Friday, April 21, 2017

First cheddar cheese, last seed popcorn, new pigs, old friends...

Ok, this will be super quick as I need to sleep when the baby is sleeping! But want to note a few first and lasts before this "scrapbook" is too outdated. So much happens in spring it seems - exciting time to live at Tangly Woods! And I'm getting closer to shouting it from the rooftops: Terah is sleeping better! And I, as I texted Jason this week, kind of feel like I'm coming out of an 18 month stupor. I feel like I'm enjoying my relationship with Terah more as I am getting a few longer blocks of sleep at night and her afternoon naps are also now happening on our bed by herself and she is sleeping great for those too. Some switch got flipped somewhere and I sure hope it doesn't get flipped back!

So a few visuals of fun things from the past week:
I learned to make bread in an outdoor fire with our Kurdish neighbors! Very fun process...Makes me eager for our pizza oven. 
I finally took the plunge. Here's my first attempt at cheddar cheese underway (or should I say "underwhey"

Draining the curds...

More draining....

Then we had to get creative as we were to press it under 10, then 20, then 30, then 40 and then 50 lbs. We have yet to invest in any kind of cheese press!
Here it is waiting to be waxed and then to sit for a month before we try it. But the first sprigs of asparagus don't have to age before we consume them! Eager for more of those as the season is just starting.

We did our very last taste testing of popcorn for seed this week and so we are ready for corn planting! And now we can just start in on our good supply for eating popcorn.

So our littlest is getting into the nighttime story routine. Maybe Jason better get on building that third bunkbed in the girls' room?! She is so cute snuggling up for stories - but when she really gets sleepy she usually calls for mommy!
These two: they are either completely in love with each other or picking on each other - it's definitely a two way street (the love and picking).
Pigs 1, 2, and 3 arrived today! And while they didn't like it when Jason picked them up, as soon as he put them in their new enclosure they started munching on grass contentedly.

Another minute or two and they started rooting. In no time the one had made a little trough area...

And laid down in the cool dirt. I am so happy to have pigs again!

Terah was scared of them initially and then discovered she can climb their fence and then she didn't want to leave.

And finally a photo from our evening - our supper club gathered and we actually got a picture (in honor of our former housemade who gets married tomorrow)! But we should photograph this bunch more often - the adults are now outnumbered 11 to 8 and the kiddos are growing and changing so fast! 
Ok, now to bed I go! It's a soccer morning tomorrow, with rain supposed to start overnight and into tomorrow, the next day and the next day. Seems we are likely to have a bit of a weeding break, which is not really what I'm wanting as I'm in the weeding mode and ready to keep on it!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mid-April update: seedlings, chicks, pig prep and Easter fun

This may be the last time I appear in this space before we turn the calendar to May! It's my last little "lull" (not really a lull at all...) before the mad rush and lead up to graduation and then the start of our Summer Peacebuilding Institute. Those two major work things also coincide with two major home things - us hosting the CJP graduation party and then, because we can't help ourselves, hosting a house concert the following weekend! On top of that it is spring so there are things to be planted, things to be weeded (oh my are there things to weed!), things to be harvested, incubators to be tended, chicks hatching and, again because we can't help ourselves, pigs to prepare for (which for us means I'm into cheese making again!). The other day for fun (or to convince myself there was a good reason I was feeling a tad overwhelmed with what Jason and I are trying to keep up with) I counted all our gardens and we have a dozen now (many of those with 4 rotations included). Just for historical record keeping I'll list them here: welcome garden, front walk garden, Kali's garden, Nora's garden, Alida's garden, Terah's garden, spice garden, kitchen garden, main garden, new garden, root field,and dry land garden. Phew!

So here's a few glimpses into life of late and at the end a good aunt K fix of THREE videos!
Kali is still treating us to amazing meals. Here's her layered polenta pie and we are eating spinach salads with red buds, violets and hard boiled eggs about once daily!
I'm loving watching Kali play soccer this season - once again learning a lot from my daughter who has steadily and non-anxiously improved each season and had fun all the while. 

Terah is a great spectator, though she sometimes cheers for Da Da rather than her sisters. She is always ready to get in the car when it is time to go to soccer. That's a relief, because if there was resistance this "soccer mom" might not make it through the season!

