Monthly Archives: November 2012
I am quite certain I will never tire of Christmases in this beloved little cabin. The fire heats the entire original cabin portion of our house without much effort and the newer part, where our kitchen and main bath lives, is heated by baking, cooking and bubble baths only. We are seeing just how long we can go without turning on our propane furnace. We find ourselves in front of the fire most often. The chairs we inherited from my grandmother have become worn with constant love and use. We wake in the dark hours to light the fire and start the coffee. We ease into our days. Sometimes we are alone, but often Silas wakes in good humour and amuses us with his antics. The spell is broken when Mike hops in the shower and I begin to iron his work clothes.
This will be our second Christmas in this house and it is in Winter that I fall more in love with her. We made the short journey into our woods to pick out our Christmas tree. It is always a bittersweet moment for me. Felling a tree is no different to me than killing one of our chickens. When we find the perfect one, we are always certain to say thank you and I can’t help but tear up a little. This year’s was in a small cluster and I like to think the others around her will do better with less crowding, but I really don’t know. To make me feel better, Mike tells me that it must be the highest honour for a tree to be chosen as a Christmas tree. I wonder if it is up there with being a tree fort, holding a swing, or being known as the best climbing tree. It is noble and important work.
We brought her in, turned on Elf and began to decorate her simply with orange slices, cinnamon stars, and sentimental ornaments first. This year I put it in an oversized basket and love it so much more than the ugly tree stand that is always uncovered by children and cats alike. We may have been a little hasty as it must last 4 weeks, but we so love the gentle glow a Christmas tree casts. I could hardly wait ’till night to fall so I could run outside and look into the large windows. Twinkle lights and tufts of smoke coming from the chimney. The kids laughing and pressing the noses against the window wondering what their crazy mama was doing out in the snow.
Yes, I am fairly certain I will never tire of this; all of this.
go gently + be wonderful
I know I shouldn’t let it happen, but this guy has found his way into my heart.
He is one of the 14 Gold Laced Wyandotte chicks we bought from Andrew and Kira in June. We ended up with 5 hens and 9 roosters plus our original six barred rocks. About a month or two ago we found one of the Barred Rocks dead under the roost for no apparent reason. Then in the past couple weeks we have had some sort of hawk preying on our free range flock. He (or she) was sitting on the woodpile one morning and we lost our first rooster the same day. It doesn’t eat too far away because the dogs, who stay fairly close to the house, found the picked apart carcass and brought it back to us.
The most recent loss was on Monday. The kids and I went out to play in the fresh snow and I noticed the chickens were quite spooked and still hiding. One Barred Rock was under the cedar and she screamed as the dogs playfully chased her. I caught her and she stopped squawking, burrowed into the crook of my arm and closed her eyes. She was alive, but terribly frightened so I placed her in the coop with Bumblefoot (long story short – she had Bumblefoot in the summer, but after we preformed a wee surgery she healed up. For some reason in the last couple of weeks the others pecked her neck raw so she has been taking refuge in the coop until she heals) and they snuggled up together in the cat carrier (also known as the nesting box which is currently out of use as the old girls molt and the young girls mature). I could only count 4 Barred Rocks and Mike was able to confirm the loss was in fact Goose (She came with the name, but she was easy to pick out as she had a missing talon on her middle toe) when the dogs once again brought back the carcass.
All this to tell you that this silly, fearless, ginger headed rooster (whom I have named The Hoff) has stolen my heart. He is always the first one to come when I offer up kitchen scraps and the most stubborn one who jumps into the feed container at feeding time. His “mane” is a brilliant orange unlike any of the others and he likes to ruffle it up often which always makes me think of a slow motion hair flip reminicent of Baywatch (hence the name). He is fearless, but not aggressive. Usually they nearly knock me over in the mornings when I open the coop, but since the latest brutal attack they have been a bit hestitant to go outside. I will often find The Hoff sitting on the smaller roost with Bumblefoot, the spooked chicken, and one of the other Wyandotte hens. I can tell he has a tender heart and is kind to his ladies.
The time to process our chickens is drawing near. The original plan was to process all the roosters and just keep the heans, but we will now attempt to keep this kind and curious gentleman (and hope that he stays just so without the others to keep him in line) and hope he keeps the “cockadoodledoos” to a minimum.
