Friday, October 29, 2010

New Farm Names

Trying to come up with a name for the imaginary farm that I aim to bring to reality in the next two years.

So far, we've got these as the best candidates:

Sally's Fields

From the Ground Up

Double S Farms

Serenity Valley Farms


got an opinion?

Or a new idea?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Photos

I was so excited to be able to come here and say... I finally dumped my camera photos! And I finally organized all of them on Photobucket so they're easier to find! And then I signed in, and realized that every photo I'd posted here from there is now a dead link... because I moved them all around. To make them easier to find.


but... hey.

I downloaded all my photos from 2010! Who wants to live in the past, anyway??

A few Highlights:

The first day of school. 4th grade, kindergarten, and Rainbow room.

There was a mole in my Garden. A MOLE!! He screamed at me when I dug him up. He was relocated.

There was also a bunny in my compost pile. Several, actually. I couldn't bring myself to relocate them.

The Cereus Bloomed TWICE this year! Twice the fun, too. I love Blooming Parties.

And this is my friend, the Frog. We met on a camping trip in July. He hitched a ride back to the lake, escorted by me and five or six excited kids.

It's been a heckuva year so far, in many different ways. I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life... if you're one of them, which you probably are if you're here in the first place, ... THANK YOU. You mean more to me than you can know. And this year has shown me just how wonderful you are, and how important you are.

Monday, September 13, 2010

It is still a beautiful world...

-- written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s --
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sheep says Baaa, and other photos.

I love it when the kids get a hold of my camera. Their perspective is so much fun.

(sheep says baaaaa.)

We had our friends the Alts over for a campfire, and fun was had by all. (I love my backyard.)

I made sure my broccoli couldn't escape.

Then this horror occurred:


So immediately, I erected this:

I like to call it "Mama Sal's Home For Wayward Flora." It's a halfway house for recovering bunny fodder. (I'll have a story about bunnies coming soon. Pictures, and everything.)

The Sweet William Bloomed EVERYWHERE.

And one Sunday, we took a trip to the Children's Museum in Bloomington. There was a little something for everyone, and we had a blast.
Willow got to paint on the wall as much as she wanted:

Gideon got to play with one seriously awesome train set:

And Glen was kept occupied by a whole wall full of bins of legos of all varieties.

*PHEW!!* It's going to be a busy summer. Bear Hunt has to remind us how important it is to take naps.

(There's all kinds of new photos at my photobucket site: )

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


First things first, updates, and then a story about my unparalleled sophistication.

Everybody got new swim stuff for birthdays from Andy and Leanne. They are REALLY HAPPY about it. They got to wear it all to swim lessons on Thursday.

I got to experience my very first for real mood swing of puberty on Monday night. In retrospect, I should have seen it coming.... Glen took this photo of himself a few days before:

Bear Hunt stepped in and rescued me one day when the boys were really tired and cranky. He just wrestled them to the bed and put a sleep spell on them.

And ... now.... telling on myself.
I was so proud to be wearing the earrings my sister, Sarah, had made for me last Christmas. I love them, and have worn them all year, but one morning I got inspired to show her how much her gift was appreciated. I sent her this picture:

...with a note that said, "recognize those lovely earrings?"

I got a phone call about two hours later.

She says to me...

"I've never made earrings."

"I made you wine charms."


I wondered why none of them matched.

Monday, May 10, 2010, you done me wrong

Today, a garden update.

Sometime in Mid-April, about 15 days before our last "normal" frost date, I looked up the 10-day forecast on They assured me that for the next 10 days, there would be no threat of frost.

"Well, hot diggity!" I thought. "Then there's only 5 more days until the last risk of frost has passed! There's NO WAY it'll frost again. Let's get those babies in the GROUND!!"

Having a long history of planting the garden in mid-June (due to work constraints), I was over the moon with excitement.

I filled the garden. Tomatoes, peppers, four kinds of beans, cucumbers, tomatillos, spinach, swiss chard, kale, carrots, beets, turnips, garlic, onions.... Now, of course, I still have a bunch to plant, but I filled up the available space. (Now I'm working on finding other space to plant. I could fill 10 acres without batting an eye. I love this.)

Then, this past Friday, I hear the unthinkable.

Frost Warning.

oh, poop.

I had a gig until after dark.

So my blessed, wonderful, insanely understanding parents drove out to the chateau with me in the dark, carrying flashlights, headlamps, and a laundry basket full of ittybitty "blankets".

And we snuggled everyone in for the night.

The next day, I went out to wake everyone up, and make sure we all made it through the night.

(This is the part of the garden with the frost-sensitive transplants.) (Apparently, I'm growing kleenexes.)

Everyone made it through, although some leaves still got a little wimpy -- they got a little too cold. But the majority of each plant made it. *Phew!*

Then on Mother's Day, I didn't have the kids (as it was Larry's weekend), so I boogied out of church right after choir and decided to get my sermon in the garden. :) I put snap peas in some lonesome places, and thinned the turnips, and started what will become a wonderful fence row of sunflowers.

