corners of home.....

1

2

3

5

4

6

 

This marks our fourth winter in this house.

It seems that each time we move and settle in, the time zips by more quickly than the last.

Didn't we just get here? Oh goodness, look at those little faces!

We're once again in the waiting phase after filling out the list, though this time we didn't put anything on it other than a request to stay here longer. Joe's command is trying hard to keep him. I am hopeful, but not counting any chickens so to speak. I think we have a good chance of getting one more year. And while I am grateful for that..... a one-year extension sort of just stretches out the waiting game even l-o-n-g-e-r. Instead of 6 months of worrying and waiting - you get 18. And so it goes.

Right now I am looking around this too big house that has held our family with the soft, kind eyes that I always do when leaving is on the horizon. With gratitude. I am grateful for this house & the people around us we have called home. Tidy, messy... all the corners of this space. I am excited to think we might be closer to starting our life on the farm and sad to think the time is nearing to leave. Again. Bittersweet, this leaving.

All these feelings mixed up inside my heart and belly. And my long time go-to for dealing with them? Tidy, organize, purge. I've actually laughed at myself quite a bit this time around at how predictable this has become - at least according to my family. 

I guess that's mostly all for now.

 

One last thing, a few bits to share.....

Honey Sweetened Marshmallows (top photo in sunday-morning-mochas - the BEST marshmallows ever!)

Currently on my needles (fluffy, squishy, goodness)

A Holiday Book List (c)heck the comments for even more books)

Squam Art Workshop Announcement (last call!)

New Facial Goods (by me!)

 

Happy Weekending to you....

xo,

s

 


softly......

Softly

 

The renewal is up for the blog this month. I looked over the last year and realized I had posted a small handful of times. Less & less in the latter half of the year. 

Joe asked me awhile back why I stopped writing. Not here on the blog so much, but real writing. In notebooks. On pages stuffed into notebooks. I didn't have a real answer. I'm just so busy, I said to him. He nodded. 

The blog has become this strange thing for me - it's mostly in my head mind you - but because I wrote less and less real life here..... it started to feel separate from me. A memory of what was. The kids growing older. My career path popping up and taking hold of my time. It's funny really, this sense of self and how we paint it with words on screens to people we've never met. How much truth do we tell? What stories do we share? How vulnerable are we willing to be - or can we be, while still being mindful of the way our stories are interwoven with those around us.... Are we just another voice in an already loud and busy place? Perhaps.

I'm not sure of any of these.... but I've been thinking about them over the last few weeks. Debating the level of my bravery to show up here in the moment I am in and share that. I mean, posts about good food and living creatively and pets in sweaters are great - but for me - they become fluff if there isn't a raw-truthful-uncut-holy-shit-it-isn't-just-me bit every now and then. Soul connection, you know?

So I ask myself (renewal looming) how to start again.

And the answer comes.......softly.

 

xo,

s

 


Alaska 2016 - A few favorites.....

Alaska

We traveled to Alaska in September to visit family and friends, the youngest two & I. These days we only get up there every other year, so the time spent hanging out is all the more precious. I posted on instagram during our visit - and this collection is my favorite photos from that.

It seemed so strange going with just these two - and also so easy after years of having twice as many kids with me. We managed to pack in so many adventures and so much time making memories with people we love. So many of my friends are having babies or have little ones and I loved hanging out watching them getting their mama groove on. There was a trip to a remote cabin on the beach. Knitting. Baby showers. So many seafood dinners. Hikes. Lots of coffee with mom. Time with my sweet nephews. It was such a good visit and my heart is full listening to my kids tell stories from their adventures to friends here as we settle back into home.....

More soon.

xo,

s

 


blooming and growing.......

IMG_8203

IMG_8204

IMG_8207

IMG_8208

IMG_8225

IMG_8210

A common theme on my camera and to-do list these days.

Water, weed, bloom, repeat.

Every time I blink another week has slipped past and I find myself wondering how on earth this summer is zipping by so quickly.

It's just the pace of the days with a house mostly full of teenagers, mixed with the mama holding down an official part-time commitment to plants.

Saturday Markets. Gardening. Homestead chores. Herbal product making. Eating. Driving school for the big girl. Work schedules and play dates and camping trips squeezed in the midst of it all. And more eating, because let me tell you four growing kids need a lot of fuel. I've been looking at the hammock wistfully.... but there just doesn't seem to be time.

And somehow - I am okay with all of this. It's new and settling in slowly.... but juggling all these beautiful pieces of life is starting to feel balanced.... if that can even be a real thing. Can it?

