Friday, February 27, 2009


Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter.

- LLan Shamir, Advice from a Tree,

Suffice to say I celebrate Trees all they do for us and share with us.

Earth Awakening

Ahh the earth is waking up, we see more signs each and every day. The winter aconites are making an arrival now in a big way. It reminds me of the book by Sibylle Von Olfers Mother Earth and her Children a wonderful story of the plants and insects waking up from the Earth and getting brushed off to make a grand appearance. The illustrations are done in a quilted fashion. It is charming.

It smells like spring out, dead leaves, worms and earth that is no longer frozen.
Such a simple Joy~

You will also see the last picture has the Maple tree we tapped. We are going to place another tap on it this weekend and also tap two other trees on the property. It's Maple time!! more on that later.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Golden Larches

It has been so lovely to watch the days growing longer. More sunshine in the air and some early signs of change. While it is still 26 days until official spring and I am sure many more inches of snow, it is still good to see change. There is much more bird activity as well. Many birds are returning, there is more birdsong and the owls are active calling at night as well. I have seen Blue Birds regularly for about 3 weeks now. Such a flash of color in a rather plain landscape. There is a lot of golden hues, dusky green and brown gray in the landscape right now. The blue skies have been such a treat.

When we were hiking this weekend there were clusters of Golden larches. You can always find them as they have a beautiful tree shape most of the time. They are a deciduous Conifer. The needles are in a star shape on the branches. They are varying shades of green until late Autumn when they turn to a brilliant shade of golden.
There is a link below to more information. I could not find a good photo. What is your favorite Tree and Why, I wonder?

That is hard, I love Sugar Maples for the sweet treat they produce. I enjoy our Horse Chestnut trees as they are survivors, and we love the nuts in the fall. another favorite old tree is the Osage Orange Tree. Native but over harvested adn not seen often today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Celebrate everyday

Tea and Tea Kettles and Tea Pots
I celebrate that having Tea makes you slow down just a smidge to enjoy something you otherwise would have missed. I love always having Hot water on hand by way of the wood stove. I like any decaffeinated Teas. Several favorites are Earl Gray, basic Black, Peppermint, Tangerine. What kind of tea is most popular? Guess I could Wikki that to find out!
Have a cup of tea today!

Monday, February 23, 2009


I have Found Such Joy

I have found such joy in simple things;
A plain clean room,a nut brown loaf of bread.
A cup of milk,a kettle as it sings,
The shelter of a roof above my head,
And in a leaf-laces square along the floor,
Where yellow sunlight glimmers through the door.

I have found such joy in things that fill
My quiet days: a curtains blowing grace,
A potted plant upon my window sill,
A rose,fresh cut placed within a vase;
A table cleared, a lamp beside a chair,
And books I long have loved beside me there.

Oh, I have found such joys I wish I might
tell every woman who goes seeking far
For some elusive, feverish delight,
That very close to home the great joys are:
The elemental things- old as the race;
Yet never, through the ages, commonplace.

~~Grace Noll Crowell

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Family Hike, Indian Lore

Yesterday we drove out to the Eastern side of Canandaigua Lake, we hiked at Bare Hill 865 feet above the Lake a "DEC Unique area". I had always wanted to go here for a hike, It has strong connections to the Iroquois Indians and home to the Lore Tale of the 2 headed Serpent. There are also 2 letterboxes here but we only found one of them. Muggles prevented us from finding the other. Let me say before I tell the tale that taking a Family Hike, sharing time in the great outdoors, sharing a tasty treat along the trail is tops for me. I love being together in this environment. We followed the directions to the first letterbox which yielded this stamp in the first Photo. The tale goes like this- much abbreviated, A young Indian boy found a 2 headed snake that he cared for and fed, it grew to enormous size and had a huge appetite that in the end included a whole village. In a dream a young Indian learned how to Slay the Serpent. Firing an arrow to a spot in the back of its neck, it was killed. As it rolled down the slope to the lake, it cleared all the vegetation and trees - "Bare Hill" it also spit out the skulls of those it had eaten- hence the erratic rocks known to Geologists as Septaria and to locals as Indian Heads on the slopes. This spot also is home to the Council fires of the Seneca tribes and the Origin of Genundowa Festival of Lights (the Circle of Fire) every September to celebrate the Harvest.
Photo 1 is the Letterbox stamp, Photo 2 is Council Rock, Photo 3 is looking North up Canandaigua Lake, Photo 4 is part of the icy road that the kids enjoyed trying to skate down as mom said be careful a hundred times.
It was beautiful sunny as the hike started but back to going gray as the hike concluded.

