Showing posts with label wildcrafting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wildcrafting. Show all posts

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Let There Always Be Light

I absolutely love the autumnal season where everything still is so green and bright here in the lush Willamette Valley of Oregon.

In spite of climate change issues with temperature changes already altering weather records, and higher prices than most areas of the U.S. it continues to be a lovely place to live. 

Yes, Alaska will always have my heart but marrying an Oregonian 50 years ago and choosing Salem, the City of Peace, was a very wise choice!

Forty-three years ago we built our home with a lot of sweat equity and a $37,000 and a 30 year mortgage saved up with nickels and dimes and lots of hard work! I still love it aging issues and all.

After all we have aged right alongside the house we built, the fruit trees we planted and hundreds and hundreds of trees and shrubs and perennials. And now we constantly reap the rewards of those efforts by being the best stewards of this piece of land that we still can.

My wisteria vines are a delight in the summer and early fall. Here they are so full they are in need of another pruning to allow the centerpieces plant and decor to even show! 
This is a favorite decorating opportunity for the 5 and 6 year
old grandchildren to scout out my hodge podge deck decor and make little scenes everywhere.

Here a real birds nest recently discovered having fallen from a tall tree is joined by 2 chickens, one wooden and one metal but still getting along famously without disagreements at all!  

Look closely above, and you'll see that a 2nd birds next joined the decor! No wonder Jasper was staring at it!

In the wee hours from 3 to 6 a.m. when I am already up and about, their tiny Christmas lights (purchased every winter and twined anew onto bare vines before leafing in the Spring) cheer up my always awake and sleepless nights. 

And unfortunately with cloudy skies at night I am happily bringing in my own lights. 

There was a spectacular harvest moon weeks back,  but now I must be content with my 3 a.m. walkabout to see a delightful crescent moon and some tiny but lovely stars. Photos even "night" selected were just a blur but I can picture them in my mind. Meanwhile I know they, the moon, and the sun still shine!!! 

The rest of my very long busy days and restful but awake hours, Jasper keeps me entertained under artificial lighting. Here, he appears to be making his shopping list from a Wilco Farm Store flyer.

And yes, I still sew and quilt. When the mood strikes I tiptoe upstairs by flashlight, and carefully select my 5 a.m. lighting and create and sew, sew, sew!  I can't say what yet.  But were getting a something or other, don't know which, in November. So this crazy lady is having even more crazy fun in the magical design loft and little sewing nook day and night right now! 

And then, there's the bounty and abundance of the fruits of our land and our labors. And when I say our, I usually mean Larry. He picked, washed, sliced, and pureed or stewed or canned or froze. Day after day while still working outside of the home for our home building business of 35 years of hard, hard, work in multiple towns with hours of driving every which way. 

Did I mention we work for free?  So of course others love our work ethics and Larry is of course helping our son keep our small but amazing home based business going. Larry says our son Blake is both the brains and the brawn of the business. That he's just along for the ride! 

And on the homefront, our ongoing celebration of harvest and harvesting. The apple varieties continue to be picked from our original batches of Gravenstein apples to Golden Delicious to Melrose and others, picking and canning golden jars of applesauce both with and without sugar and some with added cinnamon.

Last photo above-two more batches of applesauce on top of all of my other harvest posts' jars of applesauce!

Want a giggle and a big old "WHAT?" Double press the photo to read my spice jar labels. The state of the labels tell you how long these have been there. Normally the labels are rotated to the back sides.  

I misplaced my cauldron so I haven't been creating exotic potions for decades but I love all of these extra dried up or not exotics! Gifts from my oldest daughter, Terin  when one of us was considerably younger and both of us knew what all these were and what for. Now, one of us (sigh) doesn't any more. My beautiful and amazing daughter took classes and was certified as a Medical Herbalist along with her other talents and gifts. Used to helping friends battle cancer and stepping in for them when others stepped out, but now having learned first hand how how challenging it truly can be she has survived 65 chemo treatments, surgery and in depth radiation  We have all learned so much from her. Cider making, beekeeping,  gardening all part of our family fun and activities we share. Family for us is what it's all about!

We'd have no need to make a kazillion packets of dried prunes, endless jars of jam and applesauce etc. if we didn't have a helping family who loves it as much as we do!

It's family--kids and grandkids that light up our life, expand our hearts, and inspire us to be more and do more. Love them all so much!!

Then after all the family fun. It's back to just us at work! The prunes are still being picked, eaten fresh of course but also dried in our homemade food dehydrator from the 70s/80s. Batch after batch of cleaned over and over fresh from the pitted and the resulting halves layer upon the grated shelves to dry from the simple heat of a light bulb! Takes 48+ each batch to dry. They are a great treat for our 4 grandchildren, ages 2 through 7 and one we all love! 

