Monday, May 18, 2015

Louisa Dancing

I've posted all of these pictures on instagram over the past month so I apologize for repeat photos.  I just felt like I wanted to get all these pictures of our beautiful dancer in one place and and let her know how much I enjoy watching her strengthen and share this talent of hers.  She really has a great feel for rhythm and space and her movements are so graceful.  She is a bit shy.  She won't dance on demand and often stops mid leap when she notices someone watching her.  But in class, alongside other dancers, she's not afraid to give her body permission to move.

I've loved watching her through the glass door at dance these past several months.  And I was so proud to watch her perform on stage at the historic Kingsbury Hall on Saturday.  Virginia Tanner has been a wonderful place for my girls over the years.  I love the openness of their teaching, the ability the dancers have to express themselves how they want.  I love the live pianist who plays impromptu as the dancers lead in the direction they want the rehearsal to go.   It's such a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere and Louisa thrives in it.  I'm looking forward to more hours spent in the hallway at the Eccles Art Center and more evenings spent watching my girls perform on stage.

Friday, May 15, 2015


I apologized to him that I wasn't more adventurous and that he should probably have married someone else.  But at least I gave him Byrdie.

If something left an impression on you this week, feel free to share it here.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Garden Journal

This past week I made a big push to get the yard and garden in order.  I was hosting a relief society activity about gardening in my yard and felt a little pressure (the good motivating kind) to have it looking nice.  Sometimes the only way things get done is when we have people coming over.  I bought and planted annuals for my pots (mostly sweet potato vines).  I spread six bags of mulch (probably need about six more).  I planted my tomato bed, the last vegetable garden bed adding some marigolds, basil and borage to help with pests.  And I covered my pathways with wood shavings (free from a local mill) to keep weeds down and make a nice squishy place to walk.  I've been wanting to do this for years but didn't want to bother Nate with taking time off work to hook up the trailer and help me load it.  It turns out, two large plastic bins hold all that I need for my pathways.  The color contrast is pretty stark, but I think it will blend in more with time.

And Nate and Oliver took care of mowing and weed eating.  I dare say that the yard looks better now than it ever has before.  Each year I get to say this because my perennials and shrubs fill out and get bigger and nicer.  I'm already looking forward to next year and the new growth that will bring.  See that "Pot of Gold" behind the chess set?  It's bloom time is about over but I love how it's grown and spread.

Did I ever tell you my "Pot of Gold" story?  Every time I look at this plant I giggle at the memory.  A few years back I was at Home Depot buying some plants (I know, I know, you don't buy plants at Home Depot).  It was obvious I should have been at a nursery because the Home Depot employee had no clue about plants.  But I didn't realize how clueless she was at first.  Like a good employee she asked if I needed help finding anything.  I asked her if she had a "Pot of Gold."  She chuckled and remarked "I wish."  Well, I thought that response was a little strange.  Either they had that plant or they didn't.  She then asked if she could help me find anything else.  I said that I was also looking for "Hens and Chicks."  She looked at me with kind of an annoyed expression and said that they didn't carry those.  I realized I wasn't in the right place for the specific plants I wanted.  I got in my car and started driving and only then did it dawn on me that she had no idea that I was talking about plants!  She thought I was being a smart aleck.  No wonder her responses were so off and no wonder she was slightly annoyed.  I went to a nursery, asked the same questions and found exactly what I was looking for.

So the church ladies came over and we learned a lot from our expert garden speaker from the USU Horticulture Extension.  Probably the most useful tip for me was that to prevent tomatoes from splitting you need to water consistently.  Ahh, no wonder my tomatoes always split.  Well, now I know and hopefully this year it will be different.

And we have a cat hanging around our yard.  I suspect it has something to do with our four baby chicks peeping up a storm.  Anyone need a cat?  Syrina?

And how about you?  How is your garden growing?

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Chicken Coop

Over the past few years we've been working on Nate, wearing him down, trying to convince him of the benefits of backyard chickens. (I even purchased this great cast iron chicken years ago at a going out of business sale in hopes of owning chickens one day). We have a couple different friends who have them and love the element of fun that they add to the backyard--not to mention the eggs.  I don't know what finally got him on board, whether it was the endless pestering, the prospect of building something, the eggs that he's finally agreed are superior, or the whisperings of a dog that we all (with the exception of Nate) also want.  Whatever it was, he did agree and I began in earnest to look for a coop in the classifieds.

For weeks I scoured KSL for something cheap, something cute and something close by.  I made a couple of phone calls on some pretty great coops but of course they had been snagged up just before I got to them.  All the while Nate kept offering to build one but I'd put him off claiming that it would both take too long and cost too much.  After about a month I realized that he certainly could have built one in the time I spent looking and if I insisted on getting one already built, it could take another month or so.  I was still concerned about the cost.  I know that materials are not cheap and like most projects, you end up spending more than you originally estimate.  Nate took that as a challenge and committed to spend less than two hundred dollars on the construction of a coop.

