impossibleway: (Winter Fields)
It's going to be in the upper seventies today, but the end of last week was a chilly and wet one.  There was snow in the air on Friday and, sure enough, the high elevations (the highest in our state) were wearing their Winter coats of rime ice and snow once more.  Mike suggested we go to see them Saturday morning, before they began to thaw out.  There was a troop of Boy Scouts unloading at Elk Garden, and it was quite windy there, so we opted to drive on to White Top.

Icy Road

We went until the road was too slippery for my comfort.  The children had never seen the mountain in the snow.  I've only seen it a time or two.  The road is often impassable in the Winter and not worth the hazards.

Coltsfoot in the Snow

The coltsfoot was blooming through the snow, showing the perseverance of non-native invasives.  It will be another month before the natives will bloom.

Spring Snow

The spring was snowy in Spring.  Or something like that.  It was flowing very nicely, so we were thankful.  Most of Virginia is still low on rain, but we have been very blessed since the wildfires.

Snowy Stream

As the stream flowed away from the spring, it picked up quite a bit of water.  It was so nice to hear it flowing, and so pretty to see the snow drifted along it.

In the Woods

Mike and the Big Ones enjoyed playing in the snow in the woods above the road. Laurel and I got a little wet (or a lot wet) in the stream, but our clothes kept us sufficiently warm.  She was more than happy to go back to the car and shed her wet overalls, while I stayed with Willow and Roan.  We took turns throwing crusty snow into the stream, which was really pretty fun.

While some of the snow is probably gone, I bet there's still a good amount left.  We had weeks of warm weather back in the Winter and could still find little bits of snow hiding here and there.  I'm reading an interesting book these days, The Appalachians, that talks extensively about this unique landscape in which we live.  We truly get a taste of all kinds of weather here--both arctic and southern.  I'll have to give my thoughts on it when I finish it.

April Now

Apr. 2nd, 2017 11:14 am
impossibleway: (Large-Flowered Trillium)
It's quiet this morning, with everyone still asleep.  I'm not sure if it frosted last night, but it was close.  The blueberries are tucked under sheets, but I wonder how the big cherry tree at my grandmother's will fare.  This is an uncertain time of year, isn't it?  I guess all seasons have their uncertainties, but Spring seems to have the bulk of them.  The natural world wants to burst forth with new life and Winter wants to keep hold of things just a bit longer.  I think I feel that way, too.

April Nature TableThings have felt a little scattered lately, honestly, and I have been hoping for the chance to get back on track.  I guess a to-do list is in order to help me prioritize, along with closer adherence to our usual rhythms.  It is easy to let things slip this time of year.  So much seems pressing, and everything feels full of possibility.  We've spent the weekend helping with an attic project over at the Roland Estate, trying to beat the heat in the months to come.  All the same, there has been plenty to do here at home, so I'm struggling a little with balance.

I'm trying to keep hold of the little things that tie the days together, like our bedtime routine and our school work, along with ample quiet time.  I always dreaded "nap time" as a child.  It meant three or so hours of silence alone, being an only child.  For us, it is a time to listen to audio stories in our respective posts in the living room.  After that, we work on focused activities while Laurel sleeps.  It is a time we look forward to each day.  Willow isn't herself without it, which is a wonderful confirmation of the value of peace and rest in a busy home with young children.

*** By now, several hours have passed and there was breakfast and dishes and sewing up the sweetest little knitted duck.  I've sent everyone off for a picnic at an old fire tower.  It sounded fun, to be out in the bright sunshine enjoying the national forest, but I need some of my own quiet time.  I think it will help to ease my scatter-brained feeling lately.  Really, it might just be biting off more than I can chew.  Happy Sunday!
impossibleway: (The Flower Picker)
Violet wake up
Spring is coming, spring is coming
VIolet, wake up
Spring is coming here!


~Enki Grade One Movement


Spring is such a full time, after the long wait of Winter. Right now, I have many plans swirling in my mind--planning for chickens (real ones!), plants to get into the ground, seeds to sow, soil to amend, a bed to build, hugelkultur, more Spring cleaning, brush piles to move. . . For a week or two, what's happening here at home needs to take priority over what's happening in the woods.  Spring happens in the forest near the middle of April, so I'll take a pass to enjoy what's happening here at home where the sunshine has warmed the soil.  This is nature, too!

