Birdland

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No sooner did I threaten to cut down the plum tree than did about a million birds show up, acting so adorable and sweet and storybookish within its branches that I'm torn, now, about chopping it down. What to do!!! What also happened is that we instituted "mom time" out in the front yard in the very early mornings when Andy's off for the day so that I'm able to sit out there alone and drink my coffee, listen to birds, water the garden, and oh, you know, think quietly for just a few secs. I get up and, before I take my shower, I hightail it out and enjoy what has always been my favorite part of the day: earliest, earliest morning. Eventually I fill up the bird bath and sit in the chair in the shade across the yard and wait. Within five or ten minutes, birds come bathing. It's the cutest, sweetest thing. They — especially the robins — splash around in the water and then fly up to the bare branches of the plum tree to fluff and dry. It's just adorable. On Sunday morning, a super-adorable thing happened when I got to watch a mama robin feed a teenager robin — see the picture of them up there? They're hard to see, being totally camouflaged by the tree, but my gosh. How cute is that. I swear the robins are coming just to visit me when I go out there, especially when I'm alone. They do always seem to show up within a few minutes! My own little Mary Lennox moment, and I just love them.

I feel so very behind on everything. I can't get my chores done and I'm stressed, so birdwatching feels desperately necessary but also crazily indulgent somehow. Summer at home with a little kid is seriously chaotic. There are so many things that I want to write about and talk about and think about, but I just won't have time or brain or breath until preschool starts again and I have a few more unengaged hours. And there aren't enough kids home during the day in our neighborhood to make it easier. I mean, there are no kids at home during the day in our neighborhood. Back in My Day, everyone was home. Everyone. We played outside or at each other's houses on the block every. single. day. To the point of utter, complete, blissful boredom. Sigh. Sometimes I worry. Where is everyone?

Nevertheless, in spite of having a scant amount of free time/me time, I checked five of the books on last week's book list out of the library, even though I'm only halfway through Coming Home (by Rosamunde  Pilcher). The librarian said that the damage I did to the book wasn't even worth noting, so that was a nice surprise. I renewed it, because it's taking me forever to read. That book is enormous! But it's really nice to read. Sort of slow, with a mildly remote protagonist (which is, oddly, relaxing). But it also just feels measured and capable and . . . professional . . . I need not worry . . . and that alone is chillaxing me down to my toes. Also, her descriptions of place are so on-point I sometimes read them twice. I mean, this:

    August, now, and a wet Monday morning. Summer rain, soft and drenching, streamed down upon Nancherrow. Drifting in from the south-east, low grey clouds obscured the cliffs and the sea, and heavy-leaved trees drooped and dripped. Gutters ran and drain-pipes gurgled, and the weekly wash was postponed for a day. Nobody complained. After a long spell of hot, dry weather, the sweet coolth was welcome. The rain fell with relentless steadiness, and thirsty flowers and fruit and vegetables absorbed the moisture with gratitude, and the air was filled with the incomparable scent of newly damp earth.   
    Loveday, with Tiger at her heels, emerged into the outdoors by way of the scullery, stepped out into the yard, and stopped for a moment to sniff the air and fill her lungs with this sweet invigorating freshness. She wore gumboots and an old raincoat, pulled over her shorts and a striped cotton sweater, but her head was bare, and as she set off in the direction of Lidgey Farm, the rain descended upon her hair, causing the dark locks to curl more tightly than ever.
    She took the road that led towards the stables, but turned off before reaching them, following, instead, the rutted lane that led up onto the moors. Here the ancient lichened stone walls were divided from the lane by a deep ditch, now running with water, and gorse grew in prickly thickets aflame with yellow flowers smelling of almonds. There were foxgloves too, in profusion, and pale-pink mallow, and tangles of wild honeysuckle, all the way up the lane, and the dark granite of rock wore velvety patches of saffron-colored lichen. Beyond the wall were pasture fields, where Mr. Mudge's Guernsey milk cows grazed, the grass a brilliant green between the random whale-shaped crests of hidden boulders, and overhead gulls, flying inland with the weather, wheeled and screamed.

