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

Home Things

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

Felts and Quilts

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

Heart Lantern

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

Junkyard Tales

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

And now, well, my little builder is awake and I bet the oven is heated for the German pancake.  TIme to get whisking!
impossibleway: (The Little House)
Here are some photos that I've been saving and have been waiting on.  The first is the Old Apple Tree.  We gave it one last serenade, one last picking, and one last picture.  You can see that it's lost a couple big branches just recently and that it's rotten in the middle.  It's final harvest is waiting for me to load up and bring home--the firewood.  This tree was one of the originals in the orchard that is on our street.  I think there is just one tree left, another Early Transparent.  This was not the Year of the Apple, but that's okay.

The Old Apple Tree

The person in charge of taking down the tree and another is, yes, Big Tom.  Do you recognize him from wayyyy back on Survivor?  I'll admit that I do not watch the show, but I did see a couple of the episodes he was on.  He's a friendly guy, has charisma, and the children enjoyed seeing his big equipment.  I was the main contact for tree pointing outing (or whatever you call it), since the bulk of the family lives far away.

Big Tom

Here's the garden annex where I pick raspberries.  This is over at the Roland Estate, as I have come to call it.  Don would be pleased to have Big Tom cutting his trees and he would be pleased to see his garden in use once more, we all agree.  There are some tomato and cucumber plants that belong to someone else (I think?  I planted them and look after them) and there are my October beans and pumpkins and squash in the back.  I've got a fence around the beans to keep the rabbits out.

The Annex

And HERE is the bathroom.  Keep in mind that this room is 6' x 6', from a day when houses either did not have indoor plumbing or when such rooms were not the place for spending a lot of time.  In fact, I know of houses that got indoor plumbing in my short lifetime, even during the period when I was in college.  It has new floors, a new tub, new shower walls, new faucets, a new sink, a new cabinet and a new vent cover.

New Bathroom

The tub is slightly smaller than our old one, which give a bit more space in the room.  It's amazing what two inches will do.  It's also amazing to have a drain that works and a tub that is not painted and flaking off!   The new shower curtain is in place, as you can see.  I've got another coat of stain to apply and then the varnishing to do.  I've also got to paint the white trim in the room (window, door, moulding).  Those are small jobs that I can squeeze in during quiet times.

New Tub

Here's the vent in the floor.  I cannot tell you how much these pleases me.  The old one was plastic was just not pretty and it looked awful no matter how I tried to clean it.  I was so thrilled to see these at Lowe's.  The kitchen floor has a vent just like this one.  It will, next year, get a floor just like this one, too.  The vinyl cost just $20.  There is an upside to working in a very small space.  The sink was the only option we had for one with storage.  That kept it to just $80.  It's not the quality we would prefer, but we did go with a better quality, tall faucet and better fixtures in the tub.

New Vent

Overall, the bathroom came in just at budget.  I about fell over with relief and disbelief when I got the invoice.  We didn't get everything we wanted, but the bathroom is set to last until we are ready to take down the walls, chisel out the plaster, put in dry wall, and really make things luxurious.  There are no more leaks and we have working drains and it's quite a bit more attractive.  You can see our old bathroom here.  It's funny to see how the house (and the paint and roof!) have changed since then.

And now, well, it's time to get dressed and size up that pile of logs.  I'm hoping for another half gallon of raspberries today, too. 
impossibleway: (The Little House)
In the poolYesterday was a full day, a kind of Amazing Work Day.  Maybe it is the Midsummer energy, but we got so much done.  All of us spent the morning doing some serious pruning over at the Roland Estate (where the raspberry patch and garden are).  I trimmed trees, cut back weeds, and pruned bushes in the front of the house.  Mike did some mowing; the children hauled off sticks and carts of weeds.  It looks so much better.  And I picked half a gallon of red raspberries.

In the afternoon, I pruned the tomatoes, which is a weekly job, and set to work really getting the house together.  That's a hard thing to do these days.  There is always something that comes up that gets me off task and quiet times are shorter than they used to be.   The children are more helpful, at times, but it is hard to blame them when the Summer sunshine calls them outside to swing and play.

