are so right - being in our own surroundings doing something quiet and soothing can help to settle us amidst all the outside turmoil. I could feel that as I read your posting today and the day can end on a gentle note.
Thank you.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Lovely post, Sharon! You are so lucky to have so much bounty from your California garden to preserve. I love your reading nook with it's comfy rocker and large collection of books.

My daughter-in-law teaches kindergarten so I know what a joy it is to have all those bright faces looking up at you as you were their classroom guest speaker. I'm sure they were full of happy, lively questions. :)

Happy Spring!

Robin Larkspur said...

I love your grandmother's tea set! How great to have a rocking chair in your kitchen. Good luck and safe travels!

Pondside said...

That was a cosy interlude!
I wish you well on all your journeys in the coming weeks. My cousins from SLO were here this weekend and I introduced them to your books.

Marigold Jam said...

Lovely to share your stay at home day Sharon. Sorry that your weather wasn't too good - we had a lovely day here and even had our lunch out of doors for the first time this year. I wish I could meet you after the lecture or even attend the lecture but it would be a little too far to come I am afraid. Have a great tour and see you soon.


Carol said...

Love your Grandmothers tea set! It's always a joy to visit with you through your blog.
Looking forward to the Goodies arriving in the mail ♥♥♥♥♥

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

you know...I don't craft, I don't garden, and I don't much cook, but seeing all of your lovely photographs makes want to!

Vee said...

That video was fun. Fun to hear you and watch the interviewer listen with a stethoscope to a fake plant. Ha!

Zelda sure looks like a whiz bang boomerang. I'd overlook such a treasure being ignorant of such things. Glad that you knew what it was all about. I do have an ancient meat grinder that my mother told me never, never, never to get rid of, it being so valuable and all.

Sorry that your plants and seeds have taken such a pounding. Hope that they make it through.

I enjoyed the time spent in your kitchen and thank you for inviting us in.

Oh, I would be so lost speaking in front of a group of gals each doing her own thing. Truly. You seem to take it all in stride.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

that tea set is sooo cute. i want to learn to spin so badly. i bought the wool and a drop spindle but i want a spinning wheel. one of these days!

Claudia said...

I love seeing what's happening in your lovely kitchen, Sharon. It's Spring - but today, to our shock, it is SNOWING. I just put the snow shovels away in the shed yesterday - that'll teach me! Can't wait to get my Grimy Hands goodies! Have a great trip!


Patti said...

Thank you for sharing your stay at home day... what a yummy comfort food dessert. I love to bake and make things for a cozy home. Have a safe journey!

Claus said...

Enjoy your free day Sharon! and enjoy, too, your time up in Kentucky!

Mozart's Girl said...

Hello darling Sharon!So happy to be back 'online' and able to comment properly. Wonderful post...a visit to your dear kitchen, saying hello to Jeff, then on to the day of storytelling and other wonders! And now a new trip...are you ever still for more than a day or two?? My Uncle lives in Kentucky..Louisville though. Have a safe and wonderful trip. Kisses to you both xoxo R

Carla said...

Hello Sharon, just popping in to wish you a Happy Spring! I know you must have some cold weather in your area, it has been raining here in Escondido since last night. I see blue skies breaking through the clouds already. My little gardens are smiling and chipping with the fresh smells so a new day.

I hope you have a beautiful day. Thank you for sharing a special moment from you kitchen.


Marguerite said...

Sharon what am amazing busy schedule you have these days. So glad to hear that you took some time for yourself and had a few moments of quiet. Looking forward to hearing more about your many engagements as they sound rather exciting.

Lydia said...

I want your kitchen! It's gorgeous. Reminds me a bit of Julia Child's kitchen that's set up in the Smithsonian. And you have reminded me to pick up some nasturtium seeds *adds to to-do list*

The Painted Garden said...

Hi Sharon,

Oh goodness - what a relaxing day you had in your charming kitchen.. . what a treat to get to spend some time with you. Your thrift shop mixer is fabulous and looks like she works just fine. Thank you for sharing your day.

Tinker said...

Thank you for sharing your cozy, stay at home day. It's raining buckets here too, on this blustery spring day. You've brightened up my day though, by inspiring me to go put the kettle on and just go with the flow. Thanks for another generous giveaway opportunity too. Have a safe trip. Happy trails to you!

My Grama's Soul said...

Found you at October very glad I did. What a busy and interesting life you pleased to meet you.


One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Sharon, enjoy your days and remember for you and Jeff to rest along the way.
Enjoyed visiting you and spending time in your kitchen.

jerilanders said...

Yummm.... You are such a good cook!And it's okay if you eat flowers, my peacocks do too.
Looks like you will be in my neck of the woods, Kentucky is our neighbor. Enjoy your trip!

Carol said...

Dear Sharon, Your kitchen and colorful, comfort food are so inviting. It is hard not to feel so very sad with the events of the day. You remind me to be thankful for too for small comforts and goodness. My sister is a retired kindergarten teacher and I have a dear friend, who still teaches. They are very important and work so hard. You are going to be very busy. Best of luck in your adventures and lectures.

rebecca sweet said...

I am so thrilled you and Jeff will be here in less than 24 hours! And it looks like the weather will cooperate for just awhile at least. Sweet dreams and safe travels! XXOO - Rebecca

Mind Movies Reviews said...

