|Jake and Buck with our Homegrown Christmas tree|
Buck and I were having a hard time with The Christmas Spirit here at the Homestead. As I pondered the reasons that this season was not as cheery as it normally is, I came up with the idea that a homemade Christmas would go a long ways toward the feeling we were trying to capture this dreary winter.
First we had to clear this idea with all the extended family. They had concerns about whether they had the time to make something or if they had any talent to make anything. We all decided it was a Handmade Christmas instead. That gave others the option of going to the Fair Trade boutique or the Saturday Market and purchasing gifts that were homemade by someone.
By the time this was all decided, there were only 4 weeks left before Christmas! So Buck and I got cracken'.
One of the things we could not create at home were essentials (clothes for 4 boys) for "Christmas Family". Christmas Family is a family in need because of domestic violence. Our very cool Dentist had a "Gift Tree" for them. We did the shopping for the Christmas Family first and we relearned a couple of things. We were reminded how crazy it is to shop this season but, most importantly, we remembered that helping others in need is the very best way to get The Christmas Spirit.
|Yes, that's right. In true Oregon fashion, sunshine is accompanied by rain.|
I have, over the years, built a decent collection of tools and it definitely paid off this year. Besides all the construction here at the Homestead, these tools made Santa's Workshop a much nicer place for the elves!
I had been "cherry picking" the cedar fence boards
at Home Depot all summer. Every time I had to go there, I would just grab a couple of nice, clear boards and then I put them in my lumber stack to dry. I didn't really have a plan for them, but I knew I wanted to do something with cedar, maybe a sauna or the kitchen back splash someday.
As I pondered my homemade gift options I remembered these boards and that I had bought a really nice book on bird houses a couple of years ago. The first surprise for me was that I could actually lay my hand on the bird house book and the second surprise was that both the Bat house and the House Wren house were the exact dimensions of my collected fence boards. I knew what I was making.
|Home from University, June helped me assemble all those bird and bat houses a couple days before Christmas.|
I also have a vast collection of old and new beads, so I decided I would make bracelets and earrings for those who wear them.
For Buck it was a little more straight forward. He has a perfect on again off again hobby- carving spoons. His problem was that the spoons are not all that fast to carve and they also need aged wood to be carved from. It was taking him a long time to finish a couple of spoons and then one split.
I set to work using my little planer to smooth the cedar boards and created an assembly line of sorts for myself. I got 14 bird houses and 5 bat houses cut out and sanded. It only took about a dozen of my boards.
|Some of Buck's Christmas spoons. The top one is a snake on the back and a spoon on the front- very cool. We named it the "Snakey Tasting Spoon"|
Buck and I migrated, for the holiday, back to our old house where my Dad lives.
As the holiday unfolded, it became very clear that everyone else had a really great time with their gifts too. Our son Jake flew up from LA, preceded by 2 very heavy Fed Ex packages. When he arrived, he opened the packages and revealed handmade corn packs (for heating in the microwave and soothing sore muscles) and an array of cooking ingredients for "making us fat". And he did.
|One of Jake's many delicious pies, cakes and cookies.|
|A close-up of the origami mobile|
The tree is an odd shape, but hey, it's homegrown!We decorated sparingly and then we topped it with the traditional (for us) Christmas Crow!
|Rings and Pirate knives|
It would not do to skip over the amazing gift I received from my Brother In-law. A Masterpiece of woodworking!
We wish you A Happy and Prosperous New Year from everyone here at the Homestead!