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Suffering through "The Cold"

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A carpet of beautiful autumn leaves under Fireflys mulberry treeThis is one of those days when we really should sit and have a cup o' tea or coffee together ... or perhaps, a hot cocoa? Outside the sky is dark and stormy, wind is blowing and leaves are tossing about past my window as I write. I expect the rain will begin to fall at any moment and I welcome the excitement of receiving an autumn storm. I'm having a cup of half and half coffee and hot cocoa, what about you? Let's enjoy the coziness of being inside on a stormy day, sharing ideas about creativity, holiday plans, thoughts on the season, and so forth. Okay ... me first. Close up of the thick carpet of lovely autumn leaves under Fireflys mulberry treeBoth my husband and I are in good health, and rarely catch any type of illness. However, we have had very unpleasant colds over the past week. It is rather remarkable, to me anyway, that we are tracking together neck and neck on this cold. We seem to have contracted it at the same moment, and are enduring the entire evolution of it nearly identically. I have not ever shared an illness quite so intimately with anyone before; it creates yet another bond between us that we probably could have done without but find noteworthy nonetheless. My thought is that normally when I am ill, no matter how much company or comfort I get from loved ones, I am inevitably isolated because I am experiencing my own private hell of sorts. In this case, however, my misery is being shared by someone I love deeply. We are not isolated from one another. We traverse this strange territory of "The Cold" with each other. It is quite different from the usual happy and content life we share. Certainly neither of us would wish the coughing, sneezing, sleeplessness, or aching on the other but somehow it is comforting not to be alone. More of the mini willow wreaths Firefly is makingWe are getting on toward the end of it though, and somehow have managed to remain productive at times in spite of The Cold. This past Sunday morning we woke up to a hard frost in the wee hours before the sun came up. As we sat together in the living room, reading (him) and knitting (me), we enjoyed the beautiful golden light of the sun as it came up over the river and the trees across the road from our place. As soon as the sun began warming the leaves, they started falling like snow from the trees. I had not seen that before, the way leaves will fall rapidly in the morning sun after a hard frost. Later, in spite of "The Cold", he had to get out on the tractor and mow our three acres of lawn. Before he got going, I went out gathering cones, cedar "flowers", bits of bark, etc. for my Thistleonians and mini-wreaths. As I walked around the yard looking for my wild treasures, I came to our mulberry tree and found a thick carpet of green and golden leaves in a huge circle beneath it. The hard frost-early sunshine phenomenon had caused the tree to drop a large number of leaves quite suddenly that morning, regardless of whether they were green, gold, or brown. It was a rich, thick carpet of loveliness so I ran (okay, so I actually walked briskly) to the house for the camera so I could capture the sight before the tractor ground everything up. And still more of the mini willow wreaths Firefly is makingLast week I wrote about getting all of my dried wild "ingredients" organized all over our dining room table so that I could get started on making my mini willow wreaths, Thistleonians, and other dried arrangements for the holidays. Over the course of the past several days I have made quite a few of the mini wreaths, several Thistleonians, one large wreath, and a table arrangement. My goal is to make enough mini wreaths and Thistleonians for our Christmas tree, and to make enough extra that I can put some up for auction so that some of the readers of my blog who are interested will have a chance at owning some. Additionally, we are planning on opening up a little cottage-industry shop in our enclosed sun porch come spring, and I need to have items on hand for that as well. Working on these creative projects has been very soothing to my coughing, aching body and soul. My husband asked me on Sunday if it was difficult to feel inspired and creative through the fog of The Cold, but I told him that I actually found the creativity to be quite therapeutic. A dried arrangement Firefly madeA surprise benefit I am experiencing as a result of the projects involving dried "ingredients" from the environment is that I am getting to know the smaller, finer details of my outdoor environment better than I would have without these projects. Gathering the wild things, drying them, sorting them, and working with the various items results in an ever increasing and evolving awareness of the plants and trees growing all around us. I come to love my little wild dried treasures as I handle them and place them together this way and that, allowing their textures and colors to play off of one another. I was aware of pine cones of course, who isn't? What I had not realized before is how many variations there are in pine cones including shape, color, form, and texture. One of the Thistleonians Firefly made the other dayMilkweed was a plant I was completely unfamiliar with, as were teasels. Perhaps they grow in California, but if they do I had not gotten up close and personal enough with the fields and pastures along Interstate 5 to know those plants were there. Here in Western New York, they abound in the fields and pastures and along roadsides. Last year I began to get to know them, but this year I have followed their evolution from spring through fall. Now I know when to gather them, how to handle them, and what I can do to bring out the most beauty they have to offer. I have posted three of the mini willow wreaths and three of the Thistleonians I just made up for auction ... if you would like to check them out, click here. The scarf designed and hand knit by Fireflys daughterAnd as for knitting ... take a look at this cool scarf. This one is designed and made by my daughter, and I will be sharing the pattern for it within a few days (with her permission). This scarf is made with two skeins (one of each color) of Miracle by Classic Elite, a beautiful 50% alpaca / 50% tencel, which is one of the yarns I carry in my yarn shop at I Live on a Farm dot com. She decorated the scarf with some of the vintage buttons I was gifted by Winnie of the Buttons last year. I love this scarf, and am very happy she is willing to let me share it with my readers. Blu seems to be needing to go outside, so I must end off for the day. Before I take him out ... what was it you wanted to share with me today, over this cuppa whatever it is you are drinking? ~ firefly

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