Pics or It Didn’t Happen!

Look! A picture of a blackberry! (And some gorgeous purple green beans we’re growing this year). So far, every blackberry that has sprung forth from our bushes this year has been promptly eaten, usually fresh off the bramble, before pictures could happen. This one was so gigantic and wonderful – the quintessential blackberry – that I reined myself in and kept from eating it long enough to snap a shot.

The color of the day is purple.

And then? Then I ate it.

Farm-to-Fork? More Like Farm-to-Face

Willem is eating FOOD, guys! I’m not sure why I’m so excited about this, but I am. I mean, it was inevitable that the kid would eat food at some point, right? He’s not going to survive on breast milk forever.

Part of it is that, oh, holy crap, he’s already eating food. At this rate, he’ll be learning to drive before we know it.
20140724. I'm ready.

The other part is that so far, his first foods were lovingly made by ME last fall. With every messy bite, I’m brought back to that time, when I was so full of excitement and big dreams for this little creature I was anxiously waiting to meet. And now? Now he is here, and he gets to eat that excitement and those big dreams with every spoonful. How cool is that?

Sweet potatoes (or were those yams?) from the garden last fall…
20131102. Sweet potatoes (or did I plant yams?).

And straight into the gullet. The kid, he likes his sweet potatoes.
20140724. Sweet potatoes are GOOD.

Our annual trip to Anderson Orchard last September:
20130914. Anderson Orchard.

20130914. Annual Anderson Orchard visit.

Apple sauce making:
20130914. Old school is new school again.

Apple sauce eating. Verdict: apple sauce is GOOOOOD.
Apple sauce!

I honestly don’t see us ever buying baby food from the store. This is one-ingredient goodness right here, and it doesn’t get much closer to home.

My Own Personal Gilroy Garlic Festival

In Gilroy, CA, there is an annual garlic fest of epic proportions. It’s actually pretty lame, but I never went to it when I lived in Humboldt County and San Francisco. NEVER. Current me is berating past me for not recognizing that future me would think that was the most awesome festival ever.

And, really, my “own personal Gilroy Garlic Festival” is a bit of an exaggeration. Know why? The GGF has GARLIC ICE CREAM. And I have none of that. Which is sad.

However! I do have garlic! As of today, we have way more garlic than we will be able to consume in the next year. Seriously, garlic grows itself. If you’re interested in knowing how, hit me up. All you need is a little planning ahead (hint: plant those cloves in November, homie), a little patience (gotta wait until next summer, dawg), and a coolish, darkish place for them to dry out and cure a bit (like our super lo-fi basement hanger set up):

20140706. Garlic fest 2014.

In the latest edition of “babies are HARD,” we’ve had some serious sleep issues cropping up for the last month or so. It’s funny… my lack of schedule for him wasn’t a problem at all until SUDDENLY IT WAS A HUGE PROBLEM. They finally got so bad last week that the little bugger was only napping in half-hour increments and was chronically tired and cranky. No bueno!

Starting Friday, July 4, I started actually putting the kid on a schedule and trying some different ways of getting him to sleep. I’m happy to report that he has now slept until 7 am the last two mornings, and his last eight naps have been in his crib, as opposed to in my arms, the carrier, the stroller, etc. So far, it’s also been not too terribly painful – maybe 15 minutes of me settling him for each nap, sometimes re-settling halfway through, but nothing major and no crying until puking. It’s wonderful, and we are all feeling so much better about life already. Fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that jazz.

20140706. What new level of cuteness is this?!

Handmade goodies.

This is what it looks like when a creative, yet OCD, person tries to get a baby on a schedule. But look! See how the last two bars are almost identical? That’s what we want.

20140706. This is what putting a kid on a sleep schedule looks like in my creative/OCD world.

P.S. I was cleaning out the wallet I’ve been using for years and found the following tucked away in a secret pocket, given to me by Sean in probably 2002 or so. The paper is so worn it feels like fabric now. They have been moved over to the new wallet, and I’m so happy to remember their existence.

Wallet stowaways.

