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.


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.


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.

On the Pond

Apr. 3rd, 2017 07:10 am
impossibleway: (The Little House)
In the Easter garden,
Gentle waters flow.
Birds are singing, winging, singing.
Buds their new life show.

~ Wynstones :: Spring

Knitted Ducks

Willow and I made these sweet little ducks from The Children's Year over the weekend.  I made the mama duck, of course, and I helped her stuff hers.  These may be my favorite of the knitted animals we've made, though Whiskers may tie with them.  In a similar mood, Willow named her duck Feathers.  Since they're so simple, I'll share the pattern here.

CO 20 sts and knit 24 ridges (a ridge for each 2 knit rows, so 48 rows) for the mama duck.  Bind off.  Fold in half, with the rows running parallel, and sew up, leaving the end open.  Stuff, sew up the end and make some stitches to create a tail.  CO 12 sts for the head and work 12 ridges.  Bind off and sew up similarly, pulling ther yarn to gather the end.  Stuff, and sew up the end, and then sew it onto the body.  Make a little felt bill and sew that on.  The young duck is worked in the same way.  CO 10 sts for the body and work 12 ridges.  CO 5 sts for the head and work 6 ridges.

In the Sun

Feb. 20th, 2017 06:45 am
impossibleway: (Lazure Mama)

But now I am mostly at the window
Watching the late afternoon light.

~Billy Collins :: "On Turning Ten"

Watching Dust 2

I think this photo really captures where Willow is these days, watching dust motes in the late-day sun. There is something shifting within her, something changing, a tumble out of early childhood into this middle world where things don't feel quite right.  There was a good while where play was hard or disintegrating for her.  She wanted to join, but couldn't sink into things or struggled with conflict when she did.  The warm weather has been a help in that way--the children are spending a lot of time outside making up their own games.  I watched Willow take hold of something on the ground and give a tug over at the Roland Estate.  They spent a long time pulling wild onions and collecting many pine cones.  They were so involved in their play, they almost didn't notice as I walked by them.

I'm reading, among other things, I am Different from You, which is a book on middle childhood and the experiences children have around nine and ten.  I love the world of early childhood, who wouldn't?  But, there is more to life than things seen in a gauzy pinkness.  I still have two children there, of course, but Willow needs me in a different way.  The end of Autumn and beginning of Winter was characterized by nightmares, worry, and other oddities.  In a recent consultation, I was able to discuss her seeming fall from paradise and ways that we have coped with it.  Right on time, the third grade year will tackle this fall by grounding the child on Earth.  We're looking forward to all the gardening, spinning, dyeing, and other projects we might tackle, along with the long-awaited creation stories.

She was so sweet the other day, so full of wonder as she watched the sparkling dust.  Fairies--that's what she says they are.  I have no wish to tell her otherwise.  There are times that I think part of being a good adult is remembering what it is to be a child.
impossibleway: (Knitting)
Simple projects today.

Here's a cheery heart mobile the children and I made yesterday.  It's a a very simple one, but it fits the bill and makes the table a happier place.  The idea comes from All Year Round, though their version was more detailed, with two sided hearts.  Also, I really love those letters and numbers on the wall--the room won't be the same when we won't need them any more.  That will be another five years, at least, right?

Valentine Mobile

And here's my Easy Peasy Shawl (I wish it had another name).  Just another five inches of the lace and it will be done.  I gave it a little steam block so that it wouldn't curl up all the time.  It felt a little like I was knitting a giant rotini! I look forward to seeing it done and trying it out.

Easy Peasy Shawl

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.
impossibleway: (The Little House)
my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth’s own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying) children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness

~ e.e. cummings :: "I am a Little Church"

The House in the Night

The playhouse arrived on Wednesday morning, ahead of wind and snow that we seem to have once a week, along with Spring. It was a wonder to see it delivered, honestly, on a special remote-controlled trailer the rolled side to side and back and forth at the touch of a button. I had it placed where the sunflower house was, which is a little sad. The yard has almost four dozen limestone rocks sticking out of it, though, so my choices were limited.   We'll get the pleasure of making another sunflower house in another spot (and finding more rocks).

It's a nice little house, with a roomy loft that has generous space for a twin mattress and some books.  With Willow being so tall, more space is always better.  I feel, sometimes, like her height gave her the extra push out of early childhood that she would have rather not had.  Oh, well, this little house is just right.  The downstairs space is a sitting room, with a couple framed pictures and a floor bed.  I've pondered a simple wooden toddler bed, but I'm still on the fence about that.  It's nice to be able to change the space easily, after all.  I'll get pictures when we have a sunny day and things feel settled.  I have decorating dreams for this little space, for sure.

