Pockets of the Future Blog

Striving to live now as all will live in the future.

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    “Music for an Autumn Evening” a Fairy Tale Evening

    Posted by pockets

    Last Saturday night, Carolyn made her debut into Floyd County society with her performance at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts benefit “Music for an Autumn Evening.” It was a splendid evening for everyone due, in part, to the wonderful organizational work of Linda Fallon and the many others associated with The Jacksonville Center for the Arts and, in part, due to the wonderful musicianship of the three performers.

    Judy Bevans (harpsichord) and Linda Plaut (violin) are musicians of stature and great experience. They started the evening off with Sonata for Harpsichord and Violin in G Major by Mozart to a packed room. I couldn’t believe I was listening to music of such quality in a small rural county in the mountains. That is definitely the best of all worlds as far as I am concerned! They played a number of other pieces together including many English country dance tunes which were just plain fun to listen to.

    Then came Carolyn. Sweet, young Carolyn with the big voice, dressed so perfectly in a simple Edwardian kind of outfit with her waist length ringlets hanging down her back. She literally made the audience laugh and made them cry. She left me astonished. Now I listen to her sing every day and night and I go to all her performances so I know Carolyn and her voice (don’t you always think you know your child?). As we drove to the performance in our old 1986 Ford pick-up (which I thought was hilarious), I mentioned to Carolyn that I thought this would be a wonderful venue for her. An audience big enough to create energy but small enough to be intimate. Ha - little did I know!

    Carolyn was so natural, so lovely, so effective, so charming that I and all the audience were truly delighted. When she closed the program singing English folk songs arranged by the one and only Cecil Sharp and accompanied by both the harpsichord and violin, her sweet maidenly character shone through and gave a certain lilt to her performance. No typical, worldly, cynical young person could have pulled those songs off in the way that she did. Her unspoiled nature together with the nuances and hints in the words of these folk songs made the audience laugh. Carolyn was bewildered by their laughter, I found out afterward, until I haltingly tried to explain it to her. It is always interesting to watch the effect of simplicity in today’s world. I wish that it would always provoke delighted laughter and a certain hope for the future like it did that night.

    Colleen Redman, the writer, author and poet I mentioned in earlier posts who came to interview Carolyn for The Floyd Press also attended “Music for an Autumn Evening.” Her review or description of her response to the evening is here at While Visions of Sugar Plums Dance in My Head. Please do go see it because in addition to her wonderful use of words, she also had the wits to take pictures!

    I want to take a moment here to say that the audience was incredible. The warmth of response to all of the performances surprised me and the overflow of support and well wishes so many expressed to Carolyn after the performance was heartwarming for both Carolyn and me. Standing at Carolyn’s side, I met so many Floyd County residents and, boy, what an interesting bunch of people. We were there for hours afterwards meeting people, hearing stories, getting ideas and mostly just receiving warmth and welcome. It was amazing and it only deepened my conviction about living here in this very special county. My heartfelt thanks goes to everyone. May we meet well again and again.

    I want to especially thank Judy Bevans and Linda Plaut for their warm support and professional encouragement to such a young singer as Carolyn and all thanks go to Linda Fallon, Carolyn’s elegant, community organizing, organizationally talented patroness.

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,


    We Made the Front Page!

    Posted by pockets

    I mentioned a few days ago that Colleen Redman visited us here at the farm in order to interview Carolyn for an article for The Floyd Press in anticipation of Carolyn’s benefit performance at The Jacksonville Center for the Arts.

    Imagine my surprise when Carolyn handed me a copy of the paper last Thursday and I saw a photo of Carolyn, one of our goats and me on the front page! While I didn’t expect that at all, it does capture one of the interesting things about Carolyn and about the possibilities inherent in living a natural life. You never know what can happen or what will arise out of the “naturalness.” That Carolyn milks cows and sings Mozart is one of the interesting things about her and it brings a certain balance and depth to her character, I think. Farm raised children are just different and they always have been, yes?

