impossibleway: (Barefeet)
It is a fair weather Holy Week here, a quiet sort of waiting for the burst of life that is Easter.  We have plans for a picnic, like last year, and we'll visit cemeteries, as we have done in previous years.  If Easter is the promise of new life, spending some time with people who have ended this one is fitting, I think.  I'll admit that the world feels especially heavy right now, and I know I'm certainly not alone in that feeling.  I was considering last night how it is that I can show the children that the world is good and beautiful in the midst of this messy world.  I came across this poem again and it is wonderful encouragement.

Palm Sunday

I guess the best thing is to keep moving, to do the the home things and the comforting things.

Bread Cockerel

So, warm milk with cinnamon and honey and bread cockerels on Palm Sunday.

Wheat Grass

Throw a few wheat grains into a dirt-filled manure frisbee and pour on water and hope.

Nature Table

And flowers.  Always flowers.  They just can't help themselves.  They bring every last one home.

Chalkboard

I know a lot is made of parents trying to recapture their youth in their children, mainly in the name of sports or social pursuits.  Those, honestly, are not on my radar at all these days.  I suppose parenting, in some cases, is reliving your childhood.  You remember what it was like to feel a loose tooth, or the way the air smelled in Spring.  You recall the excitement over birthdays and the triumph of really being able to do something on your own.  Some like to think that youth is carefree, though I am seeing it is not really that way.  We all have our fears and our awkward feelings that started way back.  There are times that I wish I did not recall or feel so much, but I suppose those things are really assets to me on my way.
impossibleway: (Trillium Pin)
Easter is coming and I am more excited than I have been in some time. I guess it is because all the children are old enough to really enjoy the day and because we'll all be together this year. I haven't made much in the way of Easter gifts, but I am pleased with the little I have done. We've planted some wheat, too, and it is growing so quickly! We'll have a wonderful basket of grass on Sunday.

Egg Cards

Here are little egg cards that I made the children.  I did another one for a gift for a friend.  These came from The Children's Year, and they were fairly simple to do.  The brads are easy to find and I just started the hole with a strong needle.  They have little pictures that show in the window as you turn the circle around.

Dinner

Willow has been busy, herself, with a roll of duct tape, of all things.  No wallets for her, but microphones, cassette tapes, a tape player, and a wall phone.  She also sewed herself a satin skirt over the weekend that should make a nice slip in the years to come, and she made this sweet little Chinese-Japanese meal.

Pockets

I made these pockets, also from The Children's Year, for the children's closet.  The door is small, so the dimensions are different from the directions.  The pockets are plenty deep, though, and they are well-pleased.  It is fun to make many things in threes, and this quick project was a fun first thing for the new little old Singer that I have named "The Phoenix."

Cyclone Hat

Lastly, knitting. Always knitting. I am in a mood of forcing myself to do it lately, to keep on keeping on when I am sitting down for quiet time or the last hour before bed. That way, my yarn box will grow more empty and we will be well-prepared for the Winters to come. And hey, we always have chilly weather any time of year, if we look hard enough. This is the Cyclone Hat, a kind of test knit of the pattern. I may give it to Mike or I may keep it for myself. It's knit with some really, really old acrylic, from back when they tried to make it act more like wool.  It's soft and plentiful and free, which is all nice.

Now, it's time to craft a cleaner house so that we can do a little visiting this warm Spring evening.  For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.
impossibleway: (Movingthe Soul with Color)
Cake Pie

Cake Pie

Inspired by Martin and Sylvia from Sparkle Stories, I present cake pie.  I baked it in a heart pan and the children thought it was great fun. 
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: (Elsa Beskow Christmas)
Plein Air TreeI cannot bring myself to get rid of our tree.  Sure, I was fine with taking it out of the house to free up some space, but completely away?  Not yet.  It was such a dear tree, for some reason.  A little scraggly and assymetric, as if we had chosen it from the woods.  Around here, we have such a dearth of trees that many are overgrown.  The tops are cut out and the bottoms are left to be sold to wreath makers.  This tree was full size and just so sweet.  Hauling it out onto the front porch in the falling snow and taking down the lights on the house, well, I had to let it be here just a bit longer.  There are few things I like better than Christmas lights glowing in the snow.

