whale cottage

giving thanks for apples

I have never been the caretaker of a fruit tree before. Now we have four apple trees on the grounds of our little Whale Cottage on PEI. Before we closed it up for the season I snapped this shot. How simple. How pretty. How wondrous these small little jewels are, blemishes and all (perhaps a deeper lesson there?). And they taste quite yummy, too. I kind of miss them. I hope to plan our spring visit for when the trees are in bloom. 

I just can't look at apples without remembering that scene from Good Will Hunting. Matt Damon (Will), after vying with a Harvard man for the attention of Minnie Driver's character:

Matt Damon as Will "Do you like apples?"

Harvard dude "Ya"

Matt Damon as Will "Well, I got her numbah. How do you like them apples?"

I am thankful for our apple trees and so many more things this weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving. 



PEI cottage name and motto

Every great retreat needs a name and a motto I think. The name of our little place on Prince Edward Island will be Whale Cottage. For some unknown reason the previous owners called it Ginger Lane Meadows -- eeewwww. And they had a flowery stencilled plaque with the name on it. Ick. It is long gone. One thing the previous owners did get right is putting this handsome whale weathervane on the top of a cupola on the cottage. Hence the new name: Whale Cottage.

Now, for a motto. Much of my inspiration for this place has come from the book Sailing Style by Tricia Foley with Jill Kirchner Simpson and photos by Michael Skott.

It's a wonderful book, and one of the things I love most about it is that it isn't just pretty pictures. The book is packed with interesting research and history on sailing traditions and lore and terminology (ever the history student, I am). One sidebar in the book quotes famous writers on the sea. This one knocked me over:

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
It's always ourselves we find in the sea.

e.e. cummings

At the risk of getting a bit personal, e.e. cummings is one of my guiding lights. His poetry has been by my side for so many important moments in my life. I couldn't remember off hand which poem the two lines were from, so I went to the Google machine right away. I found this utterly enchanting poem.

'maggie and milly and molly and may'

maggie and milly and molly and may 
went down to the beach(to play one day) 

and maggie discovered a shell that sang 
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and 

milly befriended a stranded star 
whose rays five languid fingers were; 

and molly was chased by a horrible thing 
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and 

may came home with a smooth round stone 
as small as a world and as large as alone. 

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me) 
its always ourselves we find in the sea 

e.e. cummings

Adore. The spirit of the verse reminds me of that feeling of utter relaxation mixed with elation you get when you walk on the beach near our place. The heartbeat slows, the shoulders relax. Deep breaths. "Maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles." Aaaahh.

And so henceforth the Whale Cottage motto will be those last two lines. Whale Cottage will be a place to find what we have lost, like a you or a me. And finally, this sweet discovery:

(and one last funny story -- when my wee French bulldog Lulu came upon a crab on the beach, she peed on it...pretty sure it was already dead, so it didn't chase her.)

whale cottage, PEI

Today was the day. After nearly a year of negotiations, inspections, red tape and three closing dates, today was the day we finally took possession of our tiny little slice of cottage heaven on Prince Edward Island. Some people think we are crazy. "When will you go?" "That's so far away, why would you buy there?" Well, most of those people have never been to Prince Edward Island. If you've been here, you know why. We know why and we couldn't be happier. Here she is:

As I write this I am nestled in a makeshift bed - camp cots made up as if we are camping in an African safari - just under that upstairs window. It is dark and silent and divine. We are minutes from the ocean. You can feel it in the air. Tomorrow the fun begins. A holiday of decorating and mini renovating with many seafood feasts and beach adventures to celebrate each day's accomplishments. I will have much to tell you and show you about the progress here and over at the STYLE AT HOME blog. The full reveal is planned for the pages of STYLE AT HOME next summer. For now I can tell you the plan, in the words of the great Elsie de Wolfe: "plenty of optimism and white paint."