Flower Girls, Queens and Rangers

May 3, 2016

‘It’s all right, Will.’ His deep voice cut through the fear that filled Will’s mind. ‘It’s over now.’

But Will shook his head, horrified by the rapid train of events.

‘Halt, I missed…twice! I panicked and I missed!’ He felt a deep sense of shame that he had let his teacher down so badly. Halt’s arm tightened around him and he looked up at the bearded face and the dark, deep-set eyes.

‘There’s a big difference between shooting at a target and shooting at a charging Wargal. A target isn’t usually trying to kill you.’ Halt added the last few words in a more gentle tone. He could see that Will was in shock. And no wonder, he thought grimly.

‘But…I missed…’

‘And next time you won’t. Now you know it’s better to fire one good shot than two hurried ones.’ Halt said firmly. Then he took Will’s arm and turned him toward the campsite under the fig tree. ‘Let’s see what we have here,’ he said, putting an end to the subject.

pp. 4 – 5, Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 2, The Burning Bridge, John Flanagan, Philomel Books, 2005.

Apprentice Will had made some mistakes, some grave ones, but the master Ranger, Halt, reassured him, steadied him, encouraged him and breathed promise and hope into Will’s wounded, discouraged, defeated mind. It’s a good way to go about doing things.

How one is treated matters a whole heck of a lot. In my mind, the process is just as important as the “getting there.”

After 3 weekends, My Fair Lady just ended at the Garfield Center for the Arts downtown, and I had the privilege of having a small role. One thing that Eliza said was that she felt, even though she was just a flower girl, she felt like a queen when she was with Colonel Pickering because of the way he treated her. Will, (in the YA series that has grabbed me by the throat to keep reading till I get to the end), felt like a real ranger; again, because of the way his master treated him. Reading the quote in Book Two today reminded me of how we all felt like stars – real “kings and queens” in that play. Yup. It was loverly.

Spring Words

March 20, 2016

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” – Margaret Atwood

I love these words. I can’t say that they’re indicative of my personal lifestyle though, because when I finally got old enough to have time to dig in the dirt on a more frequent basis, I discovered that I only really enjoyed digging in the dirt on one day out of a whole year. (Unless I’m somewhere with children, and then it’s a different story.) But on my own, I only love this on a gorgeous day (after a recent heavy rain so that the ground is easy to work) with some lovely, light, bright spring flowers to plant. Oh, and my house has to be newly cleaned, so that the smell of clean is still evident when you open the door. And since I’m not ever drawn back to the plot to weed, yet still want the flowers to become profuse, lush and a carpet of color, untainted by unwanted weeds and entirely self-sufficient, (hehe) I have to say that I’m not a gardener. But I still love Margaret Atwood’s words. The daughter of a farmer who spent many hours, giggling with my sister, running behind our daddy’s small tractor as he plowed up the garden, while racing the birds swooping down for the worms and feeling the cool dirt beneath our hot, bare feet, I guess this is why. The dirt is still somehow between my toes. (In a good way, I mean.) Often I guess we do love ideas more than we love the actual implementation of them. Hmm. (But that’s another story).

I love trying new things – in some contexts, at least. New foods always, both to cook and to eat. Absolutely I can go on record in saying that. I guess I didn’t used to enjoy exploring new terrain, but in looking back, I’m inclined to think that was because of time, mostly. Not entirely, but maybe mostly. I play the ukulele now. (Not well, but I play. And that’s only been in the last 3 or 4 years.) I’m trying to learn to swim – just a breath at a time at the college pool, where I’ve done kickboard laps for the past 25 years. You already know about my new experience with rutabagas. I’m volunteering at the local elementary school in a new setting. I like new books. I love meeting new people. If you told me there was an opportunity to go to a workshop on mastering mouth trumpeting, I’d be there. (And there actually is a Victoria Vox concert coming soon to Chestertown. She’s an amazing ukulele performer and yep, she does this weird thing with her mouth that sounds like a trumpet, and it’s so cool that as soon as you’ve heard it once, you say to yourself, “I’ve got to know how to do that, too,” so now, by gosh, we’re going to be able to do just that)! I’m sure the list is longer, but you get the idea. You also may have gleaned, especially in these last couple of sentences that Chestertown is a really wonderfully, quirky place to visit. The 2nd annual Porch Fest is coming up in about a month, I believe it is, where musicians will be found playing on the street and well, YES, of course, on porches!! During the first 2 full weeks of June each year, Chestertown is host to The National Music Festival, where rehearsals can be enjoyed FREE all hours of each day! With Washington College here and Chestertown’s new Arts & Entertainment District designation and local theatre, artists and artisans and farm-fresh activities, vendors and opportunities (like berry picking, in season), there always seems to be something new to try here.

