Sunday, August 28, 2011
Oh glorious Sunday. A day of not too hot, not too humid, blue skies, sunny and breezy. Just perfect to spend just about every moment outside.
We started off with an early morning park visit for swinging and spinning and being silly.
And then of course playing with neighbor friends in the yard/alley.
And then a nice walk at the botanical garden to see ... everything.
Fountains and reflections and water bugs and pom pom flowers bigger than a kids head. ;)
And of course bees and flowers and towers and butterflies.
And then the Italian Deli for Italian ice and good cheese.
And more playing with the neighbors...scooters and bikes and buckets (!?) and pit stops and forts and hide and seek. Stopping only for snack breaks.
They told me a warm bubble bath at the end of the day never felt so good. Happy Sunday!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
We have been busy busy both at home and out and about this week and I have a lot to share, but I keep getting distracted by the garden this time of year.
I usually am in the garden twice a day - in the morning while the boys are eating breakfast. I water pots, pick, tie, check and basically wander outside. I go out again in the evening when the boys are playing in the alley with friends - to water the pots again and beds if needed, weed, check and basically wander outside. The garden is always mostly shaded at these times, and yet sun peeks in here and there. It is a great place to wander. To walk. To think. To think about not thinking. To feel the grass underfoot. When the light is just right I usually grab my camera and wander some more.
I love wandering so I can pick all of the veggies, fruit and herbs of course - we are overly abundant in tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, squash, and the raspberries are ripening, eaten right off the canes.
But it is more than that. There is so much to see. The curls of the vines, the way things move to the sun. The color - so vivid! It is all so complex. But all so simple.
The beans have wound up and over sunflowers, amaranth, and even bushes. They reach for the sunshine. The insects all seem to have a path, a plan, and a single minded pursuit.
The herbs are wild by now. I dig around and under massive plants to find fenugreek, feverfew, toothache plant (chewing on the leaves makes your whole mouth tingle!). I turn the nozzle on the rainbarrel and the water rushes out, loud and fast after a rain.
Some things look completely surreal - the boys search and touch the tiny fuzzy melon vines every time they think of it. The fuzz feels like the backs of the bumblebees we sometimes stroke.
The garden is so thick that it envelopes us when we sit outside. Everything feels private even though we are very close to neighbors here. We turn on the gazebo lights and listen to the frogs (amazing we have them in our yard) and crickets.
This week we cleared some space for fall planting - we planted beets, radishes, onions, peas, and several kinds of greens, and more will come. In the midst of so much green seeing a patch of such dark brown earth is almost startling.
I love seeing the rows of tiny little seedlings shaded under what now seems like ancient trees of kale.
And, just as I start thinking about the indoor winter garden (baby/microgreens) seeds are going on sale. Today 37 packets of seeds arrived. So many seeds, so many plants, so many ideas, so much color, so much variety, endless possibilities.
Even though it is still hot, I can just feel things will start changing soon. Slowing down. Finishing up. Cooling down.
Not yet though. While I can see the change of light and smell the cool morning air, we have quite a bit of this left. So I still have plenty of time to wander.
How does your garden grow?
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
My husband is a software engineer who loves technology and even spent a few years in a robotics club. So, it is no surprise there is a lot of technology, robotics, and science in this house. A is a science/engineering kid like his dad. He loves it. We build from kits, program things, sometimes follow instructions, and sometimes come up with some fun ideas - usually inspired by something we have seen or read.
On Saturday, after a morning of watching some robotics competition inspiration and looking up fun looking projects, we decided to try something new. Brice found an application where we could visually map the wii-mote and the wii balance board onto displays and graphs. The boys loved seeing how movement affected displays, and played around with measurement and finding a balanced center. Even G thought this was cool.
From here my guys plan to create a program for the wii-mote and wii balance board to interface with and control a LEGO Mindstorms robot! Sweet! Can't wait.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Today we hit the road to visit a state park about an hour away. We planned to spend the day exploring, playing at the park, climbing the towers and have a picnic. After a long drive we passed the park entrance check in and found ourselves in the middle of yellow buses, full shelter, and at least 100 kids plus supervisors. Day camp field trip. Needless to say, we couldn't stay as there was no room (it is a very small state park, there is only the one play/shelter area). As we drove right on past the park/shelter area, we saw 50 kids marching towards the east tower and 50 kids marching to the west. We didn't want to drive SO LONG for nothing, so we tried to zip quickly to the lookout tower so we could get up for the view before we were swarmed. The kids heading to the west tower had a whole field to cross, so we zipped over, and skipped to the tower steps.
