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  • February nesting.

    The snow has finally come; a blanket pulled up snug & tight over the landscape, tucking us into our houses. It is officially time to nest. Or make pasta from scratch. 

    On my to-do list since October or so, my belly has eagerly been waiting for this day. So I hopped on over to Angela's house to finally make it happen. 

    We used this recipe from Food52, combining one part semolina to two parts all-purpose flour, and using all four of our hands to keep the eggs inside the well.  While the dough rested, Angela made us an easy San Marzano sauce with butter and onion, nothing else. 

    Next step: we cranked the dough through a pasta machine until nice & thin, then through an attachment that sliced the dough into noodles. We dropped the nests into boiling water to cook and after a few minutes, wa-lah. 

    The next pasta on deck? Squid ink! 

    Garden planning is in the works as well. More grass will be turned into growing space, more seeds will go in the ground, more good things to come. 

  • Asleep, awake.

    January is here, and we're in it: resolutions, organizing, reevaluating. We look at things in a new light, then the snow comes and that light changes yet again. 

    In winter, we sleep, we wake, we repeat. The long list of To-Do's and I-Hope's is made. The long wait for spring starts now. 

    From my To-Do/I-Hope list:

    1. A new home for my reindeer fern. This little guy came home with me in a pot about 4 years ago. Lately, he was getting a little droopy and the fronds were starting to yellow, so I mounted him on this slab of cedar using some small tack nails, fishing line, and sphagnum moss. Reindeer ferns grow off tree trunks and branches in the wild, taking water and nutrients in through their leaves, similar to air plants....so far, so good for this guy. 

    2. More outside time in the winter.

    3. Moon as my guide

    4. Start early: whether it's getting the fire going, or the day on its way. 

    5. Enjoy this. Because once spring is here, downtime does not exist. 

    6. Bake more bread. (Recipe soon!) 

    7. Share. 

  • Sunrise/sunset

    Sunrise/sunset

    Fall foliage on Cape Cod isn't what the rest of New England Leaf Peepers are used to. There aren't many oaks, maples, or birch. Instead, we have pitch pine, white pine, scrub pine; trees that stand in stark contrast to the sky, the sand, the sea. Instead, we have sunrises and sunsets that literally take your breath away.  

    A friend of mine told me, 'you live in a Maxfield Parrish painting.'

    Around the garden and in the studio, new goods have come from this seasons' harvest: lip balm made with calendula and chamomile, geranium oil infused with yarrow, cedar salve infused with comfrey.  

    Recently added to the shop: new batches of incense made with cedar from our land. Not an easy process, it starts with dried and finely ground cedar (both needles and wood, using both a blender and a hand sander), frankincense, myrrh, and makko powder. 

    The ingredients are mixed with distilled water until the right consistency to form into the tiny pyramid shape. To cure, they are dried in a very, very low oven for 3+ hours and then air cure for 24.

    Then, the test.

  • Moon (and heart) in Virgo.

    Moon (and heart) in Virgo.

    Yesterday was spent in the garden planting & seeding with a Virgo moon in mind. An earth sign, strong and grounded (like most Virgos I know), planting under this moon is said to nuture healthy roots. 

    (My favorite Virgo:)

    I'm impressed by the growth of last year's herbs: self-seeded chamomile, leafy yarrow, healing comfrey nestled inbetween bachelor buttons (also from last summer).....and GARLIC! 

    Today the moon moves into the airy sign of Libra. Flower and herb seeds will go in the ground: chamomile, sea holly, hyssop, pyrethrum, valerian. 

    I'm also still catching up on my vegetable plantings. Peas, potatoes, chives, nasturtiums, lettuce, parsley will be seeded today too along with a couple of flats of flowers to start inside under the growlights. Although looking again at this (long) list, I'm not feeling so sure all of it will get done. The tendency for distraction in the garden is probable....I always get lost in the view.

  • This is the sun that warms the earth.

    This is the sun that warms the earth.

    Dorothy Sterling & Winnie Lubell worked together on a quite a few nature books in the 50's. Both lived on the outer Cape in Wellfleet, MA, home to a number of authors, illustrators, designers: Noam Chomsky, Ati Gropius, Juliet Kepes, Marcel Breuer, etc. etc.

    The Cape Cod Modern House Trust is currently working on an exciting exhibit featuring some of these talented visionaries. Stay tuned for more information, as well as info and dates on the mid-century modern house tours I'll be giving this summer.

    In the meantime, signs of spring:

  • Snow and the impromptu canoe ride.

    Snow and the impromptu canoe ride.

