Saturday, April 17, 2010

Farmers' Market

I wish we could get to the Farmers' Market before it gets so crowded and before the sun is so high. I just can't seem to get it together enough for us to be there before 9:30 or so. Robert needs to be fed, changed, dressed; the dog walked; the dog, cat, and chickens fed, before leaving the house. Since I am not going to wake the baby up any earlier than when he wakes up on his own, well, I guess we'll be fighting the crowds all summer. Sigh. Today I bought our strawberry plants. We've been outside all week, feels like. Yesterday I mowed 5/8 of our yard, moved the chicken coop and cleaned it out, and pounded the stakes for the inner chicken-fence. I don't think I mentioned this yet-- I'm putting in a little, 24" high chicken-wire fence on the inside of the garden beds to keep the chickens out while they're free-ranging. This after noon I finished the other 3/8 of the mowing (can't get it all done at once because it takes longer than how long Robert will sit happily in his stroller) and worked on the fence a little more. I love this time of year but it is exhausting, too. You ever notice how the old-timers you see working in their gardens are always skinny? I think this is why.

"I DO NOT LIKE THE HAT"... he seems to say.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Garden Tour

What's blooming in my neighborhood:

Bleeding hearts. I love these. If I ever have a shady garden, they're high on my list.

Creeping phlox. It's planted like this all over my neighborhood, since so many houses have steep drops from yard to street. Most of the year it's just a nice, unobjectionable ground cover, but every spring it puts on a huge display.

And my all-time favorite tree, the Eastern Redbud. Also, the lilacs and dogwoods are in bloom. I love this time of year!

Monday, April 12, 2010

What Don did this weekend

In order to finish the Retaining Wall in Ditch project, as well as finish filling the raised beds with topsoil, Don rented a tractor. Lucky I'm not the jealous type, because I think it was love at first sight. (I now pronounce you Man and Kubota?) He spent the weekend moving dirt and building walls, grumbling something about starting projects you can't finish grr grr grr, while Robert and I stayed in our nice, air-conditioned house and took pictures.

In this picture, he has either just conquered the gravel pile or is auditioning for a Captain Morgan commercial, I can't remember. Does he have a little captain in him? Why no, he is filled with Magic Hat!

After his typical, seventy-hour workweek and two days laboring in the backyard, he re-built this raised bed for me. I think he really does love me. You can kind of see the arrangement of the two walls filling the ditch in this picture. We still need more back-fill behind the taller one, and each wall still needs the row of capstones that finishes it, but otherwise, mission accomplished. In between the two walls I'm going to plant strawberries, and the bed that Don is working on is going to be raspberries. I guess it's the fruity end of the yard.

In other news, I cleared out the tiny closet, have the fridge half done, and other small accomplishments crossed off The List. Robert can suddenly hardly get enough to eat; I'm feeding him every few hours around the clock. Big people-food meals during the day, breastfeeding in between times, and he still wants to nurse several times during the night. He even ate the green beans that he refused a few weeks ago. (Not the same ones, of course, but the other half of a two-pack.) I think he's going through a growth spurt. According to our scale, he is now 25.5 pounds. He understands the words for 'dragon' and 'dog', as in 'where's the ___?'; likes to imitate sounds, facial expression, and movements; and has started creeping along the furniture when he pulls himself up to standing. I guess it's a growth AND development spurt, really. At lunchtime I was blowing on each bite for him, and when I offered him a bite, he tried to blow on it too. SO cute.

...because it's not a blog post without the obligatory baby picture!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Finally Something Finished

My marathon cleaning isn't going quite as well as planned. I should be at least one-third done and I am not. Whine whine whine, it's haaaard to get anything done with a baby, bitch bitch bitch. I know. It's lazy. But I got the first item from the kitchen sub-list, "clean and organize hutch" done yesterday. I know it looks over-full, but this hutch serves as most of my pantry and a good bit of my counter space; it's never going to be spare and minimalist the way it would be in a catalogue. Among other things, it holds fourteen one-pound boxes of dried pasta. I'm not a hoarder, honestly! The store was having a buy-two-get-THREE-free sale on the brand I already buy. What would you do? (Correct answer: pay for four boxes, walk out with ten.)
Zoom-in on my 'Never Trust a Skinny Cook' sign, which I love but would love to invalidate by reskinny-fying myself... or at least losing seven pounds or so. Today I will get more things done.

Monday, April 05, 2010

First Time at the Park

I suppose the title says it all. There is a playground near our house, and yesterday we took Robert there for the first time. He is just barely big enough to use the little-kid swings. We actually went twice; just me, the dog and the baby in the morning, then all of us in the evening. This was partly because I knew Don would want to be a part of the Baby's First Swings experience, and partly because I was disappointed with the photos I'd taken in the morning. Time of day makes a huge difference sometimes: the top picture here was taken mid-morning, when the light was really bright and harsh. The others were taken at sunset.

Here, Don is playing I'm Going to Eat your Feet!, swing version. It's one of his favorites. We were kind of hoping that these people would invite us to their barbecue, the aroma of which was permeating the whole park, but no such luck.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


...with the baby on my back. In the background: compost heaps, chicken house and run, straw bales. I think we might be That House in our neighborhood.

Don took several pictures, but apparently it is not possible for both of us to look at the camera simultaneously. Perhaps it violates a law of photographical physics, I don't know.
Working on my marathon-list with varying degrees of success, but it's only the 3rd. We'll get there.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Which came first?

The girls have fun scratching in what will soon be the raspberry bed.

