The Cowardly Composter

This is my composting uniform.  Snazzy, eh?

My Mom used to diligently tuck her pants into her socks before she got into Old Yeller.

Old Yeller was a 1954 yellow Ford pick-up with his name brushed in turquoise paint across the hood.  The bench seat was lacking somewhat, but bolstered by skeins of baler twine piled high enough to cover the wire springs that were likely to catch the crotch of your pants as you exited and entered the truck.  Entering and exiting were quick because there was no door on the drivers’ side.

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The Garden Report

In case you’ve been wondering, I am clawing my way out from under a mountain of produce.

I should have known what would happen, being an authentic farm girl and all…

I planted a little garden at my house this year, but I planted a much bigger one at my retired parents’ farm.  I chose to put the lower-maintenance items out there, believing I would need to do some processing and picking later in the season, but not routine “tending” beyond a couple weeding trips.

I can buy into the liberty garden concept: that producing our own food from quality soil is a better choice, and it certainly is more economical if it goes well, right? Continue reading

M.I.A.

So… I’ve been absent for over a month and expect to be for a few more weeks. A quick summary of our summer bedlam:

Six kids. All day. Every day. We are outside as much as humanly possible and visit the playground frequently. Very little in the house gets done.

We escaped on a family holiday for a week to the lovely Okanagan Valley. We swam, played, drank wine and spent time with my 92 year old Grandma, who I have not seen in three years. It was valuable beyond measure.

Den Dad and I snuck away ‘sans enfants’ for three days of backcountry hiking. The weather was chilly and the mosquitoes were thick, but the weekend alone was gloriously quiet. On Day 2, at 2400 m, we hunkered down above a snowbank to make some fresh coffee. There were wildflowers blooming around our feet. If that doesn’t rejuvenate a soul….

The first haul from the garden produced two gallons each of fingerling carrots and beets from thinning, three gallons of green beans for blanching, a gallon of sugar snap peas and a five gallon pail of turnips. The greenhouse is spitting out long English cucumbers by the dozen and the tomatoes are an impending tsunami of goodness.

We are embracing the desperate fervor of an eight-week summer with all we have. I will reflect more in September when I’m down to only four little friends during the day. Much is percolating…

My Tiny Tiger

She is seven.  I am often stunned by her maturity and her ability to take responsibility for what is important to her.  I work with the under-5 crowd all day.  Sometimes she just seems so grown up.  Sassy.  Perceptive.  Funny.  Impossible to contain.

Last Saturday, she was my little, little girl again at a karate tournament. Continue reading

Cheat Day?!

In our house, it is certainly the Den Mother who carries the Primal Torch.  You know, the flame of all things inspirational for our family’s healthier life?  The raison d’être.

Apparently, I am the only one interested in the Primal Torch at all.  After today, I expect the occasional resentful eye roll in my direction as I try to balance said torch above my head.  But I’m betting nobody is going to catch it if it falls.

For the first time in a year, after months of nose-wiping and late nights with coughing kids, I have a head cold.  Head pounding and eyes watering, I smiled weakly and made a list when Den Dad offered to get groceries for the coming week.  He even took all three girls with him.  My hero!

So, I face the work week with everything essential in my fridge.  But there were a few things that came home from the grocery store this morning that were not on the list…

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SPRING!

In the last month I have been so thoroughly embracing spring and the outdoors that I haven’t had time to sit down and gush about it.

In April we started a wall because it was hard to see that spring was on its way.  I needed a concrete and inspiring reminder when the slushy snow was falling in gobs from the grey sky.

But now…IT IS HERE! Continue reading

About my job…

I haven’t left home to “work” full-time since 2005. What part-time work I have done in the last six years has been minimal, and I squeezed in (out?) another two babies along the way. We also did a massive, over-budget, over-timeline home renovation ourselves (with two little ones), navigated three of Den Dad’s career changes, sank to the depths of hopelessness with his back injuries, waded through some postpartum depression and some good old-fashioned depression, morphed with financial pressure caused by all the above, and tried to be partners and parents.

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To Heaven and Hell in a Breadbasket

March seems to be the month when the wall has been thrown up. I hear the dull thud of mother-bodies crashing into it with regularity.  In spite of longer days and melting afternoons, there is a fatigued look in everyone’s eyes – like winter has taken its toll and spring is yet too far away to inspire optimism. Continue reading

Episode P: a Mom story

Our sweet and pensive five year-old has peed every 20 min for two days.  Fearing a UTI, we have been pumping cranberry juice into her steadily for 24 hours, with little effect.  Time to go to the doctor.  Easily done – Friday is my day off!

In our infinite wisdom, we have decided that one vehicle is plenty for our family.  Money saved can go toward the occasional cab and bus fare to offset inconvenience.  We have done very well with this new arrangement.

Den Dad willingly rose at 5:00 yesterday morning to take the bus to work so that I would have the van to get to our 9:30 appointment.  I was going to be a bit late, but I was eagerly looking forward to a coffee date with a good friend I haven’t seen in a while.  I also planned to run a list of errands as long as my arm in the afternoon and clean at home before I rushed off to my 7:00 – 10:00 rehearsal.  I LOVE a busy and productive day… Continue reading

Butterfly Cake

Long ago, when I only had one little girl, my friend Naomi and I made a birthday cake.  It was a pink and white choo-choo train with a smiling face, smokestack and different cars topped with flowers and sprinkles.  It took us about 400 man-hours.

The next year we did a pink castle with a moat, bridge and chocolate wrought-iron gates.  It had vines and turrets.  That one took about 4000 man-hours.

I now have three girls who have grand expectations about their hand-crafted super-mom cake.   Continue reading