Wednesday, May 29

Box turtles are the best, and other thoughts

This week has been so busy!! At one point I thought I was going to totally lose it. Wait, what am I saying ~ I did totally lose it. It can be so hard to stay on top of things. The kitchen is often a complete wreck. The bathroom sinks. I can't even go there. The toilets. The laundry. The yard work. The humidity. The crying baby hanging on my knees while I try to rustle up something to eat for myself other than cereal.

I do keep pretty high expectations. Even though I know it can be silly to think that just after I get things in order ~ that's when I'll relax. Then a week passes and I haven't relaxed. Tim relaxes. It makes me jealous.

I've been staying up late to garden, scattering seeds, weeding, pruning, building rock edgings and planting perennials.  Discovering nooks and crannies and vistas. Watching the bats come out.

I crave that time after Cedar goes down and cram it with the neverending needs to create, to relax, to build, to sink into a few full hours where I forget I have the responsibility of a little one, and it's just me. It replenishes. Sometimes enough, sometimes not.

Sometimes I needed the sleep more but I can't bear to sleep away that time.

Every morning when I awake at 5am with Cedar boisterous and bouncing, I swear I'm going to take a week and go to bed early every night. Imagine having energy!

My day off a week is a lifesaver. Tim watches Cedar and I struggle to decide how much or how little I want to do. Work on those projects. Lay around and read. Watch a movie. Go for a walk. Bake. Sleep. Run errands. There's always too much for one day. I don't want to be running ragged all day and reach sunset with no breath left.

So I pick and choose. Try to take it slow. Try to enjoy what's in front of me.

And there's always a moment of quiet. Of cool evening breeze. Of a quick shower, or a camera picked up at a great moment, or a surprise for dinner. There's possibility, plans and appreciation.

I don't want to miss any of it.

xo Brooke


Thursday, May 23



Well. It's hard to know what to say.

Our sweet 16-year old calico cat, Mimi, passed away on Monday. She had been diagnosed with lymphosarcoma (cancer) a few months back and it was too far gone to do much about except it give her vitamins and lots of fresh food and water. And let her enjoy herself as long as she was able. When she was weighed on Monday she had dwindled down to 4lb 8oz, less than half of her usually voluptuous self. It's just been the past two weeks or so that she has slowly receded inside of herself, assisting me with her leaving by being present in other ways as her personality faded. It was still a hard decision to make to take her to the vet to be put down. Just one more day, right? But then it just needed to be done.


She was a garden girl, disappearing under the veggies and the blooms. Out at night gazing at the moon. Taunting the dogs. She came when I called her. And when we first saw this house, part of my knowing it was right for us was my vision of Mimi out sunbasking on the huge warm sloped bedrocks.


The nine years with her is gone; I can't believe it. My staunch little sidekick.

the afternoon stretches before me...

I wish pets lived longer. It's hard when someone you love dies, because they're not there to comfort you about it.

Hug your furries today. xo Brooke


Sunday, May 19


all double exposures, Holga camera, 35mm film

Tim is slicing into the ice cream sandwhich I bought him this week. Blueberry lemon between lemon cookies.

Three oriental poppies and one red yarrow are in pots on the back porch, waiting to be planted. Today's gentle rain settled all the new seeds and seedlings in.

We moved Cedar's bed into his own room today. He's sleeping in it right now but he won't really know it until he wakes up tomorow. Hopefully the transition is smooth. While it's going to be nice to not have to tiptoe around our room in the night, I will miss him there. Coincidentally, one year ago today was his baby shower; he wasn't even born and now he's not even sleeping in our room. Sigh.

I just started reading Sea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides and it promises to be good. Did I already mention seeing the recent Werner Herzog film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams? So fantastic. One of the best films I've ever seen; so thought provoking and mindblowing.


Wednesday, May 15

I wanted to tell you (but there just wasn't time)

The other night when the thunderstorm came and the lightning-bolts crashed overhead and made me a little frightened, and I took the box of kohlrabi, kale, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, and heirloom tomato seedlings out to the freshly turned raised beds and planted each one secure, the rain at first cold and uncomfortable but soon as natural-feeling on my skin as a cool shower, my yoga pants stretching soggily longer and longer, my glasses fogging under Tim's baseball cap, mud under my feet and all the froggies in the neighborhood peeping joy, I almost started to write to you about it. 

The past few days, I almost began to write to you about how when Cedar has a cold, he naps so very often, and before each nap I nurse him to sleep and see that he is so comforted and so safe and I feel his body grow heavy and soft like the most delicious thing I will ever hold. I thought about how fast he is growing up and I watch people's reactions to him as they relive their own children's extinct childhoods and I am so thankful I have not yet passed through his.

When we walked down the canal path yesterday, slowly, with Cedar bumping along gently in his stroller, and watched the turtles duck into the moss, the herons flap shyly away, the kingfisher perch bluely and chatter irritatedly at us, smelt the honeysuckle and heard the wingbeats of the bald eagle we almost didn't see sitting in the dead tree as he flew right overhead, my arm rising to point as my voice stuttered Tim-tim-tim!, I almost wrote about it to you. About how we ended up at the farm, a little sun-kissed and pretty thirsty, where I bought herb seedlings, purple salvia and coral lantana and thought about my grandmother growing up on her farm and how I was happy that Cedar was growing up in the country.

