Friday, August 29, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Max and Maria, and a breakfast treat, with a view. Southern California~

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Domestic Perils Is What I Call Them

I love our home. Our big blue house, with the leaky roof, and backcountry views. Our Bird House, where quail, gold finches, orioles, blue birds, cedar waxwings, and yes, even scissor-tailed flycatchers visit. Our home with the projects, parts, bits, and bikes, chickens, and people, our very own dust, and rooms, and spaces. Our shelter and nest, our wide open space where friends come to call, and sometimes stay awhile longer.

And every nest, any bird house, will get dusty. Sometimes, it's sawdust, like you see on the heart. Sometimes it's the laundry, that somehow piles up. We make messes. Everyday messes. Living and breathing messes. We make things, and messes come in the making. And some messes come without warning... like the broken water main beneath the driveway, the broken water heater, the broken window. Oh, I suppose we could have seen that coming! These are the occurrences, the entropy, if you will, the matter out of order, that I call Domestic Perils.

Sunday morning... {What? Only three days ago? My, but we have been busy.} Earlier this week I made waffles. A triple batch! This was a bold act of domestic prowess, which is meant to forfeit the powers of domestic perils, by curtailing the consequences of not having weekday breakfast plans. You see, I wanted to make waffles ahead, freeze them, and have those ready to toast for hurried mornings. And I was feeling quite like a domestic goddess for even thinking of doing this, let alone getting the thing done. Waffles. Breakfast. Planning ahead. I believed I had the dread domestic peril of unpreparedness stopped in its sneaky tracks.

This really did go quite nicely. Just slightly undercooked, then layered between waxed paper, sealed and into the freezer! Voila!

And labeled, too? Oh, sure. Why not?

Please note, at this point in the narrative, I am feeling quite swell. I can foresee a really lovely week of out-the-door-to-school mornings with well-fed children, fairly skipping with happy tummies, and me their loving mother, fully dressed, in something other than my pajamas.

Then. This. Happened. The plug wouldn't leave the socket, and was in fact pulling out of the cord, and dangling and hot, and a full board electrical domestic peril was happening. Frack. Frackity, feckity, feh.

This is a domestic peril of the fatal variety. Our darling waffle maker, the one revered in song and poem, is no more. Rest in peace, dear waffle dragon.

Moment of silence.

We returned from two weeks of camping, and travel, August 10, and on that very day, during the very first load of home-from-camping laundry, our washer quit. I tried all the tricks... unplug, reboot, kick, coddle, prayer, walking away, imploring on bended knee, but the washer only snickered, and locked itself down. A total walk-out. This is a compounding domestic peril, when you have both the dread laundry, which must be cleaned, and a dead machine, which must be repaired. And this can also be a moment to reassess perceptions about a dread domestic peril, because the only thing I like less than doing laundry is not being able to do laundry. This is a compounding domestic peril with paradox! Really yucky.

Fast forward to August 19th: Trusted repairman comes, makes diagnosis, orders part, and informs me we own one of the worst washers ever made. Ever. This is a domestic peril of consumer fate. Fortunately, the washer came with the house, so we feel slightly less pain on hearing this assessment of its worthlessness. {At least we aren't the poor chumps that went out and bought the darn thing. Small comforts, denial, ignorance, and high pain thresholds are paramount to enduring all domestic perils.}

Fast forward to August 21st: My Mom and Dad send a link to a washer they insist on having delivered to the Bird House. This is no kind of domestic peril at all, but the highest kind of love and caring, and we accept this offer, thrilled, elated, and thankful.

Fast forward to yesterday, August 26th: The washer is coming! And William and I clear the space, and I am separating whites and colors, and joy is ringing through my heart and hands, because I can undertake the ginormous task of smiting the foe, dirty laundry! But. No. Seems our valves, especially the hot water valve are too corroded, and will likely break and flood the interior wall if turned, and so appliance delivery and installer guy drives away, until we can fix that. Domestic peril of the aging home variety. Stuff gets old.

A little bit I wanted to cry, or drink a Margarita. Neither felt like a good option, so I went to FB and poured my heart out, whined a bit, and took consoling messages from caring friends. It's like therapy for First World problems, social media is.

Fast forward, again, and Geoff is sweating copper on our dining table. Also on the dining table: sewing machine, because William is learning how to sew a waistcoat, and Maria and I are making clothes for her little dolls, wood working tools from William's flintlock pistol project, as well as cutlass parts. Homework, and back to school papers... etc.