Violets

First up, violets.  Violets!  They're just starting to bloom, so the children were happy to pick jars full and pour honey over the top.  They really enjoy Susun Weed and were inspired to make their own.  We've made violet jelly in previous years, so we thought we'd do something new this year.  Violet honey for sore throats makes colds sound more pleasant, right?

Dandelions

Willow wanted to make dandelion vinegar, too, so we prepared a small jar, enough for a batch of salad dressing on that first lettuce.  When I told her she'd actually have to try the vinegar, she acted a little surprised!  Not the most adventurous eater, she will eat salads, so I am hopeful.  Willow really loves to pretend to be an herbalist and will spend long periods making various concoctions. I think it is meaningful to use this enthusiam to really make things the family can use.  Children love knowing they are doing something real, as much as they love to pretend.

Our little projects will be ready to strain on Roan's birthday, which is often a celebration of the season's best.  Spring is at its height around his birthday and May Day, and we often have vases of flowers from our yard on the table.  I really love the timing of my children's birthdays, honestly, so near to times of the year that are significant to me.  Roan wastes no time reminding us that his is coming soon (just five weeks!). 
impossibleway: (Spring in the Stream)
DSC_9903.JPGSpring is back in the air, more gently now.  Yesterday was warm and sunny and I declared it a day for Spring Cleaning.  Really, I've been working on it in little bits for several weeks.  There's never an end to clearing out and tidying up.  Just like housecleaning with young children, things get messy in one area just as you've fixed another one.  I think, for my own morale, I'll list the places I've worked on: pie safe on the back porch, knitting notions, deep freeze, children's closet, bookshelves, car (oh, the lichen!), under the kitchen sink, and some work in the basement.  I've got a whole pile to go to the thirft store, along with a good amount of old Pyrex to go to Ginger.  It's been waiting since last year, honestly.

The children spent the whole day outside, while I was working inside.  All the same, there was plenty of mud on the floors for me to mop up.  I think I must be in the hole-digging phase of mothering.  Mines, cesspits, buried treasure.  All these things are frequently mentioned, along with sidewalk chalk and flower blossoms ground up into various remedies (or pesticides).  Ironically, they decided to Spring clean the playhouse, too.  They had a marvellous time with it all, of course, and stayed out until the light faded.  Today will be back to the grind with school work and Soup Day.  Always Soup Day.  It's going to be cool, anyway, and the thought of hanging out laundry is not very appealing.

I'm knitting along on Roan's sweater, about the to the bottom of it.  Next will come the collar, and then sleeves and pockets.  Roan is asking me to make short sleeves on it, and that's really tempting.  Grandad always wore a short-sleeved sweater.  The weather looks absolutely perfect for Saturday, when we'll have the Maple Festival.  Ten degrees above average and sunny--such a contrast to the past couple years of snow.   It's cool and breezy today, but the sunshine is so nice.  I get more glad for Spring each year.

DSC_9911.JPG
impossibleway: (Feet at the Lump)
The "Ice Cliffs," Grandad called them.  He always wanted to go see the Ice Cliffs.  They were on the list that we intrepid sight-seers made in the last years of his life--Buffalo Mountain, the Brown Mountain Lights, Stone Mountain, Burke's Garden, Roan Mountain, Cumberland Gap.  He and Grandma Lois had been prolific travelers in his post-retirement years.  The Blue Ridge Parkway was one of their favorite destinations.  We'd always had in mind to go to the Ice Rocks, but we'd never made it there.  By their very nature, their presence results in road closures.  No one wants to slide off the mountain going to see them, after all.  After a mild Winter with one big blast of cold air at its end, we were inspired to seek them out after looking at the icy cliffs outside our little town.

Ice Rocks 1

Having driven by them many times on warmer days, it was a simple matter of looking in my Parkway guides.

Ice Rocks 2

In it, they were called the "Ice Rocks" and found to be in Doughton Park.

