Most of the photos here at Rabbit Run Cottage
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Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Dollmaker

Many of you asked about the hand carved dolls in my Hoosier. Here is the address of the dear woman responsible for these treasures...

Polly Page's Mountain Crafts

Pleasant Hill, TN

The history of Pleasant Hill and its craft program

represented in hand-carved dolls, plus a variety of woodcarvings.

**34 Page Cir.

Pleasant Hill, TN 38578 Phone: 931-277-3402

Hours Open to the Public Mon. - Sat. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Dates Closed Jan. 1 - March 21

I also mentioned that Polly had helped teach Jane Fonda the art of whittling for her role in "The Dollmaker". It is an amazing movie if you can find a copy or catch a showing on television. It is out of print at present but many are petitioning for it to be released on DVD.

~The Dollmaker~

1984-USA-Americana/Period Film/Family Drama
Jane Fonda stars in this made-for-TV movie, which uses the backdrop of World War II and urbanization to tell the story of one woman's fight to keep her family together. Gertie Nevels (Fonda), the wife of a Kentucky sharecropper, wants nothing more than to one day own her own farm. Thriftily hiding her savings from husband Clovis (Levon Helm), she prepares to make her dream come true -- until Clovis summons her to come join him in Detroit, where he's gone to work in a factory to help with the war effort. Arriving with her children in tow, Gertie finds Clovis all settled into a tenement-like block house and living the life of a union man. Soon, though, the downside of urban life -- from monstrous neighbors and repressive schools to the pitfalls of the industrial landscape itself -- threaten Gertie's family both individually and as a whole. Despite Clovis' freewheeling way with money and his propensity to blame her for the family's problems, Gertie continues to save money. A lifelong whittler, she begins selling hand-crafted wooden dolls, and when the union goes on strike, Gertie finds herself supporting the family. Adapted from Harriet Arnow's novel by Hume Cronyn and Susan Cooper, who would go on to collaborate on the similarly themed Foxfire in 1987, The Dollmaker was directed by feature and TV veteran Daniel Petrie. It debuted on ABC on May 13, 1984, and earned Fonda an Emmy for her work.

This movie, and it's accompanying soundtrack, are just achingly beautiful. Each character in this movie is lovingly depicted, even the children (there are such exquisite performances by the children too). You would hardly recognize Jane Fonda not necessarily because of her looks but because her demeanor and accent is so spot on. She really shows just how great of an actress she can be in this role because she couldn't get any further from her real life background than this role and yet there isn't even one second of her portrayal that will have you doubting. She completely inhabited Gertie down to the fabric of her very soul. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone

who gets the chance to see it.

~Well Worth a Read~

**The movie was based on the book....

Harriet Arnow’s unforgettable yet tragic novel, The Dollmaker, was published in 1954 to immediate success and critical acclaim. A bestseller and runner up for the 1955 National Book Award (to William Faulkner’s The Fable) The Dollmaker has been largely forgotten in contemporary American literary discourse. However, as Joyce Carol Oates claims in her afterword “There are certainly greater novels than The Dollmaker, but I can think of none that have moved me more, personally, terrifyingly, involving me in the solid fact of life’s criminal exploitation of those who live it—not hard, not sentimental, not at all intellectually ambitious, The Dollmaker is one of those excellent American works that have yet to be properly assessed”

In unadorned yet powerful prose, Harriet Arnow tells the heartbreaking story of the Nevels family and their quest to maintain their values and their family amidst the turmoil of war. As the novel opens, we are introduced to Gertie Nevels, a strong, self-reliant woman who performs a tracheotomy on her dying son in order to save him while she tries to get him to a doctor. Unfortunately, this brave act seems to be the last time that she follows her own instincts. Forced by social mores to follow her husband, Clovis, from the Kentucky backwoods she loves to the foreign and oppressive city life of Detroit, Gertie struggles between her desire to keep her family together and her yearning for the lifestyle and the land she loves.

Arnow’s masterful novel is realistic in style, full of regional dialect and finely crafted characters. In The Dollmaker, Arnow explores many compelling themes relevant to American life during World War II. She examines the roles of women in society, the struggle to uphold family values, the role of the war itself on rural and urban life, the way that religious beliefs inform one’s choices in life, among many others. The Dollmaker is a novel that makes one think as well as feel, and it has a surprising amount of relevance to our own time.

A sprawling book, full of vividly drawn characters and masterful scenes, The Dollmaker is both a passionate denunciation of industrialization and war, and a tribute to a woman's love for her children and the land.

