Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gigantic blow-out catch-up post for the entire month of July

July 2015 . . . holy smokes . . . what a month.  What a doozy.

It started off with Jamie's plunge into a secondary infection from a minor cold, which took him out for three weeks.  Including the initial cold and in-between time where he never quite "came around" (he seemed tired and lackluster), it was an entire month.

It started with waking up from a nap with a fever on Thursday, 7/2.  My parents were supposed to come that Friday, but delayed arrival until Sunday (they were visiting with my grandparents in Wisconsin, so they were settled in nicely anyway).  The entire week they were here, he was completely subdued and touchy - going to bed at 7:00 PM, napping by 10:30 AM - he was a non-factor in almost everything.  It was sad.

Saying goodbye - Jamie wouldn't be in the picture

The secondary infection was in his lungs and sinuses - all the usual tricks I employ to treat such issues were useless against it.  It seemed as if I couldn't get anything to drain.  It just took time.

The week after my parents left, the congestion in his lungs slowly cleared, but not before a double ear infection manifested itself.  That week was spent focused on ensuring that Jamie took warm baths with rosemary oil to promote drainage, administering garlic oil and applying a hot water bottle to his ear three times daily to nix the ear infection, and making sure that the vaporizer was running with eucalyptus oil in the room while he slept so he could breathe more easily.  He was pale and thin, but sleeping and playing more normally in spite of the pain.

Eventually the pain subsisted and the congestion s-l-o-w-l-y cleared.  Amazingly, Blaine, Diego, Truen, and myself all had sore throats that week (and Jamie and Eliah never got it, thank the good Lord).  He still had blood in his nose from his sinuses and, toward the end of the week, we noticed that several lymph nodes in his neck were swollen and tender.  And still are.  Un-un-un-un.  Will it never end??

We are starting to move outside the house again - we were able to attend the last Park & Rec of the season this Monday and go swimming afterward.  Finally! Swimming, imagine that. The boys reveled in it.  I'm starting to think that I'll need to take the boys swimming for an afternoon each week in addition to our all day Beach Day extravaganzas on Fridays to make up for lost time.

Otherwise, life has been a whole lot of this --

Collards and broccoli
Black currents, kale, peas, turnips
Beautiful Cylindra beets

Our gardens are MAGNIFICENT this year.  It is truly "the best year ever".  Though we've said it before, it honestly tops everything we've accomplished in the past.  We've caught our groove.  The years of experience have dovetailed with our vision and enthusiasm and culminated with an amazing creation.  Blaine, of course, is the mastermind.  Without him, I would be just "pretending to garden" as a friend put so aptly.

Florence fennel, parsley, celery
 Onions (left), garlic (right), then summer squashes, cucumbers
Lettuce gone to seed, broccoli; behind that, the raspberries

:: THE WEST GARDEN (from the south) ::
Corn, cauliflower, and cabbages
Scallions, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, beets

:: THE WEST GARDEN (from the north) ::
Turnips and rhutabagas
Salsify, parsnips, kale, collards, mustard, peas,
Lettuce, carrots, winter squash, sunflowers
(the giant mass on the right is bittersweet)

The West Garden is our main kitchen garden this year.  In the past, it was for summer and winter squashes, melons, and garlic; but we made the switch out of necessity to starve out the grasshoppers that were plaguing the East Garden.  (And succeeded! They are not an issue this year at all.)  We doubled its size, fenced it, and hit the ground running.  It has been an enormous success.

How do I love thee, West Garden?  Let me count the ways.  First and foremost, it is so lovely to look out the window and see such ordered beauty, tangible results of a lot of hard work.  The East Garden is tucked behind the garage and much less visible.  The West Garden also gets much more sunlight, from morning to dusk, with no trees shading it at all.  The soil seems to be rich and fertile, the weeds, not a problem.  And I don't mind the walk one bit.

We also carved out a section in what I call "The Front Four": four acres along our driveway on the north side of our property.  It is currently in alfalfa and will be planted with oats this fall.  We are experimenting with The Front Four and planted winter squash there this year.  It is growing beautifully and plan to use it for squash, garlic, and onions next season.

Our geese this year: five white Embdens
They are so funny!  They are curious and like to follow us around the orchard,
which is exactly what they were doing this lovely morning.

The boys have been housebound pretty much the entire month of July.  Other than our houseguests, we haven't gone anywhere, gone swimming, and missed all the Story Hour and Park & Rec activities for the month.  Such a bummer.

They've still been outside a ton, however.  The big excitement last week was catching frogs.

Truby, pretending.
He caught the hugest frog of all! 

Diego, not pretending.
This is so him: always taking it to the next level.
("No frogs were hurt during the making of this video.") 

Jamie, hopping on the bandwagon.
See how pale and thin he looks?  Ugh.

And Yi-ya.  I still use my Ergo every. single. day.

We've also had a lot of tea party action going on in these parts. Truen has been the main promoter.  It is so cute - they set up the table upstairs and we drink tea or kombucha, eat dried fruit and nuts and toast, and sit with a lighted candle.  It is oh-so-cozy.

Truen and Jamie
Eliah, Truen, and Diego

We also had more friends to visit last week - Lyndi and Jen with her girls.  

The entire tempo of the household tamed with girls present. It was amazing.  They set up house in the bedroom upstairs, pulled out their coloring books and markers, and colored.  Jamie sat with them, almost transfixed, sometimes coloring, sometimes just sitting and watching.

A sweet crew
This is what happens when I ask Diego to take pictures.
I end up saying, "Will you please take a picture of all of us...?" 
as he hones in on all of our faces one at a time and snaps away.
The pictures always end up so funny, but it is stressful at the time as we w-a-i-t
and there is usually baby fussing or howling to add to the commotion.

The ladies: Shawna, Jen, and Lyndi.
Me with my exasperated and impatient face
"Will you just..??"

And finally, Jamie the Chef with his little helper Eliah Len.  Jamie has been keenly interested in working in the kitchen in the last couple of weeks.  Per his request, we've made pancakes twice, french toast, scrambled eggs, and . . . something else?  I can't remember. He's been begging to make a frozen banana-chocolote-peanut treat that I think we'll probably end up making tonight.

And Yi-ya is always right there, 
insisting on being right in the thick of it.

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