knitting

I really love to knit. I'm not the greatest at it, perhaps because I don't have a lot of time to sit down and actually do it for more than five minutes at a time. It is a nice craft though, especially when I only have a few minutes, it gives me a chance to relax and do a couple rows. I learned how to knit when I was in junior high, but gave it up once I became an awesome high school kid ;-) Before Emma was born, I started knitting again. So she has been watching me for some time knitting. Mostly she wants to help me (not so helpful ;-)). The new thing, however, is asking me to make her stuff. Unfortunately, not just one thing at once, many things...and she wants them now!

When she asked me a couple weeks ago to knit her something, silly me said "what would you like sweetie." Not expecting more than some obscure toy she might want. What she said was "I would like a red scarf, a pink coat, a blue hat, green socks, and a toy for ellie...oh and some mittens" Certainly was not expecting that. And now everyday she seems to ask me for the same things...although in different colors each time. She doesn't really grasp that it takes me a little while to make said things...and the changing of the yarn colors isn't helping!

This week, while we are away, I will be doing a lot of knitting...and hopefully can accomplish what she has requested. At the very least, I now know what to give her for Christmas :-)

Mad Men

I have heard a lot about this show over the past year or so...so I was very excited to hear that Netflix now has it on instant view! Yay! I watch so many crazy documentaries, it will be nice to have something that it is a little lighter...well...maybe not lighter...but different :-) We don't have cable, so we watch whatever we can find on Netflix and Hulu.

Do you have a favorite show? Or are you a documentary junkie like I am?

Intermediate Steps

I am reading this great book right now called Surviving Off Off-Grid: Decolonizing the Industrial Mind. It is about how to live a simple life and changing your thinking in order to live in a powered down society. The author talks a lot about "intermediate steps" and how we have to think beyond those steps in order to truly live off the grid.

Some examples would be solar panels and wind power. These are GREAT alternative energies, but what he is saying is that, at some point, you are going to need replacement batteries, and then what? You have relied on this solar panel to power your lights and your dishwasher etc. etc. but now you have no replacement batteries for those solar panels. He is saying that instead of planning for a short term disruption, you need to plan for a long term disruption.

It made me think quite a bit. I don't know if I am necessarily one of those who would get solar panels and then power everything in my house. I feel like I am trying to reduce it to the absolute minimum that I would like to have for comfort. I have thought about getting solar panels to power a few things that would be helpful, like my computer which I seem to store copious amounts of information on...hmmm...maybe should rethink that. And of course powering the washing machine. But, I have never thought about 10 years from now when the batteries I have may need to be replaced, and where I would get those if there had been a collapse of the industrial consumer society we have now. And I certainly hadn't thought about what Emma and Jack would do for power once they are adults. Don't get me wrong, I'm not jumping out of this world and into another. But, it is interesting to think about what one might be able to accomplish if they have only planned for the "intermediate" and not necessarily the "long term."

Food was another category that I hadn't really put too much time thinking past the intermediate steps. Obviously I can food now, and I love that. And I try and buy my dry goods in bulk (it's cheaper). But, I really haven't thought about how I can store my food if I, say, run out of lids and rings for my jars. Yes, I can buy those in bulk and store them, but what happens when I run out and they aren't producing them anymore? My hope is that someone will figure out how to continue producing them in a powered down economy...but that might be a little questionable. Perhaps I should learn about storing food in a root cellar and lacto fermentation.

I haven't finished the book yet. It has been interesting to read though. I guess the next step would be doing and not thinking though...need to work on that. How about you? Have you ever thought of your preparations as just "intermediate steps?" And have you thought about what you would do when those are no longer viable? Or do you just ignore it all and try to live your life to the fullest? My husband is in the latter category :-)

baby it's cold outside...

Is it wrong that I am starting to think about Christmas right now? I woke up this morning, and it is 59 degrees outside. A far cry from the 104 it was on Friday. It isn't even August 1, and it feels like summer is over! I guess last week was our one "hot" week in Maine. I'm sure we will still have some warmth, I am not completely writing off summer, but when it cools down in July, it gets me thinking about Christmas and all of the planning I have to do.

