Sunday, September 12, 2010
The sunshine started several days ago - blazing sunshine, and the forecast calls for nothing but more and more and more. It's crazy not to be rushing to mow the lawn or weed the garden before the next wave of moisture hits. It's crazy that I'm actually doing things like finishing the insulation and sealing of the crawl space (a dark, damp, cool place if there ever was one) while this sunshine is blazing outside.
Also crazy in all of this is that I only have the kids five of the first fifteen days of September because Matt is out of town for a week and a half at the end. And at the same time, my best friend is in a new relationship (read, off the radar for the most part) and my significant other is moose hunting with his son for a week. What's a girl to do? Weatherize! Insulate! Drywall! Even have ambitious plans of cleaning up the gigantic pile O' construction crap that's been in the front yard since, oh, March. Need to get the rest of the siding and sticker it and then start staining the siding that's already been stickered. So much to do. Oh, and I'm reading a new book. That should take care of all the free time I've got until Thursday, when the children return to the mothership and the great hunters return from the northlands.
Meanwhile, big developments have occurred since the last post. Théa is completely potty trained. She has the occasional No. 2 accident when she's busy doing something else, but generally, she has it in the bag, stays dry at night, deals with the mornings OK, too. What a joy. Pretty painless transition, actually. Bribery is a wonderful thing. Now I just have to wean her off the treats. Too funny.
Liam had pinkeye last week, so was home for three days - two with me. Derailed my work schedule a bit, but c'est la vie. He's a pretty cool kid and awfully fun to hang out with. We went for walks and gathered berries and made jam. Good stuff.
A couple of weeks ago, some friends took Liam for the afternoon and when I went to pick him up, they were at a friend's house, where acre upon acre of raspberries grow. I got permission to return and picked three or four gallons of berries last week. After freezing two bags, I endeavored to make jam for the first time. Jam making proved to be one of those situations where reading the recipe was necessary. The first time I made it, it didn't set up at all - a thick syrup. I tried to follow the joy of cooking, but would have had to add 8 apples to meet their standards, and that seemed like a bit much, so I did a container of pectin and two apples. Not enough. So on the second round, I added another thing of pectin (syrup, which I've since learned you aren't supposed to cook, but add at the end of the cooking process - sigh...) and some rhubarb. It all came together into a loose jam, but so much better than the store stuff that it is still totally worth it. I hope to go back for more tomorrow and make another batch.
Another new development has been the creation of a root cellar in my crawl space. Before enclosing the entire crawl space in plastic and insulation, I cordoned off a 5x8 foot section that I built a subwall around and insulated inside. The floor is dirt, but I laid weedblocker fabric down so the cool moist air could come up, but one wouldn't have slimy sneakers to contend with every time they went down there. I still need to build a proper door-like entrance, but otherwise, it is ready to go. Which is good, because I predict frost may soon be coming. These clear nights are a little chilly, if you ask me. So if and when that happens, we are ready. Bring it on. Bushels of potatoes and beets and turnips and carrots now will have a home, and I plan to store much of the canned goods down there as well. I need to do another batch of pickled squash and a batch of pickled peas and beans. And more jam. I really like the jam. I'll read the recipe, even.
The greenhouse is still chugging along - several of my tomato plants, including one of the heirloom tomato varieties, are producing some fruit that is ripening. My pumpkin plant continues to try in vain to produce a pumpkin that won't mold - so far no dice, and cucumbers are coming in pretty well. The second planting of lettuce is coming in and so is the bok choy - yummm. I need to get in there and plant a third round of lettuce, which is already started thanks to wonderful woofers.
AND - big news! I found three eggs today! All were hidden in the back of the little straw-filled house that was part of the original coop. So now I have to figure out how to make a more attractive coop somewhere less difficult to get to. But hey, it's great to have chickens that do something other than run around and cluck - though they do that marvelously well. I gave them a huge pile of chickweed and some compost as a reward. Good girls.
Liam's been doing pretty well in school, when not sidelined by eye ailments. He still says he's bored, and I really should try to spice things up with some challenges. I have aspirations of buying him a keyboard for his birthday and am hoping to somehow arrange lessons. Or maybe we can learn together for a bit. We'll see.
Théa has made leaps and bounds, it seems, since the diaper doffing. She has started dressing herself regularly - frustrated tantrums exploding over uncooperative shirts, etc. She continues to exhibit a wildly humorous side - a bit of a mischief-loving nature that drives her brother mad on occasion. But she's not without her shy moments, either. And that's lovely, too.
This week, I meet with the energy rater to talk over what I've done on the house and what rating I can get (read-what level of a rebate I can get). I'm hoping it is a pretty easy process, but either way, I'm eager to get the ball rolling. A little more drywall, a day with a caulking gun, and it's a done deal. Good stuff. Then, I just need to get wood - aaaaaahhhhh.