Sunday, September 28, 2014

39/52 Moss Maidens

"A portrait of my girls once a week, every week in 2014"
 Elsa: a little sick in this photo, but taking comfort in the soft bed of moss
Oona: a few toys and moss covered rocks make the best place to play

Friday, September 26, 2014

Garden Journey: Pickling and Plotting

I thought I'd do one last garden post while there's still a few things growing. I know I'm going to be daydreaming a lot about the garden this winter. This was definitely a year I learned a lot, and it will be nice to put what I learned into practice come next Spring, and this Fall as I prepare the garden for sleep with lots of food for the soil and blankets of leaves and hay. I'm hoping to double or triple the amount of garlic bulbs I put in this year. I had success with what I grew, but the supply is quickly dwindling. I've also started saving more seeds... cucumbers, melons, tomatoes and beans are what I've saved so far.  The sunflower seeds I saved last year did great. That small clump you see in the picture below are the ones I started late. There's another larger clump out of the picture frame that did awesome, but are beginning to fade. I love giant sunflowers, and the seeds we don't eat or save this year will make a nice treat for the birds and the chipmunks.

Miss Elsa is still my most dedicated little garden fairy. I love that she pays attention to the things that Mama picks, and those are the things that she picks too... handfuls of lettuce and kale are frequently handed to me... and often tomatoes, though I wish she didn't have a preference for the green ones. Next year their will definitely be a tiny garden just for the girls. I think cukes and carrots and flowers will be the main ingredients, for those are the things they love most in the garden.

 I gathered up what might be the last of the cukes and the summer squash. Some of those little yellow balls in the basket are actually lemon cucumbers... they are quite adorable, but didn't start producing until much later than the other variety I grew, so I'll probably skip them next year.

We have a jungle of nasturtiums still. This was my first time growing them and I had no idea they'd spread out as much as they have. It's nice to be able to pick flowers without worrying if you're taking too many. I think I'm going to try drying some to decorate, and I will definitely grow more next year.
I need to sit down and write up a garden report card, so I know what did miserably, what did well, and what was a huge waste of time. I also want to make some sketches of the current garden so I can rotate everything properly next year.

For now, the most pressing things are to get my cukes pickled and do something with all the wild apples we harvested from nearby. This recipe for chilled cucumber soup was delicious. I do love the garden, but it's also nice to live in a climate where the weather permits us to go inside and take a rest from it for a while.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Happy Autumn!

Welcome Autumn (or Spring if you're on the other side of the world)! I am already day dreaming about pumpkin cheesecake... pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin spiced coffee... pumpkin ice cream... pumpkin patches... pumpkin everything... curse you Pinterest and blog land! Ooo, and a bit of apple cider would be nice too... hmmm... and apple cider doughnuts!

I know I say it every year, but I love Fall! It is the season I feel most at home in. Every time we get in the car it's like a wizards magic has covered the land. The mountains are decorated in their rainbow splendor, and if I didn't have things to do and little people to keep out of trouble, I'd just lay on a picnic blanket outside all day long, reading books and staring up at the trees munching on tasty Fall apples (honey crisps are my new favorite). 

We celebrated the start of the season yesterday by racking leaves and playing in the yard, and doing just a little bit of that lying on a picnic blanket business. I added more touches of Autumn about the house and harvested a bunch more from the garden. Today I am beginning a massive Fall cleaning and clean out! This means windows are getting washed, spiders are being evicted, junk is being thrown into a box to be driven away and never seen again... it feels good, but there is still so much to do (always so much to do). I think a good Fall cleaning is even more important than a Spring one, especially in the colder climate where we live because I know pretty soon we will be spending a lot more time indoors.

