sarah’s hair

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Everyone knows that one of the many job descriptions of “MOM” is “HAIR STYLIST” whether she wants to be or not, it’s inevitable.

As I look through the recent photos I have taken with my phone I see a theme developing.  It all started on Monday night when my young daughter/hair client came to me with a case of the grumps AND tangles.

“Get a brush, Sarah, and I’ll brush your hair nice and soft,” I said.

I brushed and brushed and she just loved it.  It was very relaxing to sit and have a super wonderful mom hair stylist gently brush her long hair.

I admired how pretty it was, clean and sweet smelling, with little waves and a variety of color, everything from blond to dark brown.

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I took a picture to show her how long it was getting.

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I held up the blondest piece and the brownest piece and took another photo.  I even called Rich over to look, “Rich, look how pretty Sarah’s hair is.”

We remember when she was a toddler and she was practically bald, it took years for her to get any length to speak of.  In fact, her siblings called her “Baldo” now and then.

Sarah went to bed that night feeling much better.

The next evening after school she walked over to me and raved,  “Moooooooom, Ariana came to school today with bluuuuuuuuuue hairrrrrrrrrrr.”  Sarah had been quite impressed by it.  I knew what was coming….sure enough, I found her five minutes later, digging through the crayons looking for her hair chalk that we bought a couple years ago.  “I found it!  Can you put blue and pink in my hair before school tomorrow?”

“Only if you pay me in a five minute hug, a happy smile, and a kiss on the cheek.”

(A good hair stylist ALWAYS prices her services accordingly.)

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Naturally I had to take a photo to show my youngest client her hair and to make sure it was just what she desired.  I only get paid if it’s done right.  “It needs a little more blue, please.”  I colored a few more streaks and off to school she went.

When she came back home, I noticed the pony tail was out and her hair was all over the place again.  She and her brothers grabbed a snack and then ran next door to play with the neighbors.

About 45 minutes later, the Dad next door came to the house with Caleb by his side and Sarah walking a few steps behind looking distressed, with her hand on her head.  They stopped to explain what had happened but Sarah kept going into the bathroom.  I noticed a long piece of hair in Brian’s hand.  “I was in the house when the boys came running to tell me that Sarah needed help. She was on the swing and her hair was caught in the chain.  I got her all untangled but……yeah, she has a little bald spot on the top of her head now.”  

Brian and Caleb left to go back next door and I reminded Caleb to come home in 10 minutes for dinner…………

Then I turned to go check on Sarah’s hair.  I may or may not have been laughing.  I encouraged her that it really wasn’t that bad and I knew just how to fix it so no one would know.   Soon she was happily playing on the kindle with her hair brushed back into a pony tail, with lots and lots of hair spray in front.

(As this was a true need, I didn’t request payment.)

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Here is a photo of Sarah’s bald spot before school this morning, right before her most talented hair stylist worked on it.

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And here is a photo of her happy smile afterwards; priceless.

home happenings

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Good morning!  It’s good to be home, my children are home…..for it’s Columbus Day.

“One misty moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather……”

That’s us this morning, rainy and cloudy, cozy and cool inside, oh so beautiful outside.

The colors are always so vivid with a washing.

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EVERYTHING outdoors is covered in a fine coating of dew.  My camera lens instantly fogged up, making a lovely “filter” for these orange flowers in the garden.

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I wanted to show you the trenches in the lawn.  Rich wants to heat the garage with propane and I said, “Only if you bury the tank.”

We are also having the upstairs bathroom remodeled and it is currently gutted down to the bare boards.

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Seth and Caleb both had a game this weekend, and as their parents we were so very proud of them but alas both teams suffered losses this time.  And as it was damp and a little drizzly, we spent most of Seth’s game sitting in the truck.  The weather for Caleb’s game was nice so we sat in our chairs, side by side, while Seth, Sarah and David ran around and played with their friends.  I ate TERRIBLE yesterday……not only a dunkin donut but also a reeses pb cup.  My chin feels a little extra dumpily today.  But oh, so good.

