::just words today::

I have a few minutes to reconnect with the online world this evening and thought I should leave a note to you all here to let you know why I've disappeared.

Last Monday night my mom fell about 30 feet, bouncing off the side of a rock wall and landing on some wooden stairs. I flew to Alaska the next day to support my dad & brother while we waited 3 days to see if she would wake up and come back to us. Finally we have her beautiful smiling face looking into ours and to say we are grateful would be such an understatement. She beat all odds when she survived this….. the doctors in awe, we all are.

She suffered brain trauma among other less severe injuries and we have a long road to recovery ahead of us. She is very confused right now about what happened and where she is, but she does know who all of us are so her long term memory is there. We are currently in Anchorage and I do plan on returning to Cordova and helping her (and my dad) as long as I am needed, even if the weeks turn into months.

I've closed my shop and expect my blog to be very quiet in the coming weeks while we figure out a plan for her continued care. (I currently do not have email access either, just facebook via my smart-phone) The power of love, prayers and positive thoughts from friends and families  in the last seven days have helped us through a very difficult time. Any thoughts and prayers you can send our way would be much appreciated.

I hope to be in touch with you all again soon.

All my love,

Stephinie

today……

today......

today......

today......

today......

today......

today......

today......

today......

today......

I woke up feeling a little sorry for myself. I'm not at all proud of this, but it's true. Sophie's violin camp is exactly the same time my favorite blueberry farm is open for picking… and it's a bumper crop this year…. and I can't go until Friday, when the camp is over. And picking started last week. (and yes, I know I'm whining, I'm sorry….) This might not seem like a big deal to some of you. But I know a few of you understand. 

I was doing my best to let it all go. I ran the girl back and forth to camp. Checked on my bees to see that my new queen is laying (yeah!). The hive that has been doing so well swarmed while I was in Alaska and Joe was forced to become a beekeeper. He and Wayne (my mentor) got it down from 69 feet up. That's a story for another time…. but the swarm and my original queen have been at Wayne's house…. and then in an observation hive for some kids science classes…. and then back at his house. They should be home later this week and I will be up to three hives. Just in time for pepper bush which is a big honey flow in our area… so I just might see a few jars this year after all!

We took the kids for ice cream on the way to pick up our farm share. Simcock Farm is quite lovely if you happen to be in the area. As for our CSA pickup, so many cucumbers! Wow, fourteen to be exact. The kids have been eating them like apples. I think it's time for a few jars of fridge pickles though. I knew I would be picking up our first fruit CSA today too… and was expecting currants… but not two five pound buckets of blueberries too! Just the surprise I needed this afternoon. I swooned over the basket of veggies and the boxes of currants and the blueberries…. which we ate all the way home. New England how I love thee….

Right now I am sitting in the quiet of the back porch, warm afternoon light, chickens softly clucking, mason jar full of nut brown homebrew beside me. A sweet little break……

And that was today……

xo,

s

ps ~ any thoughts on what to do with all these currants? I'd love to know if any of you have a good suggestion!  

 

just keep sewing, just keep sewing…… (and a festival!)

just keep sewing, just keep sewing...... (and a festival!)

As I type these words I am laughing at the loose serger threads stuck all over my shirt. My big girl just put a pot of coffee on (at 4:42, yes) And I am looking at a late, late night ahead. Somewhere in between running the big boy around for job searching, the big girl around for show choir & marching band, and the little girl around for violin camp I have fit in at least 20 hours with my sewing machine the last three days. (little man has been my sidekick, and kind of feral too) I’ve got a good twelve plus hours ahead of me too….. phew! I’ve been on facebook a little this week. Posting pictures (the quick easy smart phone sort) of what I’m working on. Asking for music suggestions. And admitting to my chocolate habit. (it’s bad. really bad.) 

If you’re in the New England area and looking for a fun event Saturday, I’ll be at the 27th annual Arts & Artisan Festival in Tiverton, RI. There will be music and food and a whole lot of creative folks showing off their goods. I’d love to say hello to you!

Back to the sewing machine….

(and back here with random acts of homesteading and kid stuff next week. I promise!)

xo~

s

 

on the trail….. and having a place…..

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

on the trail.... and having a place.....

All of these are snapshots taken on our hikes this summer…. with the exception of the last two which were taken from the airplane when we left. (you can see Cordova almost smack in the middle of the second to last photo, now you can see how remote it really is!) I've wanted to take those pictures for years, but it's either cloudy when we leave or we take off in a slightly different direction and miss seeing the town before we go.

