Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Writing Letters

Growing up, I loved writing and receiving letters. During my teenage years hardly a day went by that the mail didn't bring a letter from one of my cousins or friends or one of my circle letters.

I have several big boxes full of letters that I kept, and I still enjoy going back and rereading everything. Mail time isn't nearly as interesting since letters have been exchanged for bills and an occasional catalog.

This morning as I was rooting through our desk I found two of my favorite sets of stationary. I have plenty of others as well but these two were always reserved for special occasions.
Since I can no longer write and receive letters from the people I used to, I'm going to do something a little different today and write a letter to all of you.

Dear (insert your name here)

Sitting here in the living room as I look out the window I can see the delicate grey skies of a winter that is still holding fast to our little corner of the world. It's snowing again which makes everything look so much prettier than the drab browns and greys we had been seeing since most of our snow had melted last week.  The pine trees surrounding the house add a welcome splash of color as well.

We're still hanging onto our crazy schedule, I usually get up around three thirty every morning to have a few minutes of quiet time while LV and Sailor take care of our calves. I try to have breakfast ready by the time they come in from the barn. LV leaves for work a little after six and the rest of my days are filled with the regular daily dozens.  Those dozens seem to take extra time during the winter with all the extra clothes that need to be cared for not to mention the constant dusting and cleaning because of our dirty furnace in the basement.

On Sunday afternoon I decided to make the last of our chicken that I had been saving in the freezer for a special occasion. With my brother here visiting I thought that would qualify and started preparing everything. I always hate cleaning up the mess from frying chicken so this time I covered the empty burners on the stove with foil to keep them from getting spattered with oil. Everything was going great until I added an extra big drumstick to the frying pan causing a big splash of oil to exit the pan and run down into that little bowl under the electric coil thingy. The next minute I was dismayed to see flames licking around the pan. I quickly grabbed a few pot holders and removed the pan and after locating a box of baking soda I dumped it on the flames. The fire was safely extinguished but my kitchen was filled with smoke and a lot of little black floaties. What a mess! That was the first time I ever had a cooking related fire and hopefully the last time. At least most of my stove remained clean thanks to the foil I had placed earlier.

I have a pile of seed catalogs laying here next to me. I have looked at all of them numerous times already and am looking forward to placing an order soon. I'm wanting to try my hand at raised bed gardening this summer, since the place we live at doesn't have a spot big enough to have a regular garden. Our favorite vegetable is sweetcorn but I won't be planting any this year. With all the raccoons that come visiting I'm thinking it would be a lost cause. There are Amish produce auctions nearby so I'm sure I will still be able to get plenty of sweetcorn even if I won't get to grow our own.

The children have been enjoying playing on the hill behind the house after school. They make building little teepee's and running along the cow paths look like a lot of fun I may have to go join them one of these days. But right now it's time to think about making lunch.

Mary Ann


  1. Oh, that one on the right looks like Carol's Rose Garden--I love her stationery!

    Thank you for the newsy letter. I am sorry about the fire, but glad you got it out.

    I love raccoons, but they are destructive. I hope you can buy some sweet corn from friends or neighbors.


  2. Thankyou for the wonderful letter! I had stationery much like that, back when letter writing was more popular. I love your blog, and have been following for some time. Keep up the great work!

  3. Dear Mary Ann, what a wonderful letter! I've just had an idea! I am wondering, why don't you have a circle letter NOW,with each reader who is interested? That way, ALL of us who are involved could get and send more interesting mail than bills and advertising. We could also use those lovely stationery papers that have made their way into drawers of desks, due to the popularity of email these days. If this pleases you to do, I'd love to be placed on your list!
    I've included my second blog address,the spiritual thoughts. Since you have visited my 'every day' one, I thought you might like this one too. Be Welcome!

  4. I had the same thought as Kathleen--let's do our own circle letter. I've never done something like that. But I sure do like email even better so is there such a thing as an email circle letter? How fun it would be to get to know someone else who doesn't live in my little world. Whatever you think would work should be fine with me. I don't mind sharing my address either.


