A historic day (at least for me)

Today (and yesterday) are historic days. Yesterday my husband and I finally got approved for our small business loan to get our brewery business rolling. The call came at 5 p.m. Much happy dancing in the kitchen ensued. Today, after a meeting with contractors, we papered over the windows in the future home of our brewery and taped up a “coming soon” sign. Excitement! Of course, now the real work begins!

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Another first

We took Jonathan on his first hike in Glacier National Park this past weekend. First we drove most of the way up the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The photo above is of Bird Woman Falls. The photo below is of Haystack Falls, another waterfall along the route.

We wanted to go to the top, to Logan Pass, and look around for a while at all the snow still up there, but with the construction we ended up just sitting for a while in an enormous line of cars before we said to heck with it. That’s how it rolls when you’ve got a baby who is hungry and who doesn’t want to be in his car seat anymore. So, improvising, we decided to go on a hike instead. We are trying to get Jonathan used to being in the backpack. We are doing this by taking longer and longer hikes with him, working him up to being in the backpack for a few hours at a time.

We decided to do the Johns Lake hike. It’s short and sweet and it did seem like the perfect amount of time for our son. At the beginning of the hike we could tell he was very interested in all the trees. It occurred to us that while walking through the trees is completely quotidian to us, to Jonathan is was an entirely new experience. Would that I could approach things with such wonder with more frequency in my own life. Having a baby certainly helps with that! We hiked to the lake and kept going to the underpass that goes under Going-to-the-Sun Road and comes out along McDonald Creek.

Remember to wonder, people. Look at something you’ve seen before with new eyes, the eyes of an infant. Contemplate something average in your life and make it wonderful. It’s a refreshing experience.

15,000 views

My blog hit 15,000 views today! OK, OK, I know some of you out there get that many views in a week, or a day, or even an hour. But to me, it’s a big deal! Thank you, dear readers! I’ll be back later today with a post about Jonathan’s first hike in Glacier National Park (well, first backpack ride on a hike).

6 months

Today our son is 6 months old. When the heck did that happen?

It’s been a very interesting 6 months. It feels like it took forever, but it also feels like it happened in the blink of an eye. Six months ago, we were sitting in a hospital with our brand-new son. He would have to stay in the hospital for nearly a week, since he was a month premature and needed a little help breathing the first day after his birth, then he needed some help learning to nurse, then he needed help getting his bilirubin levels (which cause jaundice) down to normal. Six months ago Jonathan had two very nervous parents.

Six months later our son is sitting up on his own (though he’s still a bit wobbly). He’s starting to have an interest in toys. He likes being read to and enjoys looking at the pictures. He’s learning to love being in the hiking backpack (which is a good thing since we plan to hike frequently this summer). He’s going to start solid foods (well, mushy foods) in the next day or two. Jonathan’s parents are less nervous now, but still learning a lot every day about being parents.

We are so thankful for this little boy. I’m a firm believer that God puts the people a person needs in his or her life. Shawn and I needed this baby, this easygoing, smiley, beautiful baby. What a wonderful 6 months it’s been.

Renovation of the world

“There is, indeed, something inexpressibly pleasing in the annual renovation of the world, and the new display of the treasures of nature.” – Samuel Johnson

A week ago, before planting the transplants I bought, my husband built up five more beds in the garden.

We ran out of the horse manure compost that a friend with a horseback riding operation gave us, so we used organic compost from a local gardening shop in these beds. We laid a thin layer of compost, and I added some organic bone meal, too. I did this, because, as mentioned before, my soil test showed that the garden’s soil was lacking in nitrogen and phosphorus.

Here’s yours truly spreading the compost. Yes, I am wearing a fleece. Why? Because up here at 48 degrees (latitude), that’s also been the high temperature for a while. We have glorious autumns here, but cold and wet springs. In fact, there’s a winter weather advisory in our area today. Sigh.

Here’s the garden as it was about a week ago after planting the transplants. I apologize I haven’t posted this sooner, but I’ve been busy, ya know. The garden looks much the same now, except the lettuces and carrots are coming up, as are the onion sets and the buckwheat. And the weeds. Oh the weeds. I weeded for half an hour yesterday and got one half of one bed done. Well, that’s what I get for not weeding for a week: Now I get to spend my free time weeding!