Last year I was inspired by Plain and Joyful Living to make all the Christmas presents. I really enjoy knitting and sewing and crafting, and overall thought it would be less expensive (although that isn't always the case), and we were trying to dial down the amount of stuff we were giving at Christmas time to perhaps help others realize it was less about "stuff" and more about the time that we spend together. The jury is still out on that last bit...

Anyways, on Mondays, starting in July last year Plain and Joyful Living would post blogs about what she and others in the blog world were planning/making for Christmas. I had so many great ideas! I had lists of gifts, who would get what, what supplies I needed for each gift, the time I thought it would take to make said gifts. I was prepared.

Well, prepared in July is great, except when you are due to have a baby on August 6th...and when that baby needs to be born via c-section due to my previous injuries from a car accident. Hmmm...let's just say that I was completely unprepared for the challenge of having a 2 year old and a newborn and trying to heal myself from a c-section. So all of my handmade goodness was drastically reduced...including all the baking that I typically do every year. Add to this, I had the flu the entire week of Christmas...yeah...that kind of sucked.

This year I have vowed it will be different! I am going to ENJOY the weekends in December instead of making a mad rush to create/buy/wrap/bake something. I would love to be mostly prepared for Christmas this year so that I don't feel like I am running around with my head cut off. I am naturally prone to high stress I think, so if starting my Christmas making in August, I hope to be ahead of that stress...we shall see!

What about you? Am I the only crazy one out there? Probably, but if my sister-in-law could possibly comment that I am NOT the only crazy Christmas fool...that would be helpful ;-)

weekend

We had a great weekend! Emma had her VBS assembly on Friday evening. It was about 100 degrees in the church, I thought I was going to pass out. But, luckily everyone survived the evening. Emma had such a great time getting up in front of everyone and singing and dancing to their VBS songs. I definitely have a performer on my hands. She managed to be standing directly in the front of everyone, right in the middle. The rest of her class was not really interested in singing and dancing, so they sort of sat off to the left of the group and played. By the end of the little assembly, Emma had had enough and yelled up to me "mama! i'm really thirsty! can you please bring me your water bottle!!!???" It was cute. She is growing up so fast!

My brother and sister-in-law came up Friday night as well. They brought their new puppy Link. We had a fun time hanging out on Saturday, while the guys hit up the pub and went to see Harry Potter...which I had already seen on opening day. Geek much? We ended the day with a trip out to dinner and some brews on my mom's deck. It was overall a great time. I wish they lived closer so that we could do it more often. It doesn't help that this summer has been crazy for them since Cara's sister got married, they bought a house, and acquired a new member of their family. Hopefully after we get home from our vacation and we all attend a good friend's wedding, we can get into a better visiting schedule.

On tap for this week? Figuring out what one brings to a camp that is just about as far away from civilization as possible. OK, that isn't completely correct. I'm sure there is a lot going on in Canada, right over the border, however we do not have passports, nor do the kiddies, and for some reason they passed a law that says we can't use our birth certificates anymore...glad that hadn't passed when I was in high school. And we won't really be roughing it. There is electricity, indoor plumbing, a kitchen with appliances...what there is not...internet. We shall see how that goes. At least we will be gone when TSHTF with all this debt ceiling BS. We already told our friends (who we are renting the camp from) that we might just stay up there for good!

the state of the garden

Well, with all the whining I have been doing, and the fact that I have stopped weeding (except for my tomatoes), my garden still seems to be producing. I have gotten 8 zucchini in the past few days. I think that is a pretty good amount considering all the damage those cucumber beetles inflicted. I wonder if the no weeding bit is helping a little...you know...maybe they can't find the plant anymore because of all the grass that is growing up around it :-)

I have gotten a couple of slicing cucumbers too, and they were damn tasty. It is amazing to me the difference in taste between something you grow yourself and something you can pick up at the grocery store. I can't for the life of me figure out why people stopped growing gardens. I was thinking that perhaps it wasn't always like this at grocery stores, tasteless veg and fruit, totally out of season, or coming from "away" even though we produce the same thing locally. I think that maybe at first the grocery stores still carried what was mostly local as far as produce and meat. Sorry, tangent.

