Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just Around The Corner...

It's been a busy week, the weather is turning, and I have spent some time with seeds and dirt, a tractor and a plow, to get things going for the coming garden. Spring is here, by the calendar and by the weather! Daffodils are shooting up out of the ground, some are even in bloom.

I know there will be more cold and frost and most probably, some snow... but the birds are singing again, and deer are out playing and jousting in the fields. The kids are acting like frisky puppies, and everyone wants to be outdoors.

I almost didn't make time for a blog post this week, but here I am. And this is it! Short and sweet and full of promise...

The seasons are turning. Balmy warmth and earthy soil, beauty blossoms and bursting color are all lurking, just around the corner, as evidenced by these photos of bouquets from last year's garden. With that, I bid you adieu, and get back to my tasks at hand...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Info For Free - - Community, Too?

A few weeks ago I made some Ohio State University themed dishcloths for my son's classroom. Every year the parent-teacher organization holds a silent auction of gift baskets as a fund raiser. Each class has a different theme, the kids all contribute something, volunteers assemble the baskets, and they are auctioned off during the week parents come for teacher conferences. It's a pretty successful fundraiser, and everyone seems to love the different gift baskets.

At any rate, I went on-line and looked for knitting patterns having to do with Ohio State University, Buckeyes, and the State of Ohio. I was successful finding "state of Ohio" dishcloth, and knitted it in grey cotton. Here is a picture of my finished cloth.

Click here for a link to the free pattern for the State of Ohio dishcloth, and thanks to Rhonda White for making it available to the likes of me!

After getting the first cloth finished, I went in search of a "Block O" cloth. I couldn't find anything I really liked, so I ended up designing one of my own. I knitted it in scarlet cotton, and was pleased with the results. Here's a picture of the Block O cloth:

Once I get a bit of extra time, I will probably offer the Block O cloth on ravelry as a free pattern. Who knows? There might be a burning need for "O" dishcloths out there. Actually, I have a couple of free patterns to offer up, I just need to get busy publishing them! There is never enough time in the day!

Thinking about time and commitments, today Hubby and I had the neighbors over to discuss how to save a dying social organization, of which we are all members. We've been members for about two years and are the youngest, at 47 and 48 years old. The remaining five or so members are in their 60s or older. The organization can't succeed in getting any new members, attendance is dwindling, interest is lacking, and the current president just dropped out. No one wants to take hold of the reigns, yet no one wants to see it completely die out, either.

In the face of no leadership, we had our own "pre-meeting" today to discuss options before the "real" meeting this coming week. Our discussion led to some very interesting issues. This 75 year old organization started out of a need for neighbors to protect and look out for each other. Over the years it has become a social club whose members meet to visit and share food, and to spearhead community service projects. We were all racking our brains trying to think of something that would interest people enough to get some new, young blood in the organization. Frankly, it was hard to come up with anything.

We are rural folks, many of us farmers or homesteaders, some retired, a few of us young and just starting families, all of us busy. What is the common thread that could tie us all together? What lecture, workshop, or activity could we offer that would actually draw this group of neighbors together once a month? And, more importantly, keep them coming back for more? Hubby raised the point that people get all the information they need on the internet. It used to be, if people wanted to learn a skill, they asked their elders, their neighbors, or a friend with experience to teach them, hands on. Or they went to the library and got books on the subject, or took a class.

But now, there is a world of information at almost everyone's fingertips. Whether it's how to knit, how to compost, what to plant, when to plant it, how to field dress a deer, how to clean your shot gun, how to school your kids at home, where to find a doctor, how to can vegetables, what recipe to cook for dinner, or how to navigate your way to an unknown location. Factor in social and professional networking sites, some of them interest-based, such as facebook and ravelry, and you find people having a sense of community wherever they may be, as long as there is a computer handy. An interesting phenomenon. Perhaps people would rather sit at home on their computers than walk down the road to meet with neighbors in person.

This is the issue weighing heavy on my mind today. Information is free and for the taking. But what about community? Can we save our dying organization? And the million dollar question: What could successfully bring us all together? I'd love to get some comments on this entry. What would entice you out of your house and down the road to meet with your neighbors on a monthly basis, for food and community?

I can guarantee you, this question will be ruminating in my mind as I sign off and get back to my tasks at hand...

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I'm thinking about tolerance today, as, finally, the temperatures are rising enough to melt away some of the snow around here. I can't think of a better picture to show tolerance than the following photo of my son and our dog, Jesse. My eldest enjoys dressing Jesse in all manner of clothing and accessories which today, happened to be vintage football shoulder pads. I love the look on her face as I snapped this picture. Tolerant, yet suffering humiliation, while her clothing adviser looks on with such happiness and approval.

This morning when I awakened, it was 17 degrees Fahrenheit and I stoked the fire, thinking, "I wonder how many more mornings we will need wood for warmth?" This time of year I get pretty eager to clean up the stove and put away all the mess that comes from heating with wood. But the house was chilly, and I was cold, so I stoked the fire, practicing tolerance.

Then, later in the day, bright sun streaming in the southern facing windows and temperatures rising to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, all of us got pretty antsy and excited. The kids headed outside for such fun as burning holes in paper using a magnifying glass. And leaping snow piles with wooden poles. Jesse sunbathed on a patch of deck that was free of snow.

And I started thinking about things in the garden last year. Gathering daily harvests of fresh greens and smelling the garden earth and straw mulch around young plants. But there's still a lot of snow, so we're going to need a few more warm days like this before too much can happen.

And it will be a while before I relive anything remotely related to this:

So, I'm practicing tolerance. It's all a part of the cycle of life around here. Because all too soon, there will be 14-hour days with lots of sunshine and more work than you can shake a stick at. My hands will be too tired at day's end to even think about knitting. And whatever happens with this year's garden, there are sure to be plenty of opportunities for growth and learning. So, for now, I tolerantly resume my tasks at hand...