Or, to use the modern day vernacular, EPIC. GARDEN. FAIL.
Or, to use the modern day vernacular, EPIC. GARDEN. FAIL.
Or, to use the modern day vernacular, EPIC. GARDEN. FAIL.
Or, “Why My Shoes Look Like This”, because apparently I don’t have enough sense to go put on rain boots.
Also known as, “Why I Ended Up Serving My Kids Pickles in the Car for Breakfast on the way to Church”
It’s like Wild Kingdom around here. I failed to mention that later in the same day of the believed mountain lion sighting, the bear that plagued us all through last summer made an appearance, much larger than before, but just as comfortable as ever in our front yard.
Also, Mairi’s friend is the sister of a band member, not the brother. It’s just that I hit my head a lot and say silly things sometimes.
Matchy-matchy for Father’s Day dinner. Hey look, I actually put on rain boots! I made us these linen dresses sometime back in November. The discolored dots are raindrops!
My second set of videos are now live! Yes, I said set, because it’s in two parts again. It seems that my camera only likes to record for just over 20 minutes, but based on my first two attempts, I seem to like to talk for approximately 24 minutes. So I’m either going to have to learn to talk faster or to say less!
A long-time blog reader told me that watching these videos is like imagining a character in a book and then meeting that character and being totally surprised. The really funny thing is that it’s the same for me! How I look, how I sound, my style of speech… all totally strange and interesting to me. Really? That’s me?? If didn’t have the experience of recording it, I don’t know that I would believe it!
Show notes down below….
My poor trashed garden….
The Mini Wrap by Fox & Folk
Isis Tailcoat (because I misspoke twice for goodness sake) by Kari-Helene Rane
The No Frills Cardigan by PetiteKnits
Thrysos Yoked Blouse by Teresa Gregorio
Let’s just pretend that it hasn’t been nearly a year since I last posted, shall we? I’ll try to explain some day. Here is a little video that I made the other day.
Steve’s birthday just past and we made a long weekend of it. Saturday an outing for just the two of us, Sunday a bit of a family celebration and Monday, by his request- trying and somewhat succeeding to do as near to nothing as possible.
I got entirely dolled up for our brunch outing (possibly more on that later). It was a gift of sorts. As we were sitting and eating I caught the eye of a beleaguer looking mother, trying to herd her young ones out the door. The somewhat desperate look on her face! It was like I could read her thoughts. Because they have been my thoughts so many times. It was a fleeting moment of mixed emotion that basically amounted to, “It must be nice to have the time, space, and energy for appearances. I’d rather like that sort of luxury myself, but clearly that is not my lot. I bet you take it for granted.” Just a split second, a glimpse of a thought, before landing squarely back in the world of, “No, no don’t run towards the street!”, “Please get that out of your mouth,”, “People don’t really like it when you bring sticks into a restaurant dear.” In a way that probably makes me somewhat awful, it was rather flattering to be on the opposite side of this exchange. Oh, but I empathized with her. I really and truly did. In my own jealousy (I guess that’s the best word. Maybe envy is better?) it’s less about what the other person actually looks like and more about how they obviously took the time to care for themselves. Which implies that they had the time. That is what I find desirable and often unobtainable. And I think I read more into it then I should about priorities and the ease of the other person’s life. I wanted to go and hug her frazzled self and tell her that she should see me most days, carry a toddler and a bag for her and help with the door.
After brunch we visited a vintage clothing shop. Which primarily consisted of us identifying articles that easily could have come out of the past wardrobes of our various relatives. My trying on outrageous glasses and hats to make him laugh. And my being made fun of for pseudo-secretly harboring an embarrassing desire to wear all of the pink chiffon garments that everyone else finds hilariously hideous.
We walked the sidewalk sale of a funky, artisan town and briefly visited an arboretum…sadly too late to tour the conservatories. But that was lovely and I wish we had longer there. Highlights for me included the immense Japanese umbrella pine that Steve is standing under in the picture above. A big, beautiful 100+ year old ginkgo, and Cinnamon Vine (both pictured above) which I had never heard of before. I found it by it’s scent which I trailed across the garden. It’s this sort of intoxicating floral/cinnamon that had me vowing to add it to our own garden. Then I came home and started to read up on it, learning that it’s considered invasive and you have to plant it every year and do special things to propagate it and so forth, at which point it all started to sound like too much trouble and I figured I’d just be better off occasionally sniffing a spice bottle instead.
Calendar stitching and poem by: Galen
We had a mild beginning to winter. There was snow, but just in a general solid coating sort of way, not a burrow through and where on earth to put it all? Sort of way. The kind of snow that people south of us get excited about and we don’t even really notice. Or bother to shovel. And then suddenly heaps and heaps all at once. Now, what? I don’t exactly know what to make of it, but it’s warm and melty. A late winter and perhaps now an early spring? I’ll not let myself get too attached to that idea. I wake up every morning exhausted. The urge to hibernate is strong. But as the light strengthens I can feel a boost in my own resilience and I crave more from life.
