Part 2, Historic Storm, Martha’s Vineyard, Smallville, USA. MUSICA



The morning after, just before dawn . . .
isn't it romantic

storm door

Yesterday, the morning after/during the historic blizzard of 2015, the first thing I did when I got out of bed was pull back a curtain to look out the window.  The wind was still blowing wild outside and I was excited to see what had happened overnight. I should say I tried to look out the window, but I could see nothing, they were plastered with snow. When I got downstairs I tried again; I started laughing when I saw the storm door in the kitchen.  I tried to push it open, and was stopped by a wall of snow.

watercolor flowers


I couldn’t see what was happening at the bird feeders either . . .



As it started to get light, the view was a little better on the other side of the house.


from the window

But the storm was still going strong . . . terrible winds, blowing snow, cold, burrr…. just like it’s supposed to be this time of year, but hasn’t been.  We wanted it and we got it.



Pefectly wonderful, heat from the furnace streaming across the kitchen floor . . .

cozy at home

We were lucky, we kept our electricity . . .homeJack loves the fire

Inside Smallville, warm and quiet, home is paradise.

oatmeal with apples

Breakfast, Irish steel-cut oatmeal, blueberries, chopped apples & walnuts with cinnamon in my favorite breakfast bowl because it holds lots of milk.

The Duchess

While the storm continued to beat across the island, I painted all morning, glancing up at the TV from time to time to see The Duchess with Keira Knightley (it’s available on Netflix).  What a great movie, all about the amazing, sad, but interesting life The Duchessof Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire, 1757-1806, who lived at Chatsworth (Go here for lots of photos of our visit to Chatsworth); it’s where Queen Victoria went to her first grown-up dinner party when she was a sixteen-year-old Princess and that’s where The Duchess was filmed ~ I recognized rooms. (P.S. SO much history here; Jane Austen visited Chatsworth and it’s believed that she used it as the model for Darcy’s estate Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice.) Amazing costumes in this movie too. 

neighborhood excitement

And while all that was going on, this is what went on outside my studio windows. The first intrepid souls were venturing out . . . getting stuck, digging themselves out. People drive around with snow shovels in the car.  They are smart, as one of our Girlfriends said, this is not their first rodeo. :-)


The birds had kicked off the wall of snow that was stuck to their feeders, and were going at it.


Don’t you just love red in the snow?

Daddy cardinal

So decorative!

wonderful bird cup

Time for more tea in my bird cup ♥

love birds!

I’m truly a bird person from way back. (Made fabric with letters at one time, I was designing a pillow with it.)


This is the female cardinal . . . she is pretty, but mostly reddish brown, not like her bright red husband ~ Cardinals mate for life,

cardinals kissing

Snow garden

country bootsSoon it was our turn to venture forth . . . I wore the tall cozy comfy “Toggi” boots I bought in England that are impervious to weather. Snow lands on them, they don’t stand for it, they repel it right off; I came in with no snow on my feet! It was 22° outside. Brrrr. I would say, “Girlfriends, you owe me one for this,” but in reality, I probably owe you.  Maybe I wouldn’t have done this if you hadn’t asked, and it was wonderful. So, thank you!  

feeding the birdsw

Look how pretty, I’m standing in front of the barn looking back at my kitchen door and windows.  See Joe’s little path on the porch?  See the red cardinal?

Joes handiwork

Joe did this, up to the barn and out to the street.

front of house

And here we are, in front of the house

fire hydrant

That’s a fire hydrant.

walk to town

The slippery walk to town  . . . It’s not an insurmountable amount of snow, but we do think it’s the most we’ve seen here.


Icicles make nice pictures, we took photos of every icicle in town.


So pretty, sparkly, drippy . . . magical forest type stuff.

downtown vineyard haven

And this is Main Street in The Haven. If you’re familiar with the island you know where we are, up at the end of the street, near the stone bank

Bunch of Grapes

And here is our bookstore, Bunch of Grapes, Smallville, USA, an island tradition since the early 1970’s.

shoveling snow

The guys are out shoveling in full force, like Joe, I think some guys love it.  Joe can’t wait to get out there after a storm — this one wasn’t wearing gloves!  While ME, my fingers are inside leather and on fire from how cold they are.

snow shoveling

I like to take pictures of snow in mid-air.


More snow, more mid-air.

snow plowing

We had to dodge these the whole way.  No one yelled at us, “Get home, get the #@!*% off the street, let us do our jobs,” but I’m sure some of them were thinking it. We ran when we saw them coming.

Main street The Haven

This is in front of Midnight Farm, the store Carly Simon started.

main street vineyard haven

Not too many people going to work!

