Sunday, February 7, 2010

Farm fresh

Lately, I've been giving some serious leeway to my inner farm girl. Planting mounds of bulbs, filling the pantry with dry goods and painting roosts of chickens. Its my grandpa who is responsible. He who always smelled like half and half pipe tobacco and could be found in his woodshop or tending his sprawling garden. If I prodded, he'd tell me stories of life on Lakeview Farm in Munsonville. Tapping maple trees for syrup, then boiling what had dripped into the tins in vast kettles on the cast iron stove. Gathering blueberries, which his mother put to use by making a few pies before breakfast on a New Hampshire morning, before the family set their hands to the milking.
Here are a few unwritten codes to being a farmie.
1. Homemade jam on your toast, yellow flowers in the house, and very strong tea. I let mine steep until the spoon stands right up in the cup.

2. Chickens are treasures and the backbone of the farm. They even have names; Hannah, Billy, Maude. And Goliath for the rooster.

3. No turning your nose down at cracked dishes. "There's life in the old girl yet" is the farmer's refrain.There's the man himself. After working the farm all day, him and his brother would creep down the stairs with their ice skates , join their friends and jump barrels on Granite Lake. Grandpa held the record, thirteen barrels. Just takes momentum, moonlight and New Hampshire grit.

By the way, I don't care if I'm pushing it, I've decked out the house for spring. Can you get any more farmy that this? I guess you could, if there were some live chickens in this shot.

I might not be able to watch as grandpa digs around his potato vines, or listen while he helps with the washing up while Burl Ives croons on the Hi Fi, but every time I plant a bulb, roll out pie dough or even paint a chicken, I sometimes smile to myself. I'm a farmie at heart, just like him.
Happy early spring


susan jenkins said...

I LOVE the photo of gramma and grampa. I had seen it, some time ago.Darling picture.
Yes, the farm, the maple trees, I remember the stories.I also remember the green house he built.
Wasn't the garden beautiful when they settled in Santa Barbara? After he built their home of course. He was an amazing gentle man, they hold our hearts.

xx sister

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

My HEART is singing...I am off to the moon...I am walking on air...

Oh, my dear one...this makes me SO HAPPY....

I LOVE everything..
the yellow flowers
the chickens
the toast and jam
the bulb planting
the rolling of pie dough
the maple syrup
the blueberry pie baked in New Hampshire before breakfast
the ice skating

I am Happy. I am On The FARM in Spring..... always
more later,

donkey picking daffodils on the farm

cabin fever said...

Wonderful post. Nothing like farm stories to help us think of Spring.

Loved all the stories and pictures, especially the old sign. How lucky you are to have that!

Do you think Munsonville is near Hancock, NH? That's right next to Keene, where Katharine D'Arcy and Edward Hubbard worked their family farm!!!

Xoxox Liz

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Liz, Yes! Grandpa used to take the wagon into Hancock every month, to sell lumber mostly. They'd always have noonday meal at the Hancock Inn. Last time I was there, I stepped inside the Inn and felt the hair rise on my arms. I could almost hear them laughing in front of that fireplace. Have you been there?

Barbara said...

Gathering Blueberries and tapping Maple trees, a sweet insight to a different world.

lilylovekin said...

Maybe I'm a farm girl at heart. No chickens but we tapped our maple trees and picked the blueberries. Today I planted sweet peas, nothing like digging in dirt to get the spring fever festering.

cabin fever said...

Unfortunately, I have never been to the Hancock Inn, altho I have been to the old farm, located on the Contukit River in Hancock.

You really do have New England roots, my dear. I think you should come out here, and we'll drive right up there. It will be beautiful in the Spring, and it's only about 1 hours drive, as the crow flies. And - the antique shops along the way!!!!!

Xoxoxo Liz

Claire said...

Thanks for sharing such wonderful memories Julie it was a delightful post. Life certainly was a different pace in your Grandfathers day and it sounds lovely, but of course there was an awful lot of hard work involved. Tapping maple trees and boiling it up sounds really interesting. I have the chickens/chooks and the vegie garden and cows on agistment in the paddock and I love my tea strong so you can chew the stuff!
Love the dresser with all your crockery and pottery on it too. Definitely homemade jam and homegrown flowers inside. It's all the little touches that make a whole picture. You can have a little bit of country right in the heart of a city if you desire.

Hens Teeth said...

So evocative Julie.. I am thinking of my Grandad now. What a loving, kind man he was and how deeply I still miss him and his world.
Don't you think that they would be so happy to know that they shaped us into what we are now? x

Hens Teeth said...

