Monday, May 11, 2015
As a family that lives in tune with the shifting seasons, I find comfort in the return of seasonal rituals and rhythms. With each year we grow and change, individually and as a family, yet the rituals and rhythms that ground us fall into place in a similar way.
With the sun rising so early this time of year it means a return to my early morning runs. I quietly sneak out of our home just before the sun rises, leash up Shelby, our dog, and hit the pavement for a run. Those first few steps are always the hardest, but I soon find my rhythm and sink into it. The air is filled with silence as I begin, but then a bird calls out, and another, and another, and before you know it the air is alive with birdsong, as the sun begins her gentle rise over the hills. If I am lucky, as I was last week, red foxes and deer often cross my path as the rhythm of my feet on the pavement creates the perfect environment for my mind to wander and think. I don't run every morning, just three, and on the other mornings, I exercise, do a few yoga poses and meditate, and get a loaf of bread in the oven (a necessity before it gets too hot). Then I make a cup of tea and head outside for a quiet walk in the garden as the sun rises. The early morning garden is a peaceful place to be, and certainly provides a certain grounding sensation for the day ahead.
There are daily walks in the woods with my little man, observing with a keen eye, the changes occurring on a daily basis. Buds are bursting forth with leaves, and new flowers are blooming every few days. We spotted the first wild strawberry flowers, and the trilliums are up, blanketing the forest floor in white. Birds nests are everywhere, filled with hope and promise, and animals scamper here and there as we walk. We finally found some frog eggs, and spotted the first frogs of the season. I can't even begin to explain the chorus of frogs we heard at that pond, it was thrilling. The forest is alive right now, offering the senses a variety of stimulation that makes my heart sing. We have been foraging quite a bit, enjoying the many gifts Mothers Nature offers us. We have harvested trout lilies, coltsfoot, and ramps. Ramp pesto has made a few appearances for dinner, and sauteed ramps in our frittata, with eggs from the backyard, is one perfect meal. Within the next few weeks the garlic mustard will be ready, and of course the dandelions are making their appearance now too. So much goodness, free for the taking, all you have to do is open your eyes, and offer gratitude to the earth as you pick.
Most of our time is spent at home these days. The gardens are being planted, fences are going up, and the chicken coop is being renovated. There are chickens to keep out of my flower beds, and baby chicks to play with. Every day new seeds go in the ground, planting not just food, but hope. As the green shoots pop up from the earth, a part of me still gets excited, even after 18 years of growing food on this land. It just never gets old. And this land, goodness, this land. It is only a very small piece of land, but it is ours, and every season finds me more deeply rooted and connected to this place we call home.
With the return of warmer days, the laundry finds it way outside to dry. We line dry our clothes year round, using a drying rack inside through the winter. Those first few days of hanging our laundry to dry in the sun, those are special days. And of course, I am in the process of gathering all our woolens, so they can be washed, dried in the sun, and tucked away until the fall. We certainly won't be needing those in the summer.
The mail box is a busy spot these days, with me corresponding regularly with a few lovely ladies, and my little man, with a few pen pals scattered around the world. Nothing makes me happier than walking out to the mailbox and finding a letter from a friend. It truly is the simple things...
Our after dinner family walks shift slightly this time of year. With meals now enjoyed on the back deck, we tend to linger over our meals, chatting, bird watching, and enjoying the late evening sun. A certain little man enjoys a little after dinner play, and some nights we light a fire. It's a different kind of rhythm, one that allows us to sink into summer evenings, and enjoy them to the fullest.
Speaking of meals, towards the end of last week, we crossed the threshold, enjoying breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the back deck. We enjoy our meals outdoors, listening to the sounds of nature, and lingering a little longer than normal.
