Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Snapshot - Hay Now

We've lived on this property off and on for 8 + years (the off part during the initial re-build from the fire). When we moved here, the property had been sorely neglected. There was trash and farm implements everywhere, downed trees, dying trees, decaying trees, bags of cat litter and one huge 18' uncovered hole full of every kind of imaginable waste- leaking batteries and clothes and toys and kitchen trash and disugting whoknowswhat; rolls of barbed wire, downed barb wire, leg slicing barbed wire in the corners of the fields and in the middle of the fields and underneath where we were walking in the yard. There were weeds and varmits everywhere. We have cleaned and hauled and seeded and mowed and taken to the dump and chopped down and chopped up trees and mowed down weeds and prayed over the whole mess for over half a decade. It looks a whole lot better, and now that the pastures full of wormwood are gone, it smells better, too.
 Last week our county neighbor  Stan came and hayed 4 pastures. He also found a buyer right away and the hay is already at it's new home. From trash to treasure.
Small thing.  Huge victory.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Snapshot 6- Garden Pastels

I love gourmet salad mixes and because it was so warm this spring I planted ours in March. We have had lovely salad all spring. In the pack was Swiss Chard and we have Bright Lights Swiss Chard growing up lovely amidst the greens and reds of the salad and spinach. Bright Lights have stalks of bright yellow or pink and last night we made a delish side dish.

Make a white sauce,seaon with Spike or Seasoned Salt, add any kind of cheese.
Steam chard stems 2 min. Steam chard leaves 1 min. Drain well.
Add chard to white sauce and mix well. Pour into buttered baking dish, bake until bubbly.

Did you know chard was a type of beet? Not my fav veggie, but you can't beat organic, fresh and beautiful.

What are you eating from your garden?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Snapshot 5- Pool Noodles

I spent a fair amount of my childhood in and around pools, hours and hours, really. I became a life guard at age 15, a WSI at 18 and guarded and taught Red Cross swimming through high school and college and at camps,  swam on a swim team and basically had a wardrobe of swimming suits each summer (1-piece Speedos, racing back, all the way, baby. Well, except for the string bikini that had huge magenta flowers all over it I bought at Disney World when I was 16. Those were the days....But I digress..). Anyhow, I'm old enough to observe that pool noodles are a realatively new phenomenon. In all of my hours and years pool side as a youth, there was never anything like a pool noodle. Or floatees for that matter. My dad's method of teaching us the important skill of learning to swim? Throw em' in the lake. If we fought  to survive, he figured we were  keepers. No mamsy pamsy little floaties for his progeny, no sirree, bob. We all lived and ended up excellent swimmers but none of us have fond memories of Dad's draconian educational methods. Bu I digress. Back to the pool noodle.... Sure they are fun to float around with. But the true beauty and inspiration of a pool noodle lies in one's ability to shoot water through it.

Oh.My.Word. Flower and I had way, way too much fun yesteday ganging up on Cub and water noodle shooting. We were laughing so hard I was pretty sure one of us would drown (most likely me- my fight to survive has most likely been killed off by middle age). Between the water shooting and the laughing and the slipping, sliding and noodle grabbing we splashed a significant amount of water out of the pool where it instantly evaporated in to the way too hot atmostphere. Worth every drop.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Snapshot 4- The Pool

The younger kids pooled their money- literally. Our yard is now graced with a 4' x 17' pool. It has been up and running for 2 weeks, providing hours of entertainment. Sunday found all 6 of us splish splashing till dusk, the sliver of a moon over the barn, bats and swallows swooping, warm under the water and chilly out.
It's a bit surreal, actually, to have a pool on our property. Ours is an almost 90 year old Territories homestead. Think prarie, wild, and sheds in various life stages. And then there's the crisp, clean blue pool.
Twice this week, KB has gotten home from work, changed and taken a dip with the notsolittles. Cool refreshment in a week whose days have blazed near 100.
Good times.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Snapshot 3- Front Yard Fire Pit

The evenings start with the kids in the pool, someone collecting old wood from the shed that is partially down, and someone else building the fire. Kids are splashing and laughing and the wood crackles and starts and the cats try to sit on laps and are entirely too secure in how much I love them.

