Monday, June 30, 2008

ahhh, and finally the u-pick

Oh joy! We made it to the u-pick today. We picked 7 pints of strawberries and almost 2 of raspberries! A good start to the berry season. The raspberries were not quite there but were good for the first ones of the season. It has been a cooler spring and I am told the berries are late in starting. I am hoping to make it out in the next couple of mornings before it gets too hot and then we can go to the park after or some such for the kids because as much as they love the u-pick, they would actually rather be elsewhere, unlike me. It was fun to go with Ellen today because she and I match each other's u-pick enthusiasm quite well!

We finished up the Little House books (all except Farmer Boy which I am waiting on because as Samuel says, it doesn't hook up, at least not exactly). I can't believe how good the stories were and am amazed I never read them when I was young. No matter, it was fun to read them for the first time with Samuel and Eva.

Here are a few Little House words of wisdom- little tidbits they are always passing on to one another...
"There is no great loss without some small gain."- our favorite

"Nobody knows what will happen. Prepare for the worst and then you've some grounds to hope for the best."

"Least said, soonest mended."

"That's the way to tackle things. Have confidence in yourself, and you can lick anything. You have confidence in yourself, that's the only way to make other folks have confidence in you."

"Now you must do your thinking first and speak afterward."

"A body makes his own luck, be it good or bad."

"I believe we make most of our luck without intending to."

"The last time always seems sad, but it isn't really. The end of one thing is only the beginning of another."

And my favorite quote from all of the books was when Ma said, "I declare I never have been so embarrassed by a cat's generosity." Ma said this after Kitty kept leaving large quantities of gophers and moles and such at their doorstep each day. She provided for two sets of kittens and the Ingalls family, all at the same time.

Other books of interest being read and listened to-
Cricket in Time Square by George Selden (and there is a whole series of this that I didn't know about)
Mr. Revere and I by Robert Lawson (a horse's telling of the Revolutionary War- really good!)
Freddy and the Bean Home News by Walter Brooks- Samuel loves these Freddy books
...and of course more Paddington books whenever there is a lull in the others

Eva has been drawing like mad these days. She is never far from her notebooks and pencils and colored pencils. She likes oil pastels and crayons and markers as well and draws designs and images and tells stories while she draws. It is wonderful to watch her as she is so engrossed in what she is doing and really enjoying herself. She also spends a good bit of time outside in the garden and picks large quantities of flowers and brings them in to me to put in water and add to our abundant nest of dried flowers.

We had an awesome thunderstorm yesterday that made me nostalgic for the Midwest. We don't have nearly enough thunderstorms here in Oregon for my taste. Maybe a handful since we have lived here, which is 5 years now. It was a real treat and the air smelled wonderful and the rain came pouring down and the kids and I sat in the rain and listened to the rain and thunder and I oohed and ahhed at the lightning and Samuel rode his bike around in the rain. Great fun for all of us. And a great way to cool down as it had been 100 for the last two days. A glorious reprieve!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

And I found aphids. A ton of aphids. Or should I say several. Thousands. Several thousand. They love the bolting mesclun mix and they love the broccoli that isn't yet. So there you go about the aphids.

oh, and our camping trip

Eva, Samuel

Samuel with Thomas. He went for a 1/2 hour ride with Thomas.

Eva setting up flowers on the table.

Jack finding some shade.

Samuel, Eva and Lucy making sand angels, Samuel and Lego Indiana Jones in the sand. Indy had quite a camping trip! And Lucy made a good many sand angels.

Eva spinning in the SAND and WIND

Sliding down the dunes

Samuel, Eva, Jack

Many faces of Nehalem Bay

In the sand


A very grand mote, Samuel and his sandcastle

Eva swinging at playground, more Indy antics in the rocks (look for his hat)

Evening beach

Samuel with rocket, Indy and Sliver and Titan's base camp inside the tent, Indy hangin' out on the firewood box

Sand and Wind

Matt and Jack

Our camp, woods near camp

Friday, June 27, 2008


Here is a photo of Eva at the Life is Good Conference. Thanks Lisa for sending it!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Nehalem Bay

We are going camping! Wish us luck on our first ever camping trip.



Saturday, June 21, 2008

Well, last year I remember many many aphids sharing time and space with me out in the garden. Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, there are few to none out there currently. None on the chamomile- at least none that I have seen. None on the veggies, although the broccoli hasn't really taken off yet. Maybe they prefer the crucifers and that is why they aren't out as much this year. The kale is gone and I have quite a few other veggies out there instead. Plus, I left a bunch of clover for them to eat should they decide to take up residence nearby. There are a few ladybugs about, which makes me think there must be some aphid here or there, but as I just read, they may be eating scale insects as well, which are harder to spot than aphids. Ok, but after checking around a bit, I have definitely seen these little guys, which the ladybugs are apparently seeing as well. So that is what those little red guys are. Ah ha! Good to know.

