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They’re here…

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

We were out of town for Memorial weekend, living it up at the Hampton Inn with its creature comforts.  It was nice to get away.  It was nice watching TV.  It was nice taking long guilt free showers.  But, now we are back to reality, and it's pretty good.

We came home to find that Agnes' eggs did in fact hatch.  While she was out getting food for her newbies, I snapped a few pictures.  I wouldn't call them cute necessarily.  They are a bit unrecognizable.  I can't really distinguish body parts yet, but I'll be taking pictures everyday to document their progress.

I was a little concerned when I saw that Agnes was not in her nest with the baby birds.  They look so pink and vulnerable, and it hasn't been warm.  I wanted to intervene and put a hot pad under the nest or something, just to make sure they stayed warm.  Was she ditching them?  Did she not sufficiently bond with them?  I decided to trust that Agnes knew what she was doing.  And, it turns out she does.  When she returned, I secretly, and very quietly glanced out the door.  I could see her tail feathers shaking a bit with each regurgitation she unloaded into her babies mouths.  Good job Agnes.  You got this.

The lilacs are filling the air with flowery goodness.  They surround the old farmhouse, and bring it back to life a bit.  I can picture Emma flinging open the windows to let the springtime smell clean out the winter doldrums.

These old trees come back every year with new blossoms.   Old, dark, knotty bark contrasted with fresh new blossoms gives them an instant face lift every spring.

Apple blossoms are "snowing" right now, according to Axel.  And, speaking of snow, the rivers are HUGE because of all of that snow, huh?  While we were driving west, I was amazed at how much water is forging through the various rivers we passed.  We are definitely in surplus.

Rhubarb finally got my serious attention.  I cut a bunch of stalks and am making strawberry-rhubarb pie with it.  I'm thinking of making some rhubarb preserves too.  Anybody ever try that?  Seems like it would be a good thing to have mid-winter for a pie filling or something.

Thank you lilacs for making my house smell better than it usually does.

We have a plethora of eggs and spinach currently, so what better to use those up than quiche?  I got this recipe from my new favorite food blog Smitten Kitchen.  It turned out awesome.  It's made with half and half, cheddar and parmesan cheese, spinach, green onions and eggs (of course), so you can't really go wrong.  I used the spinach from our garden instead of frozen, which is what the recipe called for.  Again, it was super good.

And, with that my friends, I shall end this post.  Happy Tuesday.

Going to Seed…

Friday, May 20th, 2011

These emerald green days are hard to resist.  I could, and maybe should be inside doing any number of things; cooking, cleaning, organizing, responding to emails, paying bills, etc.  But the pull of fresh spring air and bright green grass is too tempting.  So, here we are, outside hiking the hills above our little house.  How lucky can I be?

My dad has been here for the past couple weeks, and it has been great.  He helps out with the kiddos, and takes me out to dinner a lot.  It's a real treat.  He loves his grand dudes so much, and I'm very thankful for it.

I am standing by my DIY sentiment I mentioned in this post.  I made bread in the bread maker my dad brought me!  I also made granola bars.  Both turned out fabulously.  I have to say, the bread maker rocks.  It isn't essential if you are an occasional bread maker.  But, if you are looking to cut costs by making your bread instead of ever purchasing it, and you are a busy person like me, the bread maker rules.  It's fast, easy, and can be left to do it's thing without you having to be present.

And the granola bars are really, really good.  I got the recipe here.  The good store bought kind are crazy expensive.  So, I know I'm saving a lot of money by making my own.  I'm hoping to get really technical soon, and actually calculate how much money it costs to make these things, as compared to buying them.  Maybe I'll plan a trip with all the money we save.  Or, buy a  new toilet, which is what we really need.  Uggh.

We have been doing a lot of fishing with Grandpa Eric.  We went to Harper's Lake yesterday, which is a great lake for kids fishing.  Although we did not catch anything, it was still pleasant.  Apparently, they stock the lake with trout quite often, and if you call ahead and figure out the day that they stock it, it pretty much guarantees at least one successful catch.  And, although this might seem like cheating, I'm inclined to do it.  Asa was so hell bent on catching a fish, when we had to leave, he was uproariously upset.  It sucked.  I felt bad for him too.

I've been in serious production mode, because we are going to be in the Missoula Made Fair.  It is going to require a lot time and energy, but I'm psyched to be doing it!

Happy Weekending!

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.

keepin’ it cheap

Monday, May 9th, 2011

I'm challenging myself to try to make as many things that we need as possible.  Especially things that are ridiculously expensive.  Some items I have in mind are crackers, bread, granola, graham crackers, vegetables, date books, blank books for my kids, and rugs.  I've already started on the rugs, actually.

This scrappy mess is an almost complete rug made from ripped up t-shirts.  I started it 10 years ago.  I have lost it in storage for years at a time, working on it here and there.  And, now it is finally almost complete.

The first job I ever had in Missoula was at The Black Dog restaurant, and I wore my Black Dog t-shirt around town while meeting people who have changed my life.  I fell in love with Missoula while wearing that shirt.

There are also some Big Dipper t-shirts mixed in there, another job I had in Missoula with big memories for me.  Some band t-shirts, a Zapatista inspired rebel t-shirt that I got in San Cristobal, Mexico.  Oh, the memories. And now they all reside in this rug that I plan to put somewhere in our house.

I couldn't stand the idea of giving these t- shirts to goodwill, they held too many memories, but I also didn't have the space in my drawers and closets to store them any longer.  So, why not make a rug out of them?  And...

This rug is made from bed sheets that I dyed different colors and then crocheted using a huge hook.  This is a great way to get rid of stained, or worn thin bed sheets.  You could also tear up old clothing made of woven fabric, like mens dress shirts, or skirts, etc.

Next on my list are date books and blank books for the kids, made from old cereal boxes and scrap paper.

Happy Monday!