blueberry boy

I am going to be frank.

It is no secret how smitten I am with Willow.  How full my heart feels having this little GIRL in my life.  How perfectly complete I feel with my four sweet babes.  But, something that I rarely mention is how glad we are that she waited.  Had she not been number four, I really can’t say with certainty we would have had the chance to know all three of these amazing boys we get to spend our days with.  Please don’t judge, it is just true.  The roudy chaos they tumble around with is overwhelming, their energy is consistently a mile high in the sky- AND no matter the craze in our eyes during the daylight hours- each night when they are tucked in tight, Lee and I twinkle with pride.

Oh my Japser… third baby- third boy- thank goodness she waited.

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Three years ago I stood here in this kitchen smelling blueberry crostata, feeling the muggy humid air slick on my tight pregnant belly.  I had been up all night, thinking the time was so close.  But he waited, and waited, and waited to open his eyes to the earths light.  Still more than half a day away from his arrival, I tried to busy myself with things to do.  And blueberries were so plentiful.

Today we will pick blueberries, the fruit that inevitably will remind me of this chubby cheeked sweetheart for all my days.  And surely we will make all the goodies we gorged on the days leading up to his birth.  (I’ll just have to double all the recipes now… growing boys!)

Three year olds are as daunting as they are sweet and I am sure this year will be filled with its equivalent moments.  I am grateful that I have been here before, that I will occasionally have the knowledge from past three year old moments to be able to breathe in some grace in the hard moments, and soak up the tender ones too.

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Happy Birthday my sweet Jasper!

rain

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHumid and wet, to cool and wet- that is the rotation of weather in these parts.  And with all that rain comes all this green.   In fact our peas are drowning and zinnias rotting…  an entirely different summer than last year when not a drop of water was to be found in our stream and wells were running dry all around us.

More immediately all this rain, for us, means rainy day activities are kept close at hand.  Jewelry making, boxcar children reading, and sculpey clay creations are the most common, with caterpillar watching, dolls, and little wooden village play a close second.  The little wooden village building can be the most entertaining for me if I stay quiet enough for them to forget I am around and I get to hear the silliest ideas.  My personal favorites: “These village people sure do love mutton!” and, “What a healthy forest this is!”.

And when I can, I am squeezing in as much crafting as a cow milking, pig feeding, mother of four can manage.  My weaving skills leave much to be desired but I enjoyed finding a way for much of my handspun and hand dyed yarns to be used up.  I have some other ideas brewing for the little lap loom I purchased a few months ago at Wing and a Prayer Farm.  I’m still slowly working on my portland pullover from Taproot Magazine and have begun sewing a Scarborough Fair skirt by posiegetscozy.

Really I am doing all this to avoid weeding, which if it doesn’t get done today I believe my carrots and onions will be overtaken by crab grass and mile a minute.

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summer chores

Im tired.  Bone weary, eyes bleary kind of tired.  Mind fuzzy, can’t put a thought together tired.  You know the kind.  We all do.  I wore Willow on my back a few milking’s ago when it was hotter than a bread oven and the air was as still as a cup of water on the countertop.  Sweat didn’t drip off me, it came off in sheets.  The baby’s bare belly stuck to my tank top so tight I had to peel it off.  Flies were thick on Sorrel’s eyes while mine were left alone but stinging with hot salt.  I slugged the bucket up the hill, foamy milk sloshing from side to side, a tiny black dog hoping for a spill trailing behind me and I laughed a little.

It was just so evident at this very moment the choice we are making.  I could just go to the store and spend only a few dollars on milk, and while bacon isn’t cheap, surely it is easy.  Cast iron, sizzle pop, crunch.  No problem you’re doing just fine.

I laughed because even though all we do is a little crazy at times, it is always enjoyable.  I never regret having to do a single chore because I am so grateful to be able to do them.  My legs are strong, my milking hands are capable, my back has never, ever been more sturdy.  This work- it is good work.

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And I believe I know four little wildlings who tend to agree.

 

reading list

I almost always have a stream of books stretching from beside the bath tub all the way to the wood stove (that still has a fire glowing I may add). UPDATE!  I started this on Tuesday and as all good New England springs do- it looks like it will be skipping straight to summer now, so our woodpile can get a rest officially.  I devour fiction the same way I do non, in big gulps after everyone has gone to bed and its just me and my own brain working, while soaking in a nice hot tub. Once upon a time I enjoyed parenting books, and honestly with four small children under my care, I suppose I have more use for that genre than ever before, but at this point I want nothing to do with them.  I want to exercise the part of me that does something else.  Anything else really.  Like the part of me that bakes and knows what I am doing, I mean really knows.  The part of me that experiments with raw milk cheeses like a chemist.  Or the part of me that can swallow a prose filled WWII young adult novel whole, with hopes to discuss with my niece in a couple of weeks.

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But more importantly… the sunshine!

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Have an awesome weekend.

dairy queen

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In the words of my awesome cow-lending-neighbor, “Be the alpha cow!”.

Yes, turns out by tying up the old lady’s head a bit higher and pumping my lungs with a bit of confidence, the milk is coming easy and without kicks.  Now, in addition to some seriously content and fast growing milk-fed pigs, there are six of us humans who are also undoubtedly satisfied with this jerseys high butterfat content and the products we are churning out with it.  (Punny!!).  Each milking I am scooping off the previous milkings cream, so thick its like yogurt, into a mason jar and then every few days I am turning that golden liquid into the sweetest butter you have ever imagined.  You can actually taste the spring time goodness, I swear.  I have tried my hand at ricotta and tomorrow I will make a favorite, cranberry ricotta cake, for a new mama of three.  I am quite sure that recipe will have to be doubled.   I have creme fraiche on the docket among other imaginings…  But most importantly it’s the butter.  The butter and the lattes.  They really go hand in hand as nothing foams up better than skimmed milk- and with a thick slab butter on toast to go with it you can’t go wrong.

Watch this for some serious butter making-

And finally here is a yummy recipe that I thought was worth sharing.  If you don’t grow sorrel (the green not the cow) you may like to.  It is so easy and is the first thing popping up when the snow melts.  It’s a lettuce so thick that it quenches your thirst and its strong lemon flavor is an asset to everything from soup to sauce to salad.  Hopefully you can get your hands on some soon!  The wild variety would likely do fine in this recipe too, though I haven’t tried it.

Double sorrel sauce

Chop down a patch of sorrel (about four cups)- wash then saute with a diced onion or shallot.  Mix in about a cup of fresh cream and simmer for a minute or two.  Puree and pour generously on fish, chicken, boiled potatoes or anything else that needs a lemon-y spring drizzle.