Thursday, June 30, 2011


Esme has a bit of a cough, so we're watching it. Sometimes she gets one only when she is crying and filling her sinuses up, poor kid has my nose. If it gets worse when she isn't crying - we'll have to take her in. She has really started acting more grown up more often than she is acting babyish... except for the frustration at times and being a terribly bossy cow when she has her mind set on something. I think those will be lifelong! The garden is producing a lot more - beans, squash, peppers, basil and cucumbers daily. The tomatoes and corn are just starting to become ripe. Mark thinks he'll pick some of the corn tomorrow. I feel I've lost a little of weight eating by smell - cooking pots of garden food and adding anything that smells good to it and not eating anything that doesn't smell 'delicious.' I'm probably quite lucky in that simmering vegetables and things like soup that includes black eyed peas, green beans, zucchini, carrots, yellow squash, onion, herbs and other bits of leftovers smell VERY delicious to me lately. I'm getting a lot of use out of the idea of 'eat half of this tonight, bring half for lunch tomorrow', as well.

I walked around the outside of the garden watering the new squash and beans. They are starting to leaf out.

Before I went to work this morning Esme had to check to see if Mom had everything - shirt, pants, belt, shoes... I found that funny. Tonight I notice she is answering questions, even some slightly abstract ones, much better than ever before. She can answer what color one of our dogs is now without telling me to say it. I tested her a little further and she could tell me what color her bed is (yellow), what color Curious George's "daddy" is (man in yellow hat) and was stumbling on what color George is.. she can't decide between orange or brown for him. I was impressed by that, and her use of more feeling words lately 'I rub mine eyes, it wet.' // 'Daddy go on the moon, it me too hard.' (game thing on Daddy's computer) // 'I no scream, no cry, feel all better!' (about me cutting an onion yesterday I asked her if it made her eyes cry) // 'no be all done Mom, no leave me here, we two sits' (she didn't want me to go upstairs)

She told me in the bathtub that a bubble was all dead, really dead, just sit there...really dead bubble. *ha* // She just told Daddy that something on his computer was REALLY beautiful, and she is giving him lots of directions, 'no no no.. yea, that a GREEN moon, gonna fall down, hold on tight!' etc.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

PT update

Proud of Esme - she can sit on the big potty all by herself now without any help... she proved it to Daddy today and also to me several times after I came home. She has always cried out for me to hold her up there and she isn't quite tall enough to reach... but she found a way to do it by herself. Good girl!

To boot, she got into the freezer by herself (using a chair) and got herself her own lollipop as a treat earlier when I was at work. She told Daddy all about what she had done all on her own and what else she needed help with.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

garden update (no pics)

It is starting to storm again, we've had good enough rain the past few days to bring up seeds I thought were lost... and others that were just planted recently as well.

bit of a boring update here - no pictures but I've been meaning to put this on the blog for reference. But I keep losing the computer to little fingers... so it is hard to keep up.

Three green peppers, lots of cucumbers, zucchini and some tiny yellow squash yesterday in the garden, added to the normal handful of pinto beans, green beans and a carrot. I put some of those in with a handful of lentils to simmer for a few hours and came out with a delicious garden soup that made me intensely hungry with the very first bite. I am enjoying getting some 'simple food' in and I think it is something I've needed for a while, minerals or alkaline... or just the placebo effect from knowing it is good food made myself from the garden we planted :)

The purple hulled peas are nearly all up, some more of the wax beans came up and the others are looking happier. A few other beans I had been sure had no chance came up behind the corn and others there are starting to twine up cornstalks and get ready to flower. The mexican sunflowers were looking very poorly yesterday, and are better today. Pinto beans along the fence behind those sunflowers are looking better and coming up in the bare spots. The 'advanced' pumpkin is huge now, about junior basketball size, and there is a new one coming on the OTHER side of the garden... and for the record, all of the pumpkin vines are rooted in the same place... but they have wandered all over the other squash and went where they pleased. The red sorghum is up and looks like tiny blades of grass, spaced far apart. The radishes are starting to come up in their new home. The dill is coming up, as are the Mayflower beans and extra Provider green bush beans. Esme's dahlias are coming up as well. The extra pumpkins and squash are up in the valley, but I haven't checked on the extra pole beans scattered there. I planted the whipporwhill cowpeas this morning as well as the white sorghum. Now with this rain it should be all set to come up!

