the things that are okay. good, even.

The last several weeks have brought many challenging and painful moments, from the usual blah blah financial hardships blah blah to the extremes of loss and all the dark and deep contemplation that accompanies death and moving on. I’m tired. But, I am alive, and I am healthy, as are those who are closest to my heart. I am simply exhausted of the many reminders this year that every moment we find ourselves to be alive and healthy is a moment to be celebrated and treasured. I know this, but it’s easy to forget amongst the daily grind, and the forgetting is often met, eventually, with a hard slap to the heart. So, you know, time to (wo)man up and just fucking celebrate or, at the very least, acknowledge. Here are some good things immediately in front of me:


  • There’s enough garlic hanging from my porch rafters to get us through until next year’s harvest.
  • Onion greens are soft and silky and so much less a beast to braid than hardneck garlic. Our onions may be small, but we weren’t able to grow them at all last year, so it’s a step forward.


  • I’m attempting a fall crop of shelling peas. I have no idea if it will work, as it depends on when Jack Frost brings the icy hammer down, but just getting them in the ground felt pretty good. I have faith that the odds are in my favor.
  • The boy is suddenly reading. And, I mean really reading. The kind of reading where we have to ask him about fifty times to please put the book down and come to the dinner table. That kind. I find it hard to be exasperated because I think it’s awesome.


  • This was supposed to be a garden post, hence a photo of my weed-ridden cabbage patch. The good thing here is that I’m not beating myself up for not keeping a pristine garden with our busy schedules. At least I can see the cabbage plants.
  • I actually wanted to spin this week, after not touching my wheel for months. I haven’t sat down to it yet, but the feeling was there, which is a damn good thing seeing as how I’m teaching at Fiber College next month and was feeling less-than-inspired to create samples and a new template for my class. I’m getting excited about it again. Phew.


  • Some of my basil looks like this, but some of it doesn’t. I feel okay about this for at least two reasons. I already made a ton of garlic scape pesto, so whatever I manage with the basil is a bonus. And secondly, tomatoes aren’t near ready yet.
  • I think it may be possible to woo our baby girl goat with raisins.


  • C is taking down a barn in a neighboring town and bringing it to our place. I want to paint it the color of these cherry tomatoes.
  • We thought we lost one of our ducks, but then discovered she was nesting under our bedroom window. No super-sleuthing skills required. She made her whereabouts known by demanding to be fed at 5:30am with loud outbursts of quacking. Under our bedroom window. This will continue for the next four weeks, if she’s lucky enough to survive outside the coop for that long. Odds are sketchy around here, but we deserve a lucky break. DUCKLINGS ARE GOOD THINGS.


  • I have managed to grow two healthy axolotls from eggs. They make me smile every day and will require their own post at some point.
  • I’m hosting a batt sale, and also a giveaway on my Facebook page, so stay tuned for a chance to win a fiber prize.

And now, I’m tired. So, good night Ezra, Molly, and Michael. You touched my heart, and I’ll hold you there. May peace come to all those who feel the pain of your passing, and may all of us left behind celebrate daily the good things in our life.


And good night to Granola, a sweet little lass we were hoping to have here on our wee farm for a long time.

  • One more very good thing of note: our neighbors. Such a blessing to live where we do. When my fingers wouldn’t work to untangle her little body from the fence netting, where she’d wrapped herself too fatally tight in a panic, helping hands came to take care of the unpleasant business. And yet more helping hands came to bandage another of our goats who was wounded during whatever goat-crazy happened while I was away from home. We take care of each other here, and that is a very good thing, indeed.

What are you grateful for today?


Five (or Six) Senses Friday

Welcome to Quincefest 2010.

Who knew a basket of fruit could go quite so far?

Round 1: 5 or 6 pounds of stewed, spiced quinces…eaten over oatmeal, ice cream, pancakes…still tons leftover. (note to self: buy more ice cream)

Round 2: Quince and apple crumble for C’s birthday. Demolished.

