Garden 2013

It’s amazing how productive you can be when your son wakes you up at 6:30 a.m. We’d planned to spend the morning getting raised beds built for our backyard, and because we were up so early, they were done by 10 a.m. (and we even had pancakes for breakfast for getting our DIY on, too)! We planned to have two plots in the community garden this summer, but realized that even though the community garden is only four blocks away, we just weren’t making the effort to get over there every day and BAM the weeds have taken over our two plots. So instead of stressing about it all summer, I’ve given my plots up so someone on the waiting list who really wants them can have them, and we put in some raised beds in the backyard instead. Much easier to just dash out the door and tend to the plants in the backyard than have to pack up the Peanut, get toys for him, a blanket, etc. to go to the community garden (any other moms notice how getting ready to go anywhere with kids takes about four times as long?).

We decided to put the raised beds around the shed because the shed walls will continue to give off heat from the day even after the sun goes down, and in a place like Montana, we’ll take that season-extending radiant heat for sure.

Shed beforeI bought eight 2×8-foot untreated cedar boards to build the beds (cedar is somewhat rot resistant). We used frame anchors and galvanized nails to put the boards together; the boards we cut in 4-foot and 2-foot lengths to make 2×4-foot beds.

When you lack a sawhorse, improvise.

When you lack a sawhorse, improvise.

Peanut sat on a blanket in the grass playing with toys, newspaper, and tools (got to start those little DIYers young, you know).

Peanut in grass

He also reminded us to do things properly and use the level!

Peanut with level

So by 10 a.m. we had five raised beds (though a friend just surprised us with a bunch more plants — one of the tomatoes he gave us is already 4 feet tall! — so we may need to built another one or two). We put layers of wet newspaper down on top of the grass to kill it (and because newspaper is biodegradable while a lot of weed fabric is not). We filled them with locally made potting soil (organic mix of compost, vermaculite, and perlite) and got to planting seeds!

Raised beds 2I planted two kinds of basil, spinach, red chard, carrots, bush beans, peas, onion sets, and zucchini. We’ll plant tomatoes and garlic tomorrow, and noodle on building a couple more beds or just buying some planters for the other plants.

Raised beds 1After the raised beds were finished, my husband planted to raspberry canes another friend gave us along the fence, where they can keep our neighbor’s lovely lilac bushes company. We still need to mulch them and put some river rocks around the raspberry cane bed, but we’re looking forward to enjoying ripe red berries soon!

Raspberry canesAll in all, a very productive day. I don’t have anywhere near the space I had to garden last year when we lived out in the country (heavy sigh), but on the other hand, I am much more busy this summer with Peanut and the brewery, so I think in the end it’s actually a blessing. We are going to put river rocks around the raised beds as well for decoration (and for when we move… we’re definitely taking our raised beds with us, and since the grass will be dead beneath them, we want to ring the area in stones so it looks like a nice garden bed for whoever lives in this house next).

I am looking forward to enjoying the garden this summer, and am especially excited to involve the Peanut this year. What are you growing your garden? Is it a raised bed garden like mine, or do you have acres at your fingertips?

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Walking in the woods

Avalanche creek waterfallWhen my mom and sister were here for a visit a few weeks ago we spent some time one day going for a stroll in Glacier. My sister, poor thing, busted her tailbone snowboarding so we stuck to a very gentle trail for her sake. Trail of the Cedars is a boardwalk through a very old cedar grove. Some of the cedars are more than 500 years old! Avalanche Creek runs through it all, and comes down the ravine in twists and turns around the stone. In this photo the creek is actually about as low as I’ve seen it. This photo was taken before the melt really started.

Girls in the cedarsHere’s my mom (left), yours truly (middle), and my sister (right) at the overlook of the waterfall. Family resemblance?

Boys trail of the cedarsAnd here are my boys in the same spot. What lovely boys they are, too.

Feeding park employeesSomebody let a prankster loose with a permanent marker on the trail, and that person had all sorts of funny things to say (including ridiculous bovine-themed haikus). This is one example.

Pathway through the woodsIt’s a very easy trail, but a very beautiful one too. I love the hush of cedar grove, the humidity those trees create beneath their canopies, the sound of birdsong from branches distant.

 

 

 

 

Laughter

Cat backIt’s been a crazy time for my family and me lately. Opening a business is no joke, folks, and between that and a sick kiddo sleep is a fond and distant memory. However! There must still be laughter even when the stress piles up and the number of hours I spend in bed at night dwindles. There must always be laughter. (And cats.)

