Things that are awesome
There are a lot of things that suck out there right now, and sometimes I get fixated on them. But today I want to fixate on the things in my life that Don't Suck. So here are ten (count 'em, ten!) awesome things from our world.
1. Owen is taking his first steps. He also managed to touch a chicken for the first time. They were gathering around him in the back yard in hopes that he had something edible to share. He swatted at one and brushed its wing. Then he cracked up. It was funny the second time, and the third, and so on until the chickens figured out to keep their distance. Owen also had a long conversation with Meadow, which also made him giggle.
2. Lori helping with the gardening this year. She's helped in the past, but this year she's really digging in. She's taking a shot at Square Foot Gardening for out seasonal, herbal, and kitchen needs. This has left me free to focus on a shorter list of high volume pantry crops. Fun for all concerned. She was out there shoveling topsoil into the newest raised bed with a baby on her back! If that's not dedication, I don't know what is.
3. Lori's chicken-resistant garden beds. (You probably can't see it, but there's bird netting draped over that frame. It could also be draped with clear plastic for a mini-greenhouse, or shade cloth to keep greens from bolting too soon. Or canvas for that Oregon Trail look. )
4. Off-duty hours. Lori and I revived an old tradition from when the twins were little. Each of us has designated hours during the week, where we can go off and do what we want - read a book, work on projects, do something frivolous, etc. - guilt free. The other person's job during that time is to wrangle three crazy kids while retaining as much of their own sanity as possible. Raising a special needs kid, a high maintenance kid, and a baby while trying to learn about small scale farming from scratch, while also holding down a day job in the midst of an economic crisis, can get to be a bit much sometimes. This is a great safety valve to get time for what you really want every now and then.
5. Craigslist. Picked up a dirt cheap riding mower. Well, one and a half actually. The guy had a spare parts mower of the same model, with working engine, larger mowing deck, etc. that he begged me to take away. The back end of it is missing. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but hopefully I can swap out for the larger mowing deck. In my spare time. I do hate the thought of having yet another old engine to maintain, but it does increase my odds of having at least one functioning at any given time. It cost less than a new push mower. I still can't understand how people can spend $5,000 - $8,000 on a zero turn mower - especially when all we have around here are giant, flat, treeless empty lawns. But I digress.
6. Lack of illness. It's been at least two weeks since anybody in our house was sick. It's about to change, based on e5's cough, but still.... After a long winter of colds and infections and viruses (and hospital bills!) it's nice to have a breather.
7. The YMCA. It's fun to stay at the YMCA... for swimming lessons for the kids, beginning karate lessons for me, for the fundraising they did for Amelia, and so on.
8. The Anti-Coloring Book. It's got a bunch of creative coloring ideas for kids, with very limited designs and lots of blank space. "You've just discovered a new planet. Design a flag for your new world." (E5 drew a modified American flag. One star (since it's a new planet and doesn't have states yet), with vertical red/white stripes. "You just discovered a new bird in the jungle. Draw a skecth of the bird to send back to the museum." (E5 drew a remote-controlled robot bird.) It kept him busy during Amelia's recent visit to the genetics specialist. On the blank dinner plate, he drew a brown blob, with a yellow rectangle next to it. He whispered to me that it was poop, with pee to drink. Ahh, five-year-olds. But later when the doctor asked him what he was drawing, he looked sheepish, and then told her it was meatloaf, with a glass of lemonade.
9. Spring peepers. Here's a little audio clip recorded on my front porch one night. Sorry that the audio quality is not great...
10. Amelia taking the term "garden bed" a little too literally.