I flipped the calendar ahead to our fall plans and was slapped by the reality that my oldest is just a few weeks away from being 20. Next oldest 18. Two adults. TWO! One headed to her freshman year of college this fall (but still staying home for now as the school is local) and the other looking at packing a bag and heading somewhere. He tried college one semester and being a prep cook for a year and after saving some money is thinking of traveling around a bit to see what's out there. Still in the finding himself phase of growing up. We're encouraging this. If he gets stuck in some place a few time zones away and needs rescuing, we'd do so. Though I doubt we'd need to. 

I have these moments where I am completely caught off guard by how much the kids have grown. Our other upcoming birthdays are 14 and 10. They'll all be double digits this month, it feels kind of huge. Kind of amazing. I can't believe I've been parenting for two decades.....

Which reminds me, I sat next to this rather peculiar man at a fancy dinner party (for Joe's work) and he asked me a million questions about our life. You know when someone goes a tad beyond casual conversation and you start to feel a bit like you're being interviewed? It was one of those. He was so surprised to learn we had four children and even MORE surprised when I told him they had all homeschooled at some point and two still were. 

Goodness, he said to me, we sent ours off to school as soon as they were old enough. 

Trying to be polite I said, well I suppose it's nice to have a break a few hours every day. 

He laughed and said, oh not locally, to boarding school.

While I am usually very well behaved at events my husband is attending in a professional matter, this comment caught me so off guard that I answered him before I thought much about it.

Oh, I really enjoy my children. In fact, I genuinely like their company and who they are becoming as human beings. I said.

He looked a bit stunned. And then carried on with his questioning. Fortunately, the auctioneer started up and was too loud for the conversation to last much longer.... 

I'm really not even going to bother with any judgment about this man's idea of raising children. I actually just want to hold onto the part where my own truth jumped out - and how good that felt, and how after all this time I still regularly look at these four of mine with such amazement and such gratitude. Blooming and growing into their own selves as I do my best to water, weed, bloom, repeat. 

xo,

s

(edited to add, I have no issue with what families choose for their children's educational paths - it's a very personal decision and we all do what is best for our own family - I do however question parents who outwardly express their dislike of their own children.)

 


up north......

We headed north last weekend and spent some time on the farm.....  

We cleared brush and hauled brush. It was damp and chilly, and we hiked the old logging trail to explore and warm ourselves up. Everything was a lush green and full of blossoms. Lots of little creatures on our many walks, so many blackberries and carpets of oregano. It's really something to watch the whole piece of land wake up after winter. Slowly, slowly we're getting to know her a little more....

We brought Maggie along for the first time, which was the perfect thing for the kids. Somehow she manages to keep the peace between them when they start squabbling, and if one is reading a book in the camper (needing alone time) and the other wants to wander, they can always take Maggie. She's truly the best "kid" dog I have ever had. It makes up for her hound tendencies, because as we were packing up to head home she wandered a bit too far, giving us all a good scare thinking we had lost her. Hound dogs and their noses, I tell you.....

Lunar

Camper

Green

Pink

Snail

Daisy

Oregeno

Strawberry

Magnolia

Purple

Toad

Blackberry

Dragonfly

So many creatures joined us for our walks it felt like the forest had arranged a spring welcoming committee. Every other step one of us was saying "oooh, what's this". If anyone overheard us they'd have gotten a good laugh at our over excitement.

Each time we head up - amongst the work - there is a moment where Joe or I stand in the middle of the field and say to each other.... can you believe this? We both keep saying no.

xo,

s

 


chai spiced adaptogen herb blend.....

I'm head of over heels in gratitude for the warm reception our CSH received. If you didn't snag a share, there are a few left as of this morning. If you missed out, there will be partial shares again in September and December. I'll let you know when sign-ups open for those.

Today I wanted to share an adaptogen powder recipe I recently crafted up for the Herbal Academy blog. Adaptogens are a category of herbs that help your body adapt to stress. Head on over to read the herbal infused snacks article I wrote for them where you can find two really yummy recipes with this adaptogen blend : Chia Pudding and Protein Power Bites. (think tiny balls of energy, yum!)

4-chia-pudding

5-herbal-bites

2-herbal-powder

 

Chai Spiced Adaptogen Powder

    1 tablespoon ashwagandha powder

    1 tablespoon astragalus powder

    1 tablespoon triphala powder

    1 tablespoon marshmallow powder

    2 teaspoons ground ginger

    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    1 teaspoon ground cardamom

 

Stir these together & keep in an air-tight jar. I like to add this to smoothies, oatmeal, granola bars, baked goods, chia pudding and energy bites. It's a great way to add more herbs to your diet.

And speaking of herbs, I just got home last night from a weekend at Herbstalk. What a great little herbal event! I attended a few classes and bumped into some of my favorite makers at the market. Best of all, I got to see several of my herbal sisters - so good to see their smiling faces.