We have spent hours around the fire pit, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and quoting books and movies, telling jokes and listening to Cub and Flower read Charlie Brown and Calvin and Hobbes sketches to us. They have had a year long love affair with Charlie and Co. and can tell you fascinating bits of trivia about Charles Schultz and Brown, have memorized entire pages of the comic books and movies and laugh uproariously at certain sketches. Flower does a mean imitation of Sally and can't decide if she wants to be Sally or Lucy to Cub's Charlie.

The rest of us put our feet up and watch the fire. We are all self proclaimed fire starting/tending experts so there is usually some banter about how to put the wood on, and how much and when. Not that any of us are opinionated or anything.

Inevitably, as dusk deepens into night, Flower starts counting stars and pretty soon we are all looking upward. Viking Man is pointing out constellations and planets and  we are all saying how beautiful it all is. And when we take our eyes off the sky we are mesmerized by the fireflies cavorting in the fields. Too soon, and too late, the fire fades and we meander in and to bed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Snapshot 1

Dh spent the day working on door frames. This included sanding, gluing, wood filling, more sanding and hauling them out to areas 2 in the yard where I took over and stained and polyurethaned the new lot of them. At some point soon they will be framing the door openings on the second floor- bedrooms, bath and walk-up attic.
Took the doors out of my closet opening (cause to call it a closet at this point is way too grand) to re-asses. Lots of work still to be done; sanding, gluing, staining and polyurethaning. The good news is we have saved ourselves a couple grand by re-claiming the old doors instead of buying new solid hard wood doors.

While we cleaned up, and then jumped in the pool with the notsolittles, KB baked brownies (she bailed on the pool after a teeth chattering 5 minutes. Ended the evening porch sitting, feasting on brownies smothered in fresh peaches and cool whip. GAPS groupies, please disregard ; )

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blogger Limbo-Land

I am in blogger limbo-land. My inability to post links or pictures is really bumming me out, I've looked at a couple of different options. Hiring someone to create a new blog and archive this one- (way out of my techno-league), starting a new blog, hobbling along with this blog.

I don't like the idea of hobbling. Not posting pictures on my blog is like not being able to use my hands when I talk. I don't think I could do it. Or I would end up doing the equivalent of a blog stutter. Or not post much at all (hence the last couple of weeks).

The hiring someone for my little hobby is vaguely on the scope. Very vaguely. As in fading now.

So, a new blog. I've been over to WordPress, cause it seems like that's where everyone eventually goes. I worked on a WordPress blog last year when I was a regular writer for another blog and I just, well, like Blogger. Is that o.k.? Would you follow me over to another blog site?
And I have to figure it out quickly because I have these Amazing reviews/give-aways lined up.

Any suggestions, tips, ideas?

Summer Snapshot 2 -Raptor Sighting

We've had some night time thunderstorms lately and the morning was fresh and clean. The kids and I took advantage of the clean air and spent 3 hours in the garden, weeding, tomato caging and reading. They weed, I read.

King of the Wind is this week's pick, thanks to the Horse Unit Study we are doing. The older 2 have heard it before but it is such a beautifully written story, they were happy to listen in. Loving Marguerite Henry's ability to wordsmith. She takes simple subjects, writes to kids and weaves poetry. King of the Wind is a sweet story because justice prevails and our hero proves himself.

We've had a pair of Red Tail Hawks in the neighborhood for a couple of years. The rule the valley and it is a beautiful thing to see them soaring or watch them post sitting in the evening.  Cub spotted them in the air first, thinking he was seeing an Eagle; Red Tails look like Golden's and while our friends an hour north of us have Bald Eagles, I think we are too far from the Big Sioux for them.  Anyway,  it was our pair and they had a fledgling with them. They soared and did their soar scream; kee-eeeee-arr holding us all captive with their wild beauty.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer Reading

I still haven't figured out the snafoos with posting pics or linking, so until then I am afraid you are stuck with just me and my witty way with words. I've been fairly busy, though it's summer, and I always do a mental job on myself by thinking I'll have all this free time- right. It's always just a different form of busy.

Between tearing down parts of the shed and working out and some other time consuming projects I've been reading:

Howatche's High Flyer. I did not like it. It was like a Peretti novel, with Briticism's, dark and decadent without enough redemption at the end to make it worth while. I've heard a lot of great things about Howatch in one of my reading groups so I stuck with the over 400 pages, but just didn't wake up the next morning feeling like the hours invested had been worth it. I've heard the Starbridge series is supposed to be her crowning achievement, so if I can find it cheap (it's not at the library) I might give it a go.

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All is another delightful little chick lit for Austenites by my fav Austenite disher Beth Patillo. It's a fun, breezy, sit by the pool read, full of just the right amount of sweet Austonian romance to make it right. Modern day Marianne queries, "Where have you been all my life?" Says modern day Col Brandon, "I came as soon as I could." Cheesy, but very smile worthy.

Busman's Honeymoon by Sayers. I'm taking a breather from the brogue in 5 Red Herrings and checking up on Harriet and Peter on their honeymoon. Lots of literary references (Donne figures heavily- I'm so lost but love the dialog. (Dh says, "Good grief, 90% of ther books are dialog! Yes, but can she write dialog, or what?!). The love affair is sweet, if not the idealized. One doesn't wonder very long if Sayers was longing for a man herself who could intellectually and verbally joust in the manner of Lord Peter.  I've enjoyed the distinction between classes that Sayers writes about in this book- maybe more so than in some of the others, and how the title and role of royalty actually meant something significant. A satisfying mystery, but a satisfying continuation of the relationship between Harriet and  Peter, with lots of discussion included about what makes  a good mystery. Discovering this author, this series, has been the high light of my reading this year.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Days Flying By

Since my last post the high schoolers have performed their musical. One hour of terrific awesomeness!! Have I mentioned before how all of these dramatic opportunities have grown out of a backyard drama camp?
The high schoolers had their annual "Golden Spatula" cook-off with winners in main, sides, salads and dessert, complete with Ultimate Frisbee and Pool Party.
I started the Horse Unit study with the 3-4th grade girls. We went way fast through a ton of material. Gotta slow it down and do a couple crafts while we are at it.
Our commuter car broke down- cause we haven't spent enough money on cars this spring.
I gave away yarn to my crocheting fool friend who has been crazy busy crocheting blankets and other beautiful things.
I read Susan Howatch's High Flyer. I did not like it. Not one little bit. 400+ pages of non edifying mumbo jumbo. In the style of Frank Peretti but with more decadence, too much explaining, instead of showing, unbelievable characters and not enough true redemption at the end to make it worthwhile.
Am currently reading Busman's Honeymoon by Sayers. Peter and Harriet are married and mystery solving. Sigh.
My crate stairs haven't been touched, other than by feet for over a week.
My sign post endeavor hasn't either.
Cub has been reading The Sugar Creek Gang and loving, loving, loving it.
Flower has been reading the Mother West Wind series and loving, loving, loving it.
We found a toddler coon. Feeche put him in a box and brought him to the porch. He was darling. The vet said he probably has rabies. Feeche took him back to the barn, where he climbed up the outside (it's a huge barn!) and deposited himself back in the loft.
Deer in the yard in the daytime- within yards of the dog. The mystery of no-strawberries is solved. Pesky, annoying critters!
The gym has been a blast. One more thing to fit in.
Stay tuned for Memoria Press Core 6 Review!! Woot!!! It's as good irl as it looks in the catalog!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer School

Summer School is in session

This week Cub worked Latin. First Form I, lesson 21. It's still a push and a stretch but he is getting through. He read 2 more Alex Rider books and another Redwall. We've been in the car a-lot!
Feeche did rehearsals for the high school musical, which will perform tonight! Between rehearsals, he hung out at his friend Jacobs so that we didn't have to drive so much (Thank-you, W family!! We love you!). He had a great time swimming, gardening, reading, working out and chilling with his buds on the east side of town.
Flower did some memory work for the Horse unit study, which starts on Monday. She also read a bunch- The White Stallion of Lippiza, played with friends (never enough friend time for this girl!), decorated rocks (her newest art obsession), jumped on the tramp with the hose for hours and hours.

KB was a working fool and made over $30 an hour between salary and tips this week. Not bad. She has her state licensing board exam in the morning. She's also been researching grant money for the R.N. program she starts this fall. Oy vey. A job unto itself.

Dh is finishing up another on-line class. He's at the end of grading 32 final papers and, as usual, has had some really terrific comments from students about how kind he is as a prof, how much people have learned, how much writing (in a psych classes!) they've learned from him and how students will recommend him or take him again. It makes the monotony of the grading worth it. He is such a great teacher!

I have been gardening.- along with the help of the kids. I'm kinda of the instigator and whip cracker and they are the minions. That's kind of our gardening relationship. We put in potatoes, and melon where the old shed was and I've been tucking vines wherever I find room. The regular flower beds are a wreck but if go back and look at what our yard looked like after the fire (between the fire trucks, propane tank and septic tank installation) I'm not putting any pressure on myself to make it look any better than it does right now. At least it's mowed....mainly. I kind of did the crazy quilt pattern in the barnyard before I quit for the night.

We've been porch sitting every day, lots of great books are being read out there, along with almost every dinner together on the porch. And we had our first summer fire, complete with hotdogs (gag- but the kids still like them) and delicious hot smoes. ("They're called S'mores, Buzz!"). Strawberry salad (lettuce and berries from the garden), and home made cole slaw have been prominent on the menu.

I've hardly read this week, cause I've been working on my stairs (they are going way slow. I'm getting discouraged and KB, who is my resident fellow artist) hasn't been here to help. To divert myself I started on a whimsical garden sign with all of our fav literary places. We keep adding more and more places. What's your fav literary place?
And we celebrated 27 years of marriage yesterday. Time flies. Hoh boy, does it fly. We got a local health club membership to celebrate and it feels GOOD to lift weights and do fast on the elliptical. My knee was a bit cranky after doing resistance on the elliptical but it was fine this morning. This makes my happyhappyhappy!

I need summer movie ideas. What's your fav literary place? What's going on in your part of the world?

Does anyone know how to get out of google chrome? I think it messed up my ability to post links and pics.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy 27th Anniversary to Us!

27 years
Who knew that 27 years later we would have earned 5 graduate degrees and had 5 kids between us, have lived in 6 states and moved a zillion times, survived getting burned out of our house, the death of my parents and sister, earthquakes, tornado's and blizzards (literal and figurative). It's been a wild ride. And a good one.

(And i would post a picture but for some reason I can't upload pics or links. Anybody know what's going on? HELP!!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blogger Woes

I can't get anything with links or pictures to load, or even save, on blogger today. Hopefully it will be fixed by morning 'cause I have a rockin' give-away to post, but I want to make sure it is posted with pics and links!!!

Playing in the Dirt

I think I'm finally recovered from last week. It wasn't just drama camp, it was two 2 hour afternoon classes, trying to finish up WWS. The boys were exhausted, I was tired, and it was too hard to try to cram homework in between driving to town, picnics in the park, memorizing lines and getting enough sleep. WWS is on hold till fall. Whew!

In other news we've been playing in the dirt! In the ground, cabbage, onions, green peppers, eggplant, cilantro, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, watermelon, zucchini, acorn squash, carrots, cukes. I still need to get some more basil planted and I have pumpkins to try to squish in somewhere. We've expanded and are using the area where we burned down a shed a couple of years ago- we've been hauling trash and metal farm implements and ROCKS out of it since so I had my doubts about anything growing there. Howevah, potatoes are coming up! Our baby blueberry and raspberry bushes are still alive, and we've been harvesting strawberries and lettuce for 2 weeks. The asparagus is thriving but I think my choice of location was off.

Cub, Flower and I cleaned off the west side of the front porch. It seems trivial, but it's been the work area since last fall. It actually took several hours. All of the winter gear is stored, getting washed and one of the huge drawers in our built in locker is now dedicated to "summer stuff." Lots more plants in pots....everything swept and watered and tidied.

I'll be posting a new give-away this afternoon. I know I said it would be history, but it's jewelry- and it is beautiful! Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Drama Camp 21012

It's been another week of rehearsals, fun, picnics at the park and utter exhaustion. And it's all over this afternoon when the kids pour thier heart out on-stage.

The 3 Little Elephants is the play I directed. Lots of laughs, ball bouncing and, of course, drama.

Flower is a gum chomping, over the top beach goer.


Here is where the photos of Cub's play should go. Hopefully, I'll get some photos today!

The high school musical. 2 weeks of singing and dancing.