Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Where I"ve Been



The older I get, the less I can multitask. There was a time when the blog was my main artistic outlet, but life has shifted, and now I can put time to the pencil and palate. Learning a lot. Loving a lot. Miss all you guys and your delicious blogs. Will be popping in from time to time. xox 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Therein Lies the Problem

John Adair had little liking for the simple life; he said it was not simple, but the most damnably complicated method of wasting time that had every existed. He liked a constant supply of hot water, a refrigerator, an elevator, an electric toaster, a telephone beside his bed, central heating and electric fires, and anything whatever that reduced the time spent upon the practical side of living to a minimum and left him free to paint.
But Sally [his daughter] did not want to be set free for anything, for it was living itself that she enjoyed. She liked lighting a real fire of logs and fir cones, and toasting bread on an old-fashioned toaster. And she liked the lovely curve of an old staircase and the fun of running up and down it. And she vastly preferred writing a letter and walking with it to the post to using the telephone and hearing with horror her voice committing itself to things she would never have dreamed of doing if she'd had the time to think. "It's my stupid brain," she said to herself. "I like the leisurely things, and taking my time about them. That's partly why I like children so much, I think. They're never in a hurry to get on to something else.” 
― Elizabeth GoudgePilgrim's Inn











Sunday, January 5, 2014

This little light of mine

Lookee what I got for Christmas!  A colonial style mold for taper candles.  For awhile now, I've been collecting beeswax from our hives, and this is just the type of mold I had hoped for.  Now let me start by saying I usually find making things to be relaxing.  BUT NOT THIS TIME!!  


Threading the wick through this thing was a -----.  Well, let's just say it could provoke undignified language, (which would certainly dim this little light of mine *ahem*). 
   

Especially when you have to KEEP re-threading it until you get it right. After I few deep breaths, I realized that candle making has the ability to evoke the fruit of patience. 


I learned something cool in the process:  the difference between fruit and candles is that you cannot make fruit, though you can bear it...


...but you can make candles - if you can bear it.


Four of the candles popped out easily.  Two are still stuck.  There's an enlightening lesson in there somewhere.

Patience.


Even though the making is not easy, it is worth it.  No turning back.  This little light of mine, la la la....


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Been Squirrely

Where did November go? Eep! Every autumn brings on squirrely behavior. So we've been busy.



The nip in the air sparks an urge to put up and put away for winter. You'd think we lived out on a remote homestead somewhere (my secret dream, although the reality of it would probably kill me). But no. I'm just a pioneer woman wannabe. Speaking of pioneers, we made a long overdue visit to our kids and grandchildren in the stunning High Plains of Texas.


It was kind of cool day-dreaming in the middle-of-nowhere prairie land, imagining covered wagons rolling by, a la Oregon Trail. Does anybody remember that video game of the same name? As I recall, the idea was you had to keep your virtual pioneer character alive as they journeyed the Oregon Trail. While visiting, I got a toothache. The left side of my face swelled twice its normal size (not pretty), and to make matters worse, there was not a dentist to be had for miles. My daughter-in-law made onion poultice, and my son medicated me with his home-brewed hard cider. I did eventually receive 21st century dental care. So I survived. Had I been an actual pioneer, I would've been buried on the side of the trail. Game over.


When I worked on an 18th century working farm museum, visitors would sometimes say, "Oh, I'd love to live that way." My answer was always, "Not if you had a toothache." Haha, my own words came back to haunt me. Anyway, all is well now. I'm safe and sound in the suburbs, sharing with you the rewards of our squirreling. A girl can pretend, can't she?

We've been:



 Saurkrauting (did I mention fermenting is my new hobby?)


 Mead brewing



Pickling


 Apple gathering


Playing dress-ups (when did my baby get taller than me?)

Learning to make Mexican chocolate from scratch, thanks to my daughter-in-law



Ordering baby chicks for spring (old photo)



Wood chopping and stacking


Putting the gardens and the beehives to bed


Best of all: Celebrating 32 years of marriage with the dearest farm-hand ever

It's been a full autumn. I'm thankful. Now onto Advent...



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Perks of Being a Beekeeper

The honey, of course; but besides that, I've been saving the wax cappings from the comb we extracted. 


My son Alex designed the labels. He's so talented! Hive Jinx, like hi-jinx. Get it?




Three years worth of cappings. Sheesh. 


Next, using an old milk carton and some cheese cloth...




Melting the wax using a double boiler


(Sorry for the harsh lighting. Ick.)



Straining it to catch old bee parts and other sludge





Pure beeswax smells delicious. I let it cool overnight. 



The next step is to find some decent taper candle molds, and wick. If anybody out there has made taper candles and can recommend a good mold, that would be awesome. And any other advice for molded candles you might have. I have made hand-dipped before, but never poured molds. Thanks, pals! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Goldberry Evening

"'Here's my pretty lady!' he said, bowing to the hobbits. 'Here's my Goldberry all clad in silver-green with flowers in her girdle! Is the table laden? I see yellow cream and honeycomb, and white bread, and butter; milk, cheese, and green herbs and ripe berries gathered. Is that enough for us? Is the supper ready?'
'It is,' said Goldberry."



Watching "Lord of the Rings" for the gazillionth time


Rachel/Goldberry


Her marvelous creation


"It was a long and merry meal. Though the hobbits ate, as only famished hobbits can eat, there was no lack. The drink in their drinking-bowls seemed to be clear cold water, yet it went to their hearts like wine and set free their voices. The guests became suddenly aware that they were singing merrily, as if it were easier and more natural than talking."







"'Have peace now,' she said, 'until the morning! Heed no nightly noises! For nothing passes door and window here save moonlight and starlight and the wind off the hill-top. Good night!'"


*Excerpts from Fellowship of the Ring

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