Joining Amanda for “This Moment - A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.”

Rejoining the Yarn Along

A little early morning, bleary-eyed knitting with my early-riser. He was up long before his siblings, so we snuggled in bed as he sifted through a jar of buttons (one of his favorite past-times), and I chugged coffee and finished a few inches on this little project: Joining Ginny for her Yarn Along this morning, and Nicole for her KCCO.  I am in-between books at the moment, but have been a tad-bit obsessed with watching Wrapunzel’s tutorials while I knit. Looking forward to visiting the other knitters in the Yarn Along after the kids are in bed tonight.  

Garlic Scape Pesto

  Garlic scapes!  Ever so many!  If you aren’t familiar with scapes – they are the twisty stalk and flower bud of alliums.  Removing them from the garlic (or shallots, etc) before they flower helps form a larger head of garlic.  But you needn’t compost them – they are edible and nutritious – a good source of manganese, selenium and vitamin B6. Scapes will add a zippy garlicky bite to all sorts of dishes.  Folks on my FB page have suggested sauteing them with cracked black pepper and olive oil, or pickling them (definitely going to try that.  I bet

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A post!

Once again, I have failed to be a consistent blogger.  What can I say?  Life is busy.   I have barely picked up my knitting needles in weeks and weeks.  My camera is forgotten on a regular basis.  My spinning wheel is dusty and the laundry table is covered in at least three loads of unfolded clothes.  House and writing projects have been set aside.  Our whole family has had a non-stop run of illness and maintenance of chronic health issues.  But the kids have my attention, and we have been connecting and learning and growing in many areas.  And

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Yellow Dresser

Casey had his eye on this at the local thrift store for quite a long while.  (I’ll admit, I thought it had charm, too!) It was originally priced far too high at $75.  So, we let it go. Apparently no one else saw we we saw, because week after week after week it went unsold.  And then the price started dropping. Now, we needed a new dresser upstairs – storage for the girls’ various craft supplies.  The dresser we had been using was too small, missing a handle, had a broken drawer, and we had gotten far more from it

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Play Kits to go

Joining Nicole’s KCCO this week with a project I finished before the holidays, but am just now getting around to photographing. The toy baskets were getting out of control.  One of the children would be rummaging through, looking for all the pieces of a playset, and end up dumping over the whole basket in frustration just to find a missing piece. Christmas was coming, and I knew something had to change before the chaos in the living room got worse. My solution:  just before Thanksgiving, I retrieved a  little coat rack from basement storage.  A dear family friend had made

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This Moment – George and Ruth

This week’s Moment.  

Hearts of Hope

The events of last week are a stark reminder that this world is a broken place.  Like so many gripped by this sudden grief, there are no words… After the tragedy in Newtown, and being weighed down by recurrent health troubles, I needed to retreat from the internet and media, and into my family.  The families who are mourning have been, and will continue to be, in my thoughts and prayers. While our children have been shielded from the details and sadness of what has happened, I wanted to do something, even if just small gesture, but didn’t know what

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The Tomten and the Fox

Needle felting is one of those crafts we feel drawn toward more in the winter months.  Both of the girls really enjoy making Christmas ornaments and decorations.  Harold is learning to use the needle tool safely, and often prefers playing with the tufts of roving and his older sisters’ finished projects. Astrid Lindgren’s Tomten books are among my favorite winter stories from childhood.  Harold requests we read them (along with Jan Brett’s Hedgie’s Surprise) at least once every day since I added them to the book basket. So, in honor of the the children’s fascination with the little red-hatted caretakers

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This Moment

Joining Amanda for This Moment.

Tutorial: How to Waterproof Wool Diaper Covers with Lanolin

Over the weekend, I made a new batch of wool and wool/cashmere soakers from thrifted sweaters.  Some are for George, and some are for gifts, but all needed to be water-proofed, along with some knitted covers. There are many methods of lanolizing wool soakers, and this is the one a friend taught me way back when Bea was a baby.  It works really well, and doesn’t leave spots on the covers, unlike some short-cut methods I’ve tried. Why do you need to lanolize a wool cover?  On its own, wool diaper covers will be somewhat waterproof since wool naturally wicks

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So much to be thankful for this year. Happy Turkey Day from our family to yours!

Autumn Weekend

Ruth busy at her sculpture and painting for the nature table, Bea on a Core of Discovery themed camp-out with her Girl Scout Troop, George, at his favorite play-spot, saying, “Cook, cook, cook.” Casey taking Hal to the library to escape the grey and the rain for a bit. And for me – sewing projects, potting up paperwhites, and some Christmas crafting. Tonight, the kids are tucking into bed early, and I will be washing and waxing more furniture from my grandparents.  Tomorrow Thanksgiving preparations begin in earnest. Hope you had a simultaneously productive and restful weekend, as well.  Blessings

