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.
impossibleway: (Warning)
Just down the road from the Ice Rocks, is Alligator Back. Being so close, just 2/10 of a mile, the conditions could not have been more different! It was sunny and warm. We sat at the overlook drinking tea and watched heat waves rise up from the grass.  But, like where we are, the climate of the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of great variability.  The wind often blew in clouds and cool air.  It paid to keep a hat on or have the coats piled nearby.

Traveler at the Alligator Back

The Arkansas Traveler and I took in the sights while the children climbed rocks.  You can see them in the link above.  They joyfully climbed and hiked for about two hours.

The View

These are views I never tire of.  It is interesting to note that the Parkway itself is a fairly narrow strip of land.  It feels like another world when you are on it.

Above the Ice Rocks

This is the area just above the Ice Rocks.  You can see them pre-road here.

Walking

So, the weather. A warm rain fell on us while we ate our sandwiches, just feet from the Ice Rocks where it was so cold. Then, the sun came out. The wind blew in fits and threatened to carry our tea cups off. The air was still. It was warm again. One thing we didn't see was fog, for once. Down in West Jefferson, we went to the Ashe County Cheese Company for Mike. We came out to find it raining, and then it started to hail as we were leaving town! I had just remarked about how we hadn't experienced hail yet, in all the changing conditions of the day. Back home, it felt warm-ish and then it started to snow that night.  Honestly, we are somewhat used to this kind of fluctuation and I really enjoy wild weather, when we are prepared for it.  Goodness, we had such a good time.
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: (Barefeet)
Old Picnic Table

Old picnic tables give way to moss.

Walking

Walking together.

Sign

History in signs.

On the Gate

At Mike's request, we've recently taken up more time outside on Sundays.  With most of his week spent traveling, then coming home to unload and repack supplies for the next week, we don't get as much time all together as we might like.  Last week, we visited Backbone Rock, where Mike and I got engaged.  This week--Beartree Recreations Area.  We both worked here in the Ranger Brandy days.  My dad visited this spot in the late sixties with his dad on dirt bikes.  My parents spent part of their honeymoon here.  I celebrated at least one childhood birthday camping here, as well.  It is a family place.

I suppose this is where I go off course and talk about public lands and how they are cared for.  It is easy to see where our leaders place their values when you visit National Forests.  Structures are long-empty, there is little staff on hand to help (or only intrepid volunteers), and there's an over-all mood of the place having passed its hey day.  Our areas used to have two big offices that looked after the USFS land here (and we have a lot for this part of the country!), and now they've been condensed to one with no new hires in the foreseeable future.  It was sad to give up my dream of being a full-time Ranger Brandy, but the reality quickly revealed itself.  I couldn't spend years wandering the country as a seasonal employee, waiting for something to open up.  I wanted, and had, roots.

So, we are now fans of our public lands, instead of aspiring to take our livelihoods from them.  The places are full of memories, of course, and still there, in their silence, waiting for new memories to be made.  We walked up an old road yesterday that I have traveled numerous times, back when I had one of those magical Master Keys that Unlocks All the Things.  On foot at the end of Winter, it was a different place than by car in high Summer.  We found frog eggs and ice, wee green leaves and lots of birch bark.  The children really had a good time with that old road.  I have plans to come back in the Summer and spend the whole day there--there's a lake, several camping loops, a picnic shelter (where we had our wedding reception), and some beaver flats.  I'm looking forward to it.
impossibleway: (Elsa Beskow Christmas)
We took a trip into the chill for our Christmas tree yesterday.  The farm we visit is just outside of town, which is in the country.  No sprawl around here, so it's straight into the farmlands and wilds.  It was thirty-two degrees with a constant wind, so we were pretty frozen on our faces by the time we were done.  Since we brought our own saw, we just walked into the trees and picked one that suited both Mike and me, and trotted back down to the car.

