Saturday, December 29, 2007

Down the Back Lane

A little review of some highlights of 2008. What fun to look back over the year and remember all the fun we've had!
January~ Callers Workshops, painting the living room & bedroom, multiple trips to the airport with Bryan, ocular mgraine, and Richard's tip to Florida

February~ "Thirty Secrets", Give Kids a Smile, electric blanket, frozen pipes, sound system

March~ DECDF, efforts toward being more green, fiddlehedz played at the Cohen Center and for the Oyster Supper, Avery's monkey birthday, changing the clock

April~ Fiddle Workshop with Greg Boardman, fiddlehedz played for Kingfield contradance, San Francisco trip, owl lecture with Avery at LL Bean, jam group played at Cohen Center and for Turner contradance, raking the yard

May~ greenhouse seedlings planted, Relay For Life Fiddler's Marathon, garlic is up, preparing the garden for planting

June~ fiddlehedz play at Cohen Center, contradance at Ladd Center, swimming at the dam, contradance at Ladd Center, Maine Fiddle Camp weekend, kittens join our household, new computer, planting the garden

July~ New Fiddle from Somerset Violins, lessons with Elaine, Beat Greens play in Manchester NH, fiddlehedz concert in Mt Vernon, calling at Wescustogo, my Jubilee officially begins, Boreal Tordu in concert, fiddlehedz 4th of July concert in Winthrop, Beat Greens contradance in Washington ME,

August~ last day at Club-E, short gig at Wayne Fair due to lightening, week-long Maine Fiddle Camp, double header with Richard and fiddlehedz at Vienna contradance and me at Wescustogo calling with Maggie, Avery tries out the little fiddle, garden harvest coming in, sister spa afternoon, saris and square roundabouts, Indian wedding in New Jersey with American wedding in Massachusetts, bat in the house

September~ words to live by FORM & FUNCTION, PERSONAL EXCELLENCE, JOY IN LIVING, RESPONSIBILITY, family gathering, Bryan visits from California, shingling the roof, riding the train to see Wicked with my sisters, making ice cream at Tubby's, working at Apple Shed Bakery, washing windows at the lake, clearing the slash in the back yard, technical difficulty with camera, Richard takes wetlands class at UMO, wash fabric in anticipation of quilting, Beat Greens contradance in Farmington,

October~ acceptance letter received from UMF, apple Harvest, Avery's carrot costume, trick-or-treat in Hampden

November~ Physical Therapy, walk-about, lightning rounds, Strong contradance, Thanksgiving

December~ fiddlehedz holiday gig at Norlands, Beat Greens in Farmington, fiddlehedz contadance at Fairfield Center, snow-snow-snow, snowshoe trek around the property, quilts-quilts-quilts

Down the Back Lane is a tune from our binder of collected sheet music. I think we may have gotten it at Ashokan from Sarah Blair.

White Petticoat

This sort of looks like a lacey white petticoat... if you squint your eyes a little bit! Actually, the photo was taken from our greenhouse looking out into the south yard. The angle of the windows catches the snow and allows it to build up, making interesting patterns on the glass.
Snow is piling up here, and it's snowing again today. We have a fairly long road that we must keep clear, in addition to our driveway which is big enough for lots of jammers to park on Tuesday nights. Our plow guy is not as prompt or conscientious as last year, and Richard has managed to shovel everything out twice now before the plow guy gets here. Yesterday we went out and shoveled together. It didn't take very long, and it was good exercise. My method has four segments... 1) using the shovel as a push-scoop clear a path down the middle of the road or bisecting the driveway 2) again using the shovel as a push-scoop, work from the center of one area and push the snow toward the outside margin (in the driveway for example, push from the center toward the side) 3) shovel the show at the outer margin up and over the bank and 4) look at the beautiful snow on the trees, listen to chickadees, experience the cool air on my cheeks. I interject segment 4 whenever possible. Breaking the job up like this makes it easier to feel accomplishment and working together of course makes everything more joyful! Looks like we'll be going out to shovel again today if the plow guy doesn't come.
I'm making a pot of chili today with home-baked kidney beans. Usually we just use a can of beans, but here we have a bag of beans handy so we're doing it the old-fashioned way. We also have tomatoes we canned from our garden. Cornbread (made with real white southern cornmeal from Richard's mom) will round out the meal.
It's been nice having this week off from the bakery... time to update our web site, work on the DEFFA newsletter, make soups and cook beans, and generally hang out together with no schedule other than dancing and playing music. Last night was the North Whitefield dance with Calliope playing music and Chrissy Fowler calling. We had a lot of fun participating from the floor and seeing lots of friends.
White Petticoat comes from the Portland Collection Volume Two. It's a really cool jig, but is still a hard tune for me to play. Not a problem, there are so many others from which to choose!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Beneficial Tradition (continued even more)