Main street

Cheryl (Stark) owner of the jewelry store on the left, will have a bit of a struggle before she gets through her door.

drug store

They’ve dug a narrow path to the drug store entrance on the other side of this wall of snow.main street

Which is being moved away by one of our island heroes . . . 

women heroes

Or heroines.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate these intrepid souls.  Late at night, while the wind is howling and the snow is coming down in weather not fit for man nor beast, we hear the muffled sound of snowplows going by, see the beam of their headlights bouncing off the wall, and get exactly the same feeling we had as children after we went to bed and were lulled to sleep by the comforting voices of our parents talking in the living room. Safe and protected under warm blankets because we know someone is up and taking care of things.  Someone brave and strong and selfless, like a hero.

Boston Marathon finish line

Speaking of which, did you see this?  It’s the finish line for the Boston Marathon.  Some unknown person has kept it clear of snow. When I see something like this, it makes me so happy . . .

what a wonderful world

new england in the snow

Walking home through the quintessential New England streets — these houses were all built in the 1800’s. Nothing very much changes around here.

the neighborhood

I had to move here; I was afraid I might never get a house like these and I could not live my life without one.

holly oak in the snow

My first house on the island . . . Little and perfect and all mine.

home sweet home

out and about

She’s going to dig out the Day Care Center at the church.  Look how happy she is!

picket fence

This, my darling girls, is a picket fence.  Upon which gladiolus grow wildly in the summer.

I'm glad for gladiolus

a shoveled walk

Some path-diggers cut through the snow like precision jewelers. They say we got 2½ ft. of snow . . . drifts make it deeper in some places, but looking at this, it seems about right.

path to town

Yes, slippery, we huffed and puffed.  It was hard work keeping on our feet!

our house

We walked around to the backside of the house to see what it looked like from the back driveway.

deep snow

For about two seconds we contemplated trying to get to the back door from here . . . but the snow was way too deep to walk through; some drifts would come over our knees . . . we had to trudge back around to the front to get in.

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me, the threat

This block of snow was lying in the street, I tested it by first kicking it . . . when it didn’t come apart, I thought:  Ooo, perfect snowball.  But of course I didn’t throw it at him, only threatened.

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having tea

No they are not. Some are just having fun.

Dancing teapots, who can resist!Time for tea

And home, for another cup of tea, more watercolors of clocks, lammies, flowers and written words of love.  All’s well in Smallville.

Home sweet Home

Nothing like coming in from the cold. Worth going out!  It’s cozy wintergorgeous this morning, the snow is so bright in the sun, people need sunglasses out there; still freezing, street still covered in snow, which seems like it may stay for awhile.  We have two more storms on the way.  It’s good.  I have work to do, and now I don’t have to suffer wishing to get into the garden.

flower-border  Oh yeah, almost forgot why I’m here:

Mr. adorable

. . . as cat-picture delivery system.  Everyone needs a purpose, their true calling. :-) This is my Raison d’être  (A very useful French phrase meaning “reason for existence.”)

Neatness counts

Other raison d’être. We are keeping busy. XOXO Bye for now, Girlfriends, hope you enjoyed the Blizzard of 2015! 

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Good Morning Girlfriends . . . Thought I better write now, because there’s a storm coming!  MUSICA It just started snowing on the island, soft and light, but “an unprecedented blizzard is bearing down on the eastern seaboard,” the TV is saying, “heavy, blowing, drifting snow, even thunder snow; a catastrophic, crippling, potentially historic, rapidly-building, MONSTER of a storm, with hurricane-force winds, coastal flooding, and wide-spread power outages (for days if not weeks) that will leave millions stranded in their homes.” That’s what they’re saying. Yikes! 

Kiss boring goodbye

calm before storm

I took this photo out our dining room a few minutes ago just before the snow started; it’s so quiet, the sky is white and it’s 28°.

snow house

I thought I’d tell you what happens around here during a snowstorm so you don’t worry, even when the boats stop running, the planes stop flying, when the wind blows like a hurricane, the electricity goes off and we are stranded in our homes and can no longer communicate with the outside world, I don’t want you to worry.  Because I’m telling you we are fine. Actually more than fine.


our house

We’re lucky because we’ll be here at home and our house is very sturdy.  It was built in 1849 . . . this is it from the front around the turn of the century . . .


Here she is, from the back, in the lovely calm after a storm.  She was built by an arctic whaling captain, she’s like a strong ship in a white sea; Captain Smith gave her very thick walls; so far, she has seen 166 winters and through them all she’s kept everyone safe. We are confident that she will do it again. We love snowstorms. Especially here, it’s almost like a little party.



All magically decorated for the party . . . our world is hushed with a quiet grandeur.

Fascinated Jack

Fun to watch for the whole family.

Bon Appetit

We are ready.  First thing to think about: food.  We’ve been turning down corners on the pages of the January issue of Bon Appétit, the “healthy issue” ~ there were so many delicious-sounding recipes to try ~ right now we have enough food in the house to feed the whole neighborhood.

