wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout !!!)
 Sprout is really something in a lot of ways, as most parents would likely say of one of their children, but when it comes to her feminist streak...let's just say, her streak is a mile wide or more.

I am reading a book with her called Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook up the World, and while I blubber like a baby at some of the stories, she gets fired up and ready to go to war. It is too late for me to go into a lot of detail about the book or Sprout, but she said something to me today after we watched Aquaman that I wanted to record.

"Mom," she said, "do you want to know what I just made up? The robes of king can fit well on a queen."

To which I heartily agreed.

Then she came back and told me, "Here is another one: In a fight, brain makes more might."

She is in bed, and I can't ask if that second one was her exact wording, but the sentiment is there. 

She might not ever shake up the whole world, but she sure shakes up mine.

Here I am

2 Jan 2019 09:31 am
wayfaringwordhack: (art - monk)
I felt prompted to check my friends feed after weeks and weeks of absence due to all the busyness that is life, and I have caught up with you all as far as DW will let me without clicking on the feed of each individual friend. As broad as it may be, I want to wish all of you fulfillment and peace, journeys and discoveries, hope and love in 2019.

As the result of my conditioning, with the turn of the year, I am looking back--myopically and selectively, I admit--on the last year and peering into the new with hopeful thoughts of Different and Better.

My major failed goal of last year was not sending out my children's book by March end, much less finishing it.  I would like to rectify that this year. I have no set date this time. I need to sit down with the project and make specific goals to achieve by specific dates. I like [personal profile] asakiyume 's idea in this post about at least opening the document every day.

I was overwhelmed and consumed with my gardening this past year, and while I feel I did a lot, I did not succeed a lot. That sucks, to spend so much time and to have so little to show for it in this lean season. Even throughout the chief growing season, I do not feel we had abundance.* My goal this year is to be smarter about what I grow based on what performed well and what we eat the most of. Logical, I know, but it is a both a difficult thing to predict based on the weather and my own lack of experience. We have the grow tunnel in place this year, so that should help, but I am also planning a major layout overhaul of the existing veggie patch and feeling a panicky about it already because, as usual, I feel I don't know enough (perfectionist me abhors not getting things "right," don't you know), and true to form, I did not do the preliminary work in the autumn when it was time to get the ball rolling to prepare this year's beds.

However, my word for this year is not "Stress-Free" (two words?), but I am going to try to give myself grace. I want to learn and do; do and learn. Fail and forgive; forget and assimilate. 

To use the Google Dictionary: Grace: courteous goodwill. and Merriam-Webster: : disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency.

Yeah, Grace. That is my word for this year.

Have you set goals or do you choose a word to define and focus your coming year?


*We had lots of tomatoes, lots and lots, but even zucchini, which everyone talks about having soooooooo much of, did not give that well with the drought.

wayfaringwordhack: (art - guitton housework)
I have made this recipe a few times now, and I thought I would share it in case anyone else has some apples they need to use up (I have a couple of crates!). And posting it allows me to keep a handy record of the changes I have made. One of these days, I'll transfer all my notecard-recorded recipes into a notebook, but until I do, this is a nice way to organize them.

 Let me know if you make the crisp and what you think. Bon appétit !

This is adapted from "
Potluck Apple Crisp" on tasteofhome.com





Apple filling:

  • 12 medium apples, sliced & peeled 1
  • 1 cup sugar (200 g)2
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg



Crust and Topping:

  • 1/2 cup shortening (95g)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (113g)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar (I use 200g raw sugar with 1T molasses)
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (210g)
  • 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (150g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt






Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C) In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, combine apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; cook and stir over medium heat just until apples are tender. Cover the pot if the apples are drying out too much.

Set aside.


In a large bowl, cream the shortening, butter and brown sugar. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix well. Pat half of flour mixture into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish and bake for 10-15 minutes, long enough for the crust to start to set.3


Remove from oven and spread apples over top while still hot. Crumble remaining flour mixture over apples. Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.


1. I use an apple peeler that cores and slices the apples at the same time. I then break these slices into quarters. I also use about four kinds of apples for different flavor notes. If you buy organic apples, save your peels and cores to make Apple Scrap Jam. So easy and delicious.
2. Two cups of sugar is called for in the original recipe calls, which is just way too much for my taste. Depending on your preferences and apples, I would err on the side of less sugar and work your way up. I put only 1/3 cup the 2nd time I made it and found it fine.

3. The original recipe calls for adding the apples over an unbaked crust, which I did the first time. However, the bottom crust was lost in a total mush with the apple filling and was a bit gritty in the mouth. I much prefer to pre-bake the bottom first. Your tastebuds may disagree.
wayfaringwordhack: (pondering)
 Nothing like an entry that comes almost a month late. 

