Category Archives: photography

Halloween and 44/52

I had what I thought was an adorable idea for a costume for Seraphina and others.  As of 3:30 on October 30th, all that I’d managed of it was her little hat.  And I couldn’t have cared less.  In fact, I was quite ready to throw in the towel with Halloween across the board.  Try again next year.  Maybe.  Maybe not even that.  But Elijah, who obviously puts great stock in creative Halloween costumes, and probably equally pressing was looking to get out of washing dishes, laid the old sheet I was planning on using out on the table and started piecing together a pattern.  And so, with a good deal of help, I rallied and there were costumes all around.

I wanted Mairi Rose to be a Matryoshka with us, but no, she wanted to be Tink to his Pan.  Mommy and daughters matching costume?  Totally cute.  Controlling mommy who insists you wear the costume she wants you to wear?  Not so cute.  So I did not push even though it really would have been kind of perfect since she is just the right in between size.  Side note: All three boys and I just recently watched the Milwaukee Ballet’s production of Peter Pan.  It was magical.  And inspiring for a certain young, male, ballet dancer.

Sewing notes: I used this pattern for Seraphina’s bonnet and a pattern similar to this one for my kerchief- which was very comfortable and stayed on perfectly and I want to make a bunch more for everyday wear.  Seraphina’s dress is this one.  Details on the sweater to come.  I just made my dress up as I went along.  It didn’t balloon out as nicely as it could have.  Also, for the record, I’m not actually shaped like Humptey-Dumptey.  Or at least not any more so than you would expect a woman who has given birth to five children to be.  It’s the costume, honest! (well, mostly anyway)  Mairi’s leggings in the first picture were made from this pattern.


42/52 and gathering in

Seraphina: Watching the leaves showering down.  It was her first time in mittens this season.  I joked that she was bobbing for tomatoes, as she kept leaning over and trying to remove the cherry tomatoes from the plants using only her mouth!

After an unusually warm September it seems as though deep autumn is very suddenly upon us. With our first hard frost on the horizon we spent Saturday bringing in the last of the delicate, tender produce.  As if eager to emphasis the point, snow started sifting down as we filled baskets with green tomatoes…and continued through the next day; wildly swirling at times, but mostly melting on the still warm earth.  Garden fresh flowers filling my windowsills, with snow falling on the other side.  Such a strange contradiction!



Backwoods picture by Steve.  As a treat to himself upon completing a chainsaw safety course, Iain has invested in a chainsaw of his own.  After much research he went with this one, which he has been very happy with.  He’s been helping Steve to clean up some dead and down wood on our property, with Elijah along to assist.

We’ve recently come to the conclusion that the boys have outgrown the wilderness program they have been attending for the last year.  Together we have decided that for now they will continue to immerse themselves in nature after a more self directed fashion.  We’ve set aside one full day out of the school week where, after the basic daily math practice and language arts have been completed, the rest of the day is theirs to devote to often experimental, adventurous, passionate, outdoor education.  For now I’m letting them go where they will with this, but from time to time I’ll have assignments for them; things to look for, to think about, to explore, to hopefully inspire.  So far the older boys have been devoting the bulk of their time to gathering wood for sugaring off in the spring.  As you can see, the wood gathering mentality has proved contagious and is trickling on down through the ages.  That little one there?  Never one to be left behind, she scaled the wall one day when she heard them off in the distance!

They are all very excited and pleased with our new plan.  Today I watched Galen make a tidy stack of shingles for a structure he has in mind.  Given support and space, I’m always awed by their creativity and determination.


Eighteen Months (40/52)

I just can not believe that our littlest love, our sweet tiny baby girl, is officially closer to two years old than to one.  It is mind-boggling and inconceivable and yet, undeniably true.  She calls herself “Ser-ee-a” and sings and dances all through the house.  She loves that hat and a certain bright colored patchwork skirt that she often pulls on over or under whatever else she has happens to have on.  She is exactly the same height that Elijah was at her age and looks just like him when she’s sleeping.  She thinks that his 13 year old self is the most fun person in the whole wide world.  Many times a day she runs through the house calling, “Sijah! Sijah!” wanting him to scoop her up and take her off to play.  Her attention span for listening to board books is much longer than anyone’s attention span for reading them.  She loves to be outside and hates to come back in.  She would stay out all day if she could, preferably playing in the sand, splashing in water or swinging.  Nothing could brighten a person’s day more than to have her run and greet them with a jubilant, “Hiya!”.  She is really the most darling, funny, determined, sweet, giggly, smart, cheerful, strong, utterly fearless, beautiful, little creature that anyone could ever hope to know.  Our hearts are so full.



Mairi Rose: With her eager little gap-toothed smile she the very portrait of a true 1st grader!

Seraphina: She really is the silliest of girls sometimes!

We’ve had a damp and chilly weekend here and I’ve found myself sick, yet again.  Thankfully it’s just a cold this time.  For those who are keeping score; since the beginning of June, that’s 2 colds, 2 infections (totally unrelated to the colds), some strange virus I can’t remember the name of that turned the skin on my torso into flesh toned leopard print, and of course Lyme Disease.  That’s without counting other debilitating things like the pinched nerve and so forth. fun, fun.

We made apple butter, roasted tomatoes, tilapia chowder and many pots of tea.  I cast on for Mairi’s birthday sweater (dress actually).  My long lost, missing, size 6 curricular needles finally showed up in a hat Iain had been working on.  The dress yarn is bright and cheery and I’m greatly enjoying watching it knit up into neat little gathers.

About the tilapia chowder!  I keep meaning to update that recipe… It’s delicious the way I posted it, but if you really want to make it into something amazingly special, replace the water with broth, make sure to include yams, don’t skip or skimp on the dulse or tarragon and use a really creamy canned coconut milk like this one for the last part.


a holzhausen (and 35/52)

“Every man looks upon his woodpile with a sort of affection.” ~Henry David Thoreau

In this case I think it’s understandable, this one is a beauty with a lot of charm – you know, for a wood pile!  Once our regular wood storage was full Steve decided to get a bit creative with the over-flow and, along with Iain and Elijah, spent a portion of last week building a holzhausen.  This is an old-fashioned, European, beehive shaped stack- practical for a number of reasons, but artful as well.

Later in the week we were entertaining house guests from out of state; old friends that we cherish dearly, but scarcely get to see.


32/52, 33/52, 34/52

Some how there were very few pictures of Galen the last several weeks?  It happens that way sometimes, where one child isn’t represented for a while.  At other times there will be a ridiculous surplus of photos of that very same child (see the post below!).

Some highlights: A tree fort in progress, late season sheering, a first tooth lost, berry picking in her new favorite hat, the joy of a new play space, and a tiny girl who continues to climb into or onto everything she can find.

Mastitis is the ailment of the week.  It’s just been a constant barrage since the beginning of June. I’m starting to have serious concerns about the abilities of my immune system.

I’ve been watching talks given by Shefali Tsabary on YouTube.  There is great strength there.  I plan on checking our library for her books.

I wanted to thank all of the people who have commented on this post.  I was truly touched by your observations and kind words.  These days, for the most part, there are only a few people who comment regularly here.  Sometimes I feel like I’m mostly just talking out loud to myself.  It was nice to be reminded that there are other people out there, busy people like me, who don’t always have the time or the desire to make their presence known, but who none the less, are still appreciative of this space.