Friday, September 16, 2016

nesting

Oh, I have been nesting something fierce, let me tell you! With this fourth baby due next month, I've come to realize that getting ready for her birth is not so much about things to do for her (babies really don't need much, no matter what some people tell you), and more about getting the other kids ready. Which for us has meant freshening up a bedroom just for them. I love looking at how others make their homes and bring ordinary beauty into their spaces, but I admit I've been reluctant to share that here, as I just don't see it as my particular talent! But, I do like how this room came together. And the evolution of how the kids are growing together has been particularly comforting for me lately. Apparently, having three children (especially as close in age as ours) is considered a little nutty, and having four means we've completely gone off the deep end. Mostly I think people tend to be concerned about how the kids are provided for - Do they each get enough attention? What about the division of resources? How do we handle not having much extended family support? And on and on....And honestly, I've contemplated all these things before, too. The answer to these questions really comes down to this: I ask for the grace to live together with generous love, and I try to remain in a place of gratitude for each day I'm given to try again. And oftentimes what I see are thriving kids - they're growing up eating food we cultivated, caring for all manner of animals, playing in wide open spaces, pursuing their passions with freedom, and I don't see them as lacking in any way that really matters. Quite the opposite, actually!


But, enough of all that - back to their room! We're stuck with this terrible blue carpet and a mystery stain I can't seem to get out, but that's okay. I'm not aiming for perfection here, just better. A fresh coat of paint on the walls and trim did wonders. I installed new screens on the windows, which can now be opened without bugs finding their way in. I've kept things decidedly very simple. Just their beds and clothes.



I found each of them a sweet "new" (thrifted) pillowcase, and we hung a few special pictures that belonged to my grandmother. They each have their own knitted baby blankets, and one dresser drawer which houses their in-season clothing. The out-of-season clothes and hand-me-downs are all in the closet. I'm contemplating hanging a curtain there, maybe?



I'm anti-nightlight, as I just feel children (adults, too) sleep better without any artificial light. (There's research on this actually), but they do have a little candle on their dresser in case they need it for awhile in the beginning of the night. I'm a strong believer that kids need plenty of restful sleep for their well-being. The kids bring toys and books in throughout the day, but we aim to clear all that out before nightfall.     



The weather if shifting, and soon these beds will need some quilts! I'd love to learn how to make a grandmother's flower garden quilt for the girls' beds, and am thinking about some kind of arrow design for my little boy.

I know some may see this space as sparse, but it's been very nurturing and peaceful for all of us. The children fill it with the immaterial - little acts of love - and I'm reminded that the people in a place make it a home, not the things collected. Our littlest one gets up a few times as part of the bedtime ritual, toddling over to her brother's bed for just one more kiss and her nightly "I wuv you." The biggest sister offers room in her bed, asking if anyone needs to cuddle for a bit. When everyone's snuggled in, we make up stories until they drift off to sleep. I try to remember these things when I haven't been the best mama, or when I get those judgemental looks from others about the size of our family. And I rest in the feeling that we're doing just fine.         

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Reality and Everyday Work

Did I ever tell you about the time I badly sprained my foot tripping over a hay bale while being chased by a juvenile rooster? Ridiculous. That whole incident started out with the romantic notion that I ought to go tromping barefoot through the lush grasses on the way to the chicken barn to gather eggs in the hem of my skirt whilst happy hens cluck about. Except I forgot about stuff like chicken poo and unruly roos. And so it often goes here, the picture in my head is not typically the reality of my day-to-day. But isn't it necessary, to romanticize farming a bit, lest it might never be attempted? It is for me, at least, and truth be told, it's the same with parenting. If I think too much about the utter gravity of it all...well, maybe it's best not to. All that to say, hello! And here's what I've been up to.
 

We celebrated summer birthdays and I've found my kitchen groove again as the food coming in from the garden is steadily picking up now. (I always seem to lose the happy cooking vibes just before spring comes, but somehow they always return, thank goodness!) I have quite a backlog of recipes I want to share, soon hopefully. 



The kids and I fill our days with animals chores and garden work as early as possible in the morning. When we come back inside, they play and I cook and bake and clean. Sometimes they join me, sometimes they are just happily submerged in their imaginary worlds. I've also been working on a new baby layette, so for a few minutes at the very end of the day, I sit and knit in the quiet.  



These ordinary things are just my everyday work, but oftentimes, it's good to remind ourselves that the work we do in our homes, raising our children, tending our gardens...is of utmost importance in our world today. Even if it's the only thing we can do, it's enough.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

bunny love

The kids take a little pink basket outside each day to pick fresh greens for Ted - dandelion leaves, lettuce, a little grass, some parsley, a carrot top...clearly, he loves it.



Ted has become quite the explorer, spending much of his time roaming the house. Sometimes we lose track of him, and then suddenly there he is around the corner. "Oh, hi Ted!"



He seems to have found a favorite sleeping spot in the corner room under a bed. Sweet little house bunny. 


Friday, April 29, 2016

kitchen firsts


The first of the season's asparagus! I go out early every morning to see if some are ready, and so far we're only getting a small handful at a time. I cook them briefly in a little butter, salt, and pepper, and we eat them with breakfast. The kids gobble them up - the spears are so sweet - I wonder if the cooler weather (more snow in store for us this weekend) is sweetening them?


Star bread! This one is a garlic bread, using butter, fresh garlic (grated), and fresh-picked oregano, sage, and terragon from the garden.  


Lemon bars, which satisfied my need to use up a good amount of eggs and my desire for lemon meringue pie, which never seems to turn out quite right.


A burnt and lopsided brioche loaf (this is its good side), which most certainly didn't turn out right. How do you not burn a bread that is over half its weight in butter? The texture on the inside was terrific, though, like a crescent roll!

What's going on in your kitchen these days?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ted



This is Ted. He's a sweet old bunny who was adopted by one of our nieces awhile back. She can't care for him anymore, so she asked if we could take him in. He'll live the rest of his days here with us, nibbling sweet grass and being doted upon by adoring children. I've come to realize that, when we can, saying yes to such opportunities when they arise makes for a very rich and blessed life. Say yes, friends, as much as you're able. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

a girl and her chicks


We're having a glorious couple of days here before another round of snow, and all the little ones are enjoying lots of outdoor time. I have a big metal dog crate set up under a blossoming tree just outside our house, where the chicks spend a couple of hours soaking up the sun and pecking at the grass before returning to their brooder. That tree was humming with bees this morning, and our hive did very well this winter. That hive has recently been split!

This girl of mine has always loved babies (of all kinds, in fact!) and the new chickies are no exception. She could sit here tending to them all day, sweet girl.




Friday, April 8, 2016

happy little spring things

The kids and I brought our rocking chairs out to the porch, and we've been spending some time there after breakfast, just watching all the birds and enjoying the earth's waking up. The kids don't sit for long, but I could happily spend hours out there with my knitting! Among all the bids, our geese have returned! We're all looking forward to the baby water fowl we see each year - the ducklings, and hopefully some goslings again.



The garden is waking up, too. I thought I lost the rhubarb to the flooding, but here it is, hardy as ever.


Little spinach is sprouting, along with all the other cold-hardy seeds we planted a few weeks ago.  Oh how we're looking forward to fresh homegrown greens again.


All the other babies here are growing fast, too.  




It's such a joy to watch all this beauty, and sometimes I still can't believe how fortunate I am to be part of it every day. I hope you're surrounded by happy things wherever you are, too. 

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