Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's Not Everyday

It's not everyday that I race my kid frantically from Summer play date to Summer play date.
It's not everyday that on the way home I'm stopped in gridlock in my small town.
It's not everyday that I navigate the gridlock frantically so I can to cran my neck.
It's not everyday that I see the CNN truck driving through my town.
It's not everyday that I see friends and acquaintances shake hands with a dignitary.
It's not everyday that I text with friends all over the city for status updates.
It's not everyday that I race, walk and stand in anticipation with my camera for a split second moment.
It's not everyday that the President of the United States comes to my town & I am standing 15 feet from him.
 But on that day I'm filled with pride and excitement, even though I couldn't get into the town hall as I did in the Winter of 2008 for candidate Obama, I relish the fact that as I sit in the evening and watch every national news station, my little town is front and center.

A Little Morning Dew

 look at this little fire-fly up a bit too late!

I can't think of a better way to start the day.  A round of early morning lavender gathering and a few flower cuttings for the kitchen.  The air has an almost Fall quality to it.  That refreshing coolness that is so perfect when a run of heat and humidity has broken.  What are we left with?  A little morning dew.  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quilt Along---Week 2

 Well I got a jump on it this week, I am so excited, I couldn't wait!!  Each week of the sampler will build on the skills of the week before and get a little more challenging.  I was happy this week that I seem to be getting a feel for it.  With the tutorials and prep work I did last week, I'm in a groove and the cutting went like a snap.  I pieced and sewed the blocks last night and voila, I now have to wait a whole week for the next pieces!  I will say that I seem to have developed some ability to visualize how to sew the blocks, I only needed to refer to the tutorial once during the double four patch!  So, now that I've gotten way too big for my britches, I'm sure the next assignment will seriously challenge my new found confidence :)
I'd say with both patterns they iron well but begin to look a little wavy once some time passes.  hmmmm.
Double Four Patch

I think that the last week has confirmed for me that this is why I wanted to sew.  This may be my niche and I can't wait to do more.  I'm so excited that my 9 year old Sidney has caught the bug.  She is currently sewing her mosaic/16 patch and making her own scrap quilt.   I guess she's getting a leg up on that girl scout sewing class she's signed up for in August!  

Please do go visit Amy's Creative Side!

Drunken Bird?

 We had a brief scare at lunch yesterday.  We were making our usual rounds, checking the garden, doing some light weeding, and then peaking in on the chicks (who are much more chickens and laying-hens-to-be now than chicks).  Our rooster, 'Brightheart'  appeared to be ataxic (cool veterinary word for behaving a bit like a drunk).  This led me to all kinds of googling, uncertainty and fearing all of the possibilities some of which were for the worst, not only for him but the whole group.  Fortunately, yesterday evening he appeared to be fine.  Maybe he just was a little stiff from dusting, or maybe he's doing some really funky strutting.  I was amazed at how sad and worried I felt when I saw him.  We are predator safe, and they have thrived through their chickhood, turning into beautiful birds.  As we remain alert to his behavior, here's to hoping it was a random event and we'll continue to hear his raspy crow for a long time to come.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Quilt Along---Week 1

This week was Week 1 on Amy's quilt along.  I was really excited to get started and have learned so much in this first task!  I am completely new to quilting and have been sewing for about a year now.  The squaring fabric tips and using spray starch  were both amazing tips for this excited novice!  Now that I've gotten some of these basics under my belt, A  good friend of mine is coming over this afternoon so that I can show her what to do.  B is always under the philosophy:  see one, do one, teach one.  So in that spirit, that is what I'm going to do and it should reinforce and hone my budding skills as I do.

 Classic Four Patch
Only had one do over here, for some reason I was 1/4" off when I originally cut the gold squares so I had to re-do them, but not bad for a first go.

16 Patch
I held my breath with this one, the biggest anxiety was that it would end up being a completely different size than the first.  Fortunately it came out perfectly matched.  :)

Looking forward to next weeks!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Things Kids Say

The clarity is pretty good considering I took this with my iPhone.  The kid in the white t-shirt, orange shorts and ball is Charlie and the one running toward the camera is his good buddy J.

