Friday, February 28, 2014


I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday. Nothing that a quiet day and some chicken soup couldn't fix. (And, indeed, did fix.)

Since I was going to be at home all day, I thought I would set myself to some sedentary tasks that I have long avoided. That is, doing some mending and sewing on missing buttons. And oh, my goodness, the pile of garments in need of this sort of attention had grown embarrassingly large.

So I set up shop in front of the gas fireplace, assembled my sewing stuff, and turned on some trashy daytime television to keep me company. And yes, we are the last family on earth to have an old-fashioned TV. We are far too parsimonious to replace this one while it is still working.

Speaking of parsimoniousness, look at this! I have an old Ball jar filled with spare buttons. This is, I am sure, a legacy from my mother and grandmother, two wily women who were affected by the Great Depression. From them, I learned the habit of saving buttons. Old, worn out shirts and blouses are never just thrown away. First, I snip off all of the usable buttons and pop them into this jar. Then, the larger sections of cotton fabric are cut into dust cloths. I can't not do this. I think it is in my DNA.

With this ample collection of recycled buttons, it was pretty easy to match and replace those gone missing from the shirts still in use. And after a couple of hours of steady work, a good number of clothing items have gone back into service.

Grandma Holmes would be proud of me.


Monday, February 24, 2014

A lovely gift.

Guess what I got in the mail today? A lovely French-style butter crock from R.S. Lang Pottery, a wonderful giveaway by the bloggers over at When You Wake Up. Thank you, Colleen and Alyssa! It is a really beautiful gift, just like your blog.


Saturday, February 22, 2014


 There is still plenty of snow on the ground, but the temperature is nearing 50 degrees Fahrenheit at noon this sunny Saturday. The sky is bright blue with puffy clouds and everything is dripping.

 Inside, the sun is strong and the houseplants seem to be basking in it.

 On my kitchen windowsill, a Christmas cyclamen  is re-blooming with one huge white blossom.

I just swept off the front porch and hung a small St. Patrick's Day wreath there.

No doubt, there will be more cold weather to come, more blustery squalls before winter leaves us in peace. But for today, the strong sunshine feels promising, brings hope. Hang in there, it seems to say. It won't be long now.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Saratoga's own "souper" bowl: a thumbs up for Chowderfest!

The British were getting ready to invade Congress Park in Saratoga this afternoon as the Handsome Husband and I cut through there on our way to Chowderfest. The soldiers said that they had returned to free us from this new tyranny. (I didn't ask which new tyranny they had in mind.)

 I don't know who originally dreamed up the idea for this event but it was a stroke of tourism genius.
This was Saratoga's sixteenth annual Chowderfest and the city was packed. 

I asked a staffer at The Irish Times how their bar business was today compared to other winter Saturdays.  Did they do more business? Or less? Or about the same?

"Are you kidding me?" he asked. "More, much more. We've got both bars open all day."

Their chowder (not pictured) had Jameson's Irish whiskey as an ingredient. Nice chunky vegetables, too.

The Handsome Husband and I liked the Hot and Sour soup at Phila Fusion, shown above. I'm not certain it qualifies as chowder, but the Chowder Police were not in evidence today. The soup was tasty and full of good stuff, with just the right zing to warm up a winter afternoon.

Across the street, Sweet Mimi's was offering a tasty chicken and white bean chowder, with  a wonderful bonus of a cheddar scone. Really good.

Truly, there were thousands of people in Saratoga sampling chowder this afternoon. The weather felt mild after all of that deep cold and everyone was enjoying being out of doors. Some lines were long but they moved quickly and folks were in good spirits.

Saratoga prides itself on being a dog-friendly city, so chowders just for dogs were also on offer at a half-dozen or so places. This fellow was getting ready to check those out.

In all, over 80 restaurants, pubs, and other food-related businesses participated in today's event. There was free music, contests, you name it. Check it out when Chowderfest rolls around next year.