Monday, July 30, 2007

Dyeing Day

One of my favorite summer activities is dyeing clothes. Ever since a friend introduced me to Dharma Trading Company's professional dyes (no more bleeding RIT dyes for me!), I've dropped sewing in favor of bringing new life to used garments and "clothing blanks" (also sold by Dharma). Here's a photo of last years' dye lot. As you can see, last year, I did blue and green, my favorite summer colors. The dark blues were the clothes that I put in first to absorb the most dye. After the "important stuff" is done, I toss in stained white t-shirts, faded sundresses, and old dishclothes to use up the remainder. For a long time, my summer wardrobe consisted mainly of cotton sarongs from Dharma (a mere $7.11 apiece) paired with dyed-to-match Softees ($4.67) or layered silk t-shirts (pricier, at $9.76). This year's dye lot was brown and lavender, but I didn't get any photos as nice as this one, with my younger daughter rejoicing in her newly-redyed blue skirt.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I'm Back!

Thank you waiting while I finished my novel. It should be available on Lulu at the beginning of August. (If anyone is interested, email me at and I'll send you a note when it becomes available). I hope to get back to blogging regularly, though I have one more hiatus coming up: I'm going to speak at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference on August 3-5, but after that I should be back home getting ready for the school year.

This is a picture of one of the peachicks, who in this photo is looking deceptively like a regular chick, and the adopted mother hen. Right now we have four peachicks who are growing quite well. Thanks for asking!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Writer's Cloister...

This is my term for when I block out the outside world in order to do some (short term) intensue focus on a book. Right now my husband and I are self-publishing my three teen novels, The Shadow of the Bear, Black as Night, and the new (long-awaited) Waking Rose. The deadline is August 15th but of course we must have them to the printers long before then. So we are engaging in the madness of writing, editing, and typesetting three books at once. (Never again!) Our deadline is tomorrow, and if you could say a prayer for us and especially our (very patient) children, I would appreciate it deeply. The end is in sight, but there's a lot of work to do between now and Friday night. So please pray for us!

Thanks so much: be back soon.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Peacock Egg Hatching

A few weeks ago, I bought my husband about a half dozen peacock eggs as a birthday present. Our family has raised chickens for years, but my husband and I have been fascinated by peacocks. I've collected peacock feathers for years, and Andrew admired their their reputation as watchbirds (apparently they make an eerily human scream when strangers approach at night).

But alas, peacocks are expensive. I had thought attempting to buy a single bird, but peacocks, like other fowl, thrive best in flocks or at least pairs, and $200 for a pair of grown birds was beyond my means. Then I saw an ad for fertile peacock eggs, $3 apiece. I decided to believe it was possible that our hens might hatch them, and made the phone call.

Two days later, I brought home seven huge, cold greyish eggs in a cooler, wrapped in t-shirts for warmth, wondering if I had just wasted my money. My husband and I looked skeptically at the rounded rocks of egg and debated whether or not they had survived the trip, or if they were even fertile.

But the children believed that these eggs would produce the large magnificent birds they eagerly read about in zoo books, and they had hope.

And fortunately, we found four broody hens in our flock who were willing to sit on the lumps of eggs. So we watched the hens sit, and waited as the weeks went by. We adults doubted, and tried to prepare the children for the worst. But the children believed.

Then, two days ago, a week before we estimated anything would happen, our oldest daughter came and whispered in my ear with suppressed excitement: "Mom, one of the eggs is hatching! It has a tiny hole!"

Bright and early the next morning, she was outside in the coop watching as our first yellow peachick pecked its way out of the enormous egg. All rejoiced, and another followed successfully. The next two did not survive hatching, and the kids mourned over them, and we buried them. But this morning, two more tomb-like eggs began hatching.

We all know that eggs symbolize the resurrection, as the proliferation of chicken eggs on Easter testifies. But it took these exotic, unusual eggs and their miraculous rebirth to bring the lesson home to me.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Memorial Stone

We still have yet to order the stone for Joshua's grave. Our friend Ben Hatke, who drew the pictures for my book Angel in the Waters, designed this one for us. I am wondering if the trees look too bare without leaves, but otherwise I love it. Our family crest, which we designed for ourselves just for fun, years ago, is in the center. It probably should be a little bigger. What do you think?