Monday, December 29, 2008

Winter Serenity

It has been months since I have felt compelled to share but the last snowfall and being home alone seemed to have done the trick.

The guys left my daughter and I home alone while they went to upstate New York to snowmobile. We were virtually snowed in as I could not get the snowblower started and the snow on the driveway was way to heavy to shovel, thanks to the rain that fell inbetween the bands of snow. So we decided to go out and play and enjoy our property instead. It was so quiet and peaceful, it reminded me again why I love this time of year so much. My father and I used to go out on winter evenings, shovel and clean snow and then just go for a walk, listen to the snow squeak beneath our boots, the falling flakes and the distant sounds of others doing the same. My father taught me to enjoy these simple things, something I will pass on down to my children, the beauty of Nature!

We grabbed the camera as mother and daughter went off to do our daily barn "chores", I call them chores but it is really a labor of love. There are very few places I would rather be than in a barn feeding and cleaning stalls! Call me crazy!!!

My beloved hay burner Abby. My best friend since I was 14 (that's only a "few" years ago). We have been through the loss of friends, college (yes, she went with me) and too many other challenges in life to even mention. She has been one of the few constants in my life. A true friend I can always count on! I love you girl!
The twin Black Walnut trees that proudly stand along the cornfield and provide bountiful harvests every year. We do not eat them, however I do collect them and make a stain for my baskets.

This is one of the old outbuildings on the farm. It used to house some of the horse drawn farm equipment and the work harnesses. It has pigeon coops/nesting boxes in the loft and perches and holes for the birds in the rear. Sadly it is slowly sliding off the stone foundation and unless we do something with it in the near future, it may be lost.

This is the old Spring House. Even in the worse droughts, this never runs dry. We have used the water out of it during power outages to flush toilets and such. Old Mrs. Moore used to store her eggs and the spring water she sold inside here with a money jar. Everyone around would come and take what they wanted and leave their money in the jar. When she passed, it was said she had a secret bank account with thousands in it, she never told anyone she was squirreling the money away! Crafty little lady, wich I had the chance to meet her.

My youngest's first snowman. We had to go inside after this and watch Frosty and drink hot chocolate together. She had a ball!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Where does the time go?

This past week we celebrated my daughter's 3rd birthday. The day was cold and miserable, most people around us were getting snowed on, yes, in October! It made me think back to the day she was born and how beautiful it was. It was a very warm monday morning when I arrived at the hospital, with my husband, to bring our little girl into the world. I was only wearing short sleeves (and I am ALWAYS cold). What a difference three years can make.

We had a scheduled C-section and everyone was calm and relaxed, very much unlike the birth of my son. I remember talking with the anesthesiologist as they were doing my spinal, which I was terrified of. His name was Michael and as we knew we were having a girl and had our name picked out already, he was joking how we named her after him. It very much lightened the mood and got me through it. The surgery was quick and uneventful and then we caught our first glimpse of her, how beautiful! She looked just like her brother!!!! We were overjoyed that day and everyday since. With her addition to our family and our little prince at home, we now had the perfect family.

My children are the love of my life. Yes they are challenging at times, and there are times I really wonder what I am doing, but on days like this I cherish those trying times. The times goes too quickly and as we sat last night watching my now 6 year old son reading to the family, I got tears in my eyes. They are growing up too fast, I want to just scoop them up and hold on to them, stop them from getting bigger, stop them from needing Mommy less and less. I know the day will come when they will grow and leave our home to start their own lives, but I am going to prolong that as long as possible. The time will come way too quickly.

I love you two!!!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Autumn Inspiration

Here is the outcome of the inspiration created by the fall colors and temperatures. This is a basket designed by a wonderful woman named Venie Hinson. She lives in eastern Ohio and I had the chance to take a class with her in April. She designs wonderful baskets using hard woods like black walnut, cherry and maple as accents. This particular basket is woven with black walnut and maple as well as rattan reed. It is called Black Walnut Special and was a real pleasure to weave. I wove this basket while camping in Bennizet last weekend with my family, surrounded by bugeling elk. One of which almost joined us at the picnic table while we were eating dinner!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fall Harvest

Hello again...

With fall here I spent the afternoon and evening with the kids, gathering what I can to be used in my baskets. We picked up more than enough black walnuts to start a dye bath brewing in the barn for the winter. Then the kids and I vented our frustrations and maybe caused some more as we pulled and pulled on wild grapevines. There was one huge one growing up a black walnut tree in our hedgerow that I was after in the worst way. I had cut the stem, down by the root. See I want the thickest part for a ribbed basket handle, the middle for the rim hoop and the smaller, thinner pieces for the ribs of the basket. We eventually gave up, as it was firmly attached to this walnut tree, and enlisted the help of my husband. Although he was happy about us picking up all the walnuts (they become deadly when run over with a lawn mower and take flight), he was less than excited about my efforts with the grapevine, especially now that it is draped out all over the lawn as I begin to untangle the mess and remove all the little twigs that came down in it's grasp. But we won and the vine is mine!!!

Thanks Mother Nature for the wonderful gifts!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Welcome fall...

Finally, a beautifully cool, yet sunny, fall day. I love this weather. It inspires my weaving, house cleaning and just about everything else. This is the season I live for, the transition from the hot muggy days of summer to the dreary, grey skied winter days. Although the snow does give me an excuse to act like a little kid again.

I have tons of weaving to do and this is the perfect day to get something done about it. The Endless Mts. Fiber Festival just about cleaned out my inventory and I have three shows coming up. My pattern books are adorning my living room floor as I spend endless evening hours picking out my next projects. See, I am addicted to buying patterns. There are so many creative minds out there that are willing to share their creativity with us. I must support their efforts! Now I just need to find the time to weave and guess that is my cue to stop babbling.

Enjoy the beauty of today!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hello gang...This is my first attempt at a blog, so bear with me. I'm not sure I have too much to say but here it goes.

I used to ride horses, for pleasure and competitively. It comforted my heart and soul, there is something about the smell of a horse's breathe, the warmth of their body and their willingness to do most of what we ask, blind trust. When I was diagnosed with MS in 2000 I had to give it up due to some of my symptoms at the time. I still have my beloved Abby, but we do not get to share the same time any longer. Life continued, I got married, had my children and even though I am capable of riding again, it has to wait a few more years. I was left with a huge void in my life and my soul longed for fulfillment.

Not thinking anything of it, I took a basket weaving class at a local craft shop. I was instantly addicted and slowly built my skills, discovering a hidden talent. Slowly the void began to fill. I started selling my baskets at local craft shows as a way to get out of the house, but that has now turned into a way to rid myself of the many baskets I have accumulated. I can now work out situations and problems while weaving the same way I used to be able to work them out on the back of my Abby. She was always willing to match my mood, wether it was somber and I needed to just spend time alone with her, or energized by a bad day and filled with tension. She was always there and together we managed to make it through many tough situations that only she and I knew about. I can now work out my demons while weaving. There are some baskets that are woven and, due to the mood at the time, do not leave fond memories and therefore I vow to never make another, while others are done with peaceful tranquilty and I can not wait to weave more like it.

There is something about taking a piece of a vine that once grew to the treetops and by using just a few simple techinques making something beautiful. I spent the weekend a few weeks ago at a fiber festival in northern PA. Now I want to learn to spin. Again, taking raw fiber, just sheared from the animal, washing, carding and spinning into yarn that can then be used to make a wearable garment speaks to my soul in a way I don't think I will be able to ignore.