Sunday, November 30, 2014

Minus Twenty-Four Is Too Cold!

We went on our annual Christmas Tree hunt this morning. It was -24c. We were bundled up so warm that only our eyeballs and some cheek were exposed. But that was still too cold for the kids. After five minutes we took them back to the car and I was left to find a tree by myself. I ended up cutting down the first Douglas fir I could find and lugged it back to the car. The thing was very heavy and my arm is still sore from dragging it. And man, is it an ugly tree! But in those kinds of temperatures, you can't be too choosy. The tree has no branches at all in the back and the star on top sits lower down than the top branches. Of course we could trim those a bit, but I like the eccentric look of our tree. I think this one may even be uglier than the crooked S-shaped tree we got our first Christmas here.
 At least this year we could drive all the way to the trail. Last year we had to hike in because the roads were too bad.
 Here it is! *ahem*
 And here are our wood-burned decorations- one for each year we have been married. This will be our fifth Christmas in the Fort now!
 Here it is, all decorated. You can hardly see the star because it is hidden by the branches.
But despite the tree's awkward proportions and the cold we endured getting it, we had fun decorating it. Christmas carols played, hot chocolate was drunk, and wonder filled the eyes of my babies. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Late Winter


Winter has finally set in. After weeks and weeks of waiting-waking each morning to look out in the hopes of seeing a transformed, white world and finding only dirt and frost- winter is here. November 24th is too late for our first real snow, the animals of the forest have suffered for it. The snowshoe hare, betrayed by its already white fur, stood out against the brown earth. The camouflage so cleverly meant to protect it in winter is now the cause of its death. The grouse found no comfort in deep insulating snow tunnels when the temperatures plummeted at the beginning of the month. And the voles, who would normally feast in shrouded safety under a blanket of snow have been left exposed to the predators of the woods.
But all that is forgotten now. We finally did wake up to find a world transformed. It snowed and snowed and snowed. And then it froze. Hard. And a storm blew in. The howling and whistling wind sent snow in a flurry around our house. The windows are covered in ice and the chickens are half-buried in a snow drift. The whirly-birds in our attic are screeching an un-earthly tune. Day and night, they scream out some sort of exotic music which clashes with the low and warm melody of our happy house. The sound of wind howling down our chimney makes me feel cold and sets my nerves on edge. The wood floors of our living room are icy and a draft blows in around the door. We tack blankets around the cracks in an effort to keep out the cold.
The wind has stopped now, but the temperature is still around -20c. I went out to the woods today, to feel alive. Bundled in layers, I didn't feel cold at all, except for a nip on my cheeks. The woods are silent, but the signs of activity and life are left stamped on the ground. The snowshoe hares have rebounded from their unfortunate winter start. Their tracks are abundant, creating highways through the dense brush. No sign of moose yet, but a few deer have passed through the trails. I see no animals on my walk, but I am sure they see me. I get the impression that the animals are watching me, inches from the trail, waiting to burst out the moment I am out of sight. The odd times that I have caught an animal off-guard are so thrilling- those times are one of the reasons that I keep going back to the woods.
When I reluctantly leave after a couple of hours in the forest, I step back into my warm house, cheeks glowing, hair wet from melting frost, and an incurable smile. I love winter.







Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Crafting Part 3

I'm finally done all my Christmas Crafting for the kids. Here is what I made Kesten:

I made him a puzzle using the dust jacket from one of his favourite books. I glued the image onto a thin piece of plywood and cut it out using a scroll saw. I sewed a little a bag to hold the pieces.
 Next I made him a felted playscape with roads. Kesten loves cars. The felted animal playscape I made him soon became overrun with cars. So this time I figured I would make him one with roads and stops signs and tunnels and bridges.

 I made a couple of little garages for his cars.


And I think that is it!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas Crafting Part 2



 I am almost done all of my homemade Christmas presents for the kids! I wanted to show you a couple of things that I made for Cedar.












This is her fox doll. I sewed some overalls and a button-up shirt for her, and knit a sweater.


The second outfit is a little dress with a peter pan collar.



I also knit a little shawl/sontag for the fox.

 I didn't make these little moccasins, but I bought them at our craft fair. They are made by a local lady from moose hide. Aren't they beautiful? The wood-burned oval on the right is Cedar's Christmas ornament that I made her (the lynx is her special animal). I still have to add the ribbon to the back of it.
 And finally, this is the little sensory bag that I sewed for her with a clear plastic window. It is full of rice and fun things to find in the rice bag.
When I am finished Kesten's presents, I will show them to you too! Have you been doing any Christmas crafting?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Christmas Crafting

There is only a short window of opportunity in which my children won't be disappointed by homemade presents and I plan on taking full advantage of it. I am in my crafting glory right now, working on different presents for the little ones. Here's a few pictures of my latest project:

I made them a little felt activity book. I had fun designing it and sewing it up!
The book opens with a button clasp.

The leaves snap on the and sunflower buttons in place.

The apple uses velcro to stick to the tree.
UNzip the dirt to see the root vegetables growing in the garden.
I also made a "First Christmas" ball for Cedar, very similar to her brother's.
I am in the process of making a fantastic felt play mat for Kesten, full of roads, bridges, tunnels, hills, garages, stop signs, trees, and caves! I am having a lot of fun with it so far!
Also on the crafting agenda:
* a fox doll for Cedar sewn from felt
* a wooden puzzle for Kesten using the dust jacket image of one of his favourite books
* a sewn sensory bag (full of rice or lentils and objects to find) for Cedar
I also have to make our yearly wood-burned ornament for the Christmas tree. I've made one every year since we got married and this will be our eighth one.
I'll post pictures of the projects as they are finished.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

And So It Begins

Bohemian Waxwings have been visiting the shrubs out front of the house. Plumping up on berries before winter comes.

 Hallowe'en was super fun this year. Kesten wanted a race car pumpkin, so we carved one.
 We dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf, and the Granny.

 We headed over to the Historic Site for a Hallowe'en celebration and pumpkin walk.

 This was one of the cool pumpkins at the Historic Site.

 This little boy was so happy and excited! He had a great night!
 And with Hallowe'en over, the snow was welcome to start!
 We've started construction on a living willow hut. Hopefully in the spring the willows will take root and start growing.
I've finished knitting myself a sweater and I am just sewing it up, all while watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Welcome Winter!
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