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Mistakes and whims

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Firefly Gets Winter Berries from her Sister in LawLast night we went to visit my husband's mother at the place where she stays. I have written of her before: she has Alzheimer's and lives in a very lovely assisted living facility about an hour from our farm. She is very sweet and loving. I enjoy our visits with her because, while she might not have current memory that lasts more than a little while, she does remember much of her younger life including the time when my husband was a little boy. Side Bar: This morning I published the pattern for the new knitted gift bag I mentioned in my post a couple of days ago. I hope you like it. Back to the Blog: Her reminiscing tends to focus on and romanticize the best of times from her past, which I think is wonderful. Her descriptions might not match up perfectly with "reality", but reality isn't all it's cracked up to be anyway. I enjoy her stories, especially when she talks about the time they spent at our cottage on the river, five miles down the road from where we live. She brings it to life and as she speaks adoringly of days gone by, my imagination lights up like a firefly and roams the countryside of her bygone days. After our visit with her, we drove over a few miles to the next town to stop in for a visit with his sister and her husband. I love my new sister-in-law ... we have even said, "I love to you," to each other recently. It was a thrill to be able to say it and know it is true. She is a lovely, creative lady. She grows flowers, vegetables, and herbs in her large yard and garden. An abundance of gorgeous healthy living plants spring from the work of her slender hands. She dries flowers and other plants which she then uses in a myriad of creative projects. Fireflys Magestic Golden Willow TreeShe and her husband grew a bunch of gourds this year, and they have been busy making gourd bird houses together. He makes delicate drawings of flowers, fruits, vines, grapes, leaves, etc. and applies them to the gourds and she paints them. The designs are fine and tender ... I would not be able to bring myself to put one of those gourds outside because they are such works of art. Last night she showed me her attic, where bunches and bunches of flowers and other plants hang in clumps from the rafters, drying in the darkness of a scrumptiously old home: the house she and my husband grew up in. (Our farm is a place his parents bought over twenty years ago, just before his father died.) That attic with the drying flowers was a very inspiring space to explore. She gave me a bag full of dried items to use in the critters I will be making for our Christmas tree. I plan to get started on them this afternoon when my husband gets home from work. I am axiously awaiting that time ... Fireflys Hand Knit Elf Christmas StockingShe also gave me a few branches of winter berry to put in a vase. The branches are a dark charcoal grey and the berries are a wonderful Christmas red. I had to take the cuttings outside after I put them in my vase for an outdoors photoshoot. And lookie there ... why I do believe there is an Elf Stocking hanging on one of the branches. I knit that little stocking up yesterday morning for the collection I will hang on our tree. I have one other one I brought here with me, and I will be making several more. Next week I might be publishing patterns for a set of four or six Elf Stockings along with the letter from Mrs. Claus which is supposed to accompany each one if they are given as gifts. Next week I also hope to publish an online version of a Christmas book I wrote and self-published (with illustrations by my sister) when my children were little. It is a sweet little story about giving rather than receiving, and about being grateful for life around you ... through the eyes and actions of a little girl and her young brother. I am hoping that by publishing the Elf Stocking patterns and Mrs. Claus letter along with the Christmas book I might be able to raise some money for our Habitat for Humanity. We'll see how it all goes. Something for you to look forward to, perhaps, if I can pull it all off. The latest entries in the parade of fall colors are willow trees and apple orchards. Though most of the gorgeous autumn leaves have fallen and turned rusty brown, the willows and apple trees have just gone full golden over the past several days. I am hoping to get out to the apple orchards this weekend to catch them photographically before the pretty yellow leaves disappear. Today it is cold with a very chilly damp wind blowing in, I believe from the southwest (if I am reading the bending trees correctly). This morning when I went out behind the barn to photograph our magestic willow in her golden glory, the ground was so wet it tried several times to hold onto my husband's boots (I usually slip on a pair of his boots when I go out on my photo journeys around the property in the mornings). The pulling of the mud on the boots, the way it tried to keep ahold of them whenever I raised my foot was an interesting sensation. I haven't felt that particular sensation since I was a child and lost my new -- brand new -- shoe in a bit of hungry mud while walking home from school one day. It makes a very cool sound when you do manage to get it to let go. Fireflys Barn on a Cold November DayEach time I am out in the yard shooting photographs, there is usually an interesting shot of the barn. I am impressed with the steadfastness of our barn. I love to look at it and talk to it ... afterall, it has been standing there about two hundred years and must have seen many things during that time. I wonder sometimes what the future holds for that barn and I while I am here. It will be interesting to get to that part of this adventure someday. Next week I will give you more of the story about how my husband and I came to marry each other a mere three months after having met online via email. But I will say this one thing, because it is on my mind just now. It was just about one year ago that he and I both just happened to, on a whim, sign up at that online dating site for farmers, ranchers, and rural folk. As near as we have been able to figure it out, we both signed up pretty much on the same day. We didn't "meet" until a couple of months later when he happend to, by accident, forget to limit his search results to people within a 400 mile radius of where he lived. Hmm. Now, wasn't that interesting and fortuitous? Luckily, when he made that "mistake", I had just reinstated my memebership at the site. Thank goodness for mistakes and whims. Have a beauitful, productive weekend. ~firefly

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