Ice Rocks 3

I think we got there just in time.  I bet the last of the ice will be gone this week.

Road Ice

While it was a small show, compared with other years or earlier in the Winter, it was no less impressive.
The ice that had fallen showed some serious water at work.

Ice Rocks 4

It was fifty-five when we arrived, but the wind sweeps ups these stone cliffs with some ferocity.
That quick trip I made back to the car for coats and hats--that was a wise one!

Ice Rocks 5

It was like being in a great freezer with big fans blowing on you.
The wind was so swift at one point, it was hard to walk.

Windy Face

I had given Mike my hat and put up my hood.
The wind was trying mightily to blow it off my head.
I thought this photo was too funny when I saw it.

Ice Rocks 6

You can see here the better part of the ice that was remaining at our visit.  The cliffs go on a bit more, with a little fringe of ice at the top.  You can see photos of them during a more typical year here.  While it wasn't much, comparatively, we all found it to be a powerful, magical place.  We have firm plans to come back next Winter to see them again.  Roan was thrilled at the idea that the ice would come back and probably be more next year.  He kept sharing the news with great excitement and really wanted to bring a big piece home.  That is what I find frightening about climate change--the security that we have known, both for food production and for simple seasonal joys from nature, is at risk.

This wonderful write-up gives a good history of the area.  It tells that the facilities in the Doughton Park area have been closed for some time.  Indeed, the coffee shop where we ate with Grandad in 2008 was not only closed, but appeared to have the glass out of the windows.  It's heartbreaking to me to see our public lands lose funding to keep things in operation.  The current political climate is even more depressing.  I've written here and there over the years about facilities and staffing falling by the wayside, and it seems things will only get worse.  It does, however, drive me to spend more time visiting these places.  We vote with our dollars, after all, and visitors to National Parks matter in a big way.

I don't mean to end on a sour or sad note.  Despite the complexity of the Parkway's beginnings and the uncertainty of its future, it holds a special place in my heart.  It calls to me in a very deep way, one of my great loves.  Now that the children are beyond the baby years and into the bouldering years, I think it's time we spent more time there again. 
impossibleway: (Winter Fields)
To open and close Winter with a visit to the Snail Place and the sight of rime ice seems fitting.  I think that is what we have done, this time around.  I never really dreamed that the strongest parts of the season would be at its beginning and end, but that's the way it's gone.  It was very windy yesterday, but we bundled up to enjoy one last(?) romp in the snow. The ice had blown off, but I could find signs of it on top of the snow, little branches with frost going to one side.

Snowy Ridge

The valleys were clear, as you can see, but the mountains still had plenty of snow.  Just take your pick!

In the Wind

It was quite windy along this little ridge.  I was quite glad I'd made the last-minute decision to put on a second pair of socks and grab a pair of Mike's mittens to put over mine.  He's always off in some warmer place, so I'll use them for him.  We were all wearing scarves (me in my cowl), but the wind was so swift that I had to shield the side of my face with my hand.

Up the Hill

The children made themselves busy up on the little rise where their den was built.  You can see it on the right in the background.  They would climb the little hill (a road cut) and slide down.  Nature's Playground :: the Original Playground, I like to call it.

Snowdrift

I enjoyed the drifted snow.  You can see some of it flying in the picture here--Laurel was coming up beside me when I snapped this.  I really like this photo.

Snowy Road

After that, I took a walk up the tower road, just a bit.  Walking in overalls makes a person a bit stiff, though quite warm.  It was a good, short workout, trying to heft myself along.

Tea in the Snow

Back at the bottom, Willow and Laurel had snow in their boots, so it was time to head home.  We enjoyed our tea first, and I made the sad discovery that I broke the Thermos.  This one was new to us and I dropped it by the car when I was getting it out.  Holding it up to the light confirmed that the glass inside was shattered.  I've never had that happen before, but I've always been very careful.

