Sunday, November 28, 2010

Trying my hand at four season gardening

We've been in our house here in Colorado since the 6th of August.  Having spent the entire summer traveling there was no time for gardening.  Since graduating college I've grown something every summer, even if only in pots on my front porch.  Well in late August I decided to just try and plant a few things.  It was actually quite a production as I had to clear the space to plant.  But we ended up with a tiny bed in the  corner of our fenced patio.   I'd read bits and pieces of Eliot Coleman's book 'Four Season Harvest' and so I knew I needed to get stuff going so it would be established by the time the days got shorter.  I've never planted in this part of the country so it's all been an experiment.  I know, I know I could have just called the local extension service but that would take all the fun out of it.  Besides it was a sunny, wonderful day, that day in August and throwing caution to the wind seemed like a fine thing to do.  The girls and I planted peas, green onions, carrots, chard, kale, spinach and greens.  We planted a small number of each just to see how things would grow.  Well the peas tried their best but just didn't make it to flowering before the cold weather set it.  Everything else was growing S-L-O-W-L-Y!  I covered the whole thing around early to mid October with 6 mil plastic and crossed my fingers.  I was a bit perplexed by my kale.  I'd never seen kale look like that and the leaves were a little prickly.  But it looked eatable... and it tasted eatable so I just watched and waited.  I checked a few days ago and realized they were in fact radishes.  I've never liked radishes.  Today we had our first harvest from that little garden (wish I had photos). Guess what it was?!  Yep radishes.  They needed thinning and so I took it upon myself to suck it up and eat 'em.  Turns out those small round globes of bright red on a cold, snowy November evening were quite a gift.  We also had a handful of spinach that was beyond delicious.  Even the four year old who abhors anything green right now devoured a few leaves.  The nights are getting colder so I covered the bed with a layer of leaves this afternoon.  We'll see how long this little experiment lasts.  It's been quite a bit of fun thus far.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The thing about furnace replacement....

is that sometimes you get to keep the boxes.  We had a grand time decorating our new box homes yesterday.  They've taken up residence (if temporarily) in our living room.  Our neighbor Mia helped us decorate.  

 Today we find ourselves making our boxes more homey.  Lillian has added hammocks out of play silks for her dolls.  Nonie is reading to her dolls.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Lantern Walk

We went on the school lantern walk this evening.  The children have been working on their lanterns for a couple weeks now.  It was a perfect night for the walk.  It was cold and crisp but not too cold and no hint of wind.  I do believe all the candles stayed lit.  This was the biggest lantern walk I've witnessed.  There were probably 40+ lanterns bobbing across the field in the dark night.  It was spectacular.   We also just happened to meet St. Martin out there who helped a poor, cold beggar by cutting his cloak in half and sharing it with her.  This story really impressed the children as they've been hearing it in school for the last week. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Help I'm addicted

We had a little ball felting party this week.  I have to tell you rolling felt balls is like eating peanuts. You just can't stop!  We started with white roving on the inside and surrounded it with the colored roving in a large, lose, round ball shape.  Then we used a large dab of dish soap and submersed the ball to get it wet in a bowl full of warm water.  We took the ball out of the water and worked it in a continuous rounding way until the ball was formed, then rolled the ball more vigorously to finish the felting. (Soap is the key, you want a pretty good lather)    

Did I mention we also dyed silks with Kool-Aid and food coloring at the same time?!  To set the colors I used both white vinegar and salt.  They seemed to run clear after a bit of rinsing.

The gift of generations

We spent yesterday with my grandparents, Lil and Nonie's great-grandparents.  My family is full of creative folks but my grandmother is one of the most creative of us all.  She has always been a jeweler, painter, illustrator, writer...... The list goes on and on.   My girls have not gotten to spend much time with their great-grands as we've always been across the country.  Well, no more!  We now live three hours away.  I feel like spending time with and getting to know my grandparents is a gift I can give my girls. 

When I was a girl my grandparents lived in Ossining, New York. They lived in a 100 plus year old home full of curiosities and quirks.  One of the most spectacular things about the home was the garden my grandparents lovingly cultivated for the almost fifty years they lived there.  

When I was a child my grandmother wrote and illustrated a book about that garden called 'Anna's Secret'.  It is about me visiting in the summer and finding little folks living in the garden.  It is a story my girls have grown to love.   The illustrations in the book are just gorgeous and I managed to get some copies yesterday. I plan on framing them and hanging them in the girls room.  

Clay models of the mice in the story. 

Little corners of my grandmother's studio.