bandana cowl

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I am not sure what has happened lately.  But, suddenly I have found myself with a touch of free time to knit. It could be the inspiration from listening to THIS, or it could be the changing leaves, or it could be THIS awesome lady’s instagram feed, or perhaps its just this little silvery blonde boy is teetering around just a bit more, entertaining himself just a bit longer, allowing me to sit and knit.  Whatever it is, I like it.

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I just cast off this bandana cowl, which I keep lovingly referring to as my cowboy cowl.  I knit it in the gorgeous malabrigo.  When I learned malabrigo is from Uruguay it made me absolutely giddy.  My husband travels there for work occasionally, and yippee!  I will be dropping some hints in the near future for sure, because as we all know, gifts on the return leg of a long trip help to ease the pain of solo parenting.  Come on now, they just do.

I cast on a new shawl the other night and I am so happy to be knitting again!

hearts and coons

Coons have been getting into the corn.  Trampling down whole rows of stalks, peeling open the ears, and taking only the juiciest ones.  Oh my, if it weren’t for the boys intense reaction to all the devastation left behind, and my full knowledge of the truth behind how completely adorable those little fluffy creatures are, well then I would be angry.  But, its ok because its corn and everyone is growing some.  I am quite sure if we must, we can purchase some from a roadside stand and all will be well.  I started harvesting some broom corn, and googling with gusto how to create a broom.  I am not sure what got me started down this path, but now that I am here, I am determined to make a sweeping mechanism with all these bristly stalks.  Or maybe several as it turns out.

The winter squash are getting ginormous.  I absolutely need to work on my labeling as it turns out, it is a guessing game out there, searching beneath the blanket of hand shaped leaves.  I don’t know what is what and its sort of exciting to try to guess.  Sort of.  I believe I have spaghetti squash for years, kuri squash about ready to be harvested, a few watermelons, loooots of butternuts, and the humungous pink banana.  The flesh on this one is a soft silky yellow inside.  I have sliced it and baked it and am ready to puree her up to go into a few batches of muffins.  Oh I had forgotten about this variety of muffin altogether and am glad it swirled itself to the front of my memory for the occasion.  This link does NOT include the recipe.  If it interests you, let me know, I can type it up.  But it does give a mouth-watering image of such the baked good.

Tomatoes are ripening, I managed to stake them (better late then never??) last week and am plunking dozens a day.  I am planning on pureeing lots of them and saucing the rest.  Its been far too hot to enjoy standing in the kitchen canning, so I feel confident that I will be freezing them.  Besides I just got a killer deal on craigslist for a new to me giant freezer.  We are a two freezer family now!  Yippee!!

Zucchini are still coming out, right alongside his yellow sister the summer squash.  At this point we are leaving some on the vine to be matched against the finest farmers around for the LARGEST ZUCCHINI at the worlds fair next month.  Quite exciting, I know, contain yourself.

Up in the fenced in garden, its sort of a madhouse.  I cleared out two beds yesterday of gone by broccoli, chard, beets, fava beans, and cabbage and replaced it with spinach, daikon radish and a teeny valentines mix.  I am not sure where I am going wrong, but I am truly a terrible radish grower.  I am hoping this batch proves that statement wrong.  I have spread wood ash around to hopefully keep the root maggots at bay.  Nasty little suckers they are.  And I am planning on re-instating a daily watering up top here.  I let that go off the wayside this year, but its just not wet enough to allow for much production.  The lower pasture on the other hand stays a sponge all summer long.  I have gourds and Brussel sprouts budding up, and kale for days.  And days.  And days.  There is the ever producing pole beans and bush beans keeping our bellies full, not so much the freezer (where does the time go!  I swear each day its on my list!).

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August gardens are so rewarding.  Even with minimal effort being allowed for her she gives and gives and gives.  If you are wondering, the maximum effort is being placed upon those three boys of mine.  Geez… they are so time-consuming ;)

One place I always wish for more time for though is individual time with those lads.  Yesterday, I got my wish!  I spent the days entirety with this sweet little almost six-year-old.  I can not explain what a perfect day it was.  He is cordial and understanding, loving and thoughtful, and absolutely steals my heart.

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Happy Monday!!!!

sand in our ears and sand on our scalps

If I search back into the deepest files of my brain, for my oldest memory, I come out with a scoop of sand.  The texture of sand in my mouth, between my teeth, and on my lips.  I can remember it being neither pleasant nor uncomfortable.  It was just there and it was warm and it tasted of salt.  My childhood days all had the backdrop of the ocean and the drone of the sea.  Part of my heart is broken up here in the hills and part of it is free.  I don’t want to live in a place so crowded and busy.  And all at once I feel so unsettled.  It always seems so silent when I stand outdoors (alone of course), and only when I let myself remember, do I realize it’s because it’s the absence of the crashing waves that makes it so quiet.

When Miles was very small, and we discovered his intense fear of those exact sounds, I pursed my lips and didn’t let it penetrate my heart.  Once my father watched him drop to his knees and sob to the heavens when I went in for a quick dip alone.  Seeing me be swallowed up by something so vast triggered something deep and terrifying in his little soul and he wailed a wail so long and guttural that we have never heard since.  He was not yet two.  Each year we assumed would be the year he would come around and jump over the knee-high foamy surf with all the other sun kissed children.  And each year he didn’t.  My family cajoled and coaxed.  They bribed and pleaded.  Something about it was just confusing to a bunch of folks with salt water running through their veins.

