Monday, April 29, 2013

Planted bits and Novas Ten Puppies

Planted the Indian corn today, the Mandan Bride mixed with the special one from last year - the blue aleurone with the red pericarp.  It should take 85-90 days from now, and hopefully the other is similar.  The other sweet corn is just now poking its head through the ground, and it is 75-80 days.  We'll see how all that goes when it comes time for tasselling and pollination.  I want to find a place to put the Japonica striped corn out that is not too close.. but still protected.  Will think on that, maybe along the front edge, maybe along the side edge?

I also planted the Autumn beauty sunflowers, a watermelon hill, 2 Jarrahdale squash hills (all to mark the three rows of corn and vice versa), zucchini (genovese bush, early prolific straightneck and black beauty) in three hills, and a few marigolds.  I also planted a few Good Mother Stallard beans and a few others that were knocking around in a box - a Mayflower, a Bosnian, the last and only King of the Early from last year.  All of that started because I had planted the cottonseed inside in pots.  Mark is right - once I get on a roll it just goes and goes ... and then dinner was ready and I had to get Esme.

Now she is in a bad mood and we have sent her to bed, to be retrieved in a few hours to brush her teeth and get her sticker, then go to bed for the night.  I work late tomorrow - so I will be here when she wakes up.  She had wet a pair of pants again, and then told me not to talk about it - to be quiet, and not let anyone know until it dries.  Uh, no.  Sorry kid...  Mom won't play that way, ignoring the issue etc etc... but truthfully that problem is getting better.  With time and also waking up two hours after we put her to sleep - even if we have to lift her out of bed and put her on her feet -- it has become rare now during the day for us to have to yell at her.  But, there are still moments.  I think she came in from playing with the puppies outside and then forgot because she saw me playing a game... but still.

Spud and Cookie puppies talking with Esme outside.
Sweetie is the one most like Daphne, and it is a tossup whether to keep her or Spud.
Clockwise from top Bill (black), Bonnie?, Cookie(blue eyes), Dolly (head hidden), Sweetie, Spud, Brunhilde, T-Bone (under Brunhilde), Ted, Clyde = 10, yes count them, ten, five girls and five boys.  Mark has installed them out of their penned area in our kitchen and outside into a dogloo with their mom. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013


We've had a weekend 'in'... except for a trip to the grocery store.  I embellished one of Esme's stuffed friends from last year, and made another at her request.  She was elated, and gave me 'instructions' as to the details she wanted.  I mended a stack of pants, but did not get to any other clothes sewing - instead being drawn into this pink figure above.  We also played in the mud some, making sluices and a pyramid with a hole through it to a pool down below... that is about the only way Mom can get into playing in the mud.  Esme is usually content just to plop globs of mud down over and over for an hour - but I need to get constructive in order to keep occuppied.  And, after we had completed our project and study of water swirling patterns and mud, I went for a bath.  I saved the water for her and traded places with her, letting her have raspberry bubbles and barbie dolls while I read some more.

Esme has made me laugh several times today.  She has been mentioning that often to me lately - I need to laugh, to be smiling, if I want her to be smiling and not be 'drama llama' - a term she is trying to understand and does NOT like...  The other day she came up to me with a medical kit and said she was going to take my heart out and inject it with PLAY because it was not a loving heart it was a working heart - as in going to work and typing on my computer type of work, and that needed to be fixed so I could laugh and play.  As I object she leans in and whispers 'it's like pretend Mama, okay?'  Sometimes I'm sure I'm supposed to respond but I just have no idea how to... that was one of those times.  I understand how deep that is.. and the ring of truth, but wait, what?  How does she come up with these things and if this is five... what will ten be like?

