Monday, September 30, 2013

Inside and Outside

There is so much work calling me inside when I really just want to be out enjoying this amazing autumn weather.

This morning I did get some bread and apple crisp baked.
Isaac is taking over in the kitchen making three apple pies.
I am thinking the tomatoes will be processed this evening while making dinner.

In the in between time, I have compost to pile up on the gardens, a barn to reconfigure for a milking stand and baby goats (hopefully in the spring!), firewood to stack, oh and I thought I would just throw in painting the house as well.  

Thankful to have so much to do really because that must mean my life is full.

What are your plans this week?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Getaway and A Giveaway

The girls and I were able to get away for two nights to meet a friend (from Massachusetts) and her two boys in south central Vermont at a state park cottage.    What a treat to sit and talk  together while the children watched episodes of Little House on the Prairie after a day of playing (gold panning included!) and site seeing.  
We went to the VINS center in Quechee and the Billings Farm Museum in Woodstock.

Also, Ginny from Small Things is offering a give away today for a $50.00 gift certificate to our shop. So stop by if you have a moment.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Tiny House for Sarah

A blessing from her Poppa who spent three and a half days with us this past week.  He lives in eastern Massachusetts where I am from.  He brought  most of the materials with him.  As a carpenter he often has left overs from jobs.  He made the windows and the door himself.  I think it is really neat how he made the door making a frame around an old storm window.

This is really perfect timing for Sarah at age 9 and I have enjoyed hearing her plans and watch her make her tiny house a home.

She says she is going to put the tomatoes in the windowsill to ripen.  Has a basket of apples.  She made a window box herself and transplanted a marigold from her garden.

Today one of the windows has become the means of exchange for the store.  Flowers in exchange for apples.  Zucchini for pansies.  "Mom can you help me spell that," she asks.

She sweeps and  sweeps again and asks if she can have the small handmade broom for her house.
She keeps the key around her neck and locks the door every time she leaves.  Mostly to keep her little brother out.

Poppa will put the finishing touches on in the spring.  A metal roof and wooden clapboards which will, of course, be painted pink.

Monday, September 23, 2013

She's Two

On Friday, September, 20th Emily Susan (or Emmy Sue or just Emmy) turned 2!
I made her a bunny from a kit from here.  Mike made her one of our lacing sets.

Every time I hold her against me, hug her and kiss her, I thank God for trusting us to raise her, knowing that we were the parents for her.

She -
holds me tightly around my neck when we have a thunderstorm and will not let go

has started to care for her baby doll and rabbit

loves her brothers and sisters and has sweet names for each of them 
Nolan she calls, "Nolo"
Thomas she calls, "Tomno"
Abby she calls, "Buddy"
Sarah she calls, "Ta"
Isaac she calls, "Isaa"

is now speaking in full sentences sometimes

has developed a very strong will, she really belts out "No"

enjoys being read to, her favorite book right now is "Barn Cat" by Carol P. Saul and Illustrated by Mary Azarian

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Love First and Why Aren't Christians Focused on That

Poppa reading to Emmy

I have a hard time when pastors claim that a sure sign of the downfall of society is the acceptance of same sex relationships.   It happened again this morning at church.    (I do believe that homosexuality is not God's design  but by making this sin an "agenda" breeds hatred and separation.)    Haven't they noticed the prevalence of violence?  The family structure breaking down?  (children left with screens instead of parents)   Have they noted that divorce is accepted and celebrated like marriage?  Have they seen all those in need that are not getting their needs met? (basic needs like good food) 

What I am trying to say is that same sex marriage is the least of our worries as Christians.   Our pastor mentioned how it is becoming obvious in the public school systems, this downfall - when children read books with parents named Anne and Mary (I forget the actual names he mentioned).  

As a parent, when I am looking through the children's books at the library I have often come across books where the children go to their Dad's house on the weekends and their Mom's house other times (children of divorce) and tears will often come to my eyes as I remember the hurt and sadness of being a child when my parents divorced.  Sometimes, too, I will come across a book about a family with two Dads or two Moms and I may cringe a bit and wonder but I never feel sad.   There is no hurt there.  If the two parents are loving, committed to one another then their children probably don't feel anywhere near the hurt, confusion, anger and sadness that children of divorce feel.

