Hello December. December!?
Where did November go? This last month included another big house project (insulation installation!) with a ginormous amount of prep and then clean-up, a visit from G'ma & G'pa, two visits from Nana, major sewing production for the launching of my Etsy shop, and a house-full of people for Thanksgiving.
I had such good intentions to spend more time on this little blog during November. I realize now that I enjoy the practice of not opening my laptop daily. I'm thankful for allowing myself these bits of unplugged quiet. I quickly abandoned my Thirty Days of Gratitude project as soon as the Sister Chicken inspiration hit. Even though I didn't make the time to post a daily photo, I did make the time to breathe in gratefulness each day (actually I do this daily, no matter the season). I stuck to the project energetically, y'all just didn't get to follow along.
And so it goes.
Often these days of parenting and homesteading (and whatnot) fly by in a blur. I can barely keep up with my laundry, the dishes, who has, or hasn't brushed their teeth.
But the children are thriving.
The Flower has grown two inches in the last two months. Her confidence at school is growing and she loves practicing her letters. At home, she often comes up to show me how she's written down her name - all the letters are there - perhaps in the wrong order, but she gets it. I love her questions and observations and simply witnessing how her mind works. She's curious these days about aging and specifically dying. Nothing morbid, mind you, just the natural curiosities of a girl who intently observes the life cycle in nature on a daily basis, and then wonders how it might apply to herself. She's been asking about what she'll look like when she's older. And she's noticing that Nana and I look alike, and that she looks like the two of us. Her Collection Section grows by the day. Her small table is now so full that she's piling rocks, nests, branches, and such along the fireplace next to her table. She's a collector, a noticer, my girl.
The Tree is into everything. He's learning to run, which is thrilling for Z who loves to be chased. He also loves tickling us and cracks up when he's able to elicit a giggle. In the last week he's learned to say Mama, and does so quite often, especially while signing Milk. Understandably, the two are quite interchangeable. I love the sound of his little voice, and his laugh - their laughter - is the embodiment of world peace, I swear. L busies himself with taking apart anything and everything he can get his hands on. His favorite work right now is taking pen caps off, and then, ever-so-carefully putting them on again. He's fascinated with cars, trucks, anything with wheels, and cracks all of us up with his constant Vrrrooms and Brrrrmmms. He's got a temper, my boy, and will storm off, wailing if you tell him no. It's heartbreakingly funny. He's such a sweet boy.
In other homesteading news...
The garden has been put to bed, mostly. There are still bits of spinach and arugula growing and once a week, or so, I harvest enough greens to brighten up a meal. Just today I harvested three or four carrots for dinner (which I added to pickling liquid from the back of the fridge). Hubs has been working hard on double-digging the beds while mixing in compost and manure. We're all bummed to not have planted a proper winter garden, but the investment now, into next years garden, will surely pay off.
The wood stove has been roaring regularly these last weeks. Steve stays busy with all the firewood: chopping, stacking, hauling. He's prepped seven cords so far, I think. A few weeks ago he actually cut down a huge (and sickly) maple in the yard. He had it down, bucked (wood-talk for using the chainsaw to cut it into sections) and moved to his wood yard during one quiet/nap time. I was impressed!
Overall the house is warmer post-insulation. This last year we've repaired every major structural element of the house including plumbing, roofing, drainage, crawl-space sealing and insulation. I hope this is the last of this type of work for some time. I'm weary of uncovering any more secrets from this old house. I'm ready to focus my energies on making pretty. Paint! and such are on my mind.
Our sweet chickens are still giving us eggs, daily. I've declared chickens to be my favorite pet, owing to the fact that they don't come inside the house, they don't need to sit on my lap, and they make us laugh everyday. They're so sweet. They follow us all over the property and seem to genuinely enjoy our company. It's a mutual love affair I believe.
We haven't seen the bear(s) in a while. With these earlier-than-last-year cold temperatures, I suppose they may have already tucked into their winter slumber. We're still seeing droppings and tracks from deer, raccoons, and possibly coyotes (their poop is different than domesticated dogs) around the property. The pileated woodpecker has returned, and we're seeing cardinals and Carolina wrens daily.
We continue to meet cool neighbors in our dirt-road neighborhood. And there may even be a babysitter, or two in the hood.
We take it all in. The good, the less-than-good. And we roll with it.
Life is good friends. Very good.