Friday, April 30, 2010

Can you guess what is happening in this picture????

Can you guess what is happening in the picture below???

Here...I'll give you a hint...

If you look in the corner of the above picture you can see the skunk that infiltrated our henhouse...
when Keith went out last night he found the torn apart corpses of our 3 baby chicks, (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday)...we blamed the chickens, as chickens are known to kill baby chicks, but then a look behind a straw bale revealed this little critter looking up at us.  After Keith got out of the henhouse we had to find a way to get it out, because we have broody hens sitting on nests of future was decided that the telescopic shovel was the weapon of choice, which he used well to knock over all the straw bales, revealing the skunk in his or her full glory.  Then he banged a shovel on the henhouse walls and the skunk finally ran out the front door, (after about an hour).  Of course it didn't leave without leaving us a reminder that it was here...I'll just say that even the chickens didn't want to go into the henhouse last night.

And here is the ACTION shot...

Yes!  That is Keith, my nature loving partner, throwing a rock at the skunk!!!  Luckily his aim was off and he missed...however, the skunk was back again last night to try to get back into our coop.  Now, off to look for a youtube video on how to catch a skunk!!!

Here are some totally useless facts about skunks:
 In Minnesota it is illegal to tease a skunk.
Spotted skunks do handstands before they spray.
Skunks are omnivores and eat fruit, insects, and fish...they are even known to eat rattlesnakes!
Great horned owls will swoop down at night and carry off skunks to eat...they do not smell the skunks offensive odour.

Skunky Love

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rainbow Soup

3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 cups chopped, peeled sweet potatoes or winter squash
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup shredded kale
1/2 cup finely sliced carrots
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes (or canned)
3/4 cup chopped sweet peppers
1-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
3 1/2 cups stock or water
Dash of cinnamon, dash of cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tamari
2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon salt

In a soup kettle sauté onions, garlic, celery, and sweet potatoes in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
Add seasonings, except the tamari, and the stock or water. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes.
Add remaining vegetables and cooked chickpeas. Simmer another 10 minutes or so until all the vegetables are as tender as you like them.
The beauty in this soup is the assortment of veggies you can use! Pretty much combine as much color as you can into the soup with what ever you have on hand. You can add in others like broccoli , zucchini, roasted red peppers  ~ this  soup so flexible. I also love to add in a cup or two of left over grains from my fridge (quinoa, rice...or a mixture). It's a hearty meal with lots of room to be creative.

 in rainbows


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Create a garden goddess for May Day!!!

When Ruby was about 3 yrs old, I began the yearly tradition of making a garden goddess.  The idea comes from a fantastic book "Celebrating the Great Mother" by Cait Johnson.  We do this craft together before every May Day, so our Goddess is ready to look over our garden and take care of the seeds we are sowing!

Here is a tutorial on how to make your own garden goddess...
you will need:
a stick
face of some sort, (you could craft your own from clay), I have a mould and use fimo bake clay
scraps of fabric, ribbon, yarn
gemstones, beads, wire
crystals, feathers...
whatever tickles your fancy!!
a eye hook, (for hanging her up)

To start, we put a bead of glue on our stick and then attach the ribbon or fabric scraps to the glue, start wrapping...there is no right or wrong way, just wrap...change fabrics, add ribbon...

  Ruby is wrapping some torn fabric around her soon to be Goddess!

This is what mine looked like when it was done...

Then add beads, wrap bits of yarn around, glue gems, wrap wire around...go to town!!!
Remember...there is no right or wrong way to do this!!

On the back of my face, I like to add some feathers...

Here is Ruby's finished Goddess, hanging up in our Oak tree, looking up the hill at our garden...
(mine is at the top of the post)

Alternately, you could also use a bigger stick and just "stick" it in your garden somewhere.  I love putting our goddess in the tree and letting the wind and rain and sunshine change her over the course of the season...when harvest time is over, we go out and take her apart, save what we can, and burn the stick, (thanking Mother Earth for a job well done!).  However, these goddesses are so pretty I've also had friends hang them in their porch, so they can savour them over the course of many seasons!

May Day is a day to celebrate Mother Earth in her time of flowering...make it a day to link with our ancestral past and honour Mother Earth in all her radiant glory!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How To Really Love A Child ~ By Sark

Be there. Say yes as often as possible. Let them make lots of noise. If they’re crabby, put them in water. If they’re unlovable, love yourself. Realize how important it is to be a child. Go to a movie theater in your pajamas. Read books out loud with joy. Invent pleasures together. Remember how really small they are. Giggle a lot. Surprise them. Say no when necessary. Teach feelings. Heal your own inner child. Learn about parenting. Hug trees together. Make loving safe. Bake a cake and eat it with no hands. Go find elephants and kiss them. Plan to build a rocketship. Imagine yourself magic. Make lots of forts with blankets. Reveal your own dreams. Search out the positive. Keep the gleam in your eye. Encourage silly. Plant licorice in your garden. Open up. Stop yelling. Express your love. A lot.
Speak kindly. Paint their tennis shoes. Handle with caring. Children are miraculous.

