30 May 2012

The Day I Have Been Waiting For!

We went to TJ and Kyla's for lunch on Monday. Not a BBQ, because this past Monday is the one day a year that if you have a BBQ, you're automatically an asshole.  We were sitting out on the deck, and Austin was standing behind me when he noticed something. 

My very first gray hair.  For the last 10 years or so, I've been anxiously awaiting this day.  I never thought it would come, because my mother (whose age I will not say, but if you add 24 years to my age, you will get hers) does not have gray hair.  We both have the dark blond hair that you see in my picture.  And she has not gone gray.  So she will probably be very jealous of me now.  I love gray hair.   Want to know why?

Because I would look FREAKING AWESOME with gray hair.  

25 May 2012

A minor adventure (a practice walk to the bus stop)

Mimi's starting school in 3 months, and I am starting to panic again thinking about it.  So panicked, in fact, that I did a google search for "How to homeschool your child in Montana."  But I know it would be selfish to homeschool her, because I would only be doing it so we can hang out every day.  That is not to say I don't agree with homeschooling.  A lot of people do it, and they have their reasons.  My reason would just be a bad one.  Mimi's very excited, but I am hung up on all of the little details, and we decided to crack one of them today. 

So we walked to the bus stop to see how far it is.  I was convinced it was at least a mile, but on my way home from work last night, I clocked it, and it was just over a half mile.  Still a long walk, but doable.   I should add that she is never going to get to, or from the bus stop alone.  I'll always walk with her...mountain lions and bears and stuff like that. 

Going down our driveway...making sure I am still behind her.  And yes, it was cold enough to need a jacket.  It was in the 50's, and sprinkling intermittently.  The hat was just for style. 

Mimi stopped to turn over all of the rocks to check for ant colonies.  Every. Rock.  It's her new thing.

And I stopped to take pictures of the wild strawberries on the side of the driveway.

I also found wild raspberries growing in the driveway.  I want to dig them out and put them in my garden, so I found big grey rocks to mark them, because they are hard to find again.  Today, when we were driving up to the house, Austin had to swerve away from it, and he was like, "where did THAT rock come from?"  And I just shrugged like I didn't know what he was talking about.

Just in case we ran into bears, I brought along this knife. It's the only one we have in the house that I can put in my pocket without getting stabbing myself in the hip.  We have another one that is in a sheath that you can put on your belt, but I don't own a belt.  Mimi made me promise not to stab any baby bears.  I didn't bring Blue on this walk, because he's a pain on a leash, and I didn't want him to walk so long off-leash in the event that we come across another family that Blue would love more than us.  I bought this knife as a present for Austin at a yard sale in South Carolina.  I thought it was appropriately rednecky. 

This is the entrance to our driveway.  We live in a neighborhood; each of the properties has at least 5 acres of land.  Our driveway is marked with our address, but we still get people that drive up it, thinking it's a mountain road, see the cabin, and have to back down it quickly.  When this happens, Blue goes batshit and barks so loud our ears ring, and I have to go out onto the porch with the gun to deter any funny business.  Sometimes Blue barks and I don't see anybody.  He did this yesterday, so I walked out on the porch with the gun and yelled, "This is private property.  I have a gun and a dog.  I am not sure which one I will use first!  Unless you're a neighbor.  Then come one up."  This is done usually when I am in my pajamas, because penguin pajama pants really add to the crazy.

Down the street......I have never seen red pinecones, but our across the street neighbor has them growing on his property.

We found this spinal cord and pelvis on a hike a week or so ago.  Mimi wanted to check it out again.  I think it belongs to a dog.  There was a skull right next to it, but it's pretty gross so I'm not sure if I should post it.  Oh, ok.  Here it is.

Last week, it was hanging on a tree, a branch poked through the eye holes.   I tried to take it home with us, but Austin made me put it back.  I wasn't going to sit there and poke the branch back through, so I just dropped it.

The bones were next to this creek.  I had to trespass to get this picture, since it's on private property about 25 feet off the road, and there is a "no tresspassing" sign just to the right of this, but I wanted to get a picture of the creek, (or crick, as they say in MT).  I wish we had a creek (crick) running through our property.  We took Blue with us on our walk last week and he happily splashed around in this until we called him back.

This is our road, going down the mountain (even though it looks like you're going up).  To the left is the draw, where the creek (crick) flows and the mountain lions live. 

And if you turn around, this is the road going up the mountain, to our house.  In the spring, this is pothole city, but they just put some fresh gravel on it, so it's not too bad right now. 

It was pretty here, so we stopped to take a picture, but our big heads block the view.

Then we heard crashing in the trees, and saw two brown shapes moving, so took a picture.  Don't worry.  It's just deer.  I had my knife just in case. 

