Monday, June 22, 2009

Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?

Because I have time to post a few snaps from the last couple of days, but the accompanying narrative just might have to wait. Here are our children in their finest form - sleepy, snuggly, smiley, silly, sprinkler-lovin' boys.

Sleepy Phelan

Day 1

I wish I could take credit for eliciting this face, but alas, it's a happy sleep smile. Lucky for us, we are blessed with a lot of these little nap-time grins.




Freshly mown lawn + sprinkler + slip-n-slide = grass-dipped kids

Friday, June 19, 2009


Perhaps Phelan's time in utero helped to prepare him for the screaming children who reside in this house, because so far it doesn't seem to phase him one iota.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gratuitous Proud Auntie Shot

I couldn't help myself.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Welcome to the world Baby Phelan

We would like to joyfully announce the arrival of the newest and wrinkliest farmer: 8 pound, 11 ounce BOY, healthy and as of yet nameless, born today at 3 p.m. Mama, Papa and wee baby are doing fine.

UPDATE! Name: Phelan Cedar Newhouse

Though Ellis will be calling him Honey Pot.

Friday, June 12, 2009

No. Bad.

These fuzzy shots were all I could get, because Pure Evil is difficult to capture on film. This is our friendly neighborhood woodchuck. He is really in to a few things - special things like munching the strawberries just as they're turning red, digging up the pumpkin seedlings and laying waste to my bittersweet and honeysuckle vines. And did I mention he's also doing some interior decorating? Yes, he's been caught dragging things like gloves, foil, bubble wrap and tarps through the yard and stuffing them into his dark lair, fashioning some sort of perverse nouveau-garbage feng shui down there, I'm sure.

But I hate him the most because every time I get mad enough to pull out a gun (translation: pay the neighbor to take him away in a cage) when he comes snuffling around, he does something ridiculous like hug a tree or lick himself, and I get all mesmerized by the cuteness and want to bring him inside and make him tea and cucumber sandwiches and sew him a little coat like he's a Beatrix Potter character.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Friday, June 05, 2009

Yesterday's "Ride"

This fine chunk of horseflesh is Gideon, aka Fabio. If I spend too much time talking about how hard this horse is to ride, it will sound like I'm complaining, and that's just small of me considering how lucky I am to have horses at all, but lord this horse is hard to ride. And not because he's naughty. He's about the sweetest animal you're ever going to come across - just look at the kindness in that eye alone. He's a pleaser. But actually sitting him - ay, there's the rub. It's kind of like riding an upholstered, overstuffed barrel - one that galumphs along like a 16 hand dump truck with hooves. And feelings.

So yesterday was a beauty and I had a short time before dinner and thought it might be fun to take a brief tour of the property from the back of a horse, which I am often wont to do. And I was in a hurry. And I was feeling lazy. So I ran down there, snatched the bridle, and set off without changing into my proper riding attire. Long pants and boots with heels people! Always long pants and boots with heels!

It started out fine, though Gideon threw a little buck in when we cantered up the hill and down the field toward the neighbor's deer plot, so I knew he was feeling good. Have I mentioned that I ride this horse bareback? I'm still looking for a draft saddle that fits him. At any rate, once we hit the deer plot, which is of course the farthest point from the farm, Gideon spotted some - wait for it - deer. Now deer around these parts aren't exactly exotics. I mean, the neighbors set out food for them in this specific spot. It wasn't like we were accosted by panthers or minotaurs. But Gideon still spooked, and he spooked in exactly the same way he does everything else: slowly and methodically. At which time I fell off. Slowly and methodically. And before I knew it I was sitting there blinking in the weeds with a hunk of curly flaxen mane clenched in my fist while Gideon nonchalantly grazed, not acting the least bit embarrassed by wanting to run away from other prey animals.

I've always prided myself on being able to jump on to my horses from the ground, but until now, my horses have also always been in the 15 hand range, and built like normal horses, not sofas. So with no stumps around, I wasn't getting on this one any time soon. So, it became apparent that I was going back to the farm unhorsed, or as my sister would say, walking my dinosaur.

And that was when my darling Belgian, because he has hooves the size of dinner plates, stepped on the back of my heel and snapped my croc right in half - YES I WAS WEARING CROCS. AND CAPRI YOGA PANTS. NOW YOU KNOW MY SHAME. So there I was, stranded, half-shoeless. With my dinosaur. The neighbors do mow the edge of the field, which is very nice of them, because the rest of it is filled with nettles and sharp, hard prickly things, and I was getting by okay hobbling along this lawn-like swath until we interrupted a skunk - yes, a skunk - snuffling along the path. You would think a skunk wouldn't care one way or another whether or not he was on a designated path or wild CRP land, but what do I know about skunks? And let me tell you I wasn't getting into any kind of showdown with this one. Trying to out-wait a skunk for mowed-path rights is kind of like having a Cold War with Russia; the actual lack of physical engagement doesn't lessen the anxiety any.

Needless to say we lost that particular game of chicken, and Gideon and I backed away slowly from Pepe LePew and trudged home through the weeds, thereby leaving my calves and ankles a mess of scrapes, scratches and hopefully not covered in poison oak.

When I told my house mates this sorry tale last night, I asked for a moral to the story. To me it seemed obvious (all caps and italicized up there in case it's not clear) but see, that's why it's always good to ask, because my sister came up with one just as good: always carry a tiny ladder with you wherever you go.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The longest and shortest weeks of my life...

Sometime between today and three weeks from today, we will go from farm party of 6 to party of 7. And as I lay in bed last night, listening first to Owain's midnight wake up call, then Ellis's 3:30 a.m. pop up, I started to feel like it was all just well-timed practice for the quickly approaching newborn baby sleep chaos. I feel like we're a bunch of pampered pansies, turning on the nightly chorus of noise machines, but I also can't imagine how the previous families of 5 and 6 kids sharing beds here in our little upstairs bedrooms ever got a good night's sleep!

So, the car seat is in the car, the baby clothes are washed and folded, the burp cloths lined up on the dresser, the hospital bag nearly packed...I look at these tiny little items all ready for the baby and hope and pray that they don't sit idle for too much longer. I think the eight days I waited for Ellis to come after his due date were some of the most character-building, self-enlightening (frustrating, hot, sweaty, swollen) days of my life. I also got a lot done around the house since I couldn't bring myself to drag my giant belly onto the train to work. This time around, I know I always have menial farm tasks to keep me busy. So, as often as possible, I strap on the knee pads and gloves and plunk down in the garden to weed, to take my mind off the waiting, to feel like a contributor, to get the satisfaction of watching that lamb's quarter and quack grass come out of the soil, roots and all.

I have been blessed with amazing and healthy pregnancies--the joy and satisfaction of feeling my body do just what it was created to do is so profound and beautiful. The second time around especially has not been without discomfort, ups and downs, of course. But I FEEL good and fortunate, proud and thrilled. I love the gentle assurance I have knowing that I've birthed a baby before and I can do it again. I've survived sleepless, stressful child-rearing, and I can handle more. I look at Ellis and Owain at almost 3 and 4 years old and I am already panicking that this little one will grow up too fast as well. Little sister or brother? one day or one week or three's time to place your bets!

Here's a little reminder of what we have to look forward to... I can hardly wait.

Ellis June 2006