Since the weather has been back and forth, it's been too cold to be out there sometimes.  I did have a bit of frivolity and run some extension cords out for a lamp and a small space heater.  The area is very easy to heat and the building feels pretty tight.  I'll admit that the children have not felt very content with being out there by themselves.  Maybe it is the grey weather, or the newness of it all, despite my efforts to embue it with the familiar furniture and mood of home.  I know things will change with time--it is also something for us grownups to get used to.

Mike was gone just eleven hours short of a whole week, and we spent the last hour of our waiting out in the house.  It felt quite cozy, really, with plenty of soft pillows, blankets, and a lamp.  I brought out some knitting and a book that I'm re-reading, and the children sank into train play.  I suppose we are all quite used to being together all the time.  While I'll admit that I had some dreams of having an hour to myself, the reality is different.  And really, it was easier for me to focus on my two tasks, along with being the gentle referee, in a little house the we are calling the Blackberry Bungalow Claim Shanty.

I've got thoughts on this dear book in the photo, but I'll save those for later.  I've got an early morning trip to the store--there's finally another grownup at home!

Knitting and Reading
impossibleway: (Dodecahedron Lantern)
Seems we're filling nutshells lately.  The nuts went to a lovely apple crisp and we are putting fun little folks inside the empty shells.

First, we made little babies, much like the one I bought from Frost Lane years ago.  My Grandma Lois had a mouse that slept in a nutshell on her Christmas tree.  I think I should make one some time.  Our babies are still in the prototype phase, but we are pleased so far.  Roan made the one on the right and Willow did the one on the left.  They are not glued in, so that they babies may come out to play.

Walnut Babies

Inspired by Anna's sweet sledders, we made a rainbow of them today from uncracked hazelnuts, wooden beads, and more walnut shells.  I used the hot glue gun to hold them in place, though I suppose wood glue would be a more natural alternative.  The little hats are simply craft felt, cut to size and glued in place.  We're planning a nature table with these little friends enjoying the snow.


And here's a dear little one to peep out of a seashell that I happened upon in my own little archive of trinkets.  We drilled a small hole in the shell using a hand-cranked drill (yes, really!).  The little stick is a size two knitting needle that I sacrificed (I seldom need five double points) and a wooden bead is glued on for the head.  The body and hat are a scrap of satin, also glued in place.  The instructions came from The Children's Year.  I hope to use this for our kindergarten story time--more on that later.

Gnome in the Shell

The weather has turned cool again, save for one last bit of warmth tomorrow, so we are back to wool undershirts and hats.  Here's the start of a salmony-pink hat for me, with yarn from [ profile] beanovich, and a nearly finished Colin Vest for Laurel Mae.  I'm hoping to get it done tonight or tomorrow.  I steam blocked the bottom of the vest because I couldn't stand it curling up on me while I worked. ;-)

Hat and Vest

These colors are so fun and all these creations, ever how small, are little bits of happiness.

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.
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)
Winter's Nap

Supper Time

It's easy, right now, to wish to move on with things and welcome in the bright emptiness of the new calendar year.  I am trying to savor this time out of time while it is here, to be more present, and to wrap up the season with connection and presence.  The Twelve Days of Christmas are a time of clarity for many and I feel it, too.  I can look back and see what I would like to keep and discard, both for the year and for Christmas.  I've spent little snippets of time clearing out things and reorganizing.  It's small, really, since this work here is full time, but every little bit helps.  I think these days are very reflective, and considering materials possessions is certainly fitting.

It's also fitting to consider the past and the people that are gone from this world.  On Sunday, in particular, I felt the presence of my Grandma Lois quite strongly.  She was the person who made Christmas for me when I was a child.  Mike and the children had gone to a cemetery, as we often do, and I was remembering how she left us.  It was a car accident just three weeks before Christmas Eve, the day we always gathered for celebration.  Our family was never the same after that, as if she really were the glue that held us all together and kept us on the path.  Things changed rapidly afterward, as the threads she brought to the family tapestry quickly unravelled.  My own life was still constant, but that was not the case for everyone.

