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Pumpkin Spice

This is day 3 in my 31 Days series on sustainable dwelling. For an introduction and more posts, head here!

One childhood experience I don't necessarily want to share with Brooklyn (or Tobin) was being sneezed on my a donkey - thankfully, this was a well-mannered goat!

Growing up, my family was all about the journey. We were in it for the experience, so we derived a lot of delight from simple things and had road trips filled with unplanned stops because someone saw and pointed out a sign. What's that funny mountain over there in the middle of the desert? Wait - there's a sign - it's a volcano?! We have to stop! (That's Capulin Mountain in New Mexico, if you're ever driving through ;)

We also attended a lot of small-town events - parades, fall festivals, craft shows, fairs... That's one thing that has fueled my love of brick-and-mortar businesses, because they just have so much more character.

So when Brooklyn started wanting to touch the "puckins" every time we went to the grocery store, I decided it was time to hunt down a local pumpkin patch.

Motley's Family Farm began as (and still is) a Christmas tree farm, but started adding pumpkins to their line-up awhile back. They're located down a winding road at the southern-most edge of Little Rock, which made it an accessible adventure to drive down. We were able to go opening day (they're only open on weekends - unless you have a school group or something like that), and had a magnificent time.

Once inside the gate, we explored the hay-bale maze (like a corn maze, but less claustrophobic and if a kid got stuck they could be rescued by someone with longer legs), the pig races (dear little baby pot-bellied pigs), and the petting zoo (where I fed goats so that Brooklyn could pet them. Definitely not the weirdest - or least-friendly - animal I've ever hand fed).

Then we rode out to the pumpkin patch - as part of a train of "cows" (barrels on wheels, decked out to look like cows) behind a tractor. Brooklyn patted and hugged various pumpkins before finding the perfect one.

They had an ingenious set-up - wagons so that you could transport pumpkins (and tired children) back to the gate, where you paid for your pumpkins (which were very reasonably priced) and then they held them for you while you brought your car (which was a relief, because I was wondering how on earth I was going to get a baby, a preschooler, and a pumpkin that was bigger than either of them back to the car without anyone/anything getting dropped or hit by a car).

If we're still living here once they're old enough to not destroy one, I think it would be fun to get a Christmas tree from them - I realize that they're a glorious mess, but they're also so much more poetic than a plastic one. And you can return them to nature once the holiday is over!

So we brought our perfect-for-us pumpkin home and plunked it down on the balcony where we can say good morning to it every day after breakfast. Sure, I could have bought a pumpkin at the grocery store, and between the time and the gas and the gate-fee and the price of the pumpkin[s - we also got a few little ones as gifts] it probably cost about the same as the marked-up store ones. But we didn't just buy a pumpkin - we got an Adventure, and one that I hope to turn into a yearly tradition.

Do you have any family traditions that could take a local twist, or have a local business that could become part of a tradition?


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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…