Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Last week was like summer again, and we made the most of it--especially knowing that a week of much needed rain was headed our way.  A brief glimpse, and very few words about what we've been up to, and a few new things around here:

Boats in the outdoor tub.

Brothers digging in the yard (clothing optional).

New leaves!  These were trimmed by a road crew and we couldn't let these tiny leaves wilt just hours after opening.   

A little planting in the garden:  peas, carrots, beets, kale, and assorted greens.  And we built a frog pond. 

Also new to the garden, a sink!  Just in time for our first harvest, dandelion greens (and we didn't even plant them!). 

New fire truck jammies for our truck loving toddler, details soon.   

Summery snacks in amazing colors

Lovey, Maxi , Sleepy-Peep,   

and Betty Lou,  Oh my.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sounds of Spring

(From our front porch, 8:30 pm--sound only)  

Around here we know its really spring when the frogs start to sing.  They started up about a month ago during that early hot spell, and then somehow hunkered down for a few cold weeks, even enduring some snow.  But they are back at it again, and going strong.  So far its mostly the peepers, with the wood frogs, bull frogs and tree toads soon to follow.  Add to this chorus the shrieking, dinosaur-like calls of the pileated woodpeckers (we've had a family of four tiny young ones chasing one another from tree to tree in our yard this week!) the tap-tap-tapping of all the other woodpeckers calling their mates, the cheeping of brand new chicks arrived this week, and the cry of the loons late at night.  Sounds good to me.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Old and New

The kids and I spent the first half of the week out of the house, and out of the way of the worker guys while they installed this bad boy in our mudroom closet:

It might not look like much, but when we mentioned to our guy about how we kinda wished we were dropping the cash on something a little more exciting he said, I think you're gonna be pretty excited about this.
It's a Venmar heat exchanger.  It takes a bunch of the old, warm air out of our kitchen, bathrooms, and mudroom, and uses the heat from this air to heat incoming fresh air which gets blown into our bedrooms.  We already notice a difference, and it will be a huge improvement in the fall/early winter with some of the moisture issues we've been having.  So yeah, its a good thing.  

Also good was having to empty all of the closets/storage areas to make space for the duct work (ok the emptying wasn't good--but it made for a necessary clean out and the discovery of some new/old treasures)  
such as Dapper Dan.  This was Rob's as a boy, and I am so wishing I still had my Dressy Bessie to go with him.  

Also from Rob's childhood, unearthed in the big clean out is this awesome shirt that is perfect for Kale.  I'm feeling a little adventurous and may actually try to sew another of these for him in a size up. Its hard to tell here, but it has this funny little tie at the waist, and flare cuffs.  Not to mention the print!  Ha.  

While out and about for three full days we ended up in Goodwill and found a few more new/old treasures:    This round yellow mirror--as I was snapping the pic, Juni hopped up to peek in to the mirror.  (In the frame is Rob and I in college!) 
Also these little red Pyrex dishes that are making me so happy whenever I see them.

And, the flower power pants seen on Juni in our kitchen picnic below.  It was a Goodtrip to Goodwill. And it was really good to come home again.  Thursday we did nothing but bake cookies, picnic in the kitchen and listen to audio books.  

Here's to a nice weekend, with a lot more time spent right at home.  Hope you have a good one too.  

The View From Here

This is a moment for sharing , inspired by SouleMama's "This Moment".  In her words,  "A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."  To play along go to the SouleMama blog.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Morsels

Morsels: Tasty bites from the past few days...

Despite this weeks forecast of snow showers mixed with rain, and Easter's snow squall, we have pretty much settled into spring.  A few things I'm loving about spring right now:

* Hand-knits that don't need to be covered up by snow suits.  (The hat is mine, but the sweet vest is a favorite from Auntie Heide, worn first by cousin Ollie).  

* Tulips! No, not in the garden (yet) but the ones from the grocery store are pretty swell too.  

* Adding bits here and there to our seasonal table, and enjoying them through the eyes of a 2 year old.  

* Soccer shoes!  We found these tiny hand-me-downs and Kale's been wearing them pretty much everywhere (never mind that they're three sizes too big).  

And since he's dressed for sports, why not tee-ball? (There's that clay again--paired with a small funnel its the perfect tee).  

