Last week Jeff and I celebrated our nine year wedding anniversary. We were working on a big order at the time and thought perhaps we’d wait a few days and celebrate after we got it wrapped up and mailed out. We do that sometimes, celebrate things later, like last year when I wanted to celebrate my birthday right after our festival was done. But we decided to take the afternoon off from work instead and head to the beach. I was glad we celebrated on the actual day because right after we enjoyed a delicious meal out to eat, we went to the ocean and seemed to stumble across the most beautiful beach day. It was supposed to be windy that day and usually the mornings are less windy at the beach and a better time to visit, so we thought our afternoon visit might be pretty darn windy, but it turned out to be so warm and pleasant. The whole time there was deeply relaxing for all of us. Laying on the earth, dipping our feet in the cool water, and feeling the warmth of the sun on our faces in our warm little nook by a creek… and then that glorious background music of the ocean and that wonderfully fresh air… ahh, all so refreshing. These days, whether it’s a birthday or an anniversary, Jeff and I want to go to the ocean to celebrate. Always the ocean. It’s one of our very favorite places to be.
First the berries, and now other bits of the garden. (Plus another raspberry harvest picture I found. I wish the raspberries would produce forever!) Since I’ve been meaning to write about the garden for awhile, some of these pictures are already outdated. The starts have been planted. We were enjoying peas in lots of stir fries, but now we’re done harvesting peas for the season. Some peas that we didn’t harvest in time are being left to go to seed. Jeff has been growing so much lettuce and most of our salads have been from the garden, which feels wonderful. He’s also been harvesting extra greens (collards and kale) when we have more than we can eat at one time and blanching it and freezing it for the winter. I mentioned that it has been the best year for wild berries. It’s also been the worst year for deer flies. Normally we hardly see any deer flies at all, but this year we have fly swatters handy and Jeff ordered some sticky strips to wear on hats. They’ve been the main annoyance in the garden.
It’s funny how every year Jeff and I talk about growing a smaller garden to make things a bit easier on ourselves, but that doesn’t end up happening. The garden ends up growing each year instead. I can’t take much credit for the garden this year, I’ve helped here and there, but Jeff has been the one to care for it every day and do the work. To be honest, I have felt too overwhelmed this year with trying to keep up around here in general, with a festival season that gets busier with each passing year and with giving time and energy to our business, that it’s been hard for me to even think about the garden. To me the garden felt like one more thing to stress about with an already full plate, and I felt I needed to take a step back. I truly, truly love the garden, I just didn’t want any more responsibility. (I would have been sad if we didn’t have a garden, though!)
Jeff, on the other hand, felt like instead of another thing to stress about, the garden was a place for him to de-stress. His time in the garden is a wonderful balance for him because when he spends hour after hour working in his shop, he needs that time out in the garden to move around, and unwind. Bracken loves to join Jeff in the garden and it’s wonderful for him too. Gardening is a passion they both deeply share and I feel their time working in the garden together is special. The times I’ve dug my hands in the soil have felt so nourishing, but oftentimes when Jeff and Bracken are out in the garden together I focus indoors on cleaning up the kitchen, making food, packaging up orders, and sometimes posting new items in our online shop. I find it funny that I feel stressed when the house is a mess and can hardly think about anything else until I get it back in order (that’s a big job, though, it turns messy right away after I clean it) and Jeff feels stressed when the yard is a mess. He gets a feeling of peace when the yard is mowed and the garden beds are weeded, and I get a feeling of peace when the clutter is picked up in the house and the floors are vacuumed.
Every time I go out into the garden I am grateful for the time and energy Jeff has spent there this year. Our yard is so beautiful because of the work of his hands and we all enjoy going out there so much. Jeff also planted flowers he knows I love and helped Bracken fix up his own garden bed again this year. (I’m seriously amazed by how much Jeff is able to grow in small spaces, providing so much food for our family.) We’re loving the sweet peas along the fence in the front yard, watching the beans climb up all the trellises, and seeing the grapes slowly grow bigger. Bracken knows all the favorite spots where the lizards like to hang out and I snapped a picture of one he showed me along the side of the greenhouse. One day he found a snake skin and was so excited with his find. He decided to go on a treasure hunt all around the garden and ended up finding three snake skins in one day. I could hardly believe it, and he thought he was the luckiest kid ever. When choosing books at the library recently, he wanted field guides and more field guides. Must-See Birds of The Pacific Northwest was a really neat book, sharing places to go to spot certain birds. There are a lot of new places we want to visit now to look for birds, and if you are in the Pacific Northwest and are interested in birds it’s a book I would recommend checking out.
