Thursday, November 29, 2012

In the kitchen

Last weekend the children took over the kitchen to make us dinner.  They jumped at the suggestion, planned an eclectic menu and went to work with the help of some cook books, a little parental help and lots of gusto.

The menu included baked potatoes with sour cream and cheese, pasta with tomato sauce, steamed carrots and a fruit salad.  While the sauce was from one of last year's leftover tomato sauce jars and the fruit salad contained a sliver of glass and had to be removed from the table, overall the children had a great time creating something together for us.  The meal was more healthy than I had anticipated, and from this beginning, of course the possibilities are endless.  Word is plans are being made for the next monthly feast already....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

before the wonderland

I so love waking up in the winter to several inches of snow, the outside world transformed into a magical winter wonderland.  So many possibilities, things to do, places to go.  To the nearby hill for sledding?  Across the road to ski?  To our favorite mountain to hike?  There is always such excitement mixed in with a lot of snow.  And of course there is the knowledge of a wood fire and a steaming mug of hot cocoa afterwards.

But just as much, I love the possibilities of snow just beginning to fall.

There is such hope in the freshly fallen snow crystals against the deep color of the evergreens;

so much possibility in the sepia of powder dusted rocks and branches;

such incredible beauty in the lacy designs tiny snowflakes drape on the dried stalks of last summer's colors.

The dark skies tell of a winter to come, quietly.  This is not the anticipation of the big exciting snow day that could happen tomorrow, rather it's a gentle, soon forgotten enjoyment of the beauty of today.  For the littlest snow makes beautiful all the dormant and dead plant matter, it gives depth to the landscape around us.  It makes me stop in my tracks for a moment at this time of in-between and really, deeply savor this time of year with its chills, its grays and its unassuming late autumn days.

No big snow came.  But I'm grateful for the little snows, for they get me ready for this season of anticipation, of almost theres  and I not quite yets.  Advent begins next weekend.  I am ready.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

autumn is really here now

I can't seem to stop myself from taking lots of pictures of our area at this time of year.  The mood of the weather and landscape change so quickly...

These photos were all taken within less than two days.  First a beautiful fall day followed by a stunning sunset.  The next day brought the mist and drizzle we've been having ever since.  And so we transition to sweater and soup weather!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The other day, after dropping my daughter off at school, I met a friend and went for a walk.  I finally managed to capture the autumn mist rising on the hillsides in this old cemetery.

I just love the peacefulness of this place with its rolling hills, winding paths, majestic trees and gurgling brook.  And the gentle quality of the sunlight at this time of year just adds to its loveliness.

There are so many graves, some of them quite old.  There are family plots and lovely statues.  It makes you wonder about their stories.  How did they get along?  Did they have a good life?  Were they happy?  Hmm, a reflective walk.  Thinking about these things while talking to a friend about some challenging family dynamics adds a certain sense of perspective.

Leaving the cemetery, we walked past this joyous statue.  Can I have one of these on my grave?  I'd love to be able to put a smile on someone's face after I'm gone.....

It seems to me that in autumn, the light becomes so much more precious, as there is so much less of it.  Light and shadows are crisp and clear, hopeful and tender.  I'm glad for my camera.  It helps me notice the small and important things in life.

Wishing you many light-filled autumn days.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

completed projects

I had great plans for having a super-crafty summer, but somehow that never did quite pan out, at least not in terms of volume.  But I'm happy that I have finally finished my Buddha picture, which I think I started in March.

I am quite happy with how it came out.  With this piece, I had the idea of warm colors, lots of textures and a buddha.  I began with some sanskrit text printouts (from the Baghavad Gita which I began to read this summer) and I made some textured "Om" symbols which I pasted on the canvas.  Then I used stencils, scrapers, bubble wrap and lots of gel medium to created a textured background.  I painted in various hues from yellow to purple, and finally I added the buddha, the mandalas, and the little squirley vines.  Perhaps I've gotten a little carried away with the busy of it all, but I like how this sense of movement enhances the stillness of the buddha.

The buddha is painted from a transfer of a photo I took of the statue in my garden.  The mandalas are all designed by me and based on the six division of the circle.  Spending a day designing them brought me back to my love of geometry.

I also was finally able to talk the Man into helping me thread my serger properly so I could sew again.  I spent a few very frustrating hours trying to do it myself, but somehow the tension was always way off.  Of course the Man sat down and got it right the first time...  and I was finally able to sew myself the skirt I've been thinking about for a year now...

I love the cheerful mix of colors and patterns, and the t-shirt fabric makes it super comfortable.  Of course the girls are already requesting theirs, so there'll be more to come soon!

Monday, September 10, 2012

early september morning

Some days we wake up in a thick cloud now.  The thick fog gives no indication of the kind of day it's going to be, so as I'm driving to school I don't know what awaits when I go back up that long hill from town.  Some days the surprise is so breathtaking, it makes me happy all over.  Like today...
Sedum is my new favorite flower.  It gently changes from white to yellow to pink, and the Monarch butterflies love it's nectar at this time of year.

Asparagus with dewdrops

Found this perfectly beaded spiderweb in the side yard.

Early fall foliage on the road.

A thin veil of mist remains

It was a spiderweb-by morning

Black-eyed Susan with dew

Wishing you all a beautiful September week!

Friday, September 7, 2012

later summer getaways

This summer we didn't go away on a vacation as a family, but we did take a few day trips in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The Montshire Museum of Science is worth a trip, even with older children.  There are tons of fun indoor exhibits with math challenges, giant bubbles, magnets, ant and bee colonies, but there is also an outdoor water park and fun walking trails.

If you ask the children about their favorite part, they would probably say that they loved to play in the water. But my favorite was walking the trails to the Connecticut River, picking up acorns, listening to the bird calls and telling stories.  It seems that in our family we like to make up stories.  If we see something along the trail that we wonder about, we all make up a story of what might have happened.  Often these little tales turn out to be a lot more interesting and fun than the actual facts behind the phenomena.  We get silly with the stories, and making them up connects us in so many different ways.  I also love how each one of us comes to it differently.  Often one of us will ask a question, then a hypothesis is added by Zany.  Usually Elvin will add details about a similar occurrence in a novel she's read, and from there the story takes off, among many giggles and occasional disagreements over details.  To this day my children recall a walk around a lake many years ago where we found a mushroom covered log and turned it into a restaurant, with fairies flitting around serving sorrel salad and dewdrop tea.  The children may not have learned anything about the mushrooms or the forest that day, but they deeply care about wild places where magical things just may occur.

Of course summer break is not complete unless we go to the beach.  And as always, we left that day thinking we should have done it sooner and more often.  As someone who really struggles to let everything go, it was so therapeutic to sit under an umbrella to read and nap, watch the children play in the (way too cold) water, go for walks, watch the wildlife and eat yummy sandwiches brought from home.  Oh, yes, we will be doing that again next summer, and more than once!  There's nothing more restorative than feeling the sand between your toes, watching and listening to the seabirds, seals and boats, walking among the sea grass and hopping over waves. Then at the end of the day, we all piled into the car tired and happy, and someone remarked how we would be coming back next year.  And in that promise lay all the acceptance that summer must come to an end and we are just a few short weeks away from short days, fires in the stove and lots of warm layers.