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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring

Here's what I wrote about Spring a few days ago. I think the tone in the first paragraph lacks a certain Zing! (which is why I put off posting it. trying to locate that Zing!) I was looking for to convey the most recent Spring shift in the air I was feeling. Upon rereading it, however, I wonder if the tone was perfect for that day. I'm posting it now because it seems subtly different enough from how it feels on this day, that I know that things have already shifted again, which feels good to me right now. The {seeming} lack of movement in the season had begun to feel heavy to me, as though no matter how hard I tried to open my eyes, I was still yawning and sleepy after a long and rainy nap.

"Slowly. Imperceptibly. {Until it's not.} No longer winter-moving-toward-spring, but simply spring. Spring. And soon, she will move-as we expect her to- toward summer. But until then- until then- she is spring.

Just last week, I wondered at feeling warm again and when that would feel real. Difficult to fathom when Spring's hail and sleet continued to pound the patio roof. Surely, those first flowers signaled a break. A subtle shift. And now? No longer one flower pointed out as we drive past, but several pink and white trees fully lining the boulevards, leaving me hoping. Knowing. There will be dogwoods. There will be irises. Ducklings. Subtle shifting and suddenly, a noticeably warmer day takes us for a much needed walk in the woods and we no longer wear coats. We leave our hats in the car, forgotten for now."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

salad

Today I finished up the last of the blueberries I dried last summer. Suffice it to say, I will definitely be drying more next summer. They take quite a bit of time in the dehydrator but are completely worth it. I still have several bags of frozen blueberries in the berry freezer and while we are enjoying them immensely, I wish I had dried a few more. Next time. The dried pears are also good, but not nearly as versatile.

My favorite way to eat the dried blueberries has been in salads, particularly the ones I have been making since the bitter spring greens have started in my CSA basket over the last month or so. Today I had dried blueberries, tangelos and pink lady apples in a salad with walnuts, carrots, scallions (the first of the season!) and our first radishes from the farmers market. All of this was chopped and tossed with fresh baby greens, also from the farmers market. I like salt, balsamic vinegar and olive oil on my salad. It took me a while to get used to this simple dressing, but now I love it.

I love this time of year for so many reasons, not the least of which being that I can finally stop buying the California baby greens every week for the guinea pigs. I eat mainly local, seasonal vegetables from my year round CSA, which I love and am happy and grateful to be able to do. The guinea pigs, however, really love their morning greens and unfortunately, there are a few months in Oregon when there are no local greens to be found. Even the Romaine lettuces go away. While the greens and lettuces haven't returned yet to our grocery store, they can be found in abundance at the farmers market. This last week, the pigs have been enjoying their new local fare, but request that I hold the spinach and bok choi, please. They prefer dandelions. I don't blame them. I must say, I was excited to see if I had found someone who would finally eat the spring bok choi that starts showing up this time of year. Of course, I prefer kale.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Slice of Life Tuesday

{on Thursday}

This week's theme
is Yellow. I'm obviously gaga for daffodils.




Tuesday, March 15, 2011

spring photos and one guinea pig

No alphabet today. I'm barely here, just popping in to upload a few spring photos.





Monday, March 14, 2011

Bother. Yesterday was M, which I mistakenly missed. Too bad, too, because I had all kinds of M words, like Mad Men, which I am currently {thoroughly} enjoying. I woke up this morning to the realization that when I sat down to order the groceries, I had also intended to blog. I decided to wait on the grocery order, due to circumstances beyond my control and completely forgot about blogging in the meantime. I am currently waffling between a c'est la vie attitude and one that sounds more like Grrrrr...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Of course today, after thinking about the letter K all day yesterday, was bursting with words that start with K. I can't remember any of them now, but I definitely noticed them when I heard them. Eva has been enjoying playing Scribblenauts lately. (Hey, there's the letter L.) She plays with me and either types or writes in the words or she plays by herself and writes in words from some of the workbooks she likes. She also likes to type in just a few letters to see what comes up. I've been so surprised to see creatures like guinea pigs showing up {seemingly} randomly after she has typed in a few {random} letters. If you don't like synchronicity, perhaps you're partial to luck? Either way you look at it, they are both something good happening to you, at just the right time that can seem too good to be true and highly enriching and note-worthy (or yell-across-the-room-to-tell-someone-else-worthy, depending...)

Friday, March 11, 2011

K is for Halo? Or Birthday? Or um Samuel? Hmmm...

Today was Samuel's 11th birthday. He had a big day playing Halo 3 on his new Xbox 360 (I'm so proud I know what that is!), eating cake and Thai food. (Still not a single word that starts with K....)





Blowing out kandles on his double-roll kake. I sure would like some kale.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

J is for jam, which I had to buy for the first time in a few years because {gasp} I actually ran out of my summer raspberry jam. Next year, I will try and remember to set aside two jars for Samuel's birthday. He likes angel food roll cakes with raspberry jam in the center each year for his birthday. I generally make two, because one cake goes quickly. This year, Eva learned how to separate eggs while we made his cakes together. She made the first cake, after figuring out the separation technique, mostly by herself, and really enjoyed sifting and folding the flour. After separating twelve more eggs for the second cake, she wandered off and I finished up the second cake. I have to say, after several years of trial and error with rolling these cakes, I have found that rolling the flat sheet while it is still hot creates a much smoother roll.

