Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Drama

I love this pic of Isabel. Maybe its the swing. Maybe its the "Made in USA" printed on the swing. Maybe its the star-spangled dress. Maybe its the anticipation of her first July 4th and the fact that she is truly a little Miss American pie. So the groundhog saga continues. My mom let me borrow her groundhog trap and all I caught was this little guy:

Anastasia thought he was "SO CUTE!" and was beside herself when we let him go. The groundhog won that battle, but he hasn't lost the war. I learned to shoot. I think cute furry groundhogs are perfect for target practice. don't you?
In other news, I am so smitten for Heather Ross' "Far Far Away" fabric line. I am not smitten for the $17 per yard pricetag. *sigh*. I see quilts adorning my girls' beds, with unicorns and princesses sitting on piles of mattresses. I guess that is why it is called "Far Far Away" because that is where the fabric will remain in relation to me. The other side is. I have never quilted anything more than a simple baby comforter. But now I have been bitten by the quilting bug and need to learn pronto... like in all my spare time. Because even if I did get my hands on the fabric of my far away dreams... I wouldn't want to make my daughters ugly quilts from it. What a waste of pricey fabric that would be. I am really just drooling over these quilt squares from it... I mean, it truly breaks my heart that I am not filthy rich sometimes.
Well I had so much more to say, but Isabel just woke up to eat and its 11:30pm... so back to reading for me!!! Goodnight!

Oh, and now its tomorrow... but I found a quilt more like the one of my dreams here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Country Living

Anastasia at our new farmer's market holding the Swiss Chard I scored. Um. yum. I find it ultimately amusing that there is a magazine called "Country Living" and it has everything to do with antiques, quilts, faux country decor, and all those tipical "country" related items showcased in large mansions of houses on large plots of land. It seems to miss some of the larger realities of real country living. There are many things that never get featured in "Country Living" that are true establishments of real country living.

Before I moved to the country, no one ever warned me of the "critters." I could just say insects but then I would miss the "varmint". Critters seems to encompass them all. No matter what we do, we find mice in our house from time-to-time, ticks on our legs, mosquito bites on our arms and blasted groundhogs eating our perfectly un-manicured garden. To all of these I shake my fists and then let them go being there crittery little selves. I have never seen so many spiders, ticks and other creepy crawlies until I moved to the Shenandoah Valley. NEVER. No amounts of camping could have prepared me for weekly tick removals and spiders living in cracks in the wall. But I have come to accept these things, and they don't bother me as much now as they did before.

Bugs, crawlies and varmint are one of the unromantic realities that I have come to accept. The romance however lies in the pristine beauty of nature. The rolling mountains, the winding rivers and creeks, the cows in the pastures, the farmers on their tractors, abandoned barns in overgrown fields of wheat. *sigh* I am lost in beauty nearly everyday. And I love it!
Anastasia and I were out tending the garden the other day and found the wild blackberries that surround our yard were in season, so we picked a bunch, made some blackberry corn muffins, and just ate them straight. They were that perfect balance of sweet and tart. Anastasia ate hundreds of them on her own. They were that good. And we went to a local farm and picked some of these:

So I finally baked one of these:

So my June is complete.
*Edit: I did edit this post after I felt that classifying people as rednecks, etc might not be very kind because I absolutely love some of my country-folk neighbors/friends/family etc. So if you noticed my post completely changed, that is why. Nick also told me varmin should be varmint. oops. This is why I married an editor.... or one of the benefits of marrying the love of my life who also happens to be an editor.*

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Don't worry...

Wee Sing is politically correct. I just bought 2 Wee Sing CD's at Borders because I had a coupon for $5 off of CDs so they were pretty much half off. There are SO MANY SONGS on the CDs and A-Bomb LOVES them. I really bought them for our trip to the midwest next month but broke into one of them for fuss-time on the way home from my mom's house. Well, they changed a few things since I was a kid. The Ten Little Indians song is now "Ten Little Fingers" which is okay I guess, but at Thanksgiving what are little kids supposed to sing? The other song they changed is "Little Cabin In The Woods" which is one of my favorites!!

Little Cabin in the Woods, Little Man by the window stood, saw a rabbit hopping by, knocking at the door.


Help me! Help Me!! Sir he said, before the hunter shoots me dead! Little Rabbit come inside, safely to abide.


Help me! Help me! Sir he said, before the farmer bops my head! Little rabbit come inside, safely by the fire.