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After Caleb’s game, Rich went right down to wait for his son, ready to comfort and encourage after a tough loss.

DSC_1219 1“The gardener knows the seasons better than other people, for he tells time by Nature’s world, by what the garden yields each week or month.  It has given us a purposeful feeling to complete the cycle, to know the beginning and the end.”  ~Home Gardener’s Cookbook

I found this 1974 vintage cookbook/gardening book recently.  It made a pleasant “porch read” this weekend while sitting in my rocking chair.  (Along with the book Gentleman Gray used as a pillow).  Always have to be reading…..how about you?  Any engrossing recommendations?

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This morning was an excellent morning for muffins.  And so,

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(yes I gave him one)

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“Mom, these muffins are GOOD!”  ~Seth
“EVERYTHING Mom makes is good!”  ~Caleb
“Thank you, boys!”  ~Mom

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cobwebs

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I went out the door this morning to sweep a little pile of cat puke off the porch and noticed how lovely it was what with the fog as thick as pea soup.

So I put the broom away, dusted off the camera, and ambled a bit.

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top-heavy sunflowers

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I didn’t know it yet but these cobwebs were a foreshadowing of things to come. . .

(namely, this blog post)

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And it came to pass. . . . . that nature was getting ready for halloween a month early.

S P I D E R   W E B S

It’s a good year to be a spider, a population explosion, lots of neighbors, no loneliness.

Perhaps a shortage of meals, however.

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perfect works of wonder

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And dew-bright webs festoon the grass 
In roadside fields at morning.  ~Elizabeth Akers

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spooky cat

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“I come to the garden alone….while the dew is still on the….cobwebs….”

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“Perhaps no structure made by a creature lower than man is so exquisitely perfect as the orb web of the spider.”  Anna Comstock

ordinary morning, I love you

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Exciting!

We have three black swallowtail chrysalises in our butterfly nursery and the first one emerged today and unfolded its wings.

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“I think this is how we’re supposed to be in the world
~present and in awe.”  Anne Lammott

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homemade rolls, warm from the oven

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There’s the pretty-pretty pinterest way (which I love)….and then there’s the “I took old bread down to the chickens and used the empty bag to gather the eggs” way.  (which I also love).

Happy Monday, friends.

You are loved. 🙂

It’s ordinary to love the beautiful,
but it’s beautiful to love the ordinary.

snippets

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Dryer is humming.

Lights are on; it’s 5:30, very gloomy, and raining.

When cars go by they splash up rain off the road, a lovely sound.

I made chicken and dumplings for dinner.

Seth got mad at Sarah because she started to give him a candy and then took it back.

The coffee table is covered in books and toys.

I finished a book today, and started another.

Sarah acted so guilty as she walked by me that I asked her what she had in her hands.  It was a package of crackers, a package of fruit snacks, and a granola bar.  “I’ll drink some water after.”

Caleb watched numerous youtube videos of football clips when he got home from school.

Seth liked dinner for the second day in a row and gave me a hug.  “I’m on a roll this week,” I tease.  “You’ve been on a roll with me since I started eating your dinners,” he replies.

I tried calling Rich but he didn’t answer and then he called me back later to make sure everything was okay.  Practice is cancelled so he might take the boys for haircuts later.

I took David to the orthodontist this morning, and then drive-thru breakfast.

Then to high school—–HIGH SCHOOL!

I found a vintage fiesta teacup (no saucer) for 50 cents today.

I took a newly hatched butterfly outside.

Seth and Sarah are busy running a bath, for their stuffed animals.

This was after I said “no” to washing the cat.

They are calling it the Shower Pet Shop.  

There is a pile of shoes and backpacks by the door.

Mail on the counter.

I heard from Grace today, briefly; she had a quiz in math.

And Ethan got an “A” on a paper.  He had interviewed his Dad about being a Manager.

Rich says it’s his first college “A”.

I think Caleb fell asleep in his room.

I know David did.  I took his picture.

I normally don’t allow 5:30pm naps.

