Winter Wandering…in my Mind

This post is going to be several short bits to bring you up to date and hopefully get me back on track with blogging.

Life Gets in the Way of Living…No More

Sometimes life gets in the way of living….like the job I love becoming so stressful that I was going to work, coming home, just making it through dinner and then going to bed feeling exhausted night after night.

Or it might be that the weekend’s chores…you know running errands, running kids here or there; planning, shopping and prepping for the week’s meals; laundry, cleaning, etc…can seriously get in the way of gardening, working on my online Herbal Immersion Course, playing the piano, knitting, walking in the woods, making soaps-lotions-and potions. Or just cozying up with a good book or a jigsaw puzzle.

Some one may have become so obsessed with the election, post-election trauma and news that sheforgot to take time to read the good news sites, to write a note to a friend, to take a walk with her husband and/or the dog.

Trying so hard to ensure everyone else is happy, healthy and having a good time can sometimes just make it impossible to have a good time oneself.

But NO MORE!

I’ve begun the process of making some changes so that Living takes precedence. Future posts will surely include possible career changes, my 2017 motto of Simplify, my progress in the Herbal Immersion Course, etc. Photos of accomplished projects and beautiful things seen on my walks and of having fun living will be heavily featured.

Holiday’s are Holy Days

As my favorite season, which runs from Thanksgiving Break-AKA Deer  Season through Jan 6th Epiphany/Twelfth Night, is drawing to a close, I can say that it has been a Holly Jolly, Holy and Blessed Time for me and I believe for those I love.

As always it’s my family that make these days so wonder-full!

The Hunter was home for the entire Thanksgiving week and the Dancer and the Weaver were also off from school as was I. All were here for much of the Christmas Holiday with a short 4 days in CT to spend time with their Dad and his family.

When they are here an added bonus is that other really delightful young folks including our grandson come to hang out. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving I had 8 additional young adults for dinner. All the leaves were in the table and it was loaded with good food and we laughed until our sides hurt at their stories and wisecracks.

Highlights included Hunting with the Hunter on a couple different occasions during Deer Season. Emphasis was on hunting not finding on the days we went out, yet it was so beautiful to be in the woods…remembering that just a year ago I was only a few days post mastectomy and didn’t get out at all. He had some much better days with his younger, more agile buddies and now our freezer is well stocked with heart healthy and delicious vennison.

Having a few days with just my husband and I here while kids were away was a real chance for us to reconnect and talk about the section above and how we can keep Life from getting in the way of Living. We also got to decorate our tree with just dried apples, dried oranges, cranberry & popcorn wreathes and some pretty red ribbon. Of course we put our traditional Santa on top for the finishing touch. (That’s a story for another post as well.)

We enjoyed lots of relaxed time with our immediate and extended family and friends. Using all the leaves in the table again on New Year’s Eve. It was a blast ringing in 2017 –literally ringing as we have this huge bell that is mounted on our house roof…it came with the house so we must ring it on special occiaions.

A New Year with New Priorities

I spent a good bit of time over the holidays reviewing my values, goals, hopes, dreams, fears and decided my 2017 motto is “Simplify.” Already, I have cleaned and purged several areas around the house to make life easier. We have established some new rituals and routines to ensure that every person living at Green Grove gets some “me time” -time alone for hobbies, passions and rest and rejuvination, some “we time”-1 to 1 with others as needed to keep relationships strong, and some “us time” -all of us together for most suppers, weekly strategy sessions to figure out how to continue simplifying and working together to see that no one is overwhelmed with the Life that can interfere with Living issues. We are working to help each other think twice before turning to TV as an escape. So far, it’s been a very peaceful week and everyone seems much more relaxed and the sky hasn’t fallen because I asked for help at times.

Another priority is to savor the rituals and routines of daily life and the ever-turning wheel of the seasons. One evening with the Dancer literally dancing around the table as she set it, the Hunter carrying things from kitchen to table as they were ready, the Weaver making sure the animals had their supper, and Warren and I Finishing up the cooking, I realized that we do this nearly every evening. It’s our ritual and it is special and so now as I light the candles on the table just before we sit down I take a breath, say a silent prayer of gratitude for this time together, for the food, the light, the love of those gathering, whatever is in my mind and heart. I’ve begun finding these sacred moments, appreciating them, and looking for ways to create them in our days.