How pretty is that! By typing it out I'm attempting to conjure a rain spell, because we haven't had any in over fifty days and last week our temps were over a hundred degrees.

How are you guys? How's your summer? How's it all going out there, anyway?

 

***Mimi just found this picture floating around somewhere in our bookshelf (I have not seen this one in years!), and I realized I forgot to say thank you for all of your incredibly sweet anniversary wishes. Thank you very, very much. We really appreciate them! You are so kind. Thank you. XOXOXO

P.S.: I made my dress from a Style sewing pattern but I can't figure out what number it was. It was really fun to make and is one of my favorite memories from being engaged.

Wedding

75 comments

Wouldn't you love to have a scullery and gumboots?!? The pictures that just a few words can conjure in ones mind, so lovely. I'm rereading To Kill a Mockingbird and it's full of wonderful images, as well. I think a Pilcher book will be next.
Temperatures in Salt Lake will be in the low 80s after weeks (months?) of high 90s. It feels glorious. How lucky you are to have a river to cool off in. I love the stripes.

I cannot watch a robin without thinking of Secret Garden. Was happy to see the reference! Adorable wedding picture - love the dress!

All the kid these days are in Foster-Powell -- at least in SE. We just moved down here from Hosford-Abernathy and it was like night and day. So long drunk twenty-somethings stumbling around until the small hours, hello charming boisterous children running around in the park across the street, the creak of the swing, and Mom or Dad yelling at whoever that it's time to go home.

They're all youngish but in a few years it will be all 1950s in the best way down here -- kids on bikes and playing ball in the street -- with the welcome addition of immigrant families from Ethiopia and the Ukraine to complete the picture.

The Mt. Scott indoor pool is, so I have heard, THE place for kiddos, especially once it gets rainy again. (The water slide alone had my kid-friends sold.) So at the very least migrating down for that once it gets dreary again would probably be worth doing. The building itself is all glass windows on one side over looking a little city park filled with enormous doug firs.

Love the thought of you, in the early morning, under the tree, listening watching the birds . . .
Sweet image . . . my favorite moments of the day.

The talents you have are phenomenal . . .
Making your own wedding dress . . .
Wonderful photo treasure . . . so pretty, handsome . . .

Pure magic. Your photos always are. I live where those unbearably hot temps are common in the summer. So everything has AC. This year, it hasn't been so hot and we are thankful. Love your tiny ballerina. I haven't read Rosamunde Pilcher in a long time, but I remember loving her descriptions of places. The Shell Seekers was a favorite.

Gosh you both look so happy in that wedding pic! I'm full of admiration that you sewed your own wedding dress. It looks a bit like Style pattern number 2693.

Lori Barker says: August 08, 2017 at 09:21 AM

Perfection in a blog post!

Or Style pattern number 2256!

Georgia Inskeep says: August 08, 2017 at 10:28 AM

I love your wedding photo! Andy looks so tall and proud and you are so shy and happy! Wonderful memories... You were a beautiful bride and Andy was quite handsome. Now you have Amelia... a wonderful child. Love her posing!
Enjoy your days with your beautiful daughter. Time goes much too quickly. I think about those days with our children, a son and daughter. They are grown and we have one grandson. I treasure every moment I have with him. He is my heart!

Coming Home was the book that got me obsessed with Rosamund Pilcher. I read it during the winter all cuddled up in bed, and it was like being transported to another world and time. You're so right about her descriptions of place. It was one of the few books where I found myself not skimming but actually re-reading whole passages so I could savor them. She's now one of my favorite authors.

Lovely wedding photo. Look at your young groom beaming and you too looking so happy. And beautiful you and your perfect timeless dress. I love the neckline. I have also started reading Coming Home, thanks to your last post. It's funny to think that because of you, that right now there are people all across the nation and all round the globe, turning the pages of this book. I'm tapping away at my kindle copy in New Zealand where it's starting to feel a little like spring. Early morning is the best time of the day!

