Friday, April 30, 2010

Children are a Blessing

This is my favorite picture of all the ones I took while we were away at the shore.

... a moment to cherish

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Glorious Spring to Winter Again

Just two days ago we picked these beautiful wild flowers called Marsh Marigolds that we found on the bank of our pond.

Since yesterday morning it has been snowing!

This is a picture of our chickens from yesterday.

This is what we woke up to this morning.

So what did we do during the long cold wintry day yesterday?

Lots of crafts.

Here is a simple one that is good for a wide range of ages of children.

With a piece of black construction paper, a hoop and a push pin - you can create all kinds of beautiful pictures.

To finish, cut around the circle shape and hang in a window.

My nine year old made this one.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Monday, April 26, 2010

Daily Uniform

Nearly every day I wear a skirt with a simple top and put on an apron. I choose to wear a skirt to remind myself that I am different from the world and choose to be set apart, to live a more simple life. My clothing is always modest as well.

The apron reminds me of my daily duties, that baking, cleaning, gardening, and wiping dirty hands are all part of my job and somehow the apron makes it all feel more "official". It is also fun to wear pretty vintage aprons that I find at thrift stores.

What do you wear each day?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Home Again

I think the best part of going away is coming home again.
My eyes see our home in a fresh light with so much joy and appreciation.

Some more pictures from our trip to the sea ~

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just Being

We have been blessed with beautiful sunny weather with temperatures in the high 50s or so. The sun has been brilliant and we are so thankful.

On the ride down I started a knit doll for Abraham and finished it up while here.

I think I will make another and share the tutorial here soon.

We have been doing lots and lots of this. Just taking the short path down to the sea to dig, build, walk, collect, sit, knit, and to just be.

I am thankful for this time to reflect about our family's life and to reflect on what we have been doing and what we might like to do in the coming days, weeks, months and years as we continue this incredible journey called life.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Our Trip - Day One

Our journey from northern Vermont to Cape Cod Massachusetts brought us

~through neighboring farm lands with mountain views with all the shades of green just making their appearance~

~through the snowy White Mountains~

~to spring in all her glory in Massachusetts~

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Connections

Today I want to share a bit about a friend of mine, Reba. Reba and her family moved to the northeast kingdom of Vermont with their six children and built a straw bale home on ten acres and lived without electricity for a couple of years. All of their children are now grown and they continue to live simply and grow much of their own food. Both Reba and her husband work with their hands for their livelihood.

She and her family have been a wonderful example to our family and visiting with them on their homestead always brings a sense of warmth and peace.

In addition to all the many homesteading skills Reba has acquired and practices, she is also a talented artist. One of her many gifts is print making. Recently she opened her own shop at etsy and I thought I might share some of her work here at Friday Connections.

She hand carves her stamps usually in linoleum or potatoes.

Warm wishes for a beautiful weekend. Our family is going on our yearly trek to Cape Cod to stay with my mom and step-father in a house they rent on a beautiful inlet down a quiet dirt road. We plan to spend lots of time playing in the sand and biking and just being.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beauty and Joy

Our daffodils bring beauty to our home.

These first of the season wildflowers and carefully collected rocks presented to me from my little ones upon coming inside, bring joy to my heart.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Toys in our Handwork Shop and a Giveaway

Just wanted to share some new creations

~the birch mobile~

~hand dyed play silks~

~hand dipped organic beeswax birthday candles~

In addition, we are a member of a team at etsy called Natural Kids. It is a group of artisans committed to creating for children using natural materials. The Natural Kids Team is having a two week Earth Day Promotion and to kick it off, we are offering a giveaway on the team blog. If you have a moment, please check it out.

Warm wishes,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Homestead Happenings

"In the spring,
at the end of the day,
you should smell like dirt."
~Margaret Atwood

Our snap peas are up! That is one in the photograph above... it is a little hard to see, but so exciting.

We have been fencing in our gardens to keep our chickens out. Creating new garden spaces does take a lot of work, but it will be worth it. We chose two areas on our new homestead that show the most promise and now we are in the process of covering them with composted cow manure that we can get for free from a neighbor down the road. It is the really good black stuff full of red worms.