When I looked out the window and saw the red-bellied woodpecker holding his own against the five blue jays while the downies and the flicker waited in the tree for their turn at the feeder filled with homemade suet smelling so good I could almost eat it myself, made from months of Tim's saved bacon grease and peanut butter and which hardly lasts a day or two, I wanted to tell you about it. About how the blue jays fly in with superhero capes and bold spirits to gulp beakfuls with a flourish while the downies creep up the back of the trunk to gorge unseen.

Last week I almost began writing to you when we took Cedar to the prothonotary to apply for his passport for our July trip to the Ontario cabin, and he first had to get his picture taken at CVS and cried for the first three pictures until another customer held up a stuffed ladybug and sang a bit and we got a little grin above super pudgy cheeks for the picture he will have in his passport for the next five years.

When I saw Tim sitting on the porch surrounded by the flotsam of our busy days and not doing anything but quietly watching the front yard and all the subtle happenings that occur there, and I was filled with admiration, I wanted to write to you about it.

But I didn't write to you about any of these things. There wasn't time. Then.

xo Brooke


Sunday, May 12

just a click but such joy

photo by Tim's mom

double exposure by Tim 

 on the monkey bars

double exposure 

Cedar and I, sunset 

double exposure,  Tim and his mom 

double exposure

Some film shots I just got back from a roll of 36. There is nothing like looking through my film photos after I've been waiting for weeks for them to get developed! It's like a glimpse into another world of myself and my collaboration with a magical reality.

After our now-normal 5am wakeup with Cedar, I nursed him and returned to sleep (unusual, but it's Mother's Day). Tim brought me breakfast a couple of hours later ~ smashed banana pancakes and sliced strawberries. Amazing. Downstairs were flowers and a handwritten note. My first Mother's Day with a babe outside the womb.

How's your weekend going?

xo Brooke


Sunday, May 5

one of those days

Today was exhausting. I could hardly wait for it to be over.

Plants needed to be watered. Stumps dug. Shredded things gathered up after the puppy. Again. Cedar was clingy. The kitchen is a total mess. The amount of upkeep just a normal day takes overwhelmed. It's hard to let things go because I notice them still and they continue to nag at me. We ran out of toilet paper. I banged my knee going over the baby gate. Again. I think I may have killed the climbing hydrangea with too much root damage when I transplanted it. The hose always kinks. I'm behind in my work. I need to get to the post office. The fridge is empty. I'm sunburned and I have poison ivy. I don't drink enough water.

Today was amazing. I appreciated so many things about it.

Cedar ate his morning banana while watching the hummingbird on the window feeder, inches away. My mom brought up a load of leaf mulch for the veggie beds and turned it in so all we need to do is plant seeds. Indigo learned how to chase a tennis ball. I feel so happy that it is spring and not fall. There's a new hawk hanging around. I'm reading the most riveting book. There are 10 mangos on the counter, ripening. I saw a newborn donkey tippling around on its little legs this morning on the way to breakfast out with Cedar. I planted two butterfly bushes. I made rice pudding and then ate most of it myself. I figured out where to build the outdoor shower. (In the pines). A tufted titmouse flew to the feeder when I was weeding right under it, cocked a beady eye at me, and kept on eating. I had a cup of green tea. I finally found a replaceable thermos stopper for Tim's favorite old thermos. The feeling of a hot shower and fresh clothes after a day outside is wonderful. It looks like the fiddlehead ferns are taking to their new spot. Cedar went to bed without a peep.

I've been wrestling between these two viewpoints since this morning. It was just one of those days.

xo Brooke


Friday, May 3

evenings with their ruby throats

The little things in life are actually really big.

Cedar is in bed and the sky is flushed with pink behind the confetti profusion of poplar silhouettes waving imperceptibly in the evening breeze. Indigo has neatly bitten off the blooms of the tulips I planted last spring and snacked on them; the darkening lawn is scattered with their yellow petals. I was filling the vegetable beds with beautiful rich compost earlier while Cedar crawled the piles I was shoveling, every so often popping a particularly delicious looking chunk of loam into his mouth and giving it a chew. The rains this week made the weeding a pleasure. The blueberries are budding, the earthworms are scooting and I unearthed a cautious salamander or two. It is lovely outdoors these days, isn't it?


Thursday, May 2





He's munchy.

Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.
~ Georgia O'Keefe

I came across that quote the other day and it really resounded with me. Balancing my artwork and my house and motherhood is tricky. I find myself driven to do it all. These words gave me peace. I don't expect to make loads of money from my work. I don't need it to be in famous museums or have lots of shows. It makes me happiest when someone from Arkansas or London or Perth writes me and tells me what a piece means to them, and how happy they will be to live with it. Then I feel the resonance of what I do.