All that sentimentality aside, January clicks!  It's been FOUR months since I shared any! As always, forgive me if I have shared any of these before.
And with that, it's time for me to get up and tidy up the scattered outerwear around the house.  Oh!  And chocolate shortbread!

Tree in the Morning
impossibleway: (Peace & Joy)
"To insure the fruit trees did produce a good crop, it was the custom to toast or bless them on Old Christmas, or Twelfth Night.  Armed with a jug or a pitcher of cider or some other drink, the men would visit each tree in the orchard and drink the following toast:

Here's to the fruit tree
May you grow and bear fruit.
A hat full, a bag full,
A basket full and some to spare.

If the orchard happened to be fairly large, the men often found it difficult to reach the house after such a blessing ceremony. . ."

~ Christmas in the Mountains: Southwest Virginia Christmas Customs and their Origins :: Hubert J. Davis

Wassailing 1

Wassailing 2

Wassailing 3

Wassailing 4

I have to chuckle at that description of wassailing. The book goes on to described the way people wassailed apple trees back home in Somserset and Devon in England, where these traditions began. Sometimes, bread was soaked in the wassail and hung on the trees.  Loud songs were sung and shouted and people danced around the trees.  Our celebration did involve some singing and little climbing in place of the dancing.  You can tell that most of the trees are quite old, and may not even make it beyond this year.  Laurel took care of the youngest trees, the ones in our yard.  We are hoping for a big harvest this year, since last year was not so big.  We mourned the loss of a couple trees, one that was particularly good at bearing consistently (and cut down for that reason!), and we planted an Early Transparent a few weeks ago with hope for the future.

Here's the verse we used, from Sparkle Stories, and here are some more.  There are many to choose from!

Old apple tree, old apple tree,
We've come to sing to thee!
To bear and to bow,
Apples now!

Hats full, caps full,
Three bushel bags full,
Barn doors full,
And a little heap under the stairs.


And so it is that Christmas goes out.  Today, we take down the tree and welcome in King Winter.  There's awhile, I think, where having the tree up after Christmas feels silly, but we keep it for tradition.  Then, when it's time to take it down, it feels a little sad.  We're enjoying watching it twinkle one last dark Winter morning, before we send it back outside.  We've got a dusting of snow today and some in the forecast!

Twelfth Night
impossibleway: (A Winter's Solstice)
New  Year's Eve


New year, new year,
What will you bring?
Laughing, weeping, sowing, reaping,
All are on the wing.


~Eileen Hutchings, as taken from The Waldorf Song Book
impossibleway: (God Jul)
Star Boy

Lucia Morning

Little Lucia

Lucia Crown

Take Two

Ahh, the elusive Lusekatter recipe.  I made beautiful buns early in the morning that were rather bland, and then I made an over-risen extremely tasty Lucia crown in the afternoon.  The children were pleased, both ways, and were especially happy to test out the second recipe (with saffron!) at 4:30 in the afternoon.  I think, if you are looking for buns, that you should add saffron to the first recipe and another egg.  It's hard to choose buns or a crown, but those candles early in the morning would be quite the sight!  Can I celebrate St. Lucia day even after the children are gone and it's just Mike and me? 
impossibleway: (God Jul)
Willow and Roan woke extra early yesterday morning, in anticipation of St. Nicholas Day.  Roan made certain to leave out a carrot for his donkey.  Sure enough, the gold coins were there, just like always.  I never had St. Nicholas when I was a child, so this is all fun for me, too.  The children insist that Santa Claus is a game that adults play to make children be good, but St. Nicholas coming down from heaven is absolutely real.  There are several sweet stories in the Winter Wynstones book that tell of that idea, if you are looking for some.

Slippers with Coins

The big surprise of the morning was the Christmas pyramid, the one that Roan had admired for so long.  A word of warning: don't use it when the furnace is blasting--I nearly set it on fire!  Don't tell the children.  One candle just burned down too far and scorched its base.  Otherwise, it was a moment full of wonder when the children discovered it on the darkened dining room table.

Pyramid!