Avery's Garden Quilt

SK's Garden Quilt

I think one reason my family has so many beneficial traditions is because we are, as a group, very creative and very do-it-yourself minded. We don't mind hard work, we're able to figure things out on our own, we're determined and goal oriented. Individually we each have our own particular interests and talents which we seem to carry with us over the years, even as we try out something new. Hope you've liked seeing these quilts!

Beneficial Tradition (continued)

Bennett's Scrappy Rail Fence

Toby's Scrappy Stars

More quilt photos... blogger didn't like me uploading too many at a time so I'm splitting them up into several posts.

Beneficial traditions, to me, are those things that are passed from generation to generation, having some usefulness in the process as well as the final result. Doing things together, having stories & memories attached to the doing, and having an end result are all pieces the activity. Some of my families food-centered beneficial traditions are: Date Balls & Needhams, Date Filled Sugar Cookies, Porcupine Meatballs, Grammie Randall's Pork Pie. My family has a history of spinning wool, knitting mittens, making quilts. New traditions evolve over the years as we try out new crafts and activities, always sharing them with other members of the family.

Beneficial Tradition

Geese in the Cabin, made for Bryan & Erin

9-Patch Variation for Jen & Jason

As promised, here are some photos of this year's Christmas projects. This holiday season was filled with gifts from our hearts and hands. Quilts are a time honored tradition and take on many shapes, colors and forms. My personal motto is "Form and Function" whether it's a quilt or any other activity. Quilts fit perfectly into this mind set. I've made some wall hangings and decorative pieces over time, but have much more fun creating something that will be lovingly used.

Beneficial Tradition is not a tune, but a triplet dance written by Al Olson.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Snow on Valafield

This morning found me on my way north to spend the day with Avery while his mom & dad went to work. We played with the new train set, made puzzles, read stories and played Candy Land... and then decided we'd like to go outside and get some fresh air. A said he'd like to shovel, so we each got a shovel and started moving snow! I got the idea to shovel a circular path for him to walk on, which was pretty fun. I continued to make more loopy paths and soon Max (the dog) joined in the fun by running through the pathways! I think all the outside activity tired Avery out though because after lunch and a couple more stories, he asked if we might lie down for a nap! Great idea! We later finished up the day with Tinker Toys airplane projects, more stories and drawing, and some play time with the trains again. It was a wonderful day!
Snow on Valafield comes from the Portland Collection.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Breaking Up Christmas

We broke up the day into a few activities. First order of business in our household is to check out the stockings to see what goodies were left for us... while coffee is being made of course! Once we all have a hot cup of java, we open gifts under the tree, spend some time hanging out and talking and then I get busy in the kitchen preparing breakfast. Traditionally we have Eggs Benedict with Holiday (Hollandaise) Sauce, we continued the tradition today.