What I have seen out in the garden, in great abundance, are box elder bugs. I mean, there are a bunch of them. And I have gone back and forth with them, first thinking they were box elder bugs and then thinking they were milkweed bugs. After reading about milkweed bugs, though, and finding out that they really only eat milkweed, something I am pretty sure is not out there in the garden, I began to suspect that they were indeed box elder bugs. So I looked at this photo to compare them and then I went outside to find one of the little guys and found that yes, they are indeed box elder bugs.

So then I went to find out what the heck box elder bugs eat and why they are out in the garden and I found immediately that most of the world considers box elder bugs to be a pest! The first link offered on Google when you type in box elder bugs is "Kill Box Elder Bugs". That pretty much sums up much of the attitude toward many bugs and certainly most bugs considered pest-y. For instance, if you type in ants or yellow jackets, you also mainly find information on how to kill them or get rid of them or keep them out. Some variation on that theme. But very little information on other aspects of their lives. You can find other information, it just isn't the bulk of it until you dig a little deeper. So I read some more about box elder bugs. What I mainly knew was that they are prolific. They look like this when mating, which is why I thought they were milkweed bugs. And I have definitely seen these as well. Good. More red bugs explained.

Here is what one page says, "They are found on low vegetation near boxelder trees and move to the boxelder when the seeds form. Another control option is to remove any female boxelder or maple trees that are serving as hosts." I just don't know of any box elder trees around, although I will be on the look out now because I am curious. I have a giant maple tree in the back yard and maybe I have seen baby box elder trees ab0ut, so there must be another one nearby. Just not sure where. And apparently the box elder bugs will feed on other plants, so maybe that is what they are doing out in the garden? Or maybe it is just a nice sunny spot to hang out in?

Ok, I just found it! They are feeding on that glorious silver maple that is growing in the back yard. And those red things on the leaves are apparently the eggs? It is all coming together now. Gosh, I am not feeling as kindred with the box elder bugs now that I know they might be eating parts of that glorious tree in the back yard. She is a female, too, which is what they like. She definitely has seeds and makes little baby maple trees all over the yard. So there should be a mass migration sometime in the fall. I wonder how dramatic it will be? Box elder bugs here today, gone tomorrow? There are maple seeds out there now and I suppose that is what they are mainly feeding on, although there are still a ton of baby maples growing as well.

Apparently they do little damage to the actual trees, so I am feeling a little better about them again. Perhaps it is just a part of being a silver maple tree to have box elder bugs about. It still doesn't explain why there are so many this year. There are hundreds more this year than last year. Hundreds. So many. Maybe the warm winter? It was warm last fall too, with tomatoes and eggplants into November. I don't know. What I do know is that if you go out into the garden, you will run into many many box elder bugs. But no aphids.

Friday, June 20, 2008

summer solstice

Lovely photo of solstice full moon two nights ago. Longest daylight of the year, spend some time today thinking about the sunshine, the ebb and flow of daylight in our lives, throughout the year. Here in the Pacific Northwest it can be quite dramatic when the sun comes out for a little longer. People run faster, drive faster, zip around...until it has been out so long that most people melt. But by that time, the sun is already casting longer shadows toward autumn again...

I know that the tomato plants are rejoicing in the sunshine and the added heat it brings, while the lettuces are languishing. A time for every plant and every season.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

a rose is a rose

Rainbows and roses. These red roses are one of the Floribundas. Check out the bee enjoying his time in the roses.

More roses. This white rose is amazing and so fragrant. Peonies in bloom. The sun is getting that solstice angle with long long shadows at certain times of the day. Not sure how we will celebrate tomorrow. Maybe a fire with marshmallows and a sun cake?
For those not familiar with our other car, our lovely 1992 Honda civic that we have had for 10 years!, I took some pictures of the kids' sticker cafes that they put on their windows over the last couple of years. (Sticker cafe is a word coined by Samuel.) We are going to get sticker books for the new car (which was tricky to negotiate, but now they are really enjoying the thrill of rolling down their windows, so it is not an issue anymore, at least not usually).

Our Honda, who has been with us for a long time now...

Eva's window...

Samuel's window...

Hey, we got another car!

Yes, after much ado about something, we bought our newest car on Tuesday! It is a 2005 Hyundai Elantra hatchback and we are very excited!

Today we went to the arboretum and took Jack and he got to try out the hatchback. We were very excited about this, Jack was not. After our walk at the arboretum I tried loading him back into the hatchback part and he would not go! He tried everything to stay up with Samuel and out of the back. I think I will have him ride back there if someone else is riding in the back, but otherwise he seems to prefer the backseat. Oh well, it is a great place for flats of berries and large quantities of peaches. Eva wants to ride back there and I suppose if she was growing up in the 70's it would be an option, but not in 2008. Oh well. The kids love it. Samuel especially is enthralled with the key-less entry and the automatic windows. Who knew?