The many traditions or rituals of Yuletide from advent wreath and calendars, through putting out milk and cookies for Santa, through taking our natural tree decorations out for the birds and other wildlife after epiphany made me think about celebrating seasons rather than days. Be watching this blogfor how this will be carried out here at Green Grove as Imboc/Candlemas approaches.

Enough of my wandering thoughts, as I look out on the new fallen snow I wish you each well this winter and may your 2017 be Simply Wonder-full!

Football, Family, and Fall Gardening

Finally, the heat and humidity have broken and just in time for a three day weekend. It’s been a great weekend so far.

Friday night we went to our first home football game of the season. I love that it’s a community event. From tiny babies wrapped up in blankets to octogenarians shaking green and gold milk jugs filled with gravel. The children and tweens are safe to go wandering and visiting. A group of younger kids play their own game of touch football on the grassy hill around the scoreboard. The band performs. Some folks actually watch the game, others swap fishing stories or recipes. Burgers, dogs, and chili-cheese-fries serve as dinner. And, a good time is had by all….we won 47-25.

Then yesterday my BFF(aka husband), the Dancer and our grandson the Soccer Player took a beautiful drive to see the Hunter at his University. He greeted us all with the best hugs….I do miss those hugs! He had his room all tidied and was so pleased with all the items in his care package. I think our house coffee, dark Italian roast from a small roasting company that uses ethically grown, fair trade beans, was his favorite item- along with the large mossy oak camo mug to drink it from. He is truly my son.

He gave us a great tour of campus, even showing us his class rooms and describing his professors teaching styles. Now I can truly imagine him going about his days. The Soccer Player’s jaw nearly bounced off the floor when he saw the campus center with its swimming pool, two gymnasiums, floating track, and the biggest collection of exercise machines in one place he’d ever seen. I think he’s quite motivated to get good marks so he too can go where this sort of facility is available every day.

The Dancer noticed the art work everywhere and enjoyed getting some big brother time. She sighed as we left saying how much she misses their late night heart to heart talks….and how it’s too bad there’s not a dance major offered there.

We visited the Hunter’s favorite coffee spot downtown. “Joe and Throw” where the coffee is excellent and it doubles as a pottery shop/studio. Since I really like pottery and coffee, this was a really great combo. It’s the kind of place you can rearrange the furniture and visit for as long as you want without feeling like you’re being moved along. He has matured so in just the few weeks he’s been there. It’s just obviously his place and his time to grow into full adulthood.

After treating him to dinner out, we drove home with 360 degrees of gorgeous sunset skies for most of the trip.

Today is going to be a gardening day. The weeds are out of control and there are herbs and peppers to harvest. Tomorrow may be more gardening and/or we may help one of the new teachers from school move into her new home.  It’s amazing how much a three day weekend allows for so much more than the usual two day version.

Sitting on the deck listening to the birds, noticing the many signs that fall is nearly here, sipping my coffee and just so filled with gratitude to be living and growing here at Green Grove.

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Another Snowy Weekend

We had another 3-4 inches of snow Saturday. I was thinking that if it keeps snowing every weekend, it’s going to be hard to get my holiday shopping finished. Guess what? It wasn’t hard at all. I finished online. Everything was guaranteed for delivery by Dec 20th, and nearly everything had free shipping.

That’s right, no crowded stores, no slushy parking lots, a cuppa and cookie that didn’t cost $6.00, and was far tastier than anything at the mall. Beautiful views out every window, a crackling fire….life is good….very, very good.

