Tag Archive | river

French Friday #51: L’Automne

La rivière s’écoule avec lenteur. Ses eaux
Murmurent, près du bord, aux souches des vieux aulnes
Qui se teignent de sang ; de hauts peupliers jaunes
Sèment leurs feuilles d’or parmi les blonds roseaux.

Le vent léger, qui croise en mobiles réseaux
Ses rides d’argent clair, laisse de sombres zones
Où les arbres, plongeant leurs dômes et leurs cônes,
Tremblent, comme agités par des milliers d’oiseaux.

Par instants se répète un cri grêle de grive,
Et, lancé brusquement des herbes de la rive,
Étincelle un joyau dans l’air limpide et bleu ;

Un chant aigu prolonge une note stridente ;
C’est le martin-pêcheur qui fuit d’une aile ardente
Dans un furtif rayon d’émeraude et de feu.

Jules Breton

The river flows slowly by. Its waters
Murmur, near the bank, to the old alder stumps
Stained with blood; tall yellow poplars
Sow their golden leaves among the blond reeds.

The gentle wind swirls across
Its clear silver ripples, leaving dark areas
Where the trees, dipping their canopies and cones,
Tremble, as though shaken by thousands of birds.

Here and there repeats the shrill cry of the thrush
And, launched briskly from the river grass,
A jewel-like shimmer in the clear blue air;

A piercing song holds a strident note;
It’s the king fisher which flies on an earnest wing
In a fleeting ray of emerald and fire.

To be fair, these pictures are from my river, this morning; not France. But they fit the poem so well!

Foggy morning on the river

A few of the trees are starting to turn. I love the spots of orange highlighted by the green all around. This morning I looked out the window and saw that fog had settled into our little pocket here along the river. It was cool and misty outside and still very quiet when I went out to take the pictures. Perfect fall morning.

For three weeks

  • I will not scrape my hands on the ceiling when I change clothes.
  • I will not bang my head on a log when I put my kids to bed.
  • I will not have to start a fire.
  • I will not have to check the stovetop for mouse poop before I start cooking (Official Mouse Count is up to 30, btw).
  • I will not have to drive 8 miles to a grocery store that I don’t even like.

For three weeks

  • I will have an oven and plan on using it every single day.
  • I will have a bathroom counter on which to set my hair brush and makeup. It’s the little luxuries.
  • I will be able to put Konik in a separate bedroom from his sisters. They might actually sleep!
  • I will be able to send the kids outside to play, even when it’s raining. Hurray for covered patios!
  • I will have the pleasure of walls and doors in between rooms.

For three weeks

  • I will miss hearing the river rushing by.
  • I will miss seeing the hummingbirds at our window feeder.
  • I will not have my sewing machine.
  • I will be paranoid that my kids will break something.

For three weeks we will be house-sitting for friends, F & S, in another town. They get to go on a tour of Europe by motorcycle. We get to stay in a house with heat. Not knocking the cabin — without our other friends, M & M, so generously letting us stay here, these past eight months would have been dire indeed. But it will be a nice change of pace and as close to a vacation as we’re going to get this year. F does have a sewing machine in her house and said I was welcome to use it. I may, but don’t be surprised if the next few weeks are rather crochet-heavy. I’ll see if I can come up with something else to break it up a bit.

We will be coming back to check on the cabin periodically and mow the lawn  weed-whack the yard  trim the greenery, so don’t anybody get any ideas about crashing our pad. We don’t have anything worth stealing anyways, but do feel free to take a couple mice with you when you leave.

Complete the ensemble

Are you sick of the coats yet? Try not to be! We visited a holiday bazaar this weekend and people kept stopping us to comment on the kids’ coats. Ok, ok, Mr. Gren: You were right! People love the coats. Now we’ll have to see if anyone will buy them.

So, the last time I posted about the coats, I mentioned making fancy hats for the girls. Those whipped up pretty quickly and they turned out just so cute! Like, can’t-stand-it cute. The hats are fleece, as well as the small flowers. The hats are three pieces: the top, the crown, and the band. Easy! The flowers were fun to do. Take a narrow strip of fabric; put in a gathering stitch along one side; pull up the gathers and then roll and hand-tack into a rosebud shape.

