the circle game


It’s been a wild ride into autumn, life in a constant state of flux-y turmoil sprinkled with the odd joyful moment. The photo above illustrates finding one of those odd joyful moments in a sweet golden hour of the last week of summer, reminding ourselves that we live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Do you remember the 52 Project? It fell off the face of my blog, but not because I’m a slacker. It’s just that this happened, a while back:


…and The Boy said he didn’t want me to post so many portraits of him in this space anymore.

So, I stopped.

These days, I ask his permission before I publish any posts with his image. He is old enough now to require that consideration and I do my best to respect it. Well, except for right at this moment while he’s in bed, but if he wants me to remove his gleeful splashing face in the morning, I will do so without hesitation. I have a feeling, though, that he’ll really get a kick out of it.

And, remember the One Shot Project? I didn’t discontinue that on account of being a slacker, either. My lens experienced a sudden recovery from its mysterious illness and stopped crapping out after only one shot. Simple as that. I suppose I could have continued with the project, anyway, but it seemed a little…I don’t know…contrived, I guess.

All that said, the only reason I haven’t shared my now-well-tested and ridiculously delicious recipe for fermented cocoa granola is because I’m a slacker. Stay tuned.


Forty and Forty-One: 52





 the 52 project.
Portraits of my main squeezes every week (or just one squeeze again).


O, this week (or two) you…

…accompanied me on a photo adventure. We were supposed to meet some friends (also with cameras), but went to the wrong hiking spot. It turned into a blessing of you-and-I time, filled with laughter, trail-running, bird-calling at strangers we thought were our party, and seeking out lovely things to photograph.

…shot up to the moon with your bad-ass reading and spelling skills. It’s a joy to witness.

…helped me rake a gigantic pile of leaves to the bottom of your slide. I think we can all guess what happened next.

…have enjoyed the gift of this mild Autumn weather. As I type, the evening darkness is beginning to creep in and you are outdoors, building an airplane from scrap wood with a rubber band powered propeller.

…helped us take the goats for a walk up the road. It was a hilarious, silly and sometimes frustrating adventure and I wonder if you still have raisins in your pockets.

…asked me about a thousand times when it will be Halloween. I’m sure my mother is enjoying my being in the role of costumer after so many years of torturing her with complicated projects. I wish I was half the sewer she is, though, as I still have a few of my costumes from 20 years ago and have worn some of them several times and they are still like new. How I will turn you into Matthias the warrior mouse, I have yet to figure out.

i am here.

Right here.

In between injuries and illnesses, there has been more doing than anything else. It’s no fun to have a Captain-ish sort of day anymore, because they have all been that way for the last several months. Every day is a Day for Doing Things. Yes, I have an order that needs finishing. Yes, there are overdue bills to pay. Yes, there are machines to fix and a cider press to finish building and the goats are coming home this weekend. And somebody is always hungry. Yes, yes, yes. There are always too many somethings.

So, what happens if we stop? Just for an hour or two?


We’ll see where the fog still sits, waiting for the early Fall sun to burn it gently away.


We’ll listen.


We’ll find treasures.


We’ll remember…


…that it’s okay to sit, and take it all in.


There is always time to be here.

And we were home by mid-morning to get on with the Doing of Things.

Day 2, and Don’t Bite on Stuff from the Duck House (isn’t that a Cramps song?)

Firstly, thank you all so much for your thoughtful responses to my previous post. Your talk of baked pumpkins, applesauce, and knitting projects has me feeling dreamy and ready to cast on a sweater.

I had hoped to bring you this second installment of my Squam experience sooner, but the curve balls, lately…they are flying at me from all directions. This weekend was completely absorbed by caring for creatures great and small, stacking an unexpected delivery of wood before the rain, coming into free tomatoes and getting them put up (still not done), while shuttling my husband to and fro the hospital, late nights for the boy (with the bonus of snuggles when Papa was at the ER), and bleary, sleepless nights for me. Said husband contracted salmonella. Ugh. Please, whatever you do, don’t get salmonella. It’s awful. Terrible. There’s nothing you can do except ride it out, but C was in so much pain and so dehydrated, that I finally just brought him down to the ER so they could get some liquid back into him and bring his blood pressure up. It was a good move. I should note that, in this case, the infection did not come from food. It was a daring, early-morning (as in, all synapses not yet firing), duck rescue involving using teeth to release said duck from a tangle of twine.