You’re Every Willem in the World to Me

A few more new mommy observations on this absolutely gorgeous Saturday. These days, EVERY day is a Saturday!

First Fourth!

Unfortunately, every day is also a Monday.

Kicking it with this beautiful boy.

Sleep. Sleep is, like, really super important. I am SO good at sleep. Ask anyone. I can sleep anywhere and rarely make it through an entire movie without falling asleep on the couch. I used to go on work trips, down a latte at the airport, and be asleep in my seat before the wheels had left the ground. So yeah… I know a thing or two about sleep, but I apparently suck at teaching others the fine art and sweet beauty of sleep. More on that later.

Willem's first check out at the library.

Also? Having a baby is kind of like having Stockholm Syndrome. You grow to love and adore your tiny, drooly captor and would do anything for him.

Hanging.

We were away last weekend visiting family, and Willem’s sleep schedule got completely jacked. It already took a turn for the worse around 3.5-4 months, but upon returning home, it was abysmal. So starting yesterday, we are now in baby-sleep boot camp (which really means “getting the kid on a dang schedule already”). I was bracing myself for a horrible day and night, but the little guy did pretty all right! He took three long naps in his crib for the first time EVER yesterday, and then I was able to get him to sleep until 7 this morning. I call that a huge success already.

Yes, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that my son had never taken all of his naps in his crib. And I bounced or fed him to sleep every time. And he had zero in the way of a bed time/nap time routine. No wonder his sleep is all jacked!

In other news, our house is dreamy right now:
June 2014.

June 2014.

June 2014.

June 2014.

Dear Today, I Love You

Dear Today,

Happy Summer Solstice, Today! How did that happen already? I swear, you get distracted for one minute and suddenly, Today, you pull a solstice out of your hat, and you’re all like, “Surprise!” And, “Shazam!” Maybe even, “Tada!”

You have been good to us so far, Today. And by this, I mean:

  • You convinced my son he should sleep until 7:45 am, and he woke up all happy and adorable and smiley and what-not. This is the latest I have slept since before the little guy was born, so this is nothing to sneeze at.
  • You then somehow convinced my son that he should take a nearly two-hour-long nap, which meant I had time to trellis the tomatoes, weed the garden, and feed the chickens some lovely arugula that went to seed weeks ago. Side note: I love when my hands smell like arugula, but hate when they smell like tomato plants.
  • You gave me an awesome husband who went on Willem-duty so I could mail my nephew’s birthday presents and make a run to the store WITHOUT A BABY. I had an entire cart to fill with stuff AND two free hands! It was amazing. Also, the post office was holding a passport party, which meant all these normally serious postal working ladies were wearing leis and grass skirts and sunglasses inside. And there were cookies. And, like I said – amazing.
  • You inspired me to make chocolate chip banana bread, which means our house smells like magic.
  • You presented me with a cardigan covered in pineapples, which, DUH, of course I had to buy. Because cardigan = yay for breastfeeding, and pineapples = yay for life.

In summation, Today, I think you’re the bomb. I’d totally marry you if I wasn’t already married to awesome dude (see bullet point #3).

XOXO,

Christie

P.S. Check out how wild and wooly the garden is this year. Rather than get all uptight over the OMG WEEDS EVERYWHERE, I’m embracing the crazy greenness. I feel like I shrunk or something, because everything – the apple trees, the perennials across the back of the house, the bee balm and lemon balm and green beans – are suddenly gigantic.

20140619. Wild garden.

Lettuce trying to go to seed, weeds everywhere, tomatoes going nutso, collard and kale out the yin-yang, monarda about to bloom – garden madness, I say.

20140619. Wild garden.

Second year of hops.

20140619. Wild garden.

Wildness from the other direction. Those perennials along the house are taller than me.

20140620. Garden time with Willem.

And my garden buddy. We spend time each morning, checking out the garden, before naptime.

20140619. Wild garden.

When will I learn that we really only need, like, TWO collard green plants, not eight?

Willem has an appreciation for green things, too. Kale, collards, and garlic scapes, coming right up!

