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November 2008

October 2008

Blue lichen, green moss

Before tomorrow, and my black and white project, begins, I figured I'd post the last of my favorite photos from our trip to Georgia last weekend.

i <3 acorns

I have a thing for moss. And my dad's front yard has a ton of it. But it was kind of muddy from recent rains so I didn't want to lay on the ground to take my photos - I shot them blind. Then I cropped what I thought were the best/most interesting parts.

i <3 moss

They also have these really pretty old trees that are just covered with lichen. Does that mean the air is really fresh out there? I didn't know lichen could be so blue.

i <3 roots

Here's a plant growing in a pot in the backyard. I should know the name of it, but I am drawing a blank. Anyone want to help me out? I have a thing for purple, though. Always have.

i <3 purple

This is one of those pictures that just happened. Perhaps there's something in Photoshop that I could do to make it better, but I like it just the way it is. The center section of my blog is 500 pixels and so is the photo, so Typepad cuts off just a bit on the right of every photo I post from flickr. If you click on the photo to go to flickr, it looks just a bit more symmetrical with her standing between the two trees.

i <3 v

The colors were beautiful on the trip home. I couldn't figure out the right settings on my camera to catch them as they were. The colors were more vibrant, but the light was absolutely golden, as you can see.

changing colors in the golden light

Tomorrow, the look of my blog will change. In my new header for November, I have a quote from a song. If you know it, you might win a prize - details tomorrow. I hope everyone is having a happy Halloween tonight, for tomorrow is All Saints' Day.

Supersoft green scarf

So many baby blankets, clothes, and accessories come made in really soft material - chenille, etc. I have a habit of naming such things "supersoft," so V has a supersoft yellow blankie and a pair of supersoft fleecie pants.

So I got a skein of Lion Brand chenille yarn in basil and just did a simple seed stitch that I saw on this video to make V a supersoft green scarf.

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It's a hit!

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And it was very simple. There are quite a few mistakes in it because I wanted to finish it more than I wanted to have it perfect. I like things that are imperfect (that's the excuse I'm giving anyway).

Next, I plan to try a scarf with cables. I've got some pretty charcoal gray yarn - but this one will be for me.

History lost

I went to visit the old homestead in Georgia this past weekend.

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This (double) fireplace was once part of the house that my grandfather lived in when he was a boy. His family built the house themselves. I know of one other house in town that my great grandfather built. One day I'll take a picture of it. Last I saw, it was home to a catering business.

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Now it sits to the entrance of someone's farm, right by the side of the road.

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My grandfather's family moved to town when he was about 10, if I remember correctly. That would've been in 1918.

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They moved to town so everyone could get jobs to help support two older relatives who needed help. Two years later, my grandfather dropped out of school to get a job at a mill to help support the family as well.

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He started out by sweeping the floors and ended up fixing spindles and other textile mill machinery for a different mill run by Johnson and Johnson. He and my grandmother both expressed their regret at not being able to finish their education.

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I could look at the fireplace and say, ok, this side looks like it was probably in the kitchen because it had a bigger hearth, and so the other side was probably the main room, but that's just conjecture. The kitchen and main room could've been the same room and the other side could've been a bedroom. Or the bedroom. Who knows? I couldn't find any clues left.

Across the street from the old fireplace, there is a small graveyard where my grandfather's parents, grandparents, a few of his siblings, and other relatives are buried.

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My grandparents used to take care of it along with another family with kin buried there, but I'm not sure who, if anyone, takes care of it now.

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This fellow was born on October 8, 1878, and passed away on October 7, 1926. He was my great grandfather's brother.

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And the old homestead? It's a subdivision now. This looks like an old irrigation system, though the bed of it looks like it was added later but made to look older than it is. I don't know for sure.

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My favorite part of the subdivision is the little dirt road that takes you through the woods.

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There's a creek that winds through all these trees, which go on forever. I like to imagine my grandfather and his brothers having full run of these woods - exploring, building forts, playing in the crick (as they would've called it). I like to dream of one day having a place like this myself, where V can do the same.

