Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Home Again...

...and trying to remember if I knit a single thing this last year.

Thankfully the camera remembers that I did tote knitting around.
Central Park
Grand Central Station

NYC subway

finished the socks I knit in NYC to give to my sister for her birthday.

Knit this hat for Oliver for his winter bike commute; below I am trying it on mid-process. It's a Red Cross WWI pattern and because it is made from local Jacob's Sheep wool it qualifies as a Utah High Desert Fibershed project.

 finished this handspun vest for Ez.

 and knit matching latte coats for Ezra and his adorable cousin (below).
 Since the below photos I have undone the cuffs and knit the sleeves four inches longer.
harvesting kale

 Sidge is modeling the garden scarf. Which is another Utah High Desert Fibershed project. All local wool, all dyed from plants in my garden. And it was the first time I made up a pattern.

Sidge and Ezra are wearing mittens I knit them. And notice Ezra now rides his bike with pedals!!!
a Momma made outfit.
 This vest is the second pattern I've made up; I'm gaining confidence people.  My mom never knits from patterns; I have always knit from patterns...until this last winter.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Wide Path Camper, Denmark

Merry Thieves invited me to join them in Denmark for some winter camping and bike touring. We've been testing the prototype of the Wide Path Camper; a camper that can be pulled by bike!

We've been mostly getting around on Bike Fridays, travel cargo bikes handcrafted in Oregon. And we've been taking turns pulling and spending the night in the Wide Path Camper.  And of course now all I want to do is cruise on bikes across Europe and back again, pulling this little gem of a house on wheels behind me.

Introducing my awesome cohorts:

Me with two of the Merry Thieves: JR Boyce on the left and Sam Garfield on the right.
More soon!

Friday, February 06, 2015

A Look Around on Fridays

This "wheel of the week" hangs on our bulletin board. It's a salvaged disc of wood painted with washes of watercolor and has the lofty purpose of keeping us anchored in a rhythm of the week. 

If you want to see how it helps guide our family here are links to past posts:
and today! Friday!
(Saturday and Sunday are coming up.)

Friday is the day of beauty. We recite a new verse, we make art, think beautiful thoughts, that sort of thing.

Also, for a season (which is over for now) on Fridays I taught a green tech class for kids. We discussed permaculture principles, made rocket stoves, strung together wind chimes from bamboo we grow, wove waddle fencing, did eurythmy, told stories with handmade puppets of the legendary permaculture druids that live on maple flats, toured local gardens, distributed lots of plants, learned a lot about edible perennials and putting them into smoothies, recycled newspaper by folding them into origami seed starting pots, and chased escaped chickens around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful time! Here are a few pics of the green tech class:

Fridays with Ezra are delightful. He loves making art non-stop everyday but we like to make Fridays extra special by setting the stage for an experience of art making; telling a story that helps us use our art tools mindfully.  Ahhhh the magic of learning how to wield a brush, mix colors, and see how the blank paper is filled!

On Fridays we can't wait for Oliver to get home after his long week of commuting to work and school.  Keeping focused on beauty as a special seasoning to add flavor to the day makes it easier to get through the last few hours 'til he's home for the weekend!

Below Ezra is using a wooden spoon carved by Oliver to eat his miso soup.

And here is Ezra this morning: 
He was saying "look ma! i'm a one-eyed pirate!" We often have "one-eyed pirates" (aka "eggs in a hole") for breakfast.

Today we drew on burlap stretched on an embroidery hoop.

Then embroidered the lines. 

