Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dinner for the knights and fairies.

My dad is visiting and today we went to Flock and Fiber to see some of the animals and a lot of wonderful yarn and wool and spinning. My favorites were the Icelandic Sheep and of course the Alpaca and then some lovely Pygora Goats. Really, there were so many different goats and sheep and alpaca it is hard to choose a favorite! Oh! and we got to see a couple of soooo soooo soft angora rabbits. Amazing! The woman said you could just brush them every day and have enough to spin! I bought some eggplant-colored-ish mohair yarn (15% wool added) and am hoping to make a shawl with it. It should be fun to knit along with the sweater than I am knitting, which is really just stockinette around and around for now. The little t-rexes are nearly complete!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Brandywine tomato

Eva's newest baby made from a hazelnut (for her head) and flowers and leaves for her body. Eva told me today that she came from a regular flower but she wasn't receiving the love that she needed there. Everyone wanted her to be just a pretty flower so she took off on her own to find her way. "Now she loves for herself so then she gets the exact kind of love." She spends her time out on boats in the water with all of her friends.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

recent look-ups

how to make a citizen's arrest
how to stop being a werewolf (my favorite is to "scold" the werewolf out of it)
how the solar system was formed
is ginormous a word (still under contention but I say yes)
some stuff on Hawaii because Eva wants to go there

buddha on the computer

Eva put the Buddha up on top of the computer monitor so that we can all feel peaceful when we sit down to use it. I usually don't put anything up anywhere because Maxwell just knocks it all down and where is the peace in that? I watched, today, however, as Maxwell jumped up on the monitor and walked around the Buddha statue. Imagine that? I had to take a picture for posterity. Who knows when that will happen again. And I do feel peaceful thinking about it all. And a little amused. And maybe a little incredulous.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Illness struck and I spent some time sitting on the patio with Maxwell, watching the birds, knitting (well, I knit) and checking out the squirrels (well, Maxwell kept track of the squirrels).

And the kids worked with Sculpey. Samuel was working on his business idea and Eva was making dolls.

And for dinner, we had ricotta apple-pear sauce pancakes and watermelon and cucumbers and Eva wanted crisp, so I made a pear-blackberry crisp with the rest of the pears and then she wanted pickles and Samuel had a corn cheese taco, but of course. And now I am taking more Vitamin C and drinking a little Kombucha, just to mix it up a bit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Eva painted on the cement with ice water. The pictures evaporate eventually but it is quite satisfying painting this way. Eva painted herself and a butterfly and another picture of herself eating cake! I painted a spider!

We cleaned up the yard quite a bit today and part of that was taking care of a couple of dead limbs that dropped from the maple tree out back. After breaking up the limbs, we realized we could toast marshmallows! Samuel can get the fire ready by himself now and he loves it. He was also in a much better mood after getting the fire going- very satisfying and purposeful.


Just be(e)

I found the closeup on my camera finally! I mean the real closeup that lets you take picture of bees and spiders and such. I wish I had found it earlier in the day because I saw a spider yesterday that I have never seen before. She was a huge black spider about the size of the Orb Weavers in October (Banded Garden Spiders, etc) but she was not an orb weaver. She was more along the lines of a tarantula, but of course, not nearly as large. Still, she was large enough that when I typed in "giant black spider in Pacific Northwest" I found her and there was no mistake about it. She turned out to be a Female Mouse Spider and she was about 1/2" in her body with her legs making he seem much larger. I have to say that the warnings about her (or really the male's) potential bite actually gave me pause. They are not aggressive spiders and will not chase you but the male has a nasty bite if provoked and I assumed the female could be provoked as well. I could just imagine our cat Magoo going out and chasing her around, that is how big she was.

