Tuesday, July 29, 2014

quick hello...

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If only I could remember to pick up the camera and take some pictures… And I am going to try to get the hang of using the internet at the library, because I do miss this space, and I do very much miss being in touch with my dear blog friends… Also I have a huge pile of day at the river photos to post, soon…

Hope everyone has been well and enjoying beautiful summer days…

With love,
Renee


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Monday, June 16, 2014

last moments (and makings, and some other things too…)

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Our first day in this house (I mean that house!) seven years ago was on Chessa's birthday, we crossed the state line back into Colorado the day she turned 3 years old. And now she is ten, and her birthday celebration also marked the last days of our being in that house.

Hey, ha, we could pretend I actually got around to doing a "feeding our families" post this month. And I was going to write all about birthday cake. (No, not really.) It was a very good birthday cake, lemon with strawberry layers and lots of whipped cream.

Somehow I thought it was a good idea, in the midst of packing, cleaning, and moving, to make Chessa a doll for her birthday. There was an old doll at the antique shop that she had been quite in love with for some time. I did contemplate getting it for her if it was still there, but getting myself secretly to the antique shop would have been much more challenging than secretly stitching on this doll in the wee early morning hours.

Also, and I know this sounds kinda weird, but I had this doll head stashed away from a few years ago, and I just knew that Chessa was the one meant to love whoever this doll (head) was meant to be.

So with bald doll head already done, I started working on my first ever jointed limb doll, which was also my first ever boy doll. I don't know why I was always so intimidated with making boy dolls, especially with a simple crochet cap for his hair, it was fairly easy and fun.

I wasn't up for making a set of doll clothes though (I mean, I would have liked to, but with the whole moving out of the house thing going on, well I was trying to pretend that I wasn't really all that crazy with my last-minute doll making…) So we had Aunt Nicole get "boughten" doll clothes instead, which does have the slightly strange effect of making him look like a boughten doll, but no, he is not, he is a handmade by mama doll. His name is Billy, he is already smudged and a bit worn and very, very loved.

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Moving was hard. That could probably go without saying, as it is never an easy thing to do. But gosh, could we have added more ways to complicate it? Let's add in a bit of remodeling, new bedroom floors, lots of painting. Oh, and becoming landlords for the first time, showing the house, trying to find ourselves some good tenants - that was all super not fun, but fortunately worked out well in the end.

Jason, amazing husband of mine, worked so, so hard, and did just about every single thing by himself. I recall helping move out my super heavy bulky antique sewing (secretary) desk, but other than that he was the mover. I guess he got all the other big heavy antique furniture pieces out on his own, including the second desk. I do wonder how he moved the chest freezer by himself. Hmm. I was the packer. And I kind of drove Jason crazy with my method, but wow, you would not believe how well organized and labeled those boxes and dresser drawers are. (I will explain later why it was important to have well organized and packed dresser drawers.)

Now we are gone from there, that house. And being gone makes me even more aware of how much trauma we suffered there. Seriously. I know I said I was going to mention it only once, but it is going to take a while to get over it. To heal. We were under attack, for so many years. You know what it was? It was bullying. Ugly, pathetic, bullying by ugly, miserable people. (Don't worry, we feel that the house tenants will be safe from these people.)

Something else that really disturbs me is that when I came out and mentioned the situation we had been dealing with here, so many other people left comments and sent emails that they too are in or have been in similar situations. Lots of bullies out there! Why??? Are those of us who choose to live in a way different than the norm so threatening to others that we must be attacked and made to suffer for our choices? We don't go around criticizing them for their (over-consuming, toxic, ignorant living) ways. But I guess all of us happy people living an authentic meaningful life are just to much for these other people to take.

Oh well.

Time to move on.

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We are so, so, so ready to be settling in at the land. But we are actually not quite there yet. We had been asked to house-sit for friends traveling in Europe and so that is where we have been since the beginning of the month. We are glad to be here at our friends home, it is a happy peaceful place, filled with musical instruments, including a piano! which the girls love to play, good books, including Steiner, Waldorf, and homeschool books!, and set in what certainly must be one of the most beautiful spots in the world (we stayed here for them last summer also, you can see here what it looks like right outside their door, although those photos don't show any of the majestic peaks of the continental divide that are surrounding us.) It is kind of funny for us to be house-sitters, and staying in a home other than ours. Us who haven't even been away from home but maybe once in the past decade. It is a nice place to be though, and we enjoy helping care for their gardens and animals, which this year also includes chickens.