As an added photgraphic bonus, Rana is wearing the ABC jumper I made her for school and Granota is wearing my Hanna Andersson knock-off dress. I didn’t get very good pictures of those back when I first made them.

This was the last of our good weather here (late October-November has been gorgeous!), so we took the kids down to play at the river for a little while. The girls tried their hands at fishing.

Now, there were a few people who were concerned that the girls get all the love and Konik is left freezing to death. Not to worry, though! I made him a coat last year which was big then and is still a little oversized this year. We might even be able to use it again next year, who knows!

A few tips for sewing with plaid:

  • Identify the dominant stripe in the pattern. You’re going to base the arrangement of your pattern pieces around it. You want the dominant stripe to highlight the main lines of the garment — center front and center back.
  • Also be aware of the horizontal stripes when you cut the fabric. You want them to line up all the way around the garment. You can see how the horizontal stripes meet across the two front pieces of the coat; the same is true of the side seams where they meet the back piece. And, if there is also a dominant horizontal stripe in your plaid, you want that to hit appropriate parts of the body as well.
  • This might mean that you don’t exactly follow the pattern piece layout given in the sewing pattern instructions, but that’s ok. Some of the pieces that you would normally cut out two at a time (the front pieces and the sleeves, for example) are better done one at a time when dealing with plaid. It’s the only way you can really ensure that the plaid will match up like it should.

Notice how the dominant stripe runs right down the center of his back, including the collar. This is the kind of thing that most people don’t think about when they see a plaid garment done right. But, boy, do you ever notice if that plaid is the slightest bit off. It’s worth it to take some extra time and make sure it’s right!

Little Cabin in the Woods

Hello all my friends in Blogland! Wow, it feels like it has been forever since I’ve been here. My family and I moved to a small cabin on 22 October and we’ve been without internet, phone, cell reception, TV and newspaper ever since! I ventured out to Starbucks today after dropping off Rana at her new school just to catch up on things back out here in civilization. The move went well and I’ve already completed a couple of projects that I’ll post more about later. For now, a little of our adventures out in the woods.

Granota was freaked out the first few nights in the cabin. Her bed is under the eave and she kept crying that she heard “fluttering” in the ceiling above her. We kept trying to pass it off as no big deal, showed her a tree branch that scrapes the roof at about that spot, even though we never heard this fluttering. Then one night she woke up and told me that there was scratching. I went in there and actually heard it this time. I knocked on the ceiling, figuring it was mice and that would be enough to scare them. It worked for that night.

The river running past our yard

The next night, we were all sound asleep and I heard scratching around 3:30. I sat up in bed and saw some small creature climbing up the support pole at the end of our room in the loft. It looked like a bat. I woke up Mr. Gren and told him we had a bat in the room and we sat there in the dark for a few minutes trying to decide on a course of action and quoting lines from “Christmas Vacation” (“I’ll catch it in the coat… and hit it with a hammer!”). I draped a sweatshirt over my head and crept by it to get downstairs to find a bucket, gloves, and a flashlight. But when I got right next to the little animal, I saw that it had a long fluffy tail. I had Mr. Gren turn on the lamp by our bed and got a better look at it. It was a small squirrel, but not like I’d ever seen before. It had brownish-black fur with tan patches on his sides between his legs; he looked really soft, like a chinchilla. He also looked very nervous.

A cousin of our little visitor

I went downstairs to get our equipment. When I got back up and we tried to knock him into the bucket, he jumped, ran across the floor of the loft, and then skittered down the log walls and sat on top of the front door. We tried to bump him off outside, but he was having none of that and we saw then what the tan patches on his fur were for. He leaped off the top of the door and went sailing several feet to my sewing table, scrambled across it, behind the fireplace, into the living room.

Now that's a fireplace

We chased that silly thing off the top of our armchairs to the refrigerator back on the other side of the room, to the tops of curtain rods, on the walls, of course, and finally, back out to the front door. By this time, I had added a broom to our arsenal and was using it to try and steer him in the direction we wanted him to go. And this time, finally, he went out! Hurray! The poor little thing was terrified, so I threw a few peanuts out on the porch as a peace offering. haha It took us about a half an hour to get him out of the house, and amazingly, none of the kids woke up through all of that! We haven’t had any more wildlife in the house since then, but who knows what’s going to happen when the weather gets colder…