I actually saw her stuck in another spider's web and I went and got a large stick (because even I did not want her crawling on me) and freed her from the web before the other spider could wrap her up. Then I used my knitting scissors! to cut the very strong web that was on one of her legs to free her so she could run away. Then I went in to look her up and then I was little um nervous about her being out on the porch. But I have lived near black widows (in San Rafael) and brown recluses (in Kansas City) and of course the aggressive house spider in both San Rafael and here (I just saw one in our bath tub recently and one out on the patio) and I think the thing that made me pause about this spider in particular was that she was so BIG and BLACK and really just so substantial walking around out there. I left her alone and when we came back from the upick she was gone- off to burrow or hunt or lay eggs, whatever a female Mouse Spider does on a fine autumn day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

autumn equinox

We went to pick tomatoes today with Ellen. Then Ellen had the really fun idea to pick flowers as well. The farm that we went to pick tomatoes at also has a lovely upick flowers area and the kids had a blast clipping flowers.

And here are all of the lovely flowers at home.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

then the talk

I made the Vegetable Chowder from the Moosewood Cookbook (always a favorite) last night. So good and a great way to use all of the different veggies from this time of year. I used potatoes (purple, red, fingerling), corn, broccoli, carrots, purple onion, cannellini beans and basil and sauted it all in butter and then added almond milk. The recipe calls for (cow's) milk and heavy cream, if you like.

I also made some basil pesto with walnuts and hazelnuts (to make it local and the mix of the two nuts made it really tasty) and froze some and then used some to mix with cannellini beans in the cuisinart to make a pesto bean dip. It is lovely with crackers and Charlie and I really enjoyed it. I have to say it is really fun to live with a rat because if everyone else snubs your food, the rat will always join you for dinner or lunch or a snack or whatever you've got. Every. Single. Time. He sits watching me now as I type and when I look over, he gives me the signal that he would be up for a snack right now!

Eva wants to make lasagna and we are going to pick tomatoes tomorrow in honor of the Autumn Equinox. Not sure if I am up for making lasagna tonight, although we stopped for ricotta cheese on the way home from errands today, so I am all set. It seems fitting to pick tomatoes and then make a lasagna in honor of the Equinox. Usually we pick apples on the Equinox but for some reason this year I am not really feeling like picking more fruit. We are still eating many many pears. I made apple pear sauce and that is a hit but I think I will wait a bit to pick apples. My tree out back is very prolific and this could also be a reason I don't feel like bringing more apples home! They aren't quite ripe, but when they do ripen it will be a bumper crop for sure.

Everyone is very excited and anticipating Grandpa's visit next week. Samuel was going over his plans for what we will eat when he visits. We are going to check out Flock and Fiber this year and see what that is all about. I am excited whenever I get to see a lot of yarn and the animals should be fun to see.

Samuel is also very excited about his new Bionicles he got this weekend. And did you know Lego now makes a jewelry/music box? Yes. And we now own the Lego fairy music box. Eva listened to it all the way through the mall and in the car on the way home. It plays twinkle twinkle. The music box is heart shaped and has a mirror inside and Eva said she just loves looking at herself in a heart shaped mirror. So cute.

The kids are watching Thumbelina right now and I am going to take this time to knit some of the dinosaurs I am planning on giving them for Christmas. My first T-rex is almost done! I don't know if Samuel will be surprised because he seems to be taking after me as far as being able to guess gifts, but Eva will be surprised for sure and I think they will both be excited to see these guys finally knit. I think we picked out the patterns last spring!

first the photos...(09/19/2008)

Just look at what is blooming by the side of the house...

Hibiscus and another flower I don't know. So fun to have these blooming while the red bush reddens out front. The Japanese Maple is starting to change colors out front as well.

5 1/2

Eva turned 5 1/2 yesterday!

She is loving her Playmobil fairies right now. There are unicorns and fairies and she has several different animals from different sets like hedgehogs and zebras and foxes and horses. She enjoys sewing and dressing in long flowing gowns and singing and swinging and swimming. Mostly, Eva just enjoys...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Check out the truck load of Bionicles. Charlie is in his cage in the background watching me cook food in the kitchen.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

picnic time for teddy bears...

Eva meditating by her picnic nook; bear having a snack.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I took a picture of the full moon last night but it did not turn out. The moon was glorious- not quite a harvest moon, but moving in that direction, with an orange tint. Very dramatic in the dark sky here. If you saw the moon last night, you can imagine now the photo that I was trying to take to post here.