Old recipe boxes

we are ready

Jack in the woodpile

We’re set with lots of extra batteries, flashlights, dozens of candles, several oil lamps, a big stack of oak wood in the back hall . . .

cozy fire

How bad could it really be?


Joe brought in the snow shovel and put it in the pantry (so it doesn’t get buried) ~ he’s filling the bird feeders now ~ and most wonderfully perfect of all, we have a gas stove just when we need one. We can boil water for tea, and heat up slices of delicious Boston Brown Bread . . .

B & M Brown Bread

. . .(so good with butter for tea), and keep ourselves toasty in the kitchen (in case the furnace goes off).  Blog Daddy just called to talk “storm-talk.”  Yesterday, over the phone, I told him I’d read in Bon Appétit how to fry “juicy eggs” (which is what we called “over-easy” as kids) so the edges are really crispy. We made them for breakfast yesterday . . . they were gorgeous, edges so crisp, as Joe said, “you don’t need toast!”  My dad tried it this morning and gave it two big thumbs up; he said I should give you the recipe.

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SO, here you go, it’s really more method than recipe: for crispy-edged fried eggs:  over medium high flame, heat a heavy skillet until it’s almost smoking, add 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil to pan, gently break an egg into the pan, s & p, and cook until it’s done the way you like.  (I cover the pan with a lid ~ that way it cooks from the top too and I don’t have to turn the egg and chance breaking the yolk.)  For this, you get a perfectly cooked egg, a bubbly white, edged with well-browned crispy egg white.  Yum!


birds eye view

And while we cook and stay warm . . . just outside our kitchen windows, we are entertained . . .

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cardinals IMG_5614. . . by cardinals, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, and sparrows

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birds at the feeders

And woodpeckers . . .  we can watch the birds fluttering on the feeders while the snow whirls around them.

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squirrel jump

Between the birds, the wild turkeys and the squirrels there is lots to keep track of!  So you don’t have to worry about us!


wonderful world

We have sweaters, down blankets, books, and kitties . . .

Girl Kitty

Who could ask for anything more . . .

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. . . than warm cozy fuzziness in a winter storm . . .


I have lots of painting to do which I can easily do in candlelight.  I like it.

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no electricity!

It makes me feel like Beatrix Potter.  All quiet, suddenly it’s 1899, no machines can talk yet, just a lovely silence of crackling fire while the storm beats against the windows, me in candlelight, wrapped in blankets my grandma knit for me, drinking tea and eating crispy eggs. Really, how bad can it be.

domestic bliss

this morningThis was me early this morning . . .

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So don’t worry about us.  We’re excited.  It’s one of the reasons we love living here.  We are never bored.  If it lasts too long, we walk two doors over to Martha’s or Lowely’s and drink.  :-)



And play mahjong or Rummy-Q.  And if the snow lets us, we’ll do our favorite thing, bundle up and crunch down the middle of the street (no cars) into town and explore, maybe find something open, go in, see everyone from Smallville, out for an airing, pink-cheeked in big jackets and boots, hats with snow on them, clomp our feet to get the snow off. My prayer is that everyone is safe in their own versions of Smallville.

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Joe made us a fire

Joe just announced, he’s going to the market. “What for?” I said watching the fire flickering, knowing that we have more food than we need right now.  “I don’t know,” he says already wearing his beret, tying his shoes, leaning back in the chair, “just feel like browsing.  Any ideas?”  “No, well, yes, I said, “I have this feeling of . . . cinnamon rolls.”  He laughs and gets up to go.  We are in accord. We are storm-proof.

snowy house

Candles in the kitchen

So do not worry.  We are fine.  Even if the worst happens and I’m cut off from computer for a couple of days, unable to “moderate” comments.  Don’t worry. I jolly well shall return!

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Sarah BuntingNow, last thing, Downton?  Wasn’t it GREAT last night?  I mean, I can’t wait to eat cinnamon rolls tomorrow morning and watch it again! I don’t know, but the dresses just seem to get better and better . . . last night was just amazing.  And the lighting! And then, Granny! Edith! Poor Edith! (Granny was so mean to her ~ I would have cried at the dinner table.)  Isobel and romantic Lord Merton ~ Marry him Isobel, have a wedding, get a dress! . . . and Mary!  Mary!  Mary!  What’s wrong with Barrow? Big dark circles under his eyes, syringes in his room? I like Shrimpy, “who hasn’t got a bean.” But snow treenot the nightmare dinner guest, Miss Smug Bunting.  She is beyond the pale.  I gasp when she speaks.  Look at that expression (in the picture)!  I love her, in one way, she is a character that is fun to hate!  How could anyone be that rude in someone else’s house while eating their food?  Bring up Mrs. Patmore? During dinner?  Has she gone mad?  OK, must go get work done.  Hopefully, I’ll be back soon.  Until then, I hope you are safe at home (I’ll try not to worry about you either!), making the best of your day, eating cinnamon rolls and crispy eggs! Stay warm! XOXO

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