Esme is begging piteously for the computer. Now that she can operate several programs (learning SO quickly, was building 'Lego' on Daddy's Minecraft game last night and switching colors and destroying things after building them within a few minutes of him showing her the keys) she wants to do it all herself and stay on for hours! Like parents like child...

Monday, June 27, 2011

it's the little things...

Like being able to put on your pants and using a mouse on the computer, pouring a cup of milk and washing your own hands and face etc... Esme is starting to get those lately and it really has added a whole new level to her independence. She is open more often to learning and trying hard at new things, and applying her range of knowledge. She can play the matching game on Starfall and also 'browse' clip art and Ebay listings by mousing to pictures she is interested in and clicking on them. We're working on the milk thing, she can get it out of the fridge, take the top off, and start to pour it.. but she needs someone holding the cup still because of the angle on the milk carton... poor girl. But, practice will make it right. And I'm still proud of her even though this morning she had both feet in one leg of her pants.. the point was that she went after the idea without crying and screaming for help until it really became a problem she couldn't fix.

When she stops and says 'I picking.... I thinking about colors. I ... I KNOW, 'something she wants', it cracks me up ;) She will pace with both hands behind her back and head down while she is 'thinking' and then decide with a light-bulb expression on her face. When she dives into my fabric box and balances on her belly over the edge, face-down in the tub and saying 'I looking.. I finding. I looking at alls.' also funny.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

fabric blurb

As I page through fabrics to get inspiration I find myself drawn back to two fabric designers, Patty Young, and Anna Maria Horner. I have used fabrics from both of them in the past, and they have a similar but different 'nature dream' feel to them.

Anna Maria Horner's Slow Crush
copyright by Free Spirit Fabrics

This really shows the 'dream' aspect of it. I think it would make a beautiful skirt to a plain bodice dress.

Esme wearing her 'red dirndl' dress
with Andalucia Firey Stripe in floral by Patty Young

This was a single fat quarter I saved for SO long. It was so strong it drew me in, and yet the color combination seemed to toss it out of every other project until... as I was cutting out this red dress I needed something extra for a panel to make it a drop waist. This one piece was just the right size, and it seemed to speak out that finally, it had found the right place.

'Sanctuary', also by Patty Young
pretty oranges and lemons and cucumbers
I put this fabric away somewhere at New Year's and haven't found it since *growl*

I had several things made out of Chocolate Lollipop by Anna Maria Horner, but haven't been able to locate any pictures of them.

In short, I keep going through the pages and saying 'oh that is pretty', clicking, and seeing these two names. It is interesting to see it continue year after year, collection after collection. Patty Young's "new" Flora and Fauna collection is astounding me, as well. Beehives, hummingbirds and pretty saturniid moths can be seen at this Etsy search.

I might go dig for that orange and cucumber fabric ;) I should locate it and make something out of it.

Blue dot dress

Awesome pictures taken by Mark :)
Fabric by Nauvoo Quilt Company, one of the pieces I bought as part of my Mother's Day present ;) And this is why it was for Mother's Day, so I can have a dress to put on her and see again and again :)

New blue dot dress made this morning before we went to town. The collar on this one is tight, almost 'perfect'... so it probably will not fit for as long as the 'too big' one. I'll need to make at least one more before I cut into the Hong Kong fabric. Hopefully I can find a happy medium.

Would you believe it was this old favorite again... without the back darts and the skirt was measured out to be exactly 9 inches long and 'whatever was left' wide out of exactly one half yard. There was about a 4 inch square left and that was it.

Simplicity 8714, copyright 1970

The finished product really does look like the girl in the bottom right hand corner.

OTHER: Esme is really showing how grown up she is lately. She can open the fridge and get something AND close it and come back to us. She can do the matching game and the puzzle games on Starfall but still gets a little stuck on the Alphabet Maze (letter K) once in a while... but she is starting to understand the arrow keys on that one, too. She is so stubborn - she keeps trying the same one over and over because she REALLY wants to get it right. She also just understands more than she did before, thinks things through better and her imagination games are getting even MORE complex and interesting.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

bits of a Pre-Saturday

'pre' because I'm sure there is much more to come today, after it all dries out and the sun comes out. If it does! I'm glad Esme and I put a few seeds in the ground after I got home from work last night, mayflower beans and radishes. Woke up to such a rainy morning, no sun, and a little face telling me at 8 am that she needed cereal and could not live another moment without it. Then she rolled on me, and brought me a 'lunchbox' full of blocks and a teaset and pretended we were having breakfast in bed. So I got up. She got her cereal and is now eating an orange.