I've been doing some biography work this year, inner work, with the adult development book Tapestries.  After focusing so heavily on child development for the past six or so years, it's helpful for me to consider where I am going in all of this.  I feel like I have taken hold of some big things this year, many of them quite private, and it's both empowering and frightening.  Thirty-three truly has been a "valley of the shadow of death" year for me, though I have had many moments of joy and beauty.  In these twelve days, I'm casually using these exercises from The Parenting Passageway.

I do think I would like to give more outward energy to these days next year, though I do have a few things planned for this year.  Advent has become less and less each year, and I think I will continue in that mood.  I still really, really want a tree with real candles on it, just once or twice.

Well, time to give some attention to my bread dough.  We've got SNOW this morning!  Happy sixth day of Christmas!
impossibleway: (God Jul)

Christmas Folk01.JPG

It's been said that introverts have a rich inner life. I very much agree.  A good book or a good song can almost put me into a trance.  Christmas Folk by Natalia Belting is such a book.  It's written in the same style as Summer's Coming In, and Barbara Cooney is also the illustrator.  Following the saints' days leading up to Christmas the the twelve days after, it creates a festival that makes me wish I could go back in time.  If you've seen Tudor Monastery Farm Christmas, then some of these customs are familiar.

Christmas Folk03.JPG

The hallow days of Yule are here.
The nights are long and dark.
A feeble sun scarce warms the day,
And cold congeals the stoutest heart.
The hallow days of Yule are come,
And now the Christmas folk bestir. . .

Christmas Folk02.JPG

The celebrations begin with St. Andrew's day, when it's time to make the Christmas pudding.

Christmas Folk04.JPG

St. Barbara's Day brings fireworks.

Christmas Folk05.JPG

And the boys lock out the teacher on St. Nicholas Day.

Christmas Folk06.JPG

There are mummers throughout the book: a string of costumed folks, Hobby the Horse, Snap the Dragon, and the Christmas Bull.

Christmas Folk07.JPG

Tulya's E'en brings all sorts of mischief and superstition.

Christmas Folk08.JPG

St. Thomas's Eve was the time to divine images of your true love. This practice came here, along with many others from far off times, and are discussed in Christmas in the Mountains: Southwest Christmas Customs and their Origins.

Christmas Folk09.JPG

Christmas Eve found the Christmas Folk all over town, bringing the news that Christmas was coming in.  In our area, many people stayed up most of the night on Christmas Eve, serenading their neighbors and trying to catch a glimpse of the animals speaking and kneeling.

Christmas Folk10.JPG

The Christmas Bull came in to wake people up, which sounds both terrifying and funny to me.  I don't know much about this tradition at all.

Christmas Folk11.JPG

Now the feasting began!  A Tudor Feast at Christmas details some of the dishes served to nobility at that time, including the peacock pie.

Christmas Folk12.JPG

St. George slayes the dragon in the traditional mummers' play.  John Langstaff wrote a book for making one's own play.  It certainly looks quite different from the Christmas plays we are accustomed to today.

Christmas Folk13.JPG

Twelfth Night was the time to wassail the apple trees and livestock.

Christmas Folk14.JPG

And there was the cake which helped pronounce the king and queen of the revels.

Christmas Folk15.JPG

Yule's come and Yule's gane
And all have feasted weel,
So Jock takes up his flail again,
And Jenny spins her wheel.
impossibleway: (Peace & Joy)
Whew!  Okay, almost.  I'm blocking the Baby Surprise Bonnet and still working on the Yellowstone Ear Warmers, but it's all so close to being done!  I've just got some short rows and some pinning to do and then I'm free!  Here are my makings from this very, very busy week.


This little fellow would like to say, "Hello!"

In the Box

He makes his home in this little refurbished match box.  It's a tight fit, but he doesn't mind.  He's the Jack-in-the-Box from The Children's Year and I love him dearly.  This can be constructed quite simply.  It took around and hour and a half, but I did do a softer version of a true Waldorf doll head (that's a little big).  The face is done with mapmaking pens and some beeswax crayon.

Holy Family

And here's Roan's Holy Family, done just this morning while Laurel sat by my side at 5:15!  I made six doll heads yesterday, some for the shepherds and one king.  Those will wait for later, but I think we've already got a great start on a lovely nativity for his forthcoming stable.

Pot Holders

Don't look too closely at these pot holders, just appreciate that they are done.  I've learned a lot about sewing on bias tape, too.

