Friday, February 26, 2010

A Confession

My wolf whistle was honed
over centerfold photos
of hydrangea
in House and Garden
I fantasize about fleshy
bulbs beneath the brown
scratchy cover of winter
I leer at leggy
sprouts vamping
for a vernal peep show.
I make passes at magnolia buds
whose petals peer
from cleaved green velvet.
I ogle virgin white
dogwood blooms.

I confess...

I am a lecher;
a shameless cad
who will relish
the taste of conquer
that comes with first

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A morning in a life...

We woke before the sun. My son's little voice filling the void in the dark with music," Is it time to get up?" I buy 5 more minutes with a snuggle.

My feet land on the cold floor reluctantly. The house is cold. The fire burned out last night. There are no cinders to revive it. So we don our sweaters and slippers and get to the work of building a fire. A spark and we will be warm. Wee one begins one of his ongoing monologues about trucks and buildings and how the two will soon be one.

When he interrupts his train of thought to ask, " What is the job today?"

Today we bake bread and hot cross buns and watch big fat snow flakes fall from the sky.

But first breakfast. Oatmeal, raisins, milk...and coffee for mom.

After breakfast, Wee one and I negotiate the terms under which a three year old may spend the day in his pj's. We have a toothbrushing parade around the living room. And then we take care of our morning chores. I am helped with bed making and transporting dog bed from the bedroom to its post by the woodstove. I am given an extra hand in adding flour to the bread dough.

All three of us take off to our own corners. Teen heads outside to feed the animals and bring in firewood. Wee one gets back to the important work of dump trucks and wooden blocks. I fold laundry, sweep and vacuum. Enjoying the rhythm of our mornings and the small routines that keep home running.

We come together on the couch to read a little of Mother West Winds Children. Teen takes to his room where I hear little Grateful Dead coming from his stereo. Wee one and I share another book and a local apple we found in Farmington last week.

I sit down to a cup of tea and finish the three needle bind off of the vest I am nearly finished with. While the teen sits down with the wee one and plot great construction projects involving...trucks and building blocks.

Morning is nearly over. Soon the bread will be out of the oven, ready to be eaten with lunch; as yet undetermined. Wee one will speak with his tad at noon. After lunch we will read stories and my afternoon will be filled with gathering sap, hot cross buns, bathroom painting. Teen will be off to his peer leadership meeting.

These days at home are full, the rhythm healing after our hectic day yesterday.

Thank goodness for a simple life....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


We are back in the flow, back to work, back to 2 households. And there are just days with this routine; when it would be so nice to have my partner spell me a bit from mom duty. Alas...

Wee one's day was not good. It is hard to have your dad home for a week and then have him gone. He is angry. And he is sad. And momma did not have enough patience today. We had too much to do. Too many places to be. Too much time in the car.

So, I need to give some thought to what I am grateful for.

I am so grateful to have 2 beautiful boys. My teen is a good person and I love watching him follow his path of self-discovery. The wee one is a joy. He is inquisitive, musical, bright and adorable.

I am grateful for my husband. He is good, kind, loving. A good partner. I know this current arrangement is difficult for him too.

I am grateful for long, refreshing walks during this long warm spell.

I am grateful for the nice school vacation we had together. I got to go to a spin-in. Hubby and I went to a contra dance. We took wee one cross country skiing. We went to Farmington to see our dream home. We tapped our maple trees, found new hens. We gathered in fellowship.

Regardless of what the future may hold for us; I am grateful for the lessons the challenge of our current circumstance has provided us. We have learned to put money in savings. We don't take our time together as a family for granted.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Dear Husband is in the other room strumming songs on his guitar while wee one dozes off to dreamland. We are enjoying our time together. I am enjoying the extra hands on the homestead. Mark is enjoying his time with his family.

We have had a handy man come to our home to provide some moral and handy support for some projects that require completion. We have tapped maple trees and procured some more laying hens (Arucana). I have spent some mom time at a Spin-in learning to love my spinning wheel and finding a mill to process our fleece this Spring. Hubby has spent time putting up wood for next winter. We have cross- country skied with the wee one while cursing ourselves for not bringing the camera. Tomorrow we travel to our "hopefully" future home. Seven acres, earth- bermed, passive solar home with mature fruit trees.

