To Alex -

To Alex...who is far away in person, but never far from my heart. I miss you. Enjoy these snippets of everyday family life here in the states.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Two Wheeled Tours

The view from my bike as part of the Exploring Something New challenge:

Hmmm, I used to jump from this trestle when I was a teenager. Looking over the edge now, I can't imagine how I had the nerve. Wicked river currents below.

I thought I wanted orange poppies in my garden, but now I think I want this color. Perhaps I should have both?

Awww, thanks babes. This is so sweet. How did you know I would be riding this route today?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


and the living is easy...

Friday evening was hot. Hot and steamy. Like, you don't want to move because your skin will melt off, hot and steamy. I suppose the humidity is a small price to pay for living so close to a fresh water inland 'ocean'. Okay, it's not really an ocean, but it certainly can act like one. Fortunately, for me, I have several dear friends who own boats and I can call any time and ask for a ride, which I did. And since it's rhubarb season, boat rides mean Ruby Junes.

Wait a minute, I didn't drink Ruby Junes on the boat, I was piloting. We sipped these Saturday evening. Huh, the heat must have melted my brain too. Back to the story. The boat ride was delightful and there was an amazing change in the temperature between when we pulled out of the marina and when we motored out onto the big lake. It was as if someone had turned on the air conditioning full blast. Ahhhh....we spent the evening puttering up the coast and then slowly puttering back. It was heaven after the oppressive temperatures in town.

Saturday morning found me at the farmer's market for lots of fresh produce. One of my more recent, but favorite early summer food items to buy is scapes, which is the top of garlic, but you can only get them for a couple weeks and I was afraid I had missed them. Thankfully, my ladies still had some left and I bought 2 dozen. I would have been really disappointed to have to wait another year for them. I found asparagus, and rhubarb, and a few other vegetables and greens for dinner that were too irresistable to pass by.

From the look of this young lady I wasn't the only one who couldn't resist the treats. Her mother didn't know she had the strawberry until she felt juice dripping onto her toes. Apparently, it was a free sample? The strawberry is smushed into her little fist and she's eating the pulp that squeezes out from between her fingers. This girl knows her yummy treats!

I didn't buy any of these but it reminded me of how much I like steamed radishes. If you haven't tried them, you must. You simply steam them until they are fork tender, toss with a little butter and eat like a potato. The flavor is completely changed and they really do taste quite like a brussel sprout, which happens to be my favorite vegetable.

Later, Lubbers Farm held a milk workshop that I attended. And what, you may ask, is a milk workshop? Haha, it's where you learn to make your own butter, yogurt, sour cream, crème fraiche, ice cream and simple cheeses. Aand, you get to sample all the products. Crazy easy and oh, so dee-licious!

Aren't these just the prettiest faces? I love Jersey cows.

Then it was off to my girlfriend's for a relaxing evening of dinner and a movie with several friends.

Spring Rolls were on the menu along with an assortment of other tasty treats. Very refreshing on a hot summer evening. Right, the Ruby Junes were amazingly refreshing as well and this time, I really did drink them.

Sunday morning, B had some more perfecting to do on my rain barrel and while he was doing that, the rhubarb from the market was begging me to bake some crisp.

The afternoon bloomed with even more fabulous weather so we were left with no choice but to go out adventuring again. B and I hopped on our bikes for another bike ride. I'll post more pics later this week, but you need to know we accidently turned our leisurely ride into a 20 mile, 4.5 hour ride. The weather was gorgeous for riding the trails in the woods and by the river, and then we found new additions to the trail, and somehow, we just kept going until we arrived back home.

It looks like we pedaled all the way to Texas, but Megan wasn't home. I think she was on life guard duty that afternoon.

Wanna ride? Seriously, some people crack me up.

Ah, yes. I hope you're enjoying your easy summertime living too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

For Alex

Honey - she was too adorable for words so I'll leave you with the pics. Love you.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Island Life

We took the grandsons camping and paddling on an island. This was their first time camping together with us, but without the parents. It was also their first time paddling boats alone. We pretty much gave them their own tent and gear and simply steered while they found their own rhythm in the woods. Huge, huge success. They know...

You lead, we'll follow.

Really, do boys in the woods need much more than binoculars and slingshots?

Spencer certainly found his own creative way of doing things. More and more I find he marches to his own beat in life.

Critters and things of interest were everywhere. They made a game of finding what there was to see if only they looked closely and carefully.

No cuts or stitches, but that may be because I said his mother may never let him go with me again if I brought him back with stitches. That's not true, but he was extra careful in learning to whittle with my knife.

Here we go...

One of the many things that intrigued them about paddling was how deep into the wetlands they could get. It's impossible to walk out to where we paddled, but a motor boat can't get this close to shore either. It's also one of the things I've always loved about paddling.

Yeah, it didn't work out too well to have both the boys in the inflatable when they didn't know what they were doing. I gave Konner my boat and jumped in with Spencer. Konner paddled like he had been doing it all his life. I see a new boat in my future.

Ha ha...he sits like he's been paddling all his life. All kicked back and relaxing.

Relaxing in the shade and protection of the island. We floated for quite awhile and I never heard anyone say, "I'm bored," because they weren't.

Awwww....look at that.

You can get so close to the wildlife when you're paddling.

No, we were not harrassing the Loon. He, yes, it's a male, was doing what he's supposed to do and that's to draw our attention to him while he leads us away from the female on the nest. We're well aware of what he's doing and we played along. He would let us get real close as he preened and splashed around, and then he would dive under the water and come up far enough away that we had to paddle to catch up. After leading us sufficiently far away, he dove and we didn't see him again. That is, until we looked behind and found him way back by the nest again. Clever trick isn't it?

Dusk on the water. The lighting at this time of day always amazes me.

The day is done, everyone is fed and happy, the mosquitos are out in force and the boys retire to the safety of their tent for a rousing game of Skip-Bo before sleep calls them too strongly. Life is great on an island.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Owl Always Love You

F.Y.S. has been dating girlfriend for 6 years. He loves her, we love her. Life is good.

For their anniversary, he wanted to give her something with owls and I happened to have run across this pillow just a couple days before and followed the link to the Bad Bird site, which has fabulous embroidery patterns, for free, so I showed F.Y.S. I wasn't sure about him actually making the pillow as this would require learning how to embroider and sew on my machine. Was he up to it? You tell me.

Yep, he did awesome with the embroidery and learned the french knot as well as straight, running, chain and stem stitches. The eyes are filled in with fabric markers, a trick I had learned while making the letter satchel.

After carefully studying (and copying) The Sometimes Crafters' pillow, we worked out the piecework for the fabric based on the pillow size Kyle chose for Julie. As for the sewing, he said he remembered sitting on my lap and pressing the foot pedal for me when he was young, that I told him to press it slowly so the machine didn't go too fast. Hmmm, does that count as prior sewing experience? The pillow top gave him the opportunity to learn basic piecework, which he then top-stitched as each new color was added.

Congratulations F.Y.S., you did it! What a lovely and thoughtful gift.

This is my text message from F.Y.S. after he gave Julie her gift, "she looooooves it." Of course she does because, really, how could she not? How could you not love a gift from your guy when it requires him to learn handwork crafts...just for you?