A second after the Solstice

Can you believe it? The 4th of July is in sight! The enormous moon we had this week which illuminated the evening from sundown at close to 10 p.m. to dawn was extraordinary. The gorgeous wet days, and dry evenings overlooking the lake are a treasure--each and every one of them.  What  a year of change, of transition, of growth, of query, of note. I am stunned each day. Stunned, I tell you. Not surprised, not charmed, not enchanted, not puzzled, nor intrigued. Stunned and shocked. More often negatively than positively. But then again, I should back out the time to see if this is a seven year thing.

I am the queen of mumbo jumbo. I believe in ghosts and past lives, of tarot cards and the unexpected. I do not seek these things out, but I believe. I believe that there are points in your life that are significant "change moments" which, formerly, I thought were on (for me ) a seven year cycle. But now, I just believe there are "change moments" or "change years" that happen to pull your head up from looking at your feet or looking at the clouds to say, "Yo, pay attention, knucklehead (meaning me)!" Regardless of time, we are in a definite change cycle.

Adirondack face, Q. Cassetti, 2010

Adirondack face, Q. Cassetti, 2010

I have been quiet as I have been hurting. Hurting enough to pick up the phone and see if I could start talking and focusing on my hurt--allowing me to box it up, package it, and see if I could put a topic sentence around all of it to allow me to get on with my life without the noose or divers' weight around my neck.  This drag has driven me from talking to you, to talking at all. This drag has stopped me from my public self as I want to protect the soft, squishy me from the rest of the world as I have been hurt, hurt badly, hurt daily, hurt by clueless people who don't even know they are doing this. I do not resent, but are puzzled by why I am the focus of identity theft-- hearing my words, ideas, thoughts and hypothesis come from another person without the grounding of my thinking, experience and understanding.  But, I need to put this all to rest. Let things happen and settle out....and try to rise above it (as I was taught) and be "better than that" which, quite candidly, is a crock. Better than what?

Better than losing all your data and computer in one "electronic moment"?

Since the electronic melt-down, much has changed in my office. I have a brand new computer. I have newly recovered data. I have a wonderful new cloud back up. I have Dropbox and now I have the new Adobe Creative Cloud (which I was prepared to be puzzled by, but am DELIGHTED).  We are selling cards, pins and yes, little sets of nice little things at Sundrees and Etsy. We have just gotten a signed agreement with Cornell to be a certified vendor (a full year in the making). We are throwing work out the door in a passionate, volumetric way for our big client. Our distillery is rolling with the whiskey versions of their labels (and are happy). I am busy with a kraft bag design for our local flour mill soon to be in Whole Foods. My Bee Goddess is on a label for candles in Denver. A new copper bake oven pizza place has my illo on their teeshirts. And there is more in the hopper.

Tomorrow is day one of Cherry Season. Kitty and her friend Walker and I will be picking at seven a.m. to try to beat out the hoards that strip the trees in one day. I like to think of it as the opening day of fishing season for mommies....fresh cherries for pies, preserves,granita and more. We will see what will happen.  I love how gorgeous it is, and the moment in the early morning as the dew is drying and the sun begins to heat up, as the overcast clouds rise up up up over the lake--until at 8 a.m. the ground is dry, the sun is shining and the light is such that each sour cherry glows like a christmas light in the trees. There is quiet in the orchards as we are all focused down on each pick, each cherry, each moment of sorting and picking, gleaning the ripe fruit--a seasonal gift to each one of us. It is more like a holiday this year as last year the cherries and apples were ruined due to a late cold snap that killed every blossom. Not the problem this year...which makes it a bit more like Christmas, or your birthday eve....waiting the delight ahead.


puffs of Spring.

Strawberry Valentine, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Shady and I just got back from looking at our hellebore, our adorable little snowdrops and to see if the cherry trees have buds still on them (that the deer have not gnawed off). We need to put netting over all the hosta, the few peonies left, and the sedum as it kept the deer from ravaging the plants… so be it. I would like big fat hosta, and plump peony blossoms on my tree peony. The ground is unthawing—with the grass all puckery and spongy.  As lovely as the warmer weather is, it still is early.

I may buy a few more cherry trees today from Millers . 3 or 4 more sours…and one or two sweets. This year is the year of the sweet cherry. I have been (and continue to be) possessed by sour cherries, but the sweet are amazing here…as big as equine eyes…and really a robust flavor. What a week cherry week will be this year!