My tomatoes seem to be doing quite well. I have had a bit of blossom end rot on some of my romas. Definitely the result of my not watering enough. Sometimes I forget to water, or something else is going on that demands my attention. Perhaps I shouldn't be gardening unless I can give it a good amount of attention. Perhaps next summer I will have a little more ability as far as gardening and, most importantly, weeding goes.

I picked a handful of green beans last night...well what I think are green beans. They could be yellow wax beans, or immature pinto/cannellini/black beans. Seeing as how ALL of my bean plants seem to be producing the same thing...I can't really be sure. They certainly tasted like green beans. And I have some - what I think are - pumpkins growing in the back of my garden. I don't know where they came from, but they seem to be growing well, so we will see how they turn out.

As for food, we have been eating a lot of eggs fresh from the farm. Yesterday was fritata with swiss chard and sauteed zucchini. Last week I made pasta sauce from some sweet italian sausage from a local pig, fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic scapes. I didn't even season it. It is amazing to taste the flavors of fresh food and realize that they don't need all the extra seasoning we typically use...although I would have liked a little red pepper flake in mine :-)

How does your garden grow? We could definitely use the rain (especially our CSA farm), but I keep getting out there and turning my sprinkler on. I am not looking forward to this quarter's water bill...

this week...

has been HOT! And I love it! I am so happy to have a few hot days, and try and remember them when winter comes around...since winter is about 2/3 of the year here, I have to soak it in when I can.

Emma is absolutely LOVING VBS! I am so happy that she is having fun. I only wish I knew what she was doing down there for 3 and a half hours every morning...asking a 3 year old "so what did you do today" usually gets me "i don't know, what did I do?" Not so helpful. I have gotten bits and pieces, like the M&M's she gets for a treat, and that she has fallen...a lot...while running around outside.

I am not getting nearly the amount of work done with her gone as I had expected. My little Mr. Jack has had other plans...mainly that I play with him constantly until his big sister comes home and they both crash (and Mama as well). I have to say that it has been really nice though, to have some one on one time with Jack. It isn't something that I ever get, not that I am complaining, but I think he is enjoying it.

It has also been really refreshing. I feel like I am getting a little bit of a break, and that is amazing. Definitely something that I needed. It is hard to be a stay at home mama. Not that it isn't hard to be a working mama as well, but since I don't know that path, I am going with what I know. I am glad that I am getting a little bit of a respite, and planning time for our family vacation in just a week and a half. Instead of being stressed going into vacation, I am hoping to be somewhat relaxed and ready to have a fun time. Does it make me a bad mama to be happy to have some quiet (er) time while Emma is away? I don't think so. I think sometimes we all need a little alone time, even if my alone time is with the littlest babe :-)

debt ceiling

When you start a blog, you are supposed to pick one "topic" and go with it. Unfortunately I have so many topics floating around in my head, you get a variety :-) I don't really want this to be a political blog, but sometimes I just need to vent, and I figure my blog is the perfect place. Sorry if I offend anyone!

I am so absolutely frustrated about all this debt ceiling talk. I get that we have obligations that we need to meet. I think what bothers me is that no one talks about the fact that every day the government continues to collect taxes. So even though we may not collect enough taxes to pay every. single. thing. it isn't like we have suddenly gone completely broke and can pay NOTHING, which is what the media seems to want the public to think. I would like to see a breakdown of what we bring in vs. what we pay out. I'm sure I can find all this online, but it would be nice if the people in charge would talk about those things during news conferences, instead of all the backbiting. And maybe we should think about not paying the senators/representatives/president/vice president...maybe those should all be volunteer positions, then let's see how much is accomplished.

I am frustrated that the president and vice president were adamantly opposed to raising the debt ceiling when there was a republican president (I didn't agree with it then either, by the way) by saying that it was a leadership failure. I am frustrated to see that the government is using my money unwisely. Not just my money, but the money that my babes will be paying into the government system at some point as well. Why is it that I have to stay within a budget to make sure I can heat my house and put food on the table, but the government cannot be responsible enough to take my money and only use what is collected to pay "obligations." Why should they be able to promise that in 10 years they will pay for x, y, z?

