Here we are—Maples at the Sonatas—from the air. Two pictures taken by two pilots of small airplanes, the photos from different orientations in different years. First, we have this photo, taken by Barb’s son-in-law in 2011, when we were a much smaller community. And here we are today, in a picture taken by a friend of Tom D, a future homeowner under contract. Yes, we have grown. But look! There’s still empty space […]
My neighbor Cathie has us spoiled. Every holiday or major social event brings with it a change of costume for our mascot bear in the clubhouse. And each new costume, it seems, is more detailed than the last. Here is her latest masterpiece, celebrating Independence Day 2014. Check out these closeups of some of the details. I can’t end this post without mentioning that Cathie’s patriotism runs deep. Retired now, she devoted […]
There’s no better place to day dream, to unwind, to soak up some peace. You could have a sunroom too. They are available on all of the Epcon models. The cats, though… they are an upgrade. Sorry, but they do not come standard with a sunroom. Perhaps one day they will appear on the Wilcox list of options.
Nature’s first green is gold. —Robert Frost As soon as our last snow melted, I began my daily “green watch.” Every day, I’d go outside and search my flower beds, hoping to find a sign of plants coming back to life. This morning I found what I’ve been looking for. After the harsh, five-month-long winter we just survived, anything green and growing is so welcome. And that, I believe, is why Robert Frost described that […]
It’s almost here! Paddy O’Bear, along with his wild Irish rose, wishes you an early Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
Hey, Spring, stop playing with us. Yesterday you showed your beautiful, smiling face. Now today, you’re back in the shadows. Where are you hiding? Someday soon, Mother Nature will shout, “Ollie ollie oxen free,” and you will come out of hiding for good. What a joyful day that will be! In the meantime, I’ll flip through photos from years past and remember, and dream, and hope…
Before we left for Columbus, I thought I understood what an honor it would be to speak to the 80 or so Wilcox staff members gathered at their first annual conference. But I didn’t really comprehend what a gift I had been given until later. It began sinking in after my presentation, when Ember came up to make an announcement and stopped to hug me on her way to the podium. When I saw Carol, […]
Anyone want some free snow? We have more than enough, thank you! After getting over 60 inches this winter, we have run out of room to stack it. So our snow removal company, Langton, is “relocating” it today. It’s time to call in the heavy equipment, much to the delight of Shirley’s little granddaughters who have a closeup view of the operation.
When I began writing Home Sweet Abbey a year ago, I had a lot to learn about blogging. A half-day workshop I had taken a few months earlier had hit the high points. But there was so much left to learn that I kept studying to try to improve my craft. And I’m still doing that. One of the first things I learned is that a well-written article is not necessarily enough to attract readers. […]
This morning, Mark, one of my Facebook friends, updated his status to read: I think I’ve used the word ‘hunker’ more in the last 30 days than I’ve used it in my entire life. Me too, Mark. Me too. When I wrote about our extremely cold weather three weeks ago, I thought it was a unique event worthy of a post. So I wrote The Fine Art of Hunkering Down. But here we are again […]
… from Home Sweet Abbey in snowy Woodstock, IL.
Maples Bear is ready for the holiday season and eagerly awaiting Santa Paws. Thanks to Cathie, our costumer extraordinaire!
“I do not know which to prefer… The blackbird whistling Or just after.” These lines by poet Wallace Stevens sum up my feelings about holidays in general and today in particular. The feeling of gratitude, the feasting, and the fellowship of Thanksgiving make it one of my favorite holidays. But equally as much, I savor the time when the activity winds down and the guests leave. That is when I quietly reclaim my space. With […]
Apparently, the baseball season hasn’t ended yet. I understand something called the World Series begins today. For a Cubs fan like me, this comes as a total surprise. I was finished with baseball around the All Star break this year. So imagine my confusion when I drove down my street a couple of days ago and spotted something new and strange leaning against a neighbor’s patio fence. Last week, there was a cute scarecrow that […]
It’s still two weeks until Halloween, but you wouldn’t know that if you drove through our community. Many of my neighbors have decorated and are ready to welcome the ghosts, ghouls, and trick-or-treaters who will soon be flitting our way. Recently, we have been stuck in a gray, rainy period. I’m glad I went walking with my camera one lovely, sun-kissed day last week. Here is some of the seasonal decor I spotted along the […]
… to Maples at the Sonatas Fall Tour of Homes. It’s today! Ten homes will be open all afternoon, beginning at noon. Almost all of them are private homes; half have never been open before. Please stop by and visit Home Sweet Abbey. It’s a beautiful day here in Woodstock. Our mascot bear is ready to greet you in our clubhouse. What better welcome than a drum major to lead the parade (of homes)?
A delightful surprise was waiting in my email this morning. Thanks to my neighbor, Lorraine, who was up early with her camera. We awoke to lightning and rain this morning, then enjoyed the briefest burst of sun before the day turned cloudy and gray. Lorraine caught that fleeting moment of early-morning sun and was thoughtful enough to share it. What a beautiful place to live, her message said. So gorgeous and peaceful. I couldn’t agree […]
I woke up this morning thinking about a photo taken at last year’s Pooch Plunge. I tracked it down so I could share one last picture of my canine neighbors before going back to writing about my human ones. What draws me to this shot is the interaction of two very different dogs meeting for the first time. I love their curiosity about each other, the gentleness of the big one, the lack of fear […]
Well, OK, it’s actually amber waves of ornamental grass, but it’s still a pretty sight in the morning sun. It’s peaceful here by our swimming pool today, but that will change tomorrow, when our neighborhood dogs and their humans gather for the annual Pooch Plunge.
It appears that this bear is trying to wrangle an invite to our community’s Pooch Plunge. Thanks to my neighbor Cathie Hooks, this bear mascot has gone to the dogs. Sorry, Bear, but the Pooch Plunge on Sept. 28 is for humans and their dogs. It’s a not-to-be missed event in its third year. The end. Or, rather, the tail!