Monday, June 1, 2020

Tales of the Traveling Tote #23 - HOME SWEET HOME

Welcome to our June 2020 edition of Tales of the Traveling Tote where TEN totes were sheltered in place instead of the usual "living life" and sharing their adventures. We are in Phase 2 of reopening in our area. 
Let me tell you what I love about sisters. My sister surprised me by making me a mask by using a MacKenzie-Childs cloth napkin so I texted this photo to her and she texted back "too many checks". I told her it was Pandemic Chic. She's probably still rolling her eyes.

The tote ladies had a Zoom "meeting", and it was nice to hear everyone's voice and see their faces. I had met several of the ladies in New York City, and this gave me a chance to "meet" the rest of the group.
We finally had some fun on Saturday, May 30. It has warmed up in our area, so Joe and I took a road trip to Cherry Valley to purchase some lilac bushes. I also ordered lilac essential oil which will be ready in July. More than 30 bushels of fresh flowers go into producing 10 ml of Lilac Enfleurage extract. Most of what the owner (Charle-pan) produces is sent to the luxury European fragrance houses. I couldn't believe how many lilac varieties we saw! Our time slot was from 1:00-2:00, so I was in my glory for an hour.
We also went to Beekman 1802 Mercantile for curbside pickup since it's 10 minutes from the lilac farm.

I feel fortunate to have such beauty to enjoy during this time of social isolation. Nature is healing. When dad built our camp in the mountains, he had an idea of what it would mean to us. It’s become our place to escape to take long walks in the woods, breathe the crisp cool air and listen to the magic of Mother Nature. A place to ponder and find moments of joy.

Just to give you an idea, there are only a few year round residents on our lake so when we are there, it's like we are the only ones there. We had a warm and sunny weekend at the beginning of May so we took a ride to camp and stopped at one of the more scenic locations in Old Forge, NY near camp. Many pass by the "little red boathouse" without even seeing it along Highway 28. It is across the street from View Arts. Spring was just waking up since it is Zone 3, and I look forward to take more picturesque photos again in the fall and winter.
We took a wonderful pasta class with our family on Zoom. It was a lot of fun, and I am very impressed with my hubby's pasta making skills. For Mother's Day he offered to make pasta using the technique we learned on our trip to Italy.

We found our Quarantine date night groove on the back deck. Cantales Bistro 5 stars, and our first alfresco dinner of the season. Pasta sauce simmered all day! We shopped via Instacart for our dinner, and Miss Aurora wondered why she couldn't shop too but I explained the situation to her, and she was content to stay home and join us at the table.

The month of April was rough so I put this collage together. When we prepare for a picnic at the lake, Miss Aurora is happy to haul our goodies...a loaf of homemade bread, herb butter, grilled chicken, orzo salad, brownies, flowers and SanPellegrino Italian sparkling blood orange beverage. April was very chilly, so the sandals were wishful thinking :-) I have been sowing seeds, and this summer I am hoping for a field of flowers.
I've had plenty of time to go down memory lane, so I started organizing photos on the computer and looking at documents I saved in Word. It was interesting to read the interview we did with our grandmother at age 99. She lived through the Great Depression, and shared lessons on how to make due and get by. My grandparents were in their 20's and married two months when the Great Depression hit. Both lost their jobs.
Shelter-in-place orders have brought back once-common tasks. A generation or two ago, household skills were common, learned at home and at school. Then it became easier to toss things out rather than fix them, quicker to call the professionals. It's during these uncertain times like these when we are grateful for having learned life skills, and I plan to teach my niece and her daughter how to sew. I used to sew quite often, and made clothing and Halloween costumes for my son Bryon. My grandmother taught me how to sew, bake bread and pies, garden and knit. My parents taught us how to can, garden, woodworking and clean LOL. My sister Diane built her own fence in her backyard recently (she is very independent), my brother John can take a car apart and put it back together, and my sister Cheryl is an amazing cook and sells food for takeout. And of course my amazing husband is a jack of all trades.
Miss Aurora wanted in on the action when I took a virtual paint class on Zoom. I loved every minute of this class.
We are CSA members of a farm, so we grabbed the tote and stocked up on roasting chickens and cheese. It's about a 35 minute drive from our home, and the country side is lovely. We can also pick up at the farmers market once they open, and that is located five minutes from our home. It was just nice to get out of the house!

As a nature lover, aren't these the cutest feather canape knives ?!!!! Visit Life and Linda with Miss Lola and leave a comment to have a chance to win it. Good luck! 

