finding time…

Man, sometimes it’s hard to post an entry! I’ve been constantly occupied (in a good way, mostly) for the past week straight. I’ve decided that even though I have to walk out the door in a minute, I’m just going to write what I can and come back to it.

The vacation was fabulous. I needed it more than I knew. It was fresh and relaxing and bonded me even more to Jeff’s family. I love those people. I was thinking about how strange it was that we could all be cramped into a cabin with little privacy, craziness in the kitchen, one bathroom for 13 or so people to juggle, and yet still feel like we’re having a great time. It’s a miraculous thing, your state of mind. I sat on the beach for hours, I read, I swam, I hiked, I played with my nieces and nephews, we had bonfires and late night talks… it was fabulous.

On the first night we lit a fire at the lake and roasted marshmallows. Then I looked up and saw the starry night sky. It was so beautiful and awe-inspiring that I had to think that not being able to see that on a regular basis is just wrong. I love living in the city, but I have to say that the power of nature has always grounded me in a way that not much else can. It helps me to recognize my smallness in a world that would have me believe otherwise. I went for a walk with Vera alone one morning through the woods. We took a detour down a smaller path and everything seemed to quiet down. She and I were surrounded by huge trees and animal noises. She looked around, wide-eyed and beautiful, and I felt like- as hokey as this might sound- that we were part of it all. We aren’t meant to conquer nature, we are meant to respect and be thankful for it.

What troubles me in my daily life are man-made things. I get stressed about money or time or relationships or greed or violence. Granted, this is part of what helps me grow and makes me uniquely human. It’s good and I don’t want to give up all of that, and I don’t think I could if I tried, but maybe that’s why keeping a garden or just looking up at the stars is so important. We need to be grounded, brought back to Earth. There’s so much around us that wants us to live in our heads- and what a jumbled mess that is. I prefer to strive for another way of life, be it in the city or by the lake under millions of stars. I will try to be humbled daily, to drop all that distracts me and meditate, to live as sustainably as I can, to give thanks for all that I have, and to teach my children that this world is not ours for the taking, we are merely guests here.

Well, I guess I’d better dive in, eh?

August 5th:

August 6th:

August 7th:
So the day before we left our stupid dryer broke and we were left with loads wet diapers that needed to be packed. Dread. Anyway, I’d been pestering Jeff about a clothesline for months, and while I should’ve probably done it myself a long time ago, he kept saying he’d do it for me. Funny how the universe can nudge you. We both love it and have been using it for everything now. It actually seems to take less time, and sun drying those diapers is the way to go.

August 8th:
My sweet nieces and nephews. We spent practically the whole day on Lake Michigan and they were making sand castles and swimming up a storm. This is Joslyn stomping all over a freshly made sand castle. No one was upset in the slightest and soon enough they were all stomping on it. I think it’s funny that people have a desire to muck up sand castles after they’re done- all that time spent just to watch it tumble. I wonder what that says about us… Or maybe the sand just feels nice between our toes.

August 9th:
I love this picture of Jeff. Grrrr I love him. This was the small lake right behind our cabin. It was nice, much warmer than the frigid Lake Michigan, so Vera liked it (she swims like a little fish!).

August 10th:
Vera with cousin Marissa. She’s 2. Marissa LOVES baby Vera and was constantly wanting to play with her or hold her or give her the pacifier or something. It was so sweet. They will be good friends, I think.

August 11th:
Vera’s half birthday! It’s been six months already… I was just going about my day when I realized she was in the exact spot where she was born. Right there on the floor, February 11th, just a squirmy alien thing… my sprout.

August 12th:
Morning glories are back. They make getting up really early a lot more cheerful. My icon is from last year.

August 13th:
I’ve been getting into storing all the food we’ll want for the year. So far it’s just been freezing and drying- I’ve done strawberries, peaches, plums, nectarines, blueberries, and then yesterday I made a ton of pesto. Basil is drying in the kitchen and it smells lovely. Tomatoes are coming… oh boy. Anyway, it’s been pretty fuss free so far. Sometimes it’s a little hard if the baby wants me, but I’ve been pretty successful overall. It’s just time consuming is all, and I think Gretchen and I will have canning parties to make it a little less daunting.

August 14th:
We got our bushel of corn, and so I’ll be doing a combo of freezing and canning these suckers. Today I’m just doing the freezing part- which is easy. Tomorrow comes the canning.

So that only took me….7 hours to write all that. Haha. I’m doin alllllright.

Quote of the day:
“Never discourage anyone… who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” -Plato


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Comments (19)

  1. pearlstreetdiva

    your clothesline looks sooo beautiful. at our new house we can’t/don’t have a dryer so im hoping to fix up the previous womans clothesline to make it more functional…any tips? line drying diapers is the best i agree…they get all bright white colored its amazing how the stains disappear.

    im curious how you did the peaches? did you freeze them with their skins on? we keep getting a bunch of peaches from the market and we were thinking about going to pick some for preserving….any tips for that? lol

    and im wondering how many basil plants you grew. we have a couple then our farmer has given us 4 HUGE things of basil. somehow we have only managed to make enough pesto for one meal and to freeze for one meal. and im not sure if we’re eating too much in our food or if it takes A CRAP LOAD to make lots of pesto…..enlighten me please 🙂

    its lovely to read another awesome post from you. your daughter is sooo beautiful and growing soo much. i really NEED to get a vera & tuula fix….come visit us!