I finally finished fiddling with my Inktober sketch about a week ago but forgot to post last week.  Here is a comparison with the post-wash piece and the final version where I added the shadows.


The use of my camera flash on one version explains the color difference. Alas, there is still no nice photo in sight.

My take away from Inktober is that first and foremost, I absolutely loved doing the challenge. I like that I had decided from the outset what I would do and how I would do it. The not having to search for inspiration or my materials each day was such a pleasant way to work. No hassle and no stress suits me very well. Also, I had the THING to stick to, the personal commitment to a challenge, and that saw me through on this piece, even when Inktober ended. Once I finished the piece, though, I put all art aside.* Hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my neighbors mostly explains this complete standstill.

The just drawing-what-I-want-how-I-want had the downside of resulting in a sketch that lacks the coherence and believable depth it could have had. Without thinking more about composition beforehand, I sketched myself into several corners. I am not disappointed with what I accomplished, but it did serve to show me how important some forethought is. While I enjoyed sketching the way I did, I feel a bit paralyzed about starting pieces where I DO need to think things through. It just feels so tedious. Necessary, but tedious.  

Still, I need to step up to the plate and make it happen. My only other choice is to turn in my children's nonfic manuscript and let the publisher find an illustrator. I really want to ty to illustrate it myself before going that route, though.

While I was not at all thinking about my natural (comfortable) style while doing this piece vs a style that would be compatible with the kids' book, I do have the uncomfortable feeling that a more cartoony style is not in me. 

And that is enough rambling for now. 

* I did spend almost an entire day yesterday trying to figure out a page layout in my MS that is giving me fits, so I have begun to work again. I just need to turn finishing this beast into a challenge of sorts, frex: figuring out how many illustrations I have to do and assigning a certain amount of time to each.

Do any of you have a way of setting targets for yourself that are both fun and efficacious?
wayfaringwordhack: (pondering)
 I meant to post this earlier but life has been tumultuous the past week and a half. I still have yet to finish this Inktober piece or sum up my thoughts on my month, but I did apply an ink wash after much hemming and hawing over whether or not I should do it. I decided that I have no experience in this and never will have if I don't take risks. So after trying to get a good photo for future reference's sake should I totally ruin the sketch with a wash, I went ahead and laid down some ink.

The wash totally changed the look of the piece and created new challenges and needs in terms of shading and darkening the values elsewhere in the piece. That is what I will be working on little by little.  

Execution aside, do you prefer it with or without the dark background?


7 Nov 2018 10:59 am
wayfaringwordhack: (art - guitton housework)
Take a look and tell me what you see:

Need a closer look?

What do you suppose this is?

This, my friends, is the makings of kimchi, all homegrown, even the ginger there in the front that looks like a dirty stone.

Deliciousness will ensue.
wayfaringwordhack: (pondering)
 I didn't do my wash as planned, but, here, have a phone photo. This is some of the work I was able to do over the last couple of days :


I hope to do a write up about what I liked, what I didn't, what I learned, etc., and post the final in the next couple of days, but life has been really life-y these past few days, leaving me little time for what I want to get done.

here is a link to the other progress photos.
wayfaringwordhack: (pondering)
 ...but my work on this piece has not. I had a lot going on yesterday and knew I wouldn't be able to work on it then. The days before saw us having a snow storm that knocked out our power and left us with gigantic fallen oak branches to get off the road and cut down for firewood (actually Julien did most of that; I just moved a few small ones). Leaves haven't fallen from the trees and we have had a drought year, so the combination of greater landing area for the wet snow and sapless, fragilized branches was too much for the trees. The roads were (are) a mess all over the area. Another driver and I were stuck on a back road last night, moving branches together, one so big he had to hike to his parents' house to get a chainsaw to take care of it.

But I digress. You don't need my excuses. In any case, I did draw yesterday, so I have successfully completed Inktober, even if I need to do a bit more work on my piece. I did a bit today but didn't photograph it to keep this reference confined to progress made during the Inktober challenge.

This is what I have so far, and since I haven't finished, I don't have to have a nice photo ;) (However, the photo looks blurry now and was not in my photo program :-/ )

the progression )

I hope to have the final to show for my snippet this Saturday.
wayfaringwordhack: (pondering)
I know, I know. It is not Sunday, not even here in France.  However, I don't really like getting on the computer much on Sunday, seeing as how it is my day of rest. So now, I guess I will start saying Snippet Saturday.  I do hope to keep up with snippets of some kind after Inktober comes to an end. It is a manageable way for me to post, giving me some content that I don't have to think too much about.

