Saturday, June 25, 2016

Lost to the Moonlight

Sometimes, life changes so quickly. And sometimes tragedy and joy happen simultaneously. I guess tragedy and joy are always happening simultaneously, but we don't always realize.  My sister gave birth to a little girl and two days later, our kitty was struck down by a car. 

Banjo, our sweet kitty, was less than two years old. She had escaped that day. We live on a high traffic road and tried to keep our two kitties indoors, but they would frequently escape through our store which is connected to our house. Early that day I'd caught her in the road and tried to grab her, chasing her back toward the house. She ran under the porch, where they would go to evade capture because it is very long and we can't get under there, but they can. I should have known she was desperate to find out what was on the other side of that road. I'm sure their keen ears can hear the river. Anyways, I tried to catch her many times that day, but she was determined to stay outside. I do wish I had tried harder. I watched her roll in catnip, roll in drive way dust and turn her black coat grey so that I thought she was her brother, Kazoo. She was really having a splendid day. I wish it could have ended snug on the couch. I tried to get her back in for dinner, but the wild and moonlight was still calling her. I went in to prepare our own dinner and figured there was still time to catch her before darkness. 

When I heard the car screeching in the early evening, I knew I'd made a fatal mistake. I ran out, watching the car drive off without stopping. I yelled frantically for them to come back and help. I scooped her up and brought her to the house, screaming for Jake to find a number so we could try to save her. She was pressed up against me and I couldn't see the damage, I just felt her heart still beating. In truth, she was probably already gone the moment it hit her. I've never held something dying in my arms and I am grateful that she didn't die alone, whether she knew it or not. It was heartbreaking and Jake kept trying to tell me she was gone. The kids had been in the room. I wish I could have shielded them better.  I didn't set her down until her heart beat stopped. We buried her in the moonlight the next day and planted moon flowers by her grave. My poor gentle kitty. We were suppose to have many more adventures with her. 

She loved stories and smelling flowers and was always there for pets and cuddles whenever we sat down. If she were here, she'd be sitting next to key board as I type this or on my lap purring loudly. She loved chasing mice, but I don't think she ever did the grim work of killing them... she left that to her saber tooth brother. I still see her in all the funny spots around the house she liked to frequent... waiting for dinner on the stool she was fed on so Kazoo wouldn't steal her food, her favorite spot in the windows and on the couch and baskets she loved. My heart also breaks for Kazoo who, yes, would steal her food, but was still her best friend on this Earth. And as if all this wasn't enough, we also lost another beloved animal doggy friend to cancer this week belonging to my mother-in-law. He had been with her since Jake and I started dating, over eleven years ago. 

It's all too much sadness, and the world seems to be a mess right now (or maybe, always), but there is always a ray of sunshine somewhere. I am so happy to have a new niece and to have gotten to visit my three year old nephew and nearly one year old niece as well as other family members. It's nice to be an aunty. It's nice to hold a newborn and wear their smell on your hands and clothes and hear their tiny sleepy mumbles and groans. It's easy to forget how tiny new babies can be. Life is so fragile, but so beautiful. What would it be like to be new again and have so many curious things to take in? I am going slow this week and try to pay attention.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

In the Garden: Allium and Bok Choy

The most enchantingly blue wildflowers popped up under the raspberries this year, and I hadn't the heart to mulch them.
Our first Allium with a tiny visitor.
Fairy Clocks

The Wishing Tree in full bloom.

Radishes and greens make it onto my lunch time veggie wrap.

Parsnips that overwintered. I may have left them in too long as some were too tough to use which was a big disappointment.

Lupines in full divinity.
Some annuals that decided to make another appearance. Hurrah!

Lost in the jungle.
Dutchman's Pipe climbing up the brambly sandbox awning.

A bouquet of mushrooms after a week of rain.
My best digger sitting by, and occasionally on, some onions, lettuce, beets, and bok choy.

Can you spot the mysterious black figure in the lupines?

Lupines and a new brambly wall enclosing our porch which we will of course have to grow things on.

Tomatoes have all been transplanted.

The children's garden has been expanded to make room for bachelor buttons and gourds. Jake wove some branches together for the peas to climb.

Added chives around the rose bush to help keep aphids away.

The Fairy Thrown: made from reclaimed wood and a tree that needed to be cleared from behind the house. This sits at the center of our garden and will be a trellis for morning glories, nasturiums, peas and cucumbers.

Letting the chives flower and go to seed.

The seedlings emerging in the new flower patch.

Letting the kale that overwintered flower and make seeds.

Acorn squash planted with black beans and calendula.
It's strangely chilly out today, like a crisp Autumn day, and I just finished a pot of my magic wellness soup to chase away some lingering colds. In it I threw some bok choy leaves, spinach, chives and Vietnamese coriander from the garden. I love these little additions to mealtime that this time of year brings. I often have a veggie wrap for lunch and love filling it with fresh picked greens and radishes. Pretty soon, we should be seeing some snap peas on the vine. I've nearly got everything planted... just a few more things and wildflowers to spread on our hillside to reclaim it from the dreaded chervil. Our friend that we usually get hay from for mulch doesn't have any yet, so we've been delayed in getting things properly covered, but I'm hopeful that it will be coming soon. I am practicing patience this year in other ways, letting some things go to seed to make more seeds, and it's nice to enjoy these plants in the flowering stage.

How does your garden grow? Please feel free to share links to pictures in the comments of your garden! I appreciate the inspiration.

Here's some inspiration for you:
Check out Permaculture Paradise: Val and Eli's Garden on YouTube!
There are many more episodes. I've watched three or four so far, but it's definitely worth your time.

