Monday, April 30, 2012


As I look at the sun
I think about wars been won.
Lots of blood has been spilled 
and people felt guilt
to help the war just be done.

Cuz nobody wants the killing.
The taxpayers don't want the billing.
If we all made peace,
the fighting would cease
and the farmers could get back to tilling.

By Isaac Gunn - age 13

Friday, April 27, 2012


I have resolved to get outside every morning (instead of waiting until the afternoon) unless it is raining too much (like this morning, except it is snow instead of rain) - and it has been great for my mood and body.

Planting with Abraham
Walking to the end of the driveway with Sarah to put more flowers at her little stand

All worth the extra effort even with Emmy.  She does so well sitting for awhile in her stroller and observing all we are doing.  And even if she does get fussy soon after, even 10 minutes of fresh air does wonders for all of us.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Making Bug Spray with a Crocheted Cozy

This is my first time making bug spray so I am just sharing what I am doing but welcome any suggestions.
I followed the basic recipe from Soulemama's book - The Rhythm of Family and just changed it a bit.
All but the witch hazel, which can be found at your local grocery store or pharmacy, I purchased at Mountain Rose Herbs.

Using a 4 oz glass jar with a spray pump top -
add 3 1/2 - 3 3/4 oz witch hazel 
1 teaspoon lemongrass oil
1 teaspoon eucalyptus oil
1 teaspoon citronella oil

Then, because the bottle is glass, I used some wool to crochet a cozy and added a little felt embroidered label - 
and then added a birch button with a loop for easier carrying.

Do you have a favorite bug spray recipe?
warm wishes,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Emmy's sweater is done!  Many mistakes but so much learned.
I have also finally finished Into the Wilderness and am excited to be reading something very different - 
A Knitter's Home Companion.

So this week I am looking forward to joining in with Ginny's Knit Along to perhaps come across an idea for my next knitting project.

Warm wishes,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


With the last few days being rainy and raw, I have been busy making - crocheting water bottle covers, knitting gnomes and dolls and mixing up laundry detergent and bugs spray.

What have you been making lately?

Warm wishes,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Last Few Days

I sewed Emmy a bonnet, the pattern from The Children's Year.  But, I did not do something quite right - not sure how to attach the brim properly.  If you want to see a bonnet that came out really well with the same pattern, visit Melanie's beautiful blog.  I am going to try again or perhaps look for another pattern.

The barn is in the process of getting a spring cleaning.

The marsh marigolds are blooming along the pond.

Firewood collecting has begun.

Frog collecting season has arrived on our little pond.

We traveled down to Woodstock, Vermont (my favorite little town to visit) to meet my father to pick up Thomas who had been away for 10 days.  He and his Poppa went to the 100th anniversary game of Fenway Park, Thomas played at an open mike night in Framingham,  was able to visit with some extended family, work a little for my father, and enjoy the fast paced life for a time.  We are happy to have him home again though. 

Warm wishes,

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Birds are well loved in our home.

to play with

and to draw - Sarah has asked me to add her new robin bookmarks to our shop along with her chicken note cards.

The goats are doing better!  As this was our first time dealing with this, it was really scary but I am so thankful to all who contacted me with helpful advice.  Also, if anyone wants to learn more about goats, a woman named Tonia has a blog where she shares so much information.  She even emailed me right back when I asked her about our goats.  In many ways, this online world truly is a blessing.  I was also thankful that my neighbor came over after I left a message with her and also assured me that it had happened to her goats and sheep before.

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Knitting and Reading and Help with Our Goats

Joining in to share with everyone at Ginny's weekly yarn along.  I am finishing up the borders on Emmy's sweater and can't wait to get it all sewn and try it on her.
I am still reading Into the Wilderness as my before sleep book.  
But, I want to share a book I found at the library - The Bluebird Effect by Julie Zickefoose - oh my this is just such a beautiful book and a wonderful example of a living book in the Charlotte Mason method.  My bird loving daughter and I are enjoying the stories the author shares and her gorgeous drawings and paintings.  I do think this is one book we will be adding to our own library.