Easter basket

This is the first year I’ve put together an Easter basket for the Peanut. Last year he was only 4 months old so there really wasn’t much point in an Easter basket last year. Though he did wear the most adorable little onesie with bunnies and chicks on it that read: “Team Jellybean.” Anyway, this year I crocheted the Peanut a little bunny using this pattern. I also picked up a board book about baby mountain goats. The photos in the book were taken by a local photographer. I also found a little wind-up bird that hops at the grocery store. I have no doubt it will break pretty quick, but it was cheap and it’ll be entertaining for Peanut. Finally, I bought some plastic eggs that have a neat metallic sheen to them. I only used half in the Easter basket and filled a couple of them with Cheerios so the eggs rattle and Jonathan can munch on the contents.

Easter basketI am rather pleased with Peanut’s first Easter basket. In years to come I’m sure we’ll add a chocolate bunny (is there anything more fun on Easter than chomping the ears right off a chocolate rabbit?) and an age-appropriate toy or book. This is probably the only year I can have the basket sitting out in the open and Jonathan just ignores it. Next year will be a different story, I’m sure! But that’s what the top shelf of the closet is for!

Here’s a couple more photos of the charming little crochet bunny, which was so easy and quick to make up:

Crochet bunny

Crochet bunny closeupAren’t the button eyes adorable? It reminds me of reading the book “The Velveteen Rabbit” when I was younger. Speaking of which, that book would be a great Easter present for older children.

We’re spending Easter at a new friend’s house. Jonathan and my new friend’s 22-month-old daughter will be Easter egg “hunting”! And by hunting I mean picking up the eggs strewn about in plain sight. While Mom and Dad put back mimosas and deviled eggs. Maybe there are better things than chocolate bunny ears after all…

Happy Easter, everyone!

 

 

Updates

Howdy folks! Just a quick update because this week has been nuts and next week will be even nuttier as we are finally opening our brewery! Woot! Here’s what my days have been about recently:

Morning quality controlMarketing, graphic design, and beer. Not a bad combination. Especially that last part. If you’re interested in the brewery my husband and I are opening, you can check it out here.

In other news, was anyone wondering what happened to that striped blanket I was working on earlier this year? I’ve been meaning to get photos up of it, but it’s been getting some hard use. So here it is!

Peanut under the stripe blanketI’d say it’s a hit.

 

13 months

Pretty behind on posting this photo! We actually took this photo at the very end of January instead of on January 23. On January 23, Peanut was so, so sick, and it wouldn’t have been a good photo if we could have even gotten him to sit for the photo. So I’m glad we waited and here’s this very cute picture instead!

13 monthsJanuary 23 is a special day, even if Peanut was sick. January 23 is the date the Peanut was due (he came exactly a month early on December 23!), so January 23 was technically his first birthday, adjusting for the premature birth. What a cutie man!

 

Sunny days are here again

You know you live in the Northwest when, on those fleetingly rare winter days when the clouds part and the sun shines, your initial response isn’t, “Oh hey, it’s finally sunny. I can stop being depressed now!”, but rather, “Why is it so bright in here? What is THAT?” Funny how quickly this Colorado-born and raised girl, who like all folks from her native state, craved sunshine (Colorado gets about 300 days of sunshine a year) has turned into a dyed-in-the-wool Montanan, who blinks in surprise on sunny winter days. Funny cloud-locked responses aside, I am more than happy to welcome the sun today. It’s just lovely to sit in the warm, bright patch next to the glass sliding door and crochet. And ignore the work I’m supposed to be doing. And crochet.

J blanket halfway

I’m working on a blanket for the Peanut. I showed a picture of it a few days ago in my “Yarn Therapy” post. The blanket is about halfway done after a week’s worth of work. I’m using a herringbone crochet stitch with a pattern of my own devising. You can find a great tutorial here for the stitch. It’s a very easy stitch, and right now I’m totally OK with mindless finger movements so I can concentrate on other things. It’s also a very tight, dense stitch, which I like for the warmth factor.

WEB 1-27-13 herringbone half double crochet

I’m using Berroco yarn, from the Vintage line. It’s nice yarn, soft and easy to work with. Though acrylic yarn is cheaper, I don’t like the way it feels sliding across my fingers as I crochet. Is that weird? There needs to be some wool in yarn for it to be, I don’t know, real.

We’re all finally recovering from the depths of illness over the past week. After three different doctors appointments spread out over the week and a chest x-ray, the doc finally diagnosed the Peanut with bronchitis. Which doesn’t surprise me in the least. I get bronchitis myself nearly every year. A round of antibiotics and every-four-hours treatments with a nebulizer, Peanut has rebounded and is finally back to being my smiley guy. A smiley guy who doesn’t mind sharing my husband’s lap with our cat, Pele.

