Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
helwen: (Due Consideration)
A happy and blessed Alban Elfed!

Equinox - the mid-point of autumn (for me, anyway) - nights are cool, days are warm and dry, and we scurry about bringing in the last of the harvest and readying for winter. Lyle's and my scurrying is likely to go well into winter, as the foundation for the greenhouse is now scheduled for sometime in October, but we shall do our best, as always.

The Turmeric, Rosemary, Ashwaganda, and Lemon Grass are all in, and the Ginger will at least make it to the porch by Saturday. The Sungold grape tomatoes are still putting out some sweet treasures, as is the autumn raspberry and the flowering raspberries, and two of the apple trees have fruit, but the blueberries are done for the year and have certainly "earned" their rest.

Druid Poem

Jun. 23rd, 2015 12:31 pm
helwen: (water drops)
Here's what I wrote and read at Interfaith...

A Call to Aid Noble Gaia

By Heather Gray

Darkness is filling the land
Poisoned waters poison Man
Shall we then stand idly by
Close our eyes, not even try?

Are we merely serfs or slaves,
Being told how to behave?
Shall Greed then Earth’s needs deny,
And send all creatures off to die?

Men and women, heed the call
Find the fire within you all.
Be not slaves nor sit and sigh,
Embrace the truth, not the lie.

Else wise must all we cherish
Come to ruin, fail and perish.
Hand in hand we can decry
All base Greed’s acts far and nigh

One of many, Darkness' bane,
Like Arthur I have come again.
My sword is true, my heart is high
To protect Gaia I must try.

I for one will not forsake
Earth or sky, ocean or lake.
Before all, this vow make I
On Gaia’s behalf I will vye.


Jan. 5th, 2015 11:08 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
We spent New Year's Eve quietly at home, as we were both working on recovering from colds. Saturday we drove to NYC and spent several hours at primarily two exhibits, Death Becomes Her: Mourning Attire, and Chinese Albums. Good stuff. Took some pictures with the tablet, but still working on getting them off of that.

The "greenhouse" has been relatively satisfactory, although figuring out how to keep the porch warm enough at night continues to be a bit of a challenge. We put up a curtain at the far end of the porch, reducing the space to be warmed by 4' x 8-1/2' and it's much easier to get it to and maintain 40F most of the time. We kept it stable in part by opening the window between the porch and the downstairs bathroom, keeping the door to that room closed, plus a couple of strings of old-fashioned holiday lights. On colder nights we'd fill some additional bottles I got out of storage and some other containers with hot water and put them out there before bed. The racks of jars and bottles I set up do help, but the porch just doesn't get enough light on cloudy days. I think if I had three times the number of containers, it would work, but the space has some limitations in that regard.

With the coming cold snap this week (down below 0F), we decided not to take a chance, and moved all the more tender plants indoors. That's most of what was on the porch, but I'd kept the space in the dining room open after the family gathering last month, so it was quite do-able. I also moved the less tender plants against the wall of the house, near the window, although I closed the window.

Before all that though, I wanted to use the long table that now has plants on it, to work on organizing the sheet music. Yes, once we stopped going to Concentus practices, we basically put the music to one side and ignored it. So yesterday almost all of the copies of sheet music were alphabetized and put into folders. I need to make a few more folders today, and L still has the singles/masters to organize, but it's a huge dent in that project.

I also emptied everything out of the music cabinet yesterday, and started the re-organization for that. Today all the instrument instruction books will go in, and I'll label those drawers.

I will also exercise today -- I'm trying to get in at least 40 minutes of aerobic exercise, at least three times a week. It's hard to do this time of year, what with the asthma and all, but I'm fending off the annual winter weight gain. I'm also working on building muscle, because I've decided to work on being able to do a handstand this year. I've been practicing one-minute planks and added in some mobility/weight training things. There isn't a lot of point to handstands, but it's something I'd like to try and is giving me the motivation to do all the exercises I should be doing to strengthen and protect my shoulders, and to reduce stress on the knees as well.

