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Blooming out, Rocking out and Figuring out.

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

We've had quite a weekend.  Monumental in many ways, and totally ordinary in others.  First of all, everything is just about in full bloom right  now.  The apple trees are lighting up one by one with pale pinkish-white blossoms, and are all abuzz with bees.  The pear tree is at it's pinnacle of absolute blooming beauty.  Right now.  In a day, or perhaps even today, the steady fall of petals will begin and fruit will start to appear.  She should really live it up while she's still got it.

And then there are the not fully bloomed but equally spectacular apple trees getting ready to burst into glory.

The rhubarb snuck up on on us before we expected it.  This early bird of a fruit makes a damn tasty beverage too.  It's rhubarb-onade if you haven't heard about it.  Recipe to come, after we make it!

Speaking of recipes, this here is Dandelion Soup, made by Asa and Axel.  Ingredients are: stagnant rain water, sticks, plum seeds from last season, grass, dandelions and a big rubber blue ball.

Asa the Chicken Catcher

My main man Andy had a  rock show reunion this weekend.  Humpy played on Saturday night with other Missoula vintage faves Sasshole and Spanker.  What a line up!  I haven't seen Andy rock out since the late 90's.  They did not disappoint either.  Some highlights were the oh-so-nostalgic mosh pit that formed a few songs into their set, the fact that smoking is now prohibited so you don't go home smelling like a giant cigarette butt, and drinking PBR.  I was home by 12:30, and felt great the next day.  As a thirty something mother of two, you couldn't ask for a more perfect rock show.

In Agnes related news:

She now has three eggs in her nest, and she diligently sits atop them all day.  We don't even use the front door anymore, so as not to scare her.  Though a few times by accident one of us has flung open the door only to be met with an angry Agnes.  She flies over to the fence post, looks you straight in the eye with her head cocked a bit, and unabashedly chirps you out.  Then, when you've given her sufficient space, she'll fly back to her nest, fluff her feathers and settle down onto her eggs, looking quite smug I might add.

Agnes is pretty much always on her nest, except this morning.  I noticed another, smaller, more red-breasted robin was perched on the side of her nest.  I found it curious, so watched for a minute.  I'm pretty sure this new robin is a male, because of his more red breast, so I'll call him Tom.  After a few minutes, Tom flew off, and immediately Agnes flew back into her nest and settled on top of her eggs.

I haven't done my research yet, I aim to tonight, but could it be that the male mate helps protect the nest?  I've noticed Tom hanging around in the front yard near the nest prior to this.  But this was the first time I've seen him actually baby sitting the eggs while Agnes was off shopping or whatever.  In light of this new information, I now have a total bird crush on Tom.

Do any of you have some robin nesting habit knowledge you'd like to share?

 

Axel turns three, sheep arrive, and Agnes reveals her little blue egg.

Monday, May 16th, 2011

This handsome boy turned three on Friday. We celebrated at Axel's favorite park he calls "spaceman park".  My friend Andrea made an amazing cake for him.  It was the best part of the party, besides seeing Axel being the center of attention by a bunch of adoring people.

I'm fairly certain that I could move mountains for him if he wanted me to.

I made a few things for him, one of them being these little pants.  I think they turned out pretty darn cute.  He likes them too.

The annual sheep drive happened on Saturday.  These sheep have been resting in our pastures for the past few days.  Today they continue their journey up to Waterworks Hill and beyond, where they will be responsible for weed removal.  The lambs are a huge hit around here.  The noises these animals make are hilarious, they sound vaguely human.  And the herding dogs are so good at what they do.  They keep these sheep in line, and make sure they don't wander off somewhere they shouldn't.  It's nice to see dogs doing what they were meant to do.

The young lambs follow around their mama  baaaaaaa-ing.  It's a bit reminiscent of my own babes once upon a time.

This lovely, wind-blown robin is Agnes.  She decided to build her nest in a box that hangs directly outside our front door.  The foundation of her nest is actually a nest that Asa build in his preschool class.  She took over, made some renovations and now calls it home.  Unfortunately, whenever we walk in or out of the door, she flies a few feet away onto the fence that surrounds the front of our house.  She chirps brazenly, looking right at us, warning  us to stay away.  She's been much more brave lately, and will sometimes remain in her nest despite too-close-for-comfort kids and such.

This is her giving me a warning.  Can you see her looking right at me?

I figured she must have laid some eggs, judging by her behavior.  So, we are all using the back door now, so as not to disturb her.  Statistically, the odds of a robins egg hatching and the baby bird surviving, are not that great.  So, we want to do everything we can to encourage Agnes to do what she needs to in peace and comfort.

See what I mean?  This is our front door, and her nest is in that little box!

While she was off for a few minutes, I quickly stuck my camera up higher than I could see, to take a quick snapshot of whatever was in her nest.  And, this is what I saw!  Only one so far, I'm not sure if she will lay more or not.  Typically a robin will lay two or three eggs.  Only time will tell.  I sure hope they make it.

All in one big beautiful spring day…

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Seasons here in Montana are never neatly defined.  Especially spring.  It can be any combination of  cloudy, snowy, rainy, sunny, windy, stormy.  But, yesterday was, what I would call, the quintessential spring day; warm, sunny, whispy clouds, and a tiny breeze to blow the hair out of your face.  It was the kind of day we long for and picture in our mind in the darkest of February days.

We found this robins nest in a wooden box  hanging outside of our house right next to our front door.  Asa had made a mud and straw nest at school, and placed it in this box a few weeks ago.  Apparently the robin saw some great nest making potential in it.  She added more straw and shaped it like a perfectly sculpted bowl, and now resides in it when we are not around.  I'm not sure how long she will stick around, as every time we open the door, she gets spooked and flies away.  Andy put a worm in her nest, hoping she would translate that as a peaceful gesture.  But, I'm not sure she noticed or cared.  We sure hope she stays.

We went hiking with some friends up Waterworks Hill.  The cowboys decided to join us, just in case their were any wild horses that needed to be wrangled.  All the kids played for a long time, loving it, as were the mama's.  It's amazing how much visiting you can get done, when your kids are entertained.  I'm thankful every day for these friends of mine.  They listen to my stuff, I listen to theirs.  Sometimes they offer advice, or exclamations, but mostly they just listen, which is all I really want.  This whole child rearing thing would be a lot harder without them around.

After our lovely hike we went fishing with Grandpa Eric who is visiting for the next few weeks.  We didn't catch anything, but it didn't really matter.  It was more about being outside, near water, watching geese chase each other, and casting our hooks out into the water.

Axel's face describes how all of us felt yesterday.  The sunshine melted our troubles away.  Until about 9pm when I realized that the same sunshine that made us so happy, also gave us all sunburns.  Axel had a very red neck, despite the hat and the neckerchief I had him wear all day.  Any of you natural products lovin' mama's have good sunscreen advice?  Recommendations? What do you think about it in general?

Happy Wednesday!

More Fall Gathering photos, and probably more to come.

Friday, October 9th, 2009
Goodbye, or Hello?

Thanks friends! You rule. We couldn't have had fun without you...


super awesome kid made bird feeders. goats ate 'em. oh well.