Wednesday, August 26, 2009

warm summer sun.

We are loving nature walks on those summer days where the insects buzz so loudly it reverberates in our heads. Walking through prairie grasses so tall we can't see where the trail is going.

Trips for ice cream where we can ride tractors and listen to the silence of the country. Riding bikes every single day. Visiting farms for fresh peaches, apples, and veggies of every color. Playing at the beach, and going home with sand in everything.

Parks and playdates with friends. Playing T-Ball in the alley with the neighbors until the sun goes down. Sticky cool treats at the bait shop, where sweets and ice cream are across the room from night crawlers.

Bug hunts where we find amazing insects - bees and wasps and praying mantises and beetles of every color. Watching the birds eat every single sunflower seed from the flowers in our garden.

Laughing and playing and laughing some more. Being silly.

Playing with friends until the sun finally goes down - tired and happy. Life is good.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

summer living.

While I've been doing lots of this

and this,

the boys have been happily playing, building, constructing,

and just enjoying the summer.

We have been spending a lot of time outside too, bike riding, park visiting, gardening, and walking. The days of summer are long, and the boys have been coming in after dark, exhausted and happy. G actually fell asleep on the floor, face down, with his bike helmet still on yesterday!

The long days of summer ARE for play and garden and food preserving. I can't believe that summer is almost over - but I think I also welcome it with relief. Soon we will be tucked inside after dinner as the darkness comes earlier, playing board games, knitting, crafting, more frequent blogging, and being together. But for now, we have another month or so of summer rumpus and piles of veggies on every counter and windowsill, and huge pots of simmering tomatoes or canning baths on every burner!

We have been chatting and planning some fun things we want to do this fall/winter. Classes, outings, crafting, projects, you name it (going to share some of that soon). I have always been a cool weather person and fall/winter energize me and give me a burst of creativity - so planning now is good not only because we can register and plan for fall activities in time, but also so I can dream of all the crafty goodness to come! Until then, back to my tomatoes!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

two wheels.

Last night G asked to have the training wheels removed from his bike. So, we did. My husband gave him a push and ran alongside, expecting to help a bit as he teetered, but G just rode away. No problem. See dad, didn't need 'em!

Tonight he hopped back on the bike and zipped around the alley with his brother and friends without even one wobble or tumble.

While we can feel the summer winding to its end, I have also been seeing his little guy'ness coming to an end too. Time flies, and my 4 year old is letting me know daily that he is always ready for the next big boy thing, whatever that may be.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Growing Strong.

The garden is in full swing, and we feel her pull every day. We are growing a lot of things in our tiny yard, but with such good soil, organic fertilizers, and loving care, it is a dense jungle filled with beans, peas, lettuce, squash, peppers, tomatoes, berries, herbs, flowers, seeds and more.

While the general day to day gardening is my domain - and I do love strolling through, watering, picking, tyeing, snipping, placing - the whole family works together happily most days to keep it all going. Today my guys picked quarts of wonderberries, which we made into a delicious jelly - 3 pints worth!

Even with our small space we are bringing in buckets full of food every day! And what cannot be eaten within a week is immediately placed in the dehydrator to dry, is blanched and frozen, or is canned.

Even our deck is a place for preserving food, as we hang herbs, cure garlic, or hang up large heads of sunflower seeds to dry. We have pots of fresh herbs on our deck, which we use for dinner each day, or dry in the dehydrator for winter!

The garden has become a jungle - so lush and green. I must look carefully to find all of its bounty...and it is often like a treasure hunt, finding something where we least expect it.

We have cucumbers growing up a tree. Well, one up a tree, one up a sunflower - all good!

Our rain barrel (yes, that is it above!) is completely covered in plants - including a wandering pumpkin that decided hanging from a rain barrel is the perfect spot!

We have beans and morning glories growing up twine, reaching from the ground, up the deck, and up the sides of the gazebo. There are dozens of tendrils inside the gazebo too, dangling flowers and vegetables wherever there is a space. We have lemon balm, nasturtiums, borage and calendula - for salads, teas, or a vase. While we harvest some sunflowers for ourselves, we also plant many just for the bees and the birds. There are loud excited goldfinches in the garden most of every day, picking the heads clean!

August is when we get busy with the garden and the kitchen. But it is so much fun, and well worth the effort when in February we are eating garden vegetables while watching the snow fall. Although it is very hot this week with thunderstorms and heat warnings, I can feel that autumn is coming. The garden is peaking, and we are ready!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

garden discoveries.

As many of you know, we hatched a praying mantis egg sac this spring, and released the tiny mantises into the garden. For a few days we could see the tiny insects on the leaves, and then we saw fewer and fewer until nothing. I figured some were bird food, but that some must have made it and be getting pretty big by now.

Today I was watering and saw a movement on a leaf and sure enough, there was a large green praying mantis! The boys were SO EXCITED to see one this big - it is over 4" long, and would turn its head to look right at us as we bent in to see. We got to watch as it stalked and lurched at a giant brown grasshopper. Wow. The boys went back out to look over and over and over again today. I know what we'll be doing tomorrow!

Monday, August 03, 2009


Last weekend we celebrated A's belt promotion to red-white. He was happy and very proud - not only has he moved up through the levels, but he has stayed with it for one year!

Being in karate is what he wanted to do, and after an entire year of classes several times per week, he still loves it. A is an intense kid, and I know that having the same instructor in the same room in the same building with the same uniform has really helped him focus and stay interested. Students do change, but he has been in a pretty stable core of the same kids and so is comfortable being there and is in his element - without constantly changing people dynamics.

I love that he has had something that is 'his own' in a non-competitive environment with continuous challenges, yet also fun and a great physical outlet for a kid with a lot of energy.

Congrats sweet boy!