It has kept us from doing that settling over at the land though. These kind friends are now closer neighbors, but still it at least a 20 minute drive over to the land. (Perhaps I should start calling it "our home" rather than "the land".) We have been spent some good days there working on the gardens, as that is of course our priority at the moment, and we are looking forward to being there permanently in another week or so.

Maybe I will come here and write/post lots over this next week while I have such convenient internet access. Although that was kind of my plan for our first weeks here and obviously that didn't happen.

Sometimes life does not go as planned. I bet you all already know that.

But life does go on, perhaps the plan is not entirely ours to make, but we can always make the best of it.

I hope you all have been having some good and beauty filled days!

With love,
Renee


P.S. Oh wait! I forgot to say… well there you see my darling newly 10 year old, and no, you sure do not get even a peek of the nearly 14!!! year old… but look at sweet little baby playing with the dollies! And she was doing the softly murmuring to herself thing as she played, and my heart was thrilled!

P.P.S. Yes, she toddles, she walks and she runs, but still she is our "baby".

(Okay, beyond P.S.'s now. I didn't get this posted last week as I had planned. I find it interesting that my last post included our dear wonderful Cairo dog. And now she is not with us anymore. Many sad hearts. But she was almost 18 years and the sweetest and happiest thing to her very last moments. Our Cairo love…)


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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

moments

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It is snowing.

Life is full.

She is so much sweetness!!!

Time to get the bread out of the oven…


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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

feeding our families - may

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On my kitchen mind this week is…

Moving to the land and setting up an outdoor kitchen!

Spring foraging.

Packing up the house kitchen, moving to the land, setting up an outdoor kitchen.

Campfire cooking!

Setting up an outdoor kitchen at the land.

Feeding my family (from scratch, whole foods) without the use of a regular full kitchen!

Building an outdoor bread oven!

An outdoor bread oven is something that has been on our minds for years. Now is the time to get it done for real. Because as you may have figured out by now, we bake a whole lot of bread around here. (I shared a few bread baking tips here. And if you happen to have any outdoor bread baking or bread oven tips for me then I would be happy to know…)

And speaking of bread… I have been making Mel's soaked grain bread recipe and it has been turning out really great. As I predicted (to myself) it has become our everyday bread, even though it has only been about 10 days, that is already 5 batches of bread. I have the recipe memorized, I've made substitutions, turns out good every time. I have been doing 100% fresh ground whole wheat flour, usually yogurt instead of vinegar to soak, and sometimes just water instead of milk. One of the greatest things about this recipe is that I do much of the work the day before. A bowl sits below the grain mill and at some point in the day the grain will be ground, after dinner I mix up the soaker and the sponge. Then in the morning I finish up and get the dough rising in the bread pans. Simple. Bread baking has always been part of our kitchen rhythm, either way it is fairly simple for us at this point. But a bonus of this overnight soak method (besides nutritional benefits) is that we have to wait less hours for fresh bread in the morning.
(In my head I call this Melanie's Wonderful Bread, which means that not only the bread is wonderful but that Mel is wonderful too. I actually usually put the emphasis on Melanie rather than on the bread…)

(The braided bread is not the soaked grain bread. It is just the plain white flour Challah that we bake for Easter…)

Well if we were going to go back to that on my kitchen mind list, it was going to continue rather repetitively…
outdoor kitchen,
spring foraging,
outdoor kitchen,
spring garden,
spring foraging, spring foraging, spring foraging.

The garden may be producing only chives and green onions at the moment, but Mother Earth has greens bursting out everywhere! Dandelions, daisy greens, salsify. I'm sure lamb's quarters are sprouting up out there somewhere. If only I knew where the nettles are! (I mean, if only I knew where there were nettles nearby, as I do know of some good patches, but nothing that is not quite a hike away…) (Must get some nettle seed and start our own patch!)

