Giving Thanks, Days 19-22: Everything’s Coming Up Christie

It has been a really stellar week or so. The anticipation of getting to see my parents and family, some amazing new opportunities coming to fruition, and the promise of some good old fashioned baby showering have really buoyed me lately.

Day 19: THANKS, COUCH, FOR ALL THE COZY WINTER GOOD TIMES. Both Birdie and I seemed to be feeling a little under the weather/exhausted by Sunday. I was exceedingly thankful to my couch and to the fact that I didn’t have to be on my feet, doing much of anything all day.

We're both feeling a little meh today, I think.

Day 20: HAPPINESS, THANKS, AND EXCITEMENT FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES! I’ll give more details soon, but some really awesome, amazing, dream things are happening lately. It’s left me feeling breathless and nervous and generally thrilled.

One hint:

201306. Harvesting bok choi.

Day 21: THANKS FOR MY FAMILY AND BEING ABLE TO SPEND THE HOLIDAYS WITH THEM. I love my parents a whole lot. I haven’t seen them since our wedding, and I really can’t wait to spend the next several days with them. Every time we visit, it’s true vacation mode time – lots of eating, TV watching, relaxing, reading, maybe a walk or two, shopping, eating some more… and did I mention relaxing? We are good at vacation time with the ‘rents.

I love spending time with them. They’re my best friends. And this year, there’s the added bonus of getting to see aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins and little ones, both at Thanksgiving and the baby shower my mom is throwing for us.

day 3 - mom, dad, and flowers.

day 7 - mom at spirit island, which wasn't actually an island.

071224. me and mom, the cold, and a tree.

mom and me. 2003.

090814. dad and me.

2012023. Dad's day cross stitch.

Day 22: THANKS FOR PAINLESS TRIPS TO THE BMV. In my continuing quest to change my last name, I’ve gotten the chance to visit a number of government offices. The BMV? MUCH better than the Social Security Administration. MUCH MUCH.

However, do you think the guy could have taken a slightly less serial killer-y picture of me? Oh, well. With today’s trip, now I just have to do cleanup for the rest of m name change stuff: bank, health insurance, doctors, etc. But the big/official stuff is DONE!

Seriously, DMV picture taker dude? We couldn't have done a slightly less serial killer-y retake?

Giving Thanks, Day 4 and 5: Slugs and Grandparents*

*Not necessarily in that order.

Day 4: Giving Thanks to the Creepy Crawlies

Yesterday, we took a trip down to the Bloomington Handmade Market, which is sort of like a regional, in-person Etsy. In other words, AWESOME. I had wanted to scoop up a few unique things for Christmas presents, and I had no problem doing that. I also had no problem finding a few things for our own wee babe.

While perusing the wares, we found these adorable stuffies. I was enamored with this bug-eyed monster, a platypus, and a slug and wanted all three of them. Thankfully, Chris helped talk me down. I am thankful for handmade goodies, slugs, and husbands who encourage the selection of the most odd/unique option.

20131110. A stuffie slug for the sprout.

My alma mater’s official mascot is the lumberjack; however, the unofficial mascot is the banana slug. Go, slugs!

Day 5: Giving Thanks to Crafty Future Grandparents and Handmade Gifts

Between both our sets of parents, I think this kid is going to have things well covered in terms of grandparents. Chris’ parents visited this weekend and not only brought us a signed copy of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s latest book, but they also gifted us with an absolutely amazing, barnyard-themed quilt for the babe. Seriously, I think I squealed incoherently for several minutes when my mother-in-law first pulled it out to show us.

20131110. Baby quilt from Grandma Lynn.

Chickens, goats, pigs, horses, sheep – all the major barnyard players make an appearance.

20131110. Baby quilt from Grandma Lynn.

Goats and chicken wire and swirlies. Everything a baby needs.


It’s Official… We Are MARRIED!

I have a husband, and I couldn’t be happier! On Saturday, September 7 at 4 pm, Chris and I got married at South Circle Farm, with our reception on the patio of Creation Cafe, overlooking the canal, downtown Indianapolis, and the capitol building off in the distance. Our wedding ceremony was what I thought would be my favorite part – and it was – but there were so many other wonderful moments, too.

I am so glad we did everything just the way we did. It was perfect, and I don’t use that word lightly: getting married at the farm, the ceremony, seeing my friends and family, the officiant, the photographers, the dinner and reception site, the decorations, the rings, the wholesale flowers, the weather, my bouquet, the barbecue and open house on Sunday, the hotel, and especially the guy. Weirdly, perfectly perfect.

