Wonderful help! Never in my life has the phrase "many hands make light work" felt more real. Recently a group from Allegheny Mountain Institute (where we did a chicken workshop last year and took some of Jason's chickens for them to raise) joined us for the morning. With their help we made some serious headway towards getting our potatoes hilled. What didn't get done that morning was knocked out soon after with Kali's consistent presence helping Jason on all things garden related; Alida joined in as much as she felt inclined to do so. Right now we are also enjoying a week with my folks around and both mom and dad have a way of chipping in and lightening the load in many ways. Dad even wanted to do the chicken and pig chores on his birthday today!
Special friendships! We enjoyed getting to know some friends of friends recently when they used the in-law quarters during my parents' absence in May. I mentioned previously Alida enjoying having a playmate around, but we all enjoyed their company! It was hard to see them leave, but having mom and dad show up the same morning they departed eased the transition for all of us, especially Alida! We'll have to see if a Goshen trip is realistic sometime in our not too distant future. The baby needs to get a little more grown up and tolerant of long car rides! Now this week we are enjoying having Adam around for a wedding, trying to soak up our precious minutes together and reconnecting with our "tower demolition crew." The times together have flown by and it will feel like just a drop in the bucket towards catching up. Jason and I enjoyed our first evening out last night,since Terah was born, for some pre-wedding festivities while our three gals hung out with Grandma and Grandpa. The report was that Terah was starting to get harder to please, but for the most part had a fun evening. Her newest game seems to be playing ball which she did a fair amount of while we were gone.
Amazing kiddos! They are all growing up so fast (have I mentioned this before?)! Alida is wiggling her loose tooth now with her tongue and Terah now has four teeth and is getting up on her hands and knees and rocking back and forth (in warning: "watch out, I'm about to get mobile"). She continues to show an affinity towards music and rhythm. Here's two favorite videos from recent days - she loves to go "tap tap" and she has discovered that she can play the xylophone by biting on the stick. It's too funny! She also obviously knows now the idea of a camera and seems to also understand that I tend to get it out when she is doing something particularly cute. This little gal doesn't miss much.
Her older sisters continue to be a prime source of entertainment. And we might have to take back that Alida can make her laugh more than anyone else. The other night I heard Terah's deep belly laugh in the bathroom. It seems that nighttimes can be the time for the most extreme emotions in our household - whether they be happy or sad. We all are a tad more "on the edge" as the day comes to an end and we are tired out from all the fun and hard work that accompanies our days. If the parents in the household can keep their wits about them and be creative and funny the nighttime routine can go amazingly well. That's a big if sometimes...
New animals! You've met the pigs but let me just say again how glad we are that we snatched up that opportunity when it was presented to us. Yes it is adding work to Jason's morning chore routines. But my how nice it is to have a place to go with food scraps and to have them be so appreciated. Those little guys are growing and seem to be thriving on their diet of local fruit and veggie and grain scraps and then gobs of fresh local milk. They are also doing a decent job of eating grass, and rooting around where we place them. So at this point I'd say that they fit nicely into the overall Tangly Woods mission and it's hard to imagine we aren't going to have pigs around an awful lot in the future.
Pigs aren't the newest addition though. After tending the incubator meticulously for four weeks, Kali got to welcome four new ducklings. Not a good hatch rate at all (started with 20 eggs), but let's focus on the improvement - her last hatch was Duckie alone, so this hatch was 4x better! And the four that have hatched are cute! I'm interested in her purchasing some new ducklings of a good egg laying and/or broody breed. We'll see if I can convince her. She seems rather taken with the four we have so maybe we'll keep things simple for this year! That certainly wouldn't be a bad idea.
Well, I hear the girls getting back from soccer. I haven't gotten to many games this season but did get to the first of Kali's last weekend. Due to all the rain, games were moved to the EMU turf field. It wan fun to see both girls in action. Alida's game was rather comical, as the fields for the younger ages are so small that on the turf field it felt like most of the game was kicking it out of bounds over and over again. It didn't seem to impact the enjoyment for the kids much, though a few of them seemed more fascinated at trying to figure out the turf field (Jason sometimes had to break up the little group sitting along the sidelines playing with the artificial grass to get one of them to come out and play).
Let me end with one more note of gratitude: Incredible hubby!
Last evening I was in awe of him again - this seems to happen to me rather often these days. We've had multiple opportunities lately to talk about what we are doing here at Tangly Woods and why we are doing it. I'm pleased to be contributing more to those conversations by the year, but I still feel like such a novice (I know that Jason would say the same and we both feel like students of the land, but compared to most of us, he's got a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion to share). I love listening to Jason and I learn something new every time, but even more I like to watch him come alive as he talks about soil health and seed saving and how we can be a benefit to the land. That, combined with seeing him out there working so hard to get the gardens up and going for another season, has me rather head over heels. :) I know I may not be your typical gal, but I'm not sure there is a site much more attractive than the one pictured here! We live in a beautiful place and I live with beautiful people. I hope we keep finding ways to share the beauty and expand it!