The valves really were corroded, and I am super glad Geoff knows a thing or two about replacing valves, cutting out dry-wall, removing drains... etc. And hardly an eye batted when he said, Dang it, burned the table. Somehow these little remarks, the collateral damage variety of domestic perils, barely register. Did I call it a "dining table?" It's more of a workbench. In the kitchen. Where we take meals.

I asked Geoff if he and I could sweat copper, together, our next date.

The soonest I can get the delivery guys back here is Thursday. The water is turned off, so we had to order pizza for dinner. I think the children would call this a domestic peril twist benefit. But, we have new valves!

And it's all shiny and clean, and good. Oh. Yeah... I will be looking at paint colors, inspired by the new drywall section... because I think a new color is in order... a happy to be in the laundry room shade. {What color would that be, I wonder?}

So. Yeah. There are all kinds of domestic perils and messes, and mishaps. I didn't even get to the other domestic peril chain of misfortunes that is our upstairs deck and living room ceiling. This one involves water leaking, termites, rotting wood, and hoped-for new flooring.

One of the worst perils of the home? Uh, being a blogger may be one of the most detrimental domestic perils we face, because anyone more keen on writing about housework than actually doing housework is gonna be a bit of a problem.

I have compulsive blogging domestic peril avoidance disorder. I got it bad.

I love our home. We have a beautiful view... many lovely, good, and happy views.

{By the way... the children ate all of the frozen waffles. A comforting snack. Sunday night. Domestic perils of internal sabotage.}

Monday, August 25, 2014

Five Good Things

What I would really love is to paint this moment, in oils, on a large canvas. In all seriousness, it should be called Man With Guacamole, and it would be an art sensation... in New York. Or London. Here, at home.

We like to goof. We like to play.

Uncle Paul, and his nephews, Max and Alex and Nick~

And after we goof over dinner, we like to go outside and draw art cars, and think about making really fantastic things, and talk about making really fantastic things. We did this before Paul continued his motorcycle trip... which began Wisconsin to California, then north to Washington, and across the Great Plains, home.

Dinner was Ruth's treat, and it was fun being altogether, no one cooking, no one doing dishes. It left more time for goofing and playing and talking.





James, Izzy, Uncle Rich~

William~





Lots of playing and talking.

And goofing.

Good things...

1. Family and friends hanging out.

2. Summer nights when the heat has settled, the sun has set, and it's still light out.

3. Geoff is repairing our dear waffle iron, and my mommy is sending us a new washer: Blessings abound!

4. Geoff bought a new shower head, and it has a hose, so we can easily clean the shower walls! No more silly splashes of buckets tossed against the walls.

5. "Maybe we should just get a new one." Geoff told me the waffle cord overheated and fried everything. Is this a good thing?? Good thing I didn't burn the house down!

Summer is winding down, right? Maybe that's just me. I realize, once I've had my vacation, and the scholars are back at desks, I am ready for FALL! Autumn daydreams, cool nights, misty days, leaves strewn across mossy paths. Hot cider, wool socks, deep quilts heaped upon soft beds! {Yes. Yes, I do get carried away.} Gosh, there's still a solid week of August left! I shouldn't rush the days, they hurtle by as it is.

Are you enjoying good things, or daydreaming of good things? Had some goofiness, lately? I hope you'll share, please~

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy Weekending, Here is Our Foo Kitty

1. One Foo.

2. Two Foo.

3. Three Foo.

4. Four Foo.

5. Five Foo.

Our Mister Washburn Cookies-n-Cream Ninja Polka Spotted Floppy Booty Foo.
Mischievous
Bitey
Snoozy
Foot seeking sleep missile, with a kink at the end of his tail.
Fastidiously clean, impishly bad, the chatty cat, so clumsy he trips over his own shadow, and could fall off the floor.
The motor cat, that runs to Maria's side, to nuzzle and snuggle, and knead his way into her open heart. Such a Foo.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lavender Sachets Smell Like Summer

While William works on sewing his waistcoat, I've been playing with fabric scraps, and dabbling in small projects to share with Maria. I settled on an idea that brought several crafts and projects into one activity. I cut small muslin panels... 2.5" x 4", so we could sew sachets. Then I found the two stamps that Maria and I learned to make at Maker Faire.