 Here's my previous garden posts from this year:

And here's post from previous year: 


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Little Things: Lantern, Roses, and Branches

Oh, the little things... I do love the little things. Apple rhubarb pie... you must try it! Jake made this one... just replace strawberries with apples in your favorite recipe. Actually, Jake always makes the pie thanks to his Grandma Gladys's pie crust recipe. I'm not sure I can share the recipe here... pretty sure it's top secret information. We were gifted a bundle of rhubarb from a music group friend. I love gifts from the garden.

Back to the little things... one small rose bush... that beam of bright red does make me happy. The lilacs have passed, but they were glorious too. I can't wait for all the summer bouquets.

I'm also plotting to put some flowers to work this year in dye bathes. I'll probably just do one or two experiments, but I am excited and armed with a book. I think I'll dye some fabric and yarn and anything else I can squeeze in the pot.

One last "little thing"... I made a crochet lantern holder to dangle from the porch. I crocheted it from twine and some sparkly magic yarn I had lying around. I'd like to make two more of these so I can hang them between the other beams on the porch so we can have fairy lights to gleam for us at night. I just put a small mason jar and beeswax candle in it, and works great, but it's been raining too much to snap a picture in the evening. I didn't use a pattern. I just winged it (yes, I do this a lot) from distant memories of circle crochet patterns. Jake enclosed our porch this Spring in branches, so that's why you see twigs popping their way into photos.

Now, off to the garden. It's a nice cool day to get things done. There will be a garden post soon! What little things are making you smile these days?

Oh, why not, one more thing?! Jake and I have been together 11 years today! That's worth a smile for sure! (It's not our wedding anniversary, just our loveiversary)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Graduation Dress

In just a few more days this little girl will be graduating preschool. I think that warrants a new dress, don't you? And how about one designed by mama and daughter with rose fabric chosen by the almost-graduate. Yes! We can do that. And we did. There were big smiles all around and lots of twirling. Time goes so fast with little people. It's all the twirling, I tell ya! I know we'll be dreaming up something to make for her high school graduation before long, or more likely, she'll be making it herself! She is definitely a little maker. She is already eager to get started with my sewing machine, which I hope to do with her this summer. It will be great to have her home on break, but sad to end her time in preschool. Thankfully, preschool days are not over yet, as Elsa will just be beginning her preschool journey come the Fall.

Joining in with KCCO over at Frontier Dreams .

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Flea Markets and Frocks

It's flea market season! I'm not nearly the flea market girl that I used to be. Where I grew up, there was a huge flea market a couple miles from our house, so I went nearly every weekend with my parents and siblings... and oh the treasures you could find for a buck, or even a quarter. I remember getting seven cool bird glasses once on a visit home for thirty-five cents (7 cents a glass!) that served us for many years... I think there's one still kicking around that we haven't broken.

Now a days, it's nearly an hour drive to get to a good flea market, and I just don't have the urge for treasure hunting that I once did. Perhaps it's all the toys we're swimming in, but I know in my heart there's very few things we actually need at this point in the journey. But every now and then, it's fun to go on the hunt, even if it's just for the spectacle. We took a road trip on Memorial Day weekend to one of our favorite treasure spots at  Quechee Gorge Village. This place is not just a flea market, but a large antique mall with surrounding shops and a cool vintage kids train and carousel that run in the summer. There is also a train and toy museum (newly renovated) and free to visit, that is another perk for antiquing parents who need a little something for the kiddos. Not to mention, the allure for many, a Cabot shop, with cheese sample galore to keep hunger at bay while you shop. In short, this is the ideal antiquing situation for parents with kids in tow, if there is an ideal situation for antiquing with kids and tow. And on Memorial Day weekend, we got an extra special treat of visiting alpacas brought in by the new alpaca shop.

I found a few things I couldn't pass up and maybe a few more I should have, but didn't. I have no idea what I'll do with the gorgeous butterfly pins. I tried to walk away from them, but couldn't get them out of my head. I think they will look perfect on a winter scarf or perhaps displayed on some sort of wall art. I have many vintage pins that might get more use as art then sitting in a box on my dresser. Anyways, they will find a purpose. I also learned a cool trick for keeping pins from falling off from the vendor. You just put on of those little plastic pieces used to secure earrings after clasping the pin, and it helps keep the old clasp from accidently opening and falling off.

We also picked up a beautiful early copy of "Water Babies" illustrated by Warwick Goble, a favorite Golden Age illustrator of mine. I'm excited because the book is in excellent condition so I'll actually be able to read it without damaging it, and I've never read the full version of this classic. I got a pair of pillow cases that are extra large and will make some cute matching night gowns for the girls and an apple cutting board to hang on the wall because it was a bargain, and I couldn't resist. So, that was it. I didn't go too crazy.

But the best part was that I got to wear my recently sewn Dottie Angel frock, a Mother's Day gift to myself. You can probably find this pattern on Etsy cheaper. That's where I found my copy. This dress pattern has been all over the internet. Just do a Pinterest search for Dottie Angel frock, and you will find numerous examples. It's farm girl/granny chic, to be sure. I did make a few modifications that should be noted: lengthened sleeves by a half inch on both sides, made patchwork pockets, got rid of some of the bias tape in favor of narrow hems and lowered the pin-tucks to accommodate my bust. This is a fairly simple pattern, but that's part of the beauty. It lends itself to these kind of personalized touches. I'm happy with it. I might make some more in the simple tunic style. According to the measurements, I should have been between a medium and a large, but after reading some reviews, I decide to go with the medium as the dress has ties and is generous. House on Hill Road has some great information on sewing the dress without modifications. The best part of wearing this dress to a flea market was that there were plenty of older women their who could appreciate both the vintage feel, but also recognize it as a new, handmade garment. It's always nice for your work to be appreciated!

Joining in with KCCO over at Frontier Dreams .