Brambles

If I were to sum up one goal for Nature School, it would be Love of Place.  It took me a long time to get to this, from the early days of camping with my parents.  Twenty-five years, I guess.  For a long time, I wanted to know the names of things, to catalogue random tidbits, to get to the top of the mountain or the big waterfall.  The over-all mood of a place: the feelings it gives of peace or nostalgia or wildness (like trees stunted by the wind)--those are the quiet gifts.  I guess they do take time to come to fruition.  Certain places wouldn't be quite so special to me if I didn't have a long history with them.  They've been there through the years, both the same and changing, and that has been a real blessing.  I want my children to have a personal store of memories in natural places, of relationships with the land, that they can draw from later on when the human version of life gets to be too much.
impossibleway: (Warning)
Looking Out

This Winter has spoiled us.  We've all become accustomed to running outside without coats or hats on.  We've been used to mild breezes and drippy rain.  To have the weather turn SO cold after a month of sunshine and daffodils is a little tough.  We'd forgotten what Winter was like, I guess.  Cabin fever has been the theme of the week.  It stayed in the twenties all day yesterday, though the sun did bring a little melting.  I think it is likely that my blueberries are frostbitten, with the wind and cold.  Oh, well.  That cold wind couldn't get at my broccoli waiting on the kitchen windowsill.  There is frost creeping up the storm windows this morning and we've got plans for nature school at the Snail Place.  I'm hoping there will be some snow there for us to enjoy, all bundled up.  Everyone's waking up, so happy Thursday!
impossibleway: (Winter Fields)
It's been snowing and blowing all day, but not doing very much in the way of sticking. The ground is just too warm down in our valley, I guess. We still have the same amount we had this morning!  That's okay.  We took advantage of the warmish roads and drove up to the Snail Place to see the snow and rime ice.  How pretty it was!  I can't help but put some snow photos in with the knitting, can I?  It's been very nearly a month since our last real taste of Winter.

Blueberries in Bed

Here are the blueberries, all tucked under some sheets.
Crafting covers that won't blow off certainly counts, right?
I think I finally got my technique figured out!

Snowy Trees

And King Winter showed off his handiwork to us, as you can see.
I just love it when the trees are all covered in whiteness, such a brief miracle.

Snail Place

And here's the road to our den, all cold and windy.  SO COLD!
It was foggy, too, and you couldn't see a thing down in the valley.

Rime Ice

I really love rime ice so much.  It always brings me such pure joy.

Water Bottle Carrier

Okay, now the knitting.

Here is Waldorf Mama's water bottle carrier.  I admired those years ago and finally made one.  This is Wool of the Andes, scraps from pilot caps I made Willow and Roan, and it felted very well.  You can find my notes here--I did knit it flat, instead of in the round.

Little Spare Time

And this is the Little Spare Time Sweater, that I am calling the "Greenwood Sweater."  It's certainly cheery for St. Patrick's Day, though I doubt I have enough "spare time" to finish it by then.  Then again, it's going to be even colder tomorrow. . .

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.
impossibleway: (Warning)
That was the forecast for this weekend, instead of that mythic snow.  I think my visions of being cozily holed up together were a little too clear.  Whenever I can see something with too much detail, it doesn't happen.  It's funny how that works.  Oh, well!

Chestnut OakWe spent the time productively.  Since it was cold, I defrosted the deep freeze.  This is always a big job, but the results are so pleasing.  It's also a good time to take stock of what's left.  Obviously, I could just grow pumpkins for Jack O'Lanterns this year with no ill effects.  There was little that was thrown away, so that felt nice.  We all like to avoid waste.  At the same time, Mike brought home a carload of wood for next Winter, plenty of apple that was already cut into perfect lengths in sizes that would be just right for our fire place!  We often find or are given free firewood.  It is so nice how things like that work out.

I spent the afternoon on some basement work, trying to make the space more un-usable.  Yes, un-usable.  I want to spend less time down there!  Storing the toy library down there means that I often have a big mess.  Either I take things down and get other things without putting it all back, or there are raids to the library.  While it is fun to discover old toys or have variety, I need things to be static for awhile.  We have some challenging developmental things going on right now, so it seemed best to just move it all off-premises down the street to Grandad's old apartment.  More on that later, perhaps.