Every evening that I’m able I bundle Seraphine into a sled and go out for a walk. I watch the colors wash across the evening sky, no two walks quite the same and often wish for my camera when it’s been left at home, but there is no capturing it. By the time we get back it’s gone.
Steve had emergency surgery and has been home recovering for all but 3 days this month so far. He will be fine, but getting back to regular life is slow. It was a fairly minor procedure, but with a long and painful recovery.
Meanwhile our young one who has been fairing poorly this past year miraculously and inexplicably started to grow well again two days before Christmas. And for a month there was nothing but increasing strength and joy. And I set to work trying to reclaim some sense of normalcy in our family rhythms, in our school day, even in how we relate to one another. Re-entry is a challenge, a very welcome one, but tricky all the same. The last few weeks things have slipped a bit, with concerning symptoms starting to arise again. I know not where life will go from here.
I finished my birthday book and enjoyed it thoroughly. The first part is a memoir including some raw glimpses of depression and a life-style gone ire, but also of hope, deep love, and devotion as well. The second part would really only be of interest to someone who knows many plants by name and cares about the yearly cycle of a garden and wants to picture different flowers juxtaposed in their mind’s eye, all of which suited me just fine!
February is poetry month here. One of those little markers of the year that defines the feeling of a month and has for so many years that I don’t even have to plan it any longer, it just is. Most of the books for the children this year came from the Poetry for Young People collection.
And here is one by Mairi, just because I thought it was rather clever for a second grader…
This is also the season for desperately drooling over gardening books. I read The Sensuous Garden probably a decade ago now, long before I had ever heard of Montagu, a.k.a. Monty Don, and it made such a strong impression on me. It’s not about the technical aspects of gardening, nor is it really about design, it’s about how a garden feels, smells, sounds. It’s about the experience of being a gardener in a garden. It’s beautiful. I just checked it out again and it remains one of my favorite gardening books. I also checked out this one. My goodness. Total horticultural eye candy. It left me seriously wondering if His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales would let me just camp out in his garden. I mean it can’t hurt to ask right?
On a different note, I really think I have to find some cold weather climate gardening gurus because sometimes amazing voyeuristic floral profusion is a necessity for mental health in the middle of a string of blizzards and other times, when you are listening to someone complain about winter wearing on and on before turning around to show off their daffodils blooming at the end of February… while you’re still looking at several feet of snow outside…and well… you kind of want to slap that person. But maybe that’s just me. I’m not very nice sometimes. Also our early-early daffodils generally start blooming in the fourth week of April. So yeah. There is that.
This post has been sitting, half-finished, on my desktop for over three weeks now. Everything, everywhere just got to be too, too hard and so I stopped doing what I could in order to better manage what I couldn’t.
I’m way behind on Iain’s colorful, crazy, and wild birthday sweater. The sizing on this pattern seems to be way off. I already came to the sickening conclusion that it wasn’t going to fit, ripped it out and started again. Now I’ve finished the back and after stretching it flat, I can see that I’m going to have to pull back all of the shaping from under the arms up, so that I can add in extra length. Frustrating. I still can’t decide if it’s going to be kind of cool or completely hideous. Mostly I think it’s just going to be really, really late.
We finally got our garlic in, 200 bulbs, which will not be enough, I can never plant enough. It was a warm day of golden sunshine that tricked us into feeling like we were deep in the heart of the growing season and that just maybe it might never end. The very next morning we awoke to heaps of snow, with more accumulating every few days ever since.
On one side of that “curtain” there are three young people working on a play involving a turkey with dish glove feet. On the other Thanksgiving dinner is being prepared, with Little Miss Two flitting back and forth from one side to the other.
On Thanksgiving proper we did nothing. We didn’t go for a walk or get down the nice dishes or make a new set of napkins or get dressed up or even go around the table saying what we were thankful for. None of us had the strength or the heart for it. We were just beat. I swore I would do better with Christmas, but my holiday spirit is fickle at best this year.
We laid on the futon and I read my girls book after book; Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast, The Great Pumpkin Switch which I didn’t particularly care for, A Stawbeater’s Thanksgiving which made me sad, The Very First Thanksgiving Day which I like, An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott which made us laugh, and Home Sweet Home which isn’t exactly a Thanksgiving book, but probably should be.
I recently overheard a mother complaining about how she couldn’t take the stress of keeping track of even one library book in her house. I had to laugh. We currently have 66 books checked out, with another 5 sitting at the library waiting to be picked up. To be sure this is excessive, even for us. But there is something about this season, this year and we keep on coming home with more and more.
