Monday, January 31, 2011

Gathering wood and life lessons...

Our destination - the local state park on a sunny day - My sister is a Park Ranger there.

This is what it was doing right before we left to go gather wood at the park!

It rained, no, it poured here in the Northwest two weekends ago.  On Sunday I woke up all cosy in my down covered bed, just the tip of my nose peaking out, listened to the rain outside, and looked over at my sweetie with pleading eyes.

"Is that rain I hear?" I asked tenatively.


I paused and let this sink in.

A little bit of a whine may have entered my voice at this point as I snuggled under the covers even further and asked, "Do we still HAVE to go cut wood?"

"Yep." More firmly this time.

My heart sunk a bit. Darnit anyways.

Now you should know I enjoy going with the family to get wood, but I hate to be wet and cold.  I prefer a crisp Fall day to a wet, windy, Winter day.  The wood we were after was at the state park where my sister is a park ranger.  As the trees had been taken down in the park by the state arborist the day before, and the wood is available on a  first come first serve basis, we needed to get it while the getting was good.

So up we got, showered, coffee'd ourselves and breakfasted everyone else and prepared for a long day in the woods.

I should explain what this involves:

Before leaving we assembly line seven sandwiches on the cutting board - that's fourteen pieces of bread all spread out, with a large spatula for the peanut butter and jelly, and away we go.  These are practical, not gourmet sandwiches so the PB is slapped on uncermoniously and followed up with a generous slathering of marionberry jelly, the two slices for each sandwich clapped together and towered on a large piece of tinfoil.  The tinfoil is then folded and scrunched around the tower of sandwiches and placed in a recycled plastic grocery bag. 

To this we add the following: Juice boxes for all the kids, bottled water for everyone, granola bars, apples, bananas, individual packs of teddy grahams or some such snacky thing, and a large bag of potato chips (everything can't be healthy!)

Since Mama is perpetually COLD, a large thermos of scalding hot water is prepared, and several teabags of Twinings English Breakfast are added to the mix.  I admit that I have to have my tea with sugar, so a small ziplock baggie with raw sugar and a plastic spoon is included as well.  A change of pants for the little boys, who are sure to fall into the mud wherever they can find it, warm hats coats and gloves for everyone, rubber boots or work boots, and we are off!

Fortunately we had a brief reprieve from the rain so by the time we actually arrived in the park, it was cold but dry.  Yeah!

I should mention that cutting wood is one of Craig's favorite things to do.  He is literally in heaven with his chainsaw, chain oil, file for sharpening, and freshly felled wood just waiting to be sawed up.  I suppose I could send Craig out to saw up the wood by himself. But I happen to be a firm believer that working physically together as a team is a wonderful way to strengthen your relationship - the planning for and execution of something as basic as getting firewood together is something you look back on when you are perched in front of a cosy fire, with a hot cuppa tea and your sweetie beside you. "We did that together." you think as you cuddle up and watch the fire flicker.

Papa and the boys getting the chainsaw ready
As well, I happen to enjoy woodgetting.  I grew up going with family friends nearly every year to cut wood, so I too have fond memories of warming cold hands at bondfires in forest clearings, steamy breath angels and stomping cold feet to keep them warm, hauling wood to pickup trucks and just generally enjoying being part of something as basic as gathering wood to stay warm.  

And there is nothing better for our children than to see their Mama and Papa working together, helping each other, joking and laughing as they pass each other water, a cup of steaming tea in the thermos top, or a PB&J sandwich.  While the children are reveling in being out of
doors, as we hand them each pieces of wood that are appropriate for their size, they swell with pride at being included in this important family 'work'.   They laugh at me as I roll the freshly cut rounds that are much to big for me to lift down the hill and over to the truck for Papa to lift later. 

Mama rolling those huge logs to the truck!  (how do you like the hot pink gloves?)

It's also no small joke to be without this wood if the power goes out in the winter and we are left without a heat source.  We are lucky to have a huge Russian fireplace upstairs and a wood burning stove downstairs, so we plan ahead to use wood to keep warm if we do lose power.

Liam, Age 3 and ready to go!

Eamonn, age 2, is ready to go with the chain oil and the ear protection!

So we gathered wood, loaded it in the truck and brought it home and dumped it in a pile in the back yard. I had to smile when Liam, smiling a sleepy smile, spontaneously announced from the back seat on the ride home, "We need to do this day again!"
And Eamonn was right behind him with, "I wan' go woods 'gain!"

Of course there is nothing better after a long day in the woods
than a fresh batch of homemade cinnamon rolls!


This past weekend Craig chopped all those hard won rounds up as Liam, Eamonn and I fed him piece after piece until we had most of it split.  Then we worked together to get it stacked neatly so it will dry and be ready for next winter.  Very satisfying!
Tonite we will take the few dry pieces we have left and have a cosy fire.  I think another fresh batch of cinnamon rolls is in order for my hardworking team...What do you think?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'In the Pink' and Sunday Sketch complete

Happy Sunday Everyone! Congratulations to our lovely hostess Sophia over at Blue Chair Diary!  Celebrating One Year of Sunday Sketches!!! Participating in this lovely art co-op has meant so very much to me - I look forward to it every week, and the whole family knows Mama will be at the computer with her cuppa coffee for a good hour every Sunday enjoying her art friends and sharing in all the great stories and art presented each week.
So thank you Sophia for making it happen every week, and for being such a great cheerleader for us all!

