Monday, September 5, 2016

The Beginning of Spring

I wrote this on Friday evening:

Today we harvested nettles. We wore gloves. My wool dying experiment with nettles in July was a dismal failure. The nettle bread, however, was brilliantly green. The nettles have been safely subdued with a steaming and now they are in the fridge. There is also a large bunch drying on the verandah. Even weeds can be wonderful. Now I am dreaming of nettles served simply with butter, salt, and pepper; nettle soup; nettle soap; and maybe even nettle pancakes. Oh, and how could I forget nettle tea?

The trick of being Elastic Mom is to stay on top of whatever is flourishing right now. Well, to try.

Someone else is flourishing since she has discovered the art of knitting. This afternoon I taught Mammei, one of the Hope Knitters, how to purl and make stocking stitch and rib. She wants to knit a hat. Her Cutie Pie has stolen my heart. I have known her since she was a premie in hospital being nurtured by kangaroo care. Her mother called me because they don't feed their patients properly in the government hospitals here and she was hungry. Cutie Pie grins every time she looks at me and waves goodbye whenever we part ways.

The pigs have run away again. Tomorrow morning I will find them snoring in their beds. We knew they had finished plowing up the chicken run when they made an exit hole under the fence. My son and the dogs went looking for them. All they found were jackals aggressively guarding a den, containing pups no doubt.

Our water was black today. We first noticed it when washing the white linen from my bed. I sent my black sheets up the hill to show the two men who were working on the pipes and neglected to warn us first. I wonder if it will make a difference next time they need to fix the pipes.

We have stopped lighting fires in the evenings. Spring has arrived, clothing the peach trees in pink, the apricot orchard in white and also our almond saplings in delicate touches of white. We made it the]rough winter without needing to light Esse the Faithful. My fingers are still recovering but the saving of R1000 a month for anthracite was worth it.

This morning I blew off the dust bunnies and unpacked the suitcase under my bed. It felt light and lovely to hang my summer dresses in the cupboard and toss my warm scarves into the suitcase instead. The rest of my winter clothes are staying put in case we have another cold snap. It seems unlikely in these dry, warm days. Once the excitement of the spring blossoms and daffodils wanes I realise that it really isn't my favourite season. Free State spring is a time of waiting for summer rain, a time of dusty winds and often a time of firefighting for my men. The vase of peach blossoms on the mantle is pretty though.

September also heralds the beginning of the busy birthday season. My philosophy is that gifts either cost money or time. I don't really have either in abundance at the moment, though I do try to enjoy some creative time in the evenings. Yesterday's birthday girl received a knitted hat, a beanie in the Elle Toledo Smarties colourway from my stash, with a big yellow pompom. I wrapped it in drawing paper, tied some yellow tulle (fairy wings from  when my daughter was small enough to wear such things) around it and made a card from a bird cut out of a box of tea. It looked just right for a 7-year old. The other half of the ball of yarn had been used for my  Miss Marple tea cosy. I am happy that I managed to use it up and all the gift cost me was my time.