My heart is heavy at the thought of killing and eating our chickens, but I know they have had a much more natural and happy life than any chicken we would ever find in the grocery store. I know it will be harder, but maybe it should be harder, especially if it means I have a more grateful heart.
go gently + be wonderful
In September, our homeschooling connections got organized and began weekly meet-ups each Tuesday. It just so happened that our first meet-up fell on the first day of school and we were able to make it. We went to the fabulous home studio of Artech Glass Blowing (seriously fantastic Christmas gifts by the way). The kids played, the adults planned and chatted, we all went for a walk in the rain to learn about what we found along the creek with Corina (Owner of Deep Roots Team Building) and then ate a healthy potluck lunch before heading home again. I still had the daycare family each Tuesday so we were unable to make it out to the weekly gatherings since then. Now that daycare has ended, we have been able to join them once again
Last week we visited Gaia Farmhouse Retreat where we learned about the birth of the Universe. Some of the activities are a little too structured for my little ones, but it was a great place and they enjoyed the re-enactment, the drums and shakers, the drawing and, best of all, running through the Labyrinth with the other kids.
I thought we were going to have to miss this week’s idyllic meet up at the home of Kira and Andrew due to me not being able to get the car. I thought we were stuck, but Andrew and Kira were so kind to make the drive out to pick the kids and I up and then drop us off at home at the end of the day. Thanks to them we were able to enjoy a day by the fire chatting, eating homemade chicken noodle soup, sweet potato chips, warm apple cider, hot cocao and cut fruit. We got out for a walk in the woods to gather dried bits of nature to decorate the juniper wreaths Andrew had crafted while we were out. Two of the moms (with hands of steel) crafted beautiful spruce wreaths while we all chatted and the kids played wildly.
One of the things I love about homeschooling is that our kids will get to interact with children of various ages in so many different settings. Yesterday there were 9 kids ranging in age from about 1.5 to 6. Sometimes the activites require a longer attention span than my two are able to give, but the play time is always appropriate.
It was nearly dark when we got home. I made a simple supper and re-lit the fire while we waited for Mike to arrive home late. Silas and I fell asleep quickly, but even after all the running, fresh air and play, Poppy tossed and turned until after 9pm. I love our days out, but the day after a busy day out is always extra cozy and comforting.
I am so grateful for these wonderful families, this sense of growing community, and our Homeschooling Tuesdays.
Since daycare officially ended a few weeks ago, I find our days have a new rhythm to them; slower; less frantic. The kids have been getting along better and I often find them reading a book together or laughing hysterically at each other’s antics. It’s good.
Yesterday I used the hot glue gun to attach cedar to cardboard wreath templates. As I was explaining the importance of not touching the tip to avoid burning yourself to Poppy, I promptly burnt my thumb. She gasped, kissed it, and asked if I would like a band aid on after a bath. Later I had them sort through the cranberries by placing the mushy ones in a small dish and the good ones in a little pile for me to string onto baker’s twine. I hung it in the kitchen and added the small cedar wreaths to it. I hung more twinkle lights in our bedroom. We rummaged around in the scrap pile for two good pieces of barn board and made a “be merry” sign as well as a “follow joy” sign. I have no idea where I will hang them, but I like them.
Today we went on a hunt in the woods for leathery oak leaves, bits of cedar and spruce, feathers, birch paper, clumps of mossy and lichen, and pine cones to create a festive yet natural advent calendar I am so excited to create. I was on the lookout for small pine and cedar saplings to transplant along our front fence. I had never noticed the numerous saplings who had gathered at the feet of fallen or barren coniferous trees; as though to protect and pay their respects to a fallen elder.
We then released thousands of milkweed seeds into the air. Much like the petals of a peony they remind my of frivolous and whimsical things. Things like star dust and moon beams. Seeds with wings, my goodness, it doesn’t get much better than that. The sky is as pure a blue that ever was or will be and the sun friendly.
Of course Silas still throws down like a boss and Poppy still refuses (I mean refuses) to go on the potty, but I find myself more patient with it all.
Today I woke early and started a crock pot full of pulled pork with a made from scratch sauce. If it tastes half as good as it smells we are in business.
The season of home and hearth is upon us and it is where I am most at ease.
go gently. be wonderful + merry.
No matter how many times I waken to see hoar frost decorating the landscape, I can’t seem to resist the magic as it beckons me outside. It is much like the first warm day of spring; the first crimson leaf spotted; or the first blanket of snow. I had a craft that called for tiny bits of cedar so we bundled up and ventured out into the cool air to gather what we needed. We wandered up into the woods and headed for the pond. It really is the best way to start a day (when my overactive imagination doesn’t think about coyotes and bears that is). The dogs raced back and forth. Soma tends to go just out of view and that come crashing back out onto the path, but I noticed Huck would stop when he would get too far from us and sit looking back at us and in the direction Soma had gone. It seemed like he didn’t want to leave us alone on the path.
