Post 226

April 3, 2007 at 6:23 pm | Posted in country living, dating, dogs, faith, family, food, gifts, hat patterns, Holidays, knitting, love, marriage, pets, photography, recipes, relationships, romance, scarf patterns, yarn | 10 Comments

Fireflys Flowers are Coming AliveEverything is coming alive; the feelings in the air and in the environment are exciting. Every day I look for signs of new flowers coming to life. I don’t want to miss one moment, or one photo opportunity. I moved here last year in early May, and by then this place was live with blossoming trees and flowers everywhere. This year, I will capture the evolution with my camera and then my year will be complete.

Sometimes at night the sounds of the peepers surrounding us everywhere keeps me awake for a time, but I enjoy the sound so much I don’t mind missing a little sleep to hear it. The moon was full when I awoke at one in the morning, lighting up the barn and the yard almost as if it were mid-day it was so bright.

Fireflys Flowers are Coming to LifeMy husband takes Blu outside at four in the morning, when he gets up to get ready for work. This morning he told me the full moon was shining above the river, and reminded me to have a look. I shudder to say that I feel back asleep before remembering to take a look outside. Perhaps it will be there again tomorrow at that time, not covered over with clouds.

When I take Blu out later in the morning, the sun is just rising and morning golden hour begins anew. I hear geese calling here and there, the woodpecker pecking away out in the woods, and fading peepers as birds are rising up in chorus.

How cool is this. I stand and linger in the yard, watching sweet Blu, listening to the sounds all around me and in the close and far distances of forever.

I love waking up to a cuddle, a sniff, and a wink from him: love in his eyes, knowing that he knows he is safe and secure here with us.

Fireflys Birds Await Her CameraBlu prances about as if he were a show dog, leaping joyfully and playfully pretending to nip at my sleeve as he passes by. He is growing every day, and learning everything we are teaching him very rapidly. Such a fine, beautiful puppy he is. It has been less than two weeks since we brought him home but already we cannot imagine what it would be like if he weren’t here.

Much different from waking up to rushing traffic, honking horns, and skidding brakes back in Southern California.

What a way to start the day, this gentle springing to life on a sunlit morning.

How very cool is this.

Fireflys Mothers Easter BasketYears ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, I saved pieces of wrapping paper from the baby shower my family and friends threw for me. The next year, at Easter, I used some of the pieces of wrapping paper to decorate blown and colored Easter eggs. I carefully cut out flowers and other designs from the paper and glued some inside of the eggs, viewable through an opening I had made in the front. Closeup shots and more details of the project are available at the I Live on a Farm dot com website. My mother has the eggs, and displays them each year in her Easter basket at home. Yesterday she shot these photos for me so I could show them to you … thanks Mom!

What ever did become of my new spring hat, which then became a new spring scarf? I scraped the project entirely. Something about my mojo with that project just never would make itself right, so I realize I should let it go and leave the yarn for another day. I think I just cannot get myself into the right mood to design or knit a scarf or hat right now, with the weather turning warm, birds sining with joy, and flowers beginning to bloom everywhere. However, I would like to share a couple of photos of a cool stitch I was using when I was still knitting it up as a scarf. It is called the granite stitch, and I have used it as a border on a hat before, but it also makes a very pretty stitch for a scarf.

Fireflys Mystery Easter Knitting ProjectCurrently I am knitting up another mystery project with some pretty, apple green cotton yarn. The stitch I am using on this project is the twisted purl stitch, and I just can’t tell you how pleased I am with this stitch. It is equally pretty on the reverse side, which means it will be perfect to use sometime for a scarf … but this project is not a scarf. I will finish it later this week and will give you the pattern on Monday.

My husband has Good Friday off from work, so I am cutting my own week short in order to spend a bonus day with him and Blu. We don’t know yet what we will do with the day. The weather is supposed to turn pretty cold by this weekend, so we might just spend the time indoors together. We’ll see.

Remember that miniature painting of the pear I showed on my blog two or three weeks ago? I put that up for auction at eBay with a starting bid of only $10, and no Buy it Now. There is also a new painting there I completed a couple of days ago. The Easter Lily watercolor auction doesn’t end until Thursday, and I posted a new Thistleonian auction. Plenty to choose from, in a variety of price ranges. Go have some fun with my goodies!

Fireflys Blue Jay Walks About on the FarmBy the way, I have appreciated the many comments of support, encouragement, friendship, love, and loyalty so many of you left over the past week. There are so many that I am behind terribly in responding. Your communication and thoughts are very important to me. I will respond to each and every one by email, but it will take me a few more days to get through them all.

I suppose that is it for the day. I hope you have a wonderful week and Easter weekend.

~firefly

Copyright © 2007 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Field of dreams

March 30, 2007 at 2:42 pm | Posted in country living, dogs, faith, family, free knitting patterns, hat patterns, knitting, love, marriage, pets, photography, relationships, romance, yarn | 15 Comments

Field of Dreams at Fireflys Farm

Good news! I just posted the Irish Soda Bread recipe at I Live on a Farm dot com. Hope you have some this weekend!

Just a few minutes ago I was out with Blu having one of our morning walks about the farm, when I heard the loud voices of Canadian geese speak up over by the corn behind our willow tree. I took Blu back in the house and grabbed my camera, with a good zoom lens on it, and went back out to see if I could grab some shots of the geese.

Field of Dreams at Fireflys Farm

It was interesting to observe the various stages of their alertness and reaction to me. I have to admit, I would have looked strange even to humans because I was wearing jeans, my dark green fleece robe, my black “puffy coat” (J. Crew down–it was below freezing), my big black Sorell boots, and a pretty handmade hat. When duty calls, you just grab whatever it takes to keep warm and head outside, whether it is to take the puppy out for his business or to try to capture some wild geese on “film”.

