Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Links 2009

Just placeholding. I think this is PERFECT for our family: http://www.commonsensepress.com/GSA-sample_lesson/gs-lesson.htm

They're seen in action here: http://handmadehomeschool.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/tiny-books/

Along with these, which I think are fabulous as well! http://kindovermatter.blogspot.com/2009/03/kind-over-matter-books.html

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Sunny Father's Day

And summer finally showed up!
P-daddy and I were around for this marvelous day-- it was what he wanted to do for Father's Day, after all-- but I am not showing beach pix of us. No thank you!

I still don't know what it was. Don't care to know!

G-girl's repose on a floating dock.
They normally wouldn't be able to reach it, but it was an unusually low tide.

D-meister the firebender

Friday, June 12, 2009

Diffendoofers at the Library

Peninsula Library was kind enough to offer us a tour of their library, inside and out. The children enjoyed seeing the secret spots as much as the adults did, I think. Those who didn't have them were allowed to sign up for library cards. It was a good event, and a nice way to reconnect with our homeschooling friends after a tough spring for most of us.

Monday, June 08, 2009

First meal of the year

Of the gardening year that is....

Last night we had a stir fry with pak choi and basil from our garden. :)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Medium Thing Really Loves Chicks

N-man really has a lot of affection for the chicks. I hope his eagerness to care for them continues after they've lost their down and their sweet little peeping voices. Given his behaviour regarding our friends' chickens, I suspect he will, and will continue down this path to become a Chicken Master. Even before we got the chicks, I took him to our friend's house so he could commune with their chickens. Her daughters are responsible for the care of their flock, so he has some good precedent in there.

After having met her flock, he pined for them. One of her children gets all moon-eyed over the chickens as well, so the two of them can be all chicken-loving together. He refers to this little girl as The Chicken Master, and she quite modestly goes about the business of showing him how to do everything from feeding and watering to gathering eggs. She's happy to instruct someone, it seems, who 'gets it."

Me, I don't get it. I just want eggs and some garden fertilizer. I do talk to them and hold them. They're cute! I just won't wub them. They know me pretty well, too, although I address myself as Big Thing. "It's ok, Big Thing will fix the water." They definitely recognize me as the Big Thing that brings the water and food. A few days ago, while I was doing dishes, I heard N-man come in to talk to the chicks.

"Hi! It's Medium Thing!"

This is the new improved brooder, which we went to after the Screeching Chick incident at the sleepover.

Gardening is Up

pictured: pak choi, five varietals of lettuce, celery (under cloches), acorn squash, vidalia onion, marigold, nasturtium, beet, tomatillo, spaghetti squash, spinach, fennel, black valentine bush beans

Here are some shots of the front gardens. My ailing camera went kaput on me, asking for more energy (shaw! who needs recharging?) so I really didn't get much taken today. Even people who know me well will see things they won't recognize. P-daddy and I have been very busy during these troubling months. Focusing on life and beauty helps us through.

Our Lady of the Spent Rhododendron

We took Food Not Lawns seriously and built a number of raised beds in the front yard. We're experimenting this year with square foot gardening. I have been pretty enthusiastic about it, doing everything Just Right. Shortly after I installed everything in the front, I began reading Gardening When It Counts, written by a PNW gardening guru who founded Territorial Seed Company and now resides in Tasmania. He leads his book with why bio-intensive gardening (SFG) is a Very Bad Idea in poor economic times. Le Sigh.

The fruit trees in among the garden boxes.
Foremost tree is from the Cherry Deer Incident

I still have huge honking garden beds in the back, and I had already planned to row plant them anyway. It assuaged my anxiety as I read the book, making me feel like I wasn't totally off the mark. I haven't ready something so down-to-brass-tacks about horticulture since college. This is a garden writer who takes the reader seriously, which I certainly appreciated.

The Rose-Herb Garden remains a thorn (haha!) in my side. Reclaiming this huge, broad bed from the manicured rhododendron-in-beauty bark bed that was there before has been a monumental task. We haven't spent one month ignoring it since we moved here nearly four years ago, and we're still slogging it. This particular bed will have the biggest visual impact of anything we have done when we get it finished, but it's the worst kind of thankless work getting it there; it's the sort of task-set people who don't like to garden think about when they say "I don't like to garden." Fortunately, I do like to garden. To that fact, add that I also love herbs and roses AND I like a good challenge, and it's ~L~ versus the garden bed. Along with some (finally! finally!) earthworms, ~L~ may be winning at last.

Rose bordering the herb gardens

pictured: salad burnet, lemon thyme, culinary thyme, chives, oregano, chocolate mint

A few from the back:

We're trying to grow some tomatoes upside down this year. We have two topsy turvies, with a roma in each. In the background you can see the sunflower house and beyond that, the net we're planning to use to grow the snap peas we have started and waiting.

The sunflower house is all volunteer this year. The cherry-eating deer literally slaughtered our sunflower starts. (We have to start them because of the slugs there in the rock wall adjacent to the sunflower patch.)

The strawberry patch is perennial now. It needs some weeding attention, but otherwise, it pretty much does its own thing now.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby

Except I think she's officially a tween?

She chose a slumber party this year instead of the chaotic backyard affairs we normally put on. She must love her mother. G-girl planned the menu and the activities (battle rings! hiking) while Mom ran waitress duty. There was a particularly sweet moment, for me at least, when the girls asked me what I was doing.

"Clipping roses. I have made you a rose bouquet for your birthday." They responded with much giggling and twittering, a little too excited about the roses.

"That's what we're doing!" they replied in unison. "Becca decided to give me a birthday bouquet too!" They'd been in the forest gathering wildflowers while I'd been getting the roses.
The girlies had a good time while P-daddy (mostly) kept the boys occupied. After D-meister went to bed, I was grateful that G-girl invited N-man to watch the movies with them. He returned the favor by being quiet as a mouse, grateful to be included. He was so quiet, I was unaware of when he went to bed.

Tired girlies who don't look very tired at all!

The girls had a blast-- staying up until about 2 am (that's when I finally gave up hanging out with them)-- and then being awakened a wee bit too early for anyone's taste at 7 am by a recalcitrant chick that had flown the brooder. They rescued the screeching peep and then were right back at the party business of giggling and chatting. P-daddy said it sounded like we had two flocks of chickens in the house.

Around 11 am, after a huge actual-birthday breakfast of sausage, fruit salad and strawberry shortcake, we took 2/3 of our guest girlies into town for the Maritime Festival, where they got to enjoy a parade and the kiddie section until they met up with their Moms. It sure was nice of the city to throw G-girl a parade and a party for her birthday!

The "Berthday" girl and her friend!

I remember little you......

She didn't do this with her cake this year....

she still gives us this expression when we interrupt her....

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Peep Peep

From one farm animal to another this week, I suppose!

Monday, June 01, 2009

It happened. I am THAT woman.

It's 92 degrees outside, on what Jesse calls a chaos cleaning day. I have enough done in my garden that I can take one day (well I did plant three herb transplants and fertilize some containers, but that's nothing) off from burning the doohickeys out of myself. Laundry it is.

(Interspersed with a Netflix on demand festival for the children of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Keeps the computer occupied so I will actually, you know, clean!)

Anyway, I was walking from the back, recycling the bathroom reading materials when I saw it out the front door. It was eating my cherry tree. Right in front of my open front door. If you know me, you know what a misdemeanor that is. I screamed. I dashed my recycling to the floor, saving one magazine for rolling it up and brandishing it as a weapon.

Picture then, if you will:
a middle-aged, overweight blonde woman in a sports bra and khaki capris,
screaming and chasing a deer down the street.