Books by the old Leather Chair

  • Snow In The Summer
  • My Bible
  • The Power of Silence
  • What Comes Next and to Like It
  • Encore Provence
  • A Year in Provence

Friday, January 27, 2012

Waiting For Spring

At dawn
what do I see?

The garden is sleeping
and waiting for Spring

A few plants never
went to sleep :)

For a few days
I am giving the computer a rest
Be back next week.

Think on this.....

~~As I grow older, may I be kind to myself
     As I grow older, may I accept joy and sorrow
     As I grow older may I be happy and at peace~~

"Aging is a Spiritual Practice"  by Lewis Richmond

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I have always believed in miracles
At the moment
reading a book that most
classify as a children's book.
Warm and real, packed with
country magic, family love and
people to remember.

In some ways it reminds me
of magic times of discovery,
wandering through my woods at this time of life,
simpler times with my youngest daughter,
dreams I had in past years.

On a January afternoon I smiled
as I read
"the time between Christmas
and spring is always the
longest time of the year."

"Miracles on Maple Hill"
by Virginia Sorenson

Aisling - Whatever the Weather
Thank you

Going to pass this book on to my two youngest granddaughter's.
They both love to read.   Hope they enjoy it as much as grandma did :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Think I Am A Slow Learner

There comes a point
in your life when you realize

Who matters
Who never did,
Who won't anymore
and who will

So, don't worry
about people from your past

There's a reason why
they didn't make it
to your future....

Not long ago
received this in the mail
as part of a larger message

It says a lot
thought I would post
this morning....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

They Know How To Live

First image - Miss Callie
Second image was on AOL website this morning.

Wish I could do this occasionally.

Today is tidy the yard,
pile branches to be burned later
spread straw that I picked up earlier from a neighbor  on my new
Spring project of a no till garden - hopefully this will save me work.
empty trunk of car that holds bird seed, dog food and 4 bags of mulch that I picked up for $1 a bag
vacuum garage
clean garage windows
rehang bamboo shade that blew off of hooks on screen porch
have helper show me how to remove vacuum bag from new vacuum
Move a big dead log - we can roll - that once a month grass cutter - moved onto my buttercup bed
my helper is slightly handicapped and rides a bicycle
to my property
Use him 4 hours once a month
Thankful for him

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Different January

The terrible storm system that was predicted for my area - missed me.
There was a lot of rain and I have limbs on the ground from the old trees everywhere
so there must have been a lot of wind - but it did not wake me up.

 On my trip to local town  this morning I noticed that many of the fields are full of
newly purchased cows.  Stopped in the middle of the road and took a picture of this fine
cow..... Wonder in this farming community if this is more
profitable then planting in the fields.
When I lived in the old farm house I bottle fed 4 baby calves years later when cows were sold
I had a dozen or more.
I can still hear their cries as they loaded them to take to stockyard.  They were all pets.  Sad memory...

When I returned home and as I unloaded truck I noticed a few things
Buttercups emerging
Lilac bush bursting with buds
Plants at the edge of the woods are surfacing
Many of my herbs continued to flourish
Picture is of parsley
Rosemary, lavender, thyme, sage are all
still green.

So at present time - this is a different kind of January.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Peaceful Morning

What I see
when I step outside

Could anything
be more
 beautiful ?

No words to describe
the peace I feel
or the praise
in my heart
for our creator....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

From Italy - Use 3/4 Cup Sugar For Apple Yogurt Cake

A blog I read about once a week
the apple yogurt cake looked so good and simple
but did not understand
the 150 g of sugar
guess I could have looked up.
Made a comment and within
an hour EliFla
It is 3/4 cup of sugar.

Said a hug was being sent to me
and think of all the trees
I was meeting on my road :)

Computer is great for One Woman
who "today" feels like she lives
in the wilderness.....

Thanks to one far over the ocean....

For recipe in English - scroll down.......