It’s amazing how much preparation goes into a fiber festival that lasts simply a matter of days and is over in the blink of an eye. For every festival and market we sell at, there’s so much work behind the scenes that happens prior. For over a month before the Black Sheep Gathering came, Jeff was helping me set up our pop up booth in our yard on days when the weather was nice. I would then set up a button tying station out there. When it got too hot, I could move to the shade under our booth.
With the extra long stretch of rainy weather we had over the winter, we could hardly stand to be cooped up in the house on those days that were especially gorgeous since we’d been waiting for that beautiful weather for so long. Jeff and I looked for any work that we could bring outdoors to do, and Bracken was grateful every time we did and would be fully occupied catching lizards, finding caterpillars, and watching ants. (And most recently picking berries.)
As I sat barefoot in the grass, tying buttons on cards and listening to the birds one day, I felt that being outside on a day like that was truly the best work environment ever. Of course I couldn’t be out there every day because I had plenty of other tasks to do, but I looked forward to the button days when Bracken and I would spend hours in the garden together. I actually enjoy tying buttons on cards, I find it peaceful and relaxing, and when I can be outside while I do it, that is the best.
While I certainly do enjoy tying buttons on cards, there are only so many I can get done during a given period of time. Last year, when we were getting ready for our fall fiber festival, my friend and I had a button party and she helped me tie buttons on cards. It was so helpful and I was so grateful to her. This year some friends offered to help, and I invited a few other friends who love and use our buttons, and the button party grew. I set up our pop up booth at a park and all the kids ran around and played together while the ladies talked, laughed, and tied buttons. It was wonderful!
Not only did I enjoy the company of friends and simply being together, we got so much accomplished in the relatively short amount of time we had. When I was packing everything up afterwards and putting it back in our car to go home, I couldn’t believe how many button cards we had collectively done! I had organized all the buttons into families in muffin tins before I came that day (Jeff got me a bunch of muffin tins from the thrift store when he had gone to town a few days prior) and then one friend put the ties through all the buttons while the rest of us tied them on. We had a good system going.
My friends were all commenting on how fun it was to tie buttons on cards and we all agreed that it was satisfying to have something tangible to accomplish. (And we joked, as moms, that it was unlike cleaning the house which lasted for a few moments before it was a mess again. Ha!) Jeff and I offered to pay all our friends in buttons (or earrings or shawl pins…), but they all came simply to help us out, and we’ve had to insist they pick something out, so we’ve been setting them up with new earrings and buttons for their projects.
Any buttons we didn’t sell at the festival over the weekend, will help us build up our stock for the next fiber festival. The help is surely appreciated. It’s wonderful when you ask for help and the ones helping really enjoy it. I heard “Let’s do this again!” and “When’s the next button party?” quite a few times, and I felt the same way because we had such a great time. Thank you, thank you to our friends that helped us out this year, we’re so grateful to you all!
P.S. I’ve been asked about the online shop and when it will open again. I wanted to let you know it’s back open!
Yesterday I had an unexpected vacation at an unexpected place. I should first say that we’ve had some issues with our car. We had some work done on our car before we left on our trip, which felt good to do before a long road trip. When we got back, some more work needed to be done. It’s never fun to be spending money on your car (and it really starts adding up!) when you’re trying to save up for things and pay things off, but I don’t feel like I can complain that much because we haven’t had very many problems with our car since we got it and it’s been a great vehicle for us.