The Big Tree

Willow has become quite the fashion plate, as you can see.  My mother picked up this Rothschild coat for her, after our searches for the ones I wore turned up fruitless.  I guess you could say my early decluttering efforts were not as thoughtful as they are now.  Anyway, this girl has a style all her own.  She's got a lovely brown felt hat to wear with it, but the wind was too strong to bring it along.

The Fashion Plate

This dear boy brought home a smaller tree, as well.
It's the top of a big tree, of course, that took a tragic turn and broke out.

The Little Tree

Roan was so proud and serious about the little tree.
We took the decorations off the little artificial tree and he set to work.

Trimming the Tree

For the first time, we were all able to decorate the big tree as fairly equal participants.
Roan took over the standing around and reminiscing over the ornaments.

Advent Ring

Here's my new ornament from last year from Mike's mom from The Wooden Wagon.
And below is an ornament from my mother's childhood.

Angel with the Deer

This is Willow's ornament from last year, too.  I think it is fitting--she is always the perfect hostess, leaving no one out.  The children really love to feed the birds and ask me for bread cubes any time they see me cutting them up.  Oh, the precious hand-ground grain that has been fed to the birds, though I could ask for no better recipients.

Singing Angel

Tada!  I'll bring up the angel from the basement later!

Tree!

First Snow

Nov. 20th, 2016 07:47 am
impossibleway: (Warning)
Snow and Sleet

When Grandmother shakes her quilt, children come running from their homes, catching snowflakes on their tongues. Grown-ups build their wood piles high and scurry for sweaters and mittens and skis. . .
~Grandmother Winter :: Phyllis Root
Thought it was in the seventies on Friday, the weather changed rapidly and we found ourselves driving home, in the dark with one headlight, through snow and sleet.  It wasn't enough to make things unsafe, not where we were, but it was enough to give a Christmas feel to the whole day.  We spent the afternoon on The Big Wash and visiting with Kim (Hello, Kim!), which was so nice.  Laurel enjoyed her and even said she could look at my cookbook, which says something.  Having ten children helps, too, when it comes to a wily three-year old. ;-)

Later, we drove out to the Old Davis Homeplace and then over to Grindstone to visit an old, old friend.  We worked together in the Ranger Brandy days and it was just like I had never left.  I am seldom one to talk about the past, but this was such a warm occasion in his camper in the darkening snowy woods.  Some people are just so comfortable and this is how I would describe him.  We heard the story of how he and his wife met over sixty years ago, and their early life together.  He said she could make a meal out of nothing, which I think is the best compliment for a home cook.

It's cold today and windy, so much that I'm not sure I will open the shades.  I love it when that day comes.  I'm getting out the wool blankets, and we read The Tomten and Grandmother Winter this morning.  I am so excited about Winter this year, however it turns out.  Katherine and I are headed out for another hike (all these friends in one weekend!) and I'm planning to gather some firewood.  With all the wildfires lately, I don't think the woods will mind one bit if I drag out a few fallen branches.

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: (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!

In the Wind

Oct. 7th, 2016 07:10 am
impossibleway: (Ranger Brandy)
I saw the light of Winter yesterday.  The children and I went to the Snail Place for nature school, after a stop over at the Swing Place.  Call it tying up loose ends, if you will, one last stop before things turn really cold.  I plan to keep on with nature school, but traveling over big mountains in the Winter can be unpredictable.  It was already cool yesterday-- in the fifties and terribly windy.  The children weren't too happy about it, though I reminded them about Springtime and how I'd be chasing them with hats and mittens in thesame weather.  Last week I was unprepared for rain, this week it was wind.  Sweaters just don't do much in the wind.

Club MossLately, I've been a little better a perseverance, or restarting things.  It's easy to just put up your hands and let it all go, and I've certainly done my share.  Yesterday, when it was cold and Willow wanted to go home, I suggested we walk up to the television and radio towers at the top of the mountain.  She and Roan happily went on, though Laurel was not happy at all.  She walked and held my hand and said how she hated it in her tiny voice.  She's the most articulate of the two year olds, for sure.  I carried her for a bit, and then she decided to walk and she and Roan watched a caterpillar for awhile and all became golden.  We all climbed the very steep road to the towers and, sure enough, got warm.

