Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mid Fall ~

This is exactly how being mom to 5 feels lately...like a particuarly ungraceful, goofy faced, arms flailing mid-fall. While trying to keep at least one foot on the ground, I can spy out of the corner of my little eye a beloved book that will surely put them under my spell (at our house, we skip the niceties of "Who wants to hear a stoorryyy?" and just grab a book and start reading. That soothes even the most savage of my little wild things. If I can just reach that stack, we'll be steady...well, maybe if I had enough lap room for three girls ~

That's when we head for the trail. A path they have traveled countless times, while in my belly, in a sling, on my back... they *know* this path and love it all the more for that. We can go every day and see something even just a smidge different. Like how fast that water is rushing under the culvert you see there.

Two things mid-fall. If we have these 2 simple things, my gait...all of our strides are sure to balance themselves.

Connection to each other ~ connection to nature = balance. Little reminder to myself...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

See you in spring ~

The guys love to find these little salamanders. They have learned to hold them for only bit, how to keep them safe for a time for viewing (nice moist bucket with a splash of water - but not too much - and some moist soil and to gently place them right back where they found them. You should hear the debates between them (albeit, sometimes yelling matches)about how much water is too much and what constitutes "gentle" handling.
This little critter is most likely the last we will see for this year...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Small Space Living ~ Table

Where we celebrate, play, create and share in so many ways... and yes, even eat. This table has been the launching pad for insightful talks, thoughtful creations, silly games and family meals shared and often created by many hands. A gift from my husband's grandmother to us, we are so lucky to have such a generously large and beautiful piece etched with the love of countless shared meals from her home to ours.

A first peek into how our family uses this 800 square feet ~

Like many families, or dining space is used for everything from sewing to actual eating - and many times a day at that! What makes the difference in a small space (for us) would be the fact that if it is filled with stuff, there is no where to get anyway from it...we can't walk into another room and leave it be for a bit - it's right there, obstructing our view of the leaves changing or what have you so I like to keep it clean - *like* to mind you. Whether that fanciful wish materializes into reality is a day to day miracle in itself sometimes. ;)

Monday, October 20, 2008


End of the season apple picking ~
Apple in the hand photo courtesy of A...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Waning Light ~

Cozying up here in the hollow. Readying for winter. Trying desparately to bottle up even a little of this gorgeously warm autumn light for the winter ahead. Maybe I can bake it into our loaves of homemade bread...hmmm, but those are too soon devoured. Perhaps, in the jars of applesauce I plan to can this weekend....but again, these will soon be consumed and while our bodies will be warmed for a time, what will keep the chill of winter at bay on days we just want to snuggle down and wade through a stack of books?

Hmmm, how perfect ~ a quilt ~ what better way. Stitch by stitch I can possibly trap some of this warmth into the seams. That will do...feeling cozy already...now time to get to work sewing...:)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Home ~

Some views of our lake as it is in mid fall ~
Feeling so fortunate...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Morning Canvas ~

A little morning condensation provides the perfect canvas and the woods a fine backdrop ~

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Skinnies - size 0

My son - the rockstar -

That he is... all 100 pounds of his 14 year old, skinny assed self ~ (did I say that out loud?).

His mission a while back was to get himself some skinnies - the newest thing with the guys these days. Jeans so tight, they are painted on their adolescent behinds. Only thing is, this boy is just way too skinny for guy's skinnies. They end up looking like regular jeans on him. The alternative? Obvious - girl's skinnies.

And. Why. Not?