I don't hear the Christian church preaching about divorce.  Do you know that Jesus spoke very clearly about divorce but never spoke of homosexuality?  I can find 12 verses in the new testament that speak of divorce and only two that mention homosexuality.   Where should we be focused - building up and supporting family or focusing on a small minority?  I believe we should be focused on supporting other families by showing them Christ's love through our actions because society is going to be a lot more broken when children are not brought up in loving homes than they will be in a home that happens to have two Dads.

Mike just told me that Pope Francis talked about this recently so I did a Google search and found this - 
"Some mass media articles make it sound as if Pope Francis is saying abortion, homosexual behavior, etc. are okay. When they make that sort of claim, they really miss Francis' point," said Sheeran. "Before anything else, the Church, and every Christian, must take as their model the loving, forgiving, Jesus. We must preach the love of Christ in season and out. That's the Good News."
Sheeran also told CP that he was "delighted" that Pope Francis was calling upon Christians "to focus above all on the loving mercy of Jesus for every one of us sinners."
"The Pope wants us to put first things first. What comes first is that Jesus loves all of us even when we sin. A heavy emphasis on homosexuality and abortion can sound like I'm focusing on other people's sins and ignoring my own," said Sheeran. "Trained in Jesuit spirituality, Francis emphasizes that Jesus dwells in every soul, dwells there even in the midst of our sins. First and foremost, Jesus loves. His love nudges us to a better life. So it's a mistake for Christians to focus on sin when it's Jesus' love that comes first."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Simple Blanket Knitting Pattern and Reading

I am knitting a simple blanket - the pattern is just a repeat:
Row1:  Knit
Row 2:  Purl
Row 3:  K1, *K2 tog (3x), [YO, K1] (6x), K2 tog (3x)* Repeat between * to the end, K1
Row 4:  Knit

Keep repeating Rows 1 - 4. 
If you cast on with a multiple of 18, this should work out.  I cast on 236 on size 8 circular needles using Peace Fleece DK weight yarn in Natural and Olive Roots, alternating colors every 4 rows.

I am reading a book that has my attention and kept me reading too late last night.  I guess that is a good thing.

Joining in with Ginny a day late.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Just needing to remember that I am blessed.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I Love That...

... when a friend came to visit, our children decided to bake apple pies with him, all on their own.
They went out and picked the apples off our trees, showed him how to use a peeler, made pie crust and mixed up the filling.

I would have to guess, though, that their primary motivation was to enjoy the eating.  
We generally only make apple pies during apple picking season so they are a real treat and also happen to be my favorite dessert.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Knitting and Reading

With a new pair of wool mittens completed for Emmy and Abraham, I have now started a pair for Sarah.
The colors are Lena's Meadow and Lavender from Peace Fleece.

I am re-reading one of my all time favorite books, Up Tunket Road.

"One can't help but wonder whether we might not have a lopsided view of reality - and perhaps misaligned priorities- by eschewing lifestyle choices that at times involve discomfort, deprivation, or difficulty for the sake of living a bit more in sync with nature while aggrandizing energy-intensive (from both human and fossil-fuel perspectives) recreation that produces primarily adrenaline and vicarious entertainment value.  The option that seeks to minimize long-term risk by trying to live lighter and healthier is culturally suspect, while the pursuit of high-risk sports is magnified and praised."

Joining in with Ginny today.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Tree Down in Exchange for Branch Coasters and Eggs

Mike asked a neighbor who is a logger by profession if he wouldn't mind stopping by and lending his expertise to help fall a dead tree that was leaning in the direction of the barn.

Of course, as is the usual circumstance around here, you never know when he might actually be by.

Yesterday, he came by unannounced, ready to tackle the tree (having a home business is great for flexibility!) and he and Mike, with their matching orange hard hats, safely accomplished the task.

When asked what we could offer him for payment his response was - absolutely nothing.  But not feeling quite right about that, we offered him our handmade coasters and eggs.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

This Weekend

A weekend spent mostly at home.

Good weather for drying our birch for the business.

