Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Snow at Christmastime is just about as festive as you can get, and we've got it on the ground, in the air and more on the way! A holiday blizzard is predicted around these parts and while it makes for treacherous travels, it's just so beautiful and FUN.

Ellis took his first turn on his new used cross country skis yesterday at the farm and anxiously awaits opening his Christmas skates for a spin around Uncle Paul's ice rink on Big Pine Lake. Here's to a safe, cozy and festive Christmas...now we just need to get to Perham, Minnesota before the blizzard does!

Merry Christmas and happy winter solstice to you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Late fall at the farm

Hot cinnamon buns make tree hunting more merry...

Owain walks his first dog. Thanks, Bella.

Pig pile on Uncle Nathan!

Getting a photo where all three are looking at the camera is like capturing a unicorn.

Snoooowwww!

Dad and Jay give the new wood splitter a test run... 

...and compare plaid shirts.

Post-blizzard fun!

Monday, December 14, 2009

No deer!

My brother Greg and I:
- washed all our clothes in scent-free detergent
- dryed our clothes with scent-free dryer sheets
- bathed in scent-free body soap and shampoo
- sat outside for a total of 7 hours in 15 degree weather
- sat behind a ground blind made up of a maple tree that fell down
- looked into a snow covered valley filled with deer tracks
- had a mouse climb up and over our boots
- held hand warmers tightly in our gloves
- did not talk
- tried not to move
- saw one doe during the first five minutes Saturday morning about 100 yards away on the edge of the alfalfa feed and the tree valley, we thought she would come in, but she wandered around the edge and left
- saw no other deer
- watched squirrels, chickadees, blue jays, woodpeckers
- had a fantastic time
- can not wait until next deer season

- yes, I am sad I did not get a deer to learn how to field dress, skin and butcher
- yes, I am sad to not have venison and deer sausage this winter and spring

- but again, I had a fantastic time

- who would of thought hyper-active Jay would enjoy being still and silent for over 2 hours at a time and become addicted

Thanks Greg,

Jay

Friday, December 11, 2009

10 Days

10 Days yet until winter even begins, and yet, here we sit in nearly foot-deep snow, trimming the Christmas tree, and bundling ourselves against the frigid temperatures. The first days of December have certainly brought a new season upon Lostview Farm. Here are some of our days leading up to the solstice & holidays in pictures.

Tree trimming with Owain & Ellis


I think we could have fit at least another dozen ornaments on that one branch.

Stockings lovingly made by Gaga (my mom!)

My bundled little Barbaloot

The boys on Thanksgiving morning (only moments after this photo did I tuck the camera into the diaper bag and forget to take any more photos of our absolutely lovely time with my entire family for Thanksgiving feasting and festing!)

The sun setting on the cornstalk stubs.

The beautifully bleak midwinter approaches...

Luz

Yes, I'm dedicating an entire blog post to light fixtures. You see, there is one thing about our kitchen that makes it go from barely tolerable to cook in to delightfully lovely: lighting. Our IKEA brand under-the-cabinet lights died on us last spring and the replacement fixtures (which are seemingly higher quality but also higher installation difficulty) just went in today, thanks to Chris, who used a lot of elbow grease (and gorilla glue at times) to persuade the world's tiniest screws to attach the darn things to the underside of our cupboards...

...taking our dear kitchen from this:


...to this:

See?! This is the sort of thing that inspires me to blog once in a blue moon these days! But now I'll have evenly chopped onions, well-read recipes, properly measured spices, and the use of all my digits--avoiding chopping the tips of my fingers off because I couldn't see the darn edge of the knife--all thanks to good lighting. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go find something to do in the kitchen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving

The best time I have had this year (August 2009). I can not be thankful enough.

Jay

video

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Expectations and Change

Four years ago the big band I play in asked via email if we should cancel our Wednesday night rehearsal because so many people would be gone hunting. I replied back, "the only weapon I have is my Mark VI alto." Rehearsal was canceled anyways, and now I am in possession of two guns from by great-grandfather on my mom's side: a shotgun and a Winchester 30-06 (pronounced 30 ought 6).

I seem to always be dealing with a little bit of sadness in depression. A majority of it comes down to my unrealistic expectations. Moving across the country to rural Wisconsin, I had many large expectations set up in my head about what it meant to live rural, in community, teach, play saxophone and be a father. Five years later those assumptions seem absurd, and I am not one who is good at change. I thought I would be living a simpler life than I am, driving less, working off the land more, visiting Minneapolis to experience art and culture more, working together with others more.

