Friday, June 5, 2009

Keeping...


The bakery has been dead since summer began. Or, you know, since school let out. I've been worried. Now I'm just exhausted. Yesterday I closed early and walked home and folded my legs under me on the couch and reached for the nearest book and read.

Have you ever tried to settle in with Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson? It's rhythmic and quiet and reading it is akin to trying to run with a bloated, near-bursting water balloon - you simply have to slow down and give it your full attention. Any less and it wobbles and slips out of your grasp and you lose it all.

Most of all, I love how one of the characters, at the beginning of the book, is spelled out: She had always known a thousand ways to circle them all around with what must have seemed like grace. She knew a thousand songs. Her bread was tender and her jelly was tart, and on rainy days she made cookies and applesauce. In the summer she kept roses in a vase on the piano, huge, pungent roses, and when the blooms ripened and the petals fell, she put them in a tall jar, with cloves and thyme and sticks of cinnamon. Her children slept on starched sheets under layers of quilts, and in the morning her curtains filled with light the way sails fill with wind.

I adore it. I want to go there. I want to know her. But most of all, I think I'd want to be described something like this. Yesterday I put a vase of roses on the piano, and left several more to dry with cloves and cinnamon and thyme. Just to see what it felt like.


Still playing at my Garden Grocery Game. I think I'm winning. The past two days I've had baked potatoes for lunch. Dinners have been stir fried veggies with rice... the next day vegetable soup. Tonight is an herb pasta with the first two tomatoes picked from this year's garden. Nothing too inspiring there. Next week I'll do some Spinach Gnocchi and Onion Tarts and Creamed Squash. Or something. Next time I do this, I'm planting a row of cheeseburger and chicken fajita and cheese plants. That's right. If I had any hopes of becoming a strict vegetarian out of this craziness, I think it backfired.

(A row of pork tenderloin would be nice, too.)...

Wishing you a warm and lazy summer weekend from Freeman House, the home of warm and lazy summer weekends. -Brin

30 comments:

ParkerMama said...

I think, perhaps, that the first few weeks of summer finds everything slowing down as gears change and new routines are created.

I'd be willing to bet that as soon as the summer settling occurs people will be back to the bakery looking for lemonade and the treat of the day.


My roses are almost blooming. Almost.

LindaSonia said...

I laughed out loud over your wanting to plant a cheeseburger and chicken fajita plants. Too cute.

So sorry about the bakery - it's tough to read that let alone think of you living it.

Hang in there.

LindaSonia

Debbie said...

You and my daughter have so many things in common. Housekeeping is her favorite of the Marilynne Robinson novels too. I read Home this spring and wept and insisted my husband read it. "Just try a few pages and if you don't like it you can stop." Needless to say, he is loving it. So glad you are back blogging and hope things at the bakery pick up soon.

Dream. Imagine. Happen. said...

I love it! I love that you're writing about this grocery game in a new and casual way--it's refreshing. I wish I could stop by your bakery. It will pick up, I'm sure, but in the meantime I can imagine those empty afternoons feeling downright frustrating.

I agree with ParkerMama--people will arrive soon looking for something sweet and cold to break up those lazy, hot days...mint limeade, homemade ice cream sandwiches....mmm. Now I'm hungry.

Sissy said...

If you figure out how to cultivate a cheeseburger plant, I am sure you could make millions. Millions upon millions.

Sandi said...

That is so funny about your fajita and cheeseburger plants! IF ONLY!! LOL
Hang in there...things will pick up and you will be off and running again.
Sure wish I lived closer...I would come!!!! :)
Blessings~

Torey said...

Could you add a little bacon, ham or sausage to spice things up, in addition to getting a little meat into your diet?

Amy said...

I just wish our garden would grow. We have one cucumber. I have about 5 jalapenos which will be ready next week, and no tomatoes with which to make the salsa we envisioned. I gave up on the strawberries. Stupid squirrels and moles keep getting them!

Kimberly said...

Hi Brin,
In an effort (albeit a small one) to send more folks your way, I linked to you from my blog. I wrote about you ages ago, but wanted to do an update now that I have a few more folks reading. Never know who might be lurking?! Maybe some etsy crazy, book publishing, wealthy individual:) Here's the link:
www.findtimefortea.com/2009/06/details-and-friday-favorite.html
I'll be praying for you.

Denise said...

two words to ponder: smoothies & gelato -- ??? can you make/sell them?

Carolyn (Harbor Hon) said...

You made me laugh with this sweet post about your wanting to plant cheeseburger and fajita plants. Too funny! :) Love the words from the book you're reading. Must look that up and see if I can get myself a copy. Let us know how the rose petals, cloves and cinnamon turn out. Sounds heavenly. xxoo

a woman who is said...

My roses are abundantly blooming...I will have to try drying them with cinnamon and thyme. How did that work for you?

Glad your back in blogland. I love the daily flow of your creative self spilled out for us to enjoy.

The hydrangea and pea vine(?) arrangement divine!

Surely girl you should be able to make some money out of all your many God given talents...blessings on all your endevers.

Susan said...

Anyone in the restaurant/food business will tell ya -it's not the place to get rich - that's for sure. An awful lot of hard work and not so great profits. I'm wondering about your cookbook idea - the one that was going to replace the calenders (although the calenders are still a great idea too - just need to iron out all those darn printing snags). I/we have no fear for you Brin because you are continually dreaming up another new scheme or plan "and" you seem to always land gracefully on your feet.

And after all do take comfort in the fact that many of us our in the same financial boat - sittin' along beside you and dear Miss Millie.

Heidimous said...