In reality, they were probably busy working most of the time - as soon as they were old or able enough. The family had a farm and their own mill. It was a hard life - I've heard stories. This picture is of my grandfather and his brothers. I'm not sure who the little girl is, which brother is which, or when/exactly where the photo was taken.

The C Brothers

They're all gone now, so there's no one to ask. History lost, just like that. I will try to do better with my own photos.

Is it possible to be in love with a fencepost?

While at my dad's this weekend for V's birthday party, we meandered around outside for a while. They live way out in the country on some really beautiful land.

I love this old fencepost.

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Is it possible to be in love with a fencepost?

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Or maybe it's just that lovely green I adore.

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And bits of things left behind.

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The actual story of this fencepost isn't as nearly as interesting as the story I could have made up about it, if I had the time today. It's not even really as old as it looks.

And then there's this little bit right here.

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Roaming around outside in the chilly breeze - she doesn't mind the cold. She's the one I'm spending my time with today - and she's a lot more interesting than any story I could make up.

I'm definitely in love with her.

The Christopher Taylor House & Andrew Jackson's ghost

This post is just one stop along the way in the Hooked on Houses Fall Blog Party. So please go check out everyone else's posts - there are sure to be some good ones.


This is the Christopher Taylor House, as found on page 16 of Sonya A. Haskins' wonderful book Jonesborough.

CT House

Christopher Taylor (1746-1833) fought in the French and Indian War and was a major in the American Revolutionary War.

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Taylor came to Jonesborough, Tennessee, from North Carolina around 1774 to protect the residents from Cherokee Indian attacks.

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The Taylor family settled on 205 acres on Limestone Creek in Washington County, TN.

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Built circa 1777, the log home housed Captain Taylor, his wife Mary, and their 13 children (though I could only find an actual record of 8 at that time - two of them with the interesting names of Artmesia and Greenberry).

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Oh and since they had two rooms, they took on boarders.

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Their most famous boarder was future U.S. President Andrew Jackson, who stayed at Taylor's home for close to five months in 1788 when he was 21 years old, practicing law while waiting for a caravan to take him to what would eventually become Nashville.

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In 1974, the house was moved from its original location (about 2 miles from town) to downtown Jonesborough, where it sits on Main Street today.

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Some people say that they've seen Andrew Jackson's ghost at the house - that he will be seen at the back of the cabin, walk around to the front, pause at the door, and then go inside.

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It's also been said that he rushes down the street toward the courthouse in broad daylight but is only visible to people on the opposite side of the street.

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I walked down the opposite side of the street and then all around the house taking pictures, but I didn't see him - which is just fine with me!

If you're interested, here is the entire set of photos I took at the Christopher Taylor House a couple of weeks ago.

November in b&w

Since two or three people have expressed interest (that's roughly double what I thought it'd be. har har.) in my monthlong November black and white photography project, I thought I'd go ahead and make a button and a spot to link to people who would like to join in. So feel free to take the button above and put it on your site, linking to this link exactly, which will contain all the posts for this project as the month progresses.

There aren't really any rules. My plan is to put my camera in b&w mode on November 1st and change it back to normal on December 1st. So every photo I post here in the month of November will be in black and white. If you want to play, I would prefer that you put your camera in black & white mode (since that's half the fun), but I'm not going to complain if you convert a particularly nice color photo to b&w. Don't feel you have to spend the whole of November in b&w, but if you want to play along at any point in the month, create a post on your blog with your b&w photos, then either leave me a comment or send me an email at springtreeroad (at) yahoo (dot) com with a link to your post. I will link to your post in my next post and put a general link to your blog in my sidebar.

All the fun starts November 1st (not before! I'm not ready yet!!).