And yes, my posts are always typed on my beloved Galaxy Note 9 cell phone. Hours and hours and hours per blog post and only an iffy, whiffs mobile signal on clear days.  

I like to believe it's keeping me sharper than I might otherwise be considering my family history and certainly teaches me a lot about psycho typos and glitches in the air waves and to be an even more patient and steadfast woman!

And now snippets of poetry as I am prone to share, always using my 1972 back pocket English degree around this site!

From Rebecca Elson, poet/astronomer 
(January 2, 1960–May 19, 1999)

"For this we go out dark nights, searching For the dimmest stars, For signs of unseen things To weigh us down. 

To stop the universe From rushing on and on Into its own beyond Till it exhausts itself and lies down cold, Its last star going."

And another:

"Whatever they turn out to be, Let there be swarms of them, Enough for immortality, Always a star where we can warm ourselves.

Let there be enough to bring it back From its own edges, To bring us all so close we ignite The bright spark of resurrection."

"The astronomer and poet Rebecca Elson (January 2, 1960–May 19, 1999) was twenty-nine when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma — a blood cancer that typically invades people in their sixties and seventies. Throughout the bodily brutality of the treatment, throughout the haunting uncertainty of life in remission, she met reality on its own terms — reality creaturely and cosmic, terms chance-dealt by impartial laws — and made of that terrifying meeting something uncommonly beautiful."

Maria Popova

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as I/she/we share an imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon.
 Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, from my heart and with my hands.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

And oh the great fun of it all!! I love the tree and each little cherished decoration and all of the wonderful spirit lifting lights!! 

And not just the tree but years of making or buying little things that once were put out all through the house and more! And as much work as it can be for so many of us (depending in how much you decorate, bake, and craft) or how many rooms or trees you decorate, or if you decorate just inside or also outside and how much you do of that! 

 I am the doer of too much all by myself  because my directions of how and where to put what would cause more trouble than it's worth in aggravation for both parties. Ha!

The tree has been up since November 9th (my oldest daughter's birthday) and that day is the beginning of my own personal blessings and gratitude holidays 

 Using my simple prayer flags garland most definitely fits in with "Prayers and Blessings' in November and now that the tree is still up there and in use multiple months it really justifys the expense of this artificial tree that I never planned on ever buying! 

I bought it 5 years ago when my husband was preparing for his first hip replacement. It was a rough time awaiting that and getting a real tree and hauling it upstairs was literally impossible that year. But in the end I'm happy we were forced to make that decision.

Five years of purchasing/ doubling the season's use makes up for my cost as well as the carbon footprint of that plastic and paper-plastic needles involved in its production! And after dragging that box to the cash register and convincing the clerk that my triple discount actually would work (it did) it was quite the bargain at way under cost for an on sale tree to begin with!

And this year I loved my addition of my bronze cow bells so much that I kept them and the feathers on the Christmas tree and just saved out some of my wooden Christmas ornaments and added them to the garlands instead. I still have more natural elements to add in. But for now all 4 grands have visited it and gently touched and admired the Christmas fun. Love it all!

Then of course Covid hit and no one came inside except Larry and myself and the cat! Well one tiny boy person peeked his precious little masked head in the door and looked up at the tree in our loft and garland of lights all of the stair rails up into that loft's railing and  our magical bridge to nowhere and everywhere! But best of all could actually see a few gifts up on the stair landing!

So yes, I still did all this crazy work just for Larry and myself (Covid Isolation or not!) 2020 we were all pretty crazy especially those of us who super followed the science and stayed inside and never went into a single store for over a year!

And it really doesn't seem to matter what we do or do it for.  Just the sheer mood elevating endorphins high of the doing! 

I just plain LOVE the holidays! 

Still placing at 46th/100 of top quilting blogs on feedspot listing. So grateful for all of you who have continued to follow me and read my blog. And only 20,000 views away from 10 million viewing visitors!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands

Monday, November 29, 2021

Thanks Giving Gatherings

From my house and my heart to yours 

Our entire family is gathering together in one house to celebrate and show gratitude for our little family of twelve.

The looking forward of good times, lots of fun and laughter and the pure joy of the four littles, ranging from toddler to first grade. 

Oh the pure joy and delight that lights up each of our homes! But when joy gathers in one place, how much more it multiples!

What joyful and special little spirits they share. Blessed to be grandparents to these bright lights in our lives.

As the 4 year old said to me:
"Grandma! You have a Christmas Tree? Grandma! It isn't even Christmas! 

As I explained to her as I do to all others each year, this is our Thanks Giving Tree: My tree of Prayers and Blessings. 

Soon my decorations will be replaced by Christmas garlands and ornaments instead of my vintage bells and gifts from the natural world.