It always makes me cry. 

This year I was doing so well and then Luke looked at me as the plane was taking off with tears running down his cheeks and said, "I will miss Grandma too much." I hugged him. "I know," I whispered.

Two mornings before we left, he crawled into my lap nearly in tears and told me we had stayed too long and he missed home. And daddy. And all the animals.

This life is tricky. When you move as often as we do, you grasp for place. For a tangible home. It's taken us years to create a feeling of home, rather than a place. It works. But to be honest, it will never be the same as knowing a place, or being known in a place. Just a few summers ago, I realized Cordova filled that for us. It isn't home… but it's the place we know more than any other. We hike the same trails summer after summer. Every one of my kids has worn the orange Grunden rain jacket we bought years ago, and it stays hung at Grandma's as an extra. The first day we're back in town, it takes us over an hour to walk down the tiny main street because we keep bumping into people we've known for almost two decades now. They ask how the new place is, how everyone is, remark on how big the kids have grown. Even though we don't live there, we feel like we belong. 

And that's not to paint a perfect picture.

Sometimes the kids don't want to hike and I drag them out anyway. Sometimes a sulky teenager would rather watch cable tv than hang out with family and I have to decide what battles are worth it. There have been dog bites and arguments and friends that drift apart as they grow up. Not to mention the creative fiscal planning my mom & I do to get five or six people from wherever we are at to there. (Companion fares and mileage tickets are lifesavers.) We give up a lot of little extras throughout the year to pull this off.

Last week though, as I sat in the Seattle airport with all four of my children waiting to catch the red eye home to Boston…. I realized something. In a rare moment where no one is tired or crabby, and everyone is fed and happy…. we were all telling stories of this trip and the many before it… and I realized it was beginning to come to an end. One summer at a time the group going up will become smaller. The big kids will be working, or moved out, or (gasp) perhaps even married and just starting out on their own. I hope someday they realize what an amazing gift it was to spend their summers in Alaska…. how lucky they are to call it their place.

xo~

s

 

alaskan seashore…….

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

alaskan seashore.......

We had good weather this year. Good in coastal Alaska means it only rained half of the days we were there. It is a rain forest after all, and to stay so lush and green it receives almost 200 inches of precipitation annually. Two hundred, yes I'm serious. Rain jackets and boots are a must and some summers if you wait for the sun to get outside adventuring…. you'll never get out there. If it's misting we call it a good day for walking the beach. If it's raining we drive a few miles out of town in hopes that it will only be sprinkling and go for a hike. You have to.

And as much as I love the sun, I must admit to swooning over the deep foggy photographs I bring home after every visit. No need to try and stand in the shade to get the exposure right… everything is awash in beautiful soft light almost all of the time.

Our favorite rocky coastline…..

xo,

 

alaska wildflowers (and we’re home)

Home.

No matter how fun the adventure…. I am always happy to be back here. In my own little space in the universe with my family all in one place. Feathered, furry, and winged members included.

Our trip was beautiful and exhausting. We saw TONS of family, played outside in the woods and on the beach, and bumped into so many good friends. The wedding was beautiful and I am so happy for my brother and his new family…. very good stuff indeed.

The kids & I met an incredible lot of fiber artists at the Net Loft's Fiber & Friends Retreat. I fell in love with weaving. Again. I've actually decided to sell my spinning wheel so I can buy a loom. We all had great fun felting too… more on the crafty bits later in the week.

Thank YOU for being such good company to my friends who popped in here to blog-sit. That was fun wasn't it? I hope you met some new faces among them. I was so happy to be free of the computer for two whole weeks…. it's been hard to get back into it. The break has me thinking hard about balance and value of time. Lots of big decisions on my mind in regards to where I am spending it these days, there just never seems to be enough of it.

I'm going to slowly ease back into this space with a few days of photos from our adventures.

Today, a collection of Alaska wildflowers from our hiking trips.

Enjoy….

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

alaska wildflowers (and we're home)

 

Happy Tuesday Friends~

xo,

s

 

 

Summer Guest Post Series :: Meet Nichole

I am so honored to have a lovely group of friends house-sitting the blog while I am away. Each of them has chosen something summer-ish to share here with you. Do take a moment to say hello to them~

Today I welcome Nichole of Live Free……. 