Tomorrow is L's and my 20th anniversary. Still haven't planned anything in particular, but we did have a nice trip to NYC recently, so maybe just a nice dinner together will be sufficient :) After all, the best part of this is that we still have each other.


Jan. 5th, 2015 10:42 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Scientists learning that not all algae behaves the same way. If you're at all interested in rivers, fish, and what's happening with them, check it out. It was interesting to me to think about how the pollution we put into the air changes the balance of critical things like nitrogen, and how that interacts with phosphorus, and more.

helwen: (Due Consideration)
Didn't get the Serviceberry into the ground, so L dug a partial hole to get it more into the ground for protection.

Have met the husband/father of the new family next door, and his older child (3). Grew up in G'fld trailer park, I'm not sure how he ended up moving to Ashfield (story for another time perhaps?), chatted about some boundary stuff, gardening, etc. He's a hunter, including bow and black powder. I mentioned I knew someone who makes good arrows and he perked up at that -- prefers local business whenever possible. We'll be looking at putting in a fence above the retaining wall, as we've all been a bit concerned about how much attention a 3yo pays attention to surroundings, and he offered to help pay for some of it.

Rained a lot last night and some this morning. If it clears at all, might move a stone or two down at the grove -- slow work, but it continues. Don't think we'll finish this year, as the greenhouse/porch project was more complicated than I figured it would be. Might change some things next year, too -- definitely a work in progress.

Back to work. Have a good day all!
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Went to two kung fu classes this past week. We'd planned on a third, but L's work exploded, and really, it was probably a good thing not to go Friday, as my right knee was jamming. We want to be able to go again this coming week, after all.

Yesterday it rained pretty much all day, and also we went to a funeral, so aside from doing a bit of trimming around things in the grove first thing (before the rain came) and bringing the turmeric inside, that was it for useful from me...

Today is sunny again, so laundry, dig in front of the barn, and sewing. And maybe cleaning and testing the printer. Have to cover the ginger tonight, as temps will be dipping below 40F.

[EDIT: And finally get some veg out of their pots and into the ground. Kale will be much happier there.]

L will be taking out the A/Cs today. Haven't used them for a bit, and shouldn't be needing them again this year, so they're basically cold temp weak spots now that could kick on the heating system.

Climate March in NYC next weekend. Tempting. Also a local SCA event...but we're behind on work here at home -- and really, D*C didn't make that much difference, at least as far as work on the barn is concerned, because it's mostly L's bailiwick at the moment. *sigh* Maybe we should hire someone to come dig the greenhouse foundation...there's just a lot to do here. Well, we'll see what the week brings. I'm thinking of finding out if some of my poorer friends want to go to the march but can't afford the bus ticket, and helping out that way.
helwen: (Due Consideration)

Finished planting Iris and most of the Daffodils. Decided what space I have left in the area I cleared I want to save for moving some Iris that I plunked down by the north door when we moved, and there they are still. Iris are pretty tough, as long as you don't drown them.

Dug out an area by the new rhubarb -- this is near the brook area, and quite chock full of stones about 1-3" below the surface. Also some oddments. Last time I was digging down there, I found a pale green plastic hairbrush...yesterday I found a rusted-over door latch, the back of an alarm clock, and a large serving spoon. L is trying to recover the door latch, the clock back will likely go into metal recycling, and the spoon is quite serviceable.

Planted a few fiddlehead ferns.


Made Waldorf salad, with soy-free mayo, sans nuts. That's how I make it for family gatherings because my MIL can't have nuts, niece E is allergic to soy, so we're used to it.


We have confirmation from the apple trees on how we should orient the grove. L had suggested a spot near where we'd been considering, but we were still meditating on some of the details. North gate has been offered. Now we're just waiting on a clear night, to get the directions properly sited.


Uh, some other stuff happened too, but I'm too tired to remember.


More laundry hung up -- I don't have a large set-up, so laundry happens most sunny days.

Pot of Sweet William and Daffodils and one Motherwort now planted by the rhubarb.