Today she woke me up pretending to be an alarm clock and put a plastic cup on her head saying it was the snooze button and to hit it but gently, because it was really an Esme.  She was reading over my shoulder on my computer and pointed out a picture of her friend on Facebook.  She said the picture was like a video phone, and where was the volume and the words, since the girl had her mouth open like she was talking.  Then she got another idea - and asked me if this was how I 'called' the tooth fairy on my computer, and that I should call her now, please?  She really wants to talk about this calendar thing and maybe find out how to get her toy quicker.  Ha.  She helped me clean up a table, and fetched all her painting supplies from the bathroom downstairs.  We talked about color some.. but then I got back to reading.  I finished the Hunger Games trilogy of books through all of that... and it was a tearjerker in the end... Buttercup was genuinely convincing towards the end... and the expected happy ending that makes you wonder how 'happy' anything can be....and how different it really is from anything before?

I ordered Glass Gem corn from the Native Seed savers website, as well as one of their interesting beans.  The corn out in the garden is starting to poke tiny spikelets out of the ground... most of the transplant plants are doing okay even after all that rain.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Summer sewing has begun

First sundress of summer - the same pattern I used for her several years ago, I just fudged the measurements off the original and then had her try it on to adjust the straps just right.  I'll probably make another one with a fuller skirt as she has to pull it up some to sit down.. but it looks great and is not binding otherwise. 

Other news - Esme has her K test next Friday.  I'm trying to make sure she knows her birthday, as she really doesn't care too much about dates yet - but other than that I am just waiting and wondering what it will be.  I asked for the morning off of work short notice and they did work it out for me.. which is excellent.  In August we will have a Kindergartener :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

fish fry carnival

Esme had been asking about and waiting for this for weeks... we went tonight and Mark took lots of pictures.  Here are just a few. 

Esme has grown so much this year, and this picture does show that.  
I'm glad Grandma came along and tried some of the rides - she doesn't like heights or elevators, so this was big for her, too!  Esme tried so hard to be brave and ended up outlasting me.

 I tried just telling her to hang on to the spinner wheel - but moments after this she bashed her cheek against it and I had to wrap my arm around her for the rest of the ride - but she recovered bravely and was on to the next ride, and the next ride... she rode almost every one we would let her try.  I was getting dizzy by the end!

 we didn't know this little girl but her spirit and smile was shining so brightly

This is my favorite picture - thank you, Mark, it just captures the moment so well.   on the sizzler ride with Esme - this was a lot of fun... it was one of the rides I did every year at our carnival in Grand Rapids - so I told her just how to hang on and smash up against me and she really did have a great time.   She was 'pretend screaming' and then stopping in mid screech to say 'hi' calmly to the operator... I would have rolled my eyes if I had not already been dizzy!

A ride called the Surge Burst - it was very scary looking.. but Mark suggested I try it while Esme was in the ball pit slide... and I did.

 There was a lot of hanging on to the seat for dear life

This is a comparison of the dress when I first made it - April 2011, and last night.
Luckily, it was a bit big when I made it ;) and it has fit her all of this time.  She was unsure of it last night - saying I had made it when she was 'four years old' so it shouldn't fit anymore and be too small - only to be surprised that it fit well enough to even touch her toes in.
She has grown a lot in two years, but the dress probably won't fit much longer.  I need to get sewing again!

nice Tuesday homefront

Enjoying outside, more work repotting plants and in the garden.

Monday, April 22, 2013

those Monday bits

Mark got Esme a huge shovel full of dirt with the tractor and they played King and Princess of the Hill on it.


Loula dog saying 'what happened?' after Esme pretended to fall off.

The garden on 4/22 - it has changed some and lots of things have been planted now.
Tomatoes in the background from our seedling trays inside. 

Esme and I had a lazy day about town - library, park, McDonalds and then the thrift store.  I let her stay over normal time at all of the places looking at what she wanted.. and I read a book on the e-reader.  Now that we are home I've put out a play bucket of water for her and some sand tools - and she is playing between that and the lavatory sink as she gets scared when she hears Mark run the tractor near the house .. smart.. but it makes for a lot of running and screaming.  Oh, the running and screaming at the playplace - she was with FIVE little boys who were all playing growl monsters... it was loud, and then abruptly they all left at once - which left her in a terrible mood.  So we went to look at 'not expensive' toys at the thrift store... and came away with a sifter, a net and a shovel.

