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Spring Garlands

Happy First day of Spring!

Here at the Crooked Yellow House it doesn’t seem like Northeast Ohio at all.  It has been in the upper 70s for days now.  Us hardened, jaded natives are secretly bracing for an April freeze, but we suppress those thoughts for now and put on shorts and show our winter-pale legs and get out our motorcycles and bicycles and act like nuts because we can see the sun.  Until we start complaining about the humidity.

Anyway, I put up my Spring wreath today.  I found a grapevine wreath at a thrift shop for $2.00 and I couldn’t resist.  I got out my box of silk flower garlands that had decorated the century-old granary on my ex-property for my last wedding five years and 3 days ago.  (And I DO mean “last” — it turned ugly fast and that’s enough of that.) Anyway, I wondered at the time if I should keep all those flowers, if they had some “bad mojo” I should toss.  (When your husband-to-be takes over the entire affair and turns it into only what HE wants despite all your own suggestions and dreams, RED FLAG.  Just another one I ignored. )

Ultimately I didn’t throw the flowers away,  since they were actually the only part of the wedding and reception I had any hand in — I pored over the internet and purchased at a great price lots of high-quality flowers in soft blues and violets to adorn the window under which we were wed, and the ledge below, which also held tea lights burning in old mason jars and perfume bottles I had dug up from the property, down where the original farmstead and been.

Okay, sorry for the tangent there. On the “crafty” side of things, I just wound the garlands on the wreath with floral wire.  Not a very neat job of it, mind you, I have no patience for that kind of thing, and wrestling with silk flowers and wire and prickly wreath is not my thing.  I was, however, creative enough to hang the wreath with some thin green ribbon I had in my stash instead of the piece of cotton string I used for my Winter wreath.  Luckily no one’s here to inspect my work;  Martha Stewart doesn’t live here.

When I moved here to start my life over, I used some of those wedding garlands to decorate the tops of the cabinets in the Crooked Yellow House, and now they also decorate my little green door.  They don’t carry any bad mojo at all.  They carry vibes of Spring and Hope and Change.  All good things that I’m learning to embrace.  Beginning now, on this First day of Spring.  I wish the same to you!

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This Blog

After some 50-odd years of wandering through life, across country and back, through more than a few careers and two short-lived marriages, I’ve planted roots in Berea, Ohio, only a few miles from the house where I grew up and where my parents still live, and where I went to college (as a music composition major, of all things).  Planning my next move while extracting myself from what turned out to be a disastrous second marriage, I browsed online for a place in which to start again.  I found a picture of a little yellow house built in 1875, 100 years before my high school graduation, and I immediately fell in love.  When I researched further, I found that it is exactly next door to an 1840 house that I had been a hairs-breadth away from buying just 5 years earlier.  I had to see it.

I drove out to meet the realtor, and found I was early.  I parked the car and sat on the little iron bench on the front porch.  The street was quiet except for a few dog-walkers, and two blonde children with backpacks walking down the street to the library, their heads close together in whispered conversation. Birds flitted in and out of the odd-looking tree that filled the front yard.  I felt like the little porch had been just waiting for me to arrive.

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The Wool Source

An unfortunate marriage ago I lived on a 35-acre farm and realized a dream I’d had since I was in my twenties, when I lived for a year on the Navajo Reservation in a tiny settlement in the Four Corners region — to have my own Navajo-Churro sheep.

When I first met my then-husband-to-be, he had spent a great deal of money to landscape the massive front yard and finish the house. The several acres behind the house were generally neglected except for a few rows of sweet corn, which he had been selling to a local grocery store. One day as we sat on the back deck, I told him about my dream of sheep, and I was pleasantly surprised that he met this idea with a great deal of approval. “I always wanted to have sheep,” he told me, “There is a breed of expensive Irish sheep I want to ship over from Ireland. They’d make the property look more like an estate, like a picture I saw in Architectural Digest.” I talked him out of that idea (my idea of sheep was quite different than something to make the property look more “palatial”), and after a bit of research and a few phone calls I made contact with a Navajo-Churro breeder in southern Ohio, only a few hours drive away. She sent me pictures of the lambs and yearlings that would be available — I spent weeks poring over those pictures, and finally selected 2 rams and 2 ewes. I then worked with a carpenter neighbor and we built a very simple sheep shed and painted it barn red, purchased hay and feeders and electric fencing, and then made the trek to bring home my sheep. It was one of the most wonderful moments of my life, that first afternoon in late winter, seeing the four beautiful animals exploring their new home.

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