But today it just seems right.

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adventure

We are leaving to take Grace to college on Friday morning.  Jacob will be coming home this weekend while we are gone, to pick up Ethan and take him back to college with him. So we are savoring the last week at home before a very busy weekend.

I’m sitting cross legged on the couch, still in my pajamas.  The kids are playing a game and Parker the dog is stretched out next to me, snoring.  Gentleman Gray is grooming himself on the end table.

We had rain in the night.  The outdoors is fresh and clean and the sun is shining bright.  I ate a piece of pie out on the porch and watched the morning birds fly about.  I saw a hummingbird chase around a titmouse and a bee sipping nectar from a flower in my garden.

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I recently made a pound cake and it turned out so good I thought I would share the recipe.  Click HERE for a yummy Vanilla Bean-Brownie Ripple Pound Cake from Southern Living.  And it used up five eggs so it was a winner in every way.  (I’m always looking for recipes that use up the eggs from our flock of 14 hens).

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I quartered some baby potatoes and fried them with an onion and some peppers.  When they were done, I made a spot for four eggs and cooked them with the lid on until they were just soft in the middle but not gooey in any way (I hate runny eggs).  It was a delicious breakfast and so easy.

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I was gazing at the monarch caterpillars when I saw Gentleman Gray trot by the window with a frog in his mouth, legs every which way.

Cats are funny.

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Ethan spent over an hour yesterday morning learning a new song on the guitar.

It was like he couldn’t stop, he was so focused.

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Why yes, she WAS singing “Do you Want to Build a Snowman?”

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Caleb got his summer reading assignment done.

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Grace and Tessa worked on a puzzle.

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Watching a movie with the kids (Lego Batman).

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The two swallowtail caterpillars finally stopped eating and began the chrysalis stage.  Instead of dangling like the monarchs do, they hang themselves under a stick using a loop of silk.

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And then, like magic, they turn into something that looks just like a stick.

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I recently got this at Goodwill.  “Five little maidens out on the green, Happier maidens never were seen.”

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legs

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I have about 10,000 peaches to take care of thanks to our one and only tree being LOADED this year!  (I made a pie yesterday).

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Grace and I finally got her college preparations done yesterday.  AND manicures and pedicures.

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*****

“The less we are attached to life, the more alive we can become.  The less we have preferences about life, the more deeply we can experience and participate in life.  This is not to say that I don’t prefer raisin toast to blueberry muffins.  It is to say that I don’t prefer raisin toast so much that I am unwilling to get out of bed unless I can have raisin toast, or that the absence of raisin toast ruins the whole day.  Embracing life may be more about tasting than it is about either raisin toast or blueberry muffins.  More about trusting one’s ability to take joy in the newness of the day and what it may bring.  More about adventure than having your own way.”

~Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. in Kitchen Table Wisdom

 

raising monarch butterflies

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I invite you to gaze upon my caterpillar nursery!  I put it together for myself and the family and anyone who comes over to visit. . . . . . .

Year after year, indeed for the last 11 years we have lived on this property (four acres boarding state land), I have kept watch in the later summer days for monarch caterpillars.  (They are only ever on milkweed).  If I see a caterpillar, I collect it and bring it home to raise on the counter in a big jar or a fish tank.  (We used to have a different fish tank but it broke when someone tried putting rocks in it).

We were fortunate to find perhaps 4 caterpillars, and sometimes none at all.  This year, however, this epic summer of 2017, we have found over 20 of them.  If I were more scientific, I would do a precise count, but it is rather difficult and confusing to try to count caterpillars when they are all over the place and in various sizes.

I am a busy mom and wife, it’s a wonder that I have time to sit and watch a caterpillar nursery at all….or write a blog!  But these things give me much needed rest and enjoyment, they are interests that I have……and no matter what your interest and passion is….big or small….it should be pursued and nourished.

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I picked these five off their milkweed (which was almost gone) and put them on the floor of the tank so I could give them fresh food.  They looked so cute all in a row that I had to take a photo of them.