Friday, February 20, 2009

First Flowers

These are winter Aconites they are usually the first up in the garden and a welcome sight in the bleak mid-winter. In some areas of my garden they are in huge swaths and the bright yellow is gorgeous. Here it seems to be just this little cluster.
Very cold and Windy this Morning. Slow going.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Antique/Old Quilt

So this is my bargain. I have never purchased an old quilt but for less than $20 how could I pass it up? I thought the pattern was Clays choice but it is not,I have not had enough time to figure it out and look it up. It is hand quilted and has tears and holes but is in not half bad shape. Some of the pattern cloth looks like feed sacks and the white background reminds me of a mattress Pad but it is not. I need to wash it gently for starters.
The thing about quilts- especially old quilts is that every quilt has a story, Who was the maker?, Why did they make it? Who was it for? Where did the fabric come from? When did they have time to make it? What was going on in there lives when they made it? What season was it, did that influence them? I think about all the quilts i have made and the answers to them . . . . the seasons of nature highly influence my color choices. The issues going on in my life get sorted out while I make it. Sometimes an issue is why I make it. So Who made this quilt and why? and when?
Will I ever know? Of course there is no label. Let that be a lesson to me to get labels on all my quilts. The stories are what make Quilts magic.

Into the City

Today was working on Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge. The boys did a number of written requirements then they took a road trip into the city to see several historic Landmarks - you are looking at a Aqueduct on the Genesee River. We then went to see several old graves- Susan B. Anthony- whose Birthday was Feb. 15 and then out to Gannondagen an Historic Landmark and very Peace Filled place. Tomato Soup, fresh delicious Whole wheat bread and Salad for a dinner. Off to bed for the littlest now.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentines Day Re-visited

Well here it is- the snapshot of the day or at least of the food. We started out with Breakfast, Waffles with strawberries and whip cream for some. Highlighted with the chocolate covered Strawberries. Then we went out for Dinner- Thai food- Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken for me!- yummy
After a fun Musical we returned home for a choice of Deep chocolate cake with raspberry filling or a Amaretto Chocolate Wafer Torte. I Preferred the latter as the Cake that is in the picture was way to rich and sweet. I do not have a photo of the Torte. The candy hearts the kids all love, it would not be Valentines day with out them. Perhaps I was to tired to truly enjoy the sweet treats. Anyway here's hoping you had a sweet treat or two with someone you love. Now I am trying to keep away from the leftovers!! Enjoy your week.

Vacation Hands

So these are what the hands that usually hold books, pencils and typing on the keyboard are starting off doing this week.. It is school break and we are snowless at the moment that may change by midweek. Today we did some errands and shopping. The library, An Antique Shop holding treasures for all, Salvation Army store, Wool shop for mama, toy store, bread shop for our favorite Cinnamon Swirl, Walmart. Also a drive by the mostly frozen lake and observing the birds that sit and wait on the ice, mainly Seagulls, Geese, and Mallards. It is so different to see everything at the lakefront so quiet in the Winter from the usual bustle and hustle of the Summer.

The hands are busy playing computer games - Solitaire, Age of mythology, answering the phone and putting together little skateboard toys, firing the BBGun, making cookies, knitting, stitching, carrying books for pleasure, sketching, vaccumming, peeling potatoes. . . . . what don't our Hands do? No wonder they get tired- at least mine do now days. What did your Hands do today? What will they do tomorrow?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Nature Print

This is way to cool fabric I found at Joannes. It is made by Debbie Mumm for Joannes.
I like it because the foliage is very realistic and the little creatures - dragonflies, snails, Grasshoppers are so cute. Just another way to integrate nature with art. Enjoy the day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What I like!