That being said, the most recent issue was a bit of a mystery and I had to go to the mechanic quite a few times to get things sorted out. Yesterday they had the final part they said would fix things, but it would take some time. I left the house in a grouchy rush (overwhelmed, hurried, and unorganized = grouchy rush), and Jeff and I hadn’t really communicated enough about how our day would go or about our plans, but I left the boys at home and headed out to get the car fixed. I didn’t want to inconvenience a friend to give me rides, which would have been quite a bit of driving to and from town multiple times that day, and I didn’t want to rent a car for just the morning and part of the afternoon. (We had already rented a vehicle on another day. It’s times like that when it’s challenging to be a one car family, though we’ve managed to make it work for us for many years.)
I thought it would have been nice to spend the day at home because there was so very much that needed to be done, but I decided I would be spending the day in town while the car got fixed. Rather than wait around at the auto shop all day (I have spent quite a bit of time there this winter), our mechanic gave me a ride to the library. Not everyone would have done that and I was incredibly grateful for his kindness. And with that, I spent the day at the library all by myself. I joked that moms needed to take their vacations however they could get them and I was going to have my vacation at the library that day. (Sicks days? I don’t think so. I’m a mom, it’s a full time job.) While Jeff and Bracken spent the day working in the garden and getting things done at home (they ended up having a really fun day just the two of them, a rare treat), I sat in a comfy seat with my knitting, savoring the quiet and peace of the library.
I have to say, I’ve always loved libraries. Libraries make me think of my grandma because she is the one who instilled in me a love for the library in the first place. Now going to the library reminds me of summertime, of my grandma bringing my sister and I to the library for the first time, of the library bags she sewed for us so we would each have our very own library bag, and the excitement of getting our own library cards. And then having row upon row of books to look through and choose from, books that we could check out and bring home… I know, exciting, right? I’ve always loved bookstores too, and I could literally spend days in a bookstore. But there is something special about libraries. A certain kind of magic in the air. Perhaps because everyone is making the effort to be quiet and that overall stillness, and gentleness, makes it feel to me like everyone is holding a certain reverence and respect for the place, that the place is really special somehow.
I don’t know what it is exactly, or how to describe it really, but I guess I love libraries simply because of the way I feel when I walk inside the doors. I feel a sense of peace. So, with that, I guess going to the library for the day was the perfect place for me to have a vacation, really. And as if it wasn’t enough to go somewhere that makes me feel peaceful, I had nothing with me except for some water to drink, and my knitting. Knitting. What more could I need? (Well, some lunch or some snacks would have been nice. In my rush to run out the door that morning I didn’t grab any, but I survived, thanks to the breakfast Jeff sent with me.) The funny thing is I was in the library for so much of the day and I didn’t even look at a single book. I just plopped myself down in a chair and knit.
Later, I moved to a different chair and found a spot where the afternoon sun was shining in the window. I curled up in that seat and felt like a cat, soaking up that warm sunshine, and claiming the best sun-filled seat to be had in the place. Sometimes I crave quiet. Just quiet. And I got plenty of that. To have that much knitting time was a gift. Knitting was just what I needed. At the end of the day I felt my nerves had been soothed, and my mind quieted, like the reset button had been set. When it was time to get my car, I was hungry and definitely ready to leave. I was ready to be home again and be with my family. The mystery problem was solved and our car was fixed at last! Though I don’t want any car repair time to force me into any more vacations anytime soon, I am glad I got that unexpected one. It was pretty nice.
Last week we planned a trip to Corvallis. We were overdue for bringing more buttons (and shawl pins!) to Stash. We head up to Corvallis every so often for that very reason, and I really like Corvallis, but we usually make it a quick trip and haven’t been able to explore the town very much. I thought it would be fun to make a day of it this time and Jeff and I made plans for places we’d like to see while we were there. Unfortunately, Jeff got a cold and needed to stay home, so I figured I’d postpone the exploring for our next trip together (I felt bad continuing our fun plans without him), but he encouraged me to explore the places we had wanted to even though he couldn’t make it. So that’s exactly what Bracken and I did. We called it our adventure day, and the sunny, beautiful weather really added to our feeling of festivity. After our first stop, Stash (where Bracken picked out the yarn for his next sweater, yay!), we went a few doors down to a toy shop and picked out a new sticker book for him, and then we headed to a nearby farm.