Looking forward

i love colorful glass

It's getting colder here. I've been looking forward to winter in a place where there's actually a chance of some decent snow. Farther south, where I've almost always lived, I remember winters of ice storms and at least one good snow a year where the power would go out for a few days and we'd keep the jug of milk in a small pile of snow on the back porch until we drank it all as hot chocolate. But the past several years, there really haven't been any major winter storms. Not that I'm wishing for an ice storm, but I always thought they were beautiful when I was the one without much responsibility, with no one to protect. I'm remembering my brother and I in the backseat of the car oohing and ahhing over the bare trees bending over with the weight of the ice while my mom slowly drove home from my grandparents' house (where we stayed whenever our power was out in the country), her knuckles white from gripping the steering wheel.

I'm very much looking forward to my November project - a month of black and white photos. Seems appropriate for many reasons. I'd like to extend the invitation to anyone who wants to join me. Don't feel that you have to spend the whole month in b&w mode like me, but if you want to that's cool too. Even if you just spend 15 minutes next month taking b&w photos, post them and let me know and I'll link to you. Shelli has already thrown her hat into the ring. Yay! I love company. If I were together enough, I'd make a little banner. Who knows? I might find time next week. I love the long month of October.

This morning, V was hugging me and she said, "It's my birthday!" I told her that, no, her birthday was yesterday - today is the day after her birthday. She walked away for a minute and when she came back she had tears in her eyes. She said in a small voice, "Am I still three?" Sweet, precious girl.

I'm almost finished knitting my first scarf - it's not half bad! It's for V. She keeps asking me if I'm done with her sweater yet. Ha. It'll be a while before I'm knitting a sweater.

The leaves are falling falling falling... This weekend we will be in Georgia for V's birthday party. Can't wait to see the pretty leaves along the way.


I took this picture yesterday afternoon - the leaf was in V's play water table out in the yard, which had a little bit of water from the rain the other day and it just looked so pretty.

Today I got a skein of yard and some knitting needles. I'm going to make V a scarf. Seems easy enough. I can't wait to get started. I've decided that I should start with knitting and then make my way to sewing. Seems less expensive and would take up less room in our tiny home. Now if I can just get my new pair of knitting needles away from V - they've got dried sticky rice all over them from the sushi we had for lunch and she's using them to play drums on a few rolls of paper towels.

And now for something completely different

Well, maybe not completely different, but I'm in a Monty Python sort of mood lately.

I don't profess to know much of anything about photography. Sure, I know some things. I have worked very hard to know these things I know. But out of All There Is To Know About Photography, I know only a little.

It seems that I have gotten to this point where I am right now with my photography and I'm not really learning much new. And, well, I can't have that. So I was thinking about what I could do, given my time and budget constraints, that might propel me forward. Or at least give me a new experience or two.

Then the other day, V and I were outside. I'd just bought us a rake and raked a couple of piles of leaves for her to pounce on. I decided that I would actually flip the camera into black and white mode - normally I just convert photos to black and white in Photoshop if I think they'll look nice that way. Well, something clicked. I was having flashbacks to my early 20s and buying loads of Kodak Tri-X Pan film, dreaming of the day when I could learn how to develop it myself. It was freeing. I get a bit wrapped up in my photos being sharp that I'll often reject pictures that aren't as sharp as I'd like. And some of them might be perfectly good photos - it's very hard for me to tell sometimes. With black and white that doesn't matter as much to me. Black and whites aren't always supposed to be sharp.

I never did learn to develop b&w film and won't likely be doing that anytime soon, but I decided that the kick in the butt I've been needing is to spend a month taking only black and white photos. November 1-30, that's what you'll see here. So prepare yourself; it might get pretty stark.

resting, lighter

Or not.

playing with leaves 254

It might instead be a celebration of light and shadow,

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 of more pure emotion,

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of details that might have gone unnoticed before.

I'm not making any promises, but that's what I'll be shooting for.

