Monday, July 30, 2007

And So Begins the Struggle...

I caught our very cute groundhog nibbling my sugar snap peas the other day and found the evidence he left behind yesterday: tiny green tomatoes with single bites from them littering my porch. Now he's gobbled up all my parsley. Wonder if it will grow back? Wondering too if I should get a humane trap? Or try some urine?

My sons found a praying mantis on Saturday. About 2" long. I thought praying mantids (plural of mantis) were a lot larger, but I guess they have to start somewhere. It was amazing to watch its head move from side to side as if reading a book or checking out its admirers. And how it kept its forelegs folded and close to its body was fascinating. It didn't try to escape but let my kids watch him, try to feed him a leaf, put him into a little glass jar with a paper top, and watch him some more. I guess his tactic worked; after a little bit, he was freed.

On the crafting front, I purchased several new patterns, about 12 yards of muslin and a new rotary cutter since mine has gone the way of the lost-never-to-be-found-again route (very much like a recent library audiotape). I want to try out the patterns first in muslin before using more expensive fabric. And I took a peruse through my bins of fabrics - got to start using them up.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Do You See Him?

Nope. You missed him. Just as I poured my morning coffee, something caught my eye on our back deck near the zinnias. I thought it was the neighbor's cat. Wrong! It was this guy. He actually sat up on his haunches and put his front paws on our windowscreen, lifted his cute little head and sniffed the air as if detecting through the windowpane, the scent of Costa Rican Tarrazu from our favorite store. I grabbed the camera and missed him! Maybe tomorrow. I found that he is living beneath our deck - smart groundhog - now he'll enjoy my potted garden.

Today was raining on and off as if it couldn't make up its mind what to do. Our poor croquet set left out in the rain. (Hmmm, that reminds me... the blue ball is lost forever down another groundhog hole in Connecticut...)

I did finally make this skirt for my daughter. We bought this pattern and fabric almost a year ago. She picked out both. She cut out the pieces. I sewed them. The photo does it no justice except that my daughter will look nice in it. (Notice the 'S-curve' pose that she has taken...) The one thing I learned from this is: I HATE GATHERS!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Must-Do vs. Want-Do-To

Isn't that the age-old struggle? My fingers are so sore from typing for hours and hours yesterday. But at least I got something done from my Must-Do-List. It's so much more fun to do something from my Want-To-Do-List but since I'm a member of the Procrastinator's Club, I knew that I had to do the typing. It was all for our upcoming homeschool year. I was trying to finish the entire schedule for my 2 older ones. Whew! Almost done. Have French left to do. Today, I spent several more hours trying to organize my 2 younger one's schedule. It feels somewhat satisfying to get certain items crossed off the Must-Do-List.

Now for the Want-To-Do-List. (I think I'll write that on another post in detail.) I made a mental (and visual) list of my latest finds from the library. Hopefully I'll read all of them, but don't they at least look pretty?

And Houston...we have tomatoes! Our very first garden-grown Striped German sitting in the foreground and Sun Golds, Grape, and Super Sweets in the back. Along with some cayenne peppers (not seen in the photo). We also are the proud parents of cucumbers, parsley, rosemary, chives & basil. (already made some pesto).

And I found this little fellow climbing on my need-to-be-pulled sugar snap peas. He's a lovely color! Hopefully the color of the sugar pumpkins I'm going to try and plant.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sorry Guys, No Flowers


My in-laws visited this weekend. We had perfect weather. We ate lots of food. We visited an art museum. We brainstormed about flowers and veggies. We ended up with a new list of new things to do: gardening, decorating, creating a shed in our house! (only kidding) My father-in-law should be dubbed Sir Nothing's-Better-Than-A-Project.

This is the sign outside the ladies' bathroom.

6 rooms in one - gorgeous colors

Bright blue sky

This is the funny sign outside the men's room.
Hmmm... I guess guys don't appreciate bouquets?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Promises, Pillowcases and a Pig

My potted garden is coming along nicely. Promises of good things to come: little tomatoes, basil, and sugar snap peas. (Yes, I should have planted the sugar snaps much earlier than I did for this climate, but we are getting a few handfuls none the less.) Why is it that garden veggies, freshly picked and warm from the sun, taste sooooo good and hardly make it into the house? "Mmmm! Mmmm! S'Wonderful!" exclaimed my son after eating a sugar snap. I whole-heartedly agree.



