Friday, August 31, 2007


In the attics of my life
Full of cloudy dreams unreal
Full of tastes no tongue can know
And lights no eye can see
When there was no ear to hear
You sang to me

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

so twangy it hurts

The Everybodyfields are coming to Market 202 in Roanoke, and the big question on my mind is who is going to babysit? John B, they are also coming to your smalltown on November 8 at the Mad Hatter. That is a thursday. They are twangy, warbly alternative country songs about lost love, hometowns, and making your own whisky while you mother cries.

horned daughter

horned daughter, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

The pottery studio was closed down today after one of it's founding members slipped and fell into the mud and had to be hosed down outside before being returned to kindergarden and some fresh clothes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

bloggy dropout

Kindergarden is really cutting into my blogging time. I'm going to write about it soon. I promise. Today at recess Ella and her friends opened their own pottery studio and shop. Some carried the dirt while others transported the water. In their mouths. There was mixing, forming, and a sales area.

I'm getting up in six hours to start making the peanut butter sandwiches.

ella in dc

ella in dc, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Monday, August 27, 2007

gwynn's tomatoes

gwynn's tomatoes, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Saturday, August 25, 2007 friends

If I wasn't dreaming of living in a plain Jane white farmhouse wouldn't a red house suit me perfectly? With sunflowers.

Friday, August 24, 2007


twos, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Now that the sibs are somewhat settled in kindergarden, the little guys got some quality playtime this morning. Three two year olds!

Co-Op For Littles

Here is the newspaper article about the cooperative preschool I've been involved in since last winter. I think the article leaves out a lot of pertinent information, and next time I'd like to hand him a press release. He seemed to grasp at the concept of an organic classroom, mentioned Waldorf when he was asked not to, and never mentioned that our group "hired" a lead teacher because of her qualifications and experience. The assistant teacher also has experience in several cooperative preschools. Somehow the article makes us sound like a bunch of mamas circling some wagons and starting a school...which might not be a bad idea, but he could have mentioned that some of the parents starting the school are educators. Me, I'm the director of sewing projects and in charge of researching natural toys on the internet. I'm working against Sponge Bob and the powers that be. I'm fighting the Chinese toy makers and cheap plastic in general. When my money tree starts to bear fruit, I'd love to buy an old farm and build a school that is also a working farm, a school that could integrate a natural, handmade environment with a progressive academic stance. Sustainable school. A chicken in every cubby.


ella::schoolgirl, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

dirt road

dirt road, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

kindergarden, night 4

Ella just tried to brush her teeth with method lavender hand wash. We are all exhausted now that she has completed four days of kindergarden.

Monday, August 20, 2007

1st day of kindergarden

1st day of kindergarden, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Ella didn't get a good night of sleep. When I woke her up she claimed to have "four hours left". Her swimmer's ear woke her up as well as the dragon dream, the same dragon dream from the night before. I know she was just anxious about going to a new school in the morning.

On the way to school she said that she had a "little throw up in her mouth but she swallowed it". Luckily she saw a friend in the parking lot and then Judy showed her where her classroom is. She knows three of the other girls and one of the boys. There are fourteen of them in the class.

I cried when I left her there, not because I was leaving her but because I'm so happy for her.

1st day of kindergarden

1st day of kindergarden, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Breaks

We arrived home last night after a week in the Breaks Interstate Park on the border of Virginia and Kentucky. We were car camping within sight of showers and a playground, so it wasn't really roughing it. That is, until nightfall when the padding of large feet around our tent had me unable to sleep. I heard the ranger say, "We got some bear up here. Don't worry. They just want your food". Only he said, "bear" like "burr". Burr. Then I started thinking how a bear might like to eat my tender little morsels of children.

I love to cook over the open fire and sit around the campfire at night. As far as Ella was concerned she was camping at the playground. She and her daddy played UNO on one of the stone overlooks. We went to the pool and took Ella horseback riding.

I must confess we bailed on the last night. After dark a roaring wind came up the gorge. There was a thunderstorm in the distance, and the wind was blowing small limbs out of the trees. We tried to ride it out in the car for a while and then went back to the tent. Debris was still coming down, and Ella thought that the dead tree in our campsite was going to fall down. Daddy wanted to stay and we were trying to convince her that this just wasn't going to happen. The wind is roaring and she is yelling, "You people are crazy. Dead trees fall down all the time.". We went to the motel down the moutain and slept. The thunderstorm came through. The dead tree did not fall down, and I slept in a rickety old bed with my two babies knowing that the burr was not going to get us that night.

two roads diverged in a yellow wood....

...and because we could not travel both, we have chosen the alternative kindergarden for Ella. I always thought that I would send my children to public school, that is until yesterday when a space became available at a progressive, academically rigorous primary school that starts teaching foreign language in kindergarden.