    The girls are the hardest workers in our garden. Over the summer, I set set up an extra little run for them to till and fertilize. It's now covered in snow, but I'll be planting lots and lots of globe amaranth for the summer markets in the very spot they spent the past 6 months. The long lasting blooms can be dried, perfect for markets in the fall and winter (if all goes well with my thumb's green side). 

    So far, the milk thistle bunch is coming along nicely. The tiny second set of leaves have begun to unfurl and even they show signs of the beautiful mottled pattern the plant is known for. Eventually, in April or so, these will be planted alongside our property line, the border in our herb garden. Aside from edible greens and powerful seeds, they've been known to grow up to 80"! 

    This little guy has a-ways-to-go:

    And then there was snow.

    Wet & heavy, the snow clung to everything. Our trees were lucky, but we saw many over the weekend on our travels that weren't: toppled over into yards, the road, driveways. But in the woods? We couldn't tell. Had things always been like that? 

    The snow is always able to reveal a new landscape, whether by force or by simple trick of the eye. On the drive home along the ocean, where the nor'easter had whipped away most of the white stuff, I noticed how scraggly the pines grew. Forced to fight the winds, the scrub pine along the seashore grow out and low, more like bonsai trees than the usual majestic trunks of the inland pines. These pines have been coddled, you could say, allowed to grow true and straight, up towards the sky.

    Those seeds were lucky, landing in the spot they did. 

  • Some days.

    Some days.

    Today we walked the dunes after days and days of rain. The sea and sky were doing their thing. We had good seats to watch the show. 

    On Thursday we received the Cabin Porn book - Thomas' photo from our stay in Maine was featured!

    The sunrise earlier this week; one of those that takes your breath away and that you talk to people about later in the day. "Did you see the sunrise this morning?!?? 

    Bees the on the zinnia. Today this zinnia has been torn out and feed to the chickens. The girls love the leaves and petals and I love to listen to them honk and chatter in excitement. 

    This was the ocean today: angry and churning. The wind fought the seagulls and drove sand into our faces, eventually forcing us back into the truck and home for soup. 

  • Speaking of roses....they're in bloom.

    Speaking of roses....they're in bloom.

    Farmers market season has begun and the herbs have finally grown big enough to come along for the ride. Our flowers are still tight little buds, but their blooms aren't far behind. I check on them each day, making note of their progress and sometimes their regression, thanks to slugs & bugs or bunnies I used to think were soooo cute. (Nothing breaks your heart more than watching a rabbit chomp away on the billyball flowers you started from seed in March.) In the meantime, I've been busy in the studio infusing oils with potent herbs for salves & balms, grinding cedar & pine into incense, bottling herbal bug repellent, and making a solid perfume blend with dried roses. 

    Speaking of roses....they're in bloom. 

    And the chickens! Each day their feathers are more beautiful than the day before. From the top: Dorito, Penguin, Peanut Butter, Rosie, Black Betty. We planted hops along the wire to give them some shade. It grows up to 10ft. in a single season, so it will give the ladies a nice shady spot to hang this summer.More photos to follow from the garden, the studio, the coop. 

  • Winter here.

    Winter here.

    Talk lately is of spring; when it's coming, how soon the snow will melt. But this winter was beautiful and we enjoyed every single minute of it. 

     

    But spring really is coming. We saw buds on a walk last weekend, with nearby branches still covered in marshmallow snow. 

    Work on the outside of the house has resumed with the onset of warmer weather. Garden planning has begun - along with chicken coop ideas for some new little friends we plan on picking up in a few weeks. 

  • Before & After: pt. 2

    Before & After: pt. 2

    Here's what we moved into in July: a tobacco-stained, drafty kitchen with rotted windows and a door that didn't close properly. 

    The floor was the first thing to go, then we started on the door. 

    And just a few weeks ago, on the coldest day in November, we dug into the windows. 

    After tearing off the window casing, we found the source of the draft. 

    Out with the old and in with the new framing.

    After six months, our kitchen is done! I'm so grateful to have a dedicated husband who works all week as a builder, only to spend the weekends building things around our little house. He's the best. 

  • Something foraged, something new.

    Something foraged, something new.

    Turning gifts from the woods into gifts for the home. 

    Pinecone firestarter: dry cones over the woodstove or fireplace, then coat in melted beeswax or old candle nubs. We also added some eucalytpus to the mix. Toss in a handful to get a fire going. 

  • From Fall & Around the Fire:

    From Fall & Around the Fire:

    Fall is everywhere while we gather ourselves for the winter to come. Our first of everything in the new house is happening while we watch, starting with the migrating birds and stay-at-home cardinals stocking up at our feeder. The leaves incessantly blanket the lawn regardless of Thomas' rake efforts, something the honey locust is noted for. But the love affair with our house hasn't ended. We're still enamored with this place.