We finally “mailed” our letters to Santa last weekend. At our house that means after writing them, we read them aloud and then toss them onto the roaring fire where the sparks and ashes whoosh up the chimney and are magickally transported directly to Santa at the North Pole and even more magickally reassembled for the elves reading pleasure. The reading out loud part is very important as there is power in the spoken word. (Not to mention it helps with getting the shopping list finalized)

After shopping I mixed up more cookie doughs for baking through the week ahead.  I noticed something kind of neat, nearly all my holiday recipes start with butter. I mean, what won’t taste good if you begin with a stick, or two, or for a few things, a pound of butter.

In addition to lots more baking, I still need to finish greening outside the house. Next weekend will be when I do the inside. Since I use real greens and I like them to last until Epiphany….or longer, I do the inside last.

When the children were little, I always waited until after they were in bed Christmas Eve. What fun it was for them to hang their stockings in a bare house, and then see the surprise, wonder and awe when they woke up ant there it all was.  Now we do the tree together, usually once school is out for the holiday.

We also finally got our cards printed and about 2/3 of them are addressed and ready to mail.  We’ll hopefully get the rest ready to go out by Monday.

Snow Days

Last week was one if those weeks that just seemed to drag on endlessly. Nothing major went wrong, but not much went right either. I was exhausted, mentally and emotionally by Friday night.

Then Saturday flew by as it was our last day of deer season and the hunter and my husband and I went out early.  While none of us saw any deer, the woods worked their magick and I came in physically exhausted, yet mentally and emotionally refreshed. My husband and I made a trip to get gas in my car and pick up a few groceries as Sunday into Monday promised wintery weather.

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Sure enough, we woke to about two inches of snow and as Sunday passed it grew to near 6 inches. The hunter, the dancer, the dog and I took a walk in the winter wonderland and made snow angels in the road….because we could. Then by late afternoon it changed to wintry mix and some rain. I was hoping for a three day weekend and sure enough the call came while we were eating dinner.

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Monday was warmer and by noon the road was clear and much of the mess had melted off. We were really fortunate, we lost power for just a few hours during the morning. We brought in water from the creek for flushing and had plenty of wood to keep the fires burning so it wasn’t a problem.

After lunch, the men all went into town for haircuts and the dancer and I did some baking and holiday decorating. When the guys came home they asked if I’d seen the forecast, so I pulled it up online and there was a winter storm advisory for Tuesday morning until late afternoon.  So we went to bed hoping that maybe our magickal 3 day weekend would become a magickal 4 day weekend.

imageMonday @ a few minutes after 5 am the call came in that schools were on 2 hour delay, and about an hour and a half later the second call came saying schools would be closed. I snuggled down and watched the snow piling up outside our bedroom window and after lying in ’til almost nine, this is what I saw from my kitchen window when I went upstairs.

 

We we had a great day, did some serious tidying, sorting, and culling and put up hooks for snow clothes….when you begin living a new season you realize what’s needed to make life work in a new home. We spent some time wandering around taking photos, baked some more Christmas treats, the kids shoveled the walkways and what our neighbors plow left behind when he cleared the driveway. What a beautiful gift this unexpected  break was.

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Being Thank-Full

There is so much to be thankful for this year: Living at Green Grove, here in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me. Being close enough to join my 91 year old mother and siblings and assorted nieces, nephews and spouses for dinner  is a blessing. That at 91 Mom is excited about having 14 around her table and can still make her famous dressing balls, is pretty wonderful.

Being able to hunt daily all week long has been great. Whether any of us get a deer or not, just being out in the woods with the skiff of snow, seeing the sun rise, listening to the quiet,which I’m learning isn’t quiet at all, for it includes the tenacious oak leaves rustling as the breeze tries to separate them from their branches, the woodpeckers rat-a-tatting, the many song birds greeting the dawn, the squirrels barking a warning….darned mouthy buggers…the beating of my own heart after climbing to the ridge, my sigh as I see the view once I’m there. Then once fingers are aching with the cold trudging back through the forest and finally seeing the blaze orange of my husband or son and the whispered greetings as they join in the trudge back to the truck. Seeing our cabin home as we drive back down, waiting with a warmth and welcome more encompassing than anywhere I’ve ever lived.