Rosalie's Dress

And here's a very, very red dress for Rosalie, just like the one on the cover of The Doll Book.  I'll have to tell that story another day.  I might make some pants in a cheery print, if I get a chance, but I'm not holding my breath.

Lined Pants

Lastly, though done first, are some new lined pants for Laurel Mae.  Kids' clothes are notoriously wimpy, really, and I'm done with it.  So, I've archived the leggings and made some warm pants in corduroy, flannel, and quilting cotton.  Children wear what we put before them, so make your choices count.  Yes, I've got a clothing soap box.  It's been a long week. ;-)

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.
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.


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)
Mount Rogers and Briar Ridge

I went over the mountains and along the river for another Maya Arvigo massage session yesterday.  My back has started hurting again, holding more tension, while everything else seems good.  Having left the children with my parents, it was nice to take a long drive (made longer by a wrong turn) and see the countryside.  Mount Rogers and Whitetop were covered in rime ice and were a chilly thirty-four in the heat of the day.  Cold and windy is the norm for this time of year.  The creeks looked a little better from the rain, and I couldn't help but have my mind turn to the terrible wildfire in the Smokies.  There is more rain, and maybe a little snow, on the way and I know that we are all very thankful for that.

I feel heavy lately, burdened by life and its cares.  It seems like there is so much going on right now that just isn't right, and we can't get out of it.  I've found myself wishing for that proverbial rock to crawl underneath.  Of course, there is too much to do this time of year to really allow that: sewing, knitting, baking and so on.  I would really like to have one Christmas holed up in my parents' cabin.  I'm trying to draw as much as I can from nature right now, like the exhilarating drive through the woods and valleys yesterday, and our plans for nature school.  I really do live in a place that looks like it came from a Barbara Cooney illustration and what a blessing that is.
impossibleway: (Elsa Beskow Christmas)
This little book has been a part of my Christmas traditions for thirty-two years now, and I really wanted to share it here.  I suppose now that we would call it something a bit different, adding a "great" or two to grandfather, seeing as how it's set 150 years ago, as best as I can tell.  It's a dear book, full of all the wonderful images of the perfect family Christmas.  It's a strange thing that we hold onto such imagery, when Christmas is such a mixed bag, but I think Christmas is mostly a set of fantasies that we hold within ourselves.  Each one looks different and nothing beats the mystery and merriment of a childhood Christmas, or I haven't bested my own memories, yet!   Onward, though.  Let's see this book!


My Grandma Lois, lover of all things Victorian, gave me this book for my second Christmas.
How I held onto it for all these years must be a credit to my mother and my own good fortune.
She always called me "Brandy Lane," so that is the name that I kept when I married.


These are set so that you can click on the image to see it enlarged.



There are many wonderful images of all the preparations for Winter and Christmas.


While we don't do all of these, I do keep some traditions simply that my children may have the memory of them.  I often feel that the world is passing us by and the aimlessness experienced by many is due, in part, to the loss of seasonal land-based activities.


They go to the old general store to get some Christmas goodies.  Ribbon candy!  We got some last year from The Vermont Country Store.


This reminds me that we need to bring some wood up to the house.  It always does wonders for our spirits, being out in the brisk air and working to get warm.  Our roaring Thanksgiving fire used up a lot of the two carloads we gleaned.


Airing the quilts--Willow loves this.  She will happily take something out to the clothesline and give it a swift beating with a stick.  Grandma Lois would have loved her so.  She would have loved them all.


The "hustle and bustle" in the kitchen reminds me of the hoopskirts in Farmer Boy.


I have dreams of a truly old-fashioned holiday meal, using The Little House Cookbook as my guide.


Oh, to play in that haymow and experience the party games.  We really love the chapter where the girls play in the straw stack in On the Banks of Plum Creek.


We generally have a family Christmas party and I think I may use this as inspiration for the evening.  I know the children would really love it.  Like many things, Christmas is what you make it.  For me, it is a dark season, lit by the flickering lights of candles and "fairy" lights.  It is full of mystery and tradition, and it links us back many, many years across many, many people seeking to keep up spirits in a cold time and a challenging world.
impossibleway: (Advent Apple)
I've been working on some Advent and Christmas things lately.  I still have so much to make, but these items were worth the time and energy.  First is a marionette of Mary.  I thought about the colors and construction for some time.  Instead of dyeing silk handkerchiefs, I asked my grandmother for some scarves from her collection.  I had originally envisioned a blue and white figure, but shifted toward red when I consider Roan's forthcoming Nativity figures.

