Sunday, September 28, 2014

39/52 Moss Maidens

"A portrait of my girls once a week, every week in 2014"
 Elsa: a little sick in this photo, but taking comfort in the soft bed of moss
Oona: a few toys and moss covered rocks make the best place to play

Friday, September 26, 2014

Garden Journey: Pickling and Plotting

I thought I'd do one last garden post while there's still a few things growing. I know I'm going to be daydreaming a lot about the garden this winter. This was definitely a year I learned a lot, and it will be nice to put what I learned into practice come next Spring, and this Fall as I prepare the garden for sleep with lots of food for the soil and blankets of leaves and hay. I'm hoping to double or triple the amount of garlic bulbs I put in this year. I had success with what I grew, but the supply is quickly dwindling. I've also started saving more seeds... cucumbers, melons, tomatoes and beans are what I've saved so far.  The sunflower seeds I saved last year did great. That small clump you see in the picture below are the ones I started late. There's another larger clump out of the picture frame that did awesome, but are beginning to fade. I love giant sunflowers, and the seeds we don't eat or save this year will make a nice treat for the birds and the chipmunks.

Miss Elsa is still my most dedicated little garden fairy. I love that she pays attention to the things that Mama picks, and those are the things that she picks too... handfuls of lettuce and kale are frequently handed to me... and often tomatoes, though I wish she didn't have a preference for the green ones. Next year their will definitely be a tiny garden just for the girls. I think cukes and carrots and flowers will be the main ingredients, for those are the things they love most in the garden.

 I gathered up what might be the last of the cukes and the summer squash. Some of those little yellow balls in the basket are actually lemon cucumbers... they are quite adorable, but didn't start producing until much later than the other variety I grew, so I'll probably skip them next year.

We have a jungle of nasturtiums still. This was my first time growing them and I had no idea they'd spread out as much as they have. It's nice to be able to pick flowers without worrying if you're taking too many. I think I'm going to try drying some to decorate, and I will definitely grow more next year.
I need to sit down and write up a garden report card, so I know what did miserably, what did well, and what was a huge waste of time. I also want to make some sketches of the current garden so I can rotate everything properly next year.

For now, the most pressing things are to get my cukes pickled and do something with all the wild apples we harvested from nearby. This recipe for chilled cucumber soup was delicious. I do love the garden, but it's also nice to live in a climate where the weather permits us to go inside and take a rest from it for a while.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Happy Autumn!

Welcome Autumn (or Spring if you're on the other side of the world)! I am already day dreaming about pumpkin cheesecake... pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin spiced coffee... pumpkin ice cream... pumpkin patches... pumpkin everything... curse you Pinterest and blog land! Ooo, and a bit of apple cider would be nice too... hmmm... and apple cider doughnuts!

I know I say it every year, but I love Fall! It is the season I feel most at home in. Every time we get in the car it's like a wizards magic has covered the land. The mountains are decorated in their rainbow splendor, and if I didn't have things to do and little people to keep out of trouble, I'd just lay on a picnic blanket outside all day long, reading books and staring up at the trees munching on tasty Fall apples (honey crisps are my new favorite). 

We celebrated the start of the season yesterday by racking leaves and playing in the yard, and doing just a little bit of that lying on a picnic blanket business. I added more touches of Autumn about the house and harvested a bunch more from the garden. Today I am beginning a massive Fall cleaning and clean out! This means windows are getting washed, spiders are being evicted, junk is being thrown into a box to be driven away and never seen again... it feels good, but there is still so much to do (always so much to do). I think a good Fall cleaning is even more important than a Spring one, especially in the colder climate where we live because I know pretty soon we will be spending a lot more time indoors.

We've already found ourselves knee deep in the cold season... as in... cough cough... hachuu! I am trying every witchy medicine I can think of, but getting better has been slow going. That's another reason I need to clean house... I need to evict all the nasty germs as well. Anyone have any great natural cold/ sore throat remedies or good posts on the subject? This was an interesting post I found on healing remedies. I'm going to try the onion suggestion (placing cut open onions punctured w/ holes in bedrooms and living areas to absorb bacteria) as well as some of their other suggestions I haven't yet tried.

Anyways, it's time to put dinner on the table, so I need to get to work. It's soup season! Hurray for that! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

38/52 Pure Vermont

Oona: While sometimes it scares me, I also love the endless confidence of my almost four year old!
Elsa: Clearly, a marketing ploy as a cute baby can sell anything... though I'm pretty sure maple syrup sells itself...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Smashing Flowers

 I've been wanting to try this hammered flower technique since I saw it on the Edible Garden back in the Spring. You place the flowers under paper or cloth (white is ideal)... I used a natural colored muslin so we could use it to make something. It's probably better if you tape them in place. We did NOT, and there's definitely an abstract vibe. I put a laminate place mat face down underneath to protect the table (the back of mat might have got a little stained), but you can also use newspaper. Position the flower underneath and hammer away! I think I need to experiment a little more with which flowers work best. Our flowers were also wet from the rain so that might have caused them to smudge a bit more.

Here's a link for more detailed instructions about hammering flowers.

 While I wasn't quite ready to hand Elsa the hammer, she loved playing with the debris... it would make a lovely fairy potion, no?

While we collected flowers for our experiment, we also gathered a new bouquet for the table and a tiny one for the hall. It will be sad when there's no more fresh flowers just waiting out the door for us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Star Babies

Sleepy Time Spearmint and Flax Seed Stars

Baby stars are slow to birth. I made six new little stars... two still to be stuffed (I ran out of flax seed) and one that was given as a birthday gift for a beautiful star girl. My big girl just "burrowed" the red one to take to bed... never mind that she already has a blue one. When you're child says they really want to snuggle something, it's hard not to oblige. The little hands in the photo above are my littlest one... perhaps another star will have to disappear for her.

I'm keeping busy with simple crafts these days, using my preschool time as wisely as I can... though some days that time is shorter than others. Despite the silly things in the craft room, I feel quite wary lately, with sad news in the family, and just the day to day stresses that burden most of us. Not enough hours in the day, not enough hours in this life... but indeed, you must pull weeds while the grass is wet or you'll never get through it all.

Time for sleep... I will comfort myself with this thought... we are all made of bits of broken stars.

Joining in again with KCCO over at Frontier Dreams. Have a project? You can too!

Monday, September 15, 2014

On the Cutting Block

Suddenly it is so cold I find myself digging for mittens, knitted blankets, bulky sweaters, and for the first time, a bit too early to be sure, we light a fire in our little house by the roadside. Wasn't it summer just yesterday? Isn't it still, technically, summer? Hohum. But secretly, I love it... an excuse to bundle up tight and cook some hot cocoa with cinnamon and chili pepper on the stove, yes please! And while I am enjoying the sun in the day, I am also starting to draw inward a bit... cutting fabric, sitting at the sewing machine, even picking up pencil and paper again. With the cold winds blowing, I know there will be far too many things I want to do, and far too little daylight, but I'm trying not to get too far ahead of myself. One stitch, one line, one more cup of cocoa at a time!

And already, thoughts creep in of the holiday season. It's a vicious cycle... this desire to make everything. Handmade gifts do indeed require a bit of forethought. And I'm also working on a few things for an Etsy shop update... very soon, with any luck.