It seems that everyone's enjoying their stay!

Spinneretta said...

What a lovely reading nook you have. I should create such a space for myself, but with my kids still young, I fear it would not be as peaceful! Those envelopes look really exciting!
And you look like you are ready for a fabulous adventure... such fun!

From the Kitchen said...

A cozy spot, a good book and tea sipped from your grandmother's pottery. Life is good! What a lovely adventure in the Blue Grass state. All of the guests seem to be having a sharing good time.


Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

OH I love this post so much Sharon!
You just have a way of creating the warm and cozy for all of us!
And what an interesting life you have....good luck in your journey's!

Teri said...

It sounds as if you have a really busy schedule in the next few weeks but I know that you will be having fun with it too so that is all the better. If I wasn't in the middle of moving to a new home, I'd try to come down to SF and see you at the show. Will you be doing a demo there or a talk because you just never know!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Teri,

Nope, I will be presenting in Lexington, Kentucky, but you're welcome to come on our for some fun in the gardens!


Zuzana said...

Coming by here is like getting a breath of fresh air, so inviting and tranquil.;)
I really enjoy reading your writing, but I must say that I am forever enticed by your images that create such a safe heaven in my perception and make me hear sounds and scent scents of your lovely home.;)
On another note - thank you so much for your very kind comment on my recent post.;)

Jackie DiGiovanni said...

What a fun and busy life you lead. Thank you for sharing so many pictures, and the inspiration of healthy and fresh cooking. Please stay well and happy.

Lydia said...

Godspeed and Good fortune to you and Jeff on your adventure- including the smoothest of flights.

Thea said...

have a wonderful trip! Kentucky is lucky to have you! remember, if you're near DC... I love being a member of the Grimy Hands Girls' Club! t

Kimberly said...

What a lovely post!!

Lili said...

Oh Sharon you really do know how to make the most of every day! How I love your kitchen and can easily imagine how joyful it must be to just be in there. We are headed to see our kids/grands tomorrow and I have been pouring over your fabulous book "Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars" in happy anticipation of seeing them. The meeting you attended with everyone bringing their own special craft reminded me a little of here in Maine, that sounds like such a fun gathering. Enjoy enjoy, as I know you always do! xoxo ~Lili

Privet and Holly said...

Loved sharing tea
in your cozy kitchen
and thanks, Jeff, for
helping out : ) Zelda
is a doll!! Now, when are
you coming to the Twin
Cities??? I'd love to
attend one of your talks!
And, we have a fabulous
arboretum, too!
xx Suzanne

Beth said...

Congratulations on getting your new book featured in Chinaberry! love, Beth

Linda said...

I just love your lovely dish of flowers and your cozy reading nook with the windows. That must be such a warm and bright place to sit and read on a sunny day. The kindergarten forum looked like such an amazing event.What a wonderful and special time you shared together.

Joanne said...

I really enjoyed every detail of this post...and yes, a peaceful day at home is indeed a gift of grace:)
Do you know what I did to bring joy to the patrons at the library?
I created a Spring display including books on home maintenance and gardening...your books are gracing the table...thank you for bringing joy to the patrons in my wee corner of the world:)

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Good morning friends,

I've just returned from my lecture trip to Kentucky. The weather dropped 30 degrees on the day we were arriving and I definitely had the WRONG clothes for this trip. But, cold aside, it was wonderful and I loved the people and places we visited.

Thanks for all your notes, photos, books, well wishes, and thanks Joanne, for starting my week off with a vision of some of my books tucked into a library display. I so appreciate that.

I'll pull the winner of From Seed to Skillet today and will try to take time to post a new blog entry later today too.



Storybook Woods said...

Welcome home Sharon, I bet it is a lot warmer at your house. Enjoy xoxoxo Clarice

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

If I had been feeling better, I'd have driven to Kentucky to meet you in person! :)

Vicki Boster said...

Sharon - I am so happy to be home from our travels and to have the chance to visit your beautiful blog once again~~

Your kitchen corner is indeed a delightful place to sit and rest a bit - I love the lower bookselves that you have all around that wonderful rocker.

You certainly have a busy ravel and lecture schedule. I am just absolutely sick that I did not see this posting earlier. When yo were in Lexington - you were 1 hour from me and I WOULD have been there in a heart beat to visit with you. I cannot believe that I un knowingly missed this wonderful opportunity. If you are EVER in KY again - please email me in advance and let me know.

I am joining the Grimy hands club and will post the photo on my blog right away. (after I get over the disappointment of missing you in Lexington!)

Terra said...

Oh I am so sad, I just read this today about your Grimy Hands Club, so I won't be a charter member, I am too late. But I will grab your button and join sometime this weekend. I am heading out the door now to exercise with friends.

Kim said...

...may I just say that every glimpse of your kitchen gives me hope for mine? As I operate around the chaos of half-removed paneling and dripping antique faucet, I focus on the day it'll all be updated and, like yours, will exude peace (and tidiness and utility!).

That mixer's such a great thrifting find! I have my grandmother's stand mixer that's about that size, but must admit to using a newer jadite-green KitchenAid most of the time instead. Yours makes me want to resurrect Grandmother's, though.

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