Sunday, May 10, 2009

We Have Moved!

I have been steadily blogging along on this blog since November of 2004. After a lot of look at my blogging style and where I want to go with the blog, I decided it was best to move it over to another blogging service that can help me meet some more of my goals.

Come on over to our new blog Oregon Natural Foods and see what we are blogging about. We will be talking about our photography ventures, our animals, our small plot of land, our children, our cooking and many, many other things.

Please change your feeds to now follow sorry about the inconvenience.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

My Life

I read in a book that it is best to refrain from complaining when pregnant. It helps have a healthy outlook on life and it also can really help with the delivery going easier. I totally agree with this, but I am a complainer, and there really is no two ways about it. Today seems to have been a particularly awful day in many regards, and I just thought I'd share for fun.

Everything started out really well. Daphne, Jared and I all went out into the garden and pulled up weeds and dug for carrots. Jared helped harvest 13 pounds of green onion tops and bulbs. The potatoes were in the same bed, so when the soil was turned, they came up. Daphne had a really, really good time finding the potatoes and putting them in the bucket to bring inside to eat!

I spent some time going around the back yard digging up the weeds that had started to take over. Once I could see the herbs in the herb garden I started to see how lovely they looked. They really took the winter well, and my Greek Oregano is already producing. It might be time to take the tops off it already! I have some marjoram that I was unsure if it was going to make it. It turns out that it flourished through the winter and should be a strong plant for this year. My chocolate mint has taken off, but it is mint, so what can I say? It makes a really, really great tea. I still have some dried herbs from last year that I'm brewing with some raspberry leaf for tea. I planted a sage plant also at the end of last season and it turns out that it is doing really, really well. I am excited to see how they progress through the summer. I had also planted Italian parsley at the END of the season last year. It made it through the winter beautifully, and the plant is really starting to flourish. I think it is time to cut it out and dry it (or put it in our fresh food).

I managed to plant some artichokes a few weeks ago, and they are outside looking incredibly happy. They are a long term future investment because they take about a year to produce a crop, but I'm trying to grow some veggies this year that I'm not going to be getting from the CSA. I am excited to see how the artichokes do.

The other plants I planted at the same time as the artichokes are not doing so well. There are some peppers, some eggplants and a few melons. I really didn't get the melons to germinate well, and the ones that did seemed to not grow well. I did put some healthy ones in the ground, but I think that a bit of cold got to them and what damage that didn't do, the slugs did do. There are a LOT of slugs out there, and I'm trying to find a solution. I hope that the plants really start to enjoy the weather that we are having and grow big and tall.

I exposed my grapes from the weeds that were trying to hide them. They have produced some wonderful leaves. I am hoping to be able to go out and harvest a few of them to use to make dolomathes (Greek stuffed grape leaves). Yum.

I really need to get out now and turn the soil in the remaining beds so that I can get some seeds int he ground. Perhaps I will feel like doing that tomorrow, perhaps not.

The Gestational Diabetes thing has had me all over the charts. I was completely devastated at first, but then I made an appointment with a Naturopath/Nutritionist. She really helped me figure out what I could eat. I felt like I had even more options available to me than I had before the news that I had Diabetes. The problem is that I am hopelessly addicted to sugar in all of its lovely forms, so the cold turkey quitting method has been difficult. I don't really mind eating foods that are a little more "healthly" "hippie" or "earthy" than normal, but I do miss my ice cream and many of the other indulgences. I still have an unopened box of ice cream popsciles in the freezer that I am having a hard time not going and eating right now!

I've got some good food ideas. I make a mash for breakfast that is a mixture of crushed wheat, oats, corn, kamut, quinoa and any other grain I could come up with. It actually doesn't taste to bad with a little agave nectar and some lactose free milk, but I feel like a total hippie eating it. It's not something I want to spend the rest of my life eating, but I do appreciate it for now. I also managed to make some granola for myself that doesn't have any sugar or maple syrup in it. It's not as good as the granola I usually make, but I don't feel like I'm missing out a lot either.

I actually discovered that I could eat frittatas and quiches. The main concern with the illness is the ability to eat enough foods of enough variety with enough protein. If I can't eat well enough I am at great risk of developing pre-eclampsia, which would pretty much guarantee that I need another c-section. I'm determined to keep this situation from becoming scary, life threatneing or to let it change my birthing plans. Being able to eat eggs in SOME form has helped a lot with me being able to get enough protein. I also got some hemp protein powder from the store that is pretty palatable with mixed with almond milk.

All that said, I really miss my sugar. There is some lemonaide in the fridge that has been tempting me a lot lately because it as almost 80 degrees today! I also had just made a batch of chai ice cream before I got the news, so I've been pawning it off onto anyone willing to eat it!

I DID take the liberty of making my own sugar free-dairy free totally diabetically OK ice cream the other day. I made it with coconut milk, almond milk, vanilla extract and agave nectar. The texture isn't quite like ice cream yet, but I'm going to try a few different variations to see what I can do to fix that. I actually had the idea of mixing in a banana at some point to see if I can get a flavor other than just plain cocount. The good news is that I have something satisfying for the time being, so I don't feel totally left out, but I'm still having total withdrawls from sugar.

My doctor said that watermelon is totally OK to eat so I bought two personal watermelons the other day and have been scarfing them down. I love, love, love watermelon right now, so it is working. The good news is that it does nothing to the blood sugar and is pretty much nutritionally invaluable as a food, so I do no harm by indulging!

