rags to riches

IMGP3062I am especially hard on socks. I can wear holes in them at an astounding rate. And once a pair of socks has holes in the soles, I really can’t stand wearing them any longer… unlike my incredibly frugal husband who has the tolerance to flip hole-y socks around, wearing the bottoms up, to extend the life. Call me spoiled, but that is one trick I refuse to adopt for the sake of pinching a penny. I would rather go without socks altogether. 

I also think my rapid consumption of socks is why I’ve never really taken to knitting my own. I would wear them out faster than I could knit a pair.

Anyhow, after a recent cleaning out of my sock drawer my ever-so-creative little miss Opal sat pondering the pile of rejected and forlorn socks with holes. I could tell her brain was getting busy thinking of the promise all of those wool socks held. She politely asked if she could borrow my very sharp scissors and the next thing I knew, that girl had a pile of stretchy pot holder loops cut from the shafts of those socks that were headed to the rag bag.IMGP3075

And shortly after that, she had a pile of recycled, repurposed wool (and some cotton) pot holders.

Being that it is the winter and many moons since my children last had the opportunity to make a buck or two at our farmers’ market, and since their piggy bank’s bellies are sorely hungry, there is much talk of “I could sell this at market…”

So if you find yourself desperately in need of recycled sock pot holders, be sure to pay Opal a visit at our farmers’ market this spring. She will be there and she will be happy to take your money.IMGP3059

incorporating the child

...the queue

…the queue

Has it really been an entire week since I was last in this space? Really? My, time flies. Well, when last I was here, I mentioned that Robin, Coree, and I would be speaking at the Biodynamic Farming Conference over the weekend. That has already been days ago at this point. A lot of water has passed under that bridge. Silly me… I was so apprehensive about the whole thing and our talk, or “conversation” rather, went just fine. Especially when, towards the end of our time my dear husband walked in with a tray of beverages for the three of us. (Beer for Robin and me, tea for Coree who was feeling a bit under the weather.) The group of attendees, mostly women but a few exceptional men, couldn’t have been better. Once we farmwives finished up our blabbing… I mean sharing our experiences… we opened the floor for questions. For me, that was the best part. I got to hear stories and questions from some pretty remarkable people.

One woman in particular has been in my mind since our talk. She queried about how homeschooling our children is incorporated into our overflowing days. I could tell she was in the thick of it, in her own life. I did my best to answer her question, but I was left feeling trite and inadequate and maybe not very helpful.

Damn if I don’t really know the answer. I guess, as a matter of speaking, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Some days are smooth. Some aren’t. Some days the children are eager to be involved in whatever we are doing. Some days they even help without being asked. Some days they don’t help when I beg and bribe. Some days I feel like my kids are eager to do some “schoolwork” and other days I think they would prefer to shovel out the outhouse. Just when I feel like my kids are geniuses, I suddenly want to scream because I get asked a simple question that I know I have answered a million times already. And on and on. Day in and day out.

Clearly, I’m fumbling along here.IMG_8363I have found, in my limited experience, that each child is different. Very different, in fact. I do have a Waldorf-based homeschool curriculum that I very loosely use as a guide, like a beacon in times of darkness, but for me and my family it is not the definitive end all. The nature of our lives here on the farm determines so much of what we do. For those of you who homeschool in a more urban setting, I’m sure your experiences differ greatly from my own. Or maybe they don’t. I have no grounds for comparison, really. All I know is that if you are homeschooling your children, you spend a lot of time with them. Obviously, a lot of that time is not spent on schoolwork, but on living your respective lives.

So my best answer, simply put, is to incorporate the child.

Even if it makes you want to pull your hair out on occasion, take a deep breath and Incorporate the child in whatever you are doing as much as possible. I mean, I’m not so hard core as to make the kids suit up and go with me to milk the cow when it’s seventeen degrees if they don’t want to (even though not so long ago that was a simple fact of life), but you get my point. After all, the decision to homeschool was made by some adult in your household for some reason or another. It’s only human nature to question ourselves, especially in times of uncertainty. I don’t think I’ve ever met another parent that feels 100 percent confident 100 percent of the time. Our questioning is a good thing. It leads to growth.

Probably the most beautiful thing about homeschooling, other than being witness to my children’s expanding horizons, is that there is just so much opportunity. Big lessons can sneak into the mundane tasks associated with life. Lessons don’t always have to be dramatic or overly orchestrated. A child’s curiosity is an amazing force. Just be present. Be with your child(ren) and experience the world together. Incorporate the child, let them feel their worth, and enjoy the journey. IMG_8331

hands on.

All of the rain that has been falling lately seems to be driving home the fact that the seasonal shift from mostly outdoors to mostly indoors is upon us. Here I think I can speak for my fellow farmwives (and their families!) that when we find ourselves indoors, we also find ourselves making things. (Probably our creative juices get flowing as a survival mechanism when we find ourselves trapped in tight spaces for long periods of time with our respective families. Ahem.) Whether we’re making gooey donuts or colorful knitting, textured weaving or gaudy jewelry, pretty paintings or sewn sundresses… our hands find different outlets for keeping busy (and sane).

So today, I’m going to launch a new series here with the farmwives: hands on. Every so often we’ll take our turn at showing all of you out there what we’ve been making with these busy hands of ours. (We would love to see what you’ve been up to as well, so please feel free to leave a link to your own hands on projects in the comments!)

Ok, so, here goes… this week my hands finished that pair of socks I started last week. They turned out pretty good and just so happen to fit both of my girls perfectly. Uh-oh… two socks, four feet. I bet you can guess what my next knitting project is going to be.

IMG_8200IMG_8195IMG_8192Next, my happy little knitter, Opal, just finished her very first skirt. The only thing I helped her with were the decreases around the waist to help make it fit. Otherwise, she did the entire project all on her own with some yarn that her Aunt Cassie got her for Christmas last year. When she first cast on this project, she was just knitting for knitting’s sake and didn’t really have a finished project in mind. As her knitting progressed, she saw clearly what she wanted to create. Once she reached the waistband, I taught her how to do a “purl” stitch, and she caught on instantly. This knitting mama is pretty proud of her girl, to say the least… IMG_8201IMG_8198And I suppose you notice her fashionable jewelry? (It’s kind of hard not to notice) She just finished all of that, too. IMG_8194IMG_8197 I think this is going to be a very entertaining and creative fall and winter season filled to the brim with many hands on projects!