Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cranking up for Christmas

I've found that the holiday shopping season is a great time to hit the thrift stores and antique stores, while everyone else is at the mall. We have a goal this year of getting our Christmas shopping started and finished before the last minute, and so far we are on track.

As always, it is good to pray before shopping, for guidance in what to buy and what not to buy. On my most recent trip, I made my most astonishing find on a second pass through a section I had already looked over.

The other nice thing about thrift shopping is unexpectedly coming across some things that are just like the things my family used to have.

I've also found time to try out the scroll saw. It had been waiting for three months for someone to spend ten minutes bolting it down to the workbench. So far I've managed to change the blade and saw out a little project without breaking the new blade or shedding blood; those physics shop classes were good for something.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Peasant therapy

There is an interesting story in my Rodale's Encyclopedia of Natural Home Remedies (1982) about an  alternative medicine sanatorium where supposedly some amazing cures of various diseases were made.

The treatment regimen, pragmatically tailored to the individual, included nutrition, detoxification, massage, counseling, spiritual exercises, and opportunities for hard physical labor outdoors. People were expected to work on their own healing, and to become functioning members of the micro-community during their stay. If they were unwilling to do so, they were asked to leave.

While many of the treatments were very high on the hippy-dippy scale--"cosmic folk medicine"--there were also some down-to-earth observations:

"We found that the people who will actually work on themselves are a small minority."

"We just knew that if people would work hard and live close to the land, they would have a good shot of getting over their problems, whether they were emotional, physical, social, or spiritual."

"...the only people who survive hardship are the peasants."

I believe that such an approach can solve some problems some of the time. But it did not entirely work well even for the couple that ran the place:  it turns out that they divorced right after the book was published. One died of stomach cancer, and the other died at age 66. I think it could have gone much better for them if they had had a better spiritual foundation.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sorting it all out

Although I am on sabbatical, I have been working hard. It is a time to take a break from expanding, in favor of evaluating, refining, resetting, and maintaining. And sometimes even resting.

So I mended two of the kids' little quilts...there was a materials failure in one of the fabrics that I used, which wore right through while the other fabrics didn't. I sewed patches over those squares, mostly by hand. I also mended several items of clothing.

I harvested my broomcorn tops, combed out the seeds, and have them drying in a vase (although flat and outdoors in the sun would be better). They add an organic vertical element to the decor; I am enjoying the effect.

We've been almost keeping up with raking leaves this year. I have some helpers that are eager to earn money.

I misplaced my organizer notebook for two days, but I got along all right without it.

I've been refining my household routines so that I go through the main rooms and put things in order daily. This always falls by the wayside with a new baby, and takes me some time to re-establish. Same thing with exercise; I just added another 5 minutes to my workout time.

The petunias and calendulas that I grew from seed this year are still going strong and putting out a lot of flowers. Next year I'm going to give echinacea another try; no luck with it this year. The local permaculture enthusiast says that you can diagnose your soil deficiencies by what weeds are flourishing; supposedly these weeds will replenish the soil if you let them. I'm going to have to test that one out a bit.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Simple vintage Christmas tree skirt

I was given a bag of old fabric recently, and one of the pieces in it turned out to be a Christmas tree skirt, probably from the Eighties, if not earlier.

It's a simple and almost elegant design, pink felt Christmas tree shapes glued onto an old sort of polar fleece background. The trees are decorated differently with gold beads and sequins. Looks like I'm going to be taking a break from plain burlap under the tree this year.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

On sabbatical

The time has come for my third ever sabbatical year...I am easing my way into it.

My sabbatical book is here, with some of it available as a free sample.

I have some plans, but of course there is still the usual day-to-day living to be done.