After all the gardening got done this morning, we came in to discover that the dishwasher is leaking. Jared was working on fixing it, but he had a meeting in Portland all afternoon so he had to take it apart and dash off. My kitchen has been spotless recently, so it is hard to take the fact that there are dirty dishes everywhere and that the dishwasher may not be up and running for a while. It is REALLY gross under the sink and the dishwasher, and I really just wish the problem would go away. I'm hoping it can be fixed soon.

While I was doing some other outside errands, I put my little chicken outside to be with the bigger chicken. I did buy one more laying hen this year to replace one of the ones that I had lost from last year. She has been kind of the odd one out everywhere. She grew at the same time as the chukar, but then she got too big and decided when she was hungry that she was going to start pecking at them. After finding 2 bloody chukar one morning, I removed her. I tried putting her with the meat chickens, who were born the same day she was, but they are about 3 times bigger than her, and they really would kill her. I then tried putting her with my big laying hens. God knows that introducing a new chicken is a problem when done at any time, but it turns out that she is just small enough to get herself caught in odd places. After waiting a few more weeks, I put her outside with the hens and kind of forgot about her.

When I went back out to feed the meat birds, the neighbor next door said he had something to say, and yelled over the fence that he had some problems with the chickens that I needed to handle immediately. I have no problem being told something is not working, but the dude didn't even have the balls to come over and knock on the door. He had to do it through the fence, and I didn't even know he was talking to me for the first minute or two. Our neighbors use to love our chickens, so I don't know what the deal is, but I already had plans to revamp the chicken space this summer, so hopefully, I'll work on that and they can mind their own business. I was upset though because he was swearing at me over some really dumb points and he didn't have the guts to come and actually try to have a conversation with me.

Moving on, when I finally got Daphne down for a nap, I was totally exhausted so I sat around for a while feeling totally bored and totally overwhelmed at the same time. I know that I have a list of things to do, but none of the things on the list were really dire. I just felt bored and sad and lonely while getting nothing done at all. It is also REALLY uncomfortable to sit in a chair for longer than 5 or 10 mintues, so I have to kind of keep moving all day, which makes me totally exhausted by the end of the day.

Oh... we still have ants crawling all over our house no matter how clean I keep it. They are boring holes through the caulking and getting in. I've got them MASSES under control, but they still are really proving to be annoying little creatures. I'm not sure that I'm beyond digging up where I know one hive is and pouring posion down it.

I took a bike ride over to the spinning wheel store in town (I know, how cool is it that we have a spinning store in town?). I needed to get something to be able to process some wool to spin, but it turns out that they were out of stock on what I need, so I have to wait to have it special ordered. Grrr. How annoying. Daphne also was into running around and touching everything, which can wear down on the nerves quickly.

I tried to clean the car today but the sun was beating down on me. I feel like the outside could use a really good scrub. The last few times I've gone through the car wash it has done a really, really bad job, so its time to do it myself, I'd just really appreciate a nice shiny car.

Jared came back from California, and the car was totally trashed, so I tried to clean it up a little bit, but there is stuff everywhere, so it is going to take a few rounds to get everything handled. Then I'll be able to clean the interior and feel like a better car owner. The car is one of my favorite posessions, so I feel so much happier when it is clean and taken care of.

I took Daphne to town to run some errands. I needed to get some basic car parts, air filters, windshield wiper blades, etc. They had everything I needed, except they only had one wiper blade for our other car. I tried driving the car in the rain and the dark when Jared and Daphne were in California, and I was afraid for my life. I have to call them and have them special order the wiper blades for the car on Monday, which means another trip back to the store. How udderly annoying. They were nice enough to put the new blades on the Matrix for me, so that makes my life a lot easier.

I stopped to get some presents for Mother's Day. Daphne decided she was hungry and thirsty and really lost her manners. The rest of the shopping was hell. When I got home, I was so happy to be able to take her out of the car because she was screaming and being grumpy about simple little things. I managed to get a quiche in the oven and get outside to take care of some animals.

I re-bred all my rabbits, and it is time for them to kindle again. My angora bun, Daisy should have her litter on Monday and I have a meat rabbit that should have her litter on Tuesday. I am excited for both litters because I think that I have enough experience at this point to really make this a successful endeavor. The angora buns are a bit of an experiment. I have been trying to breed her off and on for a while now, so having a real litter to deal with should be great. I checked and she is pregnant, so now I just have to wait. I love her fiber, but I'm not very happy about the fiber on the buck. I'm hoping that her fiber will dominate the litter, and then I will have some nice buns to keep, but I doubt it. I found out that she is 99.25% German Angora recently. It makes sense, she has a lovely coat, and she really does exhibit the German characteristics, I was just not sure because there was no data on her pedigree. I'd love to breed her to a 100% German buck and keep some of the kits that we get. She used to be the biggest problem rabbit, but she has started to come into her own recently, and she is my favorite sweetheart. I'm very surprised. It would be nice to have some German buns out that are quality stock. I'm hoping to make this happen soon.

I realized that I probably should be clipping my other angora rabbit (my mature buck) Poe soon, so that's another project I have to tacle. His fiber is just not as fine as I am seeing from any of my other Angoras, so I am a bit worried about what I am going to end up with to spin. Only the clipping will tell. He has a great disposition, I'm just not sure that I want to see his wool quality in my stock. I'm still learning a lot though.

