Friday, November 02, 2012

Candle Light... We're In The Barn

We're sleeping and eating and reading and drawing and planning and playing and creating.
In the barn.

Well, technically, it's a large shed, about 8' by 15', but we do call it a barn.

You know that clever thing some people do, where they find a barn, and then they move out the animals, then renovate the space and make it fit for home-living? For people home living? Well, we sort of did that too, except we skipped the part where animals ever actually live in the barn, and we went directly to the part where it all gets fixed and cosified for people, and books, and bottles of water, and lanterns, and sewing baskets, and pretty curtains, and thrifted bits and such.

It is our very happy summer house. Our sleepover loft, our reading nook, our little house by the tree. We love to have friends there, and visits from our pets. We love our barn.

Before the barn was complete, Maria shared an idea... it's based on reading Tasha Tudor, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, and JRR Tolkien. Maria proposed that we step back in time, and live without conveniences like electricity and cars. She asked Couldn't we please bake bread, and make butter, and grow our food? Couldn't we sew clothes, and read and paint by candle light, just like Tasha Tudor?

In the beginning, it was a bed time ritual... speculating and daydreaming about wearing long skirts, and drying herbs, living out of doors, or perhaps in a tent... But as progress on our barn moved along, we began to see a real opportunity to feel far from home and familiar comforts, yet still in our very own space. We saw a chance to make a daydream a reality.

And because she was so intent, so earnest in her plans and hopes, I decided to begin recording those ideas and plans. We started a Candle Light journal. Candle Light is Maria's name for our nights and days in the barn, for the sketches we make, and the garden we harvest, for the things we are learning and studying. We make lists, we draw, we chronicle weather changes, and guidelines for our visions.

It's been a family interest, actually. Everyone takes turns sleeping out in the barn, making improvements, and enjoying the rustic bliss of a tiny space with big possibilities.

It really is a dreamy little barn, nicely appointed, comfy.

Once, over summer, there was a gas leak in the neighborhood. We were advised to evacuate our home, so we trekked out to the barn, waiting out the trouble with some books and cool water.

Our garden isn't quite up to sustaining us, not all of us... but for a start, for inspiring us to do more, grow more, it is a good garden. So we enjoy our little harvests, and whenever there is a particularly bountiful haul, we make a big-to-do.

The best part is that by having any kind of garden at all, we have planted seeds, in Maria's mind. All the children have an appreciation and understanding of the value of our land, for the need to protect and sustain its health, for all our sakes.

Summer is long behind us. The light is changing, the shadows are longer. We are reading by candlelight... well, by l.e.d. light! It's such a treat to be huddled together under quilts, and hearing a good story.

In the barn, we keep a camp stove, and first aid, extra water, extra bedding, anything that might be handy in an emergency... so it's more than fanciful, it's practical, too.

We are in the barn. It's fall break, the nights are chilly, and so we've baked bread, and we'll roast potatoes in the embers of our campfire. We'll draw our plans for building a tree house, and fill the Candle Light Journal with more notes, and sketches.

We're dreaming and playing, learning, and enjoying...

It's everything. Life. Making dreams a reality. Our dreams. Play is such an amazing gift.

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Last Laugh

Laughing our heads off...

Happy November.

We sure did enjoy our Halloween, the tricks and treats, roaming the streets, friends, and that one, tiny, scrumptious, chocolatey, almondy, coconutty confection... I'm trying to make the moment last!

And now, I am looking forward to this lovely month of gathering and gratitude. After a visit from our appliance guy, I may (fingers crossed) even get to start the month with baking bread... in our oven... which might-maybe actually work!

Did you have a good night? Are you thrilled about the month ahead?

Wish me luck with the oven. I hate for the Halloween haunts and spooks to have the last laugh!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How We Like Halloween

We make these holidays our own, and what we celebrate includes gathering friends, harvest and health, creativity, a smidgeon of mischief, silly thrills, history and art, and pumpkin flavored everything! You cannot be too old to enjoy the levity of tricks and treats. There is no call for gore, or horror, nor stress nor pain.


It's a goof and a spoof.

It's great.

James, old man. What do you say? Shall we rattle some bones, whip up a feast, turn on the fog, and make it a night of frivolous fancy?

Holly brought carnival cake to serve with our spider cider.

I like how this is a celebration that gives our less appreciated creatures, the bats and rats, a chance to step into the limelight moonlight, to shine.

Bambi made her mask. Her own smiling eyes belie the tearful eyes of her costume. There is an amazing history, in art, and religions, across many cultures about eyes on palms. Some of it, I admit, is quite chilling. I like the "See and Do" description...

