Friday, June 28, 2013

This Week

This week, the garden is really growing:  salads with every meal:  lettuce of a few varieties, calendula, cilantro, and snap peas!  The beets are looking nice, the zucchini and cucumbers are flowering, tomatoes are still small but sturdy.  Thanks to a side dressing of kelp and Lobster meal  the kale is filling in beautifully.  The spinach unfortunately has done nothing this year, and the basil will have to be farm bought thanks to the chickens.  Onions are looking good, beans are coming up (after a second planting), and the cabbage and broccoli are holding their own against the slugs.  Its not an amazing year in the garden, but its coming along quite nicely.  

floating row covers over the squash--so far not a cucumber beetle in sight!

This week started with 90 degree heat, and unbearable humidity, and is ending with pouring rain, and 60 degrees F.   We escaped the heat with friends at the beach, where we gathered hermit crabs, giant clam shells, and walked the sand dune, before I stepped on something sharp underwater.  No stitches were needed, and fortunately my Tetanus shot is up to date, but I've been hobbling around a bit, trying to find the best way to walk without re-opening the wound.  

This week Rob declared the wood "finished for the year!" (not including shuffling wood around, into the wood shed as it dries)  Just in time for his birthday later this week.  Six cords, cut, split, and stacked by many busy arms.  This should last us the next 2-3 years, allowing Rob to drop a couple of trees here and there as needed or as time allows, rather than the typical yearly scramble to get it in by fall.  


This week our goldfish, and our oldest chicken both  died.  Each death was met with a bit of quiet sadness, and some guilt on my part for not noticing our sick pets soon enough to help them.  Juniper and I had noticed our lady, Roxy, didn't seem well, more than a week ago, but she was behaving like a chicken should, so we didn't intervene.  Three days ago I noticed her backside was caked with chicken poo, so I soaked her in a tub and washed her clean.  Yesterday we realized she was having completely liquid poops, and was no longer walking about with the others.  We gave her a mixture of butter milk and rice bran (per "Mother Earth News") from which she grudgingly ate only a few bites, and tucked her into a wooden crate with fresh shavings and her own water dish.  I suspect she became dehydrated from all of the diarrhea, which may have been going on for some time.  Now we'll need to watch the others closely, and do a thorough cleaning of the coop to prevent contagion.  Worms can sometimes cause diarrhea in chickens (so I've read) so we may need to medicate.  Anyone out there have any experience with this?    

This week my boy went off to sleep away camp for the first time. It's a mini-camp, only two nights and three days, which is just right for me--and him I suspect.  The night before he left I stitched up this pillow case with special little pocket for Boris, who was happy to have made the packing list.  We'll pick him up this afternoon, soggy, and tired I suspect, but hopefully full of smiles and new memories.  

A friend found and gifted this old cap, with two tiny LED lights in the brim.  A perfect hat for our gear loving guy.  He wore it for two days straight (even to bed!) so he wouldn't forget to bring it along to camp.  


This week has had a different sort of speed, with several pockets of one on one time with each of my children falling into place, relatively unplanned. 

And, headed into a rainy weekend we decided a painting project was at hand.  Juniper has been asking to re-paint her room (the color was one we slapped on last minute 8 yrs. ago before moving in).  So, at 6:30 pm on a rainy evening, we got to it.  This morning we're priming the last two walls, a little patch work, and then the color!  Can't wait to see how it turns out.  

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

We went for a hike

I didn't realize how long its been since we've hiked.  A long time.  This little, kid friendly trial is one I did several times a year with mom friends and toddlers when Juni and Wylie were small.  Then Kale happened.  We did a bit of hiking his first summer, but not much.  Managing two young children along rocky cliffs while juggling a nursing, fussing infant seemed a bit too much, ya know?  So we took a few years off.  Not entirely intentionally, it just happened.  But yesterday when our plans for the day changed last minute, twice, in less than an hour, we found ourselves plan-less on a beautiful, breezy, warm June day.  So, we hiked.  It was un-eventful, minus Kale's falling flat on his face less than 20 feet from the car.  I peeled him off the ground, and did my best to brush the dirt from his mouth and eyes, ignoring the swelling lump under his bangs.  I was really hoping the tears wouldn't start, and that this would not be a terrible beginning to what I hoped to be a lovely introduction to hiking.  Fortunately, he spit out the dirt and trudged on.  

