Tuesday, October 30, 2007

mexican tomato soup

Saute a large onion, chopped, in olive oil until just browning. Add a teaspoon of freshly ground cumin, a few cloves of crushed garlic, and a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Add a can of fire roasted tomatoes, crushed or pureed in the food processor. Add a box of organic chicken broth, vegetable broth, or a quart of water. In a separate pan brown a cup or so of pasta in a bit of oilive oil. Broken up spaghetti is fine. Tonight I used elbow macaroni. Add browned pasta to the tomato broth and simmer for fifteen minutes. Add salt, pepper, and chopped cilantro. For grownups garnish with thinly sliced jalapeno. Miss six said this was delicious.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


We are having our first freeze tonight, so we got some tender plants in the house, picked all of our flowers, harvested herbs, and cleaned up the borders today. The water table is getting a skirt and moving indoors as a reincarnated rice/bean table.

Continuing the fall cleaning indoors we rescued our fish from their murky tank and vacuumed Ella's potpourri strewn room. I scrubbed the bathtub and bleached a bucket of tub toys, put away many piles of small clothes and cleaned out the refridgerator.

Isn't disinfecting the sixth stage of grieving?

Saturday, October 27, 2007


backyard, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

back of house

back of house, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

pond walk

pond walk, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

the sun also rises

John somehow convinced me that cleaning up trails in the National Forest would be a good idea. And it was. The kids had a private tour with their own forest ranger for an hour. The sky was blue. The trees were red. There were salamanders and orange dragonflies.

Then we drove over to the dreamhouse without heat or 22o amp power. He had never actually been there, so now I've got him caught in the old house web. Could he dig a fence post? We'd have to get a lawnmower verging on tractor.

We stopped at the market on the way home, and I made barley pilaf with shitake mushrooms and roasted butternut squash with thyme, sage, garlic, toasted pecans, and blue cheese. I made a salad with baby greens, thinly sliced grapefruit, and pomegranate seeds.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I do. I feel bitter and irrationally angry. There doesn't seem to be enough time to sit down and drink a cup of coffee. I keep going past my exit on the highway because I'm distracted. It has been raining for days, and a wet black cat crossed my path at the library yesterday.

I have enjoyed reading to the kindergardeners, first and second graders this week during the rainy mornings.

I tried to make some changes to my blog, but I'm completely out of my element when it comes to the computer. I've lost my template and all of my links, so if you have a blog that I read regularly don't think I'm stalking you. I'm just searching for the URLs of all the links that I used to have.

So, yes, I'm bitter with a side of hopefulness. You know when you are just stewing in yourself and you know it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


peacock ella, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Ella went to a birthday party today dressed as a peacock, a somewhat ethereal theatrical wisp of a peacock.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

little wheel turning in my heart

I had a miscarriage today at eight weeks. Oddly enough, I was reading a book by the Dalai Lama when it happened, and somehow I'm trying to find the comedy in that. I'm disappointed. I'd been making lists of names and was excited to tell our famililes at Thanksgiving. I didn't even cry until I was driving to pick up John with both children in the back seat listening to Laurie Berkner sing "Little Wheel Turning in My Heart". It got me. Laurie Berkner.


johns at mabry's mill, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

She is on two wheels!!!

love!!!!, originally uploaded by ellajohn.
We went down to the park today for some bike practice, and suddenly she is cruising along on her own. I remember the exact patch of grass that I rode on when my father pushed me along and then let me go.

she rides

she rides, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


ready, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


trail, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


oak::colour, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Ella's homework assignment was to go out and look at fall leaves. We drove out to Floyd and down the Blue Ridge Parkway. We hiked into the woods with paper and beeswax crayons and found on old stump for a woodland table. Ferns made beautiful prints.


spaceman, originally uploaded by ellajohn.
Honestly, he can't get any sweeter.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Daring Book for Girls

Not twelve hours ago I was wondering how I was ever going to learn the rules to four square. Now I can have all that and palm reading too. No, I'm not kidding. Amazon says, "THE DARING BOOK FOR GIRLS is the manual for everything that girls need to know –– and that doesn't mean sewing buttonholes! Whether it's female heroes in history, secret note–passing skills, science projects, friendship bracelets, double dutch, cats cradle, the perfect cartwheel or the eternal mystery of what boys are thinking, this book has it all. But it's not just a guide to giggling at sleepovers –– although that's included, of course! Whether readers consider themselves tomboys, girly–girls, or a little bit of both, this book is every girl's invitation to adventure."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

back from the beach

early morning, originally uploaded by ellajohn.
Women's beach weekend::october::eighty degrees and sunny::empty beach::delicious food::sandcastles::one hundred and twenty six seashells::thirty five horseshoe crab parts::four buckets::four children::ocean view::waking up for sunsets::I meant to drink lots of cocktails and sit in the hot tub::fell asleep with children at eight pm::awesome.


self, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


john, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

126 shells

126 shells, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

test ride

test ride, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I'm 6

I'm 6, originally uploaded by ellajohn.
Ella's birthday draws to a close. We have been so busy celebrating that she never even opened her big gift from us, the vintage Fisher Price record player. She chose her birthday meal tonight, long noodles with marinara and garlic bread. John helped me snap a lot of fresh green beans so we had those too.
Ella got a big girl bike from her grandparents, a hot pink mountain bike sans training wheels, and she is well on her way to being able to ride a two wheeler. It is sturdy and safe, and they got her a new helmet and pads. She is ready to hit the local bike trails. I need to start jogging with the stroller I think.


bees!!!!!!!!!, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Just another kindergarden morning with a hive of live bees and a jovial biologist. One of Ella's friends says to his mother, "Are you sure this is safe?"

I went in for lunch today with pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for the class on Ella's birthday. They were quite understanding about the ones that were a little flat. I don't have that many muffin tins. I roasted a local organic pumpkin and all the ingredients were organic. There are some dedicated healthy families in this room. Ella's teacher also speaks out against the high fructose corn syrup and food additives. Finally, I'm not alone in a sea of cheetos.

circle game

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when youre older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

joni mitchell

Sunday, October 07, 2007


We went to a wedding yesterday out in Fishersville, Virginia. It was at a winery, and as we walked down to the beginnings of a new vineyard it was like walking into a giant bowl of earth with the moutains on the horizon. Ella was chasing grasshoppers and dancing.

fishersville, virginia

fishersville, virginia, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

barren ridge winery

barren ridge winery, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


My baby girl is turning six on tuesday. Six whole years since I slept through the night. Not that it has been all her fault. Her baby brother picked up right where she left off.
This afternoon we had a birthday party at the park for Ella and her friends. There was apple cake, apple bobbing, an apple pinata, apple races, and apple printing on fabric. The day was sunny and sweet.

Friday, October 05, 2007

English Country Garden

This was one of the children's favorite songs last year in preschool. If asked to choose the song this is what most of them would pick. I think is is the rhythm of it, but strangely enough the song reminds me of the nature of the teacher. I've joked that she could create a weeks worth of curriculum and art projects out of a bucket of dirt. It is certainly a gift to know the nature of small people, to speak their language and respect their magic.

In an English Country Garden

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know
Those we miss you'll surely pardon
Daffodils, heart's ease and flox
Meadowsweet and lady smocks
Gentian, lupine and tall hollihocks
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, blue forget-me-nots
In an English country garden

How many insects come here and go
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know
Those we miss you'll surely pardon
Fireflies, moths, gnats and bees
Spiders climbing in the trees
Butterflies drift in the gentle breeze
There are snakes, ants that sting
And other creeping things
In an English country garden

How many songbirds fly to and fro
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know
Those we miss you'll surely pardon
Bobolink, cuckoo and quail
Tanager and cardinal
Bluebird, lark, thrush and nightingale
There is joy in the spring
When the birds begin to sing
In an English country garden

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know
Those we miss you'll surely pardon
Daffodils, heart's ease and flox
Meadowsweet and lady smocks
Gentain, lupine and tall hollihocks
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, blue forget-me-nots
In an English country garden

Thursday, October 04, 2007


dance, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

my crush

my crush, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


friends, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

i say cheese

i say cheese, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

apple party

Ella's party is sunday afternoon. I need to:
1. make apple pinata
2. order cake and cupcakes. I was making them but then I realized that someone else could::apple spice cupcakes with caramel frosting and a maple walnut gateaux.
3. get galvanized tub for apple bobbing
4. apple craft? apple prints on muslin?
5. collect acorns
6. make caramel apples
7. plan a game
8. drinks:: water and cider?
9. clean house
10. buy house on 42 for next year's birthday party.

Monday, October 01, 2007


by Earl Neikirk
This picture was in the Bristol newspaper after the Rhythm and Roots festival a few weeks ago.