Tuesday, April 19, 2016
One of the fun things our local Library does is have what is called a Books & Brews Night each month. We meet up at a local brew pub to talk about books. It was going to rotate to various pubs, as there are a million in this little town, but after the first meeting everyone liked the one we were in so there we've stayed.
The first meeting was mostly people that worked at the Library and a few others of us. Over time that's changed so that last night we filled to bursting two large tables and had only two Librarians. In fact, there were so many of us and the pub was so crowded it was hard to here across the tables.
The format is nice because it is so laid back. People ordered food and drink as desired and thankfully the pub just does individual tickets so paying off at the end is a breeze. Everyone introduces themselves and then we just share about what we are reading, or whatever we've read lately that we've liked. Everyone notes whatever sounds interesting to them, but no one reads the same things.
I've got a stack of cards with book ideas and I've read a lot of them. Some are good, some I just don't bother to finish. It is fun to discuss each others' recommendations that one has read at following meetings. I've definitely read some books I never would have otherwise checked out.
Over time and with the monthly discussions, I've learned whose suggestions might be worth reading and with a few folks, what I probably won't bother with. Let's just assume I am by far the most conservative (in content, not quantity) reader of the group. Different people show each month and so there are more readers to meet which is fun.
There's no guilt if you haven't finished a certain book, or if you dislike someone's suggestion and no one is stuck reading a book they hate before the next meeting. I like this. I would like it if there was someone else who liked to read more classical literature so that that could be discussed, but whatever. I've diversified my own reading enough so that helps.
Also, one of the librarians mentioned Good Reads. I had not heard about it and don't usually do appy things on my phone, but turns out I love this. It's the first time I've been able to remember to write down all that I'm reading and keep track. Usually, by the middle of February I've forgotten to list them. You can rate book and write reviews if you like. It will also suggest other books to read based on your personal reading lists which can be a nice feature. Personally, the list of books I want to read is so long, I'll be blind before I will finish them all!
What are you reading/what have you enjoyed reading lately?
Thursday, April 14, 2016
I've been reading rather a lot lately.
I love our library here. It's so filled with treasures just waiting to be unearthed. We are there at least once a week, even if it's just a "quick trip" to pick up our holds and maybe just grab a few books for the next couple of days. Ha!
Since we do so much of our schooling with regular books instead of textbooks (thank you Charlotte Mason!) we are always searching out our next topic of study. We make extensive use of the inter-library loan system as well. Nearly every book published is at our fingertips thanks to the library and the Gutenberg Project.
As much as I love all my old books, I also have a great appreciation for my Kindle. All the classics for free is just perfect for me. Plus, carrying Dickens in my purse can really weigh a girl down. Add to the fact that I'm usually reading five books at once and my purse can get really heavy.
I also love the feature that allows me to adjust how much light the screen gives off and how large I can make the font for middle of the night reading. I think Sweetheart appreciates that as well.
I found a fiction series a few months ago that I've enjoyed. I finished all that has been written so far (24 books) in the series and so I'll just be waiting for the last two to be written. Apparently, it takes longer to write a book than it does for me to read it. ;)
In between all that fiction I have been reading a lot of non-fiction as well. It's been so good for me. I've been studying permaculture pretty intensively for the last year, or so and look forward to applying so many of the principles in the next few months as I am planning on two garden areas this year.
I loved a book I found at the library from a local author on edible weeds entitled, The Wild Wisdom of Weeds. I've got several edible plants books, but this one was knowledgeable, easy to read and fun because it was relates directly to this area. I love seeing how someone else lives here. These mountains and valleys are some of the most amazing in the world.
I was struck with awe this morning when I looked out the window at the intense beauty of this place. We've had our spring showers and everything is greening up. I love all the different shades of green I can see just out the bathroom window. ;) It's also a perfectly clear morning and there is nothing like that blue Colorado sky. We also back up to some stunning red cliffs that have the last little bits of snow up high. The contrasts and vividness of it all remind me again how truly blessed I am to be right here.
Back to the weed book, not only is this place so exquisitely beautiful, it's full of edible weeds. Now, I'll be the first to admit that edible and delicious aren't the same thing. :) The author takes a hike each summer from Durango to Telluride surviving only on the food she finds along the way. That's more than a little impressive. The hike alone has got to be intense as those are some serious mountains to cover. Being fueled by weeds and wild fruit alone is quite a feat.
Last summer when Sweetheart and I were out hiking around Ouray, I made a list of all the edible plants we found. It was extensive. It's amazing all you can find when you're tuned into looking. I personally was looking at worst case scenarios for eating for survival in an emergency, not just because. So reading her story was eye opening in a new way.
I've been adding the weeds from the dirt patch in front that's to become a different kind of garden to our salads and tucking piles into the lunch platters, but it's not something I do each day. Guess I should. The kids don't mind, but we each have our own favorites. I like mallow leaves in my water and clover best in my salads.