Willem was very excited about the kale, collards, and garlic scapes the other night.

The Grass Is Always Greener?

I know some people spend a great deal of time and energy to have lush, park-like lawns. I can appreciate that.

I, however, am not one of those people. At our place, we would prefer to not have to mow, to not have to wage war against dandelions and clover and the multitude of unidentified weeds working hard to take over our lawn. We also appreciate native perennials, edibles, and other pretties that will make a better habitat for bees, butterflies, and birds.

With that in mind, yesterday we took our first steps in turning our front lawn into… not lawn. Soon we will be digging up more of our front lawn to plant goldenrod, purple prairie clover, lavender, strawberries, and a few different kinds of aster (good for late season forage for the bees). And that’s just the beginning!

A little timeline of the front yard: May 2011.
20110513. happy homeowner.

First plans:
20120308. Front yard plan.

More sod removal, more herbs:
20130714. Less grass + more herbs = happy house.

And some inspiration (click on an image to jump to the source):

Basically, everything this woman, Rosalind Creasy, has going on is just fine by me:

And here’s what a garden “plan” looks like around these parts:
Front yard garden planning.

Next step: the backbreaking work of breaking sod. Oh, joy.

This Bastard Winter Gets the Last Laugh

Yesterday morning, guess what we woke up to? Snow. Yup. SNOW. I covered the greens and the seeded beds, just to be safe. They probably would have been okay… but I decided not to take any chances.

Our morning view. This bastard winter gets the last word.

Can someone please let this winter know it’s not welcome any longer? UNCLE. UNCLE! In defiance of the view outside our windows, Willem put on his best gardening sleeper and kicked away in the sunshine all morning.

In protest of snow on the ground, Willem is wearing his gardening sleeper.

In other news, I made my own baby wipe solution today (finally): 1/2 cup apricot oil, 1/2 cup baby soap, 2 cups water. We’ll see how it works out for us!

Sad Seedling Resuscitation

SEEDLING AND GARDEN RESUSCITATION
Back on February 1, knowing I was about to give birth ANY DAY NOW, I started all of our seedlings. I had an awesome spread of seeds, procured from Seed Savers Exchange, thanks to a gift card given to me by my in-laws for Christmas (great gift!). Thanks to the beauty and joy that is bringing a new being into the world, however, we ended up with our own little experiment in survival of the fittest going under the grow lights in the basement.

Only the strong survive!

Thankfully, the flat of greens did really well and went into the ground last weekend. That left two trays of raggedy tomatoes, miniaturized peppers, suspended animation ground cherries, a few spindly onions, a couple of yellowed cucumbers… and not much else. And those guys were hanging on by a thread, still eking out the last of the nutrients from the peat pods I had started them in.

Luckily, Willem loves his morning nap in his carrier, giving me a chance yesterday to repot all of the seedlings AND even plant a few more pots with fresh seeds, just in case I get some more growth in time for this season. I was especially sad that the arugula, peppers, and cucumbers did so poorly. I really wanted some lovely spicy arugula in my salads this spring; more seeds were planted in pots and directly in the ground. ARUGULA OR BUST!

20140412. Willem and me repotting seedlings.

20140412. Sad little onions.

This morning during Willem’s morning tandem nap, we planted more seeds in the garden – beets, arugula, and chard mixed in among the greens. The kale is looking rad, and the greens are thriving to varying degrees. Which reminds me – I need to water those seeds!

NO RATS ALLOWED!
In other news, Chris has embarked on an ambitious project this beautiful weekend to rid our coop of burrowing rodents (aka RATS), which have excavated extensive tunnels underneath our coop to get at our messy chickens’ dropped food throughout this polar vortex winter. Here’s a sneak peek of what he’s got going on so far; more details to come!

20140412. Rat abatement plan, step one: dig a trench.

And check out our sexy new wood rack, built by Chris. He’s the best.
20140412. New wood rack, Chris' work implements for the weekend.

AND… BABIES!!!
Finally, in other OTHER news, I would be remiss if I didn’t say, hey, I really like our baby. Here’s our nightly bedtime wind down ritual:
20140411. Bedtime routine.

