*Old School Gerry Backpack :: I rode in one of these. I've got a photo I should scan and share with you all.
*How to Take a Walk in the Woods :: Good thoughts. You don't need to be an expert.
*Felted Rainbow Rocks :: My dad would just love one of these wool geodes.
*The Paradox of Choice :: A good TED talk, not that I've heard a bad one.
*Wall Mounted Clothes Drying Rack
*Funky Monkey Baked Oatmeal :: Easy and good. Might scale back the chocolate chips, oddly.
*How to Build a Tomato Trellis :: So many ways to grow tomatoes out there. This one looks like a nice alternative to the cages that always seem to tip over.
*DIY Candied Orange Peel :: I'm always in pursuit of the best recipe for this. Maybe this one. I think I'd run my through the dehydrator, too.
*Felted Wool Balls for Toddlers :: Little cat bells inside. I do think of my children as being slightly similar to cats--they get rowdy as night falls. Loving this blog, by the way.
*Make Your Own Cranberry Sauce :: Totally doing this. Maybe I can find cranberries before the baby comes. Or get Mike to stockpile some after. . .
*Internships: Low-Paid, Unpaid or Just Plain Illegal? :: I did a lot of work in college, all four summers and volunteering during the year. Didn't amount to a hill of beans. I was paid, though, and it was pleasurable work.
*Alaskan Sourdough Starter :: Sounds good to me.
*Ramp Pizza :: I would never eat this, but it is a good use for a local flavor.
*A New Way of Seeing Children :: Great thoughts here, good reminders:
The deepest mystery of parenting is that we often miss the truth about children's behavior, and yet it is so simple. Children are human beings just as we are, and behave in accordance to how they are treated, just as we do. We seldom stop to consider that this is simply an inexperienced human being with real feelings, who is doing the best he can do, given all the circumstances of his life up to that moment. For how could he do any more? And why would he do any less?
My mother watched both children at her house while Mike and I went to the Burger Bar. We had grander plans at one point, but we both independently really wanted to go the same place that we both knew would be great. It's small in there, but the people working are always friendly and generous (free fries while we waited for eggs to be delivered). The food is always excellent. I went for a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg on it and Mike got one with a Newcastle gouda cheese sauce and fried egg. Extra protein since I'm pregnant, right?
Arriving at the Old Davis Homeplace, the children had a great time without us. They (and my parents) need the practice for when the baby comes. I thought they'd both be exhausted on the ride home, but Roan slept just for the ride and was ready for more once we got home. Yesterday was the first truly hot day, so we got out the sprinkler and I took Willow over to get a small pool. I had higher hopes of a nicer plastic pool (if that's possible), but the cheapest model seemed to be quite enough. She kept running around saying, "I love it!" Roan was less than pleased by the sprinkler, but they also seemed to love playing in the emptied pool as much, if not more.
While I didn't get my sunflower house put in yesterday (okay, Mike didn't), it was a success. It was too hot anyway and he had photos to edit. I got laundry washed and dried, hanging it out at 5:00! I couldn't' believe the heat. It totally sucked my energy, but some time in front of the fan with ice water and a burrito and I was ready for whatever chores came next. Yes, yesterday was a feast.
I made a new baby carrier, after years away from sewing them.
This is a podaegi--an Asian baby carrier that's similar to a mei tai, except that it lacks a waist strap.
I used this tutorial.
This one's a tester. I may make one out of a real wrap someday.
The canvas straps are much too stiff when compared with wrap fabric,
but I got the idea of how one works and it is comfortable.
The blanket fabric was a birthday gift last year, so this cost me $8 to make.
And lastly, I remade the kitchen curtains. I simply halved them.
The slightly faded parts ended up as the casing for the curtain rod, which worked out nicely.
These are the windows that are most consistently open and
the longer ones were always dragging in the window sills with the breezes.
For more crafting, visit Frontier Dreams!
Eight years today.
Four feet have grown to ten, eight of which are sleeping right now.
Well, I don't know about the littlest ones--all is quiet right now, though.
Perhaps a blueberry buckle is in order.
Yesterday's buckwheat pancakes. This is a half batch.
Roan sits in the hammock now.
His face is too funny.
I was amazed that he and Willow could do it together.
Roadside nature at its finest--a dozen or so yellow lady's slippers in the rain-soaked woods.
It's cool and rainy today, threatening to storm this afternoon. We've had some hot days this week, ones that made me question whether I'd be able to keep up some of my outdoor activities as the Summer arrives and swells. The beauty of this place is that there is always somewhere cooler to go, a little higher to climb for a bit of a breeze.
The currant has set its fruit and the blueberries are starting to do the same. I covered them with netting yesterday. The asparagus is sending up new offerings as fast as I can keep up with them. The strawberries are blooming and the raspberries and blackberries look ready to do the same. Lettuce is up with tiny leaves and that is where it stops. I need to plant other things and collect tomato plants, but I'm still mulling over rabbit-proofing ideas. And cucumbers. I must have cucumbers. I hardly ever buy them from the store.
I am feeling a strengthened resolve lately and my mind is already turning toward my Summer reading of One Man's Wilderness. I'm looking forward to standing on various mountainsides and feeling the wind. I have the urge to mix up some buckwheat pancakes tonight before bed. It's been a long time since I made some. And sourdough starter, I need to get one. I guess this is my version of nesting, at least this time around. My desire to do hard work (and the energy to do it) has been strong. An unexpected blessing.
Yes, indeed, we did have that strawberry shortcake for supper on Sunday. Cold and creamy and just delightful. Too bad it's all gone. Somehow, the baked oatmeal I planned for supper doesn't fit with this eighty degree day. Oh, well, I'll wash it down with ice water.
One thing that is helping is that the children are getting older. Willow has become a very willing helper. She cleans up messes and does various chores happily. She'll go pick chives for me or get the mail. It's never been something I really pressed; I just figured it would come with time. Roan will even run little errands for me, which is extra sweet to watch. Of course, this is all variable. It doesn't always work out, but it is working out with increasing frequency.
I suppose many things that trouble our hearts, apart from the obviously very serious, all work out in time. It's just a matter of your own sense of urgency and ability to be patient. People are who they are and become who they become. For all the worrying my mother did over me, the well-behaved child, I don't worry that much. These people are little and are with me or Mike all the time. Our world is small for now and trust comes easily.
If you want your children to be generous,
you must first allow them to be selfish.
If you want them to be disciplined,
you must first allow them to be spontaneous.
If you want them to be hard-working,
you must first allow them to be lazy.
This is a subtle distinction,
and hard to explain to those who criticize you.
A quality cannot be fully learned
without understanding its opposite.
~The Parent's Tao Te Ching
For now, I am marveling in the simple joy of preserving food. I took last year's strawberries and made them into jam. Somewhere along the way, I prepared the amount needed for jelly instead of what I needed for jam. I didn't have endless pectin, so I turned to The Farmer's Wife Canning & Preserving Cookbook to assist my efforts. I learned to do an acid test and used those fractions we learned in school. The end result is more cooked, but much easier to spread than the pectin jam, which seems to set so hard. I got twice as much jam and used less sugar than with pectin. Success! I think I'll do it again and save my pectin for a trial with apple jelly.
I've been looking through the freezer in all this, too, seeing what's left and running out. I'm hoping to get some more rhubarb to store away for a dark day. I'm trying to cook a little more from the pantry lately, which is decidedly heavy on berries and vegetarian choices. The children loved the pesto and I have plenty left to last until the basil is big enough to pick from. I've also got plenty of blueberries, so Mike's request for blueberry buckle will be fulfilled soon.
The rosy cheeks of the mother and daughter on the cover of the cookbook may seem a little over the top, but there really is great joy to be found in correctly preserving and consuming foods. One last thing--we're having strawberry shortcake for supper with fried eggs and I just might wrap the first asparagus in bacon. Too kitschy? I don't think so.
The Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally starts tonight, so I've been busy with my short list of things to do--name tags, signs and a short speech to honor Carrie, its former chairwoman. She's done nearly all of the work of the rally for a number of years and has just recently given her title and responsibilities over to the committee and the Blue Ridge Discovery Center. I'm excited to honor her and I know she'll be overwhelmed by all the love. She always swears she's not really a naturalist.
I've been in a bit of a cycle of eating out lately, between midwife appointments, Mike's weird new schedule (supper very early on nights he works), and lingering ennui of pregnancy. I'm determined to break it and I'm hoping today was a good start. I made an awesome lunch--sweet potato fries, cinnamon butter for dipping, and sun dried tomato pesto using preserved food from last Summer. It was a hit all around, even if Mike was forty minutes late for lunch. Such is life with retail, though. Tonight, they're serving an overpriced chicken dinner, but we're taking our own food that costs less than one meal and feeds all four. I like it when it works out that way. And you can bet there will be strawberries in the cooler.
We've had a lot of rain lately, but we've found a little time to be outside (or just plain escape, if you're Roan) every day. The rest of the time, inside. Today and tomorrow will bring a break and some mowing. Mowing and candles--the two biggest things in Roan's world right now.
- Pastry for a two-crust pie (you can see mine here)
- 1 1/3 to 2 cups sugar
- 6 tbsp. flour
- 4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1" pieces
- 2 tbsp. butter
back to Willow's flower houses and the big rocks.
We took Katherine this time, since she'd never been.
It was warmer, so nice and sunny.
It was terribly windy in the open areas, but just right in the woods.
Lots of larkspur blooming and a fair number of trilliums.
We missed the peak this year, coming before and after, but that's okay.
It was fun to see the children take on the short road with independence and enthusiasm.
Roan rode on my back on the trip out, but walked all the way back.
He found some great rocks and carried them for a long time.
And we found one lone morel!
I don't eat them--lots of folks do.
I just offer my admiration. They are quite hard to spot.
We're hoping Katherine will join us for more hikes as Spring turns to Summer.
I've been carrying my children for four and a half years now. For a long time, nine months or so, I used homemade carriers. You can't go to the store and just buy things like this, after all. Mike's mom gave me a homemade ring sling, I sewed a couple pouch slings (duds) and a mei tai (winner!), and I dyed some cotton crepe for a wrap (another dud). Then, in the Summer after Willow's birth, I saw a woven wrap for sale on MOMYS. I had enough money to buy it and that was it.
I won an Ergo in a drawing the next Summer and we hiked every week with it or the wrap. Roan was born and he quickly became too strong to contain with my arms. I'd nearly worn my mei tai out by that point and a couple more wraps joined our home. Nothing extravagant (and there are many chances to be extravagant!), just patterns I liked. But, then, a chance, a lottery.
I left a comment on a thread on The BabyWearer for an opportunity to purchase a very special handwoven wrap that was part of a custom group. The rules were that you could not own a wrap from this weaver already. It was a gesture of goodwill and generosity on the part of the seller, a way to level a very competitive playing field. These are serious business--long waits, lotteries for custom slots, auctions, resale that is much higher. Serious. And I won. The price was extremely fair and this wrap was gifted to me for my upcoming birthday by my grandmother, who never gives any gift without it being early. I'm a lucky girl!
The wrap was designed with the Colorado River and Plateau in mind and its colors are just perfect. It's comfortable and soft, stays tied easily and suits us very well. What a treasure! Yup, thirty is going to be awesome.
Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp. finely grated orange peel
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ginger
Heat oven to 350° F. Cream shortening and sugar. Mix in egg and peel. Blend dry ingredients (minus granulated sugar) and stir into wet. Roll in 1" balls. Dip tops in granulated sugar. Baked on an ungreased cooky sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes three dozen cookies.
"Nothing gets the taste of shame and humiliation out your mouth like rhubarb pie!"