I could also call this, why we grow our own. Grocery store-egg to the left, backyard egg to the right. And these are supposedly the really good store eggs, cage-free and all that. There's just no comparison.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Today I:

Mucked out the chicken house.
Did a sink-load of dishes.
Walked the baby and the dog to our coffee place.
Went to both the grocery store and Bed, Bath & Beyond (with baby, of course).
Folded and put away two loads of laundry (from yesterday).
Organized out-grown baby clothes, stored away.
Re-organized Robert's dresser.
Moved all my seedlings outside to take advantage of this warm sunshine.
Made dinner.

I've been dealing with some fairly bad insomnia lately, and spent more time last night staring into space than actually sleeping. So the above may not sound like much, but considering the three-hours-of-sleep situation (multiplied by days and days now), it's pretty damn good. I'm trying to get outside, get things done, and avoid lounging around the house, in an effort to tire myself out.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April Spring Clean Marathon

This is my to-do list for the month of April. It is essentially a deep clean, organization, and baby-proofing of the entire house. I realize that last month would have made more sense, what with the Official Last Date of Frost being April 28 in these parts (hence all of April being a gardening frenzy), but my time-turner is broken so, oh well. My reasons for wanting to do this are as follows: My mom, my sister, and my sister's boyfriend are coming in early May. My sister and her boyfriend are moving here (Yay!), and our mom is making the drive with them in order to help out (and to see us, of course, only grandchild and all that). They are both the kind of naturally tidy and organized people that probably secretly wonder how I'm from the same gene pool; the sort that, if they remove a sweater, hang it on a hanger or put it in the hamper, rather than dump it on the floor, which is what seems normal to me. Neither is judge-y, but I will feel much more comfortable knowing that the place is presentable through-and-through. The baby-proofing is obvious, what with having a crawling, pulling-up, mobile little monster rambling about the place, and is also to help my mom sleep more easily, knowing that our cabinets are latched, our outlets covered, and our carbon monoxide detected. Second, our Stuff is, once again, starting to grow larger than the available space. So, some things must be disposed of via the dump and Goodwill, and some better-organized and hidden away. Third, our little house only requires a big ol' cleaning every year or so (at least to my eyes, see above), so once I get this done, I can breathe easy and just do the usual mop-and-vacuum-and-dishes routine for the rest of the year. (The last one was shortly before I went into labor, so yep, about a year.) Since I plan on spending copious amounts of time this summer out in the garden, this thought makes me happy. With a better-organized, cleaner, and more child-safe space, everything will be easier once I'm through. So, what I will do is come back to this post every few days and edit to indicate what's been done. Obviously some of the things on the list will need to be done regularly, like scrubbing the stove, so those I mean specifically for right before everyone gets here. I'm actually hoping to finish several days before said family arrives, so I can cook and bake up a storm as is usual for me, rather than thinking about cobwebs. So here's the list:

Laundry Room
Empty shelves of everything random
Reorganize what's left
Move doors down to shed
Return top of washing machine to proper place
Scrub floor

Clean and organize hutch shelves
Ditto hutch drawers
Scrub fridge interior
Scrub fridge exterior, including top
Organize freezer
Check liquor bottles for viability
Organize over-stove cabinet
Scrub stove top
Scrub oven door, knobs, broiler door etc.
Fix kitchen sink faucet
Scrub sink w/ baking soda
Polish kitchen window, inside and out
Organize three lower cabinets
Install baby locks ditto
Wash all cabinet door and drawer fronts, etc
Clear off table, find home for random table orphans
Scrub floor

Organize medicine cabinet
Organize under-sink cabinet
Scrub area around toilet
Polish window in and out
Polish mirror
Get Don to scrub tub
Replace shower curtain
Scrub floor
Floor mat into washing machine

Clear out and organize tiny closet
Clear out bookshelf
Move books to living room
Throw away many magazines
Clear desktop
Organize three desk drawers
Polish both windows
Bundle computer cords with wire ties, make inaccessible
Organize upper shelf of main closet

Replace smoke detector
Install carbon monoxide detector
Clean or replace air-filter cover

Living Room
Move ADT system box
Shift left-side bookcase
Check that bookcases are still attached to wall
Go to IKEA, get bottom doors for bookcases
Install said doors, add baby locks
Staple speaker cords to wall
Polish window, door window, and screen door
Buy new blinds for window
Install blind-cord wind-upper thingie
Ask next door about baby gate
Vacuum sofa
Reorganize bookshelves

Figure out how to reinstall closet door
Get rid of random electronics via Craigslist
Flip mattress
Replace pack'n'play with child mattress?
Obtain more under-bed storage bags for baby clothes
Transfer current storage things to closet top shelf
Sort through baby clothes again, out-growns into new unit

Vacuum cobwebs from ceilings, door frames, etc
Dust everywhere, especially ceiling fans, light fixtures, etc

Front Porch
Don's job.

Random Errands
IKEA: bookshelf doors, kiddie mattress, sheets to fit
Lowe's: staples for staple gun, dowels for closet door, kitchen sink parts, new window blind, blind cord thing, more baby locks, smoke and CO detectors
Bed, Bath & Beyond: under-bed units
Take truck-load of stuff from shed, laundry room, to the dump
Take boxes to Goodwill

There are approximately sixty things to do here, but naturally it will not be a two-things-per-day kind of project; more likely a bunch of stuff one day, and nothing the next. Some will obviously only take ten minutes, some just require equipment or supplies I don't have yet. My goal is to hit about three per day whenever I can. Wish me luck, energy, and a baby who wants to be in a backpack!

Monday, March 29, 2010