Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Chicken Coop

for many years we used this former children's play house that we found for free on the side of the road nearby where we lived in Massachusetts (that was 7 years ago)

Having to stoop over to clean it, put in the food and water and gather the eggs made it rather difficult and uncomfortable.

Mike built an attachment on to the small rustic barn that was here when we bought our property.  He used hemlock from our homestead and rough sawed lumber from a small mill down the road

They have a much larger fenced in area to romp.

But what I love most is that I can stand upright and walk around the inside coop!  
Who would have thought it would be exciting to be able to scrape the poop into a bucket with a hoe - - - gather the eggs with out banging my head - - - and the chickens have lots more space.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lessons Learned Camping

Bring many extra changes of clothes because tent sites don't have grass - crawling 10 month olds get dirty fast!

Time goes slowly so you really get to savor the moments.  There is no need to rush anything.

Bring jugs of water from home so you don't have to buy drinking water.

If you don't like your assigned camp site, take a walk and request one that you works for your family.  After finding a tiny postage stamp set on a hill assigned to our family, Sarah and i quickly walked around the other sites and found a perfect one - set apart with a small field and all wood behind us.  

Research the campground as well as you possibly can.  We were under the impression from the website pictures that the campground was set right on a lake.  Unfortunately, we had to cross a very busy road to get to the small beach and you could hear said road all night.

Bring tarps to make covers over the tents and a waterproof canopy over your table and food preparation area.  If it rains, which it did, you have to pack it up and head home.  We were sorry that we only had one night instead of the three we had planned and our time was cut short to spend with my mom and step-father.   

During our short time, though, Abby and Isaac had a bike ride on a bike path with "Nana and Grumps", we went to a farmers' market, enjoyed ice cream and swimming and many other moments together.

Hope you also had a weekend filled with special moments.
Warm wishes,

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Lots of dicing, cutting, blending, cooking and baking going on here. 

Lots of list making, packing, piling, and preparing going on here.

We are getting ready to go camping!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Knitting and Vintage Children's Books

Joining in with Ginny of Small Things today because knitting and reading are two of my favorite things to do as well!

I am still working on the child's vest and making up the pattern as I go along, using our hand dyed yarn.

These books are the ones I am reading to the younger children - a chapter of Peter Pan in the morning and a chapter of Copper-Toed Boots in the evening.  The copy of Peter Pan is one I have had since I was a child and I found the other book at a thrift shop.  
Copper-Toed Boots has been an enjoyable read about a boy and his life in the early nineteen hundreds I would say.  I love how so much of their life is a reflection of the seasons.

I have finished the Duggar book and am looking for something new to read in between the homeschool planning.

What are you reading and/or knitting?

Warm wishes,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Keep Calm and Craft On

I thought I would join in with Nicole of Frontier Dreams today to share a little project I have been working on.

The girls and I hand painted wool yarn a couple of weeks ago and I especially liked how Sarah's turned out - she calls it Earth and hand painted it with soft greens, blues and browns and left some natural for snow, she told me.

So I crocheted up two bags and a little woolen bowl - all out of her one skein.

Warm wishes,

Monday, July 23, 2012

Simple Joys

Just simple objects such as a basket of wheels we use to make our birch play cars for our business....

Rolling a wheel to her, she squeals in delight.

Dropping a wheel into the basket, her smile is infectious.  I sing a clean up song to her.

Hitting the wheels together produces a wonderful clanging sound.

 Excitement fills her whole body when I imitate her and join in.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Garden Vegetables

The other day while a friend visited and we walked around outside, I let Sarah and Abraham know that we would be having a veggie stir fry with scrambled eggs for dinner and would they like to gather the vegetables.  Abraham went and brought over his Tonka dump truck and he and Sarah proceeded to gather our dinner - zucchini, onions, carrots, pepper, thyme, oregano, and basil.
Sarah and our friend then chopped up all of the vegetables and added them to some olive oil in our cast iron pan - a bit of salt and pepper finished it off.

With carrots ready to be harvested from the garden, I was happy to come across this recipe in Yankee Magazine - 
It actually comes from the chef at nearby Sterling College in Craftsbury.

Herbed Carrot Salad

1 large clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 T. apple cider vinegar
3 T. lemon juice
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
3 cups shredded carrots
2 T. fresh chopped mint
1 1/2 T. fresh chopped parsley
1 1/2 T. fresh chopped dill
freshly ground pepper to taste

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Listening to a Calling

Joining again this week with Ginny and so many others to share about what I am knitting and reading.

With the celebration this past weekend, I didn't get too much knitting done.  I am still working on the back of the vest and I have started another pair of socks for Emmy - these in a not natural but probably strong yarn that is a nylon/acrylic blend that was given to me.

As far as reading, I have a confession to make.  I resisted reading about the Duggar family because I thought that I would find little in common with them since they had a fairly high income and put their family "out there" via the television program (which I have never seen since we don't have television or high speed internet).   Then I read that some of my favorite bloggers have been enjoying their newest book - A Love that Multiplies.  Well, maybe they did have something to share that  I could learn.

I was so wrong in my presumptions!
 I have asked God for forgiveness for judging and for being hypocritical.  Don't I also "put my family out there" as well by sharing on this blog?  Who am I to judge their choices of being filmed for a program.  They put their faith right out there for all to see.  Perhaps many thousands people have learnined about the Christian faith and even accepted Jesus as their savior through their programs and books.  

