weekend fun

Our past two weekends have been so very full and fun.  Seems to be the way with May and October, I think.  They are just such glorious months that so many good and great things are packed in on the weekends.  I admit I'm generally partial to weekends where I spend a lot of time in the garden with tea (often in pajamas until I realize I'm getting a bit dirtier than I'd meant to) and we hardly leave home.  Sometimes, though, a good dose of full-on fun and adventure is good, too.  Last weekend I helped work the taproot tent at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville.  Early on Friday I set up a loom for some free-form weaving.  On Saturday I spent the entire day hanging our art show for the after school art program I work for, and then on Sunday I was back out at the fair all day talking to folks about the magazine, weaving, indigo-dying, and making seed bombs with lots of little ones.  It was such fun.  I've subscribed to the magazine from the beginning and have fairly recently begun to write for them a little bit and I mean it when I say I really do love it.  It is such a thoughtfully and artfully curated collection of stories and art and projects.  Add in the fact that there is no advertising in the magazine and voila!~  it is grand.

This past weekend saw us at LEAF, the fabulous Lake Eden Art Festival that takes place just a bit down the road from us twice a year.  We skipped out on Friday because of thunderstorms and instead Claire and I had dinner and watched a movie with our dear friends.  Saturday and Sunday were warm and sunny and there was music and storytelling and hula hooping and dancing and Claire's LEAF favorites, kettle corn and bungee bouncing.  She also fell in love with weaving on a big loom up by the barn, and I so enjoyed watching her serious, concentrated expressions as she wove.  I'd requested NOT to have breakfast in bed on Mother's Day because I wanted to get up early and get in the garden, so instead I was made mid-morning tea and we had a nice visit with a friend who will soon be moving this way from the Austin area.  Papa had done a little shopping around on Saturday as Claire and I listened to Sara Watkins, and he chose a really beautiful necklace for me as a Mother's Day gift.  We don't typically do a lot of gifting, and I was more than pleased with my tea and the card Claire made for me, so the necklace was a very sweet surprise.  After that, back to LEAF (well, actually first there was some bee excitement, but more on that another time) for some more music and sunshine and time with the best of friends.

I'm filled up on sun and fun and as lovely as it all has been, I will say that looking ahead to this coming weekend, I am pleased to see the only thing on the calendar is dinner with good friends.


it isn't garbage

Our neighbor across the street, an elderly woman with a sadly ever increasing variety of health issues, has been in assisted living for quite some time now.  Since the end of last summer, probably.  Claire and I visited her a few times early on, but haven't been since she's been settled into a new place.  Going to see her again is always on my list, but it keeps being knocked back by others things that come up.  Really, there's no excuse.  I just need to voice it as a priority and do it.

In the meantime, her son and daughter in law have begun to clear out her house in earnest.  Trash day around here is Tuesday, and, almost like clockwork, every Sunday/Monday night(s) they are out there piling up stuff on the curb.  I think that in the beginning they maybe brought some things here or there to donate, and then my guess is that they ran out of time and energy and the emotional stamina required to go through your mother's things and now it ends up on the curb, bound for the landfill.  Or it would, anyway, if a certain someone (ahem) wasn't so keen on going through the neighbor's trash.

(it's me, I'm talking about me)

In the beginning there were big things- a ceiling fan still in the box, a pressure cooker, an iron, a hand mixer, a record player, tons of dishes, an 8 track player, what-have-you.  It became my regularly scheduled Monday night programming to just back my car down the driveway and load it all in the trunk to take to the thrift store the next day.  Claire joked about me going through the trash 'all the time' and once, when we were all sitting down to a meal, she keenly observed that we were mostly eating off of and drinking out of 'things from Bernice's trash!'.  She'd roll her eyes and laugh but there were small treasures for her as well and I can see that she appreciates them and understands why I am doing what I'm doing.  Little vases and things to use in her outdoor kitchen, a small statue for her fairy garden...... the perfectly sized glass for Violet (her beloved doll) to drink out of.  A metal toy lantern she was quick to hang in her fort.

There are times I am amazed at what ends up in the trash.  And not because I think everyone should be emotionally attached to things, even clearly sentimental things (though sometimes that is the case), but more because it is just so wasteful.  Surely someone would like these things?  Surely many of them are still of use?  Another part of me understands, though.  I imagine it gets to a point where you just have to plow through and become as unattached as you can from the process, and perhaps just piling it all in big black bags is the easiest, least painful way to do that.  We are good at self-preservation in many sneaky forms, we humans.

Pictured above are some of the things that I've shamelessly pulled from the neighbor's trash and kept. An old juicer (I passed along the electric one in favor of this sturdy old thing).  A falling-apart box of musty but beautiful paper-pieced quilt squares sewn onto newspaper from 1949- something about opening up that box (buried beneath a bunch of torn fabric that really did belong in the trash) as I sat on the back stoop one night while moths flung themselves hopefully at our back door light made my throat feel thick and my heart beat faster.  The significance of those squares, that work....... it was like a portal to another time and place.  I romanticize things, I know, but still......... it got to me and I feel like I'm looking at a treasure whenever I pull them out.

Thin, soft, hand sewn baby clothes with the tiniest of buttons and sweetest little embroidery stitches.  I couldn't put those back in the big black plastic bag.  What I'll do with them I do not know, but I see beauty in them that I can't just toss aside.

A pile of kitchen linens, a few tablecloths, a couple aprons.  Some of these things I've passed along to other homes I know would appreciate them. One of the aprons I have most happily claimed as my own and as much as one can love an apron, I love it.  And that part of me that has the tendency to romanticize things imagines that when I wear it I am in a some small way connecting to those who wore it years ago, before me.