And here are our school books for the next few weeks.  In the same pattern as the Enki sages, we are studying the Christmas Saints, as I like to call them.  We'll continue to let the stories sleep and then do pictures and summaries.  St. Nicholas is up first and we are reading the book by Jakob Streit, which has stories from this babyhood to his legacy.  The children are really enjoying these and there are only a few things that I may edit out as we go along.  We'll do Lucia next, using some stories from books and several from Christine Natale.  Roan will be doing fairy tales like The Elves and the Shoemaker, Mother Holle, and the Star Money, along with some of the stories from Winter.

School Plans

Our December movement circle is taken from Enki and Wynstones.  We're doing a combination of some quiet Winter movements, some shepherd action verses and songs, songs about Mother Mary, and a couple about the plants and seeds sleeping under the snow.  I am hoping we'll find some quiet afternoons to do some puppet plays using our Mary marionette and the verses we've been working on.  We'll swap shepherds for kings in early January and then move to Winter after that.  I'm more than ready for a good snow!
impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

Count this as the only Louisa May Alcott I've ever read. Even as a child, I was never one for fiction (beyond the Baby-Sitters Club). I told someone awhile back that I went from Dick and Jane to the Baby-Sitters Club to Audubon Field Guides. My favorite book at the elementary school library was a thick volume on trees. I do get the feeling that this will change as the years pass and I look for more books to share with my children, as much as they really love the Little House books.  All that aside, here's a sweet historical book with all the right elements--a large family, a big meal to cook, an oncoming snowstorm, a house full of provisions, many willing hands, a few mishaps, and a happy ending.

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving 1

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving 2

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving 3

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving 4

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving 5

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving 6

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving 7

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving 8
impossibleway: (Dodecahedron Lantern)
Lighting the Lanterns 1

Lighting the Lanterns 2

Back at Home

Looking In

Sit by the lantern, watch as the years turn
Slowly bringing truth for every child to learn
And the magpie meadow darkens gently blue now
As the family sit, their faces lit by ember fire

~Vashti Bunyan
impossibleway: (Dodecahedron Lantern)
Martinmas Silhouette

Martinmas comes blowing in tomorrow, and I must say that I have never looked forward to one as much as this one.  I have really come to draw strength from each of our family celebrations, especially this year.  I know I said something similar about Michaelmas, but it feels like the progression of the year has led up to this eerily dark time.  We all have lights within, though, and we will be guided through the Winter, however long it lasts.  I've got a guest post over at The Wonder of Childhood on our family's Martinmas celebrations and their growth through the years.  Without a community around, these festivals have become deeply personal, which is just perfect for an introvert like me who is surrounded by my healthy, rambunctious children.  Draw strength from your own humble, flickering candle!

Crafting On

Nov. 8th, 2016 09:49 am
impossibleway: (Toadstool)
Birthday Crown

Birthday season at our house has come to a close (whew!) and we celebrated Laurel yesterday.  Here's her crown.  I always make the birthday crown for the third birthday and she was proud to have hers.

Crown one

I put a mountain laurel by her initial.  It was a little tricky to work out, an umbrella-shaped flower, but I think it worked well.  In memory of her third birthday, I put on a cupcake, just like we made to celebrate the day.  We had rainbow papers to go on them.  And I sewed on a lantern to show that her birthday is just four days from Martinmas.  I remember the dark windy night she was born.  She was our new light that year!

Crown two

After five and a half years, I've finally opened my etsy shop for something besides kefir grains!  It feels a little nerve-wracking, but then I remember what I love about etsy--there's no hassling people to buy your items.  If they like them, they do!  If not, it's okay!  I'm hoping to add some more fun things soon.

Quilt Pillows

First up are these quilt square pillows.  I didn't sew the squares, but a local beloved quilter did and they came to me.  I would say that they've been sitting for twenty years or more, just waiting to be made into something!  It wasn't enough for a whole quilt, so I thought pillows would be lovely to display her beautiful work.  They're squares on both sides.  The two left ones represent identical pillows, with each side shown.

Big Gnomes

Here are the results of our stick gnomes, and they are in the shop, too.  It was truly a community effort, with a neighbor making the cuts on his saw (and offering to do more!), and the children helping, as well.  We took them to the woods for a nature school photo shoot.  They are fun little fellows and just right for hiding in a little corner or the toe of a Christmas stocking.

