October 30, 2015

Little Red Cowboy Hat by Susan Lowell

I was posting this picture in another post from this week and I started talking about this library book that the kids love and decided it really deserved a post of it's own. So here it is. 

(Oh and this guy? The kids love him too. He left for hunting in Colorado yesterday, and we are missing him already.)

Little Red Cowboy Hat by Susan Lowell

I remember Mom reading this library book to Livie and Tori when they were little. It probably was the same copy, since this one is a little old and beat up. They loved this story too. The phrase "son of a parallelogram" came from this book, and the Vaughan family has never let that expression die. The granny in this book is one tough cookie, living on her own ranch. There was no providential woodcutter who happened by just when helpless grandmother needed a man. Granny fought her own battles. Quite a feminist, in her own, can-do way. 

Susan Lowell has a note in the front of the book--

"When I was a little girl in the West, I used to visit my grandmother, who lived all by herself on a ranch near Red Rock, Arizona. And when I read the story of Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother and the wolf, I was puzzled. 

"First of all, how could  a girl go riding dressed like that? Flapping red capes scare horses. And second, my grandmother would never have allowed a wolf to lay a tooth on her--or any of us children. And finally, no real wolf would ever act like the wolf in the story, unless, as my grandmother would say, he'd been eating locoweed." 

So she wrote Little Red Cowboy Hat

Little Red, with her slingshot, is a bit more spunky than the typical basket carrying Red Riding Hood.

This is her crossing a canyon, on her way to Granny's with cactus jelly and homemade bread.

I think she is rather adorable.

The wolf meets her on top of the mesa, where she stops to pick flowers. He tries to take her then and there, but Buck, the faithful horse, rears and knocks over the Big Bad Wolf, letting Little Red escape. Once that had failed, the wolf came up with the second plan, of impersonating Granny.

Granny was overcome by the wolf's superior strength and locked in the closet, but the wolf has nothing on her in cunning. Granny comes charging out of the closet with an axe (and some barnyard animals the wolf had locked in the closet with her apparently) ready to do battle. 

And battle she does, until the final, unelaborated upon "You'd look mighty good as a rug, Mister Wolf!" 

Then they sit down together and enjoy the cactus jelly on homemade bread. And Granny makes her famous statement "That yellow-bellied snake-blooded, skunk-eyed, rancid son of a parallelogram! This time he picked the wrong grandma."

No kidding. 

Hoyt has now stacked a large pile of books at my elbow as a non-too subtle suggestion for my next possible activity. Better get cracking!

October 27, 2015

The Everyday Things

Some pictures from the last week or so

I finally tore up my overcrowded flower beds. Since we are hoping to have our house on the market next year, I decided that annuals would be easier to keep looking lovely. So all my perennials were divided between Mom and Ashley. (I fully intend to come back for cuttings and divisions from them in a year or so when we have our new house and my carefully planned out (insert deluded laugh here) flower beds are all ready for planting.) I didn't consult a single one of the 10 gardening books I own on proper transplanting and dividing for the various plants, so whether they will actually grow next spring is a bit of a toss up. 

This hydrangea was the biggest thing I transplanted. 

It didn't quite fit in the van. So I drove to Ashley's like this. Fortunately no cop was passing by. 

Glitter feet this past weekend. These kids of mine err on the side of excess when determining the amount of glitter they think will stick to any particular blob of glue. 

Glitter projects in full dress up

Then into various Halloween costumes for the trunk or treat. Lily was excited.

Lily was hopping here. I don't remember why. 

Little nut 

My very grown up cowgirl and a broken down bumblebee. This is what happens when you are the youngest of three girls. Your bumblebee is missing most of one antennae and your wings are slightly squashed.

The Trunk or Treat. The theory being that kids won't go out on Halloween night, which isn't as safe. The reality is that everyone gets extra candy. 