Well, why not if you have a mama who will run in, not only once but, yes friends, 4 times to get you the pair with the perfect amount of tightness. That is, run in after you have tried them on in the back seat of the minivan parked right there in the parking lot (thank goodness for tinted windows!) because you either,
A: don't want to be seen buying girl's skinnies - 'cause there sure is no way folks are going to think those are for me
B: in his words, "I'm not going in with you if you wear that thing". My "hippy thing" as he calls it - the, well at least in the mama world, beautiful wrap that we have for bambina ;)

This is all OK though... really. The sales girl in the store even told me so, yeah. Seems that's the way it is. Guys buy girl's skinnies "all the time". She wasn't surprised that I was coming in, getting increasingly smaller sizes of skinnies. After I handed him the size 0's I informed him..."I think this is it buddy, next size is double zero's". There was a light that shone in his eyes.."Really?" and a wistful, happy grin. However, we stopped at the zero's - lucky for me because, you know, I really want grandchildren from this kid someday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

3 am ~

This is the hour we were awoken last night with the words:

"Edward is in our bed!"

Meet Edward, our 14 year old's 2 foot long Florida king snake. Thankfully Edward is still a budding youth as he will grow to be 5 or 6 feet long in his prime. At first I thought, they must have been mistaken; that there was something that *looked* like a snake. While my husband went to investigate I went into the loft to check on Edward...who wasn't there. At first glance I marveled at this little Houdini....wondering how on earth he managed to get out of this closed tank, much less scale the ladder down to the younger kid's bedroom then up into their bed. Magician indeed. A little inpsection solved the mystery. His tank's lid was not securely locked in place. The little bugger stood inside his tank and pushed the lid up with his head then slithered on out...oh, who knows when.

Let's backtrack a little to Monday, Edward's feeding day and simultaneously the day of our eldest's guitar lesson. He was trying to feed Edward as quickly as possible 5 minutes *after* we were supposed to be out the door (you know you've all been there too ;) and I came in to *remind* him that we *really* needed to go...NOW. This was his response..."Um, something really bad happened". You are probably thinking what I did. "Good Lord, how are we ever going to find the snake, much less catch him - and still make it to guitar". Breath a sigh of relief - this was not the case. No, Edward had just decided to forgo his mouse meal and start muching on the pastic bag that is used to drop the thawed mouse into his feeding tank. Our son's, words?, "Edward is eating the plastic bag." My incredulous response? "What?!"

Here was this snake coiling his body and in turn, twisting the bag in his mouth into a tighter and tighter coil by the second. I said, "Well, he doesn't seem to be moving the bag deeper into his mouth...and we need to go." Thankfully his dad was coming half way from town to bring him to his lesson so Edward wouldn't be coiling for *too* long before I returned. After rustling everyone into car seats and trying to comfort my distraught teen as much as realistically possible given we all know that plastic and consumption just don't mix, we were moving.

The drop off was completed in the middle of the road and the van was speeding back home. By the time I had returned, Edward had released the bag AND eaten the mouse; industrious little thing. My happy job was to get him back into his larger tank amid loud questions of, "Is he dead?", "Did he eat the bag?" and declarations of "Mooommm, the baby's cwyiiinnn'" . Needless to say I was a little distracted and hence, well....didn't shut the tank properly.

Back to 3 am last night...

"He cwawled in my shiwrt!" This is our 6 year old, nature and bug lovin' little miss. Evidently, Edward was looking for a warm body to hibernate with and awoke our 6year old as he slithered up the sleeve of her shirt. Her response? She grabbed him by the back end and pulled him out...and put him where? On her 8 year old brother's chest of course. Calling his name repeatedly to wake him she said "Look!". Now, imagine yourself being awakened to the words "There's a snake in our bed" (bad enough) and then looking to where someone is pointing...your chest. Luckily, Edward is still alive after the frightfest that occured thereafter. This is where we (the parents) enter with our 8 year old coming in and declaring, "Edward is in our bed!" -where he had flung him. After some stumbling and mumbling, Dad was to the rescue with a coat hanger and a pink cooler which Edward was gently ushered into and deliverd back into his tank - securely shut this time.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Days of Inspiration: 3: Entomology

While outside yesterday the gang "discovered" a new bug. One we had never seen before and, in their belief, no one else has ever either ;) After searching our guides and online their beliefs seemed confirmed - we have no idea what kind of bug that brown scaley one is. We do know that it has a thin head that retracts into its body and a rear end that curls under its body...strange indeed.