Last night I broke out a present we bought her a while back... a tiny projector that shows the moon and planets and is a nightlight. She loved it. We put it in a little hallway downstairs and she brought her playmobil people and a box full of wooden blocks and built houses and had them need to be saved from the moon and sun 'it dangerous.' Going upstairs and telling me to 'wait a minute I be right back' and coming back with a box full of wooden blocks was surprising. She asked where the moon went this morning, and I said we would play with it again when it was dark outside. She accepted that.

I will see if she will allow me to put on a movie and sew something or if there are other big plans she has for the day. She has gotten into the habit of arranging plans again... dollhouse and blocks and 'roll ball' and other games she insists upon. Sometimes I can put her on for a while on my computer - and lose my computer for hours. She has finally learned to use the tiny button mouse on my laptop and the separate click key that is further down on the pad. She can now do the games by herself, even the one where there are letter 'puzzle' pieces up on the top of the screen and slots on the bottom of the screen to put them in. Those allow the user to mouse to them and then click to 'pick up' - and not have to hold down the button while dragging. She has finally gotten that one and Mom used to have to always be the helper on that one.

LATER: I am very glad I planted the pinto beans. They are so interesting, and producing a few mature pods every day. They turn white with purple specks when cooked..again, very interesting. I made the second sleeveless shirt of what I am sure will be several more. It is not too wide, but the neck is not something that will grow with her, either. I want a happy medium. I used the navy blue with dots that was one of my Mother's Day fabrics.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Green with Spots

can see the neck is just a tiny bit wide

Made this last night, using a size 4 vintage dress pattern as the base for the bodice. I used almost every last bit of the green fabric that these bird pants had come out of previously. It is just a tad big on her for width... can alter that the next time through. Big is always better than too small, as long as it is proportional.

She told my mom on the phone 'Mama make mine own dress, green with SPOTS.'

She came out to the garden and helped me plant the last of our green bush beans and also pick a few beans and zucchini. She wanted me to put the pinto beans that were harvested right back into the ground - they were seeds. Ha.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Varieties of cowpeas
some are used 'fresh' and some are eaten dry

From left to right: black eyed peas, Mississippi silver brown crowder, pink eye purple hulled peas, mayflower beans

I have been doing some detailed research into different kinds of 'southern peas', also known as field peas or iron peas or clay peas. These are varieties of peas that are used primarily to make dry goods, although some of them can be eaten fresh like the common green peas or sugar snap types. They tend to be less sugary and more 'meaty' or like dry beans in flavor. It is one of those kinds of foods that are good to know how to grow, keep and propagate for the future. It is interesting to me because there are so many kinds of cowpeas, from different times in our history, and all of them have very interesting stories.

Esme said she had to help mama sort seeds

She actually mixed them up more and dropped a lot
on the floor.. but it is the thought that counts!

Cow pea 'bandit'
I asked her to hold the bags up, and she did this.

This last picture really shows how much she has been growing!

The same shirt when I made it last September

Equinox post Animal top shirt
It was much more roomy on her back then!

It is time to make another round! I got a half yard of something in the mail the other day, all the way from Hong Kong. Daddy and Grandpa were wondering why Mama would order something from that far away for something this small.... well... I explained it to Daddy like his description that he could buy all the canned apples from the store they had, and none of them would be as good as a batch he made himself. Further than that, if the produce was from their own garden and nobody else had anything like it at all... it would be even more of an experience eating whatever was made from it. The fabric from this shirt pictured was also from Japan... and I fretted over how to use it well - and I do believe this shirt was the best choice for it. When I use something that special it both spurs me to MAKE the item, and further to continue to use that item over and over with a 'history' of how it got to be what it is. In a way, my interest in heirloom beans and peas also works into that keyhole in my mind - it connects us to something else, is useful and continues to create memories into the future as well.