This past week something clicked in my little boy.  We went out on a boat ride with my brother to catch a bucket full of bait fish and took a detour to pirates cove.  Big rocky arms curved around our boat keeping the waves at bay while I snorkeled around.  Miles peered down at me in the dazzling silver water, interested and amazed to see a person with lungs that breathe air, belly down in the sea with only a tube popping out, looking at the mysteries below.  He sat on the edge of the ladder for some time, thinking and thinking and thinking.  Life jacket firmly buckled on, at last he took the plunge.  He bobbed up and down with a sort of desperate, giddy, breathless smile, kicking his lean little limbs with all his might.  We all squinted and grinned right along with him.

When we headed to the beach later that afternoon, the switch was lifted and with it all his ocean inhibitions.  He frolicked all day long.  When my sweet friend called out to him as he boogie boarded across the waves that it looked like he was having a lot of fun, he responded, “Yes!  And its relaxing too!”, in only the way that Miles could.

I stood ankle-deep in the thick, salty sea with a teary smile and so much love as I watched my boys for the next five days.  I watched the littlest babe perhaps gather up his very first memory, maybe just like mine?  And I watched my oldest gather up all the strength he could find.  And Rowan…. of course Rowan followed suit and went in with his big brother and kept up the pace quite well.

Oh these boys.  These sweet boys.  On their own timeline.  With their own goals and their own way of doing things.  It reminds me that they are indeed their own and I only get to witness and guide.  It is a magical thing to see; This growing of brains and bodies.

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And now we are home hauling in 20 pound zucchinis and wishing for pigs to feed them to, along with vases and vases of flowers that escaped mercifully the gnawing teeth of the Japanese beetles. All the while we are savoring the little patches of sand in our ears and caked to our scalps.

the thick of it

So much goodness comes in August.  I am filling up this green with the intensity of a hot air balloon.  There has been lots of swishing legs through high, wet grass and plunking up jewel weed stalks as thick as a sapling.  The pumpkins are thinking about turning orange and the zinnias are sunny and open.  We are devouring tall loaves of bread meant for slicing and slathering with fresh butter and grilled squash.  And of course making room for slipping into ponds and swimming alongside frogs just turned froggy.

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Last night I was checking on the boys before I crept into bed and I noticed how absolutely long Miles looked.  His feet.  His toes.  His shins.  His hair.  When I realized his body took up a large portion of his bed I choked on the quiet night time air.  In the same moment I thought how exciting this coming year is.  The first September where he is truly of school age.  This first fall where I have two capable boys to explore with.  But for now, I will continue to revel in the thick of a hot and beautiful August.

Rainbow weather

One year ago I sat in this very room, soft loose puppy skin of a newborn baby curled up on my tired belly.  Boys scrambling up, kissing, nuzzling, sometimes trying to squeeze the very love out of that sweet new human, then being shooed out, quietly, gently, quickly.  Seeing my bigger boys fall in love with this small baby has been nothing if not enchanting.  Seeing them speak softly, coax smiles, and hold close this little bundle, has been the most graceful point in nearly every day that has passed this last year.  Though resistance has been deeply felt amongst the middle-est at times, and the firstly born one has had to come up with his own coping ways to keep the spotlight, this third boy has only brought us more together, given us more pause, settled us even deeper into our place as a family.

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The very night before Miles was born, Lee and I cozied up to some live, outdoor music.  I found a slump in the ground, just right for heaving my giant belly into, feeling content and full of hope, lying there on my side with nothing on my mind but the lyrics pooling into my ears.  Since then, we have taken the boys to a handful of shows, there little ears surprised at the loud.  Exhausted before the night really had begun.  Maybe not ready for it all.

Until last night.  We still didn’t make it until, “one. more. song!”, but the night went on and on with only grins, and experiences so deep and real, when I held them close to the front of the stage, you could hear the memories being etched into their little minds, even over the thumping of the amplifiers directly in front of us.  My sweet Rowan in particular was drawn to the front, in a sort of dazed eye-must go, moth to the light kind of way.  He wanted me to hold him close, his still dimpled and chubby hand clamped around my shoulder, while he glued his eyes to the drummer only removing them to click them on over to the upright base or the steel guitar.  Every few minutes he would unhinge his elbows and let out a forceful closed eye, tight-lipped,  air drumming solo.  His enthusiasm was palpable.  When I had asked Miles earlier in the day if he would dance with me while we watched the music, he responded as only this sweet boy would, “I only dance when my legs just feel like it.”  I guess they did, because he cut a rug until the sun was well tucked in behind these green rolling hills.

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I always pictured myself watching music with my family.  I thought to myself as I held two heavy boys on each hip, and one holding onto my perfectly planned twirly dancing skirt, “You have arrived”.

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The energy of all those people, arms up high, paying no mind to the sprinkles of rain; “Rainbow weather” the lead singer of Old Crow Medicine Show described through the microphone for an agreeing crowds ears to nod to.  It was fitting that last night, with a year behind us as a family of five, I finally felt the togetherness I have craved so hard since the heat of last summer.

(PS the drummer of OCMS “liked” this last pic on instagram… yeah we are practically besties now)