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Showing posts from August, 2012

The Bees' Knees

It's time to gather in harvests. I'm canning tomatoes every day and hauling spent plants out of the garden. What was the cucumber and sunflower bed is now ready to prep for another crop -- time to haul out the plans and wish I'd sown more winter plants this summer.

One patch of sunflowers was too occupied to pull. Some bees had more pollen on them than others:

This worker's head was almost completely powdered -- I wondered how she's able to smell.

Even on a six inch square set of real estate, you're never alone here:

Proof that they can fly, even heavily burdened. I'm glad to see them storing pollen for winter, and reminded that I have to harvest -- soon!

Hope you're all enjoying harvests now.


Once upon a time, a mother who was committed to homeschooling thought to herself, "Enough. I have had enough." Fortunately for this mother, and for her two elementary-aged children, there was a good school in the area, and off those two children went for a year of public school.

At this school, the fourth grade seemed to have a little more than its share of dramatic girls. It was like a sitcom sometimes -- the mother would go to pick up her children (which she mentally added to the millions of reasons homeschooling was at times easier) and find the girls from this particular grade falling about and weeping. Someone would have felt left out, and because the school emphasized sharing feelings and process, they would have talked themselves into a hormonal stew. One storm was set off when two girls were equally committed to the company of a third, during incompatible games -- house and doing gymnastics. Tears aplenty.

Alas for this mother, it wasn't limited to group dynamics e…


Should you wish to leave your garden for, say, ten days or so to watch your children catch

And run

And throw,

And don't make provisions for your garden beyond the bare minimum, there are some crops that do well.

Dry beans on the vine:

Peppers waiting to ripen to red or orange or, in this case, yellow.

Popcorn drying on the stalk.

Hard-shelled winter squash, now ready to be made into pies or custard or pancakes. . .

But summer squash? Well, not so happy, as it turned out. The chickens liked this 30" monster just fine, though. I'm torn between ripping out the plant and waiting to see if I can coax out just one or two more reasonable squashes.

Ups and Downs

On the up side, I ran three miles in a good time for me today. All the time I was running, I was thinking about watching my children play the day before, and how hard they worked. I kept saying, "If they can do it, I can do it."

I also remembered that all pain is temporary, and that I wasn't running on my legs, really, or my lungs, or my gut (all places where my body complains); I was running on my brain. And my brain wasn't going to slow down.

Of course, fast for me isn't very. Really. I'm somewhere between 9 and 9 1/2 minutes a mile, which is practically plodding.  But it's a whole minute faster than I ran about sixteen weeks ago, and if I made it a goal, I bet I could go faster yet.

The kids played their hearts out for two games today, and got into the semifinals. That was the end of their run, though, and they ended up fourth out of eight. I haven't done the images yet, so I don't know if any of the amazing plays were recorded. Both of the girls …

This is what we came for. . .

Every time we sing that part of the chant while running at boot camp, I think, "No it isn't. . .  well, okay, it is. Sort of. . . how much longer?" and by then, the run is nearing an end.

But today -- this really is why I did this crazy cross-country thing:

The team was outplayed by a good number of the other teams. If you go here, you can see the brackets, and poking around on the site will give you rosters. The team our team lost to by one point on a hotly contested call had primarily 17 and 18 year olds.

I only wish I had a series of pictures of my 12 year old on the series where she either threw a key point or caught it. Her coach tackled her in joy on the field. Twelve years old and playing her heart out and making a contribution. I love this sport.

In fact, it was hard for me to watch BMX racing as an Olympic event last night without muttering about an unfair world. . .

Object Permanence

Our van's top raises on a slant. Toes go in the small end, heads go in the larger end, and it can be. . . disconcerting. Turning over is sometimes difficult, and getting two adult-sized people in bed can take some contorting. Thus, when Sarafina saw this van, she remarked a little wistfully that that pop top would be pretty comfortable.

She has been a trouper and not too much of a blanket hog.

Every morning so far, she's had tea with me, made on a camping stove I've had for at least a dozen years, if not more.

I think this tea kettle came home from an Irish honeymoon with me and Eric.

These tiffin boxes are the babies of the objects, being only a couple of years old. They aren't made as well as some of the other things.

I replaced the broken plastic handle on the three-layer box almost immediately after getting it, and Kevin made a much more sophisticated handle for the four-layer one just before our trip.

These have been the perfect solution for the kind of not-really cook…

Distance blogging

Why are the Grand Tetons blue? (Or is that Glacier Peak? I can't tell at 75 mph.) The blue is from taking pictures through the side tinted window of the car while you're on an enforced road trip with all of your siblings and your crazy mother.

In other words, I'm not so up on what the garden is doing because I'm halfway across the country taking the kids to a Frisbee tournament. And seeing lots of neat stuff, but not really having enough time to make it a "doing things" road trip. In fact, Eldest Child is trying very hard to veto a stop at the Corn Palace. She clearly doesn't appreciate Americana.

I've been up early each morning and managed to work out almost every day. I don't want to get horribly out of shape and then try to keep up with the crew in boot camp when I get home. The fires in the Dakotas and other stuff have made for interesting sunrises and sunsets -- especially when we've had to pull a long day's drive and gotten on the road…


The fruit trees are all beset with water sprouts and branches reaching where they shouldn't. My lack of fall spraying means that they have come through (or into, in the case of the apples) a fruiting season with more burdens on them than they really need. Aphids and whiteflies have left sooty residue, cutting down on light transmission. I'm sure they haven't gotten the water they need, and yet they have been generous. Their shapes aren't quite right.

Time to get out the clippers and hack off some growth! Maybe the end of summer is why the whole family has had some version of this urge.

Although I'm not really expert at it, I find pruning enjoyable. The plants respond with renewed vigor, even if they wait for a distant season to show it. Should they bear again, I will also be able to reach the fruit! Short trees for real people, that should be my rallying cry.

One of the reasons I haven't done the garden work I need to is that my energy has been focused on a couple…