The Waldorf Salad is pretty tasty; next time I might sprinkle sliced almonds on top just before serving, but it's all gone now, so next time...

Hm. Going to go look about outside, and see what I have the energy to work on next.


Jun. 29th, 2014 11:28 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Up and at'em early yesterday. Alternated between a number of activities to keep from getting too overheated. Still, we pushed it hard enough that today was a later start.

Finished clearing out approx. 3 foot x 10 foot space in the crescent bed. Dumped the garden cart full of phlox, nettles, etc.

We did a dump run, picked up an old rush loveseat there -- needs cleaning and a new seat, but structurally sound. Got some greens at the farmers market and touched base with nephew C and niece E. (note: I was referring to her as B, but her name actually begins with E and I have another niece whose name begins with B)

Dug up all the Iris and the rest of the Daffodils in front of the barn. Got almost all the Daffodils in, except for some that I'd put in a pot last week. Got a little more than half the Iris in.

More work with cleaning some clothes that had been in storage and gotten compromised. Some will be given away, some turned into bags, some worn, and one thrown away because after two washes and sun dries it still smells. Fabric is weird. Going to have to delay cleaning anything else I find, if I find it this week. Breathing is challenging enough without dealing with that.

Did some mending.


L dumped the garden cart for me the second time I filled it -- I'd gotten it over to where we're building up the bank but was running out of steam at that point. He moved more parts of one of the greenhouses over from the neighbor's yard and trimmed back the Holly bush, discovering another fountain pedestal inside it, which he moved over as well. He also spend some time vacuuming inside the trailer.

He installed the new downstairs a/c, which seems to work pretty well. We use them as little as possible, but it was obvious after having it on for a few minutes that taking a short break from outdoor work was a good idea -- that's when I got my mending done.


Headed down to G'fld to get some things for the shop vacuum and had dinner out since we were down there. Realized when we got home that we'd missed having lunch :P Had a nice ginger kombucha to finish the day.

Today I'll be making up some Waldorf salad, so we'll have something ready for if we get too involved in a project and don't feel like cooking. Plus, not heating up the house any more than necessary.


Overall, the past several days have been productive, despite the heavy air. Energy seems to be higher, mood is good, meditation and singing, feeling better on all levels than I have in quite a while. Seems like a good trend to strive to continue.

Be well all.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Last bit for Thursday:

I got the hole dug in the new place by the the milk house foundations, dug up some Daffodils and Sweet William that were in the way and tucked them into a pot, then dug up the KC peony from in front of the barn and moved it to its new home.


Got up early to beat some of the heat, dug up and potted the second Lady's Mantle into two pots, so now I have three, all on the patio.

Had breakfast, then worked on digging some phlox and odds and ends out of the flower beds to the south of the house that form an arc. There is really quite a lot of phlox and I should like to have some other flowers there beside. Well, and there's Day lilies too, but they more or less stay in their spots, whereas the phlox is getting rather full of itself. Also, I'd like less work in the fall, thank you. The phlox seem to trap moisture in their midst quite well - lots of tiny slugs. I expect there are snails there too as in other damper areas here, I just didn't see any today. With the summer seeming to be turning into one of those hot and humid ones, a little less damp being trapped might be a good thing...well, we'll see.

Oh! Meant to mention that I saw a hummingbird moth a couple days ago, hovering high overhead above the patio. There are plenty of flowers here, so it won't starve.

I have a small tree in that bed that I'm working on removing -- it's been cut down in place several times over the years. Once I've cleared a good piece, I can dig up the Iris and the rest of the daffodils by the barn and move them over to the bed. Thankfully, being an established bed it doesn't have nearly as many rocks as where we've been trying to make the raised bed. I might put some of the veg there too, as otherwise they'll all be in pots all summer.

Went to personal training, which went well. Shoulders moving more easily this week. Hips and knees mostly behaving, aside from a brief bout of sciatica earlier this week. Ba Duan Jin has been my friend!

