Sunday, September 30, 2012

Soap nuts for laundry

Airing my (clean) laundry and reporting on an experiment with soap nuts, plus reminiscences from boarding school days: Soap from Trees - guest blogger post.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tromboncino squash

Note: the magnificent squashes shown in this guest post were not grown by me. Maybe, someday!

Friday, September 07, 2012

On Pinterest and turf removal

Check out a couple more guest blog posts in which I reveal my weakness for Pinterest and introduce the front yard project--grass for food!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Guest blogging!

I'm excited to have the opportunity to be a guest blogger over at Little Homestead in the City!

The online world has changed DRAMATICALLY since I started blogging 11 years ago. All sorts of strategies for branding (my selection of JBB was not the most brilliant branding move...) and building traffic and finding a niche audience and "monetizing" your blog and having a consistent presence across all social media sites, etc.

But, at the basic level, blogging is still about writing, and I am looking forward to the chance to write in this medium more often.

Here is the first post: Dirty Dishes Management.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

If life gives you a box of grapefruit...

get out your juicer (like the one your mother used when you were growing up in Zambia and which you happily happened to find in a favorite thrift shop some years ago)

and squeeze seven and half quarts of fresh grapefruit juice!

The leftovers:

Saturday, July 14, 2012


We make ourselves real by telling the truth. –Thomas Merton
As quoted by Elizabeth Esther.

On reading (again)

All we need to know is how to recognize God's will for the present moment. Any reading we might choose without regard to the will of God is harmful to us. The will of God and obedience to His leading brings [sic] us grace, and this grace is what does the work in the depths of our hearts through reading or anything else we do. Without God, books are but vain appearances, deprived of God's life-giving power as far as we are concerned, and they only succeed in emptying the heart by the very satisfaction our reading brings to the mind [emphasis mine].
From The Joy of Full Surrender (Paraclete Essentials) by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, page 18

Another in the occasional series on reading and books.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Boundary stones

When I walked outside this morning, I saw that three large stones had been placed in the herb spiral in the front yard, rocks I had dug out from the back yard of my previous residence. I would have left them at my old place, except for the spot-on suggestion of Jordanne that they could be useful here.

They immediately recalled the boundary stones of the Ancient Near East and stones that were used as memorials in the Bible (e.g., after the Israelites crossed the Jordan River in Joshua 4).

And, Psalm 16:6 came to mind: "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance (NIV)." Or, as the Common English Bible translates the verse: "The property lines have fallen beautifully for me; yes, I have a lovely home."

Then, the significance of land was underscored in this column in The Jerusalem Post by Wayne Stiles:
When one reads the Bible, it becomes clear how geography is the stage on which the redemptive narrative takes place. The land God chose was not arbitrary, for He designed even the land itself to develop the spiritual lives of His people. One of God’s stated purposes in bringing the Hebrews from Egypt was to give them a land that fostered faith (Deuteronomy 11:10-15). The land was never intended to be just a place to live.

Land. Home. Boundary lines and stones. A place. A grateful heart. 
To whom much is given much will be required.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Truth comes only to those who must have it, who want it badly enough. And gifts of healing come only to those willing to change. Jesus had his demands even for the blind and leprous. Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam. Show yourself to the priest. Sin no more. He had larger demands for the rich. Sell all and come.

There is hope for us but no easy healing. There is truth but never without search.

There is beauty but only in the exercise of discipline and the control of waste. Our lives can be redeemed but only with lasting commitment to live under God's judgment and grace.
By Doris Janzen Longacre in the Foreword to Living More with Less page 15.

And, at the spring-time beginning of this new year, a re-posting of Flannery O'Connor's unadorned statement:
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

True fasting

It is necessary most of all for one who is fasting to curb anger, to accustom himself to meekness and condescension, to have a contrite heart, to repulse impure thoughts and desires, to examine his conscience, to put his mind to the test and to verify what good has been done by us in this or any other week, and which deficiency we have corrected in ourselves in the present week. This is true fasting.  - St. John Chrysostom
 As quoted by Molly Sabourin.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fruitful choices

Every day I have the opportunity to choose how I am going to live—this is a great privilege but also a great responsibility. The way of our dreams–the Alpine Path, if you will–is not a leisurely stroll in a shaded wood, or even a pleasant hike up a rolling grade. It is a daily battle. A limiting unto more freedom. A devotion and a discipline, and it will sometimes require a shedding or a pruning or a sundering. It means that I cannot be choice-less in the matter because every day’s fruit is only a result of the choices I have made all along the way, from the time I get up till the time I go to bed.
~Lanier of Lanier's Books in a post about Tasha Tudor.