There is also no way we could have pulled it off (and been allowed to just enjoy ourselves so thoroughly) without my parents, who handled so very many of the details and not-so-fun stuff. I am so full of gratitude for them.

Here’s a little sneak peek of what we’ve had going on the last couple of days. On Friday, my mom and I made flower arrangements while the boys bought food for the Sunday open house barbecue. I was rather in love with all of the flowers. 20130906. Our beautiful wedding flowers.
20130906. Hulk green hydrangeas!

My mom is the bomb.
20130906. Wedding flowers.

Then we got married:
20130907. Us! Married! At South Circle Farm.

20130907. I might like him just a little bit.

That one time we got married.

Chris and I stayed at a swanky downtown art hotel Saturday night, had a lovely, coffee-filled brunch on Sunday morning, then headed home to set up for the open house.20130908. My mom was beautifully color coordinated!

My dad made his famous guacamole. I’ll have to tell you about when he almost made me cry walking me out to the ceremony and how I almost made him cry with all the nice things the officiant said about the two of them.
20130908. Dad and his famous guacamole.

I’m even in love with my ring, which belonged to my dad’s aunt, my Great-Aunt Mildred, who served in WWII and the Korean War, had an amazing little house in Studio City, California, with a lemon tree in the backyard, fed all of the neighborhood cats, and was healthy and spry well into her 90s.
20130907. My wedding ring, which belonged to my great-aunt Mildred.

Long story short… we got hitched, y’all!

Babies on the Brain…

And in the yard and in the house and on the fence and on and on and on…

My co-worker today told me that, during the 17-year cicada cycle, there is a huge growth in baby animal populations. I don’t have any better explanation for the insane number of baby animals we have found in the yard lately, so I’m going with it.

First, we discovered the cutest baby bunnies I HAVE EVER SEEN (turned out to be at least five) hiding out in our garlic beds. This little muffin and its siblings were about the size of tennis balls (in other words, TIIIIINY).

20130512. There she is!

Then, as Chris was leaving for work this morning, he discovered this magical, mythical beast just hanging out, covered in babies, on our fence.

Backyard Opossum with Babies

I mean, like, SERIOUSLY?! Are you KIDDING ME?!!!

Backyard Opossum with Babies

As long as we’re on the subject of babies, I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention two of my favorite wee babes, who we got to see this past weekend: my beautiful nephews.

20130511. Zach's 1st birthday, hugging his new hedgehog and rabbit.

Zachary, age one.

20130512. Me and my sweet Ben.

Ben, age almost-four.

And finally, there’s MY baby, Birdie, who has injured herself yet again. It breaks my heart. She managed to rip a nail completely in half in a dishwasher-related freakout last night, leading to a restless night that culminated in me dragging a blanket and pillow out to the rug in the living room at 5:00 this morning and petting her until she stopped whining and fell asleep beside me. My poor, sweet girl.

20130514. No chew!


It’s May! … and Everything’s Coming Up Christie

I am in love with this month, and it’s still only the first day. Why, you ask? Here’s a small sampling of what we’ve got going on in the next 30 days:

    • My nephew Zachary’s first birthday on 5/4 and my brother’s birthday the next day.
20120629. Vacation to Colorado to visit the family.

The goober last summer, only about 8 weeks old.

day 4 - brian and sarah at the teahouse.

Brian and Sarah at this teahouse we hiked to up in the mountains years ago, somewhere in Alberta.

    • My birthday on May 18, oh yeah!

100518. sad bird.

    • A fantastic homebrewing festival this weekend, Big Brew 2013 at Great Fermentations just down the street from our house, featuring classes on cheesemaking and wild yeast cultures/sour beers, followed up by a cookout at a friend’s house (I’m bringing deviled eggs, of course!).
    • A tour of Fruit Loop Acres, which is a truly awesome urban endeavor by two pretty awesome people, from what I hear, this Sunday.
    • Mother’s Day and a visit to my parents’ place up near Chicago, including a huge family picnic and my brother, sis-in-law, and two nephews visiting from Colorado.
20111024. playing with ben.

Me and Ben, my almost 4-year-old nephew, who I think is pretty much the coolest.

090815. me and mom, deception pass.

Me and my amazing, beautiful, wonderful, ridiculously caring mom at Deception Pass in Washington a few years back.

    • A visit from three fantastic women to little old Indianapolis – Sarah from San Francisco, Carrie from North Carolina, and Nikki from Toronto are all going to be IN MY HOUSE AT THE SAME TIME! I *almost* literally cannot wait and feel way too lucky. We will eat ice cream at BRICS and brunch at Three Sisters and go to the Indy 500 parade and hit up 100 Acres and the IMA and watch bad television and hang out with the chickens in the backyard and cuddle Birdie and and and… I just can’t wait.
20111002. visit to asbury park, nj.

