Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sometimes a Bucket Just Isn't Big Enough. . .

To wash off all the dirt,
Or to hold all your blessings!

Dear Readers,

We had a lovely weekend here, including a visit from a dear friend of my mother's (Hi, Denice!). My mother taught her children in school twenty years ago (Wow, where did the time go?) in a two-room schoolhouse in rural Idaho. She is an artist, and gifted us with this oil painting while she was here:

Yesterday, we were also surprised by receiving this tribute to Victoria (our baby who died recently) in the mail:

It was sent by my sister-in-law's friend in California (Hi, Rachael!), whose thoughtfulness was truly touching.

A big thank you to both of you, dear friends!

"When good friends walk beside us. . . On the trails that we must keep. . . Our burdens seem less heavy. . . And the hills are not so steep. . . The weary miles pass swiftly. . . Taken in a joyous stride. . . And all the world seems brighter. . . When friends walk by our side. . . " ~Author Unknown

And now, here's the poem we're working on memorizing for October, along with pictures of our plum-pickin' adventure last Friday:

A Little Song of Life

Glad that I live am I;
That the sky is blue;
Glad for the country lanes,
And the fall of dew.

After the sun the rain,
After the rain the sun;
This is the way of life,
Till the work be done.

All that we need to do,
Be we low or high,
Is to see that we grow
Nearer to the sky.

~Lizette Woodworth Reese

While we were in town, we did some thrift store treasure-hunting and found this "You have to be kidding- Only $10?!" dish set (Among other treasures, but no shoes for Audrey!):

And came back all tuckered out!

My mother's friend Denice brought some scarecrows she'd made so that she could take pictures of them and then paint them. The girls had fun dressing them up and then taking pictures of them, too!

"Who you callin' a scarecrow?"

Thanks so much to everyone who visits here, and for the kind comments you leave. The girls (and I!) just love to see themselves being commented on-hopefully they don't get "Big Head Syndrome" from it all!

I'll be doing a giveaway of some fun vintage hats, aprons, and patterns in the next bit, so you can be looking out for that ;)!

"Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." ~Charles Dickens



Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Every child must have a secret place. . .

A secret place where no adult can enter. . . .The secret place will be there and he will be lost in the sheer joy of having something to which he can cling that will not fail him, but is simply there waiting for him when he needs it."
-Clee Shupp

Dear Readers,

Welcome to our "secret place!"

Ours is only a ditch, but I am grateful to have a place for the children to play, where they can be Laura and Mary living in a sod house on the banks of Plum Creek. And besides, the dirt there makes the best mud balls!

And nearby grows a patch of one of our favorite snacks!
And sunflowers you can make "love notes" in!And chickens you can play dress-up with!And when you're done playing, you can go inside and have a birthday tea party for your cat, who's turning four this year!

On a side note, the latest issue of "MaryJane's Farm Magazine" came the other day (never mind the side-ways image!), bringing with it all sorts of ideas for "repurposing" things around the house. My favorites ideas were using high-heeled shoes as shelf brackets:

and painting black ankle boots to look like this:Audrey's shoes, however, I think are beyond repurposing! Which is why we're going in to town for shoe-shopping today!

May your day bring blessed, happy busyness, for you and those you love, and may you find a "secret place" within your heart!

"God's Children"

Although God loves the whole wide world
And blesses every part
I think He has a special place
For children in His heart.
I think He cherishes their smiles
Their eagerness and mirth
And their appreciation of
The wonders of His earth.
I think He listens closely to
Whatever words they say
I think He follows them to school
And watches them at play.
And when they go to bed at night
He probably is there
To see that they have happy dreams
Beneath their tousled hair.
All children in a special way
Belong to God above.
And I am sure He favors them
With everlasting love.

-James. J. Metcalfe

Monday, September 22, 2008

Welcome Fall

Dear Readers,

I hope you are enjoying a beautiful day! I want to thank my sweet husband for the new "autumnal" look, which he put up Saturday.

Today is the official beginning of autumn, and from the looks of the weather, it's here to stay. Hopefully it won't freeze tonight, or I'll be trying to spread covers on the tender plants in the wind (Always makes for something entertaining for the neighbors to watch.).

A katydid and friend on one of the last roses.

Here in Idaho, when Autumn comes, winter is not far behind. Last year it snowed the first weekend of October, and the woolly bear caterpillars are predicting another long, cold winter (Supposedly when they have a narrow orange stripe, or no stripe).

Here is a poem I wrote a few years back for this time of year, and some photos taken a few days ago:

Just a Few Days

Just a few, that's all there is left.

A few days of clear golden skies,
Of naked children in cool water,
Of sun-tanned skin and sun-kissed hair.
Just a few days linger before
woolens replace sandals and bare feet.

