Thursday, September 30, 2010

Photog Class-Week 1

Week one of the Sensational Snap Society photography class was very interesting.  The assignment was to capture something typical of a day in the life.  This can be interpreted in many ways, from literally (which is what I did), to stopping at the same time every day and taking a picture then comparing the differences from day to day.   A great way to introduce ourselves to the group! 

The challenge was also to introduce us to carrying our camera with us everywhere.  Now, I began doing this at the beginning of the year when I started the blog camp 365 group.  But what I've done is keep my Nikon Coolpix in my purse and carry the Canon for specific destinations.  So this week I carried the Canon everywhere.  I'm getting better at the completely manual setting and the hint on depth of field in the assignment was helpful. 

So without further adieu,  here's what I came up with in week one...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One Word Wednesday~ Enchanting


A cool and very quiet morning with a piping cup of hot tea in hand.
The house rests peacefully, and out of the corner of my eye I notice this surreal silver shimmer.
I listen and there is a slow steady rain.  As I look out the window in the breaking
light of dawn, the world slumbers covered by a heavy liquid blanket~
Enchanted.

I'm joining Jillsy Girl for her One Word Wednesday this week, won't you play along?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ruffled Feathers

 What a wonderful and productive day!  We've been doing masses of farm chores and fall garden tasks.  We literally blew through, or should I say we were blown from project to project with the crazy gale force winds today.  It was an early release at school today and we had one of those wonderful family moments all sitting on the front porch with our hair blowing wild and shelling white beans.  Sigh... this is what it's all about!

We even did a little chicken chasing.  They decided the garden looked like the perfect place to hunt and peck.  Well, I must say we did irritate Bright-heart, the rooster, and he let us know it!  Sorry, the Swiss chard and cold weather produce is ours!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Equinox

When I first heard that we were going to have a super harvest moon smack dab on the Autumnal Equinox, I thought it was so cool that last night's transition to fall, my favorite time of year by the way, was a little extra special.  If you missed out, don't worry you can catch it again in 2029 ;) 

Funny how you can catch these periodic wonders and time slows down, just so you can capture it in your memory.  I wonder what it means?  Was the moon in it's seventh house, and Jupiter aligned with Mars?  Will people wake up and realize that it's better to grow as a people, as a community, and not just constantly knock each other down? 

As I am pondering these things, I sit here listening to the quiet peace outside and gaze in amazement at how quickly our cool weather crops are taking hold.  Coaxing these baby peas and lettuces that will nourish us just as we think the really garden fresh flavors that we've savored all summer are gone.  Growth and development comes from researching sustainable growing methods, patience, nurturing and respect.  The young plants survive through tolerance.  They are reaching for the sun, soaking in the rain, and if it's too hot, searching for the shade.  They ultimately grow, flourish and then nourish.  So many lessons that our environment teaches us can be applied much more broadly, don't you think? 

So welcome Autumn,  I so enjoy you!  Lead us into the warmth of home, friendships and family.  Bring us into the laughter of childhood festivities.  Remind us of all we have to be thankful for.  Take us by the hand and remind us how to give.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Package from Denmark

 Today on this final day of Summer, nature is going to have some fun with us and give us an upper 80's humid day.  Just when I was getting myself for full fall mode, this last (I think) little taste of summer is headed our way.

I've spent some time visualizing the cooler months and holidays ahead and been brainstorming hostess and holiday gifts and resisting filling the house with the warm smell of gingerbread for just a little bit longer.   I spoke last year of an experiment for the holidays, now it seems that there's a large component of creativity that is second nature to me.  I can't wait to combine, homemade by myself with a smattering of the amazing creativity from those around me, and of course a few traditional store bought accents too. 

Yesterday I received the above pictured care package from julochka.  I was so excited about it!  I was very indulgent in getting myself this beautiful gift, but I won't say what it is because I got one for a dear friend too.  Thanks Julie!  Tell Sabin her packaging is fantastic and that Sidney is eager to try making them herself!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Answer My Friends...

Food, family & friends, this is the answer my friends.
*
Watching, in equal parts fascination & shock,  a family of moles scramble out of their hiding spot (the fire pit was a really poor choice guys)!
*
Listening to a pack of coyotes howl which lent itself to night-sounds and Halloween all in one.
*
The gentle patter of rain on your tent.
*
Waking to the sounds of a rooster crow and the crackle of the morning bonfire.
*
Precious moments outside with nothing but the elements and those around you who savor them equally. 
 *
Being able, even if for only a short time, to just be.
 *
The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind.


How was your weekend??