So, I put nesting boxes out for my rabbits, and I feel like stalking them until I see some baby rabbits to play with!

I had a hard time feeding Daphne tonight because she was just running around and not really interested. I did get enough bites into her. However, as I sat down to do something else for a minute, I heard her over on the floor pouring water onto the floor and sucking it up with her lips. She then poured a full litre of water all over the floor while she was trying to fill up a little ounce cup. She's been doing these kinds of things all day, and all I can say is that I was happy to put her in her cradle and walk away for the night.

I still have a bunch of things to get done tonight, but it really is looking like I'll probably spend the time watching a movie and being totally lazy. These are the days of a woman in her third trimester, what else can I say.

I've got lots planned for tomorrow with some other really big ideas, so stay tuned.

Thanks for listening to 3000 works from a complaining woman.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

There's The Wall

I worked really hard while Jared and Daphne were gone. I had almost forgotten what it was like to not have things move around mysteriously in the house. I was also able to follow a train of thought and do things one after another without interruption. It really was different than the way I do things these days.

After working hard from 6 am to 10 pm every day, it became clear that I was really running out of steam. I even took one evening off and went to a friend's birthday party.

On Sunday, I really started to feel the stress of all the work I had been doing. I was feeling a lot of pain and pressure in my pelvic floor, and I was actually considering taking a nap for the first time in a long time.

I laid down to take a nap, and still wasn't feeling better when I woke up. Things got progressively worse, and by bedtime I was feeling very dizzy and unwell.

Monday didn't go much better, so a phone call to my midwife ended in the fact that I needed to come and see her.

I drove over to her house (we live close) last night and she checked everything out. On the plus side, things were looking really, really good. The baby is growing and lively, and is even vertex at this point (wahoo)!

The bad news is that I failed a glucose test, which means that I have gestational diabetes. Oh boy. That means that in addition to the food aversions I already have, I've got a lot of new food restrictions I get to deal with over the next couple of months. I'm not really looking forward to this at all.

Moma, You're Smart

I was teaching Daphne to spell her name this morning in bed. She has it mostly down except for the first two letters.

As I was repeating over and over D-A-P-H-N-E, she stopped me and said, "Mama, you're really smart."

I think she's right!

My Portfolio

I left Greece when I was 7 months pregnant with Daphne, and I never really managed to get all the photos in my portfolio matted and put together professionally. They have been sitting for over a year in half matted piles. It is a project that takes a lot of focus and concentration, and it is also something that can't be done with kids around. Daphne is not allowed around because she could totally destroy the photos of she decided to touch or rearrange them.

While Jared and Daphne were gone, I set up all my matting supplies and spent hours on end matting my photos.

The good news is that my portfolio has been completely matted and put together. It feels so good to take care of the art treasures that I spent over a year to create!

I even took the time to mat some photos that had been taken of me modeling. Many of the photos mean a lot of me because they document the time I spent in Greece. I was also at my thinnest point just before I got pregnant with Daphne. It reminds me of what to make my way back to as soon as I have this baby in a few weeks (its not too far away).

I also managed to set aside some photos to hang up in the house on display. As soon as I work funds into the budget and get the gumption to drive to IKEA, I can go and get the frames to hang the photos up. it will be nice to have something more than blank walls for a change.

I must say that I am really proud of myself for this.

1 Month Late

It seems that Spring seems to be taking its sweet time getting here. I know that rain is a component of the whole spring thing, but it seems that we have only had a few nice days spread out here and there in which going outside is even possible!!!

Yesterday, I had to drive for a bit, and there was a point that it was raining so hard I considered pulling over and waiting it out. There was so much water on the road I was hydroplaning, and the windshield wipers on the fastest setting did nothing to improve visibility. I am glad I made it home safely.

Sadly, the forecast says rain all day every day until Friday. I guess it is a sign that I had better get some sewing done eh?

March is supposed to be "in like a lion out like a lamb." April started with roaring wind and cold showers. April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, but we're already 5 days into May, and I see no sign of flowers, only showers.

Dear God,

Please stop the rain.

Shiny New Floors

As I have been going around room to room, I would steam clean the floor as the last action. It is hard to schedule because it is best if the floors don't get walked on for 12 or so hours while they are wet.

While Jared and Daphne went to California this weekend, I took the opportunity to finish cleaning all the rest of the rooms and get to the floors.

In Jared's office, I actually had to take his desk apart piece by piece and clean under it. The desk then got cleaned and put back together. It looked GREAT when I was done, but it sure was a lot of work.

The day they came home, I got up early and managed to finish cleaning the rest of the floors in the house. The carpets in the whole house now look brand new!

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Kitchen--Die Ants Die

Since Jared and Daphne were going to California this weekend, I have been working hard to get a lot of things done before they go and while they are gone. I do have a long list of things that need to happen before the house is "clean and organized". My plan is to get the list done and then be able to relax and hang with Daphne as the weather gets much nicer.

The other day I decided it was time to clean the kitchen. We have been having a huge ant problem that has been driving Jared and I crazy. The caulking is really bad in our house, so the ants come and go freely through the holes they can find. They are all over any food they can find.

The kitchen needed to be cleaned badly and it needed a bit of reorganization. I am having a hard time doing things that involve bending over. Since a lot of the stuff I use is on the bottom shelf, I decided to remedy that so that I didn't have to be in pain while working in the kitchen.