We came back to a warm house warmed by fire (we have yet to turn on our propane furnace this season!) and scented with crock pot beef stew. I opened the turquoise trunk that holds our Christmas decorations and began stringing lights around the perimeter of our front room while the kids squealed excitedly, pulling decorations from their safe places, and becoming tangled in tinsel. I wrote “joyeux noel” with a chalk pen on the front window.
The rest of the day will be for making mini wreaths (if only I can find my glue gun), making date squares, and stringing cranberries. Mike will come home to see twinkle lights in the windows and be greeted with warm stew and pastry ready for the table. We will listen to Loreena Mckennitt’s Christmas music (and ,very likely, Silas’ post nap/ no nap tantrum. We will bath the kids and then settle in a night in front of the fire.
Sometimes this life of one income and one car in the country can feel as though it is somehow lacking, but then there are days such as this, when it feels so utterly luxurious.
go gently + be wonderful
Yesterday was a great day for a photo session with sweet family.
P.S. I want her boots 😉
go gently + be wonderful
On a bit bit of a whim, I decided to ask one of my favourite blog sisters (who happens to live a mere 2 hours down the road) if she would be game for some maternity photos. Many of you likely know and read all that Stephanie shares on her blog The Knitty Gritty Homestead and I assure you she is just as wonderful (if not more so) in real life.
We descended upon their house and couldn’t help but feel as though our arrival should have been accompanied by circus music. Out poured two adults, two toddlers, one dog and one giant puppy. Oh my. They were so gracious and easy to spend time with. We feasted on homemade soup, turkey and roasted vegetables.
To be honest, we spent more time chatting, laughing, and child wrangling than taking pictures, but I was able to snap a few keepers of this prettyful mama.
I came away feeling relaxed and grateful for all the special people who have made their way into our lives and hearts through the Wonderful World of Blog.
Since my last post, I have spent a bit of time listening to and reading Danielle LaPorte and Wayne Dyer. I find them inspiring because they give me permission to ask for what I want; do it gently, but without apology; and to resist the constant yearning to please everyone. They remind me that I get to do this my way.
It has occurred to me a number of times over the years that I need constant approval. Phew, that was hard to say out loud. Perhaps all bloggers are a little like this. Perhaps not. But the act of sharing, posting, and linking is all very odd when I think too much about it. Partly, I do it because I enjoy recording the moments of our lives that could otherwise get lost in the folds; partly, I do it to ward off the feeling of isolation and the crazy that comes with being cooped up with 2 (sometimes 4) kids under 4; and, for the last part, I do it because I need to hear “Good job!” “You inspire me!” and, the big one, “You should! It doesn’t seem to matter how many touching emails come my way, I always remember the people who said nothing. When there is silence, I hear “You shouldn’t” or “I don’t have anything nice to say, so I won’t say anything…maybe she’ll get the hint”. I often marvel at other artists’ confidence and wonder if they fight the same twisted battle. I silently admire their work, assuming they hear, often enough, how great their work is. But do they hear their own fears echoing in the quiet like I do?
I won’t please everyone with my pictures. I am quite sure I could always know more about f stops and lighting and photoshop. What I find beautiful or meaningful, others may find silly, pointless, or odd. For a people pleaser, this is complete and utter torture, even though I know it is irrational. I do it in many aspects of my life. I show my softness, but hide the rough edges. Sometimes I wish I could soften those edges instead of hide them, but it is who I am. They are the culmination of my experiences; my battles; my victories; my lessons; my wounds.
This isn’t about getting more compliments or comments; nor is it just about the task of starting and succeeding at my own photography business. It is about declaration; me declaring that I am good enough, qualified, smart enough, and worthy. It is about me realizing I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, artists, warriors, creatives, collectors, writers, farmers, whiskey makers, and risk takers and they are in my corner. It is about me finally turning an attentive ear to the whispers and cheers coming from the shadows of others who are all too familiar with the obnoxious voices who talk nasty to us. It is about taking back what has been stolen by self doubt, reluctance, and incorrect priorities. It is about showing my children what living with sincerity is instead of just talking as though it is a far off dream, only meant for the elite others. It is about being scared of looking foolish, failing and criticism, but doing it anyway. It is about taking all of that hurt and fear and doubt; all of that excitement, anticipation, and brainstorming; and doing good rather than evil.
Launch and learn , Bitches.
P.S. I hearby declare that I will tell those fierce, creative, inspiring, warrior women blazing a path just how wonderful I think they are. Maybe you’d like to join me and break the silent admiration. Let it be known.