Connections and Knitting

Have you ever visited a far away state and then when you get home you keep seeing license plates from that state?  I’ve been told it’s only because you’ve become more aware.  Maybe.  But I think that only means that those connections are always there and we just need to become aware of them.  It makes me emotional when I find a new-to-me author referencing a writer I already hold dear.  I get excited when a blogger I love loves another blogger I love.  The interconnectedness of things.  I  can’t explain it – sometimes there’s a feeling of supernatural specialness in the continuity of life, in history.

This week I read a book called Lotte’s Locket by Virginia Sorensen.  Nice children’s book – I enjoyed it.  It takes place in post-war Denmark.  The main character is a babyboomer.  I think she’d be in her sixties now.  Anyway, now every time I turn around there’s something about Denmark.  A book reference, a blog, a trivia question.  It makes me laugh and I wish someone else were in on the joke with me. IMG_5921 You know I homeschool my children, right?  And you know I ascribe to the philosophy and apply the methods of Charlotte Mason?  And you know that I have recently fallen in love with the writings of Elizabeth Zimmermann.  I never would have thought books about knitting could be so full of the special interconnectedness of things.  Today I was reading from her book Knitting Around and came across a connection so wonderful to me that I tried to share it with all the people around me – none of whom understood why I was shouting and flapping my arms.  Mrs. Zimmerman grew up in England in the early twentieth century and for a time was educated at home by governesses.

They both taught by the method of Charlotte Mason, who had some kind of a school and governess-training institution at Ambleside in the Lake District.

She goes on to explain exactly how she felt about what we call narrating, which is telling back in one’s own words the bit of literature one has just heard.  I’m sorry to say she seems to have enjoyed it about as much as my oldest child does.  But it doesn’t seem to have done her any harm.

But wait!  There’s more!  Mrs. Zimmerman also lived for a short time in the very neighborhood I grew up in.  In fact, I believe my grandmother raised her family just around the corner from where Elizabeth and her husband rented the attic of an old house.  Of course my grandmother was married in 1949, eight years after the Zimmerman’s left that place.

I was knitting my first sweater and the dog ate it.  Yes, it’s true.  I was using inexpensive yarn as a test run and that’s probably what saved the dog’s life that day.  Since then I’ve been futzing around with different things trying to see what I feel like doing.  A woman at homeschool co-op gifted me some truly lovely things from her stash.  Not enough of any one thing for a big project but enough of each to indulge in a little soothing yarn therapy.  I really want to do something in the round right now so I’ve been retiring to bed early to read and to try to figure out a circular shawl.  And you know what that means – the dreaded Double Pointed Needles of Doom.  I’ve already frogged back started over several times – once after already starting on the circulars.  Le sigh.

starting over again

starting over again

So, that’s my rambling contribution to Ginny’s Yarn Along.  You should go see what some of the other people are rambling about.

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Filed under books, general, knitting, yarn, Yarn Along

The Best of Times


a shared chocolate mousse moose cake

We got bees acomin'!

We got bees acomin’!


planning the last six weeks of school

hammering home the basics

hammering home the basics

Easter craftiness

Easter craftiness

Some people start their new year on January first, while others think the start of the school year in September is more logical.  For me, the beginning of new things is obviously spring – new projects, new homes, new plans generally start then.  And I’m blessed to have been born at the best of times, during the rebirth of the earth  – or at least of the northern hemisphere.  The light is changing, the mud is here, and it only snowed once this week – thank God.


Filed under baking, bees, birthday, general, homeschool, photos

Children and Adults Get Creative

They say spring is coming.

Springtime in western New York?

Springtime in western New York?

And that means I need a place to put my seedlings. So I had to move a piece of furniture. Which necessitated the moving of another piece of furniture. And that meant I HAD to stain it BLUE.


And now I must paint the kitchen.

Yes, teal.

Yes, teal.