In the hammockMy camera lens stopped working, which Mike tells me is a known problem with Nikon kit lenses.  He said that four years was twice what he expected out of it.  Talk about planned obsolescence!  Oh, well, he's letting me use his for now.  For awhile, I found the big long lens that also came with my camera and got these pictures from pretty far away.  It was handy for not disturbing Laurel in her quiet moment.  That girl really loves the water.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of her floating in her inner tube at the lake.  Maybe next time.

It is so nice, almost therapeutic, to have a day where you can just get some things done.  As I was experimenting with a different lense, I got this picture of the living room.  It's so calm and tidy and the whole house was this way!  What a gift it was, though I really had to work to get it all done.  For some reason, I had the energy to do so!  I even stained the new wood in the bathroom.  I'm hoping for a sort of bathroom tour later this week.  I've got a shower curtain coming (thanks, Kim!) and I hope to get the staining done today or tomorrow.

There's a storm brewing outside.  The car is free of crumbs and lichen (so much lichen), the garden is hoed for another week, the berries are picked, and the laundry is dry.  It feels so good, even if the sun was blazing down and I was covered in perspiration for most of it.  I'm hoping to get to some mending or second grade planning this afternoon, once Laurel is napping.  Happy Monday!

Tidy
impossibleway: (The Little House)
BathroomDay before yesterday, the bathroom was finished.  The tub drain still needs some tweaking, but I'm letting it lie for a bit.  I can hardly bear to use the tub at all.  It is so pristine and shining.  I haven't put up a shower curtain either, or the one that goes over the window.  The light coming in is just too nice to shut out.

I'm really pleased with how things turned out.  It's so pleasant to be in that room, after ten years of waiting.  I don't guess we really had to wait that long, but it just took that long for the stars to align and for things to move forward.  Houses always need something, you know?  The inside is nearly all freshly painted, but now the outside trim and foundation needs painting. Oh, well, next year or later this year.  Always something.

We had to make some modifications along the way, of course.  An old house with a window in the bath area is tricky to deal with.  The tub surround we had picked out just wouldn't work.  The one that I literally laughed at and scoffed at was the one we had to get and use.  So, the other went back and that was definitely a big savings.  The whole job, though it took twice as long, came out under budget.  I was stunned when he gave me the bill.  What a blessing it was.  It made me think of the chapter on family finances in Lifeways the refers, jokingly, to the Finance Angel.  I may have made an appeal!

There is still some work for me to do.  There is trim around the shower area that I volunteered to caulk and paint (or stain, not sure).  And now the nice new things show how dismal the paint on the door and trim had become.  I'm not quite ready to show it off, though I really do feel some much happier about the space.  l did start by putting a little something new in the room and considering more ways to life the space further.

For now, it is a long-delayed sheets washing day and some sewing.  I want to make so many things and my time is so limited these days.  I better get to work!
impossibleway: (Large-Flowered Trillium)
Laurel in the Tree

Traveling towards a hebridean sun
To build a white tower in our heads begun

Oak Leaf

The grass knows, the hills know, we all know
Spring has come, the good fountain flows

Moss

Each hoof fall brings us nearer the land
Of peat and seabirds and silver sand

The Swing Place

The grass knows, the hills know, we all know
Spring has come, the good fountain flows.


~Vashti Bunyan

Zion Cemetery


I could call these Screen-Free Views, but that isn't the reality of this week.  We didn't watch any more television than usual--it was less for certain.  The interesting thing about this year was that, for me, screen-time is less of an issue.  I really do have plenty of other things to do.  The children watched something a couple times this week, largely to keep them out of the way for the construction (and it's almost done!).  It has been exhausting trying to find places to go during a cold snap or to stay here at home.  This house really is so small that someone going back and forth and working is just disruptive.  We all made the best of it, really and truly.  There were times we just had to leave--tub surround in my bedroom, linoleum in the dining room, toilet in the children's room, tools in the World's Smallest Hallway.  Yes, the best place for us was away. ;-)

There are a few small tasks to finish up and some painting for me to do (more!).  The bathroom, small as it is, really feels so much nicer.  We didn't get all we had wished for and I'm serving an eviction/return notice to the tub surround on my back porch.  We've got plans to visit with Kim today at the little place where I lost my flute.  I would fall over if I found it languishing in the leaves over there.
impossibleway: (The Little House)
Gnomes at HomeTuesday, I declared myself officially done with home disruptions.  Of course, the bathroom is not done and plans had to change and it will definitely go into tomorrow, but I am done.  The roofing, the painting, the out-of-town guests--it has all done me in.  I don't know how we fell into this sort of home remodel, but enough!  These were things that had been put off awhile, things that were issues when we bought this house ten years ago (except the paint), so it was time.  It has been worth it and there is a snug feeling about the new roof and wonderful satisfaction about the paint.  The colors are just perfect.  It gives me to joy see them.