This week's installment:

Sorry for the bluriness. I am always apologizing for my crap presentation, but I promise to make a better effort with the final.

The previous weeks:
3, 2, 1... )
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
Wow. Only a little over a week to go. I can't wait to see how this is going to come together.

My husband and I had a good laugh over how I said I was pleased that i wasn't trying to be so detail-oriented. But! This piece is full of abstract lines!

Scanned and pasted together, which explains the odd white band on the right that I can't be bothered to fix right now.
Weeks 1 and 2 under cut )
wayfaringwordhack: (frangipani)
 I thought I would share that Banjo found a new home a couple of weeks ago. He now lives with a family who has a fenced-in yard and a female dog in need of companionship. I am so happy, grateful, and relieved. 
wayfaringwordhack: (pondering)
I missed yesterday's snippet on account of being out of town (out of countryside?) for a family visit, so here is last week's Inktober effort, a day late:

I scanned as intended, but because my scanner 's screen is just shy of the paper's dimensions, I didn't quite get all of the image. What didn't make it on is not worth rescanning and frankensteining to get a full image. I'll do that with the final artwork.

(click for a larger image)

Here is a link to the first week in case you want to see how I progressed.
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
For the first time ever, I am participating in Inktober. This is meant to be a lowkey challenge for me, a way for me to keep it simple and just have a pen in hand again.  That is all I am using for the moment: a pen and a single sheet of paper. I still haven't decided whether or not I will do an ink wash over parts of the image. I think I will, but that decision can come later.

I'll try to remember to scan my images next time instead of using my phone to take pics.

The whole, being drawn on a 30.5 X 45.5 cm (12 X 18in) block of water color paper (in case I do decide to do an ink wash):

I started on the bottom right of the image:

The most challenging thing so far? Loosening up. I started to get there toward the end of the week, I think, as seen by the suggestive lines of this top coral mass and the hinted-at fish from today's session. 

Again, sorry for the image quality.

wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout !!!)
Remember when I said to keep on eye on our pond? This pond, that was so poorly made (and by a professional, we were told):

Here it is this winter, with Sprout for scale, at maximum capacity, and you can see the liner is never fully underwater. There was always a minimum of 12" (30cm) of liner showing. Because the banks were so steep they were a danger to kids and animals and could not be disguised by vegetation, earth, or stones.

Yes, it was big and deep enough for the ducks to have a good dunk, but it was still an eyesore.

So instead of simply clearing out the sedges that where beginning to take over, we decided on a total pond overhaul. As you might have seen in a recent post, J already pulled out the liner; and when we rented an excavator to install a new septic system, we took advantage of it to reshape and extend the pond.

J started leveling things out:

Progress photos under the cut... )
Let us hope that the regrowth with be both rapid and beautiful. I will now go downstairs with a rake, bucket, and shovel, and start collecting stones and smoothing things out. The sooner I get that done, the sooner we can get the ducks in place. And boy am I going to be happy to do that. They are not good animals to move around on pasture. Think of all the water I must lug around... 

Gleying developments to come as they, well, develop...:P

wayfaringwordhack: (pondering)
 (This was a longer, and arguably better written post <certainly more filled with personal anecdotes> in the first effort that the Internet ate, so here is a the whittled down version)

In May 2017, I started doing Hal Elrod's Miracle Morning in an effort to focus my time and improve the quality of my state of mind. If you haven't heard of it, it is a 6-step morning routine designed to help one be more productive and achieve important goals, whether those be financial, relational, health-related...

In a nutshell the acronym S.A.V.E.R.S. helps you start off your morning with Silence, Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. I find the Silence, Affirmations, and Exercise to be the most helpful so far; I do not excel at Visualization and have never hit a Scribing (Journalling) stride. I usually just list three things I am grateful for, but I want to do something more. Just don't know what that is yet.

In the year and four months since I started my Miracle Morning routine, I have seriously fallen off the wagon several times, ceasing to do it when I probably needed it the most, but just not able to give up the extra hours of sleep that my body insisted it must have to function.

However, when I DO do it, I see such a marked improvement in how I spend my time and how I treat those around me, including myself. So, for the past two weeks or so, I have been starting my day with my routine again and feel better for it. As an aside, I also use a bullet journal in conjunction with my Miracle Morning, and my use of that has been more steady but still not up to snuff.

Do any of you do a Miracle Morning routine or use a bullet journal? If so, what do you find helpful about it/them? How do you use it/them?
wayfaringwordhack: (pondering)
 I wanted to make a quick post, but I never know when I can be quick and succinct. Not a good thing for someone who likes to write!


