Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's finally Spring

 I stand under the apple blossoms and feel as if there is a wedding happening all around me.  Such extravagant beauty must be the beginning of something wonderful.

 The currant bush that I have babied since we moved into this dear old house.  My dad says that grandma used to have one in the backyard and she would make currant jelly in the spring.
 The herb garden.
 We took a break from all the planting and headed for the lake.
 Skipping stones.

 Checking out the bugs.
 What a difference a year makes.  He's keeping up with the big boys now when we hike.  He knows many different bird calls now and is eager to stop and take a closer look.
We watched the turtles basking.  There were many very small ones (babies?) but this big guy sat still for me to photograph.  It was fun to watch them swim in the algae water and poke their little heads up for air.  We also hunted for frogs but never spotted one.  We could hear a bullfrog though so we know he's out there somewhere.  Maybe we'll find him next time.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

these past few days

I was going to take the easy way out and load up all the photos of the beauty from our days.  There are so many beautiful moments these days.  I thought when you saw them, not only would  you get to share in our thankfulness, but then you would also understand why I haven't been taking time to write it all out here on the blog.  But unfortunately blogger is not cooperating (again) and I can not upload photos. *sigh*

And I did want to share with you faithful few that check in with us here about our happenings.  So...

It's apple blossom time.  The petals are starting to fall now, in the heat and wind that has been these last two days the scent just fills the yard and beckons you to linger near it's branches.  It's my favorite time of the year.

We've been working almost non-stop in the vegetable garden.  We have so much more cultivated and planted this year than we ever have before.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to grow things for our table!  The boys have been so so helpful.  Not just helping randomly for a few minutes but really helping.  Hauling things to the compost, digging up grubs, weeding, sewing seed, watering.  I'm so proud of them and so thankful for their help!  My hands are so sore from "double digging" and pulling out all the quack grass roots from under the soil.  It is so worth the work but I've been having to ice my right hand throughout the day it is so swollen and sore from overuse!

We also planted blackberry and raspberry bushes this spring.  I'm so excited to see if we get a harvest this year.  There are flowers already so I'm hoping and praying the birds won't get them before we do!

J and I, when not working in the garden, have been going through the Dave Ramsey financial peace university course.  It's been really good.  We have been always pretty good with our money, thanks to J, but this course is really fantastic.  We are learning to communicate more about how we spend what we spend and are much more conscious about where the money goes.  Good stuff.

And well, I'm not sure what else to tell you.  I've been reading alot.  I just reread the Laura Ingalls books this week. (during the boys' quiet time)  It is funny how a book can grow a person up.  If you don't know what I mean then just forget I said that.  But if you do, then I'll tell you that I admit I feel more grown up with every reading of those books.

And in general life is really really good.  I just feel like I am not sure I need to always be telling the world what I think. :) So I've been over here just taking it all in.  Listening more, talking less?  Stopping and thinking more.  Stopping and listening more.  Stopping and holding him more.  Watching more.  It's not natural to me.  But life is not an emergency.  I'm slowing down and taking it one step at a time for now.

The sun set as I wrote this.  Purple clouds settling in to night sky now.

Maybe I'll be able to share photos with you tomorrow if I find the time.
love and goodnight,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Owl's 5th birthday

 I can't believe he is five.
 Our sweet Owl.  So happy.  So talkative.  So snuggly.  So interested in knowing more, patiently asking me questions all the day.  I could not be prouder of you, my boy. 
 Owl requested a buffalo cake.  It was really fun to make!
 Chocolate Buffalo Birthday Cake.
 Blowing out the candles!
 The day after his party, his actual birthday, we all headed to the zoo!  Before we went we had star wars pancakes.  Of course.
 Visiting the buffalo.  Or bison.  I never have understood the difference.
 Little Hen walked the entire zoo.  J and I felt free, yet strange, going there without a stroller or backpack or sling.  Our brood is really growing up!
Owl strolling.  It is really amazing having your own personal Christopher Robin.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Outdoor Times

Another week has been lived out!  We spent many days outdoors, the weather finally cooperating.  Although you can see that Owl has is winter coat on still (above).  It was an evening of play and it was only in the forties, damp and cold.  The littles had much fun blowing bubbles together and the older two had fun with playing Badminton.  (I admit I had to look up the spelling for that)  We have had so much fun playing with the new Badminton rackets and even put up the net one day. (thanks Grandma J)
 We've spent many evenings outside trying to get a little more work done in the garden and watching over our hens.  Last week J spent much time and muscle on moving the chicken fence so the birds could have fresh pasture.  There is a lot of rock under the soil and it was hard work getting all the posts in.  Then the very next day, a Cooper's hawk attacked the hens.  It happened just as we were coming outside to play!  Badger was the first one out and yelled to scare it away but it didn't seem to care.  Thankfully, I had let Millie out to run for a bit so when she arrived on the scene the hawk flew up to a nearby tree.  The bird was wounded, missing lots of feathers and had a gash on her neck.  Poor thing.  We were quite shook up by it and kept watch all that day.  The hawk came back several times to try again, but the frightened hens wouldn't come out of their coop.  Smart birds.
 The hawk tried again a few days later, but I think it has learned that it can't actually carry a bird off as tasty as the idea might seem.  The second bird was injured too, but they are both mending nicely.  The up side to this whole thing is that the hawk has nested on the edge of the woods.  The nest is plainly visible to us from our yard and it's been really cool being able to watch him.
 The picture doesn't do the bird justice.  The nest is quite large.  And yes, we think there is a nested pair as we've seen two at a time.  There is also a sharp shinned hawk in the area too.  Same color pattern, smaller size.  We've gotten quite good at identifying them now and the boys can even identify several of its calls.  Isn't learning at home cool?
 Here he is just leaving the nest!
The warm weather has settled in (crossing my fingers) and we had a watermelon this weekend to celebrate!  The garden has seedlings popping up everywhere!  And there are 30 chicks brooding in the chick house!  God is good.  And spring is here!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A garden day

Spring is good for the soul.  Digging in the garden helps me to breathe deep.  After I tilled up the potato patch today, I stepped back, faithful shovel in hand, and looking at the fresh black dirt.... I just felt a sense of release.  Like a long, slow, deep breath.

 It has been such a cold spring here.  Days in the garden have been few and far between.  But today we spent all day outside digging in the dirt!  Today the sun was shining warmth and goodwill on us and the flowers opened their petals in thanks!