Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hot and heavy pumpkin pie, chocolate candy, Jesus Christ, ain't nothing pleased me more than you...

Being confined to the house can be awfully boring and intellectually stimulating in turns, but the upside is that there's tons of fun little things to do that we've had a hard time getting to when not ill. And the best part for sure is the license to drop everything to take an unscheduled nap.

In addition to nodding off regularly, I've written a few short pieces, chipped a little away at a big piece and even finished a couple of my 20 odd lingering blog posts. Don't be surprised if posting pace suddenly doubles. Then again don't be surprised if it doesn't.
First in the long line of "things I've been meaning to post about" is of course Mary's beautiful creation, The First Annual Terralectualism Bioregional Swap.
When we got home from the Fair three (!) weeks ago, what was waiting in our package-sized mailbox if not a treasure trove from Elizabeth. As excited as I was for the swap in general, my excitement was only compounded upon finding that she was to be my swap partner. Since she found my log and started commenting on it, I'd been wanting to get to know her a little better and what more perfect opportunity than this swap.
As a side note, I have to add that, man, it feels good to wear something other than bed-clothes. My philosophy has always been that if you have to wear clothes, might as well wear ones that reflect your personality and artistic temperament. Or to put it in plainer words: if you have to wear tights, they might as well be yellow. But you don't want to hear about that. You just want to know what was in that package.
Box 1
Behold the multi-bioregional cat-en-tat!
No but seriously, M and Elizabeth did not send me a cat. They sent me hand-dyed yearn, home-made toffee and plum jam, Irish heather (the sage of the heath?), earrings, an angel for my christmas branch, pictures, art and cards, a beautiful dress and a scarf that C. promptly put to use...oh endless treasures!
Yellow thread
The box was equal parts scrap book, a little museum, the perfect market had most everything I could have dreamed off and many things I never would have thought of.
Portrait by M.
My favorite has got to be this portrait of us by little M. I look forward to framing it and a bunch of other swap art from little girls and boys around our circle and hanging it on my walls. My own small gallery.
Plum package

There was also another very special piece (very special among such special things) in the package that I'm waiting to show you when the occasion arises.

Thank you so much little M and Elizabeth! And, of course our fairy godmother Mary. If you want to see what I gave Elizabeth and M, here's a link to her post about the swap. If you haven't visited her blog before, you're in for a treat, her art is dreamy and her posts very thoughtful and inspiring.
Chicken soup for my soul
While I've been ill, I've received so many blessings and such kindness from near and far, that it's been damn near impossible to even pity my poor sick self. Packages from friends and family, juice from my co-workers and two jars of chicken soup from my friend Julie, who is so kind you can taste it in her soup.
Julie's soup
With friends like these, it's almost worth it to get really sick. Also, the cat really approves of this lazy, do nothing all day lifestyle.
Stop looking at me mama

G-o-d and four other letters
Who's house? My house!
I did manage to complete a couple of food-preservation projects during this time. First, there was the all-night adventure of bake-apple-sauce, which is just apple sauce baked in the oven.
Box 2
Canning projects always take way longer than I think they're going to, so that what was going to be a few hours ends with you trying to learn ukulele cords, or finger-knitting around midnight while you wait for the last batch to come out of the canning pot.
Bake a apple sauce
The sauce turned out good, but I accidentally put a little too much sugar into the last batch. I have a very low tolerance for sugar and I like the taste and tartness of the fruits themselves, so that was a little disappointing. The actual baking of your apples first though, I highly recommend.

My second project was a kind of a fluke. I had a few leftover tomatoes that had been slowly ripening, and Mary's lacto-fermented ketchup inspired me to try making this American staple myself. Sadly mine's not fermented, but it turned out shockingly good, if a little spicy. (I accidentally used hot peppers instead of sweet. I'm having a lot of cooking-related accidents it seems. I blame it on that cough syrup...)

I've always thought of ketchup as one of those consumer goods not worth making yourself, since we hardly ever use it, but it was so easy and fun, not to mention a welcome change to the grind of canning salsa and pasta sauce, that I think I'll definitely do it again.