Katherine and I walked around the Settlers' Museum yesterday, first out to the old farmhouse, then on the AT back to the schoolhouse, and then on the birding trail back to the farm.  We walked a lot!  I remember Ruth Goodman saying that women need lots of walking in order to feel good, and I cannot help but agree.  Maybe it is because so much of our work is in one spot, over and over?  I think I have spent half my life standing over the kitchen sink.  Nonetheless, it was so good to get out in that cold sunshine to enjoy talking and moving.  I know we were both markedly more relaxed when we said farewell, and that is the important thing.

This week is supposed to be quite cold, more like February.  Wednesday will see highs in the twenties with lows in the teens.  While many places have fruit trees blooming, we have been blessed in our little spot.  The blueberries were put to bed and the apples are still sleeping, as are the berry brambles.  The wind may have blown off the covers in the night, but that is soon fixed.  I told Roan we'd be doing a lot of covering and uncovering in the coming weeks.  It was so easy to picture a truly early Spring.  I should have known better. ;-)
impossibleway: (The Flower Picker)
Spring BouquetYesterday was Work Day, so we spent part of the morning moving branches, cutting back raspberries, pruning, and taking down some trees.  This was all over at the Roland Estate, where there are numerous tangles and piles that are in need of some removal.  This is a good time to do things like that, since the plants are still mostly dormant.  It's a big job that will take several weeks of work to complete, with the end goal being able to mow the places that were once neglected brush piles.  I don't do the mowing, of course, but I do hope to make the job a little easier.

The children love that kind of work, honestly.  We keep it reasonably short, an hour or two, and then follow with some refreshments that help to buoy them along.  It felt like Summer while we were working--we soon shed the sweaters and hats we had come with.  Convinced it was terribly warm at sixty degrees, the children were soon cold from their icy drinks.  The sky clouded over and the wind picked up.  Oh, March.  The rain didn't come until supper time, but everyone was in a good mood the rest of the day.  It makes a person of any size feel good to do work that yields instant, visible results.

All across our area, daffodils and crocuses are in bloom.  We find them in the yards of abandoned houses (and I bring a few home).  The ones in my yard are quickly whisked inside by my flower pickers, and we've made plans to buy a lot more bulbs when Autumn comes again.  We were taking a walk around the neigborhood to admire all the flowers, and I was thinking of Martinmas and the mood that comes with it. The whole year brings many reflective opportunities and I am looking forward to it.  If you look closely, you can see a single snowdrop and a spring beauty that the children picked.  I guess that means Spring is really here.

March

Mar. 1st, 2017 04:59 pm
impossibleway: (Warning)
The spring arrives with music, and flowers intertwine. ~ Enki Festival Songs


I guess March came in like a lion today. This morning was cold, but sweetly pleasant as it went on. The children collected periwinkle blooms and puttered around with old pots and bricks and stones. Willow loves that kind of play so much, so it was good to see them all so deeply playing.  By lunch time, the sky had darkened and brough strong storms, which continue even now.  I am glad for the rain, since half of our state is still in a drought.  Our precious mountains are wet enough, but the warm weather has been hard on the rest of the state.  Some fruit trees and ornamentals are blooming now, though Winter comes roaring back tomorrow.

All this aside, it was a good tday to shift to Spring things, with it feeling much more proper than when I took down the insulated curtains in February.  So, Spring napkins in the drawer and Spring pictures on the walls.  The nature table tells of the state of things outside--daffodils in a vase and a card with a man at the plow.  I've been going through drawers, finding quite the pile to discard or donate, which is a constant task.  We have been very blessed to get many things from folks who don't need them any more.  It does mean sorting through quite a lot of things, but it's been a huge savings in many ways.  The morning was so bright and cheery with the windows open.

