Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

Ashley Smith

Friday, March 23, 2012

Springing Forth?

Does this look like Spring?
Here it is, March 23rd...  two nights ago we got about 6 inches of snow (a real 6 inches, not like when someone spreads their hands apart about 3 inches and says 3 feet) and then this morning about another inch.
Me: Did you get the memo?
Mother Nature: What memo?
Me: That Spring started March 20th this year?
Mother Nature: Oh that memo!  Was that a 3/20? because I could of sworn that was an 8, not a 3...
Me: Sigh...
 This little guy got the memo.
It's a robin. If I could read Robin's mind, I would imagine something along the lines of "What the heck?"
 Lots of my little birds are back, the dark-eyed juncos, the red-shafted flickers, downy woodpecker.  They have been noisily complaining about the amount of snow and lack of bugs, seeds, etc. to peck at.  I apologize to them, but really what can I do?  I just keep filling their feeder so that they don't drop dead.

Anyway, I know it is unseasonably hot in a lot of places, but not. here. at. all.  Everyone is getting a little crabby.  It happens to me every year at this time.  A week of bad weather feels like a month, and when the sun peeks out everyone goes crazy- yelling and shouting "The sky is on fire!! The sky is on fire!!"  Luckily the rain clouds come quickly in to extinguish the blaze.

"Really? Snow? I told Martha it was too early to come back..."
 There is this little promise.
Peony.  Can you see it?
and soon, soon there will be this.
Early summer garden from a couple years ago.
So patience my crabby friends (avian and other!).  It will happen.  and until then we can trust in Elizabeth Bowen's words:

“Autumn arrives in early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day.”

Let's hope the winter day closes soon.  Like real soon...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spun out!

Not really, but super excited with this new roving that I bought from Greenwood Fiberworks.

Colorway is Emily, the fiber is BFL
It's still pretty bulky, but at least I am getting more consistent!  My friend Jamie is busy learning a new knitting pattern so that she can knit me a scarf with it!! :) Thanks Jamie!

In other news...

The buffalo are getting bored with winter.  They keep venturing out to the gate between their winter pasture and their summer pasture and looking wistfully out (yes, buffalo can be wistful...)

You may have to click to enlarge this to actually see them, but they are there between the big tree and my snow shoe path!
Bruno (the bull) has pushed all three of his "play stumps" to the fence line.  Brian will have to go out with the sled and move them back to the trees.  Then Bruno can start his game over again.  They really are a riot.  I love to watch them do their work out, wherein they run laps and laps until their little tongues are hanging out.  Totally entertaining.

I am getting pretty bored with winter myself.  March is a tough time of year.  There are little spring teases, like a bright and warm day, robins, juncos and flickers darting about, but then alas it clouds over, gets windy and then storms (rain into snow).  Ho hum.  I keep seeing photos of people's first spring crocuses coming up... I have to keep telling myself: "soon, soon."

In the meantime, spring snow does reveal some interesting and beautiful things.

Sumi ink style snow sculpture.

Less impressive, but still interesting

Snow, grass stalks and sun. Natural beauty.
And I did have a perfect little snowflake land on my coat sleeve yesterday... (ok, I am reaching here- it is getting more and more difficult to appreciate the snow!)

One last question- (and a confession)- I am a stats junkie.  I look at the number of views of my blog daily.  And I don't get tons of traffic, but some people are looking.  My question is this: Why won't anyone comment?  A comment is like getting a surprise piece of chocolate (without the caloric guilt!)  So, if you know the answer, feel free to comment! (see how sneaky I am?)

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Key to Life

Ha Ha!  Now I have your attention!

I had an epiphany today.  Okay, not really an epiphany since that implies a sudden realization.  This is something that has been bubbling up over the last few years.  It is the key to life and like most profound realizations, it is simple.

Simple but not easy.


That's it. Balance is the key to life. 

