Monday, June 26, 2006

Two showers

Nothing beats a good drenching during a parched summer. Jay and I were in the cities over the weekend for my baby shower, which was a relaxed, low key affair at my mom's place. Present: Mom, Becca, Grandma Cedarleaf, Aunt Glenda, Kelly Piatt, Natalie Osberg, her daughter Katie, her friend, myself, waffles, bacon, fruit compote, mimosas. Not present: the toilet paper diaper game, any kind of game where people have to write answers on little slips of paper, ice breakers of any variety. A perfect scenario, really. And I picked up some really great loot - most of which I never knew I needed until Ellis came on to the scene (nursing pillow anyone?). I'm very grateful for this kind of heads-up and for Becca's calm guidance, because I'd be pretty much clueless otherwise, tomboy mama that I am.

At any rate, on the way back, Jay and I watched two storms converge right over the top of the farm, finally soaking us for hours and hours. This had been the first real rain in at least a month. You could almost watch the vegetation open and grow and breathe a sigh of relief. The sudden appearance of copious weeds in the garden is proof! I'll tell you that when living among farmers (and having a stake in the hay they're growing) a person can get VERY obsessive about weather.

Speaking of hearing a bunch of weather talk between farmers, Jay and I went to the Colfax Fair on Sunday. We enjoyed some brittle bratwursts and the ever-popular pint of milk for lunch and checked out the arts and crafts building with all of the knick knacks, yuckadoities, preserves, and baked goods in their full glory (our neighbor Tryston won a grand prize for a camoflauge hunting vest he sewed. I'll tell you that kid is a renaissance man!). Then we got to watch Tryston and his brothers sell their prize-winning beef cows, pigs and sheep at the FFA auction. I experienced a moment of panic when I suddenly realized that our child could potentially want to participate in the fair in some way and I'm going to have to either a.) start to get crafty or b.) stop getting attached to farm animals who are being raised for consumption. The fair was a classic small-town Wisconsin kind of experience. There was even a tiny ferris wheel!

We had a great time with Julianne and Mark here last week, getting to embark upon this summer's maiden tubing voyage down the Red Cedar River together (not as much of an adventure as last year's eternal float but definitely far more relaxing). Plus Jay entertained us by barbequing ribs caveman-style and we did lots of farm-talkin' and walking the land - Julianne even went for a ride with me! We feel very honored that they made us a part of their "See the Heartland Tour 2006."

Today Jay and I harvested more lettuce, beets and rhubarb. Tonight is our last class in the series at the birthing center, where we will take our fellow class members some of that aforementioned lettuce and hopefully learn us a little something about pushing a baby out into the world. Thelonious continues to grow and roll crazy like a lava lamp in my belly.

Oh yeah, we also saw the exhibit Body Worlds at the science museum in St. Paul over the weekend - I highly recommend it if it comes through your city. Wild stuff!

Love and fluffy waffles to all,


Monday, June 19, 2006

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Oh Ma Ga it's hot!

So it's 91 out right now and as humid as all get-out. Becca, Chris and Ellis have taken a trip down to the ol' swimmin hole, which is what all smart folks should be doing right now. The reason I'm not there too is because I'm trying to purge all of my bodily toxins in this here sweatlodge. Actually, I'm not sure if any of you reading this have ever been 8 months pregnant, but if you have, then you know there can be some technical difficulties related to time spent in the ol' swimmin hole, especially if you're too cheap to buy a maternity swimsuit (this will NOT keep me from taking an inner tube float with you, Julianne, in case you are reading this from the road - I'll figure something out). It's just that in the summertime a preggie and the little radiator inside her belly can together start to feel a bit ... cumbersome. And a little bovine. No matter how many times a person tells you how beautiful and bountiful a pregnant woman's body is, usually that person must be reminded that it's 90 DURNED DEGREES OUT and chances are they are also someone who is not currently sporting a pregnant woman's body in late June in the Midwest. Arrrrrgh! On the up side, my nightly bathroom forays have been cut in half with the amount of sweating I'm accomplishing on a daily basis. So, goodie!

Alright, enough of my whining already!

I'm trying to think of something highly stimulating to report. Um... Gussie has apparently cheated death by eating a bunch of leaves from an arrangement of lilies, promptly barfing them up and living to tell the tale. In fact, he's FINE, having shown no discomfort whatsoever (most of what I've researched on this matter says that cats experience liver shutdown and death within 6 hours if they even TASTE A TINY SMIDGEN of lily leaf. We're thinking of having him choose some lotto numbers for us).

We've been busy doing some farm chores, but mostly in the early morning and later evening as the heat makes too much productivity near impossible. We've got LOADS and LOADS of lettuce - more than we can possibly keep up with. The broccoli is just about ready, and we're pulling beets, radishes and turnips out of the ground. The rhubarb continues its exponential growth. It's been the driest spring in ages here, and things look a little more brown than usual. The horses are SERIOUSLY FAT, as I haven't been able to work them as I normally do, though I did find a very cool belly band to support the tum while I ride.

