Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lighting up the Morning

Our mornings start pretty early around here with wiggles in the bed, sometimes at 5:30. We see beautiful sunrises and at Christmas time, nothing is better than going out to the living room and turning on the Christmas tree lights to warm up the dark room. Juliana is loving the tree and all the ornaments, especially the cats. This is her second Christmas season and her wonder is palpable. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas Tree Hunt

{tired out at the end of the walk}
{daddy to the rescue}

We've grown to love our Christmas tree hunt in the Black Hills. Just before Thanksgiving the kids and I walk over to the Forest Service office and pick up a permit for $10. Then we are ready to go find our tree on Thanksgiving weekend. The snow from our big snow storm in October, Atlas, has mostly melted in the hills. There was a hard crust to walk on top of what was left, making this hunt a much easier one than in the past. The kids are getting old enough to walk (most of the time) which also makes this much more fun. We found a Black Hills Spruce tree with lots of cones, adding beauty to our tree. Now to get it decorated! I think the kids are going to enjoy that part, too!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pie for Breakfast

We celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday with friends and had a pumpkin pie leftover. What is a better way to start out Thanksgiving Day day than pie for breakfast? Everyone was in agreement!

Going to Sleep

When bedtime arrives, Pieter puts his head down on the pillow and is out in sixty seconds. Juliana, on the other hand, refuses to settle down. She doesn't like to stay in the bedroom and instead wanders out with her pillow and blanket. I've given up putting her back to bed and just let her find a place to settle down. Here she is tonight. I think I'd rather have a bed!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cuddle Kitty

Maya will snuggle up to anyone that is having a snooze! I do think she is the most cuddly cat I've known. However, she does keep her distance from Juliana. Juliana is getting better at being gentle, as the picture above shows. Jules was thrilled to have the kitty settle in for cuddle.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Morning visitors

This morning I went to the front windows shortly after getting up and saw a buck and doe in the street. The buck was feeling frisky and stomping his feet a lot, but the doe didn't seem impressed. Pieter and Juliana had fun watching until they disappeared into the trees.

The Setting Sun

{Ben throwing a cowpie like a frisbee}

{Pieter's turn}

{looking at milkweed seeds}

{not much sun left}

Our days are so short now and the sun hangs so low on the southern horizon. I miss the strong warmth overhead the dries the clothes on the line so quickly. And the warm rays that don't reach the porch anymore. But one beautiful part of this time of year is the glowing hills in the late afternoon. Every evening that it is clear, we have a beautiful, brilliant hillside to look at. The red earth glows in the last few rays of sun and I tuck that warmth inside to get through the winter.

Afternoon on a Hill

I will be the gladdest thing
  Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
  And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
   With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind blow down the grass,
   And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
   Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
    And then start down!

~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Larrick Crosby, Nancy. Piping Down the Valleys Wild. 
New York: Delacorte Press, 1968. Print.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Anticipating Spring

So, I stumbled upon a great sale for spring bulbs. Eleven cents for crocuses? Sixty-seven cents for daffodils? I couldn't resist even though time is running out to plant them as fall is drawing to a close. This is the second batch of bulbs that am working on. Ben has been helping (and perhaps rolling his eyes a little) so that is making it go faster. I can't wait to see spring around here!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Yesterday morning we woke up to a brilliant sunrise above the hills.


Daybreak comes first
   in thin splinters shimmering.
Neither is the day here
   nor is the night gone.
Night is getting ready to go
And Day whispers, "Soon now, soon."

~Carl Sandburg

Larrick Crosby, Nancy. Piping Down the Valleys Wild. 
New York: Delacorte Press, 1968. Print.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A doll for Juliana

December is a month of festivities in our home, with two birthdays opening and closing the month of holiday celebrations. I always tell myself to start making presents early, but then somehow mid-November is upon me and I have so much to do still. For two years I have been wanting to make a waldorf doll, but it just seemed like huge project that I had no experience in whatsoever. I decided that I must make dolls for the kids for Christmas, so I finally bought the right fabric and other doll making tools and supplies last week (from Weir Dolls and Crafts). The box arrived Saturday and after two days, I had my first doll in hand! I decided to start with a smaller waldorf doll, using the pattern Lillipals from Adirondack Patterns. I also used Meg McElwee's doll pattern in her book Growing Up Sew Liberated for clearer directions in the hand sewing and head forming techniques. It really wasn't that difficult, so now I feel silly for not doing this long ago. Pieter has requested a doll with short, yellow hair. So, that is the next doll that will be born here at home. Then the plan is to work in secret on two large dolls for Christmas using Meg's patterns.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Secret Smoothies

Pieter and Juliana love smoothies. And mama loves them, too, because of all the spinach and other secret ingredients that can be hidden in them!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Loving Maya

Oh, what this kitty endures! I've always said that these cats of ours do have a job, and that is to be hugged and kissed and loved. Little did I know that it also included toddler brushing.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bear Ridge

{flock of wild turkeys}

We headed out early Saturday morning for a hike on Bear Ridge. On the way, we were surprised with a beautiful herd of llamas that we hadn't seen before. They were a little timid, but their curiosity pulled them closer to us. There were so many different colors and patterns to their wool. At the same stop, we looked into a valley and there was a flock of wild turkeys and then behind us on the other side of the road was a herd of cattle. Then we kept driving up into the hills for some great views. We were greeted by four ruffed grouse.

{Ruffed Grouse, Bonasa umbellus}

{Cliff Brake Fern, Pellaea atropurpurea}

{Slender lip fern, Cheilanthes feei}

{evidence of a very busy mole}

{deer track}

{more wild turkeys}

Our drive back down didn't disappoint with another flock of wild turkeys and a few friendly horses. Not bad for an early morning hike on a Saturday.
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