Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jungle love

My garden has exploded. In a good way. It truly is a jungle. I planted in the spirit of "Square Foot Gardening" even though I hadn't bothered to read the book - I figured it meant just pack it in. And it's worked so far! One of the benefits of this gardening method is lack of weeds - there's simply no room for them. On the other hand, the swiss chard seeds I planted just before I put in the rest of the starts hasn't had a chance to grow either. Oh well, our Farmer's Market will fill in the veggie gaps we have.
Another casualty was the broccoli - each of my 6 plants had a small head when I noticed caterpillar worms on them. I struggled mightily with those buggers last year and I'm not fighting that battle this year - not with the rest of my garden flourishing and space being at such a premium. So the other night we had a delicious pasta primavera with zucchini, basil and the first/last broccoli from the garden.

Just for reference, this is the garden May 20, just after I planted it:

In addition to being being a fertile ground for plants, it seems I've created a haven for woodland animal babies. Two weeks ago I went out to check on it and startled a fawn sleeping in the grass in the U. I had to open up one side of my garden fence to let it out and then I was worried about how it was going to get through our outer fence to find it's mother. Since I haven't seen it since I assume it did eventually find her. 

Today when I was visiting my garden a bunny exploded from one side, so I went to look at the fence and, low and behold, there were 4 baby bunnies sticking their noses out of their nest next to the wooden raised beds (but inside the wire fence). Sigh. I'm not going to do anything cruel, but I am worried about how much of the veggies will make it to my family. Strangely enough, even with a totally ineffective fence, I don't see any signs of damage to any of the plants. We'll see how long that lasts with a hungry momma bunny and Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter to feed. (Or maybe it's Thumper and his family, since Bambi was already there.)

This is a picture of the nest in the grass. Note the downy grey fur layer. They were out of the hole when I first came upon them, and then must have ducked back in by the time I came back with Natalie and the camera. 

And now, some cute pictures of the kids:
Sam loves feeding the chickens. "Chickie" is one of his words now. He'll bring the metal dish to the nearest adult, then toddle to the door where we keep the food, point and yell to get in and get the food. The chickens seem to like him quite a bit too. Natalie's robot family.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cheery ramblings

Like everyone who spends time on the internet, I get sucked into blog-reading. I read the blogs I like, then link to the blogs they like, and on it goes.

So here's something I've discovered - or rather re-discovered. I like positive people. I feel better, lighter and more able to take on the world when I read up-beat things. Even though there's a corner of my heart that's rolling its eyes, the rest of me is sitting up straighter.

It's like having inspirational quotes tacked around the house. Which I used to think was impossibly cheesy, but I swallowed my pride and resolved to hang some months ago. Murray even printed a pile out for me for Christmas - how sweet! (Obviously, the first one needs to be about the evils of procrastination. I'll get on that tomorrow).

Another side effect of these cheery, friendly blogs is that they make me want to be more of that kind of friend. I know I'm not usually a ray of sunshine. I'm more the friend you vent with/to. Because I know how to vent, baby. Which is valuable and important and, please, don't hold back next time we talk! But I want people to walk away feeling empowered after we've chatted. So constructive venting is the order of the day.

Most of my current blogs are related to mommy, food and decorating issues. Here is a link to the funniest mommy post I've read so far. The decorating ones are new for me. I started reading them when we bought the house in order to get my head into the game. Not that I'll ever be Susy Q. Homemaker, but it is helpful to read people who are waaaay into it and have all kinds of lovely ideas (and are also positive, cheery folks - why are home decorators so chirpy? It's good energy for me though. I know it is).

And now, I must go get my World Cup fix for the night.

Friday, June 11, 2010

In the zone

It's here, operational and the games have begun. The cable guy spent some quality time at the house yesterday - thank goodness he knew what he was doing because it involved lots of new wire from a pole on the street. The Kleppners arrived in time to  test the watching experience last night - important to get the kinks worked out before kick off. We're still fine-tuning some seating/kid control/drinks tables issues. And laying ground rules like: Sam does not get to touch the remote. Ever.
But, as of half time of the first game, I think everyone is pleased.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The end of the world as I know it

This is a picture of one of my mantels. My favorite one, in fact, because I have scattered along the top of it some of my found objects. The glass bottles were found in old trash heaps behind this house and our previous house, the exquisite bird's nest was resting on our lawn early one morning and the big shell I found in Bermuda. I'm not a big "finder" so these things represent something of a triumph for me. Of observation, recognizing beauty and holding on to some things that gives me joy.