Harriet Arnow was born in 1908 into a family whose roots reached back for five generations of Kentucky’s history. From this rich background, she inherited a bountiful storytelling tradition that provided inspiration for her acclaimed novels: Mountain Path, Hunter’s Horn, and The Dollmaker, the last considered her masterpiece and a landmark of American fiction. She died in 1986.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Basement Business

Just a few odds and ends pictures from our basement family room. This is my Hoosier cabinet. It is one of my most loved material possessions! Wicked to feel like that but I do. It stood in the same home for over 80 years and since it came to live with us, the poor thing has had 10! But the old girl has lived to tell her story and graciously accepted each new home bless her. Yes, I collected milk bottles from every city we lived in and some from our travels as well.
This sweet couple are Uncle Pink and Aunt Jenny. They were a gift from my parents several years ago. They were whittled by a wonderful folk artist, Polly Page from Middle Tennessee. Polly's work has been featured internationally and it was she who taught Jane Fonda how to whittle for the film, "The Dollmaker". Dolly Parton knew Polly and took Jane to meet her as she prepared for her role. Polly was always a rare delight. My parents knew her family well and I was privileged to spend time with her on several occasions. These dolls are some of my best loved things.
So many bears, so little time...such is life!
This is Reginald. He is reading through my Father's Navy manual...the one he was issued upon enlistment in 1943. That is one of my favorite photos of Daniel... This piece of art work was done by Daniel when he was 12. Since I was downstairs anyhoo, I took a few pictures of some of my...well...stuff. I like stuff. And oh gosh. I have a lot of stuff! Nothing overly expensive, just meaningful or well loved. Our Kate from The French Nest posted about her favorite stuffed lovey, one she has had for years and years. In these photos you will see just a few of my stuffies. Oh how I love my bears.
I adore my giraffes as well! I really have no idea how this giraffe collection began. I had a small one and then I was gifted with another and another and another! Giraffes are such gentle and beautiful creatures. Elegant and gee. Have you ever really looked at their eyes? So warm, so soulful. With the giraffes you will also see a part of my children's book collection. I started that one before I was married. Oh how I have enjoyed sharing those books with the many children that have come into my life over the years! If I stopped to think how many collections I have it would scare me silly! I don't actively collect most of these things any longer but just try to pry any of what I have away and watch me turn surly. Really! Watch me. Grrrr..... Hey! Be grateful I did not photograph every corner of my basement! There were a few more collections...
Have a sweet weekend everyone! Hugs, Susie Q

Lamps Again? What Does Your Electric Bill Run?

Well, now we move down and into the basement family room! More lamps...just a few...I promise! These 2 blue and white lamps were a wedding gift from my Grandmother. I still adore them! This is one of Daniel's lamps and it sits on the desk he uses downstairs. Next to Daniel's bed...remember that picture that Grace gave him for Christmas? There it is! The old school desk Next time....we move up to the second floor...the bedrooms and bathrooms. Uh huh. More lamps! I am thinking....11 up there. Do you think I should join Lamps Anonymous?

Rats! Did Someone Say Rats?

I have been waiting for this day for...for...well..let's just say, for a LONG time!

Nope, I Said Ratatouille!

Let's see now...Ratatouille...tomato, eggplant,

zucchini...huh? No? OH!


Just one more thing I am totally geeky about...Pixar Studio films! I love them all...adore them actually. Know each one's dialogue by heart I am embarrassed to say.

And now, after taking audiences on incredible journeys to the worlds of cars, superheroes, fish and toys, only the amazing storytellers at Pixar Animation Studios ("Cars," "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles") could create an entirely new and original world where the unthinkable combination of 5-star restaurants and rats come together for the ultimate fish-out-of-water tale.

In the new animated-adventure, RATATOUILLE, a rat named Remy dreams of becoming a great French chef despite his family's wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession. When fate places Remy in the sewers of Paris, he finds himself ideally situated beneath a restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau. Despite the apparent dangers of being an unlikely - and certainly unwanted - visitor in the kitchen of a fine French restaurant, Remy's passion for cooking soon sets into motion a hilarious and exciting rat race that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.

Remy finds himself torn between his calling and passion in life or returning forever to his previous existence as a rat. He learns the truth about friendship, family and having no choice but to be who he really is, a rat who wants to be a chef. Directed by Academy Award™-winning Brad Bird ("The Incredibles") and co-directed by Academy Award™-winning Jan Pinkava ("Geri's Game"), RATATOUILLE is slated for release on June 29, 2007....and hey! That's today! Hmm...guess what the folks from Rabbit Run Cottage are doing tonight? Guess! Go ahead!