Outdoor kitchen.
I keep forgetting that technically there is a little camper kitchen too. Propane stove, and an oven big enough to hold bread pans, a small casserole dish, but not big enough for cookie sheets. Well there's a tip I just though of for myself! Make outdoor bread oven big enough to hold cookie sheets!

Obviously it's going to be getting more interesting here in my kitchen world…

Oh, and I plan to have a lot of fun with our cast iron dutch oven!


And on a kind of side note, it sure is nice to have shared the moving to the land news. Things where going to be feeling too awkward and vague here otherwise. Now we can continue on with the adventure…
(And of course many thanks for all the kind and supportive comments and emails!!)
(Phooey to malfunctioning comments, I don't know why people have such an issue with trying to comment here, maybe someday I can figure out something to help it work better…)


Happy kitchen time to you all…

Enjoy visiting my friends in their kitchens…














Monday, April 28, 2014

house. home. land.

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And so now I suppose I shall have to go ahead and tell the story, except that I am still kind of unsure of  sharing it. Not all of the parts were happy, and actually this is really only just a speck of the story.

Sometimes it's easier to just not say anything, and in some ways that's what I've done with this blog over the years. Anything you see and read here is truth and real, but that doesn't mean it's everything.

I want to get this part out of the way so that we can move on to more of the good stuff, and also because I think it will allow me to go further here with more of the story, whether happy and beautiful or not. (Thankfully I know there will be a whole lot of goodness, happiness, and beauty. It's always part of it.)

So like I said, pencil and paper. I wrote this last week. I made brief mention of it here. It's my little way of tricking/forcing myself to get something done. Now I have no choice, so I'll just get on with it…


Home is not necessarily in a house. We have done very well at creating a home for our family within the walls of this house. Especially if you consider some of the difficulties and sadnesses that we have had to go through while being here.

Sometimes we joke that we accidentally bought a house. (And sometimes it is so not funny.)

Always, from the beginning, Jason and I barely past 20 years old, we were going to buy "our land". That is a whole story and dream itself, it is part of who we have always been. (Once we were even going to wait to get married until we were on our own land, and have our babies on our own land. That was about 1998, and lasted until about 1999. It's a really good thing we didn't wait!)

So it really was odd that instead of buying land we bought a house on only a ¼ of an acre in a rural mountain subdivision. Oh my gosh, sometimes it is hard to not feel some regret at not having bought the land right then. But we were faced with a move back to Colorado and somewhat overwhelmed with the need to find a home for us, our children, our pets. It kind of seemed like we needed a house. (For us that feels like such a silly thing to say!) So we would stay in the house for a couple or few years and then buy land.

Hmmm... I think I have shown and shared pretty well of the happinesses that we have had here, and I of course have been grateful about a billion times that we have a home, safe shelter, at all… but oh! has this been a hard seven years!!!
(Yes, here we are now seven years into it, not just a few…)
Good, great, beautiful, wonderful years, but also a lot more than that. Also a great big gigantic struggle.

(Okay, this is the one and only time I am going to mention this here, but the worst of it is that there have been very unkind people in our world since moving into this house. And unkind is not even close to the correct word. Really really really really mean, and that too is not even close to an accurate description. But I have never wanted to bring that ugliness here. It is not what we choose for our life, our world. We just unfortunately got accidentally stuck living right next door to it.)

Yuck. Okay. That's over.

(Also I will say, it's not like I have kept this a secret. Those closest to us know the story well, including some of my dearest blog friends. Melanie, Jules, Lisa, Tonya, Jeanene, thank you for your friendship and sharing and understanding and ability to somehow really know me.)


The good part of the story continues…

The land dream, the land dream, the land dream.
It is still not over, someday we will get our "big land", but for now we finally have our own few acres.
Our own little mountain, our own forest, our own giant fir tree.
It is our home, and we are headed there right now…


(Some peeks from last year at the land here, and here, and here…)


Thank you for letting me share our stories with you!!!



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Friday, April 25, 2014

this season

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I have a story to tell. I am going to try. I think I figured out how to find my words - with pencil and paper. Or maybe pen? The pencil may fade…

(Look Tonya, she still wears her cardigan! A bit too small, but I am only just now knitting her a new one…)

Well wishes and happy day to everyone. I shall return soon…


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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

april feeding our families (gardening for our families!!!)

