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What I Learned This Summer

Reflecting on what one has learned over the course of a season is a great way to see the growth in your life. Sometimes the dealings with the daily, blinds us to how much we are learning as the days pass by. I’ve always loved Emily Freeman‘s encouragement to pause a moment and do just that, so, today, I’m linking up with her and others as we look over what the summer has taught us. Join along!

 

1) This summer I learned how to knit a sweater, which involved learning how to swatch and also to hold stitches in order to add on sleeves once the body was done. There was a bit of a hurdle involving ensuring my stitch size on the sleeves was consistent with the body. Switching to double pointed, I was somehow making tighter stitches and it really showed. With a bit of intentional loosening, all was well in the end. I also jumped on the cabling bandwagon and knit my brother a hat just in time for his trip to Scotland and Ireland in June. {Only there would you need a wool hat in June! ;)} Knitting had always been a cooler weather hobby for me, but I’ve really taken to it lately. It seems it may become a year-round endeavor.

 

2) Like most of the nation, so much about solar eclipses! We made an eclipse viewer from a cereal box and punched a tiny hole in a piece of paper to cast shadows on the ground. The crescents made by the sun were so fun to see. I didn’t find out until later that the leaves of trees could create the same effect. It was only about 80% totality here, but it was strange how cool and quiet it became at the time of totality. We might just have to make an effort to go to a place of full totality in 2024.

 

3) Multiple trips to the cabin have afforded us many opportunities for wildflower gathering. I learned together with my girls how to press the flowers. {Now, we must figure out how to use them — likely, we will display them in frames.} After our adventure learning to identify last year, we did a bit of that again and were pleasantly surprised to find many new ones this year. The abundance of snow and rain ensured a myriad of blooms. {A great book for flower identification in our area is The Law’s Field Guide to the Sierra Nevadas — it breaks them down by color, then by petals, making it really easy to decipher.}

 

4) I can do a decent job at cutting my own hair. It needed to be done and I couldn’t find time to get to a salon. So chop, chop, I went, and it doesn’t look too bad. It’s about 2 feet shorter.

 

5) An appreciation for poetry. I was always disinterested in it because the few I knew didn’t connect well with me. I’ve been pushing myself outside my comfort zone, and dabbling in it here and there. One poet I’ve fallen in love with this summer is Mary Oliver. Nearly every time I run across a quote of hers, it cuts me right to the heart. I’m currently enjoying her New and Selected Poems. I think, like most forms of art, different poets strike a chord with us stronger than others. I just needed to explore further to find one that resonated with me.

 

6) The best sunflowers are the volunteers. Despite several attempts to plant new sunflower seeds along the fence as we do every year, the blue jays had the best of me and kept snatching them up. But, never fear! My sunflowers from last year didn’t let me down, because their dropped seeds turned into the most prolific, gorgeous blooms this year. We had sunflower plants that were a good 15 feet tall!

 

7) How to not be afraid of honey bees. A fear of bees always had me running the opposite direction whenever I spotted one. But, then, my eldest and I went out to a lavender field to harvest large bunches of lavender. This cannot be done without a very personal encounter with bees. The man who owned the farm told those of us cutting that if you don’t bother the bees (i.e. don’t cut or touch a flower they are busy upon), they are not going to bother you. I took a deep breath and got to cutting alongside them…and was pleasantly surprised to find that he was right. {The only person who got stung that day was someone who had one fly down her shirt. I guess I can’t blame the bee for that one.}

 

{from Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Instagram}

8) That I’ve misidentified as an INTJ for years; I’m actually an INFP! After reading through an advance copy of Anne Bogel’s Reading People last month, I discovered a tool for determining just which one I was after tests over the past few years suddenly flipped to an INFP identification. I didn’t think it was possible to change, but it is possible to lean towards what you would like to be over which you are.  {More to come on Anne’s book soon!}

 

9) A LOT about Charlotte Mason’s method of education. After an initial exposure to the Charlotte Mason method {mostly through the Wild + Free community}, I gained an interest in learning more and making it a large influence in our homeschool education. I’ve read through three of the six volume set of Mason’s so far and I’m planning to finish the other three soon. One of my favorite quotes: “The duty of parents is to sustain a child’s inner life with ideas as they sustain his body with food.” {from Parents and Children}  Stay tuned: I’m hoping to share more about our homeschool plans for the coming year soon!

 

What did you learn this summer? Link up!

7 Thoughts on “What I Learned This Summer

  1. I love all this Laurel! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Loved this post! I’ve also been a bit leery of poetry (I blame public school, I guess?) but with going back to homeschooling (and in a much more Charlotte Mason direction too!), I’m reintroducing it for myself and hoping to inspire my kids in the process. I’ll have to check out Mary Oliver. Please share if you find any other good ones!

    • I’m not sure who/what is to blame as I was homeschooled. I think a lot of it comes down to being moved by certain poets, perhaps in the way they write, what they write about, etc. I find this to be true with Mary Oliver. My brother recommended Gerard Manly Hopkins, which I’ve read a bit of too, but is in a more religious vein. You might try him!

  3. Lovely to read, as always! I love the sweater (and the color!) your pressed flowers, and your sunflowers. There were a few beautiful volunteer sunflowers from last year for me too, but we moved before I could enjoy them. I’m afraid to write about what I learned this summer because it mostly seemed negative 🙁

  4. Love your knitting, Laurel! And those pressed flowers have my heart. I’d love to learn how and add some to the wall.

    How interesting that you’ve flipped from one category to another! Going to the military academy, we had to take the Myers-Briggs at the beginning of our four year experience and then again at the end. My type stayed the same, but I definitely swung from the type B personality scale they included to type A by the second testing. I’m an ENFP–but very close to the I in many situations. It’s always fascinating, huh?

    And friend, you are just beautiful. 💛

    • Thank you, sweet friend. I still need to learn how to mount them, but pressing them wasn’t hard. We purchased a small press but I’ve heard there are many diy ones online to easily make.

      They say your personality type is static, but I often wonder how true that is!

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