We have spent never- enough -time together contemplating our future. As the idea of recession and all that it implies haunts our conversations.

Hubby has been told that his school district will be losing 1.9 million from it state contribution to its budget. The superintendent has defined this as catastrophic for the school district. We sit in our home wondering if we should take it off the market or go with our plans. Mark is a music teacher and the low man on the totem pole. We worry whether he will have a job next fall. If he does, we will feel truly blessed. We won't know until April. Meanwhile we, mutually, agree that we do not want to stay in our current location with its bad neighbors and poor, jobless economy.

Until then all we can do is talk about what we would do if he lost his job.

These are our contingency plans:
  1. I will work at a local farmstand. We were planning on partaking in a CSA this year because our flux-ish life. But if I work at the local farmstand I will get free end-of-day produce that I can preserve.
  2. Teen will also work at the farmstand to cover some of his extra-curricular activities; such as a blacksmithing course he wants to take.
  3. We will make a large bulk food order on top of what we normally would order.
  4. We will all have our necessary Dr.appointments while we still have health insurance.
  5. Hubby will step up his shearing clientele, music gigs, lessons and busking in Portland.
  6. We will try to use barter for firewood, and hay.
  7. If hubby gets offered part time, we will still move because he has been promised music students at the music store where he teaches after-school hours.
  8. All animals in our care will be earning their keep.
  9. I will be hitting the thrift stores for kids winter gear for the next few years in anticipation that we will not have funds for this in the future
  10. I will open an etsy shop for my knitwear and roving.
  11. We will try to pay-off Mark's student loans, sell our land and get our necessary expenses down to under a thousand dollars a month.
  12. We will use only one vehicle and take the others off the road; as we will no longer have a need for more than one vehicle
We find ourselves a bit giddy at the prospect of being as self-sufficient as we had hoped when we joined together. But the idea that we may be doing this under duress as opposed to choice is a little nerve wracking. There is still time and things may change. Hopefully. But as we have pondered the idea of unemployement we realized our own vast potential. If nothing else this has been a great exercise and helps us move further in our path to self-sufficiency.

Time will tell.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I have many things to share ...but right now Hubby is home with his family for the week. February vacation is a winter tradition in Maine Schools so my husband /teacher is home.Yipee! We will be together as a family this week and I will be back by the end of the week with stories of Maple syrup, sheep stories and an Independence Days review. Till then we will be painting, hiking, boiling sap and enjoying our time together

Enjoy your week and I'll be back on Thursday...

Peace, Karin

Friday, February 12, 2010

In the mail this week.

So I've been touting the joys of Paperback Book Swap. and I just had to share this AWESOME book that came in the mail this week. Okay, maybe just awesome to me but I thought the knitters out there would find this cool.
Some of the patterns are very utilitarian and will not need any updates.
Others could use just a little less fringe
And others well, they are just awesome. I've been thinking of making myself a pair of knee socks, or stockings but I saw these and thought these would keep me warm, and I can still wear a skirt in winter.

I've got to go for a walk this morning and will have the food post later today.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I did it all by myself...

"I did it all by myself." This has been the phrase most often used in our house today. When he gets the buttons through the holes; when he gets his socks on the right feet; when he puts his pants on.

Is it really my place to tell him he got them on backwards? For now, I will let him revel in his glory.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Two-fer: One small change and food Friday but really Monday

Well, I am into the first week of my February One Small Change. For this month, I am trying to have my propane oven do double duty. This part of the challenge has been a little more challenging. Last Tuesday, I made bread and my intention was to make a quick bread that could share the oven. But I didn't get the bread started until later in the day and by the time the bread was on it's second rising, I was in the middle of making dinner and know how it goes...the phone rings, the wee one has his witching hour and the best laid plans of moms and bakers ...

