November 2013: Moving into Winter | Notes Archive »

The house is as it should be; we have worked, making sure our favorite things are here, smoothing the rough edges of a tiny house which had languished - empty - for a dozen or so years before we came to own it. It almost seemed that the walls themselves were in a state of shock as we rattled around fixing it. Now it begins to settle down and we along with it. There is quiet acceptance and gratitude on both sides. The house relaxes, feeling all is well, and we move more gently around its tiny spaces. Eno and I have always loved "smallness". Our childhood rooms were tiny and now, in later years, we are reacquainting with that snugness. We find our spots in the house - he in an upstairs garret bedroom, with his beloved saxophones, a small tv and a comfy chair; me in the little parlor with my computer or under a pile of quilts on the bed with a book. The animals follow one or the other of us and settle nearby. Oh, yes. The animals have once again set the standard for adjustment strategies. They know how to make do, and we do well to watch and follow their lead. The ultimate country dogs have become gentrified with no great effort. A good dog knows how to behave on a fall evening after a short walk to the green. As we take in the beauty of the houses around us, Kipp settles at our feet and watches the comings and goings, alert, but quiet. Beautiful dog. Kind and patient teacher. We love and respect your sensibilities, and bask in your delightful company. With 3 dogs and 2 cats, it is a crowd, but we love each other and that makes anything possible.

As the air chills, village living provides such ease. A short walk gets the mail, a fresh croissant from Burdick's, a book from the library, a newspaper from Jake's, and many other conveniences. There is usually a neighborly encounter providing town updates, weather forecasts and other tidbits. Acworth isolation has its virtues, but we find that we are more than ready to be a part of life here. Could this flavor be why Ken Burns always thanks the "people of Walpole, NH" at the end of his compelling documentaries? There is something special here, and it's very contagious.

Kathy Schoemer Cloth DollKathy Schoemer ChestI am back in the rhythm with my little business - looking for the very particular things that please me. My theory is to really limit the "stuff" - the inventory that accumulates for lots of reasons and to concentrate on the things I want to keep. I do not "keep", but the thought process is that what I want to keep will have the same effect on others with similar sensibilities: a cloth doll that is out of the ordinary, with the special qualities that touch me deeply; a little toy 6-board chest, early 19th c, in old green, which looks perfect in front of our parlor hearth; a tiny doll's appliqu├ęd pillow sham, a treasured addition to a doll's bed joining other textile furnishings.

Kathy Schoemer Cloth DollKathy Schoemer Doll ShamI will not keep them. They are for sale, but they would be "keepers" if I collected. Making my customers happy is my fulfillment after 42 years of buying and selling. If the object seems like merely a good buy, it's not for me. That elusive quality - the essence of spirit, of comfort, of timeless pleasure - is my goal on the hunt.

We have had a spectacular foliage season with mostly burnt umbers and siennas creating soft palettes on the hills. Maybe not the shocking reds and compelling contrasts, but the subtle and surreal shades that are every bit as dramatic. Every fall is different, depending upon the weather patterns throughout the summers and early autumns. This one has been gorgeous, with the leaves lingering due to the lack of heavy rainstorms, so, though soothing rather than jarring, it continued into late October. Lest we forget, we live in the area which attracts millions of sightseers every year. A short errand can be a rewarding vacation.

Kathy Schoemer Cloth Doll Little hints of winter appear - massive woodpiles on porches and in yards, bits of early Christmas in the shops, candles in the tiny paned windows, bedded gardens and heavy sweaters. It's coming, and we all know it. Prognostications begin about snowfall amounts as we put the shovel by the door in case a surprise storm develops. Our interiors glow and we begin to re-focus on the objects that keep us company as the winds howl and snow flies. I love the winter because , sometimes forced to stay indoors, we have time to nurture our interior lives. The distractions of summer are gone, and our little home pleasures take center stage.

I wish you all deep and sustaining pleasure through the winter months. Let's deck the halls with pine boughs and garlands and celebrate whatever we believe in, and remember to give thanks, even if it's just to those who have gone before us who bequeathed these treasures to our care.