More Crazy Wonderful

This handmade, rough-cut steel table is a folk art treasure. I don’t know if its

creator meant for it to be so quirky or if he just wanted to make something nice.

Either way, he succeeded. And, it’s a keeper…


A cupboard full of stuff, collected over time in England, Belgium and, of course,

here in America. These won’t be going to The Hudson Mercantile any time soon…


A painted crate, a model house and an old golf marker, one of a set of six, from Scotland…


Two little gifts from Jennifer Lanne: a tiny ca. 1930s painting of sheep on a

papier mache plate, probably the work of a member of  a women’s group, and

a fabulous log cabin in the woods, painted by Jennifer, herself. I love them…





Birds and cards in an old wooden sorting tray. A giant depression-era ball of string…


Lots of drawer units in an old warehouse (now in my barns and in

The Hudson Mercantile)


Mugsie, with his big mutton chops, smiling like a loonie tune, just ’cause that’s

the way he was…


I guess I might have to just keep posting more and more of the crazy wonderful

things that make my heart sing.

Favorite Things

I’ve told this story before: I said “that’s my favorite thing” so often that, one day, a friend said
“oh, Steph, EVERYTHING is your favorite thing!”  I guess it is so: I like a lot. So here are a few
of them:
Glass girls…
A grey cupboard full of white stuff. May I have that back, please?
1930s homemade tinfoil birds, glittered for the Christmas tree…..
Pretty clock faces…..
Old homespun linen, gathered in the corner of a daybed cushion…..
Tiny leather diaries, meticulously documenting one man’s life through the 1930 and 40s……
Leather books, old European paintings and (always) sheep…..
A country store counter-turned-sideboard full of things that I love…..
A barn vent, stunning with its remnants of white paint…..
A hand painted (by me) trunk and a spotted tin horse…..
Letters made of mirrors on a shocking blue board…..
A zinc architectural piece, the best one I’ve ever had…..
A navy blue basket full of navy and cream coverlets…..
A wooden processional piece from the flea market in Tongeren, Belgium…..
A pot metal bird…..
A navy corner cupboard with a hoop skirt form as a wreath…..
More leather books and European paintings…..
Which is the best? Could I ever pick just one? Some of the items in these photos were sold at
The Hudson Mercantile but  I still think of them lovingly from time to time. Most, though,
I have kept. As my eye sweeps back over these pictures, I know my friend was right. Everything
IS my favorite.

Let It Snow

Last year we had a very unusual winter in our little part of the north east.  Much to my

dismay, while friends everywhere else, even in Texas, sang “Let It Snow,” I kept

asking “where’s mine” ?

This year, though, the Farmer’s Almanac has kept its promise of a cold, snowy winter

and I am in my glory.

Every window calls me to gaze upon an otherworldly grey and white landscape.

If only they knew, my bees, asleep for now, would probably be so happy to be

missing this chilly day.

Tomorrow we are scheduled for another 12 inches.

The wind blows, the snow drifts. What’s left behind is art that no human

hand can match.

As snow inches its way to the top of my 4′ tall well cover,  I wonder if it can get any


Another tall piece, this 5′ tall urn almost disappears from view before my eyes.

Watching the birds is a favorite activity at our house.  I am enthralled by the way our

diminutive friends puff up to keep warm.

Ken keeps a path cleared to the feeder.  Even though we know that these winter

birds don’t really need our contributions,  it feels good to think we are providing

a treat.  For us, the reward is huge as we watch a steady parade of fine-feathered

entertainers, tiny spots of color in an otherwise-monochromatic view.

The sun sets and dusk spreads purple over my white world, adding another rich layer

to my winter life.

Great Blue Heron

Driving through Vermont, we passed what looked like just a wetland, pretty with the

Green Mountains majestic behind it.  However,  many of the marsh’s  trees were topped

with weird  blobs, looking like fantastical tall,  skinny cartoon people with funky big hair.

Of course, we had to go back to check  this situation out.  In spite of being on a highway

with not much of a shoulder for leisurely parking and photo-taking.

Nests full of herons.  And babies!  The parents took turns guarding, flying off to eat and

returning with a meal for a baby.

The tiny black question mark-shaped thing in the nest is a baby’s neck and head. Even with

my stabilized telephoto lens, the distance and the shake of the truck make these birds hard

to see. I wish the photos were better. But, the thrill of this siting made me want to have them

here anyway. I’ll try to do better next time.

Hey, Baby!

Look who’s waiting to fly !  There are four of these tiny wonders in the nest on top of the

column by our front door. 

It  is the third batch of babies in the pretty moss-filled nest this spring.  There are nests

on the other columns on our porch, too.  We have to be  ready to duck because the parents

swoop out of the nests when we come onto the porch.  When we open the front door, we

have to go easy or we’ll be spending our time shooing birds back outside and cleaning up

droppings.  Sometimes, a nest is built  in  the wreath on our front door and, if we don’t catch

it in time, we can’t use that door till the babies have flown.  Look at Bird #2 sitting on top of

Bird #4 (below).  This nest is way too crowded !  Just think how nice it will feel to fly after

this claustrophobic situation.

One year, we had baby foxes in our back barn which meant we couldn’t go in with

customers  for the few months it took for them to grow up and go off.  Watching the fox cubs

play in the yard, tumbling over each other, climbing onto industrial carts and tipping back

off again is something we’ll never forget.  These are bonuses, pleasures we never expected

when we moved to the country.