  5. Very cute! I'd love to try raised bed gardening some day but I don't think it'll be this year. Love the stationery - I pick out my Christmas cards only if they have cute envelopes to go with them. :)

  6. Alice, yes there is such thing, or nearly the same thing. I have been a part for 14 1/2 years of a 'group email' where each of us writes and addresses it to each one in the group. We can answer right away, and address specific things throughout the day, the emails are bouncing back and forth. It's really rather exhausting, and many of us have slowed down to once a day or a few mails per week. I,personally, love to write by hand, and a real newsy letter! (I tried to email you, but there was no way to reach your blog or email address,Alice.)

  7. I'm sorry you can't send letters to (and get answers from) the people you used to. But thanks for the letter to us.

  8. I always loved writing and recieving letters too, but now that I can no longer read print it has to be e-mails or phone calls, since most people I know can't read or write braille. My brother did talk about the idea of starting a braille story by mail or something so we could both get some nice letters from time to time (we figured the story would give us something creative to do, and avoid long pauses where there was nothing to say). My brother isn't good at keeping promises though, and it never happened. *Sigh* Anyway, it was nice to get a letter! :)

    I hope that's the only cooking fire you ever experience, and that your dinner wasn't spoiled because of it.

    Yes, I'm sure you will be able to get corn from someone nearby.

  9. Enjoyed this. I often think I love the convenience of email and chat, but I miss a good letter. One that lets you know what the other person has been up too. And I love stationary, some of it is so pretty.
    until next time... nel

  10. Thank you for your sweet letter:)
    I also have staionary from when I was younger that is very lovely.
    I was homeschooled and all lived out in the boonies, so my friends and I would always write long letters to eachother on lovely paper.
    I also wrote my cousins alot.
    I loved getting letters and waiting for them to come.
    I still like to sit down and write someone a hand written note or letter, and feel happy knowing in amongst their bills and junk mail that they have a nice little letter.
    No email or e-card can ever replace that feeling:)

  11. Dear Mary Ann,

    Thank you for the delightfully newsy letter. I am so grateful your kitchen fire was controlled right away. That could have been terrible!

    We are also going to try raised beds in the garden this year. We have seeds planted in the greenhouse now, waiting for the sun to shine and warm the earth.

    Your stationary is beautiful. I have lovely ones too, left over from a long ago time when I wrote letters nearly every day. Wouldn't it be exciting to receive a hand written letter in the mail on a pretty piece of paper? Maybe with a matching envelope? If you ever start a cirlce please count me in. (A real letter circle, not email please).

    Give my best to the family and kiss those kids!


  12. Pretty stationary and handwritten notes are so rare, yet beautiful. I personally treasure such things when they arrive..and love to send them to brighten someone's day.

  13. Dear Mary Ann, It was awfully nice to hear from you! Your little mishap in the kitchen reminded me of the time I had started a skillet of grease heating on the stove only to happen to think of something I needed to do quickly in another room of the house. Yes, I walked away from the stove and forgot about it completely. I didn't think about it until I smelled smoke Then I ran to the kitchen and found the skillet had caught fire! I slammed a lid on it and grabbed the hot handle to take it outside, but I didn't get that far. Instead, the heat caused me to set the skillet down on the floor near the door. It made a lovely circle in the flooring. :( I am so glad your misadventure was not so disastrous as mine . :) I, too, have been thinking about gardening. I have a raised bed that I have to water everyday in the summer, but I do love sitting on its side and tending the plants. I hope yours will be a source of joy, too. Have a wonderful week, and write again soon. Your friend, Tea

  14. How thoughtful to write a letter and I loved hearing about your day. Getting up at 3.30 seems a very hard thing to do and I hope you find some time during your busy day to rest. Thank goodness your fire wasn't serious but doesn't it give us all a fright when something like that happens. Take care and I send you all my very best wishes.

  15. What a lovely letter. I'd love to be included in a circle letter and would be willing to share my address. I remember being a young girl and longing for a pen pal. Email is nice, but I still have a love for pretty paper, linens, and dishes :)

  16. Hi Mary Ann, I like that letter and LOVE your stationary. Wow--I'm way behind on letter writing. Using nice stationary would make it much more pleasant.

    Thanks so much for 'the letter'. I did so enjoy your comment.

