Friday, May 27, 2011


[Here I have for you a few snapshots, unedited, from our day]

Evan has an adorable obsession with his tongue.  
(See how many you can spot in this post!)

 Big brother story time!

The mohawk lives on!

So very... six.

Look!  Two babies!

And two (more) tongues...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Bits

A couple of years ago, I planted 10 Purple Passion asparagus plants.  Then last year, I planted 10 Mary Washingtons.  I sat on my hands all last summer and watched them grow and fern out and forced myself not to pick any.  (Okay, okay.  I admit it.  I did pick one or two very fat spears to munch right then and there.  I couldn't help myself.)  This spring however, I finally get what I've been waiting for!  The purple asparagus are beautiful and plump and this is their third spring, so we get to start eating some!

As much as I lovelovelove fresh asparagus (and raw!  I never knew how good they are raw!), I discovered a joy of asparagus that may perhaps surpass the flavor-- it's something to pick in the spring before anything else is ready!  While I'm still waiting for my carrots and beans and peas and (especially!) tomatoes, I get to harvest asparagus.  And I don't even have to do anything with it.  It just comes up from the ground and I go out and pick it.  No more planting and waiting.  It's just there.

If you don't have an asparagus patch, get you one!  The work of getting it put in is SO worth it!

Another new thing that I'm excited about is rhubarb.

You would think that living in Michigan, these asparagus and rhubarb would be without needing so much as a mention.  But I haven't had any until now!  And I've been waiting over the last two years, making myself not pick it until it's mature enough.  This spring is sweet!

This beautiful, bright red rhubarb is a plant that I brought from Oregon, where I dug it from the garden of a friend of my Mom.  I just adore the deep color!  And the stalks are huge!  There aren't very many of them this year, so we don't get a big harvest, but it's enough for a few yummy desserts.  The stalks are so huge that it only took two to get enough for my recipe.   I made a pan of my favorite rhubarb bars last night and I can't stay out of it.

Evidently, the red stalks looked so inviting to Jonah that he kept asking me to let him eat one.  I told him he would not want to eat a whole stalk, but he really thought he would. (It's not good for you raw, anyway.)  So when I picked it, I cut a little piece for him to try and his face went into quite a pucker.  I can remember chewing on stalks of it when I was a kid-- it was a sign of toughness or something.

Last year when my Mom was here, she suggested that we border my flower beds with a twig fence.  I thought it was a lovely idea, but there was no way to do it in July with the ground rock hard, and no long, flexible sticks available, anyway.

So this spring, I saved out a big pile of apple shoots that Nathan pruned from the trees.  I've been working on this fence.  I still have a ways to go, but so far I'm really liking the look of it. It's just rustic and cute, even though I messed up the pattern in a few places.

And the other day, I was surprised to notice that my fence is growing leaves!  I'm not sure if that means it rooted, or it's just got enough life left in it for a little growth that will probably go away when it gets hot (I'm guessing the latter).

Nathan dug up several bagfuls of Lilly of the Valley from a friend's house for me to plant in my shady bed at the end of the kitchen.  Lovely stuff, thought I'm skeptical that it will be very happy in my clay-heavy soil.  Time will tell.

I had a very hard time planting it (and should probably have quit, really) because my back has been hurting so bad.  I spent the rest of the day hobbling around, barely able to walk, and had a long soak in the tub after Evan went to bed.  It's not strained muscles --I'm quite accustomed to garden work-- it's this danged pregnant pelvis of mine.  Today, I'm only marginally functional, and it's been that way off and on for weeks.

I'm trying not to despair, but it's hard when I'm facing spending the next 4 1/2 months (the best and busiest of the year) like this.  I had this problem while pregnant with Evan, and here we go again.  I refer to it as "PP#D" -- Pregnancy Pelvic #$*#% Dysfunction.  It's just so frustrating when I have lots to do, and for a limited time only, the energy to do it with, but I can hardly move around.  I will shamefacedly admit that I have avoided going back to the chiropractor right now because I thought it wasn't helping, opting instead for stretching and yoga.  But now I know that while the chiropractic adjustments may not get rid of the pain completely, it does certainly keep it from becoming debilitating.  I'm on the cancellation list at my wonderful chiropractor's office and I can just hope and pray that someone will feel well enough not to need an appointment so that I can have it.