Success!  We made it to the bus stop! This is, obviously, also where we get our mail.  The reason the bus stops so far from our house is because this is where the county stops maintaining the road, and where the HOA steps in.  So when it snows, if school is not cancelled, the road will be plowed before the school buses drive up the mountain.   On days when there is no school, this is the spot your car will get stuck.  Oh, I forgot a story!

Once this winter, during a horrific snowstorm, I got stuck about a half-mile below this spot at about 2am driving home from work.  I had foolishly volunteered to come into work, thinking that since we could drive in and our of our driveway, I would be able to get home safely.  I was wrong, and got stuck just below the crest of the hill that leads to our road.  I had to back down the hill, using our spotlight to find a driveway to turn around in.  I ended up an hour and a half later at my mother-in-law's house 18 miles away, terrified and in tears, because I am a big crybaby.

Which is why I will fall to pieces in three months when I actually have to walk her to the bus stop for real. 

17 May 2012

How to get what you want.

Mimi and I are constantly together, like conjoined twins.  Except for the 25 or so hours a week that I work (half of them while she's in bed) if you see me, chances are, you see her too. 

Here's a shocker.  Are you ready for it?  I co-sleep.  I have for most of her life, once I got past the fear of rolling over on to her as a newborn.  For about a year or so, she slept by herself in a crib, but then she got sick when she was 2 and Austin graciously swapped beds with her and she's stayed there ever since.  It works for us....Mimi and I snore up a storm, and I usually go to sleep only an hour or two before he wakes up.  It's not for everybody, and most people think I'm crazy for it, but again.....it works for us.

Certainly if two people spend so much time together, they must be besties.  So I tell Mimi all the time that she's my best friend.  She disagrees.  She says that we are "not best friends.  Only mom and kid." 

She was helping me in the garden yesterday by dumping buckets of pulled sod and weeds into the treeline, and she says, "You know what's better?  Being with you."  I thought it was a good time to broach the subject again, and I offered her a hundred dollars if she would be my best friend forever.  She said that forever was too long, and offered me a counter deal:  she would pay ME $1, and she would be my best friend for 10 days.  I repeated the deal back to her, and she changed her mind and said that 10 days was too long, but 9 days was ok.  "So, you'll be my best friend for 9 days, AND you pay me $1?"  Considering that I owed her $1.50 for hauling weeds, this was fantastic. 



I'll just negotiate an extension of the terms next week.  

15 May 2012

What's going on at Half Moon Farms + Porter!

I just went outside to take some pictures of the progress on the farm, and as I was putting on my sandals on the porch, I heard a loud rusting in the trees on the other side of the driveway.  For some reason, I didn't look up until I had my sandals on.  One day, my inability to unfocus on something that I am doing, and refocus on something else will probably kill me, but today I was lucky, because it was only 2 deer crashing through the trees.   It's not like I'd be able to run away faster with my sandals on, since they are completely broken, and I can't even walk downhill in them without them falling apart.  But I love them. 

I am happy to announce that there have been no bear sightings yet this year.  But baby deer season is approaching quickly.  Prepare yourselves for a cute overload, because I hope in the next month or so to have pictures of the summer fawns.  In the meantime, you will have to feast on the deliciousness that is Porter, the most delecatable 1 year old on the planet:

He's much cuter and more interesting than pictures of my seedlings, but since you are already here, you might as well keep scrolling down. 

Sweet peas



Porkchop.  I have no idea how that got in there.



Row after row of spinach-lings.....Mimi's favorite

My miracle hot pepper plant, which self-pollinated during winter, survived replanting in the garden, only to get burned by frost last week, even though I covered it.  I also lost 8 beautiful tomato plants, also covered. 

Baby sugar bush watermelons.  This will be the first crop, planted about 3 weeks ago inside.  I also planted a half-plot of seeds yesterday. 

And a prolific field of potatoes.  Just kidding.  They haven't sprouted yet. 

That's all for now.

This was my Mother's Day

I've been a mom for almost 6 years now, so I've celebrated a few Mother's Days in my time, but since we moved to Montana, and are able to celebrate holidays with family, everything this year has felt like a first.  I can't help thinking that this was my first Mother's Day, it just feels like that.  It might be that Mimi is starting to really get into holidays, especially since her grandma and cousin Kinley keep her updated on when they are happening.  This is going to sound really bad, but until this year, we rarely celebrated holidays on the exact day...mainly because you can get awesome holiday presents for 50% off the day after.  Mimi would get tons of stuffed animals and baskets for Easter and Valentine's Day...just the next day....and I saved a bunch of money.  But she's older now, and can count down pretty accurately to the days, especially when her grandmas foil my plans and keep her on track. 