Before the warm sun on the back of our necks
is a memory,

As we harvest summer's bounteous pleasures,
then bid them goodbye until next year.

I've been inspired by all my blog friends sharing their illustrated homemaking journals (Thank you, dear ones, for the inspiration!), and have made one of my own (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?). I used a spiral-bound note book, and used lots of pictures from Victorian Trading Company's catalog (and a few others) to decorate it. Here is the cover and some sample pages (For some reason Blogger put some pictures on their sides!):

I started out with organized to-do lists, etc., but am falling fast behind!

Since we are beginning a new season, I thought I'd list some goals we're striving toward here:

1. Knit shawls for girls and me.
2. Make flannel chemises/pantaloons for girls.
3. Plant greens in the greenhouse.
4. Go on an extended cleanse (My poor body has been "through the wringer"!)/rebuild.
5. Have daily tea with the girls (Lots of raspberry to help them ease into puberty!)
6. Simplify, simplify, simplify!
7. Juice, juice, and more juice!
8. Learn how to use my serger and make lots of diapers for Frankie

May you be blessed with renewed vigor as the cooler weather settles in, and blessed with health and strength through the upcoming cold time of year.

Wisdom from "The Complete Home":

"Cousin Ann, tell me how it is that your work never drags or falls behind?"

"Why," says Cousin Ann, "I look ahead and see what is coming, and I keep a little in advance of demand. I don't lose an hour in the morning and expect to make it up in the evening: night is the wrong end of the day to borrow from: work never goes briskly in the after part of the day; in the morning it is cool: we are rested, fresh and strong, and then is the time to get the work out of the way...."



Friday, September 19, 2008

A Time to Sew and a Time to Reap

Dear Readers,

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

~J.R.R. Tolkien

How blessed we are to have you here with us, praying and loving us, wherever you are. It means so much to all of us!

Strawberry "mice" a kind neighbor brought over with a meal.

Autumn is swift approaching, although we've had very summer-like weather lately (for which we are grateful, as the garden would usually be frozen by now).

My mom (who is seventy) came out and helped put up this bamboo fence.

Enjoying a snack of Nanking cherries

I have not been able to do any heavy work, so have turned to the sewing that I could not do very comfortably during my pregnancy. As I was doing the mending, and making aprons for the girls, I was surprised at how healing the process was. Even winding the bobbin was a meditative practise for me, somehow. I was reminded of a section written by Maryjane Butters in her "Ideabook", called "Stitch and Mend". She talks about re-creating a doll that had burned in a house fire. She had made the doll for her daughter several years earlier, and re-stitching the doll was to her "fixing a hole in my heart." It is amazing to me the healing power of doing one's duty, of doing that which is close at hand, of doing the seemingly small things, when we can't do anything "big".

The girls modeling three of the aprons I made.

AnnaMarie and Audrey have been entertaining themselves while I was recuperating by making paper doll families and paper houses, which have become very elaborate. It's amazing what children can come up with when left to be creative. They learned a lot about working on a project together.

Here are pictures of some of the other things we've been busy with lately:

Audrey planted a potato that was sprouting and harvested these beauties!

You never know what is lurking under the earth when you harvest your carrots!

The girls (and Frankie) have been taking over the ironing for me.

What would I do without all my helpers? (Of course the iron was not plugged in at this point!)

While I was in labor, my mother taught AnnaMarie and Tasha how to cast on (Audrey is left-handed, so we're still figuring out how to teach her).

Who says wigs are just for grandmas?

Some of the "fun" that Victoria will get to miss out on:

Ken: "Tasha, will you let Evangeline sit there so she won't be sad?"

Tasha: "Sure, and I'll even take her place on the ground!"Marqueta: "Here, Tasha, come sit on my lap."
Evangeline: "Hey, I want to sit on Mami's lap!"

The girls at the fair, "Where a kid can be a kid."

I'd like to leave you with a quote from one of my favorites, Laura Ingalls Wilder, on "Challenges".

"A difficulty raiseth the spirit of a great man. He hath a mind to wrestle with it and give it a fall. A man's mind must be very low if the difficulty doth not make part of his pleasure." By the test of these words of Lord Halifax, there are a number of great persons in the world today.

After all, what is a difficulty but a direct challenge? "Here I am in your way," it says, "you cannot get around me nor overcome me! I have blocked your path!" Anyone of spirit will accept the challenge and find some way to get around or over or through that obstacle. Yes! And find pleasure in the difficulty for the sheer joy of surmounting it as well as because there has been an opportunity once more to prove one's strenngth and cunning and, by the very use of these qualities, cause an increase of them.

The overcoming of one difficulty makes easier the conquering of the next until finally we are almost invincible. Success actually becomes a habit through the determined overcoming of obstacles as we meet them one by one."

Until next time,