Tuesday, March 15, 2016


It all started during the few days that Elliott was home sick from school, sick but not too sick.  Sick enough to need to rest and not move around much, but still needing a bit of entertainment.  With Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein, long awaited and finally available as an audiobook from the library's download collection, and a quick run upstairs to the art closet for bits and pieces of cloth and yarn and felt and, always, with Elliott, googly eyes, and we were set.

I started the time sitting facing him on the other end of couch with my laptop in my lap.  Having it in mind that I would work while he quietly crafted.  And he was, indeed, very quiet.  But it was hard to not watch what he was up to.  And so, I did watch.  And then we chatted about design, and how what he was working on might work better.  And in his quiet shakey sick voice, he asked, would you mind sewing me a few bean bags?  

A quick hunt for holey socks was really all he really had in him energy-wise and then I did a hasty stitch and we were back on the couch.

You're a terrible influence, I told Elliott, snapping my laptop closed.  And he grinned and I grabbed an unclaimed stuffed bag.

Elliott watched me for a bit.  Not to be outdone...

Elliott stopped working about here, and took a nap.  Around dinner time pig-so-plump-he-rests-on-his-belly, as he came to be called, entered the kitchen, fully wound.  Tail all corkscrewed.  And started drawing a crowd.

It turns out yarnimals are kind of addictive. And definitely run the risk of causing dinner to be late.

Our dogs.

Our flock.  I can't decide which chicken I like best.  But I definitely love their range of acceptable body types.

Trying to appeal to siblings who had chosen to go outside and throw a lacrosse ball, Elliott made efforts to entice yarn winding mates.

And then his yarnimals began to need friends.

And then things started getting more exotic.  Like sloths. 

Are sloths exotic creatures?  I think so.  In Maine at least.

He's back at school now.  But his cast of characters is waiting for him.  

And I bought him more pipecleaners.  

Mommy.  Can you get different colors this time?  

Sure.  You don't want the realistic animal colors again?  

I do.  But I need yellow for chicks and pink for a flamingo and green for a frog and...

I got the rainbow pack.  Bulk sized.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

sunday walk

It may have been a bit premature to have taken a hike to one of our favorite beaches here in Maine.  The kids, in shorts at home and imagining an early season swim or wave jumping at least, had rolled their eyes and protested about a suggestion of warmer layers or bringing changes of clothing.  So I sent them to the car and then grabbed their parkas and threw them in a tote bag covered by a secret keeping towel across the top.  

The beach is an hour's drive away, during which the temperature had a chance to dip 15 degrees from home to there.  And though it was balmy and springish feeling at home, it was definitely still on the brisk and gusty side of things up there.  

Once parked, visitors walk a long trek down carriage roads, which cross a tidal flat.  In the summer, we find it charming that high tide floods the road and you have to wade through the overflow.  But it was a bit frigid this time of year.  And our bare Smartwooled northern feet have not seen sunlight nor earth for a good long time.  They were extra sensitive when we took off our socks and shoes and waded through the icy water.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Too cold to slow down, we giggled our way across the frigid gravel.

But the beach.  Oh that beach.  I think about that first view all winter long.  The perfectly Maine evergreen woods to the grassy bluffs to the sand to the water to the rocky islands just off shore.

A winter's worth of shells and undisturbed sand and driftwood awaited us.  And some of us got to work, apple still in hand.

What these do not show you is the 20 mph wind pelting our faces with stinging sand.  So we stayed until the wind drove us back into the woods.  Thanks goodness for that gnarly tree line so close by.  Beach time in March.  Perfectly Maine.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


How quickly we move from snow to...mud.  From ski gear to lacrosse sticks.  From sledding to collecting sap.  This has been a very mild winter, so the quick change feels even stranger in its lack of contrast.  But the change is here.

Our silver maple, the first producer of forage for our bees, is in bud.

And the bees are out and flying.

And doing a bit of spring cleaning. Anybody else hearing: Bring out your dead!

They are alive and kicking in this hearty hive, and I am feeding them honey frames (and a little bit of sugar candy I found in the back of our freezer, my own product of spring cleaning) to keep up with them while other forage is still scarce.

Elsewhere, it is greening up.  And browning up actually.  Mud season is upon us.

As usual, the melting snow is trickling down the river bank, exposing a whole new batch of treasures to be uncovered and discovered.

And projects put aside for the colder months need to be returned to.  

And with the melting of the snow comes the reality that it is a wicked mess out there. Leaves that went unraked before the first snow, summer and then winter toys that were forgotten, projects that amused the kids for hours, and then stayed behind when it got dark.

And I can't help but notice that I do believe those are old couch pillows propping up the abandoned sled jump.

Millie is, as usual, doing her best to help with yard clean up.

We are boiling our sap on days we are home.  And eyeing the garden, the last bits of snow melted in it just a few days ago.  That will come soon.  For now, the chickens are spending their days at work in there.

And given that we are collecting more eggs than we can keep up with, those chickens clearly so very happy with all the warmth and light and space to roam, and sharing eggs with everyone we know, egg dishes are the perfect base for our syrup these days.

It's feeling springish out there.