The Eye-in-Hand icon
manifests the bond between
two essential human functions:
sensing/observation (the Eye)
and doing/acting (the Hand).

- John Dilworth 14 june 2007

An entire family of birds arrived in their finest feathers!
Amira Peacock!

This dapper Ol' Bro' Crow!

And a fabulous Lady Bird.

We said Howdy, to them all!

I cannot imagine giving up the playfulness and good humor of Halloween. I acknowledge, it can get out of hand with commercial nonsense, and dark elements that go far too far. Long live chicken suits, and grass skirts! Long live laughter! We make our traditions, we create our stories, we embrace our beliefs, and I will not surrender the good elements and pleasures of a Happy Halloween.

Seeing Stacy, like this... oh, it made my heart sing! It's her! So delighted and delightful, so giddy to the core.

Gabe points the way to the Magic Kingdom. I love Halloween, because it's a night we dedicate to making our own Happiest Place on Earth. Not because of the frights and scares, but happiness in spite of darkness. We overcome!

Cousins playing together, quilts on straw bales, starry nights... a few of the things I love to see.

Soon William will lead us through his cemetery. Jess gave Robin a tour. William made it such an authentic looking place that we all felt quite respectfully in awe.
Maria's idea for her pirate captain... she should share her gold! Captain Maria carried chocolate gold to pass out to all! No tricks, just treats.

My cousin, Priscilla, brought her sweet princess, Emma. Another treat, for us all.

Tess and I, top hat and elegant skirts, all ready for a night of merriment.

Alex and Bambi, unveiling the Tiramisu. This dark dessert, saturated with espresso, was easily the scariest feature of the night.

It's a good thing the younger, smaller, guests stuck to the salads and less super-charged desserts!

We prepared a buffet entirely made of salads. Garden delights, all.

And friends brought more, like this purple and pea-d potato salad. Love the unexpected colors, the textures, shapes and heebie-jeebie kitchen sensations. Like those oddities, the Piggies William created. Such fun.

In the whole wide world, there are real scares and fears. No doubt there are many who will not find much interest in this year's revelries, and I sympathize. Life takes some balancing, deliberate intention to measure some good with the trials and heartaches. One night, to mock the spooks, and say Boo to the darkness, to laugh in spite of shadows.

Happy Halloween, Lucas. He made his own Invader Zim! Halloween, when we can make ourselves the hero, the protagonist, the conqueror, the lovely bird!

We are not alone. In fact, we are probably more connected than we realize. How cool is that?

Behind those bones... Eli! He made an elaborate, full size skeleton puppet.

Friends around the fire.

Stories in the moonlight.

A goof, and a spoof!

For the goats, too!

Best wishes, comfort and amusement, safety, and some daring, for your Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Black Cat and Oddities

Halloween Must Be Near

Why all the fuss?
Chango may wonder. He does take notice...
when pumpkins are carved, and candles lit,
when all the little oddities and creepy things appear.
He does take notice,
but he cannot be bothered to interrupt his nap for giving tours.

Perhaps this fellow will oblige us.
Show us around...
We have been quite busy, having our odd fun,
even trying to pretend it's unseasonably cold,
when it's actually hot as the sun.

Why yes, our oven is _dead_.
No _bones_ about it.
Why do you ask?

Of course, even with a cold oven,
we still keep things bubbling in the kitchen.
It's a gas!

This potent brew will chill you,
then thrill you.

Bottled up and under wraps.
William's bottled anomalies are hardly fatal.

Here's a lively one!
Something Maria _patched_ together.
In our treasure chest: old costumes!
Maria found all the parts she needed to be the Pirate Captain!

And Bambi found everything she needed to build a sweet cemetery.
Thanks, Bambi, for _pudding_ so much effort
into this _bootiful_ creation.

Hey, I left some good puns in there, so don't be shy about being _corny_...

Did we go whole hog?
Perhaps, but we wouldn't want our plans to be half baked.

William, these are so creepily sweet, I want to squeal!

Down to the tiniest details,
I have to _hand_ it to our crew,
we sure did magnify all the diversions and delights.

And as I reflect on our amusements,
I have to say it's all worthwhile,
lacing our Halloween,
trimming everything big and small.

Oh, dear... my puns get fruittier and _fruit_tier_!

Sorry, Chango.
He's gagging on my "jokes."

I may not be able to dig myself out of these awesome puns,
and so before I bury myself...
I'll end this introduction, and hand things over...

When next we meet...

William will give the guided tour.