jessica ojala lives in northern vermont with her husband and two daughters. she sews, knits, takes photographs, keeps a garden, plays the violin (not very well, just yet) and generally leads a quiet life. she loves tide pools, gingham, swimming at night, hollyhocks, and a good pot of strong black tea.
on the nightstand:
- the blue chair jam cookbook by rachel saunders
- the sleeve of a sweater i’m knitting
- the art of eating by m.f.k. fisher
- independent people by halldor laxness
- a cheerful yellow lamp
- walking to the swimming hole
- wild raspberries
- my nikon f3
- a new vermont wildflowers identification book
- coffee milkshakes
how does summer inspire you?
i feel so much lighter in summer. i love being able to wear dresses and skirts again. and the simple joy that is my girls in water: the lake, the river, or the plastic kiddie pool. it all feels so free and easy. we drive hither and thither, the windows are rolled down and the air smells of wildflowers and grass. the evenings are generous, hours of golden light to wander around in with my camera. because summers here are so short, we’re always a bit tired and unkempt from all the activity. but when else can you eat fresh peaches by the peck?
what’s one item in your summer wardrobe you can’t go without?
a big sunhat. i have fair skin and an aversion to sunscreen.
what’s your idea of the perfect homemade summer meal?
a simple salad of tomatoes from the garden, fresh mozzarella, basil and avocado is a combination i never tire of. also: peaches, warmed and spiced with cinnamon, clove and cardamom and served over vanilla ice cream.
what is your summer theme song this year?
“sweet tooth” by dave rawlings + gillian welch. it just gets better every time i listen to it.
what are three constants in your day?
- picking japanese beetles off our plum trees
- taking photographs
- reading to the girls at bedtime
tell us about the inspiration behind these photos.
these photos were taken while roaming around the northeast kingdom, the least populated part of the state. i tried to capture a bit of the woods, meadows, mountains, lakes and dirt roads that make up our natural surroundings. they’re such an important part of why we’ve chosen to live here. as the saying goes about being poor (and i would add, happy) in vermont: half your paycheck is in the scenery.