LATER: Esme has been so cranky the past day or so, off and on - and she is asking for and drinking more milk again, and then crashing for an uncustomary nap. So, my deduction is a growth spurt. I'm working on her 'civility' as she is resorting to 'gimme this' and 'go away', screeching and pushing and shoving with her crankiness... not the way to act. I threatened to remove her from Grandma's house for one of her spats... and she did get better after that talking to. Now that she is napping, I went to check on the garden. There were three small pattypan squashes today that had turned bright white (time to pick), a handful of green beans and a few cucumbers. There were several zucchini, but only picked two as the others may get a little larger. I planted the pink eye purple hulled peas in a little square in the back of the garden. If they turn out to need some support fencing I can add a small stretch later. The beans under the big pole fence are starting to poke their heads up, but not the peas yet or the wax beans.

Notes: boiled cucumber tastes like asparagus to me. the notes I was seeing said that plain solid brown whipporwhill cowpeas were very hard to come by for this year 2011... some crop failures. They are one of the old varieties that might be what Grandma remembers from her childhood. The brown speckled whipporwhills are coming in the mail soon I hope. They are a variant that supposedly tastes very similar and were a family tradition in Tennessee. Now I should kick myself to go sew a shirt for Esme!

saw this dress pattern
and would like to make it for Esme

I made her a green and polka-dotted sleeveless shirt one size bigger than the other one. It is the same fabric in her bird pants. It is a little wide in the neck... but it does fit and doesn't slip around too much. Loose is better than tight in hot weather and bigger is always something to grow in while too small is never good! So, it is a win. I might tighten the front just a tiny bit when I use the Hong Kong fabric for the next one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice in the garden

our first gladiolus of the season about to bloom
There are some zinnias getting ready, too!

Today is the summer solstice, and also my birthday. I woke up at five this morning and watched the sunrise with the dogs out in the cleared field. The open packages of pumpkins and a few other 20 cent packages went into good black earth out where I can look at them periodically. It felt like a year for 'cultivation'... I like to spend that hour or so as the sun comes up thinking about what the last year has been about, and what the next one might be.

Then I found a beautiful moth in the garden, and went inside to get the camera.

A beautiful moth
It is a female 'Io' moth, Automenis io, according to the
pictures at this article on Saturniid Moths

I continued taking pictures of the things I found in the garden.

The bean fence we ran and planted seeds near the other day. Nothing is up, yet.

A frog that stopped to pose

more bees in the squash

We went to the library and bought some used books, then came back home. Esme and I spent some time pulling weeds in the back of the garden. She is allowed highly supervised entrances into the garden until she hurts something.. we planted an 'amaryllis' plant a friend gave me into the garden and Esme was very good, up until she started waving around pulled cornstalks from the mulch pile. She then stepped on the 'amaryllis'.. the 's are because it does not look like an amaryllis, and is unmarked. I don't think she killed it, but it was looking unhappy after that. Oh well :( I also planted the broom corn (milo) and then let Esme back into the garden (after her drama queen at being thrown out had ended naturally) and we watered the 'babies', amaryllis and broom corn seeds and a few other things that looked a little parched. It promises to rain today, but has not yet produced. I do hope if it rains it does not have high winds to damage anything else!

black eyed peas

tiny fungi

Pinto pods
The yellow one with purple spots is ripe

The pumpkin has grown this much!

Whipporwill Southern Peas on Etsy from a very local (to me) grower who states they have been in their family for four generations. Mark says they are 'climatically already here...' so I am ordering a package.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


a pumpkin fruit
a few days ago, it has grown since!

The 'volunteer' squash looking plants out behind the garden seem happy and thriving. We think they are just gourds left over from years past... The pumpkins out of the cheap seed packet I planted near them are starting to poke their heads up, and Esme's experiment beans are climbing. Those are all of the things not IN the garden ;) It feels nice and therapeutic to walk over the land with a hoe and check on how the things beyond the garden are doing just for the sake of 'seeing how they are.'

