Friday, January 22, 2010

great giveaway opportunity!

the herbal roots zine giveaway for this week is over but here's one hosted by little owl arts that is sure to thrill you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

spring is headed our way!

what's in there??? (notice that wide load!)

i'm too big to peek over...what did you see????

a little black lamb...

and his mama staring back at me!

this is peppermints second year of lambing. she had a black lamb last year on the spring equinox. so, having lambs on january 12 threw us for a loop. she had twins, the other black as well, with white markings, but he was born outside in single digit weather and froze to death. if i had known she was going to lamb so early this year, i would have been more watchful. so far, none of the other ewes have shown any sign of lambing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

purging is hard

i spent over 8 hours today purging the kitchen and it doesn't look like i touched it. what is it with us pack rats? why do we feel so compelled to keep everything, collect items, not let go of stuff? is this an american thing or does it span through the continents of wealth and prosperity? where does the root of this lie? what causes us to feel like we need this stuff, that we can't let go or live without it?

even as i packed stuff in boxes to ship off to the thrift shop, my partner was digging through the box, taking items out and running off with them, squirreling them away in his portion of the house and shed. wtf? these were not even items he purchased or wanted!

i am at a loss on how to let go of so much. in my future i hope to scale down to a converted bus/home and looking around my home, i could easily fill 10 buses! how does one make the jump and let go? how does one not only let go of stuff accumulated in their lifetime but sentimental stuff that was given to them by friends and family?!

this recent force of purging activity was brought about by visiting a friend's house. this friend normally comes to our house each week because she lives in town and we live in a semi-rural area where her boys can play and be boys. she also moved here a 2 years ago from new zealand. (she was originally from the midwest). her home is so sparse and simple. even in her cabinets with dishes and food, it is basic and simple. bare necessities of furniture, no piles of paper, receipts, old magazines, mail, etc. it was so nice, clean, refreshing and i was very envious. when i pointed out the sparsity, she said she was sure if she had not moved internationally several times over the past years that she too would have an accumulation but i doubt it would be as bad as my house. she just doesn't accumulate. she doesn't collect, store, hoard. oh to be so free!!

how does one break free from this cycle? i suppose/hope that what i've done today is a step in the right direction. possibly once i make one go around through the house, i can start a 2nd go around and get down to the nitty gritty...

it's especially hard with homeschooling kids. i try to keep around things that i think we can use. crafty things, fabric, etc. plus, trying to live a 'simple' lifestyle causes one to accumulate tools necessary for this simplicity....grain grinders, cherry pitters, foley mill, pressure canners, pasta makers, just to name a few. it's crazy. i was in tears last night thinking about the exhaustion i have over trying to live a simple life and raise my kids the 'right' way. i questioned the simplicity of taking 3 hours to make pasta for a meal (and even though i make extra for further meals, it still takes time). the flip side is buying items premade at the grocery store that are full of preservatives or spending a premium to buy foods that are not.

it is so exhausting and unrewarding (seemingly, to me at the moment) to live this life. i am drained. beaten down. i think if the house burned down today, there's not much i'd miss. but then, when i go to get rid of stuff, i can't let it go. WHY?!!! how does one break this cycle and let go?

one answer is to not visit stores anymore except when necessary. i love thrift shopping but i don't need it. all too often, i don't leave with what i needed but with great finds i just couldn't leave without. agh! it doesn't help that the kids are with me and do the same and i feel guilty...why should i buy myself all these good finds but refuse to let them have some too? that doesn't seem fair.

the good thing is, i want to purge. i want to get rid of crap, i want to let go. i am working on it. i got rid of a lot today and i'm sure i'll get rid of more before it's all done. it's hard to plan for the future when you don't know what to expect but i hope to try to strip it down to basics that will allow the kids freedom to create and learn while giving my mind the sanity of simplicity. looks like i've got my work cut out for me.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

chop wood, heat water

our water heater spazzed out on me the other day so we've been heating water until greg can get to it to check it out. the worst part is baths. no more nice, hot showers to warm us up, instead, we heat water on the stove and then fill the ice cold bath tub upstairs in the arctic zone. brrrr! hopefully today he'll get that fixed.