In a side note - please pray for our goats.  A sweet child didn't realize how harmful ti was to feed skunk cabbage and I didn't catch her until it was too late.  Madeline and Sparky are really really sick and I am not sure what is going to happen.  If anyone has any advice, please do share.

warm wishes,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thankful for...

:: a beautiful sunny day

:: fresh eggs to wash

:: a healthy body to give the goat barn a spring cleaning

:: daffodils brought in to me from the children

:: multi vitamins that seem to be helping to take the edge off my mood a bit

:: strawberry thumbprint cookies

:: the two healthy chicks that we do still have (we have raised over 50 chicks over the years and had only lost one before this year when we lost four)

:: the supportive comments and kindness from so many of you

What are you thankful for today?

warm wishes,

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sugar on Snow

(In a giveaway at Old Gate's Farm, we won maple syrup.  What a treat.)

Yesterday a neighbor came by with a bag of snow in one hand a gallon of maple syrup in the other.  He is our neighbor that has never grown up in (perhaps I could learn a little from him).  At 61, he finds great joy in preparing a fantastic luge run each winter and welcomes all that come by his home with a great supply of tire tube sleds.

So yesterday he had been doing some spring skiing at nearby Jay Peak and grabbed a bag of snow during one of his runs.

I have heard people around here talk about "sugar on snow" but I really didn't know what it was.  I had assumed it was just flavoring the snow with maple syrup.   I was wrong.  Our neighbor boiled some syrup and then kept testing it on the large bowl of snow.  When it stayed on the surface it was done.  He then poured out the boiled syrup over the top of the snow in lines.  It immediately hardened up a bit.  Next, he took a fork and wrapped the now candy-like maple syrup around a fork and handed them out one by one to the children.  It tasted like a maple lollipop.

We live in such a special area here - where neighbors come by to share, where people open their homes to others for play, and where people lend a hand to  people are in need.

Warm wishes,

(Thank you so much for all of the supportive sharing in my last post.  Although my primary reason for writing this blog is to share all the blessings in our simple life,I think it is important for me to also be honest about times where I fall short and struggle because those times do end up being blessings that make me stronger or see things in a different light.)

Saturday, April 14, 2012


How come I am always so hard on myself, my husband and my family?  Why can't I just accept things as they are?

The love, joy, and simplicity of our life - shouldn't that be enough?

Why do I crave for a neat house, both inside and out, a neat chicken coop with fencing that keeps the chickens in, for more fenced in area for the goats, for gardens prepared that will provide our family's vegetables, for some time to sew and knit, for time to get to all of the painting jobs that need to be  done?
I did get the peas planted today, for that I should be grateful, right?

Shouldn't I be grateful for all of the amazing gifts God has given me?  - a home, supportive husband, seven healthy children, soil and seeds, a healthy body to prepare healthy meals (oh and for the healthy food we are able to buy) - and coltsfoot weed left by my laptop by a sweet daughter.

Why do I wish we could save more money so we could solve our car dilemma (an eight seater with nine children)?  Shouldn't I just be grateful that God has provided enough to pay our bills, tithe, and still go out for an icecream from time to time.

Why do I get frustrated with my husband who is not a planner and organizer like I am?  Why can't I just appreciate that he is content and happy right where he is and is still more than willing to start a new project when I express a need.

Why can't I be reassured that with a six month old it is ok to not be able to do the extras right now and instead soak up these precious moments? 

I have been grumpy these last couple of weeks - I have been much too hard on myself and my family with expectations that are mine alone and not realistic.  

This week I need to practice gratitude each moment.  I need to get out of this slump I am in and instead rejoice in the gifts and practice contentment because I know, I really do know that God gives us exactly what we need.

Warm wishes,

Friday, April 13, 2012

This Moment

Joining in with Soule Mama this week  ~

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


This is our fifth spring buying new chicks.  This time we have not done such a very good job - this time, though, we learned something new which should have seemed so very obvious.

 We brought them home yesterday evening and we set up their box with food and water and showed them all where the food and water was by dipping their little beaks into both.  We worried, though, that two of the six were sluggish, quiet, and not walking around much.