In the garden the basil and beans are still producing at a wonderful rate. I harvested some more of the pinto beans, shelled and boiled them with the green beans. They turn an interesting purple speckled color when cooked. The last of the radishes went in to tonight's meal, too... softly boiled with the pintos and salt and pepper the taste resembled cabbage. The pattypan squash and zucchini and cucumbers are giving enough to make meals out of daily. The one pumpkin in the garden has grown at least an inch in length since I photographed it the other day. I'd say it is larger around than an apple now, and was just a bit smaller before.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Corn devestation and other garden pictures

The storm the other night took out two rows of our corn. I went out there in the mud this morning and cleared out the stalks. We are going to plant pole beans in the place on a fence.

There was corn in all of these rows... and now there isn't :(

pulling the stalks out to mulch in another part of the garden

The older corn did not fall down
and has tassels and silked ears

The Shackamaxon beans were not an entire loss, these ones survived and there is still half the package in the freezer.

pinto beans out climbing their fence!

I was happily surprised to see a hummingbird drinking from the pinto bean flowers while I was out working in the garden. I did not know they liked them.

One of the first pinto beans maturing

I opened about ten pods to try to see what the differences were. Some of the pods were yellow, but were not spotted inside. This one was spotted inside, but green on the outside. The difference on this one was that when I began to squeeze the pod the beans moved around inside easily - they were no longer firmly attached to the skin inside.

This is Pollywog
she is Pogo's new mouser in training.

She enjoys hanging out in the garden with me and chasing frogs.

crookneck squash


tomatoes, all still green

We have strung the new fence for the pole beans and were letting the dirt dry out a little in the sunshine. It's time to go see what we can do with it. Esme is having terrible cabin fever but is afraid to go get dirty in the mud because she knows that means Mom will wash her hair. It feels odd to have her tell me 'no play outside, there is mud, I'll get dirty.' so matter-of-factly. I feel like I've been given a changeling!

LATER : It really does feel like we've gone over another horizon with Esme this week.... It seems like she has finally connected thought process on a whole range of things. I was given a 'like a Cinderelly bath' with a loofah full of water over my head today. She is saying 'follow me' and 'carry me' even though those words are VERY hard to understand (follow sounds like 'throw me' and 'carry' sounds like 'call' or 'kill'.. very hard to get unless you also pay attention to her hand sign and try to correct the word). She is also trying so hard to do everything 'help mom' and to copy us. After we went to town today she took some plastic keys out to the truck saying 'I go back to work' today and then came back in a few minutes later, stole Daddy's keys off of his desk saying she needed the 'right key.' She was in the driver's seat of the truck trying out keys to the ignition before he realized she had actually taken them outside.

We were both outside in skirts walking to the mailbox the other day and she said we were 'two girls mom, we got skirts'. When there was no mail we were 'sad' it was empty and going home. Today going to the mailbox she was rattling off about how we would be sad again so we shouldn't go we should send Daddy on the motorcycle to see if it was empty so we didn't cry. It was just a light-year ahead of even last week, even though there were a few little 'gaps' I could put two and two together to know she meant an idea bigger than she has expressed before.

I was being asked to play 'mama and baby' with my bare foot and her toes just a little while ago.. she was trying to feed them both invisible tea and plastic food on a table. It feels very odd to have your foot invited to sit at it's own place setting at a table!

Mostly what I am seeing is a better ability to say what she is thinking or describe what she has just seen/did has truly improved. She no longer has as much of the frustration or ambiguity of meaning that she used to have (I want a purple etc...). There are still a few times she uses a color or a simple word instead of the real word like 'oh the poor pink yellow it fall' instead of saying 'kite'.. but she had said 'kite' earlier, so it is just a matter of habit...

She was bitten by a horsefly outside today and was able to tell me exactly what happened, show me the bite and say it was a bug that was flying. 'Something bit me right here arm a bug.' I watched it for a while but her arm swelled a little and it was gone by bathtime. There was a while back when she would have answered 'yes' to any question - but when I asked her if it was a snake that bit her (hadn't seen it yet) she said 'no, a bug. a bug bite and go fly.' Also all afternoon we have been having tea parties with 'bugs bunny baby rabbit' toy and a dragon and she was pouring 'apple juice' out of teacups and baby bottles and telling everyone to drink their own cup and not drink out of other cups...

rain wind, storms and more seeds!

