Saturday, June 3, 2017

Soccer fest, recent harvests and good times by the fire!

It's hardly time for another post already but here I am! I'm really working hard to stop saying, when asked how I'm doing, something to the effect of, "pretty well but it's a really busy time." Because that is now pretty much all the time! So I won't say it, but will let the fact that I'm already feeling the need to update my "virtual scrapbook" after 48 hours speak for itself. There are things I love so much about being part of the yearly cycles and seasons. There is also something about it that means there is no "catching up" and as soon as you are "done" it starts all over. It's a good thing we love all the activities that are part of each season, but Jason also recently referred to living at our place as being potentially like a vortex (it can suck us in, and if we don't find ways to stay replenished and enjoy the process, suck us dry!). So here's some of the work, play and replenishing of the last few days!

Jason and I were both rather pleased with ourselves and our work on Thursday! I'm not sure if there is any activity Jason enjoys much more than harvesting and putting barley in shocks for drying. My dad always cringes when he sees our growing barley and starts scratching his arms, having some kind of mini trauma response from memories of getting all itchy in the stuff. It clearly doesn't seem to bother Jason much as he seemed to be more or less in his "happy place" when I visited him in the patch to see his work. It looks pretty sweet!
 Yesterday then we got the bronze flint corn, millet and PA dutch squash planted in that same rotation of the root field. And then we all worked together to gather hay Jason had scythed and mulched the rows. Gathering hay is a good job for me. It's kind of like sweeping floors outside - it's rather straightforward with predictable and obvious results. Jason said the main difference is that unlike sweeping indoors you actually get to use the stuff you sweep up outside. :)

My "happy place" on that same day was standing with my loads of dried oregano and stripping it off the stems. In the morning Terah and I cut our main oregano patch to the ground and loaded up the solar dryer. Within hours it was dried and ready to jar up. My hands smelled of oregano by the time I put the large jar full in the pantry! I know you could likely buy a comparable amount for very little money but it would not be of comparable quality! And now the patch will grow and we can do it all over again! Plants...they are just something else!

So while we are sharing about our happy places, the older girls are in one of theirs right now! Last year I think we could count on one hand the number of mulberries we got. This year the trees are LOADED with dark, juicy berries! The girls picked a few quarts the other night to go with homemade vanilla pudding - there were no leftovers of either! They've been out all of Terah's nap seeing if they can pick enough for jam, or to dry, or to freeze some. We are getting to the time of year where what will limit what we tuck away for the winter is the time we have to go out and harvest. So glad my girls love picking berries. Terah was rather distraught at not being able to go with them - I mistakenly mentioned mulberries right when she was about to fall over from tiredness. But she'll get to join them when she is refreshed after a good nap.

She had a busy morning today accompanying us to Soccer Fest! Kali had her last game at 9:15, then there was time to explore some of the "bouncy houses/slides" brought in to the soccer fields for the occasion, and then Alida's final game at 11:45. Terah had a grand time, but almost didn't make it home before sacking out! She doesn't necessarily pay close attention to the game, but every now and then she'll give a shout out to her big sister on the field. I, on the other hand, really enjoyed the games and seeing how much our girls have improved over just this season. At Alida's age sometimes it still seems a bit like a game of "bunchball," but they also have little spurts of great play. Kali's age is super fun to watch! Those girls work hard and I love to see Kali pushing herself and loving it! She had a lot of great breakaways today and I just marveled at how she has enjoyed being engaged in a sport now for years with what I perceive to be relatively little to no stress or anxiety or nervousness and has steadily improved to the point that she can really hold her own most of the time out there. How fun! For now, I'm also glad to have our schedule simplified for awhile; I'll be ready to sign them up again in the fall if they are still interested!
 So one of the things that keeps us from getting completely sucked into the vortex around here is setting aside time to connect with friends and to actually relax in our space. Last evening was one such time. Now that the chicks and ducklings are done with the kiddie pool our girls can use it and we filled it up for the first time yesterday. As expected, Terah is a big fan! She went through at least 3 outfits yesterday and by dusk I had given up and she was running around naked or in my arms wrapped in our picnic tablecloth! It was a pretty sweet evening - we were tired from a day of hard work, the air was cool and there were few bugs around, the fire smelled good and supplied us with delicious pizza pockets, we got to hang out with Jonathan and enjoy walking around our place looking at all the growth and changes (it helps to have others look at it with us as it highlights all the successes for us when we so often just see all that is yet to be done that we aren't getting to), and the girls were all happy and easily entertained. I was one again thankful for Jason's amazing design skills after our recent camping trip experience - his fire ring design is perfect for having kids around!

I imagine I'll be back in this space before too long. Tomorrow marks 9 years since Nora died and we'll be spending the day as a family together. Then on Tuesday we host a blood drive in her memory. It looks like the orange butterfly weed might bloom right on schedule!

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