fibre swap

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbout a month back I received my first package as part of The Fibre Share.  I believe I had as much fun putting together my Vermont-ish package of Icelandic fiber locks and shetland roving for my Australian fiber lover as I did receiving my batch of beautifully hand mixed merino and shimmery white rolags from my friend in England.  She also sent me chocolates, a model of The Big Ben, a sizable bag of bamboo, and drum roll please….  a bag of her neighbors dog hair!!!!  That, I am very, very curious about.

Miles has recently caught the spinning bug and received a new, more balanced drop spindle for christmas this year.  This is a little glimpse of him testing out the old CD spinner…  Nothing makes a crafty mama’s heart glow like a little boy dreaming of what to do with his hand spun!

one month

The kitchen counter has contained bits and pieces of the seasons crafting for over a month now.  It is finally clear and wiped off, leaving only my rolling-pin and a bowl of spices waiting to be made into chai.  Tonight we burn the tree, set the years intentions (better late than never) and move on from the holiday season.  We made so many gifts this year.  There were the little things scattered about such as pencil holders, pj pants, a knitted scarf and brass tinkered ornaments.  And then there were the big-ticket items: hand mixed tea, elecampagne cough syrup, bee balm sore throat elixir, elderberry tincture and syrup, chest rub, and flowery lotion all bundled into a clothesline basket.  A gift to clear away the winter sickies… which we all get right?  I also made two wool flannel hot water bottle covers from some whole flower dying experiment late last summer.

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(If you’re wondering what medicine making looks like with four kids… here is a vision of three of us during the process)

I had plans of heading to my hometown prior to the holidays but I just couldn’t.  To be clear- I wussed out.  The thought of four hours in a car with four children was more than I could bear.  Never mind the packing and unpacking.  And the bathroom stops, and the nursing stops.  And… and… and..

And so, we stayed.  We stayed in the place that has truly turned into the best of homes.  We settled right in, and guess what?  The people came to us!  All the people!  (Minus my sweet girl who just had her first baby… but we get that one of course.)  Our besties came over for Christmas eve feasting, and from then on we were surrounded by those we love most of all.

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On new years we took a drive up the hill to our neighbors across the way (whom I believe we could holler out to and be heard despite the half mile between us, the acoustics of these hills are so interesting), we gorged on delicious homemade pizza fresh out of a newly installed cookstove in a newly constructed shop, peeled off the shingles of a meticulously created gingerbread house because yumm, then stood around a bonfire so large Jasper was heard repeating the phrase “oh me gosh” dozens of times from his perch atop daddy’s shoulders. After the babies and I left, the snowball fight that went down sounds like the only way to truly bring in a new year.

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I don’t know how it has been a month since I last found time to sit here and record our days, but the truth is sometimes I struggle to make time to drink water, so I suppose that is the way it is.  Life is moving at a breakneck speed.  No longer can I agree with the age old  parenthood phrase, “The days are long but the years are short”.  It all feels fast lately.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t save time to give thanks.  In fact that is what we spend most of our time doing.  Be it a blessing at a meal, a deep breath of gratitude or a simple note, it feel so good to notice it.  Our thank you notes actually turned out to be fairly elaborate this year, and I for one am not sorry about it.  I broke out my childhood favorite: The embossing gun.  Oh wow, that is all I can say.

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And that is how things have been lately.  Full of chaos and gratitude.  And a whole lot of love. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

snow birds

When venturing out into the world to chop down our tree, of course, of course we couldn’t all agree upon just one. This one was so green! But oh this one was so fat! No wait, this one is so cute and tiny! How could we pick just one. Also, they had a nice price tag (free), as the christmas tree farm had decided last year to close and all trees were to be cleared in the near future anyway. So, we chose two! One for the inside and one for the out. Our outside tree has turned into a lovely bird tree filled with little orange cups of seed, peanut butter pinecones, strings of cranberry and popcorn, sliced apples and a few homemade feeders. Winter birding is by far my favorite. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The snow has fallen and feels like it is here to stay this time. It is still slowly coming down, and already two sleds and one ski pole are hidden underneath the white fluff.

A morning walk in the bright sunshine led us to our first winter tracking experience this year. So many little mice, deer, and turkey had sipped from our still running stream and were so fun to spot. Turkey tracks are so big and their gate is so wide they look like ski poles being dipped in the snow. We tracked them for a while through the pasture, seeing their evidence on the tops of brussels sprout plants, and gatherings in wooded areas protected by the wind. A few steps further and our whispering was rewarded. A whole flock of them flew up only a few yards away from us, their armored feathers twinkling against the blinding snow.  My boys sat silently while their breaths puffed warm clouds of amazement into the blue sky.

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Winter is coming and we are more than ready.  

slow like honey

Jasper and I always wake before the sun.  He sits on my knee while I light wee twigs on last nights coals.  He pulls up a stool while I froth my milk good and bubbly for my morning’s latte, and we cuddle on the couch and read about Tractor Mac over and over, wood stove popping and blowing hot air, latte prying open my eyes and little toddler paws wrapped around me.  Life is so sweet at that hour.  When the sun begins to lift the nights curtain,  galloping boys usually trot downstairs promptly plopping themselves at the table bellies grumbling loud enough to be heard from our cozy perch on the couch.  Breakfast one and two are enjoyed thoroughly and the house is quickly booming with life.

I am beginning to find solace in the gift that is four children.  My priorities can only be with them, it is mere survival.  There is no crossing off of the to do list, unless it is in chunks that are manageable enough for many little hands to help with.  And now, with nine long and short weeks behind us as a family of six, we are finally, finally settling into the rhythm of it all.  And by that I mean, understanding that the only rhythm that is necessary to follow is that of the three meals and bedtime with a healthy dose of fresh air and a large chunk of messy crafting as well.

When we move slow like honey, the days taste that way too.  We may fall short of perfection more often than not, but it is working.  And that makes me smile.

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taming the beasts

I have been busy arranging snow clothes by the wood stove, sinking my hands in warm soapy water three times a day-minimum, putting the couch cushions back together (over and over), breaking up fights, teaching those around me to be patient even when I don’t feel so patient myself, feeding medium-sized humans, and nursing tiny ones… I am attempting to tame the beasts.

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Oh but the gratitude.  The gratitude is as thick as the foam on my homogenized milk latte. (Did you know you can’t froth raw milk?  I didn’t until recently… but a little tiny container of store-bought, homogenized milk just for mama’s coffee or tea is quite a lovely treat of the late for ultimate frothy satisfaction.)  That, along with walky talkies that stretch to our best friends house, giving away maple muffins to cheer up us Bernie mourning Vermonters on our hill, snow, little boys who are big enough to put on snow clothes and cross country skis without help (that my friends is a feat I have been waiting for), and of course the next few days with family and friends, are all making up for the tally of hours placing cushions back on the couch (tell me, why do I bother?) as well as the time spent coaxing two-year olds to let me change their diaper.

Sending love and peace to you and yours this holiday.

I leave you with a BLOG POST my friend honed in on that made the holiday feel that much sweeter to me…