When I wrote in February about a farm store in southern Oregon, and how much I love finding good food wherever I travel, a reader named Jennifer recommended checking out an organic farm and restaurant near Corvallis. I took her recommendation (Thanks Jennifer!), and Bracken and I drove to Gathering Together Farm in Philomath. It was a very short drive from Corvallis and I’m so glad we took the time to visit. Everyone working there was so kind and friendly, their farmstand was full of good food, and the atmosphere was wonderful.
I was surprised by how much produce they were able to offer from their farm this time of year, and what wasn’t in season they were able to supplement from elsewhere, so there was ample variety and fresh produce to choose from. We met a couple with whom we share mutual friends, and they used to sell at the Eugene Saturday Market (where we’ve had a booth for years.) What a small world! The restaurant had a clear roof and windows all around, so it felt like we were sitting outside. With the beautiful weather that day, it felt wonderful out there. I wasn’t sure if there would be very many gluten-free options for us to choose from, but the food was amazing with such high quality ingredients and each plate presented as a work of art. We savored our time there.
And then we stopped at the First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op to get some groceries before we started for home. A friend introduced me to the co-op years ago when we went to a nearby farm to pick peaches one summer, and I’ve probably visited it every time I’ve gone to Corvallis since. It’s a great spot! And though it wasn’t a new place for me to explore in Corvallis, it was still an essential stop on my list that day. In addition to the groceries, I picked up two treats for myself, a Honey Mama’s bar, and some Wild Tonic (blueberry and basil are a good combination, who knew?)
Finally, as we were driving home, we stopped by Sunset Valley Organics. I had seen their farm sign each time we had driven by and was curious to check it out. Since we were all out of blueberries (a dire situation in our household since frozen blueberries are a beloved nightly ritual), it was the perfect time to go and pick up more blueberries to last us until blueberry season comes again. We brought home frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, and tried some aronia berries for the first time. (Ever heard of them? They are so good for you. Jeff loves the dried ones.)
And with that, we headed home, and brought back some good food with us for Jeff to enjoy. I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the places we enjoyed visiting in Corvallis during our adventure day, in case you happen to be passing through at some point. For those of you familiar with the area, what are some of your favorite places to visit and eat in Corvallis? (I know our stops revolved around yarn and food, but we do enjoy other activities as well, so don’t feel limited to only mentioning places involving those two things.) Thanks in advance, it will give us some ideas for our next trip because we have a lot more exploring to do!
Since we’ve been reminiscing, I thought it would be fun to share this picture of Jeff selling his handmade jewelry at Stanford in the 70’s. I love this picture. Jeff has always loved making things and in 1974 started selling his artwork to make a living, and did that throughout his twenties. (He likes to joke about his days “going to Stanford.”) After that period of time he started working other jobs. He worked all sorts of jobs from working as a phone man, to working at a software company, to working at a mill, to working as a certified nursing assistant at a senior care facility and as a peer adviser at a community college. He also started a landscaping business and did odd jobs. Being the maniac (or “working fool” as we like to say) that he was, he often had three jobs at one time.
When I met Jeff he was getting up at two in the morning, delivering the rural newspaper, and then going to the post office after that and delivering the rural mail. He wasn’t getting enough sleep at that time and he was exhausted. One day we were cleaning up around his house and I found some of his old artwork in a drawer. I had no idea he was such an artist and was blown away. There was a long period of his life where his artwork had been forgotten about. I told him that he should start creating artwork again.
Then I encouraged him to make a living from his artwork once more, and joined him in that endeavor. And with that, he started bringing his dreams back to life. It was a leap of faith to start our business with hardly any money and to not have a steady paycheck. It was sometimes very stressful, yet we both knew it was the right path for us. We’ve had to work very hard to support ourselves this way, but it’s been incredibly rewarding. Every job he had taught him something and gave him a plethora of experiences along his journey, but out of all the jobs Jeff has ever had, making things has always been his favorite. And I’m very glad to see him doing what he loves.
Oh, that sunshine! What a treat that was! To leave grey skies and cold and then enter a world of warmth, abundant sunlight, and flowers… we sure appreciated our time in Florida, that’s for sure. There were trips to the beach and Bracken found his first sea glass with the help of his uncle, which he was super excited about. (We were also told there is a beach in Oregon that’s great for finding sea glass, anyone know where that is?) We swam in my mom’s pool and I dove in the ocean once (quickly, because my sister had just been stung by a jellyfish.)