My journal makes an appearance later in the day this time of year, as I quickly scribble down my thoughts and feelings about our day, and the magical moments I don't want to forget, along with all the to do lists, grocery lists, meal plans, summer plans, and more. I am in full planning mode for the summer. We are not traveling at all this summer, instead, staying home, enjoying this space, and welcoming friends here and there for some overnight visits. I will have two extra kiddos here, on Thursday's, for the month of July, there are swimming lessons planned for Reece, and a few family day trips. A simple, but fun summer.
Once the journal is tucked away, the evenings are filled with reading, knitting, and homeschool planning for next year...grade 1, my friends, grade 1. The little one who has joined us the last two years on our homeschooling journey will be joining us for grade 1, and that has made my little man very happy. The two of them have a very special relationship, and it makes my mama heart sing to watch it grow, develop and change, as they themselves grow and change.
Someone was asking about our life the other week, questions about how we live, homeschooling, how we spend our days, why we spend so much time in nature, and so on. When I finished talking about our life, she paused as if she was taking it all in. It's a pretty simple life she said, and I nodded my head, with a smile, simply saying, yes.
Yes, it is.
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Oh my dear Kim, our days are so similar, making me smile.ReplyDelete
First Grade? Wow, Reece is growing up.
Enjoy another beautiful day on this planet and I will think of you as
I walk, enjoy a meal outside, and plan for next year. :)
That makes me smile too Tracey :) Can you believe it? I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it, but yes first grade. He is so excited.Delete
We had a wonderful day, it was suppose to rain all day, but the sun has been shining, and I have been enjoying my day with the kiddos. We walked in the woods, played in the garden, did some knitting, and just enjoyed the day.
Hope your day was lovely my friend. xo
I adore all your photos and your day sounds like it is filled to the brim with good things. I line dry all our clothing as well and I look forward to hanging them outside. I was able to do it a few times, but then the yellow pollen got too bad. Once that is done, we are good to go for the summer. :-) We love to have breakfast outside during the summer and sometimes dinner, it just gets too hot and humid here after a while to eat every meal outside. Have a great week!ReplyDelete
Thanks Anke. Yes, that pollen is bad, when we are in South Carolina, we come out in the morning, and the car is covered. I don't think I would want to hang my laundry in that either.Delete
There is something so peaceful about breakfast outside, it is totally different than lunch or dinner. Maybe it is the fact that everything around us is just waking up too.
Thanks, you too!
sigh... such stunning photos. <3ReplyDelete
Awe, thank you. xoDelete
It's all looking and sounding very spring-like there. I loved reading about the little details of your days as they are right now. That is my very favorite thing about reading blogs and I thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
Oh it is Jennifer, in fact the last week or so, it feels more like summer. We are loving it!Delete
Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed the post.
We enjoyed our first dinner out on the deck last night! It was great! I am impressed you're already planning for next year... I feel like I'm so behind finishing up this year right now, but it's okay it'll all come in time.ReplyDelete
That is wonderful! The first meal outside it always a celebratory one here. So glad you enjoyed it.Delete
Haha, I am a planner by nature, and getting it all sorted out before the summer was important to me. I am actually finished the planning part, tomorrow night I start going back through each block, figuring out what I need, and what I need to make. I also have a little more reading to do on the transition from kindergarten to grade 1. It is all so very interesting and exciting.
Good luck with your planning. What grade for your little one next year?
You are my inspiration :). I tend to be a planner too, but then I also tend to get distracted. It's all a balancing act for me. I will probably use the summer to plan, although I am looking ahead, ordering books and getting a start. My girl will be in third grade next year. And turning 9 so I am reading up on the 9 year change which is also very interesting stuff.Delete
Wow, third grade, how exciting! And the nine year change, I will be coming to you for advice when we get there :)Delete
Oh my..! I'm just doing my best to move through this myself :) It is exciting though, I will say. And a little scary.Delete
Gorgeous...in every way :-)ReplyDelete
I need to source a foraging recipe book. There's lots of wild garlic around at the moment and the dreaded nettles are everywhere.
Thank you :)Delete
You know the best place really is the internet. Often times if I don't know how to use a wild edible I do a search and all kinds of recipes pop up.
