Ice, Ice, Baby

Just a quick stop here today. I snapped some pictures of the recent ice storm we had. These ice storms are much more frequent than I ever remember. Mostly I cringe when I hear or see that we are having one because I really hate losing my electricity. I stay very warm and toasty but none of our water works. That is a pain.

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But I do stop to see the beauty in it after it is all over. It is so sparkly. Today the birds were out chirping away, the turkeys were traveling through. The squirrels were chasing each other in attempts at some early mating maybe? The sun was shining and to me it seemed like Spring. Of course it is only January but that is the feeling I got.

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Today, like many days I took a walk in the woods. I find it incredible how much the wood can change from day to day from storm to storm. My tracks get covered, trees are bent and block trails. I can get disorientated pretty easily. Have you ever followed deer tracks just to see where they go? I do that a lot.

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I like following deer tracks because they make a path but also because the snow is usually packed down where they have walked. Many times when I don’t wear my snowshoes it is much easier to walk where even just one deer has passed. I think they sense where the shallow snow is and choose their path with that in mind. Almost always the deer bring me to water.

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On the way home I bumped into Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street. He was frozen. I am sure you can see him. I was able to!

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Anyway, as always it was a lovely walk. I hope you are enjoying this sunny, warmish, day.

 

 

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The Great Outdoors

We live in Maine. It gets cold. It snows. Sometimes it snows a lot and gets really cold. So far we have had just that kind of winter. Lucky for us we love to get out in it and play!

A few days after Christmas we took a little trip to Boston to skate on Frog Pond. We are not city savvy so it was an adventure for us. It was a blast though. It happened to be a warm 0 degrees in Boston that week. You could say we headed south to warm up because Maine was in the double digit negatives! Despite the cold though we had a wonderful time. 1228171351_resized

The girls have started cross country ski lessons again. I snowshoe while they ski. I enjoy walking in the woods, thinking, and seeing nature up close. Winter gives everything a different look. My husband bought snowshoes this year so we have been going out together at times.

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The place we go to a lot has a nice warming Yurt. It really is nice on these extremely cold days to be able to go inside to thaw out.

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I would love to go to some different places here in Maine. I know about the Maine Huts to Trails. We have never gone but would love to. I am more interested in finding some trails that are free! If you know of any could you let me know?

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Yesterday we trudged through the woods with our ice skates in hand and skated on frozen pools throughout the woods. It was so beautiful and the ice was so smooth. The air was cold, but the sun was shining. I didn’t get any pictures! That’s okay though, we were in the moment, and enjoying every bit of it. This is why winter is one of my favorite seasons. There is time to enjoy the outdoors. There are minimal outdoor chores to do. I love the crisp clean air. No humidity. Once you get moving you stay warm. I hope you are able to get out and enjoy this beautiful season!

First and Full

I woke up early this morning. Before 5. I was rested and couldn’t sleep anymore so I got up. It was clear and cold and bright as day but of course the sun had not come up yet. The moon was full.  The first full moon on the first of the year. That is pretty special. It was so pretty I had to go outside. I could see every tree, every shadow of every tree. It was beautiful. What a way to start a morning.

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I am back to CurlyCueCreates after a bit of a break. I haven’t been blogging for a couple of months. I haven’t been reading many blogs either. Truth be known I find myself on my phone more these days. I am not happy about it and mean to change it. In all fairness to myself, I have been pretty busy getting ready and enjoying the holidays.

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Like many people I do use this time of year to reflect and resolve. I don’t have any big resolutions this year. I did some new things last year. Went outside my comfort zone so to speak and I am happy with that. This year I resolve to get better at what is working and do better at what is not. How is that? Enough for me.

Since I was last here it did get considerably colder. I wrote how it had been such a warm fall and that I didn’t think we would get winter. Well, of course we have. We have almost two feet of snow and the temperatures have been very, very cold. Over a week now of single and negative digit temps. Brrrr! We decided to go a bit south after Christmas. Only to Boston. The temps were a bit warmer but still quite nippy. We went to Frog Pond to skate and visited Little Italy for supper. It was so fun!

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I have been knitting and quilting! Lots of sewing and creating. I made my sons pillowcases and bought them new pillows for Christmas. My husband and I put together many home made food items for them too. Granola, salsa, and apple rings. This year I made my daughters new winter quilts.

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I will post more about the quilts but for now just snippets. I am still sewing the bindings on. I wrapped the quilts with the bindings on but not sewn to the backside. I just ran out of time! But they loved them and thought they were beautiful. They are very warm because I used wool batting. As I sew on the binding I am covered up in the quilts and now I really want one for me! Something to cover up with on these very cold nights.

Today my husband returns to work after a long vacation. The girls and I are not getting right back into our full schedule. Music lessons start up as does ballet. Cross country ski-ing does too. I think some baking, reading, games and crafts are still in order for a while before we get back into our real schedule.

