Seasons

I’ve been thinking a lot about seasons lately. Over the past year, our first on the farm, I have been watching and noticing how much seasons affect us, more so than they did before.  I have always been a season watcher and I’ve wanted to be able to live life more in tune with the seasons like our ancestors did. Our modern world prevents that to come extent, we move from heated homes to heated cars to heated buildings, while we do break out the winter coats and boots, no longer do we have a need to stockpile wood and get out the winter quilts.  There is something nostalgic about the idea of moving and living our lives according to the seasons, living within that rhythm, honoring those cycles.

Here on the farm I am seeing that our lives are coming to revolve around the seasons more.  Spring brings renewal, new growth, vigor and vitality.  Summer is active, hard work, seeing the buds of spring mature.  Fall is maturity, winding down, cleaning up, slowing down.  Winter bring sleep, quiet, slow, resting for the burst of spring to come.  Spring, summer and fall are very busy times on the farm, there is a lot going on, different thing for different seasons.  Winter brings a blessed rest from all those activities where we can focus our efforts in other directions, the land isn’t screaming for our attention and we can enjoy the fruits of all our spring, summer and fall labors.

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While I am always working on some type of handiwork, winter brings about a burst of activity in that area, I love cozy winter nights stitching away sitting next to Dadzoo. (Hopefully next winter it will be in front of our wood stove!)

I decided I was going to learn to do lace work, my first project, a crocheted lace doily, next will be snow flakes for next years Christmas tree.

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And, as always I have a baby blanket in progress, this one is ear marked for someone special.

IMG_5157 IMG_5158In what ways do you move and change with the seasons?

 

Quilting

 

My Grandparents recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
They have 8 children, 32 grandchildren (not counting spouses) and 40 great-grandchildren (with many more on the way).  What a wonderful legacy.

As part of the gifts and festivities they were presented with a quilt.
There are 64 squares in eight different colors to represent each child.

I had the privilege of being able to piece the quilt.

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We did a rag style quilt, where the seams were sewn inside out and chenilled. IMG_4694 IMG_4696Each square was first sewn together, with a  layer of thin cotton batting and a square of cotton flannel, then they were pieced together. IMG_4697 IMG_4698 IMG_4700

Once the quilt was pieced, I made tiny little cuts in the exposed seams, that took forever, and made a huge mess on my white couch, I’m still picking up little pieces of thread.  IMG_4702 IMG_4709

Then the whole quilt was washed, twice, and dried in the dryer, twice to fluff out the snipped seams and give it the chenilled look. IMG_4710

As I was making this quilt, I thought a lot about the art of quilting.  It seems like there has been a renewed interest over the last several years.  Women create beautiful works of art using little pieces of fabric sewn very carefully into intricate patterns.  I thought about the origin of quilting, how it really came about by women, being frugal and provident in their homes.  Pieces of worn dresses, blankets, curtains, sheets, shirts all being cut into little patches and pieces, by hand, together to make warm blankets for their families.  I thought of how these women took a chore and made it beautiful, and I thought of how women daily take the mundane tasks around them and create beauty, they make homes, lovely homes filled with creativity, warmth and love.  I thought of how this is the special role of women and homemakers, and how empty our lives would be without it.

Random Things, on a Random Day

-Today I am trying really hard to be productive, but I have friends that are proving to be a distraction (you know who you are!)

-Roasting two chickens in the crock pot.  It is hot outside and I don’t want to heat up the kitchen by using the oven.  Roast chicken is slowing moving into first place, our beef is almost gone, and a whole chicken is cheap, one will feel my family with some leftover.  Here’s to chicken!

-Ice cream is in the ice cream maker.  That was my Mother’s Day gift, a six quart ice cream maker and I am so excited.  We are having a party Friday for my children’s friends and I promised homemade ice cream, so I figured I needed to do a practice run first.

-Did I mention we are having a party Friday, so not in my comfort zone, hope I can entertain 30 teenagers!