I spent 19 hours in the kitchen cleaning behind this and that, laying down new shelf liners and scrubbing everything I could find, and it looks great. I've actually been able to cook and clean in there with very little problems.

I do still have a few shelves that I need to clean off and rearrange, but I don't think that is going to take long. The most important thing is that it's yet another room in the house that is in a state of cleanliness that I no longer have to worry about!

Windows are CLEAN!

My to-do list has included cleaning the windows, both inside and out, for a very long time. I thought that this was going to be one of those "nice to do" things that never really got done, or that got done sloppily.

While Nico was here, she did go around with a squeegee and cleaned all the windows. However, the squeegee left marks, and the windows behind the screens didn't get cleaned.

I explained last week that I had gotten very gung-ho about getting the windows cleaned in the front of the house, and they looked really good, but I was not excited about the remaining windows. Two of them are behind Jared's desk, and I actually had to disassemble to desk to get to them.

After feeling really ambitious yesterday, I managed to finish the rest of the windows. I bleached out the mildew in the tracks of the windows. I scrubbed the fly specks off the windows. I took the curtains down and washed them. I even figured out how to take the blinds down and clean them thoroughly. The windows look GREAT, and I am so happy to have that done. I can't wait to find the to-do list under all the junk and actually get it crossed off.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


A lot of people I know are very open about their pregnancies, and I'm finding that this isn't the kind of person that I generally am. I'm not willing to disclose an exact due date because I don't really believe in them. I'm not sharing the sex of the baby or even any possible name choices. I just feel like a lot of these are personal decisions. Due dates change, sex can be inaccurate, and how is it possible to know you have the right name until after you've met the baby.

The due date of this baby has changed at least 3 times for different reasons. I feel comfortable choosing the latest possible date and sticking with it, but I wonder if I will have the same high spirits about it as some of the earlier due dates start to fly by.

I've now passed the third trimester landmark, and I'm still going strong. The second trimester is supposed to be the easiest, and it WAS much easier than the first for me, but I'm still having issues. The vomiting really hasn't let up a whole lot, and at this point, I don't think that it's going to go away until after I had the baby. When I was pregnant with Daphne, I was able to stop taking medication to handle the vomiting around week 16. This time, I'm absolutely miserable without it well into the third trimester, how discouraging.

However, as I head into the 8th month, I can't help but think that I am feeling really good. I believe that the baby has turned head down, which has made a lot of additional room for breathing and my vital organs. I think that my belly has actually shrank a little since the baby decided to turn. I was gaining weight steadily for a while, but that has kind of dipped off a lot recently, mainly because I'm still having a hard time eating, and I had some extra weight to begin with. I'm told it would be totally safe for me not to gain any more weight, so I'm not looking to balloon up or anything.

I was having some steady contractions at 25 weeks that had me worried about preterm labor. I eased up a lot on what I was doing, and that seems to have been useful. I'm not having any more contractions that are cause for preterm labor at this point.

It is also comforting to know that I've passed the viability mark as well as the mark that makes me statistically sane. Even if I had the baby tomorrow, it would have an 80% chance of surviving and having no lasting lifetime problems. That said, I've no interest in leaving my baby in the hospital for 12 weeks to grow up to be strong enough to come home. I'm happy carrying the baby with me everywhere that I go now.

I am starting to feel limited in my actions because of my belly. Squatting and getting up and down from sitting aren't great, neither is rolling over in bed. I'm also finding that my usually sewing stuff done on the floor is a little difficult to do as well.

At this point, I'm thankful that I'm not too tired that I have to go to bed with my 2 year old at 7pm anymore. I'm rushing to get my household and organization stuff done before I do get any bigger. There will be a time when most of my time and energy will be occupied simply by being pregnant.

Despite the bumps, I really am enjoying growing a baby and making space in our family for another life. How exciting is that?

Home Improvement Week

I keep declaring that it is Home Improvement Day (or week or month) around here. I keep making lists of things that need to be done and then demanding that they get done. The most notable thing that got done was staining the deck, and I must say that I am proud how spiffed up our house got simply from having a pressure washer for a few days.

Despite that, the list making has continued, and if anything, it's growing even longer. Yesterday, Jared was kind enough to humor me and get some simple things done around the house that I've been nagging him about for weeks. We set up the bed so that the box spring isn't ugly and showing (you'd have to see our bed to understand). He got the cords sorted out on the DVD player and TV in the bedroom so that it doesn't look like technology is going to suddenly come alive and take over planet Earth. Jared even went way out of his way to put the closet doors back on their tracks and repair the tracks so that they won't fall off and kill me or a child. There are many other small tasks that got done, but I'm really starting to feel like progress is being made.

It feels like someone lives in our house again. In fact, I should have done all this stuff when I moved in. Organization seriously is a wonderful thing. When everything has a place and everything is in the place that it has, it starts to become easy to keep the house clean. I've always had random piles of stuff around waiting for a home to be found for them.

I spent yesterday scrubbing the dust, dirt, fingerprints and fly specks off of walls and doors. All the doors in the house (except the front door) are super clean and spotless. You know I am a crazy pregnant lady looking for spotlessness. When was the last time you put cleaning the doors in your house on the to-do list?

Today, we went to a birthday party for a friend's little girl. When we got back I declared that I was very tired and that I didn't feel like making any progress on the house. Jared told me to take it easy.