Round 3: Quince marmalade. I used a recipe from Stocking Up, and I regret now that I didn’t add a large quantity of lemon peel to the recipe as it’s a bit sweet for my taste. Oh, well. The kid loves it. Marmalade was originally made from quince, and during the Tudor period, considered an aphrodisiac. Six pints canned and we’ve been spooning the rest over just about everything.

I must say that I am dangerously close to becoming quinced out, and there are still at least 10 pounds left to figure out what to do with.

Anyway, onto FSF: A weekly ritual of sensual reflection, adopted from Abby’s blog. Play along if you wish, in the comments or link to your own blog.

Tasting: Homemade pizza…the new Friday night thing…gluten-free and laden with goat cheese.

Seeing: A movie. In an actual movie theater. It had been six years! Howl, btw, was excellent.

Hearing: Sanding, sanding, sanding. The paint job on the Volvo starts tomorrow…

Smelling: Do I really need to say it? The pineapple-y perfume of the quince fruit as it ripens, bakes, stews…ever-present all week long.

Touching: Sticky, sappy leaves as I pull them out of The Boy’s hair.

Feeling: Completely overwhelmed. I should show you the giant pile of braids left to spin before Stitches East. Yikes.

I should mention there have been some shop updates. I kept to my word and have added yarns and fiber both Sunday and Wednesday and will continue to do so throughout the next few months.


Down the Path…

…and into the woods…

…to find forgotten things melting back into the earth…

…and the river…

…and some quiet, while the Boy raked and weeded, helping to prepare a bed for planting garlic.

…and found carrots, which might have gone the way of the abandoned truck (although, a wee more nourishing for the soil), but now we have a sweet bushel and a half.

I have more photos than words these days…in a new place, I find my eyes are searching and feasting, I have dirt under my nails and sore arms from my obsessive wood-chopping (I can’t believe I had to come back to California to learn this skill…you’d think I would have picked it up after four Vermont winters!)…I am full of sensory experiences that don’t translate well to the written word…it will come in time, but all is freshness, touch, smell, the sound of goats, ducks and frogs.

And somewhere in there, I am bothering to list things:

Earth and Sky Fiber Set with wool nubbins, icicle and tussah silk, 1/2 oz.

I am also somehow managing to get in many an evening of spinning, and there are oodles of felt scarves to photograph over the holiday weekend. Look for those and new Mitt Kits in the shop over the weekend and into next week.

Tomorrow, we get on the Greyhound for a looooooooong ride down to my Mom’s house. Wish us luck keeping the Boy entertained for 8 hours on a bus (and myself, for that matter)! Whooooooo!

At least we shall have warm hugs and a feast to celebrate the journey’s end. Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday!

punkins, punkins

I hauled a few hundred pounds of pumpkins in a wheelbarrow today. I had to move the harvest so’s we could actually mow the backyard (in the process, mulching most of the squash vines). I have no idea if any of these are going to be edible, but they sure are pretty. Our soil was a little lacking in richness, but we’re sheet mulching and manuring before the snow comes and it should be much better next year.

Speaking of harvests, we’ll be apple-picking as soon as the weather allows. I’m hoping for a few bushels for the basement. And now, I have a sparkly new pile of apple recipes to play with. THANK YOU carryboo !!! I’ll be apple-ing all winter (and I think I’ll start with the "Cake for Elves" and not just because it’s for elves and maybe they’ll come and have dessert with us if I bake it).

And because there’s nothing purple in this post:

Basket Flower

I received a seed packet of Basket Flower as a bonus in our Spring seed order a couple years ago. This year, I finally decided to plant them, and now I want a whole field of them. They are madly beautiful. I brought in a few as cut flowers, and each day they open more, completely changing shape over and over again. The color in the yarn aren’t right-on (the purple isn’t quite pink enough), but the white on purple is what reminded me of the flower.