What’s blowin’ in the wind.

Rain, rain, rain! My biggest dodonaea or hopbush was blown over in the last storm. Alejandro came Saturday and Sunday to re-stake three of these bushes, just before this current storm arrived. I was so thankful to get them shored up before the next gale.

I stayed home all day today and did housework. Isn’t it fun, the way housework incorporates everything from book-mending to picture-hanging, laundry to cooking? I did all those things today, and more.

When I wanted to read a certain fairy tale to the grandchildren last week, I opened the anthology I grew up with, and the cover fell off – again. A decade or two ago I had duct-taped it together, and today I put everything back again with clear tape. Afterward I had to browse a few pages, of course, and wonder about how much of my philosophy of life and my ideas about various things might have been shaped by the words and pictures on those pages.

I’ve already written about “The Little Match Girl,” (eight years ago this month, I see!) but other fairy stories, poems and nursery rhymes had a big effect on me. The words generally impressed more than the pictures, as I developed the habit of devouring them greedily, not wanting to take time for the images. “Hickety, Pickety, My Black Hen” was the sole reason I kept black chickens when I was a grown-up lady, but I always envisioned straight black, not laced, feathers. I evidently ignored this drawing.

But – when I think of “Hansel and Gretel,” which I also loved, this is how those forsaken children look in my mind.

Some rhymes were so much fun they seemed to insinuate themselves into my consciousness without any effort:goops IMG_3158


In our family we were not coddled. I had little sympathy for the princess who was so thin-skinned and tender, but whose story I liked to read again and again, and to stare at the illustration, so simple and absurd:

Ah, “Over in the Meadow” —  This one, I’m not sure if I loved it as a child or only after singing it with my own children over the years. All the mothers and children in that rhythmic counting song make me feel cozy.

When I was leafing through these pages this morning I didn’t gravitate to the poems about rain and wind that are more in keeping with the season. We haven’t seen the sun for a couple of days, and are predicted to get six inches of rain before this three-day storm has passed! Right now the wind is howling and the rain clattering; this month has been an average of ten degrees colder than usual, too. I made a big pot of vegetable soup, and roasted another of my butternut squashes, and was grateful.

That’s the theme of the last page I am posting here, which was the first one I saw. It’s not one of the more familiar ones to me, looking at it, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it in the book, and it started me on my musings. Father in Heaven, we thank Thee!

6 thoughts on “What’s blowin’ in the wind.

  1. Oh gosh Gretchen, I have this book too. I saw your picture of Over in the Meadow, I would sing that song to the babies. Its such a nice melody and song and words. I love it that you had black chickens because of that book. I have so many things in my life that came from the books I read.

    I hope you don’t have any more bushes blow over.

    Have a lovely day.


  2. This made me so very happy to read! The rain, isn’t it something “to talk about”? And how you had a stay home day with housework, and yes, housework does incorporate everything involved in home keeping. And the tales of your childhood and mine too, worth every minute of reading them over and over.

    Today I too stayed home and made chicken stock and roasted a butternut squash to be made into a creamy soup later. And most importantly,I kept little Riley for several hours this morning. Remembering what it is like to have a one year old crawling around my feet once more. I should blog of this…



  3. That must have been quite a storm to blow over your shrub. I’m glad your gardener could set it up and stake it securely.

    I loved reading the poems and I agree, we are so very affected by what we read as children. I was a very lonely child and preferred stories about big happy families.

    Tomorrow is my day to stay at home and do housework etc.. And maybe when M comes home from school I’ll read The Goops to him!


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