The green one has a suction type underbelly and feathery feet as well as 2 red dots on its back. Little mysteries these guys were so we contacted the Maine Entomologist Society :
and hopefully after we get the right person to send the pics to, we will know a little bit about these guys. The scaley one was a little intimidating I have to admit. No one wanted to pick that one up ;)

While searching, we also came across the Young Entomologist Society for future family fun:

Happy Bugging!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

30 Days of Inspiration: 2 : Leaves and Sparks

Thankfully not together ;)

While hammering chips off a great rock to make implements for cutting and arrows, .A. discovered he was producing sparks. He called me out and said, "Hey look!" and then said the happily expected - curiosity is awesome - "Why?". I started to say "well, that's what happens when, blah, blah, blah..." and then realized I didn't know why either...hmmm why DO you get sparks?
Well, evidently, when you have raw iron, it instantenously ignites. Yes friends, catches fire - all. on. it's. own....amazing huh?
So why then don't we burn up when holding iron? Say a little thank you to the process of oxidation. You can read about it here:
Such cool stuff ~

A little earlier in the day the girls were collecting leaves for...well, you name it - beds, tea parties and just "because they are pretty". We decided to make some wax collages and laminated leaf placemats with some of them. This also gave us a chance to look closely at the leaves and identify the trees they came from. Having the names enables us to combine our observations with some other info from our readings about the trees around us; such as what animals might prefer which trees and other tidbits. It was also such a treat to just sit and look closely at the beautiful bounty falling from the sky...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

30 Days of Inspiration : 1: Initiative :

That would be the kid's initiative - mine seems to get lost somewhere between the dishes and the diaper pail ;) Hmmm, maybe redirected would be a better word :)

While I spent much of Monday balancing the 4th snack for 3 by lunchtime, nursing the wee one and trying, in between all this, to get a smidge of Monday's cleaning done the gang here was busy with some pretty important work of their own.

In the morning, G came in while I was feeding little A and wanted to play store with me. We played for a bit, she was the clerk selling books and I was the ever consuming customer buying piles and piles of books. Oddly enough, the same books over and over too ;)

I said how about we play library and she eagerly obliged. We restacked the books from our local library, she gathered some rubber stamps and ink, paper and pencils (because the librarian uses them she informed me) and we were ready to go. She made little cards, popped them in the pockets of the books, used her flower stamps to check them out and we were busy for a good hour, checking and rechecking out books.

A short time later, babe was asleep, I was throwing in the 2nd load of wash when my attendance was requested for a puppet show - the silliest one I had seen in a while too might I add. When bears meet clams and a giraffe in the Maine woods, look out - strange things happen ;)

Just a glimpse of our day here where I was keenly aware of how much initiative these kids have. The spectrum is mind blowing too, from puppet shows, to shop keepers, then onto orphanages for stuffed animals, of course building...well, everything (forts, people, towns, railroads) and all manner of goodness between.

Friday, October 3, 2008

30 Days of Inspiration ~

Well, simply because frankly, I need it ;)
We generally follow a Waldorf inspired route here mixed in with a good dose of unschooling (and lots more of the unschooling than the Waldorf these days...seems to flow more naturally :)
So, we keep the Waldorf materials for A on hand for read aloud (nature stories, trickster tales and the like)but, lately are finding all else to be discovered and explored in other ways.
Some days when we are hanging out, cuddling baby, reading books I think, hey...shouldn't we be doing more of the "school" stuff? Then I realize, hey, we do!
So these 30 days of 'inspired' pics and thought blurbs will be a little reminder to me that yes, we are accomplishing plenty. Little moments of inspiration that I feel will capture our days pretty well here in the hollow. Taking those opportunities when they arise...as best we can. Hence, the picture of that mouse there...little opportunistic bugger that he is ;)
Alongside this I will throw in some small space living reality bites for good measure. Ah yes, good fun all around.

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