Monday, October 22, 2012


Alida just watched me download this video and soon after she finished watching it she slid off my lap and took off for the front room to perfect her "peekaboo."  This video captures her very first attempt to say the whole word and she hasn't stopped saying it since.  Very cute!!

In other news, we enjoyed a very special weekend here with family visiting - a mixture of relaxation, a house project, dismantling the aforementioned washing machine (which Jason is now talking of making a chicken coop out of), lots of yummy food (including my mostly successful second attempt at making the rice pudding recipe my Grandma Myers used to make), enjoying the laughter and fun of cousins playing together, and absolutely gorgeous weather.  This is definitely my favorite time of year - the light and colors on the mountain has we exclaiming often, "do I really live here?"

Friday, October 19, 2012

Budding musicians and BIG news!

So I have clearly saved the best for last! 

The big news in our family is that Kali's ducks (at least one of them) have started laying eggs.  Kali was SO excited when Jason came in with a beautiful speckled egg last night.  Maybe that is why she woke early today as she could hardly go to bed because she was so eager to eat it for breakfast.  And eat it she did - all except for the little pieces she shared with Alida (which was not near enough to satisfy Alida's love of eggs so I got busy frying a boring old chicken egg for her).  Jason found another small duck egg today so she has/they have probably been laying for a few days (since he also found some broken shells) and Kali just wasn't in the habit of looking for eggs.  So the task for after lunch for Jason and Kali was to add a nest box to the coop and they are now off busily working on the new duck coop they have designed and started building recently.  I'm pretty excited myself to think about little ducklings next spring!  In the meantime, I have a feeling eggs will be a common breakfast food in this house.

I'll close with sharing three videos.  It's been awhile so I figured I'd go a little overboard on uploading some cute ones.  The first follows the egg theme as one of Alida's favorite activities of the day is collecting eggs with Daddy.  Mommy doesn't do it nearly as well since, okay I'll admit, I have a hard time bravely sticking my hand under our two broody hens to check.  They really look at me with an "I dare you" kind of look.  It reminds me of getting your finger pricked before donating blood. It really doesn't hurt much at all but the surprise factor is almost too much for me and only recently have I stopped jumping when they prick me!

And I couldn't resist sharing one of our littlest musician who seems to prefer practicing "nakey."  Both girls then gave me a concert this morning - great background music as I scurried around the kitchen.  Enjoy!

My day so far...

...has been pretty fun, despite things breaking!

I have a hard time not going all out when we have folks coming to visit!  I love opening our home to people and enjoy hosting. It's a great excuse to do lots of baking and cooking, which I enjoy immensely.  It does get a bit tricky when I want to only turn the oven on once in the day and so I have Alida's naptime as my deadline for turning the oven off.  Both girls woke before 7 a.m. this morning so we got an early start on the day.  The following things are cooling and the things that have been taste tested by the family have been approved for consumption:

Carrot cake to enjoy in celebration Jason's brother's birthday (which is today!)
Rice pudding - my Grandma Myers' recipe and it looks "just right!"
Old fashioned raisin pecan cookies
Flax coconut "my man's" cookies
Green rolls to go with chicken barbecue that just needs to cook in the crockpot overnight tonight
Cheese crackers with sesame seeds on top (these were by far Alida's favorites)

I also chopped up the last of the peppers from the garden.  They were still ripening slowly but also starting to get a bit rubbery.  Other than a few shoots of broccoli and maybe a leaf or two of kale here and there, I think our 2012 garden season is coming to a close! I did make a batch of peppermint tea this morning too but its growth is also slowing down considerably.  We are still enjoying persimmons dropping from the tree, which Alida calls "simmies." 

And is is already time to start thinking of the next season.  This week Jason and Jonathan were able to get the garlic in the ground, planting both inside the garden fence and a new bed outside of it.  It was the first crop to work on as we look at doing some cooperative gardening together this next season.  Below you will see my little "helper" in the garden.  I've thoroughly enjoyed getting in on some of the fall garden cleanup - freeing trellises of pea vines, cutting up old tomato/pepper/okra/corn plants, putting away wire cages for the year, etc... I know by next spring I'll be eager to start the cycle all over again, but for now I'm enjoying this stage and do find that I like the change of seasons.

Things breaking...

Phew, what a morning!  Four Babybugs read just now and Alida was asleep almost before she started nursing.  Her cold makes her a quite dramatic sleeper so we'll see how long this nap lasts.  I've got a mountain of dishes as a result of my morning kitchen flurry, but I've also got three or four blog posts that have been percolating so we'll start with that.  I'll begin with the downer news and then move upwards.

At our Wednesday evening Tangly Woods meal, I mentioned that one of my current "thorns" is that it seems like we are heading into a phase where we have a surge of things breaking on us.  It seems these things sometimes go in waves and I'm hoping we are about at the crest of ours.  It is ironic that our permaculture principle for this month's discussion which took place on Tuesday of this week was "use and value renewable resources."  Most of these things breaking do not fall neatly in that category!

Stove:  The other day I was cooking a big pot of chili. I pushed the simmer select button and was quite surprised by the huge bang that came from the stove.  It blew a fuse and upon closer inspection by our future-brother-in-law, who also happens to be an electrical engineer, we got clear instructions to not use that burner.  So we need to buy parts for the top of our stove. We knew it was coming as we are pretty hard on stoves with all our cooking/canning and had been noticing an odd sound (which should have been our warning to discontinue its use weeks ago...).

Windshield wiper fluid:  We often neglect to do real minor "car maintenance."  Well recently I started putting a reminder in my outlook calendar so we do things like check the oil, add antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid, clean out the car, etc...  Well within the past week we did all those things. However, after taking care of all that the windshield wiper fluid stopped working. It is likely just a coincidence but it reminds me of when I finally flossed every day between dental appointments so I could tell the hygienist honestly that I did it and then she didn't even ask me AND I had my first cavity.  We have yet to trouble shoot the problem and it may mean a trip to the mechanic...

Solar water heater: This has been a bit of a nightmare ever since installation during the building of the in-law quarters.  It kind of works and then boils over and then gets reset/reprogrammed and then kind of works, etc... We recently had one of the panels replaced due to a factory defect and were hoping we were in the clear.  Not yet! 

Drainfield: Jason noticed a soggy spot in our drainfield the other day. Not a great sign!  Still need to investigate this further and maybe have the tank pumped...  Let's hope that is all it needs!

So those were the four things on my mind.  Then this morning, when my to-do list was much longer than the hours in the morning, I added two more things to the list:

Washing machine:  The old one in our bathroom was here when we moved and it was old then. It has been super faithful (until today) with only minor hiccups along the way.  Well today, despite trying to wash the load of diapers/sheets on every possible setting it would stop at the point at which it needed to drain the water out and spin.  So I rung out wet clothes, put it through the upstairs washer and have yet to empty the washer full of dirty water.  I guess that machine is probably on its way to the dump (which means I'll have to really start being better about closing the door to the bathroom if our "washer screen" is no longer there!).

Hand mixer: What is it about me and hand mixers?  Granted they have all been second hand store finds but I've broken about three.  Today cream cheese frosting was the thing that did it in.  So I really must get to using my birthday money to buy the coveted immersion blender with the mixing attachment.

In the meantime, we need to carve out time to attend to some of the above!  But for now I'll do another blog post instead. :)