Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Garden Journal

Two roads diverged, and I could not travel both......

One curved and organic taking me where I wish to go, and the other straight and a direct leading me where I should go..... which one to take?

I probably didn't need another entrance into the garden, but I really wanted one, and I knew it would look great, so I went to work.... now if only I can create the perfect rounded door, then I'd have the perfect entry into a secret garden

And my tidy zen inspired boardwalk makes the perfect climbing platform for the boys.

The rain makes everything better, but soggy leaves have a way of hiding more than just weeds.....

I guess I got a little behind on picking.... anyone in need of some zucchini or crook neck?

As some things come to an end like the raspberries, peas, and the seeding lettuce, others are only getting better with time.....

The carrots are fuller, the tomatoes plumper, the pumpkins spreading, and with several new blooms the sunflowers are even joining in. 

A successful garden and some new paths...... And that has made all the difference.


                                                            -A Sleepover at Grandma Tilly's
                                                            -Totally Awesome 24th of July Celebration!

                                                           -An All Day Fun Day with Friends
                                                           -Lets Go Hiking
                                                           -A Campout with the Waymans
                                                           -Swimming at the Waterpark
                                                           -Keepin' it Cool at the Movies
                                                           -A Quite Day at Home

Darn that Rain!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A.T. A.L.A.S.K.A.

                                                            -A Sleepover at Grandma Tilly's
                                                            -Totally Awesome 24th of July Celebration!

                                                           -An All Day Fun Day with Friends
                                                           -Lets Go Hiking
                                                           -A Campout with the Waymans
                                                           -Swimming at the Waterpark
                                                           -Keepin' it Cool at the Movies
                                                           -A Quite Day at Home

Yeah- so I realize that Cherry Hill doesn't really compare to the mighty and magnificient rivers of Alaska.  And I know that even the most high tech surround sound at the the most advanced movie theater can't come close to the real life wildlife movie and scenery in Alaska either, but the boys and I are making the best of our week va(stay)cation while Dad makes the best of his.  The boys are so excited about our week free from chores and flashcards that they even made their own acronym playlist after the one we completed from combined efforts.

Abe repeatedly using the letters he knows & then a hike, and Sol's 'Super duper fun day' I can't wait!

I think staying busy will be the best for us all.  I'm horrible at enforcing bedtimes, so maybe if we play hard enough they will eventually pass out from sheer exhaustion.  Besides keeping busy keeps me from realizing that I'm alone, something I've always been terrible at.

So hear, hear to cereal for dinner, evenings at the beach, and backyard campouts with friends!  And wish me luck on bedtimes, solo outings, and me not passing out from sheer exhaustion! 

Friday, July 18, 2014


On Monday he arrived in need of a new home, we named him Leo, he came with great feline street smarts, an amazing chattering ability, the agility to do somersaults when you pet him, and enough new home nervousness to spend his first night crying at the backdoor seeking comfort and affection (don't we all).  On Tuesday he had his first run in with Trigger, Trigger now refuses to enter through the backdoor, he recognizes that as 'Cat Territory'.  On Wednesday I listened anxiously as he had a ferocious, yet successful, 45 minute stand off with something in the yard, establishing his rule in his new kingdom.  On Thursday he sweetly left me two back legs and the partial hide of the pesky bunny that has been hiding out and feasting in the garden all week.  And now this morning after another long night of patroling his new empire, he's circling at my ankles and lazily swatting at my toes, as I attempt to work in the garden. The lion or the lamb, I curiously watch as he finds his balance between the two. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Garden Journal

Gardening is my favorite hobby, there is no hesitation in my answer, it's one of the few things that lures me from my bed in the early morning hours.  I often wonder what took me so long to discover it.

I want my children to share a love of gardening with me, and hopefully carry it into their own adulthood.

I use this as my excuse to skip out on weeding, or in the justification of my over sized pumpkin patch.

There's some growing love and interest when I find my boys in the raspberries greedily eating each ripened fruit, or when they pull out the carrots when they're still in infancy stage, even when I find dozens of pea pods littered and collecting ants on the front porch.

I'm excited to say this week things have really started to grow..... and my garden is looking pretty good too.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Birthday at Motherlode, UT (A.K.A. Our Backyard)

Fences, planter boxes, retaining walls, cages, and now a tiny mining town, all recipients of items gathered from our valuable piles of junk located in the back field.  My initial intention was a clean up, trying to make use of what I could gather from our worthwhile discards.  I drug giant logs and beams, broke up and stacked thousands of pounds of old concrete, and cut and nailed what good wood I could find in an effort to create something fun for us all.  I was inspired by what junk I pulled from the rubbish piles, old metal tank halves lead to the creation of a water tower, mostly rotten decking pieces made a great boardwalk for our town front, unused tree stakes looked like great fencing material, and our long plywood track could easily be transformed into a railway for a runaway mine cart, my design evolved as I worked.  My end result was a deserted mining town I named Motherlode, the home town of the Golden Brother Mining Company, and it's completion happened to coincide with Jo's big day. 

A mining birthday party was a perfect fit for Jo.  He's fascinated by the treasures that can be found in the earth.  However his fascination is in the experience, not the treasure.  Unfortunately this makes for an unprofitable miner, too bad dollars are only given in exchange for your found precious metals or stones, and not in your excitement over finding it.  Material objects have no real or lasting value to Jo, he'd prefer a fun outing over any toy, and so his real birthday present each year is his party.  A party experience, where he can invite who ever he pleases to share it with.