Had a fascinating time listening to the budget work our Village Board was working on last night. It was important to attend, to hear things that maybe we can engage in with the Farmers Market. There is a community yard sale in mid May, and maybe we should offer space for $10. rental  or less, so that folks can bring their things to the park to make it more “community”. Maybe we could get some music, promote the vendors and drive some excitement. We will need some cool shopping bags to sell…and after doing a ton of research, the chico bag still seems like the best option, but I am still checking around. I want the bag to be portable, nylon (as its washable and continues to look good) unlike the cotton ones which are heavy, get ratty looking and just doesnt have a cool factor. Also a bumper sticker. What do you think of ” Carnivore, Herbivore, Localvore. More for ‘Vores”—maybe even use the phrase on the totebag too…versus the logotype. We also need to find a way to drive more to the bottom line so as to make the village investment zero out— Grants, things to sell…more money via rentals etc.

The fruits and veggies continue apace. You will see more…The new tools are fabulous.


Ball Diamond Road Sour cherries (chintz), Q. Cassetti, 2011Couldn’t resist! Kitty and I took two friends for more cherries today at Ball Diamond Road. The day has been perfect with low humidity, high blue skies, a breeze and cool. Dreamy. The cherries all looked like chintz and wallpaper patterns. The Queen Anne cream and pink cherries were in huge clumps looking like staid collections of bakelite charms ready to pin to my sweater. So, there are new cherries for our lunches if Kitty and Mandy let us share. Kitty and Mandy keep devouring the sweet cherries trying to get the firm ones to give them the pleasure of the “pop” that the skin provides when you bite into them.

Tonight its pitting the sours and sprinkling them with a bit of sugar before freezing them for either jam (later) or baked goodies when there is time.

Working away on some illustrations and learning some new things with the existing tool set. I am trying hard to simplify— Simplification is hard work, but rewarding in its own way.

We visited the Tburg Farmers Market and chatted with Stefan at Wide Awake Bakery (and took his picture) about all things local—food, food initiatives, local doings, harvest dinners and all that is fun to both of us. I was asked to possibly join the local Farmer’s Market board as a non vendor representative. I need to chat it around and see what its about. But, I feel that this is a group I can engage in and be effective.

We then watched the juggler/ musician who had every child enchanted and engaged. Then, off to dinner to hear Toivo play.

Today is more work here. Nigel, Erich, Mandy and Kitty are here—so its a bigger/fuller house than the normal day to day. I should go.


Cherry Season

Kitty in a cherry tree, Q. Cassetti, 2011Cherries, cherries, cherries. Today was the opener of the season at Hazlitt, with others opening tomorrow for sour and sweet cherry picking. There were red ladders with serious pickers (those who know what to do with the picking baskets clipped to their belts) and many of us late risers (getting to the orchard by 7:20 a.m.) rushing to keep up. Martha, Kitty and I picked (with Kitty’s cache going to a friend) and then picking our own sours and sweets (for our use and Martha’s mom). We picked 32 pounds of fruit. There is something sublime and spiritual about cherry picking as it is quiet and overlooking the beautiful lake…along with the breezes and color of the fruit, translucent, glowing red. It was no biggie picking this much fruit, as if one made a “day” of it…one could really go to town. We loved being on the front end of the picking as it was not so selective—but lots of fruit that one can pull off by the handful. Great clusters of these ruby fruit that come off simply,sometimes leaving the stones on the trees.

As you can see, Kitty, as usual, happily climbed the tree to get the fruit off the top of the tree…laughing and guffawing with us.

So tonight, I plan on pitting my sour cherries to put up in freezer boxes for later use. Kitty and I are thinking strawberries later this weekend to freeze and put up. It is so fun to go with these gals…as we yak and laugh and laugh. I feel so lucky to have some lovely people in my life. Maybe the other orchards tomorrow ( Ball Diamond Road opens 06/30 as does the other stand down the road from Hazlitt).

We are working on some summer related projects for our clients…so having hot dogs for lunch makes sense. Mandy has joined us…and Nigel is back with us too. I am a bit dumbfounded that its the fourth of July already….and we are fully launched into Summer. Maybe the wool sweater today is confusing me…?