IMG_6432 IMG_6437 IMG_6439 IMG_6440 IMG_6445

IMG_6448IMG_6436IMG_6458 IMG_6460I first started making presents for people in my life when I was 9 and my cousin and I decided to make a clown doll for Margie Dinardo.  We snuck into my godfathers tailor shop and got all the scraps we could find. For the skin fabric I used a white tshirt that I thought my mother would not mind me cutting into.  I can’t remember if my momma found out or not but I do remember that the clown doll did not come out as planned but Margie still liked it anyway.

I can’t count how many handmade presents I have made in my life but I can count how many I have received from others and they are countable on my hands and feet.  Most of those were wonderfully and lovingly made gifts for my babies and how I have cherished them but to this day no one (other than my own children) has ever taken the time to make me something ,just for me, for no reason other than love, with their own two hands.

When my friend Charlei told me a few months ago that she was going to make me a sweater,  I responded with “What???  Wow, thanks”.  I figured that she is super busy and has lots to do so maybe I might get this sweater for Christmas and then I filed that thought away in the don’t think about it file.  Then a few days later she started sending me patterns and asking for specific colors.  Soon enough I was getting pics of progress on this sweater that would someday be mine.  Truth be told, I love my friend so much that she could have never made me one thing and I would love her just the same but…

A few days ago, I got a box in the mail.  It was address by her and it was a bit heavy.  The kids circled that box until I was able to get away from the pile of bread dough I was kneading on the counter.  The box was full of things for all of us.  So many fun and thoughtful gifts but the sweater, Oh my goodness.  It is made from Royal Alpaca and it is softer than any yarn I have ever worked with I’m sure!

Pulling that sweater out of the box, holding it in my arms and putting it on was better than what I had expected.  I made a promise to wear it all winter.  The kids began wishing for a Charlei sweater of their own and then I had to dispense with the warnings.

Those warnings went something like this:  If anyone washes this sweater, you are dead (in the nicest way of course).  If you touch mamas sweater, you are dead, if you find it and in the process of putting it away decide to try it on, you are dead.  So we all agreed that no one would so much as look at it for a very long time.

This sweater is more than just a sweater.  It represents the time that it takes to make each stitch, the love put into picking the yarn, the pattern, the wooden buttons.  It is time away from other projects to make something that I can cherish and in the end feel loved.

What is the best handmade thing you have received?

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moles and marbles

IMG_6352 IMG_6353 IMG_6354 IMG_6357 IMG_6358 IMG_6360 IMG_6378 IMG_6379 IMG_6380 IMG_6381 IMG_6386 IMG_6388 IMG_6390Busy in the garden.  That is where you can find us these days but more on that later.  A few weeks ago on a very cool day we were moving our last compost pile into newly prepared beds.  Each of us with a shovel or hoe.  Some digging in the finished or mostly finished compost pile and others moving the compost into the bottoms of our new very high hugelkultur beds.  As we neared the middle of the pile Nick pulled out a shovel full and something grey squiggled out.  My first thought was a baby mouse? But it was much too big.  A quick poke around inside the pile revealed a few more.  Baby moles.  How could they be living in there the kids asked.  One of them reminded everyone that moles live underground.  We all nodded and then continued the search for more grey creatures.

The search did not turn up a momma who probably left when we first started disturbing her nice warm compost nest.  Sadly one was killed by our shovel but the others were so cute.  Now please do not misunderstand me.  Moles are not cute.  They are distructive.  They create holes in the ground that cattle break their legs on when they trip in a hole.  They get into root veggie and ruin things.  They wreck the pasture but oh those babies.  They were so cute.  We quickly realized that we had to give them to the momma, wherever she was.  We are in no way going to try to save these babies.  I wouldn’t even know where to start and I shudder to think what would happen if one of our chickens decided to peak around our new findings.

After explaining to Livie who wanted to keep these little animals forever and ever, that we had to try to give them back to their mother, we made a plan.  We had only touched them with our gloves which were probably smelling like the mulch we had been digging in.  I’m sure our scent was on them in someway but we had to try.

Getting the little ones to abandon camp while we put them back in the pile and hoped for the best was no easy feat.  I remembered the week before pulling out my jar of vintage marbles.  What a great distraction.  So I told everyone to gather on the upper deck while I got them a surprise.

Everyone grabbed a jar and I let them each pick a marble as we went round and round until the bowl I had put them in was empty.   The rest of the afternoon was spent playing marbles.  A trip down memory lane to make up rules for a game I have not played since I was 8 or 10 during my summers in the caribbean.  We should probably find a resource for the real rules but for now we are all having so much fun.  Everyone of us.

My marbles are alive again.  The beautiful swirls of colors, spinning like tops as they collide into others in the attempt to gain many more while not losing your favorites.  I had enough for all to get a couple of shooters and a jar full of colorful glass orbs.  Of course the rule is that they must be kept at the top of the shelf where Mateo cannot reach them and anyone who leaves them out forfeits their marbles back to mommas custody.

At the end of the day we went to check on that nest and wouldn’t you know it… Those baby moles were gone.  These simple days are the reason that I blog.  For no matter how I try to keep them in my heart, I could never remember all of these details.  Their colors and feelings.  They are safe here.

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