Thursday, October 27, 2011

I love the stars at night

There are so many things I love about this vid, so many things.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Pumpkin Picture

Laughing at their daddy

I'm lovin' the pumpkin pictures!  I want to make this an annual tradition.  We did it in in 2008 and again in 2009, but when I combed the memory banks this weekend, I realized that we didn't do it last year.  Why not??

And then I remembered.

Blaine carved pumpkins out of the sheer force of will (for the boys' happiness) after a day of butchering 24 chickens.  The day before Halloween.  The next day, as he was laying prostrate on the couch not wanting to move, I gathered my meager reserves and took the boys to their grandparents' house for some trick-or-treating.  Out of sheer force of will.  Hobbling the entire time on my poor pregnant legs.  Then I myself spent the next couple of weeks laying on the couch, practically bedridden.

Things are much better this year.

Blaine did all the carving, following each boy's special request for the shape of the eyes, nose and mouth.  Except Schtinky, who pooped out and had to nap halfway through, and got the cutest little one-toothed baby pumpkin ever.

I didn't carve because I was cutting up apples for sauce while keeping the baby as happy as I could in the backpack until he could take it no longer.  (Sidenote: I canned another 8 quarts of applesauce last night and 9 pints of cantaloupe pickles.)

What I love most about this picture of the boys - aside from the yearly tradition it has become, how much the boys are growing, the fact that Truen and Jamie are of similar size, all their adorable little faces, the autumn-ish feel to it, and my fondness for the pumpkins - are Schtinky's tan lines in the fat rolls on the ankle of his right foot.

See 'em?  Precious.

Friday, October 21, 2011

TJPS: Four years old

 ♥ ♥  months old

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ years old

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Autumnal collage

This beautiful little collection represents one of the many things I love about my main squeeze, my only squeeze.  Blaine.  What a man. 

He always has his eyes to the skies (though sometimes looking for aliens, ahem) and adds a bit of beauty in whatever he does.  I love the flare.  And who would ever get that out of the brick wall that he presents himself as?  He has even said he wears his "signature plaid" (after 10 years, I believe it qualifies as just that: signature) because "it's exciting".


Monday, October 17, 2011

This past weekend

We --
  • Prepped/planted garlic
  • Pulled in all the peppers and tomatoes
    • After a very early frost, followed by weeks of very warm temps, fall is coming to stay . . . Jack Frost's ETA is Tuesday night
  • Canned
    • 9 quarts tomato sauce
    • 10 quarts tomatillo salsa
Blaine also cleaned the gutters, cleaned out the chicken coop, and did the beginnings of garden clean-up.  I'm finishing up the salsa/sauce right now, just waiting for it to cool in the canner a bit before setting it out on the counter.  Then, to bed.

But just one more thing . . .

 Can you see it...?

My first baby lost his first tooth

It fell out while eating a donut on Saturday morning.  A donut, yes.  Blaine brought it home from work.  Diego had been fretting about the pain of having it pulled out and wanted it to "just fall out" by itself.  And by golly, it did.  He was very excited about it.

Afterwards he said, "Let's call people and tell them the news!"  We called both grandparents (only one was home) and he gave them the play-by-play.

And while I was initially sad when we realized his tooth was loose, it was an exciting moment for all of us.  My tender-hearted little guy.  Losing teeth.  Amazing.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Backpack Baby

I honestly don't know what we would do
without this thing . . .

A vintage Gerry backpack --
I picked it up off the side of the road
during the "curbside dump" day in Big Town, SD
I thought it might "come in handy" at some point.
And HAS. IT. EVER.  Holy smokes.

At the prairie preserve with Unky Erik

In front of an old shed on our place
Isn't the wood pretty??
We keep on thinking about doing
"family pictures" in front of it.

Our view to the west

Examining the East Garden with Dada after frost

Little lion hat --
Made by LSJF

Monday, October 10, 2011


We totally conquered this weekend. 

We --
  1. Butchered six chickens
  2. Cut down a tree
  3. Dug up, divided, and moved four bunches of raspberries
  4. Processed 60 lbs of tomatoes --
  5. Which became 9.5 quarts of tomato sauce, an enormous batch of tomato soup, and 6 cups of spicy tomato aspic (pectin-based vs. gelatin -- think savory tomato jelly)
We did this in two days, with two little boys and a 9 month old, just the two of us, with only an hour-and-a-half help from Blaine's parents (the tree).  Un-un-un-un.

Lest our heads inflate, let us remember that the kitchen floor looks like a sandbox yet again; Mt. Saint Laundry Pile sits on the living room couch, where I'm pretty sure every article of our clothing is laying in a big wrinkly pile; and after staying up until 1:45 AM to finish the canning process, I felt like a incoherent zombie when stirred to nurse my little little babe in the night. 