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's So Leafy

 Our outdoor environment has taken on a muted hue.  The leaves all have that slightly bleached look they get when they're not really green but haven't taken on their full deep fall tones, as if someone turned down the color saturation. A few leaves have begun to fall, but only those who have given up the fight and aren't strong enough to hold out for the show. 

Cooler temperatures and shorter days have spurred new growth in cool weather lettuces and peas.  These bright green sprouts are a beautiful contrast to the changing canopy around.  Fall is truly a magical time. With the fervor of busy school days and activities, the world around preparing for the long cold months ahead allows me to slow down and take it all in. 

Sidney came home with a science project to create a book of leaves from different species of trees.  Each page is to be complete with the leaf, a photo and accompanied by the scientific names, classifications, primary uses both past and present, and personal reflections.  She has been spending much of her evening time searching out the property for different leaves and our kitchen table has turned into a drying station (I learned a fantastic way to dry leaves here).  I'm amazed at how much she knows,  I guess it's helpful that mom and dad have been drilling in tree names since she was a baby!  What a great way to begin fall!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Entrepreneur

 What is a little boy to do with new found tooth fairy money that's burning a hole in his pocket?? 

Here on the homestead, the previous owners had set up two standards and had poles mounted for volleyball and bad-mitten.  We've had them up all summer and Charles had really taken a liking for and gotten quite good at bad-mitten.  

Lucky for us, my kids both love going antiquing and to garage sales.  Charlie was disappointed that he couldn't attend Belle City's second annual Rummage for Rescue on Sunday, and he couldn't wait to get to work Monday morning and shop through the left overs.  He was beaming ear to ear when he found this old set of bad-mitten rackets with two shuttlecocks, that he was thrilled had metal washers holding the rubber part on so they wouldn't "pop off."  He brought them up front and very seriously asked Julie, how much?  He was very proud to part with his hard earned tooth dollar in order to make his purchase!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekend Adventure

Is Sunday the start of the week or the end of the week? 
 However you look at it, it was a great beginning or end.

It featured a delightful little road trip with to the Renegade craft fair in Chicago.  We had adventures in public transportation and navigation that made for many laughs.  As much as I'm enamoured with my country lifestyle.  I love catching snippets of life in the city. The sounds of street music, the mish mosh of people from all different woks of life simply moving independently about their own lives, yet in some sort of complete sychronisity with one another.  The busy hustle and bustle down the sidewalks headed for this train or the next.  A hole in the wall taco stand that has a sign that states "20 taco maximum" that we find has some of the best guacamole ever. 

The craft fair had some really neat things.  Funny how things change as you grow.  I was struck by how many times I picked up some hand-made item and thought to myself, Oh I can do that!  I was most taken by all of the beautiful hand dyed yarns.

We came home from our long day of expeditions to a wonderful homemade eggplant Parmesan prepared by our amazing husbands who had also taken care of the kids all day.  Bliss.

Another grand event over this weekend of family, remembrance & girlfriend time in the city.  Someone lost both of his two front teeth!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gifts

 Yesterday was such a beautiful day and the start to a wonderful weekend to go slowly and enjoy.  

We accomplished masses of canning yesterday, well at least put up masses of tomatoes. As the smells of garlic and spice wafted through the open windows, I filled the house once again with the smell of baking bread.  B planted the fall lettuces and we ordered the shallots and garlic that will be planted late next month to over-winter in the garden.  They will be our spring jewels.

I had a great excitement when the lovely Christina posted that she had a surprise for me!  I won a photography e-course on her blog presented by Shelagh, I can hardly wait...thank you, thank you!  A beautiful gift.


I've basted my second quilt top and am eager to quilt today between soccer games and birthday party drop offs.  I was introduced to this new batting product and jumped at the chance to use it.  It is made completely from recycled plastic bottles.  There's something so warming, thinking about this being incorporated into a quilt that I hope will last generations on it's own. Sigh...little gifts.

Speaking of gifts, today is Enkutatash, the Ithiopian new year and the date of Se'lah's gift of jewels project.  I am eagerly waiting for my little jewel and can't wait to see who it's from ;)  It seems so fitting that participants from all over the world are exchanging little cards of love and friendship, especially when it coincides with this day of remembrance. 

Wishing all a wonderful, slow weekend full of life's little gifts!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Synapse


It's funny how your brain works.  Well I guess I should say it's funny how mine works.  I've always been a list maker and scheduler, but for all of that precision I also need a deadline.  With blogging there is no real deadline, except maybe for your internal goals, so it's that fire that must motivate you.  I just tend to let the muse lead me.  Well, with the invitation to do some guest blogging at Eat Right Racine and with no scheduled deadline, I guess my brain has unconsciously been on rapid fire. 