Just LOVE your 'found' wedding photo - how beautiful and what a treasure. And your dress!!!
You are one seriously talented woman! I have to agree with your comments about the streets being filled with children in the past - I was recently relating this very thing to my sister; when we were young we were outside everyday till dinner beckoned - and it was great! Plenty of children all over the place.
Not anymore.

Coming Home is one of my favorite books. it gets a regular re-read about once a year. I would love to just step into one of her novels.
: )

Beautiful post Alicia! Love the flower photos, birds and nature shots! She is enjoying Summer!! What a beautiful photo of your wedding day! I am not surprised you made your wedding dress. You are incredibly talented!! XX

I enjoyed your Robins. We have a "water feature" with a creek and 3 waterfalls and a pond and it's providing water to innumerable creatures this summer. I devoured all of Rosamunde Picher's books after reading the "Shell Seekers". I think "Coming Home" was my 2nd, too. I might have to re-read both of them. Mimi is such a water baby.. I love seeing her enjoy swimming. Hang in there.. rain will come. :-) ((hugs)), Teresa :-) (I invite you to check my blog post, our son took our 2 grandsons crabbing.. I put up lots of photos today, you should enjoy it.)

shelly cheeseman says: August 08, 2017 at 07:40 PM

You must, must, must read September by Rosamunde Pilcher when the seasons change. So much soup making, fall foliage, and just wonderful gentle story-telling.

I was going to comment about the early morning outside alone time (love it-need it) but you got me with the wedding photo! That is lovely.

Although I don't envy the temperature there, it would be good to see some sun here in the U.K. It's looking more like November outside and it's cold enough to switch on the heating at night. And the rain seems relentless. Im sure someone has already told you, but during your early morning time, you might like to try Headspace. The taster is free. I was so skeptical, but now I'm a total convert. Good luck with your birdwatching, and I say leave the tree!

I hope your summer goes on a little more quietly.... making your own wedding dress, ah that is such a dream!

The homeschoolers are home. The retired and elderly and homebound are home. The women and men who run home-based daycares are home. It does seem, though, that most all folks these days manage their families with lots of work and lots of summer school and daycare, and camps and such.

How lovely that you're able to take some time for yourself in the mornings. So important! I have my morning meditation and prayer and writing time, very very early, before my teens arise.

I am a massive fan of Rosamunde Pilcher to the point of obsession! I have all her books, and I am trying to track down those she wrote under the name Jane Fraser too. I always re-read Coming Home in the Autumn, because the descriptions of her life with her Aunt in Bovey Tracy at the beginning of the war are so brilliant. Have you read The Shellseekers? That one is my all time favourite. It's funny that you copied out that passage, because as I sit here in England, the rain outside is exactly as described!

I'm in France and it's the same thing with NO KIDS around!!! I'm a SAHM and there is nobody around to play with!!! I grew up in the 70's in New Jersey and it was allday everyday on the street playing kickball, 123 Spud, neighborhood hide and go seek and Kool Aid and cookies at the neighbor's house. OK, not so good the Kool Aid and crap cookies but JEEZ, what the hell happened? Now they're all in summer day camp doing "activities".

Michele Holmes says: August 09, 2017 at 05:40 AM

Due to your recommendation a post ago, I started reading "Coming Home" and I LOVE it, too!!! Love your blog - I squirm like a puppy and giggle when new posts arrive. Thanks so much for sharing your (simple, yet chaotic) life with all of us.

All the kids are at camps. I lament this.

Marguerite says: August 09, 2017 at 08:23 AM

Love the bubble! What a happy, happy picture of you two.
I know what you mean about "me time" (well, we all do!) When our 3 were about 2,5,and 7 I literally felt like I never sat down. Husband and I took our first trip away from them (seriously... I wasn't good at leaving them) to Taos and Santa Fe. We looked at a lot of art. I came home with a poster of someone's oil painting of a chair -- the comfiest chair! Kind of set in a modernistic dreamy field of green. I hung it literally as a reminder to sit down and take care of me! Very glad that you are calling dibs on your mornings and enjoying your birds. I am a morning person, too. Although seeing that orange full moon the other night was pretty darn gorgeous! These days the daytime is hiding time! Oh, hurry away you smokey, hot skies of Portland!

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.