Kale rockin' the rock.  This picture is totally what it looks like, "oh yeah, I'm on a rock, oh yeah".  This boy is so full of himself these days (as is just about right for 3.5) and all punk.  
Junebug rocked her own style yesterday, hiking in her kameez (traditional Indian shirt), striped leggings and railroad cap.  Oh, and don't forget the bindi.  Is this the same girl who would only where princess clothes two years ago?  Yes, and the same girl who just spent the last hour parading about the house in a floral gown, sipping seltzer from a wine glass, discussion the virtues of elegance, and how it feels to feel what you look like, without looking at yourself.  "I don't have to look in a mirror, because I can feel that I'm elegant.  But then when I look in the mirror I don't really look as elegant as I feel.  My dress should be fancier.  But that's ok"  Damn straight girl.  As long as you like how you feel, you're good.  
She's a smart one.  

Here's how Kale spent every few hundred feet of our hike up.

This is the backpack I used throughout high school and college.  It hiked Mt. Washington, as well as many of the lower White Mt. Presidentials.  Not to mention a trip to India. Wylie and Juni have their own kid sized packs that they wear most of the time for hiking or day trips.  I'm kind of a stickler about kids sized packs for kids, but it was super sweet to see my big boy in my pack.  Really, its not that big on him anymore. 

Hiking with a nine year old boy (at least the one we know best) is a bit of a chore.  
There was a lot of complaining at the start, not about the hike, but about its lack of 
"hike-ness" as in, "this is practically a road, we could probably just drive right up it... Oh, I may have to use my hands soon to get over these ginormous rocks."    The child is practically dripping with sarcasm these days.  Its really not as funny as it sounds. 

Fortunately, a few minutes in he warmed up, and dropped the attitude.  That's when the talking began.  Non-stop, play by play (imaginary play by play) descriptions of what a video of pretend people falling from pretend rocks, or other various pretend calamities would look if he made it, and posted it on YouTube.  There was no conversation happening, just a running stream of conscience that, unless you happen to be another 9 year old boy, is interesting for about 2 minutes.  After that its annoying.  At first I did my best to participate in the one way conversation:  "What is it that is so interesting to you about things falling and smashing?  Would that really be funny to watch?  What if someone thought it was a real person? what if it was a real person who fell of the rock?"  "What if I fell off the rock, what would you do?"  
It ended up being a pretty good discussion of first aide skills--of which he had more knowledge than I knew, and the realization that if I did fall off a rock (or bump my head hard, or cut my arm with uncontrollable bleeding) that I'd be in pretty good hands with my kids.  Of course it would be best to be on a heavily traveled path, with a working cell phone.  Or, a trail with good helicopter visibility.  

We summit-ed in less than 45 minutes.  A good intro hike.  And a view worth hiking much longer for.
The kids played on the rocks and we climbed the tower at the top, 3 times.  
Juniper drew in her nature journal, and they all played a game about homeless children living in the mountains.  We ate salty nuts and granola bars.  Then we headed down.
Juniper got mud in her shoe and hiked the whole trail down barefoot.    
Kale rode in the baby carrier he used all through infancy.  He hasn't been in it in more than a year.
That was pretty sweet.  And heavy.   


We made it to the car just before he fell asleep.  Nice way to spend the morning.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Morsels

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

Last week we were thrilled to watch Juniper in her first ever dance recital.  As you can see (despite the blurry photos) it was amazingly cute!  Two days later she and Wylie played a duet (Hot Cross Buns!) at Juni's piano recital.  She accompanied him beautifully, watching him carefully as to get the timing just right.  They may have bee the only performers that day who smiled.  It was short, but oh so sweet, as you can imagine.  

       performance photos by Mimi, Thanks!