This hit me at 2 am Tuesday morning when my mind not only was formulating a thought provoking blog post for ERR, it was simultaneously creating a companion one for this here little blog.  I have this thing about not wanting to duplicate or be too repetitive.  If I double posted, it would seem like the easy way.  So I did have the presence of mind to reach groggily for my trusty iPhone and jot down the notes that were firing at rapid speed in my head.  I remember thinking that the thoughts just blew in like the crazy 50 mph winds that had begun to swirling outside. 

Of course I then spent the rest of the night analyzing why my thoughts came this way.  I then realized that when writing articles for our newsletter at work I wait until the last possible minute of the deadline.  I'll be walking through the building or doing another task and the whole thing just comes, just flows and I can't get it on paper fast enough.  Then in the wee hours of the morning I remember that I wrote for a while, my Junior year I think, for our high school paper the Ocean Breeze.  I distinctly recall the same type of process for my writing.  For the good or bad, that's how it comes.  In fact, it's how I'm writing now!  I seem to come from a line of writers, my mom has been and editor and written poetry and screenplays for as long as I can remember, and my uncle more recently found his inspiring voice for poetry and blogging.  Interesting how we all find it on our own, and respect our individual muse. 

No worries, ERR I've got one coming, just when my synapses finish their firing :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Perfect Summer Farewell

I am basking in the glorious aroma from the single drop of patchouli oil that the gypsy placed on my wrist.  What a perfect day to enjoy the magical fantasy of the Renaissance faire.  It is the last day of the faire for the season and it was the perfect finale before the Queen makes her way back from her summer holiday to the rigors of palace life.  Low 70's, gentle breeze, and many of the peasants who swarm on the weekends stayed home for cookouts.  Ahhh, though there were many around to get a taste of the whimsy, there were few lines and not too many toes stepped on.  A perfect farewell to Summer.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Low Key Sunday

 Today everyone has been doing their own thing.  The kids have been full of their play world and topped it off by an extended car washing escapade.  I've never seen the cars sparkle so or the yard so full of soapy water!  B is out for a long Sunday ride, and I've been doing a little quilting.  I just finished my second quilt top and trying to decide who the recipient will be.  Hmmm. 

My goodness, the kids must be growing like crazy.  I've just finished making them their 3rd full meal of the day, not to mention some healthy snacks.  They are insatiable!  With the way they are eating, I think they'd fit in just right in Tolkien's Shire amongst the Hobbits.

I've been asked to participate as a recurrent guest blogger over here.  I'm thrilled to have been asked and look forward to it.  Please do go take a look at the site, it is the pulse of a grass roots movement about food awareness here in Racine.  

I hope you too are enjoying a low key Sunday.

Friday, September 3, 2010

First Fall Friday

What a perfect fall day.  It's cool and windy.  The windows are all wide open, you can almost hear the house sigh with relief at the movement of fresh air.  We are now filling it with the rich smells of roasting tomatoes and garlic.  You can peak at the recipe here.  I think it will be a wholly garden dinner, using the sauce to top one of our beautiful spaghetti squash.
 Today has been a welcome relief from all of the humidity and masses of mosquitoes.  We bid fond farewell to a couple of friends who were very good to us this summer, yes, the cucumbers and tomatillos are now a thing of the past.  But they will be part of the future.  The hens are on cloud nine with all of the bounty we threw their way this morning in the form of vines and a few straggling fruits.  They will scratch this down and it will become part of next years compost which will enrich the soil of our gardens future.  The circle of life.
 Oh yes, and today was farm box day.  We had some cute Chinese food containers that we filled with the cherry tomatoes and all blue potatoes.  We also had the final zucchini and cucumbers today, baby bell peppers a couple of ancho chilies and a nice spaghetti squash for everyone.   Ah Fall, maybe I'll fill the house with the warm smells of baking tomorrow...

Happy Friday

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Need To Create

 Creativity is in the eye of the beholder.  To some, it comes naturally.  After completion of the first day of school and  a special supper  the kids had a little down time before showers and bed.  My little illustrator to be takes a few quiet moments to take advantage of the resources around her to create the picture in her head.   In today's backpack I'd gotten a sign up sheet for continuing strings that I threw away,  not wanting to push or do anything that would remind her of how sick she was earlier this year.  To that end, it seems we will be taking up viola this year.  After 1 1/2 years of violin (which we ended up stopping in February), she came home jazzed that in 4th grade she can do viola. She explained to me...
Mom, "it's what I wanted to do from the start, 
it just wasn't something we were allowed to do at 2nd & 3rd."  
"It sounds so much prettier, deeper."  
The need to play strings still burns within her, so happy! 

August in Review

Here is a look at the end of summer through my lens for the blog camp 365 project.

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