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Every couple of days I replace the leaves from the three small bud vases I have in the tank with fresh milkweed from the garden, which is conveniently right outside the kitchen door.  Caterpillars are naturally very hungry and grow quickly.  It’s fun to watch their little heads go up and down the edges of the milkweed like tiny machines.  I bet if it were quieter in my house I might even hear them chewing.

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Can you see the difference in this caterpillar?   Grace and I found two of them on Queen Anne’s lace down by the pond.  We are almost positive that they are the caterpillars of Black Swallowtail Butterflies.

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An urge that I have so far neglected this summer is to get out colored pencils and draw these beautiful patterns that I see. . . .(maybe today?)

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I clipped some cut-to-size screen (from an old window) to the top edge of the tank with clothespins.  When the they have eaten their full and are “ready”, the caterpillars go to the screen to “dangle” for a day or two, before bursting their caterpillar skin to reveal a most beautiful green and gold chrysalis beneath.

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This one’s small but they start out even smaller…..

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I have to laugh when I go out to collect fresh food for them because I inevitably end up bringing inside even MORE caterpillar babies.  David says, “Mom, how many do you NEED?”  He is probably the child who is most interested in them and I love to see his face peering into the tank.

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“Oh no this one looks different, what’s wrong with it?”  I watched it closely and realized it was molting.  It was gripped to the leaf with it’s “end” and wriggling the skin down, rather like when you or I take off stockings with our hands, and “stepping out” fresh and clean.

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Almost done!

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Ah, it feels so good.

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“fresh and clean”

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An empty chrysalis next to six green ones.

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This caterpillar is getting ready to “dangle” by finding the perfect spot on the screen and attaching itself to it with its homemade silk.  The children get nervous if I move the screen, they are afraid the chrysalises might fall off, but they are firmly attached and “just think, outside they would be safe even in the winds and rain”.  So I move the screen in confidence.

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This one had attached itself to a milkweed leaf, which wasn’t a good choice, because eventually the other caterpillars ate the leaf causing the chrysalis to drop down to the bottom of the cage.  I picked it up and dangled it over the edge of the tank.  When I hear the children say, “Mom, one of them is black!” I know that we will soon see a butterfly.

In fact, as I am writing this, a butterfly has newly hatched right in front of our eyes, and three more black ones are ready to come out any minute.

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Why just put milkweed in the tank when you can also add flowers?

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They make lovely strands of silk.  I took a picture right after this caterpillar molted.  You can see its bunched up rag of old skin up at the top of the photo.

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They eat so much I wondered what I would do if we ran out of leaves (it won’t happen this year) and then I noticed that where I picked the leaves off, new ones are growing!

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new leaves!!!

I know, this is a simple gardening concept, but I never thought to apply it to my milkweed!  The resilience of growing things is amazing.

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Milkweed grows outside the kitchen door, mingled in with our lilac bush.

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And more milkweed (tall stalks with long oval leaves) is in the side garden.

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I had to laugh when I saw a chrysalis outside in the lilac bush, I guess I missed bringing this one inside!!

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I can move the chest of drawers around to get a better view, or better lighting for photos.

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It stays like this most of the time.  Better than any TV show.

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It’s fascinating to watch them split, revealing a bright green underneath.

These changes are done so silently and quickly that we miss it most of the time.

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It wriggles in such a strange fashion and the bunch of skin drops to the bottom of the tank.

I did a short video while I was blogging this post.

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They first come out with their body much bigger than their wings.  I always think of origami when I see them emerge……it’s sort of like reverse origami.  Only God could package something up like this and have it come out as beautiful as a butterfly…

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The butterfly hangs and dries, once in a while a drip of fluid will fall.  Once I see them opening their wings for the first time I will take them carefully outside on a stick and put them up on the lilac bush.

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“I look upon a year lived as a year earned; and each year earned means a greater treasury of experience and power laid up against time of need.”  Anna Botsford Comstock

“God created the heavens and the earth to be experienced, not just read about or lectured upon.”  Bob Schultz

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