We have mostly kept up our routines.  Quiet time is considerably easier with a plumber than roofers.  School hasn't officially happened this week, but there have been bits and pieces, plenty of reading aloud from Willow and me.  Play has been disjointed.  I get really worked up about good play--real, immersive, involved play.  It did seem that things were a little more comfortable yesterday.  It's close quarters in this little house with one bathroom.  I have a feeling there will be unanimous relief when the bathroom is done.  For now, the children have moved everything to the backporch and set up a house back there.  I think we'll listen to Sparkle Stories there this afternoon.

I took the children hiking in the cold today.  I think it is truly cold for this time of year--mid-forties and overcast and breezy.  Spring is still out there and the woods are really greening up.  The hot tea I put in a thermos was very welcome when we got back to the car.  While I was gone, the plumbers were trying to reach me to ask a question about the shower wall.  Having no phone of my own, I think try called everyone in my family.  My grandmother told them I had run away.  I think I might like that. ;-)  Well, time to tidy up the lunch dishes and move toward quiet time.  I hope this afternoon is a productive one!

Crafting On

May. 3rd, 2016 06:41 am
impossibleway: (The Little House)
The bathroom has gained two inches of width with the new tub and it feels so luxuriously large!  It could be the fact that there is no sink right now, though.  I've been joking about just leaving it out--there's nothing like decluttering to show you what you really don't need! It's coming along and we are peeling back the layers of art deco linoleum (sadly, not salvageable).  Here are some crafts from the past week:

May Day

Our May Day decoration from All Year Round, that I finished on May Day.
I told myself the whole time that I only ever have to make it once, hopefully.
One of the dear girls has a crooked crown and it's glued on.
We all feel like that, from time to time.

Sheepy

Here's Roan's Sheepy.  It's the pattern from Toymaking with Children.
This one's made with super bulky yarn and size 9 needles, I think.
I wanted a nice cuddly version.

Heart Warmer

And I'm into making rice bags, lately.
They have been helpful for my sore neck, which is feeling much better.
This is for Roan to snuggle up with, made with cotton chamois.

Tomten and Fox

And here's his Tomten and Fox, inspired by the This Cosy Life blog, from so long ago.
Felt is just the perfect medium for peg dolls and I have really enjoyed making them.

This week for me--somehow keep the peace and cut out doll clothes! For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams. 
impossibleway: (The Little House)
NaptimeI told Mike that the painting project was like some sort of team-building retreat--there were lives risked, great journeys taken, duties shared, and physical fatigue.  It took me six hours of serious painting (and some serious paint can scraping with a spatula) on Saturday to get the dining room done.  And that was after I had scraped off the flaking paint and patched it.  But!  It is done!  And the furniture is back in place.  It will be a little while before things go back on the walls, but the room is mostly back to normal.

It was hot yesterday, the first really warm day.  However, it was in the thirties when I got up this morning, so I know that Summer is not here, not yet.  I told Mike I missed Winter.  Really, I miss hibernating.  I suppose I wasn't ready to wake up to the great expansiveness that is the warm weather.  I love to have us all here, with the children off on some creatvie play adventure.  It is hard to feel torn between home and garden all the time.  I know I complain about that a lot, but it's an on-going struggle for me as I parent alone, especially with a two-year-old who wants to join in all the fun.

The children want to be outside all the time and this year will see more limits.  It has to.  Some of that will be planned activities with me, as the children have ample unstructured time.  We'll be outside, but we'll have things to do.  We went to the cemetery yesterday and changed flowers.  I was thinking that I now use the ironing board that some of the women there used.  It's my thoughtful place.  We'll do other things, too.  There are potatoes to plant and the flowerbeds to weed and grass to mow.  I plan for hikes and picnics and more sunset jaunts.