Samuel and I made a duct tape bullwhip tonight (thanks Lyla!). We ended up cutting off some of ours so that it would be easier for Samuel to whip. The original was a little too long. The length ended up being about 56 inches and Samuel cut the dowel to be 7 inches. We ran out of brown duct tape and ended up using some red that he picked out at the same time today at the hardware store. This turned out to be just right and I must say the brown bullwhip with the red handle is smashing. Eva picked out yellow duct tape and wants to make another doll out of it.

Samuel with his new bullwhip! A dream come true!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Eva and I had dinner together tonight. Let me tell you about it. It was divine. I roasted the chicken I bought at the Farmers Market yesterday with some potatoes that I dug out of our garden today with rosemary and thyme from my herb garden. We had a salad made with lettuce and basil from our produce basket (bibb?) and a cucumber, also from our garden, and a black brandywine tomato from the market yesterday. Northwest Blackberry sun tea, sunned today. Eva and I talked about Rip Van Winkle and the meaning of the word rip, of which there are many. Jack and Maxwell joined the meal because the chicken was really really good.

Samuel went bowling with Matt this afternoon for the first time ever! When he came back from bowling, he told me he had the "time of his life", which is to say that waiting until he was ready to go bowling really paid off. He had a blast, got a strike the very first time he bowled and even wore the funny bowling shoes!

See the Black Brandywine tomato right in the middle...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

We went to the Farmers Market today and brought back the most delicious cantaloupe I have ever eaten. This is such an amazing time of year to go to the market. Tomatoes, watermelon, peaches, cantaloupe...and the apples and pears are just starting as well. Also a chicken from the guy that I bought heirloom beans from. Grapes. Blueberries. Eva got a raspberry chocolate brownie. Cilantro, dill, and some yummy roasted tomato salsa! And the pears we picked on Labor Day are really ripe now so we have been eating a ton of really delicious pears. Oh and I nearly forgot! I ordered the turkey for Thanksgiving! Fresh turkey this year from the market. I ordered from the guy that has fresh lamb and sells lovely yarn and wool.

We are reading Arthur, For the Very First Time by Patricia Maclachlan. Such a good book. Samuel was enjoying the Catfish Bend books, so I am going to get some more of those. I am also looking at The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet. We talked today about what constituted different genres- adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, drama, autobiographical, historical- in terms of movies and then books. It started with a discussion of what constituted a horror movie and if Gremlins was a horror movie. I said it was a sort of mild horror movie. I made the mistake of getting Gremlins for the kids several months ago because I had apparently blocked out a good part of the movie, mainly all of the really scary and icky parts and these have really stuck with Samuel. Then he told me never to get a movie recommendation from a teenager because it will most likely be a horror movie. Not sure where this wisdom comes from, although I did have to admit that I saw many horror movies when I was a teenager, probably more than the rest of my life combined. Hmmm... He said his favorite type of movie was whatever Star Wars was, probably a sci-fi/adventure/drama type movie. Yes, that makes sense. Last night he said his favorite books that we have read were The Little House books and the Jedi Apprentice books. I agreed that both of those series were page turners. I added the My Father's Dragon books we just read and also The Secret Garden. Once you start thinking about it, it seems it is truly hard to pin down just one or two. There are just soooo many good books out there!

Yesterday we went swimming and the kids had great fun. Eva loves the water and I am hoping to get us to a pool more frequently. She was talking about swimming lessons a little bit recently, but after spending some time in the water yesterday, she is thinking she will wait on those and learn about the water on her own for now, which seems to be working really well for her at this point.


I cleared a space in the living room and out came the Bionicle boxes. Samuel hasn't really looked at them for a while. They used to be one of his favorite toys and then they went into the garage for several months. Now they are back out and he is making his own with some of them.

The good guy; the bad guys; the good guy fighting the bad guys...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

8 1/2



Samuel is 8 1/2 today! He loves his new Nerf-like gun, riding his bike, making up strategy games, playing chess, horse riding, his Lego guys Sliver and Titan...He is the first one to laugh when he and Eva try to make one another laugh, he would like to be a police officer-private detective-judge-stock market trader-owner of a secret laboratory that no one can find-movie maker. I hope someday he will be able to build the robot that he is always dreaming of!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Jumpin' Jupiters I nearly forgot...