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Enjoy the New Year!!

Bringing it Inside

Today is warm-ish. It is 58 degrees on a November morning. The house is warm without a fire. The weatherman says that November reality will hit tomorrow. I am ready!

I harvested the last (maybe) of the spinach, arugula, and lettuce yesterday. I picked raspberry leaves to dry for tea. I picked the last of the flowers that were blooming and made a nice bouquet.  I dug up two pepper plants that were still flowering and re-potted them. I am hoping for some winter peppers. It felt good walking around and realizing that soon everything will be covered in snow. Hopefully. I like snow.

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This is the season for apples! Pie making is in full swing and I peeled, cored, and sliced many apples to dry. My kids love dried apples. They are so sweet. I will need to do another batch though, since they get eaten so fast. They are great in oatmeal, granola, or just eaten like chips. Healthy chips!

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Even though it is warm, it is rainy and it feels as though we should be inside. So here we are, tucked in. The birds are at the feeder, girls are doing their thing, and I am ready to make some soup! How are you getting ready for winter?

 

Oh, My Golly!

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Don’t you hate hearing people say “I’ve been sooo busy!” ? I do, but I find myself saying it. I’ve read articles on how to not be so busy or at least to think about the busyness in a different way.  Like finding joy along the way. Like how we saw a beautiful rainbow on our way to orchestra class last Friday. My busy times have been good ones so it isn’t a negative thing. I do regret not really having time to sit and blog. ‘They’ say it’s all about making the time. So, hear I go!

I finally stopped itching! We are still having summer here in Maine so at least I get to enjoy some of it! I was out in the garden yesterday. I thinned beets while my daughter harvested zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and a few small cukes. The garden is still producing and it is middle of September! I am thinking of ordering some chicks. They would be laying by Spring. The only thing stopping me is my inability to make a decision. I am worried it will be too cold. The chicken FB site says it will be fine. I really should just do it. I have a beautiful, large and safe coop that has gone unused for a year. It is time.

I have been knitting, and sewing. I made a dress ( A Washi ) and I have been doing some alterations for a friend. I am knitting a shawlette for a wedding I may be going to. (I say may because I still have not settled childcare for the girls yet) I am also working on socks. I am finding my groove again. Even making up menus and baking bread again. Routines work so well for me.

Speaking of routines we have a brand new one this year. My oldest daughter is going to school. Eighth grade! I am at home with just one child. That hasn’t happened since 1991! My youngest daughter and I have started Bullet Journals together. So far it is very fun. We are taking our ‘school’ year pretty slow. Planning what we want to do. I know it will have sewing and art. Yes, a little math too. We even put in a rest and relaxation (knitting) time in our schedule. That I love.

I missed the boat in blogging about all our camping trips, the girls’ camps, and some landscaping project that we have been working on all summer. I am looking forward to my 50th birthday! Wow, Oh my Golly, 50! I can’t decide what I want to do. I am torn between going away by myself for some quiet and pampering or a get together with our family here at home. Maybe I will have to do both!

I hope you all are in your fall groove. It feels good!

 

The Summer of Itch

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It isn’t a secret that I am not a fan of summer. I tolerate it. This summer has actually temperature wise been amazing. Here in Maine we have not really had the hot and humid days that we often get. It has been quite mild. It could have been a glorious summer.

Instead it has been a very itchy and uncomfortable one. It all started in May. A Tent caterpillar got into my jeans. I ended up with a very itchy rash on my right leg, my rear end, waist and both arms (from pulling the legs inside out to check inside my pants). Anywhere the caterpillar went inside my jeans I ended up itchy. That lasted about a week. I managed it with Benadryl and itch cream.

Then at the end of July I got bit by a tick. I didn’t know it though. While camping I discovered a big bulls eye rash on my hip. Okay, so I have Lyme. Two blood tests showed I had it but caught it early. Good! The day I took my antibiotic I started itching all over my legs, one arm, my neck and face. I figured I had hives. I talked to the doctor and she figured it was hives. So then I got Prednisone and a different antibiotic. The itching did not stop. It was terrible. I took myself off the antibiotic until I could see the doctor. Coincidentally, the doctor said I had Poison Ivy. I have never had it in my life. The doctor said because it was my first time I got it bad. He also said because of the antibiotic my T cells and white blood cells had gone into overdrive.

So I started back up on the antibiotic and proceeded to start itching in different places. My back, stomach, breasts, even my scalp. Not an allergic reaction but certainly a consequence of the antibiotic. It wasn’t hives and it was not as itchy as the Poison Ivy so I have been putting up with it.