Mary Marionette

This photo above shows the colors more truly, though I forgot that I should have taken one of her full length.  I took the one below this morning.  She's got a presence, being slightly larger than the other marionettes.  Her red garment is easiy removed, being sewn in place with just a couple stitches.  Working with many layers of scarves, it was fairly easy to conceal much of the sewing.

Mary Marionette Full

And here's the new Advent backdrop for the nature table, taken from The Nature Corner.  I'll admit that this project was oddly difficult.  The original instructions call for a stiff wire made into an arch shape, but I had nothing heavy enough.  I tried multiple strands of clothesline, but it was to floppy and wouldn't hold the shape.  I went out in the yard and picked up a maple stick and that worked well, I think, without being fiddly.  Yes, it's asymmetrical, but I think it holds the fabric well and it's very frugal.

Nature Table

The mood set by this backdrop is certainly quite different, but I think it is fitting.  We are coming into the time of the longest night, after all.  I am planning to add stars to it for each night of Advent, and I'm trying to figure out how I want to do it.  This project cost around $2.  I must say that it is interesting to me that people complain about the cost of various natural toys, when many can be had fairly inexpensively with few special skills.  I may have a bit of reputation among the neighborhood children as the one who makes all the toys. ;-)

Light of Stones

Here are Roan's additions to the table, his treasures.

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.  I'm going to enjoy looking outside and seeing rain!
impossibleway: (Club Moss in the Leaves)
It feels almost as if a three-month fog has been lifted.  My back is hurting less at night, which is just wonderful, and I've found renewed emotional energy.  Our Thanksgiving meal went off without a hitch and the pressure of planning and hosting has passed.  The turkey smoked at record speed (perhaps it was all that extra smoke in the air), the sides were wonderful, the choice to have the meal in front of the crackling (indoor) fire was perfect.  The rest of the weekend was a bit of a headscratcher, but we had our good times.  Hiking, for instance, was a wonderful, windy high point.  Being one with nature makes unity so much easier.

Children's PyramidI feel like there's been some progress with Laurel lately.  I think it often really helps me to just to vocalize the simple fact that I am struggling with something and then the fog lifts and an clearer path is revealed.  Turns out, as usual, it was the same path I was on the whole time.  Children really need to feel emotionally connected much of the time and I have been running a little low on that lately.  I'm thankful that some of my energy has been freed up from tossing and turning and back pain.

Willow had some anxiety around Thanksgiving, for a variety of reasons, and it was worst at night.  I don't often say things like that in a public way, but I think it helps to share some ways that we have dealt with it.  We did talk about it some and Willow did share some honest feelings.  Time to play in a stress-free environment is one, and another would be carefully guarding quiet time when we have guests.  We all need time to recharge, after all.  We've been reading the stories about worry and nightmares from Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour this week, as well.  The main two have been "God's Garden" and "The Sky's Blue Cloak."  Those have wonderful imagery that would help to set anyone right.  Maybe they have been helping me, too?

You can see in the picture the Christmas pyramid I was able to get for the children.  Roan had admired it for years in this little tattered catalog he has.  It arrived damaged and the kind people at The Wooden Wagon offered to swap it or give me a discount if I was able to repair it.  I was, blessedly, since no one really wants something so pretty to end up in the trash.  I asked if they would send the special candles I forgot to order, instead of a discount, and they did.  Two boxes!  How kind they were!   Now we are set for many Christmases of watching the propeller and these little figures spin round and round.  St. Nicholas will bring this special gift.
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

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.
impossibleway: (God Jul)
Christmas Crafts

Here are this week's makings--the Icy Hombre poncho in a wave stitch for my mother (a year late) and a knitted gnome puppet for my etsy shop.  I completed the pull-up for Roan, basically a giant tube for a hood, and I've made some doll clothes.  Considering I almost forgot to participate today, I think I'm doing well to get this photo.  I think my mind is drifting around in the clouds of smoke these days.

The few Christmas catalogs are pouring in and the children are dreaming of all kinds of outrageous gifts.  Of course, we've talked and they know that it won't be like that at all.  It never has!  But, I agree that it is still fun to dream and pick out presents.  In that mood, I'm doing some preparations for Advent and some shopping for family members that enjoy suggestions (and my shopping for them).  At our house, the Christmas will be handmade, almost entirely. I'm still early in my planning (which is later than usual), but I think things are coming along.

