Saturday, April 7, 2012

Oh What a Beautiful Mornin'!

Some calendula oil Isaac was asking to use.  Maia is about to carry it away.
Last night there was a full moon.  My nephew pointed it out to me: "Aunt Angie, picture!"  I didn't get a shot because we were having a nice family movie night.  But this morning when I woke up, it was beautiful out. The sky was blue and I felt like singing "Oh what a beautiful mornin'!"

While I was cleaning gutters today, I found my bracelet outside.  i tossed it onto the railing, where it fell in a perfect heart shape.
We had the privilege of watching Isaac do the first part of his Taekwondo black belt test, then we enjoyed donuts at a tiny dutch bakery with laminate paneling from the 80's.  After that, we took my nephew home and I sat in the sun chatting with his mom.

When there's weather like this though, there's work that's been waiting to be done, so I hurried home and got our rototiller going so it could make its yearly rounds through the garden beds of friends and family.  I felt like I had some serious girl power going on when I used a Youtube video to learn how to inflate the tubeless tire of the tiller, then got it oiled and gassed up a and ran it around the garden!

The cool ninja moves of using a windlass to help inflate a tire.
The kids played outside, because my rule is that if they're inside on a nice day, they have to clean house.  I worked on some weeding and mostly some listening for humming birds.  They are visiting our flowering red currant bushes, and I've been wanting to catch some pictures.  Maia and I stood outside very quietly.  People called for us. "Quiet, we're listening for the birds!" she said.  We saw the hummingbird many times, and we enjoyed our time together in the last minutes of our sunny spring day.
hummingbird at red currant bush
calendula with tiny bug
watching for the humming bird

no more hummingbirds.  sad girl.
Koa at the end of the day
Goodnight calendula oil
Goodnight sun 

What I did on my spring break

The goats don't know what to do with their newly clean barn.  We used hay that had been ruined for bedding, so they decided it would also be a good snack.

A week and a half ago, our family caught a cough/fever/croup type bug.  It started with one of the youngest and made its way through all seven of us slowly and frustratingly, and of course during spring break.  If you know me, I'm a very busy person, and I had put a lot of visiting and projects off until the break, when I wouldn't need to also be teaching and correcting papers.

 I looked at my calendar and had a different person I had committed to visit with each day!  I had a list in my mind of tasks that needed doing that would overflow the calendar.  A few days ago, I started to wonder if we had accomplished anything this break, and my friend encouraged me to look back and really notice how much happened in our home over the week.  She's good at that: helping me to see how God worked in spite of the change in my plans.

On Saturday, the first day of break, we had a big story time yoga birthday party for Saraiah and 10 of her friends.  After that, I was crazy enough to tell Isaac he could have 3 friends overnight.  A friend came over and helped me to sort through the school supply drawers that had become a chaotic conglomeration of glue sticks, chalk, crayons and old stickers.  I made sourdough bread, almost lost my starter, then resurrected it.  I did blog posts.  I changed my facebook password to something I don't remember so I would stop getting sucked into its vortex.

We took Isaac to 3 extra taekwondo classes in preparation for the first segment of his black belt test, which happens tomorrow.  Eva went for three days to an alpaca show and learned how the big shots show those fuzzy camelids.

We skipped church and two dental appointments to avoid sharing our precious gift of germs, and weren't well enough to see friends who hadn't already been sick until Thursday.  Levi went to the urgent care for what ended up being croup.  We had friends over briefly, and, while remarking on the beauty of the day, a majestic heron flew by, as if on cue.  We dyed eggs twice.  Well, three times if you count the natural dyes we did too.

We planted carrots and peas in large hills, covering them with chicken wire to protect them from, of course, chickens.  We cleaned out the goat barn entirely, then spread the manure around the edges of the veggie garden to use later as mulch, then cleaned out the chicken shed too.  Ew.  We made a new garden bed near the house for some of the peppers and tomatoes because some tomatoes got late blight in last year in our garden.  We weeded.

