This is the new hoop house that Randy and Emma built this year. It didn't take much in the way of materials cost. It was about $200 when all was said and done. It was put to good use and our first attempt at using a greenhouse for starts. We started greens, squash, cosmos, dahlias, beet greens, kale and tomatoes. We gave some away to the community garden, gave some to friends, planted some and lost some. When you have a greenhouse you can start way too many plants than you have room to plant. We need to learn to stagger planting, plan better and make bigger garden beds. We did expand our garden this year to include a new 30x20 triangular bed. We planted cukes, tomatoes, basil, sunflowers, yellow squash, pole beans, potatoes in that area. You can see some plans for a Homemade Hoop House here. I think time wise it took 2 days to put it together plus some digging out of the ground inside. There is a huge rock inside but, we just built benches above it and it worked out just fine. We found an old bureau that we're going to store things in...tools, pots, plans....that we put inside. For watering we used a pressure watering device which was fine with a small greenhouse. We have wanted a greenhouse for years and always wanted something with glass and beauty...it just wasn't happening. I think I'm learning to adjust some instead of waiting forever for everything. We hope to plant some fall greens and perhaps even throughout the winter. Kale is a big favorite as well as all sorts of lettuce and beet greens. We have seeds from Johnnys & Fedco and a few left from High Mowing. That's a strawberry bed in front of the greenhouse. We got starts from Johnny's ...about 50 of them. They look a little wilted in the picture but, they are looking good. We pinched off the runners and hopefully next year we'll have a bumper crop!
I went to Clothworks to visit with my friends. I meant to take a picture of the easel that stands outside their shop. They have a Grace Paley quote on it that I love. Of course it escapes me now but, maybe they'll post it for me. Here is something that Grace said in an interview at one time...
"My general feeling is that, if you're healthy and you have enough money to live decently -- if not flagrantly -- getting older is OK. I mean, I don't mind it at all. What I mind, of course, is that my time is getting short, that I won't see my youngest grandchild grow up -- those things that you're gonna miss. I remember my father feeling like that. I have a poem about it -- he knew he wasn't gonna see the end of the Vietnam War. He said: "Goddammit, I'll never know how they got out." There's a lot you won't know. And there's sadness because your friends are dying. And with the terrible things in the world, with the idea that you're gonna leave the world maybe worse than you found it -- I don't like that feeling at all.
But if your health is good, and you have a habit of looking at each day as a whole day -- unless you drop dead at noon or something -- then every day you live something interesting. It's interesting because you either meet a new tree or if you're in the city, you meet a new person. Or something happens. The sun shifts on the mountain -- very beautiful things happen." ~Grace Paley~
We were talking about overdue library books and library fines. There shouldn't be any. Why are we punished if we forget to return something? Apparently now in our state if you have a library fine...it is communicated to ALL libraries throughout the state via computer and you are labeled a library outlaw. My daughter is a library outlaw through no fault of her own. A collection was taken up at the shop at Clothworks...and the fine was collected and to be paid by said library outlaw toot-sweet. I found this beginning of a story by Grace Paley called "Wants"...it starts like this...
"I saw my ex-husband in the street. I was sitting on the steps of the new library.
Hello, my life, I said. We had once been married for twenty-seven years, so I felt justified.
He said, What? What life? No life of mine.
I said, O.K. I don't argue when there's real disagreement. I got up and went into the library to see how much I owed them.
The librarian said $32 and you've owed it for eighteen years. I didn't deny anything. Because I don't understand how time passes. I have had these books. I have often thought of them. The library is only two blocks away."
Maybe the library outlaw forgot what time it was.
Pirate Papa is one of my favorite blogs to read. I mostly agree with everything he says and I think if we had lived near each other when Emma was young our girls would have been great good friends. His post today about Green Parenting is most excellent and sums up of alot of my views of parenting.
I relate 'Anarchism' to parenting in several very simple ways: I firmly believe that large-scale industrial capitalism is inherently bad for babies; I think all children are inherently anarchists and that these qualities need to be nurtured and respected rather than repressed; I advocate a refusal to follow accepted norms (without massive research) as applied to my children's diet, medicine, entertainment, education, etc.; I think that families are best served and children best reared by as much economic and political freedom as possible. I believe in creative problem solving, involving children in political activism, and being as anti-corporate, anti-capitalist and anti-standard as possible. I believe we need localized communities operating on a face-to-face basis in equilibrium with each other and their surroundings without official hierarchies and centralized establishments to arbitrate and rule our lives. We have learned from this system of coercion, capitalism, domination and patriarchy that it does not work, does not jive with the natural human spirit or bodily rhythms. Now it’s time to try something else. ~Pirate Papa
It is interesting to read about his adventure in parenting as I have been through 20 years of parenting and unschooling my daughter...and the looking back is sometimes bittersweet. I would not change very much in how we parented Emma...it is satisfying and gratifying to feel full about this. I wish more people would parent in this way...the world would change if we all did. Can you imagine if each of us allowed our children to live in freedom? Not without boundaries or limits...but, with an honoring of each child's truest and deepest nature. The world would be happier and people would be happier. Each person would have the chance to develop and express their own unique path. It is interesting to talk with Emma now that she is grown. Her view on the world is much different than a person that has spent their life following a structure. To her the world is beautiful and limitless. Possibility is what she is good at. I believe this has come from having the time and freedom to stretch in many ways.
