inhale...exhale...relax your shoulders...repeat as often as needed

Monday, February 29, 2016

triptych 28

-stem number two from our apple blossom amaryllis, which bloomed six weeks ago.
-our neighbors at the bottom of the hill are sugaring!
-wild winds have blown dark clouds across the sky, with brief and tiny peeks of brilliant sunshine. culverts rushing with snow melt, muddy ruts in the road...

happy leap day, friends! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

little green sprouts

A few weekends ago we spent a day at the NOFA-VT annual winter conference held in Burlington. I had missed the last few years due to a calendar conflict, and was delighted to attend this year. Gathering with organic farmers, homesteaders, foodies and policy wonks is energizing and fun in the midst of a Vermont winter.

We have long enjoyed sprouting peas on the windowsill to toss into salads in the grey days of winter. We have upped our game since attending a workshop hosted by The Daily Gardener.We learned that soaking seeds in water first helps with the germination.  A dash of sea kelp and compost added to the germination mix boosts the growth and vitality of the sprouts. Keeping seeds under wet newsprint and in the dark for a few days helps them germinate. Once the sprouts have grown and been harvested, the nutrients and roots left behind in the soil boosts the quality of one's compost!

Adding buckwheat lettuce, sunflowers, radish and broccoli seeds to our usual peas has created some much appreciated diversity to our sprouting.

Clear and helpful instructions for sprouting seeds can be found at The Daily Gardener's website (above) . We bought our seeds from High Mowing Seeds (mail order) and at Hunger Mountain Co-op (store front).

If you are missing the salad days of summer, you might consider growing a variety of these beauties on your own windowsill. It's lovely to watch them grow and a bowlful of mixed sprouts, with a dash of vinaigrette makes for a delicious and nourishing side dish at supper time. 

Please let me know if you give it a go!

Monday, February 22, 2016

kitty stitching

Do you remember the fox, and the two rabbits that I stitched with patterns from Alicia Paulson? Well, I recently stitched a kitty as a very belated birthday gift for my daughter-in-law. (I think sometimes grown ups enjoy a bit of whimsy). The Wellington boots "got me at hello".  The pattern included a knitted cowl, but I very much wanted this little kitty to have a spring shawl. I suppose she has no tail so that she can sit down properly, but if I ever make another kitty, I may just improvise an elegant twitchy tail. 

Have you been doing any stitching lately? 

these february days

What an odd winter we are having here in Vermont. The actual temperature at our house on Valentine's Day was -22, with a wind chill of -29. We know this because Batman got a weather station for Christmas this year, and we keep a sharp eye on the information it tracks. According to the "eye on the sky" guys, the following 48 hours had some of the most changeable temperatures on the record books, with the high temperatures nearing 50 degrees on Tuesday. 

We have not had much snow at all, and more days are temperate than not.  Some folks are very happy about these conditions, calling it a mild winter.

But I've got to tell you, I am uncomfortable and disconcerted. And worried. My mammal self is suspicious of what is going on with Mother Nature. 

So I meditate.

And I hang freshly washed laundry on wooden racks to dry.

And I plant seeds to sprout for salads on the windowsills (more about that later this week).

And I look for helpful projects, like this "draft dodger" (above) I stitched to keep the cold from creeping in under our lovely old wooden entry door. The door is not energy efficient, but it is a beautiful element from the original house and we decided to keep it. I sewed up a tube from some heavy chambray leftover from another project, filled it with dried beans, sewed up the end and snugged it up against the threshold. Bye bye draft.
Expanding our circle of friends has been rewarding and cheering. Finding like-minded folks who share our concerns about some of the challenges in life helps ease some of them. Brainstorming, story telling, comparing notes and laughing can brighten any winter meal. Last week, homemade challah bread (and butter) came through the door and brought neighborliness right to the table.

Being present.
Finding beauty in the everyday.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

triptych 27

Growing things, past present and future...

-beets and carrots (and garlic and onions) from our summer gardens, stored in buckets of clean sand since September, brought up from the root cellar. homesteader wannabe progress.

-another amaryllis, blooming on the kitchen windowsill.

-pots of hyacinths, daffodils and crocus, also brought up from the root cellar, "forced" to bloom early here in the living room.

Monday, February 15, 2016

some (aqua) valentine sewing

 wool felt and kona cotton...
filled with dried lavender...
and stitched up into sachets.
easy-to-follow instructions found here
via purl soho.


Sunday, February 14, 2016


maybe we are all just reflections of one another. sending love to our human family today and always.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Oh, I do love a good dining room table...a place where friends and family can gather and be physically and spiritually connected by holding hands and joining hearts. A moment or two of silence, a pause, a bit of gratitude, an awareness of all that is. Yes please.

A place to play cards, cut out a pattern, to do a puzzle, finish homework (golly, that was a long time ago), make Valentines, chop vegetables, make paper dolls and plan menus. All of that and more.

Lately I have a growing respect for the dining room table as a place to grow health. Of course, what we do in our kitchens is an important part of that too. But the time we take to sit and eat, and chat, or look out the window is important too. The slowing down, the intentional choices we make about what we put on our plates and an appreciation of that nourishment can all play a part in our health too.

I do try to donate blood as often as I can. Sometimes my iron level prevents me from donating. It frustrates me. I feel like my best intentions are thwarted. I feel like I am wasting the time of the folks at the blood drive. So I've done some research and asked around.

Here are some tips that have worked for me.
  • stop drinking black tea about two weeks before the donation date (it interferes with the absorption of iron, who knew?).
  • amp up consumption of dark, leafy greens, and eat them with citrus fruit or a squeeze of citrus juice  if you can.
  • check out other iron rich foods at the Red Cross website here.
  • drink plenty of water the day before and the day of your donation.
Today I smashed the iron numbers game and because I am a woman of height, I was able to donate double red cells for the first time ever.  To read about this type of donation look here. Was I a bit nervous, apprehensive, unsure when invited to make this kind of donation? Yup. But then I looked at my tattoo, took a deep breath and said, "Absolutely yes".  Each and every time I stretch out on a Red Cross cot I send a big dose of love and light out to Erin Elizabeth Potts, whose legacy continues to ripple out far and wide in this world.

Oh, how I wish Erin and her dear family could join us at our dining room table...the place where so many good things happen. Instead, we will light a candle in her memory tonight, as the snow swirls around our home here in the Green Mountains.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

right now

snow at last.
overcast outside, cozy inside.
cyclamen, amaryllis, hyacinth and paperwhites on the windowsill.
a busy soup pot.
handsome grouse eating crabapples in the trees and 
finches, juncos, chickadees and cardinals at the feeders.
ravens bossing everyone around.

after months and months of disruption
it's finally beginning to feel like
home sweet home.


how are things at your house, friends?