However, I think I'm going to have to relinquish this mantel for the big  flat screen TV which will be connected to the cable that is coming tomorrow morning. Yes, gentle readers, the Buttners are getting a TV. And not only a TV, but cable to go with it.

But it's for a good cause! Wait for it.........World Cup 2010.

Now, I'm no Luddite, but there are technological advances that I don't want to intimately participate in. Cable TV belongs in hotel rooms and other vaca spots. I've always had a bit of pride that we are odd enough not to have TV and cable. Now, in one fell swoop my (perhaps misplaced) feelings of superiority have evaporated.

The truth is though, even if I wanted to (and yes, I'm excited about a few shows) I still don't have the time to watch it. Can I pay $29.95 a month for extra time to sit and watch Food Network? Does that come with the package? "300 channels and 2 extra hours a day" My house is already teetering on the edge of chaos without an additional time suck. However, apprehensions aside, it will be a trip to see how the arrival of ESPN et al. changes our life.

Since we have it, everyone is invited to our house to watch the World Cup - June 11-July 13. It's going to be a great time.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Strawberry fields forever

Sam and I went strawberry picking yesterday - first day of the season at Buell's Orchard! We got the email courtesy of Rebecca and knew we just had to fit it in. Unfortunately, they close at noon, so going after kindergarten couldn't happen. I would have to go while Natty was at school. This was a little sad for 2 reasons: 1) Natty would love to go.  2) I'd have to fit it in between Sam's nap and when she arrives home from school. 

There is a trick to getting stuff done with children. Some people (the organized, and/or energetic ones) excel at this. I have gotten better and better but still find it easier to go without most things than motivate to get the kid/kids in the car - with my wallet, keys and sundry necessities and in enough time to make our "must-do" appointments. 

Must-Do: be at the house at 11:20 to meet Natalie's bus. This is crucial and I worry excessively about missing it. "What if's" abound in my mind. I don't perform well under time pressure. Once I left my purse in the cart in the parking lot of TJ Maxx, worried about rushing back to meet the bus. I've forgotten crucial groceries as I zip through the store. Best not to push it. 

Strawberries though? On a sunny morning when it's supposed to rain for the next 3 days, then we're out of town, etc, etc? There are moments you simply must rise to. 

Thankfully, Sam woke up at quarter to 10 and we were in the car and moving by 10. When we arrived, I was so glad we had come. There weren't many people there, the sunshine was perfect and the strawberries were amazing. Big, red, sweet and warm from the sun. Strawberry fiend Sam loved it. He was on my back in the Ergo and hung out happily while I picked for a scant 20 min and filled 4 pint boxes + a little extra. 

In addition to the sweet, sweet strawberries, I had fun memories of last year, when I came to the same field with Natty, then 4, and Sam who was just 5 months old. Juggling the baby on the front and the 4 year old was hilarious. Remembering what joy Natty got and what a great little picker she is, I resolved to bring her back as soon as I can. Or we'll come peach picking - I spotted the fuzzy green peaches on the trees. And ultimately, we got our strawberries and got home in time to pick up Natty. (No more phone calls from Phil the bus driver via the school office!)

Berries in the field - beautiful

Berries in my basket - delicious

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hurrah for the Red, White and Blue!

Here in New England, Memorial Day is a big deal. The flags were lining the street, the sun was shining and the energy was high. Murray the Greater has a beautiful red tractor that was the Audubon float. Natty rode with her Audubon camp friends, waved and threw candy to the crowd (She's got parade experience -   the Iceworm Parade in Cordova when she was 2 months old). Murray was supposed to drive the tractor, but Tom Sawyered Sarah (Audubon directer) into doing it at the last minute so he got to watch with Sam.

The parade was followed by moving speeches and free ice cream from We-Lik-It. Our afternoon then consisted of Lemonade selling (Natalie), Dumpster chucking (Murray) and Mowing the lawn/Nattering About (Jen and Sam). 

The grand finale: Natty treated us to more We-Lik-It ice cream from her profits, which we ate at the Abington Burying Grounds. The flags in this cemetery mark the graves of men who fought in the Revolutionary War. We all went to bed feeling grateful for our many, many blessings.