Monday, February 23, 2015


Lately I have been


this. will there ever be grass again?
all my people! 
but especially cousins
seriously.  The light of her life.

and honestly, running. I hate the treadmill and haven't been making winter running work. It has been rough. I need to figure out a routine that isn't weather dependent.  I'm trying morning workouts. Pray for me, and maybe send coffee. 


brunch for these wonderful people on New Year's.  
a ton of school lunches.  Soon I will write a post about the supplies we bought. So far we've carved out a good routine and are happy with the containers we have.  

pancakes.  We have made a thousand recipes over the years and it turns out that she loves the one I winged and will likely never recreate.  Kids.  
these cookies for book club. They're a simple shortbread with frosting and strawberry jam layered in between.  They were shared at one of the the nicest gatherings we've had to date in which we read a book of poetry (about motherhood! and life! by a mom with a daughter named Ellie!) and the author came a did a puppet show about her rabbit named Chess Piece Face and then agreed to (possibly) join our book club. So, it was sort of the best. 

Her most beautiful binocular.  Her drawing has taken a huge leap recently and I'm trying to keep up with her motivation. I can't wait for warmer weather and more time spent noticing and drawing nature.  Her interest in butterflies and birds has been through the roof lately.
So many knitted things. Some for a sweet baby that I just can't WAIT to meet (not mine. not pregnant.) so I can't share.  I am working on this seed stitch hat for myself in Madelinetosh yarn in holifestival. I'm such a neutrals girl, but this yarn makes me happy. 
She wanted a pink pom pom, of course.  
gifts for her teachers with homemade olive oil soap. I got the soap decks on Etsy. They're made in the US and reasonably priced.  
some naturally dyed yarns.  This fall we cut down our walnut tree. It was not an easy decision to cut down a tree, but it was poisoning our garden. It broke my heart to cut down a tree, one so old and so special, but I'm confident that the extra hours of daylight and a ton of compost will make our back garden plot productive.  
I had a hard time seeing the tree go, and I have been listening to the Woolful podcast, so I was inspired to use the last harvest of walnut hulls and bark to dye some yarn.
Merino on the right.  
The middle skein is also merino but was dyed in the exhaust bath.  
This experiment in solar dyeing resulted in a light vanilla yarn. 
I love them all.  
I am so inspired by natural dyes. I can't wait to experiment with growing plants and dyeing from them. This summer will certainly bring some yarn dyed with poke weed and goldenrod, and I'm searching high and low for a supplier of woad, and some knowledge about it. There is a ton of information out there about natural dyes, but I'm especially interested in the ones I can grow at home.


one of my favorite Christmas gifts.  
My mother insists that this plant was grown from the original plant in this Grant Wood painting. She's had her own for years and I've always said that I was going to steal it, but this is the next best thing.

I'm trying to write more often and more openly about what's going through my mind.  I got such an amazing response from my post about depression and that has fueled me.  I want to start sharing the story of what I'm experiencing more clearly, positive and negative, beautiful and ugly, because I think that there's intense value in it.  There are so many stories of women, of people, and hopefully hearing what I'm going through can make even just one person feel less alone.  I've started opening up blogger and putting up the beginnings of a post, even if I can't see the end of it.  Here's an idea I've had rolling around recently:  

When we're sitting in meditation (i.e. when we're being in the world), sometimes we experience negative emotions related to something in our lives.  The practice is to observe these feelings as reactions, and kindly and non-judgmentally witness and try to understand them.
I frequently feel sad that I'm not able to make my living doing something with food or farming.  I wish that I could dedicate my working hours to a job that makes a direct impact on my local food system, especially as a producer, and I'd prefer to do most of my child's schooling at home in this environment.  I enjoy making and tending and see great value in a rural life, and it would be such a pleasure to make this my living.  But financially I don't see how to make it a reality right now.
Tonight I found myself with this feeling again, which has been pervasive lately.  So many thoughts of leaving, developing a different pace of living, retreating from the hustle and bustle.
When sitting in meditation, if we feel something painful or difficult, we don't try to reject what's happening to us.  We become receptive to what's actually happening, and then explore easing ourselves around this difficulty, with affectionate attention.  Even if we can't make the back pain go away, we can try to soften around it and relax the muscles that we can control like our jaw and neck.   This eases tension about pain, which makes the actual pain more bearable, in my experience.
I'm trying to soften around my life right now.
I have a temptation to tense up about it all, my shoulders pinched to my ears.  It's freezing, so I'm constantly twisted up into a curl just to survive.
But I am trying to wrap myself in cashmere and wool and relax a little.
I may not be able to become a an alpaca farmer or have my own CSA.
But I will buy locally sourced ethical foods and help those farmers stay in business.
I can afford this because of my job.
I will knit with yarn made from American sheep and hand dyed in small batches by an artisan. All of the included workers will be well paid.
I can afford to do this because of my job.

I am thankful to have the chance to do my job every day.  It affords me great luxuries, which do help improve the causes that are important to me.
Sometimes we need a small shift in perspective.

What can you soften around today?  How can you find some ease and forgiveness for yourself in even the most challenging times?
Tell me all your secrets :)
All my love to you, as always.
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