Wish me luck.

these are the days that you might fill with laughter until you break

I love taking pictures like these.

jonesborough flare

Most often, this is not how our lives are. They're much more chaotic, messy, serious, fast-moving. Too much reality is bad for you. So I take pictures of the parts I most want to remember - wonderful days of sunshine and exploration, of laughter and love. Happy, happy days.

leaves behind the christopher taylor house

these are days you'll remember

never before and never since, I promise
will the whole world be warm as this
and as you feel it, you'll know it's true
that you are blessed and lucky
it's true, that you are touched by something
that will grow and bloom in you

these are days you'll remember

Corn maze

Saturday we went to the corn maze at Stickley Farm. We had lots of fun in the kiddie maze. It's been a really long time since I've been in a cornfield. The weather was fine, the sun was warm, and the corn stalks made for some fun photo taking.

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V had the best view of the maze, I think.

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We also went on the hayride, which was lots of fun. We saw the sights...

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...and V got painted with "war paint" (poke berries), which she didn't enjoy as much as the picture makes it look like she did.

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Then it was time for some food - "bolony burgers" and cherry slushies. Tasty treat!

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One of the farm dogs waited patiently for a little taste of our lunch. What a beauty he is! V thought he was the greatest. She kept saying, "Oh, what a sweet little whippet dog!"

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V played and played on the playground they had, but eventually it was time to go. we have to?!

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The ride home was beautiful, as always. I love the rolling hills of Tennessee.

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Mr. Pine's Purple House - giveaway

Leonard Kessler's Mr. Pine's Purple House was my favorite book when I was a kid.

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It's the story of a man who lives in a little white house...

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...that sits among 50 other little white houses, all in a row.

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When Mr. Pine plants a pine tree in his yard so that he can more easily tell which house is his, his neighbors think it's such a great idea that they all do the exact same thing. So he plants a bush next to the pine tree, and the next day he wakes to find that yet again his house is no longer unique. Eventually, they all work it out and everyone gets to show his or her individuality. Or at least their house color preference. Ha.

I started looking for this book a couple of years ago so that I could get it for V, but it was really hard to find. When I did find it, it was outrageously expensive. Purple House Press to the rescue! Their mission is to "revive long lost, but well loved children's books." I can get behind that (*wink* to R!). When I found their website the other night, I noticed that they sell remainders at a discount and I had to get one. In fact, I got two. One for me and one for you! These books have a small black remainder line, but otherwise are in absolutely perfect condition (I'm all about a deal).

So if you would like the chance to win my second copy, please leave a comment by Tuesday, October 14th, at 11:59pm EST. If you blog about my giveaway on your blog, I will enter your name twice (leave two separate comments, if you would be so kind). And if you come over to my house and help me finish unpacking, you can have any of my books that you want and I'll bake you cookies. (Just kidding about that last part. Sort of.) I will announce the winner on Wednesday. Best of luck! International entries welcome.

Dissection of a dream

I have this recurring dream where I'm standing in a shallow stream. Pristine water flows past me, cooling my toes. The stream bed is the smoothest, sparkliest pink granite you've ever seen. My pants are rolled up and I'm leaning over, hands underwater, feeling the flow. I pick up a beautiful pink stone. I look at it and the mica shines in the sunlight. When I look again, it's still a pink stone, but it's in the shape of a tooth and I realize that I have lost one.

This stream actually exists, though there's no pink granite, but instead fine, sparkly sand. It runs through Helen, Georgia, unless I'm completely misremembering.

When I was a kid, my grandparents would take me on weekend trips to the Smoky Mountains. We'd go to Helen, or to Bryson City, North Carolina, or wherever. We'd drive up to see the leaves in the fall, or to some small town festival in the spring. Most often, we'd go wherever there was an open-air Gospel singing going on. My grandparents were big fans of a Sunday morning show called Gospel Singing Jubilee. My grandmother loved The Inspirations, The Florida Boys, The Happy Goodmans, and anyone else who sang old time Southern Gospel. She kept a picture frame with a photo of The Inspirations on her dresser, along with a picture of her brother dressed in his military uniform. Sometimes we'd play her Gospel records in the living room, singing together and clapping in time to the music.