I'm off to tuck baby motherwort into the garden......

xo

stephinie

 


CSH Sign-ups

CshNettle

 

It's here!

Sign-ups are open for the 2016 CSH Season!

. . . . . . . . . .

 

Shares are extremely limited and we expect the Full Shares to sell out by the end of the week. We have 10 full shares and 8 partial shares available for the 2016 season.

Full shares include the entire 2016 season, three shipments, and a $15 discount. They are only available until mid-June.

Partial shares are one shipment and will be available each season.

You can read all the details about our Community Supported Herbalism project here.

Thank you for supporting small locally made goods. We look forward to sharing our plant magic with you! 

xoxo,

stephinie


if you can't find it, make it.......

I spent a good deal of time this winter trying to find a fresh herb CSA in our area. There is a lovely one in Western Massachusetts, but their drop offs were all in locations over an hour away from us. On Fridays. Which can get pretty crazy in the summer vacation traffic surge we see around here.

My goal this summer was to start a Community Supported Herbalism project. I want to create access for others to fresh organic herbal products. While I do have access to some wonderful land for wildcrafting..... there are also so many lovely cultivated plants I wanted to work with.

Then I had an idea. If I couldn't find a grower, I would become the grower....

Herb seedlings

Herb bed

Herb bed 2

Herb bed 3

Chive flowers

This year in our garden, aside from 4 cherry tomato plants and a row of peas...... the rest is ALL herbs. (we're fortunate to have a wonderful csa that provides us with fresh vegetables all year!) A good handful were perennials that came back from last summer, but the bulk was sourced throughout my area from small farms and friends. And the weeds were free.... goodness I have a lot of weeding to do this week!

This is what we currently grow on our little one-acre plot (wild & cultivated):

Chamomile, comfrey, catnip, echinacea, nettle, goldenrod, lemon balm, jewelweed, red clover, tobacco, yarrow, teasel, horseradish, lavender, calendula, poke, dandelion, violet, elderberry, valerian, st. john's wort, holy basil (tulsi), rue, spilanthes, peppermint, spearmint, white sage, bee balm, mugwort, marshmallow, plus some culinary favorites : cilantro, chocolate mint, pineapple sage, culinary sage, dill, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, chives & basil.

I spent the weekend tucking the new ones into the garden with a little prayer, feeling so grateful to have this bounty to teach me over the next few months. I always learn so much more about a plant when I am able to see it and touch it. I feel grateful to have found such an incredible selection of herbs all grown within an hour of our homestead and can't wait to make fresh herbal products all summer right from my backyard.

I look forward to sharing garden walks and recipes with you as we go along.

xo,

stephinie

PS - Signups for the CSH begin tomorrow. We have very limited membership this year, so if you are interested act quickly!

 


so quiet.......

  Bleedingheart

Jewelweed

Ground ivy

Red clover

Dandelion

Magnolia

Violet

Celandine

A few pictures from my walk around the homestead this morning. Spring is being a show-off.

Joe took the youngest two north to the farm for the weekend and I'm here with the big two. Which is almost like being alone for the bulk of the day as they run from work to friends....

I had a meeting Friday and class all day tomorrow so I stayed behind. I've been getting text updates ranging from how Sophie found a mouse and babies to Luke talking too much and needing his own camper. There was a phone call about a few people getting lost and meeting the neighbors behind us, which is no easy task on 30 acres, but we'll just forget about that one for now. I asked them to take pictures of the apple tree and really of anything with blossoms. I hate missing a trip up there, but I needed a chunk of work time so badly. I've been in the studio getting caught up on soap and goods in the shop. With no one to feed or keep from turning the entire house into a blanket fort, I sure can get a lot accomplished. 

It's awfully quiet though. And neither Maggie nor I like that part too much. Every time I run an errand and return she runs past me to the van and looks in for her "puppies". She does not approve of them being gone so long. She sat in the studio and stared at me for a good half hour the first night as if to say hey, you realize we're missing something, right?

So off I go. Hoping to get at least 3 batches of soap made today along with some other things that I can't tell you about just yet. Product development is top secret around here......

Happy Saturday friends.

xoxo

stephinie

 


something new.........

CshNettle

 

This is the pre-launch teaser for the project we have going on. We're starting a CSH : Community Supported Herbalism! Much like a vegetable CSA - Our CSH members will receive shares of handcrafted herbal goods at each change of the season to nourish and support them through the next one. We're already crafting up exclusive apothecary items made from locally wildcrafted plants for our summer delivery. Sign ups will be limited to only 18 members. Be sure to join our newsletter as we'll be announcing registration there first.

More details in a few weeks.... 

xo,

stephinie