Friday, February 29, 2008

Peeves and other pets

There must be a Stepford alignment of the planets or something. Like several of my friends, I have caught a cleaning and straightening virus. Because we are still moving into the Spring House, there are boxes in every corner. I decided the stuff in them needed to be "put away".
My family has been trying to hide until this virus passes, but I keep catching them. I asked Shawn to put a box of books up on the newly moved bookshelf. "And put away that stuff on the shelf," I said. I hate non-book stuff on book shelves.
In my next pass I reordered the books he had put on the shelf by size. He said he hates when I get anal. I threatened to alphabetize the books.
Next time I went by, I sighed heavily to see that he had stood all the books in stacks on their sides. I hate it - but he is right, he got about 30 percent more books on the shelf.

I needed to go take a walk and not chase my help away. As I headed out the door, I noticed that Lena had left the bobbin case open on the sewing machine last time she was making Learn to Spin Kit bags. I hate it when the bobbin case gets left open! Cat hair gets in, and dust, it really messes with your sewing machine. It's one of my pet peeves!

"Wait a minute," my brain said, as I closed the case and put the machine back together. "You have way too many pets. You sure can't afford to have any Peeves!"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Combing calm

Several people lately have commented on how calm and grounded I usually am. I can't take credit for it. Part of it is genetics and having been raised to handle change. And part of it is the critters.

Just sit down every evening and comb an angora bunny. I promise it will lower your blood pressure, settle your breathing and relax your mind. The bunny will appreciate it too!

This is Hazel, my champagne French Angora doe. She is a curious bun and will chase the dogs and cats when she can get away with it.

She is bred for mid-March bunnies. We'll have baby critters all over the farm by the end of March. Give us a holler if you want to come visit.

Friday, February 22, 2008


So much to share -
The storm recovery effort here is incredible. People rushed in with donated food, water, critter food. Neighbors helped each other with generators, furniture and firewood. People who lost houses already have a good start on new ones with donated help from the community.

We were fortunate. As one friend said - when it comes down to it, we were inconvenienced. We lost some of our barn roof, one ewe, a bit of fence, a refrigerator and freezer's worth of food , week's worth of work for both Shawn and I, power for 6 days and some of our illusions of civilization. We gained a lot of appreciation for the wonderful people of north central Arkansas and the importance of generators!

The weather after the tornado was lovely. Almost like Mother Nature's apology for her temper tantrum of Feb. 5. We went down to the grape arbor to do some clearing of brush and checking for grape vines. Shawn had not believed me when I said it was years worth of work. I think he understands now. There are big, healthy, overgrown grape plants - Great BIG grape vines.

There are trees in the middle of the rows, some with 12 inch trunks. There is cat briar and poison ivy weaving through the grapes.

But most of the poles are still there, the grape vines are mostly healthy and the view from the arbor is stunning.

So, I guess that we have another place to work and ground and grow.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

We're ok

Just a quick note to let everyone know - we are fine.
The tornadoes devastated the towns north and south of us, but went past us. We have water from our spring, lots of wood for heating and cooking and today we got my dad's old generator running, so we sometimes will have dial-up internet.
They say it may be as much as another week before we get power back. To those of you waiting on orders from Shawn's wood shop - our apologies! He'll be back to the workbench as soon a electricity finds its way back to our valley. They say it could be a while. I saw the work it took just to open the roads.
We are so thankful for our wonderful friends and all the men and women who have come together to help everybody. Say a prayer for those who have lost their homes and family members.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Groundhog Day!

I love Groundhog Day. It is one of my favorite holidays. It is silly and fun and full of hope for good things to come.

In honor of this glorious holiday - I created fancy, fanciful cookies for our herb society meeting.

Pretty Pelargonium Puffs
(ok, this recipe probably needs a better name :-)
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups flour
1 rounded teaspoon of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup dried lemon crispum pelargonium leaves
20 small oak leaf or similar whole fresh pelargonium leaves

Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Blend flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together and blend well. Add dried pelargonium leaves, well cleaned with no stems. Roll into balls and press flat with your hands. Press the oak leaves into the tops of the cookies making sure the whole leaf is pressed into the cookie. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Enjoy! Makes 20 large cookies that are very yummy and not healthy at all!

Have a wonderful holiday. Keep an eye out for groundhogs and good things to come.

Of forks and roads

I don't know if it's a family joke, spawned in our blended family that had 4 teenagers at home, or a well known bit that has found a place in our life, but you know the one that goes -

"If you come to a fork in the road - take it - we're always short on forks."

Forks seem to be prominent in my life right now, Shawn just carved me this beautiful weaving fork from a very pretty wood that we had harvested on Foxbriar for firewood. It is so soft and smooth and has a greenish color.

And the road of my life has been full of forks. I always try to either take all the paths at once and find a way to bounce back and forth between them or walk the middle ground. I hate having to decide to take just one, especially when they are mutually exclusive opportunities, with no guarantees of what you'll find at the end.

Our life is definitely the road less traveled, and there aren't a lot of maps or road signs to give direction. When I find a new road, I research it as much as I can, but sometimes you can't know what's around the bend without taking the path yourself. I really prefer roads that aren't one way, so that I can back-track to the main road after I see what is over that next hill.

Like yesterday, when I traveled the path of setting up an account on Amazon. This morning's research lead me to find even more things that pointed out this road just wasn't going to take us in the direction we wanted to go. Amazon was gracious about closing the account and it was easy for me to get back to my consideration of the roads in front of us, knowing that one was not right for now.

Other choices have not been so easy. There is an opportunity that I really want to be able to take advantage of coming up. It is a realistic possibility. But I needed to clear my calendar to make space for that possibility if I am going to put energy into following that path. That meant canceling things I really love doing and making the decision to close out some directions in my life.

Some of them I can hope that the road will loop back and let me pick them up again if the opportunity is not meant for me. Others will leave space open to that filled with new paths.

So, I'll be out hiking these new roads the next couple months and I'll share stories and quandries as I try to collect forks, rather than having to choose directions.

May the road rise up to meet you and the wind be always at your back.