Friday, May 25

Today we...

  • Had an awesome, elaborate pancake breakfast
  • Fenced in the garden, which measures approximately 45' x 45'
  • Tilled a plot for the 2nd planting of peas and carrots with our new-to-us Montgomery Ward tiller (which we bought yesterday for $50 just as some people I went to school with, whose daughter was in our gun safety class, were checking out said tiller... stopped and chatted with them for about 20 minutes)
  • Mowed and mowed and trimmed and mowed
  • Dug up a bunch of horseradish, as it was really getting out of hand
  • Harvested asparagus
  • Hauled branches to the burn pile
  • Had a pleasant surprise visit with the son and grandson of the woman who used to live here
  • Mailed packages that had been waiting all week to be mailed
I do believe all that's left is to get cleaned up, do tick checks, have ourselves a Mexican fiesta, and sleep very well tonight!

Tuesday, May 22

And God said...

"You know, she loves lilacs. Let's give her a place where the scent of the lilacs will waft right into her bedroom, and she can put away that silly (though scentually accurate) room spray."

And so He did.

BTW, if you're looking for a good lilac room spray, my favorite is made by The White Barn Candle Co. If I remember correctly, it seems that's available at Bath & Body Works. I don't shop there anymore, since I can now make my own delightful products here at home (and enjoy my own lilacs) and also since I realized that of course their advertising will make my guys' ears burn -- they're in the same family as Victoria's Secret.

One of our many accomplishments yesterday was to plant our apple trees. It was so thoroughly satisfying to all who participated that we wish we could've planted a dozen more. It does give us something to look forward to next spring.

Monday, May 21

Speaking of dogs...

Esther of Pen and Ink ... less recently wrote a glowing post about her wonderful dogs. This reminded me that now I can take good pictures of Manoah (in theory, anyway) because he won't race toward the camera when he sees me. In fact, he's sitting nearby while I post, and won't get up until I tell him to. I love that in a dog! I must give much credit to the obedience classes taught at the school through community ed., Toby's countless hours of training and persistence, and Cesar Millan (I love that man!).

India pictures will have to come later. She's still pretty new to this training thing, and besides, she's out with Toby and Lynae on a power walk.

Monday, May 14

Are we even surprised?

My girl found asparagus today! It's growing with the rhubarb and horseradish. Looks like it's time to start harvesting already.


Cane River: Very interesting through the first half. When the author covered the Civil War, I disconnected, wondering if I really wanted to read about it from the perspective of a former software company executive. I know that's unfair. I remained disconnected throughout the rest of the book, as the author's transition from story (earlier generations) to facts (more recent generations) was awkward at best. I wanted to get back into it, but just couldn't. By the end of the book, all the characters were reduced to names I could only keep straight by referring to the family tree.

Jayber Crow: So far, this book is exactly right for this time of my life. The character's losses, memories, observations, desires, geographic location, and return to what he once knew all strike familiar chords. Reading this book is as delightful as snuggling into a cozy bed.

Overly-chatty homeschool book: The author keeps telling me not to skip ahead. I think I must. I cannot possibly read another page, but I do think I should look at the forms and other tools -- y'all just know I'll be making a ton of forms to get the kids through high school! Once I'm done with that, Paypal won't be necessary. I will pass it on with the hope that the recipient can get through it.

Apologia Biology: I just ordered this, along with the microscope kit and the dissection kit. I'm so excited! I think Toby is, too. I also got Apologia Physical Science so Lynae can use it next year and I can return the set Toby's been using to the family that blessed us by letting us borrow their copy for the year.

Wednesday, May 9

Fauna pics

What a nice surprise!

Yesterday I was on the phone with my mother and told her about a pair of bluebirds in my front yard. One of them kept going over to a spot low on the trunk of an apple tree. Today I went over to investigate and found there's a hole in the trunk where a limb was cut off long ago. Inside the hole, all nestled in and blinking at me, was a chickadee!

That totally made up for the fact that we'd just returned home from the laundromat.

OH! And do you know what my little piece of Minnesota smells like today? Dry grass and hot pine needles. Just like I remember, mostly from school.

Blooming, blooming everywhere!

Thank you for all your helpful replies! Every day is a new adventure in my yard. Today I started hacking away at the saddest rose bushes. They don't look quite so sad with the dead stalks removed. (Note to self: wear gloves next time, silly!) The rest will have to wait. I'm not prepared to properly tend rose bushes. They intimidate me. I also have absolutely no experience with peonies, but it appears I'm about to experience them in a big way. Thanks for identifying those, Aunt Marion!

I can happily report that my local honey bee population is thriving and pollinating my plum trees. I have a whole row of them, all white and buzzing.

Many of the apple trees are blooming, though some I expect to bloom later as they're a different variety.

I believe my gorgeous bird feeder tree, seen out my kitchen window, is a crab apple. It smells heavenly out there!

Mena, the dear lady who brought all this loveliness to the property and had an appropriate reputation for doing so, grew her potatoes and corn separately from her other veggies. I think we'll start our garden in that patch, since I'm not certain I've identified the other yet and don't want to take on too much at once. So eventually, I hope to see peas and not dandelions here.

Tuesday, May 8

May Flora

This is a hemlock
and this is a tamarack.This sprang up pretty much overnight under my south-facing window.
I have no idea what the rest of these are yet.

Friday, May 4

Fifty minutes of wonderfulness

Yesterday we arranged our day so that the older three children actually worked from school books. It was pretty weird. But what I really want to share is what I was able to do during part of that time.

For a couple of weeks, I've been looking at the area by my back door and thinking about sitting out there and reading a book. That isn't as easy for me as so many women can make it sound. I can't stand heat, direct sunlight, or bugs. For the past few years and up until recently, the only non-Bible reading I've done from actual books has been about how to parent (mostly children who do not want to be parented), how to be a better wife, and an overly chatty book on how to get my child through high school, which I cannot bring myself to finish. Most of my reading was done with gritted teeth and a tension headache and at least a wee bit of anger or resentment in my heart.

So there I was, imagining reading being easy and relaxing and wonderful, and enjoying this bit of earth and nature where God has placed us. And then reality imposed itself upon my imagining and I knew that I would not be able to do such a thing and leave my littles unsupervised, not even for five minutes.

It was yesterday afternoon when the ingenuity that helped me survive single parenthood with two young children returned for one brilliant moment. The littles grabbed their towels, and I grabbed Jon's reading book (even he can't resist Hank the Cowdog), a couple of good "look at" books, and a thoroughly enjoyable fiction book for myself. We headed out the back door, and I set the timer for the length of the big kids' next work session.

After setting the kids up on their towels with instructions to be quiet and stay on their towels, I passed out the books. They had a great time relaxing quietly! This allowed me to relax and enjoy my own book, with only minor interruptions to watch the grackles and the sparrow and the goldfinches and the tree swallows, admire the pink blossoms beginning to open on the bird feeder tree, wonder why I had never before noticed how beautiful tamaracks are in spring, and hope the hosta I brought from Michigan to Kentucky to Minnesota will grow in the shade garden the kids are helping me start.

The best part of this kind of wonderfulness is that I can probably do it again... a lot! It will get hotter, there will be more bugs, but there will also be many more days like yesterday. It does my heart good to have something simple, quiet, and peaceful to look forward to.