Oh the creativity!  Oh the mess!  And while I’m funkifying the kitchen the kids are having their own parties.



tatted up

tatted up

And soon there will be green growing things to play with.


Filed under art, children, cold, craft, outside, paint, photos

My Way or the Highway

I’m not an especially consistent housekeeper.  But I am a recovering control freak.  I really like things to be done my way.  You don’t have to do things my way, but I’d rather not be in the room to see you not doing things my way.

I have a system.

I have a system.  It does NOT look this way when the boys cook.  

Sometimes I let the kids make breakfast.  I can’t be in there when it happens.  My oldest reads a recipe just fine, his daddy is a laid back supervisor, so they don’t need me hovering.  It’s fine; I should let them do it more often.


One of my boys – the one who can read – asked to make cupcakes by himself and then got pretty upset with me when I mise en place(d) nearly all the ingredients and had an adult make the frosting.  And he was right.  He could have done it with me sitting in the other room, nearby for consultation.

I realize that, being well past the age of thirty, it isn’t fair to blame my parents but I am this way because my mother taught me to clean the bathroom.  She has a system.  It begins with a mostly dry rag (because the bathroom is already damp) to wipe along the edges of the room to get up all the hairs that accumulate there, folding the rag as you go to keep the dirt inside and a perpetually clean side wiping the floor.  Other steps follow in precise order.  It’s a good system.  The bathroom gets clean.  But other methods work as well.  And rebel that I am, sometimes I sweep instead of wiping.

So how does one teach excellence, a job well-done, without getting stressed?  Without being a nag?



Filed under baking, cleaning, housework, kids, photos

Shattered Light


When the sun comes through this window, the beveled glass becomes a prism and sparkles the dining room/school room with broken light.


milk  moustache and a rainbow

milk moustache and a rainbow

We chase the colors around the room and stand in their way and try to get them to land on us.

Go south, young man.

Go south, young man.

Today it looked like the finger of God pointing to North Carolina.  The lights swept across the state from west to east before it disappeared.

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Filed under Jack, map, photos, rainbow, school

And Yay for Outside!

I’m not really a winter curmudgeon.

strangers in the picture for a spot of color

Middle Falls, Letchworth State Park

I wish I had a great camera with the right lens and the skill to use them.  Just trust me – the ice is blue-ish and the fall is much wider and deeper than is shown here.  The strangers are in the picture for a spot of color – plus they were too far away for me to warn them that they were going on my blog.  In the summer, this fall thunders over and makes the most beautiful rainbows.

Frozen fountain outside Glen Iris Inn in Letchworth State Park

Frozen fountain outside Glen Iris Inn in Letchworth State Park

This is a fountain from a gravity fed water source.  I don’t know if they have no way of shutting it off, or choose not to, but it creates a crystal volcano, with mist still shooting out of the top.  Notice how small the people are in comparison.

John & Jack

John & Jack

looking straight up

looking straight up

a little grotto in the ice mountain - I can picture a statue of a saint set up in here.

a little grotto in the ice mountain – I can picture a statue of a saint set up in here.

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Filed under fountain, Letchworth, outside, waterfall, winter

Yay For Inside!

This morning I found out that our homeschool co-op ski trip is cancelled, probably due to the extreme cold forecast for today.  And then I did a happy dance – in my head because physically I’m still working up the energy to put on socks – because I really did not want to be out in the extreme cold.  Plus ski boots hurt my feet.  Plus I may have gained weight this year and my snow pants may be slightly tight and uncomfortable.  So YAY for indoor activities!

For your viewing amusement.

Barn cats tolerate the snow and cold long enough to come out and say hello.

Barn cats in the chicken yard tolerating the snow and cold long enough to come out and say hello and to see what goodies the chickens are getting.

BTW, the white house in the background is an old abandoned one on my property.  Someday it would be nice to have the means to restore it but for now it is boarded up.  The thing in the right of the photo is an old silo.  Like many I see around here, it is missing a roof.

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Filed under barn cats, cold, deardiary, white house