Friday, August 29, 2014


My friend Edie is a big community advocate. She is on the board of the CCAC, volunteers at Snowline Hospice and has an incredibly storied life. Currently she is remodeling (by herself) a large, formerly derelict, house on 2 acres...she is in her 70s! She has been very kind to me and I am inspired by her self-reliance and her commitment to relationships. I appreciate her friendship greatly. Edie's property shares a fence line with a large fruit grower in our town, Rainbow Orchards (the Barn Dance's host). The owner asked if she would like to glean the remainder of the blueberries still on the bushes as the farm is no longer picking. She invited me to come glean whenever I could, I still can't believe my good fortune! On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Goo and I hiked Edie's lower property line to Rainbow where blueberries sat lazily, plump and juicy. I picked and weighed 40 pounds of blues. Goo documented my work,
On Tuesday he was so proud of my score saying, "Mama, you a good picka!"
Thank you Edie for inviting me to glean and thank you Rainbow Orchards for your willingness to share with your neighbors your bountiful crops.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Country Barn Dance.

The CCAC held their annual Barn Dance fundraiser Saturday night. Though it was poorly attended this year, Tim and I had a fun time enjoying a night out with the Potter's and Morris'. Littles aren't included in this event which was too bad, there were a few littles who came along with Grandparents and had the best time! I hope next year the board will make the event more family friendly.
Jeremy & Tara with Tim and I.
Kevin and Krista Potter.
Some dancing.
Rainbow Orchard's finest, Apple Cider Donuts.
The auction.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Potter's Chicken Harvest.

I realize we all look happy in this photo below and so let me be clear: this moment was towards the end of the harvest, when there was a clear end point. If you would be sick or sad or horrified as to the details of a chicken slaughter, best not to read any further. But since you are continuing to read, I'll tell you there was no joy in any of this process (except for the chicken sausage I made for this morning's breakfast, obviously). I was interested and intrigued, contented in knowing the chicken meat I would eat in the future was raised healthily, humanly and conscientiously. Also I feel connected to old ways and in touch with the value of food. When you collect your own food say from the garden or harvest a friend's hard work in raising animals, you waste less. That is to say, because of this experience I want to waste less food in my life.
(clockwise from left: Nathan, Mike, Myself, Tim, Krista. Kevin took the photos. All Littles stayed far away.)
8 weeks ago Krista bought 30 meat chicks. Once big enough to be out from under a heat lamp, she put the chicks in a chicken tractor which is like a coop on wheels, easy to move from one place to the next. Meat chickens are different than laying chickens, they eat a high protein diet and because of their breed, they bulk up fast. At 8 weeks the chickens can hardly walk with such a weight on their legs. During these 8 weeks, 4 chickens went missing (likely during a tractor move) and then last weekend 4 suffered heat stroke and so Kevin and Krista harvested them a week early. Saturday morning we harvested 22 meat chickens. Nathan, Mike, Tim and I had never harvested or killed for food before (Krista and I didn't take part in the slaughter). Kevin and Krista had set up a work station near the house and a slaughter station off the path towards the barn. I'll give you a mental picture instead of an actual photo...the device they used for slaughter was a sort of guillotine made of upside down traffic cones on a, you know what? Forget it, I can't describe it. Just YouTube it. Ugh...
Once the chickens were dead, they were brought over in ice chests to the work station where we skinned and gutted them (this is the point when FedEx pulled up to drop off a package, what a scene we must have been...). That part was rough, especially the first chicken. I felt by the fourth I was really getting the hang of it.
After skinning and gutting, we butchered the meat and set like parts aside.
Then we cleaned up, Kevin bagged the chicken meat and we all sat around and drank a beer because whoa, that was quite an experience!
Thank you to the Potter's who have enriched our lives immensely and who are so generous in their willingness to teach and share alike.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Couple Things...

I've been working on a big backyard project. Part of this project is to bring in ornamental plants which encourage bees and butterflies to stay a spell. I guess I was a bit skeptical when buying the plants and so upon choosing Butterfly Bush I just shrugged and figured who cares if it brings in the butterflies...this gorgeous plant smells amazing. But you know? These plants absolutely live up to their name and are happily dancing throughout the day with butterflies. I have never seen a butterfly like this in our garden before planting these ornamentals.

And you know what?
this view doesn't get old...ever. These water lilies make me happy. I never thought to smell them before today, I figured they didn't smell, their sole purpose to look good. But I couldn't have been more wrong. The fragrance is heavenly.
So what are you up to this weekend, Hutters? Do you feel Autumn right around the corner? Did you know we are exactly 1 week away from Apple Hill's opening day? So exciting. This weekend we are participating in our first meat chicken harvest...yup. Also our town is having their annual Barn Dance and we missed it last year so I am super excited about attending. Yes, come Saturday night I'll be feeling like a real farmer/rancher. Wishing you a happy weekend!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Little Goo Stuff.