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I’d like to thank Stephinie for welcoming me to her sweet spot. It is such an honor and pleasure to be a guest here at Gypsy Forest.

Last week commenced the start of another slow summer for my daughter and I. During the school year, we host an in-home learning community serving preschool age children. It’s a gentle and cozy program which brings so much joy into our daily lives.  However, when June arrives, we embrace summer with a heartfelt tight squeeze.  Summer has become our cherished, longtime friend.  Like a longtime friend, she is someone who knows our whole story:  the funny, the silly, the heartbroken, the insecure, the strong, the loving, the brave, and the triumphant parts that make up who we are.  And she loves us all the more for it.  No explanations necessary.

That’s what  summer feels like in my home. Comfort. Ease. Coming home. Simple.

Becasue, summer is…

Unscheduled time spent coming and going from indoors to outdoors. Worlds created and brought to life, undocumented and unplanned. Spontaneous, here and now.  Sweaty, sticky hairlines, grimey little toes and hands. All sights and smells of a good day. 

Stories on the couch — audiobooks and paper books alike, for home-made popsicles, and front yard juice stands. 

Available moments to explore the neighborhood and to enjoy impromptu visits with neighbors. 

Milkshakes and Texas swing music on Saturday evenings at the local biergarten, water hose fights and afternoon sewing sessions. 

Road trips, song play lists, maps, the packed car, us, no one else, the roll of conversations as miles and miles of our country pass our window’s view.  Watching the world go by.

Evening bike rides, toes dipped in the river, and sunflowers dancing in the morning light. 

Ice coffee, picnics on the porch, and the steady hum of cicadas. 

Time to sit, time to reconnect, and most of all, time to just be. 

Summer, I never realize how much I love and appreciate all that it is you have to offer, until I’m here with you, and everything is as it should be. 

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Nichole blogs about the ordinary moments of her days at Live Free. I stumbled upon her blog years ago, brand new in Louisiana and she introduced me to my group of amazing friends. I am eternally grateful for this…. truly.

 

Summer Guest Post Series :: Meet Meg

I am so honored to have a lovely group of friends house-sitting the blog while I am away. Each of them has chosen something summer-ish to share here with you. Do take a moment to say hello to them~

Today I welcome Meg of Four WIld Blueberries……. 

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My garden will never be featured in a magazine, and as much as I dream of being included in our city’s annual Garden Walk, I know that’s not likely to happen, either. Such things are for gardens that are well-planned and well-kept and beautiful, not for a ramshackle garden like mine.

In the spring, friends share pictures of tiny seedlings in neat, straight rows peeking out from rich, bare soil with not a weed in sight. I never have photos like those to share: I don’t plant in neat, straight rows, and there are always weeds. (I read once that a weed is just a plant growing somewhere you don’t want it to be; by midsummer I am so weary of pulling them that my favorite method of dealing with them becomes simply pretending I intended them to grow there in the first place.)

I plant together things that don’t belong together, staggered and closely spaced. I have so little space: just three beds in a tiny city backyard. Every inch counts if I want to grow as much as I can in this space. This makes the beds harder to tend, of course. Without regular spaces between straight rows, it’s hard to tell what is what. Sometimes I let everything grow until I am sure I can tell lettuce and carrot and broccoli from weeds, and then in a blink, it seems, the weeds have overtaken the whole works. Other times I try to stay ahead of the weeds, and then am left wondering, when only one of the three crops I sowed in the bed grows in, whether I accidentally weeded the other two away.

I find myself thinking aloud, often, about what I might have done differently with this garden, and what I will do differently next time. Next time, I’ll sheet mulch the whole yard and start with a blank canvas. (Like these folks.) Next time, I’ll plan my beds more carefully so they don’t turn out so oddly shaped and haphazardly placed. (And, recently: next time, I’ll buy a house with more land, so I’ll have the space to build a beautiful garden like Stephinie’s.)

But sometimes, when the light falls just so, perhaps after a late spring rain has left the leaves shining wet and looking so lush and green, I think this garden is perfect just as it is. Such a ramshackle garden suits me, after all: It’s messy, yes, a bit clumsy and inelegant, and more than a little overgrown. And yet, in spite of this (or perhaps because of it?), it always seems to provide just what we need to sustain us.

Meg is a nature loving, crafty, homeschooling mama who blogs at Four Wild Blueberries. Visit her and take a peek at her garden posts, they are always a favorite of mine….