Two of my three girls, on an adventure in 2011 to Asbury Park, NJ, to see Jeff Mangum play his first show in a long while. Best weekend ever.

    • AAAAAND… the start of my apprenticeship with Growing Places Indy on 5/28!

20120920. Happy!

The last couple of months have been rough ones. This month, though… this month is going to be the greatest one ever. Sometimes (okay, most of the time), I really love my life.

P.S. Also… Chris is currently prepping our hop trellis. That’s right… We’re also planting our HOPS this month! I’m telling you, “m” is for May and magic.

Yo, Dawg, I Heard You Liked Earth Day, So We Took Your Car and Gutted the Engine and Made It into a Lawn Ornament, Complete with Bird Bath and Composter…

When I started this blog post, I started at the end, writing, “Finally, and unrelated to everything else in this (not-yet-written) post, [blah blah blah song that’s been stuck in my head].” But then I thought, why not start with the end as the beginning? That’s apparently what’s REALLY on my mind, so who cares if it’s unrelated to anything else going on right now? Maybe it IS the most important thing at this very moment.

So, here goes… Unrelated to everything else, I’ve had this song stuck in my head for a while, and the video makes me want to move to Jamaica and hang out with just about every person featured in it for coffee or maybe something a little stronger, a dancing lesson, a bicycle ride, a game of cards, or a boxing match.

I know you, you know me
Baby, you know me
We’re all together in the same boat
I know you, you know me
Baby, you know me
I Just wanna dream

In other news, we had an awesome, whirlwind trip to Des Moines the past several days for a surprise birthday party for Chris’ mom. His mom deadpanned, “Oh, you’re here,” as she walked in and we all yelled the required, “SURPRISE!” She was, however, very pleased to see us (so she says), and we got to spend some good time with her, Chris’ dad, and the human menagerie of his family. It had been too long.

Oh, and if you saw the previous blog post, we did NOT come home with a five-foot metal chicken. If only we’d had the trailer hooked up… We did, however, make it to El Bait Shop (I just linked directly to the beer menu, because OH HOLY F*CKB*LLS, it was amazing!). As we were with family and it was 2 in the afternoon, I only got one beer (sadly, because I wanted to try about 15 of them). It was a winner, though: Green Flash Palate Wrecker IPA. I chose…. WISELY.

Before we left, we made what should probably turn out to be an amazing APFELWEIN. Yeah, not just APPLE WINE, but APFELWEIN, which is really fun to say in an Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque accent (and even more fun if you were saying it in such an accent after two glasses of aforementioned APFELWEIN, I’m guessing). I’m pretty stoked about our entrance into brewing and fermenting delicious things. This one required nothing more than a carboy, five gallons of cheapo ghetto apple juice, two pounds of dextrose, and some yeast. In six weeks or so, we should have an amazing, dry, crisp, carbonated bevvie to sip on and share.

20130419. Apfelwein.

TOTAL BABE. Also, all of this brewing stuff is really Chris’s awesome doing. Please continue being awesome. And thanks.

20130419. Apfelwein.

20130419. Apfelwein.

EDWORT APFELWEIN! (In an Arnold accent, please).

And now it sits, bubbling away gently in our basement.

Speaking of apples, our two apple sticks trees we planted last fall in the backyard, are sending out buds. Hooray! Someday, they will bloom more beautifully than our non-native (yet totally gorgeous) Japonica. Spring… it has sprung.
20130422. Japonica in bloom.

Shape Up or Ship Out!

It’s like the chickens KNEW I was planning to make chicken soup out of them if they didn’t get off the proverbial pot soon.

20121121. FIRST EGG! From Dino Puppy.

Two days after posting about Boo’s suddenly-impressive comb and threatening backyard chicken genocide on the whole lot of them if an egg didn’t come soon, not one, but TWO beautiful little green eggs appeared in our nesting box!

20121121. FIRST EGG! From Dino Puppy.

20121121. FIRST EGG! From Dino Puppy.

That’s right – our first eggs! After all that we’ve gone through with these girls (and their predecessors, rest their souls), seeing that first egg this morning was… strange. I had kind of convinced myself that our chickens were forever broken and that we were horrible chicken-rearers, to be honest. So getting that first egg was surprising but not… bittersweet but full of excitement… just weird.