I'm watering things in the garden with a bucket.  It is a strange habit of mine - but soothing, in its own way.  I like pouring the measured amount of water on the ground, watching it soak in, run down natural furrows in the earth, hearing it 'gurgle' through the cracks.. watching the small plants burst through the earth in places I have seeded and watered before.  Mark says I should use this hose thing they invented a good while back.. not return for bucket after bucket from the hydrant in an unending repetition of on, fill, off, pour, on....  It's my day off ;) and I have time to do so.

The cucumbers are germinating, as are the zinnias and scallop squash.  I've put more water on the corn and the lettuce, lima beans and radishes.  The cabbage does not look terrible off... it has changed color a bit with the acidity level of the soil.  The pea shoots are pushing for all they are worth - the pea seedlings I germinated inside are wrapping themselves around the fences and heading up.  The other plants from the co op are alive... all of them adjusting to our soil. I had put them in the ground at 50 degree temperatures the other day, but they do not seem worse for it.

I have tomorrow off, too .. we'll see what we get up to.  I have had Esme write on her writing tablet both days - she finds it very difficult, but at least is doing it without connect-the-dots on everything now.  She needs to get over the 'difficult hard frustration' stage limiting her and just try - and then feel the happy when it is good... if we can get there her school years will not be quite so hard on her/us/everyone in the world.  Ha.  I told Mark the other day it is going to be so hard to teach her with that stubbornness -- he said 'going to be?  IS!'

And the recipe for 'no more sleepy me' soup...
kale, washed and broken from the stems put in a pot and covered with water
olive oil and red wine vinegar
large can of black beans rinsed thoroughly
about a cup or two of lima or butterbeans, frozen
a can of diced rutabagas, drained
about a cup of cooked sausage
some frozen onion and red pepper
salt, pepper, onion powder, oregano, garlic
some dried green peas and red lentils - to make myself cook it a long time, or I would try to pull it early
a few frozen tater tots thrown in to add thickening starch to it

I cooked this for about four or five hours at night - put it up in quart jars in the refrigerator.  I've eaten it for three or four meals now.  One day earlier this week I was so tired I just wanted to fall on the floor as if by sheer will I was keeping from doing so... and that feeling was all day long and had grown over the course of the week.   I feel fairly good now, still a little tired - but I ran with Esme at the park, went through the slides, walked with her here and there and everywhere... and I do not feel like that day.  In fact, I think I'm about to go out and dig a hole for some zucchini seeds.

Friday, April 19, 2013

rainbow scientist

A proud rainbow scientist wanted her picture taken so Grandma and 'all the children' could see it and say WOW.  Grandma had written down the ROYGBIV for her and she sorted out her crayons and wanted to draw them in order according to the chart.

I like Esme's big fish soft toy (seen in the table post sitting waiting for tea) more than she does sometimes, I think..... It is one of those things that fell together almost by accident one day and I have never made the pattern for it, although it is on my list of to dos.

Which is why I would now like to make one of these whale softies for her sometime - to have over for tea.. and crumpets, and plankton et al.  I found a lot of cute links that are inspiring tonight.  If only I could figure out that vacation thing they say I get more of this year... need to plan.  And I do not want to go anywhere on this vacation... I had plenty enough of unwanted travelling last year to last for a while.  Remind me of that, please, should anything come up!?

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Mark helped me fix the sewing machine - it was binding up while trying to make a second tank top for myself last night.  The tank I had made last year was getting such good use the seams were in need of repair in several places - as was one of Esme's small summer shirts.  It took us a while to fix it - trying this and that, but it seems to be operating cleanly again.  That was the second needle I've ever put in it, and on the Singer Heavy Duty 4423 it IS important that the bobbin pull anti clockwise - who would have thought.  So, I am up one extra tank top, and maybe should do another skirt for myself before I get into Esme's summer clothes.  I have things set aside to make for myself but I never get to them anymore... so many other things.  Have to remind myself that when I do make them - I use them.