Of the transplants I planted: I planted a pumpkin, a zucchini, a squash, two tomatoes, a pepper, mint, cilantro, shallots – all of these from the local Terrapin Farm. From a local greenhouse, I planted corn, more squash, cucumbers, cabbage, lavender, parsley, basil, oregano, and dill.

From seed I planted spinach, red romaine, rainbow chard, ruby red chard, carrots, acorn squash, cucumbers, snow peas, blue lake bush beans, onion (from sets, technically), sunflowers, and a bunch of wildflowers on the outside perimeter.

Here’s the herb garden we planted. In it there’s parsley, basil, oregano, cilantro, lavender, mint, and dill. We love to use fresh herbs in our cooking.

Here are the corn transplants. I will not be doing these again. At least not transplants that are this big. These transplants have taken an absolute beating with wind and rain, and yesterday, hail. They don’t have the established roots they need to stand up to the beatings, which, looking at the weather report, will continue until morale improves. Lesson learned.

And yesterday it hailed for fifteen minutes. The hail was about blueberry size. Big enough to cause some damage. I think I lost a squash plant, probably some of the corn, and time will tell what else I’ve lost once the lake in the middle of the garden recedes. We also had a bird get in the house, trying to escape the hail (we had the door open because we were standing on the porch watching the hail come down). It flapped around inside for a few minutes until we could get it out. Hopefully the hail didn’t kill it! It is supposed to rain more today (and snow up high). The picture below shows the hail. And the puddles full of hail that are probably three or four inches deep.

It’s supposed to warm up in the next few days. Hopefully, if everything didn’t drown, I’ll see some real growth out there!

Bagels for breakfast

Using one of our bread recipe books, my husband made homemade bagels for breakfast this morning. They are whole wheat with cinnamon sugar and raisins.

In the above photo are the bagels before they’ve been cooked.

To prepare the bagels, one first cooks them in simmering water for three minutes, flipping them after the first two minutes. Then the bagels are transferred to the oven onto a bread stone. A broiler pan with a cup of water is placed underneath the stone to use for steam cooking.

Oh, and they were mighty delicious. Don’t think we’ll be going back to the store-bought kind!

Longer arms = quicker quilts

A local fabric store has a long arm quilting machine. The machine can be rented for the day. Yesterday I rented the machine to work on a quilt that I started three years ago, which I admit to my chagrin. It sat in my sewing desk for years, just a few squares from complete. I finally finished the “strippy” quilt top a few months ago, and the quilt bottom just a few days ago.

Using the long arm quilting machine requires some gumption. The needle moves up and down very rapidly. I did a practice piece first using the freehand technique, but switched to following a pantagraph for the actual quilt. A pantagraph is a long scroll with a design on it. One follows the design, tracing it, with a laser on the long arm. By following the template, the needle, which is in front of the laser about a foot, sews the pattern into the fabric. The first few rows were slightly terrifying. I didn’t want to mess up the design on several hundred dollars worth of fabric and a lot of time spent sewing that fabric together. But it got the hang of it after a while. That being said, the design I picked is fairly intricate (three different vining leaves) and it’s going to take a while. I’ll need to go back and use the machine at least once more to finish quilting.

There is quilting on the lighter fabric, but it’s hard to see here.

Doing the quilting using the long arm is so much faster than trying to do it at home on my sewing machine. Once finished, this will be the first quilt I’ve made entirely on my own. I’m excited to put it on our bed!

It finally stopped raining…

…though it’s supposed to resume tomorrow. Sigh. I have so many veggie starts sitting on my porch waiting to be transplanted. We think today is the day! Here’s a shot from my back porch last night about 9:15 p.m. You can see the storm clouds over the mountain range.

The mountains had been hidden all day by low clouds. The clouds here tend to get stuck on the mountains, prolonging storms and keeping the valley cloudy. A few winters ago, we had 11 days of sunshine between Halloween and the end of March.

Hopefully the weather stays drier today so we can get the veggies planted. And hopefully it gets warmer  (it was 40 degrees Thursday for the high) so those veggies can grow! I’ll be back with another post later today about using the long arm quilting machine at a local quilt shop.