This will have to be what I share this week for Sunday Sketches - It's the piece I showed you last week now completed.  I didn't get time to start a new one ~ just crazy busy!  You can find more wonderful Sunday Sketches over at Sophia's place.
Wishing you all a wonderful Sunday and a great week ahead!

'In the Pink'

I am hoping to have her printed in gicle on a canvas shortly and will show you how that turns out.  I absolutely love how she turned out, especially the flowers - I took lots of inspiration from some brown and pink spode bowls I have ~ I love the floral patterns on them!

So this will be the Pink gal in my series of five.  Let me know what you think of her.

It's fairly mild here in the NW and I have been outside a bit with the little boys, but it's been really difficult to get away from my drawing table as I was so into this piece.  Don't you just love it when you get lost in a piece of art and it just flows?!

Love to hear your thoughts as always!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Sketches

Good Sunday Morning! 

For more wonderful artists sketches, please head over to Blue Chair Diary, and visit our talented hostess Sophia and all the other participants!  Or join us by sketching something up and posting a link at Sophia's place.
I'm excited to show a work in progress I am working on in my series of colorful women.  This gal will be all pinks and black and white...
I'm really excited as I have had the owner of a local gallery that also specializes in printing fine art offer to work with me on this series, and I may be able to eventually have a show in his gallery!
So I am working on completing this series of five and getting them printed in gicle on canvas.  I have two done already and they turned out wonderfully and need to complete this gal and two others!  Very fun and exciting!

Can't wait to see what everyone has sketched this week!  I am off to cut wood with the family to build up a store for next winter, but will stop by and visit everyone when we get back!

Smiles and hugs to you all, and thank you for all the wonderful comments last week when I was sick with a cold and tired due to having our floor replaced.  Your comments mean so much and always lift my spirits!
I will be posting pics of the new floor soon to share with you.  It was definitely worth it and turned out beautifully.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Sketches

For more wonderful sketches head over to Blue Chair Diary and visit our lovely hostess Sophia, and all the other wonderfully talented artists that participate. 
Or better yet, join us by sketching something, and linking up!

This is a new lady I will be working on in the next few weeks ~ I wasnt able to get much more than a rough sketch done because we have been banished to our downstairs all week due to having our wood floors replaced upstairs.  I had no idea how big a job that was going to be and let me tell you it's no small joke to keep five kids out of the main living area and kitchen of a house! 
On the upside, I have enjoyed eating breakfast out every morning because I can't get to my kitchen! :-)

To top off my week, I am now in possession of a wonderful head cold, so have wanted more than ever to just cosy up in my bed and sip tea and read...Sigh...Not to be as our bedroom is on the main floor and the flooring guys are using it as a staging area, shoving all the furniture they can into our bedroom, along with trim pieces, padding for under the new floor, etc! 

So chin up and charge forward I must.  I wish you all a wonderful week!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sunday Sketches

Happy Sunday Sketches All!  You can find more wonderful sketches at Sophia's place - stop by and say hello, or better yet, join us!  Just link up and submit your sketch to share with us!  This is what I've been working on this week... A colorful alphabet, inspired by Eden over at 'Draw doodle and Decorate'.  She is such an incredible colorist - I am just amazed at her patterns and use of color!  Stop by and check her out - you don't want to miss her wonderfully fun blog!

I decided to do some bookmarks for each of the kids, so I started with my son Vidal...I love how colorful

and fun this one turned out to be!

I hope you are all having a simply wonderful relaxing weekend...I am enjoying time with the family and though it can be chaotic, it is a fun kind of chaos most of the time.

Hugs to you all and I look forward to seeing what everyone had sketched up this week!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sunday Sketches - Happy New Year!

Happy First Sunday of The New Year Everyone.  For more great Sunday Sketches, you can head over to Sophia's place.  Please join us if you'd like ~ it's lots of fun!   This is a new piece I worked on yesterday and today, inspired yet again by another very talented artist JessieLilac over at the Purple Tree bird.  Jessie did a picture for the winter solstice, and I loved the pose, so I tried to put my own spin on it here.  If you haven't seen Jessie's work, head over and take a look, she is a fabulous artist.
I am planning on framing this for my living room.  I am always the most contented when wrapped in my sweetie's arms and it is there that I find my bliss.  I still have some detail work to add to this but I'm excited to frame it and hang it on the wall!

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is doing this week!
I wanted to be sure to say thank you again to everyone that takes the time to stop by and leave a comment.  Your comments really make my day and I am looking forward to making many more friends this year as I continue to find incredible artists and writers through my blogland rambles.