    Donna @ Comin' Home

  17. Mark me down as yet another person who enjoyed reading your letter, remembered enjoying letters in her youth and thought it might be interesting to do a circle letter with people here. I would definitely do it if others would.

  18. Very nice letter! I enjoy your blog almost everyday.
    I always wondered how the Amish children can wake up so early? Our dd would be so crabby if she got up before 7am or so. She goes to bed at 8. How early did you get up as a child? How early did you have to go to bed?

  19. Dear Mary Ann,

    How wonderful it is to have treasure keepsakes to accompany your memories. My cousin and I have done a circle journal off and on for years, something we find a more personal outlet for our lives and usually enclose stickers, notes, photos, drawings, etc...

    How fun would it be to get to know one another via circle letters?

    I read your blog posts first each day, and love the looks of life into your previous community as well as the life you now have.

    Please have a joyful and warm day. :)

  20. I am a letter writer since I was about nine and have never heard of a circle letter. They do sound really fun! Lovely stationery! And such a sweet letter. I hope pen and paper never go out of style. I won't give them up even if they do. ;)

  21. What a welcome delight to receive a letter from you, Mary Ann. You always bring me a smile. This wonderful art of communication is nearly passe, sadly so.

    So glad that the fire was quickly contained & all of you are safe ... I once burnt up my Mother's stove, very unnerving.

    I bought several primroses yesterday to cheer me up, they bring me every year a joy & memory of Mother.

    You gave my heart a lift when I received your note while hubby was in hospital. We are not out of the woods yet, another surgery soon. He is doing very well, tho, with the one issue improving. Thank you so much for being with me ...

    We are expecting much rain tonight & tomorrow & had more snow 3 days ago. It was so pretty with the newly peaked crocus encrusted in the ice/snow. I captured some beautiful pics I will share one day soon.

    Well, I must pop off ... hope you all have a beautiful eve.

    TTFN ~

  22. I still get excited when I receive a letter in the mail.. much more thoughtful than an email, don' you think?
    I've Become My Mother
    Kelly's Ideas
    Amazing Salvation

  23. Thank you for sharing your letter. I enjoy reading your blog each day. Letter writing is a fine art that is going away. I would join a circle also.

  24. To read your lovely letter and comments makes me want to get my stationary and pen out.

    One thing I always enjoyed was
    getting a nice long letter in the mailbox. The one on my street, not e-mail. Although I do appreciate e-mails, there is nothing like the old fashion way.

    It sounds like something I would love to do.
    Glad you were okay from the fire.
    Blessings, my friend!

  25. with texting and e-mails Letter writing is a lost art I think. very sad. Thank you for reminding me of a time when I would look forward to letters from friends. Blessings, Joanne

  26. Pretty stationary! Sorry to hear about the kitchen fire and glad you were okay!!

  27. Your friendly letter perked my day right up!

    I have decided that I will no longer groan when my alarm goes off at 6:15 am. I can't imagine getting up at 3:30! May I ask what time you typically go to bed at night?

    I found your blog last week and spent the last few days spending all my spare time reading it. You have such a gift for storytelling, and I very much so enjoy reading it.

    Thank you for sharing these snippets of your life with all of us.

    Have a wonderful evening!

  28. Oh I love the idea of a circle letter. I have always enjoyed recording letters in the mail, but rarely get any. If one is started, count me in!

    I also caught some grease on fire once. I was a newlywed and had little experience cooking. Some grease dripped under the pan and rode up into the pan causing quite a large poof. I was very thankful the cabinets didn't catch.

  29. Dear Mary Ann,

    Your sweet note was just the thing for the end of a long day. Unfortunately, all of us have been ill over the past few days and while we're all getting better, it is slow going.

    This will be our second year working in raised bed gardens. I learned a lot last year, though our garden did not do as well as I'd hoped, and I'm sure that I'll learn a lot this year, too.

    I bet it will be a snap for you since you already have so much gardening experience. I don't think that the subtle variations in technique between beds and rows will be a challenge since you are already familiar with the needs of the plants you want to grow. If you look up "French Intensive" gardening, I bet you'll be able to get a lot of good information - that method is essentially raised beds without the borders (and a good deal deeper, in general, than raised beds which don't always go below their borders into the soil).

