Alea Iacta Est

We’ve been distant for a while, we know.  Easter itself wasn’t quite so exhausting as it may have seemed; we have had quite the eventful week since the last update.

First and foremost, I pursued and received a job offer with a new company for the first time in almost nine years and after several days of drawn out discussion submitted my resignation with my current employer earlier today.  The offer includes a life-changing salary increase and almost non-existent weekend work, utilizing the professional skills I have honed while at the same time pulling me back out of an exclusive industry.  I’ve been in a very specific technical position for far too long, and I was genuinely concerned I’d never be able to get out of it without starting over from scratch.  Crisis averted, I hope.  Opinions with my current employer vary wildly.  Some are congratulatory, and some are considering attempting legal action to prevent my departure.  Due to the nature of all that, I won’t divulge any more on the subject.  Hopefully this will all pass and we’ll find ourselves with more money to play with and more time to play.

We also, as of last week, are ourselves pursuing legal action against someone else.  Again, I won’t divulge any information on the subject, but you could probably begin to understand why it was a big week.  We needed a bit of a vacation, so we spent the weekend in my hometown with my parents.  Taking a baby anywhere is difficult, more so when it’s an overnight stay, but we felt we owed it to my parents.  Once we got there everything went wonderfully.  They fed us amazing food, bought the kids some new clothes (it doesn’t break the rules if they’re gifts, right?) and toys, and my wife and I even had opportunities to exercise with the badminton set they gave to our son.  It felt good to just get away for the weekend and watch the baby laugh with her grandparents on a blanket in the grass.  This time I avoided the rougher parts of the property.  Gods be merciful, I do not want poison ivy again.

The garden has been growing steadily.  We lost a lot of lettuce when it went to seed, but we have zucchini growing, and she got some watermelon planted today.  Last week she harvested some spinach for dinner.  My wife has done almost all of the work with it now that the beds are built and she knows a lot more about it.  My involvement in the yard has been strictly destructive; today I pulled up all the weeds I could from the front so I can mow it this week.  We’d love to expand the vegetable gardens to the front, but for now we’re just trying to make it not look like abandoned overgrowth.

Only Human

I wrote a long blog all about our Easter, but the computer did something strange and it disappeared. Basically, we accomplished a DIY Easter. It was delicious.

Holidays and big events wear me down. I am recovering from Easter cooking and eating and getting myself and the kids temporarily back on our schedule.  Anything that effects our sleep makes me dramatically less productive and easily spirals into full-blown depression/anxiety if I’m not careful. Despite being six months old the baby does not sleep through the night. I probably get about five hours of sleep every night. This is the hardest possible time for this DIY project. I could easily do it if the kids were older or if I had more energy. Making everything right now is difficult. Even so, we are almost 5 months in and we have stuck to it. We cheated twice. Once when my husband bought deodorant and last weekend I had to buy a few used clothes for the baby because I can’t keep up with her growth spurts. Suddenly nothing fit and my sewing skills are only mediocre. I can make a simple dress but I can’t make safe comfortable pajamas-yet. I’m going to learn. 

So far this year I am most proud of our little garden. When I was a little girl I dreamed of growing food like my Grandma did on her farm. She had a compost pile before it was cool. She grew my snack food. Her tomato sandwiches were legendary. Every sight and taste in the garden reminds me of my childhood. It got warm today and the heat made the leaves look so sad that I got scared, but when it cooled off in the evening nothing was permanently damaged.  We had a dragon fruit the other day. My son loved it so much that I looked up how to grow them. We sprouted the tiny seeds and I planted them today. It will be amazing if we can grow such a unique and beautiful plant. Also in boring plant news, the sweet potatoes sitting on the windowsill have sprouted about 6 small purple leaves. The potato I washed sprouted, the one I didn’t wash has not sprouted at all. Knowing that potatoes are sprayed with anti-sprouting chemicals is one thing but seeing evidence of it is creepy!

Tomorrow I am going to take a day to catch up on my life. If I have any energy at all I will workout and burn off all of the Easter desserts I ate.

 

Bunny Business

My wife has been busy the past two days with Easter preparations.  Baking, basket-making, and baby food prep.  Carrots, of course, were the common ingredient.  Carrot cupcakes, carrot scones, carrot whoopie pies…we’re going to eat well tomorrow.

Vegetables

Counts-as vegetables

The baby food has been going well.  Being able to finally jump in and feed her myself has been awesome for me, and the baby enjoys it.  We’ve fed her a number of different things already despite 3-day introduction periods.  My wife portions out servings with an ice cube tray; once frozen we just warm them up as needed.  The latest batch consists of pears and carrots.  The baby loves applesauce so we expected the pears to be a success.  So far we’ve gotten her to eat (not necessarily enjoy) apple, avocado, banana, rice, and sweet potato.

Carrot and Pear

Carrot and Pear

I myself spent the last two days in yard demolition.  Nothing to show off but hopefully making room for future garden expansion.  The previous owners built an odd flower bed in the back corner of the yard that looked like a 3 foot high by 6 foot wide pile of dirt with stone walls.  We called it “the shrine” because it looked like it was built to bury something in.  We’ve found everything BUT bones in it.  An old ice chest, three 4 foot logs, trash (I guess they believed plastic composts well?), old rotten lumber, wire, cockroaches, spiders, and bamboo.  I really have no idea what they were going for when they built the thing, but it’s as if they piled up all the trash they could find, threw some compost on top, planted flowers, and lined it with bricks.  What it actually turned into was a hotbed of bamboo growth creeping in from the neighbor’s yard and wrapping itself around every structural component in the pile.  I’m tired, sore, and itchy, and I hate bamboo.

Time

Most of yesterday I worked on making these Easter baskets for the kids. The tutorial I used was great, I only had to use the seam ripper once when I put the handles on wrong. Eventually it’d be nice to make a few more of these for storage around the house.  http://ayumills.blogspot.com/2008/05/tutorial-fabric-basket.html 

So the baskets are made. Now what? I had elaborate plans to crochet and sew and even considered whipping up homemade Peeps. I did attempt to make a little stuffed animal for the baby. It was a frustrating disaster that caused me to walk away from the sewing machine for today. If there were extra hours in the day I might be able to do all that I wanted. I’d rather sit on the floor and play with my kids. I bought some small things at the grocery store today from the Easter bunny. Now all I have to do is cook the desserts I offered to make and maybe make my daughters first Easter dress. 

My son just turned six. This is the age where he’ll remember holidays. I have one maybe two more years of him believing in the magic of bunnies and elves. I want his memories to be happy so I’ve been working a little harder. I only have one shot at giving him a childhood. No pressure there.

Harvest

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Tomatillos! Apparently you need two if you want fruit. I had to make an emergency trip to the garden center for a second one.

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The first snap pea is ready to eat and more are growing fast.

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Cherry tomato flower.

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Strawberries aren’t dead yet.

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And eating the first snap pea. He said it tasted better because it came from the garden. He knows.

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A big pot of veggie chili too. It was a great day.

Finally

It will never look like this again.

It will never look like this again.

I love not having to work all weekend.  I feel like I have so much more time to get work done.  Yesterday my wife took the kids to the garden center and I stayed behind to finally wrap up the compost bin project.  By the time they got back I’d assembled the access door and attached hardware.  I went with a gate catch to hold the door open while accessing the soil in the bottom, and a heavy duty hook and eye to keep it from bursting open when closed.  After attaching the door and finishing up the wire I was finally done.  Well, almost.  Today I had to level the ground where it sits, which took longer than I had anticipated.  But I still got it done.  Finished.  Complete.  Now it’s half full of rotting organic matter.

Top half of front wall is removable.

Top half of front wall is removable.

wpid-img_20140413_215306.jpgMy wife has long stated that she has difficulty baking muffins and cakes.  I’ve seen it a few times; the recipe can be followed meticulously but the damned things just would not cook.  We noticed a trend that the bad batches were cooking in the silicone baking pans.  A few nights ago while grocery shopping I picked up a regular steel muffin pan to test the theory.  So, this morning we had Zucchini and cranberry muffins for breakfast, cooked perfectly.  We won’t be using the silicone pans for a while, I think.

wpid-img_20140413_215245.jpgSpring has been working wonders for the garden, so far.  We’re overdue for an update, but pictures of the beds in their current state have remained elusive.  Until then, here is a peppermint that has thus far not died.  It’s only significant because the first plant we planted in the house was a peppermint, and it didn’t last long.