I've had a headache most of today.  I'm not sure if it is the pollen, the week catching up with me, or the storm system rolling in.  I did some tilling work in the garden this morning but did not plant anything.  Yesterday I put in corn, radishes, lettuce, basil, Christmas pole limas and noted that peas and cucumbers were starting to poke through the surface.  We put out some co op plants of cabbage and tomatoes.  All that together with doing the wellhouse cover and tilling Grandma's garden we've had a fairly good run this week.  Hopefully my head will stop hurting so Esme and I can have some better time than Mom sipping coffee and saying 'uh huh'.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Logical weekend, no push

I've had a hard week - with no real reasoning imho for it to be that hard.. it just was very tiring in general.  Mark is the one who should be tired - he has tilled the garden twice this week while I've been at work.  And today, I have off.  Esme is at school - we go to pick her up in about an hour.  We've bought a few extra plants at the co-op and we're thinking about where to put the corn seed in.

We also have to think about how to repair the old wellhouse - where the roof blew off in a storm the other week.  It has a cistern in there and some plumbing for the yard hydrants (which needs to be fixed).  We were taking a look at it and trying to decide how small or large to go.  Mark's 'large' thought was to sink poles in
the ground and hire someone to build us a roof to make a shed.

 Garden after the corn was planted

 Storm rolling in

New wellhouse cover top

I will need to get on 'summer clothes' for Esme soon.  It is getting warm finally, and she has lots of long sleeve and long pants but not a lot of warm weather clothes.  I think some of last year will fit but not all.  I had started an afghan for her room as well - it has about 8 inches to a foot on it out of what should be five feet long, and it is just a tiny bit narrower than the brown and blue one I had made last year.  It will probably get laid aside during the hot weather and picked back up in the fall - we will see... but that is the other thing that has been worked on slowly over the past week.

Esme was recording some things on the computer last night, it was funny but also very cool to watch her realize where she needs to speak up - what mumbling really sounds like etc etc...
Go to the link and press the orange 'play' button to hear Esme say it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Round tent for reading and playing

I've been wanting to spruce up Esme's room to make it more fun for both of us to play in there - instead of just me sit and watch her jump off her bed twenty times in a row etc etc...  I read up on a few different ways to make a tent in her room - but I was worried about her pulling down some of the other designs, and we had all the materials for this one on hand.  It is a hula hoop hung from the ceiling with strong cotton yarn, and then the fabric curtains I made for it are also tied on with cotton yarn through tab loops at the top.  I had wondered what to use this donkey fabric for - and it is a perfect match as a pretend 'tee pee' pattern. 

Boo!  She loves it :)
She says I made it and that is a hero thing.

setting up a blanket for Mr.Frog
There is my old combination lock from work on the toy chest.  I brought it home 'broken' and not working right - and she told me we needed to get a small hard tool and put it in the hole in the back of the lock (where does she get these things?) and we all worked on it together and it came open eventually.  We reset the combination and she put it on the footlocker herself (but not actually locking the box) and she actually remembered the combination this morning and was taking it off and putting it back on today.  She says she is a smart girl that is a remembering girl, who can think :)

Showing off her handiwork with Mr.Frog and the 'bed'.
I had hoped we could sit here and read books as well.  We've read some of the Hobbit together today on the Kindle e-reader.

Sitting on top of her bed with the new toothbrushing calendar

Things to remember:  Esme told me her elephants were 'making mud on the African savannah, like the lion king.'  The other day we were going to school with her and the sun was coming through the clouds in little pinpoint rays here and there.  She said that was like Africa, way over there, and there were lions over there who were holding up a baby, like on the cartoon, and all the animals - can we go there?  There is a lot going on in this little mind :)

We gave Yoda kitten and most of her siblings away today.  I wish her well... I wouldn't have given her up except the lady promised she would be very good and gentle with her.. she was still so much tinier than all of the others.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Electrical Wire Spool Table

I got this from work and knew it was just the right size.  The bottom was broken some, so Mark cut it off straight on two sides.  Esme helped me paint it pink.  Then I put a large circle of cardboard on the top and used a staple gun to secure the fabric under the edge all the way around.  Esme gets home from school without me in a few hours - I hope she will like the tea party :)

Sunday, April 07, 2013

5.5 bits to remember

as in, describe a few things so I remember them later.  Favorite foods are chicken noodle soup or bologna and ketchup sandwiches.. She wants to grow up and have long hair that is brown like a Mama, and be an astronaut, and go to the moon with friends.  She adores her Grandma and goes to see her often.  She still has Mr. Frog, and also her bear.  She loves to play in puddles and in the garden playing dirt.   She has lost two baby teeth, is 46 inches tall and her hair is nearly down to her waist.  She thinks the story of Rapunzel is partially about her, but isn't quite sure.  She watches DuckTales, My Little Pony and Johnny Test.  She says her favorite colors are purple and pink and white, but her favorite color is really eyesearing pink.