The Duggars (as far as I can tell from their book) live their faith.   They also put God first and family second. Family comes before activites, personal interests, even an organized church.  This is what binds them.  

This is also what has been our family's goal in living a family centered life.  We believe the family should spend the majority of their time as a unit, learning, loving and working together - that this is the foundation from which a child learns about our faith (more important than even the church), our standards, the importance of working things out, of helping one another and finding joy through the ordinary days we call life.  

When the Duggars last baby (I think it was their last - not sure if she has had another since the book) was born very prematurely and had to remain in the hospital for about six months, the Duggars found a house to rent near the hospital as they lived two hours away.  It was very important for them to keep the family together.

The Duggars also put serving others as a priority using Jesus as the example.  This is something that God has put on my heart for the last several months.   Our family serves from time to time, doing obvious things such as helping our neighbors or giving when we are asked but not to the point of sacrificial giving.  I have felt God calling me to start a food distribution and thrift shop at our small rural church and have shared this with some others but have not taken the next steps.   To me a Christian church's number one mission should be serving - and the obvious first step would be serving the needy in the community where the church is located. 

How are others going to "see" God's love without action?  As a chuch, we are not doing what we are called to do if we just serve one another (yes, this is important as well but there is so much more to done).   I just see so many churches (ours included - I have always been a bit resistant to institutionalization) caught up in their own activities, Bible studies, youth groups, sports tournaments, etc..   but have been left wondering -  how are we serving?
Well, I know I am not to wait and let others do it - if I feel God calling, I must answer.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Full of Gratitude

for creative children

more blueberries than last year on our now three year old bushes

for family and friends that came to celebrate on Saturday

that a bucket of water on the floor beside me on a hot evening can keep Emmy occupied while I do the dishes

for the rain this morning!!!

for my parents that have Abby with them these two weeks - for swimming, ice cream, & a weekend trip to Niagra Falls

for all the blessings from you - my blog readers -  that encourage, share, and leave supportive comments - thank you.

What are you thankful for this morning?
Warm wishes,

Monday, July 16, 2012

On Friday we spent most of the day getting ready for Saturday.

On Saturday friends and family gathered to celebrate Thomas' transition from home learning to attending college full time this fall.

We know God has had his hand in the whole process as Thomas worked through much  anxiety and frustration this past spring as he applied to colleges and then wondered if college was even the right path for him.   I know how hard discernment can be for me at age 42, never mind for an 18 year old.

In the end, the college just a 45 minute drive away from home, with an excellent theater program, offered him a wonderful financial package including some scholarships, grants, and loans.  Then just two weeks later he received another letter notifying Thomas that he had received a Vermont Success Scholarship for $4,000 which is renewable for all four years if he maintains a 3.0 average.  Now he will only have a very small student loan.  

Transitioning from our family, home learning, and the very secure, small rural area we live to a small college in a small town just seems perfect for right now.   

Friday, July 13, 2012

This Moment

Joining Soulemama today in.....
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. ~Amanda Soule

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Knitting and Reading

First socks knit on double pointed needles - I feel much more confident about this now.
Dear husband, Mike tells me he would love a pair of hand knit socks  lovingly knit by his wife  - what do you recommend in a sock yarn that will hold up to lots of wear - a wool/? combo...

Using some more wool yarn I hand dyed - one in painted yellows and moss greens and the other kettle dyed in yellow to coordinate.

The vest is a very simple pattern that I am making up as I go along.  Pictured is the front and I now have the back cast on.  The size will be about a 4T.

And, after passing by the Into the Wilderness series at the library for a couple of months, I decided to pick up book 2.  It has drawn me in already - there is just something about her writing that keeps me reading and not wanting to stop - usually, however, sleep calls me long before I am ready to put it down.

Looking forward to all of the sharing today with Ginny at Small Things for the Yarn Along.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Stuffing from Nature

Isaac gathered the heads of many cattails.

Taking the brown part of the cattail, he held it against the tire (mountain bike tires work best, he tells me) and this makes all of cattail's fluff - well, fluffy.

He then collected all of the fluff and stuffed it into a pillow he had hand sewn.

This was all his own initiative and idea - I think it is pretty neat!

Monday, July 9, 2012


I recently treated myself to the new book, Reinvention by the wonderfully sweet, creative and oh so talented Maya.   She included a hand stamped lavender sachet and hand stamped little book ( she hand carved the stamps) and a little hand note of appreciation inside the book.

I have enjoyed her blog for several years.  One of the aspects of her creating that I appreciate is how she uses what is available instead of buying new materials, to make useful and beautiful things.  

This satchel is one of the projects from her book.  I used materials on hand - some linen and batting from a big box of supplies a neighbor passed on to me and some cotton patterned fabric I had purchased years ago.

I love how simple it was to sew up and plan to make some in different sizes using old jeans and other cast offs I have in my stash.

Then just a few days later our neighbor called to see if we wanted a large bag of stuffing as they are cleaning up their attic in preparation for moving.
Well, yes I answered.  Not knowing how large the bag was going to be.  
Now, though, I can use it to make some of the "poufs" in Reinvention.