Spending time with just the hunter, as the middle child we’ve rarely had him to ourselves for such an extended time, and we are finding that he is really a wonderful young adult. We’ve had deep philosophical conversations, a lot of silly talk and laughing at online funnies, as well as watching some movies of his choice.

We’ve eaten so much good food and on Saturday we went to PA and picked up the dancer and the weaver.  It was good to hear that they had a good visit with their Dad and his family, and it is really, really good to have them home with us.

Today was spent cooking one more turkey dinner so we can have leftovers at our house. The kids have made their need for turkey hash quite clear.

As I turn in tonight, remembering the magick of this week, in this place will soften the harshness of returning to the stressors of work tomorrow. I find that I am truly thank-full.

 

A Day At Green Grove

Trying a bit of a photo journal for today’s post….because it feels like it’s going to be packed with the magic of this place.

7 am–It’s a dreary drizzly day with temperature hovering just below freezing. The weather map says it will change to snow and or ice shortly.  As I enjoy a second cup of coffee, I am trying to prioritize the possibilities for the day ahead.

I plan to make the pecan pie for Thursdays feast. I want to try our some new lotion ideas, there are garlands, wreaths, and other outdoor decorations to make. My amazing husband is going to make Danishes. I have to whip up a batch of laundry soap as we are running low, and a holiday hand and body wash for using and giving might also be good. I’m thinking something with some pine and peppermint.

8:30 am Here’s a picture of Brandy and I heading out for her morning walk….we don’t want anyone to mistake either of us for a deer. Miss kitty wants very much to join us but she doesn’t have any blaze orange so she got left at home.

photo 311:30 am We have the new freezer up and running and are making some soups to see us through the busy days leading up to our winter holiday. I have managed to get the pies in the oven.

We’ve also had a delightful chat via Facebook with our very dear UK friends, really family just not genetically speaking. We are so excited to be planning for their first visit to Green Grove. It’s months away yet, but the anticipation and excitement will ebb and flow until they are here, sharing a cup of tea and laughing and soaking in the peace and beauty of this magical place.

1:00 pm Off now to work on some garlands for the gates. I’m sure glad I cut the pine yesterday as it would be a nasty job in the freezing rain today.

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4:00 pm Got one garland finishedfinished and 2nd is ready to start. Gar2

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Also the pies came out nicely, as did the soup.

 

 

 

 

 

6:30 pm And then there’s dinner—Ham, Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts tossed in Orange Cranberry glaze, and of course the “extra” pecan pie for dessert.  Cheers from Green Grove…we will raise a glass in honor of all our family and friends tonight with a wish and a prayer that you may one day join us and experience the magic for yourselves.

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Though we didn’t accomplish all the things on my list from this morning, we had fun and will sleep well knowing we have another day tomorrow.

Morning Musings

Today begins slowly, lingering over coffee, looking out at the November woods, imagining all that the next week might hold.

It is what is often referred to as deer week here in WV.  Since the Monday before Thanksgiving is the opening day of deer season, and since an overwhelming majority of the folks who live here hunt, schools are closed for the week. I want to spend some time in the woods. I also want to get the outside decorated for Yuletide. I’m thinking big sprays on the gate posts, garlands on the gates themselves, crows foot garland around the front entry, mason jar luminaries along the walkways, and…well whatever else strikes my fancy.

Then there’s baking and cooking. For Thanksgiving I’m thinking mincemeat pies, pecan pies, two kinds of cranberry relish, and some harvest bread. As we’ll be joining family I don’t have to prepare the entire feast.  I’d love to end the break with lots of cookie dough in the freezer for rolling out as needed, a plan for when we’ll tackle the biggies like fruitcake and plum pudding and the ingredients ready, and some frozen soups and stews for easy crockpot meals during the busy days os December.

This afternoon, I’ll use the ride to meet the kid’s dad to gather crafty ideas for decorating and homemade gifts from Pinterest (the weaver and the dancer are spending the week with their CT/ Iowa family in CT, the hunter is staying here to hunt).

Look for updates throughout the week…I’m just getting started.