We had vegetable soup from the freezer and this hearty bread for lunch.  It had been awhile since I made it, but I think I will try to make it more often.  I have had mixed results from my favorite bread recipe lately, so it's time for a change.  I think it will do the children good to get used to a crusty loaf, and Willow compared it to "Green Valley bread."  I am thinking now about nature school tomorrow and how I will work it out.  I'm thinking of stopping by a greenhouse for some pro-mix and then driving over to Beartree Recreation Area.  I think some soup and bread might be just the thing to knock the chill off of lunch in the woods.
impossibleway: (Spring in the Stream)
It was seventy-nine degrees yesterday!  Seventy-nine!  That is just unheard of for this time of year, or it is one for the record books.  I'm sure we broke records yesterday.  Meanwhile, the wind came rushing in this morning, blowing the empty garbage cans around and making the tarp on our front porch look as if it were alive.  We're expecting a cooler rainy day with a frosty night and more reasonable weather in the coming couple weeks.  And that's your weather report from our neck of the woods.  Now, nature school.

Rich Valley

We drove through Rich Valley to the cabin yesterday.  The valley is full of rocky outcroppings.  Roan and I declared it would be perfect for sheep.  I think we saw a few there, in fact.

The Cabin

Climbing up the mountain to the cabin, it was sixty-four degrees.  My parents's cabin is on Flattop Mountain in the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area.  Though we haven't spent a night there in several years, I'd really like to.  It's such a special place.  This ridge, if you kept going, takes you over to Laurel Bed Lake.

Lots of Acorns

There are numerous cabins on this small strip of private land, so we puttered around on the road and in the yards.  It's still a pretty wild place--we've seen bears many times, along with other wildlife.  All the wildlife, in fact, is part of the reason my parents don't use their cabin much any more.

More Acorns

All the acorns covering the ground show that last year must have been a real bumper crop. Many were beginning to swell and sprout, and we brought a few home.  They were absolutely everywhere.  Well, it's time to get on with the usual Saturday chores here and then head over to the library to find some books for St. Patrick's Day.  We're getting excited!
impossibleway: (Winter)
A last little bit of Winter, I think.  The forecast for the next while shows lows being what the highs should be.  If ever there were a time to consider the very real possibility (or reality) of climate change, I think now is it.  And it's probably too late, in many ways.  I often wonder if my children will still see regular snow later in their lives.  This Winter has been the one that wasn't.  I've tried to seize every possible moment to enjoy the cold and snow, knowing it won't stick around long.

Flowercicle

For now, though, ice and snow on the Appalachian Trail.
Here's a frozen coneflower from the dripping eaves at the "Ranger House."

Partnership Shelter

And here's Partnership Shelter on the Appalachian Trail.
This one boasts a shower and a sink.  And a phone nearby to order pizza.
It was just right for a week when we all had sniffles.

On the Trail

Oddly, the trail was clear in the snowy woods.
Willow and Roan played in the woods, while we walked.
The snow was pitted from all the dripping and melting.

Needle Ice

There was considerable needle ice, too, which is nice to see.  The ground is still cold and there will likely be some snow in March, right?  I don't like feeling that the natural world is just as up in the air as this human one.  This is the most unsettled I've felt in some time.  Spring feels like it has sprung here in town, and I've taken down the insulated curtains.  I needed the sunshine, anyway.  If Winter won't stick around, it's time to embrace Spring.  I guess we get an early one this year.

Sugar Snow

Feb. 16th, 2017 06:01 am
impossibleway: (Wilson Bentley)
The proper time for the maple festival is still a month away, but it feels like Spring has been in the air this Winter.  If ever there were a real battle between Summer and Winter (like those for May Day), we have seen it this year.  The flower bulbs have tall leaves up, and even some budding blooms.  The leaf buds are swelling on the trees and bushes.  I even saw some tiny green leaves on an invasive shrub just day before yesterday!  We woke up to a treat yesterday, a small and very local snow that wasn't even anything just a few miles down the road.  A Winter's Mercy, I'll call it.

Bungalow in the Snow

It was a heavy, wet snow that stuck to everything.  I believe there was a little ice underneath it.

Snowy Apple

It's just the thing to keep the apple trees in their proper mood.

Snowy Dogwood

I do have a feeling, though, that the dogwood will certainly be in bloom for Easter.

Crocuses in the Snow

The crocuses are out, but they were closed up for the snowy morning.

Snowy Oak

The snow fell straight down, as you can see.  The areas under the trees were still green.