This morning with one chick hardly moving, I worked on giving it water and it seemed to gain a little energy for a moment but died shortly after.  Another little chick followed much the same course within the next hour.

After reading online about chicks, the very simple advice is to be sure to hand feed any slow chicks as most chicks that die a few days after hatching, die from not getting enough food or water.

Now we know this - we know that we need to give lots of extra care to the sluggish ones - to the ones that cannot figure it for themselves right away.    This is the first time in five springs of raising chicks that this has happened.  Why do such simple lessons have to be learned the hard way sometimes?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Turning Eight

When we have a sick chicken, she still insists on nursing them.  We were hesitant to let this one in the house because she smelled but Sarah told me, "Mom, I just can't do nothing, I can't do nothing Mom."  

So in she came.

What a gift it was to celebrate eight years with this sweet girl yesterday.
We spent some time with her friend that just happens to have the very same birthday.
Her Poppa came up from Massachusetts to celebrate.

I am thankful for Sarah - so full of life, energy, emotion and love.

Monday, April 9, 2012


The other day Mike and I sat in the parking lot of a farm supply store with the intent of going in to buy some new fencing.  We had priced it out and knew that it would be about $200 for the fencing we wanted in order to make more space for the chickens and goats.

As we were about to get out of the truck, I told Mike that we just couldn't do it - that spending that much was not smart right now and maybe we should just pray that some affordable fencing would make its way into our life.

Three days later our neighbor called and said that they would not be doing the "animal thing" again and had two rolls of very good fencing that we were welcome to come pick up.
Wow - that was a quick answer to prayer.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Morning Easter egg hunt
Sunday worship with three sons playing instruments
Special dresses for little girls
Local ham, wild rice, kale, corn, and lemon yogurt cake for supper
Tulips on the table
Too many blessings to count

Friday, April 6, 2012

Moments from the Week

Our beagle, Lilly

When Abraham emptied his drawers to look for his favorite shirt, I decided not to get upset about having to clean up one more thing and instead, organize his drawers.

To stay caught up on our orders, Mike and I sometimes work later in the night.

With this week's weather being quite cool and cloudy, Abby came up with the idea of making amusement park mini games for Sarah and Abraham - complete with tickets and prizes.

Warm wishes,

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Knitting and Reading

I just wanted to share more about Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati as I am still reading it and have had some requests for more of a review.  Well, it is a very engaging read, however, it has some steamy scenes  between the two main characters.  They are loving but descriptive.   I am about half way through the book.  I just wanted to let anyone know that prefers not to read such scenes.   The plot, however, is excellent and I am enjoying reading about a wilder, simpler time.  

I have started The Resolution for Women and Mike is reading The Resolution for Men.  These books were written by the creators of the movie Courageous.  
I found this quote encouraging -
"When you've concluded that what you already have on hand is enough, that it's adequate  - that it's been deemed by God as sufficient - then you're equipped and empowered to participate fully in the tasks set before you during this season of life."

This is so true - God gives us what we need.

"God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work." - 2 Corinthians 9:8

For knitting, I am finishing up Emmy's spring sweater - the Anya's Cardigan from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies.  With just a little over one sleeve left, I am hopeful to be able to finish it in time for Easter Sunday.  
I found this sweet crocheted Victorian Capelette pattern and am crocheting it for Sarah to wear on Easter.  It comes together very quickly.

Looking forward to all of the sharing today at Ginny's Knit Along.

Warm wishes,

Monday, April 2, 2012

Simple Baby Toy to Sew

When I was carrying Emmy yesterday and pouring chips into a bowl at the same time, she wanted so badly to get a hold of that bag - it makes a wonderful crinkly noise you know.

So I grabbed some fabric squares from my stash and a piece of fabric for the backing, two loops of ribbon for grabbing and sewed up the simply square.  After turning right side out, I took a piece from the chip bag and put inside before sewing the final edge.

She does enjoy both the noise it makes and little loops and it was really quick and simple to make.