Wee Gnomes

Well, it's Work Day and we're heading to a cemetery to put new flowers on our family's graves. We've got to take advantage of what looks like the last warmish day! For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.

Three

Nov. 7th, 2016 06:26 am
impossibleway: (Knitting)
Checking In

Portrai

Blowing Out the Candles

Cake Watcher

The baby of the family, the cake-watcher, Laurel Mae is three today.  Interestingly, I spent yesterday afternoon with one of my midwives, having a Maya Arvigo abdominal massage.  We were talking about her name, how sweet it is, and I said it might be the only sweet thing about her right now (oh, three!).  She's a strong girl with a lot of perseverance, and it's not likely anyone will walk all over her.  She's also very loving--I still remember the baby who would pat me when I picked her up.  She loves to care for others and help when one of us needs it.  Someone asked me at the store if she was always shy. "No," I said. "She'll wrestle a bear all the rest of the time."  And then she'd get out her doctor kit and bandage him up.  And truly, that is her. 
impossibleway: (Trillium Pin)

Those really are the words that describe this past week's makings.  I really want to curl up in our little house and hibernate these days, though the weather is still fair and dry.  We've been reading stories of animals spending the Winter in a pumpkin home, so I made one from the Fall 2008 Living Crafts that Susan sent me when I was pregnant with Willow.  There's a story in there about a family of hedgehogs who help with the harvest and end up with a fine and tasty home.  It's so sweet.  Enki also has a story called "Mischief Mouse" about a little mouse who travels too far from home and finds a cozy Jack O'Lantern to keep him safe and warm (and fed!).

Pumpkin House

This is fairly simply made.  Crumple a few paper towels into a ball and wrap tightly in peach roving.  Wrap again in orange roving, mixing shades if you like.  Felt in place with a felting needle.  This works very well, though it may cost you a needle.  I was lucky to find I had another!  I've added some grooves in the pumpkin, like a real one, but it's hard to see in the photo.  After a bit, use your fingers to separate the fibers and make a little hole for your animal.  Needle felt the edges to make it sturdy.  My wool is pretty thick and that helps.

Hedgie in the House

I made the stem by wrapping it aroung a knight's spear, but any other small stick would do.  I felted it together and then needled felted it to the top of the pumpkin.  It could be sewn on.  I felted a leaf on my foam felting pad and then added some Corriedale tendrils.  I truly love this little pumpkin!  It is one of my favorite creations.  It gets me thinking more about my etsy shop.  I've got a big update in the works, with some good variety on the items.

Moss Baby and Her Bed

Lastly, here are our gifts for our next birthday girl.  We bought her an unfinished Little Colorado cradle and Roan polished it with beeswax polish.  We use the recipe from Wee Folk Art.  Next, I made a mattress using several layers of cotton batting and the never ending white flannel sheet.  I added some baffles to hold the cotton in place when it's washed (by hand).  Willow sewed a pillow from the same sheet and I made a pillow case to go over it.  We have lots of dolls quilts and blankets, so we know whomever sleeps in the cradle will be very warm.  It may be that Willow will get the urge to sew a quilt for it later on.

AND I made over Snowflake Baby from 2014 into Moss Baby.  Admittedly, her sweater body was not sturdy enough to hold up to being carried by the arms.  It stretched and just looked sad.  She was also stuffed much too firmly to be really cuddly.  She sat for a long time and then I got this lovely green velour, just a scrap.  She got a new hat and less firm body and a little trim to her hair.  I did a gathering stitch on just her front and just through the velour, so her arms come forward to hug you.  I just adore her now.  If only I had more velour.  I could make babies like this all the time.

The almost birthday girl may be awake soon and there's tidying to do.  I know she'll love her gifts and the cradle we all worked on will be a treasure forever.

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.

impossibleway: (Ranger Brandy)
Jack O'Lanterns 2016

Goblins on the doorstep,
Phantoms in the air,
Owls on witch's gateposts
giving stare for stare,
Cats on flying broomsticks,
Bats against the moon,
Stirrings round of fate-cakes
With a solemn spoon,
Whirling apple parings,
Figures draped in sheets
Dodging, disappearing,
Up and down the streets,
Jack-o-lanterns grinning,
Shadows on a screen,
Shrieks and stars and laughter --
This is Halloween!