This Goo...
is all kinds of awesome. He just discovered the joy of playing pirates. If he isn't marching around in just his under-roos, then he is wearing the pirate costume. Raising a little boy is super fun. Yesterday we were in the school office filling out paperwork and Goo marched behind the partition to visit the fish tank. He called me over and said, "Dis guy? Dis GUY? Do see him? He bad-guy."
I looked at the fish, mouth suctioned to the side of the tank. "This one?"
"Yeah, he bad-guy fish."
"What makes him a bad guy?"
"Do see his moostach?"
"His mustache?"
"Yeah. Him's moostach have mussles. Big mussles. Rewlly strong mussles."
"Oh, I see."
While I was working on a painting project today, Goo climbed up on top of a big wagon filled with firewood (in just his under-roos and a hardhat and tennis shoes) and started pushing all the wood off the side of the cart screaming, "SHUT IT DOWN! I SAID SHUTITDOWN!" then a couple seconds later in another voice "Okay I shut it down!" then in his regular voice "NO, IT NOT! Shut it DOWN!" It went on like this for a long time at which point I started videoing and he stopped and cared very little about his pretending and wanted to see the video.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Little Girls.

I remember when Savannah was 2 and Ivy just newborn, thinking ahead to school and what it would be like to not have The Little Girls with me everyday, all day. I remember shuddering with that thought feeling it the most unnatural notion to be out of reach of my babies. Now I am way past that wondering and in the thick of it and you know? I shudder every morning with the thought of our separation. Sure it is nice to have one on one time with Goo and to get a chore done quicker without the eventual needs of 2 other Littles, to not feel stretched thin between the 3, but I miss my girls and knowing this transition into the new school year has been rough on them both makes their absence palpable. I miss their laughter and the stories they tell while playing. I miss their schemes and plotting, their big questions about life and their touch (oh the hand holding...sniff sniff). The day doesn't feel right until both Little Girls have stepped off the bus and are running into my arms.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

1st and 3rd.

Yesterday was The Little Girls' first day of school.
Ivy is very happy to have Savannah's 1st grade teacher. Also she is in the same classroom as 2 of her favorite friends from last year. I think this is going to be a year of tremendous growth for Ivy, both scholastically and personally. It was so fun for her to share her birthday with the first day of school. She was well celebrated and brought a treat to share with everyone.
Both girls share recess times, lunch times and bus rides. I was touched to hear they played together at both of their recesses yesterday as well as sat together on the bus.
There is a lot of newness for Savannah this year. Her teacher is an artist and a phenomenal instructor, we are super excited about that. 3rd grade is more intensive and more is expected out of her in regard to independence and responsibility.  Last year I volunteered 5 days a week in Savannah's classroom. This year I'm not sure her new teacher will look to parents to volunteer inside the class. I'm a bit torn up about it and she wishes I were there. Luckily her 2 closest friends are in her class and sitting very near her. I took this photo just before she told me she needed to leave the classroom. Once we reached the threshold she jumped into my arms and burst into tears.
She missed the second day of school due to a fever and stomach bug, I'm hoping she will feel well enough to return tomorrow and finish the week strong.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Today Ivy Jane turns 7 years old. We have celebrated a couple times these last few days when Tim's folks came over for BBQ and cake on Sunday, then again on Monday when The Potter girls, Morris Littles, Jack and Hank came for lunch/more cake.
She requested Chocolate Cake and Pavlova. (oh that Goo...he has to blow out everyone's candles.)
Opening gifts from Grandma and Grandpa,
and from her friends. She is a lucky girl to have such support and love. She has been talking about this birthday for a very long time. I can't believe she is so big, seven years has passed too quickly.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Water Gardens.

Last week my neighbor Nita introduced me to her friend Nancy who is a water garden expert. At her gorgeous property she taught me all she could about tending to water lilies and koi fish, fertilizing submerged plants, de-chlorinating water and creating a healthy ecosystem for plants, fish, amphibians and bugs.
I took new knowledge, vessels, plants and fish home and set it all up.
These gardens bring such happiness, joy and calm to our backyard. The Littles and I call these our "Zen Gardens". Interesting note: We have ten goldfish and five koi, we feed them nothing. All the nutrients they need are in the plants and bugs (like mosquito larve) at the water's surface.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

National Night Out.

Do you attend your community's National Night Out? Our town is tiny but the community planning committee goes big for this event. Krista and I organized the old-timey field games, our Littles were the only participants at first but then a flood of people showed up and joined in.
3-legged race.
Car show.
Sack race.
Water balloon toss.
Local firefighters brought a truck for the kids to play/dream in and the county bomb squad brought their robot to share too.
There was a raffle as well as live music and the organizers provided free s'mores and hot dogs. Ivy was busy getting her face painted and then running around with school friends she has missed over the summer. I love this event. Partying with neighbors and friends on a random Tuesday night is just the best. 


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gathering And Preserving.

The weather has been cool and so I have taken full advantage of the lower temps by picking and canning from my garden.
Yesterday I roasted tomatoes for sauce, pickled beets and stewed Cowboy Candy (candied jalapeƱos).

Also, my white corn is ready. It was deliciously sweet. I still can't believe how easy corn is to grow and how much joy my few stalks have brought to the garden.


Today I tried something new: Salsa Verde (tomatillo salsa). I've never thought to grow tomatillos before but they grow prolifically in this microclimate and so I'll continue to plant them in years to come. The salsa is tasty, it won't last long here at The Hut.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Little Hike.

Tim and I took The Littles for a hike around Wright's Lake. We picked a bit of wild blueberries as we walked and distracted grumpiness with the promise of a swim at the end of the trail.
We collected moss, rocks and feathers while dreaming of future hikes with our little family.