The next time he saw me, the living room and dining room was completely torn apart. I decided it was time to handle the windows. Nico did help clean the windows while she was here, but the entire effort was eradicated when the porch got pressure washed. The windows got super wet and the residue from the deck got stuck to the windows (and the sides of the house).

I got the broom out and cleaned off the sides of the house and then went into a deep clean of the windows. I cleaned the sills of the windows as well as the tracks. I cleaned the blinds of all the windows as well. I even took all the screens off and brushed them off and washed them down.

Once every surface around the windows was clean, I managed to clean all the windows on the inside and the outside. What a crazy woman. I also decided the curtains weren't clean enough either so I took them all down and washed them. It was not my favorite project at all, and I've only done about 2/3 of the windows in the house. All the hard and tall windows are left. I was planning on hiring someone to help me do the tasks that I thought HAD to be done but that I still found unbearable. Unfortunately, since we did the deck on a whim, it's not in the budget, so I'll buck up and get it all done myself. There can't be THAT much more on the list can there?

Jared's last project is a pretty big one. Whoever caulked our house did an incredibly TERRIBLE job at it, and the caulking around 90% of the house is completely coming apart or messed up. After 2 attempts, Jared decided to try to find another way to get it done. I just can't wait until all the surfaces of my house stay together. We've got an ant problem that would be solved if someone could properly caulk a baseboard.

That's my whining for now. I hope to get a lot more done over the next week, but God knows the list goes on and on.

Oven Repair

I have been having a lot of trouble recently with cooking, and it was starting to make me doubt my own skills as a chef.

Most notably, I made a cheesecake a few weeks ago. It was supposed to be done in 25 minutes of cooking and well over 2 hours later, it was still raw in the middle. I was starting to wonder what was different about what I was doing, and why was my food taking longer to cook.

As I think about this, it has been happening to me for about the last year at least, and let me tell you, it is terribly frustrating.

Last Sunday was Iron Chef. I had a ham that I really wanted to cook. I preheated the oven, and I started to realize something was TERRIBLY wrong when the oven spent 3 hours preheating. I put the ham in it and let it start cooking. I had gotten an oven thermometer earlier in the day. When I put it in with the ham set to 400 degrees, I found the oven was only 200 degrees. Ouch, that's really not good. I did eventually get the ham cooked through after some persistence.

However, it was clear the oven was a goner. Jared did some research and found that we just needed to replace the element. A quick search and 24 dollars had the element on its way to us, and Jared got it installed this week.

I decided to bake some chicken for dinner tonight. I put it in, thought it would take about 25 minutes to cook and went away. Not only did the oven perform, but the food was ready in the exact amount of time that I had guessed. This is great news.

Bottom line, buy an oven thermometer, you need one, trust me! I can't tell you how many times dinner has not been ready when it was supposed to be lately simply because I never bothered to check the temperature I was baking at.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Seedlings Transplanted

Last year, I didn't bother to start any plants inside, and I really did regret the decision. Though the garden produced a LOT of food, some of the things were started much to late. My spinish just went to seed and was not useful. HOWEVER, the seed did drop in the bed, and I've now got a whole beautiful bed of spinach that overwintered nicely. I'm going to cut it all as soon as I am done with this post.

I decided to start some seedlings inside this time around so that they would have a longer growing season. It turned out that this really didn't work very well either. The only space I have available is the window sills, and since they only get afternoon sun, it really wasn't enough light to get them to germinate. Many of the plants that did germinate really didn't like the low light situation they encountered.

I managed to get a few beds prepared despite the plants not being very happy and I've transplanted many of the seedlings. I have an entire bed of artichokes. They take over a year to produce, so that will be a LONG experiment. I've also got another bed that has peppers, eggplant and melons in it. That is 2 beds down and three more left to plant. I've got to get the spinach out of one of the beds first, so that's the project of the afternoon!

I hope to post some photos soon because things are really starting to look good.

Earth Day

Yesterday was Earth Day, and I must say that I wasn't that inspired. For being someone really naturally minded, it really doesn't get me excited. There seems to be a lot of hype going around trying to get people to be more "green". Though I do like that focus, the intention doesn't really work if attention is only paid during one day out of the year.

I know there is a lot of volunteer work available to clean up roads and parks and to do other beautification. I think that is fantastic and wonderful, it just seemed like a whole lot of superficial hype to me.

However, I did take the opportunity to look at what it was that we were doing around here so that I could do an even better job being "green". I've got a few more ideas that will show up in my life in the near future.

Until then, really this whole cleaning and organization project is a greening up project. I am passing on the things that I don't want and fixing up the things I have that I do want. It's a whole new level of recycling.

I am enjoying the time that I am spending outside SO much. The backyard is really starting to look decent, and things are coming together. I actually enjoy spending time in the garage and the backyard now that I don't feel like it's just one huge junk pile that needs to be sorted out.

Jared and Daphne are going away for the weekend next weekend and leaving me behind. I think I am going to take that opportunity to really get some projects finished that would otherwise be difficult to do with "help". I'm putting together a to-do list, that I'm hoping to share with you soon.

Can I Keep You

I was working on a test today for school, and when i finished, I picked Daphne up to snuggle her.

I asked her if she was mine and if I could keep her. She said, "Yes."

I then asked if I could keep her and play with her and take care of her like a pet. I said I needed a good pet. To that, she started to pet me all over.