Madre Natura by Holly Sierra
Check out her gorgeous work ~

Sark's words inspire me ~ hope they leave you inspired too!

Imagining myself magic...

Monday, April 26, 2010

In the garden...

Oh...for the LOVE of digging!!!

The whole day was spent blissfully in the garden.  I love this time of year...usually my ambitious nature grabs ahold and I have plans for a garden that is bigger, better, and more bountiful than the garden of the year past.
I garden with passion, with wild ambition and most importantly, I garden with hope!!   There is no greater pleasure than putting in a little seed and "hoping" that it will grow.  Days pass, and I go up to my garden day after day, just waiting, aching for those first little green heads to poke their way through the ground.  It is a miracle in action, and while I know the science behind the process of seeds turning into plants, it's still pretty mind blowing.

Matilda watching the neighbours tractor in the field

We have almost all of our cold weather crops in...spinach, carrots, beets, onions, parsnips, peas, and tomorrow will come the rutabagas, more onions, and some flowers!!   It's lovely to include children in the garden...while I was raking and digging the beds, Matilda was beside me with a little garden spade and bucket, digging and dumping and then coming in for a kiss or hug!  Ruby was busy climbing trees and talking it up with the farmer and his dog, "Blackie",who was fixing up the fence posts the keep his cows in the pasture next door to us.  On a day like today I think my life just may be enchanted!! 

The flowers forming on our lilacs...

In honour of planting, flowers and is a little poem to share
(I am a huge fan of classic poetry, and love to share it with my kids)!

A Garden
A sensitive plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light,
And closed them beneath the kisses of night.

And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
And the Spirit of Love fell everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry nest.
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

In gardening bliss

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Last day of Fairy week... Fairies ain't just for kids!

Dressing up has always been a passion of mine and as a mama, halloween gives me an excuse to ignite that playful creativity. I created this costume last fall and had so much FUN doing it!  Natures autumn bounty was my inspiration ~ The skirt is broom grass, hydrangeas, big leaves (not sure of the name), oak leaves and maple leaves ~ wand is grass, feathers and cat tails ~ necklace is milkweed pods and feathers...

the wings were created with big, beautiful leaves I had collected. I pressed the to dry in big books and then glue gunned them to nylon/wire wings...

 and of course I had to top the costume off with  lots of shimmer and sparkles!

In fae frolics ...


Friday, April 23, 2010

It's Fairy Week...Let's Make a Fairy Ring!!!

A great way to invite fairies into your yard is to plant a ring of dainty flowers. 

All you need to make a fairy ring of your own is an assortment of delicate flowers.  The only flowers we could get at this time of the year, (when we still have frost at night), were violas and pansies.  These flowers are not only dainty, but hardy as well...oh, and they are edible to boot!

Find a space in your garden that feels positively enchanted, and plant your flowers...nice to have a good assortment of colour.  If you put something shiny and bright in the centre of your fairy ring like a brightly coloured stone, piece of beach glass, a penny, or shell it will help the fairies find your ring at night, (because that's when fairies dance!).  Alternately, or in addition, you can hang some crystals or ribbons from the trees, which is another way to get the fairies to have a visit.  Legend has it that if the fairies have visited your ring they will send you a little gift.  Perhaps a beautiful sunset, or a feather, the wind whistling through the trees...the next time you see or hear one of these things, remember, it just may be a gift from fairy folk!

Here is our finished fairy ring...with our toadstool in the middle.

Let's give those lovely little fairies some little rings to dance in the world over!!
Fairy Love
As a little bonus, this is a fantastic website that our friend Jen told us about during a long and cold winter...go here to print out and make some fairies of your very own, (they also have many other enchanting and delightful "jointed" dolls and animals to make!! 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Fairy Week...Let's Make Fairy Houses and Honour Mother Earth!!!

Solana, peeking for fairies inside her house

The girls and I enjoyed a magikal day creating these enchanting fairy houses. In the journey of homeschooling there are times I find it hard to move away from being productive and just play! This was a wonderful opportunity for me to crouch down low and peer into the wee world of faries through their eyes...