So what does a dog like Edna who is 4 like?
To go running with her Dad each morning
To eat all the time anything
To sleep
to get treats
to go on car rides
to meet new dogs
To meet new people
To go for walks
To sleep
To steal sweet treats
To go out in foul weather so I can get toweled off when I come in.
To play with my toys, to get new toys
to have my ears rubbed
To wag my tail
To be loved
To love others

Wow like what we might learn from a dog.

Getting Ready for Valentines

Well the steps are being taken:
the cards mailed,
the valentines for school completed,
the class treats purchased for a party
the decadent dessert being made
the house decorated
The husband on his way back home!!

love these on the window sill this time of year- the light really catches them.
Love birds- it is said that Valentines day is when some birds pick their mates for the nesting season. We got engaged on 2/13 so perhaps there is some truth in that.
Anyway A very Happy Valentines day to one and all.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spring signs #1

Early signs of spring are always a real treat. They give us hope even if we still have weeks more of winter in reality. We usually get several good March storms.
So we are enjoying all that nature gives us on these rare not quite spring days, the sun has been magnificent the last few days and although it is more like Mud season outside at the moment we will take it.

Ok- Photo 1 from the top - sprouts of purple early Iris I think.
Photo 2- Stonecrop which is a fall flower but sets its new growth very early in the season.
Photo 3 Heleborus- Lenten Rose- check back as it gets closer for the beautiful flowers it will share with us.
Photo 4 the remaining snow Pile- wonder how long it will last.

It is supposed to be mild here all week, that means a wet basement in this 187 year old house of ours. It also means not much chance of shoveling while the Hiker is out of town.

One last sign- Slugger and Hiker went camping this weekend with the Troop to our Maple Syrup Farm to string more lines- hoping to add 200 more taps. They used all the supplies they had and even though it was early February it was warm enough that the sap was running- none of the Maple farmers are ready for this. All the lines still need to be flushed with red wine vinegar. All the trees need to be tapped for the year and spickets placed in them. yes the tents were in the snowy,muddy mess of February. And lots of mud came home to Chestnut Hill!!

Time, Derby Time

Well last Friday 2/6 was a very busy day and least of all was Pinewood derby time.
After weeks of planning, sanding, painting, creating the race was on. First was going to help set up the race track and chairs around it. Then a detour for Baseball draft and then back for the race!! We had the Pepsi car and it was a close race every time. We came in first a few times ad second. The prize for coming in first is to arrange the Blue and Gold dinner. Typically not a choice spot to be. Usually reserved for the parent who helped their child to much with his car.

Time- I have been thinking of this as it seems that much revolves around it. Time is all we have.
My favorite thought about time: (and love)
The best use of life is love.
The best expression of love is time.
The best time to love is now.

We are either on time or not - that could be a whole subject in itself!!
We are clock watchers- when do we need to be where, will we be there on time? Will we have enough time to do the activity?
Lunchtime, bedtime, bus time, reading time, suppertime, play time, music time, churchtime, nature time, Work time, so many things require our time . . . . house, kids, chores, meal prep/clean up, how do we ever begin to decide how we spend our time? Are we spending it in the most beneficial way for us or for our loved ones?
How do we decide? Clearly how we spend our time defines us. Do we spend all, nothing or somewhere in between on our kids? on our self, on work?
How do we get to Balance? Clearly there are more questions here than answers.

I believe that time is the great equalizer, we need to decide just how we will spend our precious time. Family time, Creative time, Outdoor time are all very important to me. Figuring out how to handle all the other "times" is the challenge. We need to be good prioritizers, and good at being focused and on task to do the less desirable tasks leaving time for the more desirable. Utilizing our resources is a good help for this. Ie: delegating to kids for things that they can do. Working smarter not harder, staying ahead of the clutter ( not sure that is possible) staying on task with routines. Time management, a key component in our lives but seldom taught as a routine item to children & youth. May your time today be well spent.

