Handicraft, Homemade, and Critters


The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave it neither power nor time.

                                                                                                     -Mary Oliver

After a month of getting the kids schedules to be somewhat routine, I’m finally having a moment or two of time to sit down and type out some thoughts and some progress information about the homestead.

I have been knitting for many years, but I only know how to knit and purl.  That’s it.  So, last year after my friend made the cutest baby sweater, I decided to expand my horizons and learn to do some crocheting.  My grandmother taught me to knit when I was about 7 or 8 years old.  I stopped knitting until I was in my 20’s and decided I wanted to try it again, but I didn’t have a mentor at that time as my grandmother had passed away and also had lived about 1,500 miles from me after we moved away when I was 10.  This was before the wonders of youtube.  So, I did the knit stitch that I had been taught so many years before and still remembered and made some blankets for different people in my life I thought would enjoy having one.  My sister was having a baby at the time, and so I made the first one in many years for her.  That baby is now 24 years old!

I took up crocheting by watching youtube videos and allowing people who are so much more skilled then I am to mentor me.  There are a lot of great things about technology, most of which I honestly don’t embrace, but youtube is one I love.  I have learned to do many things watching others who are more knowledgeable then I.  And though, yes, there are lots of things on youtube that are also garbage, you take what benefits you and leave the rest.  I decided to make a baby sweater as my first project, since my niece (different one then the one mentioned before) was thinking about having a baby in the future, so I thought I would make the sweater with her in mind.  I looked up the instructions and managed to make one, it came out fairly cute, and I was hooked (literally and figuratively!)!  My next project was a blanket for that same baby-to-be.  Knowing my niece the way I do, I figured a nice silvery gray with white would be perfect and used soft baby yarn.  It came out pretty and I actually want to make one for myself with this same yarn, it’s so cozy and soft and just makes you want to have your own nap.  Above, you’ll see the little sweater in progress that is next on my list. Now, maybe it will be for this baby or perhaps for another one, but I also really like the gray and white together, so used that as the pallet for this little one’s sweater.  This color combination makes me feel as if it’s a cozy-in-the-snowstorm nap.  I may even make myself something out of the same color combination. Perfect for the winter landscape, so perhaps I’ll do a nice wrap or poncho for myself.  Never know what I will do when the mood strikes me!

For me, when I receive something that I know someone has spent hours making for me, I always am amazed.  I feel so honored that they thought enough of me to make the space in their lives to put the time and attention into creating something that they knew I would treasure.  I also  much prefer homemade items for other reasons- the uniqueness of a single item not mass produced, respect for someone else’s talents and appreciation of them, the care and attention taken to create something for me that only that soul could have created.  Everyone’s vision of what is art is so their own, and its an honor to me that they would consider me worth their efforts.  Yes, handmade is my favorite!  And handmade certainly goes hand in hand with homesteading.  Though I’m very aware we will never be completely self sufficient, the more my husband and I accomplish with our own hands is that step closer to the self sufficiency we crave, and that can only lead to the genuine life we are striving for.  Homemade and handmade are honest.  I respect honest most of all.



Well, our temps have FINALLY fallen here in southern New Hampshire.  On Monday my youngest was running in a cross country meet and it was 91 degrees out!  Now, here we are on Saturday, and it’s going to be a high of 52 degrees in our area.  What a difference a few days can make!  But, that drop also brings with it the realization that we have a lot to accomplish before the snow flies around here.  We don’t have a working heating system right now.  We discovered that the critter living under the house that had chewed it’s way into the heating ducts and two holes in the side of our house is a momma opossum and her babies (mama on left picture, babies peeking in right picture).  She has been our arch nemesis the whole summer, we finally got a trail cam and  caught multiple pictures of her.  Sigh.  Now how to get her out of there and get her babies at the same time could be tricky indeed.


Did you know they use their tails to carry things?  I had no idea until we caught this game cam pic.  This is her bringing leaves and grass wrapped by her tail under the house to pad her nest for hibernation.  And yes, we have to get her before we get to that point!  We don’t want to kill her, we want to relocate the family, but we aren’t even sure how many babies there are, at least two that we can see in that picture of the babes.  Opossums are incredible tick removers and will basically eat their weight in ticks. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but they eat a lot of them.  And we can testify to that as we have  hardly seen a tick at all here since spring.  My chickens don’t free range because of the hawks that hunt them, so it’s not them that are keeping those evil genius insects at bay.

So, more on  the planned chores to get done before winter arrives in an upcoming post.  What specifically do you do to get your homestead ready for the arrival of Ol’ Man Winter?  Are there certain preparations you take to be sure you’re ready in the case of an emergency, like one of those ice storms we tend to get?  How would you handle the two weeks without power we went through a bit ago?  Would you be ready?  Topic for the a future post, and an important one for sure.

Until next time, be good to each other, be well and blessings to you all.

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