~Dorothy Brown Thompson
impossibleway: (Little Pumpkin)
Can I go back, just for a little, to see the girl in yesterday's photos?  I know I was there for it all, truly, but it slipped away so quickly!  She's not grown, by any means, but it's obvious she's shifted from one season of life to the next.  Willow was so happy to be celebrated yesterday and the joy will continue today as Mike's parents join us for a "fake birthday."  The celebrations will continue for awhile and then it will be Laurel's birthday!

Birthday Ring

We always do gifts at breakfast, with hot chocolate, like in Noisy Village.

Birthday Girl

She got a quartz crystal necklace, a tootsie roll necklace,
some wee cookie cutters from The Wooden Wagon, and a new pair of slippers.
Not extravagant, but she is so pleased.  She really needed those slippers!

Half and Whole Birthdays

It was Roan's half birthday, too!

Eight Track Tape Cake

Here's her eight track tape cake.  I was saying that the band was The Jack O'Lanterns.
It was simple, which was just right.  Roan did the sprinkles.

Blowing Out the Candles

And now our girl is awake and it time to get down to the real business of being eight! Happy Friday!
impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
It's cold here this morning, around thirty-two degrees and Roan is putting on his parka. I guess the weather has tipped now. It was a cool start to the Molasses Festival yesterday, being in the mid-forties when we arrived. Dressing in layers was the way to go, as the bright October sun soon warmed us.

Skimming

The wind was so strong, the fires were roaring and the heat was blowing away!

Warm Fire

It also made for some burnt chicken (glad I went with a slaw dog!), but the hobo pies were tempting.

Hobo Pies

We sat and watched the music for the longest time.
At the start, as you can see, the dance floor was pretty quiet.

The Band Plays

It picked up quite a bit by the time we left.
I really, really want the children to learn clog dancing.

Our Boy

I was thinking of Grandad and our last time with him, and how Roan was so little then.

Happy Girl

Laurel loved it all--she has a real zest for living.

Arkansas Dancer

The Arkansas Traveler had a pretty good time, too.
He made report to his other gnome friends upon his return.

Lewis Fork

Here's the color, so far.  Not too much.  Last year was pretty dull, and I hope this year is better.  I think this week and next will be the peak.

Laurel's calling.  I better go serve the rice pudding!
impossibleway: (Berries)

Come celebrate with joy and with spirit
Come celebrate this land
We have ploughed the fields and have planted grain, we’ll reap a mighty harvest
For the warmth of sunshine, for the summer rain
For the bounty of the earth, raise your voice and sing!

~Enki Festival Songs


Thanksgiving


We had a sort of family thanksgiving meal last night, made up of foods that we have put together over the Summer and Fall.  We had such a good year in the garden, and I spent a godo part of yesterday roasting and pureeing pumpkins for the freezer.

We all worked on our feast together, sort of like Little House Day from Martin and Sylvia.  We had the October beans that we grew in the garden annex, seasoned with bacon and onions.  I made biscuits with buttermilk I made and Carrie's lard she rendered.  Speaking of buttermilk--I made butter this week using local raw milk, two gallons.  If anyone ever tells you to churn raw milk without separating the cream first, run away.  Or say a prayer over your blender and set to work.  This was not a job for the beautiful Dazey hand cranked churn I got recently.  Anyway, I got the job done and we do have some nice butter.

There was raspberry and peach jam for the biscuits, with homegrown raspberries and peaches from the orchard.  I made blackberry cobbler from more of the buttermilk and the annex blackberries.  The cornbread was also made with the buttermilk.  You get the idea--buttermilk and quick breads and beans.  The food was largely free--the raw milk, the berries, the beans, the lard.  All that was paid was with our time and a few seeds.  It was the perfect meal for the big shift in weather that we seem to be having lately.  It was thirty-nine degrees this morning and I think our first frost is not far off.  We've got a wind advisory for today, just right for making the Molasses Festival a chilly affair.  Well, we won't be caught without hats, mittens, and coats today!

Biscuits and Jam

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