Wrong definition. Oops.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Miller Woods

My friend recently told me about a local place that is maintained by the Yamhill County Soil and Conservation District. It is called Miller Woods. It's a little place not too far outside of the city of Mcminnville that you can go out and go hiking through. There is a day use fee of $3, but they opened the place to the public today considering that it is Earth Day.

Julie and I went out with the kids and did a nice long hike. I'd say we probably hiked a few miles up and around the trails. I know I am tired, and Daphne is for sure tired. It is just nice to have a local place to go and hang out and enjoy nature without having to drive hours away.

I plan to return more. I'm hoping to stay more fit as these last weeks of this pregnancy roll by. All I can say is that the hike really and truly was a challenge.

Check it out if you are in the area. What a cool local resource. I wish someone had told me about it before last week.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Can't Get Enough

After all of that complaining about school, I just can't stay away. Although I have my degree now, I have decided to take on another educational opportunity for my own benefits, and for nothing else.

I enrolled in an online class devoted to helping people get much more knowledge about preserving food. My sister and I looked at the class together a few weeks ago and decided to invest in doing it so that we can be better at preserving this year.

This is something that I am doing strictly for myself--for my own good and happiness, and I am excited. I started the class tonight. So, for the next 6 weeks, I'm back in school, but its different this time. I KNOW I will LOVE this class!

All Paid For

When we found out we were going to have another baby, we started slowly saving money so that we would be able to pay off the birth in advance. Many midwives give a discount if paid in full by 36 weeks. Honestly that's not too far away for us at all!

I called the birth center today and paid in full for the prenatal care and the birth of the baby! What an amazing thing! I am glad that this is one less thing that we have to worry about, and we can start to focus our money on paying off the rest of our debt.

I went into labor with Daphne the day that I made the last payment for her birth, and though I'm definitely not wishing to have this baby early, I'm happy to know that I'm not going to have any more medical bills to deal with after the birth.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fickle Weather

I feel like I've been in a race against time. I was hoping to get all the household things done before the weather started to get nice so that I could move on to doing fun outdoor things.

I was reading facebook statuses last week about snow, and now everyone is complaining about the heat. It's supposed to get over 80 here today, so I totally understand! I've gotten started on a LOT of outdoor projects, but I still have some indoor projects to complete.

With the nice weather, I have been outside all day getting things done, and it sure seems to be working.

I finished shearing my 4th rabbit today. It is always a big project to get the angora rabbits all sheared because they are on the same shearing schedule. I did one every day for 4 days. It was a lot more simple with my new clippers because I was able to just get the shearing done without a problem at all It used to take me hours and hours to do each rabbit (an entire afternoon really), but I was able to get the rabbits done in good time in between everything else I had going on. I need to take some photos because I feel like they always look super funny with no hair.

The meat chickens have moved outside (from the bathtub and then the garage). They are happy to be outside, and they've been moving around the yard slowly working on destroying it as quickly as possible. Our lawn in the back has always been really crummy. After the chickens were on it last year, it seems to have improved a lot. This is the ONLY batch of meat chickens that I am going to do this year. I've got an appointment to butcher them on June 13th. They are going to be BIG suckers, but it is totally worth it. I love having wonderful chicken in the house available to eat at any time. I love knowing that I grew it myself. So, they are happy to be out in the grass with lots of food and water.

I put up a piece of fabric to keep the laying hens from getting out in the yard. I am about to plant some seedlings, and it is going to be a HUGE problem if they get out and eat the seedlings I've been working for 6 weeks to grow. That would not make a happy mama at all. The gate has been a work in progress for almost a year, and I think the solution I came up with is fantastically brilliant. The good news is that it is doing a VERY good job at this point, and I anticipate that it will continue in that fashion.

I've got more on the list to be pressure washed, but that will have to happen tomorrow after the deck is all the way painted and dry. I don't need dust and water and god knows what else settling on it while it is trying to fully dry.

Nico is working on the deck today, and it should be completely done by tomorrow. I am excited that we have actually done some home improvement. I feel like a responsible homeowner. Additionally, though I would rather live on a farm, the neater it gets around here, and the more organized, the more I realize that I am incredibly lucky and that the things I have going on here are wonderful.

I've got to get enough gumption up to be able to finish the garage because a wonderfully organized the garage is enough to boost anyone's mood!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Off the Deep End

The neurotic cleaning side of me really started on January 1. I remember going around the house pulling things off shelves and decided if I really needed it. I got rid of all my clothes that no longer fit and many other items that were just kicking around the house just in case. I decided that everything in my life was going to have a storage space, it was going to be useful and I was going to like it.

As soon as I hit the 3rd trimester, it became abundantly clear that I was running out of time to get my house sorted out. My belly is getting bigger by the day, and I still would like to neurotically clean a whole lot. Enter Nico. Nico is a friend from high school that I haven't connected up with in several years. She just finished her degree, and she is traveling around connecting up with old friends. She came on Tuesday and has been a huge help. I committed to spending time getting things in order with her help so that I can start to relax a little bit. My goal in nesting and organizing is to get my house in such good order that it will be easy to maintain when I have a 2 year old and a newborn that need lots of attention from me.