(and I know the song is Don’t Eat Stuff Off the Sidewalk, but I think it applies, yeah?)

Sometimes, I feel like I’m in some sort of tragi-comic graphic novel. The author is pushing the line of just how much this little family can take. This is one of the least-desirable weeks for C to miss several more days of work. We were also taking care of our neighbor’s goats, some of them needing to be milked. I had never milked a goat. I did try, though. What a disaster. All I succeeded in doing was pissing off the goat and getting head-butted. I still have not milked a goat.

During a particularly off moment, O and I will press the Do Over button. I wish I could press the Do Over button on my entire week. Right now, I would probably give a kidney to be right back here:


Just for a moment. To breathe. To bathe my fatigue in the lake. To laugh with Miranda, who posted a picture of my backside. And to pretend, for just a moment, that I feel I am master of my own fate instead of a helpless character in someone else’s hilarious story.


Sit on the edge of the dock with me here, and everything else will melt away. This little piece of the planet is yours to inhale and exhale.

It was a really intense and fantastic day, my second day at the Taproot Gathering. I took a class called The Map Home, tenderly guided by Julia Shipley. I signed up for the class because I knew it would involve prompted writing and sharing, which would be a huge challenge for me, and also because my sense of home has been a blurred and messy place in my heart for the last decade.

This class stirred me up, and Julia created a space that made each one of us feel safe in our vulnerability and held as we explored the idea of home and our sense of place in past, present, and future. There were tears and revelations, laughter and moments of silence. All of it was perfect.


During our mid-day break, I explored a little around “home”base, and came upon spontaneous artful arrangements of woodsy litter.


And delighted in the beauty of the organic forms all around me. When I saw this mushroom, I wished I were a 1/4″ tall.

During the second half of class, I wrote a piece (well, I should say that it’s the beginning of something) that I was encouraged to share during Lodge Night that evening. There was a fashion show of sewn pieces, and then a few of us willing to read our own words. Into a microphone.


I thought I would throw up, but I made it through, even with laryngitis and pitifully shaking hands. I’m glad I was encouraged, and I even thought about Next Time once I sat down.


It was unedited, written in a 20-minute period, which is how I usually write.

Oh, and then Stephanie Pearl-McPhee took the stage and she was funny and charming and hey, guess what? She’s a very lovely person and I’m glad to have met her.


Once I relaxed, the evening festivities were exactly the right way to end a day of perfection and open up connections beyond my class and housemates. I felt inspired in so many ways by so many people and words and visions that I’m still processing my experiences.

There’s more, but here:

PicMonkey Collage

I brought some things home with me. For you.

Click the collage to get to my shop. Enjoy.


Oh, and the Taproot/yarn giveaway? Random Number Generator says Kelly gets it! She wrote: “The children love collecting, so when we gather all of our nature-gifts and start putting together an acorn or leaf garland really tells them it’s time for autumn. And the wool socks… putting on those wool socks is a sure sign that the barefoot season is coming to a quick end.”

Congrats, Kelly!

The only constant…

The geese tromped merrily through, the cat was utterly befuddled, and the humans resigned themselves to bringing the winter boots down from the attic. The wood stove took the edge off a few bitter-cold mornings, the afternoon sun chipped away at the thick blanket of freak October snow, and then…it was Autumn again.

Just like that.

There is an autumnal to-do list filling my plate this week that includes raking, canning pears, crock-pot apple butter, and…freshening up this here blog. It needs prettying and has a woefully expired events list. How would you know about things like Twist Fair THIS WEEKEND? I have been stockpiling lovely things and hope to see you there.

Stay tuned for a more user-friendly experience, and in the meantime, I’ll be holding a drawing for a gift certificate when the ol’ FB page hits 400 likes. Just sayin’.


