Posts Tagged With: shenanigans

Where are all the snow children?

From playing in the snow we so desperately wanted to celebrating Winter Solstice in our own way, the last few days have been a really special time for Jamie and me.  On Thursday we spent most of the day either outside in the snow (hiking, sledding, playing) or inside enjoying eachothers company.  Yesterday we had an unplugged day with no computers, radio, or other things until after sunset so we could fully enjoy the shortest day of the year.  We went hiking at Hubbard Hills, gathered fallen branches and pine cones from around town to decorate our house, played several games of Scrabble, and exchanged gifts by candle light as the sun was setting.  Last night we had friends over for more Scrabble, beer, pickled green beans and carrots, potato soup, and brownies.  We wanted to have a party but when only two people showed up it ended up being exactly what we wanted all along.

These last two days have really gotten me thinking about our connection to the seasons and nature.  Taking note of the moon cycles, changing of seasons, and changing of the light is something I make a point of paying attention to– and something I know a lot of people take for granted.  Winter storm Draco brought Viroqua a beautiful snow cover and while walking around town through the snow on a beautiful sunny day, I couldn’t help but notice how few other people were out there enjoying it.  On Thursday we went to the park for sledding and there was about a dozen or so kids and their adults there having a blast but I still feel like there should have been more.  Where is everyone on these days?  Are they inside reading and playing Scrabble or are they sitting in front of the TV, zoning out.  My guess would be the latter.

In the after school program for middle schools where I work we recently had the kids make Keynote presentations about themselves to present to the class. We gave them free reign to put whatever they wanted on it.  Almost every kid talked about music videos they like, songs they listen to, video games they play, and tv shows they watch.  On their “Things I like” page no one mentioned hiking or play outside or making snowmen or anything of the sort.   I think part of the reason is because it is way cooler to say you like “Gangam style” than it is to say you like building fairy houses but how much of it is because the kids spend most of their time indoors?

If you walk past Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School in Viroqua on almost school day whether it is raining or snowing or perfectly sunny, you will see kids outside playing and having an absolute blast.  The importance of being outside and playing trumps the fear that they could get a cold or get hurt. They are taught to dress for the weather. If you pass by the public school when it is raining or super cold out then you would think school must have been canceled that day because it is deserted outside. What does this teach children? What doesn’t it teach children?

I don’t have answers to these questions right now.  All I have are my observations and opinions.  My gut tells me that the teachers in the Waldorf school are doing something right here though.  I strongly believe when it snows there should be kids outside playing in it.  We should be teaching children to notice the changing of the light and encouraging imaginative play.  And adults should be out there too.  Get outside if you can or at least take note of when the sun rises and sets each day if you can’t actually get out there.  Keep the heat in your house lower than you normal and simply wear more clothes because it’s winter and unless you live in Texas you don’t need to be wearing a tank top this time of year.  Take 10 minutes with which you would be distracting yourself on the computer and look out the window instead. Watch what the squirrels are doing. Notice what types of birds are around, what ones aren’t.  And if you are up for an added challenge, try to only eat things that are in season.  Strawberries in December is ridiculous unless you live someone that grows them that time of year.

The world didn’t end yesterday which means there is still plenty of time to get the know the earth if you aren’t friends already!

Now stop reading blogs and go play outside!

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Four Months Later…

4 months.  That’s how long it has been since I last posted.  As I completed another round of folk school catalog design this week and went to delete “Annie writes a blog called Drift Less, Learn More” from my bio, I decided to instead actually take up writing again. As there is no way I could possibly write an update on everything I have done in the past 4 months, here is a “brief” slideshow of events instead.  Enjoy and come back soon for more updates!

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Hold me closer, Viroqua

Trying to find a new home is stressful and having to do it quickly is just plain overwhelming.  It’s times like these I feel completely and utterly blessed to be in Viroqua.  Each time I go into town someone will ask me how the house search is going and offer up suggestions.  We haven’t found our new home yet but we at least have a temporary home for the next month or so where we can continue the search.  There are a lot of people looking right now and some streets seem to have half the houses for sale but rentals are harder to come by.  It’s a buyers market people keep saying and we are in no way ready to buy a house. Last week Jamie and I put up a desperate plea on the town list-serv (yup, the town has a list-serv) saying that we needed immediate housing to continue our house search. Within 24 hours we had been offered rooms in over a dozen strangers’ homes, cabins, or otherwise.  The generosity in this town in amazing.  As we continue our search, I do so with a renewed positive outlook and faith that everything is going to turn out alright.

Also, just as a fun “I love Viroqua” anecdote… With all the stress lately I have become quite scatterbrained and have been leaving stuff everywhere. The other day, without noticing, I left my coffee mug at the register at the food co-op.  That night I got an e-mail from a lovely gal who works there– who I just happen to have a HUGE friend crush on– letting me know it was in the office and that I needn’t cry myself to sleep.  It pays to have your e-mail address plastered all over town on looking for rent posters! When I went to retrieve it the next day I was delighted by its cute label.  Everyone working immediately knew it was my mug and someone went and got it for me in the office.

Talk about being held by your community!  I love it here.  I can’t wait til Jamie and I have a house so we can invite people over for tea and cupcakes.

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Introducing Harold the magical horse.  Harold came into my life during my last year of college and has been a wonderful travel companion ever since.  He has been to several different states with me, gone backpacking, canoeing, etc.  He has also survived many encounters with dogs that want to gnaw on him, pet rats, small children, and checked baggage. For a while he even took baths with and slept beside my dear toddler best friend, Althea in California.

Here’s what he’s been up to since moving to Wisconsin!

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Growing up I never had a pet. This is crazy to some people but I swear, I never once had a pet. No fish, hamsters, cats, dogs, llamas, turtles… none.  In the past few years however I have come to the realization that I love dogs.  It all started when I dated someone with a dog. A big one. A big, loveable, snuggly one. After meeting him it was like a part of my brain opened up that I never knew existed. All of a sudden I found myself being one of those people who can’t help but talk to peoples pets everywhere I go. It’s such a joy to be staying on a farm with so many animals, especially two truly wonderful dogs that always want to play. I am saying all this to justify the fact that I am now going to post pictures of the corgis, Freddie and Dolly. Enjoy. I know I do!

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Happy August!

Growing out of some old compost are a ton of volunteer squashes.  To celebrate the beginning of August I harvested a pumpkin and made a special Jack-o-lantern!

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Black Locust Logs!

Black Locust Logs:
Did you know that black locust trees are actually legumes? Did you know that you can peel the bark off the freshly but trees extremely easily with your hands? Did you know that it takes good when you lick the inner park? Did you know they are nitrogen fixing and grow like weeds here?


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Holy Springs!

Before coming here I had never seen a fresh water spring bubble out the ground.  At first glace it looks sort of like what I imagine a volcano looks like from above.  The water is super cold before it is coming from deep underground and is crystal clear and plenty of people drink straight from them.  I have a theory that if you were to step in one that you would get sucked into the earth. Jamie, an ex-work/study now board member who is my favorite adventure partner, and I decided to test this theory.

Instead of just jumping on in and hoping for the best we found a large piece of wood that is most likely from the old spring cooling shed that was on the property decades ago.  The plank was about 4 feet long. Below are the results:

As you can see it goes down pretty gosh darn far.  Feeling adventurous I decided to stick my arm down. Laying on my stomach, I reached my arm into the cold, bubbling sand.  Just above the elbow it started to feel like I was being pulled in. For real.  Jamie pulled me back by my feet. I hope I never step in one of those by accident. They sure are magical but who knows what would happen if you hopped on in.

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