Sunday, October 23, 2016

autumn joy

vibrant October
crisp and crunch
piles and forts
fallen leaves
leap and toss
freckles and grins
autumn joy

Under the maples at the Arboretum, taken October 19.  Another mom with three young girls was quite nearby also taking photos of her adorable children.  Girl mom solidarity.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

crazy october

Pardon the fuzzy iPhone photos, I haven't even pulled up camera photos to glance over this week and I spent my usual time writing up a good blog post folding laundry instead - and then cross-stitching because I just so needed some slow quiet repetitive movement while watching Pride and Prejudice  (swoon).

We are taking this week off from school; I really like a six weeks on, one week off system. By week seven I always feel I am in need of a reset, a reevaluation of what's going well and what needs to change and a week to focus on habits that have slipped in the busy days. I guess it's another iteration of sabbath, though I didn't originally choose the seventh week for that reason.  This week I am focusing on planning the rest of our school term (6 more weeks) and packing. Our closing date for selling our house is "on or before November 15." Which means- get a move on. Eek.

I am knitting the button band of  my oatmeal sweater.  I love Carrie Bostick Hoge's patterns but this one has you knit the sleeves flat and then seam so I have to seam up a bunch of stuff at the end when I wish I had just knit them in the round.  Oh well, at least they're already attached to the sweater at the shoulder.  I cast on a chunky fast orange hat to go with Millie's pumpkin costume with some Wool Ease super bulky I had in my stash (read: fast). I really wanted to knit Lisa's adorable pumpkin hat pattern but didn't have the yarn or time to get it done this year. The bulky yarn hurts my hands and wrist, though, so I look forward to having it done. I'm deciding how add a green stem at the top, maybe an icord pulled tight to make it curly? Suggestions welcome!

I'm still really enthralled by Rebecca by du Maurier. It's such a psychological trip!  Not much time for any other reading.

I have set my mind toward living in a tiny space for awhile and focusing on feeling grateful for God's provision of a temporary place to live in our friends' little guest house while we wait for something to come on the market that we want to buy.  Most of our possessions are going into storage and I am taking only what must come with us. I want to make it a place that is home, however short or long we live there but I know that in such tight quarters the inevitable clutter will make me crazy.  I'm struggling to envision ahead of time what can or must be done to keep it tidy and also pretty and welcoming at the same time. Maybe it will come to me as we live there.  Hopefully my knitting and cross-stitching will be a little comfort.

Joining with Ginny's Yarn Along. Happy knitting, friends.

Friday, October 14, 2016

an october day in the forest


I was so eager to go for a hike and a nature outing this week and we planned to visit a nearby state forest.  My hope was that we would walk awhile and then settle somewhere for lunch and then we could play and maybe I'd even get to read or knit while the girls romped nearby through whatever natural playground we found.  

We parked along a deserted forest road and trekked up a trail in the quiet woods.  Douglas firs, Ponderosa pines, and cottonwoods towered above us as we picked our way carefully among a rocky uphill section of the trail.  Around the bend and it was a spongy floor of fallen pine needles carpeting our way.  We spotted elk tracks and droppings and many deer trails veering off into the trees and meadows.  A jay scolded us from a treetop before flying off, irritated at the racket made by children excited to be outside.  Lyddie triumphantly identified a Doug fir by its needles.  Millie found a walking stick and followed close to her daddy, while Rosie tried to cling to my hand and carry several sticks and pieces of bark at the same time in her other hand.  I snapped pictures here and there and shushed continually to no avail.  Any creatures that might have been in the woods fled far before us.  

Jesse taught the girls last week how to lay snowberries on a hard place and stomp on them to make them pop loudly.  I laughed to see the antics so reminiscent of Independence Day "pop-its" but occurring entirely naturally.  He said this was something he used to do as a kid in the woods where he grew up, and he was a little pleased to impart something happy from his childhood to his own children. 

We made our way to a picnic area and sat watching the robins in the bushes across the creek while we passed the grapes and chewed our sandwiches.  There were some complaints about the cold, and apparently a sweatshirt and a woolen sweater weren't enough for the children (though to be frank, it wasn't just the children complaining of cold; apparently my strong mountain man no longer likes to be cold.  I was sure to find every opportunity to tease him).  My disappointment was real that we had to wrap up the day early, right when we were arriving at my favorite part.  But first we roamed the creekside and I was pulled  - "Mama!!  Close your eyes!  Let me lead you" to forts made of branches the girls constructed with Jesse last week while I was home sick.  We balanced on logs and noted how much higher the creek had risen since the previous week, and marveled at the increased color in the leaves as well.  There was such a riotous display of beauty in the hills there, even the usually-yellow aspens had decided to put on red-orange gowns to compete.  Although we were really just a half hour's drive outside of town, it was such a different landscape that it felt like we had traveled much further.  We will certainly return to this forest and my grand plans are to be sure to bring hats, mittens, and coats and to hopefully have a campfire over the afternoon.  We will have our very own outdoor classroom if I can help it!  I think it is quite likely that the days we spend in this way are the most formative and important thing we might do in these young school years.  They are certainly the most favorite thing we do. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

yarn along

I have finished Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell!  I have finished the body of my sweater!  (Well, beside the pockets).  Next is the pockets and then the button band.  Making a garment from repurposed yarn means I might end up with a game of chicken but I kind of like the puzzle aspect of it all.

I have planned all year to read Rebecca this October.  I don't know why I got that bee in my bonnet exactly except I must have heard or read something about it awhile back that intrigued me.  I picked it up this week at the library and was pulled in immediately, by the first page.  Have you read it before?  Do you, like I do, always feel an urge to read something a bit spooky and creepy in the fall?  

Joining with Ginny for  Yarn Along at her Small Things blog.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

little gifts

 Dancing in the rain shower.  Drooping heavy sunflower heads.  Mary Cassatt.  Afternoon swinging and flower picking.

Happy October.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

yarn along: portland sweater

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
-- Robert Louis Stevenson, from "Autumn Fires"

The days are cooling off and we add an extra blanket to our bed.  I fly through the days getting ready for the day, doing school, cooking ahead whenever I can put something in the freezer for the afternoons we get home late, trying to keep up on chores and prepping for school the next day later into the evening.  I really love educating our girls at home.  This week we have read about different kinds of sparrows in the Burgess Bird Book, worked on beginning addition, studied a Mary Cassatt painting, finished learning all the lowercase cursive letters, and many other things already! The girls went on a new hike with their daddy on Monday while I was down with a 24 hour flu (yuck) and they spent timing building a fort and had a picnic. 

I haven't made very much forward movement on my sweater but a little here and a little there late in the evening before collapsing into bed.  I'm making rather better headway on my book, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and am so impressed by the quality of writing and story telling it contains.  The latest installment of The Penderwicks is also so sweet. 

Joining with Ginny's Yarn Along.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

yarn along for fall

I am happy to have a chance to post a Yarn Along post this week!  It will be short and sweet.

I am working on my Pearl cowl with the softest yarn I've ever felt - the qiviut my friend gave me.  I'm also working on finishing the body of my Oatmeal sweater.  Isn't that pink fun?  As to my reading, it's (still) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.  I don't remember it very well from the first time I read it years ago and am enjoying it a lot  I'm trying to hurry a bit so Jesse and I can watch the show together.  I've also just finished Charlotte Mason's Home Education (vol 1) and have begun volume 2.  
Happy knitting!  Joining with Ginny's Yarn Along today at last!