She loves legos, building blocks, Minecraft, flash games on the computer like Spongebob Squarepants.  She plays blocks and Legos and builds things like robots, dinosaurs, houses and dragons - she makes mazes in the blocks for things to go through, or wells or holes for them to fall into and make rescues.  She has an impressive sense of block balance - balancing large wide things on small fulcrums and building oddly and delicately balanced things only to knock them over and scream YES.  Her sense of logic and deduction by observation is still her greatest talent.

She says school is her work like the store I work at - and she is begrudging about my going to work because she wants me to play with her... some days it is harder for her than others.  She has a great sense of humor and LAUGHS.  She is a daredevil, often.  She leaps off the top of her bed and juggles stuffed animals and balls in the air only to have them fall down all around her and fall to the floor laughing and rolling around saying how silly she is.  She dresses up in glasses and hats, and serves tea, and always wants to have a friend.

Her sense of justice is high - she wants to make sure we remember to 'do all the things.'   It isn't always a two way street - she gets mad, frustrated and indignant often.  She still gets mixed up with some of her words, but it is so much better than it once was.  She has to slow down, often - to remember the right words.  Other times she is going 'sixty per' as I call it - and she is just going from one subject to another to another - example, when we drive in the car and she is all full of questions and comments.  She loves my Mickey Mouse impression, and is starting to make a lot more of her own impressions.  She listens to longer stories now, and really understands some of it - and compares it to other versions if I have changed something.  She is no longer a banshee about washing her hair.  She brushes her teeth for the tooth fairy sticker exchange ;)

She still has lots of trouble with her jacket arms.  She gets frustrated often when things (like putting on a sock) don't go her way, and she screams loudly and cries.  She can help with more complicated and detailed things now, but of course - wants to play and jump and run so she loses interest quickly.  She still cannot tell time accurately - doesn't quite understand days of the week or seasons (although she is trying) and is being able to read many things and copy nearly anything.  She can spell some things and do very simple number things.

Recently she has interests about 'going to the carnival' - when is it summer?  Is there a fall/spring carnival?, 'are we going to the McKenzie?' (where her friend lives), watching baby chicks at the stores, building robots and inventing, magic spells and mixing potions, growing up to drive and work...   She spends a lot of time playing with our kittens, puppies and the other animals in general.  She tried to have the goat use binoculars today - which didn't work. She still loves her Daphne dog and Loula.  I think we just lost our Ninja cat, which was the most her cat as any of them.  Commercials she sees on Grandma's TV really get her attention - she has asked us for several of those toys and is trying to understand why she sees it on TV but does not see it in our store. 

She is wearing one of my old shirts over her other dress.  You can see the two teeth that have fallen out.  She has dirt on her head from playing outside and blue on her lips from eating a ring pop.  Her favorite past times include shuffling heavy things around the yard and swinging from the trees... now that it is warm again.  *ha*  She was out in the woods with Daddy and Grandma today and also helped me find a frog in our garden (actually, I was planting peas - but the frog was there). 

Thursday, April 04, 2013

second baby tooth and net afghan

Esme lost her second baby tooth last night - she was upset that it meant that brushing her teeth hadn't been done right for these past few weeks... so we had the talk again about baby teeth to kid/adult teeth and how the new teeth are growing up from underneath, and are the right size for her growing mouth - but she has to be SURE to brush those because she won't get more after those ones.

I'm almost done with the net afghan.  Just a few more inches... ok it's done, just have to tie up ends now.