It is slightly disappointing that I didn't get to use my own jam for these cakes, because not only is my jam a better consistency for spreading, it tastes better. No matter. Samuel wanted raspberry jam so we bought raspberry jam. All we have left in the cupboard from last summer are a few jars of strawberry and marionberry, which I will probably use on Eva's roll cake that she is now requesting for her own birthday. She told me today that the marionberry jam is her favorite. So-unfortunately- I opened two jars of unmarked {marionberry} jam today. But- fortunately- I can use at least one of those jars in just ten days for Eva's birthday.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

baby guinea pigs

We had the good fortune to spend time with friends AND baby guinea pigs today.





And just how do guinea pigs have anything to do with the letter I? Why, because they love to sit in their plastic igloos, of course. Plus, I love them!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Slice of Life Tuesday

It happens (that counts for an H word, don't you think? and i wasn't even trying for that one...) that I am going to take a photography-ish sort of online course starting in April that focuses on- is, in fact, called- the Slice of Life project. While the course doesn't start until April, the woman who teaches (Darrah Parker) the course has a Slice of Life Tuesday group on Flicker. This week the theme is Up Close and Personal. Here's the photo I uploaded to that group. {For fun.}



Eva (and I) working on a craft project together.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gee...

G is for giving up. It's all well and good to come up with an inspiration like words or the alphabet to help me post on my blog. Or to do anything, for that matter. I'm a big fan of the new system, that's for sure. But at what point do you drop the new system in favor of a newer system? Or no system? And is there anything wrong with that. Do you continue to slog through the mud or the tar or push past the roadblock of the currently-uninspiring-was-new-system, in the hopes that it becomes inspiring once more, or do you simply let it go? Or, more negatively put, give up? For me, it's always a bit of both, with a nod that has become stronger as I grapple with these questions, the longer I grapple, to the parts of me that enjoy developing new systems and the parts of me that enjoy breaking free of them once they become less inspiring and more hmm... shackle-like. But funny that giving up showed up with the letter G. Who can say what will happen next? A continuance of the alphabetically-inclined post? A reprieve? A follow up days later, after several un-alphabet-related posts? It's these thoughts that I encounter in most of my endeavors, on my way to the lovely balance of form (the new system!) and freedom (the inspiration!) and where the two shall meet.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

E is for Eva (pronounced Ava. as in Gabor. but with an E, nonetheless.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Done

I while back, I posted about Eva and I getting ready to read all of the Magic Tree House books in order. I wanted to post an update and say that we are {officially} done. Done, as in, she doesn't want to read them anymore. I have no idea whether this desire to read-them-all-in-order will resurface at some point {again} and am left feeling alternately relieved, confused and even a little wistful, asking myself bittersweet questions like, "If I had agreed to read-them-all-in-order before, would we have hit them at just the right time and gotten through them?" Or even- "Was it my willingness to read-them-all-in-order that finally allowed us to not read-them-all-in-order?" Such questions, though, are better left for 4:00 a.m. wakings, when they can really dig in and drive me crazy. Eva seemed absolutely fine when she said she didn't want to read them anymore. She simply said, "Yeah, I don't really want to read them anymore," and went off unceremoniously to do something else. And that was that. I'm trying to follow suit. Maybe posting about it will help. Or returning the others to the library. Out of sight, out of mind, and all that.



And- our dog Jack. Listening to what the kids are up to in the next room.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

C. I've got nothing. Except cats.



Agnes posing for her 18th birthday photo. She turned 18 this past Saturday (02-26-11).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Be

All I could think of was beauty, when the sun shone through the clouds. And the color of the sky,bright blue, spanning half the sky, bringing with it suggestions of park walks and pea plantings (finally).

And bushtits busy in the blueberry bushes, watching as I approached.

video

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A is for Ant

A is for ant. Or ants. With his friends. Curiously meandering all through my home...

The ant scouts came early- or so it seems to me now. It seems like I remember sunshine and a bit more warmth for their initial spring entrance, which is not the case currently. (Or is it more likely that I have one or two memories of ants and sunshine, in this house, and have glossed over the rest? Or is it simply rainier this year? Or, is this exactly when the ants usually show up- the perfect ant time? They certainly seem to think so.) Of course- the bit with the sunshine and the warmth- that also might be later, when they come out with their queens and high hopes of expansion.

These current ants are scouts, out wandering, looking for snacks, ever optimistic that sweet goodness will be found within these walls. My walls. Their walls. They make no distinction. Why should I. And truly, as long as they don't bring back long lines of friends, I mostly leave them alone (save to take one or two back outside to spend time with other friends). Even then, even with long lines of friends, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't do much beyond sprinkling cinnamon and pepper around their trails. Then I'd bring out the caulking gun. (Just because they are here, doesn't mean they need to stay. But I'm friendly while we share a space.)

And, because I know I am friendly, I also make sure to keep juices and apple peels and all sorts of ant goodies picked up, cleaned up, and out of most spaces, because ants are quick and will come to stay, if given the right invitation. I've had run-ins with ants before and felt powerless in their presence, their large numbers taking over my kitchen, my laundry room, my pet food. Now I'm very clear. They are welcome. In {very} small numbers. And I'll do my bit to keep those numbers from growing.

I'm certain the ants are here because of the rain, too. I just found out that Portland broke a 130 year rain record by over an inch yesterday. So there are ants. In the house. To get out. Of the rain. {But no thunder, because it's Portland.}