I got up this morning and resolved to get a bunch of things done. I started by going out to the garden and prepping the soil in 2 of the beds so that I could transplant some veggies into them soon (the veggies are getting very big to stay inside). Turning the soil was a lot of work because I had added in some sheep fleeces, some shredded paper and some rabbit manure that was mostly composted. I mixed it in really well. Things look great, and I am excited to plant, I just need to figure out a way to secure the chickens in their run so they don't escape out and eat the seedlings.

I then moved on to shear a rabbit. I got some new clippers recently to help me get the rabbit shearing to be easier. They have been working wonders. I got one rabbit done yesterday, and I got another rabbit done today. This used to take me hours and hours to do, so the fact that I got it done in under 3 hours was fantastic.

I even then was able to take the bottom off one of the rabbit cages and replace it. I was worried about losing a rabbit through the bottom. It's repaired now, and in better shape than ever, which makes an incredible bonus! No more rabbit related work, other than shearing, for some time.

I then managed to get back inside and helped Nico do a little work on cleaning the inside and outsides of the windows. She did the window work, and I took the screens out and cleaned them up really well. I can see out the windows of the house, and it is SO nice!

Jared then returned with the pressure washer we are borrowing and things went into a completely different gear. We cleaned out the garage and moved the freezers out. We pressure washed out the part of the garage that has been stained with chicken poop, blueberries and other things over the past few years.

Nico then moved on and pressure washed part of the driveway. We had moss growing on part of it, and it looked really bad. The pressure washer really made a huge difference. It is so nice to have a clean driveway again.

Nico is now out pressure washing the deck so that it can be stained. I wasn't sure that it was going to make much of a difference, but I really do see the difference now. The deck looks amazing, and it will be really well taken care of with a coat or two of varnish on it. The bonus is that we have about 4 gallons of varnish that we got with the house when we moved in, so this project isn't costing a ton, and it is really improving the house.

I even managed to get back out in the garage and sweep the floor and move somethings to new locations. We are hoping to park the car in the garage this summer with a new baby to deal with. We are very, very close to being able to do it at this point. I've just got a bit of photography stuff that needs to be gone through first.

I remembered amongst all of this that the ham for Iron Chef needed to be brined, so I got it in a brine now. I'm excited to cook it tomorrow.

The garbage man needs to come so that I can throw some other things out (our can is full), but I can manage doing other projects until Tuesday.

Tomorrow the stain will go on the deck, the rest of the driveway can be pressure washed, another rabbit or two will be sheared and the house will be cleaned. Iron Chef starts at 6, and it's going to be hopping around here until then!

So you judge, has this pregnant woman neurotically gone off the deep end of the nesting and cleaning? I think so.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cleaning Update

When was the last time that you were bothered by the dust and muck on your baseboards? That's something that's been driving me nuts lately.

I finished my own room and made it to Daphne's room for cleaning. This involved organizing and going through all our clothes from newborn clothes through the clothes that don't yet fit. I sorted through the clothes that I am going to keep and I washed and tagged the others and got them off to a consignment sale for the weekend. I still have 7 smallish tubs full of clothes and diapers for a baby, but it is more than enough wonderful clothes to fit any sex of baby that comes into our life in the future!

I then went through all the toys she has. I rotated some toys out and put them in the closet. I organized everything in the closet and put toys and other things in plastic bins. The only thing that is not yet really cleaned or set up is the car seat and the baby swing. With at least 3 months left to go, I've still got plenty of time to worry about that. Until, it is snug in the top of the closet.

I washed and bleached the sheets and the comforter, so everything is actually white again. White is not a good color to have around kids, that's for sure!

I made it to the floor and scrubbed the baseboards and steam cleaned the floor. It looks wonderful, and I'm so proud of it. I am excited that yet another room is ACTUALLY organized.

I got it all done in time for my friend Nico to stay.


Yesterday I was rifling through some bills that needed to be paid. We pay our garbage every 3rd month, so the bill only shows up once in a while.

Daphne saw the logo at the top of the garbage bill and said enthusiastically, "GARGABGE MAN!"

I am so impressed at her ability to take something like a garbage tuck and relate that to an abstract logo on a bill.

No wonder it's possible to teach kids to read early in life!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Daphne's Skirts

I've been putting together these skirts for Daphne for quite a while now, but I just completed them all and managed to get photos on them. I developed the pattern for these skirts based on a wrap around skirt from another blog I read. Each of the skirts are reversible, and most of them have the "bubble" look to them. I developed that technique by simple putting elastic along the bottom of the skirt before I turned it right side out for the last time.

I get compliments about them ALL THE TIME when we are out. I love when people ask me where I bought it from. I take pride in saying casually "oh, I made it!".

I purposely made the skirts VERY big. They wrap around Daphne 2 times now, and they almost fit me. With a snap closure, the skirts will grow with her and will only disappear when they have been worn out beyond use. It's a brilliant, frugal, darling way to clothe a baby girl.

There are lots of fun flower prints.

This is a good view of the "bubble" effect.

This skirt is a shorter version than many of the others.

Another shorter skirt.

One of the few non-bubble skirts.

This is the first one I made. It is a wrap around skirt that is double sided, and it ties closed. It won a blue ribbon at the fair this year.

This is Daphne's Easter skirt! She got it in her Easter basket. I love the colors on it. It is made out of a lightweight jersey, so it is not as poofy as some of the other skirts, and I really love that about it.

Everyone needs a farm print skirt.

I got this fabric from my grandma. I think it will be a definite fair entry this year.

