{Moments of Inspiration}

by hollycombs

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them;
for those experiences have left an indelible impression,
and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Celebrating spring and life in Smithfield

Enjoying neighbors becoming friends (and time spent with Husband) – twice in the past month we had neighbors offer us free tickets to fun events in the area. It’s been great getting to know these people in our community!

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Book Review: Dauntless

by hollycombs

Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman Having recently enjoyed reading the Divergent series, where the term Dauntless was, of course, key to the entire concept, I was a little skeptical, but intrigued when I received this new novel by Dina L. Sleiman titled Dauntless.

Lady Merry fell from grace when her father stood up to the king – and paid with his life. Now she leads a band of outlaws in the forest, but they are unlike any outfit you’ve ever seen before. At 17, she is the eldest. The children are smart, clever and wily. They devise creative plans to steal what they need to survive without getting caught. But then Merry is captured, by none other than her childhood sweetheart who now works for the king. Will he turn her over to the king? Will he allow her band of children to be caught and hung? Or will the children save the day?

I would have enjoyed this novel starting back before Merry became an outlaw. What was her life like then, what was it like to lose everything, what was it like to come of age under such circumstances, taking responsibility for so many little ones? This almost felt like it should be the sequel to the novel. That said, it was enjoyable, if not profound, and interesting, if not original.

The unique historical background was certainly of interest, though I think I would have preferred more historical and cultural context so I could come away from having read it with a sense of having learned something of a different time. The characters were likable, the struggles real. I think Allen, one of the supporting characters, may be my favorite one of all.

While I wasn’t blown away by Dauntless, I would certainly pick up another book from this author for a quick, fun, enjoyable read. So if that’s your speed, I can recommend it!

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Barred Rock Rooster

by hollycombs

So we’ve had this Barred Rock rooster for about a year now, and he’s remained unnamed the entire time we’ve had him.

He’s been overshadowed most of this time, by a white rooster (we think a Leghorn), that was louder and prouder than this guy. But two roosters with six hens is NOT a good ratio, so we had to choose one to go. We re-homed our other rooster and he has his own flock of hens to protect now. Reports indicate he is loving his new home.

Barred Rock Rooster

This guy, he’s gorgeous. A little quieter, and a little gentler. He is also larger — a dark, almost imposing figure in the coop.

So it was finally time to name this guy, and I think I selected a good one: Rochester.

Named for the hero of a favorite Gothic novel, Jane Eyre.

Now, is it time to name the hens?

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{Moments of Inspiration}

by hollycombs

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them;
for those experiences have left an indelible impression,
and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Jane the goat

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Book Review – Still Alice

by hollycombs

Still Alice by Lisa Genova Still Alice by Lisa Genova is an up-close look at a family struggling through the diagnosis and affects of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Alice has worked her entire life to get where she is as a linguist and Harvard professor, but with a single diagnosis, all of it was taken away — early onset Alzheimer’s. Alice isn’t dying from the disease, she’s living with it. And every day seems to bring another end — an end to her career, an end to her daily jogs, an end to her relationship with her children. She has to learn to let go and live the best she can, for as long as she can.

Still Alice was well worth the read, though I can’t say I would classify it as “enjoyable.” Reading about a woman’s deterioration from successful to unaware is hard to do. The book reminded me of those I have known who have struggling with debilitating illnesses, including Alzheimer’s. And to be honest, it was rather depressing to watch someone lose so much, with absolutely no power to stop it.

But I am glad I read the book. It is well written. It is a thought-provoking glimpse into the life of someone who is faced with an unimaginable future. And, told from Alice’s perspective, it gives the reader a small sense of what it must be like to live it.

I would definitely recommend Still Alice as a book just about everyone could benefit from reading — whether illnesses like this have been a part of your life or not. If nothing else, it will give you a renewed respect for families suffering through disease, and it will hopefully give you an extra dose of compassion for those experiencing such devastating diagnoses.

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{Moments of Inspiration}

by hollycombs

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them;
for those experiences have left an indelible impression,
and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Our farmhouse table, made from reclaimed wood

The farmhouse table came to nearly 10 feet long, made from old pine beams that were once rafters in a church built long ago here in Virginia. Now to find enough chairs to go around it…

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Yarn Along – Marshmallow Fluff Cowl

by hollycombs

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Yarn Along Dauntless and a Cowl

I’m preparing to start a new cowl with this Marshmallow Fluff pattern, probably my last of the season as Spring has officially sprung and it’s time to move on to outdoor projects. But one last knit is always a good idea. Also, I’m reading Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman. This is my first book from this author and I’m still not quite sure what I think of it, check back soon for a review!

Joining Ginny at Small Things.

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{Moments of Inspiration}

by hollycombs

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them;
for those experiences have left an indelible impression,
and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

moments of inspiration: building farmhouse table

Progress on the making of a 10-foot-long reclaimed wood table.

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Adventure: A Kentucky Cabin

by hollycombs

Kentucky CabinMy brother has a cabin in Kentucky, a small, two-bedroom, *mostly*-finished cabin in the woods. It doesn’t have an address. He needs to call the post office about that. It doesn’t show up on Google Maps, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t have a bathroom, yet. Someday it will. March snowfall has made the road to it nearly impassable, but he has four-wheel-drive and he can pick us up at the bottom of the hill.

Kentucky Cabin

We came from all around — Peter and his family from Ohio, John and his family from Georgia, myself from Virginia, my parents from another place in Ohio. Only one couldn’t join us this year, the brother in Washington, D.C. I guess it’s a city that never sleeps, or takes a vacation.

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Nieces and nephews were everywhere, tumbling over each other in the tiny space. They’re all getting so big.

Islay is nearly 11. I was her nanny when she was a newborn. Hard to believe how time passes.

Ian is nearly 10. He wears glasses now, and looks so studious.

Tessa is 8. I remember being there when my sister-in-law learned she was pregnant with child #3.

The twins are 9, they hang on every word Ian says, fascinated by the boy. Their only brother is 2 years old. It shows.

Sarah is 6. She just wants to be included with the big kids.

And little Peter (little Peter to differentiate from big Peter) is two. Adorable. Precocious. He tries his mother’s patience, but makes the rest of us laugh a lot.

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin

I want to treasure the memories. Islay showing us her gymnastics skills and recently-won medals. Tessa sitting on my lap to play Battleship. Sarah playing Sorry! over, and over, and over. The twins sharing their love of reading with me. Little Peter putting on a “show” (ie. turning the lights out and singing one line of “Let it Go”). Big meals shared around a giant table. Warm fires in the wood stove. So many wet boots, hats, mittens, and snow pants. Knitting and talking and more knitting. Hikes, walks, tromping through the snow. A truck stuck in the mud. Laughter. So much laughter. These are moment to cherish.

Kentucky Cabin

I desperately hope Husband can join us next year at this Kentucky cabin, and my DC brother. To be complete. It would mean so much.

Kentucky Cabin

Kentucky Cabin - Zipline

Kentucky Cabin - Zipline

Kentucky Cabin - Zipline

Kentucky Cabin - Zipline

Kentucky Cabin

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Yarn Along – Seed Stitch Cowl

by hollycombs

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Seed stitch cowl

I really enjoyed this easy pattern as I joined my family in a backwoods Kentucky cabin for a weekend. Easy to knit and chat, set down and pick up amid other goings-on. And I do love the look of the seed stitch, as easy as it is to create. I find that it makes to a tightly woven cowl, especially compared to some of the drop-stitch cowls that I’m used to wearing. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And, more than anything, I now have a lovely cowl to wear with so many of my black work clothes to keep me warm in my frigid office.

Seed stitch

And I’m still reading Persuasion, because I like to savor the reading of any Jane Austen and because I can hardly keep my eyes open to read at night these days.

Joining Ginny at Small Things.

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