Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sabbath goals

After a really full Saturday (canning beets, making pasta and bread, etc...) I made three goals for my day at home today: take a bath with Alida, play a game with Kali, lay down during Alida's nap.  It's 3:30 p.m. and I am happy to note that I've met my goals for the day.  I'm not sure if it counts that before falling asleep next to Alida, I did jot down about 10 other things that I'd like to get done before they day is through...

Alida is wrapping up her afternoon nap and must be dreaming about Kali as she keeps saying her name.  Here's a recent video that gives a taste for how she wants to keep up with the whereabouts of her big sister.

The video above was from our father's day hike last weekend to the lake with my folks. Here are a few other pictures from that hike, including the sweetest picture ever of Alida with her daddy and Jason with two of his daughters on Father's Day!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

What a day!

This was definitely one of those "did all this happen today?" kind of days.  As much as I knew it was a full day, I still couldn't quite believe that it was after 10:15 p.m. when I glanced at the clock upon getting up from the supper table to clear the dishes! The day is officially coming to a close in one minute so a very slightly early "happy father's day" to any fathers who may find themselves reading this tomorrow - most notably mine!!

I'll just comment on one thing about today that made it stand out from all the other days that include things like doing laundry, making butter, making bread/pie/cookies, making soup, going for walks, picking black raspberries, and keeping up with two kiddos.

Today was duck butchering day.  I knew it would be hard. It was!  I like our chickens too and don't really enjoy chicken butchering day either.  But maybe you could say I've gotten more used to butchering chickens and I had gotten slightly more attached to the ducks?  This time the power of the whole thing struck me anew. Last night we had friends over for dinner and after dinner went on a little outdoor stroll/tour.  We meandered down to the duck pen and I got some more swimming water and clover for them.  Except this time it was only 4 as the 6 to be butchered were in one side without access to food for the final hours before butchering.  Hearing them quacking in there as the four "lucky ducks" enjoyed the water and clover was almost too much for me. I had to keep from acting on the impulse to go open the door and let them out.   Something about us being the ones to decide when they got to enjoy their final piece of clover or last swim in their little pool felt like so much power and I found myself not wanting to play that role in their lives.

I cried as I watched Jason kill one of them today.  Kali wondered why I made myself do something I didn't want to do.  That's the strange thing. It is not so much that I didn't want to watch. I knew I would not enjoy it, but I also feel a very strong desire to live with the discomfort that this kind of thing creates in me.  If I'm going to eat meat, I want to be connected with the animals that are the source of that meat. And even if I'm not going to eat meat, it would be silly of me to somehow then think that I'm not part of many systems that are the cause of the death of many animals.  So, at least at this juncture of my life, it feels like I am living with the most integrity on a day like today when I sidle up to Kali and start plucking the feathers for her duck feather pillow.

She amazed me in the process, once again. Last evening she admitted that she was a little sad, but also excited.  She knew this was coming and also has been exposed to these cycles of life and death since she was a little tyke.  She also immensely enjoyed the process (as did Jason) of deciding which ducks were to be kept for next spring's breeding. 

So I end today feeling like it was a good day, and a hard one.  Jason spent some time out with the remaining four ducks after butchering concluded and the friends that had joined us to learn and help left for the day.  I hope to do the same in the coming day or two. For now, time for bed.  But here are some of the new and old words Alida is enjoying saying!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Not always a little piece of heaven

Sometimes I imagine our blog makes life on Fruit Farm Lane seem a bit idyllic.  All that is true, and more, but we have our moments and the things that we really would be happy to live without. Namely TICKS.  And it seems that they are flourishing this year.  We have yet to find any redeeming quality to them.  In short, Jason starting antibiotics yesterday morning for lyme disease after having a fever and feeling achy with chills for about 24 hours.  He noted that it felt strikingly similar to how he felt during our engagement when he last had lyme disease.  We are both grateful for antibiotics and for ibuprofen which made the aches and pains manageable, but we are also seriously contemplating guineas or getting to the point where we can free range some chickens sooner rather than later.  My mom has instilled in me the desire to always look for the positive in any situation so here is what I've come up with this time:  I've discovered once again how very much Jason and I made an excellent team here on Fruit Farm Lane and how difficult it is to do it alone!  As I went around last evening with Alida in the jogger getting water for the chickens and ducks, picking peas, collecting hatching eggs, putting the chickens in before dark, etc... I felt grateful I could do it, glad to help, more in touch with that part of our life here AND very glad that hopefully this would not have to become part of my daily routine. As I type, Jason is out doing chicken chores and feeling better than he has for two days and I'm very grateful!

Now in closing, here is a little taste of one of the sweeter parts of our lives right now.  So is she cuter in an apron, a swimsuit or figuring out how to sit all by herself on her potty?  I'll let you choose for yourself and also hope she'll forgive us for posting a bathroom video of her in a dozen or so years from now!

I do need to note that I stopped the video about 10 seconds to short because she did in fact pee about a second after she got herself situated properly. :)  And, finally, note that Alida picked out her own outfit yesterday (actually twice as Jason couldn't resist when she brought him a new outfit to put on).  She loves clothes! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A hodgepodge of things...

Alida has just recently sacked out for the night (yes, it seems we were wrong about her being an "early to bed gal") and Jason is occupying the shower so I'm waiting my turn and thought I'd try to quickly at least post the two videos I uploaded earlier this week.  I will not crawl under clean sheets without a shower!  For the first time in who knows how long, all the towels, sheets, clothing AND floors are clean.  I definitely have that "good tired" feeling.  And Kali, Alida and I even got a little kiddie pool time in (I am not sure how Alida is cuter - in an apron or in a swimsuit but we've enjoyed both this week).  Those pictures aren't downloaded yet, but as you can see in the two here, the girls are still enjoying each other and the littlest is doing her best to keep up with her big sister.

We are working hard to keep up with both of them. I'm not sure what Jason and I would be doing if our spinach, lettuce, lambs quarter and peas had done well this year!  I don't feel that there are many spare moments to be had around here lately and if we are honest both Jason and I have "had our moments" this week of feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the good stuff there is to attend to.  At this time last year I was fully recovered from birthing Alida and in the blissful month 3 of maternity leave.  We liked being home all day, every day together...

Despite our less than ideal crops, we are still enjoying a lot of things from the garden: swiss chard, green onions, beet greens, the last of the spinach and lettuce, Kali ate the last strawberry today, kale, some lambsquarter and wintercress, sugar snap peas, hull peas, and snow peas.  There would be some black raspberries to pick but we haven't gotten out for a meander recently to check the wood's edge.

It's been a full week and it started out with a very special day for all of us in West Virginia. It was the perfect place to be on the 4th anniversary of Nora's death. As much as we love home, we need more practice at just "being" when we are there.  We enjoyed 24 hours of just being together - hiking in the mountains, throwing frisbee, sitting by Nora's tree, sharing memories, looking at the beauty all around us (including each other).  It feels like a distant memory but the memories are sweet.

Here is Alida on her first hike up Senaca Rocks, saying my favorite word that she currently says:

Here she is at the top.  She was obsessed with figuring out the stairs and would stand up, turn all the way around and slowly back up - sometimes reaching the steps, sometimes missing it.  So, so cute:

Now for some sleep.  One of these days I'll carve out a window of time to put up a post that has a bit more substance to it.  There sure are plenty of thoughts swirling around about life of late.  But they are mostly still swirling!