I am trying to see what the reality is and accept it for the good that it is, because there are a tremendous amount of positives in my life:
- Owain
- learning to become a better husband who communicates emotion
- saxophone playing: sextet, big band, quartet, writing
- teaching: enjoying eighth grade and realizing I am at my core a teacher
- making friends in Eau Claire and Menomonie
- experiencing great fine art in Eau Claire

The one mainstay, and I believe the main reason I moved out here, is the regular presence of family. To hop in and see Ted and Jeannine is priceless: plus all the cousins, Uncles and Aunts and Carolyn. Madison is close by and my parents come up regularly. Owain loves Hope and Ellie and Greg is coming up to go deer hunting in December - something I would have never imagined, but hey, I am starting to change.

Great-Grandpa's 30-06 and my deer hunting license for November and December 2009.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

I'm crazy pancake boy! Give me some candy!

The Halloween weekend was spent whooping it up at Gaga and Boompa's pad with Great Grandma. Man, those people party hard.

The Lone Ranger and his faithful companion Pancake


We have a special place in our hearts for poultry in this family


The whole gang

The Boompa

Watching the Lawrence Welk Halloween Special (Really!) with G.G.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bok bok!

Please join the Lostview hens in welcoming our newest little chick to the coop...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oh Blog, Blog, wherefore art thou, Blog?

Okay, okay, so it's not that we don't like you enough to post more often. And it's not that I've fallen out of love with the blog...most of the time. But we're not fooling anyone with these bi-monthly posts. (Especially not those of you who check it twice a day. Amy.)


I will admit that the ease of snapping a photo or video clip and tossing it onto Facebook (gasp!) is terribly alluring for me, what with my 2 minute attention span these days. And I don't have to be witty or deep or thoughtful for more than a sentence on a status update on (gasp!) Facebook. But I've been reminded more times than I can count that not everyone has joined the FB cult (Amy) and that we do have devoted blog readers who might be getting antsy or downright offended at the neglect shown to our poor site. And if I was really good, I'd at least get really creative in a blog post about how I've devoted more attention to the likes of Facebook, like my friend Catherine did.

I don't typically devote more than 5 or 10 minutes to any one computer task at any given time, so what I've got for you today is heavier on the bragging-about-my-children content and fairly light on substance. Because I've got photos and I've got videos, but you'll have to take a rain check on the thoughtful musings.

The following items do make me happier than most anything else, however, so I'm pleased to say welcome to my world.

The baby learned to laugh a couple of weeks ago! Here's Phelan finding his dad VERY funny:


That video was taken after Chris and I took the boys for a walk on one of our first and last beautiful fall days this season.

And that's a wrap. I can't promise that I'll get you anything new before the snow falls, but I'll try.
p.s. Thanks for the nudge, AJ. We'll take our Starbucks gift cards in $5 increments. :D

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Lovely Ladies

We spend all year looking forward to a special visit from two of our favorite Jackson girls, just waiting for the days to get shorter and cooler and for the leaves to fall. And when there's a bite in the air, we start planning the menu and freeing up space in the cheese drawer, because Amy and Corrie never come without hearts full of love and a suitcase full of YUM. We love you!

Amy out walking her dinosaur

Only in Ponyland do the horses get taken out on leashes like dogs



Corrie Poppins works her magic



A new 'do!



Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oh, September!

It has been quite a month. Really. I'm exhausted just thinking about all that has happened, good and not-so-good here at Lostview over the past four weeks. It is the fullest time of year, in my opinion, with the gardens busting forth with fruits, the days warm and evenings cool, projects in full swing, visitors by the car load, and the kitchen always buzzing. It's so rich and lovely...and yet I always look forward to the new air of October.

But perhaps my favorite part of September is our annual birthday bash for the boys with my family. Mom and dad come in from Minneapolis and we play all day before gorging ourselves on tasty food, topped off with presents and a cake creation, a la Gaga. My mom has made amazing birthday cakes for as long as I can remember and it tickles me pink to know that she continues her cake art tradition with our kids.
I love that Ellis and Owain share birthdays just close enough to warrant a shared celebration (one of many birthday celebrations for these anything but deprived boys...I think over the course of September, Ellis had the pleasure of enjoying birthday cake, birthday cupcakes, birthday ice cream and birthday caramel apples).

My first born is four years old. This past year, really, this past summer, Ellis grew up. He gained about 4 inches and a few pounds, building on his tall, slender stature. He became more introspective and thoughtful, at times alarming me with his serious, intuitive nature. Ellis feels deeply and thinks intently. He is still learning to share those intense feelings, but when he does, it is poignant and I am so proud of him. He is intentional and careful, fiery and fun. I relish the moments I still get to read with Ellis in my lap looking on, knowing they will be fewer as he gets too big to fit in the chair with me any longer.

This past year, Ellis learned to swim and hold his breath underwater. He began to write his letters and sound out words. He climbs like a monkey, digs alongside his dad in the garden, and is a trustworthy, hardworking helper. He went from diapers to tiny tighty-whiteys, got rid of his nuk and "shirt", and outgrew all his clothes. This year, Ellis became an older brother. It has been a year of change and profound growth for my sweet Ellis. He is a big boy, and I love him more deeply every day. Happy birthday, my four year old. Here's to another September gone by.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Parade

Saturday morning I whimsically ended up in Colfax with Owain. Becca and Charis were canning tomatoes, which reminded me that I wanted to fix the outdoor propane burner Chris found at the dump, as it leaks a bit at the burner connection.

My thought was check at the Cenex/Farmers Co-op in town and go to the park with Owain.

We pulled into town having listened to the beginning of the first song on Riding the Nuclear Tiger by Ben Allison a dozen times. Owain's request: "beginning again."

In the high school parking lot were parked ten different fire engines/trucks: antiques, hook and ladder, etc. I thought, "Cool, we will have to swing by and check them out. " Another block and I saw the road lined with opened, empty folding and camping chairs. If I hadn't seen it before, I would have thought the second coming had just happened.

We checked Cenex for the part - only high schoolers working on Saturday. The propane people were gone. There was one lone man sitting in his chair among the 1/2 mile of empty seats: Dick Peterson. His coffee steaming into the blue sky, we talked about where we lived: "up at Popple Creek in the Morning place." He told me the parade was at noon - an hour and forty to kill. We played at the park for an hour and came back to buy a slice of pizza and popcorn. We had some apples from our tree in the car. Eleven thirty and the sidewalks were filled with people in their chairs and others walking around. We found a three foot space on the curb with no chair or person and ate our snack.

The parade started with six four-wheelers driven by high schoolers throwing candy at everyone, followed by a police car, members of the national guard and army vehicles. They were blasting "Proud to be an American" on repeat.

On the middle of the half mile route, they stopped and we all stood for the National Anthem. Owain ran circles around my legs, holding my waist for balance. The guard and members stood stoic and still. The anthem ended and they continued marching down the street: lock jawed, eyes ahead, backs straight.

"I'm tired. Can we go home?" The parade had just started, but it was Owain's naptime. You never deny the rare moment Owain wants to go to sleep. As we walked to the car, the announcer talked about a local woman sitting in the back of a convertible on the parade route who lost her son in the war.

We headed out and came right into the army marching on the side streets past the route. They were still blasting Lee Greenwood and locked at marching attention, but nobody was watching but Owain and I.

A large hole fell between the marchers and an army hummer, and I pulled in to follow the truck blasting "Proud to be an American."

A block later and they still maintained formation, but then the people in the stereo truck threw loads of candy at five kids hanging by their four-wheelers. The kids screamed and scrambled to grab up their loot.

The marchers reached their army vehicle, broke formation and relaxed. At that instant the stereo truck sped up to be parallel to the guard marchers and pelleted them with candy. The guard marchers scooped the candy off the ground, laughing, and threw it back at the truck and each other. Ten seconds later they were in their vehicle, and we were all off to our preferred homes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Could someone just do us a favor and bring us one that works?


Either the stork's GPS is on the blink or this baby did NOT get the memo. I'm sorry, but babies in this house are supposed to have hard core opinions they like to share loudly at all hours of the day and night. I'm pretty sure this one may be broken, actually. Therefore, I feel it is my duty to let you know that we're sending Phelan back to the factory for reconditioning. Not only does he burn my retinas with his blinding cuteness (though I suppose you do get points for use of irony when you advertise Akron on your hat like that, Smug Little Person), he spends most of the day sleeping (boo-ring) and then has the audacity to smile ridiculously the rest of the time like Buddy from the movie ELF. I'm definitely giving this baby an "N" for Needs Improvement. Some high-maintenance type effort every once in a while would be nice, little monkey.

Love, Auntie.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009