May 31, 2013

Starting

The other night as I gardened I thought of all of the blog posts from this week.  From birch sap, to chickens, and enjoying the garden, this certainly has been a summer time/growing time for sure. 
 I love looking around and realizing our little homestead that we are building gets bigger each year with all we do.  Yes, the summer has begun for sure and how I really love this time of year.
The greenhouse is fully planted with our two variety of tomatoes and cucumber plants.  (I do want to plant some basil seeds but need to pick up some potting soil first)
In the main garden the broccoli, romenesco, pumpkins, zucchini, celery, carrot seeds and parsley seeds are all in and growing.
 Something new that I am doing this year is that I planted my lettuce seeds in this planter.  I love having fresh lettuce in the summer but I hate that when the rush of dinner time comes and I don't have time to go out to the garden and pick some.  So once my lettuce really takes off I will move it out of the greenhouse and up to the deck.  That way when when the time to eat arrives, lettuce and salad are easy to access.
 This weekend looks to be another busy one.  Since I took this picture just 24 hours ago all of these bean and pea plants have sprouted.  That means I will be transplanting the hundreds that are here, as well as the few cauliflower plants that a small vole didn't eat, into the garden too.  Once they, and our seed potatoes, are in the main garden will be rounded out too.  If you followed the blog last year you will now wonder about our lower garden that we started.  Well, we have other plans for that this year but none of those plans include vegetables.
As the garden grows, the leaves on our birch trees finally are showing up and the temperature just begs us all to stay outside all day long I smile.  Yes, summer is here and it is a wonderful time of year indeed.

May 30, 2013

Our Garden Gnome

I once heard a story of a child who needed can labels for his classroom, back when they bought school supplies.  So he went to the pantry and took all of the labels off of the cans that were still on the shelves.  He didn't think to tell his mother before hand and thus for the next few weeks the family would have surprise for their side with dinner.  I laugh when I think of this story and how the family didn't know if the cans on the shelves were peas, carrots, potatoes or corn.

I thought of this story the other day when Abigail and I were working in the garden.  I was busy planting the broccoli starts and Abigail was busy running in and out of the garden between Josh and myself.  No matter how many small jobs I gave my girl they just weren't enough, she was looking for something to do.  Before I knew it she had a all of the plastic knives I use for labeling my starts in a pile and was having fun putting them in the broccoli.  I laughed at the front row of my garden since even though all of the plants look like little broccolis they are labeled sunflowers, pumpkins, zucchini and so forth.  Meanwhile my trays of starts suddenly didn't have any labels at all.
Yes, it is certainly fun to have have Abigail old enough to be in the garden with me this year.  Certainly ensures that things won't be boring.  

**So I was just informed that the story of the boy was my brother.   How did I not know that part of the story?**

May 29, 2013

Our New House Guests

For the past four years I have wanted to try my hand in raising meat chickens.  Each year as the time comes to get ready for them something has come up.  This year I was determined, plus it is on my list of goals for 2013, to follow through and finally get some chicks.
We started our adventure by stopping by the local Chicken barn.  I never knew one room could hold so much fun, and variety in chickens, turkeys, and ducks.  Even if our own experiment in raising chickens doesn't pan out I am for sure going to bring the kids to the barn each year just for fun.
At the barn we picked out our 20 chicks, their water dish, food dish, food, vitamins for their water and of course, their heat light.
We had originally planned on keeping them in the basement.  On second thought I decided the arctic entry was best.  It has turned out to be a great plan.  We are able to keep an eye on them through out the day without actually bothering them.  They stay warmer, oh so much warmer, and the smell and dust they also create stays contained as well.  We actually never open the door to the main house but by using the deck I am able to access them through the outside door and thus keep the house clean and smelling fresh.  (just so you all know, as soon as the chicks get their grown up feathers they move outside.)
Yes we have started down this road indeed.  After 5 days we are still loving having these little furry friends as our guests.  We will have to wait and see how it goes from here.

May 28, 2013

Preparations

This past weekend was a very busy one at our house.  As I look back on the past few days I wonder why it was so overwhelmingly busy.  Is it like this every year and I have just forgotten or just worse this year?  I think that yes, each year there is a lot of work to get the garden ready but it usually happens over the course of a few weeks as we wait for the weather to warm.  Since this year our weather went from snow to 70 degrees I guess we just got super ambitious and anxious about getting everything ready at once.  This post will give you a glance of what we did.
 We started Saturday morning by Josh climbing the roof taking our yearly yard pictures.  We love doing this.  Documenting each spring how the yard around our house has changed.  This picture shows you how the garden looked when the work began.  Devoid of snow but covered in leaves.
 Yes, there is a lot of work to get a garden ready.  First come moving out the mess of winter and moving in the new set of compost.  (When a garden is not yet a garden it is a wonderful sand box of fun.  The first day of work this past weekend was really when the kids were free to roam.)
 Josh works so hard each year making sure we get a new batch of compost mixed into our soil and thus go growth for our vegetables.
 Along with getting the garden beds ready, Josh also worked on doubling the height of our fence.  We are hoping to discourage the moose before any more problems like last year occur!!  
 This little girl loved helping her daddy do this job by standing on the edge of the fencing so it wouldn't roll back up.  In fact Abigail loved every part of this weekend.  We were all outside all day each day.  There was dirt, trucks, shovels, plants, sand boxes, water and so much more enjoyed.  When sun got a little hot there was always a glass of birch sap waiting for her to enjoy.  Oh yes, gardening is fun indeed.  I love that this year for the first time Abigail could be apart of all we did instead of just a spectator.  
 With the garden fence in place, the compost laid, the really hard part started.  Hoeing the compost into each row so that the soil would be ready for plants.  Together we worked after the kids were in bed until finally each bed was ready.  One night we did the greenhouse, the next night the garden.
As we rolled black sheeting over most of the garden we sighed.  Our backs were sore, covered in dirt, slightly sunburned, three days had passed and we were extremely content.  The garden was ready.  Let the 2013 season begin.

May 27, 2013

Something New

Right now the pictures and stories from our trip to Michigan have to be put on hold.  You see, this week we are busy into the start of summer and have a bunch to share at the home front.  There are so many new and fun things going on.  One of which is kind of Josh's baby.  
 Tree Sap.  We both had the chance to attend a class at our local university last month on how to tap birch trees.
Usually this fun event occurs at the end of April or early May.  But since we had such a late spring this year we were able to tap our tree last week when we got back from our trip.  
And so now as we work around the yard and put things in order for the summer months ahead, we are drinking a treat our land has given us.  It takes 100 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup so we really aren't too interested in that.  No, we are just drinking it straight for the extra sweetness it offers.  

May 24, 2013

Reasons

Tomorrow morning will mark two weeks since Josh's grandfather passed away.  It was his passing that prompted our very unplanned and impromptu trip to Michigan.
We headed south to be support to Josh's mother but also to this lovely lady, Josh's grandmother.
While in Michigan we enjoyed the beauty of spring.
 Time with family 
A chance to reflect on a life that had passed, the legacy left 
And the promises of what tomorrow brings.

May 23, 2013

Gearing Up

Thank you all for your patience with my blog absence.  We just got home from a busy, memorable and fast trip to the mid-west.  I have a ton of pictures and stories to share but right now what is happening at home has got us busy all day.  You see, while we were gone it snowed here but luckily just as we have returned home spring has decided to arrive.
So my first night back, as I fought jet lag, I went out to the greenhouse and planted a couple hundred green bean and pea seeds.
 And after two nights of temperatures above freezing in the greenhouse, and a promising forecast for the next few days, this jungle was moved last night.
To its next temporary home.  Now that "clean my living room" is on my to do list so is "mix compost into soil."  As soon as the compost is mixed into the green house beds my tomatoes and cucumbers can settle into their permanent home.  This weekend also holds promise for the rest of the starts and the seeds that really need to move into some dirt.  Yes, our unexpected trip was great but now that we are home there is no time to waste.  Spring is here, let the gardening begin.



May 11, 2013

Family

Family is so very important to us.  This week our family needs us to be with them as we mourn the passing of a family member and celebrate his life.  So while we are where we need to be, this little blog life will be quiet.  Once we return the posts will be up and running once again.
Until then take time to hug your family and make memories together.

May 10, 2013

Meal TIme Entertainment

Sometimes when Abigail has trouble eating because she is bored we will read her books at the table.

So when I saw her doing this for Ethan the other day I couldn't stop laughing.
I often feel guilty that I don't get quiet time to read to Ethan as much as I read to Abigail at this age.  But then after days like this I realize I do have help.  I think Ethan is going to be just fine.

May 9, 2013

8 and 29

Ethan Hamilton, yesterday you turned 8 months old.  You are becoming less and less of a little baby and more of an active little boy.
You still hang out in your exersaucer during the day but not too much.  Nope you are getting ready to move.  You don't like to crawl on your stomach, you still only go backwards, but you do like to sit.  While sitting you reach and reach and reach until you grab something and then pull yourself around.  The other day you managed to move across the entire kitchen with the help of cabinets, the book box, Abigail's little table and Abigail herself.  While reaching in the sitting position you often pull yourself down to your stomach and then end up going backwards.  But even if moving in the right direction is hard you are moving for sure.
 And with all of this reaching has come the need to rebaby proof our house.  Luckily we aren't back to baby gates yet but cabinets with drawer pulls, items on the counter, and pretty much anything that is within reach has become fair game in your mind.  Oh boy.
And as you get into things we have had to start to tell you no.  And how is it at 7 1/2 month you know exactly what that means and you don't like it.  The other day I had to tell you no before you smashed a picture frame and you looked at me and cried.  Big ugly tears, the lower lip and all were involved.  I comforted you and we went on.  A minute later you looked at me and reached for the picture frame again all the while watching to see what I would dO.  Sigh, why is it we are only given 7 1/2 months of our children's life before this push the boundary personality comes out?  
 But even with learning boundaries we are very blessed to have such a happy boy.  You are now in the I-really-only-want-finger-foods stage and when you are done you just love, absolutely love, to throw what you don't eat on the floor.  As we work on this we laugh because most people would wish for a dog right now.  Instead we have Abigail who refuses to eat most of what we put on her dinner plate but love to eat "treasures" she finds on the floor.  

Abigail Kathleen you are now 29 months old, as of last Sunday. 
How is it you are almost 2 1/2 years old?  I love watching the pictures come up on our computer's screen saver and see the pictures of you in so many different stages of life.
You are the most nurturing person I have ever met.  All day long you love, rock, burp, cuddle and dress your babies of all shapes and sizes, your brother being included in this.  You also love all things pretty and luckily I am not left out of this.  Whenever you wear a hair ribbon, bracelet, necklace, headband and more I must too.  You love to then point out to me that we match.  My mother laughed at me the other day on Ichat when she saw a pink bow in my hair.  It might look silly to the rest of the world but I smile at the fact that in my house, and to my daughter, I look super pretty with bows in my hair.  
In addition to fashion Abigail is into puzzles, coloring (after waiting along time for this she has arrived), books, jumping, her scooter,Cinderella (which she only refers to as bobbity bo), riding her big horse and running.  Abigail is now big into Band-Aids.  She is constantly finding bo bos that need mending.  Yesterday I gave her her first bandaid and it only lasted five minutes before she was all better and it was off.  I guess sticking to wrapping pieces of tissue around her wounds is a good idea.  

She is full of energy and full of life for sure..  

May 8, 2013

Carrying On

Even though our home is built there are still a lot of things to do before it can be called finished.  
Now that the basement is sheet rocked, painted and part of the floor is in, Josh now gets to focus on putting the trim up.  The first step to crown molding is to put the blocks in.
Then the trim itself.  With Josh's mom here I was able to tape all of the trim off for Josh to then come home and paint.  Yes, there is a lot of little things here and there to do, like the second coat of paint on this trim for instance, but slowly it is getting done.  This house will be done someday for sure.

May 7, 2013

Childhood Years

This picture of Abigail just makes me smile.  It would see that we have arrived.  Arrived at the days of complete imagination and role playing.  From the looks of it you might think Abigail is a superhero or royalty.
But to my girl the butter container was a hat and the blanket was a jacket because it was once again snowing outside.  Yes, her imagination play will broaden as the days go by but I love that they have started.  During the day she is so many different things.  Oh my girl, watching you grow certainly makes life fun for sure.

May 6, 2013

Our Guest

This past week has been a super busy one at our house.  We have been entertaining and been entertained by Grammie, Josh's mom.  What a fun week it was for all.  We have been busy with projects, play and outings.    
As I look back over the week one thing I have enjoyed the most has been the one on one times.  With extra help I have been able to have outings, doctors appointments, swimming, work projects, movies and more with individual parts of the family.  I love that Ethan and I went to the hardware store together, Josh and I worked on yard work uninterrupted, Abigail and I got to cuddle and read stories, just us.  As I was enjoying this one on one time I was so content in knowing that Grammie was also enjoying one on one time with those she loves too.  It is wonderful to be a big family together but the special times to connect is something I love too.



May 3, 2013

Two

Having two kids is definitely more challenging than having one.
But during the days, when I watch these two kids interact,
I can't help but smile.
These two just absolutely adore each other.
Being one of two kiddos in a family, instead of being just one, makes life sweeter for sure!

May 2, 2013

Room To Grow

Yesterday, May 1st, we had yet another snow storm.  
Yet even though we don't know when our garden will be brown, dry and warm enough to plant we are still preparing.
Abigail loves to help me put each and every seed to "bed" in the soil so they can sleep.  We rejoice together when they spring up out of the soil days later to enjoy what sunshine we get to enjoy through the windows.
But with all of this planting inside and no movement towards going outside we have had to get a little creative.  With pumpkins on the bottom, cauliflower/romenesco/broccoli/celery in the middle and the tall tomatoes and cucumbers on top we have succeeded in finding the space we needed.  Since this picture was taken I have also planted more pumpkins, sunflowers and zucchini.  These small plants are overflowing with growth.  Just hoping we can move them outside before we get the first cucumbers.

May 1, 2013

Growing Tall

When I was in Texas with the kids back in February Josh had a project.  He posted about the carving that he made.  The purpose of the carving was to be a height recorder for the kids.  
Finally it was time for Josh to hang and to record where the kids are.  
We hung the carving at the top of the stairs.  I did this with the intention of putting pictures around it over the years to give images to the small dash marks.  
Every time I walk by that carving I look at those little marks and smile.  The years are going to go fast and these kids are growing before my eyes.  I am happy that when I see those marks grow over the years I will have the memories of my little people.

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