Suffering through “The Cold”

November 14, 2007 at 7:26 pm | Posted in art, blogging, Christmas, country life, country living, faith, family, flowers, free knitting patterns, gardening, gifts, Holidays, knitting, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance, scarf patterns, yarn | 23 Comments

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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  1. The skies are dark and heavy here in the Hudson Valley as well. I’m ready for it. Mexican hot chocolate is in the cupboard ready to go.
    Very cool scarf.

  2. Your daughter is very creative. The button detail is such a nice touch!

  3. I hope you feel better soon.

    I really love your wreaths – I’d bid for them, but I’d never get them through Australian customs. But you’ve made me realise why I’ve been collecting pinecones and Australian native gumnuts and other bits of flora for years – thank you for the inspiration! Do you use a glue to put them all together? If so, do you use a standard craft glue (PVA adhesive) or something more substantial?

    Take care and rug up warm.


  4. Firefly,

    Your little wreaths are beautiful! You may be reluctant to tell me…and if so, I understand…but I would love to know what you did with the willow branches before you wound them…if anything. Did you strip the leaves, wind them and dry them? Like I said, this may be a secret….and that’s ok. You are so creative and inspiring.

  5. You almost make having a bad cold inviting! But now that I think of it, I’ve never been ill at the same time as my husband, either! It might actually be more pleasant. But I’ll be careful about what I ask for.

    As much as I’d love to cozy up with a cuppa to enjoy a storm as you’ve described, we’ve had amazingly warm — almost hot weather today. Although it’s beautiful, I’d rather have the chill of fall, and colorful leaves.

    Your mini wreaths are lovely. I enjoy seeing all of the wonderful things you create.

    Take care.

  6. It’s supposed to be heading into summer here, but the day is windy and cold. I’m drinking hot chocolate and wishing it was coffee (no caffeine while breast-feeding).

    The mini-wreathes are beautiful.

  7. Stormy and dark here in Northern NJ too, firefly. Your photo of all the leaves dropped at virtually the same time brought to mind this poem on someone else’s blog yesterday and I wanted to share it with you and your readers because I loved it so much:

    by Mervyn Peake

    I heard a winter tree in song
    its leaves were birds, a hundred strong
    when all at once it ceased to sing
    for every leaf had taken wing

  8. Firefly,

    Your writing is beautiful as always. wish I lived close, I’d accept the offer of sitting and drinking hot cocoa with you.

    The tiny wreaths are charming.

    Blessings on you and yours.

    Shirley Buxton

  9. Hi Firefly…
    Sorry to hear that you have a cold… so annoying!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and the big welcome back. Well, I’m not really back yet. I find that I have no time to put a decent post together, but hopefully soon.


  10. Good Morning Firefly,
    I’m drinking coffee with lots of half and half, my husband says it like coffee kool-aid. My preference would be a cup of green tea but out of it today! It’s sunny in Indy today but very cold, I think it was 28 when we went for our run this morning. The sun should warm it up in no time at all. Wow, what have I been up to? The knit shop that I work at (part time)is opening a new shop and last night was the “open house”. It was so much fun. Meeting knitters and catching up with old friends, of course, making new ones knowing that we may not have a lot in common but knitting. How exciting! Our family has been busy with school, work, church, music etc. We are looking forward to going home next week to see my mom, dad,& sisters. We will make the trip from Indy to Mississippi, the 5 of us plus dog in a van. But they are wonderful times and memories. I know that there aren’t going to be many more years of this because my kids aren’t little any more. That’s a little of what been going on with us. I’m sorry you & your husband have not felt good…I’ll pray for speedy recovery. Stay warm today! Blessings! Ann

  11. God bless you! I am sending that for your collective sneezes, which I hope are abating. I remember the first time my husband and I were sick-in-synch… it’s like a marital rite of passage! As usual, you bring brightness and beauty to your blog, even as you suffer through the cold.

  12. I’m drinking some hot loose leaf peppermint tea from the Metropolitan Tea Company sweetened with clover honey from my uncle’s bees. It’s just right for those days when you can’t seem to get warm. Somehow it gets the blood going and warmed.