Well, Mike is nearly ready to leave for work and I have plans for some sewing.  I guess it will be chilly on the back porch this morning!
impossibleway: (Sunset)
There's a bathtub in the living room right now, a clear indicator of the unrest of this past week.  Our plans for a new bathroom (mostly) are creeping forward.  In a couple weeks, our old painted tub should come out and this new one will take its place.  What to do with it in between will be the challenge. . . Between the bathroom and painting half the rooms (and that new roof), this house is getting a Spring cleanout.  I've got a heap of things on the front porch waiting for the glory of trash day, today!  And there's a load for the thrift store and yesterday's trip to the dumpster.  I went from having one broken ironign board to topping out at five at one point (some still broken)!  I think it made me feel better just to get things out.

Last Light 1

All that aside, the evening light was so nice the other day.
Willow learned to braid and did my hair and I just sat.

Last Light 2

There was so much to do and time was slipping away,
but it was wonderful to take notice of the late-day light on newly painted walls.

Last Light 3

The paint is more purple-y than the last,
at times more pink or more blue.
I love it, either way.

Last Light 4

The light hit this mushroom painting just right, at one point.

Last Light 5

My anxiety is at a peak lately.  I clear out one worry and trade it for another.  My neck is still scrunched up, seeming to do so at night when I am not moving and prone to thinking too much.  As the day goes on, it improves and it hardly hurt at all yesterday afternoon.  I spent that time getting the basement ready for men crawling up under the house.  There was some pretty ruthless decluttering, and I was thankful for some large boxes that I could put things in without being questioned.

The candlelight and our school time are the anchors that keep us focused these days.  They help me to feel right and good, even when plans change and everything seems scattered.  I am looking forward to some boring and I hope it does come.  The weather for the next while is sunny, warm and clear.  If I don't make it to the woods to see some Spring flowers, I'll be disappointed in myself.   That always makes me feel so much better.
impossibleway: (Ranger Brandy)
Keeping WarmSure enough, the weather has shifted back to something more seasonable, wintry, even.  The first day of Spring was cold and windy and there was the promise of snow.  We didn't see any, but it was certainly almost there.  The day was long and difficult and overwhelming, even with the addition of bread chickens for Palm Sunday.

I spent the afternoon changing things around, as I tend to do when things get rough.  I carried up the whole toy library and really went through it.  I was able to empty one whole box and bring out a few things that haven't been seen in awhile.  There comes a point in a more deliberate approach where there just aren't that many tricks to pull out any more.  I think long and hard about how toys will be used and whether there will be disputes, of which there have been many lately.  In the Joyful Toddlers class, Faith talked about her mother, the famous Rahmia Baldwin Dancy, and her proclaiming regime changes when things got stale.  So, yes, regime change!

The children returned home, happy to see things different and to play again in a more productive way.  Hopefully, everyone will feel more like themselves soon.  The past week has been so long and so disruptive to our routine.  The car got new tires and two (yes, two!) free oil changes and there were the roofers.  I think they thought our little house would be a quick job, but the weather and being a few packs short on shingles has dragged it out three days.  They'll finish up today, we hope.  I'm just looking forward to some quiet days without people clomping around up there or having to run all over for errands.

Kitchen WorkI covered up the blueberries and cole crops last night (like I have acres and acres).  I might not take the covers off today, but just check on them instead.  There was a bit of a breeze, so I don't think frost has settled on anything just yet.  It looks like tonight will be the last of the really cold weather for a bit, though I am still concerned about fruit trees and so on.  I suppose that is Spring, really, back and forth and fretting about the confused plants that we count on so much.  I'm not really ready to let go of the cold weather, though it was pretty nice having the windows open last week.  And there's that painting I want to do, sooner if I can help it.

Well, I'm off to start some oatmeal and try to work in some secret knitting.   
impossibleway: (Spring in the Stream)
The Spring equinox, March 21st, does have a traditional history, but it seems to have largely been lost. Children still feel this change and you will often hear classroom teachers say that March is the hardest month of the year, one that seems to go on forever. One of the two moments when the sun’s rhythm is in perfect balance, when the forces of nature are so balanced that some say you can stand an egg on end, has become a time of long dragging days, antsiness, and irritation. We believe that this happens, in part, because we have stopped noticing and honoring the changes around us connected with this equinox. In the Enki approach, we see this as an important moment to turn the children’s attention toward nature, toward the sense of balance and warmth returning to the earth. We recommend a festival that has a strong outdoor component, both in playful activities and in some kind of ceremonial noticing and encouraging the return of the sun/warmth.
~Enki Homeschool Teaching Guides Book III


Outdoor CookingNothing, it seems, can keep the children inside right now.  Winter wasn't that hard and certainly not that long, but now the pull it just so strong.  It rained off and on all day yesterday and they spent a lot of time on the porch cooking up dyes, alkaline concoctions, and March beer; all pretend, of course.  Mike took them hiking in the rain and on a walk after supper and they were still full of life at bedtime.  I have to admit that I am hoping they will sleep "late" this morning due to the time change.

