Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Season of Simplicity, Week Two

On the first day of Winter, we were met with a lovely surprise of snow! Although it only remained for the day, it was the perfect element to bring in the new season.
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While we read in the parlour, my brother did creative art...
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Inside, I'm rooting cuttings of butterfly bushes--In a day or two,

I'll plant them outside and see what happens!
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This is the time that we get flocks of migrating birds that fly through...it was a spectacular sight, especially when they traveled over the fields. They're so loud, we can hear them from inside the Cottage!
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Cooking by candlelight
I have been doing extra baking and cooking lately so that we could have a special Christmas Dinner. I prepared the meals ahead of time, so luckily all we had to do was warm up the dishes!
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I added pecans to mason jars to hold the candles steady...
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Mother gathering collard greens for dinner...
~Everyday I've been working to gather "stakes" for the garden(in the Spring). These dormant China berry branches will work great!
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Adding more to the messy collection...
ps)That's our vintage (1974) Airstream in the background.
I'll have to share more about it one of these days :)
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My brother helping me slice apples for tomorrow's pie
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A snapshot of my sister preparing an early breakfast...

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Christmas at the Cottage

"With Pomp, Power & Glory the world beckons vainly,

In chase of such vanities why should I roam?

While Peace & Content bless my little thatched cottage,

And warm my own hearth with the Treasures of Home."

*Beatrix Potter
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Taking an afternoon walk down the lane...

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On Pilgrimage: It was so quiet and still as we all walked together, it was brought up that we felt like we were on "Pilgrimage" (for our fellow Pilgrims Progress/Christiana readers )
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A lone puddle, formed by the winter rain

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Wagon (the cottage is in the background)
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We all enjoyed the temporary pond in the woods...

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New watercolor pencils...

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These crocheted hearts bear a "Fruit" of the spirit

From left: Faith, Hope, Love, Peace, Joy.

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100% cotton Crocheted washcloths

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*With Gentle gifts and Grateful hearts,

We live in Simple Ways*

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Christmas Sunset

This Season of Simplicity has been amazing...Here's what we learned:

Father: "This was an intentional way of spending good family time together. Candlelight made the mood more peaceful and I enjoyed watching the contentment of everyone. I realized how much of a blessing it is not to rely on outside forms of entertainment."

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Mother: "Without artificial lighting & entertainment, the atmosphere was beautiful, time moved slower, and we felt more relaxed. I found we gathered all together in a central location [most often the Parlour] where there was light and a heat source. So all of our evenings were spent in one room where there was pleasant conversation, singing, games and even hobbies--all done by Candlelight."

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My sister: "We don't need the outside stimulation of everything..being away from all the noise of the Season, Being with family made me realize how everyday matters. We read together, ate together, weren't separate in different activities."

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My brother: "We learned how to keep things very simple. How to do things if there wasn't any electricity...read and be a family. That's what I think."

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Myself: "During this Project, instead of using the Internet to research, I had to use our home library as my authority on the "outside world" lol! If I needed recipes, gardening info, or tips on sewing, I was in a state of constantly running to the bookshelf. I learned how important it is to have really good books!"

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To my Dear Readers,

I want to thank you for your "online friendship". Like many of you, as far as our area is concerned, we're alone in this [lifestyle] and we've made a transition to live in a simpler, back-to-basics way that doesn't seem to appeal to most. Y'all have been SO interested, and SO supportive and have asked the sweetest, and most sincere questions, that it has encouraged me more than I can express. Please continue to comment and email...each one is read and deeply appreciated!

Yours Kindredly,

*Mia

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Season of Simplicity, Week One


What a week!
It's truly been a blessing, I hope you enjoy a peek into the Cottage :)
During this week, the only electricity we used was for the Refrigerator and a few small space heaters. PS) We don't have central heating, lol!
It was a great experience for the family!
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Mother started Scrap booking...
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My sister playing the piano...

(we went without radio/tapes/Cd's, so this was extremely hard for my sister and I as we *love* music! We compromised by playing instruments, singing together, and writing songs!)