The Eye Boogie Man

When we lived on the rural route in southern Vermont, we didn’t get any trick-or-treaters. It just was not a safe road to be running around on. We would go to an event called the Jack O’ Lantern journey, where a path of pumpkins would light up the woods, with a basket of mama-made treats (not necessarily to eat) beside each pumpkin, and a story told along the way. It was magical, and when I didn’t find something similar to do out here, we had to create a little magic of our own.

I gave the Little Guy a knife and said, “Have at.”

Half an hour, a pile of pumpkin bits and some tempera paint later, he was bursting with glee and pride that he’d given his plump little charge a personality of his own imagining.

For a while, he was just a sweet, smiling face with a nice hairdo…

…but later revealed himself to be none other than…The Eye Boogie Man!


In a good way.

And then when it came to lighting the pumpkins this evening, he was delighted to find that the Pumpkin Faeries had left a macaroon and some dried mangos under Eye Boogie Man’s hat.


Acorns Are the New Brown

As promised: A tutorial!

Disclaimer: This is a sloppy tutorial. I only measure when I absolutely have to. In this case, I wasn’t expecting any particular results, so I neither took notes nor made actual measurements. It seems, however, that acorns are a wonderful and forgiving dyestuff. Enjoy!

Step One: Mordant your fabric/fiber. I chose raw silk for this experiment and simmered it in vinegar for an hour…next time I’ll try something else, but I didn’t have any alum or rusty nails on hand. The piece of fabric I used was about 12″ x 24″.

Step Two: Gather acorns! This, of course, is the fun part. Especially if you have a small friend and a pretty basket. We had plenty in our own backyard, and there are tons and tons of them around the neighborhood and at the local playground/park. I would say I used about thirty acorns, not enough to cover the bottom of the pan…basically a couple, maybe three handfuls.

Step Three: Add a goodly amount of water and soak the acorns overnight.

Step Four: Bring the pot to a boil and leave it there for about an hour. Let it cool before adding fiber or fabric.

Step Five: Add your fiber or fabric to be dyed and bring the pot to a simmer for about an hour. I did not strain out the acorns for this, but I suppose you could if you want to. Turn off the heat and let the fabric/fiber sit in the pot overnight. I waited almost two days to take it out, rinse it and lay flat to dry.

Step Six: Toss soggy acorns into the chicken coop.

Right now I have a small piece of the fabric out on the picnic table in the backyard with a brick covering half of it. I’m going to check it every few days to see how colorfast it is.

I plan to dye about 8 oz of fiber with acorns later this week and will probably triple or quadruple the amount of acorns in the pot.

That’s all I’ve got today.


Celebrating Autumn and hey, look…some more follow-through

***a note: I’ve discovered that WordPress does not email commenters when I have made a reply. I promise I haven’t been ignoring anyone!***

I present to you Spinspiration #1, Pan’s Garden:

I think he likes it.

All rescue wools, mostly merino cross, except for the needle-felted strawberries and leaves. This project gave me great joy, especially with the long-draw method of spinning. I don’t know why I didn’t start spinning woolen sooner…what a relief for my hands, and I love the light and fuzzy result. The berries and leaves are spun securely into the yarn and there are over 200 yards of thick and thin…enough for an awesome stole knit up on a loose gauge. The top picture links to an Etsy listing.

In other news, C is coming in just a couple of days, will stay for about a week and a half and then bring us home with him! I am all atwitter, as is the Little Guy…goats and ducks and the woods and the river…and quiet. I can’t wait.

While we’ve been waiting for this magical time, we’ve been celebrating the carpet of buttery yellow maple leaves in the backyard by building crowns and boats to sail down the river on…

Monday is always “Painting Day” and yesterday we played with Autumn shapes and colors…

Today is starting slowly, with tea-sipping and daydreaming…trying not to lose myself counting away the minutes until Papa swoops down in his primered Volvo to whisk us off to our wooded wonderland. Instead, there will be acorn gathering…I began an experiment a few days ago with some raw silk and it came out beautifully…pictures tomorrow! Now, I have grander plans for acorn-dyeing some handspun wool to be used in our Seaman’s caps (Ravelry link)…of course, we can’t all have the same color head this winter, so I will be using both the acorns and the galls separately, the latter hopefully yielding a deep charcoal for C.

Happy Tuesday!