Air is...not bad here this afternoon. May or may not go outside again this evening. A lot to do this weekend, if all goes well, so probably don't want to push it. It's good to know the plants are pretty happy out there though :)


Jun. 23rd, 2014 10:54 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Town clothing swap was Saturday. We did the clothing pickup for Thursday and Friday, helped with setup Friday night -- longer than I should have as there was something there to which I was allergic. Yes, I'd taken my allergy meds. Saturday morning, made a modified Waldorf salad (no nuts), then helped at the swap for 1-1/2 hours, which was almost too long, even though I'd taken extra precautions. Some perfume or something, who knows. Picked up a few things, which are airing out on the line, including a fake fur coat that might come in handy for a future costume. And yes, gave away some things as well. More to come in that area...

Family reunion was pretty good. This was for the Gray side, which hasn't happened since 1973. The one that happens more often is for the Coyne family (Marian's side).

Still had daylight so L mowed next door, and I repotted the last of the herbal six-pack, watered a bunch of plants, and sundry other things. The two baby Sage plants turned out to be five, which are now currently in one large round pot, forming a solar cross.

After much thought, we seem to have finally chosen where the grove will go.


Sunday morning did not go well for a number of reasons, and I regret my part in it. It's complicated and not going to go into it more than that.

We got some hinges and door latches for the barn. Lyle took down the two dutch doors on the west side of the barn and re-worked them to get one better-working dutch door, although I know he wants to do more on it.

I worked on clearing some of the work areas of stinging nettles and greater celandine, as well as removing all the garlic mustard and a few dandelions that were trying to take over a couple of the blueberry bushes. The blueberries are coming along nicely! Garlic mustard is invasive here, and can change the chemical makeup of the soil such that enough of it can damage and/or kill hardwood trees. Not sure if it can do the same to blueberries or not, but they don't really like to be over-crowded with damp-gathering leaves around the base, so there you go.

Re-worked how the spare windows and some other things were arranged in the carriage house so that I could get a 4x8 piece of plywood free for use. I can't carry it of course, but I could lift one end and pull it along. L used it to make a door in place of the second dutch door. Some point down the line we'll no doubt replace it with something better, but the primary goal this year is closing up the barn and carriage house however we can afford to do, and it works.


Right ear has been bothering me for a few days; went to see the PRN this morning. Might be topical allergic reaction to something I came in contact with, or possibly early stage of a yeast infection (inner ear thing). Trying 1% hydrocortisone first, then if need be, antibiotics.

L has an MRI appt. tomorrow morning for his neck and right shoulder.


Some sewing happened too. Only thing completed was two bags for the local area's bag share program, which I handed off to one of the women who has the tags for them. Some stores have bags for shoppers to use to take their goods home, if they don't have a bag of their own and want to use a re-usable bag. Then when they can, they're supposed to turn the bag in to one of the participating stores. For the most part it works, but bags can get lost or worn out, so some of us go through fabric scraps or old clothes and make bags. These two used to be the bottom half of some hanging sleeves on an old Burgundian dress I had, so it was nice to finally get them out of the house and put to good use.

Put the corset and skirt for the snow queen outfit onto the dress mannequin and took the waist measurement for the next layer.
helwen: (me1)
L and I were talking about cultural appropriation this morning, after I read a friend's post on the wonderful conference she's at and the cultural experiences she's had so far (including one that's an incredible mix of cultures musically), and I was thinking then of the Native American issues that have come up this year with people wearing feathers and bonnets at parties, etc. Of course it's possible to buy a lot of these special things, so the modern (western?) mind might say "I bought it, I can do what I want with it!" As a person who has been mistaken for belonging to one of the tribes I've had my own journey in this regard -- as a young person I wanted to be an Indian because being Eurasian was difficult to figure out, with so few people like me around. In America I was Chinese to other people; in Hong Kong, I was White. Eurasian wasn't its own culture, so there was nothing to read about it. There was plenty to read about on different tribes though, and I even went to some pow pows, although I never claimed to be something I wasn't. One guy was pretty cool though, when we were talking about it, because he had tried to guess what tribe I was from -- he said "Your people just didn't cross the bridge, that's all".