After a week of no rain we have had more than we need in the past few days. The wind the other night crashed down a row of our corn, so we will replace it with a fence and more pole beans to help the other corn stand up better. My Shackamaxon beans came up the other day but I haven't been able to see if the rain ruined them yet. They were planted right next to the corn that was damaged. I only planted half of the package and one or two of them elsewhere ... so it might be possible to replant them. Esme and I went to the co-op and bought some different field peas and climbing half-runner beans to put there. Then we went to the store and found some Daddy things :)

These are what we got at the co-op!

Mississippi Silver Crowder: a type of heirloom cowpea (black eyed pea is a cowpea) that climbs cornstalks and poles. I had a small package of these coming in the mail because I didn't think our co-op had them... but was pleasantly surprised so picked up a hefty package for cheap!

Pink-Eye Purple hulled peas: another type of common local cowpea! This one said 'quick pick' so I hope it will be an early one. This was the one I knew the co-op had. The 'old-timers' I worked with consider this to be THE field pea variety.

Half-runner green bean: Half-runners are bush beans that put out runners and will climb if they find anything nearby to climb up. This is a green snap bean type but was otherwise unidentified by the co-op bulk packaging. I'm hoping for the best!

Kentucky wonder pole beans: a normal variety from the garden section at our local store. This will climb the fence as well!

NOTES: The Kentucky wonder pole beans are brown seeded and the half-runner beans from the co-op are smaller and white seeded. For some reason I gravitate towards the brown and colored beans much more than the white.... I am not sure what the difference is, it is just instinct. I planted 3/4 row of the Kentucky and then 1/4 row of the co-op variety. Along the entire back of that fence I planted the Mississippi crowder. I think I'll put the purple hull elsewhere, have to think on it a bit.. maybe in the back of the corn.

These are coming in the mail, soon...

Mayflower pole beans: They are red and white speckled and are good fresh or dried. They are an heirloom variety as well.

Heirloom Mountaineer half-runner: a green snap bean variety that climbs and can be used dry but is better fresh.

Joe Pye Weed: These are a butterfly attracting tall 'weed' that resembles amaranth. I plan to put this out in the open spaces beside our road. A neighbor on the way to town has some growing wild and last year there were butterflies all over it!

Also, peppermint, dill, oregano and more 'milo' sorghum seeds coming in the mail. Finding peppermint seeds or plants was so hard this year. It seemed no one was offering it locally. Getting peppermint seed was the main reason I ordered from the one company, which had a five pack minimum for free shipping.

The dill seed had a tiny hole in the bag... so I might have planted it in a few places I hadn't been meaning to!

interesting link: Becoming Minimalist.
heirloom beans transcript from a radio show: Off the Grid News : Beans the Magical Fruit transcribed They mention several varieties, Good Mother Stallard, Snowcap and Black Valentine which I have been thinking about... but they are all bush beans and would require some space planned out for them. Also, do not want to plant too many different varieties of heirlooms... as cross-pollination will occur with the bees. Staggering saved seeds over a few years would be the best way to do it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

43 month language spurt

I keep posting these, because I want to see where the 'aha' moments were... we've been having another round of them. I know it is in direct relation to how much time Esme spent with me during the vacation last week.... she absorbed so much and is now sorting it out into her regular speech. Mark and I keep turning to look at each other with that familiar : 'was that our child that just said that?' look. It is nice. She is getting so much more across to us as complete thoughts.

Last night we 'baked a cake' impromptu for a coworker of mine. It is her birthday today, and I was going to bring her some cupcakes and dishcloths for a last-minute present. Esme got to help me and she was so happy we were going to make a birthday cake ;) She ran upstairs and told Daddy something.. didn't catch the words, but he got the idea what I was doing even though he hadn't seen it -- so she really is explaining things much better. She got to lick the spoon, and wanted to offer him some birthday cake on a spoon, too ;)

I've posted elsewhere today that I am certain that Esme is a 'different' type of thinker. She absorbs raw information and then it brews for a little while... and then she sorts it out and tries to use it, sometimes when we have no idea because it has taken so long to brew etc.. She has shown this for a very long time - like never saying 'Mama' for so long even though she knew the word... sometimes it is 'there' but she doesn't put into action until she is certain about it. And other things... she just blows us away with a really good understanding of something before we knew she was working on it!

ie: the other day she started handing me pins when she saw me start to bend under a hem on a pair of pants.. she just walked over to the pincushion, picked it up - and before I could say 'no ow' she had handed me a pin and told me to put it in the cloth 'go on, right there mama... go on do it.' I was like: 'oh, uh.. thanks' and then she waited for me to put it in the cloth and handed me another... when I said I had enough pins she wanted me to start sewing it so she could put them back in the pincushion as I pulled them out.

