Monday, August 31, 2015

Chicken Girl

While everyone in the family (with the exception of Georgia) really really likes our chickens and is a fan of this urban farm experience, Byrdie LOVES them.  Is it any surprise?  She's always been the one to dote over other people's dogs and go out of her way to pet a stray cat.  Of course there's also her obsession with bugs and other crawling insects.  She's our animal lover for sure and tells everyone that she plans to live in Huntsville when she grows up so that she can have all the animals that she wants.

I took her out back after church last week to snap a few pictures for a project I have going on.  Before I even got the first few shots in, the chickens were already gathering around her.  She is known to take them tasty snacks when she goes out.  They are drawn to her just as she is drawn to them.  It's really very sweet.  Well, I decided that pictures with chickens were even better than what I had planned.

My chicken girl.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Nighty Nightgowns

I'm convinced that with the introduction of air conditioning in the common household came the end of light weight night gowns.  You know, the ones you see on Little House On The Prarie, or even some that I wore as a kid in the seventies.  The only kind of "summer pajamas" that I can find in stores or online are tight fitting, heavy cotton things.  But for those of us who don't have central air, those are really pretty hot and just won't do.  Not at all.  After weeks of the summer heat making the nights miserable for my girls, I decided they needed some new nightgowns.  And what better material to make them with than thrifted vintage sheets--nice and cool, and cool looking as well.

I didn't really use a pattern.  I just cut my fabric wide enough for comfortable lounging and wiggling and twisting in bed.  Then with elastic thread I gathered the top portion to make it fit around the chest (mock smocking) and added some bias tape made from the sheet fabric around the arms.  Really a simple design and a cute look in the end.  I made each girl two night gowns and I think there's plenty of room to grow so they should last a couple of years at least.

Cool, flowing, light weight nightgowns, just right for the hot summer nights.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Garden Journal

The garden is green.  Lots of green.  Still no tomatoes.  Still not much squash.  It seems like my garden is several weeks behind others'.  I'm deciding to blame it on the sun.  We really don't get quite enough of it in our yard and I think that accounts for a later crop.

However, what we have been getting, we are enjoying.  I think we've had five zucchini's so far and devoured every one of them.  And we're munching on pickled green beans that I've been pickling the lazy way.  I just blanch the beans, put them in a jar and cover them with pickle juice from store bought pickles.  Has anyone else ever done this?  It works better than I had expected and they taste pretty good.  I did, however, have some delicious garlic sauteed beans last night at someone else's house and I'm anxious to try some of those with our next picking.  We're still getting some peas and the twins have really enjoyed eating them right there in the garden (the best way to eat them).

And although I've only picked zucchini so far, there are a lot of other squash plants with lots of blossoms on them and I'm excited to find out what squash variety they are.  We had a little seed disaster just before planting and all the squash seeds got mixed up so it will be a fun surprise to see what we planted.  All in all, the garden is coming along fine.  At the very least, it's a great way for us to all get outside and exploring in our own yard.

Things that I've decided to do differently next year are:

Split the peas up into two different garden beds and plant just on one side of the bed so that I don't use an entire bed for peas.

Plant fewer tomato plants and give them more space to spread out and thrive.

Plant a whole bed of beans.  Put the beets somewhere else.

And how does your garden grow?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Halloween In July


She started making invitations months ago--pencil on lined paper.  "Halloween in July," "Wear a costume," "Lunch will be served."  When I finally got around to planning a party she was way ahead of me.  She knew what she wanted and luckily, it really was all very doable.  My only hesitation was that it's July!  And Hot!  And layers of costumes don't really sound tempting in that kind of weather.  But she would not be deterred.  Yet another exciting development in the personality of this new seven year old--taking charge.

I had to turn my Halloween brain on a few months early and try and figure out how to make a July yard feel like a spooky October yard.  Ideas for Halloween activities and games are abundant on Pinterest.  And really what more do you need than a bunch of kids dressed in costume to have a good time.  Oh, but yes, one more thing--a face painter!

It was serendipitous that the Saturday before the party we would head downtown for the Ogden Farmer's market and the kids would spot a lovely face painting booth with no line and with face painting options that worked perfectly with their little bits of cash in hand.  As the kids were getting painted I noticed that this very talented face painting artists "Party Paints By Kate" did birthday parties.  And it just so happened that she was free for our designated party time.  Perfect.  Check.  Done.

And as you can see, she was a big hit at the party.  She was super fast, painting everyone at the party within an hour.  I love Byrdie's wolf face.  She knew just what she wanted.  And even I got a face paint (I think my first one ever).  At the last minute as I was throwing out dressups and costumes for the kids to put on, I found a kimono in our costume bin.  It just seemed right to add a Geisha face to that kimono.

Other activities we did included:

Mummy wrap
Doughnut on a string
Bobbing for apples
Mummy craft with shaving cream
Bean Bag toss
and just playing in the yard

Lots of fun for this fun girl of mine.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Yarn Along

I'm getting near the end to Louisa's Puddle Duck.  It's been a slow knitting summer.  That's not unusual.  I tend to do a lot more sewing in the summer and knitting in the winter--funny how the seasons really do determine our activities--even the indoor ones.  But this sweater has really been the perfect summer knitting project because it requires little thought and allows me to set it down and pick it up a week (or two) later without having to figure everything out again.  The yarn is a lovely plum color in Sublime baby cashmere.  I do hope there's not complaints about itchiness--there really shouldn't be.

And I picked off the shelf a book who's title is very familiar to me but that I found I really knew nothing about at all.  My mother taught English literature for years and years and names of books were always being thrown around while I was growing up.  But the way my mother used this title, well, I always assumed that this book had something to do with "home repair."  There was something always broken in our house.  The washing mashing was always a gamble, the dishwasher never worked (after all they raised 9 of them, why would they need one more).  And the tepiderator kept the food, well, tepid.  So, "Things Fall Apart," was a common phrase around our house.

Turns out, however, this book has nothing to do with home repair.  So far from it that I'm sure I never would have picked it off the shelf had I known that it was the story of indigenous African tribes, their customs and ways and families and all the change that white missionaries brought to their land.  Not that it wasn't a wonderful read, it was.  But it's so far from my world and my life and I have a hard time getting out of my comfort zone mentally and actually reading something that doesn't affect me in my current life and family situation.  I'm glad, however, to have stumbled upon it and now I know.  I know not to grab this book as a guide for replacing floor boards or any such thing.  But I'll recommend it just the same.

Have you ever been surprised when a book turns out different than you had imagined?

Joining Ginny's Yarn Along today.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Family Campout


Summers are for:

Family reunions
Sleeping in tents
Tubing down a river
Stinky Out houses
Nature collections
Frisbee with cousins
Camp skits
Mosquito bites
Riding bikes
Gathering rays of sunshine to store for the dark winter months ahead.