Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Photo shoot and signs of spring

I got a little distracted posting about our family retreat day and realized there was some other "scrapbook worthy" things to note in this space before our next deep clean commences later this week. Deep breath - it's time to tackle our bedroom!!!!

So here's a few things that we've been enjoying of late. I'll start with something that we are on the cusp of enjoying to its fullest! Some time before our neighbor R.M. died, he had passed some amaryllis seeds to Jason. Jason planted them and watered them and for a long time nothing happened. Now our first flower stalks are up and about to bloom. R.M.'s love of this flower was evident by the many that he tended in his home and we wish he was here to see this completely new variety bloom. It's been a constant reminder of him on our front windowsill!

When we aren't flower-gazing, we are often peeking out our back kitchen window to see what's happening in the window well. Here are several hens lined up and waiting for their turn. They are entertaining and rather loud when they have deposited their offering and are ready to tell the world about it. Jason just announced last evening in our family meeting that he thinks some of them have chosen a new spot, yet to be discovered. He thinks it is from a swap in roosters - I learned something new about roosters. They apparently help hens find good nest spots for laying their eggs. So it's time for another egg hunt around here.
I mentioned the large chicken butchering that took place Saturday. The workshop part of it ended up being small, which I hope meant it was great for the few that came to learn for various chunks of the day. Terah and I joined for a little but were mostly occupied with food preparations and other household tasks. Today will be cutting up and sausage making day around here, the next stage in the process. This large group of roosters is what stemmed from the order for 50 hens of his Shenandoah breed. I kind of miss seeing them roaming about but it was time to not be putting so much feed into birds that were at the ideal butchering age. Jason narrowed it down to selecting two breeders from the group.

The signs of spring are all around us. Daffodils about to burst into full bloom, rhubarb poking up, spinach putting on size, forsythia turning yellow, grass greening up, etc... And then there is snow in the forecast for today and/or tomorrow (mixed with rain). I'm afraid that many plants may have some shocks still in store for them as I don't think our cold weather days are behind us quite yet. It certainly is starting to feel like pea planting weather is just around the corner though. And the shelf in the common room is loaded up with more trays of seed starts and now our sweet potato slips are also underway. We really do need to wrap up phase 1 of our cleaning project so we can move our attention fully outside!
I mentioned a few activities that were spawned by our cleaning projects. Here was another "if we are going to keep this we need to use it" items. We have a pasta maker that we definitely make use of occasionally but there were all these other parts that I didn't know what they were for and then a ravioli attachment that I had deemed too frustrating to use.  Jason and the girls were not ready to part with it so I suggested they make homemade ravioli for dinner on a day I was at work. They agreed! We all benefited! The project was a long one and not without some things to learn and improve upon but they did it and it used all those random parts (which is partly why when I made it it didn't work well - I didn't use all those parts). Jason is the person in our family to break in such a gadget and figure out how it works. We all enjoyed the homemade spinach ricotta mozzarella raviolis! 
Ok, it's time for me to get this day under way. I have laundry going, butter ready to be washed and ricotta that needs to be stirred, but I'm pinned down by a nursing little one who I'm not sure is ready to get her day under way quite yet. Yesterday and today include many hours of playing in the kitchen as it is a hosting-heavy week around here, as well as making meals to deliver to others. I'm so thrilled to have found a bushel of sweet potatoes under the stairwell that I didn't know we had. Yay! I did just use the last bulb onion yesterday but have also started harvesting and using the green perennial onions. Perfect timing!

In closing, I'll share a bunch of photos from a recent photo shoot we had with our friend and my colleague Howard. I am not a big fan of photo shoots but am always grateful for the pictures. Our last one, also with him, was when Terah was just a few months old. It's such a low key and fun atmosphere and Howard gets a lot of great shots of not only the poses but the in between spaces. He also seems to have fun tinkering with them afterwards so here's a smattering of our favorites!
 And I thought I'd also share some of the "outtakes" or silly ones! The girls did great but were certainly starting to go a little crazy towards the end. And Terah was not at all pleased when a photo combination was proposed that included me and excluded here, but she did think it was fun to try to pick her nose.
That's us! (And there are over 200 more where those came from!)

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