I have all of the ingredients on hand
and may make it tomorrow.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sad Timbering

As I drive my country road for the last several weeks
More then usual as I am in the process of exploring changing
my doctor from the big city to local small town.

On my road I keep noticing  the pile of newly cut logs
Row after row of newly cut huge trees.
Gives me a sense of sadness
as I drive by.

Yet, I remember, with shame
that this was something I once did.

Before selling the old farm house
as a means of additional income
I had some of my woods timbered.

The memory still so vivid of the result.
Cut tree after tree was piled in the nearby field.
When they had all been taken off
I went to the woods
and cried at what I saw.
The tops covered the floor of the woods.
Paths I once walked no longer could be seen.
I remember telling my son, before his visit
that it looked like a war zone.
Soon after the timbering
he made a visit and
he walked with me.
I remember his sad voice as he spoke to me
his reply was "please never do this again."


~~If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?
We might, if they screamed all the time for no good reason~~   Jack Handey

~~I never saw a discontented tree.  They grip the ground as though they liked it~~  John Muir

Thursday, January 19, 2012

May I Ask - What Do You Eat ?

This was yesterday...

Breakfast - Old fashion Oates with chopped apple, raisins, walnuts, brown sugar and milk.  1 mango and 3 cups of green tea.

Later - An Ensure - for several years this is an addition during the day.  Sometimes make a smoothie
with yogurt, fruit and soy protein powder.

Lunch - Potato soup (with addition of last two garden turnips, chopped carrot, celery, garlic and onion) with chopped collard greens and bacon on top. Fruit tea and  two orange cookies with milk

Later a sundae with vanilla ice cream and warm Carmel sauce.   If I do not have this then I have several pieces of candy or some nuts.

Evening Meal - same potato soup, fruit tea and small piece of chocolate cake

Now this looks sufficient to me.  Scale has not budged off of 108 lbs in several years. I do not want to lose anymore.  Over the last few years I have lost
5 lbs and cannot seem to gain them back.  In my younger years I always gained 4 or 5 lbs during Christmas holidays - not anymore.   Might add that my son who teaches Yoga in Thailand, tells me that most of his female students are small like his mom and he thinks my weight is fine for 5 ft 2...

 Youngest daughter reminds me that my portions seem small to her :)

All of this plus a handful of supplemental vitamins and a blood pressure pill

I want to stay healthy through these "old" years.

I miss so much walking and working outside, the cold weather bothers me to much to walk outside and after all I do inside do not feel like driving to local town to walk on indoor track - Spring I can hardly wait for you to return.

Oh, 3 or 4 nights a week when I wake up at midnight I will have a cup of hot chocolate or yogurt :)

Now soup would have been complete if I had made my 1/2 pan of cornbread  - finally mastered half
my recipe that is real took a while - using my mother's small iron skillet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January Dawn

I opened the door
to let Miss Callie out

Stepped onto
the deck
this crisp cold morning

Yesterday it was 60 degrees
this morning in the 20's
weather you are
up and down

Looked up at the sky

"Why should I explore the world
when there is so much to explore
between the road and my own doorstep?"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thoughts For The Day

It is only when we silence the blaring sounds of our daily existence
 that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us,
 as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.
~K.T. Jong~

Life is a process of becoming, a continuous state that we must go through.
Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it.
This is a kind of death.
~Anais Nin~

This day "One Woman"  will remember
she is equal portions of iron heart and frightening vulnerability.
To be kind to myself.
Rest more
Do things that bring joy
and surround myself with positive people.