-The weather is warming up, really warm, record warm.  We haven’t turned on the air conditioner yet, for two reasons.  I am afraid it won’t work, that is how our luck has been with this house (did I mention the roof and windows leak?) and if I put off turning it on I put off knowing this for sure, yeah twisted logic, but it makes me feel better.  Dadzoo is also very nervous about the electricity bills, the rates are higher here and the house is bigger, so I am trying to conserve as much as possible.  Although we might cook to a crisp today.

-Lots of laundry, I am making a focused effort to have it finished today so I don’t have to fuss with it during the party preparations.  I love using a clothes line (have I mentioned that before?).

-We have mice, yuck, and we are getting another cat today.  Happy hunting!

 

 

 

April Fools Day

I heard an interesting discussion about Aprils Fools the other day.  They were talking about the origin of the day and it got me thinking, I really didn’t know how the day got started and what we were really celebrating.  Over the past few years Dadzoo and I have been researching celebrations and holidays and have been making our own traditions according to what we feel is right for our family.  Most people don’t understand why we do what we do, and frankly make assumptions and don’t really try to understand at all.  It is funny, I find that people feel like we are somehow judging what they do and how they celebrate, which isn’t the case at all, why is it, when some one does something different than the norm it is somehow cutting others down?  But I digress….

In regards to April Fools Day, I have found that no one really knows why it is celebrated for sure, there are two schools of thought out there, as to how it started and why it is done.  So if you would like a little history lesson, read on.

Here is one theory:

The Gregorian Calendar

Some say that April Fools’ Day was first celebrated soon after the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar. Prior to that time, much of Europe celebrated March 25, the date of the Christian Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year.  The celebration culminated on April 1 and was celebrated in much the same way as it is today with parties and dancing into the late hours of the night.

In 1563 King Charles IX decreed January 1 to be the first day of the year. Eighteen years later, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the new Gregorian Calendar, and New Year’s Day was moved to January 1. Upon moving the official New Year’s Day from April 1 to January 1, there were some people who hadn’t heard or didn’t believe the change in the date, so they continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April first. These people were called them “April fools” and often had tricks played on them. They were subject to ridicule, and were often sent on “fools errands” or were made the butt of other practical jokes.

Although this is a popular and widespread theory, it is not the only theory for the origin of the holiday, and many of the customs and traditions of the holiday were already well established prior to the calendar change. (http://www.calendar-updates.com/info/holidays/us/aprilfools.aspx)

But not everyone agrees:

Problems With This Explanation

There are at least two difficulties with this explanation. The first is that  it doesn’t fully account for the spread of April Fools’ Day to other European  countries. The Gregorian calendar was not  adopted by England until 1752, for example, but April Fools’ Day was already  well established there by that point. The second is that we have no direct  historical evidence for this explanation, only conjecture, and that conjecture  appears to have been made more recently.

Read more:  April Fools’ Day: Origin and History | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aprilfools1.html#ixzz2PEVv4TJH

 And others find this a better explanation

Spring Fever

It is worth noting that many different cultures have had days of foolishness  around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a  festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis.  The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the  Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there’s  something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that  lends itself to lighthearted celebrations.

Read more:  April Fools’ Day: Origin and History | Infoplease.comhttp://www.infoplease.com/spot/aprilfools1.html#ixzz2PEWc1Gcr

Iranians play jokes on each other on the 13th day of the Persian new year (Nowruz) (now means new and ruz means day), which falls on April 1 or April 2. This day, celebrated as far back as 536 BC ,[11] is called Sizdah Bedar and is the oldest prank-tradition in the world still alive today; this fact has led many to believe that April Fools’ Day has its origins in this tradition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools’_Day

 I found this all very interesting, such a time honored tradition and no one really knows exactly where it originated from.  As to the question “Do we celebrate it?”  I guess the answer would be “not really” and not because we have some great moral objection to the day, there is no religious meaning, or sinister overtones, it is  just because we haven’t.  I have friends who do very elaborate pranks on their families and I think it is great, I just don’t do it because I am lazy.

Although maybe this year is the time to start, and throw the whole family off as there are no expectations!  What is your favorite April Fools Day prank?