    Anyway, Colleen did such a wonderful job writing the article that Carolyn received many warm comments and support because of it. Please go read it here at Young Soprano Reaches Others with Song and see photos and find the link, once again, to the video short of Carolyn singing a bit out by the breezy trees and grassy goats.

    Thank you, Colleen, for taking such a poetic and personal interest in Carolyn.

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,


    Join in with a Fresh Encounter with India

    Posted by pockets

    Britt-Arnhild Lindland is a thoughtful, sensitive, artistic, religious Norwegian who writes and crafts and travels and shares same with many people all over the world through her several blogs. In celebration of turning 50, she has undertaken extensive travels in India for the first time in her otherwise very well-traveled life. I am enjoying her brief blog posts from India complete with vivid photos so much that I thought I would alert any of you dear readers who may also be interested.

    Britt-Arnhild’s House in the Woods

    My Year in the World

    It is fun seeing India through her intelligent there-for-the-first-time eyes. As a matter of fact, reading her posts is making me subject to bursts of nostalgia! So check in with her every once in a while and enjoy the colors and imagine the scents of romantic, spiritual, ancient India.

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,


    Our Outdoor Wood Fired Earth Oven Links Us to Pilgrims

    Posted by pockets

    I am getting a little ahead of my narrative about developments here at The Lionsgate School with this post. However, there was such a nice confluence the other day between our “work” and our “education” that I want to share it while it is still fresh.

    We have now completed a little over a week’s worth of the Prepare and Pray! curriculum thread of our homeschooling and it was so much fun. I also found that for me it was a much easier week than I usually had following the Ambleside Online curriculum only because the skill building aspects and entire orientation of Prepare and Pray! blend in so seamlessly with the homesteading, preparation-oriented lives we are already living. I will write more about this important aspect in the future.

    Among many other subjects and activities included in Prepare and Pray!, each chapter of features extra reading suggestions covering highlights of American history to study. Chapter 1 focuses on the Pilgrims, for instance. Our library system only carries one of the books the Bashear’s suggest for Chapter 1 reading so I just went to the 974’s on the library shelf and started pulling any Pilgrim books that looked at all appropriate. Of course, most of these are very familiar to me because I do this every November anyway. One nice book I have read the children for several years is The Pilgrims of Plimoth written and illustrated by Marcia Sewall. One thing I especially appreciate about this book is that it details the lives of the “Menfolk,” “Womenfolk,” and “Children and Youngfolk” in separate, interesting sections. The art work is also very engaging and this year one of the paintings in it was a special treat for us to see with fresh eyes.


    wood oven painting


    Readers of our web site and blog and, especially viewers of Paul’s many videos on the subject (see #5 POTF YouTube channel button on the right sidebar to see videos), know that we have an outdoor wood fired earth oven that looks quite like this! Why, we even have a paddle that looks just like the one the little boy in the foreground is holding made by my very own enterprising husband! We don’t have the roof over it yet but Paul has two of the poles up for it so far. I ran to show him this page when we came across it in our reading. It was somehow quite meaningful to identify with the Pilgrims and their lives on such a personal level.

    As it turned out, we fired up our oven just a day or two later. We were preparing to take Will down to Mabry Mill for another blacksmithing tutorial. We were going to have to leave pretty early in the morning so we had to organize well the previous day. Anna made her usual corn bread so that it would be ready next morning, only she baked it in the earth oven for the first time. When it dawned on me how her doing this this went along with our studies, I raced inside, got the camera and got back out in just time to get one picture of her taking her incredibly fragrant corn bread out of the oven.


    Anna's corn bread


    Meanwhile I had been inside making stuffed loaves for the lunch we would have out at Mabry Mill. This is just my regular whole wheat bread recipe (which already comes out anything but regular when baked in the earth oven) with a stuffing rolled up in the middle. Paul made a savory stuffing of finely chopped and cooked spinach, parsley, garlic, onion and black olives together with feta cheese and quite a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese. Faith helped me shape these loaves and claimed ownership of one of them. She patted it and shaped it and put it in the pan. She carefully covered it with a special towel and watched over it tenderly while it rose. She carried it herself from the kitchen out to the earth oven, hung around while it baked and then proudly took it out of the oven by herself and turned it out to cool.