Wow, yesterday was crazy!  After I finished up work and picked up the kids at Camp Invention, we headed to the library and then Charlie's swim lesson.  We've been crazy this  week with storms and last night was only a slight exception.  No rain, but wind and lots of dramatic clouds and lightning over the lake.  We witnessed it first hand as we had a sand volleyball match with our adult summer league (by the way we were a much better group at kickball and dodge ball, hmmmm).  The kids ran on the beach for about 45 minutes and then when the match was over we all headed down to the water to chat, have a beer and watch the kids as they ran fully clothed (impromptu decision) into the lake to splash and have great fun.  When we made it back up to the car Charlie was beaming and as he got in he said:

"I've never felt so alive!" and then he repeated it for emphasis with a huge belly laugh.  His pure excitement was infectious.

Where did this come from?  I can't imagine where he'd heard the phrase before and I think he just truly was taken by the moment and the day as a whole.

We had a repeat performance this morning when he groggily came downstairs and I asked him what he wanted for breakfast, he said:

"I wanna cup of coffee!"  I said, why do you want coffee?  To which he very seriously replied, "because I'm tired."

OK, I know where he got that one.  The things kids say!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Quilting I Go!

Fabric bundle that I purchased from fabricworm yesterday

You might have noticed a new badge on my sidebar.  I'm so excited that I found out about quilt alongs!  A main reason that I purchased my sewing machine 2 years ago was so I could learn to quilt.  Well, I  had one lesson,then it spent a year in the box, then some tinkering with teaching myself  to make aprons and create my own owl templates, and finally a crash course in 1st grade costume making.  So I'm feeling rather confident and sassy, and in true Amy spirit, I'm once again jumping in with two feet.  Of course I'm dragging my friend Karri along for the ride too ; )

Keep an eye on my first project, a sampler that I know I'll learn a tremendous amount from that will kick start my quilt making.  I plan to begin the first two blocks that were posted today this weekend,  you ready Karri? : )

Peas Please

Tis the season for peas, well almost the season for peas here on the farm.  We've been able to harvest a few so far, just enough to throw on a salad and savor.  Today a friend brought me a bag of fresh peas that she got from a local farm over the weekend~~ heaven!

So this evening, as I'm searching for dinner ideas I see that I have a container of  Buitoni's fresh cheese tortellini in the fridge.  **Gasp**  I know pasta's easy to make, and we've had great fun in our family ravioli making session, but we've used our surplus and this makes for a quick meal.  Looking longingly at the peas I decided to make a Green Pea Pesto, that is quite tasty if I do say so myself!  Thanks Mary!!

Green Pea Pesto

1 Cup Fresh Peas
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Cup Fresh Basil
1/4 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
Salt & Pepper to Taste
2/3 Cup Olive Oil (to desired consistency)
Blend in your food processor and toss in any hot pasta of your choice!


Monday, June 21, 2010

We're Off!!

 Today we did it!  We put together our first farm boxes.  Oh, the aspirations I had.  I set aside these cute little baskets to put the produce in.  Funny how vision and reality sometimes work against one another, the baskets were WAY too small for today's bulky goods!  Since it's very early in our growing season, we sent out a bounty of greens:  lettuce's, mustard's and arugula.  We wanted to protect them, so we used green bags, which work beautifully, but don't have a much of a wow factor in the looks department.  Luckily, I found a few boxes, since my baskets didn't work, but they were a little too big.  Ah, best laid plans...  In order to spruce them up I added bundles of chives, flowery sprigs of cilantro and a little bundle of daisies. 

There was also a bit of urgency we felt.  It was so hot and muggy outside today.  So we're trying to very quickly pick, rinse, package and place in boxes before things start to look stressed or wilty.  Whew!  Fortunately, what we did today we learned a lot from and should only experience this kind of urgency when dealing with these delicate greens. 

I can't wait for the future baskets full of beautiful, colorful, and some exotic looking produce!  I think I'll see if I can search out produce boxes from grocery stores to add to the look of it :)  I'm also brimming with ideas of little add-ons, recipes, helpful hints.  I could go on and on!  A word of thanks to my farm box 2010 guinea pigs, we're off!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Now That Was Refreshing!

There's never a shortage of entertainment on the farm.  It's been pretty warm today as you can see in the sequence that follows....
Now that was refreshing wasn't it?  Happy Saturday!

And The Garden Flourishes...

 This photo captures most of it, there's one row missing, but it's hard to capture the scope.  I think I need to balance on a tall ladder for the next shot! :)

As many of you know via facebook or twitter, we had a bit of an adventure on the way home.  It's a bit disconcerting when the courteously supplied flight tracker shows your plane heading to Oklahoma, then you feel the sharp turn around again and are back on course.  Hmmm the thoughts that go through your head.  Well, maybe the computer was malfunctioning.  Ah, no.  Then comes the announcement, that we've been trying to get around this storm and can't, the fuel is getting low, and we're going to have to stop and refuel in St. Louis.  We  quickly turn on the weather channel to see the massive storm hitting Chicago, as well as further North by us.  The first thought once we land isn't jeez we're stuck on a runway for an in determined amount of time with the kids (who were amazing by the way).  No, the first concern was, there's hail in this storm.  The Garden!!!

We're back in the air after 2 hours and home at 8:30 instead of 4:30.  Once we taxi I check and see photos from lots of friends about storm damage.  We're waiting on a call from a friend who was going to drive by and check out our property on his way home from work.  We are treated to an amazing electrical storm as we drive home and then get the text.  A few branches down, but no major damage!  Yea!  You may think that our concern was an over-reaction, but it is not.  This is our third summer here, and our heavily wooded property has lost at least one or two major trees that block the street or our drive each summer (one fell into the garden last summer). 

So we drive in and it's dark.  Our first stop once opening the front door is for a flashlight.  We, being the crazy garden people that as I discussed here, bound outside.  We light our way by the light of tons of fireflies (which I've never seen before July 4th since we moved here), our flashlight and the frequent bouts of lightening.  We examine every inch of the garden and it's tripled in size!  It's amazing, especially in the dark, but here's some views by the light of day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cold Irony

We have been really enjoying our time in California.  The week has been full of equal parts hustle/bustle and relaxation, and as always gone much too fast.

Many times over the years we visited the beach, but the kids never really went into the water.  This trip, it seems, ocean was priority number one.  I can see the little pre-teen emerging from my daughter in her vision of the perfect beach day.  She insisted on packing her own beach bag.  When we got there, post delicious sushi feed, she marched straight to a spot and neatly laid out her towel and set herself up.  Then off to play, on what were very mild waves. 

B and I were perfectly comfortable watching from the shoreline.  You see, we like warm water.  The pool is almost always 86-90 here.  Though you might think that is an unrealistic expectation of nature, when we go to Beaver Lake in Arkansas, the water is much the same. 

So for all of the well deserved ribbing I give my CA family who need a sweater at 60 degrees and are abashed that we are in shorts and t-shirts, my dad got right in the frigid ocean with the kids and actually said it was warm!  Now how's that for some cold irony!

Doesn't this also strike you as ironic?  The lifeguard sweeping his station??

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Can't we all just get along?

It appears that seven and nine are it. They are the bewitching ages when my lovely, loving of one another children can no longer stand to be in the same sleeping quarters together when at grandmas. Last night was a traumatic he said she said of snarky sibling bickering that ended in the inevitable tears and lack of sleep for mom and dad.

So the solution, we hope, is the homemade by mom, room divider fort. We'll see if tonight has more peace and maybe even a touch of fun camaraderie. Will a classic childhood fort end the overtired from swimming and overall vacation fun sibling rivalry? We will know in a few short hours...-

**this is my first time blogging via iPhone. How'd it turn out?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Vacation Trepidation?

Our Italian squash are sending out runners and holding on for dear life

This small time vegetable farmer is excited to head out to see her family, yet leaves with some trepidation.  As I mentioned here, we spend a great deal of time watching, babying, coaxing and simply enjoying our garden's growth process.  Now as I race around to get packed, plant the last of the seedlings from the basement and as B thins the new greens so they thrive while we're away,  I feel no small sense of anxiety to leave our garden baby.

 We've had tons of rain and everything is soggy, yet happy.  Now it's to get very hot while we're gone.  Even when we had very small gardens we were very attuned to the weather, having a new found respect for the family farmer.  But now, we're weather hawks, trying to supplement where needed and like watchful parents, making sure that this season's growth has what it needs to make it to a fruitful harvest.  I was reminded again today of the precarious life balance of our fauna, we found root maggots on our broccoli!  Same darned problem last year, but we took precautions and made changes, and yup, they're back again.  So now I'm wondering what other dangerous varmint is hiding ready to take out other plants while we're gone....

Yes, I'm slightly neurotic about this, and I'm sure it will all be fine and we'll come home to a thriving homestead.  So I resolve to put these chaotic thoughts out of my mind.  California here I come! 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Little Self-Indulgence Please...

I have been trying to figure out a way to get a hard copy of my blog as a more permanent tangible copy of this little quest called blogging that I'm on. I came across a program for Blog2Blog Print through blogger. This allows you to have you're blog posts bound into a book format.  It's fairly customizable. I chose the dates for my first year, and decided I wanted record of the comments made as well.  It came in the mail yesterday and it's beautiful!!  The quality of the print and photos came out so much better than I had expected!  My kids are bringing home there school yearbooks today, and I got to thinking about this treat that I received in the mail. In taking a little moment of self-indulgence, I now have this little yearbook.  And like with a yearbook, I can look back as I progress to where I've been.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Garden Primping

 We're having a low key and relaxing weekend.  Putting finishing touches of mulch on the garden and waiting for that brief break we get between planting and harvesting, that is growth.  We've really amped up our heavy mulch in the beds this year to minimize weeding, so we'll see.  There have also been intermittent thunderstorms which have allowed for us to skip the watering too.  We seem to have planned this years vacation well.  Not too close to harvest, and not in the middle of planting.  Ah see, we're learning!

As B and I were taking our garden stroll last night we were pointing out to one another new sprouts we found.  The spaghetti squash and second set of beans we sowed last week are all coming up, yea!  We'll leave the end of this week for Cali and most likely come home to a much changed and much larger garden.   We are always amazed at how fast and how much everything grows in the week we're gone.  I guess it's the old adage, a watched pot.  Since we won't be literally watching the garden grow on thrice daily strolls, it will be a fulfilling shock when we get back. After months of heavy labor, it is a lazy feeling this weekend, with just the usual chores and some garden primping.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

For the Love of Mustard

 Last night we had dinner at a friends house, ones that since our move it seems we too infrequently get together.  We supplied the first real salad from the garden. Since we planted the stir-fry mix in the cold frames we did a Spicy Mustard Salad with Blueberries and Gorgonzola.  What an amazing combination of flavors!  There is something so special about these spicy greens that seem to go with everything.  The mustard makes a great topper on a roast beef sandwich, so you have the flavor of horseradish and the crisp green all in one.  Though this salad is not for the faint of heart, the sweet blueberries and rich cheese so balance the spice that anyone can be introduced to this amazing green.   So, when you're at the local farmers market, don't shy away from these greens, they are well worth the try.

Spicy Mustard Salad

Red Mustard Leaves
Asian Red Kale Leaves
Mizspoona Leaves 
Gorgonzola Cheese
White Balsamic Dressing (we cheated this time and used bottled Girard's)

**I'm sure it would be tasty too with some toasted pine nuts!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Snow

The last couple of days the sky has been full of floating grace.  Now, I know not everyone will feel this way, some homes look like they have small snow drifts in front of them.  But this morning, the floating tufts reminded me of when I first saw them.  Seventeen years ago I met a friend for an epic road trip.  We were driving from Kansas City down to New Orleans.  Once we hit Mississippi, the air was filled with these little cotton balls and it was like nothing I'd ever seen before.  I'm not sure what made the trip epic.  Two young women traveling cross country and exploring on our own, or the fact that I met the man who was going to be my husband.  Today I look onto the softly floating cotton and am whisked back almost two decades, (am I old enough to say that???)  to that trip that forever changed my life.


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