really though, it has put in to perspective another way to conserve energy and propane. instead of using the hot water from the tap, placing pots of water on top of the wood stove that will naturally heat and put humidity into the air, multitasking at its finest and i'm a sucker for multitasking!

temperatures here have been frigid, in the teens to twenties at best, dropping to single digits at night. i'm grateful we aren't further north as i don't think i could take the negative numbers. we've had snow! several times already which was a pleasant surprise. i like snow even though i don't like cold, go figure.

i've been logging temperatures in my garden journal and reviewed the past 4 years of logging, noting that it has been in the 40's/50's during this time for the past 4 years. my hunch of having a cold winter this year was spot-on it seems.

the cold weather keeps us all inside and the kids are going stir crazy. i've been knitting wash clothes left and right...4 large ones complete and 2 minis. the minis are great for dishes. i did one in cotton and one in wool to compare. i think i like the wool better. i found out a close friend is going to have a baby! this summer so i'm preparing to knit up some sweet elfin baby booties for her next. the pattern i have is for kids sizes so i figure if i use 100% wool i can probably shrink them down enough. if that doesn't work, i'll scale the pattern down. jaden and adelena have been knitting a lot lately too. i'm thinking of taking them to a thursday evening knitting group i think it would be good exposure for both of them! of course, seeing as it is at a yarn store could be hazardous to our budget though.

our wood pile is precariously low and greg goes on a wood run by my dad's house once a week. i really wish we were more prepared than that considering how crazy the weather has been lately. surprisingly, heating the house with only the wood stove and a kerosene heater on the coldest of days, the house is warmer than when we used the boiler. much cheaper too! paying $600 a year for kerosene (plus free wood) is a lot cheaper than $3000 a year on propane to keep the house set at 58! the kids run around naked half the time, it gets so warm in here.

i've started sorting through my seed collection, taking inventory of what i have, giving my apprentice spare seeds that are going to go to waste if someone doesn't grow them. once i've completed inventory, i'll make a list of what i want to grow this year, compare notes and order what i need.

i'm still feeling ambivalent about my life but hoping the spring will renew my energy and hopes. i'm starting a mentorship with kiva rose very soon that i'm excited about. it will be a great diversion. i really wish my old self and spirit would come back. i'm at a loss as to how to come about that. maybe this mentorship will help with that.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

January plans and theme

while blog surfing, i came upon the blog by sun and candlelight and love her idea of themes & plans for each month. i'm hoping this will help me to focus and organize so i don't think 'oh, i should have done _____ this month!' then, i'll have something to look back on and refer to each year and add to as i need. i hope it will also give us inspiration for our homeschooling ruts as well.

~begin collecting seed catalogs
~go through existing seeds and make a list of what's needed
~make a list of new plants/herbs i want to try this year
~snow? (becoming more rare it seems)
~tracks in the snow
~full wolf moon (30)
~fill the bird feeders daily
~gather and prepare maple tree tapping equipment
~keep a hole in the water pond ice for the fish; observe life through the hole
~observe the plants under the snow and ice
~log daily happenings in garden journal

~citrus is in season
~make orange marmalade
~make salted lemons and limes
~make sugared lemons and limes
~make limoncello
~dried fruits (dry more apples this fall!)
~hearty stews and pot pies
~homemade bread
~hot herb tea
~hot lemonade
~hot cocoa a la jim mcdonald
~ham and beans with corn bread

~thank you notes
~finish putting away solstice decorations
~print off new calendar
~order any seed catalogs not received
~gather tax documents
~plan valentine's day surprises for kids
~plan imbolc activities
~dedicate a plastic bin for solstice to start storing away stocking stuffers and hand made gifts as i acquire them
~create a work sheet to list items for the storage bin
~play more board games with the kids

~read through the wild heart of mary
~sevenwater series

field trips and homeschool activities:
~visit alton for eagle days and try to see the nesting eagles
~resume thursday playdays

~knit 3-4 dishclothes to put away for solstice gifts
~work on jaden's knitting skills
~make snowflakes to decorate for imbolc
~watercoloring, coloring, beeswax modeling
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