Friday, June 25, 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On

A tea towel sold by ~ Don't you just want a stack?
I love these reproduction items from English war posters. They were put up in the Underground (or "Tube") and around London and other areas during World War II: here is some history on them. There is no more British sentiment than "Carry On!" It means, in essence, "as you were," "keep going," or "just do what you were doing." If you wait in line in England, you will be in an orderly single-file line, or "queue." ["No bunching!" as my son's English soccer coach used to say to the boys as they huddled about the field in little packs.] Can you imagine that in America?

Space is a big issue in England, too. There is much less of it now but I'm talking about personal space. If someone gets in your space, or walks near it, or dares to bump you, you will hear a "Sorry!" uttered. Not in a sarcastic way but in an "Oh, I'm so sorry to have bumped into you or near you" kind of way. I have to say, we have a lot of space here and I've happily traded perfect Miss Read-esque kind of New England village life (in some ways) for land spreading out so far and wide on a rolling rural ridge in Kentucky.

"Keep Calm and Carry On" is a motto that I can use right now, if not every day of my year. When I had a major disappointment the other day (from something where I'd done everything by the book, to the letter, had waited anxiously upon for almost three months, and then to find that an important email to the process had never been received: so here's my word of wisdom on that front–CALL!), my friend Edie (and fellow Cupcake) just reminded me to keep swimming, even if it is water over (or is that under?) the ubiquitous bridge. [And that's the little song that Dory sung in Finding Nemo, too: "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming..." Sometimes it is all you can do. And like Dorrie, I have a similar attention span/short term memory issue.]

So where is the summer going? It is slipping away from us and next weekend will already be July 4! We've had a lot going on at the farm and there are days it is all I can do not to just crawl into bed with a good book (although I highly recommend this for afternoon siestas, if possible, or early-to-bed-with-book evenings). Right now at Cupcake Chronicles, we're on a path of new literary vigor and have collectively chosen the novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. I highly recommend it, especially if you like food with your fiction. Next we'll be (re)reading a classic English novel by E.M. Forster called Howard's End. Join us!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Fresh local strawberries! Our season here in Kentucky lasts about three weeks in May.
I do know what you're probably thinking: didn't this woman just say she wasn't blogging for a while? Perhaps it is just crazy Summer Solstice energy fueling my peripatetic moods but, you see, I'm always open to suggestions, great ideas, and new ways of seeing the world. One of our readers here (Destiny, thank you!) has suggested that I just post a photo from time to time and not worry so much about writing. Brilliant! [Of course, I've probably already babbled on too much.]

So here's my plan: throughout the summer I'll post photos with captions, at the very least, and if I am able to write more, I'll do that, too. It works for me. [I have to say that I am so very pleased with Blogger's recent tweaks to ways of blogging, especially in the new ease of uploading, posting and editing photographs. They have come so far in the past five years in terms of self-design options.]

Organic black raspberries from the local Casey County Produce Auction have been frozen for muffins and for homemade black raspberry ice cream that I'm planning for a Father's Day cookout on Sunday.

My first attempts, ever, at making ice cream, and using our local strawberry finds! Last month I purchased a Sunbeam® ice cream maker for under $30 at Target in Lexington [now it is on sale for even less than I paid. It is electric and makes a gallon in about one hour. Loads of fun (but I didn't realize it would require loads of heavy cream to make it: yikes!)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Suspended Animation

Our first haying time is in late May before it gets too hot and humid, as it is now.
I have been reconsidering my relationship with the computer of late. It is a necessary tool for me and I can't imagine writing without it. (Although this is entirely possible, even if I do not want to return to the thought of banging out articles, double-spaced with liquid corrector, as I did with college papers on my electric Olympia. My father had given me this as a high school graduation gift, thirty years ago this month, in fact.) However, I've been wired on the internet for about 13 years now, have blogged for five, and Facebooked for one. I have countless emails that I have sent and received--less prolific than I used to be so that is a start. I have withdrawn from Facebook somewhat, with occasional check-ins, and I refuse to Twitter. So there's all of that. I text occasionally, always to my daughter, on a very primitive off-the-shelf basic version of my basic Verizon cell phone plan (which I'm also reconsidering).

What has been designed to be an effective modern tool, even time-saving, is actually a modern day Prometheus or an incubus in Mac's clothing. Either way, I have been sucked into this world and not always effective in my own real time. So I'm reevaluating how technology and the ability to reach anyone, or find almost anything, with my finger tips is actually not necessarily a good thing for me right now. I have enjoyed blogging but for the past few months the idea of it has felt like a chore. I continue to photograph my world, often with the idea of "oh, I should blog this..." and then I never do.

The view of our farm from the edge of the knob field where we placed some of the hay from our first cutting this year. Our new hay shed looms over Ida's old farmhouse that we intend to renovate to live in when we can. For now it is a place for summer meals, guests and a makeshift writing studio, sans internet.
Summer here is a busy time: haying about once a month for several days, lots of meals and ferrying of picnics, our boys home from school, canning and preserving what I can get locally or am growing in the garden. So there's that.

So I've decided to just take the pressure off for a time. I still have books available and will respond to any orders that come in. I might still blog on occasion in the next few months but no promises. I appreciate everyone who reads and follows my blog and hope you will continue to check in on occasion. I welcome you to join me on Facebook [under "Catherine Seiberling Pond"] where I will also be popping in on occasion [mmm, maybe Facebook and its necessary brevity has made me less of a blogger?].

I do follow other blogs but not as much as I might like to do: I suppose I could find a reason to be on the internet all day if I wanted to. Here is a recent blog called "Nothingness" written by Susan Orlean, a staff writer at The New Yorker among other accomplishments (author of The Orchid Thief for one) who, lucky duck, has a summer fellowship at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, amidst my old stomping grounds. She is musing about the same thing, more or less, as she is without WiFi by design and circumstance. As artist and writer's colonies were designed for escape from the everyday so that their colonists can write, compose and create unhindered (think summer camp with endless free time and great meals and lunches delivered quietly in a basket to your studio), the internet and social media have presented a modern problem there, too.

So here is to "Nothingness" for a time and to making choices that can provide everything.