Oh, and in case I forgot to mention it, guess who voiced Remy's Dad, Django? Aw come on...guess! You can do it...really...guess... Remy: I think it's apparent that I need to rethink my life a little bit. I can't help myself. I... I like good food, ok? And... good food is... hard for a rat to find! Django: It wouldn't be so hard to find, if you weren't so picky! Remy: I don't wanna eat garbage Dad! Django: Food is fuel. You get picky about what you put in the tank, your engine is gonna die. Now shut up and eat your garbage.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Tasty Salad For Those Too Hot To Cook Days

8 ounces small red-skinned potatoes, halved Kosher salt 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears of corn) 1 cup chopped fresh green or wax beans 1 cup small broccoli florets 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1 kirby cucumber with peel, chopped Freshly ground black pepper 4 cups torn mixed greens, such as arugula, romaine, and watercress 1 cup sprouts, such as alfalfa, broccoli, radish, or pea, optional
Put the potatoes in a small saucepan with enough cold water to cover and season with salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and put in a large bowl.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and salt it as well. Add the corn, beans, and broccoli to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to scoop out the vegetables and plunge them immediately into the ice water. Drain the vegetables, pat them dry, and add to the bowl of potatoes along with the tomatoes and cucumber. Toss the salad with 1/2 cup of the dressing. Taste, and add more salt and pepper, if desired. (The salad may be prepared up to this point 2 hours ahead and refrigerated.)

When ready to serve, toss the salad with the greens and the sprouts, if desired, and with a bit more dressing if you like your salad on the well-dressed side. Pass the remaining dressing at the table.

Immersing vegetables in boiling salted water and then plunging them into ice water is called blanching and refreshing. Having the water at a full rolling boil before adding the vegetables, as well as cooking uncovered, is the key to keeping green vegetables vibrant.
Now, I am always pretty happy with the bottled Ranch dressings available at my grocery store but, if you have a little extra time, this is a tasty "fresh from scratch" version!
Ranch Dressing: 1 clove garlic 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup mayonnaise 1/3 cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives 1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar Freshly ground black pepper Smash the garlic clove, sprinkle with the salt, and, with the side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Scrape the paste into a small bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and whisk well to make a creamy dressing. Use immediately or refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days.

Yield: about 1 1/3 cups

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What's The Wattage On That One Lady?

Recently, on Rhoda's blog, Southern Hospitality, she had a lovely post about the lamps that *light her way* at home. I so wanted to try this idea and Rhoda graciously told me to give it a go! I guess I should first say I am a total lamp freak. I love them. I have them all over the house and am always looking for not *need* them but would always pick up a special one and then find a spot for it. This post will just show the ones that reside on the ground level of our home! I have included both lamps and *lights*....both help keep us out of the dark and make our house a bit cozier.
~The Living Room~
~The Library Table~
~The Kitchen~
~The Powder Room~
~The Foyer~
~The Laundry Room~
~The Study~
I know this is not *technically* a lamp but it IS a candelabra light!
~The Dining Room~
Next up....the Basement Family Room.

A List? Are You Serious? But It's About Books!

Our blog friend Cheryl has a wonderful list today! So I am being a little copy cat and pilfering it from her (Thank you dear Cheryl!). What is more powerful than the written word? Hardback or paperback? I do buy an occasional paperback for travel reading but always prefer hardback. I keep the well loved ones for our small library here at Rabbit Run and donate the others to various places...local libraries, hospitals, the VA. There are so many wonderful sources from which to purchase gently used hardbacks or even new ones that just happen to be a bit older.

2.Buy on line or in a store?

I love Amazon and can always find some great deals through their booksellers program. But you know? There is nothing like spending some time in a bookstore. The peace and quiet...all those books and periodicals at your fingertips. There is often a coffee shop with pastries and the smells...ooh.

And I adore a musty old the ones found in big cities. There is just something really magical about places like that. You never know what you are going to discover!

3. Favorite bookstore?

I love all sorts of book sellers but here we have one called Books & Company. They have the most wonderful programs, music and children's events on the weekends and wonderful authors speaking and book signing. There are now 2 B&C stores here and the newer one has a magnificent fireplace upstairs near the children's area. This area also has perfectly cozy window seats and on a Winter's day it is sheer Heaven!

4. Bookmark or dog ear?

BOOKMARK!!!! Dog ear a wonderful hardback book?? Argh....

5. Keep, throw away, or sell? Keep the ones that mean the most to us, donate the others to hospitals, libraries, etc. NEVER throw a book away!! Ack!

6. Short story or novel? Both can be just wonderful!

7. Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

I really like to make it to the end of a chapter....unless I nod off earlier! I used to fall asleep with a book at my side, wake up in the middle of the night and finish the chapter!