Friday, August 17, 2007

ella on the trail

ella on the trail, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


cliffs, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


family, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

checking out

See you next week :: We are headed for the woods :: Campfire cooking :: Swimming pool :: Mountain :: tent camping :: new mattress :: daddy won't have to sleep on the yoga mat :: perseid meteor showers :: reconnect

Saturday, August 11, 2007

clogging on main street

street dance, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

She'll dance on the sidewalk, but if you are about ninety years old and ask this little one dance, she'll clam up and pretend that she can't even walk. Some amazing dancers, grandfathers and great grandfathers, tried to clear the way for her to dance on the board tonight, but she was too shy.

We drove down to Galax this morning for the Old Fiddler's Convention. We stayed for the Folk Song competition, the Flatfooting competition, and the Bluegrass Band Competition. I'm sure the Old Time Band competition is still going on as I type, but we'd been sitting on concrete bleachers for much of the day. We took some great strolls in the parking area to see even more bands and dancing. I love that eighty year old men were telling me where to catch a hot set. It seems that all the grandaddys have a thing for Martha Spencer of The Whitetop Mountain Band.


boy::beans, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


clogging, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

south of the sweet tea line

south of the sweet tea line, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Friday, August 10, 2007

bikram backyard

Wait until you go outside. There is a steaming breeze from the bowels of hell.

john turns 2

blow, originally uploaded by ellajohn.
We celebrated the little one's birthday today, just the four of us, with carrot cake and toys. He absolutely grinned when he saw the wooden garage and cars.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

friends in floyd

, originally uploaded by Punk Rock Mama.
It is so fun when someone snaps a picture from a completely different angle. This is in the dance tent with the Wild Turkeys and the Hooraah Cloggers at Floyd Fest. Punk Rock Mama found us via Flickr. Clementine was clogging with the big girls.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


stove, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

sparkley pink::ella is shopping

John and I are having a pajama day. Alphagirl, still with her granny and grampy, is going to a hair salon to get a haircut and then out shopping with her grandmother. A very girly day. John and I are reading books and playing train. Yesterday Ella took the train to Baltimore, and I'm looking forward to hearing about the aquarium there.

I am still stunningly sleepy. Could I really be that old and tired that four days in the woods could render me so useless? I've gotten two good nights of sleep in a row.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


My big girl has gone to her grandparent's house for five nights. She left yesterday morning and my is it quiet around here. There are no leggings or cardigans on the floor. Ella's perfect weather requires leggings, a cardigan, and a sundress, but it is August, and she sheds the extra layers rapidly. I miss her. Last night when I talked to her she was eating "a cookie the size of an elephant that has so much sugar that I can see the crystals of sugar on the outside"

I spent the day playing with John and trying to extract our house from a state of squalor caused by not being at home for a few weeks. It is coming around. I cleaned out the fridge and prepared for the next big round of vegetables on tuesday. For dinner we had salad, steamed carrots, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with vinegar, green beans cooked with fingerling potatoes, and biscuits.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

oya baka du jour

After music camp today Ella says, "I think I"m going to need a little violin."


boot::scoot, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Ella wants some boots for winter, and oh, I'm hoping this comes in the big girl size as well.


summer, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Ella has been taking swimming lessons for seven days. Today she jumped off the diving board and swam to the side. I could barely believe it. "I'm not doing that again tomorrow" she said.


poet::tree, originally uploaded by ellajohn.
We spent three nights camping in Floyd at their annual festival, and the pictures tell most of the tale. It is stunningly gorgeous up there, the music was great, the children had an amazing time. John cried when we took the tent down. Mama and daddy, on the other hand, seldom sleep on the a tent..with people talking all around...and bands playing all around...and drumming that ends after three am. John's air mattress gave up the ghost on the first night and spent the rest of the festival sleeping on my yoga mat covered with a sheet. (His back feels so much better) We had given up the big double stroller. We have a Scion XB, and we packed it to its limit. I should have driven home for the stroller because all my bones are still aching from the hauling. We have our list of how to do it better next year, and of course it means more gear, a folding picnic table and a screened shelter.
Ella had friend's everywhere. My Flickr looks like we went to a hula hooping convention. It is amazing that she remembered so many people from last year. She talked to the same two little girls under the poet tree last year. She was a trouper in the shower, a hose coming out of a cold Floyd county well. Actually she was thrilled that we were only taking one shower in four days. I've just got to give a shout out for Kiss My Face Liquid Rock deodorant. It comes in lavender and peaceful pachouli, and it will keep you fresh for four days amid some pretty stinky hot dancing folks.
We are already excited about next year. We are headed out soon on a much more peaceful camp out at the Breaks Interstate Park. No drum circle. Just crickets.
We enjoyed completly breaking out of our routine, our comfort zone. For all the excitement, I loved having lunch in our tent in the rain, the four of us sitting in a circle around a lantern eating tempeh reubens and strange pickley potato salad.


ella, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

painted lady

painted lady, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

ice cream

ice cream, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

gravity and motion

gravity and motion, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


tattoo, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

double e

double e, originally uploaded by ellajohn.