We're still dealing with Evan's digestive issues, but I think I've finally noticed some improvement over the last few days.  Maybe we're on the tail end of this, now.

Lately, he's been squealing and shrieking when he wants more food during a meal.  I started showing him the sign for "more" and saying "more" and then giving him another bite.  He has skipped right over trying to use the sign, and instead says "muh!"  It's completely adorable, and he says it very politely.  Yesterday morning, he was crying on the floor while I got his breakfast ready.  I said, "Evan, are you hungry?  Do you want to eat?" and he immediately stopped crying and started saying, "Muh!  Muh!  Muh!"  Then this morning I laid him in his bed for a nap, but he decided he wasn't ready and sat up and held out his arms to me and said "Muh!"  So I guess "more" is now the word he thinks he should use to get what he wants.

He also says "Mamamamama" and "Dadadada", shakes his head when he doesn't want something, and gives a very appreciative "Num!" when he gets bites of food.  Ahhh, communication!

And I now hear him communicating from his bed that he would like to come back downstairs after his nap, thankyousomuch, so I will end this rambly post and go see to it.

Monday, May 16, 2011


It's chilly and windy and cold and rainy here, but spring seems to be proceeding apace, nonetheless.  I'm anxiously awaiting some warm (hot!) weather, but trying to enjoy the spring anyway.  I just can't get over the green!  Green everywhere!  Dazzling!  It always stuns me after months of bleakness.

I braved the wind and chill today to work outside while it wasn't raining, pulling weeds and planting plants.  

I wonder if some wacky psychiatrist would say that a person's love of gardening comes from a deep-seated, unconscious desire to be in control of life and death?


Anyway.  The ground is soft and soaked, and the weeds come out easily.  That doesn't happen often with the hard clay I've got around here.  I took the opportunity to get some deep-rooted dandelions out of my newest flower bed which I have just started filling with pretty-pretties.  I looked at this pile of dandelions --crisp and juicy and fresh-looking, and um, muddy-- and I just couldn't waste them.  But I really don't want to eat them, either.  Not really my favorite wild food, but they sure are nutritious, especially first thing in the spring, and good for digestive and liver troubles.  So I brought them all in and have been soaking and swishing them in sinkfulls of cold water, trying to get them clean enough for a nice, strong, tincture.

Now, to procure a big bottle of vodka, of which I am forever running out (and not because I drink it.  I can think of many more enjoyable things to drink...).

I also went out and picked a bunch of fresh oregano for my spaghetti sauce, some chocolate mint to flavor my red raspberry leaf pregnancy tea, and a little bowlful of violet greens (and a few flowers, too) to sweeten our salad.

I told you, I just love all the green.

Oh, and the LILACS!  There simply are no words.

I adore them.   I fill my kitchen with them and they fill my kitchen with their fantastic scent.  There is nothing like it.  And they're such a short-lived treat.  I could just stand out their under the lilac bushes all day.

Excuse the blur here, but I just had to share this.  Our new layer chicks arrived in the mail today, and my nice brooder box out in the barn is currently occupied by the mama ducks who took it over for nesting.

So the chicks are in the house, peeping their heads off constantly.

Evan, amazingly, has NOT tried to explore the peeping box yet, but Jonah was very sweetly showing him the new babies and helping him touch them without squashing their fragile, little bodies.

Very cute.

Sigh.  It's spring.  It's wonderful.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


It's endlessly raining and dreary, and that, above, is what my windows look like.  But I just had to take pictures anyway...  It was irresistible.

 We have this nutcase male cardinal hanging around our house these days.

Why does he behave this way?

Is he on drugs?



Did his mate lock him out of the nest and throw all this things out on the branch?

(I think she should really consider a restraining order.)

 He's relentless, whatever is wrong with him.

For two solid days, he's been dive-bombing all the windows of our kitchen and living room.

 It's rainy and cloudy, so I don't think he's going after his reflection.

 He has a mate around, I saw them together last night, when he took a brief break from repeatedly accosting my kitchen.

 Between attacks, he sits on a branch or post near the house and sings a fierce-sounding song.

Then he does it again.

 And again, and again, and again.

He and his mate have been hanging around the yard for months now.  They're never brave enough to come near the house to the feeder, so this is indeed strange.  When we had the chickens fenced into the garden for a month or so, they regularly raided the chicken feeder.  I've watched them from the windows quite often.

