Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fall Frolics

O earth that hast no voice, confide to me a voice,
O harvest of my lands -- O boundless summer growths,
O lavish brown parturient earth -- O infinite teeming womb,
A song to narrate thee.
- Walt Whitman

How to sing the praises to a landscape so vibrant and alive that you feel it infusing energy and abundance into your very soul? I cannot correctly tell the tale, and yet this is what nature gives us, every time we venture forth, without question, without words. Walt Whitman addresses this dilemma well: 
"Air, soil, water, fire -- those are words." There is a love beyond love, there is a story underneath all the stories. The land, the bones of the dead, the heart of the earth, the endless heartbeat narrative of life.
"I swear I begin to see little or nothing in audible words,
All merges toward the presentation of the unspoken meanings of the earth,
Toward him who makes dictionaries of words that print cannot touch." 

Last Friday, the girls and I went with my dad on a drive up into the mountains to enjoy the fall color. We had heard that the previous week's winds had knocked down a lot of the bright yellow leaves from the aspens, but the drive was absolutely gorgeous anyway, the weather perfect and the girls cheerful. It was a sweet little getaway and we were kindly companions, an aging man almost 70, his daughter in a yellow skirt that matched the trees, and two rambunctious joyful babies ready to explore it all.

As always, the trip requires a stop for pie at quaint and inviting little Sorenson's cafe. 

My dad takes joy in simple outings. My mom too, come to think of it  (she'll meet me at the grocery store and when we leave, she'll hug me in the parking lot and say, well thanks for calling me honey, this was fun!) I am so grateful to generally have inherited their zest for life. All it takes to get me out of grumpy danger-zone is to leave the house, take a little spin, do something different, or even the same. The thrift store, park, and library storytimes are sure to cheer me and the babes immensely. So a day in the mountains, a day of wild crisp blue sky, red and yellow leaves, wind in our hair, pine cones and bridges and haunted trees, well I end up feeling pretty rosy indeed.

Apple-berry pie....

Wind in our hair....

and spooks in the trees!


The campground was closed but we walked down to the river. 

Then we drove on to the tiny town of Markleeville, a town I've stopped through many times, but this time in particular it felt like heaven on earth. Maybe because we met and talked to a few residents, we walked around a bit, people waved as I carried my baby, and I fell in love with this dreamy little homestead across the bridge from the library, with two hammocks hanging in the trees and a few outbuildings that looked promising: studio, guest house, retreat?

The library is flanked by the most perfect little playground. 

Oh, I almost forgot to mention this adorable vintage dress. It started with Mycie, who passed it to Clover, who in turn passed it to Lucinda. It holds lots of laughter,flowers, sunny romps.

The bear cub takes a little hibernating nap in the cave. She's so good at pretending these days!

They never wanted to leave the library! 

We stopped by the general store for snacks, met the friendly neighborhood dog, met up with friends we'd made at the library, Lucy took a ride on a little girl's bike, and I nursed Polly on the front porch amidst Halloweeny spiderwebs and strings of lights. It was cozy.

The sun was low in the western sky on our way home and shining golden light on the trees. Both girls fell asleep promptly in the car and pops and I stopped to take a couple more pictures. He liked how my skirt matched the landscape and took a picture. Then I drove home under hawks and vultures, over Carson Pass, past the giant rocks and the place where the vista opens up: the Sierra Nevadas, I took back roads all the way home.

"The best of the earth cannot be told anyhow, all or any is best, 
It is not what you anticipated, it is cheaper, easier, nearer, 
Things are not dismiss'd from the places they held before.
The earth is just as positive and direct as it was before." 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Trick or Treats

We met up with Addie and Art and Utah last week to go to Apple Hill together. 
See how cute they are? 

Tootie and Tata (what she calls Utah and how he refers to himself as well) ran around holding hands. It was too cute for words.

apple pie:

Climbing into "the spooky old treeeee!"

pumpkins galore:

pops and toot at the pond:

and us girls:

At the end of the afternoon it got cloudy and cold which made me shiver with joy and then Addie presented us with a little Halloween goodie bag! I wanted to share some of the loot.

Both girls love the wiggly skeleton straw!

(also, notice that no-hands action? my strong sturdy little polly!)

There's just nothing as nostalgic, spooky and charming as vintage Halloween stuff. Here's a little tin noisemaker.


I didn't know that these 1950's Rosbro plastics were worth pretty good money. I love this sweet little witch!

Addie had it all in this cute little favor bag.

I just thought it was such a fun idea, to put together little treat bags for a Halloween party or just as gifts. I loved that Addie thought to do this and we've had so much fun with our prizes. 

Addie has an ebay shop of her collectible items, mostly sheet music from the 1920s and 30s with the coolest artwork on the covers, but also some vintage Halloween stuff and other trinkets.

How about you, starting to get your spooks on?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Country Child - A Rustic Autumn Baby Shower

We held a baby shower here in my backyard for our beautiful radiant friend, CarolAnn. You might remember her adventurous "bachelorette" retreat, and her foresty redwood wedding....well, the plot thickens. They are expecting a little Scorpio boy due around Halloween.

Before I get down to the details of the party, here we are: the crew. Doniella, Rebecca and I planned and executed the party. While I put in some time on prep and decor, I gladly give all the real credit to my two sidekicks there as they did most of the work and stayed up late and arose early to prepare and make all the food and the adorable little mason jar peach pies you'll see in a bit.