We've already found ourselves knee deep in the cold season... as in... cough cough... hachuu! I am trying every witchy medicine I can think of, but getting better has been slow going. That's another reason I need to clean house... I need to evict all the nasty germs as well. Anyone have any great natural cold/ sore throat remedies or good posts on the subject? This was an interesting post I found on healing remedies. I'm going to try the onion suggestion (placing cut open onions punctured w/ holes in bedrooms and living areas to absorb bacteria) as well as some of their other suggestions I haven't yet tried.

Anyways, it's time to put dinner on the table, so I need to get to work. It's soup season! Hurray for that! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

38/52 Pure Vermont

Oona: While sometimes it scares me, I also love the endless confidence of my almost four year old!
Elsa: Clearly, a marketing ploy as a cute baby can sell anything... though I'm pretty sure maple syrup sells itself...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Smashing Flowers

 I've been wanting to try this hammered flower technique since I saw it on the Edible Garden back in the Spring. You place the flowers under paper or cloth (white is ideal)... I used a natural colored muslin so we could use it to make something. It's probably better if you tape them in place. We did NOT, and there's definitely an abstract vibe. I put a laminate place mat face down underneath to protect the table (the back of mat might have got a little stained), but you can also use newspaper. Position the flower underneath and hammer away! I think I need to experiment a little more with which flowers work best. Our flowers were also wet from the rain so that might have caused them to smudge a bit more.

Here's a link for more detailed instructions about hammering flowers.

 While I wasn't quite ready to hand Elsa the hammer, she loved playing with the debris... it would make a lovely fairy potion, no?

While we collected flowers for our experiment, we also gathered a new bouquet for the table and a tiny one for the hall. It will be sad when there's no more fresh flowers just waiting out the door for us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Star Babies

Sleepy Time Spearmint and Flax Seed Stars

Baby stars are slow to birth. I made six new little stars... two still to be stuffed (I ran out of flax seed) and one that was given as a birthday gift for a beautiful star girl. My big girl just "burrowed" the red one to take to bed... never mind that she already has a blue one. When you're child says they really want to snuggle something, it's hard not to oblige. The little hands in the photo above are my littlest one... perhaps another star will have to disappear for her.

I'm keeping busy with simple crafts these days, using my preschool time as wisely as I can... though some days that time is shorter than others. Despite the silly things in the craft room, I feel quite wary lately, with sad news in the family, and just the day to day stresses that burden most of us. Not enough hours in the day, not enough hours in this life... but indeed, you must pull weeds while the grass is wet or you'll never get through it all.

Time for sleep... I will comfort myself with this thought... we are all made of bits of broken stars.

Joining in again with KCCO over at Frontier Dreams. Have a project? You can too!

Monday, September 15, 2014

On the Cutting Block

Suddenly it is so cold I find myself digging for mittens, knitted blankets, bulky sweaters, and for the first time, a bit too early to be sure, we light a fire in our little house by the roadside. Wasn't it summer just yesterday? Isn't it still, technically, summer? Hohum. But secretly, I love it... an excuse to bundle up tight and cook some hot cocoa with cinnamon and chili pepper on the stove, yes please! And while I am enjoying the sun in the day, I am also starting to draw inward a bit... cutting fabric, sitting at the sewing machine, even picking up pencil and paper again. With the cold winds blowing, I know there will be far too many things I want to do, and far too little daylight, but I'm trying not to get too far ahead of myself. One stitch, one line, one more cup of cocoa at a time!

And already, thoughts creep in of the holiday season. It's a vicious cycle... this desire to make everything. Handmade gifts do indeed require a bit of forethought. And I'm also working on a few things for an Etsy shop update... very soon, with any luck. 


Sunday, September 14, 2014

37/52 Llama Dance

"A portrait of my girls once a week, every week in 2014"

Elsa: She insisted on walking nearly the whole walk on her own, and I was the one trying to keep up with her, not the other way around.
Oona: Dancing on the porch in a long gypsy skirt, her favorite llama in tow.