Home-made it seems, is always tastier, no exception for junk food.
The most important meal of the day
And breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You didn't think I was going to stop posting pictures of my cat?
Christmas Tree
After all that downtime indoors, it's been amazing to have our strength back, going on little strolls, harvesting the last bounty of Fall. This has been a good year for Madrone Fruit, the trees are simply laden with it.
NW inedible grapes
As much as I love eating local produce, growing food, learning about farming and striving slowly towards more self-sufficiency trough homesteading, I'm even more drawn to learning to make use of nature's wild bounty.
It's not only fun to gather this profusion of wild edibles, but also to figure out how to eat it, what recipes to incorporate it in, how to process it and how to enjoy its unexpected flavors.

The Northwest is so abundant with wild foods that one can hardly resist the urge to gather them. Almost any time of year, there's something to fill a jar or just your pocket with. The shortest stroll turns into an expedition for edibles.

Though a little tart and dry, I like the flavor of Madrone Fruit fresh off the tree and some food hipsters even seem to think it's a superfood. Whatever. I'd like to try preserving it like rosehip and mountain ash berries, a jelly with the seeds still in it. I'm also trying a bunch for tea.
The day of this particular gathering trip was very stormy, the wind chasing the clouds so fast they did not have time to rain on us and the weather changing from moment to moment.
80s hipster lichen
We wandered around the park aimlessly, just feeling happy to be together, alive, on this blessed piece of earth.
Supple Nippy
Some sort
There's so much perspective one can gain from illness and hardship, a clarity that really makes you appreciate that which is right there in front of you each moment; a mushroom, a mountain top tugging at a cloud, a cluster of red berries.
A storm over there
As Sheri so gently reminded me in a message she wrote in response to my sick post, music can heal the soul and the soul is needed the heal the body. So I took her advice and put on some of my favorite good time jams, most notably Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.

I dare you not to smile and get that warm, fuzzy loving feeling inside. And possibly flail your arms around like a loon.

The best part of this whole miserably being-sick- together-extravaganza has been for us having lots of quiet snuggly movie watching, cat-loving bed-time together.
Here she comes
Being married can be hard sometimes, butting heads over the same small things time and time again, but damn if it isn't the most awesome thing in this life too. To me Home embodies that feeling.
before the storm
I also love how filled with pure, naive, uncynical happiness the song is. It makes me wish people, myself included, could let go of their hang-ups and burdens more often, and just be well, happy.

If there's anyone I've met that knows the art of doing so, it is definitely Heather herself.

Happy Birthday Love!


  1. Ahhhh, what an amazing life you are building for yourselves. So inspiring...thank you. Hope you are fully recovered soon xxx

  2. You need to see/hear this version Milla, if you haven't already. This is one of the sweetest thing ever, I swear.

  3. Reading this post was like stepping into a warm bath. I feel comforted by your words and sink deliciously in to your photographs (especially that underbelly of the mushroom!). Hopefully you're on the up and up, and I'm sending healing thoughts your way.

  4. Teillä on kyllä huisin kotoisan oloista.
    P.S: Mäkin tahdon keltaiset sukkahousut:-)

  5. i'm glad you are feeling better. i was worried. if itw asn't the crack of dawn and i hadn't had my coffee yet but rather had spent the last 40 minutes being screamed at by an unreasonable 4 year old about how his pants are too cold to put on, i'd have more to say about this lovely post.

  6. mmmmmmmmm love it all :)))))

    plumjam... how cute:D your home seems to be from the better world:)))

  7. Glad you are feeling better! Hope this season finds you warm and well. We are enjoying our days and nights in front of the woodstove, too. I've been wanting to comment as of finding your lovely blog (especially on the Barter Faire!), but I've been having a problem with Blogger. Such a great little package of goodness. Thanks for sharing, love.

  8. Things that I love about this post:
    1. Your outfits
    2. That you're feeling better!
    3. That song! I found it a year or two ago and still love it:)
    4. Mushrooms!!!!
    5. And your husband's beard. I can't get over beards lately...