It’s rare for me to swim in the ocean where we live in Oregon because it’s so cold, but I’m always amazed at how warm the ocean is in southern Florida even in the wintertime. Saltwater and sand make me happy. I absolutely love the feeling of saltwater on my skin and swimming in the ocean always feels so regenerating and cleansing on such a deep level. And bare feet on the sand? That feels amazing too. Everything about being at the beach feels amazing, especially when it’s so warm.
After letting our skin soak up a little sunshine, we would put on our sunhats and layers. My mom bought a scooter (with light up wheels!) for Bracken to use and he practiced using it on our walks. We went on walks at night too, to see the wheels in action. In other exciting news (to us), Bracken picked a few limes from his grandma’s tree and it seemed that everything we made in the kitchen needed just one more ingredient- some fresh squeezed lime juice. Wow, that tastes good, but do you know what would make it taste really amazing? Some lime. Yes! Yes! Some lime!
We enjoyed local seafood at restaurants (my sister and I were both craving some Florida seafood) and made lots of meals at home too. I told my mom that she fed us all like kings and queens while we were there. All the meals gave me so much inspiration to bring home to my own kitchen (and the lamb my uncle marinated in olive oil, lime juice, garlic, and fresh rosemary is definitely worth repeating!)
The best part of the whole trip was getting to spend time with family. We had a few days with my mom and grandma and then my sister and her husband joined us, followed by my mom’s boyfriend and my aunt and uncle. When my mom’s friend came over for dinner, their table that night was as full as it could be, and we had a lot of fun.
Bracken caught a lizard and then kept it as a pet (for a few hours) until he could show his aunt and uncle when they arrived, and then he let it go. After that he enlisted the help of anyone who was willing, to catch more lizards. They were cute and tiny and were a highlight of his time in Florida, to be sure. Oh, and we also saw seahorses for the first time, in an aquarium. What magical little creatures they are! We were enamored.
We had such a great time and in some ways it was hard to leave, but we were ready to come home. I’m still lingering a bit in those warm pictures, though!
It all started with organizing my knitting and then it took off from there. I’ll start with the knitting. Whenever I organize my knitting it makes me happy. Really, just looking at my yarn makes me happy. Years ago when I discovered some woolen socks in a drawer that had moth holes in them, I knew it was time to change the way I stored my precious yarn. Before that I had my wool yarn sitting out in the open. If I remember correctly, I stuck it all in the freezer for awhile (to kill any potential moth eggs) and then I purchased a plastic tub to store it in. I told my friend that it made me sad not to be able to see my yarn anymore so I had to go and buy a new tub that was clear plastic so I could still see it. Funny, but true!
Since then my stash has grown, thanks to so many trades at fiber festivals, but the method for storing my yarn has stayed the same. I have one tub for yarn and another tub that has all of my knitting needles and folders filled with patterns. I have limited myself to two tubs and was proud of myself for letting go of some yarn recently and sharing it with a friend. I have enough yarn to keep me busy knitting for a long time. I thought I’d share how I organize some of my knitting things, in case any of you would find it interesting or helpful. I love to see the way people organize things because I always need new inspiration for that.
Most of my double pointed knitting needles are in a colored pencil holder I got a long time ago. I’ve been wanting to sew a similar case that is larger to hold them all, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. My circular needles have a twisty tie around them. Nothing fancy, but it works. (If you have any ideas, please share!) Once upon a time I had a binder for patterns, but it got to be a pain to three-hole punch everything. Later I got folders and then simply paper-clipped the pages of each pattern together and then put the patterns in the different folders. I’ve been happy with that method because I can easily find any patterns I’m looking for.
While I am knitting I put my current pattern in a plastic page protector and then use highlighter tape to mark where I am in the pattern. I use the page protector because I have had the writing on many patterns rub off and fade away. I fold them, and they rub up against my knitting bag until they are no longer legible, so the page protector has been quite useful to avoid that. The highlighter tape really helps me easily see where I am. I love highlighter tape! I showed my friend my little knitting bag with my measuring tape (the one my grandma got me in my first sewing kit is still going strong), scissors, tapestry needles, stitch markers, and more. I admitted to my friend that, yes, I am a knitting nerd. I love office supply stores, finding the perfect pen, and my little knitting bag full of helpful tidbits.