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(I had myself some fun making these little collages of past garden photos…)



When I first wrote to my friends with the "feeding our families" idea, I offered the following broad suggestions for possible topics…

I think the topic of "feeding our families" leaves lots of room for interpretation. We could share simply, or we can ramble on about our passions in the kitchen. Ideas I am having include...
a favorite meal,
a menu plan for the week,
seasonal menus,
holiday food traditions,
snacks for our children,
(are your children hungry all day long?)
food sensitivities,
food fears (gmo's!)
food memories,
picky eaters (my girls like almost all vegetables. not so big on fruit. particular about sweets (chloe), don't like chocolate (chloe, and me) (thinks bacon and eggs together sounds like one of the craziest things, and especially would have no interest in eating it for breakfast)
breakfast!
and I imagine as we approach garden season then that might play into how we approach and express food love to our family.
and budget stuff, probably many of us face the challenge of feeding our families well on a limited budget.


Each month now I think to myself that perhaps I will take the easier, simpler approach. Though if you look back at my other posts you will see that I actually kept taking the more random, rambling approach. Hmmm, maybe that is how things will stay. 

I have never felt inadequate or even slightly concerned about my blog posts until starting this project, with such a wonderful group of talented, inspiring women, most of whom are much more prolific with their blog writing than I am. Then I unfortunately had feelings like… oh gosh, what have I gotten myself into, I have nothing to share, there is a reason I never wrote much about food in the past (even if the reason is nothing more than a lacking of time) (and a lacking of photos)…

Neverthless, I really am enjoying this series so, so much (despite my occasional gasps of "oh no!", usually occurring while I am busy in the kitchen and then suddenly realize I am supposed to be photographing and writing about all this food stuff too…)

Back to the simple idea though… 

Were we are at in the kitchen this week…

Shared the results of Saturday's bread baking morning with a kind neighbor. I like the way she held it close, inhaling, before carefully wrapping back up in cloth.

Uhmmm...

I don't think I can get anything else into my head other than thoughts of gardening and food growing!!!

We have trays of spring greens started… just Swiss Chard and kale for now, probably we will direct seed some spinach soon… tomatoes started indoors, a few varieties, some peppers too…

We garden for love, but also out of necessity. If we do not grow enough vegetables then really we do not have enough to eat. So while early spring is all about those good greens, we are also looking forward to getting our storage crops planted… onions, potatoes, cabbage (sauerkraut!), beets, various varieties of winter squash…

We even just had our first little garden harvest of the season! A teeny tiny bundle of chives, snipped from awakening plants, giving us a little taste of fresh green goodness!


I guess I have decided to skip the link gadget thing for now, but if you have a food post of your own to share then please do leave a link in the comments. (Did you all see that Heather from Beauty that Moves is doing a weekly kitchen series? All kinds of gorgeous kitchen inspiration over there!)


Enjoy visiting these lovely friends for more good food stuff...






Saturday, April 5, 2014

some sewing…

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I try to get some specks of sewing done during my free moments. Yes, sometimes only specks at a time get done. Eventually it adds up. Making, mending, finishing, done. A new dress for Elsa. A mended dress for Chessa, who is kind of rough on her clothing. (I mean, who so loves her handmades that she wears them to pieces…) A forgotten project found. Baby bibs in progress, two are now finished (but then I had to move on to the dress. Had to. Really.) And belated photos of my finished swap items (sent way across the country to Sarah in Maine, and again thanks to Amanda. And I forgot to mention my swap gifts, but the whole thing was neat and fun, and especially surprising when my package arrived from someone living only about an hour away from us (because about an hour away from us is still in the middle of nowhere) although she has now moved far far away… thanks again Dawn!)

Well, as much as I would love to get all chatty about sewing right now, I have a food post to be writing also. I sure didn't mean to be here so infrequently, but wow, the time just slips away! Lots of good things happening! (And that's an understatement. Some incredibly wonderful exciting things happening here!!!)

Hope the days have been happy for you, dear friends and kind readers…
See you soon…
Renee


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