Another time I was talking to a vendor about the beautiful buckskin dresses, but wasn't sure about getting one and she said as long as it was worn respectfully, she didn't see my not being of the tribes as a problem. I ended up not getting one, but more for financial reasons at the time. Still, I'm glad I asked.

In Steampunk, cultural appropriation comes up, as well. I think it's an important part of Steampunk, because people doing Steampunk aren't trying to rule the world, or tell people that their culture is superior to everyone else's, so there needs to be some thought about what you're doing/making/wearing. Also, I think unless one is British, then dressing up as a Victorian British person is also kind of a cultural appropriation, even though we normally think of this concept in terms of "minority" cultures. But all people have a culture, so it bears consideration.

And that's one of the things about "culture" -- there isn't a "White" culture, any more than there is a "Native American", "Chinese", "Hispanic", etc. culture. Each of these can be broken down into different smaller groups -- and then there's social status, etc. You can't just look at a person and tell exactly who they are -- you need to get to know them. Our social structure is such that we're trained to categorize, label, and pigeonhole, when that really doesn't work on people. Statistics can be a tool, but we should never forget that they are only tools, only as useful as the care with which they are constructed.

I was also thinking this morning that one of the reasons people wear things from other cultures is because it's different, new-to-them, exotic; maybe they crave new experiences or maybe they think their own culture (if they know anything about it) is boring. (I'm talking about people who do this without really thinking about it, not people who have spent time doing the research and learning about another culture, and who can then do/make/display/wear things with respect to that people).

I think it's worth really exploring the history of a people -- any people. You will learn wonderful things. You will learn about things that are strange (to you). You will learn about similarities between different peoples. You will also learn terrible things, and that may or may not stop your desire to learn.

Because the more you learn, the more you will realize that in certain ways, all people are intrinsically the same. We all have art, music, stories, technology; we have heroes and villains, good deeds and shameful ones. And that's important to remember; there is no people anywhere in place or time with a history that is unmarked, for good or ill. There are historians, textbook writers/editors/publishers, "news" media, and politicians who are always re-writing history to make this or that person/group look better, blame someone else, etc. Currently there are textbook people trying to write slavery out of U.S. American history, for instance.

The martial arts instructor did not start out knowing how to walk, nevermind knowing martial arts. The published author first had to learn how to form words and sentences. We cannot learn from history if we willfully ignore it or erase it.

And we ourselves may be helping to erase the truth, in the things we choose to share in public forums and social spaces, if we choose to post black and white memes -- memes that posit that there are only two sides to anything, and that one side is obviously good and/or smart and the other is obviously evil and/or stupid (Dem vs Rep, Men vs. Women, etc). Most of us want to be "smart" and "good"; most of us will bridle or take outright offense at being labeled "evil" or "stupid". Some people say "Well, I'll respect them when they respect me." I want to be better than that. I'll be honest, there are some people I just don't talk to -- but I try to be better than that. Because I need to be able to respect myself.

Food for thought.
helwen: (MacGyver)
A gorgeous sunny day! And no significant humidity either, so I can breathe freely and my laundry should dry quickly :) Haven't done too much yet outdoors today, but worked a bit on the future veg bed and laid plastic over it.

We're going to opt for larger stone for the walls of the bed -- something wide enough to sit on. I'll have to move the plastic later to cover the next bit of land or find another small piece to put next to it. I had found a huge piece of plastic this morning, but it would have been too much to handle alone, what with the breezes and all.

L cut down a bunch of the comfrey yesterday and filled up the garden cart; I took it down to by the brook and tossed it all on top of the mulch hay this morning; more to come. We're doing a fair job of taking yard cuttings and suchlike and turning them into soil.

The retaining wall is slowly coming along -- worked on giving it more form yesterday, although too soon after eating, which led to much distress for the rest of the day. Very thankful to be feeling better today! I'll try to do a little more on the wall today, as it still isn't high enough all along to put any of the fill against it. It's great to be working on recreating some of what was there before tropical storm Irene came along, and hopefully we're being true enough to the way the river flows to maintain it. We're essentially echoing the land that has started rebuilding in the river bed, but a bit further away from the water's edge to give it some working room.

Doing this all by hand takes longer, but I think it's better this way, because your work is more affected by what the land and water are doing than if you used machines to do the work, and so perhaps more natural in construction. In the case of a river that will swell with heavy storms, it's better to have a wall that is shaped to be compatible with the power of water. It's actually been kind of fun to build, even though I have to really struggle with some larger rocks, because I'm trying to build something that will be strong enough to hold the recreated land in place, redirect water if necessary, and also is not water-tight so that when we have heavy rains the water can drain through the wall. I've actually assembled some of it with gaps here and there that I then fill with smaller rocks/gravel and even sand and dirt. This again echoes what the river is doing, but at an accelerated pace -- and with fewer rocks in the top layer where I want to plant a garden...

Oh, I also moved some of the ginger plants outside this morning. I need the space indoors for other things, like the new baby tea plants, which have been in perhaps too shady an area. Hopefully the new spot will be better for them.
helwen: (Xena)
Going to a vigil in Greenfield, Thursday evening. Kinder Morgan is doing a presentation on their proposed pipeline at the John W. Olver Transit Center at 6pm. The presentation starts at 7pm. Any and all friends are welcome to join me and Lyle there!

Some folks will be gathering at 5pm on the Greenfield Common, across from Bank Row (assuming permit for that is confirmed -- otherwise a person will be there to re-direct people to the Transit Center).


Spread the word!! We want to get as many people as possible to this event. This will be a golden opportunity to clearly show Kinder Morgan and the State of Massachusetts that we DO NOT NEED and DO NOT WANT a dangerous gas transmission pipeline in our midst! (Did you know we have three (3) import stations in MA but only use one? We really don't need this.)

You are encouraged to make signs to state your opinion!

This will be a peaceful and respectful event. Our intention is to simply show by way of many people standing and bearing witness that we are large and resolute. Please join us!


Kinder Morgan/TGP -- the proposed pipeline would go through Ashfield, along with many other places, including conservation land, from Canada through NY to Dracut, MA in the eastern part of the state. It would be carrying fracked natural gas. They have a poor safety record (no surprise, if you know anything about the oil and gas industry). There is no real benefit to the people, only danger from spills, leaks, and explosions. There is certainly no benefit to the land.


May. 12th, 2014 11:05 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
L did set up the table in the basement but it was late so I didn't do anything with it. Saturday I moved all our egg cartons and flats so they're on or under it, with some space to spare. Space shuffling continues, esp. as the trailer probably won't get moved until end of May...

We did finally get some fiddlehead ferns in pots; not in the ground yet as we needed to clear a space and it's taking time. Maybe today?

Started cutting out the obi pieces, realized the linen isn't stiff enough so I need to dig out some interfacing.

*sigh* Really need to plant some seeds in pots for the veg garden. Maybe today?

Have had enough sunny weather that I can dry laundry outside these past few weeks, a definite plus.

Going to a vigil in Greenfield this coming Thursday. I've taken plenty of political action over the years, including phone calls, letter-writing, and causing a little trouble for the state, but this will be my first time being at a political action in-person. More on the vigil in my next post.


Apr. 12th, 2014 07:11 pm
helwen: (Due Consideration)
We thought about going to the open kwoon at our kung fu school, but the weather and the ground are perfect for working -- so much to do, and only a small window to get it all done in.

L and I both worked earlier today on moving rocks away from the barn walls. He found the remains of a tool -- needs a new handle and a little hammer work, but quite salvageable. Some of those rocks you see were removed from against the barn last year, but quite a bit is from work this year. You can see the damage that was caused by rain hitting the rocks and going in against the wood and rotting it.

This is the old kiddie sand box that was next to the barn, which was full of small bushes. One had succeeded in punching through the bottom finally -- it will be getting recycled.