My knitting has not always been so organized, but I’ve found it essential to streamline over the years if I want to have any time to knit. When I’m running out the door and want to grab a knitting project to bring along, I need to have everything easily accessible or it’s just not going to happen. Yarn. Boom. Knitting Needles. Boom. Pattern. Boom. And I’m on my way.
I didn’t intend for this whole post to be about knitting, but that does tend to happen when I start writing about it. When I organized my knitting tubs after the holidays, my organizing kicked into full gear and I started tackling the house. It started with one nook here or one room there, but before I knew it I was rearranging and needed to move furniture from one spot to another and all over the place.
Jeff called from town one day to see if I had remembered anything else I needed and I warned him that the entire living room was being rearranged and would be quite different when he got back. He trusted me and let me do my thing. He didn’t doubt what I was doing, but I did. I didn’t doubt it with the initial surge of energy to clean, but later when the contents of all the shelves and dressers I was moving were sprawled all over every floor and surface. At that point I was rearranging and reorganizing the entire house and so many parts and pieces were being moved from one room to another that it was impossible to focus on one area at a time, it was one giant dance of moving parts. And it was messier than it had ever been.
My, what I got myself into! I recognized after the holidays that I had a rare window of opportunity, without any markets or festivals, to catch up on some major cleaning that really needed to be done, but I had no idea just how long it was going to take to wrap up what I had started. Weeks of cleaning and organizing (while trying to keep up with daily life tasks like mailing out orders, making meals, keeping up with the laundry and all that.) Weeks of wanting to throw my hands into the air and yell “What in the world are we going to do with all this stuff?” And also wondering how this could be our house and how it could possibly be so messy. There were times I wanted to grab garbage bags and just start chucking stuff out the window, but I kept myself in check and instead went through it all bit by bit. And I filled box after box to bring to the thrift store. Each box we hauled out of the house felt so good!
Bracken also received lots of toys over the holidays, so we had to re-think his play area and also do some downsizing, letting go of some toys he didn’t care much about or play with. I might have whined and complained to my mom every time she called, about being so tired of cleaning and organizing and trying to figure out where to fit everything (like the many display pieces for our booth), but eventually things started falling into place and I began to feel more positive about what I had gotten myself into. Meanwhile, Jeff was busy working in his shop everyday. He didn’t have much of a break after our busy holiday season before he dove back into work to get ready for our next festival. That’s why our whole family enjoyed and appreciated that day away at the coast. A good breather indeed!
And the cleaning project? Reorganizing and rearranging so many parts of our house was a huge task. I’m not a fan of clutter or having too much stuff, I find it distracts me from what I want to spend my time focusing on. Cleaning and organizing are two things that make me really happy (I’m a Virgo), but tackling so much at once was downright overwhelming. It showed me just how much it needed to be done, though. We donated things and gave things away to friends and even hauled an old ugly chair to the dump that not even the thrift store would want. We even let go of things that we loved, but never used, to friends who would enjoy them.
So much progress has been made so far, and yet there’s still plenty left to do. The month of February will be an especially busy month for us and now we’re heading out to visit family. The rest of the organizing will have to wait until later and I finished the last big hurrah today, for the time being. I have to ignore some of the clutter still waiting to be sorted. But, oh, how much better it feels! I didn’t want to wait for spring cleaning this year, it felt good to start out the new year lightening our load and spending January organizing our space and simplifying. It reminded me that we want to keep the things that bring us joy and let go of the things we are holding onto for no reason, really, just because they’re there. Sometimes, less is more.
On our way back from our day at the coast, not only did we have great timing to see the lighthouse all lit up, but we got to see the most breathtaking sunset over the ocean. (These pictures really don’t do it justice.) Hunting for fossils was fun and so was visiting the aquarium (not to mention the good food we enjoyed and didn’t have to cook ourselves, which is such a treat), but the highlight of the day for me, besides getting to spend time with my family and have an adventure day together, was seeing that sunset. (Last year I got to watch the sun rise over the ocean for the first time, when I was in Florida, and it was simply magical.)