    I love that carpet of leaves. If Girly were there, I would rake it all into a pile and we would jump in with abandon. Perhaps you two should give it a try. The running to jump and the wild laughter of play just might be what the doctor ordered for your colds.

    I do hope you get better soon.

  13. I love all the wreathes and the thistleonians. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts and projects
    with us.

  14. Love the scarf and of course, the mini wreaths.
    I’ve just started a knitted scarf for my daughter for Christmas, but I do want to make one for myself when you publish the pattern. It was fairly nice today with no wind but it was overcast. The weather is supposed to turn much colder for the weekend and possible snow for Thanksgiving. Yes, a very good day for coffee and knitting.
    Blessings, Jan

  15. I just love your blog. I haven’t visited in awhile, so I just needed to say that again. It really is wonderful. As for your Thistleonians ~ they have to be some of the cutest creatures I have ever seen. Good work, Firefly!!
    Hope your colds are on the down home slide.
    Happy weekend!

  16. Firefly,
    Thank you for taking time out to write to me about your latest adventures. I am having a cuppa joe with you, and happy that you are on the road to feeling yourself again.
    It is a little chilly here, in the 40’s but to us in New Orleans, this is down right COLD!

    My husband and I were sick together on our wedding day and our honeymoon.The main memory from that day was how green my husband looked. That was the worst 2 weeks of my life. Every year we try to recapture what we missed, by going on our “honeymoon” again. Thankfully we have been able to skip a repeat of the creeping cruds, so far.
    It is a comfort to have someone who can understand how bad you feel at that moment.
    You and your adventures are in my thoughts and my prayers.
    -Ps. Thank God for the little things.
    I thank God for someone as creative and blessed as you. You are an inspiration.

  17. The start of your blog today, 11-14-07, reminded me of the Mama’s and the Papa’s song–All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray! As a matter of fact, I was singing that song coming down the road the other day. Love that song. I also love your little Thistleonians. Sooooo cute! The colors of the leaves here in the northern part of South Carolina are bursting with reds and oranges. The same day I was singing, I just stopped and marveled at the wonder in which God can entertain us with the brilliant colors. Gives you something to be thankful for. I get to see plenty of color most days because I am a substitute mail carrier. Now, when the snow comes, that is a different story. It is beautiful, but I despise driving in it. Hope you get well, and I’ll check in with you another day. You made me want a cup of coffee.

  18. I have “the” cold as well. It is making me grumpy 😦 I fell asleep for 5 hours this afternoon on the living room floor where I started to read a book. Have you read any of the books by Louise Penny? She has just issued the third in her series of mysteries in Three Pines. They are very, very good. She & her husband live just across the Vermont border in Canada. I tried to knit, but I make mistakes when I am “with cold.” My middle son is home from college in Henrietta, near-ish to you, and the eldest will be home from college soon. Here is hoping that our colds have abated by Thanksgiving day. Our leaves here in the Hudson Valley were late in changing and, while there were a few lovely days when the sun shone through golden leaves, most leaves will just drop. Thanks for your lovely blog!

  19. A chilly 9 degrees here in Montana this morning. We have gone from Fall to Winter, but oh how beautiful. I am enjoying your site, just discovered it recently-love your writing, photos, projects, etc. Like you, I have moved to a lovely, more rural life, havingl left Ca. 2 1/2 years ago. I do miss my kids and grand-daughters, but what fun when they come to visit what with fishing, horseback rides and hikes. I just wanted to thank you, your ideas and projects are giving me some much needed inspiration. Carol L.

  20. I hope you are completely recovered by now, so that you are free to enjoy all the pleasures of the day… Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. I bumped into your website but googling sweet potatoes recipes and got caught by your writting, it makes me miss the US and my girlfriends, I hope that by now you are feeling well, here in the Netherlands, it is a cold and rainy night. Good luck with the store!

  22. Well, how the heck can I see more of your thistle people? Your site is so unbelievably beautiful! But I can’t figure out how to find photos of all your neat craft stuff.

    Love you, sugar. Joan

  23. Wow, I LOVE the scarf. I hope your daughter is willing to give the pattern. I’m new at knitting so I’m hoping it’s not too difficult with the two different colors. I grew up and now live in Southern California. I can’t wait to get back East though and your beautiful photography warms my heart. Thank you.-Sasha

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