Some days back when L was working on uncovering more of the milk house foundations, he found an old rug piled up on top of the foundation. Today I decided to take a look at it, which was a bit of work as roots had grown through it, holding the folds together. Surprisingly it isn't in as horrible shape as one might expect after who knows how many winters outside. It has holes, to be sure, but I'm thinking it can at least be salvaged for use in the barn.

L then made great progress in the pasture, including digging up a good part of one of the old fences, the bottom of which was buried and weighted with rocks. I worked on removing the raspberries, nettles, garlic mustard, etc. from around the milk house foundations. Slow work, as the ground is full of rocks with a wide range of sizes. In addition to the rocks I also found an old orange plant marker pole and a scraper/putty knife while digging.

Here's a pic of the milk house foundation. In the foreground is a pile of soil that was inside the sand box. In the background you can see a retaining wall, part stone and part concrete. That's ours, plus about 10 feet of the land past it.

Here's a closer pic of the foundation, so you can see the cooling area -- yes, the stainless steel mixing bowl was found there too, along with miscellaneous bricks that are not part of the original structure.

L found what was probably the cover for the cooling section, but unfortunately it had been put outside, near the river. Amazingly it was still intact enough to tell what it was and where it would go (basically serving as a temporary floor when you weren't accessing the space), but not good enough to re-use.

The sun has been lovely; I dried laundry on the line today; second time in a week!


Mar. 20th, 2014 11:44 am
helwen: (MacGyver)
Tuesday I finished attaching rings to the lavender floral dress, and um, something else but I forget what it was...

Tuesday and Wednesday I did a quick spritz of coating on the bat girl comb. Back and hip are being more bothersome than usual, so not too much activity on any front, although I did do a little research on netsuke, inro, ojime, etc. because I wasn't sure how to use the bat netsuke. I'd forgotten all about inro, actually -- not sure I'll have one or go with a soft container, which I've also seen. Yes, it's for a costume, not re-enactment, but modeling things on actual Japanese stuff will give a better feel to the total "look" -- and Batgirl does need to have a "utility belt" ;)

Soaked in the tub yesterday and will do so again today; still working on making that a more regular thing, as I really should...

Had L take some pics of the re-vamped dress; will work on posting pics, not only of that but some from the development of the dress as well. Going to see if a friend has any pictures of me in the dress as I originally made it...
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Went to the farm again, filled 12 bags with mulch hay. L had time after taking care of the chickens to come fill some bags some as well, and filled 12. We took home 20 bags in the minivan, plus a drawing desk I managed to get out of the family barn.

Emptied the bags out this morning and got another 20 today, although we didn't bag nearly as many this morning -- 3 for me and 5 for L. It was only 17F outside today and colder in the barn, so a couple of my fingertips and a toe were starting to go numb :D
Over the weekend it was much warmer, so inside the barn was probably above freezing?

Plus it's a regular work day and L needed to get back to the house.

We'll be bringing as much of the mulch hay over to the new place as we can, to work on soil improvement. The hay pile isn't leaning on our stuff now, which is also nice.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Well! Hadn't realized it'd been so long since I last posted here (Dec. 1).

Ashfield Winter Solstice happened, Friday evening this year because of lots of peoples personal schedule conflicts -- L and I were more active in the organizing this year. Am considering becoming even more active next year, in order to impose a little more order on it -- it went quite well on the day, but the lead-up to it was not particularly....good. And the weather made things interesting too, but happily, when evening came the sky was clear enough to see stars, the snow on the ground around the fire increased the available light for the attendees, and it was a friendly and good-spirited gathering.


L and I hosted the Gray family Christmas gathering the next day at our house. Part of November and most of December was dedicated to getting the house to where we could fit that many people. Not everyone could make it, so only 24, including us. No tv available ;) -- the kids actually played card and board games and only one electronic device came out at all, and that near the time when people were starting to depart. The kids also liked the stairs, and running from room to room to hallway to room....in a big circle around the staircase, which is in the center of the house. They even went outside for a bit.