But Mother's Day is about ME(!!!) and Mimi was excited.  I work nights, and usually don't go to bed until around 3am.  Mimi goes to sleep between 10-11pm, and we both sleep until about 10am.  On Sunday, I woke up at 9:30 and she told me to go back to bed because it was Mother's Day!  Yay!  But I couldn't.  The night before, I had prepped these awesome huckleberry bars, after work, and I needed to bake them and cool them in time for a BBQ at noon.  The recipe for the bars originally called for blueberries, but this is Montana, where huckleberries are king, and I had a quart of them in the freezer from picking with my in-laws last summer, so I used those instead.  When we went picking last August, we actually went to Idaho, but I didn't realize it until we were back in Montana.  Also, Mimi calls them "hunkleberries," so I usually call them that too because it's cute.  So if you have any berries laying around, you should try the recipe.  I think it would even work with jam. 

So off we went to the BBQ at my in-laws' house.  When I was FB-messaging with my BFF and sister-in-law Kyla, I asked what she was going to bring with her, and she said, "Don't we get a pass for being mothers?" but I convinced her to bring her cole slaw.  I fell in love with this cole slaw last autumn after having a Kyla-catered meal at my in-laws house that featured it paired with creamy chicken manicotti.  It sounds weird together, but it works.  So....hamburgers, polish dogs, pasta salad, macaroni salad, cole slaw, beans, chips, etc.  After we ate, we mostly just watched the kids play. 


Then I challenged Kyla to a swordfight by foot, which you'd totally think I'd win, but Kyla has these weird toes so it was closer than I'd expect. 

And we posed with our kids.


Happy Mother's Day!

08 May 2012

The Girl and Her Dog

This is Mimi and Blue on the day we got him.  When we were moving to Montana, we promised Mimi she could get a pet, either a dog or a guinea pig.  By the time we got here, she had pretty much forgotten about our promise.  Then the bear came.  Every day.  And after 2 weeks of bear sightings...on the deck, in the yard, trying to get in the kitchen window, Austin and I started debating the merits of dogs vs. guns.  You can guess who won that discussion.  (Me!!!)  So we got Blue, and ever since, he and Mimi have been a matched pair.  They do everthing together...

They hunt for clover together.  Going back in time...when Mimi could only be reliably counted on to eat about six different foods (HEB tortillas, cheese, apples, goldfish crackers, ramen, and yogurt), I showed her that she could eat clover, and she still eats them.

He tolerates (really, welcomes) Mimi's constant hugs (even though he tries to look dignified) and actually listens to her when she bosses him around.  Poor Blue...on his first day at our house, I heard Mimi say to him:  "Come on, Blue.  Let's go have a tea party." 

They spend countless hours on cold and rainy days in the toyroom.  I should say that the toyroom is actually the sunroom.  It has windows on 3 sides and ideally would have a squashy chair, a lamp, and a bookshelf...perfect for rainy days.  But Mimi claimed it right after we moved in, and she is attempting to fill it completely with stuffed animals.  Blue likes it because it offers an excellent vantage point for stalking squirrels.

She thinks they are brother and sister.  He's ok with that. 

04 May 2012

The State of my Kitchen Sink (and a Bonus picture!)

There's a lot going on in the kitchen, and it's not just cooking. 

Lately, because of the abundant natural light, I've been growing plants in the sink that won't fit near a window.  From the left to the right:  radishes, wild strawberries, and green beans.  The green beans are going to grow on a trellis that is stuck in the pot.  I got the idea from my sister.  In addition, the space between one counter to another is perfect for hanging seed tapes to dry.  I made about 30 of them last night.  Luckily, we don't actually need this kitchen sink.  Because of the odd way that this cabin was cobbled together, we have a kitchen sink and cabinets in the hallways also.

These are the radishes, only 5 days in.  Mimi wanted to grow some (but not eat any) and they are the fastest growing seed I have ever planted.  They sprouted within 2 days and I are really taking off.  These should be ready to eat in less than 3 weeks. 

These are the wild strawberries that I found growing on the sleep slope behind my house.  They've double in size since I replanted them about 5 days ago and seem to prefer being inside to outside.  It was sunny today and I put them out on the deck but the leaves folded up and looked sad, so I brought them back inside and they perked up.  I'm thinking of grabbing some more and planting them with my domestic (is that the word) strawberries when they arrive to try to make some interesting franken-berry crosses. 

Mimi's got quite a collection growing in her toy room too.  She's taking a picture of the oregano, basil, and sage that was planted about 3 weeks ago.  She's using my old camera and has already taken over 900 pictures.  She's pretty good with it, especially when she is not trying to take pictures of my carpenter's crack when I'm in the garden. 

Bonus picture:

We found this little cave dug out of a hill on the far side of our property.  It's big enough for Mimi to fit in if she wanted to.  We have no idea what lives here.  Any ideas?