Mother Culturing: First Quarter 2022

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Also, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases through them as well.

What we need is a habit of taking our minds out of what one is tempted to call “the domestic rag-bag” of perplexities, and giving it a good airing in something which keeps it “growing”… Is there, then, not need for more “Mother Culture”?


Frost-locked all the winter,
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
What shall make their sap ascend
That they may put forth shoots?
Tips of tender green,
Leaf, or blade, or sheath;
Telling of the hidden life
That breaks forth underneath,
Life nursed in its grave by Death.

Blows the thaw-wind pleasantly,
Drips the soaking rain,
By fits looks down the waking sun:
Young grass springs on the plain;
Young leaves clothe early hedgerow trees;
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
Swollen with sap put forth their shoots;
Curled-headed ferns sprout in the lane;
Birds sing and pair again.

There is no time like Spring,
When life’s alive in everything,
Before new nestlings sing,
Before cleft swallows speed their journey back
Along the trackless track –
God guides their wing,
He spreads their table that they nothing lack, –
Before the daisy grows a common flower
Before the sun has power
To scorch the world up in his noontide hour.

There is no time like Spring,
Like Spring that passes by;
There is no life like Spring-life born to die, –
Piercing the sod,
Clothing the uncouth clod,
Hatched in the nest,
Fledged on the windy bough,
Strong on the wing:
There is no time like Spring that passes by,
Now newly born, and now
Hastening to die.

~ Spring by Christina Rossetti ~

The first three months of the year always feel frantic and this year was no exception. In January, I released Volume 3 of my Lenten Art Devotions and our daughter turned eight on the 30th. In February there was sickness of the head cold kind in our family and I also had the Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat (thankfully not at the same time). The beginning of March brought the release of this year’s Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten Curriculum and more sickness of the stomach kind in our family. Mixed in with this were three business trips for my husband, two of which lasted two weeks.

We did also try and fit a few “fun” things in, including a trip down to Bent’s Old Fort in January (my Year 2 student just finished Tree in the Trail which has an entire chapter about the fort) and a trip to the Denver Art Museum before the American Painters in France exhibition (which included The Raising of Lazarus by Henry Ossawa Tanner!!) was done in March. The latter was a particular highlight to me as it was the first time I got to see a Tanner in person and it felt like meeting a celebrity. 🙂 Even with these lighter things, though, it felt really chaotic.

With that in mind, April, May, and into the summer feel like a winding-down time for more reasons than one. We’ll be ending our school year this quarter and there are no “big” things planned. I’m looking forward to getting back into a better routine in our homeschool as that was greatly disrupted during the first quarter, and our non-school life as that also felt very messy.

I am also looking forward to having a garden this year. My last attempt, two years ago, was an utter failure, so I’ve taken the last two growing seasons to learn more about gardening and growing things and how to lay things out and even canning, so I feel more prepared. Hopefully the garden feels that way as well. 🙂 We planted a few seeds in plastic cartons a few weeks ago that have been sitting in the raised bed and will hopefully have some starts for us when it’s time to plant. I’ll also be planting other seeds directly into the garden and getting quite a few starts from Azure Standard as well.

And now on to the culturing!


For Me

A Year Without the Grocery Store by Karen Morris. I think I thought this would be less “prepper” and more tips on how to reduce or eliminate trips to the grocery store, which I guess can go hand-in-hand. While the tips were helpful, I found that a lot of it didn’t really line up with the way we eat.

Sanditon by Jane Austen. This was a Christmas present to myself and includes one finished short story (Lady Susan) and two unfinished stories (The Watsons and Sanditon). Now that I’ve read all of her finished novels, I’m making my way through her lesser-known and unfinished works. I enjoyed all of these until I got to the end…or the last sentence which wasn’t really the end for The Watsons and Sanditon as neither was ever finished. And for those who have watched Amazon’s “Love and Friendship” (which is actually Lady Susan), Austen’s version is so much better!

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. This story about William Shakespeare’s family has been on my to-read list for a while and I finally got it from the library. I think I always believed the rumor that Shakespeare strongly disliked his wife, Anna Hathaway, until I read this book. Of course, I know it’s a work of fiction, but I like this version of the story so much more than the version I heard in high school. O’Farrell is a wonderful storyteller and despite the very sad tale, I enjoyed this.