I  often make an effort (oh, how I wish I could say "always") to assess why I feel a certain way so that I can correct my course, as it were, and help my children navigate their paths and feelings.  

The other day, J told the neighbor with the sheep that we had re-homed our dog, and the neighbor just said, "Oh really? It's done. Well, sheep and dogs are never a good mix."

Feeling raw, as I was, over the whole thing, I was shocked/irked/hurt that the neighbor didn't express any sympathy for our situation, for the fact that we had to give up a pet that was part of the family for almost a year, for the kids who keep asking where Banjo is. It isn't his place to apologize for the situation we caused by getting the dog, but I thought he would be sorry, in a generally sorry way, that it ended the way it did.

But, he wasn't; he wandered off to see his sheep shortly thereafter. He wasn't rude, and there were quite a few pauses in the conversation. So maybe he was sorry, maybe he was processing it all and didn't know how to say whatever he wanted to say. 

There I sat, wanting to hear some commiseration. As if I were entitled to it. I had to break that down for a while, really let it settle in that I can't let a sense entitlement be the directing force in my relationship with others. Not only is it ultimately selfish, it is controlling and anger-making.

I already knew these things. But now I know them a little bit better. Hopefully the knowing will go on and on until I really get it, and my relationships with others and myself will be better for it.
wayfaringwordhack: (Junebug Diggin' Life)
(copy pasted from LJ)

Even in my earliest memories as a child, I absolutely hated ketchup (and mayonnaise*), that much loved condiment of lots of people. Oh, how I would hate when some adult would "generously" put a huge squirt of it on my food when serving me.

Then, in Egypt, when learning about fermenting, I came across the idea of lacto-fermenting ketchup. I swore that when I got a garden and grew some tomatoes, I would try it for myself.

And this year I was able to.


I used this recipe and absolutely loved it. I used juice from my kimchi and don't think I added the fish sauce, since that is already an ingredient in my kimchi. I also used the same kind of apple cider vinegar and cut back a tad on the Cayenne so that my kidlings would eat it.

I brag about how good it is every time I eat it. I am a ketchup convert...but only to the homemade, fermented kind. 

* that's because I was only ever given the Miracle Whip, etc. kind, not REAL mayonnaise. Now that I know how to make it myself (so simple), I love it. Rien à voir with the processed stuff.


1 Sep 2018 06:35 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (pondering)
Today we had to rehome our dog Banjo. This might not come as a surprise after the post I made here, stating how I had made a mistake in getting him. But the sad truth is that he was doing so much better. Yes, we have since confined our flocks, but even when our ducklings would escape their fencing, he left them alone, trotting past on his way to hunt voles and lizards.

However, while we were away for Farmer Boy's eye surgery, and the other kiddos and Banjo were in the care of my in-laws, Banjo snuck off to have a bit of fun with the neighbor's sheep.
He didn't hurt them but scattered the flock so that three went missing for the night. Thankfully they all came back, but our relationship with our neighbor was compromised. I am pretty sure he beat Banjo that day, given the half-skittish, half-aggressive way the dog reacted to him thereafter. Being all too aware that Banjo is our responsibilty and animal attacks are unacceptable, we started locking him up and only letting him out on a leash or giving him free time when we were in the pasture with him. One night, about a week after the first attack, he disappeared while we were putting the birds to bed. He wouldn't come when called, and when he finally showed up, his slinking behavior let us know that he had been after the sheep again. The next day, sure enough, four sheep were missing; one of them had run several kilometers away, and one didn't come back until 3 days later. Again none were hurt; however, it began to feel like it was all just a matter of time and the neighbor was livid. To make matters worse, Banjo, leashed, lunged (on two different occasions) at ducklings making distress sounds when they got caught in the netting, making us wonder just how long his bird training would hold.

Living in constant tension and stress has not been easy. J and I repeatedly discussed our options and finally decided that the different levels of responsibility and commiment were just too much for us. Oh how that hurts. Not only for the dog, but for my pride, I who said to the lady we adopted Banjo from that I would not shirk the responbility or give up when the going got tough.  Yet, here I am, 11 months later, just a week shy of Banjo's 1st birthday, giving him up. Admitting I'm not up to snuff. Bawling over his unknown future.

We called many shelters and all of them turned us down, until finally, one almost two hours away said they could have a place ready for him after doing some renovations. Today they emailed to say it was time. J took him alone, a trip not meant to be made en famille.

The man at the shelter was both encouraging and reassuring. He feels confident that Banjo will soon have a new home, and he let us know that it is not the shelter's policy to put down the animals they are rehoming.

