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.


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!


Let the Merrymaking Begin

The kids finished school with a half day on Thursday, and as a teacher I finished yesterday (Friday) afternoon. Now that we are no longer distracted with work and school…we are able to really get into the spirit of our first Yuletide at Green Grove.

We begin our celebration today with the traditional Yule, focusing on the return of the sun as lengthening days make us begin to think of spring…and the gardens…seed catalogues began arriving yesterday. Then we go all out for a traditional Christmas with everything from stockings hung, the amazing story of the baby born in a manger, and all the traditional hymns & carols, not to mention Grandma’s white fruitcake and plum pudding. We are having an open house the weekend between Christmas and New Years to share our blessings and welcome friends of longstanding as well as those we’ve recently met.

We will keep the lights and candles burning until at least Epiphany…sometimes until Candlemas/Imbolc arrives. For New Years, we typically stay home and play cards and board games and toast the year in with some champagne, then burn a bayberry candle for health, wealth, and abundance and of course eat a big pork dinner on New Year’s Day. Yes,  we love these midwinter excuses to celebrate and milk them for all we can.

We’ve nearly finished decorating the outside of the house. Today we will add the wreathes to the doors and a few finishing touches to the gates and deck. Oh yes, we need to finish making luminaries for the walk and deck rail too. There is plenty of baking to be done as well. We will cut our tree on Christmas Eve morning and decorate it that evening.

I’m thinking a photo journal type post may come later in the week if my photographer (aka husband) can keep up with me.

We are underway with wrapping gifts, The Dancer has really come into her own as a gift wrapper. She even did a neighbor’s for pay. So far she hasn’t presented me with a bill…perhaps the spirit of the season will prevail. I want to garland the chandeliers with pine and crows foot.

There appears to be a holly shortage, no florists in the region can get much, and what they have, they aren’t selling.  I am thinking I may use the barberries that are abundant in the woods to add some red. Orange and apple slices are drying in the dehydrator as they are one of my favorite natural decorating accents.

I have been looking at holly varieties for planting come spring as I can hardly bear the thought of a holly-less Yule/Christmas. If any of you have favorite varieties that do well in WV I’m happy to take any and all suggestions into consideration.

I’m also looking forward to some days to read and knit by the fire, I have a huge stack of books and magazines to catch up with. I have the fabric to make new curtains for our bedroom….perhaps this break or perhaps I will hold out in hope of a snow day or two in January or February.

Then there’s also some time left in doe season….so there will be hunting and of course there are some other small game and predators that are in season. In fact my middle son, The Hunter, is heading out early today which id why I’m typing this at 5 am his ride is to be here any minute. I’ve learned that they actually make winter camo … for in the snowy woods.

The Weaver is demoing his craft at a the Lost River Trading Post today. He’s completed his orders for Dec 25th but has a few that are due in early January to finish up. Had you known him a few years ago you would understand how exciting it is that he has remained focused and diligent in building his Backwoods Weaving business. We are cautiously optimistic that he’ll actually turn a profit next year.

And so as we commence our celebrations and carry on old traditions and form new ones, we continue to love, live, and grow here at Green Grove.

I leave you with these words of Ralph Blane:

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.”