  9. i'm so glad you are feeling better! i have been seeing wild huckleberries on my horse back rides through the woods lately. my mother taught me about many of the native plants in our area from an early age and so i already thought i knew what was out there, but i learned from this recipe book ( about foraging that the huckleberries are out there too, and once i knew to look, they seem to be everywhere! amazing how that happens in life. love that you are gathering the treats around you too.

    i am giving myself a bit of credit lately about doing pretty well the past few months really appreciating and being in the moment, something i had been not so good at in my life a few scant years ago. what a difference! happy you are experiencing this too. we are all so lucky! having a cat and a bearded man helps too, i think, in both our cases. :)

  10. man, what a comfort, what sweetness. to make sicktime into such bliss, takes a true milla spirit! your house looks so utterly warm and inviting. that scrabble picture...i just want to step in for a game so bad!

    what a beautiful package you received, and the one you traded too! sweet ladies across the seas. what a blessing it is to share.

    so glad that you and c are having those little moments of pure glowing love. the way you describe marriage is so right on, it is such a beautiful, strengthening and dynamic journey and such an utter blessing to our hearts if we truly engage them.

    i feel like i just had a bowl of homemade soup. thank you so much for sharing your warmth and joys!

  11. Those little mushroom photos <3 I'm such a sucker for little mushrooms. I'm sorry you've been sick lately, but at least you are keeping busy! That chicken soup looks so good. I wish I had more time on my hands to make a lot of things from scratch. Instead, I go to a job, to get money, to buy things pre-made because I don't have the time to make them from scratch because I have a job, to get money, to... WAIT A MINUTE. Ahem. And I have to agree, Heather definitely knows how to be happy better than anybody.

  12. what a lovely box of treasures. i want to see more of that there dress, and you have me on the edge of my chair waiting for the other something special.
    i wonder if you are capable of a post that isn't beautiful and inspiring. probably not.

  13. So many beautiful things being celebrated in this post! HOME, Amazing home-spun packages, preserves, cat-en-tats, natures bounty, crushes on husbands, and of course our lovely Heather!

    I just love seeing all these pics of your cozy little home, they take me right back there and make me wish I were there for a visit right now!

  14. You are living out a Moomin adventure dear Milla. Its true, I had wondered what it was that seemed familiar: ) You have a spirit that is so full of warmth and kindness, and creativity that abounds.... We are so blessed you share your journey.
    Seeing that little package parked just right in the tree, almost brought a tear to my eye. Thanks for posting it and all the others. I will show M tomorrow, and share the magic. You and C are indeed magic figures to her, away on an island 10,000 miles away I told her, but a second away in our hearts. I am glad you are getting stronger, and I did promise an email about my healthy path, that shall make its way one of these days..... So glad C liked the scarf too, and oh welll...... just so glad: ) xxx

  15. Well I just came back to listen to that song, and well thats me set for the day then. And a new favorite song too!!!!!!
    I will be skipping and jumping my self into the shower and out and off we go with love filled hearts today.
    Heather sure does have a lovely time of things, and her very pretty face seems to have been just made for those big smiles and gorgeous dresses!
    I am so deeply happy for your love to and from C and your what look like very snuggly husbands, beards and all: ) One day I will tell stories of sunny days in the Pyrenees when me and my husband lolled about in fields of flowers in our nothings: )
    xx E

  16. Hey sweetie, i read this post when you first wrote it (i think) but i had some stupid head cold virus thingy which disabled me from any coherent thought processes....i couldn't comment for the life of me! Anyway, i wanted to say that i too love yellow tights - i have some and wore the in winter when feeling courageous. and what a beautiful parcel. Surely our husbands are the right ones indeed when romance is still humming. Glad you found such sweetness in yours too.

  17. dearest milla, it has been so long! i've been so 'far' away from all my awesome blogging friends. loving all the photos as always and how ever did you manage to find the absolute, perfect image for your header? amazing!

  18. I've been following your blog for a little while now and i am quite taken by it! Your cute little house on a lovely Washington island is what i dream of for myself one day. We have a lot in common, I'm also Finnish and live in Washington. :)