These lookout towers are pretty cool - and - very very high and slatted worn wood and little wood rails at the top. A and I are very afraid of heights and A made it only halfway up the very very high see through wooden steps before heading back down.
Once G and Brice were at the top and waved over, A decided to take one more shot before the huge line of kids in matching t-shirts arrived.
We didn't look up or down and rhythmically stepped to the top. I walked right behind him. He made it! Once on top A and I hugged the center railing while G had no qualms about skipping to the very edge (!). I about passed out, but I surely wasn't going to stand at the bottom for something like a palm sweating world spinning anxiety producing fear of heights. ;)
We looked at the amazing view and took some photos...and when we heard the footsteps below, we hurried down (not wanting to be on the top of a freaky high rickety wooden tower with 25 or so kids). Perfect timing.
We obviously couldn't stay at the state park so we had to find another spot. We ventured right down the highway to try a county park we had not visited in years.
It was fun!
It is a really small park, but nice and quiet and the view is absolutely amazing. We hung out, read all the historical markers, played in the playground, messed around with the GPS, and had a great time.
Did I mention the view was amazing?
From there we kept wandering the rural roads heading back into town slowly but surely. It ended up being a nice day - and I think we will head back to that state park when all the kids are back in school, when we can enjoy it.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Things I love about the garden in August?
That after even the hottest summer days, when you walk through our arch in the evening when the garden has just been watered you can feel the temperature drop immediately and you are enveloped by the smell of damp earth and flowers ... like entering another world.
That when the grass all around is brittle and brown, the garden is still green and luscious.
That there are so many busy bees you can hear them buzz and sometimes feel them lightly brush by as they go about their way.
That there is something blooming somewhere, all the time.
That even though our tomatoes (and cucumbers, and peppers, and melons, and squash) come in a LOT later than everyone else in our area because of our garden location/sunlight (no matter how early we start), we do still get them.
That it all gets SO thick that my husband just about every night wanders with a shirt full of veggies saying "I can't find anything else!" and then I find another shirt worth.
That there are bushes flowering in August every year that are not supposed to. I have lilacs! In mid-August!
That under all of those leaves are a LOT of squash.
That even when I think we have lost something due to wet or dry to heat or cold, when pulling 'finished' plants I find things that have been busy winding their way where they need to go.
That there is always someone (big or small) out with me each evening, filling the watering can from the rain barrel, and carefully watering each and every pot we have.
And, that I'm not the only one out there talking to the birds, the chipmunk, the frog, the plants, or the bees.
Monday, August 15, 2011
A & G came to me last week and asked if I could sew them luma plushies. After finding out what a luma is, we got to work. They googled and found a pattern for me to use.
We then hit the local fabric shop where they picked out their fabric, stuffing, thread, and felt for the eyes. Ready!
I sewed and cut and stitched and stuffed - with help from the boys, of course.
It is a decent pattern, so the result was...luma plushies!
They turned out great and now my guys have decided to put me to work making them a full rainbow of luma - I think I might need a thimble! :)
"Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn."
- Michelle L. Thieme
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Busy, busy. Oh, August! We are in the peak of summer and we are looking forward to fall. We have had a few nice cloudy with some much needed rain days and have been spending time close to home, but busy busy!
The boys have been busy...playing outside and inside. Snuggling. board games, karate, library, painting, robotics, building science kits, and this week making movies of each other with the video camera.
The kitchen is always a busy spot - this time of year the garden and CSA bring in an abundance of fruit and vegetables and it can be (who am I fooling, it IS) a full time job just keeping up! There has been canning, freezing, drying, baking, making. So good!
The home...I love re-arranging furniture and organizing. It makes everything feel fresh and on those hot hot days when we spend more time inside, it helps us feel all energized and creative. I also love walking into a nice bright and clean living room when my kitchen is overflowing with vegetables, canning jars and (a lot of) dirty pots! The boys always like it too and they recently got into refreshing their space and added some color and wall decals.
And last but not least, the garden. This time of year is jungle time. Tomatoes are just ripening, cucumbers are fattening up, the squash is growing so much every day it is amazing, and everything is so thickly entwined and jungle-like that it is sometimes hard to find and pick everything! I often find a HUGE cucumber in a bush or something. ;) But it is all so beautiful and busy.
I love that after a few months of slow and summer there is this mad dash to fall feeling once the garden starts to peak - the light changes, it starts getting dark a little earlier again, the mornings feel a little cooler. Ahhhh.
How is your August?