The Making of a Marchioness (aka. Emily Fox-Seton) by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is actually made up of two novels, the first one titled “The Making of a Marchioness” and the second one titled “The Methods of Lady Walderhurst.” I have been looking for a book that feels similar to Miss. Pettigrew Lives for a Day for a few years now. I read it on a whim and was so surprised at how much I enjoyed it, so I began looking at other Persephone books. None of the others have come close and this one was no different. Even though it was a little weird and the main character is a tiny bit annoying, I did enjoy the first part, but the second part (or second book) was bizarre and, I’ll be honest, flat-out racist. (Sidenote: if anyone does want another “Miss. Pettigew,” I found The Blue Castle fit the bill!)

Mucha by Tamoko Sato. My first book for the Art Book Reading Challenge for the year! I have loved Alphonse Mucha ever since the first time I saw his swirling and ethereal designs in the Parisian Art Nouveau posters he made in the late 19th century. When I discovered that he was from the same region of Bohemia that my dad’s side of my family is (Moravia, and more specifically, Brno), I felt like there must be some kind of ancestral reason I was so attracted to his style. Reading his biography was interesting on many different levels and his Slav Epic even instilled a little pride in me for my Slavic roots.

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger. I would’ve read this book just for the setting alone. Enger placed this near the north shore of Minnesota, one of my favorite places on the planet. When I was growing up in the Twin Cities, we took more than a few trips up to Duluth and beyond and I absolutely love that I got to re-visit the area through this book. The story was very good and so well-written up until the end which felt a little rushed. Still, Enger definitely has a way with words.

For the Kids

Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit. This was a pre-read for both kids as C is now devouring every book she can get her hands on. I didn’t care for the “Red Indians” chapter, but otherwise it was good and both kids liked it.

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter. This was a read-aloud with the kids. I read reviews about this before I dove in that complained that the main character is too “saccharine” and completely unbelievable. I, on the other hand, found her refreshing and a good role model for my kids. We all enjoyed this one.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. This was a read-aloud with B. I got a little squeamish when reading the murder scene to him and edited the less racially-sensitive parts on the fly, but he did mostly enjoy this one. This was actually the first time I had ever read it myself and though I’m not a huge Mark Twain fan, I can see why some are.

Sea Star by Marguerite Henry. Henry sure does know how to write a good horse story. This was the second in the “Misty” series that I pre-read for both kids and they both enjoyed it.

On the Far Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. B read the first book in this series in third grade and loved it. I picked up book three at a library book sale sometime last year, and finally just bought book two so he could finish the series. These are such good books.

For School

We finished quite a few books for school this term, including Abraham Lincoln’s World by Genevieve Foster, Peeps at Many Lands: Ancient Greece by James Baikie, Of Courage Undaunted by James Dougherty, Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey, The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare, and Tree in the Trail by Holling C. Holling. I’ll write more about these in my end-of-school-year post.

I’m currently reading too many books, including Pride and Prejudice (there is comfort food and there are comfort books and this is one of them for me), This Must Be the Place, A Philosophy of Education (I finished Formation of Character last week for the Idyll Challenge so I’ll write about that in my second-quarter post), The Divine Conspiracy, and Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland.

With C I’m reading The Wizard of Oz (pre-reading Strawberry Girl), and with B I’m reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (pre-reading Frightful’s Mountain).

2022 Book Challenges

Goodreads Reading Challenge – 17/36

Back to the Classics 2022 – 2/12

Literary Life Podcast 2 for ’22 Reading Challenge – 2/20

Reshelving Alexandria 2022 Reading Challenge – 1/12

2022 Art Book Reading Challenge – 1/7

Well-Educated Mind List – 9/87

On the Blog

2022 Art Book Reading Challenge Also linked above. 🙂

Site Updates (Including Free Shipping, Shop Discounts, and New Meal Plans!) Just a few announcements including additions to the shop discount section, free shipping on certain orders over $75, and a new monthly meal plan section of the website!

Backyard Birding for Beginners I originally posted this back in 2017 and decided it was time for some updating. Ironically, this is the most visited post on my website.

Messiah: Lenten Art Devotions and Prints I released Volume 3 of the Lenten Art Devotions and Prints!

Charlotte Mason Homeschool: How to Display Picture Study Art A few ideas for displaying picture study art prints in your home, including instructions on how to make the display board we use in our homeschool area.

Caspar David Friedrich Picture Study for Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers The newest free Picture Study Aid that follows the AmblesideOnline Artist Study rotation is available!