So goodbye, Banjo. God speed you to a new home where you will be loved and have room to romp without getting yourself in trouble.

wayfaringwordhack: (Junebug Diggin' Life)
It is funny to note that all three of my kids have begun counting this way, only in French: un, deux, trois, cinq, huit... They have all felt that 4, 6, and 7 were somehow not that important, at least not at first. After neuf and dix have been tack on, 6 is usually the next one to be accepted in the ranks, and 7 the last. :P

Sprout's favorite adjective of the moment is "mega" with especially special things being "super mega."

Being out of touch with anglophone slang (and francophone, for that matter), I ask you is this perhaps the current equivalent of "rad" / "awesome" / "wicked"?

(also on LJ, comment where you like)
wayfaringwordhack: (pondering)
COPIED FROM LJ, comment where you like, if you are so inclined:

Or let's see how many random things I mention in this post:

Ti'Loup is obsessed with tractors and the trailers they pull, and he loves to tell me, "I love you much." He is a born clown and loves to dance.

Farmer Boy still loves to be outside with me and went himself to harvest a carrot from the garden because I had cut up all the ones I had inside to make him kimchi carrots. He is only 4. He also loves to get "chefly," putting on an apron and chef's hat his grandma made for him, and help me out in the kitchen.  He just had eye surgery to correct the squint he was born with. He hates that he has to wear glasses, but doing so is in important part of keeping his eyes from relapsing.

Sprout is still intensely creative and loves being inspired by her favorite YouTubers. She is decorating a horse figurine to send to one of them and will write (copy what I transcribe for her) a fan letter to go with it.  Her interest in stories has been stoked by the Mennym series, 5 books about life-sized ragdolls who mysteriously came to life after their creator died.  Two of the books were left here by the previous houseowners, which is how we learned of the series, and halfway through the first one, she begged me to buy the missing volumes. We are  about to start her second year of unschooling, and it will be interesting to see if the education inspector finds a change in her from last year.

I have had mixed success with my garden this year. The first time truly growing stuff to supply most of your family's food is a challenging undertaking, and the weather was particularly capricious this spring and summer. But really, when is the weather not "weird"?  In any case, I'll be completely redesigning the layout this winter and hope to improve waterflow across the land as well as incorporate more perennial elements.

It has been a little over a year since we have moved in here and that time has been full of ups and downs, nice and nasty surprises, and a load of work that has no end in sight. Right now J is digging trenches in the front yard in search of the old septic tank. Next month, we'll  (OK, he and an aquaintance; don't know how much help *I* will be) install a whole new system. At the same time, he has to put rain gutters on our barn roof and redirect all the rainwater to our (to-be-enlarged) pond.

Taking out the old liner:

After we get the pond dug, we'll fence it off and put our ducks on it, using their waste to gley it, and thereby, we hope waterproof it enough that we don't have to put in a liner. Whenever we get pigs, they might be parked there, too, if the ducks don't do the work.  But before we get off the subject of ducks, let me share that we have 19 ducklings from two different clutches.  Sadly, our chicken hatching endeavors have not been so successful. Out of 43 eggs set 3 times under broody hens, we have but four survivors. What a knife in the heart that is.  I have a duck sitting on chicken eggs now, but she broke so many from a previous attempt that I don't have a lot of faith in success this time.  And the five that made it I have just transferred to a poor hen that sat on 12 and had only 1 hatch before dying of complications.

I really like chickens;  ducks...they are OK. I might like them better when we get a dedicated pen built for them and stop all the chicken/duck sharing setups we have going on now.

Back to us being gone from Egypt for more than a year already. It is strange but sometimes I feel like this time didn't even happen in my life--no matter that it lasted almost 5 years and gave me my two boys!--and on Sunday I looked for the first time at some photos I had taken on the one occasion where Julien and I went out alone to some very "authentic" places in Cairo. Here is a glimpse, mostly stolen photos taken from the back of a moving scooter:

lots of photos for the interested )

Two takes on the Egyptian flag:

Driving through the butchers' quarter:

And something different, images from one of our favorite places in Egypt, the Coptic monastery, Anafora:

Some iconic paintings from the underground church that is still incomplete:

Do you recognize the references of the last two?
Interesting to revisit that...

Things I miss from Egypt: Cheap takeway, free grocery delivery, our church and the people there.

I'll end with some h appy news: J was transfered to a "local" police station. As of September, he will be working the night shift in a town about an hour's drive from here. It is going to mean a lot of driving on a not-so-great (dangerous) road, but he will be home everyday. AND! His blacksmith training was accepted for next year.  :D

What is new, old, and noteworthy in your world?


wayfaringwordhack: (Default)

January 2019

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