Now, chickens and gardens don't mix. Originally, we were going to fence in the chickens in an area around the barn. Well, after dear husband made branch posts, sledge hammered them into the ground and wrapped recycled fencing from our neighbor who has a rubbish collection business (in other words we didn't have to go out and buy new fencing), I just couldn't leave them fenced in. I have such a soft spot for these chickens and probably would for any animal. They just need to free range - to eat insects, grass, worms, but - NOT my garden!

So, Michael has been fencing in our garden areas. It isn't pretty, but the benefits out weigh the negatives.
Here is a picture ~
We have another garden area to go.

I have been planting seeds in egg cartons to grow on a card table in our bathroom window. Oh, we are just so blessed with this home with sunny spaces. My homesteading neighbor gave me a packet of tomato seeds she wasn't going to plant and a farming friend gave me some of her own tomato starts. With 30 tomato plants started, I may not be buying any tomato six packs from our local organic farm this spring. I also started 12 melons, and a dozen money plants (seeds from our neighbor - an herb and flower seller). Money plants or luminaria. They are a biannual with pink/purple flowers. The second year they leave disk-shaped seed heads which you can gently pull off the seed hulls by rubbing between your fingers to leave "silver dollars" which are great for dried flower arrangements.

I snapped this picture this morning by holding my camera behind my back as I was walking down the driveway to put some mail in the mailbox. My ladies love to follow me whenever I am out.
Enjoy this day. Warm wishes, Tonya

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I Completely Understand

On the way home from visiting friends at their farm yesterday evening, we stopped at the general store for a few items and Sarah (who is turning six today!) bought herself a chocolate bar with some of her birthday money.

As we continued on home, I heard Sarah say from the back seat, "Mom, I am trying to save my chocolate bar for after dinner, but it isn't working."

Oh, we all laughed and laughed.

I completely understand, I really do.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Handwork and Science

Nolan took a white carnation out of a bouquet I received over the weekend, split the stem in half and put each half in a different jar. He then added green coloring in one jar and yellow in the other. By the next morning the carnation was half green and half yellow.

I have known of this experiment for a long time, but when I saw the outcome I was awestruck. We truly are what we eat. Yes, we eat whole foods and I cook and bake 90% from scratch and buy organic or grow our own as much as possible. However, even eating one package of M&Ms, for example, I can now just imagine all of the colors and chemicals filling the insides of my body or the body of a child and being absorbed. Yeck!

I am working on an embroidery piece to add to a gift I am sewing for my Mom for her birthday and as I was embroidering at the table yesterday while some of the children where finishing up some book work, all three chimed in that they would like to embroider too. I was grateful that I had saved small hoops that I had found years ago at a yard sale. We took some white cotton fabric and they each drew a simple design or words and picked a color of cotton floss. We enjoyed an hour together (the little one was napping) sewing and talking. I kept pushing all the thoughts of unfinished chores that needed attending out of my mind to enjoy those precious moments.
Warm wishes, Tonya

Monday, April 5, 2010

Warmth and Joy this Weekend

It is hard to believe the children were doing this -

~they made this "water slide"... we have an overflow from our well which gives us constant flowing water that normally goes into our pond.. but I can see endless fun with it this summer~

~taken before leaving for church Easter morning~

~simple Easter table for supper~

Easing back into the week today. Warm wishes, Tonya

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sun Made Iced Tea

The weather is just amazing here and yesterday after lunch I remembered how perfect some cold tea would taste today as it is even warmer.

Into each quart canning jar, I placed 2 tea bags and 4 teaspoons honey and set outside to warm and brew.

Bring inside to cool and then refrigerate. Serve with ice and a slice of lemon.

Enjoy the beauty that is around you. Have a blessed Easter.
Warm wishes, Tonya

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Connections

I think on Fridays I will post a link or two, to something that moved me, made me think, or something beautiful or useful, and sometimes a link to a give away on another blog.

So today's links are:

A beautiful post here about making the most of wherever you are - you can begin to work a bit of soil, bake, work with your hands, no matter where God has planted you.


A give away at Garden Mama from a sweet home business, Kreativ Spiel, for some handmade wooden toys.

Warm wishes, Tonya