I felt scattered all weekend, too.  We were scrambling around trying to get the supplies needed for a long overdue bathroom remodel.  I feel so silly using that word, but I suppose that is what it is.  We got new shower walls, new faucets, and a new sink.  I need to get a vinyl remnant for the floor and that's it.  It's such a small space that there aren't a lot of options.  The sink is the smallest sold with a cabinet.  I have disliked the bathroom since we first saw the house just over ten years ago and we have lived with it for a long time.

We've also spent the past three weeks waiting on and talking with roofers.  The first two estimates were so high that it put the project off for later, but the third one (after weeks of waiting) seems to be the one to go with.  It helps that my family has extensive real estate that has been roofed by this particular man.  He wants to keep me happy so that he can keep getting work from my family.  I shudder to think of re-doing a bathroom and a roof all at once, of really spending that much money, even though the repairs are needed.  When this house was with the previous owners, they took every cheap shortcut possible and we are slowly replacing them.

All this and four gallons of paint sitting in the basement for me.  The living room, dining room, and office will get repainted this year.  I'm not sure which room to start with.  The colors are basically the same, just softer or, in the case of the living room, slightly louder colors.  Soften the dining room and Mike's office and make the purple in the living room a bit stronger.  With the weather so warm, it seems a shame I didn't do any over the weekend.  It was all I could do to get caught up with things here, though.  There is just so much to do--sewing, knitting, cooking, wrapping my head around these repairs.

I think I need some quiet secret knitting and reading before the children wake up.  Happy Monday!  I hope it's a quiet one.
impossibleway: (The Little House)
With Easter just over a month away, it seems time to begin preparations.  Winter has made this house feel increasingly smaller and I need some sort of respite!  The children have been playing outside more, with rainboots and jackets.  Winter will return toward the end of the week, but I can tell that it is losing its grip.

I spent a bit of time decluttering over the weekend.  Someone asked me if I was about done with that.  Well, I've been at it 14 years.  It is a lifelong process.  The stuff comes in, the stuff goes out.  Some big things are going out, I am sad to say.  All those internet rumors about lead on vintage Pyrex were true for me.  Most of my dishes, ones that I used every single day, are going out.  They failed the lead test.  Luckily, I had never gotten rid of the stainless mixing bowls I got as a wedding gift.  I used them for canning, since they were very deep, and now they will be used for everything else.  They were my gluten-free bowls, but now that we have a mill, there is no way this place could ever make gluten-free food again.

Animals on BowlsIt is oddly freeing to get rid of something with so much sentimental value.  I was never an avid collector, but I would buy most anything I saw at a yard sale or Goodwill.  There are a few more items to test and a few that did not turn the little swab pink, but I am looking at them all with a different eye.  New bread pans are on order, even though mine came out okay.  My parents had bought me new Pyrex bowls for heating and storage, along with a plain glass mixing bowl, so I feel more than set.  The aesthetic is not quite the same, but it's okay.  Yes, simplicity!

I have been looking over our toys, too, and sending a few out.  Some repairs have been in order, like those dear wooden bowls.  So sweet they are, so versatile, so prone to cracking.  Wood glue is a useful tool, though, and so they will make it a bit longer.  Toys like the mixer, coffee maker, cash register, and other play kitchen items no longer seem necessary.  They haven't been used in a long, long time.  There are so many things out there, something for every idea under the sun, and they just aren't necessary.  I have this secret wish to get through childhood without a heap of Hot Wheels and Legos (we have just a few of my old, giant stash).