Jeff pulled the car over twice so I could take pictures of it on our way home. The sunset made me stop and pause, there was nothing I could do but marvel at the beauty of it and hope to somehow capture a fraction of that beauty in my pictures. The second place we stopped to take pictures also happened to be a great place to see sea lions and there were more there that evening than we had ever seen in that spot before. We watched them far below on the beach, on the rocks, and swimming in the water.
That day was really just what we all needed- a break from all the tasks we were fully immersed in at home and a breath of fresh air before we dove back in. Simply a day away can be so regenerating on such a deep level, but then topping it off with that sunset was like overflowing the cup for me. Truly, witnessing that gorgeous sunset was the perfect ending to that day for us. We loved watching the boats all lit up, moving across the water. I was only able to capture a few in the frame of my lens, but there were many more boats on the ocean and the darker the sky became, the more they looked like stars scattered across the water.
The chickens are on clean up duty once again, ranging all over the garden, and loving the freedom from their yard and all the good things to eat. We’re hardly getting any eggs right now, it’s that time of year when the eggs slow down. There was a break in the rain yesterday and the sun came out, so Bracken and I decided to take that opportunity to get some fresh air and some time outside. I hauled bags of chicken feed to the coop and we walked around the garden. I was surprised to see that there were still a few flowers blooming in Bracken’s garden.
Life has been especially busy for us lately. Last week I had so much energy, which was good because I was going, going, going nonstop- first weekend of market, down to visit family, in town for Jeff’s surgery, and then one day at home to catch up on everything (and make sure there would be enough firewood in the house while I was gone) before the second weekend of market with three market days- until suddenly that abundance of energy ran out and a deep exhaustion hit me. I came home from Holiday Market on Friday night so incredibly tired that I wanted to cry, but I was too tired to cry, too tired to do anything but go to sleep as soon as possible. I know, it sounds a bit dramatic, but I’ve noticed that everything becomes dramatic with lack of sleep, like our brains move into emergency mode until that much-needed rest can be found.
The next morning I woke up feeling so much better. Jeff was still needing to rest and take it easy, but he wanted to come to market on Saturday, so the whole family went that day. On Sunday, he couldn’t help me carry out any of our things at the end of the day because he isn’t supposed to lift anything heavy for awhile, so I went to the market by myself. I was glad they stayed home that day because by the time I packed up and drove home (this is the time of year, when it gets dark so early and we commute much more than usual, that the drive from town to our place really starts to wear on me), it was nearly 8 o’clock, I was exhausted to my core, I hadn’t eaten dinner yet, and Jeff had a delicious soup all ready for me. They had a fun day at home, I came home to a warm house and a warm meal, and Jeff had been working on online orders for the shop. He was feeling behind in his work from having surgery the week before. (He is doing really well, thank you for all the kind comments you’ve been leaving!) It made Monday morning a better start for us, feeling a little less behind.
This week is a busy one too, and we’ve been working to catch up on the online orders that have been coming in (thank you!), and getting ready for another weekend at the Holiday Market coming up. (Two weekends down, four more to go!) Even though this week, and this time of year, is so busy for us, I have decided not to scrimp on my sleep again no matter how busy we are. Last week I had too many days of waking up super early and going to bed much later than usual. Too many days in a row with not enough sleep hit me and I felt incredibly exhausted and not like myself at all. Usually I’m good about valuing my sleep and making sure I get enough, but last week was an exception. This week I’ve been making sleep a priority. I’ve been going to bed early, sleeping in if I need it, and savoring the feeling of sleep.
During the days, I work hard, but when the time comes I drop the work for rest. I’m more productive when I’m rested and I need to take care of myself to get through this busy time of year. I titled this post Chickens & Sleep but I’ve hardly written about the chickens at all, mostly about sleep. I’m writing about this because maybe some of you have been letting your self-care fall by the wayside during this busy season, and have been feeling it too, and could use a loving reminder to take care of yourself and get plenty of sleep. Consider this your loving reminder.
“O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head.”
-Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg – Her Dream