Nettles, so many uses. I actually grow a patch in our garden...we love them! Tomorrow will be our first nettle harvest, and we will combine with eggs from the backyard in a frittata, and I think we might also have our first salad green harvest too. It will be dinner from the backyard tomorrow night.
On our menu plan this week also is nettle pizza, and leek, potato and nettle soup. Both recipes we have enjoyed over the years.
Have fun foraging.
Oh, and don't forget nettle tea. Pick the leaves, and dehydrate them. Store them in glass jars, and when you want a cup of nettle tea just steep and enjoy. I am still enjoying nettle tea that I picked last summer.Delete
What great treasures you found! Yes- the return of the morning sun brings so many things, doesn't it???ReplyDelete
We have had some pretty lucky days in the woods :) It really does bring so much goodness, and I love it!Delete
What a beautiful post and gorgeous photos Kim. I love your gate. xxooReplyDelete
Thank you Julie. That is the new gate to one of my newly fenced in gardens. Next up, covering all the pathways in gravel.Delete
I would love to come and stay with you for a week! Your routines sound soothing and peaceful and I know we would learn so much. Thanks for sharing, Kim!ReplyDelete
I would love that!!!!! You know you are always welcome, we don't have a lot of space, but friends never seem to mind.Delete
It is such a beautiful time of year for exploration, and you all seem to certainly have found a lot of goodness :). Beautiful post Kim.ReplyDelete
It is Heather, and we have been so very luck with our finds. We feel truly blessed each time we spend time in nature.Delete
Thank you. xo
Ah how I've missed your space, your writing, your news. Such fullness and richness. My little ones loved the frog eggs by the way. They're all full of plans now to go frog hunting! :) Enjoy this lovely season.ReplyDelete
And I have missed you my friend, as you already know :) Thank you for your kind words. Get out there soon, along with those eggs we also found a lot of tadpoles, they are hatching away. Don't wait too long to go searching.Delete
Thank you, you too. Wishing you well as you move through your pregnancy my friend. xo
Kim...you make simple living seem so simple...but I know that you work very hard - with all your planning and creating and teaching and mothering. I love reading your posts... I learn so much...thank you so much for sharing your wisdomReplyDelete
Thank you Erica. I know simple living is anything but simple, but the work is really a joy for me, and because of that it really does feel simple. Does that make any sense?Delete
You have made me smile today my friend, thank you for your lovely comment. xo
What a lovely, long, luxurious post to sink into! Thanks for so many updates. Lovely to here what you three are up to and looking forward to. (First grade!) Much of the same is going on here of course. Four more weeks of the school year for John and kiddos. It will be interested to see how the summer goes, because I think the kids will really miss school.ReplyDelete
But, I am mostly wondering about your dandelion blossoms. I remember you said that dandelion is good for sore muscles, but you use the blossoms not the roots for infusing?
I am glad you could sink into it my friend :) My only wish is that we could have a cup of tea on my back deck and I could share all of this with you in person...one day.Delete
I am so excited for first grade, as I told you in my letter. So much beauty in the curriculum, and I can wait to bring it to Reece. He is so ready for it.
Yes, you infuse the flowers in oil for 4 to 6 weeks and then make salve or creams with the oil. Collect the blossoms and let them dry overnight, put them in a jar and fill with oil. I cover with a coffee filter and place on my kitchen windowsill where it gets a bit of sun. Six weeks later I strain and whip up some dandelion salve. Let me know if you have more questions about it.