I spent a lot of time clearing out my internet history.  It was so significant, I could not wipe it out with a single command.  My goodness, the time I have wasted.  I have also made a promise to myself to stop visiting some sites that were just time wasters, fillers in those spare moments that could have been spent otherwise (like sitting and knitting!).  Facebook is not one of those time wasting places for me, as I keep my friends list small.  And what kind friends I have--it is a pleasure to keep up with them.  Largely, it is a place for homeschooling connections, so it must stay.

Clothes are shifting (or sitting in the basement waiting).  I am tentatively considering putting the snow overalls away, though I know that's not a good idea.  Unless I want another big snow.  You just get anxious this time of year.  Our new Spring clothes have arrived, the first I have had to buy in some time, thanks to Hanna Andersson's generous sizing.  I went with a shirt each for the children and then the rest from Primary.com at the recommendation of someone here.  I am pleased, on the whole, though the sizing for girls may run a bit small.  Or maybe Willow runs a bit tall.  That must be it.  I bought some clothes for me from Gudrun Sjoden and I am in awe of them.  Just two dresses, but oh, the quality and feel and the delightful patterns.  I have hopes for more in my future.  It is strange to have such nice clothes after shopping secondhand for so, so long.

I think that covers the clearing out for now.  The crowd is awake and it is a new week.  Willow will work on addition today and there are more patterns to mail off.  Happy Monday!
impossibleway: (Northbound)
DSC_4205.JPG

I has been snowing since Monday night. The local forecast never mentioned more than a couple inches, but we probably have eight or so now, with some settling.  My parents said there is very little snow at there house out in the country, and they usually get more than we do.  I learned that our neighbor Enid was born in a South Dakota blizzard and, it seems, she goes out in one, too.  We have said goodbye to four of our neighbors in the past four years.  Only five originals remain here on this tiny street.

Enid was the first one to greet us when we moved in on St. Patrick's Day ten years ago.  She came with cooked June apples and a smile.  It seems this was her way.  Like something from Stars Hollow, she was involved with the Welcome Wagon for many years.  She welcomed people who moved to town fifty years ago!  I really enjoyed seeing photos of her when she was young and her children were small and Don had no grizzly beard.  There was no hiding my smile.  Funerals for full, long lives are happy affairs, as much as we hate to say goodbye.

I told Don and Enid's oldest daughter of her parents singing their off-key "Happy Birthday" to me in 2013 and she said, "Oh, no!  Now, she's one of the family."  It was fun to share memories and hear stories.  She told me that we could use their garden plot as our own if we wanted to!  And, to keep on picking the raspberries.  I'll admit, that was a joy to hear.  This is how we hold people in our hearts and ease the loss.  It is community.

One thing that I shared with the family was about a dog that had taken up residence under Don's old boat.  The dog showed up mysteriously some time before Christmas and left just as quietly, shortly before the snow storm.  It would always stay with the boat and eyed us warily as we wassailed the apple trees.  They, in turn, told me of a dog their father had who was always at home, until they went out.  Then, he would have adventures, but be waiting right by the door when they returned.

The connections and interesting happenings have been on my mind a lot lately.  With three of our neighbors, all dear people, I could feel them slipping away and I mourned them months before they were truly gone.  They were all tired, all ready.  It was good, though painful.  Don and Enid's second daughter will live at their home for some time, and I suppose that keeps things going in a comforting way.
impossibleway: (The Little House)
Look!  A green porch!  Five days of work!
That's all I've got to say about it.
I'm short on words this afternoon.

The Green Porch

Here are Laurel's birthday pajamas.
This is Simplicty 1264, a "vintage" pattern.

Birthday Pajamas

And here's that Tomten.  Still going.
I think I'm going to finish that sleeve this afternoon.

One-Armed Tomten

On to knitting and Martinmas preparations!

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.
impossibleway: (The Little House)
Three Children, One Drawer

Back when I was pregnant with Laurel, I mentioned taking a picture of how I fit clothing for all three into one drawer.  I never did that--life has been very full since then!  In fact, I took this picture a couple weeks ago and have just now gotten around to uploading it to livejournal.  So, here it is.  Willow is on the left, Roan is in the middle and Laurel is on the right.  Socks and underwear are in the small drawer above.  This really is all their clothes that are available to them right now, excepting pajamas and night gowns that are stored in the three small drawers of the trundle bed.  There is nothing hanging in the closet and hasn't been for many months.  It has really simplified things for me.  The dresses are simple folded and put into the drawer with everything else.  When Roan is done with clothes, they are pretty much worn out, but I do donate things when Willow and Laurel are done with them.