This monkey has been climbing any tree with limbs he can reach. Its hard to tell from here, but he's graduated to "out of reach" climbing--meaning I can do little except instruct from 10 feel below.  So far so good.  Today Juniper topped this same tree--nearly 40 feet from the ground, looking out above our roof, and across the marsh.  Yikes.  I've always been a tree climber, and encourage risks, but geesh.  I was glad when her feet hit the ground.  

While hanging the laundry this morning I watched several honey bees rolling like puppies, in the pollen on the Rosa Rugosa.  Its been terrific having them here this season, watching which plants they prefer (blueberry, roses, dandelions) and which they ignore (apple and pear, sadly).  I'm hoping there are cranberry flowering in the bog this year, but haven't waded out to look.  I'm guessing the fuzzy ladies would like those too.  
I'm already imagining cranberry honey!

Had to stop and take this pic on the way up the stairs:  Cousins playing cards past bedtime on a summer evening.  These are the memories I hope they'll grow up with.  Notice the backward hats going on--Kale says, "I'm gonna wear my hat like Ollie, cause its cool like that".  Geesh.  Love that kid.  All of 'em.   

We had a small group of friends, new and old, over yesterday evening.  The sun shone out between patches of dark, rolling clouds, but the rain held off while the kids all zip-lined and played on the swings.  They dug in the sand box and painted on the screen porch.  The nine year old entertained our new friends with his tech savvy ways, and Juniper sweet talked their toddler away from his parents in that magical way she has with littles.  There was chicken holding, sawdust play, and we finished the evening with too many marshmallows and everyone near (but not at) meltdown.  

My man and I closed out the night on the screen porch.  Kiddos in bed we watched the dark come on, slowly, with the tree frogs trilling, the peepers joining the chorus just before nine, and the loons echoing their lonely cries across the dark sky.  We are nearing the longest day, and our days are stretching out before us.  I love this time of early summer, when it feels like there may just be all the time we need. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Morsels

Morsels:  tasty bits of goodness from the past week or so....

It seems strange to be focused so much on firewood when the days are 85 degrees F, but that's how it goes in New England.  Lots of cutting, splitting, and stacking still happening, but the pile is getting smaller and the rows are getting longer.  In the past there has been a lot of "we" thrown around liberally when one of us (the man with the saw) has been primarily responsible for our wood heat.  This year I have hauled and stacked my fair share --though I have yet to break out the splitter or chainsaw on my own, yet.  
Still, I think I can fairly say that we are making some headway on this giant mountain of wood.

May's garden was muddy, and the plants growing in the paths easily outnumber those growing in the beds in both height and vitality.  With last week we finally got some real heat, and things are perking up.  Juniper, Kale and I spent a morning adding a bit of art to the garden.  I have high hopes for a garden gallery, including semi-permanently mounting the glass door/cold frame in a stable place for glass crayoning throughout the summer.  I've requested a few more garden sculptures from Wylie, and a good fiend just reminded me of a garden loom idea (as seen at the Common Ground Fair, and Troy Howard Middle school) which we'll have to erect sometime soon.  Before that we should probably get the rest of the seeds in the ground.

The ladies are loving the green grass and bugs everywhere.  They are laying a bunch, pooping on the porch, and scratching up all the berries.  We've just ordered some movable fencing so they can be on fresh grass, but out of the way.  Then we'll all be happy (hopefully).  

One of my prettier desserts.  Gluten Free yellow cake (from Pamela's brand mix) with almond/honey glaze and violets from the yard.  It was delicious with my sister Heide's home made goat's milk gelato.   She may be selling this soon--if you're local you should try it!

We're headed into a week or two of end of the year busy-ness:   homeschool group wraps ups, ballet and piano recitals, and field trips.  All to be followed by trips to the lake, beach, cookouts, bike rides and hikes to be sure.

Somehow in all of this I'm looking forward to a little more time at home and a chance to focus on projects for longer periods.  A slower pace in a busy season.  I'm sure it can be done (some days).