Mabon (Autumn Equinox)

Tuesday marked the autumn equinox and the official start of my favorite time of year!  It was a perfect fall day:  cool, dry, and sunny.  On the way home from work I stopped at our local cider mill and picked up a gallon of cider;  then,  I took a walk in the woods and gathered some things to make this simple Mabon mobile.  I’m very much looking forward to the cooler days ahead!

autumn path

A path through the woods.

mabon mobile

Leaves and feathers (and a seed pod) in the wind, anchored with acorns.

Catching Up

Well, we’ve been on a bit of a hiatus!  Though we officially started back with schoolwork this week, I haven’t quite put everything together to do a weekly report.  Instead I wanted to check in and post a few pictures from our 2010 Yule celebration.  This year we made cranberry, popcorn, and peanut garlands to hang on the bird feeders in addition to preparing a solstice cave and enjoying our delicious Midwinter Bread.  Here are some highlights:

Bounty for the Birds

Midwinter Bread

New Additions for Our Winter Nature Table

Solstice Cave

I love the simplicity of litte brown paper parcels, wrapped with pretty yarn

Festive Back Porch

Courtyard Entrance in Back of House, Decked Out for Yule!

Bringing Home the Yule Tree

Hard to believe we had absolutely NO snow on the ground on the solstice!  This was our solstice cave last year:

But we’ve more than made up for it since; there is at least a foot on the ground at the moment.  Anyway, that’s it for now; I’ve also updated the Needles page with current projects and pictures of some of my Yule gifts.  Hope everyone’s Holidays were merry and bright!

Samhain 2010

Though we all love the hoopla surrounding Halloween, we also look forward to and enjoy our quiet Samhain (pronounced SOW-en for those who don’t know) rituals.  In the morning we took our yearly spin to the cemetery to visit the graves of loved ones who have passed on.  We always bring hand picked flowers, pine cones, acorns or special stones to lay on the headstones (we take a walk beforehand and gather what calls to us).  Our family also has a mausoleum and ever since the Peeps were little they’ve each claimed a lion to care for.  Some of the stones from past years are still laying there around them!

At home we lay flowers on the graves of our beloved family pets that are no longer with us.  For us that means a cat, a dog, a turtle, and two chickens reside in our “pet cemetery”.  🙂

After that, a little pumpkin carving with friends…

My favorite part of Samhain is setting up the Ancestor Table.  Pictures of family pets are also allowed, though strictly speaking they’re not our ancestors, we do miss them an awful lot. 😉  The candle is lit and stays burning until bedtime.  (We do extinguish it before trick or treating, then relight when we get back home.)

And speaking of trick or treat…at a friend’s house, ready to hit the trail:

A bunch of shady characters!

We usually go to a friends’ house for trick or treating (they have a “real” neighbor to go in) and then enjoy lots of good food afterward– including some cider and apple donuts from a local cider press.  Parents are hopeful some real food will be consumed before the process of candy trading begins!  We don’t usually do candy, so this is a special treat for my two.  (Sorry for the blurry photo; sugared up kids+low light=blur)

And finally, back at Casa de los Peeps…

I look forward to the trick or treat festivities as much as the Peeps, but I also enjoy that quiet time when we get back home, p.j.’s are donned, and I can sit and knit in peace while the really intense candy trading negotiations begin!

Spooky Endeavors

Getting ready for Halloween!  I’m not a fan of cutesy decorations;  it’s supposed to be a spooky time of year!  I also prefer vintage looking to new.  So, over the years the Peeps and I have made some homespun creations…

 

A Little Container for Candy

 

 

Skeleton by Peep #2, circa 2004

 

 

Bat Garland on the Living Room Mantel

 

 

A Poster by Peep #2

 

 

Scaredy-Cat Window Silhouette

 

 

Clothespin Bats Roost Here and There…

 

 

Ghostly Passageway

 

 

Vintage Card Garland on the Kitchen Mantel

 

 

Bat Window Silhouettes

 

Happy Halloween, All!

Winter Solstice

We had a really nice Winter Solstice.  My brother and nephew are visiting from Virginia, and my Mom, Dad and sister came down for the day as well.  We had a mellow time hanging out and visiting, while I made chili and corn bread for dinner.  I also made our traditional Midwinter Gingerbread for dessert which was a big hit.  YUM.

The Peeps and I did our usual thing as well… brought it bunches of greens and holly to decorate and built a solstice cave.  This year because of the two feet of snow that got dumped on us, we built it out of snow instead of a cairn of rocks.  It looked sooooo pretty glistening in the snow all night!  The picture I took of it is from our video camera so I’ll add that later.  In the meantime, here’s a picture of what’s left of the Midwinter Gingerbread… I should have snapped a shot BEFORE everyone got to it.  It looked so purty! LOL

The Aftermath

The Aftermath

And here’s a random shot of the centerpiece I created with evergreen branches and holly:
Yule Greens & Holly

Yule Greens & Holly

Happy Winter Solstice everyone!  The days are getting longer!

Spookiness

The house has been spook-ified for Halloween since the beginning of the month.  I didn’t go as crazy as in past years;  I just love decorating for Halloween!  On the actually day we will do our annual visit to the cemetery to lay special stones and fall flowers on the graves of loved ones who have passed on, set up our ancestor table (one of my favorite things!), light candles in the windows, and put out the jack-o-lanterns.  Anyway, just wanted to share a few pics of some of the spooky/fallish embellishments I managed to get around to this year:

Kitchen Hearth

Kitchen Hearth

 

Dining with the Dearly Departed

Dining with the Dearly Departed

Corn Goddess

Corn Goddess

This guy DH bought last year and it freaks me out!  I don’t like it one bit.  I’m convinced one night I’m going to wake up to find those eyes peering at me from the side of the bed. **shiver**

Creepy Little Candy Dude

Creepy Little Candy Dude

 

Happy Halloween, all!

Catching Up…

Haven’t been online much… we’ve been busier than usual.  Last week my brother and his family were visiting from out of town so we spent a lot of time getting together with them.  The Peeps got to color eggs with their littlest cousin (below, left) even though he was more overseer than anything else!  On the left is my SIL and my sister on the right, both of whom I adore.

Coloring Eggs

Coloring Eggs

We had a busy day Sunday as we stopped at both parent’s houses (mine in the a.m. for brunch, DH’s in the afternoon for … um, “linner”??) and then went to the neighbors for a small birthday celebration.  Needless to say we were exhausted by the end of the day.  Though despite the busy day I was able to squeeze in a little bit of time in the greenhouse and got some more seedlings going.  I’ve run out of room under the lights, so I’ll have to move some of the flats to the bench in front of the window and hope they don’t get leggy.  I also broke up a few of my community pots and put the seedling in individual pots.  Hard to get in the gardening spirit though with the weather being so unusually cold.

Anyway, I’ve included a few more pics from the weekend.  My nephew is just the absolute cutest!!  It was great to spend some time with him  though it makes it all the harder when they have to leave.

"H"!

“H”!

Cousins

Cousins

On Tuesday we went on a field trip, and the peeps got to try their hand at some early-American children’s games and help build a scale model whaling ship.  They had a homeschool day at a local museum which was great, but I wish they’d had a better turn out.  There were only a few other families there and I worry if they don’t get decent turn out that they’ll discontinue homeschooler activities.  At the end of the month they’re holding another homeschooler get-together, this time an art lesson.

Speaking of which, we are going to an “open” art lesson at a local Gallery that they do every year.  Last year we went and the Peeps really enjoyed it.  They have a huge room with art supplies set up and assist the kids in a guided activity.  I just got a note in my email that the next one is coming up on the 23rd, so April is shaping up to be a busy month!

Sticks and Hoops
Framing 101
Stilts

On the right are some pictures from the above mentioned museum activities.  The top is Peep #2 doing the stick-and circle thing (I can’t remember what they called it!  The other two shots are of the frame building and both Peeps trying out the stilts.  Neither of them liked those that much, but the other games they thought were really fun.  I wish I’d taken a picture of them playing graces– that was a pretty cool game!

Yesterday we had a marshmallow making lesson with a couple of other homeschoolers.  Last year at a homeschooling meeting at our local library I met a woman who is a chocolatier/baker.  We’ve been in touch on and off and last week she e’d about doing a class with the kids.  So, my other homeschooling friend and her daughter came over as well and we had the lesson in my kitchen.  It was pretty cool.  We learned not only baking, but also a bit of science (the vanilla bean is actually the stamen of a kind of orchid flower that grows in a few parts of the world like Madagascar).

Making Marshmallows

Making Marshmallows

The thing is, now it’s my turn to do something with the kids and I have no idea what.  M has the bees, K is a baker, but I don’t know… I am thinking I’ll get the kids together to do something gardening related.  Other than that, a chick-project is an option.  They are three weeks old today and getting big already! I ‘ll have to give it some more thought and see what I come up with.  Here is the result of our marshmallow making (which I will now be eating from now until  Thanksgiving…)

Yum!

Yum!