Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Making Christmas

Whew!  That was my exclamation late yesterday afternoon, (Christmas Day), when I finally sat down on my sofa without any knitting or sewing in my hands.  Unlike last year when I finished well before Christmas Eve, this year I was rushing to finally finish two hours past my deadline on Christmas Eve Day.  And yet, everything worked out wonderfully in the end.

This year's handmade gifts were four rag dolls made for the youngest granddaughters, and sixteen knitted hats.  I always find it a little bit magical that sometimes I can start out with a stack of fabrics and an idea and after a considerable amount of stitching produce something I love.  And oh how I loved these dolls!

The hats were knitted in coordinating yarns linking our four children's families.  So many of the children's hats were the same size or too close to tell "who's is who's", that I embroidered name tags to sew inside each one.

During the holidays, besides the handmade gifts I'm working on, from Black Friday through New Years Day I have a mental list running of things I want to make sure I make, do, and savor.  Barring any later realizations, I think I've accomplished it, although there were some close calls.  Late on Saturday during a conversation going over the menu for Christmas Eve with one of my daughters I realized I forgot about a family favorite casserole I make every year, Fida Kahlo's Macaroni with Spinach Sauce.  So, add one more late trip to the store. (And still there was yet another trip to the store at midnight on Saturday.)

And during all of that hand stitching I work my way through all of my Christmas DVDs.  At one point while watching my second favorite, The Family Stone, my husband asked "which one is this?"  And when I told him he answers, "But that one always makes you cry."  Yes it does!  And that's why finally on Christmas day, when all the work is behind me I watch my favorite, It's A wonderful Life, and cry again.

Here's to all of us closing out the holiday season of 2017 with much joy and even more love and peace.  

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Door to Door

I haven't been part of a door to door movement since I was a Girl Scout peddling cookies.  Something many people don't mind you coming to their door about.

Yesterday the Indivisible group my husband and I belong to, Franklin Action Network (F.A.N.), held our first door to door voter registration drive.  We went door to door asking people if they are registered to vote, and if not, did they care to.  I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised.  People were very receptive to what we had to say.  The most important being, did you know that Kansas threw out 13,717 votes in the 2016 election, beating Florida who threw out 13,461?!  And yet Florida has seven times the residents of Kansas.

Some other information that is important to remember is that most of the votes thrown out were from people who registered through state affiliated sites.  So if you need to register, make sure you are using the federal form.

If you believe you're registered but want to make sure you can check your registration at:   https://www.headcount.org/verify-voter-registration/.

Of course, we all believe that everyone should vote.  Our goal is to see that everyone who wants to vote is able to vote, and that vote counts!   We want you to be ready for the next elections in 2018.

And if you're already registered, see you Tuesday!!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Projects and Parties

It's been a busy week, to say the least.  But just now looking back over the pictures, it was wonderful.  Of course if you would have asked me in the middle of it I would have said I was just a bit overwhelmed. 

From the moment we returned from the lake I used every spare moment, and even moments I should have been doing something else, sewing on Rowen's birthday book.  This was her last one, my 14th!

We then made the immediate transition from birthday party to Halloween parties.  It's no surprise on Halloween afternoon I started coming down with a cold.  While at my son and daughter-in-law's home they made me something called a flu bomb, made from holistic oils.  Wow!  I've been using essential oils around the home for sometime, but not internally!  Now I know I need to start!

The top picture is of three little dresses I just finished knitting for the three youngest granddaughters.  I'm hoping for a photo opportunity of all three of them wearing them together soon.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Farewell For Now

A few weeks ago, when the weather started to turn, people in casual conversation would ask, “Aren’t you loving this weather?”  I would make a quiet, polite reply, “it's OK”.  But the truth of it was, not really.  I was having a hard time letting go of summer.  I was sad about closing the pool, sad about the end of fresh tomatoes, peppers, and herbs just outside my door.   It took me a couple of weeks of mourning the end of summer before I could truly welcome fall.  Even though with fall comes my favorite time for camping.  

But then again, you can't stop the calendar and I have the awful feeling of wanting to dig my heels in.  Sadly, this past weekend ended our camping season for the year. 

I'm not sure when this change in me occurred.  I used to be one of those people who eagerly welcomed the next season and the experiences it held in store.  Now, when I see school supplies stocked in stores in July I get a pit in the bottom of my stomach.  Then in September, I have the urge to buy new notebooks.  I think it would be wonderful if the current in vogue reminder to be mindful, living in the current moment, would apply to store shelves.

Maybe it's age, making me want to hold on to all the moments that make the seasons meaningful.  Maybe it's because I often think of the loved ones I lost too soon and the meaningful moments they were denied.  

So for now I will need a minute to grieve the end of camping season.  But I know there's still a lot  of fall left.  I know I will start to feel my excitement build for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  And believe me, I won't rush through those holidays, or the days that surround them.  I will be holding on to them as long as I can.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Empty Nest Gardening

Tomatoes, peppers, and herbs potted on the deck.

Fish pond, turtle island and the cistern.

The fish tower being utilized.


Drying peppers.

The beginning of habanero salsa.

Roasted cherry tomatoes.

The original garden plot.

Now that fall is here, and this last heatwave of the summer has broken, I thought I would share how our garden made out this summer.  

In truth, we've been empty nesters now for over ten years.  The year before we tried something new and we grew some of our vegetables in pots on the deck, while keeping the original large garden we planted in 1985 and its perennials intact.  But this year when winter began to wane and we got the urge to start getting our hands dirty, we made a bold decision.  We tilled under our garden.  When spring finally did arrive the old garden plot was gorgeous.  The grape hyacinths took hold and spread and the grass filled in.

This year, our only planting was done on the deck, four tomato plants, four pepper plants, and two basil and rosemary plants.  (I have a small herb garden just outside the front door where thyme, oregano, lavender and mint come back every year and Italian parsley is planted each year.)

My husband came up with a way several years ago for us to catch and store rain water.  A fish pond, (stock tank) was put on the small patio below the deck.  The gutters feed into it and it, when it's overfull, feeds into the under ground cistern left from the original farm house that was on our property.  We then have a pump on a line we can lower into the fish pond from the deck above and water from the pond.  It's works beautifully.  It's also made for the easiest gardening I've ever done.  To make it pretty, we add floating plants, fish and a fish tower every year.  The oblong tank pictured behind the fish pond is turtle island, where my husband's turtles summer.  But that is his story to tell. :)

Anyway, as far as production goes, it was an amazing year; so many tomatoes and peppers!  I think we've found our happy gardening niche.