August 22, 2014

a walk in the August forest

St.John's Wort, harvested from the wild and ready to be made into tincture


Giant Millipede (Narceus americanus)

Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris)

Wild Oregano

And when we got home, pizza!

As the days turn a bit cooler, we are finally able to explore our beautiful woods. The mosquitos and deer flies, for the most part, leave us alone and we can wander slowly if we like, stopping to examine the myriad of forest creatures and natural wonders along the way. There is the most wonderful 'mossy place' which we love to visit, as the moss is soft underfoot like a squishy carpet, and everything is bright green and so lush! I have always loved moss, and mushrooms too, and I photograph these things perhaps more than anythings else wherever I go.
We found wildflowers on our walk; toadflax, viper's bugloss, heal-all, St.John's wort, bee balm and wild bergamot and we harvested a bit of the S.John's wort to be made into tincture. We will transplant some of the toadflax and heal-all to our shady garden spot as well; How nice it will be to have these growing closer to us!
We were likely exploring in the woods for 2 1/2 hours which is a good amount of time for the littlest travellers! We stopped frequently so they could sip a bit of their orange juice which Ollie gallantly carried the entire time in his backpack, and when we returned home, we made some delicious (gluten-free) pizza!

August 15, 2014

taken by jude

Jude (five years) taken pictures of all of us when we are not expecting it.
They are always very interesting; the composition and vantage point for sure, but also the fact that he captures people when they are thinking deeply, engrossed in some daily task or engaging with one another..In the photo above, I was watching Ollie far across the meadow, trying to decipher through the long grass and waist-high wildflowers if he was using his little pair of scissors safely.

August 13, 2014

In August, our hearts are happy!

The boys and I walk often in the pasture to collect wildflowers

On this particular day, I made TWO peach-rhubarb crumbles. They were good.

Stick bug!

Collaborative painting on wood with colored ink

My handsome Woolly Pippin, all grown up (:

Watching red ants relocate their precious eggs, brought to the light by lifting a rock.

Danish flag poppy. Jason grew these from seed this year.

A white poppy; I can't recall the name at the moment.

 Standard summer fare (:

Sushi rolls made with our delicious cucumbers!

 A beautiful evening visitor to our kitchen window

 Cooking gluten-free pancakes and potatoes for Spanish omelettes

Cute lil' tree frog

Jude is a friend to all winged creatures

For some reason, even though it is only the middle of August, the weather here has turned cool and feels like autumn. We are in need of sweaters when venturing outdoors! How very strange. I recall a November a few years back when it was warm enough for a t-shirt. Global warming at its finest, folks. I just hope the warmer temperatures return long enough for our (very large) tomato harvest to take place. We have only green tomatoes at this point. There are also some melons and squash that are not quite finished growing and it would be heartbreaking for Jason especially to lose out on a good harvest after all the work he has put in.
This year we have decided to have delivered a trucks' worth of logs for our firewood which Jason can cut and split right here in the yard. For the past couple years, he has gone into the bush and cut all the dead wood he could find, sometimes using a small wagon to pull the pieces back to the house, and sometimes our neighbours' truck (which he has since sold). Now the nearby firewood prospects are all used up and he would have to go farther into the forest to find wood, and the forest here is not people-friendly; It is dense and overgrown, with gnarly growth underfoot and completely infested with poison ivy. I am relieved, for Jason's sake, that he doesn't have to spend weeks out there slugging away in the worst of conditions (no truck, no 4-wheeler, no help) to haul that wood back to the house. It will be such a treat to have all the wood close to the house to work on!

July 30, 2014

Most recently..

I finally taught Jude how to sew (: He made himself a nice little secret pocket.

And he was very proud of himself!

Next, he asked me to make him and Ollie eye patches so they could be pirates (:

Wild mama turkey and her babies have been visiting our driveway each morning (: Last summer, I saw her and her little ones across the road on the grassy hill. A fox was killing each poult in turn while the mama screamed and flapped about, hopeless. It was a horrible sight to see, both from the viewpoint of a mother and an animal-lover. I hoped so strongly that she would raise this years' brood closer to our barn and home for safety and it would seem that this is the case. Before the babies arrives I saw her frequently in the pasture not far from the chickens and now they are meandering up the driveway and across the yard (:

The kids and I made some gluten free banana bread. Yum!

Jason harvested all the lovely garlic (this is just a small bit - We have lots this year!)

Jude and I set up the tent, and he and Daddy slept in there while Isabella and I had 'girls' night' and watched a movie (:

We brushed out Ollie's curls, just to see what he would look like and oh my goodness!

Lots of walks have been taken down our forest-path of a road. At the very end, we can see the lake and watch the loons on the water (:

We had a certain fluffy visitor outside our front door! (eating the cat food I forgot to bring in)

Outside sewing! My new favourite thing!

I have had lots of orders for woodland blocks and aprons so the kitchen table has been perpetually full of evolving creative projects!

And gardening, yes. Jason does the bulk of it, but on this particular day I managed to spend 4 hours in the tomato garden and weeded all five beds (:

Next up, the making of chaga tea, chicken noodle soup and spanish omelettes, more sewing, picking the blasted burrs out of the sheep's wool (and then cutting down all the burdock plants), reading books and hopefully some drawing and gardening (:

July 21, 2014

Jude's wonderful to-do lists

Jude is the type of child who feels at ease when he knows what is going to happen. He likes rhythm and reliability, while I am more easy going and tend not to be much of a planner aside from the main regular occurrences of any day (food, laundry, showers, barn chores), so we started this new morning activity where we sit on the outside wicker bench and brainstorm all the things we would like to take place that day, and Jude writes them down on his chalkboard. Ollie runs around and plays and I snuggle the lambs who stroll by to visit us while Jude and I work together to write his to-do-list. He can't actually spell yet and we are still working on letter recognition and sounds, so what I do is write a letter and then he writes the same one under mine. We practice the sound, and then work on the next letter, blending sounds as we go until we read the entire word, and then the caption. Then I erase my version and we work on the next line.
It's actually very fun, and we refer back to it throughout the day when we 'forget' the important things we had planned! 

July 18, 2014

lunch from the land

My lunch yesterday consisted of a salad and a smoothie.
It was both delicious and beautiful.
I am so busy most days that I often forget to eat, or I eat tiny bits of this and that and end up feeling exhausted by early evening. No wonder!
So I thought I would make myself a decent lunch that afternoon, with lots of food from our land.

In the salad: lots of purslane, nasturtiums, red clover flowers, peppermint leaves, pumpkin seeds, fresh cherries and creamy dressing. 
In the smoothie: homemade yogurt, water, banana, strawberries, blackberries, mustard greens and swiss chard.

Today I kept to the same simple lunch design: a salad and a smoothie.

In the salad: garden leaf lettuce, purslane, havarti cheese chunks and nasturtiums with creamy dressing. 
In the smoothie: homemade yogurt, a touch of maple syrup, banana, strawberries, mustard greens, swiss chard, water. Same as yesterday but no blackberries, and I used wayyy more swiss chard. The kids wouldn't touch it because of it's greenness but I thought it was quite yummy! (-;

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