This weekend Jay is at a summer solstice music festival where my cousin Elissa's husband Erik's band is playing. His friend holds this huge party at his farm every year. Either tomorrow or Monday Julianne and Mark will be rolling in, hot from sightseeing sojourns at Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore. We'll be very happy to spend time with people who get as excited about outbuildings as we do!

Jay and I have been going to birthing classes at the birth center, which has been great. We're in class with two other couples, both of whom are also pregnant with their first child and are due in early August. I now know more about my nether regions (among other things) than I ever thought imaginable. I'm thinking more and more that I might just have to go the birthing-in-a-tub route. Sounds pretty nice! Especially if there's bubble bath...

This just in - I have to report on a little exchange I just overheard between Becca, Ellis and Chris:

Becca: Ellis, scissors are boring and dangerous.
Chris: (waves scissors back and forth tantalizingly in front of Ellis' face while making fun-loving snipping noises)
Becca: Chris! Now Ellis thinks scissors are the best thing ever!

Okee dokee, I'm signing off so I can wipe the copious sweat from my brow. Maybe it's time to pull out the basketball headband from the 1970s my dad loaned me!

Love and tall frosty cold ones to all,


Monday, June 05, 2006

The hummingbird yeller

Hey everyone!

I'm sitting here at the new laptop computer watching four fawns (older now, with their spots melting away) amble across the newly-mown hayfield out front, giving Gideon a start and causing him to momentarily cease his grazing.

I have to tell you this story, even though Chris, Becca and Jay will all roll their eyes, as they've heard it told (very loudly, I might add) many times now. I was out watering my flowers when one of the ruby-throated hummingbirds came buzzing around getting his fill from the blooms. He then proceeded to perch not 6 inches from me on one of our solar-powered lanterns, cocked his head and looked me straight in the eye for a good long time. I swear! I really wanted to pull a Snow White and reach my finger out for him to perch on, but somehow I resisted. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of my hummingbird whispering career. Of course, I then told the story very enthusiastically to Becca, who happened to be the first one out the front door, then Jay and Chris had to hear it again and yet again as every word was plainly audible from inside the house. In Mexico, they call hummingbirds little warriors, which I really like. They're very territorial and we often see them chasing each other off of the flowers in the yard. We're also seeing tons of yellow and orange finches, cardinals, red winged blackbirds and LBJs (Little Brown Jobs, as Becca calls them). It's definitely bird season round these parts.

It's also tick season. And spider season. And fly season. And yellow jacket season. I really could never have imagined being so blase about finding ticks in my bed, but I guess that's what happens when it's a nightly occurence. It's also a little disturbing when one starts to think of ticks in terms of the "good" kind (wood ticks) and the "bad" kind (deer ticks - lyme's disease carriers). Just one more indicator of my authentic country girl status, I like to think.

Dad's graduation weekend was a smashing success, with a highlight being a soiree in my parents' back yard. My daddy's a doctor now! Lots of family and friends were present for the festivities. Nathan and Barbara came up and stayed with us out here for a couple of nights, which was great fun. We had lots of good discussions and took breakfast out on the deck, thank you very much.

Ellis is officially crawling now - more a cross between a downward dog pose and bear walking really, but motoring along all the same. He's getting to be a VERY BIG BOY.

Well, I can't think of much more news at this time. June will be busy with birthing classes, birthdays, visitors, garden frolicking, vegetable eating and other fun summertime diversions. In one week Jay and hundreds of kids will begin enjoying their few months of freedom. Now if I can just get consistent sleep some night (I'm up to 5 trips to the bathroom now, and it never fails: when I go to bed, Thelonious wants to party) we'll be in business!

Love and a big bowl of mixed greens,


Thursday, June 01, 2006

I can't believe it's June already!

Ellis and I had a great, long weekend in Chicago with Nathan and Barbara. Ellis was a superstar on the plane - flirted with the other passengers and slept most of the way, despite a 2 hour delay (and LOTS of time at the insane O'Hare airport) on the way home Monday.

Chicago was relaxing, though hot - forced us to do little more than hang around chatting and drinking lots of cranberry & sodas. Nathan and Barbara have a darling apartment in a sweet neighborhood just blocks from downtown Evanston, so we walked and talked while Ellis was strolled around the neighborhood wearing only a t shirt and hat. The hot weather is a perfect excuse to plop him in a plastic tub of water in the yard - one of his favorite things these days. This photo (and more soon on the flickr & video links) is indicative of the hilarious times in the tub - it's so fun to see him so happy, which is most of the time. He's growing so fast and discovering, learning, curious and thrilled. Ellis took his first steps crawling in Chicago at Nathan and Barbara's place (and on the airport floor), and shared in a fit of hysterical laughter in the car on the way home Tuesday night (see videos). Apparently there's nothing funnier than a plastic straw being blown at you. Try it sometime.

Charis and I are off with Ellis in a few minutes for our weekly grocery trip in Menomonie. As usual, the list is long and luscious. Good food at all times - and even moreso now that we have more than an abundance of fresh lettuce, spinach, rhubarb and onions from the garden.

This weekend takes us back to Minneapolis for dad's graduation ceremony and party - what an accomplishment. We are so proud of him.

Love to you all & hope to see you soon!