Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
- Real trees are a renewable, recyclable resource.
- Growing Christmas trees provide a habitat for wildlife.
- There are many ways to recycle a real tree. It can be put into a wood chipper and used as mulch, playground material, etc.
- Or you can do as we do and put it back onto the land from which it came to be used as a wildlife habitat. We have certified our yard as a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat (http://www.nwf.org/backyard/) so putting our used tree back out into nature is a wonderful way to create more spaces for wildlife.
- If you choose to buy from a tree farm rather than finding a tree yourself, you are usually supporting a local, family owned business.
- Real trees provide oxygen and help rid the environment of carbon dioxide.
- For every tree cut down on a tree farm, up to three seedlings are planted to replace it.
- Artificial trees - which most people keep for only six years – remain in landfill sites for centuries. Artificial trees are made from non-renewable plastics, PVC and other petroleum based products.
- For every real tree cut down, up to three seedlings are planted to ensure a steady supply each year.
- Artificial trees were recently added to the Center of Health, Environment & Justice’s list of household products containing PVC.
- 85% of the artificial Christmas trees sold in the U. S. come from China.
- Upon their disposal, artificial Christmas trees pollute our landfill sites for centuries to come as they are not biodegradable and cannot be broken down naturally.
So with all of that in mind, we have started cutting down a tree from our property each year. It is a fun family event with us all going out for a walk to search for the perfect tree. Last year we greatly overestimated the size of our home and ended up getting a tree more fit for a theater with thirty foot celeings! The trees look so much smaller in the field than in the house. This year we did a bit better and only a bit had to be trimmed off.
We found the perfect tree in the thicket beside the house. We all thanked the tree for giving its life to be our holiday tree and then daddy cut it down and brought it to the house where we decorated it together. No photos of us decorating it as the camera battery went dead, but I have some good ones of us finding the tree.
We have started another tradition that each child gets to open an early present on the day we put up the tree (I try to find reasons to give early presents because I feel that getting so many on one day is pretty overwhelming). Natalie was upset that we were "taking so long" to find the tree because she wanted to go open her present. That is why she looks so angry in the photos!
Finding the tree
The family standing in front of the tree (Natalie mad)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.
Samhain literally means “summer's end.” With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saints' Day, to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year, so the night before became popularly known as Halloween, All Hallows Eve, or Hollantide. November 2nd became All Souls Day, when prayers were to be offered to the souls of all who the departed and those who were waiting in Purgatory for entry into Heaven.
In the country year, Samhain marked the first day of winter, when the herders led the cattle and sheep down from their summer hillside pastures to the shelter of stable. The hay that would feed them during the winter must be stored in sturdy thatched ricks, tied down securely against storms. Those destined for the table were slaughtered, after being ritually devoted to the gods in pagan times.
All the harvest must be gathered in -- barley, oats, wheat, turnips, and apples -- for come November, the faeries would blast every growing plant with their breath, blighting any nuts and berries remaining on the hedgerows.
Peat and wood for winter fires were stacked high by the hearth. It was a joyous time of family reunion, when all members of the household worked together baking, salting meat, and making preserves for the winter feasts to come. The endless horizons of summer gave way to a warm, dim and often smoky room; the symphony of summer sounds was replaced by a counterpoint of voices, young and old, human and animal.In early Ireland, people gathered at the ritual centers of the tribes, for Samhain was the principal calendar feast of the year. In every household throughout the country, hearth-fires were extinguished. All waited for the Druids to light the new fire of the year.
At at all the turning points of the Celtic year, the gods drew near to Earth at Samhain, so many sacrifices and gifts were offered up in thanksgiving for the harvest. Personal prayers in the form of objects symbolizing the wishes of supplicants or ailments to be healed were cast into the fire, and at the end of the ceremonies, brands were lit from the great fire of Tara to re-kindle all the home fires of the tribe, as at Beltane. As they received the flame that marked this time of beginnings, people surely felt a sense of the kindling of new dreams, projects and hopes for the year to come.
Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
We finally got around to carving it tonight. Ben had been really looking forward to it and was so proud of it when we finished. He took it out to the porch and then came in with me to get a candle and some matches. When we went back out, Natalie was standing on the porch and the pumpkin was laying, in pieces, on the ground.
She admitted to pushing it off on purpose but I can't understand what she is trying to tell me as to WHY she pushed it off. I don't think she realized what the consequences would be (a smashed pumpkin) but I was still pretty upset and Ben was devastated. She went and sat on the bed and cried while Ben and I tried to put the pieces back together. After a while she came out, and on her own, told me "I am so sorry mama". It made Ben feel better that she apologized (and that he was getting my pity and attention!). We decided that we will get another pumpkin to carve and that the next time she won't push him to his death off the side of the porch!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain
Mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy
Mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
Even when it is not pretty
And if you can source your own life
From its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure
Yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,“Yes.”
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
After the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
We also made a visit to the Chattanooga Market. It is a farmer's Market in the downtown area that features handmade crafts, herbs, food, etc. Ben rode some type of scrambling machine and loved it.
This is a photo of the kids in their "restaurant". Ben takes all of the tables, trays and chairs in the house and makes a "fancy restaurant" where we eat our meals for a few days before putting the house back to normal.
We found a battery operated Volkswagon Beetle at a thrift store for a steal (normally over $200. and we got it for $10.). She is so very proud of it.
Last but not least...we found a Slip 'n Slide at a discount outlet for $2.00! The kids LOVE it and they even got their daddy on it. They had a blast.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Jeff and I
Belly shot on the beach
Jeff, Brett and I
Christa, Jeff and I
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
During the railroad boom of the 1880's, speculators decided to develop a hotel on the mountaintop serviced by a narrow gauge railroad that would run up the mountain. A second, broad-gauge line and an earlier incline were also competing for passengers.
On November 16, 1895 the railroad known today simply as "The Incline" opened, rising up the steepest part of Lookout Mountain. Built by John Crass and the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway Company this technical marvel boasted an incline of 72.7% at one point, making it the steepest passenger Incline in the world. Literally millions of residents and tourists have taken this ride up to the top of Lookout Mountain. By 1900 the success of this railway closed down all of its competitors.
Originally the cars were made of wood and powered by huge coal-burning steam engines. Electric power was used after 1911, and it now uses two 100 horsepower motors.