* A bucket-full of bee supplies, just purchased at Swan's Honey in Albion, ME.  
* Dying eggs, and documenting the dying of eggs.  This year we tried some fancy watercolor paints for dying--no good.  So we switched to what we had on hand:  purple cabbage, coffee, yellow onion skins, and beets.  These always make the best eggs anyway.  

 Happy Monday.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Homeschool Thursday

We haven't been very organized in our learning this season, and I generally feel OK with that--but last week was kind of stressing out about the lack of "school" work being done.  As I was headed to the shelf for some of our lesson books I stopped to realize what I might be interrupting if I brought out the math.  I went for the camera instead.  Here's a peak at one morning last week, 8:20 am:

Wylie had disassembled his robotic arm (thanks Mimi!) and was putting it together on his own;

Juniper was counting her piggy bank money;

Kale was making me some tea.  Perhaps the math book could wait.

Later in the day:  dramatic play outside in the "rocket ship", inspired by "George's Secret Key to the Universe" by Lucy and Stephen Hawking; 

Kale reading about rocks and minerals;  

The following day:  creating a Viking boat.  This was part of our "formal" history study, in a unit on the Middle Ages that we're suddenly embracing, 

Plenty of cutting by the youngest among us. 
And the beginning of a set of alphabet books of the Middle Ages.

This is why I find blogging and journaling so helpful.  Sometimes this quiet work we in our own homes is hard to recognize until we step back from it. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Morsels: small changes

I typically feel like spring is a time for action and renewed energy.  But, this has been a particularly reflective season for me so far.  I'm starting to plan our garden, preparing for bees, and feeling motivated to do some nature exploration, hiking, and running in the warmer weather.  But, I just can't seem to get out of my head long enough to really dive into it.  So often the larger picture gets swallowed up by the day to day work of a family, but right now it seems the reverse is true.  I've been a little lost in the clouds, considering the future of our family and small homestead, trying to make sense of who we are and our place in this world.  I suppose its necessary.  It only makes sense to step back once in a while and take stock. Still, in an effort to shake things up a bit I made the most of a quiet afternoon to make some small changes:  

Morsels: Tasty bites from the past few days...

* For some reason spring cleaning (and really most any cleaning) for me always involves re-arranging the furniture.  Just a few small changes to make the inside feel as new as the outside seems this time of year. 

The "studio"/guest room/Rob's ironing area has become the new home for the kids' work table.  They hardly ever sit at their table to do work, but it holds much of their art supplies and personal work.  I'm hoping the move will inspire a few larger scale art projects that will be best tucked away behind doors, rather than strewn across the dining room table.  Also, with it out of the way there'll be more room in front of the windows for our seedlings.

All of that sunny open space was screaming for something (other than the seedlings to come), so I moved the seasonal table out of the tunnel and into the light.  We've just begun gathering spring artifacts for exploration here.  

Without the seasonal table the tunnel is free for house play once again. The "tunnel" is a small open space below the stairs designed for child sized play (it also completes the circle, perfect for lap running inside--if you're under 4 ft. tall).  It has been many things over the years from Wylie's workshop, an art gallery, science area, store, and many different play houses.  

* Kale has been enjoying large paper.  Roads for cars, farms, body tracing, you name it.  Give that kid some crayons and a roll and he's into it.  Or not.  These days its hard to tell with him.  Two-year-olds change like the weather here in New England:  often and without much warning.  

* We did some work on the hives this weekend--preparing them for our new bee friends.  I bought my hives used from a friend of my sisters (and had them inspected to be sure they're free of disease).  Some of the brood comb was quite old so we spend the better part of an afternoon scraping out the dark comb and cleaning things up a bit (if anyone knows a better way to do this I'd love to hear it). This week we'll make a trip up to Swan's Honey for new wax foundation and the rest of my equipment.   
* Beeutiful!  Many of the frames already contain newer comb that will be a help to my new colony since they won't have to work so hard drawing it out. The new combs are truly incredible. Every cell is perfect.
I don't even have the little gals yet and I'm already in love.  

* The chickens have been roaming in the garden scratching things up and working the earth a bit for us before we get going in there.  Its a bit of a scene shooing them in there (I guess we've spent so much time scaring them out they don't think its a good place to be).  But, when they finally get settled they are pretty dang pleased with the whole thing.

Here's to a good week--enjoy!