Shouldn't the government be held to the same budget constraints as every other American citizen? I understand that we would have to have DRASTIC cuts in order to fit the budget that we have money to finance, but it is only right. It isn't like when I run out of money I can just call up China and say "here are some Townsend House bonds, can we borrow that money, we'll pay you back...at some point...even though we will probably borrow more from you to pay the interest." It just seems absolutely ridiculous!

At what point will the United States of America be Greece, or Italy? At some point China is going to decide to not finance us anymore, and at some point they are going to demand their debt be paid in full. Then what? Who is going to bail out the US government? Who is going to finance us when the dollar is no longer a viable currency?

Maybe I am completely overreacting. In fact, I hope that is the case, because I am seriously concerned about the state of our nation. The only reason we were able to pull out of the Great Depression was because of WWII. We are already in 2 wars currently, 3 if you count Libya (which no one seems to be talking about anymore, even though it has been 4 months), and we are still at 9% unemployment, and really that is more like 19%. How are we going to actually pull of the "Great Recession," when we continue to borrow from foreign investors. At what point does that borrowing stop?

I get that people want to continue to be elected, but I don't believe that our country was founded and organized so that people could have a career in politics. I believe that our country was founded in order to provide a good FREE life to all citizens, which is not at all the case anymore. We are so riddled with debt, and people don't have any concept of this amount of money, that it seems ok and perhaps imaginary. At some point soon, we are ALL going to have to face the reality of this debt. And then what? How will we be able to come back from this? What industry do we have now that can produce the amount of income we need to change our course? I don't see anything.

If you have any thoughts, I would love to hear them, because it is extremely depressing to read/watch the news these days. Thanks for letting me vent!

Vacation Bible School

Today is the first day of VBS down at our church. I am slightly nervous about bringing Emma. I know the people that are doing the program very well (some of whom taught me when I was little), but it is the first time I will be leaving her for any length of time with someone other than my mom. Silly, I know. She is 3 years old, she has her little friends going and my best friend's son who is like her big brother will be there to look after her.

It is just so difficult to watch how fast my babes are growing, and the independence that they feel. Even now when Jack and Emma can play together without me, it is kind of sad. I am such a sap, I know! I am hoping I am not alone in these feelings, and that other mamas can relate at some level to this business of growing up!

On the plus side, this should give me a week full of free mornings to spend with my littlest and to maybe make a dent in the cleaning that needs to be done around here! So let's all cross our fingers that Emma absolutely loves going to "school" and I don't come home and have an anxiety attack and curl up on the couch with Jack until I can pick her up :-)

a sad day for the cucurbitaceae

A sad day indeed for the cucurbits in my garden. I have been ignoring the many striped cucumber beetles that seem to be deterred by nothing I do. I had planted a lot of zucchini, cucumbers, and winter squash for my family this year. Unfortunately, it seems as though mother nature has had a different approach to my gardening technique. It is time for me to pull all the squash/cucumber plants from my garden. They are beyond dead.

Some have little fruits trying to grow, but unfortunately the ones that got by the cucumber beetles are being attacked by stink bugs. Clearly not my year for preserving the dill pickles that my daughter craves by the handful. Instead, I am left with beans, peppers (which I may have to pull as well because it hasn't been hot enough), and my beloved tomatoes, which seem to be holding up quite well despite the fact that I have no idea how to prune these suckers, and I have definitely NOT staked them (what is wrong with me?!).

So there it goes, probably half of my garden gone. I planted what we eat. A lot of pie pumpkin (for breads, muffins, pumpkin butter, pies, and soup), winter squash (the kind that will last the entire winter season), and enough cucumbers/zucchini/yellow summer squash to make enough relish/pickles/grated frozen bags to give us something tasty during the winter. My last hope is really the tomatoes. I am hoping beyond hope that I have good producers in the romas I got this year as seedlings. And if all else fails, I hope that the local fish monger's father has a banner crop of tomatoes again this year as he did last year, and I can pick them up for $.50/pound.

I'm not sure I could be a real farmer. I seem to be so attached to the plants this year, where usually I can pass over them without concern. Is it because I am actually relying on them this year that it is so different?

How is your garden growing? Has there been any big wipeout for you? Or is it just me and this strange Maine weather this year?