That cup of tea. Yes, someday!Delete
Can't wait :)Delete
What beautiful photos at the start and then beautiful words to follow, your complete contentment with your life just shines through.ReplyDelete
Thank you Sally, your words have made me smile this evening. It is true, I am content, and happy on this path. That's not to say there aren't any bumps along the way, but I feel confident and strong when I hit them, and am able to get over them with ease.Delete
I just love reading about your days... such passion for the simple beauty of life. Still an inspiration to us.ReplyDelete
Have a wonderful week dear friend. xo
Thanks Yanic. I do truly appreciate the simple things, and the slowness of this path we are walking.Delete
You too, hope the sun is shining on you guys. xo
I just love how you notice the details in everything, your photo's and words always seem so 'fresh'. I need to open my eyes a bit more (and get up earlier). I've totally gotten out of my morning run routine due to the winter but that's no excuse for not being consistant with my yoga - Richard does 20 minutes every evening and very rarely misses a seance.ReplyDelete
We have just made a new front gate very similar to yours - your picture made me smile.
Yesterday we picked 365 (one for each day of the year) dandelion's to make jam but I hadn't though of salve ...will have to get back out there today.
Looks like it's going to be a nice day here, hope you have a good one too.
Goodness, thank you for those lovely words Emma. The winter can be hard for morning routines, the dark, cold mornings aren't always easy to get up to, but I can say that it is worth it. I wouldn't give up my morning for anything.Delete
Do I get to see your gate soon? Okay dandelion jam....I will have to look that one up.
We have had a few days of mixed weather, sun, clouds, a little rain. Today is suppose to be sunny and warm...we will shall see. Hope you are enjoying your day. xo
Wow when things get going there, they really speed up don't they!? It is so different to the slow spring we are having here...it was never as cold but it is still not as warm either - some days last week didn't get out of single figures (Celsius) and yet in March we had some days in the 20's - it is very confusing at times and makes it hard to plan...ReplyDelete
I do manage to dry my laundry outside all year round - we rarely go long in any season without a good drying day - either wind or sun or both! And a lot of my garden is covered in wild garlic at the moment...so similar but very different too!
I love the simplicity of your rhythms, really appreciating all the bounty and beauty around you...a real example of what truly matters in this life...keep enjoying my friend- I think we may join in with a ramps frittata tonight, big hugs Em x
They do Em! Once Mother Nature gets started here there is no stopping her, it all kinda happens overnight, and if you blink you miss all the goodness.Delete
I love that about the UK, hanging laundry year round. We had a couple of winters a few years back where that was possible, but that last few years not so much.
Thank you for those kind words my friend. It means a lot coming from you. Hope you enjoyed your ramp frittata :)
Hugs to you. xo
I loved reading how you spend your days. Lovely. My day starts with journal time and in the evening I'm sitting and drinking tea and knitting. Loved your day and yay for the trilliums blooming :) they remind me of Ontario and my mil's back yard.ReplyDelete
Thank you Karen. Tea and knitting, they just go together so perfectly :)Delete
I love this post. I am like you, the longer I am in this one spot, the more exciting and interesting it gets (not just with the little green shoots coming up, but with everything!). ;)ReplyDelete
What do you do with trout lilies? We have also harvested some ramps a short bike ride from our home...and there are many trout lilies there as well.
That photo of all of the trillium in the woods is so beautiful!!! wow!
Thank you. It is funny how that happens, eh? But it does, and every year I feel more deeply connected to this place. It feels so good.Delete
Trout lilies, the entire plant is edible (leaves, flower and bulb). It is an emetic though, which means if you eat too many they will make you throw up. So a few leaves tossed in a salad, is perfect. The bulbs are good too, and both the bulb and leaves taste like sweet peas. The bulbs are best harvested before the leaves sprout from the ground, and the tender young leaves are better than older leaves. The flowers can be used to make tea.
You will often find them growing with ramps, as you did. Enjoy.
Such a gorgeous post, Kim!ReplyDelete
You and Reece are going to love Grade One. Hard to believe it's almost time for him to enter the grades! Such adventures await and I know that you two (and his friend) will enjoy them all! xo
Thank you Shel!Delete
I have a feeling you are right. It is absolutely beautiful, and I can't wait to bring it to him. He is excited for grade 1, and so is the little one that joins us. They can't wait!