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Stockmar afternoon

Late afternoon -that time in the hour before dinner, the hour before Daddy gets home – is so often a strain on family harmony.  We’re all hungry, low on energy, short on tempers.  I struggle to find ways to keep the children occupied, finish dinner, and keep squabbling to a minimum. (I remember Grace relating a similar frustration at that time of day, and feeling relieved that I wasn’t the only mom on the verge of pulling her hair out and yelling at the the top of her lungs come 4:30 or 5.) When the children aren’t out playing with

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 I have so many, many things to be grateful for this week.  Despite battling our first bad cold this autumn, we’ve made the most of the mild and relatively-dry weather during the first part of the week.  Most of the weekend and all of Monday was spent in the balmy outdoors getting filthy dirty and loving it.  Very glad to have had dry weather to tackle mucking out the coops, spreading countless wheelbarrows of mulch, dividing the dahlias, installing a cast-iron clawfoot bathtub duck pond (which came all the way from my grandparents’ garden in Indiana). We are finally making

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Joining with Amanda for her weekly This Moment post. Here’s my recipe, which makes 4-5 quarts finished sauce: Brown-sugar Applesauce Enough apples, washed, cored and cut into eighths, to fill an 8-quart pot heaping full.  (I used about 24 med-large apples). 1 cup apple cider 1 Tbsp ground cassia cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground cardamom 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground mace 1/4 tsp ground cloves 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 3/4 cup packed brown sugar Juice of one lemon Directions:  In a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, combine all ingredients except lemon juice.  Cover, and cook on med-low until

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On the Oregon Coast

We are home from a weekend yurt getaway to celebrate my husband and our second daughter’s birthdays.  There was a driving rain most of the time, so we skipped the frigid beach in favor of a hike through the woods. Definitely wool skirt, wool socks, heavy shoes kind of hiking weather. As we started out, we came across an open space full of toadstools, most toppled over by the wind (or grouchy gnomes perhaps?). Tucked in under the thick patches of ancient evergreen huckleberries and salal, and sometimes even wandering across the path, were many Rough-skinned newts, with their vibrant

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On the road

Just back from our little road trip to yurt-camp on the coast.  Six hours of blissful spinning this first-shearing raw alpaca fiber while we listened to one of our favorite Arthurian-inspired stories on book CD and watched the driving rain all around us. Back later today to share about our trip, but for now the mountains of muddy, sandy laundry need my attention…as do Halloween costumes…and our geography lessons…More soon.

FREE Baby/Toddler Vest Pattern

There is something about babies in snuggly wooly vests… Last week’s project is finally finished, along with a smaller version (top photo).  I had originally worked up a 12-18 month sized pattern to fit tricky kiddo #4 (above), but thought a 3-6 month size would be great for baby shower gifts and such, too. I’d love to share the pattern with you.  It’s free, a quick knit, fits great, and I hope to post larger sizes in the coming weeks.  If you use my pattern, please give me credit and link back to this page.   This pattern is intended for

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The nights grow

Now constantly there is the sound, quieter than rain, of the leaves falling. Under their loosening bright gold, the sycamore limbs bleach whiter. Now the only flowers are beeweed and aster, spray of their white and lavender over the brown leaves. The calling of a crow sounds loud—a landmark—now that the life of summer falls silent, and the nights grow. — Wendell Berry  

Apple Tasting

Yesterday we attended the Home Orchard Society’s annual fruit exhibition and tasting.   There were hundreds of varieties of heirloom apples and pears to taste, as well as dozens of grapes, hardy kiwis and more.  The children had a great time trying every apple variety imaginable.  We tasted slice after slice of heirloom apple  and pear varieties with regal names like “Zambergau Reinette” and “Ashmead’s Kernel”, as well as ones that made the kids giggle (“Peasgood Nonsuch” and “Vicar of Winkfield”). We already own several apple trees, including a “Karmijn de Sonnaville”, two “Cox’s Orange Pippin”s (my favorite apple), a classic

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Test Knitting

The house is full of company at present, and the rains have returned to Oregon, bringing with them the constant grey that so typifies autumn in the Pacific Northwest.  You’ve never seen such miserable looking chickens as ours, huddled under the picnic table in the driving rain.  Definitely a good time to hide out inside, catch up on school projects, watch a documentary, make a hot lunch. First, can I show off some recent thrift store finds?  The weaving (on the sofa seat) fits perfectly over our beat-up sofa upholstery.  The old, old quilt on the back  was $5,with a

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This Moment – Stacking Tree

  Friday’s This Moment with Amanda.  

In the Bulb There is a Flower

Last week, we were at the plant nursery, looking for fruit trees on clearance (there’s always room for one more, right?), when the children begged me to buy some bulbs. We picked out some more crocuses to go around the bases of the plum trees, jonquils and daffodils to ring our new honeyberry bushes, and tulips to peek out from around the winter savory on the edge of the herb beds (above). I cannot tell you how much I wanted to pick up several more hyacinths, even more crocus bulbs, alliums, and loads of Fritillaria, but the budget didn’t permit. 

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Alcatraz – This Moment

Joining with Amanda again for This Moment.

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