We gathered the remaining gifts and went off to our respective next stops... SK to her mom's... Richard, Toby and I to Jen & Jason's. The traveling today was great... warm and clear so no trouble driving up the interstate.
Once at Jen's, we got to see Avery's new train set... Santa's elves made an amazing train table for the train to be set up on... looks just like the ones in the bookstores! We had quite a bit of fun playing with that. Then it was time to open MORE GIFTS... these were from Bryan and Erin. They did a good job keeping to a theme with A's presents... bananas and MONKEYS... wind up monkey, puppet monkey, bathtime monkey, and banana bath products! Next, you guessed it, time for a BATH to try out the fun products. Avery smelled like banana taffy candy by the time he was done! We had a little lunch, colored with markers and used John Deere stickers and then it was time for us to head home. Toby went back home too.
The rest of our afternoon and evening involve settling down at our computers, relaxing and reflecting on all the fun we've had this month as we've used our creative talents and energies to celebrate this season of giving and sharing. Hope you all had a joyous and relatively stress free holiday!

Avery with his new collection of MONKEYS!

Breaking Up Christmas is from the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Christmas Day Ida Moarnin'

Merry Christmas to all...
photos and holiday greetings to be posted later today... until then, may you all have a wonderful holly-day!
Christmas Day Ida Moarnin' comees from the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Snowshoer's Reel

Lots o' snow out there! It looks like a good old fashioned winter for us here in Maine thanks to multiple storms this month. I'm taking a short break from the holiday preparations to get outside and enjoy the bright sunshine, crisp (but not cold) air and get some play time in by walking around on snowshoes through the woods! Then it'll be kitchen time for this elf!
Snowshoer's Reel comes from the New England Fiddler's Repertoire.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Make a Little Boat

Well, maybe not a boat, but we're spending today making some great stuff! And who knows, maybe we really ARE making a boat, hahaha... Only a few more days 'til you find out...
Make a Little Boat is in the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tis the Gift to Be Simple

Not many posts lately... I've been quite busy getting ready for the Christmas holiday... Earlier this year we made a choice to live a bit simpler, spend less, and DO more rather than purchase more... It's been six months of getting back to basics, and the holiday season is no different... We're making just about everything, and having a really good time in the process... It feels so good to put our efforts into some really nice gifts... So, very few blog updates because of course, we can't TALK about or SHOW what we've been up to!
We're promoting to those around us also spend less this year... Fuel oil and gasoline prices are high, which in turn creates higher prices on everything else... And, let's face it, we don't really NEED anything other than to have our family and friends around us... For anyone wondering how to gift their loved ones without running up the old credit card with unnecessary purchases or gas station charges? Bake something special, it could be a favorite treat or something as easy and tasty as Chex party mix... A gift certificate for services like shoveling (if you're anywhere near us here in Maine) or childcare for an afternoon or evening... Write a poem, frame a photo, sew something or make a useful crafty item... There are lots of possibilities and honestly, it IS THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS...
Tis the Gift to Be Simple can be found in the New England Fiddler's Repertoire...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Off To California

A bit premature perhaps, but I'm thrilled to be looking forward to a trip to California in January... Last time Richard and I were on our way home from CA, we were offered the opportunity to change flights and be rewarded with Southwest Airline vouchers, which we have not yet cashed in. We've had some January gigs that have fallen through, leaving some time open before I start classes at UM Farmington, and somehow it's all working out that I can fly out to see Bryan, and meet his new girl and her family... Can you way WHAHOOOOO?
Off To California is a tune from the Fakebook.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Wow, it's been a while since I've posted anything here... so much to tell and so little time :) Thanksgiving was well celebrated as the family gathered at Deb and Arnie's new home... Betty, our pie maker, was out of town unexpectedly, but had done all the prep work before she left so all I needed to do was fill the shells and bake... Here is a lovely squash pie! Thanks to all who contributed their baking efforts, and especially for gathering young and old.
Work at the bakery continues to be good and though the paycheck is not huge, the benefits of being close to home, using less gasoline, working with wonderful women, and learning more about the finer techniques of baking and business have great value.
The Christmas holiday approaches and that creates busyness right now... I am picking and choosing those activities that are joyful and letting go of some of the other things that are just plain silly work to me right now.
Magpie is a tune from the Portland Collection volume two, and can also be found in the Fiddler's Fakebook.