Custom Homeschool Planner Covers with Anna Vance Paper Co! I’ve teamed up with Anna Vance to offer custom covers for her Charlotte Mason Homeschool Planners again!

Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten Curriculum (Free Booklist!) The sixth version of the Charlotte Mason-Inspired Kindergarten Curriculum is now available in both PDF and print format! I also have a free booklist available in this post as well.

Courage, Dear Heart: Reflections from the 2022 Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat My takeaways from this year’s Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat.

Charlotte Mason Homeschool: How to Print Picture Study Art This was another post that I refreshed as I still get this question very often and the prices I listed for both office store printing as well as prints you can order online were out of date.

2022-2023 AmblesideOnline Picture Study Art Print Files Free Download! Next year’s free picture study art PDFs for the AmblesideOnline Artist Study rotation are available for download!

How to Get Started with Charlotte Mason Homeschooling A few baby steps and resources for getting started with Charlotte Mason homeschooling.


Activated charcoal. In January, my husband suffered from food poisoning while he was on a business trip, which inspired me to put together a kind of natural first aid kit for him to bring on his trips. I did some research and found this handy guide, so I added a few of the suggestions to my Azure Standard order. For that reason, a month-and-a-half later when the kids and I were hit with a nasty stomach bug, I had activated charcoal on hand. I ended up getting sick in the middle of the night and started taking capsules as soon as I got up in the morning. I didn’t get sick again and by early afternoon felt fine. It’s purely anecdotal (and I’m obviously not a doctor), but I do feel like the capsules helped.

Oregon’s Wild Harvest Children’s Echinacea Extract. This was another suggestion from the natural first aid guide listed above. Earlier in February, the kids and I were also hit with nasty head colds and I credit this tincture with shortening the severity and length of the sickness, especially for the kids. I will definitely be keeping this on hand.

Winterwoods Rose City Chocolate Tea. I was looking for a replacement for the chocolate tea I was drinking leftover from my former Sips By subscription. It included a few questionable ingredients and also had caffeine which I don’t handle well. I picked this up with my January Azure order and I love it. It’s perfect in the afternoon with a scoop of collagen, some coconut sugar, and milk as a little pick-me-up.

Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary Love, love, love this book! Full of easy-to-make herbal remedies with things I can grow in my garden. (Azure also has it.)

Kindle. My old Kindle Keyboard from 2011 finally bit the dust in December, so I put a new Kindle on my wishlist, which my husband kindly got for me for Christmas. It feels sturdier than my old Kindle and has been so nice to have. I do love a good old paper book, but it sure is nice to have a book that I really want to read ASAP rather than having to wait until my next trip to the library. I also picked up a sturdy case for it with van Gogh’s almond blossoms, which is the same sticky cover I got for my Kindle Keyboard almost eleven years ago when my son was an infant (I got the Kindle Keyboard to have something to read/listen to while he was nursing at night). I’m a tad sentimental.

Ancestral Kitchen Podcast. I don’t really listen to podcasts, but a friend mentioned this one to me and I decided to load it up one day when I was cooking supper. It not only makes the task of cooking a meal less grueling, but it also inspires me and makes me want to actually cook. I also printed out their 2022 Ancestral Kitchen Challenge and put it on my fridge. Anyone else want to join me?

In the Shop

I posted a few new products in the shop this quarter!

On Patreon

I have now been offering the Patreon productivity printables for one year! I celebrated by offering a printable lunar calendar for 2022 in January, printable valentines to share with your kids (or others :)) in February, and a printable book log in March along with the monthly quote print, bookmark, habit tracker, and calendar. I think the lunar calendar is one of my favorite offerings so far!

Bird Sightings

We’re gearing up for spring and more birds coming our way. I plan to move our bird feeders a little further away from our nesting boxes as we haven’t had any renters the last two years and I’ve suspected it’s because of the proximity of the feeders. We’ll see if I’m proved true. Right around this time in the past, a male house wren has shown up and begun to prepare both of the boxes for a potential lady friend. They warned us about a rattlesnake in our yard a few years ago, so I would be very happy if they chose one of our boxes again. Fingers crossed!

Enter your email address here to get updates and exclusive downloads, including a free Picture Study Aid!

Similar Posts


  1. I keep a copy of Pride and Prejudice on my kitchen counter where I cook so I can read a few pages while I’m working on something in the kitchen, lol… this is one of my “comfort books” for sure! I also like to listen to the audiobook when falling asleep sometimes, too. It’s just one of those stories I can enjoy over and over.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *