Blooming

It’s been a slow-as-molasses kind of week.  Rain and snotty-nosed kids have kept us close to home, mostly indoors.  Lots of amazing food has been made, such as asparagus risotto, green smoothies, baby beets and fresh chevre, and creme brulée.  I’ve puttered around in the greenhouse, pruning and tying up tomatoes, pulling weeds, and encouraging my peppers to grow (they are not listening), the kids have been chomping on snap peas, and best of all, the beautiful spring flowers have been putting on an amazing show:

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Treats

The rain has returned.  After two solid weeks of glorious sun, it feels comforting and familiar to hear the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof as I work, to smell the damp air, and to notice the plants taking in needed moisture.  I won’t lie and say that I’m not ready for summer, because I do adore my Oregon summers.  But somehow this rain feels welcome and fresh.

Our daily rhythm shifted greatly with all of the sun. We moved outdoors.  All day long.  Pausing for food breaks, or work breaks, or shade breaks, but mostly we just played outside all around the property. Brian put the finishing touches on a little playhouse, to which we added some log tables and chairs, and now have a neighborhood ice cream shop and lemonade stand!

I’ve been dishing up my own treats this week.  Last summer we had to use up a gift card and splurged on this. It has rocked my little popsicle-making world!  I usually whip up a fruit and yogurt smoothie, and then pour it into the popsicle forms for some instant fun.

Today, I’m beginning Heather’s 30 Day Vegan course, and in preparation, I made her Raw Vegan Chocolate Torte recipe, here.  Made with soaked cashews, raw cacao, a bit of our own honey, it was like a little slice of frozen heaven. I can just imagine all of the variations on this pie that I will be dreaming up this summer – mint chocolate, blueberry lavender, fresh raspberry.  Yum.

Rows and Rows

With the weather being so absolutely beautiful, we have been spending most of our days outdoors.  It is splendid.  The kids have taken to pouring water into and out of bowls of all sizes. I wish I had a photo to share because it is quite comical – Everett in a shirt, boots, and no pants (because I’m working on his potty training, and because he pours water all over them anyways!), Ella usually completely naked except for some mismatched boots.  They love this game, and it keeps them so occupied that both Brian and I have been able to spend quality time in the garden.

So here is a little glimpse into my little garden world right now:

Tomatoes are all in the ground and growing just fine. I could not control myself yet again this year and planted 73 plants.  No, I did not mistype.  And no, we don’t sell at a market.  We just happen to live in a hollow that gets fewer hours of sun and has cool creek-side temps.  So I have to plant that many to get an appreciable yield.

Beets and carrots coming along nicely in the greenhouse.  There’s Everett watching himself pee in the background. Oops – was that too much information?

Overwintered garlic, mulched heavily with manure-laden goat bedding.  Almost time to harvest garlic whistles.  Yum!

Some really gorgeous greens in the greenhouse. Anyone want to come over for a salad?

And outside, some freshly planted brassicas, onions, beans, carrots, lettuce, and beets.

All this time spent in the garden rows has been seriously cutting into my knitted rows.  When Everett turned 18 months yesterday, I realized that the sweater I am making him will not fit him for very long if I do not get moving!  So I’m back in action, and am SO very close to casting off sleeve number two.

Only hood and ribbed trim to go!

And because I love Ginny’s Yarn Along so much, and love sharing what I’m knitting and reading, I’m going to leave the title of my latest book as somewhat of a teaser for a future post.  Let me just say that this book is packed with incredibly interesting information that will challenge the way you think about nutrition and dental health:  Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel.

Back to the needles, cause I have a quickly growing boy to catch up with!

 

 

Super simple felt balls

Today was a gorgeous sunny day.  The kind of day that just makes you want to throw a big blanket down on the grass and take a nap.  The kind of day that inspired Ella to say, “Let’s do a special craft today.  Let’s make felt balls!”

Felt balls are awesome!  They are great for throwing practice (soft – nothing gets broken!) or for open ended play. (They’re round bales of hay! No wait, they’re freshly baked rolls!)  And they are the kind of craft that is great to make outdoors on a warm sunny day.

So here’s how to do it:

1. Get yourself a nice wad of carded, clean wool.

2. Loosely form the wool into a ball.  It will shrink down, so make a bigger ball than you’d like of your finished product.

3.  Fill a bowl with the hottest soapy water that you can stand to put your hand into and roll that wool into a soapy round messy ball!

See that ball forming!  Keep rolling!

4. Now, get another bowl of very cold water.  Squeeze out the hot water and soap and immerse your ball into the cold.  Keep forming it into a ball as you go.  Alternating between the hot and cold will make your wool ball shrink and tighten.

Look!  Easy enough for an 18 month to try!

5.  Keep alternating back and forth between your hot and cold until your ball is tightly bound together.  Let dry in the sun or inside for a few days until it is completely dry.  Sometimes I like to affix loose parts of the ball with a felting needle.

Voila!

Now go throw that ball around!

May day

Ella and Snow Angel had been building quite the special relationship.  Even though the chicks had grown large enough to be moved into the main chicken run, she still insisted on daily visits to “her chicks” to hold them, coddle them, and feed them.  And Snow Angel seemed particularly open to her affection, letting Ella hold her and coo at her to her heart’s content.

Sadly, last night a raccoon got into the chicken run before we had closed the coop door, and Snow Angel and Tiny didn’t make it.  Brian found the carcasses when he went up to close the door.  My heart was so heavy – how was Ella going to take it?  When we gently broached the topic this morning, she did need a few moments under the covers by herself to process.  But after a minute or two, she popped up and asked, “Can we get some more baby chicks?”  Peck got an extra bunch of loving today, and I think she will become the new recipient of Ella’s unending love.  Just another reminder that children live in the moment, and that our expectation of their feelings is usually quite different than their reality.

On the baby goat front, we have been slowly introducing them to the rest of the herd, making sure that they don’t get hurt by the older does.  They are just so irresistible and soft and sproingy and sweet.  So capricious, if you will.  And just the perfect size for a goat photo shoot!

There has also been bed prepping and brassica planting, and mulching mulching mulching, and most exciting of all – tomato planting!  Yes – the first (15) tomatoes have gone in the ground, in the greenhouse!  I’m so eager to get the rest going. This year I have gone a bit overboard with 75 or so plants, but when I’m eating canned salsa next February, it will all be worth it!

It’s spring, my friends.  It is spring.