I know the other "travelers" would love a visit. 
Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
 Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie and Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay and Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women  

Corning Incorporated and the Corning Museum of Glass lit up one of their office buildings to say UNITY.There are definitely many silver linings in pandemic's dark clouds. It took a global catastrophe to do what politicians have been promising to do for years: ridding us of those obnoxious robocalls. The volume of such calls has plunged dramatically, mainly because the call enters are in India, the Phillipines and elsewhere there they have shut down due to the virus. 

I stand in support of racial equality, and all those who search for it.
Debbie@Mountain Breaths
Debbie@Mountain Breaths

Hello, I'm Debbie.I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Adirondack Mountains (thus Mountain Breaths). I live in Upstate NY with my supportive husband and have three precious sons..


  1. Debbie, you & Joe certainly have gotten a good groove during this quarantine. I will always associate lilacs with New York and my mom, such beautiful flowers! I would be so excited to get to a camp like yours to open it for the season, and I bet this year was even more exciting. Glad you mentioned your USDA zone. I knew you guys were at least a month lag in blooms, and that puts it in perspective. I have often wondered what my parents (born 1920 and earlier) would have thought of this time, and was able to speak to my mother's 95 yr old companion about it all recently. It was enlightening. Looks like your CSA has already proven to be a wise investment, given shortages of chicken! And the Corning UNITY could certainly be a good sign right now in all this rioting everywhere. Happy June, my friend. Here's to UNITY!

  2. Looks like you have kept busy and you are lucky that you can escape to your camp in the woods! There is nothing that smells like spring as a lilac! The farm looks like a fun trek to take and I look forward to seeing your lilac bush next spring!

  3. You always seem to find a way to be on the go no matter what Deb! My favorite part of your post is 5 star Cantales Bistro! How fun to make your own pasta with your husband and enjoy a special date night dinner at home. Your thoughts on life skills are so important, I have 2 sisters and growing up I remember my mom sewing dresses for us because it was too expensive to buy them. My daughter can't even sew on a button, but her husband, as Eagle Scout can!! You have such beautiful scenery right around you and now that it's warm I'm sure you and Joe will be enjoying nature even more. The Zoom classes you took sound like so much fun, keep painting! It is truly amazing what we have all learned about the world and each other these past few months... Cheers to future travels!

  4. I love reading about all the activities that you and Joe get to do! Your parents and grandparents gave you and your siblings such a wonderful gift of teaching you so many things. Cantales Bistro is a place that I’d love to attend, along with your piece of heaven on earth...your camp. You and Joe make the best of LIVING with JOY! Happy Summer to both of you. ❤️

  5. Love favorites have to be Miss Kim Korean lilacs as lovely bushes.You are a very talented girl:) And Joe is a talented guy..Fun outings!

  6. Deb, you and Joe have found a wonderful routine for days of Quarantine. Fun activities, especially visiting Cherry Valley to choose the Lilac bushes. Wish I could grow those here but not the right zone. Your pasta class sounds like so much fun and wow will you benefit from Joe learning the skill. How wonderful you have a special camp to go and enjoy nature, it sounds wonderful and special family memories make it all the more special. Look forward to our Zoom visit, see you then ❤️

  7. Deb, how awesome you are keeping so busy in quarantine. Making pasta, painting and more.
    Getting away to camp sounds perfect surrounded by activities and nature. Love your Cantales Bistro, how cute is that? Sometimes enjoying a meal in your own backyard is heavenly. Stay safe. let's hope the world will get back to being normal once again. I am really looking forward to seeing your lovely face on Zoom.

  8. Definitely not too many checks and I love your mask and "scarf" to match everything else.
    How fun to take the pasta class and a painting class. I got out my Kitchenmaid pasta machine attachment - which I just had to have maybe 15 years ago and then never used because we were going low-carb. We have had such fun making pasta too.
    What a treasure your dad provided for the family and I am so glad you have truly enjoyed so much time there.
    It will be fun to get together again through Zoom.

  9. Can a girl have too many lilacs or too many checks? I think NOT! You look adorable as always, and you and Joe seem to have the activities fine tuned. Homemade pasta! That's fun! We gave our pasta maker away years ago because we only used it a few times. It's not exactly easy!
    Looking forward to our Zoom gather this week.

  10. LOL I've also been taking ZOOM art classes left and right. Your sunflower looks very French-y. Sunflowers sell very well here because everyone is crazy about Country French above all styles. I also love seeing the pretty lilacs. They don't grow here in the Deep South, so they are always a treat.

    Hopefully we can all travel soon before our next posts!

    Ricki Jill

  11. Every time I see you in and surrounded by checks, I always see some thing that makes me say, "I need to find that! So much fun! Your observation about the robocalls is priceless. I never answer them, but you're correct, I'm not seeing as many on the caller ID. I know you will love getting back to the lake again. Here's to a wonderful summer and a typical autumn. Thanks for taking us on the tour. CherryKay

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