Just a few thoughts. It’s the first day of spring. Doesn’t feel like it today, but it is. New things are just around the corner.

Roasted Rutabagas??

March 19, 2016

Something wonderful happened today: The Chestertown Farmer’s Market! And it happens EVERY Saturday throughout the year! Today I picked up beets, turnips and sweet potatoes (and yes, I’ve used each of these in B&B breakfast sides before. 🙂 ) As the fellow was weighing the turnips, I spied the rutagagas, and asked him what you did with those. He wasn’t sure but the gal there said that they could be roasted and fixed like potatoes, that they had an earthy quality. Gosh, who wouldn’t like “earthy”?? So for $4, I had a quart-ful, so now I’ll google, then get care-ful about creating something new and yummy! (And who knows? I just might have yet another element to add to my breakfast dishes!) Spring-ing into simple, new freshness is ALWAYS a great thing!


February 16, 2016

Yesterday’s stressful, tricky driving conditions in the snow led to a coating of ice in Chestertown last night, and today it’s raining cats and dogs! (I know. Frigid cold in the teens, with even single digits one day, followed by temperatures in the almost-balmy 40’s the next. Sheesh. No wonder when B&B guests ask me about the weather, I often say, “I don’t know.” Nobody does.) I haven’t been out. It’s a slippy, sloppy mess out there, so I’ve stayed in, stayed dry, and made hot soup. (And besides, I got a new haircut yesterday and if I have any chance at all of having the style repeated for the second day in a row, it’s not going to happen as it’s squished under the hood of my rain coat. The signs were simply all pointing in one direction today. But I will go out for piyo, my pilates-yoga combo class. There are some things that just must happen.)

Today was my scheduled soup-making day, since it’s my turn to take a pot to the meeting of the Chestertown Ukulele Club tomorrow night, but with the pools of standing water outdoors, the timing was perfect for keeping close to the kitchen. I’ve had a great time inventing. Of course, there’s “nothing new under the sun” and soup inventions fall in that category, but still. I’ve had fun. Plus I’ve just tasted the soup and I say it’s pretty good: potato-carrot-bacon-dill soup, made with 3 pounds of white plus the pint-sized basket of sweet potatoes that I got at the Farmer’s Market a week ago. (There are a lot of people in the uke group.) Shucks, I even threw in pumpkin, pepper jack cheese and of course, onion and garlic. Oh yes, and carrot juice makes everything better. And ohmygoodness, do NOT forget the chicken stock base. It would be nasty and flat without some kind of base, either chicken or veggie. I just happened to have chicken in my fridge. Mushroom is always a hit, but I was out of that. But this soup was going to be made with ingredients already on hand, which is, of course, the beauty of homemade soup. I plan to take my left-over homemade bread and make some garlic-dill croutons for people to spoon onto the top of the soup.

So there. If you’re having a tough day, take out the soup pot. I promise it’ll make things better.

Happy New Year!

January 4, 2016

Happy 2016!

There’s room at the inn during the weekdays, if you want a break after the busy holidays. We have some space left in January on the weekends, but it looks like the week days are still quiet. (And maybe just what you need??)

Enjoy your brand new January of this brand new year!

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