Speaking of those little gals, I succumbed to letting Max and Ruby do some entertaining last week when we were trying hard to get a lot of farm stuff done before our summer travels to the Benner home place in PA. Neither of them seem to go great in the heat, so I'm not sure how much I'm going to be able to get out and help when they also don't seem to wake up very early. I'd much rather be out weeding here at 8 a.m. and sitting at a computer at noon than the other way around. Still working on how to get our individual schedules to jive with the collective! A few bursts of weeding had the spice and herb garden looking sharp and I also got to help weed and side dress some of our corn with compost. It is very satisfying for me when I get to work on and help complete a project. So many of the tasks around here are ever evolving and kind of stretch out in front of us (multiple day/week projects are a little less satisfying for me since I do tend to really crave that sense of completion).
...I have to chuckle because it is now hours later and I'm back at this. Terah woke right as I was reflecting on my desire to finish one thing before getting distracted. It might be what I enjoy most, but it is not what I experience most, that's for sure! Jason is much better at getting in a groove and taking a large task apart and just doing the next thing in it. He paces himself and has more endurance than me. In this photo, he is cutting and mulching with rye (a tedious and long job) to make way for planting flour corn (which is coming up nicely now). Kali seems to be able to stick with jobs alongside Jason, which is great. When we got home last evening they went out and picked the hull peas together. That's a dizzying job for me, with the mess of plants and peas and various stages of ripeness. I did enjoy picking the sugar snaps and snow peas, and while they are not stellar they are much better than last year.
I just got in from a satisfying 2 hour stint of working outside - sometimes days bring unpredictable and pleasant surprises like today. Alida woke up happy. Terah woke up happy. They were interested in being together and were excited to earn money by entertaining each other. I told Jason that it feels kind of ridiculous to pay our kids so I can work, but he said it was just paying the absentee babysitter. It felt like a very worthwhile 4 dollars to have them enjoy two hours of fun together while I weeded the red raspberries and put the final wheelbarrow loads of duff on the row. I also grabbed a bunch of plantain and smart weed for the pigs and did a quick once over weeding in our potato patch. It's a big day for the pigs. They have been combined! So far Jason feels it is going better than expected. I'm feeling bad for the smaller ones who are being told (by being butted and bitten) who is boss. But so far it seems they aren't chasing after them, just not letting them get in their space. Hopefully more peace will come with time. Jason seems to think this was all to be expected!
Let me note just a few more tidbits from home and end with a some highlights from our weekend in PA! The other day when Jason and I were in some busy slightly stressed space, all of a sudden this mound of something under a blanket came moving across the floor. It was so hilarious and broke us from our state, bringing us back to the glorious present moment of life with Terah! I'm not sure if she is pretending to be a turtle or what, but she gets her whole self under her blanket and scoots around. It's very funny! Other times she likes to play in the stuffed animal bin and sometimes almost disappears there too.
Kali continues to really enjoy playing piano and sometimes her younger sisters will let her.
And finally berry season is upon us! Right now we have goumi, red currant, gooseberry, black raspberry, red raspberry, white raspberry and blueberries ripe. We missed the serviceberries, so the birds probably enjoyed those. There are also probably still mulberries along the lane, but I haven't verified that since we got home. The main issue is picking time, so we are mostly just snacking on things when we are out and about. No jam making yet (which is not urgent since we still have lots in the root cellar!) Terah is a HUGE fan of raspberries!!! I asked her if red, white or black raspberries are her favorite and she said, "red, white and black raspberries are my favorite." There you have it!
So time for another distraction so this blog post may read with a slightly disjointed feel. Consider it an appropriate feeling for how life actually feels to at least the parents in this household much of the time. It's time to go pick up Kali at the blueberry patch and take the older girls for a playdate with friends down the road. I'll end this section with a picture of the milkweed right now. I hope we can provide good food and homes for monarch caterpillars again this year. In the meantime, the flowers are so exquisite! Ok, I'm off. I'll be back to share a bit about our adventures away from home!!
...Terah is playing "turtle" with her blanket in the living room so we'll see if I can knock out the rest of this post before her nap! So we left last Thursday for a long anticipated weekend in Pennsburg. The impetus for this particular trip north was to celebrate Jason's niece and nephew's high school graduation. I completely spaced and didn't take my camera to the graduation party, so the pictures here are from a few other parts of our weekend together.
Weeks ago Terah had brought to the family meeting that she had never ridden on a boat, a train or a bus and she wanted to. She has now ridden on a boat, thanks to Grandpa Benner and we have train tickets for a scenic ride in WV this September with my parents. The bus won't be too hard to take care of sometime soon as well - that was the easiest of the three modes of transportation requested... The day before the planned boat ride she started saying she wasn't going to ride a boat after all. The idea must have sounded appealing and the real thing a little scary. Once we explained she would not be in the water and the boat would float and offered for her big sisters to go first, she was back on board with the plan.
It did not disappoint! The five of us loaded up in Grandpa's van (which was actually pretty close to a bus, allowing Terah a great view out the windows), and drove to Lake Nockamixon. It was a picture perfect day - warm but not hot with a nice breeze. On our way home to VA yesterday, we all were sharing highlights from the weekend and this was definitely the one shared by us all! The boat ride was great, but the unexpected excitement for Terah was playing in the water by the dock. I quickly realized that the only clothes she had along were soon going to be very wet, so off they came. She was quite happy about that and got to splash around and see small fish right in the water in front of her.
The kids did great with all the hubbub and happenings. And Terah slept well at nap and nights. That said, the ride home felt long! It seems we were all a tad lower on sleep due to having fun visiting, a little overstimulated and probably all in need of quiet and space, and so car quarters felt tight and patience wore thin all around (it didn't help that Kali was very stuck in a long suspenseful book and so was less present to being on for entertainment in the back seat - I would have loved to have lost myself in a book too!!). So there was silliness and grouchiness in abundance and we were quite happy to see Fruit Farm Lane when it came around!!
So here we are, happy to be home safe and sound and back in the middle of things! The long wet cooler spell has been replaced by hot muggy weather. All the gardens are calling for our attention and I am working hard to focus on all the things going well - the huge clusters of grapes & the gorgeous potato field & succulent white raspberries - and not all the things that are not a smashing success or we are very behind on - the pathetic looking garlic & the welcome garden that is a maze of weeds, to name a couple. Little by little!