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. ~Carl Sandburg

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Quilts and Full Moons

Just wanted to share this little table topper quilt I am making for Valentines day. Started with some 5 inch fabric samples and then added more 5 inch squares to them.
Love the reds and pinks from this season of the year. Then again - who am I kidding, I love each seasons colors.

I am amazed by how fast the moon is changing, preparing to be a full Snow moon this weekend, seems it was just Wolf moon and yet a whole month/cycle has gone by. As much as the moonlight at night has changed so has the daylight. Every night it is lighter a little longer. loving that!!! Soon Baseball and flower gardens will be upon us. For now there is more snow like the coat that Oren the kitty is sporting from midday!


This was part of my birthday gift form Flowergirl. It looks so real, like I can reach out and touch it. It is done with colored pencil I believe. I love all the detail on the warts. I also received some other artwork that I will show at another time. Slugger and Yoda both made me family portraits which I love!! Birthdays are always kind of strange. this one was very nice.

My mom told me it was very snowy when I was born, the roads were snow covered and not well taken care of. I know I was born in the morning, that the hospital was very full and they did not have room for us at first. My mom roomed with a lovely women who had a daughter the day before and we became good friends growing up although once college hit and a divorce for the family the relationship was mostly lost but I have the best memories of my birthday friend. They always gave me Iron banks in the shapes of animals. Pig, lamb, dog, cat, you get the picture.

Well for now- need to move on. The crows this morning are drinking out of our Sump pump area on the lawn right outside my window- tried to get a picture without luck, as I raise the camera they detect the movement and fly away. A brisk 4 degrees here this AM.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Candlemass, Ground Hogs Day

February 2-
I always knew it as GroundHogs day and my girlfriends birthday, now I know it is also Candlemass celebration- another twist on the celebration of Light - See below for more information.
I would have liked to make Ice candles today-
Filling Milk cartons with Ice and a single taper candle then pouring melted wax in. the Ice Cubes melt in different ways and at different speeds leaving you with a really cool candle. After it has cooled completely you tear off the milk carton. Sometimes we put in chunks of colored wax as well. You can always tint your wax with crayons. These make for very unique candles without a lot of extra fuss. Unfortunately between Church confirmation class and Musical support there was not time for any creative candles. Maybe over winter break.

On February 2nd, Christians Celebrate God's Glory

Of the various Christian holy days that take place throughout the year, Candlemass (or Candelaria), on February 2nd, may be one of the least well-known ceremonies in the Christian world. Evangelical Protestants do not count it as a major observance, while Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Greek Orthodox churches hold it in high esteem.

During Candelaria, candles are blessed, lit, and borne in a procession in celebration to Jesus being the light of the world. In AD 638, Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, proclaimed the importance of the celebration in his sermon to the church, stating: "Our bright shining candles are a sign of divine splendor of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ." The candles are generally considered to represent the inner light of Christ, which he brought to share with the world.

Candelaria on February 2nd
The date of February 2nd places the Candelaria celebration forty days after Christmas and continues the religious cycle that leads up to Easter Sunday. Additionally, it is also the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, which is the basis for various ancient European celebrations that commemorate the annual beginnings of the agricultural season.

Also of note concerning Candlemass is its connection to Groundhog Day, which occurs on the same date. This tradition also finds its origin in European folklore, as a prediction for the coming spring.

For the Church, however, Candelaria remains a day of hope and light. It is a time to honor the Lord as the Light of the World and to remind us that we too have that light within us.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Winters Beauty

This is a Snowman that I can see out the kitchen window. Seems we build them in the front yard but then I can never enjoy them. This one I will enjoy.

This is what we do with Big snow- build a quinzee!! the kids are still hoping to sleep out in it. We thought we were going to get more big snow this week but you Coastal New Englanders will get it instead. go here if you want more information on how to build one.

Horse Chestnut Buds- Spring will come again.

Airing out the quilt on a winters day!
Railfence quilt pattern