....image sent to grandma from my  "Jessica" of a special one in her life...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lady Bugs A Sign Of Good Luck

                                                                                                                                                     I wonder when did you come inside

At 10:00 AM
one morning last week

the wind is howling
the rain falling
like the temperatures

Look where I found you
on my computer keyboard

A sure sign of Good Luck

What do I do with you
I know
I will put you on a shelf
by the window

I will smile
and remember
good luck
is coming my way....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chocolate Sheet Cake - Since You Asked

2 cups sifted flour                            
2 cups sugar                                     
1 tsp soda                                              
1 teaspoon cinnamon                                                                                                   
 2 sticks margarine
1 cup water                                       
4 tablespoons cocoa                               
1/2 cup buttermilk                                                                            S
2 eggs well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 stick margarine (I use butter)
4 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons milk
1 box (16 ounces) powdered sugar - sometimes I add more powdered sugar to make icing thicker :)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 13 x 9 - 2 inch deep pan ( I use one slightly larger)
Sift together flour, sugar, soda and cinnamon.  Place in small saucepan margarine,  water
cocoa and bring to boil, pour into flour mixture and mix well.  Add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla,  Pour into  prepared pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes (until springs back when touched - cake will be soft)
Spread with warm icing.

Icing -  while cake is baking - place margarine or butter, cocoa, and milk in small saucepan, mix and bring to boil.  Remove from heat and add sugar, vanilla, nuts.  If too thick, add some more milk.  Spread on warm sheet cake.

From "The Nashville Cookbook" Specialties of Cumberland Region -   my copy I wrote inside when I bought in 1976.  At that time I lived at the Old Farm House with my youngest daughter "Jamie" and my only son.   Oh - time - where have you gone....
I have made this cake more times then I can remember.  Always a favorite and never fails to receive

Hint - I rarely keep buttermilk on hand - I put vinegar in the milk and let it sit 5 minutes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Busy Morning And First Snow

Cold, wind blowing and a little snow predicted.

Cauliflower soup was made.  She is always changing recipes.  Instead of using Kale she used the remainder of her Collard Greens,  Instead of Tarragon which she did not have she used her Rosemary and Thyme.
No addition of white wine - none on hand.  This time she put ingredients in the blender.  Kind of bland even with garlic and onions and she put in some Tabasco.  Made it just right.

Then the chocolate sheet cake was made.  Planned on making next week and freezing half.  Like to keep something on hand in case some one comes by.   Usually she eats the whole thing herself.   Oh this is the best recipe she has been making for 40 years, a family favorite and so easy.

The project of sorting recipes, putting them in plastic sheets and in a binder - has begun.  A must as some favorites are beginning to be so stained and worn they are hard to read.
For many years the thought of making a cookbook for children.
There are just too many recipes and the binders will be available whenever they visit.

The snow started after lunch and the pickup windshield was so icy she could hardly see to drive to
the road for mail.

Her mother wore a big rain bonnet when it rained and she vowed she would never wear one of those things.
One of the items she picked up at her mother's home after her death was her rain bonnet.   The rain bonnet is something she wears at times like this.
At a younger age she would never have put this on - now it makes her smile....

Enough news  from One Woman who lives in a cottage at the edge of the woods.

Oh, I think I am going to experiment with a no till garden this year.   My garden is so small but supplies all she need and then some.   Sure would be nice not to hoe weeds....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cedar Incense

I miss the wood burning fire place and wood stove that was part of many past years.   I kept a fire going on cool Fall evenings, through the Winter and into rainy days of Spring.  The basket near by was always full of wood and  on the side porch a little red wagon was handy with more wood.  In the evening  I would pull my chair up as close as I could get and just sit.  Sit looking at the flames, soaking in the warmth of the fire with not a thought on my mind.
Nothing can compare to a wood fire burning in a fire place.

 Sitting still is something I  find very difficult to do.   Why?  You would think by now it would be easier for me in these last years.     Why  the constant doing?   But then I like an orderly and neat home and on a nice day I am outside looking to see if anything is peeking through the earth,  picking up limbs that continually fall from the old trees and searching for a new camera challenge.  An early riser and I am not doing well with not turning on computer first thing in the morning.   Seems that is when an inspiration for writing occurs and also I am excited to see if there is an email from one of my children or grandchildren.

