Thursday, November 1, 2012

for her

I must admit I was quite surprised to meet this baby and discover she was a she. I was convinced there was a boy rolling around in there (though, truth be told, I have been wrong every single time!). With two girls already in the house, I thought we were set for clothing this little one, until I remembered that the other girls were born in warmer seasons. I pulled out some outfits from our winter boy, and while I'm not set on the girls wear pink/boys wear blue division of things, I did feel this little lady deserved something a bit more fitting... which is how I found my way to the stacks of fabric in the sewing room and a few new pairs of pants for Hazel.


I hadn't sewn newborn clothes before, but I've clothed plenty of dolls, and since Hazel is only slightly bigger than most dolls I figured I could handle this one. I based the pattern on a pair of pants that I knew fit her and went from there.

Through most of the pregnancy, I felt my creative energy was directed elsewhere. Making "things" had taken a backseat to the making of one very small person, and so it felt very rewarding to find a creative spark and make something useful for this babe. While I was at it, I made a new diaper bag... not that it's really for her, and not that I needed any more bags, but I have enjoyed making these tote bags from this easy tutorial a friend shared a while back.


Made with a sturdy cotton duck cloth and lined with cotton, it's just the right size for a few diapers and a water bottle. I even added pockets for wipes, keys and a phone, which made me feel extra talented!

It feels good to be making things again, and to have such a good reason to be doing it:  for her.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

getting here

:: spring ::


 :: summer ::


:: autumn ::


:: here ::

Hazel Diane Holmes
October 4, 2012

Through this peaceful pregnancy that passed so quickly, through the seasons' work and play, we waited to meet this little one. With some important lessons on letting go, she made a dramatic entrance into this world, but has so smoothly found her place in this family (usually nestled in the eager arms of a big brother or sister).
Welcome, sweet little girl. We're so glad you're here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

growing things

What a warm spring we've had here in the midwest. Everything seems to be blossoming and full, and despite my reservations regarding the cause of it all, I'm happy to be spending the days outside, feeling the sun and preparing the soil for all the growing things.

Flats of seeds are beginning to sprout under lights in our laundry room, others are already tucked into the dirt. After our mild winter, it's surprising to see all the vegetables that overwintered -- leeks, carrots and onions were pulled throughout the winter months, and the kale and celery left from last year are growing strong again.

We're seeing the first of our asparagus, which is so tempting to pick. But if I follow the rules, we have to let the plants grow one more year before harvesting. The garlic we planted last fall is now sporting tall, green tops, and the fruit trees are taking turns showing off their flowers.

I love the excitement of this season, the planning and working and looking ahead to what good things will come from all that is starting to grow now.

And this year, we've got one more thing growing as we get ready to welcome another sweet baby this fall.

Yes, it is exciting to be growing things.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

on the farm

These days at the farm, there are spring flowers blooming, faces both familiar and new, favorite chores to tend to, and the unmistakeable feel of spring.

Happy first day of spring to you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


The syrup season has come to a close this year. The early warmth has the leaves ready to unfold on our silver maples, and so the sap has stopped dripping, the taps have been pulled and the last of the syrup has been finished.

But before we put it all away for the year, we hosted our first sugaring party. The boys were up early, splitting wood and keeping the fire going strong under the sap boiling outside. Friends came to join the fun, bringing plates of food to go alongside the piles of freshly flipped pancakes.

Together, we emptied the last of the buckets, tasted the sap as it thickened on the stove, and drenched our plates with homegrown syrup. In a side-by-side taste test with a jar from the farmer's market, the kids all declared our syrup the winner.

This year, we purchased a proper evaporating pan for finishing the syrup on the stove. It made the final boildown a much quicker process. We finished two batches of syrup this season. Number one:

And number two:

Despite the extra taps this year, we ended up with just about the same amount of syrup as last year. To get a good sap run, you need nights below freezing and days above. Too many warm nights meant too little sap.

For us, it's enough, really. We'll have plenty to get through another year's worth of breakfasts and baking. We might even have a little extra to give away, just not as much as we had hoped to share.

And on those mornings when we top our breakfasts with the sweet stuff, we'll surely be remembering the joy of our first sugaring party, feeling gratitude for the way the whole syrup-making process pulls us out of winter, and looking ahead to the many sweetnesses next year's sugaring season will bring.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Though it hardly feels like winter even happened, all signs are pointing toward spring these days. It isn't marked by green sprouts yet, or the return of favorite birds, or the unfurling of leaf buds. Around here, the coming of spring is now marked by running sap.

With tools in hand and all the new spiles and buckets that came my way this Christmas, we more than tripled the number of taps we had last year. While I knew this would mean more sap, I don't think I was quite prepared for how fast those buckets would fill! Aided by the warm weather, we've gathered more than 70 quarts of sap since we tapped on Sunday and have already begun boiling it down.

The kids are excited to help with this work, eager to check the buckets each day and taste the clear, running sap straight from the trees.

Already the smell of the cooking sap has turned heavy and sweet, a good sign of what's to come, and a contributing factor to the sweet tooth we all have going on today. I think I just might go bake some cookies, to hold us over until there's syrup for tasting!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

a good morning

With thanks to a rotating cast of characters last night, I didn't get much sleep past 3 a.m. Sometime around 5 this morning, I moved from the bed full of little hands and legs down to the couch in an attempt to get more rest. I was soon joined by Charlotte, who has an uncanny ability to sense when I have left the bed, and shortly after her arrival, the littlest member of the household was ready to get up.

Putting on my best morning attitude (which can be quite a feat, I assure you) I tried to enjoy watching the growing light in the sky, the happy playfulness of both pup and toddler. We're having people over for the game today, so I thought I'd get a head start on the last minute cleaning to be done. Puppy into kennel, toddler at my side, I headed into the bathroom to scrub, tired as I was. That's when the toddler scampered off to release the puppy who took advantage of an unguarded moment to go potty all over the floor I had already cleaned.

Really? All this before 6:30 a.m.?

Desperate to save the morning, I went in search of a pick me up, something to turn this morning around. And that's when I found the recipe for these:

Whole Wheat Lemon Blueberry Scones from chocolate and carrots.

These are the most incredible scones I have ever made. I'm a bit jealous that the recipe isn't my own, but with a grateful nod to the original poster, I am sharing this find with you.

Whole Wheat Lemon Blueberry Scones


1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. raw sugar (plus more to sprinkle on top)
1/8 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425. Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or knife until evenly distributed. Gently stir in zest and blueberries. Add milk and yogurt, mixing until the dough is thick enough to knead with your hands. On a lightly floured board, press the dough into an 8" circle. Cut into 8 pieces and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

These scones were quick to make, quick to cook, and with all whole wheat flour and yogurt, you could even call them good for you.

And they were just what was needed to make this morning a good morning.