Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cycles of life continued

A week after I wrote about the estate sale, I saw the man of the house strolling down his drive. He was out for his evening walk to close the street side gate. He was literally twirling his four-point cane (complete with tennis balls) and my heart smiled at his spryness. I started to think that maybe the estate sale was to clear out unnecessary accumulation and to help pay for any damages done by the tornado. But then I noticed the aluminum roof and knew otherwise.  Not long after, as I came to get Pete, I saw the dreaded moving truck. Actually I was stuck behind the truck because the driver missed the turn down the farmhouse drive and needed the airport parking lot to flip a U-y. The number of family cars surrounding the place gave me the hope that this jolly fellow (as much as i could tell from the joy he got during his evening walk down the drive) was going to live with family. But I'll never know for sure. I am curious what stories that house holds and how many seasons of life it has seen.

I wish him happiness on this next phase of his journey. And if anyone is interested in 16 acres near an airport, I can get you the number for the real estate agent.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Garden Journal #5

Oh what a week it has been! A visit from grandma, emagene's first dance recital, Aoife's first bike accident leaving her with a scraped ear and busted lip, and just look at all the amazing greenery in my garden!

Unknown Volunteer plant, I now assume it is an acorn squash!

Our warty pumpkin last year was from The Pumpkin patch on Sauvie Island, Portland Oregon. It made me happy! And when the seeds sprouted waiteng to be added to the compost, it made me even happier. So naturally, I transplanted and and so excited to see it flowering and fruiting! Here's to a little taste of home!!
Green beans
The every faithful watch dog 
And our chicks, getting big and climbing trees to avoid predators.

What's going on in your garden?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Garden Journal #4

Last two photos by Emagene.

 These were last week. But instead of writing a journal blog I had to replant a few things, reset the mulch and clip the wings of a chicken who had got into the garden for the fourth time. 
This lady right here. She's a smart one. She can't tell where the top of my tiny fence is so she can't jump it. But she can tell where the top of the fence to the neighbors yard is, so she hops up, looks to see if their Rottweiler is out, jumps down, wanders down a few feet and hops back into our yard, strategically landing in the middle of my garden plot. Fortunately, I only lost 5 plants that were on the weak and chewed end of the spectrum and only had to replant 2 healthy plants that are still doing great! A few things got bent, they've come back, and even fewer things got a broken something and are also doing great.

Here is this week in our garden:
That hole smack in the middle is begging for an eggplant start to be purchased from a local grower and popped in the now vacant space.
Of course the day I take photos is the windiest day of the week!
Anyone know about collecting onion seeds? All google searches lead to articles about growing from seed and give no help about what to do once the globe has reached maturity and the plant flowers a second time. All my onions are in this state and I want to seed some of them. Any tips out there in blogger-land?  Do i let the little bulbs mature on the stem for a bit and then harvest that and store them for the fall??  I'm experimenting this idea with the wild onions growing in the back corner of the yard. I'll let you know what happens.

 In the meantime, some of those wild onions where delicious in a potato onion soup with a side of oatcakes. We felt extremely Irish over here today! 

And now on to the annual Battle of the Fleas! May this years war be swift and painless.

Shopping with littles

Some time ago I decided that grocery shopping should not be stressful. I recently stumbled across a quote that solidified this: "cooking is an act of love." And since one can not cook without ingredients, shopping for food is, by association, an act of love.

 This idea probably surfaced when I started shopping alone with Emagene. Now that I have two it takes more determination to guarantee that stress is limited. First off, everyone must eat before we shop. At the very least, the trip starts with a deli purchase and some time at the cafe tables. Momma has more control over her emotions, the children aren't asking for every treat they see on the shelf, and we save money by sticking to our list and not buying everything that looks amazing!

Next, the trip is a learning experience. What am I teaching them? What am I not teaching them is a better question! They are learning how to select produce, how to follow lists, how to interact with others, how to behave in traffic. We chat with strangers over the random shelving choice to separate the cans of green chilies into 2 locations instead of lumping them all together on the same shelf. We price compare, watch the bakers use the awesome tortilla oven, and practice reading.

I try play to a characteristic at each ahop to help keep the chore lite. At one store, momma gets a coffee or a hot chocolate to share, another place we get always cookies, a third shop has amazing grilled cheese sandwiches. So I plan my trip based on time of day and which "treat" is appropriate. I try not to snack the entire time were shopping, or every time. We spend a lot more time weighing apples just because (I buy a number of apples and don't stress the weight, but its fun for emagene to use tools and she feels helpful when she has jobs.) I encourage her to pick the best peppers, or find the bag of lentils (green label with a big "L"), Or other staple products she is familiar with, like tinned olives. Sometimes I let Aoife chew on a tub of yogurt, or I buy overpriced berries and let her experience the food she's surrounded by. The whole time I apologize to everyone, stressing public politeness, and probably seem Canadian to those watching. But the girls have fun. Or at least they seem to. Their eyes are wide open and their senses are alert busily taking everything in. After shopping, we usually head home for lunch, a video or book, and a nap!
 It helps that I'm not particularly bothered with what people think of my kids, except for when I would shop with a screaming newborn and my exhausted nerves where fried. When we shop, I only notice my kids and maybe the people we're about to run over or who stop to comment on how well behaved my kids are. I take time to talk to them about what we're buying, what were going to do with it, how it got to the shop. Sometimes i make them smell the berries or knock on the watermelon. i have had more people stop to thank me for teaching my 4-year old how to grocery shop than I have had tell me I was brave for shopping with a newborn, or that I have my hands full (which happens a lot, usually when aoife is asleep in the carrier and Emagene is in one of those car carts that are horrible to steer!) 

Truthfully, when Emagene is in that manually operated amusement ride and Aoife is asleep, I can get my shopping done quick, but it isn't as fun. That's the experience I save for the last store of the day.

And now to keep the love flowing into dinner prep, that's a  completely different journey!