Keep up with the goings on around the farm!

Keep up with the goings on around the farm!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Warm Winter Fuzzies!

Mmmmm, don't you just love those cold winter days where you let yourself stay in your jammies all day long! Rosy cheeks, tea, and snuggles...
I do. Maybe it doesn't happen often enough for me...and yet those days I think drive Adam nuts. Maybe it just reminds me of home. Spending hours in front of the woodstove, fearful to walk just ten feet away else sub-zero temperatures set in! We have had a bit of a cold snap and I am just loving loading the woodstove, teaching the boys how to snap kindling, sort paper for fire starting, and sit in front of the stove all wrapped up in towels after the tub! We have the kettle on top and it is such a treat having hot water for tea all day long...believe it or not and I know it seems silly I just don't like turning the gas flame on for hot water because most of the time I forget I started the kettle and feel just awful for wasting the resource! And I just hate microwaved water for some reason, for tea anyway!

Ben and Simon are very much interested in Christmas this year. It has inspired Adam and I to cherish the holiday in a new light. This year the boys and I made an advent calendar and we are all enjoying the new tradition. The boys wrote a letter to Santa and we hung it up on the last day of November. We told the boys that Santa sends his elves out to collect all the letters and he leaves special treats for each day until Christmas. The boys are just loving getting a treat everyday. The Christmas socks were the biggest hit! We have discovered Simon has quite a shoe fetish, loves socks, and changes his shoes about six times a night!

Indoor play is becoming very interesting and imaginative. Ben is enjoying playing doctor, chef, and Santa. He is filling all our pillow cases with his toys to deliver to all the boys and girls. He asked me to make sleigh out of some cardboard, and he insisted on " a lot a lot a lot" of reindeer. I talked him into two! He puts on all his red clothes, uses his "man belt" and puts on my furry boots. He is a treat to watch. If he had his way Simon would be his reindeer! Super hero capes are now not complete unless the boys are wearing the headlamps...such small boys don't know that superheros may possess on their own X-ray vision and night vision!

Simon is well, Simon! He just plays along and tries his best to get everyones attention. He is an avid book reader right now, rather fixated on "Goodnight Gorilla". He must be noticing his father deeply engrossed in a book or magazine every night.

So, it is just a busy little family, hunkering down in the cold, getting ready for Santa's big drop down the chimney (Ben is quite worried that Santa won't figure out how to get out of our fireplace "cage").

We are wishing all of our family and friends a joyous season full of warm, winter fuzzies!
I couldn't help but stage part of our Christmas card this was just too tempting with pint-sized wheelbarrows!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

There's nothing quite like fall...

We are absolutely loving the cool weather. Still spending the days outside, I had to put a hamper on the back porch because we are so dirty by days end that not even our clothes can come inside! The pecans are starting to fall, I think three trees will definitely produce for us this fall. It is a tree that fruits every other year so we are thinking that they were strategically planted so that we will have a crop every year. That is a change from our old house. We had to wait out the full cycle there.

Simon got his first "clipper" hair cut. We tried the trim but it looked rather goofy and thought there was no way it could get any worse so out came the clippers. Not only did he tolerate them a whole lot better than the scissors but he looks absolutely irresistible! I always dread the haircuts but after it is all said and done I just love seeing my boys entire face; eyes illuminated with excitement and curiosity as they process and interpret their world!

Halloween was fun as always. The boys were both into it, I think Ben liked passing candy out to the guests more than trick or treating. He was hilarious and had us all laughing as he said good-bye to all the kids. He would wave good-bye and toss out comments like "we will be here every morning" and "have a great weekend!" Simon was the most polite little 18 month old dragon saying thank you to every treat giver as he waved good-bye and turned around. This year though I had to hide the candy because clever Ben has quite the sweet tooth. Out of sight and out of mind...we are holding the treats for dessert! We made Ben's costume just days before Halloween. He was rather indecisive, first he wanted to be Jackie Paper (Puff the Magic Dragon's best friend...amazing that he realized Simon was a dragon and put the two together), then he wanted to be Luna (our black cat), finally he landed on pirate and I thought...that I can do! So we headed into the sewing room and recycled an old sheet into super cool puffy pirate pants, made a spider vest, Ben found the bells among other notions and insisted they be added to the costume, and Adam fashioned the head scarf. The rope Ben has been using for months as he has discovered that tieing things up is super fun...maybe a sailer. We will have to have Grandpa teach Ben some knots when he visits. The boy loves to rig. Anyway, sorry typical tangent for me...the rope! Yes, perfect belt to house a swashbuckling sword! It was chilly Halloween night but Ben insisted on going shirtless, he has a good sense of style, we have to admit he looks pretty darn cool.

We also learned that Simon is crazy allergic to ants, two bites in two weeks and the poor boy has broken out in frightening hives. Thank goodness we keep Benadryl on hand. Thank you too to Mema who pecked the brains of her colleagues at the hospital and learned that ants rarely cause anaphalactic shock (yes, spellings is probably wrong and I have no clue how to fix it on the blog and way to exhausted from trying to teach first graders how to use a dictionary to actually use one myself!) Anyway, we have to be careful with Simon and the ants...and of course we spend every minute outside that we can so...I am sure that you will notice the boys on the giant pine stump are still in their PJ's...we are barely out of bed when Simon totes his shoes up to us and sticks his chubby little foot in our face pleading "out, out, out". Both the boys have discovered our little strips of forest, they form an L on our property and I kid you not but I must have looped that walk five times before noon on Saturday. Finally I grabbed the loppers and we began some trail cutting as I was growing tired of navigating tightly packed baby pines and pricker vines. Ben was our fearless trail leader while Simon and I keep up the rear, Simon has to have his might think it is for collectibles but no, he prefers to have it just in case! We also took a 45 min drive to hike maybe 1/2 mile in a state park...lesson learned: Toddlers need to inspect every minutia of the trail, when one is going the other is investigating, progress for grown ups is very slow almost non existent but for small children a half mile is halfway around the globe so don't waste fossil fuels driving far way when your own backyard is plenty big enough! Ben chose to hike one day with his bear in a sweatshirt sling. They seem to know what we need in the woods.
So, not much going on here except lots of playing, movie snuggling at night, fires in the wood stove, and groggy mornings when we all realize that the real world beckons.
You can see though how lucky we are that we have two little helpers to keep the real world tidy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

From Dawn till Dusk

Since the cool weather has decided to grace Georgia with it's presence we are embracing every delicious moment, from dawn till dusk! Yesterday we woke to both boys around 7:30 nudging us out of slumber with eager pleas to go outside. It happened so fast that both boys were dressed and outside before the coffee had finished brewing...Adam and I sipped our coffee to the boys roaming the wet grass and trapsing through freshly cleared garden beds which alerted me to quite an oversight-I put us all in sneakers! Lesson learned, rubber boots are a necessity at 8 am on a chilly, wet fall morning. In little over one hour all of us were soaked to our knees with a nice red clay paste glued to our cuffs! Simon was pretty much red all over so he underwent his first change of the day at which point I realized that I had never gotten out of my pajamas, so I changed too and this time both Simon and I were stuffed into our warm rubber boots!

As the boys played I did the go between-helping Adam around the house and tending the children! Always a juggling act! We had planned for a relaxing weekend but Adam doesn't seem quite capable of chilling out on the farm quite yet, he jumped right into finishing the rockery that he had started a couple weekends ago around the back porch. The plan was for an herb garden right off the house, that is what I got with a few add-ons. I had suggested that we create a small bird bath in the bed (I was thinking small concrete puddle). Adam built a small pond. I won't complain though, it is beautiful. We both have been wanting a place to display our rock collection from Ecuador and this little bird fountain is the perfect place. The colors in the rocks just seem so much more brilliant beneath a slow trickle of water! We also decided to move the boys sandbox and integrate the play area into the garden beds. It is much nicer, can hold twice the sand, and looks so much more beautiful. The boys dove right in and played till lunch. We ate lunch outside and took a plunge into a shower before nap time.

Nap time over the boys ran right back outside and proceeded to get even dirtier than before. I finally stripped both boys outside, grabbed each one under an arm and dumped them in the shower at 7:30, twelve hours after it all began. Jammied and exhausted they crashed, along with Mommy and Daddy! So busy days are ahead as the weather continues to invite us back outdoors! Today we took a lovely walk along Line Creek and the boys had a fantastic time playing in the moving water on the shoals. Could Simon possibly look any happier!

I think it was two weekends ago that we finished canning the muscadine jelly. It was quite a process but we do have lots of tasty jelly in the pantry. We are still eating pears off the tree. Adam found one outside his truck the other day with a stripe of tiny bites across it, most definitely a Simon leftover. The boys are really enjoying picking up a pear off the ground and munching to their hearts content. We are also picking up loads of chestnuts. I just don't know what to do with them. I guess turn them into flour since roasting them wasn't the culinary delight I was expecting. As a matter of fact Ben and I pulled the first batch out of the over, let them cool a bit and we were both so excited to try one that we peeled one, cut in in half, eagerly chewed it and we both looked at each other with an expression of confusion "Is this what they are supposed to taste like?" Apparently the flour is very good for cooking so, if we can figure out how to do it maybe we will make a stab at it.

Apart from the beautiful rock work Adam has been doing his creative juices have been flowing again. I suggested a wire project with a huge steel circle that Adam had saved from the recycling pile and the two of us began to work. Luckily Simon had a nap meltdown which took me away from the project, and I say luckily because Adam took the project in a completely different direction than I had imagined and it gave him an uninterrupted hour of creative play and satisfaction that I don't think he would have found had I been there. Ben watched as Adam was building and Adam told me at one point Ben just came up to Adam with a big hug and told him "I Love You." Side note, Ben has not been generous with the I love you's to Adam lately and this was a big breakthrough. Adam is convinced that his artistic segway from the daily grind enlighted Ben to an aspect of his Daddy that was special. I really can't argue with that, I feel the same way about Adam when he is creating. I was pleasantly surprised with the artwork and yesterday we hung in in the carport turned outdoor living room. I am not sure how intentional all of the artifacts were but believe me it says a lot about Adam!

And this I have to say...I thank the universe everyday for growing up with my Dad and my Mom! There are certainly elements that I will never understand about my childhood but one thing is for sure, they managed to instill a work ethic and unbridled creativity in their children. I see this more and more as a luxury as I work every fitful day to educate the masses. It is probably the most frustrating component of my career. I get so gosh darn bored with the curriculum and I want so much to expose the children to different media and ways to express themselves but oh my it is such hard work! And might I add so underappreciated! Not to mention that public education does everything in its power to undermine creativity (not sure if this is intentional or not). I will keep plugging along though and hopefully Adam and I are sharing with our boys the gifts of hard work, personal expression, and problem solving.
I had to add this picture of Simon as I say good-bye, one because he is so cute as he is totally obsessed with wearing his own backpack to and from school and two because his crafty mama made it for him! I also share a wonderful mommy moment...both boys building and playing trains together...PEACEFULLY. Is this a sign of something sweet to come?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Signs of Fall

September has brought cooler mornings, which we are enjoying. It inspired us to pack up the camping gear and head to Alabama for a river run down the Coosa River. Adam paddled it a few times in the spring and has wanted to bring us there all summer but neither one of us wanted to sleep in a tent through 90 degree nights in a family pig pile!

I am so glad we made it because it truly is such a beautiful river, southern enough that the Cypress trees lining the river's edge are draped with that creepy yet romantic Spanish Moss that I so love. Adam enjoyed seeing the river with more summer growth, he said it added a whole new dimension to the river's beauty. We took the canoe down most of the river, Adam even took us down a few rapids which both the boys enjoyed. My heart lept a bit going into some of the waves but that canoe is just as smooth as can be and it was quite a little adrenaline treat! The big pull to this river for Adam is a class III rapid about half way down with a nice eddy that he can surf in his kayak. So we towed his kayak behind the canoe until we made it to a very large rock formation in the middle of the river. We parked there and unloaded. Adam geared up for the kayak and hit the waves! I wish I had better footage, it was very sunny and our video camera isn't the best. In addition I had two little boys tugging at me. I was very nervous on the rock because it was surrounded by all of these class III rapids (in case you are unfamiliar with river ratings they range from class I which is flat water to class V which is pretty gnarly) anyway I was nervous to take Simon out of his vest in the event he tumbled etc...I was a little bit of a wreck and now if we go again I have a much better idea of how to handle the rock time so that all of us are having fun!

We also took some photos of the rivers edge. Beautiful Spanish Moss, Cypress roots peeking out of the water for air, Elephant Ears draping into the water. It was quite lovely and so unlike the rivers up north.

Camping didn't go as planned. We spent quite a bit of time on the river and didn't make it to camp with enough light to wind the kiddos down! We scrambled to get the tent up and make dinner. We had two exhausted boys who had a total meltdown at sundown! Lesson learned, don't run out of daylight! We were discouraged for a quick moment but now we are putting plans in place to make packing easier and are going to be more conscious of time limitations so that we can keep camping this fall with smiles on our faces!

Fall is also bringing a little harvest at the farm. We have some pomegranates ripening, our apple trees which we figured out are pear trees (silly but they really did look like apples for most of their development!), chestnuts, pecans, and muscadines by the pailful. I really should be working on turning these grapes into jelly but I was much too excited to post all of our adventures...I have to get some more jars anyway!

Ben and I spent part of Monday making homemade spinach pasta with Mom's pasta press! Ben enjoyed turning the handle and Adam really enjoyed watching it slice the noodles up. We made flat noodles for some lasagna and some linguine in the freezer for later! Dinner sure was delicious. We actually did quite a bit of cooking Monday, from noodles to broccoli soup to banana flaxseed muffins! That extra day off sure was a treat for this working Mom.

Here is a photo of my boys getting ready to start the new skid steer! Ben especially likes this new tool!

As I said we have been busy! We also took a day and went to a bluegrass festival about an hour north of us. My boys again, enjoying the tunes together!

For just a mommy moment...the boys are growing so fast. It is hard to believe that just a year ago we were up north and Ben was doing his BenSpeak. He is now rambling sentences and interjecting his own bit of humor throughout the day. I was worried about him on the big rock in the river and he looks at me, waves his hand, and says "No problem mommy, no problem". His confidence is growing by the day! Simon too is changing, he is the silliest little character who as challenging as he can be at times can just look at you with his michevious little twinkle and melt your heart away. Adam and I talk often of just how lucky we are. Missing you all and hoping that fall is as full as joy up north as it is here on the farm.