One day when I was around 6 years old, we were in Helen, strolling through the shops. My grandmother was buying some souvenir or other and I noticed one of those little boxes that holds those birthstone rings by the cash register. I had to have one. I loved my little topaz ring - for about five minutes. Soon after, I waded into the middle of that shallow stream to cool off, leaned over to touch the fine sand, and watched my new topaz ring float right off my finger. I looked and looked for it, but it was a gold band with a yellowy-brown stone - pretty much the same color as the sparkling sand. It was gone. I asked for another - it seemed so unfair to lose it like that and I knew it was cheap - but they refused. My grandparents didn't reward carelessness.

I've long wondered about the origins of my dream. I recognized the stream and the idea of a loss occurring there, but I couldn't understand - why a tooth? Looking up losing one's teeth at an online dream dictionary, it mentioned health problems on the horizon and having your words coming back to bite you in the butt. I don't put much stock in dream dictionaries.

Last night I realized that the key is the color pink and that the dream doesn't signify one loss, but two.

On another trip to the mountains, my grandparents bought me some cotton candy from a street vendor, and at the first bite something felt strange. When I looked at the pink spun sugar, I realized there was a tooth in it. It was one of my front teeth - I hadn't even realized it was loose. That was the easiest tooth I ever lost, no pain and no blood. We laughed about it and I wrapped it in one of Grandmama's silver Juicy Fruit wrappers to take home and put under my pillow.

Seems so simple now: pink cotton candy = pink granite. Mystery solved. I wonder now if I'll ever bother to have the dream again. Doubt it.


Come back tomorrow for my first giveway - my favorite book from when I was a kid...

Except he forgot his nose and his flower that squirts water

Yesterday we went to the park in the late afternoon. We walked a bit with V in the stroller. We saw a dog riding in his own stroller. His name is Peanut and he loves being at the park; he goes for a walk there almost every day.

Peanut 2

V also danced on the stage for us.

V dancing on the stage at the park

Though our old favorite park in Knoxville was beautiful, this one has an equally impressive view.

The view at our favorite park 1

But the main event at the park yesterday was the clown.

After our walk, I sat down on a bench in the shade and a young man and his father joined me. When I heard the young man say he was going to go change into his clown suit, I was mighty surprised.

The clown at the park 1

He said he likes to make the kids happy by making them balloon animals. For us he made a dog, a flower, and a giraffe.

V with a balloon animal

He made lots of hats and swords and dogs and stuff for lots of little kids yesterday. He's a nice, gregarious kid.

The clown at the park 2

It was a pretty cool day at the park.

Mish mash

Ok, here are some random photos, because I don't feel like writing separate posts for each thing.

First, here's one picture from my brother's wedding. Those flowers are fresh and pretty azaleas - so very Southern of them!

from my brother's wedding

Up next are the ATCs that V made at the park with the SOFH group. We had lots of fun, stayed 3 hours, and now my face and scalp are completely sunburned. Wearing block never even occurred to me. V did not burn. She seems to take after R in that regard - she browns, I burn.

Anyway, the lovely Ren and Laura brought art supplies and V was engrossed for I don't even know how long once the watercolors came out. A long time, for her. She loves to paint more than just about anything.

20081002 001 ATC with SOFH

20081002 002 ATC with SOFH

And the last thing I have to share before the weekend are a few houses I took pictures of around Johnson City.

I have a small obsession with this house. The shape of it appeals to me. I haven't gotten a good picture of it, though, because it's on a one-way street and I hate coming to a full stop in front of someone's home to take a picture out of my passenger window. Just seems rude somehow. Probably not any more rude than what I'm actually doing, but it feels that way to me.

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This one is old and lovely. Love that screen door and the window at top right.

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This one is cool.

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These two photos, I just like how they came out. The sky was absolutely gorgeous, with thick, fluffy white clouds everywhere and it was bright. I was hoping for another day like it today, but instead we just got a clear blue sky with no clouds. Bummer (ha!).