My daughter's zinnias are also coming along, although I do think we planted too many in too tight a space. They're rather spindly, but pretty.


A search at a local thrift store produced these: some pillowcases (not soiled, surprisingly), a Vera tablecloth complete with white fringe, blue Ball glass, and 2 tiny baskets. (The blue insulators I already owned - just thought it looked nice in the photo!)

And... in addition to my pile of gardening and cook books that a recent visit to the library yielded to me (I think the nice librarians are getting to know my world record for the most books out on one card at one time) ... I came home with this:


Very good read so far. I love food and cooking and there's something romantic about French things. It's a very warm and funny book. Makes me pine for living in Provence on a farm. Without the muck and mire, bien sur.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Feast or Famine

A ghost, a frog, a bunny and a dog.

Hmmm... I realize that this blog has a feast-or-famine approach to it so far. I'd like it to be more of a feast so today I'm posting a 2nd post. I had picked up this book last year at a tag sale. All the clay was gone, but the book was good. It was well worth the 50 cents I paid for it. A few days ago, my daughter and 2nd son made these cute finger puppets using sculpey.

2 pigs, an alien and tiny brown thing called Hairy Harry.

The whole crew in action.

Blue Success and a Surprise



On Saturday I went blueberry picking. Solo of course, being that it was 'too early' for my beloved children to roll out of bed. It was a new place about 35 min from my house. What a difference from my previous experience.

When I arrived 1/2 hour later than expected (due to a wrong turn), the place was bustling, excitement in the air. I spotted some pickers heading out the door to leave with arms full of berries, and it was then that I began to worry. Would there be enough left? My heart quickened. My pace increased. I hurried through the doors and out into the fields.
My brief fears, however, were relieved: rows and rows and rows of blueberries filled my view; all high-bush blueberry bushes laden with ripe berries. 'Now this is a proper blueberry patch', I thought and got to work.

Did you know that the ripest berries are the ones that just roll into your hands - no tugging, however slight, is needed? I learned that tid-bit of information from a veteran picker. So I rolled and rolled the berries into my buckets, wiped the sweat from my brow and overheard snippets of conversations from fellow blueberry pickers. 'Riding the Ear-ie' as my grandmother used to call it.

Well 2 1/2 hours later I emerged with blue fingers and full buckets. Next time I go, I'll bring a hat, water, a belt (to tie the buckets around my neck) and my children. We'll make short work of a lengthy process OR we'll be able to pick even more berries!

Now on to the surprise. A year ago, last spring, I had joined the One-Skein Secret Pal exchange. I received 3 packages from a secret pal and I sent 3 packages to a secret pal. When I signed up I thought it would be fun and easy. It was fun, but not necessarily easy. I sent off my 2 packages pretty much on time. The 3rd package however was very very late. 6 months late to be precise. Ugh! It was due to our major long-distance move that I hadn't anticipated when I signed up. My secret pal however, was very understanding.

Well, yesterday was filled with piano lessons, errands, a 3rd visit from the oven man to fix our less-than-a-year-old oven. It was rainy and overcast. So when I found a surprise package on my stoop yesterday it was like a sunny spot in a rather boring day.

She sent me 2 handmade flower washcloths (see above), a book on Oregon, Marionberry jam, salmon jerky, a grill kit with wooden planks and spices, and a very interesting rock. Oregon's state rock, but not really a rock. More like a geode or nodule. A Thunderegg! Very appropriate since I've had an interest in rocks and minerals since I was a child.

So a big thank you to Sherry, my secret pal!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Ho-Hum

Today is a ho-hum day. Nothing new. Same old, same old. Sometimes I wonder why it feels that most days are ho-hum days. I find that I need an event or goal to work towards, otherwise it becomes a week or month of ho-hums. July 4th came and went. My husband worked on our kitchen (which I will show at a later date - maybe some before and after shots), my children watched too much tv or played too many computer games and the weather was blah. Even the display of fireworks was nothing to write home about.

But we did enjoy these: Queen Anne cherries. Don't know why they're named that, but they were pretty tasty. And of course, this zinnia is showing forth its beauty (grown from my daughter's mini flower garden that she planted from seed) right outside our kitchen window.


And I have basically finished my book. Now I have to figure out how and who to send it to...

So I suppose there has been some growth, some encouragement (although slight). Hopefully I'll have more to show that is creative, inspiring, mouth-watering very soon. But for now... ho-hum.