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Saturday, November 27, 2010


 When we got home from church today, we all had an urge to get out in the snow.  The temperature has warmed up so that it is not so bitter cold as it was last week.  So we loaded up the snowshoes and headed for our favorite place in the whole wide world.  We tried a trail that had been closed due to grizzlies one of the last times we'd tried to go on it.  This time, however, the bears were fast asleep in their dens. 
 It didn't take long before we fell into a pretty good rythm.  The kids are still quite a bit slower than we are, so we stopped here and there for breaks.  The snow was specatular!  It was plastered on the North sides of the trees.  New snow was bunching into big globs as it fell onto our heads and eyelashes.  The trail gained in elevation quite a bit, but our snowshoes made us feel safe from slipping.

Mr. Blueberry Eyes has outgrown his little boy snowshoes, so he opted for trudging along in his snowboots.  He did fine, but we are going to try to get him a real live pair of snowshoes soon. At one point, he rolled down a steep bank and lounged against the trunk of a tree while he ate snow.  While we waited for him to rest, a fluffy brown squirrel sauntered sleepily down the tree.  While we were oohing and aahhing, he vanished into the tree.  The opening of his little tree hotel was hidden to us, making it seem very magical.
 The coloring made it all feel mystical, which was a tonic to my bruised soul.  Thanksgiving was pretty rough for me and I needed a good day.  Its pretty hard to stay in a funk when you are surrounded by such incredible beauty.  I didn't want to quit, but the kids were getting tired after about a mile.  I asked The Wood Arstist to start back with them while I got in a few more minutes of soul-time.  The trail took off quite steeply then, so I followed it curiously.  There is something really exhilerating about being a woman alone in nature.  The feeling is hard to describe - empowering, quieting, refreshing... I had only a few minutes, so I wasn't all that alone, but I did promise to grab a friend and head out there again soon.  Next time, I'll go further. 
As we came out of the woods, there was a park ranger waiting for us to make sure we weren't hunters.  I guess our drenched hair and snowshoes were convincing.  We didn't even have to get to the part where we say we are vegetarians, so, of course, we're not hunters!  We had a good visit with him.  Rangers are really first-rate group of people.  He lives very close there and told us about two mountain lions that hang out there. Maybe I'll take pepper spray with me next time.

Tomorrow we head out to find THE perfect tree.  I'll keep you posted. - Nanette

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Hill

 These pictures are hardly representative of our day!  We're having frigid temperatures and high winds with a little snow.  We're keeping the house warm with space heaters.  Poor Old Faithful's hip bones get awfully stiff after he goes outside for relief trip. 

Still, it is fun to look back at the summer's photos.  I got so behind on posting my garden pictures when Blogspot was reworking things, so I figure I'll just keep posting garden pictures for a while.  Here is a beauty!  Its a seed globe of a leek.  I fully intended on harvesting it.  If I can make it out tomorrow, maybe I'll see if I can still get it - if the blizzard winds haven't blown it away.  It would be fun to see if I can start some leeks indoors next spring.  I'm on quite a learning curve when it comes to seed saving!  I'll have to look up just how to do leeks.
 I took this picture of my long cayenne thins on a warm, fall day.  I stepped into my hoop house to find it exceedingly hot.  My camera lense immediately fogged up.  I thought the effect was kind of cool!
This is the pole bean tipi I made for the kids this summer.  I was pleased with how it filled out.

So I guess the biggest news is that I've come to the hill.  Today was the big day.  I've been dreading it, but now that it is here, I'm accepting it.  Laughing Water threw me a party a week ago.  It was very sweet of her and she did a great job!  I know she had lots of help, too. 

It has me thinking many philosophical thoughts, like, "What have I done to impact the world in a positive way?"  "Am I just a consumer, or have I been a producer and made the world a better place?" I have a lot of great friends, which are softening the blow a little!  They tell me that 40 is the new 30 and that 40s are better than one's 30s, etc.  We'll see.  The support I'm getting at home is that The Wood Artist keeps reminding me that I need to update my blog profile.  He says it shouldn't say 30-something anymore....I could do without that kind of support!