    Faith reaches into oven

    taking bread out

    Faith's bread


    Both the corn bread and the stuffed bread were tasty and sustaining the next day and now both girls are a little more prepared to bake “off the grid” as well as personally relate to other people full of fire and conviction from times gone past. This is just one of many confluences now between our studies and our lives for which I am most grateful.

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,


    A Neat Moment in the Kitchen

    Posted by pockets

    Yesterday morning I looked up from helping a young one with math at the table and noticed this moment in the kitchen:

    A hard working father,
    An eager young lady.

    A temporary electric stove,
    A slow and steady wood burning stove.

    Quick mozzarella for lunch,
    Long draining feta for the week.

    All things coming together to support us in our quest.


    moment in kitchen


    looking up


    Neat, eh? A lot of amazing things had to happen for this kitchen scene to even be possible. I wonder what the kitchen will look like next year at this time and what new things we might be doing in it.

    Always an adventure…

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,


    But What Does Being “Prepared” Truly Mean?

    Posted by pockets

    Ideas about “preparedness” are getting a lot of extra traction during these days of the underpinnings of our economy and the fear of people being exposed. I even saw the article “Hard Times Have Some Flirting with Survivalism - Economic Angst has Americans Stockpiling ‘Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids’” on msnbc.com yesterday. Here are some snippets from the article:

    With foreclosure rates running rampant, financial institutions teetering and falling, prices for many goods and services climbing, and jobs being slashed, many Americans are making preparations for worse times ahead. For some, that means cutting spending and saving more. For others, it means taking a step into survivalism, once regarded solely as the province of religious End-of-Timers, sci-fi fans and extremists.

    That often manifests itself as a desire to secure basic emergency resources — what survival guru Jim Wesley Rawles describes as “beans, bullets and Band-Aids.”

    “There are a lot more people — a lot more eager people — who are trying to get themselves squared away logistically,” said Rawles, who lectures and writes books on preparing for and surviving “TEOTWAWKI” — The End Of The World As We Know It.

    “I’m getting slammed with big orders,” said Kurt Wilson, a distributor of freeze-dried foods and other provisions with decades-long shelf life, like canned meat, cheese and butter.

    “I have customers who were spending 200 bucks a month now spending $5,000 to $8,000,” Wilson said from his warehouse in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. “I get little old ladies calling up, stocking up for their grandchildren.”

    Seattle survivalist Hagmahani sees such commodity hoarding as just a partial measure for weathering a financial crisis.

    On his blog, mutuallyassuredsurvival.com, he advises people to prepare for a “major paradigm shift” that will, in a decade, leave the U.S. with a Third World economy.

    He said he began his preparations after witnessing the burst of the high-tech bubble in 2001, paying off the family’s debt, moving his assets away from stocks into safer investments, including, he implies, some precious metals and offshore accounts.

    In the last three or four years, he has led his clan away from what he calls their former “yuppyish lifestyle.” They no longer eat out, cook most meals from scratch, and rarely drive their one car. They also are all learning practical skills — such as sewing, nursing and wielding a gun for self-defense.

    “One thing I’m adamant about is that each of the kids needs real skills; they can’t just be a pencil pusher,” says Hagmahani of 19-year-old Hans, Sofia, 14, and Erik, 12. “You might get lucky and get a cushy job, but you might not. You need high-tech skills and low-tech skills for dealing with a systemic breakdown.”

    Stocking up on food, lowering debt, building skills… These are all good things when done with the right attitude. As a matter of fact, I think that stocking up on food, living within one’s means and building skills used to be a pretty natural and common aspect of life. The present day idea of needing both high-tech and low-tech skills in order to deal the breakdown of the present manmade system is sound advice. But does it really constitute being “prepared”?