A pile of useful kitchen ware.  Mugs and bowls already in heavy rotation.  Two metal plant stands, easily put to use around here.  A sturdy stoneware crock, and so much more.

All of it, though- it isn't garbage.  There is a nagging part of me that wants to bring some of it in when I go visit my neighbor~ the quilt squares, perhaps.  I wonder if they would trigger a happy memory, or a sad one?  I'd love to know their story but then feel that's a self-serving reason to bring them in.  My own grandmother is now in assisted living with dementia as her primary health concern and that surely is at least part of why I find myself weighing out the pros and cons of hauling this sweet woman's old treasures (or gosh, maybe they aren't old treasures- maybe they were in her garage when she moved in, or she picked them up for a dime at a yard sale in 1972, I have no clue!) in to her room and seeing what she has to say.

Sigh.  We'll see.


spring swap

another swap has come and gone and again, as always, I came away feeling so full of inspiration and love and gratitude for this wonderful group of women.  due to some travel and family matters and such, it was a smaller swap than our usual 15-20 people.  I most certainly missed several of our regular swappers, but there is something to be said for a smaller and more intimate group.  I actually got a chance to really catch up with everyone, which was nice.  and we all still came away with such wonderful goodies.  there were indigo-dyed tea towels, sandalwood malas and necklaces, lots of beautiful, healthy plants, kombucha, salves and balms and body butters, tiki torches and bug spray and fresh shiitakes.  essential oil inhalers and reusable counter wipes, yummy seasonings and adorable little zippered pouches.  it's always such a beautiful spread on the swap tables!

I contributed flavored kombuchas (lemon-ginger, and blueberry-lime-cardamom), two jars of our backyard honey, and some plants (comfrey, elderberry, and echinacea).  I came away with some milkweed and motherwort starts, a lip balm/salve set, two beautiful sandalwood and seashell/stone necklaces (one immediately gifted to one of our swap regulars who couldn't make it here for the swap but came by shortly after to hang out), a tiki torch with vegetable-based oil, the most delicious crackers made entirely out of seeds (which I inhaled quite rapidly), an essential oil big spray, a magnesium/shea butter achy body balm, nutritional yeast/seaweed seasoning, and a generous set of 5 reusable cloths/counter wipes.

I've actually lost count of how many swaps I've hosted here now, but I think we're up to somewhere around 10.  I host them twice a year, and I so look forward to them.  this year there may even be a third one because..... well, because they are such fun and because I just truly love these women and we have such a grand time trading our goods.

I'll link below to older posts highlighting some of the previous swaps- it's always fun to peek back at what sort of things have been traded in the past.  and for anyone interested, I've got an article coming out in the upcoming fall issue of taproot magazine that will go into detail about how to get started with hosting swaps and setting them up in your community.

fall swap, 2012 (the first one!)
summer swap, 2013
fall swap, 2013
fall swap, 2014
soup swap 2014
spring swap, 2015
fall swap, 2015
spring swap, 2106

looking back like this and adding in other swaps that I didn't write about, I think we may actually be on swap number 11 or 12 now! whew!


in the kitchen

there's just something about morning light coming in through a kitchen window.  something that says 'here's a fresh start for you- do with it what you will, hopefully something good'.  I'll never grow tired of taking pictures of food on these decades old light-kissed gold-flecked laminate countertops.  they aren't countertops one would typically hope for, and I found them quite hideous when we first bought the place, but now when I think of replacing them, it actually makes me a little sad.  funny the things that grow on you.

as is the case in many homes, our kitchen is a very active place.  what with all the soul and body nourishing that first takes root in the kitchen, it's no wonder so many call it the heart of the home.  there are days I feel tethered to the kitchen (and garden) for most of the day.  seems like there's always a meal to be prepped, cooked, or cleaned up after.  there is medicine making (and decanting), kombucha brewing (blueberry-ginger-cardamom-lime is my new favorite secondary ferment, though Claire says the mango is the best), sauerkraut bubbling, salad picking, honey licking, tea making, stock simmering, and lately as the weather has turned warmer, lots of smoothies.  subtract the high-powered blender created smoothies from that list and I feel downright old fashioned sometimes.


beach trip

We somewhat spontaneously joined friends over spring break for a few nights of camping at Edisto Beach State Park.  It ended up being a really wonderful trip.  The drive wasn't bad, the campground was blissfully quiet at night, the beach was a short bike trip away (and what fun it was to load down all the bikes and parade down the shoulder of the road to the beach!), there was delicious seafood very nearby, the weather was beautiful, we were with good friends......... a wonderful trip indeed.

Before we left, Claire packed a suitcase for her doll, Violet.  She packed Violet's blanket and Violet's dolls, and tucked a few of her own things inside as well.  And then she made 'activities' for Violet.  You know, for the car ride.  A maze, a coloring book......... so cute.

I admit I'm not the biggest fan of these lights when used as holiday decor, but on our friends' camper? Very fun!

marshy area at low tide, across from our campsite

nothing like camping with several of your buddies for a few days, especially when you're an only child! She had a blast.


old ice house at Botany Bay

Botany Bay 

turnip fleurs

yumyumyum.  I got oysters two days in a row.  this plus some veggies was my dinner.  

there was a couple who went around the campground blowing bubbles for the kids.  they said their grandson loved them, so they figured other kids would as well.  they were quite right about that.

beach selfie.  

yes please

I could watch her dance and skip along the shoreline for hours.  And she'll do it for hours too, whenever given the chance.  This little girl loves the ocean and the salty air and the seashells as much as her mama does, I do believe.

NOT our dog.  But he is the cutest, cuddliest little thing and I so enjoyed his company. 

mine and Claire's ride, beachside. 

beach booty brought home for garden decor and seaside daydreams

Until next time, salty sea air and sandy toes, ocean wave lullaby and seagull calls.