Soon, there will be wrapped packages under it waiting to be shared. For now, I delight in the lights and their glow as they warm me inside and out. 

One of my 7 Thanksgiving Cactus on a simple pumpkins, squash and gourd whole cloth quilted counter mats.

A few double layered insulbrite with fused thin batt inside of scrap fabrics to match other hostess gifts previously gifted to our Family Gathering Day hostess.

And as we gathered past our personal day of Thanksgiving past our new National Remembrance of Indigenous Peoples' Day, to our own Gathered Family Day.

So much fun, laughter, joy and really lovely food.

Her beautiful and recently gifted vintage Spode place settings from long ago so perfectly fit our autumnal into winter feelings and warmed and charmed us all. My 6 year old grandson wrote all our names. I laughed to see "Michele" instead of grandma. A simple but priceless paper name tag. 

And a remembrance of how this day truly began and the historical even sorrowful respect with a photo of my own wrapped sage and found items or gifted ones that always hold strong memories for me. Blessings to all as we have begun a season of so many holi-days--14 holy days of remembrance between mid-November to mid-January.  
(The Days of Hanukkah have begun)

Love Hope Peace Strength Wisdom

The words engraved upon these rocks as well as my heart. They have served me well these 7 decades of my life.

I look at all of the beautiful natural elements that fill up bowls and baskets always in my home as they fill my heart with peace, grace, and gratitude.

Still placing at 46th/100 of top quilting blogs on feedspot listing. So grateful for all of you who have continued to follow me and read my blog. And only 20,000 views away from 10 million viewing visitors!

I am amazed that my once very, very simple presented blog begun in 2006 became this mammoth/behemoth /ginormous monster of time, effort and work for me πŸ’œπŸ€—πŸ’œ

I'm not doing what Fred Astair could do nor wearing high heels like Ginger Roger's as I do it.. BUT! I'm  still texting since we gave up satellite wifi almost 8 years ago on my Galaxy 9 phones data plan one keystroke at a time. If you think you can well you just do it!
I've taught myself as I went along and look at my pages and linkages now! Phew!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Our Bee Keeping Fun

Bees are not only fascinating but serve an essential role in the propagation and continuation of flowering plants, trees, shrubs and crops. Without them many of our food sources would not be able to thrive and in fact survive. Crucial on the pollination of many vegetable,  fruit and berry crops, without them we would eventually be reduced to the most basic of diets not healthy or sustainable for our own future.

Due to climate change and pesticides the numbers of all bee varieties and other critical insects such as butterflies  are dramatically decreasing and already affecting gardens and farms. Our backyards and gardens were once filled with the abundance of these frequently misunderstood little creatures.

Coincidentally with this international recognition and celebration of bees in both the dedication of a special day of recognition, my own family was  actively involved that very week in the saving and caring for a bee colony in our own little world. 

Our oldest daughter, Terin,  has always been interested in beekeeping and involved in making a bee home in her backyard in hopes that she and her partner might invite in a wild bee swarm looking for an inviting home. Unfortunately it never happened naturally and their attempts to purchase an established hive was unsuccessful due to overwhelming demand in their area.

So when a wild swarm flew in and began to bunch into formation my husband, son and I rushed into action and our desire to finally give her that wish of a bee colony of her own.

Not having a beekeepers suit, we created one out of an old tyvek "suit" used in applying insulation materials in our home building business. My new and never used "Mr.Clean" rubber gloves, my husband's super building tape to close gaps between gloves and suit and a quickly cut wire mesh face protector to fit in suits hood plus plastic goggles completed our son Blake's ensemble. 

With the use of a ladder, a lawn mowing grass receptacle bag to "catch" the swarm into, he had them collected in minutes  We had borrowed a neighbors discarded wooden bee box to hopefully get the queen and her workers a temporary home.

It was so great to be able to transport the swarm in its container safely and thoroughly further contained in a super taped and sealed large cardboard box. 

Our daughter was thrilled to finally have a colony of her own and quickly ordered a prefabricated bee hive kit online to be pieced together over the next few days to provide the much needed space for this wonderful hive. 

It was incredibly exciting and rewarding for all of us!

Pieces as they arrive in kit and units as she put the box layers into a suitable arrangement. 

Making bee syrup for food.

Piecing kit pieces together bit by bit using pre-cut pieces.
Finishing it day by day then-sealing it and then
Transferring our initial bee box into her own larger hive structure.  

This allowed the queen and all her worker bees to transfer on their own from the "super" we provided (and unknowingly loaded upside down for the bees!) Terin remedied that of course 🀣

These lovely bees were amazingly docile and so gentle when they landed on her as she worked 

🐝 Our little 6 year old granddaughter even commemorated the occasion with artwork!  🐝 

Oh, the blessings no matter the challenges! We are grateful we could do this for our daughter!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands