Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Wish

Ok so now that we live out in the middle of a bunch of boonies I really wanted a white Christmas. I woke up around 6 that morning and found everything just as green and brown as ever, sniffed a little with disappointment and went back to bed (courtesy of my mama, who accepted the very early delivery of one very wide awake little boy every morning of her visit here). By 8 there were countable inches blanketing the world outside and I was one happy girl.



Really it's just been so relaxed here; my mama arrived, we played with the baby and made food, she got snowed in with us so we made more food and took long hikes in the muffled snowscape. It was great. I can't squeak loud enough about how happy making it has been to have access to the outdoors that doesn't require a car. Although B and I would usually walk around our neighborhood when it snowed, mucking through gritty plowed heaps of snow cannot hold a candle to the meditation of moving through a fresh ten inches of snow in the woods. Puts the space in your brain that everyone needs after making it through most of a December.



Christmas with this little guy was a hoot. His presence prompted the mailing of packages from all over creation; such thoughtful lovely gifts from such awesome people, all, to his delight, wrapped! While many items were returned to later with interest, I can definitely tell you that in the moment it's all about the paper. Crumpling it, waving it, eating it, banging it. Jolly, very jolly, to watch a round little guy wave pieces of tissue paper about. Thanks for all the mail, you people, we missed every single one of you!


Stuffed fruit basket from Auntie Bets, Uncle Mark, and Cousin Gordon: you should see this baby take a go at that pear. Woah.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Six Months

Osh is six months old today. Insert here the stuff about time flying and awesomeness. I like my kid so much. These days he is sitting up, growing teeth (two emerged about two weeks ago), and babbling with a seriousness that slays me; he's big into ba-ba-ba and ma-ma-ma.










Merry Christmases out there.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Landing


Well that was hard. Seriously. And I don't even mean in an emotional way, although there was some of that too. I mean hard in the particular way I remember swimming the 200 meter butterfly was hard: you'd start out all graceful and full of energy but in the back of your mind you'd know that by the time you hit the eighth lap your form would look like shit and you'd be cursing your coach for making you swim that race in the first place and then by the time you hit the wall you were fuck-all dead tired beyond caring. B and I are a sort of annoyingly can-do duo of enthusiasm when it comes to things like moving, but people: I think that the birth of our first child has taken a gear out of our drive. To say that we were whupped by the time we packed our stuff, moved our stuff, cleaned the old place, and then unpacked aforementioned stuff would be an extreme understatement.

Am I allowed to say that leaving our urban farm was both wrenching and really easy? I have always moved a lot. I find it painful and laborious, and frankly there are few spaces sadder to me than the very moment when everything you own is in a truck and there you are barreling down some highway, but nonetheless the process is a longstanding part of my own efforts to jack myself out of the ruts of life's inevitable inertia trajectories. B and I were stunningly happy in that house. I got to do a lot of things there that had previously only existed on my wish list and now I know what B and I can do to a big patch of grass and a very dingy little box. Our physical life there has been a big part of my identity for the last many years; I am a very good librarian, but I think it's my way with plants that makes me the more useful human. It's really weird to me that we're not growing anything right now, but we've already got our eye on some grass down the road, and I'll be honest and say that in this fourteen (14!) degree weather I'm actually kind of relieved to not be out there hooping and unhooping our greens.

And where we are now? People, it is worth it. I walk through the woods to work. The boys visit regularly and I head home for lunch tickles and hikes and tunes with the husband. My kid's backyard is now hundreds of acres of forest, farmland, and pasture. We live 30 yards from another baby whose age is still measured in months. We live 35 yards away from two kicking musicians who also love food. It was a huge decision for us and I think we did ok.

So, you know, there might be an absence of vegetable photographs here for a while, but I know they'll be back eventually. We mostly chew on the baby these days anyway. He, in turn, chews on everything:



Smooches on you all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

High Flying



We are right here in the thick of it, of half packed boxes and lack of sleep and to-do lists that make me suck in my breath, but then there's that little guy up there shining with practically unbearable amounts of joy; he makes me feel like we can do anything.

Catch you from our new zip code in a matter of days.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hello November


Browned Butter Pecan Teacakes with Chocolate Bits

Well where the hell did October go anyway? I am starting to get "where-are-you" emails from people I don't even know so I thought I'd better resurface and confirm that we are still kicking over here.

Last month was so rad. I finished the first book to speak of since we had a baby and boy howdy was it a good one. Our little family picked up and flew our way to Boston for a really special wedding. This was Osh's fourth wedding since he was born and he rocked the party and then slept through the party as it is a baby's right to do. While there we gunned it up to Portland and he met some super important people. The leaves changed. The garden greens grew into waving clusters of cabbages and broccoli and kale. We decided to move. B's baking ventures went from a dabble to something of a real business. The first frost came so we picked all the flowers and enjoyed bright bouquets for days. Halloween came and despite my disbelief that my own mother would send me a premade costume (she was a hardcore "we make our costumes" kind of mum) once we dressed the little guy up he was shockingly hilarious.





Yah, did you catch that in there? We're moving. It's so crazy and unexpected that I can't even really motivate myself to explain it. All you need to know is that now I'll get to see my boys for lunch. And snacks. And hikes. And any other old time during the day that I like. Stay tuned.



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall Clean Up

10:30 and the boys are sleeping. Aside from our trip to Savannah last weekend and a friend's wedding a few weeks back, I have worked every Saturday of the semester so I keep thinking today is Sunday... I celebrated with a nap (crazy lady) and now I'm up when I should be sleeping.


My parents were just here and B and I used our free babysitting time to clean out the last of the summer garden. Picked the last squash, peppers, eggplant, and...lemongrass! We are goofy excited to have finally grown our own stalks of this stuff. I potted up a tiny plant some three years ago, but it wasn't until B learned that we could plant this outside that it really took off. It's huge now, and on Thursday we cut a huge handful for dinner this week. Lemmongrass Chicken Curry here we come.

The kid turned over for the first time this Thursday. My mom gets all the credit for this one - she just kept helping him turn over and then, boom, he did it. And since then he's done it about a gazillion more times. It's so weird to leave him on his back and come back and find him scooching around on his stomach. Shot across the bow - this kid is going to hit the gas pedal in no time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Buns


Wouldja look at that sticky bun? Ain't it gorgeous? My husband made that. I have mentioned a few times that B has been heading into Real Baker Land. It started with bread, then bagels, then some scones and muffins and cookies, and now some absolutely kickass sticky buns. Like, I am extremely picky about yeasted sweets, and these absolutely knock it out of the park. He has started selling goodies at our local markets, the brick and mortar kind and just today he is headed to his first farmer's market. I am so excited for him. First, the stuff he is bringing is so absolutely unique and yummy and totally organic. Second, he will have the cutest baby in the world with him as the ultimate prop. After work I am headed straight there and I can hardly wait to see them doing their thing. I am secretly hoping that he doesn't sell all those buns so that I get to eat one.

We are actually just back from a work trip to Savannah. We had a fantastic time there - the weather was amazing, we found excellent food, and Osh was a traveling champ. We got to stay in a hotel so of course we all went swimming multiple times; jeepers swimming with the baby is so totally fun. We also went on our first Real Date since June 23, 2010. GG and Grampa T took the baby and B and I went out for a stunning dinner and walk. It was so great! I did have the extreme misfortune of putting my neck so far out of whack that B actually asked me all the questions you ask someone if you think they might be having a heart attack. For real. Thus my last night there and the drive home were pretty much the definition of hell, but they are over now and my chiropractor is slowly putting me back together (seriously - do not pass me on the left, I can't really do a head check for you). I tell you, this baby having thing does some crazy stuff to a body.

There are about 900 other things to say about the garden, the chickens, some crazy big changes possibly coming up, our trip to Boston/Portland soon, my mom and my John coming to visit tomorrow, the amazing book I'm readying, the fact that my husband started reading Tolstoy right when we had Oscar, how it's really FALL now and my baby looks so stinkin' cute in a coat that I could die, and more, but that goofy list will have to suffice.

Smooches on cheeks to you all.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Repeat


Oi! I have never been so busy in my life. Swear. I book it through work like an athlete these days, literally fueling up and making sure I stay hydrated. Effing madness. I crash into my days off with Osh with such gratitude. This morning I snuggled and tickled and munched on the boy, talked to my best friend, talked to my mom, did two loads of laundry, and am now catching up with bills and whatever while the squish naps.

I have been really bad about pointing our camera at anything other than the kid. There's good stuff in the garden - beautifully lush fall greens, speckled lettuces, blooming peas, tall beets... There are even billowing orange cosmos and melt in your mouth peach dahlias. You'll just have to believe me this year, the baby cheeks are too much competition.

Happy Weekends out there.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Septembers

Do I say this every year? That I can't believe it's September? That despite my fervent wishes for Summer to break, I am still surprised when Fall starts nipping at the door? Probably.

I like September. It's a month of anniversaries for me. In two days it will be three years since B proposed to me in the garden. A few days ago it was a year since I first picked up a fiddle and started scratching out bowing patterns. And in a week and change it will have been a year since we started making Oscar. Marriage, music, baby; riches of fall.


Happy September out there.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Buried with Baby



Kids, I am still buried. Buried in trying to be completely present when I am home with my guy(s) and buried up to my neck in classes and committees and projects when I am at work. I know I owe a lot of very awesome people phone calls: hang in there with me, I am thinking of you.

From the Frying Pan, Heather

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Take It to the Floor

I ain't got no photo, I ain't got no recipe, link, or book to recommend. But I got a laughing baby.

Yup, yesterday at 6:30 in the evening the kid giggled. Like a real giggle, throaty and scale climbing and magical. B and I looked at each other in wide eyed shock and then we both fell over on the floor laughing. When we wiped our eyes and sat back up, the kid did it a second time, which laid us out on the floor all over again. I nearly cried for real at that point. There is nothing, and I do mean nothing, like a baby laughing at his papa acting like a wild boar/rabid pig/generally insane growly beast.

When I left for work today I quashed feelings of sadness knowing that I was probably going to miss more giggling, and a half an hour ago I picked up the phone and heard nothing but snorts and responding giggles in my ear. Love those boys.

May you encounter a wild boar at your house soon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What Grew



Happy Weekend lovely people. I just enjoyed the phejezus out of two days at home with the kiddo. Work today and then a family day tomorrow, yay. As I write this Osh is most certainly being snuggled up by B's mom. Completely and totally fun to watch this guy charm a gal who has thus far just seen him in the sleepy newborn phase.

The kid is still a great napper, so days at home are a pretty delightful balance of playing or reading or walking with him and then kicking into Get Shit Done mode once his lids meet. I've been pickling red onions from the garden:



We've been baking with buckwheat:



So far we absolutely love this baking book. These are a slightly sandy (in a good way) buckwheat sugar cookie, rolled in poppyseeds. Perfect for tea time. The figgy buckwheat scones from the same book have been made multiple times and are so stinkin' good, I know they'll get made again and I will take a photo if they don't all jump immediately into my mouth. People who know how I feel about baked goods already know that I consider the fig to be one of the most underutilized yummy things in the world, ever, and buckwheat is just darn good.



We've been roasting squash:



And poblanos:



The garden saw some spectacular successes and a few failures this summer. We managed to really rock the storage crops; we grew well over a bushel of onions, an enormous bag of garlic, and about 150 pounds of winter squash. We also grew the first slicer tomato that really met our expectations (Paul Robeson, if you're curious) and finally met a paste tomato that kicked down the storm of tasty tomatoes we were longing for last year (Orange Banana Paste). In our misses, the beans needed a taller trellis, more diligent pest removal, and we needed at least two more rounds of plantings - no dilly beans this year. The sweet peppers had a hard go of it all around - late seeding and an outbreak of bacterial wilt left us with lots of red peppers but not the onslaught that we like. And then a few things just got away from us - the basil, for one, leaving our pesto stores slimmer than last year, and the cukes; many pounds of perfect pickling cukes eventually rotted in the fridge while we gazed at the baby. We also could have harvested our cabbages and carrots many weeks earlier but at least we ate those. All in all, considering the extreme heat, the dry spell, and the baby (who rocked his doc appointment last Thursday at 15 pounds, 25.5 inches thankyouverymuch), we are pretty happy. At this point we're pretty much down to eggplants and peppers for summer veggies; most of the beds are sown with peas and brassicas and carrots and beets. Welcome, fall, we're ready for you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There and Back



Holy shit people, time has wings over here. Since we last talked, work ate my head, we traveled to West Virginia for the family reunion, and then work ate my head again. Can you guess which part was my favorite? Right. I actually have to go try to get some of my head back, so I leave you with just a small selections of the many faces of Osh. This kid's face is so expressive, we can (and do) watch him for hours at a time. Face TV.












Be well out there...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Harvest




Good grief the days are flying by. Work gets crazier, Osh gets bigger, the garden spills baskets of tomatoes and peppers and squash into our kitchen. It's still hot as hell but in the dead of night I can feel fall lurking in the shadows. In the wee dark morning hours I stand in the kitchen, drinking water and soaking up the sound of the katydids, my favorite hallmark of summer. Not long for them now.


My mum has been to visit, and I cannot say here how completely awesome it is to see your mom fall in love with your kid. They snuggled and rolled on the floor and he shined his gazillion watt smile her way and she was a goner.


We do not dress this guy very often, it's so friggin' hot that he's either naked or just barely, but one afternoon a chilly breeze rolled through and we played dress up...


That swirl. Effing. Kills me.

Who wouldn't be? The guy is so cool. Yesterday when I came home from work I flopped on the floor and read my book to him and he talked and smiled and wiggled himself to sleep and my heart nearly burst just watching his little (big) hands clutch and unclutch a piece of my shirt. We spend pretty much zero time trying to get him to sleep, he just has a loose routine and conks out regularly throughout the day. Nights have fallen into a steady pattern - snacks at 1 and 4 please, some crib time in the early early morning so that he can snort and snuffle as he pleases and we can sleep. Yesterday during the wiggling and smiling I found myself, really for the first time, thinking, "Oh god, he won't do this forever" and I had to try not to squeeze him too hard in my moment of panic and crazy desire to freeze time. That toothless baby smile will live in my brain forever as a piece in my collection of things that mean love.


Ya know, usual caveat about my camera making everything look like poo...

I have been baking like a freak. Fresh fig and honey cream galette, from my go-to fruit book. Brown butter peach bars (fucking labor intensive and dial back the sugar, but yum). Breastfeeding will do that to you I guess.

Speaking of breasts, can I just take a moment here to lament that my boobs are preventing me from wearing about 95% of my clothing? I feel that I was very patient with the sartorial sacrifices of pregnancy. I bought and wore two pair of pants for the entirety of the my-old-clothes-don't-fit stages (and they were identical). Two! For something like six months! You all know that I am a complete clothes whore, so let's hear it for my spartan success in this department. So, you know, I was mildly excited to open up the closet and don something from my life-as-a-skinny-girl. Forget it! Waists zip up with little protest, but good luck stuffing these gals into anything tailored. Even t-shirts feel a little shocking, after years of having boobs that were pretty much an afterthought. I look in the mirror and find myself thinking "Mmm, chesty." (Yes, I am a dirty old man about even my own rack.) ANYWAY. It will be cardigan weather soon enough, surely those will still fit?

May your favorite clothes fit today.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Monday



This was Osh's face when I told him that I had to go to work this morning. Yup, you heard me: work. I am not going to lie and say that I skipped out the door, but as I pulled out of the driveway I was swamped by a deep appreciation for the fact that I wasn't leaving my baby with a stranger. Or a stranger with twelve other kids to care for. I realize that lots and lots of amazing people provide childcare to folks who need it and that those people quickly cease to be strangers. But on this cloudy Monday morning I am so glad that he is at home with his Papa. Who I have already emailed and talked to on the phone about eleven times and I've not even had lunch yet. So far we are all peachy. I wouldn't say that I missed my job, but it feels good to be back. I saw one of my favorite people right when I got out of my car, and I took it to be a good omen. Plus, it sure is lovely out here and these few remaining weeks without the insanity of students is time that flies quickly.



This is a leek-tomato-gruyere galette. Someday I will own the camera that makes my food look as good as it tastes, but until then just take my word for it: this thing rocked. Just roll out your favorite savory crust, cook some leeks in some butter with salt and pepper, grate some gruyere, and slice some heirlooms. Bake it, hang on to that hat.

B and I had another weekend of Busy with Busy. We picked another six gallons of blueberries, made peach sauce, made strawberry sauce, made a huge batch of amazing tomato sauce from all the mountains of tomatoes in our garden. Goodies for colder months. Osh hangs in his new little seat, either taking in every little detail or fast asleep. We got such an awesome baby, I mean it. During the day this is pretty much how we go: eat, hang out for a while smiling and laughing and wiggling and cooing, get a little fussy for a second, take a nap. Repeat. Repeat. Sometimes repeat again. Go to bed. Eat a few times, maybe, make it until five in the morning, turn into a gremlin for two hours. Begin again. Gremlin? Yup. Gremlin time is when he's kind of asleep, but kind of awake. He's noisy. Like snorty kind of noisy. It's hilarious, but really, really hard to sleep with. And he is awake enough to need some comforting. We take turns, it's not so bad. The hard part is remembering to take a nap when he naps. There's so much at our house to do! It will be easier when fall comes. I am looking forward to snuggly snoozing in cooler weather, yes I am.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Midweek News





Our internet connection has been outstandingly craptastic lately, so getting here has been a bit of a challenge. Not to worry, this little family is keeping busy while taking it slow, if that's possible.



On the keeping busy front: we pulled out all the carrots and beets and beans and greens and flowers and sowed the majority of seeds for the winter garden. Made a tomato pie (note: use more tomatoes than she calls for, less cheese and salt), green enchiladas from CI (we are drowning in tomatillos), and we're still cranking on batches of pesto. Put up a half bushel of peaches, staring down the other half a bushel on the kitchen floor. Picked five gallons of blueberries (Osh's first berrying!) with plans to pick again this weekend (the berries are sooooo good this year!). Played a wedding in Tennessee for a friend, drove back over the mountains way too late for all of us, B and I talking deliriously of all things under the sun as though we had just met.



Uncle Shark, discussing the eating of Oscar with Oscar himself.

On the slow and sweet front, Osh has recently received visits from Grandpa T and GG (Grandma Gail), Grand Uncle Shark, and his Grampa Whis is motoring south as I type this. We pretty much sit around and make people agree that his little butts are the cutest thing on the planet. Seriously, there is nothing like baby tush. We have been lucking into family naps and good nights of sleep, and Oscar has been smiling like to break our hearts. I told my mom that I hoped the charm of his smile wears off a little because right now I'd give him the world if he smiled and asked. "What, you want to eat 8 chocolate bars for dinner? You got it." We have even been getting lovely afternoon and evening storms, the kind where the wind just sweeps away the 90+ degree weather and (for a moment) leaves everything cool and clean. Life is so fab, who needs the stinkin' internet when you can watch a baby listen to a storm roll through?



Seriously.

Smooches from the homefront.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gerunds

I am in no way a grammar girl, but I have been fond of the gerund since realizing that it got me out of more difficult verb conjugations while learning Spanish on the fly in Colombia when I was 19. Holy hell, wtf is up with that sentence? I am just going to leave it there so that it can annoy me later.

Anyway, here are today's gerunds: pickling, catching, picking, playing.



With the pickling: we went to visit one of our favorite friends and musicians and he sent us home with a huge bag of okra and a bunch of beautiful corn. He has what is practically a farm in his backyard since he charmed his neighbors into letting him take over their backyards too. Anyway, we don't know what the hell to do with okra so we pickled it. I had forgotten how gorgeous okra blossoms are, and the plants are like long legged school girls.



With the catching: I don't believe I have bitched about it here, but we have had one chicken who has been escaping almost daily for months now, and then a few weeks ago she showed her trick to a gal pal and we've had two chickens escaping sometimes three times a day! Maddening. B and I have walked the perimeter of our fence about 600 times each, looking for places they could slip under. B thought they might be getting over, but I felt certain that was not the case. Anyway, we finally chose a day for the stakeout. B headed out there first and spent an hour playing fiddle tunes while watching: no luck. I then headed out with a banjo and a bottle of mosquito repellent and about 35 minutes later B heard me screech from the backyard. Turns out there was one tiny three inch strand of the fence that had torn, and those clever hens were slipping through. After months and months of this, it was a mighty fine feeling and we have not had to chase a hen since. If I'd known it was only going to take an hour and a half I would have done it sooner, righty-o.

Also with the catching: we are doing an extremely laid back version of EC with Osh, and I caught my first pee! Also resulting in something of a screech. We got a baby who hates to hang out in a wet diaper (smart baby), and I am down with the whole suggestion that training babies to be ok hanging out in a soiled diaper just makes for more work later. We'll see how it goes, sometimes it pisses him off to get held over a sink (smart baby).

With the picking: yesterday we picked about a third of a bushel of plums and cooked up some plum sauce. We are especially excited about this since last year a frost took out all the plums so we went without this fruit for the year. Someone has finally moved into the house where this magic tree grows, but I screwed up my courage and rang the dang doorbell and a very awkward teenager ran back and forth between me and my nervous request and some adult in the house and now we just need to go back and give them some sauce so that next year they'll say yes again.



With the playing: yes, this is how you practice the fiddle with a one-month kid. He is sacked out but not so sacked out that he wouldn't notice if he was no longer On Your Person. I think the only thing I was nervous about when we got ready to have babies was music. Getting enough music in my life has been a tooth and nail kind of thing. B can ignore his fiddle for months and pick it up and sound awesome. Not me. I have to practice and I have to keep thinking about it or it slides out of my head and onto my pillow at night. So far so good, I ate a whole new fiddle tune since Osh arrived. D tunes bite my ass. And yes, my hair looks very lame in this photo, I need a haircut like never before.

Tomorrow B goes back to work. He's going back a few days a week, and soon I'll go back a few days a week. Osh will have one of us all to himself for quite some time this way. We feel really lucky that we can do this together, I think it will be a good balance for all of us.

It's time to plant the fall garden, I can hardly believe it. Oscar will probably EAT some of these vegetables, how completely insane is that? We are planting the usual plus brussel sprouts this year. Yum.

Eat your greens.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Family


This is what we do a lot of: lying around on plush surfaces laughing and smooching baby tummy. Good times.

Keep cool out there.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bits and Pieces


Osh in his stylish hat from Aunt Diets.



Too much to say to do much saying, if you know what I mean. We are sleeping well, napping great, and still enjoying the generosity of our amazing community of friends when it comes to eating. Seriously: the bring-food-to-the-new-family thing is the greatest. Left to our own devices we would be running on tortillas and eggs, with celery and avocados for good measure.

Osh is an absolute array of faces these days. I love watching him wake up more than anything. He stretches and squinches and yawns and makes a noise like a baby lion (he gets that from me) and I just sit there trying not to laugh out loud so that he'll take longer to wake.







The garden is starting to spit out tomatoes and peppers and tomatillos, and we're in keep-up-with-the-cukes mode so some pickles were made. It's time to get a handle on the grove of basil out there and past time to do something with a bunch of big beautiful cabbages. Right. Just as soon as I go stare at the baby some more...