The kids love the dandelion flowers and Dumpling will just go grab a handful and chow down whenever. He's our little Mountain Man/Adventure Guy/Treasure Hunter so he really loves it. It did freak out the neighbor kids at first. I did a quick lesson because I don't want them going off and poisoning themselves saying we said it was ok to eat weeds. ;)
Speaking of wild, I've also been keeping up on my classics. I'm ready both Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey. I'm on a Bronte kick. I read Elizabeth Gaskell's biography on Charlotte which was really neat. I do think I like Gaskell's fiction better. I had found a book on Charlotte that was a modern fiction story that I liked more than I would have thought. It really gave a depth to the Bronte sisters that even the biography couldn't do.
And we're still working our way through David Copperfield for our school read aloud. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined when we started it in September that I'd still be reading it in April. It takes a lot more time to read aloud and to explain things than it does for me to just read it to myself. We read it four days a week and the kids love it, but it's a lot. We're down to the last couple hundred pages though and I think we'll be done by the time we end school in June.
What else? There's been poetry, a great book called Botany for the Artist which is an amazing guide for both art and science, Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity which is its own blog post, Rising Strong and Big Magic, and a whole lot more, including a few regrets. But I am out of time now and this is a rather long post. In the interest of time, I'm going to ignore that run on sentence and sign off now. Have a great day!
Friday, April 08, 2016
It's actually raining a bit this afternoon and I'm recycling old blog pictures because I still get stuck trying to offload new pictures. Besides, this one is rather a favorite of mine. We're scheduled for rain for the next week. It'll be nice. I barely made it through all the endless grey days of Idaho, and I never want to leave the blue of a Colorado sky again, but I am looking forward to the showers.
Maybe it is the excuse to plug in all the twinkle lights and light the candles. And it's cool enough out to warrant a cup of tea. Never mind that I drink tea all the year round regardless of temperature.
I was on the porch a few minutes ago watching raindrops land on the clusters of violets. Maybe that's what I'm really longing for~more violets and all those May flowers to come. It grew too cool for me to continue to sit and read outside and since the floors were all dry from washing I figure I should get back to work on something. Though I find myself here instead.
The rain is not deterring the kids from playing outside. Of course, they may still think the floors are wet and who am I to tell otherwise? It's just my three outside today so it is much quieter than yesterday afternoon. And that's with Cupcake playing her recorder and someone, probably Dumpling, playing a bucket as a drum. We are not what you'd call a musical family, so it's interesting.
We had a meet up at the park today with three other families that school at home in one form or another. It was really nice. The kids all do play so well together. I'm hoping it can happen more and more with the warmer, though wetter, weather. (That was quite a sentence!)
Pumpkin just popped in and noticed the picture above. He was so good as to remind me that he really likes those lavender cookies. :) Guess I'll be doing a bit of baking this weekend.
Actually, I've got a lot of kitchen work to do. There were requests for kimchi (or Kimberlychi as it's called here), pizza and we're out of breakfast burritos and granola. I'm sure lavender cookies can be done though that's really an eclectic mix of food even for us.
Shoot. Just remembered what I forgot to buy at the store today: oats. There goes the granola idea. Drat.
Oh well. Guess I'd better get the pizza going for dinner tonight. Looks like there's a lot of grating and chopping in my future.
Well, everyone is in now and I must sign off. Maybe I'll get a well thought out and typed out post soon.
Thursday, April 07, 2016
It's been so very long since I've written about tea. Funny, as this blog rather started out as a tea blog. And books. And all things lovely. And then it went to babies and making things from scratch. And then moving and moving and moving. And goats. And chickens. And that cow thing. Mind, I still miss the chickens. ;)
Now so many of the days are focused on homeschooling that by the time it's quiet (enough) and I can sit to write, I am simply out of words. We talk and read and write and talk and talk and talk. I find my increasingly introverted self just wanted to turn off everything, even the voices in my head. Especially the voices in my head. That's normal, right?
Tea. I love it. Let's sip a cuppa together, ok?
I just brewed a pot of Masala Chai. *sigh* Why did I wait so long to try this? Now I love it. I even sell it at the markets because I love it so much! It's an amazing blend of black tea with whole cloves, cardamon, cinnamon, ginger and I don't know what all, but it is so good. I don't sweeten my teas, much to Sweetheart's chagrin, though I do add a splash of milk to the chai.
I'm at my computer typing away with my lovely cup of tea. The kids are all out playing with the neighbor kids. I've got my beautiful music playing softly. It's warm enough today to have the front door open so my soundtrack is a mix of David Nevue and children shrieking. It is ever so restful.
I haven't had a real tea time in ever so long. The violets are blooming in the yard now and may become inspiration for something soon. If so, I'll be sure to take some pictures and share with you all.
I thought I'd have more time to write, but since I've sat down there ended up being more work to do and children to referee. Now I must sign off and make something wonderful for dinner.
I am disappointed, but I will keep trying. Just not today. Have a good evening everyone!