I didn't have my camera card in all this, the golden light and the changing trees and the excited children.  I suppose I was meant to experience it without distraction.  Willow made proclamations about the sloping mountainside and Laurel kept giving me mullein leaves.  There was a little part of the path where the light was grey--the light of November and December.  It reminded me of this picture that Mike or I took nine years ago now.  We'd ridden through the woods and come home to a cozy supper and a quiet evening.  It was good, that time, and this was, too.  I rather like taking my children to cold places and warming them up with excercise and bringing them home to our little house. Next time, though, I'll bring hats and mittens!
impossibleway: (Goldenrod Trailhead)
We took the Arkansas Traveler to see an old fire tower site this week.  You could tell he was excited.  He rode in the card with his head at the open window, the cool breeze rippling through his beard.  He was happy to be at the top and enjoy the expansive views of the mountains and valleys below.  The old site has had some rennovations in the past couple years, and it's really nice again.  It's hard to watch Forest Service sites fall into disrepair, which seems to happen more often than not.

At the Top

We saw some Fall leaves--sassafrass, blueberries, beech.  It was cool up there, almost too cool for short sleeves and pants on us grownups.  I was happy to have a wool throw in the car.

Sassafrass

The Arkansas Traveler, well, he was a bit disappointed that the blueberries were but shadows of their former selves.  Only a few dried berries remained on the plants.  Still, he's an optimistic fellow, which was about to come in handy.

Blueberries

We watched a little rain cloud sweep over the valley and right over us.  Unprepared as we were, this became the Shortest Nature School with the Longest Drive.  The rain sent us back to the cover of our car, carefully picking our way down the stone stairs.

Going Down

We found we could pause in a couple places before the rain came down harder.  The children were sad to go and I was, too.  Our little gnome friend kept his smile in spite of the dark clouds and disappointment, so we were a cheery bunch again, soon.  We're going to have to go back and enjoy the big rocks and big views.

Hiding

"But when Autumn comes,
The storm clouds burst,
And rush the tots home
To dear Mother Earth."

~ Mother Earth and Her Children: A Quilted Fairy Tale

Leaf on the Lichen
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
There is something muted about this afternoon. It's almost hot, the grass is a dull tan in many places, the sky is brooding. We're all just waiting. Laurel is asleep and I'm hoping Roan and Willow can be content for a little while. I really need some time to just be quiet. This late Summer weather is old, and I guess it should be.  It's almost Fall!  The Autumn crocuses are blooming over at the Roland Estate, such a sweet reminder of Enid.  The dogwood berries are all bright red now and the Spring blooms have been set.  As Summer winds down, it seems fitting to type up some of the loose ends and developments here at our house.  I was filling in Laurel's baby book today, so I feel reflective.Autumn Crocuses

Laurel has been out of diapers most of the Summer.  At one point, I grew tired of washing diapers and that was that.  I dug out the training pants and put them on her and we went on.  After awhile, the diaper sprayer broke, and the need for it went away.  We've always used cloth training pants, not wanting to swallow the cost of disposables.  It's so funny living in a culture that is so removed from reusable things like handkerchiefs, napkins, diapers and the like.  What we would do without old cloth diapers to soak up spills, I do not know.

Laurel is tackling the balance bike now, as part of our set bicycling times.  This is something that needed a lot of discipline to work out well for all of us.  The children now understand that we wait and help with chores and then we can do something fun like riding bikes.  I can't let things run quite as free when I'm the only adult and I think it truly helps us all.  In other news, Laurel knows a lot of songs and nursery rhymes these days, and she's the most outgoing child when we are walking or out in public.  She even sang "Happy Birthday" to someone at church!

Willow seems to be leaving early childhood behind, at least a little.  She is still happy to be full of energy and play imaginatively, but she's just as happy to be quietly looking at books.  Maybe it is her new-found reading skills.  She can read everyday words all over now, gaining new words all the time.  I think the bulk of them are memorized, interestingly.  It's a little bittersweet to see things shift, but I know this is the way of things.  The things that lie ahead will be just as fun and special as those early years.  She can handle washing all the dishes by herself and it feels like she has a good handle on who she is.  Our relationship feels good right now.