On being still,  I am so very slightly better because of my practice of mindfulness but I am far from my goal.    So many books are piled by my old leather chair and every morning I tell myself I will read later in the day.   With busyness the day is soon over and I am too weary to read.
Now if we ever have some days where I am literally snowed in - I will read all day....

There are gas logs in this cottage and  I rarely turn them on.   If we have some snow then I might as it gives a little atmosphere.

I miss the special smell of wood burning  and guess that is one reason I like burning incense.   What is burning at the moment
is Cedar and there is a slight woodsy smell in this room.

I think of my son in a far away land as this incense burns.   Memories of walking into his small home
and the scent of incense gave me the idea of beginning this practice.

This is a new burner
last year used an old blue flower pot.
I think I like it better
will retrieve from the outside gardening table
Need some sand for the flower pot and on next trip to local town I will purchase a small bag.

An hour later - have been trying to remember the woodsy scent "mens product" that I could not
get enough of many years ago.   "Aremis"  just came to mind.   I loved the soap for myself in the winter
Use to buy these
products for the father of my children.   I think I am going to look it up as it seems to go with this
cottage in the woods.   Think many of the memories have totally died other then the wonderful
woodsy scent.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Collard Greens

An easy soup to make
and so healthy.

Since it was a busy day yesterday
with a new doctor to visit and blood work,
not feeling the best today
I just made this.....

Over time I have experimented with different greens
and since I bought Collard Greens yesterday
this is what I will use.

Onion cooked in olive oil until translucent
in same pan I add some chopped carrot,
celery and garlic.
Cook about 3 to 5 minutes
put in large pan
Add to 2 cans of white beans that you rinse many times.
sometimes I will mash 1/2 of the beans.
Add chicken or vegetable broth.
Simmer 10 or 15 minutes
Now add a bunch of chopped collard greens
that you have washed, removed tough stem and chopped.
Cook until wilted and how done you want them.
I usually go about 15 minutes.
Add some Rosemary and Thyme (still in my winter garden)
and a splash of Balsamic Vinegar.
In my freezer I have some chopped ham and polish sausage
could add a handful of either of these
may not
or sprinkle some chopped bacon and
Romano cheese on top (this is what I have on hand)

30 minutes later
I want to share
Just had a bowl of this soup
it is delicious..
Also I halfed the recipe for me
using 1 can of beans
and half the bunch of collard greens.
Lunch today and will have this evening
and lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


This post was written 3 years ago today.   My older grandchildren have not seen this - so this is for them.

Beatrice (changed to Bertie) Ellington Hartgrove. - 12/17/1896 - 11/28/1987 Grandma, that is what I always called her. She was my maternal grandmother. I can remember spending time with her during my young years the summers I would come to Tennessee. I enjoyed visiting her home in the country. She loved flowers and I guess the first gardener in the family that left a desire within me to one day have a garden. I can remember the many different varieties in her yard and how she would take the heel of her shoe and dig out a weed she spotted. She had a small garden house that was filled with African Violets. I would say that is where a part of my deep passion for nature and flowers comes from. Especially since I was raised in an apartment building with hardly a blade of grass in sight. Memories of the fresh milk from the cow that my grandfather milked. The cream would rise to the top and she would make a plate of fresh butter. I had never seen this done before or since that time. The best butter I have ever tasted. I remember that!
The only grandfather I ever knew I learned later in life was not my real grandfather. His name was John Crowe, he lived a military life which included World Wars 1 and 11 and months in France. His retirement years were spent with my grandmother on the farm I visited while growing up. I remember the deep affection they had for each other. The strong love was so apparent. My grandmother married young and had two daughters, my mother and my Aunt Bea. The marriage did not last for many reasons and that is another story at another time. When she married again it was to this grandfather. They had two daughters, my Aunt Betty and Johnnie.
As I go through this family history file on this early morning there is so much I do not know. So many names of people that are a part of my biological makeup or DNA, whichever is the correct way to describe it. My real grandfather's name was Robert Carmichael who lived in Lexington, Kentucky. 10/12/1892 - 10/13/1976. He remarried and had a daughter and 3 sons. Relatives I never knew existed. At times in the past I would wonder about them. When this was shared with me I had thoughts of driving to Lexington. Just a thought that soon left my mind. Here I had a grandfather and aunts and uncles I never knew. A cousin of mine who has done extensive genealogy searching, sent me some of his discoveries. Interesting that it goes back to the Revolutionary War.
So much of this information about my mother's real father has only become available to me since my grandmother's death. All of this was a subject that was never discussed while she was living. Wonder what other secrets are in the family?
So maybe some of my memories, information and the file that this One Woman keeps will be interesting to one of my grandchildren. Anyway, I feel that I should document all I can. Guess I have been assigned the keeper of memories for my family. Some information shared from One Woman on her Journey Through This Life