The Dirty Life and a giveaway

I was gifted a wonderful book from Simply Authentic called The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love. This isn't the first time Simply Authentic has gifted me with a book. The last one being No Impact Man. So thank you!

The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love is an amazingly quick read. It is about the author's journey of meeting the man of her dreams who just happens to be a farmer, and brings her along for the ride. It goes through their entire journey as a new couple, looking for land, starting their own (amazing) CSA, and right through their wedding.

I really enjoyed this book. Right from the beginning it made me dream of my own life on a farm. And several times I actually got up from reading to go check on my garden. Definitely not the same as the acres that she is farming with her husband (and now hired help as well), but it was enough to make me get out of the house and take stock of what I had available to me. There were a few squeamish moments for me. Mainly the cooking of testicles and eating liver and heart, and cooking with the blood from a pig. No matter how close to the land I want to live, I just don't think I can get THAT close to the land. I am not one for wasting food, but some things I believe are just better left alone :-)

Since this book was gifted to me, I would like to gift it to someone else who is interested in reading such a wonderfully easy memoir. Usually I would not offer up a book, since I am a serious bibliophile and would prefer to hoard as many books as humanly possible. But, since Simply Authentic has been so generous, I think I should be as well. So if you would like to read this book, leave me a comment with your e-mail address, and I will send it to you with the hope of passing it along.

rearranging furniture...again...

I think most people move into a house and the rooms are easily labeled. This is the living room, this is the kitchen, this is the bedroom. My house is not quite like that. I am not sure if it is because I have so many rooms, that I feel like I need to keep moving things around, or if it is because I am not good with keeping things as is.

When I was growing up I constantly moved my bedroom around. Always trying to find the "right" way to have the room set up. Inevitably, each time I would do this, I would find the "perfect" way, and then a month later I was at it again. In college I did the same thing, I think partly because I moved just about every semester into a different room/apartment.

Now I am in a house. A large house that seems a tad intimidating since it is still in the process of being "fixed up," and probably will be for the next 10 years. We have 3-4 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, a dining room, an eat in kitchen. It seems like too much. So I improvise and start moving things around. But, I can't seem to get the labels right. We have the craft room, which is working out great, although I could definitely use shelves, this is one of the bedrooms of course. Downstairs I have a living room that we are using as a living room now, but I think I want to move it into the toy/school room. But then where do I put the toys? Where they are now, they are at least out of the way...for the most part.

See the stress I have? Having a big house does not make for an easier life I swear. It isn't even the amount of space I have, it is the amount of stuff that needs to be crammed into every corner and have its place. I sometimes wonder if the fact that I have such a big house is a reason I have so much stress. Trying to keep the beast clean is next to impossible for me, and I hate to constantly put stuff away.

I saw that Matt and Sara are moving into a camper again. They seem to know what they are doing as far as living small. I always want to take that leap, but then don't for whatever reason, be it fear or having my relatives tell me once again how crazy I am :-) It is always something at the back of my mind though.

Tell me, do you rearrange furniture as much as I do? Why do you do this/not do this? Would love to know if I am the only whack job out there that wants constant change?

attack of the weeds!

I love gardening. I think it is so much fun to dig in the dirt, plant seeds, and watch something grow. However, with gardening, comes weeds. Unfortunately, I am not so good on the weeding. I always have good intentions of going outside to weed, but my babes seem to have other ideas. And if I try and get in the garden to weed, either my kids come in to help (which won't be bad when they are a little older), or they take off for their Nana's house. Nothing like seeing a 3 year old running and an eager brother scooting behind her going for the road. So you see, the weeding does not get done as often as I would like.