Now that I think of it, there is no longer chicken feed out there since the chickens are loose in the yard.  

Perhaps he's trying to get a message across to me...

"More corn, or else!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

He Turned 6!

We're currently away, having a lovely visit with Nathan's parents, sister-in-law and and handfull of nieces and nephews.  And its warm and lovely here and we're more than enjoying it!

I have a bit of downtime right now as Evan naps and Jonah is off at the part with cousins (yay!) so I thought I should maybe show a bit of Jonah's very fun 6th birthday last week!  I already showed you the cake (which was so fun!), so here's the rest.

How many kids can you get on the roof of one little playhouse?

A lot!

I was a little concerned about the number of children who were coming (I had been thining we'd have a small, quiet birthday party this year, but it didn't really happen that way), but it was totally fine and lots of fun!  The weather was decent and they mostly played outside.  They had a great time!

Evan just loved being handed from one person to another all day.  No need to crawl when you can be carried, you know.

 I was glad we could feed kids outside, too!

My idea of games for a kids birthday party is "Go outside and play!"  I'm not a great planning hostess, but they had fun anyway.

 We attempted to do cake on the porch...


 ...but it was way too windy.  So took it back in.

He blew out his candles, and my baby turned 6!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Birthday Sneak Peak

Photos only for now! Just thought I'd share a little peak at our celebration today!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Preparations, etc.

Okay, I guess I can sit down, now.  Write a blog post, etc.

So, um... Hi!

Yes, my boys are in bed, my dishes are mostly washed, goats milked and fed, bathroom clean, various and sundry other chores done or partly so, laundry unfolded but oh, well, AND I baked birthday cake (and 20 cupcakes).  So glad my Mom talked me into baking cake tonight.  I always think that whipping up a little cake batter and baking it is no big deal, but it is. It is!  I would so regret doing that tomorrow and then waiting for it to cool so that I could frost and decorate it and then people arriving and babies crying and stress levels ramping...

We are preparing for a birthday.  How did my first, sweet, little baby get to be six?  I dunno.  It's a mystery to me.

I am also preparing for a hugeamongous number of people to be here.  How did that happen?  I meant for a small, shortish birthday party consisting of cake, presents, playtime, badabing, badaboom, (almost) everyone out in two hours.  But it morphed into 17 (!) children and all their parental people (it's really only three families, but they're big ones) and hot dogs at the firepit, and it looks like it's going to rain.

We're gonna have a blast!

So I baked cake ahead of time. Phwhew.

And most of the time I was baking, cleaning, etc., I had a small bucket of tears following me around.

He doesn't look so teary there, does he?  He's trying to fool you, see.  Actually, he's mostly naked, and that makes him very happy.  Tonight, after a solid hour of crying (following supper, which was preceded by eons of crying), I finally undressed him to get him ready for bed, and then he happily crawled off to play, naked.  Why didn't I take off his clothes long before?  Sometimes it helps just to pull off his socks.  It doesn't matter how cold he gets, he'd rather do without clothes.

My poor little guy is kinda miserable these days.  'Member what I said about him being able to eat without any trouble and my thankfulness for it?  Yeah, about that.  I was fooling myself.  It became harder and harder to ignore, and now the fussing, night waking, bowel troubles, and horrible rash made me face the facts:  this baby needs some digestive assistance, stat.  So we're working with a wonderful naturopath who has a good plan and we're praying hard for some positive results and relief for our poor, rashy, little crabby-pants.

To top it all off, we're ALSO preparing for a road-trip next week for a visit that I'm sure will be fun and wonderful, even if the actual road-trip is not.  I have some anxiety, I will admit.  Okay, a lot of anxiety.  And I don't have very much time to get ready, and I'm not even close, and I'm sleep-deprived, and I have a very crabby baby to deal with... Breath in, breath out.  It'll be okay, right?

 But I'm not going to think about that!  I'm going to think about partying with my delightful six-year-old!  Focus on the fun stuff!  (Birthday pictures to follow soon, I hope!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Two Birds, One Stone

This was a great math lesson, AND we got a much-needed task done.

We learned about quarts and pints, counting out a dozen, and the addition/multiplication of dozens.

Fun AND productive.  That's my kinda school.