Spare moments

This week’s thunder was a startling change from months of hushed snowstorms.  The rain beat a rough rhythm on the canvas roof, one that was hard for some of us to sleep through.  We’d grown very accustomed to the slip-slide-zipper sound of snow whooshing off the roof.  The rain is so different, pummeling, like rabbit feet beating the earth to awaken the spring goddess sleeping away under her white duvet.  The spring thunderstorm shook the yurt, tossing items off kitchen shelves and making the walls of Caden’s room sway back and forth.

What’s this I say about a “room” in our tiny yurt?  It’s true.  There is now a wee roomish thing so we can say “Caden!  Go to your room!”  Well, no.  We’ve already used that as a joke for too long now.  “What room?!”

Instead, this “room” is a place to just tuck away a bit.  Like after a long trip with Dad, when the boy is tired but the girl has missed him and just wants to PLAY, and he has nowhere to go and just take a moment.  Fabric bin to the rescue.  Giant swath of fabric, grommets, ribbon… and he sewed on some buttons at the “door.”

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A book nook.

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The strange things that happen to have everyone’s needs met in this little home.  Thankfully it’s feeling less little as the weather has us outside so much more.  And progress on the bigger home is visible, tangible.

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The small workers set up a shingle shop, organizing them into the necessary small, medium, large stacks and then trying to hustle us into paying for them.  Wait, didn’t we already buy these shingles?

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The weather has held us up a few times, as has been the case for almost every step of the way of this process.  A few more inches of snow fell.  It has rained.  It has been very cold.  It has been windy (stacks of light cedar shingles have way too much fun flying about in the wind).  But when it has been clear weather, it’s quite a glorious place to be up there on the roof listening to the spring runoff rush down the streams, bald eagles soaring overhead.

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Mostly it’s Josh up there, his focus on the roof feeling very similar to his previous focus on getting the wood milled, making spare moments count.

Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I try.  I’m a bit slow and hesitant drawing the knife toward myself to taper each shingle.  I like to think that by the end of summer I’ll finally have the hang of it…

I have hope, remembering how slow and unsure I was when I started sewing.  Granted, a sewing machine needle isn’t quite so intimidating as a knife blade.  Still, back in that first Home Ec sewing class in high school I would never have imagined I’d get the hang of sewing.  It’s ironic to think back on that class now, a class that was a “filler” among those all-important advanced placement college-track courses.  I had no idea how valuable that fluff class would be for me.

How much power there is in the ability to make one’s own clothing, to sew into creation what is in one’s imagination, to determine one’s own comfort and style instead of being boxed into what is on a rack or shown in a magazine.

The power to recreate a favorite item, like this one I made three years ago:

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A peasant skirt.  The first item I’d sewn for myself outside of that Home Ec sewing class.  A style that was most likely not fashionable, but that I liked and felt comfortable in.  I wore it for one summer before it was put away in our storage unit and burned two years ago with everyone else’s belongings there.  I’ve had it in mind to make another.  Because I can.  And I did.  With the added irony that this green fabric kept reminding me of the green of the shorts I sewed in that Home Ec class 20 years ago.

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Aria also had it in her mind to make something.  A dress for momma.  And she did, using leftover Halloween costume material.

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And then she wanted me to wear it.  Into town.  To the library and to the store and to friends’ for dinner.  Declaring that everyone should get to see how beautiful I was in my radiant dress.

That proud face shining up at me.

How much children teach us about ourselves…  I realized in that moment that I had thought I’d reached a point where I didn’t care what anyone else thought of what I wore.  True when I am choosing what I wear.  But in this moment I realized how little I like to call attention to myself.  The idea of going out in a bright, shiny blue dress would certainly do exactly that.

So I did.  I spent the rest of the day in that dress, ungracefully tripping over it because Aria believes it’s especially beautiful to have a long train in back AND front.  Wearing it reminded me of when I was 10 and DID dress bright and bold, with truly not a care for what anyone would think of my yellow dress with red and electric blue lightning bolts across it.  And finding the dress was an asset with small children around, a two year old taking great pleasure in hiding within the folds of the blue fort dress.   As the day continued, for longer and longer periods I forgot I was even wearing it.  Until Aria would run over beaming to adjust my front and back trains.  Or I would trip over myself, again.

It was worth every awkward moment to let her individual idea of beauty shine out.

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For now the blue gown is put away and garden gloves pulled out.  Almost as soon as the snow melted off of the garden, little green shoots were spied peaking out of the straw.

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Straw was pulled back to reveal…

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Garlic!  At first glance it didn’t appear that much was happening in these drab garden rows.

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But closer inspection revealed green things stirring all over.  That garlic, chamomile, yarrow, lavender, chives, thyme, welsh bunching onions…  It felt especially delightful after this winter.  And because each night we’ve imagined such appearances while tucked in with the unfolding growing magic in one of my childhood favorites, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.

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Spring!!!  It was enough to spur us into action getting the beds cleaned up and amendments put down, ready to plant.

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Then the kids and I were on a road trip to Unity, Maine, to do planting of a different sort.

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At the Maine Heritage Orchard.

The Maine Heritage Orchard is a ten-acre preservation orchard on the MOFGA grounds in Unity. It will be home to over 500 apple and pear varieties traditionally grown in Maine. Many of these varieties are now on the verge of extinction. The orchard is planted on a terraced, reclaimed gravel pit and is managed using innovative, organic orchard practices.

We planted 3 trees…

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The planters made plans to visit and check on “their” trees every Common Ground Fair trip.

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Now we’re ready to plant our own fruit trees.  Or at least start getting ready for them.  Back home, Josh made another A-level to make more garden swales.

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Unfortunately the spot for more garden still looks like this.

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Still, it won’t be long now when we’re already to bare feet in mud, frog eggs in pond, and rafting.

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Josh kept finding spare moments until the top roof was done and middle roof started.  Which he jokes means we’re one-third of the way done with the roofing, right?

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And we keep going on the gardens we already have, tucking them into blankets of fresh seaweed.

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Yes, we were walking over snow as we loaded up seaweed wheelbarrows.  But the green is starting to far outshine the white around here!

4 thoughts on “Spare moments

  1. Wow – can’t believe you lost all of that snow ! Lovely to see the green shoots in the garden. That blue dress is spectacular!! And the first “third” of the roof is awesome. Hope you are continuing to enjoy warm spring weather! xoxoxo

  2. Pingback: “Building Beyond Coperthwaite” | Circle In

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