Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Morsels: Easter, Chicks, Tadpoles and more

Morsels:  Tiny bits of goodness from the past weeks....
(Sorry for the list like post, and so many pictures.  It seems to be the only way I can get things recorded these days). 

The weather is ever so slowly creeping toward warm, but just won't quite get there.  I keep trying to clean out our mud room but since we're all still wearing our winter coats some part of each day, its a slow process.           I think we're done with the snow pants.  

The day before Easter we were busy with yard work and gardening.  My running group was mostly out of town or injured, so Wylie biked beside me while I did an afternoon run in the sun.  It was a good fast pace, and a fun way to visit with this growing boy of ours.  
That night I stayed up late, hiding eggs by head lamp, stitching ears onto stuffed bunnies, counting out jellybeans to be fair.  Rob slept on the couch.  Hmm.  It seems that this is the norm at our house and many of our friend's houses too-- Dads who are more than happy to participate in holiday traditions, but moms pulling all the stops to make them happen.  Is that true for you?  I suspect this has been the case historically, for women to create and uphold family traditions.  Which doesn't mean it shouldn't change, or be challenged.     But, it also feels somewhat comforting to imagine my mother, and grandmother, great grandmothers before them, all staying up late, sneaking in times to gift for family, to stitch special surprises for their children, to hide eggs after bedtime and hope the dog doesn't eat them before dawn. 

Our family is not Christian and does not celebrate Easter as a Christian holiday (though we talk about why others celebrate it).  For us it is a celebration of spring, rebirth, eggs hatching, bulbs pushing up through the dark earth, all that good stuff.  Dyed, hard-boiled eggs and candy too.  I'm ok with that.  
We started our morning with coffee (for the tall) and jelly beans (for the short), and a small egg hunt. Somehow the eggs seemed so much better hidden at 8:30pm by headlamp than they did at 7:00 am in bright sunlight.  It was a short event. 

Easter Sunday was sunny and 50's, and when sitting directly in the sun, on a protected south facing deck, it felt near 80 for an hour, which was just enough time to leave a bright red collar of sun burn at my neckline, but more importantly to pretend it was summer while I sat and visited with my sister and her family, and Mimi over an Easter lunch and wine.  The kids hunted 50 eggs or so with cousins, and ate too much candy.

The Friday before, we made an impromptu trip to Tractor Supply for inner tubes for tires we needed, and a few new chicks for our flock.  Our older ladies have not been earning their keep. They're lucky summer's coming and upkeep will be cheap for free range birds.  Come fall they'll be taking a trip (perhaps the freezer, perhaps your house? Anyone interested?) So, 6 new biddies, Elsa and Anna (of course), Lollypop, Snowflake, Shelby, and one more.  They are not breeds I love, but its hard to say no to chicks.  We may pick up a couple of Buff Orpingtons (my favorite along with Americanas) when they are available at the hardware store in town.  And, we'd love to adopt some 16-20 weekers if anyone has some.  

Monday both big kids had play dates for the afternoon, so Kale and I kept busy by collecting frog's eggs (we hope).  Every year we go out for frog's eggs, and more often than not, hatch salamanders.  Salamanders are pretty cool, but they're not tadpoles.  This year I think we may have got the real deal.  Too early to be sure.  If anyone knows a sure fire way to tell them apart I'd love to hear it. 

    Almost green grass (and trucks), my retaining wall project in the background

   Marley's new spring haircut,  before....
    and after.  She goes to Dogwood ReTreat to be groomed a couple times each year. We love it there!

                Kale got some spiffy new stripey pants made from a Goodwill tube top find.  Score.  

     Mac and Cheese, hamming it up for the camera...

    Early garden work

     Searching high and low for eggs

    Leaving Mimi's after a lovely Easter celebration

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Girls at 8

The Girls at 8

My daughter and her friend
in matching culottes,
shirts knotted above the midriff
trying on their femininity like gaudy lipstick,
too bold for the occasion (a walk home from the food coop).
Hips swaying for two blocks,
a nod at what's to come too soon.
But the early spring sun is warm.
By the third block they are bare-chested, tee shirts tossed in the bottom of the buggy
little girl chests flat and strong, yesterday's fuzzy braids
slapping bony shoulder blades,
bare feet cracked and muddy.
Raspberry popsicle stains their faces--
The lipstick of the eight-year-old.

                                                -Jasmine P. Fowler

Really Good

Last week we had a few days of indoor type weather, perfect for color mixing, garden planning (on paper), and fireside napping.  We've all been passing about a chest cold that's had me hacking like a pack-a-day smoker every evening, barely able to read bedtime books, and croaking through the first hour of each morning.  I'm about done with this cough.  Truly.  But, its hard to complain now that spring is honestly here, and if my only complaint is that I only have enough energy to sit in the sun and look at the garden, well--its just not worth complaining.  For now we're soaking up this well deserved spring sun every chance possible (except that one snow day--what the heck?). The pigs have been in their new electric wire pen for two weeks now, and are mucking it up the way pigs should.  There have been picnics on the deck, school work on the deck, knitting on the deck, yoga on the deck, coffee on the deck (do you sense a theme?) fairy houses everywhere, barefoot play, raking out of garden beds, sap boiling, and plenty of mud play.  The bulbs are pushing their way through the newly thawed earth, red maples have started to bloom, and the frog chorus is going full tilt.  Our magic marker list of "signs of spring" has grown to two columns, including colt's foot blooming, flickers spotted, the wood thrush calling, and mourning doves mating below the feeders.  Spinach and lettuce are coming up in the cold frame, and the garden is nearly dry enough to put in some peas.  
Its really good.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Kale called to me from across the deck, where I was enjoying the sun and a mug of tea.
"Mama, look!"
"What is it?"
"Come look!  Quick"
(me not wanting to get up) "Can you tell me what it is?"
(yelling) "Nature! Life!"
Well I had to get up for that.

    A little stink bug or something similar.  Outside, and alive.  Surely a sign of spring.

                      Also, kids in trees, another sign the seasons are shifting...