So evocative Julie.. I am thinking of my Grandad now. What a loving, kind man he was and how deeply I still miss him and his world.
Don't you think that they would be so happy to know that they shaped us into what we are now? x

pammalu said...

the phrase "13 barrels" is my new mantra for determination. Your grandpa sounds pretty wonderful... what a nice story!
xo to you and your inner farm girl Julie.
love, pamela

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Viv, yes, I do think they would like to know that they are beacons for us.
And Pamela, yipee, I just love that!

Lesley said...

It sounds so idyllic, life on the farm. How I'd love to immerse myself in that world for a while now you've given us a taste of it. Happy early spring to you too! It is teasing us here, warm one day and then freezing cold again the next.

Michelle said...

What sweet memories...

I have a cracked plate, fell and broke and I glued it all back together. It now holds my heart shaped rocks!

caramela said...

It al sounds beautiful, warm, loving, yummy, just heart warming- I am with you- Grandpa must have been lovely to be remembered like this-
Annamaria xx

The Garden Bell said...

Just took the journey over here from Farmhouse Kitchen and am sure glad I did. I LOVE your stuff. Off to make sure I'm following and get you on my Blog Roll. And then off to Etsy to check it all out. Did I say I LOVE your pottery. Birdies and Bunnies what could be better.

Kate - The Garden Bell - xoxoxo

Maggie Ann said...

A homey and delightfully refreshing post. Those who went before us leave....we find so much of, in ourselves. I have fond memories of my Grandmother's needlework laying about the house, amidst her many novels. And the way she sliced her homemade bread, holding it up to her chest. A bit dangerous....=)..but..&..I too love needlework and novels. No bread slicing on my chest though!

Aunt Jenny said...

I loved this are so fun Julie..a real kindred spirit. I for sure love toast with homemade jam, strong tea and chickens. That white one is PERFECT! I think there is nothing more farmish than a chicken..I love mine...real ones and the ones on my kitchen curtains! And cracked plates...I love them too.
Thanks for the memories!!!

Pat said...

Gee, Julie, blog posts such as this remind us what is important in this life...and in such a beautiful way.
Thank you for that. take care, pat said...

Hi Julie,
I am thrilled to discover your blog through Viv's post today, I have a particular weakness for ceramics! Your work is like nothing I've seen before, the delicate colours and whimsical designs are delightful. I run a tiny shop in Cornwall, do you by any chance sell to shops? I would be very interested if you do! My e-mail is


Hi Julie, thanks for popping by my blog - its so nice to 'meet'new people.
Glad you like the washing line, I suppose I take it for granted, always had one, always line dried my clothes. I am a farm girl too, I went to farming college to get qualifications too! So enjoyed it, no farm now but still a few chickens, and my cottage garden, and memories - lots of memories of my Grandparents and their country ways!
I just so love your designs, you are so talented. I do so wish I could draw and paint - even a little - but no - afraid not. Yours is truley a gift.
Just love your blog - will be back for more x

Vicky x


I've hopped over from friend Viv's blog and I must say your blog has the loveliest "homey" feel. I enjoyed my visit today

Carolyn ♥

ps. I'm having a giveaway on my blog ... ends on Valentine's Day!

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Lovely, Julie. I hope Spring comes very soon. There's a well deserved Sunshine Award on my blog for you.

Gloria said...

Hi Julie, I'm delighted to have discovered your blog via "My Farmhouse Kitchen" (via "annamariaart"). I've only spent a few minutes exploring it so far, but it makes me exceedingly happy! Thanks very much for creating it and, of course, your beautiful pottery. Looking forward to following along ...Gloria

Mmm said...

Well, I think number 1's "1. Homemade jam on your toast, yellow flowers in the house, and very strong tea." sounds jsut about perfect in fact.

nice to meet you. Loved your comment on my blog. Here's wishing you a lvoely Valentines day weekend.

Vintage Fairy Tales Rebecka said...

Burl Ives, that´s what my parents listened to when I was a kid,old music already at that point, marvellous sentimental feelings!
Have a great week my friend

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Becky, I bet Big Rock Candy Mountain and Lord Randall were warbling around you too.
I think my mom still has those records. I'll ask her today.
Back to the hut in the woods.,

A Time to Dance said...

Hello, I am a friend of the lovely lovely Viv from Hens Teeth and I was captivated by your pottery...its wonderful...I shall continue looking at your lovely Helen

Shari Sunday said...

Hi. I'm dropping in from My Farmhouse Kitchen. You have a wonderful blog. My farm experience was visiting my aunt Esther in Crescent, OK in the summers. She taught me to sew a little and fed me fresh milk and butter and fried chicken and watermellon warm from the fields. There was a big, red barn full of hay where you could look for eggs and wild kittens. Wonderful memories. Oh, and they had pear and pecan trees.

Carousel Dreams said...

Thankyou so much for sharing...I loved everything about this. Your pottery is so beautiful x

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