*This weeks photos were taken by Daddy.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Harvest Fairies

Picking bouquets with my little garden fairy is one of my favorite things to do of late. She is so happy to grab a pair of scissors and snip away. She also loves to help me gather mint. I think we have enough dried mint now for years to come,  but it's so very useful so another handful never hurts. We grabbed some wild flowers from the hill side to make hair wreathes the other day when the weather was that perfect end of summer/ almost Fall mellow sort of sunshine.

Oona loves to wear braids lately, and pretend she is a Native American princess.

A tiny wreath was made for Miss Elsie, even though she thought it too silly to keep on her head and preferred to stick it on me.

 It's been a while since I've done a garden update. It's looking pretty wild these days, as more time is spent eating and preserving and enjoying rather than planting and weeding. I know all too soon I will have to think about bulbs, and preparing the garden bed for winter.

 The tipi at the center of the garden was unexpectedly covered in nasturtiums... which is wonderful because for some reason the morning glories grew up it, but never blossomed. And now that it is covered, it is a wonderful place to play while Mama harvests. Next year we will have to start a separate kid's garden, too, so they can have their own special rewards for digging in the dirt.

 Elsa's favorite spot in the big garden is by the cherry tomatoes. For some reason, even though there are plenty of ripe ones, she seems to prefer the green tomatoes. "A ball... a ball..." she tells me every time.

I am feeling much more pleased with gardening late in the season, than I was early on. It's not like anything was a spectacular harvest, but we've had food, and made good things... pickles for the first time, and sauerkraut too... It just feels good to know that you had a hand in bringing food to the table, and it makes me hopeful that maybe I'm getting a little better at this gardening thing.

Monday, September 8, 2014

36/52 Birthday Decorations

"A portrait of my girls every week, once a week in 2014"

Oona: the curious little monkey decorated the rocking horse with Mama's yarn for Daddies Birthday
Elsa: the true mastermind of this yarn scheme... there were more balls of yarn scattered throughout the room from the yarn basket (confetti?)... gotta love it when they work together!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Finding a New Rhytmn

A baby skirt with pockets for the upcoming Harvest Fair

Our whole family has had a shift in rhythm with the start of preschool for Miss Oona. I thought the biggest challenge would be getting everyone to wake up earlier, but when you have to, you just get on with it. This is not to say there's not a bit of crankiness from the change in sleep schedule, but it's not as bad as I would have predicted, and we are trying to make sure there is more down time to compensate. The bumps in the road have more to do with adjusting to the new circumstances. This is the first time Oona has really had to follow orders from anyone other than parents or grandparents (as if she follows orders from anyone!), and she is rebelling a little. I walked in on quite the tantrum the other day, and started to question whether or not this was really a good situation for her to be in at her age. Sometimes I feel like we are pushing our children out the door too soon these days, but honestly, it's such a short class each day, and overall I hope the time with kids will be good for her. Anywho, after lots of talk at home about what happened in class, she was the model student today, and I think both Oona and her teacher learned a little something from one another, and Mama learned a little something too... give it time. This is a new rhythm... a new system to adapt to and she has only just started!

I feel a little guilty, seeing that Oona has struggled a bit, but for me, it has meant some much needed time for my craft work. Jake takes Elsa everyday after I drop Oona off, and I have about an hour and a half to two hours of solid work time to get things done before it's time for Jake to open the store and me to go get Oona. And he brings me a lovely espresso with foamed milk when I'm done... such a nice reward for getting a little work done. The one in the photo above had chocolate shavings and a hint of orange extract... so perfect! I'm really liking the earlier schedule because I have more time to manage everything, but I'm ready to fall asleep at eight o'clock, which feels a bit odd.

I know there will likely be more growing pains, for all of us, but I think this new rhythm will be a positive change for the family. Summer days are floaty and fun, but often sporadic. It helps to have something that focuses your energy and time, even if it's really just a very small part of the day.

Joining in again with KCCO over at Frontier Dreams. Have a project? You can too!