We used natures bounty from all around and also used moss and other tidbits we had collected last year, just before the snow fell.  These fairy houses were actually created last year and then covered up with big pieces of bark for the winter. It was wonderful to uncover them this spring and freshen them up with some fine new furniture and fae decor. Luna has an entire family living in hers ~ Marigold, Clover and the twin babies Rosy and Posie.  We always quietly tiptoe and whisper when approaching their homes, so as to not scare them off. We are still awaiting a sneak peek one of these days....

Here is the inside of one of the houses...a couple of beds and some chairs...what more could a fairy need???

Here is a close up of Luna Rose's fairy beds and table...

Fairy houses are enchanting spaces that awaken a deep sense of wonder within...

Solana gathering more material, to make a soft place for the fairies to lie...

In whimsical imaginings...
~ Shanti~  

Please check out the book "Fairy Houses" by Tracy Kane
and the official Fairy Houses website HERE with info and guidelines for building your own Fairy House!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's Fairy Week...let's make some pinecone fairies!!!

Every Autumn I get outside and collect bags and bags of fallen acorns, acorn tops, pinecones and milk weed pods.  I love being inspired by nature, and love creating beautiful things with Mother Nature's fallen bounty!  I put all these treasures into our craft cupboard, so I have them handy for when inspiration hits!!

Today we got together with some of our favourite fairy loving friends, and crafted some beautiful pinecone fairies.  If you want to join in on the fun, here's what you'll need:

Pinecones, (the fatter and rounder the better)
2 milk weed pod halves
an acorn, and if you want a little hat...
an acorn cap!
glue gun and glue sticks
and a pipe cleaner...any colour you wish

:It's so simple.  Take your pinecone and wrap the pipecleaner around the top will wrap it around several times, until it is a length you like.  Next glue the acorn on top, with the pointy end facing forward.  If you want a little hat then glue can acorn cap onto the top of the head.

Next glue the milk weed pod halves to the back, and there you have it...a little natural fairy!  You can put a little treasure in the fairies hand...just wrap the pipe cleaner around it!

This craft is easy peasy, and is sure to delight the little people in your life!  (not to mention,  a great addition to any nature table)!  Of course, our wonderfully sparkly girls just "had" to add some sparkly flowers and hearts to theirs!

In honour of fairy's a silly little song:
(sung to the tune of Jack and Jill)

Dawn and Dave hid in a cave
To try and catch a fairy;
Dawn got wet and waved her net
And caught a small canary.
*for fun, replace the names Dawn and Dave with the names of your own children!

Sparkly Fairy Love

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's Fairy Week...Let's make an outdoor Fairy Garden!!!

Awhile back we tried our hand at being true off griders.  We lived in this little one room cabin in the woods with no hydro and no running water.  I bought a little washtub, that I romantically thought we would use as or bathtub, when I look at the size of it, I have to laugh.  However, it's the perfect size for a little fairy garden!!


If you want to make your own outdoor fairy garden here is a list of supplies you will need:
washtub, or other large size planter
Black earth, or potting soil, (a couple big bags should do)
gemstones or crystals
shells, (every size goes)
twigs, pinecones
plants, (we used succulents, tulips and violas)

We started by filling the tub with soil.  Then we planted the succulents, tulips and violas

Ruby did most of the work herself, planting the plants, (I just helped to divide them), and putting in all the decorations.  She made a little sand box, which is outlined by her gems, and used a big seashell as a pond, (complete with a crab shell floating in it).  When I went to the store today, I found some violas on sale outside, so I picked some up as a surprise addition to the fairy garden.

And here it is...totally finished!  We even found a little log end, and some acorn tops, perfect for a fairy sized table and chairs set!  I think the goal here is to get it started, provide the inspiration and let the kids be totally involved in the act of creating it!  Every now and then during the day I would catch a glimpse of her adding something or other to her garden, filling the pool with water and rearranging crystals!  I'm sure it will be a little corner of magic on my porch.  I can hardly wait until the fairies find it and enjoy a lazy evening splashing in the shell pond!

In ending I wanted to share a lovely little poem I found by Robert Louis Stevenson. 

The Flowers
All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse,
Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames--
These must all be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown up people's trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fairy Cards

                                                                                           By Josephine WallThe Forest Fairy
In a sunlit glade, far from human sight the wood fairy happily gathers wild anemones. Full of the joys of spring, she adores the suns warm rays and delights in the freedom of Nature\'s woodland bounty.

In honor of fairy week ~
here is a fae ~ fabulous link to free fairy Ecards!

in spritely delight

It's Fairy Week...Let's Craft Some Fairy peg people!!!