8. New or used?

Great deals can be had on both!

9. Morning, afternoon or nighttime reading? It it the weekend? Are we on vacation? Why am I asking you all these inane questions? Night time usually because it is quiet and still and the chores of the day are done.But there are some mornings when a book calls to me! But, ask me about my decorating books? I am always scouring them. Morning, Noon and night time. They are my inspiration and relaxation!

10. Stand Alone or Series? Most of my very favorites are stand alone books. I do read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series now and, of course, there is Harry Potter.

11. Favorite Series? Harry Potter is wonderful! The Little House series, Junie B. Jones...I know, I know. These are children's books but they are so special! OOH! The Chronicles of Narnia!


For a little more grown up reading, I love 2 series that Lawrence Block writes. His Matthew Scudder mysteries and Bernie Rhodenbarr "The Burglar Who...." mysteries are such fun. I love it when Bill reads them to me at relaxing and cozy.


Francis Mayes books on Tuscany. Do they count as a series?


Peter Mayle's books on Provence/France. Ooh La La!

12, Favorite Books Read Last Year?

Marley and Me, The Glass Castle, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die.

Sarah Vowell's books, Assassination Vacation and The Partly Cloudy Patriot. From Amazon...I want to hang out with Sarah Vowell. More to the point I want to take in some museums and historical landmarks with her and listen in on her conversations with curators, docents and misinformed teenagers (is there any other kind?). The great thing about Vowell is that in reading one of her books you feel as though you ARE hanging out with her and the assorted lucky friends and relatives who accompany her around America's historical sites.

13. On your “to read” pile right now?

Einstein: His Life and Universe, The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I.

14. Favorite books of all time?

Whew. That is tough isn't it? Straight away I must say The Diary of Anne Frank. The most powerful and moving book of all time. A must read for every person on the planet.


To Kill a Mockingbird....another must read. Hands down one of THE best examples of American literature.

The Little House in the Big Woods. My childhood favorite.
Of Mice and Men and Travels With Charlie. 2 very different books written by John Steinbeck but they each speak to me. One of my greatest joys was being able to talk to Gary Sinise about his (He directed, produced and starred in) film version of Mice and Men. It is spellbinding. If you have not yet seen it, it truly seems to hold true to the book. It was highly endorsed by Steinbeck's widow, Elaine whom Gary came to know well. Or, pick up the audio book of M & M with Gary's narration. It is nothing short of brilliant.
"Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place. . . . With us it ain't like that. We got a future." Travels With Charlie...."If I were to prepare one immaculately inspected generality it would be this: For all of our enormous geographic range, for all of our sectionalism, for all of our interwoven breeds drawn from every part of the ethnic world, we are a nation, a new breed. Americans are much more American than they are Northerners, Southerners, Westerners, or Easterners.... It is astonishing that this has happened in less than two hundred years and most of it in the last fifty. The American identity is an exact and provable thing."
You can also find the wonderful audio book of this classic narrated by Gary as well. T With C is filled with humor, humanity, *dog-manity* from Charlie, Steinbeck's standard poodle, and adventure. His tales are heartfelt and honest - never flippant or cruel. He saw goodness in most and overlooked shortcomings of the people he met.


Blue Highways: A Journey Into America by William Least Heat- Moon.

His journey into America began with little more than the need to put home behind him. At a turning point in his life, he packed up a van he called Ghost Dancing and escaped out of himself and into the country. The people and places he discovered on his roundabout 13,000-mile trip down back roads ("blue highways") and through small, forgotten towns are unexpected, sometimes mysterious, and full of the spark and wonder of ordinary life.


Peter Jenkins' A Walk Across America and The Walk West.

Twenty-five years ago, a disillusioned young man set out on a walk across America. This is the book he wrote about that journey -- a classic account of the reawakening of his faith in himself and his country.

"I started out searching for myself and my country," Peter Jenkins writes, "and found both." In this timeless classic, Jenkins describes how disillusionment with society in the 1970s drove him out onto the road on a walk across America. His experiences remain as sharp and telling today as they were twenty-five years ago -- from the timeless secrets of life, learned from a mountain-dwelling hermit, to the stir he caused by staying with a black family in North Carolina, to his hours of intense labor in Southern mills. Many, many miles later, he learned lessons about his country and himself that resonate to this day -- and will inspire a new generation to get out, hit the road and explore.


Anything by Bill Bryson. Notes From A Small Island, A Walk In The Woods, his African Diary, Made In America, The Mother Tongue, Neither Here Nor There, I'm A Stranger Here Myself, In A Sunburned Country, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, A Short History Of Nearly Everything...pure delight on every page.