The sun decided to shine a few days, and the kids played with neighbors and on another day we got to go visit a friend I've been trying to see for weeks.  We went to the beach with friends.  Eva checked on her pregnant goat many times a day, wondering when she might see babies bouncing after their mother.  I cleaned out the refrigerator.  We did laundry, mopped floors, cleaned counters incessantly, and ate more than 21 times.  I shopped late at night with a friend for dog food our poor starving dogs and mechanical pencils and art pads for easter baskets, bargaining with the store manager for various deals.

I watched and listened with the kids to many different performances via Youtube of Handel's "Behold the Lamb of God" from the Messiah, entranced by the deep tones, and singing along to it with Levi.  We looked through the resurrection eggs, reading each relevant scripture.  I prayed at least 35 good night prayers, and snuggled or hugged 5 different children several times each day.

And today my father in law showed up and told us he was going to make stairs for us to walk down below!  I have slipped four times on the hill that goes beneath our deck and to the animals and gardens, as have many other people in our family, so this is like a dream come true.

I have sat down and taken the time to reflect on all the beautiful, icky, mundane, precious, deep and forgettable things that happened this week.  And now I thank God for all of them.  I encourage you to look back at your week with new eyes too.

Honey, our pregnant pygora

Cinnamon, honey's mom

Tomatoes and other things...alive and well
Celery starting to grow from cut store celery
heirloom hollyhocks

Our front flower/strawberry bed, weeded
Our new garden bed for tomatoes and peppers.  We will take down the Christmas lights and put up a row cover over the fence when it's time for them to make their debut

The newly cleaned garden bed in front of the house... there are poppies, motherwort, lupines and more.  

the treacherous slope down below

The steps my father in law is putting in

Rhubarb and old barn hay

Carrot bed newly planted with overwintered carrots in the middle

The pea trellis, hilled up, planted with peas, then protected with chicken wire
Eva's garden frame, made by her grandpa

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Iverson Beach in Springtime

My friend Josie and I have been determined to get our children to a beach of some kind for the past 3 weeks or so.  Finally, the weather began to cooperate, which means it was not dumping buckets of rain and hail and swirling it all around with chaotic winds.  We got into Stanwood, then decided we needed to pray for the weather over Iverson beach because a humongous black cloud was looming ominously over the precise section of Camano Island it inhabits.

We had driven all this way, and I really didn't want to have my children, freshly on the mend from deep painful coughs, to be soaked.  God thought that was a splendid idea, I think!  As we were driving onto the island, just to the intersection that meets up with the road to Iverson beach, the sky dropped a steady stream of rain.  Saraiah said, "Hey mom, God's clearing away the rain to answer your prayer!"  I looked at the rain and wondered.  But once we were to Iverson beach, big puffy mile high white clouds were piling up and parting to reveal a blue sea of sky.  What a sweet moment of affirmation of faith that was.

The most rain we felt while there were random drops falling very sparsely, so much so that you had to wonder if it might be someone spitting or a bird flying over, dropping a gift from the heavens.  I was so thankful to have a window of decent weather in spring time and we got a good laugh out of the strange mix of clothing choices our kids made.  Some thought it was warm enough for bathing suits, others wore their pants and shirts and waded right in, and others thought a winter coat and some leggings were more in order.  It was good to be out on the sound in the warmish shallow water, reminding ourselves of the fantastic piece creation that this corner of the world we live in is.

tide was coming in, and the kids took advantage of the little islands it created
piece of a crab.
I love the way the tides make the sand into shapes that echo the waters above.

On the edge!

"Mama look, it's a butterfly shell!"

My kind of way to enjoy spring on a Puget Sound beach!
the sun reflected in the mud
Gotta have the sparkly shoes, even at the beach!
Levi's job in life is to go to the very edge of every thing and everywhere, then take one more step.  He is my joyful experimenter, and I love him for that.

Levi tries to bring a log "boat" in to shore.  I think it was beached.  

Kids coming running to me fresh from looking for more crab legs to try to complete the crab body we found.  
colorful stones


levi is looking a little old-manish in my coat.  

hoeing up the ground for a garden i guess.
The spoils of the day