Long ago I lived at an apple orchard in New Hampshire and worked there for a fall season with my good friend Kate who is now a well known weaver and owns Eaton Hill Textile Works . We had also started a weaving business in our old farmhouse where we stayed called Poverty Lane Weavers. We each got a loan for $300 from our parents and we were off. We had two large barn looms in the weaving room. We had each gone to weaving school together and had learned to make blankets from our scottish teacher Norman Kennedy. Norman is also a well known ballad singer and makes the folk circuit rounds each year. While I lived with Kate we ate zucchini bread and pickles every day on those fall mornings before we loaded up the tractor with apple boxes.
So, on to the topic of this post. I tried my first hand at pickling this year. I borrowed the lovely 10 gallon crock below from my friend. She inherited this beauty from her grandparents when they passed. We grew 2 plants of pickling cucumbers and we got many, many cukes! We harvested them and I made up a mix of a typical recipe found in a preserving book that I have. I put the entire recipe in this ten gallon crock to sit for 3 weeks and then they were to be transferred to jars and canned. They looked beautiful and smelled wonderful in the kitchen. I scooped the white froth that forms on the top each day. Until...we went away for 5 days and when we retuned a terrible mold had formed on top. Randy said we should just scrape it off and still can and eat them. But, the nurse in me wouldn't have it and I had visions of botulism invading our bodies later this year when we naively ate our newly canned pickles. So...we reluctantly hauled the huge 10 gallon crock out to the compost to add a very large amount of pickles, brine and angst to the compost pile.
Flowers from the garden
Here are some volunteer sunflowers by the birdfeeders.
Randy has been working on the cob oven roof all weekend. It is wood shingled. It has wound up taking a very long time partly due to other tasks calling and partly that he has had to do a bunch of shoring up of the frame before he could get to the roofing.
I made this collage for Wrench in the Works in Willimantic. It is a social justice center, lending library & coffee house. Nearly a year ago a small group of us got together to help found this collective. It has been alot of work and of course there are trials and tribulations but, for the most part it is coming into being a good presence in our community. The Wrench operates on membership fees, donations and fundraisers. We have a variety of music that happens at the space and everything is offered on a sliding scale basis. The Wrench is a great place to gather for folks to come up with ideas and then bring them to fruition out in the world. Lots of activists are drawn to The Wrench for it's committment to a non-patriarchal and non-heirarchical ideal. Check out Wrench in the Works
I create healing dolls that are handcrafted with colorful fabrics, beads, yarn and ribbon. Each doll is unique and this is a series of dolls that are all similar. I have created a pouch for each doll that is slung over her shoulder and each doll has a necklace that states things such as...ceate, laugh, love. I have not used a sewing machine for these as I wanted to put a simple energy into them with handwork. I have both sold and given away these unique creatures to give people a symbol of healing energy to look at in their homes or anywhere on their journey. I am a Reiki Master & RN and will create the doll with a healing energy and intention that is unique to you for your doll....and particular need. They are lovely gifts for healing, celebrations, birthdays, rites of passage, menarche dolls...whatever your heart desires. Email me and I will create one for you...each doll is $35 for this basic pattern. If you want more particular materials the price may increase some.
I also knit little pouches from different yarns but mostly 100% wool. Each pouch is embellished with a special button. These bags are perfect for tiny gifts, special treasures or little medicine bags. Each bag costs $18. Email me if you're interested.
We made this spirit house on our property the week that the war broke out in Iraq. It is used as a space to stop and contemplate for a moment on your way up the path to the house. I put different things from nature there througout the year...flowers, shells, stones, branches. Sometimes we tuck little surprises in the hands of buddha. I try to have candles lit there for many different occassions...celebration, welcoming friends, honoring a spirit. It is lovely to look out the window and see the light shimmering in the darkness. Spirit houses are found throughout the world. Small wooden or stone structures that sit on pedestals outside most homes and businesses, their purpose is to give the spirits that reside on the land a place to dwell. They are often lit from within and sometimes include little figurines, which are intended as servants for the resident spirit.
Two of my favorite tools are my wooden drying rack for clothing and my human-powered lawn mower. I like the simplicity of each tool. Each time I hang clothing on the drying rack I take time to think about things. It is a moment of productive silence. The lawn mower has a nice clickety-clack whirr as I push it along the hard to reach places on our property. It was a mother's day gift. I like to ask for tools on mother's day. One year I got a chainsaw. The less complicated our lives are with simple tools the more time and money we can find at the end of the day.