20140413. Willem, 7 weeks.

Garden 2014: Oh, It Is SO ON!

The barren garden beds have been screaming at me through our back windows for weeks now. The seedlings that did actually flourish in spite of almost total lack of care desperately need to get in the ground, and I have so many seeds that need planting.

Like… RADISHES. I want radishes – lots of them. Radishes are the best. In order to get radishes, I must plant seeds. In order to plant seeds, I need someone to watch Willem.

Fast forward to this morning. Willem was in a great mood (probably because he slept all afternoon yesterday and was ready to party from about 5 AM on today). Chris was happy keeping an eye on him. And the kid decided I could put him down in his bouncey seat for an hour. The end result? I got to dig in the dirt for an hour, leaving me feeling more like myself than I have in quite a long while.

Even this morning, though, prioritization was required. It’s amazing how good I am at prioritizing these days. I prioritize EVERYTHING because I never know when Willem is going to need to be picked up. Like, after my shower each morning, I prioritize how I get ready. Deodorant, clothes, and brushed teeth are non-negotiable. Next up is hair combing. If Willem is still doing well? I might even get a chance to pluck an eyebrow hair or two and put on a little mascara.

Same goes for getting things ready in the morning before Willem needs breakfast. Water must be filled, food must be eaten, and pills must be taken. If the kid is still all right, coffee is poured (can you believe coffee isn’t priority numero uno? Who am I?). Usually that’s about as far as we get, but if he’s STILL happy, I might even get a load of laundry in and some music on the stereo before I get the sleeping beauty.

Same goes for my garden planting this year. First priority: getting all the early seedlings – a TON of greens – in the ground. Tatsoi, Forellenschluss, Mizuna, Arugula, various lettuces, and Kale. YUM.

And… that’s as far as I got. Still, though, I’m feeling pretty pleased! Maybe the seeds can get planted this afternoon. Hey, a girl can dream.

The garden always looks terribly unimpressive in the beginning:
20140406. Inauspicious beginnings to Garden 2014.

My garlic army:
20140406. An army of garlic.

GREENS:
20140406. Greens!

I think this is the mizuna (Asian spicy greens)… but I couldn’t be troubled to look at my seedling planting “map.” Low priority, knowing what I’m planting where!
Greens! In the ground! Against all odds, Garden 2014 is ON.

Selfie with my gardening buddy:
20140406. Selfie with my garden sidekick.

This Year’s Hobo Garden Plans

I planted a bunch of seeds at the beginning of February, about two weeks before Willem’s due date. Unfortunately, only about 1/3 of them germinated and grew – and by the time I realized they were looking pretty pitiful, I had a tiny creature that was occupying all of my time, energy, and brain space.

In other words, the seedling trays are completely haphazard this year, which means the garden is going to be completely haphazard. Hobo garden. Ghetto fabulous. I’m okay with this. I HAVE to be okay with this, since I have no time or energy to do much about it.

We do have signs of life out there, though, which makes me very happy. The bee balm and other perennials are coming back, and the garlic is shooting up through the hay. At least we’ll have garlic!

This weekend, the plan is to have Chris on baby watch for a couple of hours at some point so I can plant the many greens that are flourishing under the basement lights, as well as all the direct sow seeds: beets, turnips, collards, radishes, sunflowers, and other goodies. At the very least, we’ll have greens, garlic, some root veggies, and strawberries this year!

I also think I might break down and actually buy some seedlings this year. We NEED fennel, peppers, rosemary, basil, and tomatoes. NEED. And next year? Well, hopefully the seeds that didn’t grow this year will do a bit better next year when I have a bit more of an attention span.

 

20131227. Not that it's a problem, but I might have a bit of a seed problem.

Last year’s garden insanity:
20130629. First garlic harvest = 50 bulbs.

And speaking of the little guy, Willem gets cuter and cuter every day. His happy times are my favorite – he coos and squeals and is generally the most adorable guy in the world. Not that I’m biased or anything.
Afternoon naps.