One queen sized net afghan made of cotton yarn.
 And I have a free circular needle again!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

transplant bits

I transplanted the six tomatoes and some of the cabbage seedlings.  Esme helped some - she got into the mud bucket pond up to her elbows and helped me talk to the babies and 'tuck them in'.  I told her that was the sign of a true gardener - mud to the elbows (as I washed them), and she said  'Really' with awe.  She helped me carry some of the seed pots upstairs to put them in the window.  She lost interest on putting the seeds in - a cartoon was on, and she had found her Easter candy again.  I planted more tomato seeds, coleus, marigolds, sweet peas (Mammoth Melting sweet pod) and two of the Valencia peanuts we got last year - as I heard they can be started in pots.  The entire top of our storage unit here looks like a greenhouse!  I hope the cats don't get into it - as a kitten tried to upset the broccoli the other day.  Mark wouldn't mind - as broccoli isn't food, but the tomatoes he would.  There are several peppers up, pansies, poppies, broccoli, cabbage and tomatoes up.  The eggplant is a no show, so far. 

Black Plum Seed Savers Exchange (seedlings - 6 total)
possible 1 Oxheart tomato in there?
Roma tomatoes - store packet
Principe Borghese tomatoes from Azure Dandelion
Black Prince from Azure Dandelion

Pea :
Mammoth Melting Pod sweet pea

Need to buy perhaps as plants : Sweet Banana Pepper, Eggplant

We ordered three other seed packets today : Smoke Signals corn, Luffa gourds (Mark wanted to try this), and Good Mother Stallard beans.  With all of the beans I have in my collection that was not there... and the color is very interesting.

Things that have made me go hmmm this week with Esme:
1.)  When she gets a stick and some playdough and is 'the greatest inventor in the world' and invents a new robot foot that will go walking.  I turn and see the 'robot foot' and she takes it for a walk all over the desk.
2.)  When I ask her to read the words 'come play with me' and she starts out 'compare will me. huh?' and looks at me out of the corner of her eye like 'Should I have tried that?'  Yea, she's holding back just a little bit, but not trying to think adequately on other things at all....
3.) When I find my Facebook games have been all over the board when she was supposed to be playing Pet Society and I now have High Scores in games I have never heard of.  Gotta put a stop to that.. Mark agrees.
4.) When she used my enchanting table and anvil in Minecraft to produce a pickaxe of unbreaking - after her shears broke on her and I didn't have another.  I had built them but had not even used them myself yet or found out how they worked!  She then told me later she read a book that made my things all glowy so they would not break.  Uh huh. What kind of luck is that?

Monday, April 01, 2013

reading bit

I wrote signs in our Minecraft for Esme to read about the places that have been built.  She was able to read a few of them without any problem at all.  She is doing well with her Dick and Jane book, and with reading some of the things in Pet Society, as well.  She will attempt to sound something out after being reminded that she can - and then will try again and again through the page etc..  But, her concentration is awful.  Her actual words were 'I like the books and the words, but my heart LOVES the toys.'  Yes, yes.. I know.  I reminded her that if she reads something in a book every day she will learn 'all the things' as she puts it - because there are so many things in books.  Her eyes got wide, and she said ok, she would look at the books again with me.  Dick and Jane is not exciting, but she can read almost all the words herself, and I ask her questions about the pictures that she has to think about.  We read several 'episodes' in it last night, but she played her harmonica all the way through, reading when I asked her to, hanging upside down for half of it.  I'll take what I can get, trying to encourage it so she has some confidence in the matter and will not regress to 'I can't' because she hasn't for so long etc...  I have her trying to read Spongebob episode names now in order to get to another one after the first one finishes

It is back to work after the weekend for me, here, and six days straight until another day off.  I sent a letter with pictures off to my mom.  I have about a foot left on the net afghan before it is finished.  Esme has also been practicing with her paper cutting scissors on her own each day.  They are the little lion shaped kids ones we bought for her homeschool a while back, and she found them recently.  So far she has been good about them and keeps putting them back up on our packaging station each time.

Links: (to look through later), as I want to do more with Esme as it begins to warm up...
Project Based Homeschooling
same, as explained by another homeschooling mom