    I am so glad that your brothers visit from time to time. It sounds like a lovely weekend - with the exception of the fire! I believe I've mentioned that at the beginning my life with my husband I was not a very good cook. Well, I never did set a stove on fire when I lived at home, but I set the stove on fire at his apartment about three months after we began dating. Oops. So much for that surprise supper!

    All the best,

  30. Look at all of us letter writers! I, too, love paper letters. I still write to various friends and family members, but not as often as pre-email and internet. It's a sad sort of loss. I have heard of circle letters (but called "round robins"), but I have never had the pleasure of having one. I bet they are a LOT of fun!

  31. Dear Mary Ann,
    Your letter was such a blessing today. I so enjoyed looking out the window with you and watching the kiddos playing.

    I'm glad the fire did not cause too much damage. I've burned a few things and know the mess and smell that it makes!

    Just a little longer and we will all be planting and enjoying the warm temperatures. I'm looking forward to getting my hands in the dirt and then watching the plants grow.

    Enjoy the last of the winter days and snow, Spring is just around the corner.


  32. How wonderful! What a beautiful letter! :) I sent a gift to a friend this morning, and I actually wrote out a letter to her on stationary as well! :) I usually just type an email, but it is certainly so special to write and receive letters hand written. Oh if we could all do that more! Thank you for writing! :)--S

  33. Oh Lady Letter-Writers, let's DO it!

    I'd be delighted to start a list, if no one objects. Please email me at and put CIRCLE LETTERS in your subject line. Don't forget to put your mailing address inside your email!
    What fun it will be to hear about your days, your activities, and to get to know you!

  34. First...I'm so thankful that you and your home survived the kitchen fire! I had a scary experience once when I melted an empty tea kettle...not a good thing.
    I, too, really miss sending and receiving letters. I was surprised last week with a hand-written letter from a friend, and it made me smile for days. If you do start a circle letter, I would enjoy being a part of it.
    I am new to your playing catch-up with your past posts...and am enjoying it very much.

  35. Dear Mary Ann,

    As one good letter deserves another, as I write to you, I'm waiting for the bus to pick up my sweet Lillian. She loves the bus and gets so excited to ride it even if she's only on it less than five minutes. The days here, I hope, are going to warm up and the sun is even shining. I, too, am weary of the gray tones and ugliness that winter brings when there is no snow to grace the grounds.

    My two older girls will attend a retreat tonight,and overnighter with the church youth group. I already miss them and always have a tiny bit of fretting when they are not home with me.

    Tonight, two of my nephews will spend the night, which will liven up the evening and keep my mind from worry.

    I do not have a place for a even a small garden this year, I don't think, but we shall see how that goes. The one thing I miss about moving from the country, the land.

    I must go, it is almost time to head to the bus. Good to hear from you. Write back soon.


  36. Dear Mary Ann,

    Thank you for your wonderful letter. Your stationery is beautiful. I'm sorry that you don't get to write to the same people, but God has a way of filling up our lives with people once others leave it, in one way or another.

    I once had a fire in the oven. I mistakenly put a pizza box in the oven to keep it warm, thinking it was set at 200°. I didn't realize that it was actually set at 400.° The kids and I were scared when we saw flames shooting out of the oven. Thankfully, I got the fire out, and my two older girls liked the smokey taste of the remaining pizza slices.

    We've also given up on having a garden. We have woods behind our property, and we frequently have visitors in the form of raccoon, deer, rabbits...well, you get the picture.

    Today was a Monday so it was a school day. My two youngest are homeschooled; my two oldest are out of school. One is married and lives four ours away. The other just graduated high school last year and attends a community college nearby.

    My 7 year old son loves machinery, so one of his assignments was to write the steps for a new machine he had made up. He then drew a diagram. It'll be interesting to see if we can make it work for real!

    My 14 year old is in 8th grade. She is studying Algebra, earth science, American history and English this year. She taught my DS his Bible lesson today, so that counted as Bible for her, too.

    Thanks for letting us see glimpses of your current life as you tell about your childhood and young adulthood. Your writing style is so charming. I'm nearly caught up! Pretty soon I'll be waiting for the next blog entry like everyone else.

    God bless!
    Linda from KY


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.