We borrowed one card table and a bunch of folding chairs, dinner was potluck as usual, and the family coffee urn and sugarhouse flatware, and one SIL's coffee maker helped to round out the necessities of the day. Only disposable items were paper plates and a few bowls! I'm quite sure that just be eliminating paper napkins and disposable cups that we also eliminated one bag of trash.

A very good time was had, and next time we host it should be easier to get the house ready.


Went to friends' wedding in NY near the end of the month. They're now back in Scotland.


NYE was quiet. We were supposed to go to Springfield but the weather was horrid and we were both tired, so we visited with folks in town at Elmer's for a short while and then went home.


Starting to go back to kung fu, but having to do it carefully. The extreme cold periods we've been experiencing here off and on really take their toll on muscles and joints.


My mom will be going in for hip surgery in another week. Newer, anterior procedure -- less invasive, faster recovery. Her walk-in tub should be installed this coming week.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Been working on gathering in and conserving resources, saving here and there, planning ahead, paying extra on the mortgage each month, and then I go and buy memberships for Dragon Con 2014... ?

It has been a few years since we did anything away from home, but still, not sure what makes this year different from previous years. (The trip to CA this past summer doesn't count -- it was paid for with my mother's travel miles)

Ah, well. So, for the next several months, we'll be working even harder to gather in and conserve those resources!

On the plus side, I'm moving forward on organizing and creativity spark is brighter -- and I mean to apply it to existing projects, not just shiny new stuff.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
I haven't been posting much here since we moved, in part because LJ is always signing me out -- even when doing something as simple as clicking on someone's post to comment or read comments. Turns out LJ uses some sort of dynamic loading process for their pages, which is not compatible with satellite. Satellite uses caching.

So posts will have to happen when I'm in town -- not a horrible problem, except for trying to remember to put any pics I want to upload onto my laptop first...so, still no pics of anything today.


We harvested some sweet dumpling squash (winter squash), and continue to harvest swiss chard and kale for fresh use. One blueberry bush still has berries on it, so I continue to harvest a handful every so often. The dark blue/purple of the berries is quite striking against the red of the turning leaves...

Finally got 10' x 12' area cleared around and in front of the 3 extant blueberry bushes (yay field grass and nettle roots - not), and finished planting 3 new blueberry bushes yesterday...only took a week and a half Just needs bark mulch and I can call it done for this year. Well, unless we get one more bush so it's a complete horseshoe shape for the planting pattern...

Also yesterday, L took a neighbor's tree most of the way down (just a bit of trunk left, and some more clearing of debris from cutting it down). It was smack up against the house, so it really needed to come down; we're trading labor for that for the bags of bark mulch she'd bought for use on the piece of our land that directly abuts her yard. She's been taking care of it with the previous owners' permission -- we're going to take back care of it, and the mulch will come in handy, so it's a good trade.

I did some work on moving stones to the side of where we're going to put in a grove. Found an interesting rock buried at the center of the area...L thinks maybe a type of feldspar, but we really don't know. I took pics yesterday but the lighting wasn't good; going to try again today.


Work on the barn has been at a virtual standstill all summer, with L too busy with work and helping out at the farm. He did fix one door, and has figured out the measurements for the barn stairs. We could use someone working on the barn, but the carpenters we have been checking with are all too busy. Given the "wonderful" job the seller's carpenter did on the basement stairs, we're reluctant to use anyone we don't know.

Speaking of those, one of the carpenters we know will finally have time to build the new basement stairs next month!


Chicken population continues to decline (age), and we're slowly working on clearing out one of the rooms so we can bring in more chickens. Hard to find the time, with another haying, and fall festival, and harvesting, but hopefully very soon we'll have more hens...


Not having a booth this year -- will be helping L out with the maple cotton candy again. I'm also helping out with festival prep at the farm -- candy wrapping, and the like. A little extra income is a welcome thing.


Still doing kung fu, of course. Not every class and not every day, but keeping on and getting a little stronger as time goes one.


helwen: (Default)

May 2017

 1 23 456

Most Popular Tags


RSS Atom

Style Credit

Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 04:02 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios