Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Tale of Two Brines

 This has been turn your cucumbers into pickles week at our house.  As I posted here, we're very excited to be doing our first old fashioned brined dill pickles.  We just need a place to put it other than in the middle of the kitchen counter.  Anyone want to come over and help us get the butcher block moved in from the barn?? ;)

Having this process under our belts we moved on to our favorite bread and butter pickles.  I was able to process one batch with a left over seasoning packet from last year, but needed more to keep going.  I had no idea that it would be so difficult to find!  After driving and calling all over town, I found the closest seasoning wasn't going to be delivered for 2 weeks!  Too long to wait for the pile of English Cukes accumulating in the fridge.  So I began to research making them from scratch. 
 We do so much from scratch, I guess I never thought of the seasoning mix as cheating. I went out and grabbed the few seasonings I was missing and began this morning.  Interestingly, every recipe called to brine the cukes with onions for 3 hours then drain them before placing in jars and filling with the hot liquid mixture.  I'm interested to see how this process affects the taste and texture of the pickles.   So often we take the 'short cuts' to make things a bit easier for our busy lives.  But, the ten minutes to put the veggies in brine didn't interfere.  Them sitting around doing their thing for 3 hours really doesn't stop me from accomplishing other tasks.  And you know what?  Not only do I know the source of every ingredient, I'll bet these will taste a ton better too! 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Owl Watching

 Could this abandoned nest be his/her home??

I've become rather obsessed.  Two nights ago, B called me to the window to see this giant owl sitting low on a branch in the maple tree.  I race for my camera, and he swooped away just as I was raising my lens and before I could catch it.  I love these majestic creatures.  I remember as a child, we had an owl in the neighborhood that we caught a glimpse of periodically.  Since we've moved to the homestead I will occasionally hear a pair of owls.  They do seem to be somewhat social creatures and like to hoot back and forth.  The last time I heard them was this winter, well spring in many places, but still winter-like here.  I went out early one March morning to the sound of an owl pair gently talking back and forth across the yard. 

The birds this year have been amazing.  It's either an extension of the oddly warm weather we have had, or it has something to do with the fact that I have proactively tried to place multiple bird feeders.  On several occasions, there have been a gaggle of crows loudly ho-ranging something high in the hickory tree.  Last night there were a few loud finch like birds aggressively going after something.  I realized they are trying to chase away this large owl living among the boughs.
 Woodpecker captured while on the owl quest

So this evening as I walked outside at dusk, I marveled at the birds all around me headed to roost.  The last of the hens were clucking their way in.  Robins, cardinals, finches, woodpeckers and everything in between seemed to be hurrying across the sky to their various homes.  Our humidity has broken leaving less dense and fresher air. Tonight, the singing voices of these avian are only eclipsed by the crickets emerging in the cool night air.  I kept a watchful eye, but haven't caught sight of the wise old predator.  I will continue to search for him and hope to capture a shot to share.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Love this Crock!

 I <3 this crock!!!  

It has been such a busy few weeks in the garden.  Harvest has really kicked in, a full month early, and it keeps coming.  Interestingly, the bounty does seem to be staging itself, with lots of  beans, squash and cucumbers the last couple of weeks, and tomatoes just coming.  Last year we had tomatoes and cukes at the same time. Though we had some amazing Greek salads, it was too much all at once. 

I emailed our farm basket recipients today that this will be an off week.  We need to do a little preservation catch up here at the homestead.  We raced home today at lunch after dropping Sid at Girl Scout camp.  In a phenomenal husband/wife assembly line, we blanched another 8 quarts of green beans and put up our first real brined dill's in the amazing crock above!  (did I mention we did this with the 50 minutes that remained of our lunch break from work??)

I haven't posted as often about the daily harvest stuff on the homestead.  If you'd like to see how we're doing, check out the Back to the Garden link above :)

I love the crock I picked up last week.  Here's the recipe, if you're looking for some good Old-Fashioned Brined Dill Pickles:

20 lbs. pickling cucumbers, 3-6 inches long
3/4 cup whole mixed pickling spice 
2-3 bunches fresh dill
2 1/2 C. Vinegar
1 3/4 C. Salt
2 1/2 Gallons Water

Cover cucumbers with cold water and wash thoroughly but gently.  Remove blossom ends.  Place 1/2 of pickling spice (we found that one spice jar was about 1/2 cup) and a layer of dill in a 5 gallon crock or glass container.  Fill the crock with cucumbers to within no more than 5 inches of the top.  Place a layer of dill and the remaining pickling spice on the top of the Cucumbers.

Mix vinegar, salt and water and pour over the cucumbers.  Cover the cucumbers with a heavy plate that fits inside the crock.  Place a weight on the plate to keep the cucumbers submerged and completely covered by the brine (we used a mason jar, filled with water as the weight). Cover the crock loosely with a clean cloth.  Keep the pickles at room temperature, ideally at 68-75 degrees.  In about 3-5 days, scum will start to form on the brine.  Remove it daily with a metal spoon.
Do not stir pickles.  Always keep them completely submerged in brine.  Add more brine as necessary, following the original proportions of vinegar to salt to water. 

After 3 weeks of fermentation, the dills will be ready to put up in jars.  At this point, the brine may be cloudy due to the development of yeast during the fermentation period.  Strain the brine, or make a fresh brine of 1/3 cup salt and 4 cups vinegar to 1 gallon water.  The strained brine makes a better pickle because its flavors have blended with the cucumbers and dill.  Bring the brine to a boil.  Pack the pickles, along with some of the dill from the crock, into clean, hot quart jars (boil jars for 3 minutes prior to filling).  Do not pack too tightly.  Cover the pickles with hot brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace; seal.  Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  If you'd like a garlic flavor, you can add a clove to each jar when you process.

*This recipe adapted from www.thatsmyhome.com

Yields 9-10 quarts.





Quilt Along---Week 6

This weeks blocks were fun!  There is something so peaceful to me (no pun intended) about putting blocks together.  Sidney began a four day Sew Basics & Sew Intermediate summer camp through the girl scouts this week.  She's had a great time through day one and completed a pillowcase so far.  She had a hiccup when she sewed her opening shut and got to experience the seam ripper.  Funny thing too as I'll mention in a minute.
Cross # 5
I'm finding one of the most challenging parts as we get further along, trying to decide which fabrics to use as I slowly reach the end of certain ones.

New Album
I went ahead and did the cream colored center as traditional.  I'd like to try to put something in the center if I can work around the fact that I finished the rest of the block.  **funny thing, as Sid had to learn about seam ripping yesterday, I sewed the second two triangles on the center reversed and had to do a little seam ripping myself!

Several of you have wanted to see how Sid's blocks are coming.  She's a few weeks behind me, but had collected quite a bit of scrap fabric preparing for her classes and is excited to incorporate them as we go on.  Here' s where she's at so far....

Friday, July 23, 2010

What to Do in an Outdoor Sauna

 Today we did some of our first canning, bread and butter pickles & tomatillos!

Last night was severe weather and 3 inches of rain where we are, and we were lucky, since areas just north had upwards of 7 inches.  So the atmosphere is saturated and out comes the sun.  It's 90 degrees and 67 percent humidity with more storms on their way!  Wow, this season has been crazy.  It's been much warmer than usual and very wet.  The garden has flourished and produced much earlier than in the past, which has led to a jump start on stocking our freezer.  We have also had time to plant a second crop of many things for a fall harvest.  This will double up on some of our food storage items. 

Today began with taking the kids out for breakfast as a treat and trying to find berries along the railroad tracks.  We were too late to take advantage of the wild berries for jam, they were all gone.  In the last couple of weeks I have seen the tell tale shortening of light in our days, and yesterday I saw half a dozen trees that are tinged with the beginnings of fall color!  Typically we can see some color by the middle/end of August, but July!?  To top it off, I did a little bit of mowing late this afternoon and our apple trees are dropping ripe apples....hello Mother Nature...it's July!

So what does one do when you walk outside and it's a sauna?  You could put on your spa gear and simply sit outside for a steam, but we tend to work in spurts, collapse on the couch in between, put up produce, and marvel in the fact that this summer seems to almost be a double season for us.  Maybe that's because of this crazy weather, or maybe we're just getting better and better at what we're doing. I'm relishing every bit of summer and looking forward to my favorite of seasons approaching by what seems to be leaps and bounds.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Beach Night

 The kids are always excited about Wednesday nights.  It is beach night.  This summer, it is the night of our beach volleyball league.  Now I must say we as a group of 30 & 40 somethings rocked at our kickball league and at dodge ball!  We really seem to suck at volleyball.  Let's put it this way, we're having a ton of fun, but each match is made up of three games, and we're lucky if we win one of the three.  By the end we are covered with sand, and have collectively dove, slipped and made sporadic moves that I'm sure qualify us for some kind of award in a "Back to School" kind of way.  

The kids however, get to play like fiends for about an hour then get to enjoy the lake for a bit while the grown ups chat and have a beer.  I almost said that they get to enjoy the lake, swimming in the sunset, but I realized that was more myself, enjoying watching this ritual.  No matter how busy the day, there is something about the beach that affects us all, children and grown ups alike.  Maybe for different reasons, but the peace that comes from the grandeur and openness is a great ending to even the busiest, most tiring day. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quilt Along---Week 4

This weeks blocks for Amy's Quilt Along were fun! Only three more weeks of blocks left, and then we get to start adding the sashing.  I can't wait to see how that goes.  I'm having a hard time picturing being able to handle the ever growing piece on my sewing machine!
6-Grid Chain
We began with this this week.  I really like putting these together, the way you layer feels a little like a log cabin.  I checked, and rechecked several times, and I think this one is my closest to spot on for the corners of the chain.


Four Square Variation with Hourglass Blocks

Though easy to cut, this one took me a little longer to put together.  I didn't like sewing to the point of the triangles.  I'm guessing that is the benefit of the HST's.  Once again, thanks Amy for the great instructions.  Looking forward to next week!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Crazy Vines and Farm Baskets

The decorative frondy item in the back are the parsnip seeds that just finished in the garden.  The second years growth on parsnips aren't for fruit but to go to seed!
 I find that I've been remiss in posting garden box updates!  Since I posted this, we've put out two more boxes and are going to be ready to put out a third by mid-week.  I don't know where the time goes.  The summer is flying and we're so excited about all of this heat.  I know, I know it's crazy, but this years garden is well ahead and it's really fun to see what it will produce!  Last night we had to actually cut off the Italian Squash and our Crafter's Gourds.  The vines are insanely vigorous and there is so much fruit started on them.  We decided to cut them back a little so the plant could put it's energy toward growing the fruit and not just vining all over the place.   All of the squash is doing beautifully!  It's looking like we'll have ton's of winter squashes for storage.

We haven't had much luck with pumpkins the last two years so we didn't focus on them this year.  We had three seeds left and planted them with a take it or leave it mentality.  Well, with little effort, this warm, wet summer has given us three huge vines that are now putting on pumpkins!  To top it all off, we had what we thought was a volunteer Cucumber plant growing out by the asparagus.  We left it to vine for two reasons, to see what would happen, and because early on we weren't sure how many of our cucumber plants would make it.  It's thriving, and seems to be growing into a watermelon with several fruits started!

I digress.....As to the purpose of this post, the farm baskets :)  Week two brought more lettuce's.  We had another head of butter lettuce, spicy salad greens, arugula, a little swiss chard and a few bulbs of fennel for each basket.  Week three, you could see further progression.  A bag filled half with arugula and half with spicy salad greens,  about 1/2 lb. of green beans for each family,  three more fennel bulbs, a zucchini, an Italian squash, and a jar of our freshly made red currant jam.  This week should see more beans, some cucumbers and more squash.  The lettuces seam to be waning so we're looking to a fall crop once the weather starts to begin it's cool down.  We're getting ready for our second planting and are hoping to rotate through the fall with more new items.  Guess what's on the wish list??  This very cool system, we'll see, maybe we can have some fresh produce year round!  Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Re-living History?

B and I went on our first float trip in September of 1995.  We met up with some out of town acquaintances (through Vet School), and had on taps a beautifully hot Southern Nevada day.  Our course was on the Colorado River from the base of the Hoover Dam to Needles, California.  A mere 25 miles and a fabled three hour tour.  Let's just say this epic journey involved a great start, a loss of car keys to the bottom of the river, then zero current, 12 hours floating, a gorgeous full moon, an attempt to go for help on the Paiute reservation, a rattle snake, the auto club and exhaustion.

So you could say we had mixed feelings of excitement and trepidation when getting ready for our first float trip since, this weekend.  We made a great early start, and got to the camp ground and river entrance in good time.  We were a little concerned when we looked at the river, seemed a little high.  Then we found out the river was closed to tubes, kayaks, etc due to dangerous water conditions.  We then gazed at the blazing sun on the prairie we were to camp on (at the end of the day) and thought yikes this could be a tough day.  Not only that there were tons of people in the small pool area compensating for their loss of river time, so it wasn't quite the family scene if you know what I mean.

 We scrambled in the parking lot and I was able to secure three camp sites at the Jellystone Park in the Wisconsin Dells!  We got back in the car and trekked.  Once there, found a beautiful wooded camp area, water park for the kids, and a not so flooded river area (with zero current, this time we didn't mind we didn't want to get too far away).  The trip was highlighted by great friends, B helping with a water rescue, and our first family (my first ever) camping experience.  We got to spend the night listening to a thunderstorm roll all around us, and the sound of raindrops on canvas.  Though we didn't have much sleep, we took our time coming home and admired the country sites all the way home.  So, this time some fifteen years later, we didn't re-live history, we had a great adventure, made the best, and have new stories to tell.
 (**note, don't go out on a kayak if you can't swim....double note, 6 large adults who can't swim and who don't have much balance to speak of should never go out on a kayak....triple note, once you tip, DON'T try to continually get on top of the flooded kayak or you risk panicking and ending up under it!),

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Beautiful, Simple Birthday Wish


To the beautiful Christina, who shares her thoughtful and calming words about life, that help me learn to slow down and enjoy.  Have a wonderful birthday and enjoy your day!  In her honor, I think today about the simple and wonderful things that make my heart sing.

The summer light as it sifts gently down through the trees

*
Spending and exhausting yet exhilarating day at camp with my boy

*
My new found love of cutting, and putting the puzzle of a quilt block together

*
Long strolls through the garden watching all of the beauty grow and flourish
(I may have enough spaghetti squash for the city by fall, I could get you some Christina!)

*
Listening to the rooster crow

*
Sitting by a local lake, listening to the birds sing and feeling the breeze off of the water

*
Discussing dreams with my true love

*
My dearest girl, exited to join me in any crafty adventure

*

Capturing a beautiful moment through my lens

*

Taking a deep breath and smiling

Have a wonderful birthday Christina, you make all of our hearts sing with your words!



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Quilt Along---Week 4

 I feel like a kid on Christmas morning every Monday when I peek to see what the next blocks are!  Crazy hugh?  B loves to spend time in his wood shop and I think I can finally understand the draw of something where you measure once, twice and then again then fit the pieces together.  Anywhoooo I was a little intimidated when Amy said that we were going to be doing more HST's this week, but then encouraged that she usually saves them for last and figured we might as well jump in.   So let's see where I ended up this week.
Log Cabin Block

This is the Mosaic. 
After much frustration, trying to figure out how to use my standard measure, I looked to some of the completed blocks by other quilters and heard the advise about a square ruler.  Silly me, I'd asked Amy two weeks ago for any must haves and I bought this ruler.  I guess I just didn't put two and two together, until this
 afternoon, when I finally used this ruler to trim my HST's!  It's amazing how excited I am getting over these little revelations :)

The completed blocks through week 4

Monday, July 12, 2010

Stand and Be Counted?


I have been hearing on the news that it's coming.  Then in this article today in the New York Times it seems to be official.  The census is wrapping up.  Those who didn't mail in their papers had home visits in order to be included.  Not only that, if they weren't home, then there was a secondary and even a third visit to get this accomplished.  This provided much needed jobs for many who were in need and sadly those individuals will be out looking again.

WHAT, it's over?  I would like to add a family of four to the count please.  We never received our mailer (at either house).  In April there was a sticker on the door of other house from someone attempting a visit (keeping in mind this is a house that was visibly vacant).  Worried that we'd be missed I called the number on the form to our local census office.  I was told that they'd update the information reflecting the vacant house.  She also assured me we'd have a home visit at our new house (you know the one we've lived in and received mail at for the last 3 years).  When I heard the news story last month that final visits were happening I called again.  Again, I was assured someone would complete the visit. I inquired whether I could pick up paperwork to submit and was informed that wasn't possible, they don't have those forms, they were only received by mail at the residence. It makes me wonder how many, like me, have been missed;  tried to be counted and been looked over?  So maybe 4 little people wouldn't skew the population much, not skew the number of voting representatives we have, but I'm guessing there's more than just our little nuclear family. 

So,  I stood waiving my arms above my head, and calling: "hey don't forget us!"  Yet, we still stand uncounted.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A New Appreciation for the Porch

Six chili entries, Five Chili quencher entries, a thunderstorm, a rainbow, firefly catching, basketball, bad mitten, and fireworks were the ingredients to this years chili cook off.  The storms were supposed to have passed by 6 pm, but at 7 the sky darkened, the wind picked up and after referring to my iPhone, I made the decision to hike all of the tables up onto the wrap around porch.  This was quite a scene as the tables were covered in dishes and crock pots full of chili, we worked as a great team and lost nothing has we headed up the porch steps with the tables.  Hmmm maybe a category for next years cook off, chili table balancing...  Good timing, 20 minutes later downpour! 

What lesson did I learn?  Our porch is the perfect place to have a party!  Plenty of room for all of the food tables, lots of chairs and friends kicking back in clusters or walking around and chatting while watching a thunderstorm.  It was so relaxed.  Sitting on the porch sipping libations and simply enjoying had the feel of a party on a southern plantation.  Once the weather passed, everyone stayed put, we watched the bonfire roar from across the yard and the kids ventured out to roast marshmallows and catch fireflies.  The evening ended with sparklers, fireworks and lots of very tired, dirty and happy kids headed to dreamland.
 I now have a new appreciation for the wrap around porch that I've always loved, but never truly utilized.  From now on it will be a central thought in my planning.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Some Women Want Diamonds

We spent the day excitedly preparing for our third annual Chili Cook off on the farm!  The summer we moved here we began the tradition.  Families bring chili entries, or a side if they prefer.  Nothing like tasting hot chili's in July!  I'll write more of this later on when I can fill you in on this year's shenanigans.  So, back to the prep.  We started at 7:00 am in the garden doing our morning rounds, then shopping for last minute chili items.  Then it was to the primping of the homestead.  For me, that means mowing, lots of it.  I was towing the leaf collector with me today to pick up clippings, as to ensure good volleyball  and bad mitten games.  After needing to mow in first at a painfully slow, monotonous and bumpy rate, I spent much of my day dreaming of my true desire.  Now, I'm settling in for the evening, and bone tired, today's mowing reverberating through my body, and certain that I'll have sweet dreams this evening.  Some women dream of diamonds,  I dream of a small John Deere tractor with a mower deck, snow plow, front loader & oh so much more!  Happy Weekend All!
I can totally see myself on this!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Getting My Ducks In A Row

 This little family stopped traffic as we were driving  back to work today

With all of our warm weather and rain, the garden is more than thriving...it's taken on quite a life of it's own.  Very exciting, we're beginning to harvest squash about three weeks earlier than normal and we're soon to have lots of green beans too!  I decided that since the garden got a jump on us, I'd better get a jump on my food storage.  I knocked out my first double batch of pesto (enough for 6 meals), and two zucchini casseroles for the freezer.  It only took me an hour to get it all done, well, actually an hour and 20 minutes.  Of course, I got most of the way through cooking and realized I was missing a key assembly component and had to go back to the store.  Grrrr.   Despite that, I had a productive early evening and if I can keep this up, maybe I won't have to worry about cooking at all on busy school nights next fall and winter!   How's that for getting my ducks in a row?  ;-)

Zucchini (squash) Casserole

2 lbs zucchini (or any summer squash, I love the Italian Squash) Sliced
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 C. cottage cheese
1 C. instant brown rice
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. Herbs de Provence
1 Can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 C. grated cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray (I use disposable pans when I'm freezing these).  Layer 1/2 of the squash on the bottom of the pan.  Brown meat with onion and add in garlic, and seasonings.  When fully browned stir in rice.  Place meat mixture on top of squash in the pan.  Spread the cottage cheese over the meat layer, then layer with remaining squash.  Spread can of soup over top of squash and top with cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and turning brown.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Quilt Along---Week 3

Quilt Along week three has been a lot of fun and more challenging.  We were introduced to two new piecing techniques that we'll be able to utilize over and over again in the future.  If you haven't had a chance yet, hop over to  Amy's Creative Side and see all of the great things going on! 
Two by Three block
 This block I used strip piecing for the first time.  What a time saver, that is until you're down to cutting the last piece and cut it an inch short.  Ah well, that's what happens when you're listening to the Tour de France and cutting at the same time.  Fortunately, it was just the one piece so the do over wasn't a big deal.

Snowball Variation 
 In this block I used Half Square Triangles (HST's).  I needed to read and re-read the directions on this one to get the triangles done.  Thankfully, it wasn't too hard once I started.  My real challenge came with squaring up the bias.  Yikes!  I'm going to need some more practice on that one!

Another fun week down!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Gotta Love a Small Town Parade!

 Nothing can describe the sound of the beginning of Racine's pre-parade.  Yes, that's what I said, there is a precursor to our famous 4 hour fourth of  July parade.  When we lived downtown, that's how we knew when to leave the house, the thunder of military vehicles driving up our street and the distant song of multiple fire engines en route to the parades step off point. (Sadly the military vehicles are virtually all deployed right now).  Now, we arrive early, park in the old neighborhood, and begin our walk.  The streets are filled with excitement, revelry, and street vendors that entice every child with noise makers, candies and amazingly large and out of proportion toys.

The beginning of the parade is marked with a fly over by a couple of A-10's.  Something about seeing these planes always gives me the chills.  A tradition for us, as great as the parade itself, is hanging with dozens of friends new and old at our friends house.  There is always lots of food and drink, a front row seat, fun for the kids and familiar faces. 
It was a wonderful, fun, yet hot and humid day.  Charlie had his moment of extreme disappointment,  the worst kind, that he wasn't receiving an overpriced, poor quality toy, but he ultimately got over it.  It's only fitting that those children who were tremendously sugared up, needed a lift home because they just couldn't make it.  It was all just too taxing all of that fun, so those of us remaining, finished the walk. Then we all  crashed in our respective areas (adults and children that is) and enjoyed cool camaraderie and a good movie.

Birthday Kindness


Today is the Dalai Lama’s 75th birthday. Se’lah of Necessary Room had a beautiful idea in celebration of this milestone. In building a bridge of love, many of us in the blogosphere are practicing random acts of kindness today. A simple concept of Thich Nhat Hanh has resonated with me.

"Breathing in I calm my body. Breathing out I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment!"                                    Thich Nhat Hanh

This is certainly not a new or crazy idea. Whether it’s something large or small, every kind act helps to make someone’s day better. We are such a busy society, never having time to wait a split second. There is a need for immediate gratification and seems to be no patience. A great example of this can be seen daily on our roads. Everyone has such tunnel vision, only seeing where they need to go with no interference. Many wouldn’t even consider the courtesy of letting another merge in traffic. Why not take a momentary breath, smile and wave someone in?

Today I was dealing with a customer service manager regarding a business problem. Instead of laying into her, I took the opposite approach and turned what could have been a negative situation into a positive one. Which on this day after a holiday weekend, I’m sure made it easier for her to face her next client interaction.

So many times a good deed, a good thought, paying a kindness forward and exacting positive change on those around you, is simply a breath and a smile away.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Illustrator

 Since Sid was very small, she's had an interest in anything crafty.  She's taken lots of different art classes through our local museum and enjoyed them all.  When I started sewing, she immediately wanted to learn.  She is so excited about my quilting, that she's also making her own blocks as we go.

As all children do, she's thought seriously and changed her mind often about what she wants to be when she grows up.  She started out wanting to be a dentist, then a veterinarian, then a cat rescue.  What seems to have stuck through all of it (at least this far) is art, specifically drawing.  I remember realizing about a year ago that she had a unique way of looking at things.  She likes to sketch and shade and work in black and white because "color is too distracting."  She has several notebooks that she keeps with her and draws in them all of the time.  This spring she took the title of her favorite book series and drew it as a very cool caricature, in black and white of course.

Like her dad and I, she feels very drawn by the importance of family.   So it was interesting the other day when on the way home, she seemed to be reconciling what she wanted to do.  As she was drawing in the back seat of the car she announced:

"I want to be an illustrator, that way I can do what I love, go into work once and a while, and stay home with my family."

She will continue to grow and develop new ideas of what she wants to be as she experiences more and more of life.  I think her priorities and heart are in the right place.   Certainly, wherever she ends up, creativity will be an important part of who she is.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Babies

 Baby English Cucumber, Baby, Gourd, Baby Green Bean & Baby Italian Squash

Summer is in full swing!  It's been such a lovely warm summer and everything big and small seems to be thriving.  I can remember many a fourth of July here in Wisconsin, where we needed sweaters and stood huddled in small clusters while we watched the parade.  Not this year.  Yesterday morning I heard the first clear sound of the summer cicada.  To me, this sound is like catching site of the first firefly.  It's magical.  It makes me take a deep breath in and smile.  I wish you all a fourth full of love, family,  friends and those special moments where you take a deep breath, time slows a bit, and you simply smile.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June PAD

This is the summary of my submissions for the Blog Camp 365 picture a day group on Flickr.  Please take a look at all of the wonderful submissions from campers!

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