January 30, 2014

Superhero Alphabet

Jude (4 yrs) is very much taken with superheroes.

In the time span of one hour he can transform himself, in both character and costume, to at least a handful of different superheroes (or bad guys, if the mood calls for it). He will 'become' Superman, Spiderman, Batman, or a whole bunch of his own invented superhero (which I much prefer). Little Ollie (2 yrs) naturally becomes whatever sidekick Jude requires, but he likes to be called Superbaby best of all (-;

So Jason sat him down one day and together they brainstormed all of the short "A" words that would be good for superhero names, and then drew a picture of the letter and the superhero on a piece of paper. Jude loves the idea, and is excited to make a new picture every day. He loves it so much, in fact, that he will sometimes invent 2 or 3 other superheroes that start with that letter and then draw them as well! Jason really hit the nail on the head with this activity (:

A is for Alligator Man. 
B is for Banana Man
C is for Cat Boy
D is for Dog Boy
E is for Egg Man (And Elephant Man)
F is for Frog Boy (And Fire Star)
G is for Garbage Man

So far, Jude has done letters A through G.
I adore every one of his illustrations; Each one is completely unique and he puts so much attention into the detailing, When he's finished the alphabet we plan to put the lot of them into a book. In the meantime, Jason has started scanning them so that we can transform the images into alphabet flash cards as well (:


January 28, 2014

In the morning

My morning starts with shoveling grain and filling two large water buckets with warm water (so it won't freeze during this horribly cold weather we are having) and then I make my way out to the barn.

Good morning my lovelies! Talulah (pygmy goat) hides in a cozy spot behind the 'hay house' so you can't see her (-;

Here is my sweet Teapot, waiting ever-so-patiently for me to open the door to their stall (:

When I draw back the doors to the two chicken coops, these hens run to gobble up the snow.

This White Sussex is laying an egg.

Oh! There it is, along with another lovely egg. Usually there are 5 or 6 in there first thing, but the hens don't lay as much when the night has been very, very cold.

These chickens bask in the small bit of sunshine that winter allots them.

And this silly hen catches a ride on Talulah's back. She fell off a few times but got right back up there. Talulah is very warm when I pet her, so she likely feels wonderful to freezing chicken feet!

As I walk back to the house, I have the feeling that I am being followed.

Oh, it is so cold! You always forget what winter feels like when the weather is gorgeous and warm. A forest landscape, blanketed entirely in snow and eerily silent is a magical place to spend a moment, it really is.

Every day begins the same around here. I wake, let the dog out, fill the kettle, make oatmeal and fill buckets. While everyone eats, I go out to the barn and bring food and water, let the chickens out of their coops and the sheep and goat out of their stall. I check everyone to make sure all is well, pat Talulah for she does love her morning snuggles, tell Pippin and Teapot how much I love them, and then trudge back to the house with the sheep bouncing along behind me.
When I get back inside, I eat breakfast and make tea for everyone, and then sit down by the fire (Jason has built a lovely warm fire while I was otherwise engaged) and play with the little ones (: And so begins the day!

January 25, 2014

My sweet Ollie

Oh, but this child does bring me joy!
He is just the most squishable!
A cuddler, and a singer of songs.
He says please and thank you (Weas and Tank Dou)
and yesterday he built an airplane out of blocks! He's a genius!
Look at those curls.
I love him.

January 24, 2014

In the shop..more Woodland Pendants

I am so happy to have found a new place to paint the wild animals that I so love..

On the wood slices Jason cuts for me, that come from fallen branches on our sacred land.

I am loving the owls and foxes especially; these creatures who are my neighbors out here in the forest we share (:

They are for sale in my pipodoll shop


January 23, 2014

a picture of Teapot and I from last August

Whenever I walk from the barn back to the house, Teapot follows me.
She bounces and leaps into the air and moves just like a wee baby lamb, except that she's a big, round, squishy sheep now! Every time she does this lamb-leaping and 4-leg bouncing, I laugh out loud and get a bit teary-eyed because I am delighted! She is SO cute! And happy. I am a good sheep mama (: If you want an awesome animal to love, get a sheep. They are pure love.