As for me, I spent the day reworking my living room to make a more convenient sewing area for myself.  That is a gift for me! (Weird, I know.)  I think I will feel like being more creative with a workable work space.  First project up is to finish Laughing Water's medieval courtier's dress.

I've also been nursing a sick Mr. Blueberry Eyes.  Its looking like a trip to urgent care will be first-up on my agenda for the morning.  Poor little tyke had been battling a fever now for two days and now has a painfully sore throat and stuff up ears.  Enough of trying "natural remedies".  Its time for a doctor!  Wish us luck! - Nanette

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some Things Never Change

I was pondering my life the past 2 1/2 years, thinking about my attitudes and how the economic downturn has affected them.  There have been pretty dark days that I hope I never have to repeat.  I don't like having to make every last decision based on the minutia of our income or lack of it.  But then, there are good things, too.  Here are some things I've learned:

In tough financial times,

*Applesauce smells sweeter.
*Homemade bread makes you feel rich.
*Sawdust does work for cat litter.
*Friends may or may not understand.
*Friends may say they understand when it is obvious that they do not.
*Forgiveness is still valuable.
*Your kids' laughter is still amazing.
*You feel like you won the lottery when you find something you wanted for free, or almost.
*Kissing still makes your heart flutter.
*A movie from the library saves you a theater ticket.
*Librarians are honest-to-goodness heroes and heroines.
*Watching your pet suffer because you don't have the money to get him help stinks. 
*Thank goodness for veterinarians who are helpful anyway.
*A good book feels and smells the same whether you paid full price, or borrowed it.
*Home-made gifts are more meaningful.
*Home-made gifts take a freaking long time to make.
*Good neighbors are a benefit in the salary of life.
*Snow is a free seratonin booster.
*Its scary when you don't have the $ for safe snow tires.
*Self-confidence goes up when you learn to do something you used to pay someone else to do.
*My house still gets dirty
*Children are better problem solvers when they have to earn their own money to get something they really want.
*Hot baths are a great self-comfort strategy.
*Parents are good people to have around.
*Good health IS wealth. (Like they always said.)
*Creativity blossoms when its needed.
*Soup IS good food!
*Butterflies and bees still bring a smile - especially when they all land on your homegrown echinacea right in front of your camera.

Here's to seeing the good in bad times!  - Nanette

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The First Day of Snow

Today is the first snowstorm of the year.  We've planned this with great anticipation and we plan to celebrate!  We're taking the afternoon off of school.  Sinbad and scimitars will just have to wait until tomorrow.  We're going to celebrate the blustery day by going to the library.  This is a real treat because I usually order the library books we need using the online option our library provides.  But this time, the kids will get to paw through the books and sit and read in the little chairs.  I may even get to sniff through some engaging material for myself.  I'm on the hunt for a good book on c.d.

After that, we will check out a winter movie, maybe even "Frosty the Snowman", and head home for some chai tea and a little screen time.  Usually, we would break out our first jar of huckleberry jam, but the bushes just didn't cooperate this year, so we'll have to do without.

I'm pretty excited about Laughing Water's growing artistic talent.  This is a freehand drawing she did of a gladiator to add to her history notebook. 

So, I'd love to hear what you all do to celebrate the first day of snow.....Nanette

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Drying Up

 My kitchen is slowly starting to look normal again.  For months now, there have been piles of produce here and there, awaiting the freezer, the canner, or the dehydrator.  I tried several kinds of dry beans this year in hopes they would be easier on the digestion.  That part still remains to be seen.  I stacked them in these boxes until they were dry.  I think that in the future, we need large screens for more air movement.  Some of the beans molded this way.  But, I still got a delightful array of pretty beans.  I spent hours shelling them in the evening while The Wood Artist read to me.
I never get tired of looking at my Painted Mountain corn.  We got a good harvest this year and there is enough to have lots of yummy corn bread this winter.  It has been drying for weeks and will probably be ready to thresh soon.

Just my own little declaration of independence!  - Nanette