Monday, March 30, 2009


Today I was in town for a co-op order. Nathan called me and said that he had seen an ad in the local ad-paper for raspberry plants and he suggested that I pick up a copy at the gas station and check them out.

So I did. And I ended up with 20-some mature raspberry plants for 15 bucks!


And then I had to get them all in the ground. Aiee.

I had all my usual garden helpers...

...but somehow it was still awfully slow going...

And just when I thought I was gonna be out there all night, my wonderful husband showed up to dig holes for me. Yet another great reason to keep a man around this place.

The planting went much faster together and we had a pleasant time working side-by-side. That is, after I arm-wrestled him out of some of his carefully protected "driveway" area which also happens to be prime sunshine real estate on our little one acre parcel.

So I'm very happy to have the beginnings of a beautiful raspberry plot. I can almost taste the berries now...


A couple of weeks ago, I was at a thrift store (it's an illness, I know) and I found this cute black sweater and just had to bring it home.

Maybe it's not much of a fashion statement, but I like it and I'm not into fashion statements anyway.

(Yeah, that's my "barbie camera" as Nathan calls it.)

Jonah loves this sweater. Normally, of course, he couldn't care less what Mommy wears, but this particular sweater has a built-in-almost-four-year-old-entertainment-device.

It has big buttons.

He's just learning how to do buttons and it's a thing of fascination for him. Also, he might be a little more obsessive-compulsive than most almost-four-year-olds. He almost can't stand that I usually wear this sweater without all the buttons buttoned as buttons should properly be buttoned.

So this morning, after I put this sweater on, with only two buttons buttoned, he couldn't resist and informed me that I must stay still, now.

With great concentration, he buttoned me up and then he said, "There! Now you can't get out!"

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Good Catch

From Jonah while running around following me: "I'm gonna catch you Mom! I'm gonna get you! You're one in a million! I'm gonna catch you!"

Sweet Experimentation

Yesterday I was mixing dough in my mixer and Nathan was teasing me about something. I laughed and told him he had better be nice to me because I was making him cinnamon rolls.

He stopped and his eyes got big and incredulous. "You're making cinnamon rolls? Wow... For real? Why?"

"Just for you. Because I love you so much."

"Mmmmm... Wait... you're testing a recipe, aren't you?"

Well, he was right. But I can still say they're for him.

I'm not sure if I can call it an actual, you know, recipe, because I just kind of dumped stuff together and didn't write it down. I really wanted to try making sourdough cinnamon rolls. I've only made naturally yeasted loaf bread before. I've never tried harnessing my yeasty friends for specialty breads, so I wasn't sure about timing and control of the risings.

But I have to say, it worked great! The rise was fantastic. You wouldn't think that sourdough would be a first choice for cinnamon rolls, but these things are super sweet. I think I really love the flavor and slight tangyness of the bread against all the cinnamon and sugar and butter and the maple-rum icing.

Yum. Now to think about supper. Or not. Why can't we just live on cinnamon rolls?

Friday, March 27, 2009


Maple tapping season is officially over. The trees started to bud and the sap turned sour. Nathan pulled the taps and is probably feeling the relief of not having to run all over creation emptying buckets every day.

So here's what I have to do:

Bottle the stuff. I have 40 of those cute little quart jugs to fill, plus more that I'll put in canning jars for our own use.

So I have a little work ahead of me. But, oh, how sweet it is!

AND... stay tuned for a sweet surprise coming here soon! (Hopefully next week, no promises on the timing, though...)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring is... uh... well...

...still kind of bleak and gray and very, very dry.

Living in Michigan, I find that I am actually learning to recognize the earlier signs of spring. And I can see it, people. It's coming. I think.

~I have one, brave, little crocus poking it's head up in my pitiful front flower bed.

~And I saw some green poking up in what few perennial plants I have left that have survived our brick-like soil and a half a dozen moves to different sites so that their home could be dug up by a backhoe.

~We have no snow!


~There are lettuce sprouts! In my cold frame! They might grow! If I remember to water them...

~Nathan tilled the garden.

~Yeah, no kidding. In March. In Michigan.

~See the thing is that after all that rain and flooding, we've be oh, so dry, so the soil is actually in decent shape for tilling right now.

~Am thankful for a reprieve from The Mud.

~Nathan also expanded the garden for me. We're going into the last available sunny spot, which happens to be the location of the clothes line.

~Now I have no clothes line.

~I'm trying to decide on a new location for it. The only place that we won't be needing for growing things will be in the front yard, right by the road. Hey, neighbors! Wanna see my laundry as you go around the corner? This is also right under the maples, which may not be such a hot idea. Arg.

~As of today, we now have the chickens fenced into the garden, ostensibly to keep the soil light and weed-free until we start to plant things there so that it won't need tilling again. In theory.

~We like to find more ways to leverage our poultry forces.

~We have had approximately 26.5 escaped chickens today.

~We only own 13 chickens.