With no limit on his invite list, a large group of young children invaded our backyard last Wednesday.  They got to excavate there own diamond and ruby, find and crack their own geode, dive for emeralds, pan for gold to use for purchases at the general store and rootbeer floats at the saloon, and take their found golden nuggets to the bank in exchange for chocolate coins.

It was a success, and with the last minute visit from my brother quite the experience.  It seems he and his mining buddy 'Clem' forgot where they stumbled across a special rock filled with gold.  It was a good thing they had about 35 new miners to help them find their forgotten spot..... too bad these new miners spent most of their time stepping on the treasure rock instead of finding it.

Yep... that's Sol's left foot on the treasure rock, they realized it's value only after spotting me taking pictures of it.

Gold, diamonds, rubies, recycled concrete, and old partially rotten wood, a recipe for fun?  It was amusing and satisfying to give my unmaterialistic son a golden birthday experience, and in the process building and giving life to what once was junk, with the price tag of only hard work.  Happy Ninth Birthday Jo, I hope you hit the Motherlode!

Friday, July 11, 2014


He begged for it to be put up before his birthday...... Happy Birthday Jo!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Garden Journal

Alright so I've missed a couple of weeks, but we've been busy in one way or another, besides maybe it makes for a more exciting debut if there is a little time between updates.

Things are growing.  We've picked and eaten plenty of strawberries, and even happily prepared a couple of peppers, and one tomato.  Some areas are even big enough that I've happily given up on weeding.

I love sunflowers,

 I love their drought tolerance, I love their huge blossoms, I love that they easily reseed both predictably and surprisingly each year, I love their diversity, I love that you can enjoy their beauty and then eat their seeds,  I love that they break up the look of low growing gardens, I love finding birds perched on their petals, and I love that my children are just as excited as me awaiting their flower to emerge.  I hope the new variety I tried this year can bounce back from their attack from some pesky baby grasshoppers.

But my favorite addition to my garden this week is the skinny little guy that came home with me from Colorado.

He'll make a great substitute scarecrow in the corn.  He was a great find on a thrift store outing at only $3.  We both were skeptically judged by his purchase, where I  saw art, others saw a glorified branch.  I guess Boulder was a little too hip and trendy for us both.  But we do look amazing in the garden.... yes, it's a much better fit.... and without the expensive price tag on our organic fruit and vegetables.

And my project in all it's phases (for now) is complete.  I call my little mining/western town Motherlode, and with the amount of fun it brings, it truly is. 


What's that... I can't quite hear you... I've got a terrible case of swimmer's ear so everything just sounds muffled.  Unfortunately my vision isn't much better, not with my current eye infection.  And my back and feet.... so stiff and sore.... and now this.... my shoulder.... sure it's always been a bit tender, but I don't think constant clicking is normal.... and the pain is almost unbearable..... is this what happens with age?  In my desperation I'd made trips to the drug store, the ophthalmologist, the chiropractor, even the town medicine woman.  And after I'd been advised, prescribed, twisted, cracked, and treated I was on my way.  I really was in no shape for travel, but the tickets had already been bought, and plans already made, so I packed my bag with my dozens of remedies, and attempted to be nervously optimistic on how I would perform on my planned swimming trip to Colorado.

Sure there was a change in plans, but things have a way of working themselves out.  My only real scheduled agenda was to swim, which I did.... a lot.  But I also happily visited with family, met a new addition, slept with the lights on, ate late, hit some early morning garage sales, and indulged on a $2 apple.  I even managed to smile when the sweet girl at the front desk of my hotel asked for the name of my perfume.... What was it she was smelling?  It certainately wasn't the garlic oil drops that I was using in my ears, it must have been the balm treatment on my shoulder, a special blend of camphor, menthol, and cayenne pepper, mixed especially for me by my witch doctor, it was her antidote for a sore shoulder (I think it did the trick, it was either that, or the 800 mg of ibuprofen I was taking on a regular basis).... Yes, I smiled and told her I couldn't remember the name.

Did I mention there was tornado warnings every afternoon I was in Colorado?  Even on the day I'd chosen to compete in an open water race.  I stood at the starting line looking out at some dark clouds and some big lake waves and hoped for the best.  I doubt there was even one swimmer that stayed on course, we all struggled through the rough waters. Right about the halfway mark the sun made a brief appearance through the dark clouds, I was lucky enough to see it, it was my favorite moment, even better than my second place finish.

And guess who showed up, making it all the better.....

My family.... even my big brother and his wife.  Their presence transformed my 'Solo Swimming Excursion', into a family road trip. 

Within hours my days of independence were left behind and I was back into my old familiar groove of finding lost shoes, rinsing underwear in the sink of  public restrooms, and profusely apologizing to two lovely ladies for their unfortunate placement during one boy's failed attempt to leap across one muddy puddle (I knew that one would end badly.... what is it about puddles and kids?).

It was a full car ride back to Utah, but made for some great memories.  Jo got to see a real mining town,

Sol got to assist a Boulder street performer,

Abe got to test out the bow I found at a garage sale earlier that week,

and we even slipped in a visit to a beautiful botanical garden in Steamboat. 

What a great adventure.... full of discoveries and realizations.... and I can still say that after a stinky, sweaty, emotionally charged, 14 hour car ride home..... but oh my back.... and that clicking.... and now my ear is buzzing....  still..... it feels great to be home.