Deer Skull Natural History Homeschool Explore Family Business Journal Mom Mama of two boys

I have been determined to write outside of my journal more and share on our blog, but paralyzed with this need to find a beginning. There is no beginning, just an ongoing. I have to jump in. It feels a little like double dutch, which I was never very good at.  But here goes...

Last Monday — a bitter cold and damp Monday — Søren, Silas, Jacey, Ted, Shep, and I went in search of a mineral dump from the French Creek Mines at St. Peters Village. We heard of Magnetite and Calcite and Malachite buried there — unwanted minerals from the old iron ore digs. We found a deer skull (the entire deer skeleton buried beneath a blanket of rotting leaves), Jacey fell in the frigid creek, and we met a Woodsman Uncle with his niece and nephew – he was teaching them how to find shed antlers. He told us all about collecting things from the earth - from Native American arrowheads on the farm he grew up on in Phoenixville, Penna, to bottles from privies, naturally shed antlers and rocks. He went on about his love for digging and the past and the woods, and how he lines his multi-coloured bottles on his windowsills so that when the sun comes through multi-coloured light spills into his house. He boasted of a collection of thousands of bits and ended his monologue exclaiming, “I love this world.” What a joy it was to meet Carl.

After 5 hours of wandering through endless Japanese Barberry, Multi Flora Rose, and brambles, we exited through the corn field and ended our search with a much needed cold picnic.

Cornfield Journal Family Business Exploration Rock Hunting Minerals Natural History Nature

This is our first year of homeschooling, but we've been explorers all along. The search for minerals began with Silas finding quartzite in a flea market parking lot* and quickly also became one with a Peg and Awl project in the works (for 2 years!) I shall not yet divulge our plan, but for now wish to share our adventures.

We would love to hear about your expeditions near or far! The blog thing is new to me, let's see how this goes... It feels like a journal — without the satisfying scritchy scratchy of pen and paper.



Explore natural history watercolor painting family

*3 May, 2018 Instagram @thebrotherskent

Stepping out of our car on a breezy Sunday morning into a parking lot full of regular parking lot rocks, Silas spied a slightly green one. He put in in his pocket and upon returning home put some lemon juice on it. He and Søren identified it as Green Quartzite and that marked the beginning of our new adventure – or re-adventure – into the world of rocks! This summer will now include a gem show and a dig in North Carolina. It will involve handmade Rock books and magnifying glasses and an even closer look at the ground. And, as always, heavy Hunter Satchels. I cannot wait. And the best part of this journeying is we need not stop when summer is over. #homeschooling , we’ve got this. 


When we make new objects for Peg and Awl, we don't set out to make. They come about through exploration and need. We pull from life. There is rarely a moment when Walter and I get together and say, "what should we make next for Peg and Awl?" 

The same is true for our lives. As I look through my photographs from 2018, this year seems to be all about art, journaling, exploring, curiosity, and finding our way together, as a family, as small business owners, as makers. We were clearing a path for ourselves and didn’t even realize we were on the move...

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Such a wonderful weekend - beginning with Silas's schools Fall Festival (and the realization of what a great neighborhood we are part of), and then this family of skeletons went trick-or-treating. That very strange, very enjoyable night wherein neighbors feel good about sharing crappy candy with each smiling child, and welcomes their gentle "trick-or-treats" and "thank yous". To-day has been calm, damp and chilly, and possibly because we have remained inside this cold-holding olde house. 

Silas is upstairs watching Star Wars (the kids at his school having been living their own interpretation for the last few weeks, intimidating the uninitiated, like my Silas, so we promised him and Søren the works.) It was also the perfect place to sit him, for earlier, he walked into the knife's edge of the antique door-locking mechanism on his bedroom door, resulting in a triangular gash in his forehead which just let out so much blood. And the hole - not the blood - weakened me a bit, giving me that too familiar sensation of tingling knees when one of my boys is even in the slightest bit o' danger. Which may relate somehow to ASMR - the other side of the tingling realm, resulting in a calming sensation, which Søren's drawing is bringing to me now. (This, likely, what made Bob Ross famous, as opposed to his method of painting happy trees and clouds.) Søren, more bored with the story of Star Wars, has been sitting across from me as I finish a batch of jewellery, drawing each of the characters from the film he has barely been watching. His memory regularly amazes me. 

Prior to Søren's joining me, I had discovered the podast "Ben Franklin's World" and have been devouring it. I cannot, cannot wait to get back to it!



Two boys whooped from candy-getting. 


Søren's Drawings...


and finally, sleep... 


for more @stellerstories - I have been making a lot of stories lately...

The weekends have been our adventure spots lately. We have forgone grand escapes to far-away places, settling for close-by weekend road trips which have proven to be quite extraordinary. Our list is mostly comprised of historic spots which are generally surrounded by nature of one kind or another. 

This past weekend found us heading toward Western, PA, a direction I headed once a year, as a child, with my mom and my brother to visit my Grandma and cousins on the Mountaintop upon which they live(d) in Blairsville, PA. A place, my Pop always claimed that had two seasons: August and Winter. This certainly seemed true this October weekend as we drove through hail and snow and sunshine.

Our mission was to collect wood from a friend who called upon us rescue it. Our first stop was Gettysburg. Always fun, though we weren't prepared for 34 degree weather. Cloaked in hoodies and colds, we steered clear of the battlefields and toured the museum. (Which was fantastic!)

We left Gettysburg, a place that changed the course of American history and nearly immediately encountered a very strange and very strangely typical American tourist stop - Mister Ed's Elephant Museum. We couldn't resist. It was a candy shoppe, truly, surrounded by elephant tchotchkes and a mysterious collection of regular human things like hats and flip flops hanging in trees amongst pumpkins, neglected elephants and these Wildermenn:


We were quite fortunate, that evening, to find Horn O' Plenty in Bedford for dinner. Western PA was never, in my childhood anyway, a place for good food. More often, we stuffed ourselves with Blizzards from Dairy Queen and passed by Quick Marts &c). Next stop, and late, was a visit with Grandma, born in 1927 (that makes her 88!), full of pep and so excited for our unexpected visit. When we pulled into her driveway (past the olde shoppe that use to be my Grandpap's, the shoppe my mom painted robin's egg blue when she was 6 or so - she told me this one day when we were visiting and Søren was a baby, and I peeled a peeling layer from the brick and sure enough, robin's egg blue on the inside!) My grandma stood by the door, as I remember her always doing, when we arrived and as we left. We stayed up til midnight talking. I love gathering bits of stories and memories, and neglect this all too often. 

The next morning we awoke, played Mille Born, had breakfast and headed toward Indiana. The sun shone bright, though the chill, propelled by the wind, snaked through our hoodies and into our bones as Walter and Joseph cut and sorted slabs of Oak, the boys ran amongst the rows of felled trees as I often did in my Frogger dreams as a kid, and I documented what I could with camera clicks and pen scratches.

We are lucky to have our boys near so often. There is always something to explore, something to learn, and people to meet. Next trip, at the end of November, will find us on the road again, this time heading South for Renegade Austin, followed up by a week in Dallas to set up a Peg and Awl showroom at The Dallas Market along side Coral and Tusk and others we cannot wait to meet!

Søren drawing, Joseph sawing. 

Silas and Exxon

Silas draws whilst Exxon looks up for a snuggle.  



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