Monday, May 31, 2010

A Farmers' Market and Food Thoughts

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen."

My father and his girlfriend, Sheila, have been visiting this weekend from Massachusetts and it has been a joy to spend time with them and watch our children enjoying their visit and my father's new puppy, Lilly.

Yesterday, Sheila, my two oldest boys, Abby and I went down to Stowe (about a 50 minute drive) because Sheila had never been. Our first stop was the Farmers' Market. Our family had been once before the previous season and knew it to be a good sized one.

Here are some pictures ~

~annual flowers and herbs~

~live music
~our Abby~


I was struck, however, with a feeling of sadness to find there was only one vegetable grower represented among the approximate 30 vendors... just one. Has it become that hard for a small organic vegetable grower to make a living? Is it not even worth it for diversified farmers to grow vegetables along side other products? Or maybe a lot of farms have become CSAs and don't bother attending markets?

It made me just a bit more grateful for our organic vegetable and strawberry farm located right here in our little town and for the hard work of the owners. Yes, the food costs a bit more, but it is grown just four miles from our home, is grown by a family that cares for the land and makes their living from the farm.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Wendell Berry ~
This old sun-based agriculture was fundamentally alien to the industrial economy; industrial corporations could make relatively little profit from it.... [But] as farmers became more and more dependent on fossil fuel energy, a radical change occurred in their minds. Once focused on biology, the life and health of living things, their thinking now began to focus on technology and economics. Credit, for example, became as pressing an issue as the weather."

Warm wishes for a beautiful week,

Friday, May 28, 2010


I have for some time kept an inspiration journal. It is a simple, black, hard covered sketch book. Inside I put pictures, quotes, and more. It is a pleasure to look through it when I need an idea or encouragement.

Recently I have started a wildflower journal. When the children bring me a new wildflower picked from our property, we identity it together with our wildflower book and then I sit and and sketch it and make a note about where it was found, by whom and the date.

This has given me a reason to sketch when in the past it was so easy to make excuses why I had too many other things to do.

It has also encouraged some of the children to sit and draw with me.

Do you keep journal?

Warm wishes,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wash Wednesday

And now there are two ~

~Mike made Sarah and Abraham their own little hemlock clothesline~

~Sarah with her own wicker laundry basket on her way to the clothesline~

~Sarah decided she wanted to finger knit the lines instead of using rope~

As I remove the clean wet clothes from the washing machine, I put the smaller articles into Sarah's basket.

~hanging her clothes~

It is with much joy that we are joining in with Gardenmama as she shares clotheslines from all over the world.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend Gardening and Finds

On my way home from work Saturday, (I work as the librarian at our rural library - it is open just six hours per week), Abby and I stopped at a yard sale and I found the following ~

~hand knit wool felted blanket, hand embroidered handkerchief for Sarah (we don't buy tissues), and small plates and bowls (a pastoral print from England)~

I bought some chamomile and parsley from our local organic farm. One of my goals this year is to dry all of our tea to use throughout the year. No more buying boxes of tea bags. Chamomile is our children's favorite.

Transplanted our tomato plants out to the garden and the luminaria seedlings (money plants).

~transplanted tomato plants with simple supports of cut fencing and stakes~

Lots of weeding and watering. The weather was summer-like this weekend and is suppose to continue through the first half of the coming week.

~the garden is coming along... we even had some little radishes this weekend thanks to Abraham's enthusiastic pulling~

Also, this season we are spending very little money on garden supplies, so until we come across some more fencing (like at a yard sale), we won't be making anymore gardens, so I had one of my teenage sons bring over tires (which the previous owner graciously left us a generous supply of... ) and I put some chicken manure on the bottom of the tire stack...

~chicken manure with stacked tires in the back corner of our yard~

...then added these funny potatoes I found in the corner of our pantry and covered with the beautiful, rich compost that we get from free from a neighbor. My hope is that the tire walls will be high enough to keep the chickens out. This is all an experiment though.

~Sarah and Abraham running towards me with their eggs~

~Yes, she collected her eggs in her Boston Red Sox cap~

How was your weekend?
Warm wishes, Tonya

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Two Years and Almost Four Months, Already....

I know it isn't time for a birthday celebration, but he is growing so fast that I want to post some pictures here of him now. (I do plan to have books made of this blog for each of our children to have someday.) So, every now and then, some pictures just so I don't forget....

~he is enjoying the doll I knit for him~

Warm wishes, Tonya

(Thank you all for your kindness in participating in the quilt of love for Ari... please, there is still plenty of time to knit some squares. You can read more below.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Knitting Project of Love and the Winner

Nicole, from Gardenmama, made a wonderful place, The Wellness Tree, to lift Kelly up in prayer and support when she learned of Kelly's diagnosis. Kelly recently passed on and left her loving husband, Matt, and son, Ari.