Last week we had a good amount of hot humid weather, followed by bouts of heavy rain...it made my plants flourish! It also made my weeds flourish. It seems that I may never get my garden to look quite weed free before frost comes and kills everything :-)

To add insult to injury, I just saw on come fly with me, how beautiful her "boardwalk" is now that she has weeded. To which I promptly ran outside to take pictures of my yard...while I would like the big garden to look more like my baby cucumber plants that have so far evaded the cucumber beetle orgy in the big garden:



It actually looks like this:



It is like Where's Waldo? only, where's the vegetable plants? I try and keep the tomatoes pretty weed free around the base of the plant...but the paths between the rows...yeah...i definitely should have put down some newspaper or something :-) Ahhh, the learning process of gardening. Maybe next year I will try weeding regularly, and perhaps this winter I can read Vegetable Gardening For Dummies

Frontier House

I have recently finished watching Frontier House for the umpteenth time. Has anyone else seen this historical reality show on PBS? I honestly can't get enough of these house shows from PBS, even though I have seen them all, I keep going back again and again. Frontier House is definitely my favorite though. I don't know if it is because of the time period, and the fact that it reminds me of the Little House books, or if it is because the families are so freakin hilarious in their little fights and cheating scandals. I do wish that it had a little more information, or was longer. I mean, they were there for 5 months, and we get a 6 hour series? I am sure there is more in all those cutting room floor edits that could have been added...or maybe it was completely dull and that is why the show was only 6 hours. I think I read somewhere that the film crew was only out filming 3 days/week.

It has renewed my interest in log homes though. I have always loved the look of log homes. There is something so cozy about them. It doesn't hurt that it is definitely a cheap way to build a home...if you have access to trees. We seem to have an abundance of trees up here where I live, so it seems to be cheap to me...The problem I see is that we would end up with a very small home, and I'm not sure I can have a small home. I mean, I always desire to have less stuff, but it never actually ends up happening. Perhaps because our current home is 24oosf, and it would look a little silly with no furniture in it, although much easier to clean :-)

I sometimes wish my family could do a crazy stunt like Frontier House. Would we make it through the winter? Would we kill each other? Does anyone else ever wonder about this stuff? Or is it just me? And if it is just me...what the hell happened to make me so crazy?!

Schooling at home

I know what you are thinking, "don't you have babies?" Yes, yes I do. My oldest just turned three. Ever since I was pregnant I knew that I wanted to have my babes at home with me to learn. It isn't that I have anything against public schools. In fact, I loved school when I was growing up. And I am living in the same district where I went to school. I just feel that I will be able to teach my kids better, having the ability to give them one on one time when needed. And there will be a lot less pressure to conform. It doesn't mean that I will always homeschool, but I think it is a pretty good possibility.

This post, however, is not about whether or not I will homeschool, or about socialization etc. etc. It is instead about my 3 year old daughter, and her insane desire to use workbooks. I had always planned to read a lot of books until Emma was older, which we do. I figured that interest led learning would be good for quite a few years. I did buy a couple workbooks on letters and numbers at Barnes and Noble on sale. I thought they would be good to use in a year or so. How was I to know that she would see them and want to do them immediately.

Now, she has an insatiable need to do the workbooks. All. the. time. I thought maybe it was because there were star stickers at the end of each page. So I gave her stickers to use on paper. Nope, that isn't really what she wanted. She actually wants to do the workbooks. She wants to do the workbooks at 5:30am. She wants to do the workbooks instead of eating lunch. She wants to do the workbooks when Matt comes home from work. It is workbooks all the time.

Is it bad that I try and hold her off the workbooks? Only doing a couple pages at a time. I feel like if I let her, she would do the entire workbook in one day. And considering I only have 4, I'm not sure how far that would get me. Then part of me thinks if I let her have at it she will be bored with them after a couple days. I figure not letting her do them constantly is probably a good thing, then she wants to do them everyday, and continues learning.

These workbooks are a far cry from what I expected her to want to do with regards to learning. I figured she would want to do a lot of playing outside and hands on learning. She likes those as well, but, for now at least, she seems to prefer the workbooks. And I can't say that I am disappointed...I was a total nerd growing up and loved workbooks too...

chaos and quiet

My house is always a state of chaos. I like to think I have everything together. I mean, we wear clean clothes...for the most part. I cook 3 meals a day, mostly from scratch. But, there is always noise and toys, dogs and kids to trip over. I have the ability to block out the noise most of the time, which I think is a good quality in a mama of littles :-) Sometimes, however, there is complete silence. That is when I snap out of my daze and run to see what is going on.