Beautiful Post Brin. I'd like to make a little suggestion as to how to maybe drum up some business at your bakery. Perhaps you could make up a pot up gumbo to go with homemade cornbread and offer it as a special. I know that soup always sounds good to me, even in the summer! There's also a cold zucchini soup that's to die for at the gourmet magazine website. I had it at a dinner party along with herbed cheese drop bisquits and let me tell you I was in heaven! For an interesting read on soups and enterpreneurs, read "The Soup Peddler". It's about a guy in Austin Tx that delivers soups on his bike daily and he has made quite a good living. Anyway, hope things go good with Henry Bella's and good to see you're blogging again!

Evelyn in Canada said...

I'd eat soup with just about anything and call it a meal. I like the idea of selling cookbooks in your bakery as well, and some of your calendars or have some cards made.

How about selling your cookies as dry mixes as well? I rarely go to a bakery just to buy a cookie or for dessert, but I'd go for soup and bread and a cookie. And I'd leave with a cookie mix if I loved it.

I realize I'm not your target market (too little time, too little money, too many little kids), but I do consider those kinds of items as gifts. I spend more on others than I would on myself.

Rain said...

Love reading about your delicious tho' meat needy meals. Hoping your bakery business picks up soon. Perhaps signs offering ICED coffee
and COLD slices of pie?

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

I think you've earned this little break at the bakery, so enjoy it. Maybe you can have more kid themes or summer fun stuff? It'll pick back up, so hand in there!

patientmom said...

Brin, you have an amazing spirit...and I agree with the comment upthread, you do land gracefully on your feet. Though inside of yourself your world may be spinning, to me, it seems like you are the picture of calm...to go home and read, and dry roses, how very comforting to your soul.

Your meal fare sounds delicious, and not lacking in anything!...but funny to read about what you will plant next time you play the game.

I know that you will be refreshed and recharged and find just the right combination of wonderful to keep Henrybella's thriving...sweet tea and cookies....yum!

Blessings to you ~ keep smiling!

Paula said...

Awe, I hope the bakery ramps up for you. Can you write a press release with some photos & submit it to the local paper? They might pick up on it & you'd get free advertising again?

Can you get a contract with a nursing home or somewhere for them to purchase cookies or something? How about cookie boquets for birthdays, graduations, holidays...yo...what about graduation cookies? Get some royal icing & some cut outs in the shape of mortar boards?

My husband is laid off as well and it's a bear!

Jeannie said...

Well the Lord has brought things this far and He won't leave you in a lurch. All things do work together for those who love Him... I don't know if you are responding to readers but if you are my 13 year old step daughter wants to learn to knit. Any suggestions for a super easy beginner project?
Thanks and blessings, Jeannie

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Lovely post. I will check out that book. By the way, have you considered expanding Henrybella's into some catering for weddings and such? I went to a lovely catered reception last night and it's just a thought. At my daughter's wedding last Feb. she ordered a small wedding cake and also some cupcakes and iced sugar cookies. I can't tell you how those cookies went over! They were large hearts with a pink frosting that was like a shell - not gooey or messy. Catered lunches for offices might work too!

Susan said...

Wow ! so many fantastic creative ideas and suggestions here ... I'm impressed ... aren't ya glad you're back blogging again Brin ?

Cindy said...

i was thinking of your shoppe last night. Odd, as I dont "know" you but I love your blog and cheer for you everyday when I am reading it and seeing you thrive.

Anyways...an idea, and I am sure you have had them all...but for your bakery, as you said its been slow....how about you teach knitting there? I have seen knit/bakeries and always wished there was one near my house!

Also was thinking of sales and pitches for Fathers Day, Wedding season..etc.

Just ideas, and I am sure you had them way before I did...but i want your store to succeed. i really do:)

betty r said...

Oh Brin I'm chuckling about the rows of cheeseburgers, tenderloin etc. Wouldn't that be something!
Hope your bakery business picks up real soon. Someone mentioned knitting classes in the bakery..never thought about that but it sure sounds intriguing.
I love the grocery game..

Georgia Peach said...

I just ordered Housekeeping online as I've read Gilead and have Home to read. These are comfort books. They FEEL like home. Let me tell you that I went vegetarian a while back because of my BP and such. It's good stuff. You're creative and you'll feel better than you've ever felt. All these wonderful ideas from your friends! You might make some soup in jars and sell that, too. Just bakery items might be too limiting and every little thing that you can put into that space will help. You can always eat it if it doesn't go. I know the garden is to sustain YOU but a little of this and that is worth a try. You might hit on something that will be a hit. Maybe try a "special of the week" to find out what works best. Enjoy the summer. I'll be following along.

Joy said...

I got a kick out of your garden row of cheeseburgers... I know what you mean. I'd also have to plant a row of chocolate donuts and crunchy Cheetos. Sorry about the momentary suspension of bakery business, but I appreciate your honesty.

Susan said...

You probably already know about this very creative, recently gone famous blogger-Kelly Rae Roberts-she refers to the advertising on her blog as "sponsors" much more fitting word - and I thought instantly of you & your blog.

kellyraeroberts.blogspot.com/

fairmaiden said...

I am so happy to see you here again. I've missed your sweet voice. Your voice is sweet you know, and your face is lovely..like it says in Song of Songs 2. Maybe it has slowed down because you need the rest...try to rest...rest in Him. He is your provision and He is faithful. Keep your chin up with a Big cheery smile on that pretty face of yours. And enjoy this life He's given you. He's brought you to His banqueting table and His banner over you is LoVe.

Jana said...

Brin! Hold on, we're coming! Four of us friends are coming from Tomball TX to Jefferson. Henrybella's is on our list of places to visit. Can't wait!

daughteroftheKing said...

Brin, after hearing about you from holly hill homestead b&b and reading some of your blog I am extremely excited that tomorrow I will be able to take my family to your bakery!!