So, let's begin where we left off, shall we? I beleive that was the prepping of the barn site. Well, thanks to the magic of pre-fab, the barn went up easy as 1....
Blake didn't waste any time getting inside and building the new coop. Ah, it smelled so wonderful inside when it first went up--no particle board, just wonderful fresh wood! And the loft is such a cool space where I see the kids sneaking away to read books on lazy afternoons....
Soon after the project was finished Chemynne and Michael (and Athena, of course) arrived in Portland with their whole lives crammed into a Budget moving truck. We were there that rainy evening to greet them and feed them burritos. Yes, I finally found them a good place--quiet, centrally located neighborhood, hardwoods on the living-level, with a big loft for the office and a HUGE basement. Even a nice backyard with garden beds. It was a close call but the right place became available just in the nick of time. The kitchen is a bit crammed but, dude, compared to everythign else I'd seen it was a clear winner. And its right between our house and Nomad so we've been able to drop in a lot and help them settle in.
Yay! The brother and sister unit are together in the same city again! (This is taken at the cute park 2 blocks away from their new house)
Then Blake's mom came for a visit from the East Coast. She had oodles of gifts and actitives planned for the kids (of which we only squeezed in half even though she extended her stay) so many a good memory was made, which is a wonderful thing after some years of disconnect.
Her big treat? She wanted to get us a piano, so the girls could take lessons. Piano lessons were a very important part of her childhood and she called this "a gift of the heart" to be able to pass on the tradition. Blake and I can't play but it sure looks beautiful in my living room doesn't it?? Its also very cool to see who comes through our door and can sit down and play something.
How cute is this??
After she headed back home, we had a really nice stretch of good weather. Geo got to feel grass in his toes and work on his walking skills with Papa.
And I spent many days getting the sod up for our new garden patch. I shouldn't say "patch,"
it makes it sound small--its actually 30 by 10 feet. It was hard, dirty work, let me tell you but I finally worked out my system after the first few rows, removing the sod in 1 foot by 3 foot strips. After "cutting" them out with my shovel I'd flip the strip over and remove as much dirt as I could; the kids would come and collect some of the many worms unearthed by the process and feed them to the chickens.
I absolutely cannot wear garden gloves when I work in the yard, I can't feel what I'm doing--and really there is no better tool than your own hand (Korin, I can HEAR you making a dirty joke out of this--lol!)...garden spades and hand rakes, be damned.
We were then ready for some ducklings. We hope to have some for meat and maybe a few for eggs. Unfortunately, three out of the six we bought died (don't ask me why, I am clueless) but the three that survived are already huge. I can't tell if they are boys or girls so I am not sure now what their purpose will be yet. We hope to at least put one in our freezer at some point...
Easter, or something like it, came around. We had coincidently invited over some friends and C and M that Sunday for homemade pizza (Oliver, your dough was so awesome!!), so we decided to make it festive and dye some eggs, going with the old skool Paas kit method. I let the kids decorate most of them and Blake insisted I save one for him. His atheist/Looney Tunes humor: "JC killed the Wabbit."
It was Athena's first egg hunt and C and I got really into--the kids has so much fun albeit it was indoors since it was rainy outside.
Step two for the garden bed. Michael had a really brilliant suggestion on how to amend the garden without tilling so following his instructions we had some mushroom compost and topsoil delivered from Mt. Scott Fuel Company.
(Notice the new ultra-private modern side fencing courtesy of B)
C and I talk/exchange seeds while the men do the really dirty work outside hauling the dirt to the new beds. Chemynne has a rockin' seed collection imported from Bend...
So after a layer of straw, goes the mixture of soil and compost. I will have three long beds that will rotate every year--legumes, brassicas, and potato/root veggies...lots of lettece and onions thrown in wherever.
The men tend the gorgeous mounds of earth. After this we watered it like crazy, and the next day I got the first crops planted. Sooooo exciting!
Oh, Blake did three consecutive lectures at the Portland Art Museum, basically educating the docents about the new exhibit, so when they give tours they know what to say about the adornment pieces. Mayan accompanied him and was such a young lady, taking notes and chatting with the docents. They are such a good team:)
The difficult part was that because of the size of the room the docents had to come in groups, so he had to give the same lecture three times in a row. He said he was on fire for the first and by the last he was dragging. But most of the docents were very excited and receptive, and the whole experience is another "feather in the cap" as they say. I am so proud of him;)
Okay, readers, you are offically caught up. Any questions??