I guess the epiphany part is that this word keeps popping up recently.  I have been reading a lot about horsemanship, so of course there is the balance that comes with that- physical balance for you and your horse so that you can both work to your potential.  Mental balance, so that you don't ask too much too soon.  Emotional balance so that when you do ask for a stretch, nobody panics.

Honestly, if you spend any time around horses you know that what you learn about interacting with them correlates directly with interacting with people.
  • Ask for what you want, don't assume.  
  • Be present.  
  • Be honest, but be kind.  
  • Be patient.  
  • Praise often and lavishly.
  • Be persistent, but don't nag.  This is only possible if you are clear about what result you want.
Down boy.  Good boy!!
 But, back to balance.  If you think about your position in life as a pendulum, balance is pretty easy to imagine.  If you find yourself too far to the left, you might pull back too far to the right before you find your sweet spot.  It comes up for me with the kids at the school where I work.  They often complain about the "too strict rules" and dress code.  I try and explain that it is all about helping them find their balance.  We pull them pretty far in the opposite direction from where they were and then they are more able to see their balance point.  When you get stuck in your one, "I'm right, I have the corner market on the truth" viewpoint, you become unbalanced.  Dare I say dogmatic?

We have a lot of stuff to balance in life. Work vs. play. Together time vs. alone time. Activity vs. rest. Sometimes we purposely let our balance lean more one way than the other.  Sometimes it leans without us noticing until we feel oddly unsettled, crabby, not quite right.  Then our task is to re-assess and re-balance.

Another big key is to remember: your balance is not the same as anyone else's.  This can be a source of frustration, especially if your beloved one is highly social and you are a hermit, anti-social, less social.  This is where it becomes important to use your horse skills: Ask for what you want.  No one around you is a mind reader and it is likely that their comfort zone/ balance in a particular activity is different than yours.  and guess what?  Balance comes into play here as well. You have to figure out your balance between

 staying with the old (comfort/stagnation)

and trying new stuff (growth/discomfort) 

Don't you love it?  I do!
 Your balance will change throughout your life.  Remember when the most important thing in the world was your (insert favorite childhood possession of your choice) stuffed giraffe?  How you thought the world would end when its eye fell off?  or you left it at some theme park?  Remember your first boyfriend/girlfriend? How you thought this is the only one for me. The first place you really loved living? (This is the only place for me)  I have found in my life that any time I use the word Never (as in I will never move from here, I will never love another stuffy) my balance point is close to shifting.  It's my way of trying to hold on to the comfort zone. And the universe's way of nudging me along.

So, as you negotiate this wonderful crazy thing we call life, remember your balance.  Cesar Milan likes a balanced pack,  I like a balanced life.  How about you?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Soap curing

Freed from their molds! I think the kitties are my favorite.
Yay! Last weekend I finally finished unmolding all the wonderful soap we made.  Now it will sit and cure for 4-6 weeks and then be ready for sudsy goodness.  Aren't they gorgeous?

Here's some more:
Horses and trees

Paw Prints! too cute.
When I first starting making soap, I always just cut bars- functional but not terribly exciting. Now that I have discovered the world of soap molds, I can barely contain myself.

Here are some with the lavender buds- unfortunately they did not react favorably with the soap making ingredients.  They turned kind of an icky brown...

Alright, yes, we did make bars too.
As you can see, the lavender buds did not stay the beautiful purple they started.  Calendula petals have always retained their color... interesting.

Table full of soapy goodness
So that is what ten pounds of homemade soap looks like.  I am sorely tempted to make another 10 pounds, just so I can use my new molds...

It is also good to have a Soap Guard Dog:

What's that?

NO, only mom can come up!
I have also been finishing some of my hand spun.  Here is a skein of Lorelei mixed with Greenwood Fiberworks' "Calypso".

Art Yarn!
Well enough with crafts, someone is hungry...
Come on already, mom. This soap guarding duty makes me hungry!!
Have a fantastic weekend!  Spring is inching our way...