My mother's house has always been a haven. Walking through her front door is like being enfolded in a pair of strong, warm arms, inviting and welcoming. Everywhere you look there's something to discover: an antique mixing bowl, a collection of butter molds, an assortment of cookie cutters, platters, or dried herbs. Everyone who visits comments on the comfort that surrounds them, the distinct feeling of coming home.
It's the house I grew up in, the house my mother and father lived in together for almost thirty eight years. A labor of love. I see them in every corner, every room. They were always adding, subtracting, rearranging. My mom has continued infusing their own sense of style, continued adding some paint here, moving some furniture there, planting new gardens, stringing more outdoor lights. Dad would be proud at the changes she's made on her own and I know he'd like (and would have encouraged) them all.
My parent's love of old is reflected in every room. Every object looks as if it was discovered in an old barn or on the side of the road. Perhaps that's because some of it was found on the side of the road. My dad worked for Bell South and in his daily travels, he discovered many cast offs abandoned next to trash cans or in ditches. They followed him home and found new life in my mother's hands.
The stove is not an antique but it does a great job of fooling you into believing it is. The gorgeous reproduction occupies a place of honor in the kitchen and is a joy to cook on. Real flames lick the bottom of sauce pans and skillets. A gas stove. The way food was meant to be cooked!
Cabinets and cupboards are filled with lovely discoveries. There's always herbs or flowers drying on screens, paper towels, or tossed haphazardly into wooden bowls.
Outside, the grass is truly greener, both in and on the other side of the fence. Herbs and flowers abound with the occasional tomato thrown in for tasty measure.
The chickens enjoy looking in, contemplating the best way to traverse the boundary of permissible pecking ground and the temptation of the forbidden herb garden.
They are funny little creatures, prancing and clucking about, cocking their little heads this way and that as they eye my camera lens with curiosity and caution.
While I long for a home of my own, I do enjoy the nomadic life of house sitting. For a week or so, I get to live in someone else's life. Try their day to day on for size. It's fun and kind of freeing. However, it doesn't quite fit. It's too small, too big, a little tight around the neck, or the fabric is a bit scratchy. I'm still waiting for that perfect fit: comfortable, form fitting; the sweater I go to every blustery morning because it keeps me warm and gives me a bit more confidence than any other.