After a couple of evenings sharing ideas we found on Pinterest, we settled on this coop.  It even had some pretty good plans laid out for the construction.  The compact size was attractive but even though small, this style also offered a walk in run and convenient egg collecting nesting boxes.  Nate wasted no time.  The next day the frame was up.  Our Sunday afternoon drive to my mom's for dinner proved beneficial when we drove past a pile of weathered ceder fence slats that someone had taken down.  We managed to get the coop walls in for free.  The hardware was mostly free, using what we had around here.  And the metal roofing we found about half the cost of new from a classifieds listing.  We also used paint from our own stash and a friend's.  We were both concerned about painting it.  It looked so good with the weathered ceder wood contrasting with the new blonde wood of the frame.  But we knew that in a year all the wood would be gray and it would just look old and plain.  So we went with the painted look.  I loved this yard sale "pale sky" color and also I like it painted on lightly so that the weathered cedar shows through just a bit.

After all was said and done, the cost came in at about one-hundred and eighty dollars.  Under budget and super cute.  But more importantly, a good safe home for our new feathered friends.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

To my mom

With each year that I pass deeper into motherhood I realize more and more what a difficult job you had.  I'm wrong much more often that I'm right.  I'm disorganized more often that I am on top of my game.  I'm tired more often than I am than I am energized and I'm unsure more often than I am confident.  Thank you for taking on the hardest job in the world and performing so well in your efforts to raise happy healthy children.

Thank you for giving me the guidance I need to make it through my own mothering journey.

I love you.

Friday, May 8, 2015


He claims he was aiming for the corner but in an attempt to miss hitting me he over corrected.  And I'm not talking about Oliver.  Husbands.  Do they every grow up?

If something left an impression on you this week, feel free to share it here.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Garden Journal

It looks like a spring garden out there today.  Lots of green and lots and lots of brown.  The rainstorm that came through yesterday was so welcomed.  I love knowing that my plants are getting a really good soaking and will be good for a couple of days without me worrying about watering.

Ugh, watering.  After twelve years of living here we still don't have a great system for watering the vegetable garden.  The first several years I hand watered mostly with a bit of temporary placed sprinkler help.  Then Nate installed this great soaker hose system after we put in the garden beds and I think that's mostly likely when my garden started to give us less and less.  Sweet Nate doesn't want me to have to hand water the garden every day so he's always trying to fix, always trying to improve these soaker hoses.  And this year, after I pulled them all up and vowed to go back to hand watering, he's devising another "hands off" approach to watering the garden.  I'm not sure he'll ever stop trying to get this thing all systematic and technical.  Really all I need is a good hose (which I have) and a good nozel (which I have) and twenty minutes in the morning (which I also have).  That's my goal.  Water the garden first thing in the morning.  The trouble really then is pulling that first weed.  Once that weed is pulled, then of course I'll see another and another and then I'll find that I really should probably move that plant to another location and then this branch really ought to be trimmed and before I know it, I have children wailing for lunch and I'm still unshowered in my pajamas and realizing that we've completely missed library story time.  Yes, the garden can suck you in if you're not careful.

But back to the green!  I have two beds planted and growing.  Peas are doing fine and the lettuce, dill, beets, kale, and carrots are all starting to emerge.  I put my onions at the end of the bed next to the carrots (I read carrots and onions are good next to each other).  I have two more beds to plant.  One with tomatoes and one with squash.  This year I moved all of the perennial herbs up closer to the house partly just to have them closer and partly to free up more space in the vegetable garden for annual vegetables.  I'm excited about that decision but I also was a little sad to not have so many flowering things mixed in with the vegetables.  The solution was to plant some annual herbs in along with my squashes and tomatoes.  Here are some that I chose.

Borage--It has edible flowers that taste like cucumbers and it also deters tomato hornworms and improve growth and disease resistance.  It attracts bees and adds minerals to the soil.  Sounds like a good one.

Vietnamese Coriander--It tastes like cilantro but I love how it grows low and spreads out.  I think it will be good in keeping weeds down.

Stevia--A sweet tasting herb with little white flowers.  It will be fun to put in teas or maybe on salads.

Dwarf Pennyroyal--This is a fun licorish smelling plant that deters flies and mosquitoes.

Of course I'll also plant basil and nasturtiums mixed in with the vegetables like I have in the past.

Any other annual herb recommendations?  And how is your garden growing?

P.S.  I spy a little blue chicken coop in the corner.  Blog post on that fun project soon to come.