I am so excited about all of the apples on our lovely apple tree. I put all of the fallen apples last fall around the base of the tree, thinking that the tree would be expecting this out in the wild more than it would be expecting me to pick them all up and put them in the compost pile. And would you believe the number of apples that are on the tree this year?! I had no idea! Fantastic!

Monday, September 8, 2008


I blinked...

Autumn is on its way. Autumn is a type of transition in and of itself and then there is the autumn that is there when summer is no more. We have started the transition to autumn, the transition of autumn. Really, I have seen a few leaves in a few trees here and there, looking autumn-ish for a few days, weeks, now. Yesterday, I noticed for the first time the leaves on the blueberry bushes were changing color. There are still a few blueberries out there to pick, a half pint or a little bit more. I picked very thoroughly last week a few pints, up into the tops of the bushes. I found some wonderfully sweet blueberries and we finished them off yesterday. I love the contrast between the changing leaves and the last lingering blueberries.

Our bright red bush out front will soon be bright red again. It is one of the first changes to happen when the seasons move on.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

What a cat won't do for some really good premium cat food. Maxwell was put on a special diet of Evo Innova wet cat food several months ago and Agnes just really can't get enough of it. She is technically not supposed to jump because of the arthritis in her knees, but she has found she can balance on this chair, left by Eva, and make the precarious leap across the kitchen to get to Maxwell's food (kept on top of the counter so Jack doesn't eat it- everyone likes it; it is really good cat food!).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Eva's babies- the one in magenta is Beauty of the Wonders and is the first baby she made. They are out camping.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


What does unschooling look like for us? Today in the car I was thinking about posting this because it was just so typical of what to expect from unschooling- which is just another fancy word for life- around here. While driving in the car on the way to a birthday party, Samuel asked about states, provinces, countries, and continents. Which countries are in North America. How many countries are there. Why do people change countries? Boundaries? Wars? How I don't know where all of the countries in Africa are. Also oceans. But more on continents. Then where I have been, where he wants to go, setting up a knight club (after talking about wanting to go to England and France to see castles). Then why did people stop living in castles. Gun powder. The nature of war when people used castles. Switch gears...How is the courtroom run again? How does the jury work? Are judges elected? (Samuel wants to be a judge.) What do lawyers do? Accused? Prosecutors? Defence attorneys? The fact that I was my senior class president (and I am not doing the reunions- Oh wait, we didn't cover that :) and how to get involved in city politics.

On the way home from the birthday party, we talked about how many Lego sets you could get with one quillion dollars. I assumed one quillion to be past quadrillion (as in million, billion trillion, quadrillion, quillion...) and based my figuring on that figure he came up with, using that logic... We figured out he could buy all of the sets he wanted plus a horse plus a custom toy car to take on walks (so I can walk) plus chickens plus a house with a farm plus the Lego chess set and he would still have enough to live on comfortably for the rest of his life. And he said he would buy something for Eva as well.

Now they are playing with Eva's new Playmobil fairy and his Lego guys and I am realizing I need to take this time to EAT!

Eva's new fairy enjoying a float in the pool. Check out her froggie friend in the background (the little red guy- my camera didn't want to go quite this small...)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Funny little robot magnet guys on the refrigerator.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I have a couple of trunks with keepsake type stuff in them and they have been locked without a key to be found for about 5 years now. I lost the key sometime around the time that we moved up here from San Rafael. Samuel broke open one of them several months ago but the other one remained locked. I had a few ideas about what was inside but it had been several years since I had really been able to look through it. Last night, Eva and I were looking through the trunk that Samuel had managed to get open with a hammer and Eva found one of the missing keys! We opened up the other trunk and inside were so many old clothes and scarves and bags, many that I had completely forgotten about, many from college and from Russia and even things others had given me from Peru and Mexico. Eva is wearing a skirt I used to wear in college and an old hippie shirt that was first my moms and then mine, one I also wore in college. She has a locket that Matt's grandma Annabelle gave me several years ago. She had so much fun dressing up with everything last night and today is still enjoying everything she found. She said the trunk had "wondrous riches" inside. She is holding the heart of the locket open to where her heart is!