Snowy Spruce

By the time we made it outside after breakfast, the snow was falling off the branches and melting fast. There's just a tiny bit left now, but we made the most of it yesterday morning. Three snowmen were built, the sweetest ones to look like our old neighbors (and Enid's doll). Many giant snowballs were rolled for making a den, and many were thrown, too. We had our fill of the soaking snow. Today, I'm hoping we'll find just a bit more for nature school in the Raccoon Branch Wilderness.

Home Things

Feb. 8th, 2017 06:41 am
impossibleway: (Spring in the Stream)
It feels like Spring here, half the time, and I feel like a big mess about it.  That sounds so silly, but I think I must be Henny Penny these days.  I'm really trying hard not to be, but I am wavering!  My children are perplexed by the funny weather, too, though they are happy to run and climb and play without coats (or shoes!).

Felts and Quilts

In other very happy news, the children are getting a playhouse, thanks to a family member who must have longed for one in her own childhood.  They are beyond excited and we are just waiting for the call telling us the delivery date.  I'm curious to see how it will change things inside, what with the furniture we move out to it and the time they may spend out there.  I'm a little cautious about putting anything out there that is too precious, though it is weather tight.  Summer humidity makes me nervous.

Heart Lantern

Valentine's Day is less than a week away, which I'm sure is no surprise.  I always have mixed feeling about this day, what with all its red and pink together.  We'll make some heart cookies and some cards.  I supposed it wouldn't hurt to put a few in the mail today.  Of course, I consider this and the cookies we need for today on a day when the weather will call everyone back outside again.

Junkyard Tales

Here's part of Roan's junkyard play from listening to Sparkle Stories.  This is Mice Central, if you are a fan of the stories.  All the other favorite places were represented, too.  These stories, along with most of the others, have really become an important part of our routine.  Some are a little too much, like the idyllic Martin & Sylvia Valentine audiobook, but I still wholeheartedly recommend them.

And now, well, my little builder is awake and I bet the oven is heated for the German pancake.  TIme to get whisking!
impossibleway: (Sunset)
CandlemasWe're in a long stretch of weeks here.  Mike is travelling more than ever, with a six-day trip starting tomorrow.  The weather is grey and plain.  Of course, the rowan trees predicted that back during the Summer, a Winter with less snow.  I guess this is the time of year that it is hard to keep good spirits.  Very little feels merry or bright right now, though I suppose my melancholic temperament is partly to blame.  Oh, well.  Candlemas!

The children were happy to find some beeswax sheets and candle wicking when they got up on Thursday.  After warming them on a tray by the heat vent, they set right to work rolling their first three candles.  I have long celebrated this day by using only candlelight, though tradition holds one shouldn't really need it by this time of year.  This was fun at breakfast and a little nerve-wracking by the end of the day, simply because the children are accustomed to electric lights.  I try to use natural light as much as possible, both to avoid waste and to give us an appreciation for what is freely given.

We are seeing some signs of the forthcoming Spring--bulbs are coming up.  The rain has been kind to them, and ones that we planted back in December are sending up leaves.  The Fall crocuses are still standing proud, giving me hope that we will see them bloom later on.  Like everyone else, I am thinking of the garden and what we might grow, though that is three months away, easily.  Candlemas was fair and bright, and sure enough, it is around ten degrees this morning.  That makes me happy, of course.  In all my obsession over the weather and climate change, I can reflect on my anecdotal evidence and see that we are usually colder than average.  That is part of the climate of this place--a strange meeting of northernmost and southernmost ecology.

I think we'll try to spend some time outside today, after it warms a little, and maybe take a long walk.  Weather that is neither warm nor snowy makes it feel easy to stay inside and stare out the window listlessly.  This is a good time of year to collect sticks knocked down by the wind, so I think we will do that.  We can always use more sticks around here. ;-)
impossibleway: (Winter)
Snow on Sunday, at last.

Snow Outside

Monday morning was the perfect time to cozy up with Christmas at breakfast.

Farmer Boy Christmas

Sledding was the order of the day, after stories and handwriting and dancing.

Sledding

We had a great time in this sinkhole/empty pond near our house.
Steep hills and fast sleds.  Laurel loves sledding with great gusto.