    Michael Bunker says absolutely not:

    One of the problems, though, with the preparedness folk, is that they do not see beyond the fundamental errors of the people. Whereas the ignorant folk say “I have no need of storing up any goods when there is a nice, shiny, clean store just down the road”, the preparedness folk say, “Yes, and I will go to that store and buy up enough food for X years”, as if they know that X years supply of food will be sufficient. In both cases, the people are relying on the store. The ignorant folk say, “the government will take care of me if I run out of food, water, or shelter”, and the preparedness folk say, “Well, I would rather rely on myself and chance”. By this I mean that neither desires to make a wholesale change in the very principles and worldview that inform their decisions. Neither desires TODAY to be dependent on God and His Word. Neither wants to give up modern comfort and modern security in order to throw themselves on a Holy and Righteous God. I’ve seen it for years.

    Many of you may not know that I was a preparedness teacher many years before the Y2K scare of a decade ago. In fact, I was teaching preparedness before I had even heard of Y2K. I finally gave up when I realized that people will prepare for events, and they will prepare for hardships - but only so long as their fundamental principles are not challenged. They will not accept the idea that the very fundamentals of their industrial/commercial society is Anti-christ, and mentally and spiritually crippling. They will not accept that the way they have chosen to live is why the system is evil and must eventually collapse. They will not accept that their perpetual 72 degree lives are designed to ease them into hell. They will prepare, so long as the preparations guarantee a certain standard of living, and say to them that they will not die hungry or thirsty, or from some horrendous calamity, and that some day… things will return to “normal”, which is to say that they will one day get to return to their lives of colonized leisure and comfort.

    So… we can see that some will not leave Sodom at all because they are Sodomites,and some will leave, but will turn back hoping it is not utterly destroyed.

    Preparedness for events is a recipe for eternal and spiritual failure.

    I am not saying you should not buy food from stores, especially when it is on sale and you have not yet developed a system of food production for yourself and your family. I am saying that you should not rely on a band-aid when you have a potentially fatal bullet wound. 10.07.2008 October Rants (or “Rants-fest”) Part 1 (You have to scroll down the page.)

    A great point. As a matter of fact, it is the most important point regarding “preparedness.” What is our internal state? How much do we understand of natural laws as opposed to man made rules? Understanding the differences and learning to live within the natural laws are the most profound and powerful preparedness measures we can take. Then at that point, we can meaningfully begin to prepare practically in our daily lives. The latter without the former is merely re-arranging the playing pieces on the same old game board when we should be switching to a different game board altogether. The real game board is entitled:

    Fix up your goal which should be ‘complete oneness’ with God. Rest not till the ideal is achieved. Maxim 3

    Once we are on the right game board of life, and we tailor our actions to that and set aside the unthinking, societal ways with which we have been indoctrinated, then we can say that we are on our way to becoming “prepared” for life in a dramatically changing world.

    As a matter of fact, we are slowly starting to add a new curriculum into The Lionsgate School program aptly entitled “Prepare and Pray!” I will be posting much more about this in the future.

    May we all prepare now for the real emergency in our lives - which is not economic but of the heart.

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,


    A Passion for Blacksmithing

    Posted by pockets

    A few weeks ago, Will came to me in the morning and told me about a dream he had in which he was pounding metal out into different shapes. That sounded sort of like blacksmithing to me so the next time we went to the library, I got him every book on blacksmithing they had. They actually had one juvenile book and a couple of adult books. I checked out all of them and he started reading them avidly. I read one of them too so that I would know some of what he was suddenly talking about non-stop.

    Shortly thereafter, we stopped in at Mabry Mill on our late way back from seeing about some Great Pyrenees puppies. We didn’t know if any of the crafts people would be there demonstrating that day or not or if they were but had already closed up for the day. As we all walked up the path towards the cabins, however, I heard the ringing ‘ping,’ ‘ping,’ ‘ping’ of a hammer striking an anvil. I turned to Will and said, “RUN!” He ran. We ran after him. We poured into the blacksmith shop and immediately took up all available spectator positions in order to watch every move the smithy made. The smithy was working on fireplace tools that afternoon. He explained things to us as he worked and Will was beside himself with excitement. I indicated to this gentleman smithy that Will was intensely interested in this skill and (I had hoped for this but didn’t know if it would happen for a boy as young as Will) he invited Will into the work area with him. He set Will to some tasks, quietly explained things to him, showed him some tools and then gave him an iron hook as a parting gift. Oh, and this gentleman smithy was also named Will. How about that!

