Monday, August 30, 2010

I Sedum chairs?

I love sedum... and I love garden art... but I've never done anything to marry those two loves... until now.
When a painted, weathered porch chair lost its seat. That'll happen if you water a basket of geraniums on it all summer long for four years straight. And then, ahem, you use the chair as a stepstool to hang a banner for a yard party.

So the seat parted ways with the rest of the chair... and met up with some scraps of chicken wire. Cutting the chicken wire to size was the hardest part of the project. It helps if you take time to find wire snips instead of figuring the kitchen shears are "close enough." Don't ask how I know.

My lovely assistants gathered moss and carefully lined the chicken wire with a cushy planting area for sedum, which will love the airy drainage. I hope.
And on a side note, does it seem that my sorta-kinda-how-to is really more of a "how not to"?

Case in point. Moss and chicken wire will not support actual sitting.
I'll share pictures after I plant the sedum, which I have to dig up from between rocks and in a wheelbarrow I planted last year. Then I'll place the whole sculpture (artfully?) in the garden.
This was a fun, free project and it feels good to be back to making something out of nothing. Very farmgirl frugal of me.
Also? I know my puns are not that funny. But I crack myself up. And not just when falling through a porch chair.
What projects are you planning? Planting? Falling into?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tan lines and tutus

barefoot ballerinas
blackberries on the vine
baby in a basket
summer closes its doors softly
autumn peeks through textbook pages
produce and memories preserved

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sweet cousin visits, tastes country life

My nephew Rio was here for a dose of cousin corruption this weekend. We made sure to feed him lots of things he probably doesn't eat at home.

And Laura did her best to confuse him about the concept of an umbrella.

(Unrelated photos of Salvador (this one with Grandpa) are going to be a staple around here for a while.)

But my favorite incident of cousin corruption is this one. If you can't read the title of that irreverent book, count yourself lucky. Madeleine read it to Rio and he giggled. A lot.
Sorry about that, Jess. We didn't mean to be a bad influence. Truly.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Seven wonders of the weekend

1. The blackberries are finally ripening.

2. My sister-in-law and precious nephew are visiting for the weekend.

3. Salvador is seven weeks of smiliness...

4. ...and recovering well from a minor surgery that threw us all in a controlled tizzy this week.

5. I have made it thus far in the summer without thrifting once! (Amazing what you can save when you don't spend on bargains.)

6. My garden is alive and thriving, though the tomatoes are still green.

7. McMansions are no longer the gold standard. I didn't make this up. My little house is now average-sized. Whodathunk?

Monday, August 16, 2010

After the hay

Why does hay always coincide with a hot (read: heat stroke hot) spell?

Why do children like to climb in the haystacks?

Why does a nap in the shade feel oh-so-good after hard labor?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Smiles and miles

Early this week we drove to our state capitol for a field trip.

One hundred and fifty years ago or so,
a journey on the Oregon Trail required a lot more
than the loaf of challah and water bottles we took along.

That paver says, to reference my source, that the six-month journey would require more than 400 pounds of food per person.

"200 pounds of flour, 75 pounds of bacon, 10 pounds of rice, 5 pounds of coffee, 2 pounds of tea, 25 pounds of sugar...."

(And I thought my pantry was stocked.)

Less than 100 years after making that journey, Oregonians reportedly
looked like the 1938 mural above. Wheat and apples and overalls. I'm liking it.

We learned that the "respectable" folks of 1845 and 1846
were going right past our house on the Applegate Trail.

I did not make this up.

(Does it lend me any respectability?)

The rotunda of the capitol building is beautiful.

I nursed the baby on a marble bench underneath that gorgeous sight.

As I sat on that bench I thought about the women who nursed their babies
on wagon seats and under trees and while stirring cornmeal dinner
over a campfire.

We sure have an easier life today.

Meanwhile the girls dabbled in a little politics.

(Gratuitous picture of Salvador smiling.
He slept in the sling throughout our capitol walk.
Yep, I was the baby-wearing homeschool mama shepherding four girls
past a marble statue of Sacajawea,
past crowds of attorneys and statesmen and journalists.
20 years ago I was one of those with a press badge
and high heels and high expectations.
It was fun back then. But it was awesome being on the other side of the badge.
Wearing my baby and my sandals.
Kinda makes me smile just thinking about it.)

The girls were excited to find our little village
-- really an unincorporated rural one-stop-sign junction --
on an antique map of the state.

We don't generally show up on modern maps

except for the maps we made
in geography lessons last year.

Our house was built in 1880s as the area's first church. It didn't have a resident pastor, as many remote churches didn't. So a traveling preacher would visit once a quarter or so and the community members would take turn teaching most weeks.

Living in a historical landmark -- albeit a small, stone-foundation, stick-built landmark -- may have fostered the girls' interest in Oregon's history.

Or maybe it was that golden pioneer statue on the top of the building.

(Laura wanted to take him home.)

Instead our souvenirs are pictures. And remembered smiles.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Am I too late?

I wanted to write a wonderful post about our community's annual ice cream social and fire hall fundraiser but I was too busy nursing the baby and changing diapers and cooking from scratch after weeks of blessed freezer and neighbor-delivered meals and just this week returning to our twice-a-month volunteer stint at the food pantry and endlessly watering and weeding and fertilizing the garden and oh, yeah, breathing.

So am I too late for a wordless Wednesday of my own design?

You know, where there are a lot of words (but not very many for me) and a few pictures that don't have a lot to do with the words... a post that can still serve as a scrapbook page of my kids' summer in this little rural village we call home.

The place we're glad to entertain our cousins and friends. The place we water our garden and change the baby and, you know, breathe.

If I were to get even the slightest bit metaphorical I'd add: The place we put out fires.
And more importantly the place we fill our tanks.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Big love

The girls and baby and I are off to the lake with friends today.

It's been the most eventful season any newborn of ours has ever seen.

And there's still more to come.

Paradoxically I feel more protective of our time and energy than I ever have.
Rolling around in my head and heart are thoughts of the family dynamic as it changes with each child. I don't quite have words for the blended blessings and adjustments and what those mean to us so far. The best I can describe it right now is this: I want each and every one of our children to know fundamentally that they are loved, cherished. I want each of them to know their passions are supported and their needs are met.
Our pediatrician -- a family friend -- told us upon learning of our third pregnancy that we were fools to let ourselves become "outnumbered." Of course he spoke in jest. A large family means there are more hands to hold. And that goes both ways.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Clothesline unplugged

Y'all know how much I love my whirligig clothesline, right?

So do the children.