I've decided that this is going to be fairy week at my house.  Sometimes I feel that our homeschool routine can get a bit stagnant, and we need to do something fun to mix it up a bit.  So, I'm appealing directly to my daughters innate sense of wonder with the world, her belief in magic and her love of creating new and beautiful things!  I plan on sharing our daily creations with you, and links where you can find fantastic fairy crafts, printables, etc...

Today we are crafting up some fairy peg people!  We used some unfinished wooden, flat bottomed peg people, various bits of material, ribbon, buttons, artifical flowers and a glue gun!
These are her finished fairies, standing on and under the rainbow bridge!

Ruby covered the bodies of the peg people with fabric.  The wings and hair are made with artifical flowers, and the leaves from the same flowers, she even made a little cape for the red fairy.  Basically I just gave her the concept, and let her do the rest.  I think she did a splendid job!  It's a wonderful thing, to let your children just "create" without interference. the spirit of creativity...craft some fairies with someone you love today!!!!
In laughter and light

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Velvet Green Soup

"Spring" into spring with a detoxifying soup that tastes good! I know it looks a little strange ~ green soup?! but oh so delish. One of my favorite things about this soup is that it can be ready to eat in under 25 minutes.
Cauliflower is one of those superfoods that help fight cancer and assists in stimulating the liver out of stagnancy. Adding collard greens or kale like I did here makes it more of a one pot meal — these greens fortify the soup with calcium, iron and chlorophyll. You could use spinach or chard too.
I plan to make lots of this soup, come summer, when kale and chard are abundant in my garden!

Velvet Green Soup

1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
sea salt
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets (use stem too)
filtered water
5 large kale or collard leaves, stems removed and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 2 tsp dried to taste
3 tablespoons tahini
fresh black pepper or hit of cayanne

Warm oil in a large pot over medium heat, add onions and saute for 4 or 5 minutes. Add garlic and salt and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Add cauliflower and pour in filtered water until it reaches just below the surface of the cauliflower, don’t add too much, you can always add more later when blending the soup. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Add greens, stir and simmer a few minutes longer. Remove from heat, stir in dill and tahini. let sit 5 minutes to cool slightly. Using an upright blender, blend soup in batches until smooth, adding more water it’s too thick. Return to pot and season with extra salt and pepper.

Enjoy this soup and its velvety deliciousness.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nature Awareness Month...the Outdoor Challenge-Fox Ears

I swear that this is not a posed picture...this is Ruby and her friend Merlin trying to use their fox ears to hear some prey.  I was amazed at how "into" it they escalated into a game of "animals", and there was tree climbing and hill rolling.  What a fun day!

Get outside!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My first knitted hat...

Matilda in her new hat...just in time for summer...ha!

Oh my goodness...I love my knitting friend Stephanie, who sat me down and demanded that I learn how to knit one day, (this past January to be percise).  I actually thought I was incapable of knitting, after trying to learn years ago, but it appears that I just needed a different with the patience of a saint!
So, after knitting a few long scarf like rectangles, I decided to move onto better, rounder things!  We took a trip down to Perth and Carleton Place in February, to check out the knit shops, and holy yarn!!!  The beautiful wool and alpaca and can't help but inspire one to think outside of the box.
I decided that I would start on a hat for little miss Matilda first.  Here is the pattern I used for her hat, (and please bear with me, as this is the first time I have ever tried to pass on a knitting pattern).  I should mention that this pattern is courtesy of my friend Stephanie, who guided me along every step of the way.

Baby Hat
you will need
4.5 mm circular 40-cm needles
4.5 mm double pointed needles, (4)
I used 1 1/4 balls of SITAR (Nashua) in Deep Blue Seas

First cast on 80 stitches onto your circular needles.  Then on your second round you will be doing K2, P2 all the way around...continue doing this for about an inch.
What I did after this was add some extra stitches, (in a feeble attempt to make something tam-like), I increased by 10 stitches in plain knit stitch, and continued doing plain knit stitch all the way around for the next 4 inches.  Then you get to begin decreasing, (this is where the fun begins).  Make sure you have an even number of stitches on your should have 90 stitches.
For every 10 stitches you do, you will want to add a this once around, then begin decreasing by knitting your last 2 stitches together before each marker.  (so, you will be knitting stitches 9 & 10 together), and so on.  Do this once around, and then knit all the way around without decreasing.  Then you will decrease again...(now you are knitting stitches 8 & 9 together), do this all the way around, and then knit all the way around without decreasing.  Continue doing this until it starts to feel uncomfortable and difficult to knit.  I think I started to feel a bit "stretched", when I had about 3 stitches left between each marker.  Now you are going to want to transfer onto your double pointed needles.  You will be dividing however many stitches you have left by 3, and putting equal stitches onto each needle.  You are just knitting your stitches onto your new double pointed needles, (it's not that hard)!  Using your 4th double pointed needle, continue with the above decreasing and then knitting around...until you have about 3 stitches left per needle.  This is when you will want to clip off a tail of yarn, and using a large eyed needle/darning needle you will weave your tail through your stitches and pull tight.  Then sew your yarn into the hat! 
I realize that this pattern is not for experienced knitters, but I just want to encourage those of you who are stuck on rectangles, squares, what have you, to think outside of the box and knit a hat!!!
If you wanted to knit a hat for an older child, I would start by casting on 90 stitches, (I am doing a hat for my 6 yr old, and it seems to be turning out well)!