Up the Hill

The snow was melting fast in the afternoon,
so I promised to take them to Fairwood Valley yesterday.
This is at the Lewis Fork Wilderness trailhead.
Mike and I went sledding here many years ago now.

Snowman

While there was a good deal of melting,
the woods were still snowy and there were drifts a foot deep.
We made three snowfolks.  Here is Roan's.

Down the Hill

We found the perfect spot for sledding, too. Up on the hill by a big holly. I don't imagine he'll fit in the baby sled much longer, but he does love it.  I went down only once this time and it was fast!

Flurries

Jan. 27th, 2017 08:10 am
impossibleway: (Wilson Bentley)
Snowfolks

Snow is back in the forecast for the next few days and that is so nice.  It's snow nice. ;-)  It's not a lot, but we're glad to see the cold weather return to its rightful time.  We've eaten our weight in soups, stews and chili this week.  I've been knitting up a storm, which feels so satisfying after a long time of not being very motivated.  We've spent a lot of time outside, too, and I even hung out a load of laundry in the driving winds on Wednesday.  Those things all feel so good.  Enough is as good as a feast.
impossibleway: (Children of the Forest)
Winter showers, winter rain,
Wash the Earth all clean again!

Wash the Earth all clean again!

~Winter :: Gateways

For all the rain we didn't have last Summer, we have had it since then end of November.  I've joked that we've moved to the English countryside.  It's drizzling nearly all the time and the sun does not stick around for long.  This rain, however dull it has become, has been so necessary to get us out of the drought.  We're now just abnormally dry!  Haha!  It feels abnormally wet.  It is a good thing, though, and I am thankful for the rain.  We have been enjoying the weather as much as possible and spending lots of time in the woods.  It does wonders for brightening spirits, which I have needed a fair amount.

Picnic

We took a picnic up to The Road on Saturday.  It's on state land above Hungry Mother State Park, just goes out and quits with a fire ring and some big rocks at the end.  We walked just a little way into the woods and found this very nice rock.  I took a wool blanket to protect us from damp spots.

Waterfall

As we ate, we heard a stream nearby.  This wasn't flowing during the Autumn months.  The children really enjoyed all the little waterfalls and pools.

In the Woods

They were content to roam freely while I did my own exploring and carried the picnic supplies back to the car.  There were a few flies and bees out!

Wet Moss

Walking back, I heard a continuous dripping--it was this moss on a rock on the hillside. It is so good to see things nice and wet again. It makes me feel so much more hopeful about our garden this Summer.
impossibleway: (The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree)
We've traded wind and snow for rain and clouds, leaving me wondering if we've haven't moved to England.  It may be in the upper forties outside right now (for the low!), but I'm pretending that Winter is still here like it should be.  Time outside seems to always have just a bit of drizzle in the air and very little chill.  I know Winter's coming back (nine days!), so I'm trying to stay strong.  Here are some of our favorite things to do this time of year.

Typewriter

The typewriter.  This is a portable one, no electricity needed.  Seems my family has lots of typewriters sitting around and still in use, from time to time.

Buttons

Button sorting, a perennial favorite.  Willow proclaimed that she no longer enjoyed it like she once did, and then I found her quite busily working once the rest of us had moved on.

Marble Tree

A marble tree.  This was a Christmas gift and I think it's a good compromise for something bigger with a lot of pieces.  True wooden marble runs are quite pricey!  We find this one to be just enough, and pretty, too!

Blocks

Tiny blocks.  This is a one person set and it lives with the tangram and star puzzle.  These are easily traded among the children, where things like Lincoln Logs tend to be more troublesome.

Snowflakes

Paper snowflakes. We have made dozens of these and covered several windows with them. Here's mine and I'm just a little bit proud that I made a deer silhouette. Roan can make snowflakes now, and he is so pleased. His have an interesting feathery quality about them.

I'm secretly hoping all the snowflakes, snow cookies, and snow bread will encourage more to come our way.  Becky gave us snowman cupcake molds, so that's a possibility, too.  Really, I am thankful for the rain after fourish months of drought.  I've got high hopes for next Summer's garden and have even found myself daydreaming, just a bit, about the sunny and warm days.

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