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Saturday, March 29, 2014

13/52




A portrait of my little ones, once a week, every week in 2014
                                                                                                     see more here

S: we went on a picnic at the arboretum to see all the magnolias blooming. abba was throwing you up in the air and catching you, you loved it so. 

U: a week with you home from school for spring break. you made a bridge to get to that tree so you could go fishing. can't wait for all our adventures this summer.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

springing and this year's garden







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Spring has arrived in Portland. The plum trees in front of our house are an explosion of pink blossoms that land in our hair in a shower of petals. Our azalea and forsythia are blooming, all bright pink and yellow, and the daffodils have popped up all over our yard. The days are filled with quick rain showers and bits of sun. We try to run outside when we notice the sun peeking out and soak it all in.

These last few days have been brilliantly sunny and we have been spending almost the entirety of them outdoors. We celebrated the first day of spring with our annual trip to the rhododendron garden, this time the whole family in tow. We have been clearing up the garden and planting seeds. We set up the bean teepee in a new spot this year, right in the middle of the back garden. I created new beds and chopped in all the cover crop. Our soil is really improving since we first moved in and each year it is easier to work with. I love watching the progress we are making and I can't wait until the new berries and fruit trees we planted are fruiting prolifically. This year we don't have the funds to purchase any bigger plants beyond seeds, but am looking forward to planting some more elderberries, lingonberries, hydrangeas, and other things in the future. Also hoping to have room one day to plant a nectarine tree, once we cut down the old fir tree.

I am so excited for this season in the garden. Now that Shoshi is older, it will be easier to get back there and I am hoping I will have a lot more time to spend taking care of things. It was hard when the first year we were here she was a newborn, and the second year she was a new walker and very unsteady on her feet (not so easy to get around in our bumpy garden). I am also trying to teach the kids how to navigate walking around the garden without stepping on the new plants (I lost many plants last year to accidental kid stomping), and am trying to set up very clear boundaries about where and where not to walk. I am lining the beds with broken up old raspberry canes to create a little fence of sorts, and making sure the rocks lining the paths are nice and clear. Our strawberries are still stomped on constantly, as are our garlic and shallots, so I am trying to discourage walking in those beds and keeping my fingers crossed that the plants are hardy enough to withstand some kid wear and tear.

Also, this year I am hoping to have a set seed planting day (here's looking to you, sunday) once a week so I have a nice succession of things to eat. I am trying to be even more practical with the garden this year and make sure we have enough to eat every week and some left over to preserve or freeze. Often I want to plant in one big go and then be done with it, but by planting a little every week we will be able to spread out the veggie deliciousness.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

12/52






 A portrait of my little ones, once a week, every week in 2014
                                                                                                     see more here

U: the sun came out this week and you wanted to spend every moment outside. we built and planted the bean teepee and you are helping shape the beds and write down the names of everything we plant on the little tags. you have also been saying tons of funny things lately, you have quite the sense of humor. 

S: you call butterflies "happy flies" and whenever I ask if you want to go outside you say "yes, plant seeds". today you caught one of the chickens, I was impressed and you were pretty delighted.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

last weekend








We normally head out on some sort of outdoor adventure on saturdays, but this week we decided to stay home and work on projects in the yard. I had a long list of things I wanted to accomplish, and although the list barely got touched, we did manage to get a few things crossed off.

The previous owners of our house left a good amount of wood building supplies behind the shed and lots of old paint. We finally loaded all of that into the car and Josh took it to Metro to be recycled or otherwise taken care of. It felt good to finally clear all those things out. I pulled out lots of blackberries and managed to prune the kiwi and our fuchsias while chasing the babe. I cleaned out the shed and bought all the outdoor toys into the yard. We are getting so excited for Spring!

We also celebrated Purim this weekend, dressing up and attending a very fun carnival and making lots of delicious hamantaschen. Uzi was a lion and Shoshi was a kitty. I somehow only managed to get a photo of Shosh, Uzi was busy making a special lion drawing to tape to his costume and ran out the door at the last minute. Oh, that boy and his projects! Love it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

visits up north in late winter




















In January, we headed up north to spend a weekend with friends at their family cabin. The cabin was built by our friend's grandfather and is in a little Norwegian village. We all had lots of fun staying up late visiting with friends, eating delicious food (mmm, oysters!), and listening to lots of great Norwegian folklore. Uzi and Shoshi went on their first canoe rides, and Uzi went out quite a few times because he loved it so much. I got to go out on the water with just the ladies. We paddled out to a little cove with a rope swing and watched the birds swoop in and out of trees with the sun sparkling on the water. It was magical. 

There was loads of sunshine (which was unusual and special for this time of year), which felt so nice.  We spent time playing near the lake and walking along a little creek in the forest. We also got to hear a great horned owl in the woods which was a big thrill for all of us, and Uzi found some wood that a beaver had gnawed (score!). A man near the lake also gave Uzi some great blue heron feathers, which he put in his special treasures basket. 

I love watching Uzi develop relationships over the years with our friends, it is so lovely to see the kinship he forms with them and the different things he learns from each of them. When we are all together, I really see the benefits of having lots of loving adults in the lives of our kids. Most of them have known him since the day he was born, and now he is almost six! And they all have something new to teach him or a story to share or a joke that will crack him up. I love it. It was a wonderful, short trip and hopefully we will all meet up in the spring or summer for a big group camp-out. 



Saturday, March 15, 2014

11/52


A portrait of my little ones, once a week, every week in 2014
 see more here

U: lots of little adventures with you after school this week. we went to the bookstore and read every book about beavers that we could find. there were definitely a couple ice cream cones. you've been enthusiastically building fairy houses and set up a magic rock shop in the backyard. the late afternoon sunshine today was lovely. you were skipping with joy on the way to the market, finding little bits of spring to bring home. 

S: we went on an evening bike ride this week, just the two of us. it was a gorgeous spring evening and the moon was so bright. you were pointing to it and saying "moon, touch it" and trying to reach it the whole way. you like to ride fast. you like me to draw a "meow" on every piece of paper you pull from the cabinet and then you add "bubbles" (tiny sweet little scribbles). you love to stir the batter when we bake. 





Monday, March 10, 2014

celebrating love











Just some photos sharing love and brightness from mid-winter. 

a spring morning nature walk with my boy




















On Friday night, my boy and I decided to wake up early and go looking for beavers at a nature area near our house. Uzi's favorite animal is the beaver (and marmots as well, but we will have to head to the mountains to spot any of those) and the canyon near our house is home to many. There are also many ducks and geese, as well as salmon and river otters. We visit at least once a month hoping to spot a few special creatures.

Spring is slowly nearing and we were delighting in the new blossoms and buds. The skunk cabbage was out (although not fragrant yet), the horsetail was sprouting all over the forest floor, the indian plum had blossoms and leaves, the red flowering currant (Uzi's favorite) was budding, the first cherry trees were blossoming and the violets were ready for eating. We snacked on some little violets and picked the first of the nettles. 

We packed a jar of hot cocoa and some muesli and snacked in the cold morning air. This time, we circled the whole canyon, visiting spots we had never seen before. We stayed for hours. We built some fairy houses in the nooks between logs. We found some nature mandalas along the trail. We made arrows from sticks, leaves, and blossoms. We spotted many beaver dams, but did not see any beavers that morning. We didn't mind though, we had such a good time together, just me and my boy.