Lunch statement from Amelia. Spotting my stack of journals "is that your homework grandma".

Thursday, January 5, 2012

January Shadows Have Arrived

A year ago I wrote about the January sun making beautiful early morning shadows on the walls of this cottage.
Posted some pictures.
It has started again.
 January and the sun shining in the windows
making shadows - they are beautiful
As of yet no winter
In fact - a week of 50's predicted.
I can see Spring on the horizon

"The mocking bird
opens his throat
among the thorns
for his own reason...

Your clocks, he says plainly
which are always ticking
do not have to be listened to"

~~Mary Oliver~~

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It Was Good

Nothing has tasted very good to me in a long time.
With this Sjogrens dry mouth
there is just not much flavor to anything.

Well it changed yesterday....
I made Butternut Squash soup
it was so good.
My same recipe but with an addition
of thyme and sage which were still in
my garden.

 With hard freeze last night
I will see at daybreak if they lived
through last night.

Some Tuscany bread warmed in olive oil
and my Zucchini bread that just came
out of the oven
It was a winner.

So little that my vegan granddaughter
Sarah - can eat at grandma's
But she would have enjoyed this soup.
Wished you were here...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Country Transportation

With my decision of moving to the country, not being in the city close to health facilities and a distance from
my children
I started checking to see if there were services available in this rural area that I was not familiar or
aware of.
I found Cumberland Transit.
Transportation for people in rural areas.   It covers a number of rural counties in Tennessee and my
county is one of them.
You call several days prior to when you need them, schedule your time and they pick you up at your home and take
you to your destination.    Also when you are ready to return home you call them and within an
hour they pick you up and take you home.
Now, I  heard some say "if you need me let me know"  but I do not respond to this.   Independent  and when someone is sincere you do not have to ask.  But then following my heart is what I try to do.
Last week was an appointment with an oral surgeon that I was not comfortable with.  So many unsettling experiences have been shared with me about the pulling of a wisdom tooth
and I wish I had not listened.
It was also a rainy and cold day and a good time to check this transportation source out.
I was picked up at 8:30 in the morning in a van with the nicest driver.   Onward we went to the big
city, the procedure was no problem, and the pickup call was made when I was ready to leave oral surgeons office.
My youngest daughter (Jamie, thank you)  was with me and we sat in the nearby Yogurt shop waiting for the driver.
It took about an hour but I did not mind as I am a people watcher and this gave me time to sit
still - which I have difficulty doing.
A small bus arrived this time.   I was told he had to pick up someone in a small town neighboring mine and take her to my nearby small town.  
I enjoyed the tour of country roads that I was not familiar with with and found it a peaceful ride as we traveled to pick up another customer.
Did take over an hour for me to arrive home but that was fine.

So now if there is a time I am not comfortable driving to the big city, I have another option.   Bottom line I will be using this service again.  I could even go one way and one of my children bring me home
in case of something special.

This service for all ages, they operate week days between 8:30 and 6:00.   Have special pickups available earlier for hospital visits.

Being very independent I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this special service. 

Only inconvenience might be if there were several pickups but with none on my going and only one returning I found it great.

Cumberland Transit - thank you......