I actually think the farmer one is HILARIOUS but "fire" does not rhyme with "inside" and that part just ruins in for me. ah well. I guess shooting bunnies dead is out but an unfortunate reality for the survival of my garden. Our new library is awesome, but our library doesn't have Raffi. Now I just have to have some Raffi for our trip, and maybe some Pete Seeger.

Speaking of being PC, my dad has a new bumper sticker: "Being politically correct means apologizing for everything." My good ol' dad keeping it real on his beater car.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flower Fairies

Is it not really adorable how obsessed toddlers are about things? My mom bought Anastasia a set of plastic fairies made by Step 2 that she LOVES. She sometimes calls them fairies, sometimes calls them Marys but either way they go on most adventures with us. Her obsession with these fairies, and fairies in general has lead me to a little research on Cicely Mary Barker who is the illustrator of the famous Flower Fairies like the one pictured above. She was born in 1895 and over 100 years after her birth, her imagination lives on in the hearts of children everywhere. Her story is very endearing as she had epilepsy, was homeschooled and she was immensly talented. Her father died when she was 17 and her artwork helped her family survive rough times. She also had a noteworthy faith in God. Her artwork outlasted the changing seasons and fads and I hope my great grandchildren are as captivated by her sweet drawings as I am. I do believe in Fairies. I do.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday Drive

We took the ultimate Sunday drive to Black Water Falls State Park in West Virginia. It was a most magical place right out of a storybook. It is like seeing your imagination come to life with rolling mountains, evergreen trees, mossy knolls, and cascading water falls. This is the closest to Rivendell as I have ever been.

Unfortunately it took FOREVER to get there. A note to any one driving in West Virginia: grey roads on a map may or may not exist. And if they do exist, they may suddenly end. We couldn't find the first "grey" road we needed, and ended up 30 something miles out of our way with two unhappy children. On our way out a grey road lead us right through a blasting zone near a road that has yet to be built. Thanks WV map-makers.
Elkahala waterfalls (pictured above) were astoundingly beautiful, and well worth the endeavor to find the park. I could have spent hours there. I don't think the smaller ones in our party would have felt the same way though!! The park also had a cute petting zoo which Anastasia was a bit apprehensive about. They were closing up and feeding the animals when we got there, so they were all in the barn instead of being out running around and being that it was a little dark in there, I think that made it less appealing. Isabel on the other hand fell in love with the calf. She was so happy to pet her and get cow drool all over her hands. She was a really cute cow.

We also saw the big falls that are the main attraction at the park. I think we might head back for a weekend at a cabin or something. It was really one of the nicest places I have ever been.

On our way home, both girls *finally* fell asleep. We stopped at Dairy Queen for some treats and Anastasia opened her eyes in front of the drive-through sign. It was like a dream come true for her to wake up with pictures of ice cream out of the window!! The first words out of her mouth were, "ICE CREAM!" So we ordered her a small vanilla cone and they must have messed up and given us a large one because it was the biggest cone I have ever seen:

She didn't mind though.
And now it is Monday, complete with loads of laundry (and a broken dryer), a sink full of dishes, and a mess in every square inch of the house. And I need groceries. Don't ask me how this happens when we aren't even home to mess everything up! Hope everyone had a peaceful and adventurous weekend too.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hey June

June is like a bad luck month for me. Except I don't believe in luck. Maybe bad karma? I mean, I sort of believe what goes around comes around... but more in the "justice will be served" sense. Maybe not in this life, but the next. Karma can't explain why really great people can have really bad things happen. Either way June is dishing me up some real sour grapes... and not sour cherries.

Isabel has been sick the past couple days and won't stop crying!!! Unless we get in the Jeep and go somewhere, in which case she is happy as a clam. (are clams really happy?) It seems counter-intuitive to take a sick baby out into the world to spread around the bad ju-ju... but its either that, or go insane. haha. Actually she was crying all morning yesterday and pulling on her ear and my heart sank at the thought of ANOTHER ear infection in another child. So to the doctor I went (ugh). She was very happy and super charming at the doctors office and thankfully she just has a sore throat that refers pain or itching to her ears. Ah well. At least no one else is sick... yet. *knocks-on-wood*

We had an overall good week... with no crafting as planned. I read another quartet of books by Tamara Pierce called "The Immortals" and they were AWESOME!! I loved the series. The animal lover in me really connected with the main character. The animal lover in my also connected with the baby bunnies, chicks and ducklings at the farmers market. If it weren't for my beloved husband I think I would have a menagerie in my backyard (or in my house if I didn't have a backyard). I know if I were an old maid, I would be one of those kooky cat ladies. Thank goodness that didn't happen. I hope we will get some chickens this summer. At least they are very useful animals unlike our giant furball husky. Although I have to say we rarely have crumbs on our floors.

