In between here and there

We are definitely in between seasons here.  The stark contrasts feel hopeful.  Change is happening, not just in the air, but on the ground.  The snow is melting, in some places it is entirely gone.  And, I think that frozen germs have come back to life and decided to take advantage of my family.

For the first time ( I think?) all three boys are really sick at the same time.  All in the same stage of needy-ness for the most part.  None of them can really do much for themselves right now.  Andy is doing what he can, but it ain't much, poor guy.  So, here I am writing this in absolute silence with the door open so that I can jump up and assist with any requests coming from the bedroom.  The only bedroom that we all sleep in, except for Andy, who has decided to sleep on the couch.

Before everyone got really sick, we went on a few little walks outside, and actually we went on a short walk today while everyone was sick, but it didn't last long.

Asa pointed out that the bark-less part of this tree looks like pizza dough.  I'd have to agree.

Axel ended up with a fever about six hours after this picture.  I can see it in his eyes now, but it didn't occurred to me at the time that he looked any different.  I was so elated that we were able to play outside without a layer of down, that I didn't notice.  Although now he is doing the best out of the three.  I think he really burned through it hard last night.  He's over the hump.

The boys built these snow tunnels with Andy a few weeks back.  They are still hanging on, as of a few days ago.  I'm not a fan.  I tend to get freaky and claustrophobic about snow tunnels.  Asa so wants me to be fun about it and go through the tunnel, but I can't.

We uncovered this gross business in the Milk house.  It had been left on the table after we harvested it in September probably.  It used to be a zucchini, now it looks like an over sized dried date/turd.

Even though Asa felt pretty rotten, he was still wanting to make things.  He watched movies most of the day, but took breaks to create his visions.  He is a man of many visions.  This guy is a knight.  See his pencil sword?  This kid can make anything out of paper, pencil, random objects and tape.

He decide early on today that he wanted to make a scarecrow.  I knew it wouldn't be entirely painless, because it required walking around outside with two sick kids.  But, actually it turned out to be just what the doctor ordered.  Not a minute after we walked out the front door we heard a knocking/tapping coming from the bird house on our fence.  And, out flew a Northern Flicker.  Such a sign of Spring!  Also, a Meadowlark has been waking me up every morning.  It sits high up in the locust tree outside our bedroom window.  Dang, I am so excited about these new sounds.

Here is the scarecrow Asa made, with a little help, but not much.

He looks more like a scary kid than a scarecrow.  But, I think he is terrific.  He intentionally made him look scary, and placed him in front of the house to scare off anything that might be needing some scaring.

It definitely felt like an extreme Spring kind of day. Blue skies, dark clouds, graupel, rain, blue skies, wind, more graupel.  Kinda awesome if you ask me.

There was so much that went into today.  But most of it was inside the four walls of our house, wishing we felt good enough to enjoy this crazy weather.

Proving up…

When the homesteaders laid claim to their land, part of the Homesteading Act required that they "prove up" in five years' time.  This meant that they had to work the land until it was a viable, successful farm or ranch within a five-year time frame before they could call it their own.

We have been here three years, and though I don't feel like we have proved up quite yet, we sure are getting close.  What does "prove up: mean to us?  I don't really know. Maybe it will just be a feeling of completeness, like we've done what we came here to do.  A full circle kind of feeling.  I guess we'll see when we get there.

I sure have learned a lot in the  three years we have been here.  But, I feel I still have a lot to learn.  I'm sure I could feel that way for the rest of my life.  I think this Spring/Summer season that we are heading towards is going to rock my world.  I've learned just enough about gardening to feel confident, and not enough to feel overwhelmed.  The perfect balance if you ask me.  I think this summer is going to be big for my kids, too.  I suspect they will only have more interest in the garden this year, building on what they already know.  That is terrifically satisfying to daydream about, let me tell you.

On one of those too-cold-to-snow, windy-assed days we had a week or so ago, the snow blew into mountainous drifts up here.  This one is maybe 8 feet tall.  It has become the newest coveted play spot on the homestead.   At first the boys just jumped off of it, but now, with Andy's help, they have built snow tunnels through it.  Just trying to enjoy these last few weeks of winter, right?

There sure are a lot of beautiful colors around here.  Even through the gray-ness of it all.

I have been taking a keen interest in sewing/fashion/clothing lately.  It seems to be my creative outlet.  It's functional, and makes a statement.  I love the golden hues in the leaves of this tree.  It looks like a golden dangly '70s- style necklace to me .  It would also be a cool silkscreen design on a tee-shirt dress, no?

Not much else to report here.  Getting very excited about spring, and planting seeds.  What are you planting this year?


'Cause February can just March right outta here.  It still looks like mid-February out there, but the mental shift of knowing the F-word is behind us is exciting.

I aim to start some seedlings this month.  Haven't decided what to start, but we don't have much space to house them, so it won't be much.

I'm not sure I can do another winter up here.  So, in an effort to lift my winter-worn spirits, I'm gonna somehow make myself relish the last few weeks of it.  I'm gonna force myself to find the beauty in it.  Kind of like how supposedly if you force yourself to smile long enough you eventually actually feel happy.  So, there you have it.  That's what I'll do.

Creative juices are definitely gooshing around here.  Andy is busting out some pretty swank nightlights, and I am sewing up a storm.  My friend Jules just lent me a serger she got at a garage sale and I am going to test-run tonight.  If it works I will be ecstatic!

These are some images that Andy is working on for an animation sequence for Canadian director Guy Maddin, who took him under his wing after Andy paid him the compliment of stalking him all the way to Winnipeg in 2001. Aren't the figures beautiful? So elegant.  My Android also has a residency/exhibit  at the Missoula Art Museum.  He will be there hangin' around doing his thing through the month of March.  You should go down and check him out! Here are some shots of him setting up his animation stand.

The kids drew on the dry-erase wall while he was setting up.  Here are some of their masterpieces, in the dry-erase medium.

The kids are gonna need to get schooled in the way of art museums.  They run around the place like it's a playground.  I felt a little on edge, and very micro-manage-y. But this place is important. It's full of heartfelt works of art that my kids want to touch, skip around in, and add to with dry-erase marker.  It may be because the place is open and expansive, and they have been cooped up in our small little house for too damn long.  I dunno.  But I think the nice folks at the museum wince a little when we walk in.

And this machine has been pulling at my heartstrings and fantasy-making headquarters for the past few days.  Test run complete.  It works!  Here we go, one-lady sweatshop!