But I’m not done. Wouldn’t you know it but I started itching a tad bit down there. You know, in my private areas. I had been taking a Probiotic along with the antibiotic the whole time. I had been trying to rest and eat right. So I figured in my denial, that I would not get a yeast infection as well. The itching was mild. I ignored it. I had called the doctor so much that I really didn’t want to again. So about a week into the mild itching I decided to buy some cream. It worked and I was happy. Then while camping the cream started to not work. So again, instead of calling the doctor I went to the drugstore and bought some over the counter anti fungus cream and suppository. Sorry this is so graphic. Well, it didn’t work. I was so itchy, and swollen and uncomfortable that I finally did call the doctor. They must have heard the panic in my voice because for the first time they called me back very quickly and said there was a prescription called in for a pill. (Yes another one) and that that should take care of it. It may take a few days but it should help. Well we are almost 24 hours in and it is a bit better.

I am so, so, tired to itching. I decided to not show pictures of all my rashes and itchiness. Instead I am showing happy pictures of my garden, a dress I am working on, a shawlette I am knitting, and a lovely, beautiful picture of some red leaves I found while camping. I cannot wait for fall. For a freeze actually. Freeze all the bugs and ticks and itchy things for this season. I have had enough!

August First!

For the first time in a long while, if not ever, the summer is going by too fast. It is August first. Already! Slow down please. Maybe it is us. Maybe we are going too fast. Not having enough time spent just sitting. Just being home. It just isn’t that kind of summer I guess. We have been on the move quite a bit.

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We went to visit Dean’s sister that was staying in Maine. She rented a log cabin on a high hill and it had the most beautiful views. We just returned home yesterday from a three day camping trip to the coast. We biked some trails in Portland and visited with two of our sons. We had lobster! We celebrated our 27th year being married too!

We have had our share of home days but they just seem to be busy this year. The girls have been working for friends and neighbors to earn money for the school program they want to attend. It is pretty pricey, at least for us it is. They are very good workers and they are getting a nice amount saved up.

My redone flower garden is looking good. Makes all the heartache and work worth it. The vegetable garden is coming along as well. It was a late start to warmth this year in Maine and the garden is a little behind but doing okay.

We did have a hot spell or two and we stayed inside with the shades drawn. I was cleaned out and organized all my seeds. I had seed packets from five years ago! This week I need to go plant some fall veggies. Beets, carrots and kale. Spinach too but not for a few more weeks. It bolts so fast in this weather. So far my broccoli is doing okay this year but I have decided to not plant it again. I have been trying for years and really it isn’t worth all the time and money for netting, soap for the flea beetles, and all the extra time it takes to care for it. I can’t plant enough for storage in the freezer and it takes up valuable space that I could grow things I can store. Like beets or cabbage. So next year no broccoli. I can get it at the farmers market.

The blueberries and raspberries are really coming now. And just yesterday my daughter showed me some blackberries that are ripening. It is a great time of year for berries.

The girls have been working on crocheting. Sometimes we do a lesson together using YouTube lessons. But a lot of times they just sit and do their own thing. It is fun. I finished a hat for a baby shower gift. I still need to knit up the booties. I want to do a sweater but I am running out of time. We’ll see.

Hope you are enjoying your summer!

 

 

Daytrippers

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At this point in time I can honestly say this has been the best summer weather wise that I can ever remember. We have had a nice mixture of sun, rain, a little heat, and nice cool breezy nights. Perfection. This morning I read that we are going to get some hazy, hot, and humid weather this week. I will try and remember that the summer has been glorious so far.

We biked on Swan Island here in Maine. It was beautiful and quiet. We took a ferry out to it with our bikes and a picnic. The total distance was 9 miles. I felt it towards the end. I was very glad I did it though. Endorphins were coursing through my body! The girls did a good job too. We did rest along the way and took in the sites. At the tip of the island we had a picnic. It overlooked the river. Another day we took a trip to Sebago Lake. We have not camped yet this year. We are daytrippers!

We picked strawberries twice and froze a bunch. I also made 11 pints of strawberry jam! I gave a few away but most will go in the pantry. I also cut and froze some garlic scapes. The garden is starting to produce. We have eaten lots of lettuce, and snow peas. I see a little head of broccoli in there and some tiny squash. I even have a pepper and the tomatoes are getting bigger too. Slow start to gardening this year but it is coming along. This week I need to plant some fall beets, and maybe some more greens. Probably after this week of heat.

I finally got around to seasoning my new wok. We had a colorful stir fry the other day. I cooked it on the side burner outside. I have electric stove tops inside and I thought the gas would be better with the wok. The veggies kept their color and were still a little crisp just the way I like them.

I moved a little table we had outside to the back deck. Not sure why I never thought to do it before. It is perfect for a cup of tea and my knitting or my notebook for planning. I have been spending mornings out there listening to the birds and watching the sun get higher in the sky. I can keep an eye on the deer that are trying to eat my raspberries too. I am working on a sock as you can see. I used double points for the very top and for the heel and gusset and am trying out a size 9 circular for the leg and foot. So far so good.