A 1998 Joe Boxer print. Cows playing golf. Classic!

Crescent Bum Pants

After plenty of worry and tears, I figured out the pattern for these pants and managed to make a good stock of them in relatively short order.

These are the pants that you sad Daphne modeling in yesterday's post. I plan to make more of these in the future if they are needed. They only take about 5 minutes to make if you read the instructions correctly, and they look darn cute.

The colored fleece pants were all made in 3 different sizes: small, medium and large. The large fit Daphne now, but the small and medium will fit the baby when the weather is cold next fall.

I love the color of these pants, it's called Aegean Blue.

A nice little green.
This is the back of the pants. You can see the crescent in the bum. This allows of diaper space.
This is the front of the pants.
I am making a lot of things brown for the baby, so this was just another brown item to add to the collection. Additionally, the pair Daphne wears get taken outside in the mud all the time, and you can hardly see the dirt all over them!
The pair Daphne was modeling. They look so much better ON a baby.
Some cute woolies made out of a recycled sweater.
These are made out of 20% rabbit hair, and they sure are soft!


I made Daphne these tutu's for her birthday. Of course she totally loves them. One is light green and the other is pink. The pink ones were featured in the photo shoot from a week or two ago.

They were pretty simple to make. Just tulle cut into strips that were then tied onto a ribbon. brilliant!

It looks so well done around the waist.

There is no lack of poof here.
Pretty in green!

Meat Rabbits and Thing 2

I have two meat rabbits that I have raised since they were 8 weeks old. My intention is to breed them and use them as a household meat project. Rabbits are very easy to keep, and you can feed them without giving them corn and soy, which is a big problem with raising chickens for meat. Corn and soy are genetically modified, it costs a lot, and it tends to not be the natural feed for chickens. Rabbits can be raised on rabbit feed, oats and alfalfa pellets. They are much cheaper, and you can easily get it without corn or soy in it.

Additionally, the rabbits are raised by their mothers, so no brooding lights or anything. They finish as fryers in about the same time as chickens, and it seems to be a smoother project.

I bred my rabbits last month hoping that they would kindle in time for me to take both the rabbits and the chickens to the butcher at the same time (when I am 36 weeks pregnant). I was being incredibly optimistic thinking that they would kindle large litters just fine. I forgot that it is very common for rabbits to lose their first 1-2 litters before they get the hang of being successful mothers.

The meat rabbits are both Californians. I named them Thing 1 and Thing 2 because they do cause as much trouble as is found in the Cat and the Hat. Califonians are not generally known for their good temperaments.

Thing 2 had her first litter last night, and big surprise, none of them made it. I had noticed that she had been off feed for 2 days. That is common when they are about to kindle, but 2 days is a bit long. I went out with a syringe last night to feed her some pineapple juice to make sure that any GI stuff got handled and she actually kindled the first baby right there. I'm not sure that either of us noticed (it was pretty dark at that point). The first 5 kits she had were extremely premature and underdeveloped. The rest of them would have had a pretty good chance if she had bothered to put them in the nesting box, but even though they were inside, it was too cold to not be protected. I put her out with the buck this morning, so we will see what her second litter looks like in about 30 days. I'm thinking positive.

Thing 1 should have her litter any second now. I'm hoping the kindling gods are looking favorably on me after this last week.

First time rabbit moms can be a pain, but they should be worth it in the next breeding.

Tiny Little Baby

I have been working to get the idea through Daphne's head that there is going to be a newborn baby around soon to take care of.

The "word movie" (Your Baby Can Read) has an intro with some small babies in it. Every time it comes on Daphne yells, "Tiny little baby."

Apparently, babies are incredibly exciting. I'm glad.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Model

I couldn't resist posting the entire series of these photos. I have been teaching Daphne how to model in front of the camera lately, and I think she is really getting the hang of it. It helps to show off clothes and things I have made when I have a good model. I like using a model rather than the black background I have been using. The black background gets old.

This is the pair of pants that I made and posted about before. I had a great deal of trouble with the pattern, but after a bit of perseverance, I found what I was doing wrong and I cut them up and started over. It worked out wonderfully. They are the favorite pair of pants that I have ever seen on anyone, and I love when Daphne wears them. They are made out of 100% wool interlock! They make lovely diaper covers for the younger baby.

Check out the way Daphne models the pants.

A bit of a blooper!

Her tiger face (a useful modeling tool).

I really do think I've got a model on my hands, at least for my own personal exploitation.

Tie Nappies

I have spent a lot of time recently getting all the loose ends up with sewing. I had a bunch of extra knitted fabric in my closet that I had no real use for, so I decided to make something called tie nappies. This pattern has been around for at least 100 years. It is a one-size fits all kind of diaper that you can tie on. They are especially great when used at nighttime because you can put them over another fitted or prefold. I made a few with the fabric that I had available. I LOVE them.

They just look like square blobs in the photos, but you can at least get the idea of the fabrics and the ties.

The Beach

I took Daphne to the beach two weeks ago. I took my big professional camera, so these photos got "lost" on the CF card until I got around to processing the stuff on it.

She loves playing at the beach. She thinks writing in the sand is an awful lot of fun, but her favorite thing is to throw rocks at the ocean. There weren't many rock on the beach we went to, so she decided to take up throwing sand!

Doesn't she look like she is having fun?

Writing in the sand.

The Olympic sand toss.
Super smiles.
My favorite!