This was my dresser when I was a child and it is hard to believe that I had this full, had another chest of drawers, and had a closet full of clothes.  Even now, I only occupy two drawers in our room.  One is for clothes and one is for underthings and socks.  I don't have that much hanging in the closet, either.  We do rotate clothing seasonally, so each child and myself have a box in the basement with clothes waiting for the next season.  There are times that I wish for fancier clothes, but I do have two nice shirts and I think that's enough right now.  I seldom have the occasion to be really fancy, anyway.  Mike has the most clothes of us all, but he is hard on things like Roan, especially in his haz-mat job.

Changes

Aug. 3rd, 2015 06:43 am
impossibleway: (The Little House)
BedroomAll Summer long, while my children have been bursting into the outdoors, I've felt this little house closing in on me.  I've had to put a lot of things away downstairs to keep them away from little hands and the basement has been getting very full.  I know decluttering seems to be taking the nation by storm these days, but I've always been slow and steady at it.  I think I was 18 or 19 when I took the first bags of junk out of my childhood room and put them in a yard sale.  After that, it was carloads to the convenience station (fancy name for dumpsters operated by the local government).  I haven't look back, of course.  It has been freeing every single time.

So, I've had weekly dates with the thrift store and a nearby dumpster.  I've taken hard looks at things I've had a long time and sent them on their way.  Part of the most recent decluttering has been to move Laurel in with Willow and Roan.  This has been something that has traditionally happened around 21 months or so.  She still spend a siginificant portion of the night in the baby hammock, which has been our best baby "gadget."  It will be a bittersweet day when she no longer fits in it.  All this means, of course, that I play musical beds in the night, going in to her when she needs me.  It also means that our old bed is restored to its former glory and is no longer collecting dust in the basement.

We returned my old crib to my parents' possession, along with my childhood twin frame and a few chairs.  It has been very good to have more space in the basement and to find some old things that were lost behind them.  My neighbors are still at their own decluttering project and I have taken on some very nice fabrics, sewing notions, and patterns.  It's an interesting lesson in materialism, the quantity of stuff that has been contained by that house.  Willow and I have talked about what it means to have things and why people keep buying beyond their needs.  Our own little house is such a lesson in moderation.

It feels a little funny to sleep in a higher bed on an actual frame without a crib sidecarred to it.  But, the bedroom has such a civilized, calm feel to it, too.  The end of cosleeping in our room isn't the end of cosleeping at all.  Up to last week, I still spent a portion of each night in Roan's bed or Willow's, if he had fallen asleep early.  Our bedtime routine is a happy one, and still very much family-centered.  We go to sleep together and easily, especially at the end of these long Summer days.

In the Hammock
impossibleway: (The Little House)
I do not have time to be a saint and hold vigil through the night to please you.
Make me a saint who prepares meals and does the washing up.
Prayer time will be over until I have done the dishes after supper.
Lord of pots and pans, please, rather than winning souls for you,
Let me offer the tiredness that comes over me
at the sight of coffee grounds and burned vegetable pans.
Remind me of all the things I am apt to forget.
Not just to save my feet, but that my perfectly set table may be offered as a prayer.


~St. Therese of Avila, as exerpted from Why Cleaning Has Meaning

Pink Kitchen 6


I've been thinking a lot about cleaning lately. I've had in mind to do a total floor to ceiling cleaning job since the turn of the year, but it hasn't really happened.  I clean here and there, vacuum and mop, do the essentials.  That has been all I can manage most days.  Since Mike stopped work at Walgreen's, we have spent considerable time rearranging spaces to suit our needs.  That has paid off, considerably.  The back porch is now magically and easily tidied since I gave in to its true purpose.  I need to do more of it.  Our bedroom closet is calling to me right now, in fact.

WagonI've been reading a new book, Why Cleaning Has Meaning, and it's been a really good one.  I've long felt like caring for a home is a divine task, so it has been a timely read and one that I sank into easily.  It tells about the history of housekeeping, how various cultures view cleaning and the author's own extensive experiences with her ecological cleaning company.  I've done a fair amount of cleaning for other people for about 15 years, so I can relate a little.  It is amazing to see how something as simple as cleaning transforms a space and the people who are in it, how it makes homes more welcoming and strips away years of pain.