I felt moved to help organize a knit quilt that would involve women knitting 6 inch squares and then I will sew them all together to present to Ari. This quilt will be an expression of love and support from a community of women that care. You can read more here.

I will be collecting the squares until June 15th.

Warm wishes, Tonya


The winner of The Waldorf Connection giveaway is Tiff from the Folded Gingham blog.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wash Wednesday

I am joining in this week with Gardenmama to show our new clothesline. There wasn't one on our little homestead when we moved here last July.

Mike used hemlock from our woods to make it and I am excited to be hanging my clothes outside instead of inside now that the weather is nice. The smell of clothes that have been hung out to dry is amazing and the sunshine actually works as a stain remover.

Hanging clothes to dry instead of using a dryer that uses electricity is one simple way to help our earth.

Warm wishes, Tonya

(*Don't forget about the giveaway from The Waldorf Connection below*)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Waldorf Inspired Homeschool Expo Giveaway

Donna from The Waldorf Connection approached me about spreading the word about her upcoming Waldorf Homeschool Expo by offering a very generous giveaway. I was honored by the request and am happy to share a little more about Waldorf inspired home learning with all of you.

Our family uses a Waldorf approach to education and our home environment, especially in the children's younger years. For our family that has meant surrounding them by toys and materials of natural fibers, not having television or computer games, using the gentle learning approach by not introducing academics too early, teaching handwork, and using main lessons and incorporating beauty and art into them as much as possible.

Here is my interview with Donna. I have added my own photos throughout the interview.

Tell our readers what Waldorf is and what creating a Waldorf inspired home and/or home school might look like.

Waldorf Education was started in the early 20th century by Rudolf Steiner, though today, it is one of the fastest growing forms of private education. Waldorf is education for the whole child. There are so many opportunities to let your child unfold into herself, rather than force academics according to a schedule. It is a very nature-based, rhythmic, and creative approach to learning. What I have learned is that is no one “way” to bring this information to your child, but many options depending on the teacher/parent. Most Waldorf-inspired home schools use natural wooden toys, organic wool felt, quality art supplies, and beautiful materials to have available where the child may use them. Play silks and a nature table are frequently found in the schooling area, and there are no text books.

~play silks on a branch hook rack~

~handwork using a drop spindle~

What inspired you to start The Waldorf Connection?

When I found the Waldorf method 4 years ago, I knew it was what I wanted for my family. Slowly I added things to our household, whether it be a wooden toy, set of colorful play silks, or high quality paints & brushes. I gathered as much information as I could find through books and online websites. I had so many questions and wanted specific things explained. Wet-on-wet painting was such an issue with me, that for 2 years I didn’t even try it! I kept wondering, “Was I doing this right?” I couldn’t be the only one wanting more! So, that was how The Waldorf Connection began. I hosted a few workshops last fall and had such an overwhelming response, I decided to keep going!

~a page from our children's form drawing main lesson book~

What does The Waldorf Connection offer? and please share about the upcoming Expo.

I created the Waldorf Connection to be exactly that- a place where homeschooling families can connect to teachers and experts in the Waldorf field. My goal- to bring concrete information to help parents understand the Waldorf concepts and to support the family-run Waldorf entrepreneurs.

The Homeschool Expo was designed after a regular Homeschool expo, but online. I am hosting 15+ workshops on planning, grade overviews, parenting, rhythm, multiple-age homeschooling, rites of passage, music and more! Are you wondering which curriculum to choose for next year? Come listen to your favorite speaker and see what they offer before you buy. Peruse our Vendor Room with online store displaying their books, supplies, curriculums, toys, etc. Registration and all workshops are *free*. Just sign-up at

Thank you for offering this wonderful giveaway. Please describe what you are offering to the winner of the drawing.

I will giveaway an entire set of the Expo Workshops on MP3. (value $57) You can listen to the workshops again and again, download to your Ipod or burn to CD. An excellent resource to keep for the future, as your children grow.

Thank you for this offer Donna.

Our family will also be offering the winner this wonderful waldorf inspired book - Feasts, Festivals and Food - this is a resource for exploring festivals throughout the year and is filled with recipes, crafts, games, stories, poems and songs. There is also a section on birthdays, teatimes, and rainy days.

Please leave a comment to be entered and if you blog or share it on one of your social networking sites, just leave another comment letting me know and you will be entered again.

The drawing will be Thursday evening at 7:00 pm.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Winner Is....

Rose from the blog, Goodwife Rose.
I will get the ribbon runners right in the mail to you.

Thanks to everyone for leaving a comment. It was wonderful to read all the kind words.


Just wanted to share a picture this morning of our chives nearly ready to bloom next to some violas. It was wonderful to have some chives on our salad from our local organic farm over the weekend. About two more weeks until our own lettuce is ready for picking.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thankful Today for....