Field of Dreams at Fireflys Farm

At first, as I slowly drew near, they merely turned a bit away and started walking casually toward the corn. They weren’t saying anything, just casually moving a bit to keep their distance from me. When I was looking through the photos, that first one at the top of today’s post reminded of the movie, “Field of Dreams” … baseball players walking out of the corn.

Field of Dreams at Fireflys Farm

At some point I was a bit too close for comfort, though honestly quite far away and very slow moving because of my strange wardrobe weighing me down. Nonetheless, they raised their voices in alarm, and up they went.

Field of Dreams at Fireflys Farm

I loved the sound of their wings beating the air as they took refuge where they were certain I could not go … up.

Field of Dreams at Fireflys Farm

I hope these photos are a visual treat for you, dear reader. This opportunity I have to shoot some photos quickly, get them into my computer, and then live to you when the moment is so fresh is exhilarating.

Field of Dreams at Fireflys Farm

Thank you all so very much for the tremendous support and friendship you expressed in comments to my last post. This is an exciting adventure, and I look forward to finding where all it leads us … together.

Quite a few commenters mentioned they wished they could own a piece of my art, but that finances don’t allow it right now. I have some ideas that might help make that happen.

First of all, I put up a watercolor painting at eBay yesterday as well as on my One Painting a Day blog. It is an Easter Lily I painted in 2005; around the time my oldest brother passed away.

It is about 15″ x 22″, and I put it up for a very low opening bid of only $10. There is no reserve and no “Buy it Now” price. My thought is that at least someone who reads my blog will have a chance to have one of my paintings for who knows what price … perhaps something affordable.

I also have been gathering pieces of wood that have been coming off of our dear old barn. The barn is fragile, unfortunately. I might be able to do something to these small pieces of wood to prevent them from deteriorating further. If so, I plan to experiment with doing very small, quick oil paintings on them. If it all works out, they will be affordable little paintings with a very special significance to the readers of this blog in particular. The first experiment will go on this weekend, so we’ll see how it works out.

Have a great weekend.

~firefly

Copyright © 2006 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

100% Pure, Genuine Firefly

March 26, 2007 at 5:25 pm | Posted in biscuit recipes, country living, dating, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, hat patterns, knitting, love, marriage, photography, recipes, relationships, romance, scarf patterns, yarn | 12 Comments

[Note: The auction for the Little Nana, the handmade Knitting Thistleonian critter, ends this Friday morning … in case you are interested.]

Firefly Sees a Maple Sap Bucket at Genesee Country VillageI have learned many things, over the course of the past year, about New York State in general and western New York in particular. Of course, the most important thing I learned was that is there is such an area as “western” New York. It is even referred to as the Frontier Region. New York, a frontier. Interesting thought.

Another interesting fact is that, while people tend to think of Vermont as “the maple syrup state” (I know I did), much of the maple syrup production in this country actually occurs in New York State. Quite a few of the people we know make their own maple syrup; my husband and his family have made it a number of times over the years. The time will come, most likely next year, when I myself will stay up all night helping to tend fires and stirring a pot (or something) for hours on end and help in the process of making a few gallons of maple syrup.

We have quite a few maples growing on the bank of the river down by our cottage–that is where my husband’s family has gathered and made maple syrup over the years. His nephew’s farm, about two hours south of here, is larger than ours and he has quite a stand of woods along some hilly land where many maples grow. They have been hatching a plan for the making of much maple syrup down at his place using gravity rather than what–I don’t know. It does sound like fun though.

Firefly Sees a Maple Sap Tap at Genesee Country VillageSomething else to look forward to.

This weekend we went down to the Genesee Country Village and Museum for their Maply Sugaring Festival. They took us on a tour through the woods where they gather their syrup. The woods were lovely, dark, and deep. There were gorgeous and interesting rock outcroppings everywhere, covered with deep green moss. I haven’t seen so much moss in many years, not since I was a child playing in the woods in North Carolina. We used to gather moss in the woods back then to use as carpeting in our woodland playhouses. It was magical.

It was overcast and began raining as we made our way through the woods. I enjoyed hearing the sound of raindrops tapping branches, leaves, earth, and rock in the woods. It was also very interesting to learn about the effort and beauty of making maple syrup, from start to finish.

Firefly See Quite a Lot of Moss at Genesee Country VillageI now know what a sugar shack is: a little shack by the fires with the kettles that boil down the maple sap. The sugar shack has a little bed in it, and provides a bit of shelter. Now that I know about the twenty-four hour vigil involved in boiling down the sap in the journey toward syrup, I can understand a little shack would be needed. And, I get why it is called a sugar shack.

Each time we visit the Village, they have a recipe printed on the back of our tickets. This weekend’s recipe was for Irish Soda Bread. It is very similar to a soda biscuit recipe, but without the butter in the dough. I gave the recipe a try yesterday and was very happy with it. I added raisins, and used brown sugar instead of white. It was delicious, but my husband and I both agreed I could have used twice as many raisins … and next time I will.

The next time I post a blog entry, I will have my version of the recipe ready to share with you. Get ready with some buttermilk, flour, and raisins because when you get the recipe I think you will want to try it right away. Yummy.

Firefly Makes some Delicious Irish Soda BreadI completed another post-card size painting, this time of two pears. It is titled “Two Pear on Stone Sill”, and you can see it at my painting a day blog if you like.

The scarf I am morphing my spring hat into is coming along quite lovely. Photos in my next post.

We are enjoying a beautiful thunder storm here right now. It is a dark and rainy day. I love it.

Hope you are enjoying yours!

~firefly

Copyright © 2006 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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