Happy Trails, Sweet Crush Pernell

[Previous Suburban Farmgirl, October 2009 – October 2010]
I was an Adam girl. Still am. Always will be, even though Pernell Roberts isn’t with us any more. He died this week of pancreatic cancer at 81.
Anna Quindlen famously wrote how her fellow teenagers, circa 1964, were divided among “Paul girls,” “John girls,” “George girls,” or “Ringo girls.” The four “Bonanza” stars didn’t define and consume my adolescence the way the Beatles did hers, not least because by the time I discovered the show, it was already just in endless re-runs. But among its loyal fans in any year – and I suspect there are fresh ones hatching — there’s one Cartwright for whom your heart beats faster during the rotating horseback cameos in the opening credits. You’re an Adam girl, a Little Joe girl, a Hoss girl, or a Pa girl.
Joe girls – the biggest group – are the ones who like ‘em cute and flirtatious, usually because they’re cute and flirtatious themselves. Hoss girls tend to be bold renegades making a statement (it’s the equivalent of the “Ringo” pick). Pa girls are mostly grandmothers (mine, for instance).
We Adam girls are different. We long for…

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How I’m Getting From A to B

[Previous Suburban Farmgirl, October 2009 – October 2010]
I sure wish I still had this patchwork quilt (below). As quilts go, I own finer specimens (a good subject for a future post, actually, for what quicker way is there to farmgirlize your suburban house than by its bedding?). But this particular quilt — that’s my younger sister posing in front of it when she herself was much younger — is beloved in part because it was made by me.
Entirely of potholders.
Not the comfy-coziest of quilt materials, I admit. But here’s the more specific reason I love it: The amazing variety of potholder patterns I came up with for the squares. A bag of raw material, time to tinker, the courage to try, allowing yourself the freedom to make mistakes, and voila! Possibility! No such thing as one kind of potholder. Looking at things in new ways is the best kind of momentum I know.

For example:

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When Change Pours Forth

[Previous Suburban Farmgirl, October 2009 – October 2010]
It’s said that there are years that ask questions and years that give answers. I’m not sure which was 2009 for me. More like a year that kept the ground shifting with transition. (Details in a second.)
I’m writing this looking at a lovely teapot on my desk. I own an inordinate number of pots and pitchers. I’ve always been drawn to them. I never understood why. After all, you can only use so many pitchers in an everyday kitchen. It’s not like I have to haul water or keep one handy at every washbasin, for example.
Partly, pitchers and teapots are farmgirly icons: Utilitarian, comforting in their roundness, often pretty, too. But I now think I’m also drawn to the concept of a pitcher: You fill it up, pour it out, and repeat as needed. It’s versatile: Tea, water, juice, syrup, cinnamon sticks, bread sticks, a cheering bunch of flowers, a thought-provoking spray of branches. Pitchers brim with the potential of what might come next.

That’s my interpretation, anyway, and I’m sticking with it. And I know something of both pitchers and transitions. Here’s what’s happened, oh, just this past year, for instance:

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