I hope you are having a lovely summer wherever you are!

Just Time

We didn’t do any big celebration for Summer Solstice this year. It was in the middle of the week. Dad had to work the next day. It has been really wet. Too wet to try and light a fire. It is fine though, we have lots of things planned for the summer. We also have lots of un-planned time as well. I think that is what summer is for! Each girl has a week of camp. We ‘sort’ of have a camping trip planned for some time this summer in the eastern part of the state.  There will be a 4th of July party. I have a loose plan to take the girls to an island, on a ferry, with bikes. We have plans to visit all the boys at some point too. But for the most part it will be a free, uncluttered calendar, kind of summer. I am very happy about that.

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There has been time. Just that. Time. In this first full week without lessons, or plans, or driving, there has been time for sitting, knitting, baking, and playing. It is amazing to watch how the girls transform back into their playful, relaxed, and thoughtful selves. I sometimes wonder if it would be boring to always have so much time. It wouldn’t for me but I wonder about the girls. For now though I know they are enjoying all this unstructured time.

I made myself an apron. With a friend, we each made one. It is a wrap around apron and I absolutely love it. It is so comfortable. It has two deep pockets. I can easily wear it all day if I needed to. No ties around the waist. I can’t say enough about it. I made the first pie of the season. Yes, the season, in my opinion, starts now. It is now that all the fresh fruits start to ripen. This pie is a Strawberry-Rhubarb. Both in season right now. My daughter decorated the pie for Father’s day. We both talked about doing a year of pies. This being the first we wondered what July would be. Blueberry? We are working on what each pie would be. Twelve Pies! Can you imagine? Stay tuned.

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There was an afternoon when we sat outside being silly. My daughter taught my how to take a selfie. It isn’t as easy as you would think. It must come naturally for her at her young age of thirteen. After too many shots to count we did get one, maybe two, that were acceptable. Not great, but acceptable. Yes, I am still wearing the apron.

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The moths are stuck to the screens in the morning. That is always fun to play with them and identify them. I have started the sleeves on my angora sweater. It has a Moorish Lattice on the yoke. This sweater is the softest thing. I wish you could feel it. I tried to do the sleeves two at a time with a magic loop. I learned the technique and felt comfortable with it but my yarn is so fine and stretchy that where the loops were being pulled the sweater was getting stretched and holey. So I switched to a 16 inch circular and it looks much better. I am glad I learned magic loop though!

Today it is rainy. The girls are playing with a castle that one of them made out of foam board. She made it in two days. It is huge. This is what passing the time is all about. I am looking forward to more of it.

I hope you are enjoying your summer so far.

 

 

Sigh of Relief. Again.

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Show me a person that is homeschooling children and is totally, without any doubt, confident that their kids are learning what they will need for the years ahead. I dare you. I don’t believe that person exists. If you do meet one then I believe they are probably not being truthful.

At this point in time I have two children still at home. Three others have flown the nest. I cannot say the three that have left knew it all. They did not. They have had times of struggle. I have had times I wished that I taught them this or that. Over all though, they are fine. They all went to high school and did very well. They all got into college. One graduated. The other two have decided that it was not worth their time. Or money. They are working, living, having fun. They are bright and relatively happy.

Recently we have come to the point in my eldest daughters life where she desires to meet new people and do something a bit different than homeschool. This also happened with my sons.  My daughter will attend 8th grade at the Jr. High School in the fall. She already knows a few of the kids from Strings class and softball. I believe socially she will be fine.

I had a meeting with the guidance counselor to see what classes she would be taking and to gauge the level of study from these classes. My daughter wanted to see how behind she was. This is also typical. I do not us a curriculum. My children do not want one. They are very happy with the way we do things here at home, that is until they are about to go off to school. Then they start to question whether they have gotten enough.

The guidance counselor was very nice and sent me a link to get into the curriculum of all the subjects for 7th grade. With the exception of a Holocaust unit and Poetry she was at grade level. Hmmmm. Not too shabby! So as I did with the first three I blew a sigh of relief. Again.

We will most likely read about the Holocaust more in depth this summer. We will also study some poetry. My daughter will finish her math for the year. She will be fine.

The other day I was walking with my youngest daughter out in the woods behind the school while her sister was in Strings class. I started thinking how this youngest daughter has not had the academic attention she needs or thrives. I started doubting my abilities. Again. But then I stopped. We were walking in the woods. We were seeing fungi, and flowers, and trees. She was telling me what certain trees were. We stumbled upon a hole in the ground and uprooted a woodchuck. She immediately tried to follow it and discovered five other holes around the knoll. She told me that tunnels were probably all underneath us. She is fine. She will be fine. I will still have my doubts every once in a while but for the most part, this homeschooling thing really is working.