Well maybe I can go but the fussmiester down for a nap... until next time... ciao!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Charlie Brown

I feel like I have walked in Charlie Brown's shoes for the past week. Nothing big and bad has happened (yet) but all the little things in my life seem to turn sour. Everyday I feel like I am kicking a football that gets yanked out of the way before I get to it.

The worst thing by far is the fate of my beloved cherry tree. I checked it on Saturday and it was teeming with orange and yellow cherries... it was days away from being pickable. I saw a couple birds, but since they only ate a few last year I didn't freak out about them. Sunday evening I made up my mind to pick all the reddest cherries and wait for the rest to ripen. I went out, and all the cherries were gone!!!! I can't express how sad I was!! The birds sacked the tree. The weirdest part is, I had more cherries than I could pick last year and the birds didn't mess with them hardly at all!!! I think more cherries rotted on the tree because I couldn't reach them than were actually eaten by birds! I have been salivating all year over the cherry pies, jams and liqeuer. Nick picked about 3 cups of yellow orange cherries and that was all there was. So I will definately be making some liqeuer to drown away my cherry sorrows.

On the flip side, a few of the branches are dead, and from what I have read cherry trees only produce for about 20-35 years, and I know this tree is quite old. So I am going to try and sprout some new trees from some of the pits the birds left behind. I don't think I will get any cherries from the new trees for 5 years or so, but I might as well start now and get some good out of this year. I have read of 3 different methods for sprouting cherries and I am giving each one a shot:

1. Planting directly in ground, should sprout next spring.

2. Soaking in warm water overnight, and putting in bag of soil in fridge for 2-3 months until sprouting.

3. Cutting 2" off of new growth and rooting with rooting mixture (not sure where to buy this?) in pots.

I will also put about 10-20 seeds in a pot on the deck and see if they have better luck than the ones in the ground. I will let you know which method works best and if they all work, and I have lots of seedlings, I will gladly be giving some away. (I don't think I need 50 trees but the way these evil birds eat... you never know).

So that is the very cherry saga. :(

I have some really fun activities planned for Anastasia this week... which I will be posting soon!! Check Nick's blog for the excitement in our neighborhood. Scary, crazy stuff. Back to the garden I go...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cherries and Spice... and everything nice.

These are the baby food jars I turned into Spice jars. I am so happy with them. A little scrao paper, rubber stamps, mod-podge, and you get some very cute spice jars:
I have been SO busy with the warm weather and a very demanding 8-month old. I used to put Isabel in a basket, swing or on the floor and she was happy for a long, long time. Now I am lucky to score 20 minutes. BUT she does sleep pretty well... usually. So I really can't complain. Its just a tricky time, and I actually look forward to her being mobile. I really do.

We had a very social weekend. Its odd how we see a lot of friends at one time, and then don't see anyone for a long time afterward. Everything seems to happen at once and then I get bored in between. Its hard being occasionally popular.

I haven't done too much crafting other than canning and freezing strawberries. Strawberry freezer jam is my favorite. It really tastes so fresh. The cherries are sooooo close to being ripe. I found this really great new blog called the Farmhouse Finishing School. I love that they have a recipe for cherry liqueur that doesn't require you to pit the cherries. How perfect is that? It just sounds awesome even though I am not a big alchohol drinker, I think this liqueur might be worth becoming one for. Can you imagine mixing it with a little ghirrardelli white chocolate liquer? um, yum. Or adding it to some hot cocoa in the winter? ah.

Half of my garden was destroyed by a groundhog, the other half is giving me lettuce, herbs and a few sugar snap peas. Nick said the groundhog is too cute to shoot. The same was not so of several rabbits who have taken to eating my peas. I haven't seen rabbits in a while. ;)
I just finished reading a fantasy series called "The Song of the Lioness" by Tamora Pierce. I read all 467 pages of the series in about 5 days from start to finish. It was insanely good. I liked that it was really very intellegent, fun and not overly dramatic. Just my style. Oh, and the hero is a girl. That really rocks. There are plenty more books that take place in the same world (Tortall) but our library is moving locations and is closed for another week! Yikes! But I found another local library that I think I can go to for free.... and feed my new hunger of Tamora Pierce fantasy. And they have storytime for little kids.