More Stockings

I spent the day at the computer...and doing laundry, and making granola, and teaching school...but mostly listing all the rest of the stockings I've sewn this year into the shop. Here's a peek, or click here to take you to the shop to read more about them!

Sabbath Rest

Seen on the way home from church today.
"This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres."

--Maltbie D. Babcock


Hammock days are ending soon.  Must find time to lie there and stare up at the golden leaves a few more times.

Stocking the Shop

I basically spend my entire summer sewing Christmas merchandise for my Etsy shop. Mostly I sew Christmas stockings.  Now I'm in the process of photographing them and listing them in the shop.  Here's a peek at the ones you will already find there.  (Plus there are stockings left from last year's stock that are there as well.)  It's always exciting to see my stockpile going into the shop!  It's all about the fabrics for me...linen, wool, antique textiles, silk, and more!  All about the fabrics...and the memories that will surround these stockings for so many peoples.  Click here to go visit!

Corn Maze

Last weekend, we went for a drive...just a meander down some unknown roads to undiscovered enjoy the autumn foliage along the way.  And we stopped at a beautiful farm to try out their corn maze.  Everyone else had done a corn maze before, but it was a first for me!  

Fire Cider in the Kitchen Today

Last year, I took a couple "home herbalist" workshops that were sponsored by the local food co-op and taught by a really sweet, amazingly knowledgeable, and enthusiastic herbalist, Maria Noel Groves.  I really appreciated her approach, (which was just what I was hoping for), as it's very focused on botany and medicine without veering off into the realm of "mystical properties of herbs".  I was cautiously intrigued by the idea of the healing properties of the plants and herbs God has given us for food and healing, but wasn't about to embrace trees or howl at the moon to keep my family healthy.

I appreciated what she had to say that herbal remedies are gentler on our systems than traditional medicine, although they may take longer to work.

But the trick is to have these things on hand AND know how to use them before you get sick. A two-month bout of bronchitis this year left me languishing on the couch feverishly pondering what sort of herbal remedy might help me feel better, but with no energy to research or prepare any sort of concoction.  So, prior to the next cold and flu season, I'm determined to have a couple herbal remedies ready and waiting on the pantry shelf.

Fortunately, Maria Noel Grooves has a fabulous website (which she updates often), Wintergreen Botanicals, and it is just packed with information and recipes!  I decided that the first I would attempt would be Fire Cider.

When anyone in our family feels a cold coming on, we reach for some Airborne or drink down an Odwalla or Naked Juice vitamin-C packed smoothie.  We find both to be pretty effective, but they are expensive and they are not as handy to get (at least when you live 30 mins. from a grocery store) as reaching for something on the pantry shelves would be.  Fire Cider essentially does the same thing...boosts your immune system and helps you fight off the nasty germ!

I gathered the essential ingredients from the same food co-op, from our garden, and from the pantry: an onion, horseradish root, ginger, garlic, hot peppers, salt, and pepper.  You can get Maria's recipe here, or watch a video (click here) on making it from Rosemary Gladstar (whose recipe Maria's is based upon).  Rosemary Gladstar, a legend in the herbal community, really goes into lots of details on the specific benefits of each ingredient.

It's not really rocket science, and you can adjust the ingredients slightly to suit your taste, but I based mine off Maria's recipe and from a ratio I found online of using equal parts horseradish, garlic, and onion to 1/2 part ginger. (I opted to thinly slice the horseradish instead of grating it.) So, for me it looked like this once it was all sliced.

I packed it all into a quart canning jar and added two sliced jalapeno peppers (one red, one green), about 1/2 t. kosher salt, and a handful of peppercorns.

Then, over it all, pour Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar to cover.  Cap tightly and give a good shake.

Then you let it sit for four weeks, shaking occasionally.  At the end of that time, strain it all through a cheesecloth lined sieve, and add honey to taste.  It should be sweet and fiery.

From what I've read online, you can take 1 T. a day to keep your immune system up throughout cold and flu season.  If you feel a germ getting its grip on you, you can take that same dose every three hours.

Next on my list is gathering all the ingredients to make Maria's Red Sore Throat Soother!

If you are interested in her "Home Herbalist" series, which I cannot recommend highly enough, she offers those classes online!

Sabbath Rest

"When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone,
but the righteous stand firm forever."  - Proverbs 10:25

Past the Leaves to Find the Wool

Colette and I both needed to purchase some wool for our Etsy shops.  And the best place to buy wool is about an hour northwest of us.  In addition to carrying their own wool, manufactured in a stunning array of colors, they carry fine woolens woven in America and Europe.

But half the fun is the journey...especially in the autumn.  We've all been quite nose-to-the-grindstone lately, so it felt wonderful to be able to escape for a couple of hours and get out and enjoy the autumn beauty.

I love passing this house, in a neighboring town, in any season.  Love that bench!  I try not to covet that bench.

Then it was time to shop.  So many choices!  In the end, she restrained herself and bought just three different types.

And then it was time for the equally beautiful drive home!

And to remind us that winter's just around the corner...everywhere there are signs of preparations for the coming cold.

Sabbath Rest

"Crown Him the Lord of lords, who over all doth reign,
Who once on earth, the incarnate Word, for ransomed sinners slain,
Now lives in realms of light, where saints with angels sing
Their songs before Him day and night, their God, Redeemer, King."

-- Matthew Bridges, 1852

Autumn's Dance

View today from the door to the deck.
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came--
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed.
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around".

-- George Cooper


Gathered while on my walk today, just before the rain starting falling...branches of adorning the kitchen windowsill with wild abandon.

Sabbath Rest

Dahlia in the garden.
 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." -- Matthew 6:28-33

Stocking up for Winter

The pantry shelves and freezer stockpile were looking decidedly sparse around here.  Hmm...time to fix that situation.  Some changes would have to be made in the weekly menu planning and the grocery shopping.

Change #1: Plan one meal a week purposely to provide leftovers.  Leftovers are to be served for another meal that week, or popped into the freezer.

Change #2: Purchase one item a week just for the purpose of adding it to the pantry shelves.  Sometimes it's an item on sale.  Sometimes it's just something that catches my eye.  Recently added items include the following canned goods: coconut milk, diced green chilies, chicken noodle soup, and tomato juice.

Change #3: Plan one meal a week that is made in a large quantity, or somehow provides something that can be put in the freezer.  Bolognese sauce is planned for this week. Other recent additions to the freezer include: 6 c. of pesto (made from basil from the garden), enough pizza sauce for 17 pizzas, about 12 c. of chicken stock (made from the carcasses of chickens I've cooked in the crockpot for dinner), and a bushel of corn husked, blanched, chilled, cut off, and frozen in 17 meal-size portions.

It always delights me to see the ears of corn swimming in the big, farmhouse sink!
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