To her, these are Mama's toys, and she is helping Mama play with her toys ;)

She was proud of helping Mama break eggs and stir them last night making the cake, too. I let her put all the cupcake papers into the pan and she thought she was a VERY big girl, but also understood when I told her the mixer was something Mama had to do right now, and that filling the cupcakes with gloppy cake batter was also something 'messy, Mama has a hard time doing this right, but I am going to try hard.' Esme: 'ok Mama, try hard, you do. I sit.' And she watched me do a couple, decided it WAS hard, and drank her milk and played with her toy at the table.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

bits of back to work

back to work, running all of the time etc etc... came home last night with a terrible headache, didn't even stop to get the groceries because of the crowd at the gas station and the headache. Finally got rid of the headache some half hour after being home, and Esme and I took a quick bath and played for a while. This morning I'm up feeding her and back out the door for another long run of it... *growl* bought some beet seeds and golden wax beans yesterday for replacing the radish patch with something else. Have not been out to the garden, but the last of the picked zucchini from vacation went into my lunch this morning..'
see you soon...

Monday, June 13, 2011

PVC tent and end of vacation

It is the last day of my vacation. We got a lot done this week. This is what I made today, a PVC tent to go over the top of the truck bed when we go to the flea market. So many times we have baked out there in the sun wishing for something like this. I can stand up underneath the canopy, but Mark has to slouch just a little bit.. that was as far as I could stretch it at 45 degrees before it wanted to buckle AND keep the side bars and top bars all the same length. What is best - it breaks down into pieces and all of the long lines are the same size, so it can be built up fairly quickly. I even glued the most important joints (45's on top) into short bits that would work as full pieces.

The whole thing cost about 20 dollars, and the bedsheet that is clipped to it was a two dollar find on clearance a while back.

Also during this vacation I've made pants for Esme, a skirt and drawstring pants for me and done a LOT in the garden. Grandma and Esme found some random gourds out behind the garden that I didn't plant... something maybe turned over when the loggers were out there. Mark had gourds all over the property a few years ago. I DID plant some more cheap pumpkin seeds near there tonight and a few more peas in the garden.

I go back to work tomorrow.. and work for a straight week. What a vacation gift.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

garden monster

garden 'monster'

stuffed the white pattypan with radish, basil and little bits of summer squash, then put it and chopped garlic, zucchini, green beans and chicken broth in the oven to simmer. There is some leftover rice in the fridge that it would go well with.

Esme and I went to town for a french fry and to get my schedule. I go back to work on Tuesday morning. It rained last night and is still wet out - but maybe it will get a little better and we will go outside. A good thing is that the wind did not blow over our plants. I saw some crops on the way to town that had been blown down. I also wanted to note that the neighbors harvested their wheat crop recently... I found that interesting it is already OUT of the fields.

///was out in the garden marking new bean sprouts and flower seedlings with orange tape - and I saw that the cucumbers had VERY tiny fruits on them! YAY! The corn is silking, most of the beans have sprouted (not the shackamaxon or the scarlet runner, but the 'experiment' varieties I was interested in are up). All the squash is minutes from exploding everywhere! Not being out there daily after tomorrow is going to be hard!///

brown and red experiment beans from the soup mix

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Diddle diddle dumpling

Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John,

went to sleep with his stockings on,

one shoe off and one shoe on,

Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John

Esme fell asleep in her chair while watching her little projector toy (which a friend at my work gave her a few months ago). She had been outside in the yard playing for about four or five hours straight with just juice and had not wanted to come in for lunch. She finally came in and was watching the 'Finding Nemo' tape on this projector (she calls it the fish and/or doggie machine, as there is a 101 Dalmations tape, too.) and then it ended and she was very very quiet... fast asleep, still muddy from the yard and did not even wake up until I had her on her changing table putting clean clothes on her. That sort of aborted the nap idea... Then I put her to bed with the real 'Nemo' DVD on and gave her chicken and orange juice. She ate that, and laid quiet for a long time watching.... then she got up and ran around downstairs with us as the storm began to roll in. She is standing behind Daddy's chair and rocking him while singing the lullaby song from her dollhouse. She might go to sleep sometime between now (9 pm) and 11 pm... I'm kind of glad when she doesn't take a nap in the middle of the day, because then she doesn't go to sleep until midnight or afterwards!