    I talked with “Will the Blacksmith” about where one might learn blacksmithing skills and he gave me some ideas. The next morning, I brought young Will to the computer and opened a Blacksmithing bookmark folder for him. Starting with the suggestions we had been given, we discovered many wonderful sites and schools across the country. It was exhilerating for Will to look through all of these resources. It was fun for me too because a lot of the blacksmithing work going on these days is extraordinarily artistic and beautiful.

    So Will went back to reading his blacksmithing books and we made plans to head back to Mabry Mill for another tutorial. We arrived at the end of last week. The Will’s reacquainted themselves with each other and got right down to work. Stupidly, stupidly, I forgot the camera. Young Will had goggles and leather gloves on and he looked mighty fine and productive in the smithy making an eye hook. His brother and sisters were squirming with delight watching him work in there so everyone had fun.

    We received the sorry news that the season closes at the end of October so Will only has two more chances to go work there. We are scheduling all of that now. Meanwhile Will the Blacksmith mailed great blacksmithing information to young Will which made our son inordinately happy. A large envelope arrived addressed thusly:

    addressed envelope

    When Will read the words “Resident Blacksmith,” the expression of quiet happiness and manly pride that crossed his face was dear indeed. Inside was a letter from Will the Blacksmith in which he expresses admiration for young Will’s interest in blacksmithing and a willingness to work with him before the season ends. He extended his hand in friendship which, to me, is the finest thing the older generation can do for the younger generation. Everyone benefits when elders guide and young ones listen.

    Will with envelope, eye hook

    boy and his work

    eye hook

    Also included in the packet were web site addresses and catalogs. I will include those addresses here for any readers who may also be interested in the very important and historic skill of blacksmithing.

    Ozark School of Blacksmithing Tools Store
    Kayne and Son

    Blacksmith Workshops
    John C. Campbell Folk School

    ABANA - Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America

    A Blacksmith’s Craft: The Legacy of Francis Whitaker available from Kayne and Son

    I will also add here that our local Jacksonville Center for the Arts offers blacksmithing classes. They are over for this year but we will see if there is a way to get Will into one next year. Also young Will’s current favorite book on blacksmithing is the original edition of Charles McRaven’s The Blacksmith’s Craft: A Primer of Tools and Methods. (See link at bottom of post.) Will narrates to me daily from this book. We also discovered during our internet travels that Mr. McRaven lives and works not too far away from here and teaches workshops. Look at his interesting web site here.

    Well, that is it for now. We will post more photos and videos as Will’s passion for blacksmithing develops.

    Isn’t it interesting how a real passion for something brings resources to your door? As applied to education, children can naturally mold their individual education to their own needs, skills and potential if their passion is allowed expression. We parents/teachers need only cooperate and be giving and excited! That invariably turns into a “win” for everybody.

    Thank you, Mr. Will Foster, gentleman blacksmith.

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,


    Old Methods Eventually Call for Old Rhythms

    Posted by pockets

    We rarely go out and aren’t involved in many activities off the homestead. Nevertheless, it seems like I am constantly having to adjust our schedules and methods due to internal pressures, projects, natural changes and new ideas. I am in the thick of a series of changes yet again and one of them relates to baking and electricity usage.