  • For Willow, an Owl Hat and maybe a matching pair of mittens.  You can never have too many mittens.  I'm not sure of anything else, but she will have a new Christmas dress, too.  I may buy her a new composition book and cover it with one of her paintings.  She would like that.

  • A pop-up doll from The Children's Year for Laurel.  She really loves the cone doll that she got last year.  I can't seem to stop making dolls for her.

  • A Nativity for Roan, at least the Holy Family, to go with a stable that someone else is giving him.  I'm going to use the directions in The Nature Corner, and it will be my first time making a very small doll head.  I'm excited to have a new skill!  Roan just really loves the Nativity and songs like "Silent Night," so I think he will love this.  It's soft and tender and I think little boys need lots of that kind of thing.

  • For family, bird potholders, a holdover from last year.  I found some great cotton batting, so I feel much more optimistic now!

  • Replacement window stars for the ones I lost last year and never found!

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.
impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
Red leaves and orange,
Golden and brown,
Leaves in the Autumn
Come tumbling down.

~Enki Kindergarten Movement

Red Leaves

The world is like a giant stained glass window these bright October days.  We've taken numerous trips through the mountains, with our guests and alone.  There have been quiet moments of wonder.  Every leaf really, really is a work of art, as trite as it may sound.  They feel especially glowing this year, even though we have been so dry here and the streams are so low.  I took another hike with Katherine yesterday and it was so nice, rather like a therapy session for both of us.  We find our common ground, mull over our differing situations, and ask reflective questions.  It is nice to do that, to have someone who is glad to put energy into relationship.  All my friends are so good to me and so dear.  Phone calls and walks and sweet e-mails are a wonderful way to refresh and renew.

It's been really full around here lately, too full for my comfort. I don't like going places all the time or running lots of errands. The children don't much like it, either.  While some people might say that it's simply the way the world works, I choose to disagree.  It doesn't have to be.  Though there are many things in life that cannot be helped and many concessions we must make, we're still well in charge of what we do with our time.  Here, we keep things slow and fairly quiet.  I feel the special need to really do that right now and as we move into Advent in four weeks.  We've had (and are having soon!) a lot of guests lately and it's worn on everyone.  We love these people, but developmentally, we need some space and time.  There's always some sort of skill to hone or hump to get over and it's so hard to do it with an audience.  I'm looking forward to some quiet--it really nourishes me and I feel so pleased that my children enjoy it, too.

I was doing some Advent reading last night, as I was too awake to fall asleep with Laurel.  Roan and Willow are on a rare night away, so I wasn't quiet so sleepy. ;-)  It was nice to get into a reflective mood and really consider what I want the next eight weeks to be.  Last year felt a little irreverent at times, honestly, and I had to just keep on with our family rituals, not feeling very sure anyone was following along.  I can see now that they were, that those are part of the collective memory of our traditions.  I am ready for this year to be very, very deliberate and a bit private.  We're already turning our thoughts to Christmas, with the few catalogs we get and by making some gifts.  The holly berries are red now, so there is the feeling that something of Christmas is already afoot.

Well, I suppose the day will start soon.  It's Halloween, so there's going to be some excitement today--pumpkins to carve, costumes to put on (even Mike and me!), a dark night to navigate.  And tomorrow?  A new month, a new mood, and a new movement circle that needs me to finalize it!  I wish you all a happy day!

Gold Leaves
impossibleway: (Ranger Brandy)

Katherine drinks teaThe height of the Fall color is now, without a doubt.  Some places are more colorful than others, but the mountains are not dissapointing.  Last year, everything seemd to go brown.  This year is better, even with the drought.  I've been dragging the children out with me quite frequently lately, so I left them home yesterday and went hiking with Katherine.  It is so good to get out in beautiful color and walk with a good friend.  I think we both really, really needed to go.

I mentioned that I'd been reading Tapestries lately and how that book has affirmed many of the experiences I've had in the past few years.  Katherine could see parallels for her, too.  It's a book on adult development, in the same seven-year increments as childhood.  I've been inching through it, reading when I can really devote myself to it, because there is a lot to consider in its pages.  With Willow's birthday coming up, it's easy to look back on how things have changed in the last eight years.  My life feels like it almost didn't exist before then.  Those days seem so far away.

Well, the day is starting and there's blackberry buckle to warm up and a little gold sweater to put the finishing touches on before church.  And there's a frosty horse and a few cats to feed before then, too.  I better get a move on!


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