This summer has, quite frankly, been a busy and stressful one.
I haven't had time or energy to keep up with this blog,
so for now I'm going to show the highlight of the summer.
Without going into too great a depth,
let's just say that the economy has taken its toll
on a number of my family members.
When livelihoods are lost and threatened,
it also takes a toll on health and peace of mind.
We are a close family,
and we support each other as much as possible.
The burdens are shared as much as possible.
The main summer event for us
was when we gathered to celebrate our Mother's Birthday.
To recap a little bit,
in past posts I've touched on my mother's heritage.
Her family has a rich American Indian heritage.
Some of our forebears came from the Shawnee Indian Tribe
located in the mid-west states of Ohio and West Virginia.
My Mother takes great pride in her heritage.
She has attempted to teach her children and grandchildren
the "old ways" of knowledge.
She is an amazing storehouse of knowledge in
old ways and lifestyles of her heritage.
7 years ago my father bought her a Tipi
The family spent a summer vacation painting it and putting it up for her.
But over the years, the weather took its toll
and the Tipi began to disintegrate,
so this summer he bought her a new one.
Our summer vacation was again spent
painting and putting up the new Tipi.
First, the artwork/design must be decided on,
and drawn onto the canvas
Its a very involved process...
Its drawn on the half circle Tipi canvas.
It must be carefully measured and planned out.
Fortunately, we have very creative and experienced people in the family.
The artwork was drawn by my youngest son,
who, I'm proud to say, is an amazing artist!
Actually all my sons are very artistic (:
My Mother has given each family member a name.
The names are based on personality traits
and meanings that she has carefully chosen.
And each name is also depicted by a particular
character or icon image that coincides with it.
The painting process...
This part of the process took us 3 days
of working from early morning until there was no light at the end of the day.
We used exterior latex paints,
since it weathers well and is bright and sharp when applied to the canvas.
One of my nephews and a brother,
(one who is an engineer and the other a building contractor)
did all the measuring and figuring as to where each drawing
was to sit on the canvas so that when the Tipi is erected,
all the paintings will sit perfectly around its sides.
The hard work begins with EVERYONE taking part
We had 26 family members,
and each person had a part to play.
Almost everyone, except the small children, did some painting. The paintings tell stories
"She who gathers and keeps the Tribe"
wraps her protective arms around the tribe "Man who keeps watch," "Warrior with big heart," and even
"Little Woman of great courage"
ride on the canvas. "Woman who teaches to change lives"
"Seed Sow-er," "Rain," "Dark Eyed Junco,
"Morning Dove" and many many others gather here Faceless Guardians stand watch on each side of the entrance Mom and Dad are each depicted at the top on each side of the entrance
as American Eagles While the painting was being done,
the place where the Tipi was to be erected
had to be slightly raised,
then leveled and graveled.
This is probably the most important part,
because it must be perfectly level,
with the edges having perfect drainage.
Then the poles are set into place.
It starts with the 3 main tripod poles
These must be perfectly balanced,
because they will literally hold the entire weight of the Tipi.
The entrance faces east.
After the 3 are in place,
the remaining poles are placed at exact intervals
to form a perfect circle.
The Tipi is very heavy.
It took all the men to carry and erect it The painted Tipi canvas,
is attached to a type of kingpin pole
which is put into place on the cone of poles
Once in place, the canvas in unrolled around the poles
The front is pinned together with special wooden dowel-like needles
that are threaded through stitched slits in the front seam of the Tipi.
The whole process took the entire week of our stay,
As the sun was setting on the last evening of the last day,
we finally got it up...
not permanently stretched and anchored into place...
that part will be done by my Dad and brother after the rest of us have left.
But it was completed enough so that we could all gather inside,
as my Mother performed the ceremony of "we-wos-sa-kie" Or (Eng) "Peace" on this place.
It is her place of peace.
She goes there every morning and evening.
A bundle of sage and other wild plants with particular meanings
are tied together, lit and touched to the four corners... north, south, east and west. As you can see,
the eagles (the icons for Mom and Dad)
are at the top in a protective stance over the family.
The rest are positioned around the base As we sat inside that evening, it was an amazing feeling of unity for all of us.
After a most stressful year,
here we are,
a united family.
I've been absent from my blog for quite a few months. I'm hoping I can keep up on it now ... not sure, but here's to giving it a good try!
Suffice it to say that its been a long winter... full of time consuming events. Some good, some trying, and if I were to list them all here, I'm sure some of you would tell me I'm not alone in the scurry of trying to keep up.
The economy of our state is not good (to put it mildly). I won't bore you with all that, but there seems to be a great groaning present here. Semi-silent so far, but California, the country and dare I say - the world - seems to be straining. Does it seem that way to you too?
When it all gets heavy, I'm out to the garden... as often as possible. Its peaceful out there. The animals and plants don't seem to notice what the humans are doing, so I think I think I'd rather be with them.
I remember how both my grandparents lived. They went through the great depression and WWII... raising a family when times were tough. They saved everything... I remember finding gum wrappers in a drawer once ... all folded neatly in a little box. I also remember root cellars packed full of lines of canned foods from their bountiful gardens. The freezer was always full. I used to wonder how they could eat all that food... just the two of them. Well, they didn't. They shared it with family, friends and neighbors. And who knows, maybe we will be doing the same. With numerous friends and family going through tough economic times right now, its time to help and share.
I've always gardened. Its in the genes. My grandparents were farmers, as were a whole line of great-grandparents as far back as 5 generations... They came from the Amish... so I believe that when I can test the richness of my garden soil by its scent, and don't need at test kit to tell me whether or not its good ... I can thank my long line of ancestors.
I've always canned and put-up for the winter from my garden (at least, ever since I was first married)... although I must admit that it was my husband-to-be who was the first one to have a big garden and a room full of plants (when we were dating). But since our wedding, we've made it our hobby together... to garden. I'm not sure he's always happy about it though! I always have an on-going list of things I need him to build or do for my garden! (:
This winter brought SNOW to our Bit-o-earth! Yes, right here on the California coast. Can you believe it? Almost unheard of... It only stayed on the ground for a few hours, then melted off as soon as the sun came out, but still, what a novelty!
And here is the garden today, only partly planted with spring crops... broccoli, cabbage, onions, garlic, potatoes, spinach, peas and tomatoes in the greenhouse. The soil is ready and waiting for corn, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, beans... and the list goes on and on!
Another favorite hobby is the local flea market. Hubby and I happened to drive by one Saturday, saw the array of "stuff for sale" and decided to stop in. I was instantly hooked...
My best find, of late?
A whole box of "Virginia Rose, by Homer Laughlin"... my grandmother's wedding china...
She had divided what was left of this wedding set between my sister and I a number of years before her death. There wasn't much... 11 dinner plates, 12 salad plates, 2 cups and 2 saucers. She had used the set for everyday ... she had 6 children, so you can imagine how difficult it was to avoid breakage.
So... my sister, my hubby, and I were at the flea market a few weeks ago when we spied "the box!" FILLED with more than a whole set of Grandma's china! We were so elated that when the seller said she was asking (only) $20 for the whole thing, we didn't blink... WE BOUGHT IT! ... and divided it evenly between us! Now we each have service for 6 of almost every piece! We figured that box, if bought on ebay would have been worth at least $500!)
And see how big my little Sophia and Max have grown!?
It happens TOO FAST, doesn't it? I wish I could slow time down a bit...
Of course I'm a bit biased, but they're so dang cute!