    The more we ratchet back to doing things the “old way,” the more I see the wisdom of the old rhythm of assigning homekeeping tasks to specific days of the week. According to this blog post, homemakers lived by this rhythm for over a hundred years and some still do. I never felt a need to do this before because with a clothes washer, for instance, you can throw a load in any old time and it just doesn’t matter. If you aren’t concerned with the extra energy required to turn the oven on and off whenever the mood strikes (and you are using an electric oven in the first place), then you can bake at any time. If you have plenty of gas and live within a reasonable driving distance from town, you can jump in the car and go shop or whatever at any time. Modern “conveniences” and a “gee there are plenty of resources available to me to use how I like” lifestyle does not require the discipline/rhythm of accomplishing tasks in a predetermined order and on well chosen days. You can easily do little bits of this and that at varying times and days with no noticeable repercussions. That is probably part of what it generally means to be “modern.”

    Washing laundry by hand and baking a lot, at times in an outdoor wood fired earth oven, is teaching me the necessity of adapting to an older rhythm in order to successfully adapt to older methods. There is only so often you want to drag out all of the buckets and other equipment and get all set up and get wet and all sorts of things to do the laundry. Getting through as much of it as possible at one time is really starting to make sense to me. There are only so many times we can afford to go to town (both in terms of time and gas) so having a careful list and itinerary for the trips we do make helps us be more effective.There is only so often you can reasonably light up a baking fire so you might as well do as much baking at once as you can while you have that precious fire going.

    Even if you have an electric oven, how much electricity you use is still a consideration and will be increasingly a consideration for more and more people, I imagine. Oklahoma Prairie Mom, on her blog Life of a Prairie Mom, commented on this recently in her post Our Electric Bill. About baking she says this:

    The electric stove is in use only a twice a day. The greatest usage though is when I am baking. To help save energy, I plan my baking so that I am doing it only twice a week, on Monday & Thursday. On those days, I bake enough bread, cookies, and anything else that we will need until the next baking day. This also includes any orders that I have for baking bread or cookies for others. By limiting the number of days that I bake, I am not heating up the oven nearly as often.

    “Oh, that is a good idea,” I thought when I read that. “I am going to go back to trying that sort of schedule again.” I have been wondering about ways to cut our utility bill lately. It isn’t easy because we don’t have many uses left to cut! But I can at least do this. Lately I have slipped back into baking bread on an as-needed basis. I decided to make another attempt to go back to the old way of baking a lot at a time once or twice a week.

    So last Friday I baked a lot. One of my daughters helped me some of the time which was fun. All in all, we made four corn breads (we bake them in cast iron skillets), 10 loaves of whole wheat bread, one large loaf of Irish Soda bread and finished off with an unexpected batch of Homemade Herbal Marshmallows. It took more than half the day to make all of that. It was a good feeling to freeze 7 loaves of bread, and two rounds of corn bread and still have fresh Irish Soda bread for dinner with our mashed potatoes and greens. All in all, a productive day. I don’t know how much electricity it saved, but it surely opens up my schedule to do other things. It also frees me up tomorrow to do some cooking ahead for Sunday.

    Oh, the Homemade Herbal Marshmallows were a first hands-on herbal project for The Lionsgate School Herbal Education Program. (Doesn’t that sound official? Maybe I will come up with a more catchy name for it some day.) I will devote an entire post to that interesting and instantly consumed project very soon.

    Meanwhile I need to figure out exactly what our need is for baked goods. Maybe one day a week, I will focus primarily on loaf breads while on the other day I bake pizza crusts, sandwich buns, crackers and other wheaten goodies. Our days are so jam packed and I get so tired that I really need to have our freezer full of possibilities. Baking ahead will give me some breathing room as well as save on electricity.

    The old rhythm of organizing time and tasks was as follows, by the way:

    Monday: Wash Day
    Tuesday: Ironing Day
    Wednesday: Sewing Day
    Thursday: Market Day
    Friday: Cleaning Day
    Saturday: Baking Day
    Sunday: Day of Rest

    With a few variations (some folks had a gardening day instead of a separate ironing day, or the days were not quite in this order), this is the way everyone kept house for more than a hundred years. It was such a common scheme that day-of-the-week dishtowels emblazoned with that day’s chore were everywhere. (You can still get Aunt Martha iron-on embroidery or paint transfers with this scheme–I collect them, in fact.)