Lap sharing

 

Had to get out of the sick house this weekend and found myself at my favorite local antique/consignment store. It is truly fabulous in there. And being friends with the owner and therefore getting discounts always helps. I was on the hunt for some chairs for the brewery. We ordered new barstools, but we have one low table and wanted some eclectic chairs. I searched high and low at the local thrift stores and was frankly disgusted to find that the thrift stores all wanted about $35 a chair for rickety sticks that would likely collapse if you looked at them wrong. So I ponied up another $20 bucks a chair and got some solid, nice chairs. They don’t match, but we wanted something “found” and eclectic anyway to go with the rustic theme in the brewery. So, three chairs down and one to go.

And of course, since that antique store is my very favorite, I couldn’t get out the door without picking up some personal things. (Did I mention that I only allow myself in that antique store about twice a year for that very reason?) I found a darling and sturdy teal blue child’s chair for the Peanut. It’s still big, obviously, but I look forward to him growing into it and enjoying his own little chair. It will go great with a little activity table in a year or two. Oh, and here’s the blanket I’m working on again draped over the chair.

Blanket and blue chair

 

Also found the flannel shirt my husband is wearing in the picture above. It’s a vintage Pendleton shirt, made in the U.S.! Sadly a lot of Pendleton’s stuff has been moved to manufacturing overseas. But this shirt, for a lot cheaper than a new one made in China, looked like it would fit so I snapped it up. And Big Country likes it a lot. My final purchases were a crochet doily and crochet table runner. I couldn’t believe how cheaply she was selling them (sssshh don’t tell her that!). The doily was $3 and the table runner $8. I could work on a table runner like that for WEEKS. And I sure as hell wouldn’t charge a measly 8 bucks for it!

Crochet runner

Isn’t it great? Fits perfectly on “Peanut’s shelf.” (This bookshelf, which is ancient and fabulous, used to be full of books and whatnot, but Peanut would always get into it and make a giant mess. So we cleared it out and put some toys in it for him. Someday it’ll have books in it again.)

So, despite a really stuffy nose, a cough, and a rough night’s sleep last night, I’m feeling a lot more at peace with things than I was last week. I guess sometimes you just have to let things do. Drink some coffee. Crochet. Read a book. And speaking of books… I’m reading a really special one right now that isn’t even published yet! I’ll share it in my next post.

 

Full of cares

Writing this post today I’m full of worry. Figured doing some writing would be therapeutic.

First and foremost care today is that my son has the flu. As in influenza. Which makes me a very sad mama. I hate seeing my little boy looking listless. I hate listening to his coughing. My husband and I were up multiple times last night with the Peanut, taking his temperature (about 101˚F), keeping him propped up so he could breathe better, and rocking rocking rocking in the dark. As my mom told me after the Peanut was born, “you’ll never be free from worry again,” and boy, was she right. A trip to the doctor today yielded what I already knew. We’re to give the Peanut lots of fluids, feed him if he’s hungry but don’t force food, keep a humidifier going in his bedroom, let him scoot around in just a diaper to keep cool, alternate infant Advil and Tylenol, and make sure he gets lots of sleep. I nipped out to the store after his appointment and stocked up on ingredients for a couple different soups. Planning to make lots of soup tonight in case the husband and I get sick, too, so we don’t have to cook. I know the Peanut will be better in a few days, but I can’t help being troubled when my baby is sick.

Second care is what’s happening in the legislature in my state. Montana has extremely antiquated liquor laws. And it would seem this legislature has declared open season against the breweries. The Montana Tavern Association (representing the bars) is hell bent on ruining the brewing industry in this state because god forbid a different alcohol industry is successful. And since the MTA is so powerful, they have many legislators in their pocket. Truly terrifying. Basically the MTA wants to limit the amount of beer breweries can sell in their taprooms far less than what they must distribute (in other words… sell to the bars at vastly reduced prices). The brewery my husband and I are opening is a business model based on 100 percent taproom sales. Everything we’ve done so far is in accordance with state laws. I don’t know what we’ll do if the legislature makes the boneheaded move to limit this booming industry. I don’t why on god’s green earth the legislature would want to limit an industry that employs more than 400 people, with profits of more than $50 million and more than $1.5 million in state taxes. Stupid, shortsighted. And so worrying. We’re terrified our business is going to be ruined before we even get open. If you read this blog and you live in Montana, I’d appreciate a call to your legislators to tell them to limit the brewing industry is madness. I’m in the process of drafting a letter to my legislators, and I really hope it has some effect. What seriously dampened my spirits last week was learning that the speaker of the house is a tavern owner. Makes things feel a bit hopeless. We’ve been trying to rally our social media following, though. The more people who call their legislators, the better.

There are other cares, too, that I won’t share here. But any thoughts/prayers/good vibes are appreciated.

Time to get back to working while I can while the Peanut naps.