We envisioned a rustic, countryish affair celebrating the harvest, autumn, and babies. CarolAnn is a quilter and loves all things handmade, so we hoped to create a charming and inviting homespun atmosphere: we're talking haybales, pumpkins, mason jars, burlap, get the picture. Rebecca created a pinterest board of ideas and inspiration and we took it from there.

In the days leading up to the party I re-learned how hard it is to plan a party or do anything out of the ordinary with two babies to look after. Enter Pops. My eternal errand runner, chore-doer, and toddler swinger. 
Rebecca is a pro. She seriously needs to start a party planning business on the side, she is a woman of immense vision. She's actually pretty much good at everything she does. (But hates to have her photo taken.)

Little hands "helping" and super cute fabrics.

Sylvan is about to turn ten years old. That's why it's super heart warming how he is so good with the girls. And it's rewarding to me to see how much he seems to legitimately like being here and being around them, he makes me feel like I've created a fun home here.

And now, the shower! The morning of the party, Suzanne and Sara went to the farmer's market to pick up fruit and flowers. We also had some potted chrysanthemums (the ones that didn't get demolished by the deer a couple evenings previously) that we set around the yard.

Pops made the wooden signs and I painted them. Learned on this first one that tempera paint is not the same as acrylic, whoops! But when you're going for "rustic" ...  messy can work!

The tiny mason jar peach pies. I kind of think are the star of the show (besides the baby bump of course.) We displayed them on my weathered old antique wooden high chair.

Tiny baby clothes, vintage suitcases and children's books, and pumpkins for a cozy little fallish scene. 

All the food was homemade and prepared by Rebecca, Doniella, Suzanne and Sara the night before. My favorite were the roasted pear and brie sandwiches. 

Mint tea, lavender lemonade, and orange juice for the mimosas. We painted the front of our homemade "bar" (it's a stage prop leftover from Epic Dust days) with chalkboard paint so we could write the beverages under each jar.

If you remembered which fabric scrap you chose, you could easily identify your glass later throughout the party. 

Suzanne and Sara spread the napkins.

Food table, plentiful abundance. It has to be good luck for a new baby, like a cornucopia of love and richness. Too bad it was so hot that day! We had to move things around to keep the cheeses from melting.

Rebecca making final touches.

We fixed up the little shed out back to be a station for a really sweet activity. Guests chose a number and wrote a little card for the baby to open at the corresponding birthday. I wrote to him at age eleven. CarolAnn will keep the cards in a little box to bring out on his birthdays so he can hear the blessings and advice of all his crazy aunties. :)

Rebecca cut all the fabric flags and Becky helped string them a couple nights before. They encircle my entire backyard are one of my favorite touches from the party. I still have them up out there making everything feel festive.

Rebecca and Doniella had sent each guest a little organic baby onesie for them to decorate and bring to the party. We hung them all out on a clothesline along the edge of the yard and later CarolAnn went along and examined each one.

I had taken down the pool about two weeks prior, and even though Rebecca and Doniella assured me that it was no big deal, the dead dry spot left behind was worrying me. However, after Pops picked up some haybales for me at the feed store, we created a circular seating area and it started to look really cute. After September's two rainfalls, there was actually some new grass growing, and in fact the whole yard was looking really pretty and green, but that's all a thing of the past already.

We had spread out quilts for picnic style seating as well, but that poor shrubby little rose of sharon tree was offering some coveted shade and became the party hotspot for awhile.

Wheelbarrow for gifts.

Desserts under Joey and Emily's wedding arch, which was made by my mom's husband Jack.

Sara pops some champagne, guests start to mingle, this party is officially happening!

The guest of honor enjoying the goods with her mama. When someone offered to bring her something to eat at some point I heard her respond, don't worry, I'll be eating all day!

I finally got to meet Carina's beautiful twins, Wrenna and Arlo. They are spunky, active little one year olds and so so adorable.

My brother Matt and his family had come into town for a brief weekend fling. I guess that's Matt's excuse for being the ONLY DUDE at an all-women party. They're all old friends anyway, and you gotta know he loved it, hung around as long as possible ;)

Carina and CarolAnn, feeling the love; everyone's getting so excited for this newest mother. 

CarolAnn and Mary: I share so many stories with these girls; it feels like old times when they're all around.

....with lots of giggles of course.

Some of our cute miniature party guests:

and of course this is what it's all about, ladies enjoying themselves and each other.

Bella had spent the night before here; it's so fun having her around and she's the best little helper with my own bundles. I see many slumber parties in our future!

Bringing out the ultimate baby shower gift: the glider.

CarolAnn got a lot of thoughtful and handmade gifts because she's just that kind of person.

Toward the afternoon Darin came back, napped with Lucy and eventually they joined us. (We still had a wedding to go to that evening!) It was just us left and Addie, this little group of friends that spent New Years together back in 2001, before Darin and I were even together. we were all just best friends roaming the streets of Ashland Oregon and keeping ridiculous notes in tiny books that we shared and wrote down each other's quotes in and laughed over so hard we cried. We called ourselves the "BAPs" for Books and Pens club. It's the dorkiest thing in the world and it makes me sit here with a big fond smile of love on my face.

We've hung out a million times since then of course, but the occasions when we are ALL together are becoming fewer and farther between. Addie, who is definitely part of our group, but not on that original trip with us, took our picture to commemorate the reunion of the BAPs: Darin, me, Doniella, Rebecca, Mary and CarolAnn.

And the best thing about it is that we just keep growing.