January 15, 2014

Jude and Ollie, baby photos

The top picture is of Jude when he was around 7 months old, the bottom of Ollie about 6 months.

When I think of the babyhood of my boys, these two photos pretty much say it all. 

As far as personalities go, they are pretty much polar opposites. 
Jude was a very unhappy baby, having had severe digestive issues from the night he was born until he was nearly 2 years old, poor little guy. He didn't sleep, he cried incessantly, and it was very hard to comfort him. It was a tough road for all of us, but he's much better now (:

Ollie, he was born calm and peaceful, and when he learned how to be happy, he did that even better. Easy-going and sweet, he charms every grandmother he meets when we run errands in town! He is the type of child who plays by himself for long periods of time in a very imaginative way, submerged in his own little world and very secure in himself and his private space. Jude is intense, complex, sensitive, passionate and fiery. He is also extremely creative and very loving.
Perhaps it is the extreme difference in personalities that makes these two such good buddies. They balance one another. 

Jude and Ollie are best friends. They play together all day long. Sure, they squabble and bonk each other on the head with things but the second they are apart, all they want to do is get back to one another to play. It is a beautiful thing!

It's amazing, motherhood. You get this small being all of a sudden, and as tiny as they are, they are already all that they are. They grow, and you grow with them, and it is crazy and unrehearsed and you are exhausted but filled with purpose, and what better reason is there to live, honestly? 

January 13, 2014

Handmade stamps!

During the summer, Isabella and I decided to give ourselves a fun creative challenge, which was to try and make something every day. It could be an art project, something more crafty, an interesting meal..anything that uses both the head and hands.
We did pretty good, and managed to get really creative on the days that were devoid of obstacles (illnesses, really crazy days and times when she was visiting elsewhere). I was planning on chronicling our activities and finished projects but was so busy with summer living, doing and creating, I ended up staying away from my blog for quite a time. 

These cute stamps were one of those projects, the easiest thing ever but so satisfying!
Jude and Ollie had demolished a cheap dollar-store sword made of foam so Bella and I cut shapes out of it (it was already sticky because it was made of pieces and layers that had adhesive between them) and fixed them onto some extra wooden blocks Jason had made. Isabella made a heart, a cupcake, and a pirate with crossbones for Jude and I made the mushroom. Very fun (:

January 10, 2014

Ollie's egg-laying hen pull-toy!

I included a small picture of this in my mosaic of handmade Christmas gifts, but I felt I ought to do it more justice, so here I am elaborating on this totally brilliant and completely one of a kind toy that Jason and I made. 

You see, as Ollie pulls it along, the hen actually lays an egg!

And the egg doesn't just pop out right away, that's the beauty of it. Her red wheels turn, and she bobbles back and forth as she goes, and then all of a sudden - bloop! out comes the egg! It's actually quite funny, and very clever. 

Jason designed and built the hen, and I painted it. A collaboration. 

This is a bit after-the-fact, but this past Christmas season, or rather months before, we decided that we wanted to make our family's gifts. For the things we did not make ourselves, we also extended the plan to include free or quality thrifted items. We made this decision both out of necessity and genuine desire. We had a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work, and difficult sometimes to find the time to work on secret projects when we are already such a busy family. We made things for the kids, for one another, and for my parents and sister! It was quite the party. Isabella jumped on board and made things for the boys, and Jude made some sweet wooden cars for little Ollie. Very fun (:

And now that it is a new year and the holiday season is behind us (even though our tree is still up and hasn't even dropped a needle yet) we are as busy as ever with our chickens, sheep and goat, our plans to build a greenhouse and garden fencing and dreaming of beehives, and something we have always wanted to do but thought would be much farther off in the future ~ harvesting our own maple syrup! We have been reading up on using a freezing method to separate the water from the syrup and this definitely seems to make the most sense for us, being a small homestead and not a huge operation. We have a whole maple grove and it's not such a huge distance from the house, so that's a good thing (:

January 7, 2014

Keeping warm with Daddy by the fire (:

Here Jason is reading a book to Jude and Ollie. We don't usually have this fire going; We use the wood stove in the living room during the day and the wood furnace in the basement at night. But, if it is a warmer day, as in below 8 degrees Celsius, we'll sometimes light a fire in the open fireplace because it is just so lovely, so pretty, and really converts the bedroom into a cozy, dreamy, wonderful-smelling space. On this particular day, Jude and I had been sledding down the hill outside (actually, he did the sledding, and I repeatedly dragged his sled back up the hill) so when we came inside we were certainly deserving of some roasted marshmallows. The fire was still going, so we found some sticks in our kindling and got to work roasting them. Yum! What a wonderful time! Jude was so happy, and proud that he was allowed to roast his very own marshmallows (: 

January 6, 2014

Our beautiful eggs!

A few days ago, our welsummer hen finally layed her first egg (the darkest brown one on the right). It was so breathtakingly beautiful that I finally made an egg still-life and took a moment out of my crazy day to photograph it. We have a few easter-eggers who have been laying for a few weeks - as you can see from the pretty blue eggs (: Lovely girls, we eat up their yummy eggs every day for lunch! Bacon and eggs! Woo hoo! What a wonderful thing it is to raise chickens (:

January 5, 2014

New in the shop!

I have been making some woodland pendants..

Jason and I collect branches from fallen hardwood trees on our land.

He slices and sands them, and then I bring them up to my studio and have tons of fun painting on them (: Isabella usually comes in and sits with me; We chat and drink tea and sometimes watch a movie while I'm working. It has come to be something of a routine, and a lovely one at that!

6 are listed in my etsy shop and I have 16 more to add once they are varnished (water-based non-toxic!) and photographed.

I love owls and birds, rabbits, foxes, deer and bears, all the wild creatures that I share this land with, but also the unseen creatures, the nature spirits and gentle gnome beings that so often come about when I get a paint brush in my hand..so these are what I have been painting (: And, of course trees and leaves and flowers, some of the most profound teachers/healers/friends of all.

To see them in my online shop, kindly click here.

January 4, 2014

Jason's igloo

After the big ice storm, our land was covered with layers of ice that were at least 4 inches thick. It was not at all fun to shovel the driveway after that, and to be honest I didn't shovel it all because I couldn't. Jason and I were out there for hours; I broke up the ice with my shovel and he scooped it up and out of the way. It was SO heavy - and I am embarrassed to admit that I was not strong enough to deal with it but my arm muscles were just not fit for the job.

Jason took the broken up ice slabs and started to build this awesome igloo with them. He finished the top on another day, and then the temperature went up so it melted a bit and then the temperature dropped again and it snowed, and what we have now is this perfectly magical looking igloo (:
In this photo, Pippin is thinking that he likes it very much.

Talulah REALLY loves it though, on sunny days. If it weren't for the igloo, I think she would stay in the barn all day long during this mean, cold winter weather. In my experience so far, goats seem to be much more diva-ish than sheep when it comes to precipitation or cold (-; She does seem very content as she stands in the doorway in late morning, soaking in the sunshine. She's a funny girl (:

On this night, we find the world to be much less cold than earlier in the week, thank goodness. Our pipes have thawed and yay! We have hot water again to wash the dishes - Oh joy (-;

January 2, 2014

hot soup on a cold day

On a day as cold as this, I have been making soup!

...A quadruple batch of squash/potato/carrot/apple soup, and a single batch of French-Canadian pea soup with ham (: Just seeing the steam makes me feel a bit better!

Outside it is -22 celcius (-8 ferenheit) but feels like -30 (-22 F) with the wind chill. Brrrrrrr! And it is supposed to get even colder throughout the night. Our pipes are already frozen from last night.

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