Most of the time when the kids are quiet it is for a not so good reason, like Emma going up to the craft room to paint...and painting herself instead of the paper. Or Jack has crawled into the dog kennel...or the water bowl. Or Emma is helping me knit my latest project by taking all the stitches off the needles and using the needles as a magic wand. Clearly I tend to run all over the house looking for the kids when there is silence.

This morning, it happened again. I was just sitting down to read my e-mail (you know, the ones from my close friends groupon, williams-sonoma, and children's place). Finally having a sip of my now lukewarm coffee. Why do I bother with hot coffee? And the dog is laying at my feet, good the kids are giving her a break. As I am sitting at my desk, I notice that it seems pretty quiet in the house. "Oh, crap!" I jump up and run to the kitchen, convinced I will see kids covered in flour and olive oil, or something close to that picture. I come around the corner, and what do I see? Emma and Jack sitting in front of the fridge. "Jack this is an E, and this is an M, if you put them together it is my name. Jack this is the letter C, stick it to the rator (what most people call the fridge ;-))" I tiptoed out of the room as quickly and quietly as I could, and just wished that I had my camera charged so I could take a picture. Ahhh, I guess the quiet isn't always a bad sign.

CSA Week Five and garden update

We are moving into the warm part of summer, and I am thankful for that. It was a long, cold winter, and then a pretty rainy, cold spring. And with the heat comes humidity, and with the humidity comes exponential growth in the garden!

Yesterday was our 5th CSA pick up, 1/4 of the way through our summer CSA season already. It doesn't seem possible! We got a large amount of lettuce, some swiss chard, many many garlic scapes, and napa cabbage. So I am in for many more salads this week, which I love. I sent Matt to the Farmers' Market last week for more lettuce and other greens, and our farmer commented on how many greens we go through. He couldn't believe we were actually eating them all. But, alas, we are. I am of the mind to eat as much when it is in season as possible, and then by the time I am sick of it, it is gone.

Pretty soon I am sure we will be getting cucumbers and zucchini by the basket full...which is good considering all of my squash and cucumbers have just about been decimated by the cucumber beetle orgy. I actually have a couple of small zucchini growing on one of my plants. So let's hope they get big enough for me to eat them! Who ever would have thought I would be begging for zucchini to grow?! The plant that keeps producing at copious levels so you drop off your extras on neighbors doorsteps and run before they answer the door!

On the plus side I planted a second planting of cucumbers in the small bed where I had my shelling peas. They have all come up and are looking great! Which is more than I can say for the second planting of zucchini that I planted in the big garden...they were eaten by the cucumber beetles before they got 3 inches high. Tomatoes are doing great! Lot's of little flowers growing. The peppers don't seem to be growing at all. Hopefully a few days of warm weather will kick them into gear. Beans are doing well too...just wish I knew which kind I planted where. In all of my excitement (and a pint sized helper as well) the beans were planted any place I could find room...all 5 kinds...some of which are supposed to be for dry beans. So hopefully I will be able to know when they grow what they are...Maybe next time I will label better...or at all. I also have some other stuff growing which could be lettuce, but I'm not entirely sure I planted lettuce...

How is your garden growing? What is in your CSA basket/Farmers' Market this week? Anything you are sick of yet?

lovely weekend

We had an amazing weekend! It is so nice to have actual time off with my husband! He is currently working two jobs...so that doesn't happen so often. However, this month he has half days on Friday's and has taken the day off from his second job...which means we actually get *most* of a full weekend together. And of course today was a holiday, so he was home for that. This weekend was also our anniversary, 6 years married, 12 years together. Kind of insane how quickly the time flies by...

Inspired by Simply Authentic, Adventure in Progress, and Unplugged Sunday, we decided to go for a family hike on Saturday. It was a gorgeous day, 70's and sunny. We wanted to stay local though, especially with a 3 year old and an 11 month old. And I know nothing of local hiking. If I am going hiking in Maine, I go west to the mountains, north, or to the coast...not really in my central location. However, I found a great place called the Kennebec Highlands with a nice little hike for families called the French Mountain Trail. It said it was .4 miles each way, and I thought, worst case, I could just pick up Emma and carry her if it was less than a mile total.