Alida's enjoying her team too, choosing to play on an all girls team this season. Both girls have new coaches and mostly new teammates. 

Our littlest is growing up before our eyes. When she has two little pigtails in her hair, it's hard to call her a baby anymore. And when she is practicing her jumping skills, it is clear she has big plans to grow up as fast as possible!
Speaking of things growing up, the 39 chicks have outgrown their kiddie pool in the common room - they were about to fly out of it! Here's the proud "papa" carrying them out to their new home (though I guess I take as much credit for this hatch since it happened mostly in his absence!).

I love this site! No additional words needed!

Never have I been so fond of violets. They are gorgeous and plentiful this year! We are eating them often and enjoying them providing a beautiful ground cover in a number of our gardens. Go violets!!

The red buds in Nora's garden are also a site to behold, and we are enjoying the flowers with our eyes and taste buds!

We hosted our neighborhood potluck this week and had a gorgeous evening to sit outside. When we were getting ready Terah kept handing Kali one ponytail holder after another - I think she had about 8 sprouts on her head before the potluck began!

Terah enjoyed her first "real" Easter egg hunt yesterday. That said, Easter eggs have been a focus on many play times over the past few weeks. This mommy is about ready for them to head into the attic again! And I think Kali might be soon too, as Alida is asking her to do Easter egg hunts about every hour!

We enjoyed having friends over for brunch and to join the Easter egg hunt fun! I think we found all but two eggs - hopefully they aren't the ones with chocolate chips in them!

It was another beautiful morning and I keep irrationally worrying that this means all the nice weather will be used up and we'll have rain for our big events. Time will tell!

Last evening Jason had collected eggs and was getting out egg cartons. Terah got very animated and, as she often does these days, pointed to herself and said "me, me." She wanted to put her eggs away too!

Like father, like daughter - oh my there are many instances in which I can say that not only about our youngest gal!

About a month away from the main garden planting time! These little plants are looking good!

And here is what Jason is up to today: building a holding pen for our pigs - three should arrive by Friday of this week!

Another "growing up" picture. She was pretty cute wanting to sit in a "big person seat" this morning at breakfast, with just her little head peeking up above the table!
Ok, time to get Terah down for a nap. She is doing her milk sign and saying "moh, mo." I should note here that at 18 months she finally seems to be in a stretch of sleeping better. Not wanting to shout it from the rooftops just yet, BUT feeling grateful to have spent about the last week of nights in bed...all night!

Here's the videos. Enjoy!

I call this yellow thing a thneed, but I am not sure what it is supposed to be. It looks good on her!

Here's the chickies fighting over some grass or clover, AND escaping Terah's grasp... Her fall into the pool has not slowed her down or deterred her from reaching for them.

And, finally, Alida still is best able to get Terah's great belly laugh going. Love it!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Want to hear more about Jason's trip and associated musings?

If so, I'm going to redirect you to our website (with a reminder that you can sign up to receive his monthly writings there is desired):

For those that don't want a lot of words with a few pictures, I'll include below a lot pictures from the trip (and very few words), with all the photo credits going to my dad! And here's the quick run down of their itinerary:

Saturday, March 25 – Leave and drive to Dayton, OH to visit Jason’s cousin, Steve, and his family

Sunday, March 26 – Drive to LaPlata, MO to visit our good friend, Adam, at the Possibility Alliance

Monday, March 27 – Arrive in Kearney, NE and spend evening in blind for Sandhill Cranes at Rowe Sanctuary

Tuesday, March 28 – Morning in blind and spend day looking/birding around area

Wednesday, March 29 – Drive to Calamus Outfitters in Burwell, NE

Thursday, March 30 – Morning in blind for Greater Prairie Chicken lek; Sarafi Jeep tour

Friday, March 31 – Morning in blind for Sharp-tailed Grouse lek; Drive to St. Louis, MO

Saturday, April 1 – Bird with Bird Pal (to find Eurasian Tree Sparrow) and visit the City Museum in St. Louis

Sunday, April 2 – Drive to Dayton, OH for another visit with family on the way back through

Monday, April 3 – Drive HOME!

In short, it was an amazing trip (meeting and exceeding expectations at every turn). And, I think I can safely say, that as much as he enjoyed being with his dad and mine for 10 days, he was happy to return to his home of gals!