~There's a curtain that covers the computer area, so I didn't think about Blogging as much...out of sight, out of mind!! :)
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Natural decorations...

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Here I am journaling in the parlour...
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My sister preparing a dessert...
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Washed green beans

It was fun to snap the beans in the parlour while talking to my Mother and sister...it went much faster!
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My sister writing in her journal...
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After dinner, my sister and I put on a "concert" for the family...playing a few songs each before dessert was served.
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My Dad showed me the correct way to level/work the ground
before laying down mulch...
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The mulch was from a tree stump we're removing...I couldn't wait to put that out on the future garden area.
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Caught up on my baking...
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I made soda bread to serve garnished with egg salad
and fresh lettuce from the garden.

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While I finished up the bread and my sister made cookies, my Mother read aloud to us.
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Cookies!!
She made a large batch to save some for later...
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My brother worked with my Dad to seal in the back porch...
It's being set up as shelter for the animals on cold nights
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Playing cards...
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A parable come to life:

"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps." Matthew 25:1-4
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We ran out of oil! It was a great time to make reference to that scripture of always being prepared! We (thankfully) have more oil now, but it was so convicting to realize, that without oil or sufficient candles, we're stuck!! :)
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It was so beautiful to literally be covered in fog!
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Down the lane...
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Cotton fields...
The cotton blows into the road, so we used some when decorating the parlour!
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Nearby creek...
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My brother, sister and I all went out to the woods to collect straw/mulch on the ground to lay over the garden soil...It was hard work because parts of the garden area are so saturated in rain water, that you can easily sink on a soft spot! Well, we did...frequently. We had some good laughs, though!
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Evening sky
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We have to make sure we prepare supper early, because when it gets dark (between 5-6pm) it's candle-light only! One night I made a late supper, and it was *so* frustrating searching through ALL the deep cabinets, holding a dripping candle, all in pursuit of a strainer! :)


But I found it. hehe
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Journal
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For a while I wasn't playing my guitar as often, but during this week I have! When you're left without an outside source of music, you quickly compose your own! :) A few nights ago, we were in the parlour, and I played guitar while each family member made-up a verse about living at the cottage! It was so much fun!! :)
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At the kitchen table...
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My sister took a walk through the property after the rain shower...
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My mother brought in sprigs of Cedar branches
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Later, she prepared hot tea...
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Dinner and a Board game
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When we're asked if we have a dishwasher, I point to myself and my sister and say, "We have two!" We're used to washing dishes the old-fashioned way!~

One of our favorite times is using the late night hours to read before retiring for the night. It's so quiet, and it's a wonderful time for reflection.~

Inspired by my Gardening magazines, I went out to the woods and "pruned" some trees to use as garden stakes! They're not exactly the size I wanted, but it's better than nothing! Hopefully I'll have a huge stack by Spring :)

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I'm so pleased to see that my strawberry plants are doing great! (I really let them run wild!)They've sent off many runners, so I'll grow some in the greenhouse soon.
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Mother writing in her notebook...

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SecondHand Treasure


I purchased this cute rocking chair for only $5! It's really heavy, but thats a good sign to me, it should last a while! Anyway, I thought you would like to see it, It's a new item for my hope-chest (not literally to go inside it, lol, it's for "later")
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Well, my sister and I have been working on a crochet project together this week...and it's finished today! Even though we didn't knit, I still love this above photo! :)
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1860's style Sontag

I'm pleased with how it turned out! Because it's crocheted it's *really* hard to find patterns (usually its knitted). We found a large (Womens size 16) and my sister studied the pattern, and converted it to my size (8/10) and changed a few things. At one point, it was too narrow, so we hard to start all over again!
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I'm wearing it right now :)
The sontag is very comfortable, perfect attire for daily wear or at (re-enacting) events!!
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Inspiration

Meg (on the far left) is wearing a sontag.
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I hope you enjoyed the update! I'll update again on December 26th!
*Mia