~(The ".5" up there is for the chicken who was standing on a gate when Jonah pushed her back in before she could get out.)

~I am very sad because it is transplant-starting-time and while all the seeds I planted are showing their little faces now, I realized that I forgot to take cuttings of my coleus last fall before they froze, stiff and brittle and dry and dead, and have lost my whole collection. I had acquired some new, exotic-looking ones, too. Boo.

~The maple sap run is almost over, which means that the trees will soon be budding out!

~We're seeing some little green shoots poking up in the brown lawns. With a little rain, we'll be in the green!

Spring is springing!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Early Spring Light Supper

Yesterday was the first day of spring, you know. Yup. Some of you may not be able to tell (appologies to those of you in the chilly Pacific Northwest. I think even the Minnesota relatives are warmer than you. Not to... rub it in... or anything...) but today we had 52 and sun. Yea!

I love that even this early in the spring when my cold frame lettuce is only just peeking through the ground, I can go out in the field around my house and pick a salad. I took Jonah with me this time, but forgot my camera, of course. He was a good help, though, and he quickly learned to recognize the wild mustard greens growing everywhere (well, it's not that hard... the only thing green out there right now are mustards and little thistles...). They're tiny little leaves right now (at their most tender and tasty!), so it took us a while to pick enough, but we didn't mind. There is a certain "thrill" in the "hunt". So we brought them home and made a simple salad with some grated carrots and Mom's Maple Vinaigrette. I sliced up some of the Rosemary Onion Poppyseed Sourdough that I baked this morning and poured some olive oil into a little bowl with some mashed garlic for dipping the bread. Mmmm... I think I've been craving that all winter.

Now I regret that I didn't put some Creme Brulee in the oven this afternoon...

Let Food Be Our Medicine

This video series is a little long, but it is excellent. I've got it playing right now so I can just be listening while I putter around the house and bake bread. There is some fantastic information here. Everyone should hear this stuff. This guy used foods to heal his cancer and now gives talks about real and traditional foods. There are nine videos in the series and I guarantee you will learn a lot. (tip: it may be better to click on the video and watch them from the YouTube site since the following videos will play automatically after each one finishes. Also, just be warned that he uses some very mild profanity occasionally...)

Friday, March 20, 2009


At first when I watched that I thought, "Huh?" Yeah, all that information doesn't quite seem to go together (but then... it does). It's interesting stuff though. But the fact is, the video in itself in a bombardment of information. Just like we're getting all the time now. Why is it that we constantly "need" this steady input of technology? How many times a day do I go to my computer to look something up? To figure something out? For entertainment? It freaks me out sometimes because it seems that my brain is wired to the computer. Do I really need this? I dunno. Every ounce of me wants to say "YES!" I mean, I've learned a lot of stuff. It makes my life easier... and I LIKE the internet. A lot. But the line between use and abuse seems awfully thin...

At the same time, however, I feel like I do actually need technology to solve the problems that technology has created. The prevalence and general acceptance of Edible Foodlike Substances? It's in the Far Reaches of the Internets that I've learned how to overcome that. General navigation of commerce? Pretty much can't be done without the internet. The 30 bucks we pay each month for our high speed connection actually helps us to save and earn money in so many ways.

Seriously, who needs a set of encyclopedias?

Most ironically of all-- my "back to the land" attitude? All the "old fashioned ways" like sourdough bread and maple syrup and saurkraut and raw milk and organic gardening? All those things that have been abolished by tecnology? I've learned them on the internet.

Monday, March 16, 2009


"Say, now... what do you suppose those funny-lookin' birds are lookin' at?"

"No matter... I think this is a good time for a nap..."

"Get a drink..."

"And take another nap."

"Ahhh... this is the life, ain't it, girls?"

"It surely is... wanna take another nap?"

"Well, just think... we have all we could want. They built us a place to live, we have all we can eat, and can nap as much as we want."

"Speaking of nap... how about finding a cozy spot?"

"Sounds like a good plan."

"Or, I know! We could take a nap here on these warm rocks!"

"Sure! And then we can have a little swim and clean off more of the mud from that dirty place we used to live in. And then... well, then we can have another nap."

Chicken Gossip

Pickalittle, talkalittle, pickalittle, talkalittle, cheep! cheep! cheep! talkalot, pickalittlemore!

"Can ya see 'em?"

"Almost, hold on..."

"Huh! REvolting!"

"Who da ya suppose they are?"

"Not, 'who' dahlin', but 'what'?"

"Whay, do ya know what I heard? I heard them's from OUTTA SPACE!"


"Why Yayes! And that's not awwwlll..."

"...I also heyard that them has a finity for wayater!"


"Whay, hit ain't natural!!"

"Oh! Don't look! Act normal! Thayah lookin' at us!"

"Weeell. I am gonna look at them! Theym ain't fit to be fowl!"

"Well, Frank Junyah. You ARE the leadah. YOU should tawk to 'em!"

"Whah, now... I doan know, Missus... They doan look decent to tawk too... Rabbit, what's your estahmashun?"


