This little lady and I had fun last night, taking some photos of her at the back of our house, where the stubborn Ground Elder is still in bloom, there are wee mounds of mushy sawdust from Dad's workshop, and lots of branches that spark the creative juices of my children when they build campsites or turrets for their castles. It is also a favourite place of our ducks and chooks, as many tasty insects and sprouting herbs are peeping out. Overall, I say it's a good place.
I have been taking it a little quiet with the blog due to an abundance of work, on the bird front. The arrival of chicks and ducklings amped the commotion and feeding/watering needs. Also, though they have their feathered mothers, you cannot help but keep a watchful eye as disagreements with older members of the flock are bound to happen, not all new life is welcomed with open arms, and sickness of tired brooding mothers was the word on the lips of everyone around here. One of our ducks became very weak and possibly had an infection that caused much stress and worry, we are happy to say after some stellar vet care and medicine, she has now reintegrated to her family, and is trying ferociously to assert her leadership once more (much to our chagrin, as we don't like seeing this aspect of animal behaviour). It is, needless to say, much educational for our children and for ourselves as well. My oldest daughter perused our homesteading books trying to find possible causes for Quinn's illness (the duck, a Welsh Harlequin) and our youngest is still doing her best trying to keep marauding fathers at bay and everybody's watering needs met. With our late high-heat temperatures this is proving quite the task.
Aside feather-related hustle and bustle, the many jobs of a mother are endless, adding to the list our homeschooling needs and my doll making subversive activities. Some days I feel it's nothing but a miracle we managed to eat three meals and everybody is tucked in bed, but such is the life I have crafted for myself and one I am deeply grateful for. It never ceases to bewilder the heart how many dreams we still embrace, how many things we want to learn and study, how much more we wish to tackle. I find it a very good thing indeed that life forces you to pay attention, to your surroundings and your body, and that having the girls at home means I have to live my life at a different rhythm than my brain and passion would like.
One of the things I have been pondering lately is the increased knowledge and awareness I seem to have with plants. Of the wild and medicinal kind. This focus started a few years back, with timid incursions dying wool with some, learning the names of the ones growing around us so I could pass on the info to the querying children, until four or so years later I am confident enough to actually try wild edibles and seek them out constantly. Being outside means my eyes gravitate to everything plant, while my children mostly notice insect or animal activity (they do however, keep a watchful eye for mushrooms as they know I squeal with delight whenever we find one and it makes them giggle to hear me). Last year we harvested and dried quite a bit of red clover, which I promptly drank all winter in teas and infusions; so this year we are adding a few more to our cupboards: elderflowers, daisies, raspberry leaves, comfrey, sheep sorrel and lamb's quarters. We want to try our hands at making some natural body care products for our own use and so the girls and I are seeking wild ingredients and learning their properties and use.
On the doll making front, I am at the very tail end of finishing a set of custom siblings and I can hardly wait to see all of them together, ready to meet their family. I have never made this many siblings in one go and it has been positively an adventure every step of the way. They seemed to have inspired me to create a few sewing patterns stemming from their attire, which has been such a long-cherished dream that I am almost too giddy at the thought. Mind you, there are still a few hurdles to jump through but with a bit of luck I will have maybe two sewing patterns and a few knitting ones as well in about a month from now. If all goes well with this pattern-writing enterprise then I may tackle the elephant in the room: to write up instructions and document the process of making a doll. Now wether this will be shared as an e-book or a class I do not know, but we start with the sewing instruction.
As you can see, there is never a dull moment in my life. The summer beckons, the dolls are dancing in my head, some actually need to be finished and others shipped out. My children require out-loud reading and foraging adventures, the cupboards need to brim to the top with tasty treats, the woodworker asks for mattresses and wee pillows for his latest creations and I just sit here and smile and wave at all of them. It's a good life my friends, it's a good life.