Roan is continuing to make progress after such a long, hard time.  He is more connected to our family than he has been in a long time, which is such a blessing.  Peer orientation in such a young child is a scary thing and brings on so many strange side effects.  It really is like someone else took hold of his body.  His fear of dogs has dissipated, too, aided by one of the offending dogs moving away and by some friends and neighbors getting very small dogs as pets.  His sweetness and sleepiness are returning, which were his trademarks, and he's much more agreeable.

DogwoodSpeaking of his improvements, one big thing that has helped is a very regular rhythm to the days and weeks.  I feel so glad that I gave themes to the days and that we've started the school year with gusto.  Those are the best days of each week.  Evening walks are pleasant and time set aside to do the things we want is helping everyone feel met.  Guaranteed time to paint and make things and bake is so nice.  Admittedly, free time is less, but not much less, and I don't think anyone is suffering.  Big changes stick when we stick with the routines that support them.  I am reminding myself that again and again.

I hate to wrap things up abruptly, but I think it's time to start some peanut butter whole wheat chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for the week ahead.  I try to send Mike with baked goods.  Last week was pumpkin cinnamon rolls--they were so good!
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
Mike's birthday was Saturday. We celebrated with barbecue and all kinds of picnic foods.  His parents were here, along with some friends, and it was a nice evening.  If you ask Laurel, the highlight was The Cake.  I made him a very simple, homely 35mm camera cake, a Nikon FG.  We had to store it off-premises to protect it from little hands.  I think she was very interested on blowing out the candles, too, but Mike got to do most of them.

Cake Watcher

Waiting

Blowing Out the Candles
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
We were all grumpy when we took our Victoria sponge up to Whitetop, but just being there lifted spirits.  Weekends are so difficult for us--so much to do and expect.

Victoria Sponge

Purple Blooms

Harvestman with Crumb

Soakin in the Pool

The Gardener

Cloudview

If you look closely, you can see the harvestman (or Grandad spider, as the children call them) carrying off a crumb of the cake. The fog only got heavier while we were there and it rained all the way home. Our moods were lifted only a moment, it seemed, but it was still nice up there.
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
Three out of fve Nichols are asleep on a Sunday afternoon, so it's time to catch up on things.  I can feel the days speeding up as we get near our first day of school on September 5th.  It's time to get all those things done that were Summer Dreams and to work on making the most of what the good Earth is giving us right now.

Settlers Quilt

Wednesday, I think, we went to the Southwest Virginia Settler's Museum.
It's an old farm that's on National Forest land, cared for by volunteers.
I hadn't been since Willow was a baby.

Corn Husk Dolls

The place needs work and people, as most small volunteer projects do,
but it has a lot of potential and there have been numerous improvements in the past seven years.
I really loved these little corn husk dolls--they remind me of the ones at the Asheville Folk Art Center.

Jam and Relish

I did some canning Friday: sweet relish and blackberry jam.
I'm rather nervous that my relish will taste like Aunt Bea's pickles, but Mike is optimistic.
Blackberry jam, on the other hand, never lets me down.

Sentimental Knits

In other news, I spent several HOURS yesterday going through our clothing stockpile for Fall and Winter.
It is early, yes, but school will be in session when the cold weather comes and there is no time like the present.
I'm struggling to find spare time, as it is!
What a trip down memory lane this was--there's Grandad's old hat that I made him and a lot of wee sweaters and hats.
Who were those babies?  Where did they go?

Blackberry Pie

I suppose the crown jewel in our weekend was the blackberry pie/cobbler.
Mike has been after me for years to make a cobbler with a pie crust, as that's what he was used to.
Well, I made a pie crust and pie filling and put it in a square pan.  Haha.

Blackberry Pie

It was absolutely delightful, really. Practically perfect in every way, and with ice cream!  The Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook seldom steers me wrong!

