Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's coming up roses!

We have a rose bush in our yard in a pot, but I have had my eye on this raised bed in my yard for a while now.  Just thinking it would be great for roses. 

Unfortunately, while planting my grapevines it came to my attention that there was this concrete, a few inches into my flower bed.  My solution.  Raise that bed more!

 So, I did.  I got these concrete cores from my dad, who had extra.  Yeah for FREE!  The weekend before last I lined them all up in a row, tilled my dirt, removed the yucky bits still in there from the previous inhabitants.  This weekend I added soil.  Lots of soil to raise it up.  Unfortunately, that grapevine has already taken root to the point where I could not easily move it.  So I left it alone, and sloped the new soil down to it.  We planted four different kinds of roses in this strip.  Big L helped, which meant it took longer.  However, it was a good lesson in patience for me.  How will she ever learn to garden properly if she doesn't get to help?  It was fun, and she declared it the best weekend ever, which means it made her happy.  Right now, for her everything and everyone is the best ever. 
 We put some bark on top, L made a design with rocks on the top of the cylinders and voila! we were done.  I didn't have the heart to pull out that little cactus, though I know over time it will grow, and have to go, but for now it has a reprieve. 
These last two fake rocks are mine.  Good ol' Eeyore, and a turtle are just right in this patch of garden. 

I can't wait to see all of the blooms as it warms up!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trees, Glorious Trees!

Green, growing and (soon to be) scrumptious.  Okay okay, enough of that stuff.  The truth is I have been pretty nervous since we planted our trees at the beginning of the month.  We have had some really cold weather and some warm weather.  The warm likely being the reason these glorious trees have begun to put on leaves!  I am a happy tree mama. 

 This budding beauty will be producing three to four types of apples for me in a couple of years.  I am looking forward to all the apples and applesauce!
 This is my peach tree.  It will also be putting on three to four types of peaches in a couple years.  Can I just say that I am actually looking forward to learning how to can these so we have some in the winter? 
 This is my cherry tree.  The yummy deliciousness makes me drool at times.  But wait you say that is not the best picture.  Well, I actually was taking a picture of that pretty little spider web.  Can you see it?
 The truth is those leaf pics are a couple weeks old.  The new thing from this past weekend is this little patch near my apple tree.  In the middle there is what we are hoping will be a nice blackberry bush.  For some reason big L and the hubby love blackberries.  Personally, I am more into raspberries, but to each his/her own. 
the little plant

Near the very leafy apple tree
I must say this little patch is coming along nicely.  Please ignore the grass growing in my rocks.  I am still deciding what I want with that area back there.  What I do know is that we will likely be putting in a little grass in this area for the kids, and for a big birthday surprise we have in store for little l.  Just not sure if it will be done by her birthday.......

That little bit was just a part of my busy weekend.  More to come!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Success and completion of that knitting project!

from this
Well, I must say that other than knitting, and keeping up with the kids and house, I was rather unproductive during last week.  Or was I? 

I really was on a knitting kick.  I finished one more dishcloth, and I finished little l's sweater. 

to this
 This is way to big for my almost two year old.  I think I am going to run a piece of yarn around the neck so I can tie it smaller, then she can grow into it, without falling out of it!  It is long enough to be a dress for now, I am sure in a year it will just be a shirt, and then eventually it will fit without the tie around the neck.  That is how works with kids though, and I hope she gets a lot of wear out of my work. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Knitting again-this time with more accuracy

Last summer, yes 2012, I started a x-mas present for little l.  It obviously did not make it in time for the big event.  Knitting is sometimes intimidating to me, and practicing enough to get good at it, has proven challenging.  I taught myself to knit in law school, but couldn't do it for long because my hands hurt too much.  So I gave up.  Part of the problem was I was a VERY tight (read also tense) knitter which made it twice as hard.

I decided a couple years ago to try again.  You saw my first attempt in a previous post.  It was very flawed.  When I started this next top last summer I tried to not have as many flaws.  When I picked it up last weekend though I decided to scrap it and start over (for the third time).  I think this was the right choice.  I am understanding more now, and I am getting better.

My problem is I pick hard things to start with, not simple, so I decided to practice my stitches on a dishcloth.  Everyone in my family knits them, so I decided to give it a try.  I am sure with  more practice I will end up with a square instead of a long diamond, but hey I tried!

The top I am knitting is my first go with a circular needle.  i am a bit nervous!  The only problem I have with knitting is that I don't want to do anything else now until I finish this!  Apparently, I am much more relaxed now, because I am not a tight knitter, and I find the whole thing to be rather calming!  At the rate I am knitting I will have the top down in the next week or two. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Something near and dear to my heart....

From a young age I remember listening to, singing with, reading, just overall devouring "Free to Be You and Me".  Which is a GREAT album.  I mean album too, because when I was little that was what my mom had, the album.  I remember spending hours listening to my mom and dad's records, and reading books.  That was me.  I also remember loving this particular album because of its message.  I am sure I didn't see it as a message at that age, but I loved the stories, and knew every one by heart. 

Free to Be, was released in 1974.  A year before I was born, and during a time when to me at least, I think we had fewer choices to make regarding toys for our children.  It was re-released, remastered, etc, and I didn't think about it much until a few months ago when it was mentioned in a blog I read, and mentioned on Pop Culture Happy Hour.  Now, my children and I don't really ingest much in the way of modern media.  We don't have cable, so we don't get reception on our OLD TV.  We don't really listen to the radio because we have iPods full of songs we love to sing with, and when we do listen to radio it is NPR or the local classical station.  That is just us.  So I don't always know what they latest and greatest trends are, is kind of my point.  In fact, I try to operate on the, "we get and have what we like", principal, which is that we don't let others tell us what to like and do.  I am admittedly unsuccessful at times.  So I didn't catch the new wave of Free to be until I downloaded it from iTunes. 