So we drove on out there for our hike. I made PB&J and had trail mix and water. I thought we were set. Of course, we cancelled our cell phones a few weeks ago, and you get to depending on that 3G internet coverage when you are out and about. I had looked at the map before we left and knew the general area where we were going, so I wasn't really that concerned about printing out maps of the trails etc etc.

We get to the Kennebec Highlands and look at the map at the start of the trail, and we are at the Kennebec Highlands Sanders Hill Trail. Of course I couldn't really remember what the name of the short hike was, but it looked like the only trail in the general vicinity of where I knew we were planning on going. Matt looked at the map and kind of measured it with his pinky finger saying he thought it was closer to three miles in...and I of course said, nah, it can't be that far. So we started on our little hike (that was supposed to be relatively flat and easy to walk with kids). We just keep walking, catching Emma as she is climbing over the mossy rocks and sliding down, or jumping over little streams in the trail. After about 2 hours I said that I think we ought to turn back because I wasn't sure how much further this "loop" was going to go. So we back tracked, me carrying Emma most of the way. Remarkably we got out in about 30 minutes with me carrying her and Matt having Jack in the ergo.

We had a great time on that little hike, and Emma wanted to go back yesterday to do it again. I never expected to take her on an actual hike, but we did, and it worked. We didn't get to the summit, we turned back too soon, but we were able to have a nice little picnic near the water

And as we were driving down the road leaving our wonderful first family hike, what did we see about 100 yards down the road? Well, the start of the French Mountain Trail of course! Unfortunately, it was on the opposite side of the road...the side my husband was supposed to be watching...maybe next time we will try the shorter trail, although I think that Emma might think the lack of rock jumping won't be as fun :-)

writing books

I think that as long as I can remember I have wanted to write. I think it started in high school when I had this amazing English teacher freshman year. He really taught me to love writing, and reading quality literature as well. I always loved reading. I think the reason I started reading so early in life, 4, was because I could not get my mom to read to me for hours and hours on end…and now my lovely Emma wants me to read to her hours and hours on end, but that is another story.

All through high school I read books, and wrote in journals, created short stories and had millions of ideas on what I wanted to write and read. It was extremely varied too, romance novels, fantasy, classics, non-fiction. It was all inspiring to me, and I could not get enough of it. Then…I went to college. I was lucky that I was such a fast reader, the amount of reading they expect of you in college is no joke, that’s for sure. And of course I pick a major that I know NOTHING about Business Administration, which mainly consisted of every macroeconomics class I could find…I may have had some issues back then. But, add to that the desire to take every American History class I could find and of course the women’s lit classes, and I was up to my eyeballs in reading…all the time…constantly. These are all subjects that I enjoy immensely, however, when you are in the thick of it (maybe it was just me), you can’t actually enjoy it, why? Because it is a REQUIREMENT.

Now, it has been a fair few years since I graduated from college…and it took me a while to want to return to reading and writing. But, now that I WANT to write again (reading has been well established for some time now, in fact I can’t seem to only read one book at a time), I feel like I have nothing to write about. I almost want to write some trashy teenage romance novel just to get my feet wet again.

Why can’t I seem to get into a writing groove anymore? Is it because there is SO MUCH going through my head that I can’t settle on one idea, or more often than not that I have NO ideas in my head at all and end up staring at a blank screen for 30 minutes. Granted, those 30 minutes are usually at 11pm after I have finally gotten the babes to sleep for the night, at which point I can barely form a coherent sentence…So instead I take up blogging…short little posts that I hope are funny sometimes or at least interesting to read. Don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath J

I know that in November they have NaNoWriMo, however, I’m not sure I would be able to come up with something interesting to write about. If I could just find a good idea, but it seems like all of my ideas have already been written, and I have this huge fear of stealing someone’s idea unknowingly. I read a lot of books, so who is to know if I am actually creating the idea myself, or if I am taking several ideas from books I have read and combining them into some sort of awesomeness…ok…maybe awesomeness is not the correct word there…hmmm

What do you think? Do you write? How do you find your inspiration? Or do you find the whole idea of writing too daunting and stare at a blank screen for hours on end (that is a total exaggeration Matt, I don’t actually sit at the computer for hours and hours trying to find something to write about – have to put that in for my wonderful hubby who may or may not be reading my blog from work currently J)