Walking home feet

Mom reading to the littles on Sunday afternoon

Lily cuddled up in Livie's old sleeping bag with the Sunday paper

Introduction to Harry Potter

Sweet, happy baby! Despite the fact that she has an awful cold that makes her croupy. 

Making a skidsteer out of a chair.

The grocery store lilies I bought because they were too pretty to walk away from. They make me quite happy. 
I was just reading a book in which people made disparaging remarks about grocery store flowers. Which is clearly the provenance of the people who have local flower markets. For us in the back of beyond in the frozen north, we will stick to grocery store flowers and love them.

This morning, I went to Martin's (our local bulk food store) for peanut butter. I left without peanut butter, but with a wire rendering of the Brooklyn Bridge and a vintage crazy quilt throw pillow. Both of which make me very happy. I had good intentions of getting the peanut butter and skedaddling, but the peanut butter was out of stock and that pillow, which is new, caught my eye. Clearly I have a problem with impulse control. Must buy pretty lilies! Must buy bright pillow! I have been eyeing the bridge all summer, and while I stood there this morning deliberating, the guy who does the antiques in Martin's came by and we got to talking and he marked the Bridge down for me. He is terribly nice. 

And I love my bridge and pillow! 

October 26, 2015

When colors ran wild

Yesterday was November. Not on the calendar, but in the atmosphere. The leaves are mostly gone, thanks to a windy day last week. It was cloudy and grey and chilly. The sort of day meant to be spent cuddled into bed with a good book. Which is how we spent our evening, after a lovely lunch at Mom and Dad's and an afternoon of talking, discussing, and going through old wool blankets, which Mom is wanting rid of. Dad adores wool blankets, but these ones, some 40 years old, are misshapen or shrunk from an unfortunate encounter with hot water. Still, it pains him to see them go. He kept his favorite, and I took the rest and have decided to make a couple big size blankets out of them. 

(We will see how that goes.) 

These are pictures of a week and a half ago. When leaves were still wildly uninhibited in their color choices, as opposed to the more sedate and quiet colors they are choosing now. 

A side note: We walk past a house with a few of those purple maple trees, which have always been a puzzle to me. Why would you want purple leaves instead of green? And in the fall, instead of yellows and oranges, and reds, you get....brown. That is it. They turn brown and fall. I am sorry for those people. 

Downtown Northern New York

I love this place.

I just read an article stating that Northern New York is the worst place in the country to live. The author of the article seems quite intent on hating the North Country. Other articles by him include one about the local chain grocery store being the worst in the country, the fact that the north country will have the coldest winter ever, and that Northern New York is an economic drain on New York City. For not liking NNY, he sure is interested in it. 

The top of the kids playground at school

School and trees

Lily likes to give Abilene options

Elsie and Scrooge McDuck

Elsie also believes in choosing colors uninhibitedly.

I was at a gas station in Malone the other day and I noticed this tub of flowers. Tori had just emailed from Argentina about the poverty there. Complete and utter poverty in cramped little huts. But some of those huts had a cleared space with a little garden. I loved that image. The idea of people trying to make beauty (or more likely, bounty) amidst unbearable things. And this bent tub of flowers was a little like that. Although now I am looking at it, the owners may have rationalized that if they put a tub of flowers there, maybe no one would notice the peeling paint or unweeded concrete and they could put off maintenance another year. Still, I would  like to think they were trying to make an unbeautiful thing a little more beautiful. Cynicism isn't as cozy. 

This year has had the most outrageous colors

Driving around Malone

Isn't that almost a little too much? It was amazing.

I was driving through the cemetery looking at trees and I saw this gravestone. Which seemed like it needed recognition. Mr and Mrs Hugaboom. 

Maple leaf grave decoration. I am not sure you could ask for more beautiful grave landscaping than a carpet of Maple leaves each fall. And graveyards with maple trees are more comforting for the bereaved. All graveyards should be full of maples. 

Very gothic

A very, very red tree that had shed most of it's leaves

Elsie playing with washers