Tuesday, September 10, 2013

5 days in photos

We had a wonderful visit from friends and went exploring down the hill together.

After a fun full day with friends, some of us decided that a mud bath was in order.

The rest of us harvested apples and cooked down several gallons of applesauce.

 It was too hot to do anything besides go to the library and the swimming pond.
 We had the whole place to ourselves.

 Papa took the eldest and the youngest with him to run errands and I got several hours alone with my Sylvia.
She helped me make a giant batch of tomato soup.

While it was cooking, we played her favorite game, Wildcraft.

I went into town without any children to spend the day indigo-dyeing with my friends over at Rusted Thread. I was able to participate in a test class with a fabulous group of women.
It was so exciting to pull the fabrics out of the dye vats and to watch the indigo interact with oxygen to turn the yellowish-green liquid into gorgeous shades of blue.
We experimented with various shibori techniques and created some really beautiful visual effects.

I also visited with one of my best friends while I was in town.  It's very rare that I spend a whole day away from my children.  This day was a welcome change and the girls had a good time with Papa, but I am usually happy to do all of my visiting and creating and learning and working and laughing side by side with my kids.  As they get older, I know that we will do things more and more separately, and I can see that I will enjoy that, too, but I am not in a hurry for it.  The balance will come in time.

We attended a homeschool class about the Civil War at the Monroe County Local History Museum. Camille volunteered to help act out a scene at the beginning of class.
Besides talking about the causes and effects of the war, the kids spent a lot of time learning what the war and training would have been like for a farm boy from a rural Wisconsin community who volunteered as a Union soldier.

Sylvia also got to examine what the gear was like and what supplies the soldiers would carry with them.

We stayed after the class to look around the museum and to do a scavenger hunt provided by the museum.

In the afternoon, we made paper boats with a thick layer of crayon scribbles to provide a waxy water-resistance.

I did a final rinse of the clothing that I had dyed with indigo and looked at the little details and differences among the varied techniques and fabrics.
indigo, dyed over a reddish-pink tank top
This tank is actually what I was wearing on Sunday (under a sweater), but I didn't want to stop dyeing, so I took it off, wrapped and tied it, and dipped it in the vat.
a light beige sweater

thin pale grey corduroy

a lacy white cotton top for Ayla

After dark, we had another round of coloring and boat-making.
We utilized the bathroom sink this time around.

These photos represent some of our little highlights from the last few days, but (obviously) our lives are not all sun-kissed, crafty goodness all the time.

Sometimes I get grumpy and act thoughtlessly in the moment. Sometimes the kids get grumpy and thoughtless.  Sometimes our old vehicles need more work to keep them running and reliable than we want to invest in them.  Sometimes one can't walk through our living room without stepping on toys and kids' projects.  Sometimes we have to dump out 3 gallons of cherry applesauce because the food mill ground the cherry pits, instead of spitting them out with the rest of the skins and apple seeds.  Sometimes just a few bites of said applesauce can be enough to make my mouth swell up and give me a fierce headache because of the cyanide-like compound in cherry pits. (Thank goodness no one else ate any).  Sometimes we have conversations about war and sickness and death.  Sometimes it's difficult to balance everyone's needs in a family, but we keep trying .

Our lives may be simple and full of goodness, but they're not always easy.

Choosing to mostly focus on the good bits in our lives, does not mean that we try to hide from the darker parts of life, or pretend that they don't exist.  It just means that we try to carry a little light there with us.  We try to make better choices when we recognize that something isn't working well.  We forgive easily, ourselves and others.

We look for the potential in a scribbled-on piece of paper and a muddy bit of the yard.


  1. I so love that even though we're on opposite sides of the country, and have different resources, our lives look similar. Well, we're not farming, and I am not presently canning, but you know what I mean. We spend our time in a lot of the same ways. It always makes me smile, as it looks so familiar. :)

    That indigo dye! Oh my goodness, I love, love, love that. And love that you have a whole collection of t things. So beautiful.

  2. Stephanie, I've thought the exact same thing, and honestly thought it again earlier today as I caught up on your blog posts. Ooooh, that goodly life looks familiar. I know that feeling, games and nature adventures and museum outings and a camera. Love it!


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