Ninety

Jul. 25th, 2016 07:16 am
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
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A birthday party over the weekend for Mike's great aunt, Mary. One of her daughters recorded her reflections for Storycorps and we got to hear part of that recording during the party. What a fun, loving, hospitable occasion. May we all wish to be so celebrated and loved by our families.
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
After a hot and stormy week, I think we are in a spell of perfect weather.  It's cool this morning, but the day will be plenty warm, just like yesterday.  We went to Whitetop to take in the clear skies and quiet fresh air (and to celebrate Mike, of course!).  There were a fair amount of people up there, but we finally found our own place to be--my children are quite accustomed to experiencing their favorite places in solitude.

Mike and Laurel

I suppose if we are giving out "place" names, I suppose we could call this "The Climbing Place."

Tree Climbing

The bulk of our time there, they were climbing.
These big rocks were the main event and the children gave them names,
like in Happy Times in Noisy Village.

Rock Climbing

Laurel was quite the intrepid two-year-old climber.
She sold "pupcakes" from the summit.

Selling Cupcakes

Me, I would call it "The Rambling Place," since that's what it makes me want to do.
I think we may try a Nature School Expedition down to Buzzard Rock this Summer.

Down to Buzzard Rock

I'm looking forward to the shortening days and all the harvesting that lies ahead.
We're back on our daily raspberry picking routine. And with that, Happy Summer Solstice!

Inchworm

Another lovely view
impossibleway: (The Flower Picker)
We're dancing, we're dancing around the Maypole high,
In colors of the rainbow our ribbons do fly,
Dear children take a ribbon please,
Today May flowers all are we,
Around, around, around,
A garland do we weave.


~Enki Festival Songs

May Pole

Katherine

The Battle

After rain all night and part of the morning, the clouds broke and we had abundant, strong sunshine for our May Day festivities.  Everything was in a bit of disarray--muddy footprints on the floor, a pail of water poured on the front porch, and flower bits scattered around--but, we had a lovely time with our dear friends.  I really appreciate them helping us to celebrate at various points through the year and I hope our traditions only grow better with time.  Our pictures of us going around the pole didn't come out, but you can see here that the armies for the Queens of Winter and Summer did battle and Summer came out on top.

Today begins our long-awaited bathroom remodel and screen-free week.  We're going to the park while they tackle taking out the tub, and may have to leave again after lunch.  There are numerous things up in the air, for sure.  I'll be back tomorrow for Crafting On and then spend the rest of the week enjoying whatever is before (or trying!).
impossibleway: (The Flower Picker)
Roan turned five yesterday.  It was a day at home for all of us, with Mike away until supper time.  We had a birthday circle time with some new songs and we acted out the classic rainbow bridge story with little gnomes.  The children love that.  I gave the children verses that suit their births and personalities and they acted them out.  That was the sweetest part of the day.  It was simple around here, but that was enough.  Life has a way of adding in enough complications.  All the guests and phone calls happened at, and my parents showed up with a new piece of furniture, so that was plenty of excitement for the day.

Birthday Table

We always do gifts first thing.
I had just finished making the Tomten and the fox minutes before.

Birthday Bouquet

Willow had picked this lovely bouquet of flowers for the table.
In all the chaos that is Spring with children, there are these grounding moments.

Birthday Nature Table

More flowers were picked and Roan helped to arrange the nature table.
His face looks so different here, not the soft, round one that I am used to.

Five Candles on His Cake

And here's the cake.  Oh, this cake.  I tried, Susan!  I figure even Martha Stewart's minions are allowed one off day.  Count this as the one time that I scraped off the icing and beat it, cooled it more (I had given it several hours, even!), and then put it together right before serving.  It tasted good (he really loves white chocolate), but I'm not sure I will be so adventurous next time around.  I always try to go big for Roan's birthday and do pie for Willow.  And I was trying to avoid using my mixer, which is rather out of alignment.  Turns out, those thirty seconds of beating really needed to be with a mixer.

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