I’ve been reading Little Men aloud to Mairi Rose. It’s one of my favorite books of all time and I always get a hankering to read it at this time of year, probably because it ends at Thanksgiving. She is reading Gwinna aloud to me. I just finished Mist on the Mountain, both written and illustrated by Jane Flory, which was a chance library find. I picked it up thinking it might be a good family read and my goodness, I just loved it so much! And as much as I loved the story, I think I might love the illustrations even more. I read it all before discovering there is a book that comes before this one. I’m so sad our library system doesn’t have it.
I both started and finished my Christmas shopping this week in an intensive and stressful last minute shopathon and am very glad that is over. I’ll happily settle in to some holiday crafting as a pleasant change of pace.
My heart isn’t really in a true Handcrafted Wardrobe post tonight. My mind it too full of other things, flitting about, unable to settle. I do have some finished projects, but no pictures, getting photos of myself being rather a bother and a chore at times. I have been pondering cold weather needs and adding to my cool weather capsule wardrobe mood board. I’ve been comparing what I’ve made so far to what I’ve dreamed up with that board to see if I’m keeping on track, and I don’t believe I am. I’ve been teasing out silhouettes in my mind of a Thanksgiving dress in vintage floral print on a deep wine ground. Then I think, oh slippers for the baby! And is there enough of that crimson wool for a bonnet as well? Is that costume plan foolhardy or does it truly stand a chance? And when will I find the time to make it? Is my lesson plan for the week full enough?? And off I go again…
This weekend was supposed to be devoted to sewing for children, but ended up being all about cooking instead. We had our first little snow squall, the fire burned without end and the wind howled and howled. Even now it continues to whip around the eaves and thrash the trees about.
Both our pork and beef arrived this week. A whole pig and whole cow respectively, except for the bits of pork that are still being smoked. As a former long time vegetarian, I am still not entirely comfortable with eating meat, though I make a good show of it. This, I at least believe, is the best way of going about it. Local, free-range, grass-fed meat from a small family farm. The price per pound works out to be around the equivalent of inexpensive cuts of conventional meat, only we get all of the cuts down to expensive roasts and porterhouse steaks, along with the reassurance of a good, healthy life for the animal involved and nutritionally superior food for our family. But it does require freezer space! Which was on the tricky side and lead to a frozen harvest cook-a-thon. I made a huge pot of beef stew with all sorts of autumnal root veggies, turned some summer squash puree into a dairy-free cheese and baked a strawberry crisp, using home-made coconut butter as the topping, as per this recipe. We had the fresh pork chops Saturday night, cooked with onions and pineapple sage and served with orange and yellow chard. I grew pineapple sage for the first time this year and I find the scent intoxicating. It has somehow managed to escape harm despite all of our recent frosts and brilliant scarlet flowers are just beginning to peep out of their buds. I have delusions of somehow finding a way to winter it over in the garden, though I know the thing is impossible. Perhaps I’ll dig it up and see how it fares inside.
I still have some thawed chard that I think I’ll turn into creamed chard and a couple of jars of shredded zucchini that I haven’t decided what to do with. We also spent almost an entire day rendering lard, which was a first for me. Eight whole quarts full! I’ve never even cooked with lard before. And maybe, just maybe I’ll finally sew up that skirt full of pins by my side.
Has the season scattered your focus as well? Do you find a discrepancy between what you like and the items that you make, buy and wear? This has always been true for me and I’ve been trying to correct it, but apparently without much success.
Some pictures from before our trip, some from after; a jumble. Whirlwind life. I can’t keep up. Autumn was just starting to creep in when we left our mostly green land, we came back to full swing blazing glory, fast forward a week and most of the trees were bare and talk of winter suddenly seems natural and fitting. But where did autumn go? I must have blinked.
We got our very first egg, the day before we left, and have had a small, but steady supply since. But there has been chicken drama. Did I mention before that we added to our flock? I wanted no roosters, we now have three. Which I guess is what I get for allowing the kids to make our poultry transactions. Two have been well behaved, one has not and that one of course is an especial favorite of the older boys and something of a terror to younger folks.
A garden inspired dinner; steak and zucchini, with a basil paste and roasted garlic. I read in a book about cutting zucchini julienne before pan frying, instead of in rounds, because it allows it to actually brown. Cooked simply this way with just a squirt of lemon juice? Amazing. I can not stop eating it.
Turmeric Switchel; looks like orange juice, tastes like burning. I jest, I jest! But probably an acquired taste for most, though very helpful for an energy boost and pain relief.
funny little note: I just looked at the recipe again, as I linked to it, and I’ve been making it for weeks with double the spices! I just may need it that strong anyway.
Knitting has been a whirlwind also. My sweater, still missing it’s measly button band, was cast aside. The shawl has been blocked and worn a great deal and loved, but not photographed at all. By the end of tonight I will have four bonnets in need of blocking. The toddler sweater needs grafting and steeking; two things I readily admit to habitually procrastinating on, but there is a time limit on this one, so I’ll have to suck it up some time this week.
For all of my talk, I haven’t sewn at all and really must get to it. I think I may have inadvertently bit off more than I can chew re: Halloween this year.