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In case you didn't believe me about the clouds, this one is straight out of the camera.

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And here we are home again. This is the street that goes past our house.

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After narrowly missing rear ending a car that had just rear ended another car, I'm feeling pretty blessed today. It will be a busy weekend, but a good one I think. Hope yours is exactly as you want it to be.

Plainly, I am not Martha

Before I got preggers with V, I went crazy hoarding all the back issues of Martha Stewart Baby that I could get my baby-crazed mitts on. They're really beautiful magazines and certainly I aspired to live up to what I saw in them. But reality is that a girl could go zonkers trying to do that (though I still love to look at them). Case in point: in the Fall 2002 issue, there is a delightful picture of a couple of mini doughnuts.

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They look absolutely delightful, don't they? Warm, plump cinnamon-covered delightfulness. They're baked instead of fried! They have apple in them! And wheat germ! So delicious and good for Baby! As soon as I saw it, I resolved to make them for my baby, as soon as she was old enough to eat them.

Well, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but V's babyhood pretty much kicked me on my heiny from the beginning - and then again and again. And then once more to make sure I was paying attention. In some of the long, wakeful hours of nursing and rocking and crying and just generally not sleeping, I'd think of this recipe every so often, but it never seemed to be right the time to make it. Or I did not have the energy. Or I was losing my mind. Take your pick; any of those excuses were valid.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, after V's nap (she actually asked to take one), we went to Kroger and got the few missing ingredients we needed and whipped up a batch. Delightful! I would like to say that they were very, very tasty.

Except that they weren't.

The dough didn't rise. If you'll look here, you can see that the yeast is not quite expired yet. I am not a completely inexperienced baker. I know how to knead dough and how not to over-knead it. I know where to let it rise and I know what it looks like when it rises.

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I gave it 1.5 hours to rise instead of the one that the recipe called for. I couldn't wait anymore - it was almost time for V to go to bed.

So we rolled them out and cut them.

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Spindly looking, right? Not exactly what comes to my mind when I say the word delightful.

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Horrors! Seriously ugly! Poor, pathetic little "doughnuts!" We ate a couple of the tops off the holes and tossed the rest. Like a ton of bricks, they were. I did bake them a tad too long - but for several minutes less than the recipe called for.

But I'm not giving up. Today we're going to try again, using this recipe from Tartelette. Now those look delightful. I'll let you know how it goes. Oh, and if you really want to try Martha's recipe (or just look at it in wonderment like I've been doing for the past half hour), you can do that here. If you make it, please let me know. I would love to know if it works for someone other than Martha.

the underside's bright amber

Last Friday, V and I took the camera and headed out to a cemetery to take pictures of a headstone belonging to a man we'd never heard of before Thursday night.

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Not sure how I found it, but I happened onto a site called Find a Grave where you can see photos of headstones in cemeteries around the world. I found a photo of my grandparents' headstone there and was touched that someone, who in all likelihood didn't know them, took the time to take a photo and upload it to the site.

So I decided that I would start taking photos too.

Not even two days later, there was a new request for a photo. So V and I went to Mountain Home National Cemetery and took some pictures.

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It's really a beautiful cemetery. For someone like me who loves old buildings and architecture, it was a visual treat.

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The headstones were pretty uniform, but there was the occasional anomaly.

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Clover appeared to be this woman's first name. V found this one irresistible.

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V, of course, didn't really understand any of it, but that didn't stop her from having fun.

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But she also had moments of real serenity.

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Mainly she was just happy to be outside, walking around, enjoying the sunshine after the rain and the breeze blowing her hair.

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If you take the moon in your hands
and turn it round
(heavy, slightly tarnished platter),
you're there;

if you pull dry seaweed from the sand
and turn it round
and wonder at the underside's bright amber,
your eyes

look out as they did here
(you don't remember)
when my soul turned round,
perceiving the other side of everything,
mullein leaf, dogwood leaf, moth wing
and dandelion seed under the ground.
                                                            ~ H.D.