I have a pair of drawstring pants cut out for me and need to take a few minutes to sew them up. I've finished one blue dishcloth and working on a second. It still has been a very laid-back sort of day, I didn't put any new seeds in the garden but I did weed a bit in the corn and harvest some basil for drying.

Last night's recipe:
one medium zucchini sliced up in a pie pan with olive oil, vinegar and a little water to cover the slices. One large clove of garlic sliced up, handful of black olives sliced up, half a small can of tomato sauce, dried basil. All of that cooked at 400 degrees during the same time a pizza for Mark and Esme was in the oven - then turned down to 200 degrees. Drained the water out and chopped a small amount of mozzarella and cheddar cheese - put it on the top of the mixture and broiled it until the cheese melted - put it in aluminum foil and ate it cold today for lunch. Very worthwhile, even moreso cold because the zucchini 'squeaked' when warm.


I did miss a few things in our garden - peppermint and dill. Along with basil those are pretty essential. There are mints in our woods running wild...but I don't feel enough confidence to go looking for them when I want some.

Esme asked for fish sticks this morning and is now reading a book in her bed. She was incredibly sweet yesterday all day long, and it may continue today but it may not. I'm not setting my sights yet! At one point yesterday she asked me to paint her fingernails - which I only do if she is really good. So, I did. And halfway through she says 'I'm a lady' and holds up the hand that was done. 'Lady fingers, all purples.' It is her favorite shade of heliotrope purple. She went on to say that Mama was a lady, and she was a little lady, now we were two ladies.. and that it was all the beautifuls (Esmespeak). She was very proud of her fingers and still is today. That was sappy sweet. She was playing with her little dollhouse and her Duplo figures and was making them dance together to the music and then was trying to order the 'little buddy' around the house (go do dishes, watch tv, talk on the telephone) while the girl figure danced. *I thought I was getting a tomboy!* Well, she was hopping around filthy with mud in a mudpuddle yesterday, saying 'ribbit ribbit ribbit oh a radishes!' and pulling up weeds by hand. 'Not a radish. ribbit ribbit ribbit.' I didn't know frogs could garden quite that way ;)

Mark said yesterday about Esme's word combination examples: 'She didn't get language, it got her.' And they're still battling it out. She said that one cat drinking was 'onebody drink cat', and two cats drinking is 'twobody drinks cat' and more than that is 'everybody drinks'. I also had to explain to her it was possible to 'eat all' of just her toast, when she was insisting to me that 'eat all' meant her cereal AND her toast.. which she didn't want to do. Then eat all the toast. NO EAT ALL. "one toastbread all gone, eat all toastbread, make all gone" was what finally got it across. Even I'm speaking 'Esmespeak' now... but she slowly filling in the spaces.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Small harvest

There were some latent wet conditions in the garden from watering over last night ... and a few of the smaller squash than these had laid down on the ground and were not in good condition. So, I picked these now... hopefully it will help out the rest of the plant.

NOTES: Saw two grape-sized pumpkins starting on the Connecticut Field vines... very impressive. Something is eating the beans, but it's not having an effect on the production. I've planted a few extra bushes in the holes to stretch out our production. So far, I'm eating everything that comes out of there within a few days of picking them.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

play outside

Esme playing outside in the sand. It is almost cool enough out of the shade to work in the garden... but not quite. I made this pair of pants today with some bird fabric from The Quilting Bee in Camden, TN. The rest is fabric Esme had picked out for pants last week.. they went together well.

'Short Tail' kitten.. being carried off by Esme

making a sand pile or 'mountain' acc. to Esme

This is for Grandma!

pink cheeks

a new trick of hers, picking up and carrying around the bowling balls in the yard instead of just pushing them around

note: the black eyed peas have one sprouted! The Shackamaxon beans were planted today. Eleven by the corn near the carrots and a few more to fill in where the lima beans had not taken and there was a space. Esme's experiment beans from the 'Bean sorter' post day are starting to come up, as well.