This is the top of the reminds me of an umbilical stump!

If you are interested in knitting with the same lovely yarn, you can order some HERE, at the Real Wool Shop in Carleton Place, Ontario...they will ship to anywhere, and do it fast!  Also, I have discovered that YOU TUBE is full of great knitting tutorials...from casting on, to purling, to plain ol encouragement!

Happy knitting!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Stunning Hummus

I have found that beautiful food is a magnet to young and old alike.  When I first discovered this hummus and shared it with friends and family, I was happy to see how it drew people in with ohh ahhh what is that?!  The secret ingredient for this beautiful hummus...roasted beets. They add a lovely earthy sweetness.  If your children are not a huge fan of hummus ~ try this version and watch their eyes light up and the bowl of it offered, quickly disappear! We enjoy this as a dip for fresh veggies or corn chips, on rice cakes, in pita sandwiches ~ so many way to savour!


1-2 medium beets
1 can of chickpeas (or soak and cook your own!)
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup tahini or sesame paste (this is a paste of seasame seeds, most likely found in the “ethnic” section of your grocery store or an oriental / near eastern grocery store.)
2 tsp cumin
1 fresh squeezed lemon
olive oil and juice from roasting the beets ~ until the right consistancy
sea salt to taste
hit of cayenne (if only for the older folks)


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large roasting pan covered with foil and half filled with water , roast the beets for 40-70 minutes, or until smooth when poked with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then peel and cut into small chunks.

In a food processor, chop the beets,  garlic, and chickpeas together until smooth. Add the tahini and cumin, and process again. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then replace the lid. While the blades are running, slowly add the lemon juice, olive oil  and beet water into the mixture until the hummus is at your desired consistency.
Makes 2-3 cups hummus

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Butterfly Mobile...

In honor of our first butterfly sighting of the year, I decided that a butterfly mobile would be the perfect way to celebrate the emerging of our fluttery friends!

You will need a butterfly template which can be found HERE (I found this one doing a search for "printable butterfly templates...if you don't like it, then continue the search where I left off)

Origami paper, wrapping paper, anything with a colourful pattern, and also some solid coloured paper
The inside hoop of an embroidery hoop
Glue Stick

Cut out as many butterflies as you wish out of your patterned paper...using the template butterfly to trace around.  Cut out an equal amount of butterflies out of the solid coloured paper.

Cut your thread into various lengths...I did some 36 inches, some 20 inches...a nice variety of lengths is key.

Take your thread and patterned butterflies, tape the butterflies to the thread, on the backside of this, glue down a solid coloured butterfly...your thread will be sandwiched in between.  I left about 5 inches of space in between butterflies, but you decide how many you want per thread.

When  you have done as many butterflies as you wish, tie your thread onto your embroidery hoop at intervals.  Tie four lengths of thread to form a hanger, and hang!

Isn't it gorgeous??!!!  The perfect way to honour our butterfly friends...not to mention what a delightful home brightener!!!!

In craftiness

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wooden Eggs for Easter!!!

Today we got some eggs ready for Easter/Spring.  I bought some unfinished wooden eggs in various sizes and also some unfinished wooden egg cups.  We used some food grade beeswax polish on them, (deciding to go "natural" this year with our eggs).

Here is Ruby putting some beeswax polish onto the eggs...this is such a great thing for kids to do!

Are these eggs not simply gorgeous?!  Now to make some lovely little nests to hold them in!

Happy April everyone!

"April, April,
the snow is gone.
April, April,
the flowers have come.
April, April,
green and brown,
Bells on your collar
and willow on your crown.
April, April
watch the sky,
the showers are sweet,
but soon go by.
April, April,
where are your leaves?
they'll be here,
for winter's gone
and Spring is near."
-Elsa Beskow (from "Around the Year")

love and light...Maureen



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