But as the week went on I was able to think about this and plan a little better. I made a curried squash soup this week. I steamed the squash in my dutch oven all day on the wood stove so that it was ready to puree when I was making dinner. I made some apple bread this weekend and made a double batch. I made a double batch of bread yesterday. While the bread was baking I threw 4 potatoes in there to bake. Teen cooks one meal a week and his favorite recipe right now is twice baked potatoes; so they will be pre-baked and make his prep time halved.

As for a promised menu from the week, I wasn't very diligent with keeping track of it all so I will give you a run down for the weekend and then share some more from this week on Friday.

Friday dinner: Roasted local chicken, mashed potatoes and broccoli

Saturday breakfast: Toast with homemade jam, yogurt with frozen berries

Lunch: leftover squash soup and left over broccoli.

Dinner: Chicken enchiladas with garlic, corn, rhubarb salsa and shredded local carrots.

Sunday breakfast: Apple bread and eggs.

Lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches and applesauce.

Dinner: Chicken soup with dehydrated zucchini, pureed carrot, pureed tomato, local mushrooms, garlic, dill, and frozen green beans. Bread and Cheese.

I also canned 2 quarts of chicken stock for later use using Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions recipe where she adds lemon juice ( or vinegar) to help draw out all those healthy minerals from the bones.

This coming week I would like to share some of my favorite low-tech kitchen tools and I will have another menu list from this coming week.

I also would like to share the rug I was crocheting this weekend. Worked up in record time! A little obsession is a good thing right? I am very pleased with it and think I will definitely make another but it is tough work on the hands so I will return to some finer knitting.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

On a quiet Sunday morning

I admit to be a little self indulgent this morning. I slept til' 8 this morning while Dad and the little boy sat at the kitchen table playing with trucks and homemade playdough. When I arose I thought I could really use some quiet, Sunday morning handwork.

The boys went off to church and I sat with some music and a little luscious, brilliant, recycled handwork. Joyful, Joyful...

These colors collected randomly from old jersey sheets and scrap jersey fabric just speak Spring to me. I had originally collected some grays and faded blues to go with it but this rug just wants to be bright. I think it will go in our bedroom and I will save the other fabrics for a kitchen rug where chance food stains won't fade its cheerfulness. Although I may have some issues with walking on something so pretty;)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This and That

Thrift store score! 2 dozen canning jars for 4.00! Okay, I am easily pleased with a canning jar deal. Simple woman. Simple Pleasures;)
A basket of thrifted jersey sheets and fabric. Soon to be a rug.
Paperback Books swapped and gracing my mailbox this week. We love Duck:)
Gratuitous kitty photo of Lily cat.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Traveling through space and time...

Some days I feel like a visitor from another planet.

I come to this strange place from the planet Frugalturnia. I traveled to this place in my second hand space suit found at the planet of Goodwill. My mode of transportation was in a spaceship pool and we all traveled in the slow lane. Our spaceship gets 40,ooo light years to one ounce of renewable shoe leather.

Where I come from we speak in a language of use it up, wear it out, make do or do without. It is a hard language to translate in this place of APR financing, plastic money and robotic hamsters.

My home planet is verdant with gardens and everyone has enough and no more than that. So you can imagine my surprise ,as I coasted over your planet, to see hunger, strife, great abundance and gluttony. This is not to say that we don't struggle with our own challenges. Sometimes we can't always have what we want, sometimes we have desires that can not be met immediately or if ever. But when we have this itch, we scratch it with a walk through our gardens or gather with friends and family and share a meal.

We have no gods such as your Credit Card , no temples such as your malls, no priests such as your Bankers. We have our spades and hoes, we have our rich soil, we have our family, we have music.

When I landed on this planet and shared stories of my home, I received many strange looks, like I had a third eye on my forehead. Few, tried to understand the allure of fresh food grown with your own hand, when there was so many boxes, and jars filled with GMO foods and this odd additive high fructose corn syrup. Some how the joy of making something with your own lands was lost in translation and folks thought I was asking where the nearest big box store was.

I am homesick and will wait at this spaceship stop for the next commuter rocket; grateful to be home in my house in the woods, where I will run straight to my garden and watch a ladybug climb a sunflower petal.