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Yes! Clothesline! I don’t really have tips on the clothesline front- we’re just beginning. I do know that I want to make this thing that I saw, and you should too! (You’ll see that I’m referring to #8 on her list of things, the clothespin holder thingy! Yay! I’m totally making one- and btw this is one of the best blogs ever!)

      For the peaches I just cut them in wedges with the skins (how I usually like to use them) and I froze them on a cookie sheet before putting them into quart bags. I like the skin, the tartness of it, but if you don’t I’m sure you could take it all off. I plan to make tarts and smoothies and stuff, and I never mind pulp or skins or anything like that. I only have four basil plants that I’ve been able to munch off of all summer. Not enough to make and store pesto though. My friend had an overload and so I happily took two big bags of it. Next year I’m going to grow lots of it right in with my veggies so it has lots of root space. I think it needs more than a couple of pots (what I’ve been doing) to really flourish. Either way, I’ve been enjoying tomato and basil sandwiches!

      Also, I’d love to come visit you whenever you can take us. We loooove you guys so much. Also, when you come next time I’ll be sure to see you- I was so sad about last time!

      1. pearlstreetdiva

        hey I am making one of those clothes pin bags already! im using this pattern though and making it with PLARN! my friend donated all her plastic bags to me so i could make a couple recycled bags.

        i have looked at that womans blog before and she has great ideas. where she gets the time i dunno, and that is something i dont have much of to actually read her blog.

        thanks for all the info…you rule! if money isnt too tight right before our move im hoping to visit again when penelope gets home from up north. ill keep you updated.

        1. Gracie (Post author)

          I’m totally doing that bag instead… off to make some plarn! YOU rock!

          1. poppleshatesyou

            I love making bags out of other plastic bags! I have about 6 that we use for grocery shopping. I’ll have to bookmark that clothes pin bag idea, its pretty dang neat!

          2. Gracie (Post author)

            Yay! If I have any questions I’ll be sure to ask you. 🙂

  2. pithy_epigrams

    Your entries make me think, and they make feel more grateful. It sounds like a really great time at the lake. Family is a great thing.

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Yours do the same for me. I’m so glad we get to keep in touch. Oh, and yay family!!!

  3. aamour

    i love all of your pictures & your outlook on life.

    you seriously have the perfect life in my eyes.
    i hope to be where you are in a few years.
    happily living with a husband and baby.. garden in the backyard.. hanging clothes instead of using a dryer… sigh.

    you are an inspiration.

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Well you are just a bundle of sweet- what kind things to say! If you want these things then I feel confident that you can have them. Life is always what we make it, I find. Anyway, you are truly beautiful and it sounds like you are doing awesome things with your life. I’m going to live vicariously through your adventures and travels- you can get your baby/garden/clothesline fix through me… deal?

  4. purerandomness

    Happy vacation and I’m glad that you’re de-stressed. Happy 6 months to baby Vera– I can’t believe it’s been that long already!

    I am completely jealous of your garden’s bounty… it looks too yummy. I can see you having great and delicious suppers all through the winter season this year. 🙂

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Oh I hope we do- that’s the idea! Whatever happened to your food posts? They were there and then *poof*!

      1. purerandomness

        One of my good friends from college challenged people on her friends list to post one week’s worth of dinner photos. At the time, my camera was broken so I posted recipes instead!

  5. poppleshatesyou

    Your vacation sounds amazing! I’m so envious of your lake swimming!! I love lakes and there are very few swimmable ones around here. its totally lame, i’m hoping to hit up lake pickeral when i’m home. Speaking of which, when i’m back that way in september, we should get together!

    I love morning glories! that is one thing that is awesome about SD, because it’s soo sunny almost all the time, morning glories stay out all day. That pesto looks delicious and as always the pictures of vera are adorable!!!

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Ah good ol’ pickerel. I’ve been meaning to go there at some point this year. Yes, we should get together! Let me know what your time here is like and we can figure something out. You were friends with Rose, too, weren’t you? Fun! 🙂

  6. stupidfool

    lol @ 7 hours to write it!

    that sounds like a great vacation, though! and i love that picture of jeff, with the sun and the lake in the background… it’s beautiful!

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Ha, yeah, I went out and did stuff and baby and you know the drill… I’ve gotta catch up on your entries! I’m glad you like that picture, it makes me smile.

  7. robinbronwen

    You taken wonderful pictures! You should be a professional photographer! Where exactly were you on the west side of the state? Isn’t Lake Michigan wonderful even though it is so cold?

    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Aw thanks! Photography is a fairly new hobby for me, Jeff got me a camera for my birthday two years ago. I haven’t been able to stop taking pictures since! I really would love to get a semi-professional camera so I can see what I could do. I’ll have to pinch my pennies and maybe someday I can get a used one!

      We were right in the Ludington area. It is wonderful- and the beaches are unparalleled! Next time we go we should all meet up or something.


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