    There was logic behind this. Laundry was far and away the heaviest task a housewife faced, requiring a great deal of strength and fortitude to hand-wring clothes and carry big baskets of wet laundry to the clothesline from the basement washtubs. Monday was the day to do it, when you were still fresh and rested from Sunday. Tuesday’s ironing followed Monday’s wash. Mending and sewing on Wednesday made sense when you’d just been through the clothes and noticed what needed a button or a patch. And so on.

    Or for the Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush variation, go here.

    I will have to work at this and figure out (again) my own old rhythm. Having one type of chore listed for each day is a great way to make sure you get your 15 minutes of a neglected task in a week … like mending and sewing for instance. I am rather dramatically behind on mending and really want to start back up sewing again. I don’t actually require an ironing day (!), and already have my cleaning day on Saturday so that the house is especially nice for Sunday. We sweep every day and often many times a day so I wouldn’t waste a day in honor of just sweeping as in the Mulberry Bush song. I have long done the laundry in tune with the weather so I am not sure how to assign that to a particular day. I have tried and tried to make Sunday more of a day of rest for myself and I still need improvement in this area. Well, I guess I am going to have to work on all of this a bit. The point is for me to consolidate types of tasks that have heretofore been scattered all across the week in order to save on motion, time, and money/energy use.

    One more comment about old rhythms - I started cooking in a Nourishing Traditions/slow food sort of way years and years ago. I noticed even back then that cooking in that very careful way completely changed my rhythm in the kitchen. Having to soak foods, peel the skins off of almonds, cook beans for hours and hours and so on causes you to slow down and really feel what you are doing and think about it far ahead. It gives you much more contact with the food and, therefore, much more time to pray over the food. It is my experience that these old rhythms of food preparation add nutrient density not only in terms of needed chemical changes for ease of assimilation but even more importantly, in terms of opportunity for our thoughtful, prayerful care as homemakers and heartcenters of our families to permeate our daily cooking for our loved ones.

    Perhaps the weekly old rhythm will make that happen for mending too? I will have to make up my weekly schedule and live by it for a while and see.

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,


    A Rich Voice in a Pastoral Setting (with video)

    Posted by pockets

    Carolyn was invited by a local luminary to sing for a benefit being held on October 25th for The Jacksonville Center for the Arts. Here is a description of the event and of the highly accomplished musicians with whom she is singing.

    A couple of afternoons ago, Colleen Redman and her husband Joe paid us a visit. Colleen is a local writer, poet and journalist. (Her literary web site is here.) She came to interview Carolyn for The Floyd Press. We talked briefly on the phone the night before to make arrangements. I hung up the phone and said, “This is a meeting that was destined to happen. I can’t wait!” And, indeed, we all had a really nice time together. Paul and Joe walked all over our homestead and discussed many interesting and useful things. Colleen and Carolyn and I also discussed something interesting which was Carolyn and the path that has led her to this point in her life and her singing.

    As the afternoon shadows drew longer, it seemed like a good idea for Carolyn to sing a little so that Colleen could get a feel for what her singing is like. Carolyn sang several pieces accapella right out there next to the cow pasture under the spreading chestnut tree. Colleen’s nifty little camera also takes video and she captured this brief bit of the end of Carolyn singing O cessate di piargami by A. Scarlatti.

    The words (as translated from the Italian by me, mind you) are:

    Either leave off tormenting me
    or leave me to die.

    Eyes, ungrateful, pitiless.
    You, more like ice or marble

    So cold and deaf to my torture.

    Somehow seeing Carolyn sing in this setting with her simple intimate gesture at the end of the video touches my heart every time I watch it. I thank Colleen for capturing this moment and thank Carolyn for being such a noble daughter blessed with deep feeling and a rich, rich voice.

    Colleen’s article will appear in The Floyd Press next week. I really look forward to reading it and will provide a link to it once Colleen puts it up on her blog. Again, the link to the video Colleen took of Carolyn singing is here.

    From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,



    Posted by pockets