It has inspired me, of course, as I look around my home and think of what I can do.  The tasks readily appear.  Yesterday, every pillow and blanket was stuffed into the playstands to create a gypsy wagon.  A string of chairs became the Don't-Touch-the-Floor game from Pippi Longstocking.  Oh, the work to get it all right again, though they had a wonderful time.  I suppose that my biggest most continual tasks are tidying, laundry and dishes.  Dishes used to pain me so, but that has passed.  Tidying is wearing on me these days, but I am looking forward to the simplicity of warmer weather without all the hats, mittens, and blankets that must be cared for.

A list would help me, I think, to get organized about the things I want to do.  Right now, my big goals are to get the sofa bed out of our house tomorrow and to have Mike's dead car hauled off and sold for scrap.  We had high hopes of selling parts from it, but it's time to scrap that and move on.  Sure would be nice to have half the driveway back for guests.  Reading various methods for cleaning without chemicals (not that I use many at all), has me thinking about the dirty glass on the oven door.  I'm also thinking how I need to wash windows, though I don't want to take apart the storm windows.  Maybe, if I just wash them from the outside. . .

The ideas of asking a room what it needs and looking for arrangements or items that block the flow of positive energy are exciting to me.  They are things that I think I turn around in my head all the time, anyway.  I know that this house had some really forbidding areas in it when we first moved in.  I didn't go down to the basement for a long time until Mike and my dad cleaned it out.  The back bedroom held onto a sickly vanilla smell for years.  I felt terrifically unsettled here until we took up the carpet and refinished the floors.   I think the house, in general, was sickly when we met it.  Now, it's filled with light and color and wild, creative children.  Home.
impossibleway: (Thread Rainbow)
I'm a day early with this post, but that's okay. Gotta make hay while the baby naps. Laurel's been a little under the weather, but she's very much on the mend, and sleep is one of the best remedies.  While Mike took the children on a Nap Drive (I feel like I ought to trademark it), I finished up simple, frugal curtains for the back porch and made over the space.

Back Porch 1

I made them in soft rainbow colors.  When you stand outside and look in, each window is a different color.  It might be a little much, but it suits us.  Our old ones were made of inexpensive lace that were very simply made by me when we moved in nearly nine years ago.  The sun had taken a toll on the fabric and it shredded with the least effort.  I expect these to fade with time and I'm okay with that.  They'll let more light in then.

Back Porch 2

The children played back there whether it's been cold or warm, empty or full, tidy or messy.  It seemed time to really embrace the not-so-subtle hints I've been getting.  So, I spent the rest of my time really, really taking out the clutter and childproofing as best I could.  It's now a dedicated space for some of their things, along with the toy library, fabrics and yarns, and my sewing cabinet.  I'll admit, it feels really nice to look back there.  Now, to tackle the surplus that relocated to the basement!

For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams.
impossibleway: (Wilson Bentley)
Candle in the kitchenAnother neighbor died yesterday.  Don was our gardening neighbor, though he had been unable to do very much for a few years.  His was the raspberry patch where I picked so many berries last Summer and where I got such big rhubarb at the end of Spring.  He and Enid had become our pet neighbors after Mrs. Houck died.  They were both limping along, quite literally, for a long time.  We'd made a habit of visiting and checking out books from Enid's library.  Her shelves are impressive and it was always fun to look them over.

It's a hole, for sure, on our sweet little street.  I can still hear his voice telling me that a little fairy came over and brought him a piece of pie.  Willow loved to deliver treats to their house.  I recall finding him outside nearly every time we wandered into his yard, until he had a knee replacement that gave him a lot of trouble.  Enid has some form of dementia, and I'll admit that the future seems uncertain for her and their grown daughter that lives at home.

In the midst of the news and watching the ambulance come and go, I agreed to dig up my first bicycle for Willow to use.  The balance bike has simply become too small and even Roan has mastered it.  The forecast looked good for spending the day outside.  Roan's tire burst and then Willow's bike needed more work than we thought.  In the afternoon, the skies brought snow rather unexpectedly.  At first, I thought it was dust in the air.  We haven't had a lot of snow this Winter.  But now it feels meaningful.  I couldn't help but think of Mother Holle shaking her featherbed.

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