I'm also in fairly dire need of a shower.

But it feels very good. 

And . . . at intermittent moments, my thoughts moved towards winter.  That's when I hope to paint the sunroom, replace the toilet, finish Truen's baby calendar, read a little more, and have time to stare out the window (yeah right).

Friday, October 07, 2011

Another visit, this time with sibs

One month later....

My cousin got married the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend.
The wedding was at Nazareth Chapel at NW College --
Gorgeous atmosphere, amazing pianist, lovely bride.

My dad, two of my brothers, and my SIL were able to make it.
Which was lovely . . . absolutely wonderful.
This was after a family brunch in Stillwater the next morning.
The St. Croix river was particularly delightful this day.
Incidentally, there had been a Bigfoot sighting
in Stillwater just the week before.
We didn't see one.

There is a co-op near the waterfront in Stillwater --
We purchased the raw materials for a picnic
and lunched (a.k.a. FEASTED) on the grass along the river.
It was so relaxing and happy, a truly beautiful time.
The green grass, sailing white cloud-puffs, a bluer-than-blue sky.
And just hangin' out.  It felt so good.

Grandpa snuggled with Lil' Schtinky quite a bit.
We spent the extended weekend with my dad
and this was the last day.
Towards the end of the afternoon he held a sleeping Jamie,
'til his butt fell asleep and he got so sore and stiff
from holding the same position
that he just couldn't take it anymore.
I've done the same thing many times. ♥

Monday night we headed back to our place in the rolling prairies.
I don't have as many pictures of that time because it was
in the kitchen and garden.  Plus just sitting and talking.
But suffice it to say, it was a lovely visit.
This is the killer pizza that my brother and SIL made.
The one I keep talking about. 
The eggplant and cherry tomato pizza.
It was so. good.
Incidentally, this picture is a good representation of the
INSANITY that the kitchen turns into in September.
Hardly a clear spot on the counter.

My long-haired brudders.
This was right as we were saying goodbye to Brent --
he took the bus back to Minneapolis that Thursday,
flying back to Colorado the day after that.

On Friday afternoon, Erik and Ash started the
long, winding trek back to Kelowna, BC, but first --
We went on a mini-hike and picnic to the prairie preserve.
Also lovely.  My word for the day.  Lovely.
The texture and color of the grasses is so Martha.
If that makes sense.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Fragrant Kale Potato Soup

I am canning applesauce this afternoon, sealing the first two batches and cooking the second batch at this very moment.  I expect approximately 12 quarts.  Not too shabby.  We picked apples yesterday, a pleasant task for all involved.

It is the second-poorest apple crop we've had, but the tree is still recovering from the massive prune Blaine inflicted upon it the winter of 2010.  And honestly . . . we don't mind at all.  The amount is "just right" for this year.  The only sadness is not having extra to give away.  Otherwise, we are perfectly content.

Blaine has had the baby in the backpack most of the day, with short snuggle breaks with mama and/or sleep (it is nap-time right now).  The house smells lovely and the thought of applesauce on our pancakes this winter makes me smile.  The sun is shining and the day is warm . . . I couldn't ask for anything nicer.  As my MIL likes to say, it is a "Perfect Ten".

We have been feasting on an absolutely scrumptious soup of late.  I adapted it from the Kale Potato Soup recipe in Simply in Season and added "fragrant" to the title because of all the garlic and celery.  We had it for both lunch and dinner yesterday!  Yo.  It is that good.  Tasty and filling.


Part I
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 onions
  • 4-5 stalks celery
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 4 cups stock
Saute onions and celery, then garlic in butter while dicing the potatoes.  Once wilted, add potatoes and stock, cover partially, and cook until tender.  While simmering, go to Part II and prep. 

Part II
  • 2 large bunches kale
  • 4-5 sprigs parsley
  • 1 cup yogurt, sour cream, or homemade cream cheese
  • 6 cups stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
De-stem kale, roll leaves and chop.  Chop parsley.  Add everything to the pot, then cook, partially covered, until kale is done, maybe 10 minutes.  Use a stick blender to blend to a chunky (or smooth) consistency. 

Serve with grated cheese and/or croutons.

In the past I've blended this soup into a puree, but I prefer it chunky.  It is nice to have something to bite down on, and I especially like the chewy texture of the kale.  De-wisch-shush.

I also have to note that everything in this soup was grown or produced by us, including the homemade cream cheese (though the milk came from a local farm) and the chicken stock.  Butter, salt and pepper are the only items that weren't produced on the premises. 

Huah!  Awesome.

2011 Apple Harvest