    Other fall happenings:

    We were honored to be part of Smudge Ink's Holiday Sip-n-Shop last week! The newest addition to our MateriaMedica collection debuted:

    There's a few other markets in the works for the holidays....we'll be sure to keep you posted

    From fall & around the fire:

  • Hello, it's nice to meet you.

    Hello, it's nice to meet you.

    Last month, we were honored to be a part of The AV Club's This Is My... series. Highlighting small-scale makers, they've hosted events in Seattle, Nashville, Denver, Portland, and Boston. Not only were we part of the Boston event, but they visited our home out on Cape Cod to shoot a little video that you can watch here

  • Before & After: pt. 1

    Before & After: pt. 1

    We almost didn't think it could happen, but this run-down house has turned into our cozy home. 

    The living room had been smoked in for 50 years and covered the walls and floors with its tar-stained haze. Hours of elbow grease later, we now have a bright, clean living space. The bay window looks out on the bird feeder, where today I counted 12 cardinal flitting amongst the song sparrows. The woodstove sits patiently, waiting to be fired up when fall begins. Nearby, books and keepsakes collect on the shelf where once there was dust.

    Walls painted, floors resanded, it's a different place from when we first walked in. Old energies the house had been holding onto, are refreshed, renewed.

    We're making our own memories in this new place.

    Soon - 

    Before & After: pt. 2

  • Let's go to the beach

    Let's go to the  beach

    We live on a sliver of land; Cape Cod Bay lies a mile to the east, and sandy cliffs drop down almost 50 feet to the Atlantic, 2 miles to the west. Salt is in the air all around this place. Yet for some reason, it's been a struggle for us to relax. Coming from the city (so loud, so crowded, so rushed), it's been an adjustment to get used to the pace of life. Not to mention, the work on the house has us sore and calloused, with spatters of paint on our hands that just won't go away.

    So we took a break and headed to the bay, breathing that salty air into our lungs, watching the tide bubble in; even the birds here are relaxed. 

    Today, the gulls are our inspiration.

    We're almost ready to begin set up in the studio (finally). Please stay tuned for less house and more new goods to come.

  • Six months gone.

    Six months gone.

    March, 2014: the air was still damp and cold, Thomas began work in Wellfleet, and the lichen covered everything in that part of the world. We barely saw one another. We lived parallel lives via texts; I sent photos of the cat to keep him company until he'd come home...only to pack up and leave on Sunday nights. He slept on couches, on the floor at the jobsite; he has lived out of a bag far too long. Neither of us enjoyed looking at one lonely toothbrush each morning. 

    Now, six months later, we're tying up our city lives, preparing to move into the house we bought, preparing to begin our new lives on the skinny, sandy piece of land known as the outer Cape. What brought us to this point? Luck, the push and pull of new moons and full moons, fate. 

    This has been a bizarre journey, but we are almost home. 

  • Making progress, in deed.

    Making progress, in deed.

    Last night, I read through the all the deeds for the land our house was built on. Starting in 1888 and ending in 2000, it was surreal to think about the first settlers of Nauset who left the safety of Plymouth Plantation, to set up a life on the unknown, narrow land of Cape Cod - Snow, Prince, Doane, Cook, Higgins, Smalley, Bangs - their ancestors once farmed the land our little house stands on.

    I know each house we live in, each step we take over the blades of grass on our lawns has been done before. We're not the first to be here. Holding this handwritten paper with its beautifully scrolling penmanship somehow made the connection between our house and the seven pioneers of Eastham a real thing. Our deed will be added to this collection of paperwork, declaring our ownership of a piece of land, a piece of Massachusetts history. 

    It blew my mind.

    Anyway, onto the renovation progress:

    Our new roof has been installed! Thanks to Ed Callahan, we now have a weathertight roof over our heads, AND a nice neighbor to call upon.

    Our Rose of Sharon is in full bloom - perfectly timed with the death of our minnehaha roses

    Our priming and painting continues, much to the screams of our neck and shoulders. A finish coat has finally been applied to the living room walls, with the trim and doors up next. The red brick of the fireplace will be painted a deep steel grey and our woodstove will finally have a home. 

    Our kitchen floor is also done and looks like the ocean on a grey day. We chose a commercial grade vinyl tile - mostly because of the color - but we chose the installer because of the beautiful job he did with the floors of the Weidlinger house

    This has been (and I'm sure will continue to be) a daunting, exciting, insane project. We're exhausted both physically and mentally, but we are totally, 100% in love with our little house.

    Thanks for reading and staying tuned to our story. We hope to get back to working in the shop later this fall, once the air has that crisp edge to it, and the color of the sea changes from the bright blue of summer to the deep grey of the looming winter to come.