Sue Is Late Sue!

Is my face red? I am so late is wishing a happy day to another blog friend! Sue at Country Pleasures had a birthday recently! My wish may be late but it still comes with love, friendship, warm hugs and happy thoughts! I hope this year is a great one for you dear Sue!

Yee Haw! A List!

Another list has come 'round my way and I just felt compelled to try it! Really! It was an overwhelming compulsion! Ahem. Okay. I just wanted to do it so I did. Phooey. Nanny Nanny Boo Boo.
Someone knocks your door at 2am, who do you want it to be? Brian Dennehy? So you KNEW I would say that didn't you? *sigh* It is more likely to be Daniel coming in from work, or a date, and has forgotten his garage opener and keys. Besides, I am not exactly lucid at 2am so would rather have the sleep than a visit from Mr. D. He can just pay his respects at a decent hour. Your boss tells you he/she will give you a $20 raise if you'll do your job naked. Do you stay and take the raise? Hmm...since I watch a baby during the day, and she is pretty demanding, does that make her MY boss? If so, I doubt seriously that she has the extra $20, babies seem to never be able to hold onto their money. It's all those slot machines and oatmeal addictions. Sad really. Still, if she DID have the money she would probably pay me the extra $20 to keep my clothes ON! Babies scare so easily.
Put yourself in a nutshell?
Aw come on you actually think I will fit? What? Oh...okay...silly, chubby, forgetful, kind hearted, loyal, self deprecating, a dreamer. Ever seen a ghost? Yes, at 2am. I thought it was Brian Dennehy knocking at my door but then I remembered he is still alive. For which I am very happy. So is he. Happy with your body?
No, not at all but you know? The older I get the more I realize that I am comfortable with it. I know it and it knows me. After all, we have been together a really long time. Practically a lifetime. A reason to move to Iceland... I hear that things keep better where it is it cold there? I am thinking my body might *keep* longer. A place you've lived that you miss?
I love being back here after living away for so long. Still, there are things about each place we have lived that I miss...17 addresses in all and each area had something special to offer. 17...we just kept getting run out of towns didn't we?
A band/group you thought was cool when you were 13? Paul Revere and the Raiders & Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. The Grass Roots & The Dave Clark 5. You have a nightmare, who's the first person you think to call? Roto Rooter? The nightmare was about clogged drains after all. Name 4 things you did yesterday? Went to church, ate lunch out, went to Terri's (TK Angels) daughter's housewarming party and saw "Evan Almighty". Name a celeb you have a crush on? Um...let's see. I can't remember his name. Darn these Senior Moments...he is tall, a big guy...has a couple Tony Awards...wait. Oh darn. I almost had it...
Name the last 3 songs you heard? Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car by The Wiggles (we were visiting my brother and sis in law tonight. My nephew was watching one of his Wiggles DVDs), Happy Birthday, (we all went out to dinner and someone was celebrating) and something very loudly blasting from a car that just roared down our street. How many hours of sleep do you get each night? 5 if I am lucky! I am sooo tired! I know...go to bed Sue! Who's the first person in your phone book on your cell? Bill...B is for Bill! thought I would say Brian! But you sillies, Br comes after Bi!! Ha! Fooled you huh? Last time you witnessed a fight? I don't think I have ever witnessed a fight...oh wait. Do I count the one I had Friday night over the last spoonfuls of Dark Chocolate Decadence ice cream? I had that spoon in my hands first! Really! And Bill thought he could convince me to share! HA! In your face honey! Name 3 places you'd like to travel. Australia,Greece and Italy.And anywhere I have not been or already been so I can go again and again. Do you know how to ice skate? Aw come on now...conjure up a picture in your mind of that! Whew! What do you think of Brad Pitt? For what? Is this a trick question? Last movie you watched? Evan Almighty on Sunday night, Miss Potter here at home Saturday night and Nancy Drew on Friday night! Where were you when you had your first kiss? At a church sponsored boy girl party and they actually played spin the bottle. My spin landed NOT on the boy I had a crush on but the very one whom I detested. Not exactly romance novel worthy eh? Last board game you played? Trivial Pursuit and I am good. Really. Try me. Have you ever worn fishnet stockings? Why yes, yesterday, at 2 am, to answer the door. I looked ravishing.

I Want To Be The First To Say....

~Happy Birthday Andi~ Tuesday, the 26th of June, is the day our Andi was born! I am sure you join me in wishing this very, very special lady a very, very special day! May this year be filled with love, joy, hugs, shoes, Pez, Motown, Bully snuggles, more shoes, Breininger Pottery, Longaberger baskets, still more shoes and blogging!