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home again

In other on 04/05/2010 at 12:00 pm

Just returned to our nest and my little one after five days with my honey in San Francisco.
Much to share but today there are matters of the home that need tending.
Back soon!

link love: post and run

In smitten on 04/03/2010 at 4:23 pm

On the run…just wanted to share some good things on my way:

New Life Cakes | Ann

Plastic Jug Easter Basket | Jennifer

Bookmarks | Abby

Board Game Art | Brooke

What are you loving?

one choice at a time

In homesteading, simplifying on 03/29/2010 at 11:02 am


While I feel compelled to share this season of our home with you, I find the act of doing so more than a bit intimidating. Namely because I am sure there will be plenty of occasion for failure, and well, that’s not pretty. But I’ve decided to step out anyway and hope that you’ll be gracious and allow a bit of floundering from time to time as lessons are learned and adjustments are made.

On that first crisp day of Autumn more than two years ago, I brought my weary body and a tiny wriggling bundle home from the hospital and something in me stirred in a way I have yet to articulate. My heart turned toward home. Suddenly the four walls and the creaky floor nestled beneath the oak became a canvas for memories…a binding for the pages of the story of us. We spoke many times in hushed voices over a sleeping babe of simplifying. Of editing our hours and days, months and years to allow space for living. Really living.

We talk and dream about land. We have an imaginary house on rolling green acres. But today, our family home is on a small suburban plot, just outside the city limits. We can throw stones at the neighbor’s houses (we don’t!) and be at the mall in five minutes. And really, we can’t complain. It’s the sort of neighborhood where neighbors call each other by their first names and children sell lemonade and cut flowers at your doorstep. It’s a wonderful place to grow up and for now, it’s where God has us. Still, we dream.

Over the past days and weeks, I’ve been pondering what it is about this imaginary place that enchants me so. And I’ve come to realize that it is not one grand thing, but a smattering of small, simple pleasures that I look forward to sharing with these dear ones entrusted to me. 

Gathering around a lump of dough…

a block of wood…

a fireside…

a table…

a whirring sewing machine…

a plot of freshly turned earth…

Breathing fresh life into the tales entrusted to us by grandfathers and aunts and cousins and passing them on for yet another retelling when we are gone.

The warm earth in our hands and fresh bread on our table.

And then the question comes: Why not now? Right now, on this very (small) plot of land, these things are not beyond reach. But I have to choose them. There is enough sunlight that I can plant beans and harvest squash and cook with herbs from pots in my window. I can stitch summer dresses and sacks. I can feed the birds and start a compost pile. I can catch rain for watering and stir up potions for scrubbing and scouring. And while we’re waiting for that dreamy plot of land I can curl up with words and pictures about chicken coops and the like. Learning. Tucking away.

But today I have time to learn and grow and play in the dirt with this little one at my heels. And as we make small, deliberate choices to simplify and savour, I hope you’ll offer your wisdom in that gentle way I’ve grown to love. And perhaps, one day we’ll look back and see a homestead built one day, one choice, at a time.

Right now I’ve got my nose buried in these…

Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces

p.s. Thank you for all of the WONDERFUL gardening advice. I love it! Keep it coming!!!

handmade writer

In writing on 03/27/2010 at 11:38 am

Bring Yourself - Creative Writing E-courses - click here for more info

Handmade Writer e-course 

Monday, April 12th

Duration: 6 weeks

Led by Amy Spencer

In Amy’s words:
“The Handmade Writer e-course has been inspired by the strength of craft communities and brings a crafty approach to creative writing. I am a writer and also a crafter and I know lots of other people are too. I see similarities between the two creative forms and that’s what this e-course is all about. I will encourage students to gather material from every source imaginable and use the fabric of their lives to tell extraordinary stories.

Rather than focusing on any particular style of writing or for any particular type of writer, this course is about exploring the world and looking for inspiration around you. It is a designed to encourage people to take their writing a bit more seriously and find motivation to fit it into their lives.”

When Amy contacted me about this opportunity, I was excited to share it with you and (full disclosure) by mentioning it here, my name is being entered into a drawing for one free registration, which I will, in turn, be giving away to one of you, if I were fortunate enough to win it.

p.s. Please keep the wonderful gardening advice coming. I’m soaking it up!

if you garden…

In green & growing on 03/26/2010 at 2:52 pm

I’m afraid this is a dull, selfish, picture-less sort of post but I need to tap into your collective wisdom. I’m just beginning my first balcony vegetable/flower garden in containers and I have some questions. I’m looking for pesticide-free, organic or natural solutions to many of these problems. Would you mind lending an ear?

1. BEES: I do not want to kill these honey bees and wasps, just keep them from running us indoors. By mid-morning they’re swarming furiously. I’ve planted garlic plants because that’s suppose to repel them. We’ll see…

2. COMPOSTING: I’d like to begin small and simple. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

3. STORING SEEDS: How do you do it?

4. ALREADY PLANTED: I’m growing cherry tomatoes, bush beans, banana peppers, and strawberries. Any tips would be much appreciated!

5. WOULD LIKE TO PLANT: summer squash, carrots, spinach (I’ve seen conflicting info on the best times to plant these if you’re starting from seed. Any suggestions?

6. PESTICIDE: What do you use to get rid of ants in your yard? Pests on your organic veggies/fruits?

7. If you have ANY other tips or advice, I’m all ears? I’m completely new to this and will gladly accept all the advice I can get. If you have a favorite gardening blog or website that I should check out, let me know about that too.

Thanks so much!!! I can’t wait to read your tips!

this moment

In 30 days of beauty on 03/26/2010 at 12:00 pm

 

joining the Friday ritual here

p.s. I’m desperately seeking gardening advice today!

simplify your kitchen: two tips

In simplifying on 03/24/2010 at 12:12 pm

 

Perhaps you already implement these in your kitchen, but they were new ones for me and I wanted to share.
 
 Tip #1: Line your refrigerator shelves with tea towels to catch drips and spills.
When they’re soiled, just toss them in the wash. 
 

Tip #2: If you’re having guests for ice cream (or your family just likes to eat a lot of it), as soon as you get home from the market, while it is still soft, scoop balls of ice cream into muffin tins and freeze. Then transfer the frozen balls to a large Ziploc bag for quick and easy serving later.  

  tips via podcast by Donna Otto  

 

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