20121121. FIRST EGG! From Dino Puppy.

One of these things is not like the others…

Not only is Dino Puppy laying beautiful green eggs (two eggs in two days in the middle of some of the darkest days of the year?! Exquisite, chicken!), but she and Boo had matching “hunkering down” behavior this evening that I’ve never seen before. Others had told me that once chickens start laying or are about to lay, when you reach out to them, they’ll plant themselves and sort of hunker down. Could we soon have white eggs from the leghorn to add to our sweet green array soon?

Two little green eggs! Halle-freaking-lujah!

I found her first egg at 7 this morning (she probably laid it yesterday). By 10 am, she was laying another one!

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for beautiful little jewel eggs appearing like magic in the backyard, having the parents over to our house for Thanksgiving for the first time ever, and boyfriends who send me freaky-assed cornucopias of fall floral arrangements (with cards to match) to celebrate the season. Blammo, indeed!

20121121. I'm ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest.

Christmas Knitting in Full Effect, Y’all!

NOTE TO MY LOVELY FAMILY: Stop reading this entry if you want any surprises this Christmas!

I really like knowing how to make things for myself. I like understanding different aspects of gardening and composting, canning and cooking fresh greens from the backyard, and caring for our various ridiculous menagerie of animals.

I feel like knitting is an extreme example of that (and probably a little bit decadent, too, in terms of time, cost of materials, etc., but also something you could actually do if you had the know-how, lived on a mountainside with no power, surrounded by sheep).

I wonder, though, if people truly understand the time (and cash) investment that goes into a typical knitted item. Way back when, I tried to make a profit off knitting. Maybe it’s possible, but for the things I was knitting, even with buying yarn in bulk off Ebay, and for the cost I was able to charge, it came out to about $1.50/hour wage.

So now I only knit for people I love. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing this fall! I still have about twice this many projects planned out, but, hey, I’ve got another month or so. PLENTY of time.

For newest nephew Zachary, I give you… SQUAREY!

20120908. Squarey! First Christmas knitting.

For nephew Benjamin… an OWL!

20120913. Christmas knitting continues! Big puffy owl.

Also for Ben… a SNAKE!

20121015. Christmas gifts abound! Ben's stripey snakey.

A special hat for my mama:

20121015. Christmas gifts abound! Ysolda Teague hat.

Cable sampler cowl for my sis-in-law Sarah:

20121015. Aran sampler cowl.

Amazing slippers, also for my sis-in-law (really, they are so squishy and comfy, I need a pair of my own):

20121106. River slippers.

And a ridiculously large pair of slippers for my daddio.

20121106. Nola's slippers.

The Christmas knitting will continue. I still have so much to do! Another pair of slippers, a scarf, mittens, maybe a wee Linus blankie for my sweetest little nephew… oh, and probably something fun for my pub knitting friends!

Criminy. What am I doing here? I need to stop typing and get back to the knitting!

Oh, the Irony

There are several ironies present in having a blog documenting your adventures in living a little more land to table, a little closer to home, just a bit more sustainably.

First, of course, is the infrastructure and energy required to blog. None of that – the computer, the electricity, the wireless internet – is really what one could call LOCAL. But the part that’s hitting me right now is the fact that I’m so busy being outside, tending the garden, pinching back the suckers on the tomatoes, and pickling the cucumbers that I just don’t feel like spending that much time in front of a computer at the end of the day, even if it is to write about the aforementioned good stuff. In the winter when I have all the time in the world, there’s not as much to write about. CONUNDRUM, but a good conundrum, I suppose.

So instead of any sort of substantial deep thoughts, I will throw a bunch of photos up against this here wall and see if any of them stick.

20120624. Squash, pickling cucumbers, bouquet, and fans.

The first decent squash and pickling cucumber bounty of the summer.

Our housewarming party was fantastic, and I was finally able to give my dad his Dad’s Day cross-stitch. Dad was a champ and manned the grill until there was no more meat to be grilled – all while wearing the best apron in the world (which maybe I’ll show to the world… one day).

2012023. Dad's day cross stitch.

2012023. Housewarming pre-party.

The crew, pre-party and minus Chris’ dad.

By Sunday afternoon, we were all pretty tuckered out, including Senor Boombox.

20120624. Boombox gets cozy.

20120624. Post-housewarming, hot sun, late afternoon garden.

Post-party scene from the chicken zone. So very tired by Sunday. So. Very.

I’m pretty convinced, though, that we have the best friends and family in the world. I’m hoping we get a slew of photos from Chris’ dad to share soon. For now, it’s definitely time for relaxation – and to get away from this damn screen.

20120623. Floweries from Mallory

Floweries from Mallory.