....lots of baking done....

...the thoughtfulness and kindness from my sixteen year old son...

...Abraham's sweet blond unruly hair.....

...the beautiful apple blossoms in bloom....

Warm wishes, Tonya
(Don't forget to leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing on Sunday evening for two ribbon runners.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New from our Handwork Shop and a Giveaway

We have created a new toy - a birch branch ribbon runner and would like to share two of these with one of our blog readers. Children love to run with these watching the ribbons flow in the wind behind them. When not in use they look lovely hung on a wall.

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment and I will choose a number randomly. The drawing will be Sunday evening at 7:00 pm EST.

~Abraham "helping" Mike drills holes in our ribbon runners.~

Warm wishes,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our Chickens

One of our homesteading goals was and continues to be to keep chickens for our eggs as well as manure.

We also hoped to have enough surplus to sell a few dozen each week to off set our cost of grain. We thought it would be wonderful if our own egg cost would be zero. Our family uses about 3 - 4dozen each week. I do lots of baking.

This weekend we sold five dozen from our little stand.

Not only would it be a good idea financially, but we would also be able to provide ourselves with healthy beautiful free range eggs.

... so orange ....

Another benefit has been the pleasure of watching the children with our chickens.

... Abraham and Sarah with two girls ~ I am sure they know their names ....

Warm wishes,

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day

Well we woke up to this again...

Which made me extra thankful my family had given me these.....

We don't have any big plans today, I simply am going to make sure to take time to think about my mother and call her to let her know how much I appreciate her. I am also going to make sure I privately tell each of my children how much I love being their Mom.
Here is a poem from a small book that a friend loaned to me on Friday. The book is titled Good Mother, Welcome and it is by Ingrid Goff-Maidoff.
As mothers
we pray
for a world of peace.
We pray for a world of joy.
We pray for the nourishment
and safety of our children.
We pray for wonder, enthusiasm,
goodness and truth,
for compassion, love and kindness...
We pray for discipline.
We pray for maturity.
We pray for courage and strength.

And we give thanks.
The way we live is the way we give thanks.

Our life is a dance of prayer and thanksgiving.

Happy Mothers Day.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Friday, May 7, 2010

Growing, Growing, Growing

Our wood pile is growing....

The radishes and lettuce are growing......

I observed our first tendril on the snap peas.....

Happy Spring Growing.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday Discovering Waldorf Series

Our family is featured today in this wonderful series at The Magic Onions. If you have a moment, please visit and spend a moment exploring all of the amazing tutorials and other posts from the Thursday Discovering Waldorf Series.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crocheted Canning Jar Cover: Tutorial

We use our canning jars to bring water with us whenever we go out. Although we are careful, there has been an occasional broken bottle. Thus, I was inspired to crochet a woolen cover with handle to make it much less likely for breaks to occur and to make them easier to carry around. The wool also absorbs condensation on really hot days.

Here is the pattern for the 1 quart canning jar -

Using a size G crochet hook and worsted weight wool yarn (I like wool because it absorbs the moisture and is easy to work with.)
* Begin with a foundation row of 2 chain stitches. \Skip over the first chain stitch next to the hook and make eight single crochets into the first chain stitch. Slip Stitch in the first chain to finish the round. Place a marker here and at the end of each round. (I just slip a piece of yarn through.) (8 stitches)
Round 1: Make 2 single crochets in each stitch around (increases) - (16 stitches)
Round 2: Single crochet in first stitch, two single crochets in next stitch (increase) - repeat around (24 stitches)
Round 3: Single crochet in first two stitches, two single crochets in next stitch (increase) - repeat around (32 stitches)
Round 4: Single crochet in first three stitches, two single crochets in next stitch (increase) - repeat around (40 stitches)
Continue crocheting around and switch colors as desired until piece measures right before the jar stars narrowing near the top of the jar. Don’t cut off yarn.
To make strap: Turn piece and single crochet across four stitches. Continue back and forth across the four stitches for until strap measures approximately six inches. Make a button hole on next row by single crocheting in first stitch, chain two, skip next two stitches and single crochet in last stitch. Turn and single crochet across all four stitches. Finish off.
Sew button on and you are all set! (I used our handmade birch buttons.)

I am making one for every family member in their requested color combinations.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Little Things

~ robins built a nest in our barn on top of a bicycle tire hanging on the wall...

such beautiful little eggs~
Here is a sweet poem to share on this beautiful Sunday.
The Little Things
by Anne Campbell
It would be a weary world,
God knows,
Without the little things!
The little stem that holds the rose,
The little bird that sings,
The little love that grows and grows,
The little thought that wings!
It would be a dreary world,
God knows,
Without the little things!
The little joys, the little woes
That all our loving brings,
The little prayer at evening's close,
The little hand that clings!
Warm wishes, Tonya