Cool enough to wear hand knit wool sweaters.

Isaac practicing his new sport.  We are doing home schooling Monday through Thursday with Fridays devoted to more household and homestead chores.   Isaac finished up his by the afternoon and without his laptop being an option until later in the afternoon came up with hatchet throwing.  (Isaac is 15 - definitely not recommended for young children.)

Our first apple pies of the season.  This year our trees have produced an abundance of apples.

Autumn is definitely in the air.  There is a frost warning for tonight.  I am hopeful that it stays away so the winter squash can continue to grow after a late start.

On the other hand, it will feel cozy sitting inside tonight planning out the week with the wood stove going.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back to Learning

Not really, these guys learn everyday.  
But we are back to my planning and keeping a journal of our days.  The state of Vermont requires either a portfolio with a parent report for each subject, a certified by the state teacher evaluation, or testing.    It really bothers me how "schoolish" I have to be when this is exactly why our family has chosen to make learning just a part of our daily life. 

We have never been radical unschoolers as I was never able to feel completely comfortable with that, or perhaps because we have seven children, I simply don't have the time to support each child's interests as fully as I would need/want to.     I can't just not make lunch, ignore a 1 year old that needs her diaper changed, leave the spilled milk on the floor... my time is limited and that is probably the only regret I have about having a large family; that I am unable to give each of them as much of myself as I would like.

So each year I consider each child's needs, strengths, weaknesses, and gifts and work to formulate some sort of plan.   Our oldest son was academic oriented from the time he was one - pointing out letters on license plates at 18 months. We were terrible parents back then and let him watch PBS (we got rid of the TV about 7 years later) and he has an amazing brain for memorization which is now a bonus as an actor.   As he progressed through his teen years, he was pretty sure he wanted to go to college so I helped him by planning his courses accordingly.  

We have two children, Isaac (age 15) and Sarah (age 9) that really dislike any kind of formal "school work".  As I have worked to incorporate a waldorf inspired home and education, any kind of traditional learning doesn't even begin until almost age 7.   Sarah learned to read fluently during her 8th year.  Isaac right around the same time.  They both resisted any kind of sit-down phonics work.  So as I work to meet each of their needs, my challenge is to identify their interests and nurture them but I also have to meet the state's needs and if I am really honest, allay some of my own fears by weaving in the main subject areas, such as math, literature, writing, science and social studies.    What I do appreciate about being beholden to the state is that I am paying attention more than I might have.

Isaac is our tech guy.  He actually works on our town library's computers and fixes them when a glitch occurs.   He is also interested in how things work - almost anything and he has a mind that doesn't stop (which can be very had for him at times).    Just on our way today to the library he asked me if a dog had on earphones and only played sound on one side, would it run around in circles?    He satisfies much of his personal learning interests by downloading youtube videos when we go to the library, generally on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.  We have purposefully kept our home wi-fi free and still only have dial-up.  This hasn't stopped Isaac from being able to rattle off nearly every feature of most tech devices and giving his opinion of their worth.  

Here are some of his favorites for any of you with techie children - 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Living in the Moment

Today I saw my grandmother for the first time in several years.  Just a few weeks ago, her daughters moved her from her home in Florida to a nursing home in Massachusetts near family. 

My cousin and her husband brought Nana down to my Mom's for the family get-together on Saturday.  I was nervous about seeing her knowing about her dementia.

After seeing my Nana today, I think differently about the common saying, "Live in the Moment".  While I agree we need to appreciate where we are right now, I actually don't think I want to only live in the moment.  My Nana cannot remember the questions she just asked 30 minutes ago.  But at the same time, she can thoroughly enjoy the very second of where she is - laugh at a joke, drink some wine, enjoy a piece of cake.  She will not remember tomorrow this day she shared with her family. 

So really living in the moment doesn't seem to be the answer or at least I now have a different point of view about that common saying.

 My present moment would not be the same if I didn't have the cognitive ability to interweave previous events with where I am right now.  I wouldn't have precious memories.   I might not feel refreshed from a day of peace and solitude because that time would not be remembered.

All of the past moments make up who I am today and  I can use that knowledge to move forward to become more like the person I want to be tomorrow.