Having listened to Free to Be You and Me numerous times now with my kiddos (who love it by the way), I have become a little more sensitized to how I am raising them, and what toys we are buying them.  I am also a little sad that all of things discussed on that album, are still happening.  Bummer. 

When I was little I thought I could be anything, do anything, feel anything, and show it all.  Wasn't that what I had been singing along with.  Life happens though, and my little self-esteem was not strong enough to be anything, do anything, feel anything, and show it all.   I didn't have the esteem and strength of personality I see in girls these days. 

My concern now is not for the little me, because in the last couple years the little me has learned to be what I want and not what I think others want.  My concern  is for my children.  Big L is extremely artistic.  She also loves pink.  (Pink rant: feel free to skip:  Everyone always tells me that this is what I get for hating the color.  The thing is I don't really hate pink, I hate that I am supposed to like it.  I hate that EVERYTHING they make for girls is pink!  Seriously people there are other colors to the rainbow.  I sometimes buy the "boy" version of a toy just so my kids have some other color to look at.  That should not be the case in this day and age.)
Big L is also into accessorizing and making bold fashion choices.  She of course is just putting things together that look good to her, but other parents will comment on it sometimes.

What gets me about their comments is the assumption that I am the one who dresses her.  WOAH!  i haven't dressed that kid since she was three.  She may receive things from me to wear, but she is her own fashion designer.  Their assumption seems to be that to have a kid like mine, I must be a fancy looking woman.  HAH!  Give me jeans and a t-shirt and I am happy!  (I do like to dress up sometimes though.)  This child of mine also loves to cry, which is generally considered a girly thing.  Thing is, i am a cryer too.  I just learned to suppress it after many years of teasing.  That isn't really the right thing to do though, and I used to catch myself trying to get her to quit crying.  Now, I just think about the song, "It's alright to Cry".  'Cause crying gets the sad out of you, you know.  She and I are both learning and re-learning how to express our emotions.  No small task I assure you, but what does that say of our society where we have to LEARN to feel and express our emotions?

Little l is almost completely opposite her sister so far.  Of course, at not quite two who can really say how she will be, but I am sure I have a daredevil on my hands.  She is fearless, physically, and she doesn't always like to wear a dress.  It gets in the way when you are climbing, you know.  I am sure as this little one grows and develops her understanding of the world we will have the same struggles we have with the big one.  Namely, when do you give in to culture and society and buy the blatantly dumb girly toy, and when do you stick to your guns and focus on the toys that are for all, and actually teach without the kids knowing.  (you see, I don't know what having a purse like mommy's with a cell phone, lipstick, etc teaches a kid.)

Instead of teaching our kids to be good unquestioning consumers, I wish we could all teach them to be discriminating and choose things that are good for them and the environment.  To consume when you want, not just because you think that being a consumer is your job in our society.  When my kid looks at the little girls purse next to the boys tool kit, I want her to know it is okay to pick that tool kit.  Of course, mine would prefer the purse, but she would also totally play the heck out of those tools.  What message are we sending?

So, long story, or rambling, short, I have decided that this year we will not buy any toys that are gender biased.  We will buy books that are girl empowering, and music that has a message.  I don't really like all those silly fairy tales anyway, and I always have a running commentary on how a real girl wouldn't be so stupid, or that the grown ups are silly not to trust their daughter enough to tell her about spinning wheels.  We are also going to focus more on the things big L loves, because she may be my girly girl, but she is also very interested in science and math.

If you need a place to start to find things, or keep your juices flowing througout the year so you don't give in to that urge to buy a gender biased toy check out Toward the Stars and follow them on Facebook.  Some of the things they point out just enrage me!  But mostly it makes me feel good about the things we have avoided in the past and what we will be avoiding in the future, because in the end, even though I didn't remember until recently, Free to Be You and Me made a pretty big impact on my life when combined with other things.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

More backyard improvment!

This last weekend I was supposed to be up at Girl Scout camp with my troop.  Unfortunately big L got sick and we were quarantined at home.  Okay, not really quarantined, but the doctor said she had the flu and didn't want her around a lot of people. 

I was feeling fine until Sunday so I used the opportunity to work outside.  This kept me away from the germs a little more because even though she is big L she still likes to snuggle. 

This is my new cherry tree.  We actually planted all the trees the weekend it was pouring.  There are three or four varieties on the tree, so that it self-pollinates.  It is also a low chill variety. 

The peach is on the left, cherry on the right.  Bad pic!

This is my apple tree.  All the trees have multiple varieties grafted on so as to be self-pollinating. 

Proof that my flowers are still alive!

In the corner, behind the cactus is my grapevine.  I planted four, one at each post.  Unfortunately, they had to be further away from the post because I found concrete about six inches below the topsoil along the tile. 

Imagine the grapevines growing up and over my gazebo.  Shade will come eventually!
This is my cute peach tree all by herself. 

It was a long day of hard work.  I also cleaned up the front yard and re-potted some houseplants.  I was beat, but it felt good to sit back and admire the work and imagine what it will be like as things grow.