Jason is the only one braving the elements today but we even picked from our project list something he could station himself in the shade to do! After finishing three drying racks by bedtime last evening (made specifically with our 1500 onions in mind but also intended to work great for shallots, potatoes, peanuts, etc...), he was ready for the next project! Since he seems to be having hens go broody on him by the handful right now, which has him also tempted to keep tucking fertile eggs under them, we decided it was probably wise for him to dive into the second new chicken coop project. He just finished up the model coop (one that he could purchase all new materials for and make for sale should someone be so inclined to wish to order one and a flock of chickens to go with). This next one will be one of a kind! Good-bye popup camper! This was the camper my family used for years and took out west, that my eldest sister lived in for a summer, that Jason and I have enjoyed using for several camping trips with friends and family vacations, etc... But its life as a camper for humans seemed to have come to an end so we hope to employ it in another worthy pursuit - housing chickens!
I'm enjoying a weekend with more time than usual for puttering in the kitchen. Jason and I pulled all our hull peas yesterday and planted string beans so, other than the last snow and sugar snap peas, that major crop is behind us (along with the hours of pea shelling and stringing). And with that comes a bit of a lull in "major crop harvesting." A relatively short lull I suppose as it appears that pulling garlic and shallots is on the horizon. But for now, I enjoyed the extra space to be able to do some experimenting. This weekend's experiments including soaking some grains as I've been wanting to work more at reducing phytic acid in the grains we eat. We tried soaked oats and buckwheat for our oatmeal this morning and then soaked rice and our home grown amaranth at lunch today. The latter was my favorite by far; I'm a fan of the combination. The oatmeal was very creamy and good slathered with berries, jam and pecans (and a treat with maple syrup drizzled on top). Plain it was definitely a big tangy as it had both soaked and began to ferment - so likely quite nutritious for us! I want to play around with that one a bit more. My other experiment won't be tried for a few weeks but I've got a beautiful half gallon jar full of fermenting shredded beets and garlic. I hope we like it (as it is not a quick and simple project, but a somewhat lengthy and messy one)! I also made another batch of red beet eggs just in case we needed something with beets we know we enjoy. Tonight might hold yet another experiment as Kali is grinding corn for polenta and we hope to soak our first home grown corn in wood ash (we've been wanting to learn to nixtamalize our corn but have yet to take the plunge). It seems that the time is upon us!
So my guess is that some readers might be wondering when I'm going to get to the point - to the reason for the title of this particular blog post. This weekend's putterings were most welcome, in part because it felt like a big week - both physically and emotionally taxing. Not only did we have the ultrasound at the end of the week but I also finally followed up on my intuition that I should change back to a dermatologist I enjoyed seeing over a decade ago and get a second opinion on my face rash that has been ongoing now for years and has been a really difficult thing for me (primarily in terms of self confidence since I wouldn't know it was there but for the mirror). That decision was confirmed by a wonderful appointment with a gracious caregiver, and it must have been good for me to call an appointment that ended with me having stitches in my face "wonderful." She was surprised that the rash had not been biopsied to date so we await those results sometime this week, and hopefully with it some information on treatment possibilities.
Then Friday's ultrasound: I felt surprisingly calm (for me anyway) going into it - some butterflies, yes, but not overwhelming amounts of anxiety (it helped to have Emily along for the afternoon's adventures!). As it always has been, it is a wild thing to see this little person show up on the screen and to see him/her (as we said at the time) moving all around in there. It turns out this baby didn't exactly wish to cooperate with the full body scan and so made their job of checking off all the things they like to review difficult. That and the leg crossing didn't help with sex identification either. So in the end the baby was given a clean bill of health on all they could see but there were a few boxes unchecked that they wished to see us return to complete in a few weeks. That information (and the time and expense it would involve) and the general rather cold demeanor of the doctor who reviewed the scan (not the doctor our midwife had referred us to, who happened to be at a conference) left me feeling rather deflated instead of elated at the end of the scan.
We went from there to look at organic mattresses and then on to our midwife's home for our 24 week appointment, which went great (and she'll be in touch after reviewing the ultrasound report to guide us as to whether she feels a follow up ultrasound is warranted). We'll be processing the mattress decision for awhile, and may need to wait on some other pieces of information to come in to know what our budget can be for what we rest our bodies nightly on. While spending several thousand dollars on a mattress feels crazy on some accounts, it seems once again that it is more what we are used to paying for something that dictates our reaction to it than what something is probably "worth." Say we aim to lay on our beds for an average of 8 hours/night that is close to 3,000 hours in a year. If, as we have done for about a decade now, our bed is shared with 3 people, an expensive mattress ends up being a relatively cheap investment for a good night's sleep (a matter of pennies a night). But there is always the practical question of "can we afford it?" that must be wrestled with.
So by the time we arrived home from Charlottesville (without the girls who we dropped off with Aunt Emily for the first of a double header sleepover - they hosted their close friends last night and had an equally wonderful time as the first night), we were rather tired. I made the (in retrospect) unwise suggestion that we start our property walk around together in the hour before dark. It ended up throwing us both into a bit of stressful downward spiral, when what we probably needed more than anything was to call it a day and crawl into bed. But a night of sleep helped a lot and I think I can confidently speak for Jason too that we have enjoyed a good weekend despite Friday's late night musings on how in the world we are going to sustain all we have taken on! It seems this conversation comes around at increasingly frequent intervals but no huge breakthroughs in answering it. In our good moments we chuckle at ourselves: How is it that the thing we love to do the most is also the thing that puts us at risk of wearing out? And how is it that what we most often wish for is just to have even more time to do the things we love and we get so tired out by at times? Clearly this conversation has not come to an end...
Well, I think I'm about out of time for this particular reflection. Alida has woken from her nap, eaten two generous helpings of redbeet brownies and is now munching on anise hyssop. But I sense that won't last that much longer and think my undivided attention will be more actively requested momentarily (rather than me kind of paying attention to the pictures she is now showing me). But, before I close, just a few comments on today's disclosure. It's always such a crazy thing to go from calling a little person he/she, it, baby, etc... to all of a sudden getting this "small" piece of news (a check box by "boy" or "girl") that changes our thinking about this new being. It's not that it makes huge alterations in our plans or preparations but for those of us (me probably more than anyone) who felt pretty convinced I was carrying a boy this time around, there are some internal shifts that are taking place. It's lovely to have felt like, while I had this clear sense (that was clearly 100% wrong), I am not experiencing disappoint. As one family member said, "we know we like Myers-Benner girls." Fully agree on that point...so bring it on baby girl! We are so very eager to welcome you!!