Maria's is a flower, and mine a... can you guess? Yeah, a chicken!

We stamped our muslin pieces. We're talking home-grown and folksy, here.

This is the part that got Maria really excited, because we were using our own stamps, and now we were collecting the lavender from our very own garden, and we tried to remember the first time we dried lavender. It was two summers ago, when we started our CandleLight tradition! So, now our own garden, and our own preserving, were helping us to do a new activity. All of our earlier efforts were coming together to make sachets all our very own.

The lavender smells lovely, warm, soothing, like a summer afternoon.

Maria filled the small pouches, and we thought how ideal it was that our black ink pad had faded to a lovely lavender shade.

And just to make the circle complete... leftovers went to our compost aids, the goats! The goats are regular contributors to enrich our garden soil.

Ada and Tasha love dried herbs. We brought them pine needles, and dried leaves, too. We call it trail-mix. Those two are so funny. Any leftover herbs, like Rosemary and lavender can also go in the nest boxes, where they help ward off pests, and give the hens a lovely fragrance to nestle in.

Besides sachets, Maria and I have been making other things with fabric scraps, like the snack bags we use around here all the time. Those are not just handy, but easy to make. And they are a fun way to make use of small and pretty bits of leftover fabric. We have a vision... we are working up to hosting a craft~lemonade~bakery sale to benefit the Little Free Library. The Library is doing very well, our neighbors are terrific contributors, the pups love the water dish, and enjoy the biscuits we leave out. Only one thing is missing... a reading bench! Since some families cannot wait to read their books, we think it would be great to have a sturdy and comfortable spot, beneath the pines, where a person could enjoy reading a chapter, or two. Our sale would be fun, and perhaps interactive, and all the proceeds would go toward the purchase of an outdoor bench. {Only "one thing missing?" Well, actually, I have more plans in mind, so maybe if our little sale makes big sales, we can see about a deck and shade, too. It never hurts to dream, right?}

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

The egg bread loaves William baked for Movie Night... and thinking of all the friends who broke bread with us.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Garden Journal







This garden update is about luck, more than green thumbs, or diligence and management. Pure, dumb luck. My last garden update was a painful confession of all things neglected, stuff gone wrong. I lamented the slow progress of the tomatoes, and the return of our garden nemesis, the Harlequin Beetle. Then we took off on an epic road trip and camping adventure and left the garden to fate and drip irrigation, which is a lovely option when gardening is a hobby, and not our main source of provisions, our winter larder. Thank God our garden is not our main source of provisions!

Some of you may follow SouleMama and her weekly garden updates. They are a family gardening and farming in earnest. They are counting on their crops, and preparing for real winter. Amanda's garden posts are gorgeous displays of bounty, lush fruitfulness, heaping harvests. They're canning, roasting, preserving, freezing, and feasting out there, in Maine. Readers are invited to share their garden updates, and this morning... I couldn't do it. I thought it better to spare anyone pictures of things withered on vines, and languishing in our droughty soil. This isn't a pity party, because I know there is a lot I could do to boost our ratings, improve our topsoil, and increase the yields. I've just been in another mind space this summer, I suppose. It's not so bad turning away from my garden and admiring all the other gardens, enjoying the amazing local resources, without busting my turf to be just as successful. But despite my mild indifference, and paying attention to other activities, and demands, our garden is still being generous...

I only have to look past the fading parts, the overgrown bits, the weeds etc... and lo! We have tomatoes. We have figs. The Fuji apple tree is full, the lemon tree, too. Our first pomegranates are still on the tree, looking promising. Our onions are curing in the barn, and those are tasty! Check out the gourds, and more on the way. We even managed to collect a few pumpkins, and we ate a peach from our new tree. I can find chives, thyme, rosemary, and lavender... anytime of the year! And our Feijoa, those pineapple guavas we planted? If we don't learn to make and can jam from those, it will be a travesty. We'll share them, for sure. We are looking at a Feijoa treasure trove! Lucky, right? I shouldn't dismiss what we have, just because I feel like I haven't done enough for the garden, this year. I shouldn't call it a disaster.

I should collect those tomatoes, and figs, add more lemons to the Free Little Library attic, and cut some Lavender for my nightstand. And I should be very grateful that this winter Southern California farmers and local gardeners will keep us well-fed. How is your garden faring? Do you enjoy summer rain showers and flower beds, had your fill of zucchini, yet, are you growing herbs at your windowsill?