Happy beautiful Friday to you!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Scenes from Martinmas

Our chalkboard drawing for Martinmas
apples for the spiced cider
Oliver telling the story
Sheree teaching us songs

candlelit walk down Center Street
Ha! Another party at the cottage in the dark...well subdued lighting anyway.  This season of darkness and the necessity of turning to the light that lives within each of us is my favorite! Sharing stories about compassionate acts warms the heart and inspires us to do the same. It's traditional to tell about a Christian saint named Martin who with his sword rent his Roman army-issued cloak in two and gave half to a freezing beggar.  There are many versions of this story; this is one of my favorites. Oliver has researched the ancient city of Amiens, where the story takes place, and their relationship to the Celtic god Cernunnos. He incorporated pagan elements into his very unique and gorgeous version of the story; including an encounter in the forest with the Great Stag. What surprised me was that Ezra had remembered the story from last year's celebration. As Oliver told the story, Ezra ran and grabbed props. And as if on cue he handed Oliver a stick to be Martin's sword and a silk cloth to be the cloak. Story telling lives in this child!

After the story, Sheree, who taught music in public schools in California for 25 years, skillfully led us in three songs; a spirited version of "This Little Light of Mine",  a traditional Iroquois song "Wild Goose Flight" with hand motions that was accompanied by Oliver and a couple of the kids on the wooden bass xylophone, and a Russian Peace Hymn, whose haunting melody makes me cry.

We then walked with our lanterns to a local park and placed our lanterns at the base of an apple tree. Then all fifteen of us held hands and sang the Russian Peace Hymn to the tree as we circled around. 

Back at the cottage we warmed ourselves with hot apple cider that Ezra and I had made from apples picked at a neighbor's.

The whole evening was magical. and spiritual. and community building. I can feel my heart aglow every time I remember martinmas and the dear people who gathered with us to celebrate. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Scenes from Samhain

Tis always the season for a cat nose and whiskers.
Samhain is a time for bringing out mementos from our ancestors: the hand-tatted tablecloth, the porcelain soup turin from Abuelita,  the cloth napkins beautifully embroidered by ancestors from both sides of my family, the elaborate silverware (we use everyday anyway but somehow i notice more at Samhain!). 

Samhain dinner starts at nightfall and the house is completely dark; which is FUN and a little unsettling. I noticed how much I like the lights to be turned on! And then as we sit in the dark at the dining a beloved ancestor is named, stories told, and a candle lit for them until the whole room is bright. Hilarious stories, heroic stories, universal stories, even a story where reparations have yet to be made and hopefully we the descendants can make things better? With every story of human frailty, always a chance for redemption. I've always been optimistic that way. =) And having the ancestors around as we enter the cold and dark part of the year? Powerful.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Look Around on Thursdays

Thursdays are getting ready for upcoming festivals, finger puppet shows, forest school, and food truck round-up or "poetry night" at a local cafe days. That's a lot for one day!

Ez is trying on the witch's hat i'm needle-felting for Samhain.
We celebrate the eight festivals of the great wheel of the year, plus all of the customary Waldorf festivals. Preparing usually means "setting the stage" by cleaning the cottage, planning our food, and making decorations, and putting together our costumes.
Ez made the horse chestnut hull and conker dragon with grape eyes. =)
grandmother earth with friendly dragons
Ez being knighted at the Michaelmas festival- he was asked "are you brave? are you true? do you hear the singing of the stars?" And he answered "yes."

And about forest school...

Johnna of Dewberry Hill Farm told me about Mother Earth School in Portland. Wouldn't it be great to have something like that here?! So we started our own version of forest school. (Ezra's Waldorf school has started doing forest school! so AMAZING!!!) 

Meanwhile back at the cottage these are the resources we use for forest school.
Northeastern Utah Plants- Print this and take on excursions.
Wasatch Flora- Put this app on your phone
neither of the above are comprehensive guides but they're still useful. Is there a comprehensive guide?!

And my friend Ariane sent some wonderful resources that we use:
Ariane interviewed local experts and put together guides for the Utah Lake ecosystem and her nine different environments. If you want e-mail me and I will forward that guide to you! 

Johnna did this chalkboard drawing of plant parts:

The children drawing flowers they picked from the garden after identifying the parts Johnna drew.
a Thursday excursion with Provo Permaculture- checking out local oak tree varieties
false solomon's seal
ate some wild watercress!
Squaw bush berry- or Aromatic sumac
the inside green of the honey locust pod is yummy!
More about Thursday some other time!