sooo hot

According to the local forecasters, the temperature did not get higher than 96 degrees today.
To me, it felt rather hotter. Our multitude of thermometers told various tales.
I wasn't sure what to believe. I didn't really care. Too much heat makes me grumpy.
The bright spot of the day (aside from the blinding sunlight reflecting off the patio) was that the laundry dried almost before I finished hanging it on the line.
Yep, that's how thrilled I am about the heat; it even makes laundry seem fun.



We've now had a full week's worth of kindergarten and school for mom and dad and, although we are all excited and stimulated and enjoying ourselves immensely, we are tired. Kindergarten is half-day, which means a little bit of running around coordinating rides and schedules. We are also still getting used to school day and night routines and chores. Alarm clocks and lunchboxes and homework, oh my! All this fun and futzing makes Small Person slightly more tired and thus drama-prone than usual, and me slightly more crabby than usual. Not a good combo. We're working on it.

In the meantime, we continue with our crafty projects and other extracurriculars. For example, mobiles made of old cds and stickers to hang in Small Person's "clubhouse." Yes, it's an old tarp and frame we salvaged from the yard. You were expecting a Craftsman bungalow, perhaps?
Wax paper and crayon project, that my photographic skills are too weak to do justice:
Mixed up crayons made from the leftovers of above:
Beer trap to rid the garden of snails: 
It's a good way to go, don't you think? And our ongoing collection of rose petals from the bushes that are blooming like crazy right now. These I am specifically saving for Kathi for her wonderful soap. These ought to be enough to barter for a bar or two.
There must be some other stuff going on, so I'll post just as soon as I remember what it is.


back to school

Today was Small Person's first day of kindergarten! Were there tears? Yes, I cried, but I hid it well. When I left she whisked off with barely a kiss and a "don't worry Mom, I won't cry." She's going to have a blast. Unlike terminally shy mom, she loves new people and experiences. Life is a thrill a minute to her, which is something I could try to emulate more.

I also started school this week. Okay, just a couple of classes, one of which is yoga, so "school" is probably overstating it a bit. However, something interesting and invigorating to to with my brain! A marketable skill, even! That's a stunner for an unfocused, unemployed mom with a liberal arts degree. Maybe I'll remember how to socialize with adults, or at least talk to them. Now that would be cool.


this new house

This is our new hen house. We converted an old doghouse that the previous tenants left in our backyard. It already had the open door (duh) and hinged roof, so we added legs, perches, a nesting box, and a piece for the door. It's not quite hen-ready; it needs a fenced run, for starters, since our yard is wide open and poorly fenced for completely free-range chickens. However, we're also planning a portable run of some sort to let the girls out for fun and forage. Yes, girls. We have no plans for a rooster as yet. There are a couple already next door, and that's enough for this neighborhood for now. If our preliminary small flock works out well and we're ready to increase the size of the house and the flock, we'll consider our options then.

In the background, you can barely see four of our six garden beds. That is some short corn, but we're still hopeful. I am almost ready to plant broccoli and greens, plus some cabbages promised from my dad's garden.


bug fun

We found this guy in the garden yesterday. I was so excited to see a real, live praying mantis in our yard! I've never seen one outside of the monsters inhabiting the bug house at the zoo. We had to (gently) examine it a bit before reinstalling it to the tomato box. It's a beneficial predator bug, so we're happy to give it a home. Go, mantis, go!



We're winding up the last week before school starts, so we went for one last camping trip. It's a nice little place; not crowded, clean bathroom, pool. You guessed it: our backyard.

Backyard camping is my favorite. You really can't beat the amenities, the location is always prime, and even if you stay out there "roughing it" all day no one else has to see your scruffy camping hair. Our yard is huge, so we still get to bring the flashlight for the toothbrushing run, and there's plenty of room for a fire. Of course that means marshmallows, which is Small Person's definition of camping in the first place.

Bonus: getting out of bed to water the garden in the early hours is much easier.


this little piggy went to Boston

The Young Fellow is in the middle of a week-long trip to Boston and D.C. We miss him terribly. I'm not sure who has it worse, Small Person because she has to spend the week with boring Mom, or me, because I have no one to tag team with. Well, let's face it, she can't read or write, so I can safely claim greater hardship.  Anyway, to assuage our pangs, Young Fellow took along Piggy Pig to track their visits to the great representational monuments of American history.
This way Small Person gets a vicarious thrill out of Pig's adventures, and we both get a little more fun out of it than just the daily phone call.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what is represented in these photos, so the explanations will have to wait until the traveler returns.

Sadly, there were no photos sent to document their midnight flat tire misadventure, either. Now that would have been interesting for Piggy.


fruit of our labor

I picked the first zucchini out of the garden today. I know it's itty, but that's part of my strategy to stay on top of a potential glut. I plan to grill it with a couple more from my dad's garden as part of tonight's dinner.

In other garden news, the corn is finally getting tassels, the tomatoes are ripening, and the pumpkins are swelling. Yum! The cucumbers never sprouted, despite three separate sowings, so we'll chalk that up to bad seeds. I might try one more time, considering we still have a couple of hot months ahead of us. The beans don't seem to be very excited, which is odd; I've always had luck with even the most poorly tended bean plant. They had a hard time of it with slugs, though, so they might not have recovered enough. I'm optimistic about the peppers and eggplant, although the latter is barely limping along. Most of the sad plants have a lot to do with starting the garden so late and having to make do with the last lingering vegetable starts available. But, at least we're well-prepared for our fall plantings!


our house

"Mom, can we try bear sometime?"

"Mom, can we make cheese sometime?"

"Mom, I wish we lived where there were rabbits so we could hunt for them and eat them."

"Mom, the car is boring.  It would be much more interesting if we had a wagon."

These conversational gems were inspired by our current bedtime reading; the Little House series. We are both enjoying them immensely.  In fact, the history-geek in me likes them even more now as an adult. I admit to doing a little mom-editing on the fly, as I believe that manifest destiny is not the best bedtime topic.  We'll save it for the same day we discuss Columbus.

Anyway, the books are delightful. The details of everyday life and survival in the frontier West; hunting, trapping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, farming, housekeeping, all by hand or with very limited machinery. Plus travel by covered wagon, freak July 4th frost, "hostile Indians," and a blue-ribbon pumpkin.  What's not to love?

I did agree to some of her suggestions; we'll try to make cheese, we've started the garden, we're planning a chicken coop. But, I think we'll skip the hog butchering and bullet making.


Happy Birthday, Sahru!

We had tons of fun playing tea party and stuffing ourselves with treats.  I drank so much tea, I was awake until 2 a.m.  Fortunately, leftover tiny tea sandwiches make a delicious midnight snack.