A Great Northern Adventure

photo by Jake

I couldn't think of a better way to spend a rainy, autumn afternoon than riding a train through the river valley.  Mike and I reminisced about taking this same train ride on our honeymoon (it's our anniversary this weekend), the boys played cards and I knit, while the old diesel train chugged down the track.  The brilliant fall colors of northern Wisconsin are just beginning to emerge, making me so grateful to live in this part of the world.  On the way home, the rain stopped long enough for us to take a hike along the Ice Age Trail in Interstate Park.  We took them to the highest ridge and showed them where Mike proposed to me 12 years ago.  Jake thought it was very sweet and said we needed to have our photo taken.  We all forgot how much we love this park and I can't wait to return again soon.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend~

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Right Now

Right now, at this time of year, I'm all over the place.  In a good way.  My internal rhythm says it's time to shift, to slow down and snuggle in for the season to come.  Yet the refreshing breeze, warm golden sunshine, and long evening shadows invigorate me with a renewed energy.  This list, inspired by Che and Fidel, sums up life right now...

making: a wooden go game with Cole
cooking: lots of eggs
drinking: blood orange juice and lemonaid
wanting: for fall to last until May
needing: snow boots
playing: tag in the dark
wishing: the pears would all fall from the tree
enjoying: spending an evening with friends
waiting: for our building permits to be approved
liking: night walks
loving: late night conversations
knitting: a new sweater design
hoping: to begin building soon
seeing: what it's like from an 8 year old's perspective
smelling: fresh cut grass
wearing: tank tops in September
following: my intuition and going with the flow
noticing: Luke is so grown up lately.
bookmarking: Simple Shoemaking
reading: various stories by HG Wells
watching: shooting stars
dreaming: of a wood stove
listening: Edward Sharp and The Magnetic Zeros
feeling: grateful

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Welcome Autumn

To Autumn

 Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
        Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
        With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
    To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
        And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
            To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
    With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
        And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
        Until they think warm days will never cease, 
            For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

 Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
        Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
    Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
        Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 
    Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, 
        Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook 
            Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: 
    And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
        Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
        Or by a cyder-press, with patient look, 
            Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? 
        Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,— 
    While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
        And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue; 
    Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
        Among the river sallows, borne aloft 
            Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
    And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
        Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft 
        The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft; 
           And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

~John Keats

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5 Ways to Use Wool Sweater Scraps

I love making upcycled longies out of wool sweaters.  They're adorable, one of a kind, and oh so useful.  Not only are they made from a renewable resource {100% Wool!}, but I get to recycle a garment that would otherwise end up at the trash dump.  One day, after cutting up a batch of pants, I was complaining to Mike about all the left over waste.  That afternoon, we brainstormed some ideas about how to use up all the little pieces and save them from the trash can!

Here are 5 of our favorite ways to use up wool sweater scraps:

1.  Natural Wool Stuffing for toys, pillows, ornaments, etc - Cut the scraps into 1/4" strips and then into squares.  

2.  Wool Dryer Balls - Wool scraps, instead of carded fleece, for the core of the dryer ball.

3.  Felt Heart Ornaments - I add a teaspoon of dried lavender and then fill it the rest of the way with wool stuffing from above.  They smell so good tucked into a drawer or closet and I have several hidden among my wool yarn!

4.  Mason Jar Cozy Wool is the best insulator, keeping your hands cool and your hot drink hot!

5.  Pot holders - I especially love the use of itty bity scraps on this piece.

What's your favorite way to use up sweater scraps?

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Free Range Chickens {and Children}

 photo by Mike

Grandma and Grandpa gave us free range on their small homestead while we take care of the chickens.  We've been enjoying the last of the tomatoes from the garden and picking apples for pies and applesauce.  We even discovered a small, second harvest on the wild berries nestled into the edge of the woods!

What are you harvesting right now?

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I hope you're having a wonderful weekend.  The guys and I had a fun afternoon at the park, celebrating with all of the cousins who have September birthdays.  It was good to catch up with some of the family we haven't seen in a long time.

We're also having a giveaway.  You can enter to win a set of our popular Wool Dryer Balls here.

If you're joining us from Small Things, welcome!  We'd love for you to pull up a chair and join us for a while.  Browse our tutorials, read all about our homesteading journey, and be sure to check out some of the new wool items added to the shop this week.  We're so glad you're here.

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Chicken Sitting

Mike's mom and step-dad are traveling for a couple weeks, and asked if we could check in on their chickens.  Of course, we all said in unison.  We're smitten with this free ranging flock of birds.
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A Sweet Feature

We are immensely grateful to Sweet Paul Magazine for featuring our Tree Branch Wood Slices in their Fall issue!  Mike and I couldn't resist ordering a copy for ourselves, and I'm so glad we did.  It's a lovely magazine; printed on heavy weight paper and filled with gorgeous photos of design, craft, food, handmade, and so much more.

I've been enjoying it, slowly, along with a new knitting project {a chunky cabled hat} and a glass of iced tea.

{joining in with Ginny}
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