"Well, now... she ain't no help!"

"I say we RALLY! We don't know what kinda influ-ences thay mahght be bringin'! It's undignifired!"

"Run 'em outta town! This is our home! We don't need no indecent, wahtah-finity folks 'round these parts! Think of the childrun! Whay, they could dra-own!"

Pickalittle, talkalittle, pickalittle, talkalittle, cheep! cheep! cheep! talkalot, pickalittlemore... pickalittle talkalittle cheep, cheep, cheep,CHEEP, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Simmering on my stove right now...

I had a smoked ham that we've been chewing away at and it was about down to the bone. So what better to do with it that stick it in a pot of beans? Add carrots, onions, garlic, kale (from last year's garden), Worcestershire sauce and some fresh maple syrup and we have lunch! And supper... and lunch tomorrow... and supper tomorrow...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Just Wait 'Till He Learns to Read...

We like to be silly. Being silly keeps away The Crazy. Or, well... maybe it encourages it. I'm not sure, but it works.

While waiting for supper to finish cooking, I somehow got started singing a silly song to Jonah. You know the one; where you take a person's name and then change it like this: Jonah, Jonah bo bonah, banana fanana fo fonah, mo me mi mo monah, Jonah! Of course, he thought this was hilarious, and started suggesting other things.

Daddy! Daddy, daddy, bo baddy, banana fanana fo faddy, mo me mi mo maddy, Daddy!

Mommy! Mommy, mommy, bo bommy, banana fanna...

Um... Chicken! Chicken, chicken, bo bicken...

Rabbit! Rabbit, rabbit, bo babbit...

And on and on, naming more animals. (Word to the wise. Do not try this with "duck". It... just doesn't quite work.)




Huh... whaaaaa?

Elephant seal!

Umbrella bird!

Aiee. I'm raising a nerd.

In Which I Ask You To Opine

I need help. It's a dilemma, you see.

What you see here is an entry way.

The view is looking from the kitchen into the living room.

Nathan has just finally finished the drywall there, so I get to paint it! I'm currently working on wiping it down so that I can break out the primer with paint to follow tomorrow.

But here's my problem:

Do you see it?

Look closer.

See, there's that funny corner, there. It was completely unavoidable. The kitchen is a fixed-up, old addition on an even older house, and things just don't meet up well on old houses. Nathan fooled with that thing until he was spitting nails, but it firmly refused to comply. So we ended up with a funny corner. At the time, I said, "Who care? It's quirky. Don't make yourself crazy over it. We can live with a funny corner." But now, as I prepare to paint it, I'm faced with the main problem with funny corner presents.

What color do I paint that narrow, little two-inch wide surface?

It's in the same plane as the inside of the entry way, but it's visually part of the kitchen walls.

So what do I do? Make a little edge there and paint it the same color as the walls, or edge it carefully up in the color of the entryway? I'm leaning toward the latter, but I need opinions on this matter. (Insert "poet, don't know it" comment here.) Either way is going to be a pain in the behinder to paint, so I'm not going for "easiest", I'm going for "looks less weird".

I don't know what to do! Weigh in!

Post haste, if you'd be so kind.

(Methinks this is a "first world" problem if there ever was one. Am spoiled, yes.)


This kid looks more like his Daddy --and more like himself-- every day.


In other news: my apologies for being remiss in posting lately. My brain is... full. To the brim. A plethora of problems and myriad matters are blighting my brain function. As Jonah likes to say, "Sometimes it happens." But don't worry, it will pass.

Monday, March 9, 2009

All Wet

Betcha didn't know we have lakefront property.

Well, we do now anyway.

We've had torrential rains the last few days and there's lots of flooding. The road and field right down from our house is flooded over.

Last night we decided we wanted to go check it out, so we took a little walk, properly attired, of course.

Water, water, everywhere!

The Amish buggies drive right through it.

Jonah really thought it would be fun to "put our shorts on" and go swimming.

I didn't agree. But we did lost of splashing...

...and skipping rocks...

And we even found this weird little fountain. It's not a spring --at least, it's never been there before-- so we think all the water built up pressure under the ground somehow.

It was such a lovely evening, with the sun breaking through the rainclouds.

We made sure to check our sap buckets when we got home. It's been a little to warm at night for the sap to flow well, but we'll hoping it'll pick up again this week.

It's nice to be able to get outside and enjoy the world again. Reeeeeally nice.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

We Are Seven

I stole these from my Mom's blog. Shamelessly. Because we were so cute. If I do say so myself.

Me: "Daddy, can I have a rabbit? "

Kristin: "Why, yes, I am handsome... suave... debonair... dashing..."

Neal: "How you doin'?"

Seth: "Huh? Oh, hi! Um, were you saying something?"

Alyssa: "Look at MEEEEEE!!!"

Samuel: "Hey! Give me that camera and I'll have it taken apart in 10 seconds flat!"

Peter: "Wanna snuggle?"

Yep. That's us.