I labeled the row with flags because I'm not the one who mows out there, so you can see where they'll spring up. I've gotten in two kinds so far, both tall, big, and yellow. I'll also be putting in some stunning red ones that grow on purple stems, and then a whole gaggle of them that are designed for kids -- they stop growing at 3 feet, so the heads are right at kid height.

And here, I have big plans for flowers:

By July, there should be a big bunch of old-fashioned farmyard flowers here -- hollyhocks, daisies, zinnias, asters.... Oh, it'll be pretty.

So feel free to come play farmer with my any weekend this summer! It's a lot of fun. And kids can just run free.... and they get so, so, so tired.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stealth cat

Stealth cat hides from the bothersome sunlight. (This is Angel.)
Sad news -- Stacy-kitty passed away last Thursday. She had developed an oral cancer, and faded over a period of four or five weeks. I waited as long as I could, but it was time to let her go. I held her and sang to her and snuggled her and told her how lucky I was to know her, and I am utterly certain that she was happy when she went, and that going was a mercy.
Angel, who forever denied loving Stacy, and always acted so aloof.... really seems to miss her. She now insists that I spend at least 20 minutes loving on her before bed, and will chase down children to get them to pet her. She pinned Willow in her bed the other day (Angel is no small cat) and insisted that she pay undivided attention to her. She even (**GASP**) SHARES PERSONAL SPACE WITH THE DOG NOW.
The children told me we need a new cat.
I told them no.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I've had a little pipedream about small-farm life for years now. Well, really, as long as I can remember, it's been there. (Along with a few friends, like the "grade school teacher" dream, the "famous fiction writer" dream, and the "entrepreneur" dream.)

This dream has crept its way into my life over the years. The gardens get bigger and bigger. The dreams get bigger with them. The Christmas presents that come in Mason Jars get more and more plentiful.

This year, just to indulge my own pipe dream, I'm taking this class:

(and likely, I'll take the whole series of courses.)

I can't wait! It's a really neat program, for people like me... big dreams, a (very small) pocketful of knowledge, a love of dirt, a passion for plants, and a remarkable ability to bite off more than I can chew...

I'm pretty excited.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Made me laugh...

I'm still laughing about this.

If you have time, go see this:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Forts and Go Karts and Gardens, Oh My!

We've been very, very busy lately.

I've painted my bedroom, and the boys' bedroom, and done a lot of regular spring cleaning. We're having a neighborhood garage sale on Saturday, and whatever is left is going straight to goodwill! It'll be freeing to park in the garage again.

While I was doing all this painting and sorting, the kids were home for their spring break, as well.... which was just a BLAST. I really got to enjoy them up close and personal all week, and I also got to watch them just play, unstructured, in the backyard. There was a major digging operation that ended in a mud fight and what looks like a giant dinosaur footprint in the yard.

They also had fort time:

And one day, it rained, so Gideon dressed for all possibilities:

We started some sunflowers in little pots for them to watch:

There's a cute story to those -- We planted three cups, one for each child. Gideon really, really wanted his to sprout RIGHT NOW, and so he would "check on them" a few times a day. Which sometimes involved shaking them, and other times poking.

His, sadly, didn't sprout. But God Bless my dad, who had a whole pot of sunflowers sprouting in his yard -- I took three of those sprouts and transplanted them quickly into Gideon's cup. I showed them to him the next day, and he was SO EXCITED. He ran to tell Glen and Willow -- "Gwen!! (Ls still come out as "w") Wiwwow! Mine GWOWED!! It GWOWED!".

Some days, I get to win. :)

Then I spent some stretches of time out at the Chateau getting everything ready for the year. My dad came and ran the tiller for me -- It was enlightening watching him run it. I learned all the tricks that I was missing the last few times I ran it. Next time will be much easier! I got in beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, and separated garlic and onions, in addition to the other soil preparations. The whole time, the kids just played and played.

Glen got to "invent" with anything he could find laying around, and he made a go-kart!

It was pretty awesome.

All in all, it's been a great, rewarding, and productive few weeks. I think it's going to be a good year.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Some Days....

Today, I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom, water running, and I went to button the last button on my pants.

And the button popped right off.

And fell into the running water.

And went down the drain before I could catch it.

Some days, I swear. Like a sailor.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eso Si Que Es.

I haven't updated in a while. Wow, that's a shocker, right? :)

Some of that is just because we're busy, but some of that stems from some troubles we've been having. But I hope that to some extent posting about it might help to quell the silly little rumor mill.

Larry and I have separated.

I'm not going to post the reasons why. Those are between Larry and I, and frankly not public business.

We are working on things. We are trying our hardest. The children are of the utmost importance, and are being very well cared for and loved, by both of us, and by both our entire families.

I would appreciate it deeply if other people didn't attempt to assign blame. If we aren't doing it, then certainly no one else has any business doing it, either. Such situations are never entirely the fault of one or the other person. There's plenty of blame to go around, but who is so pure as to assign that blame and spread awful gossip about it?

It has bothered me how much other people whisper. In response to a particularly hurtful and malicious rumor, there has been no infidelity. As if that was anyone's business anyway.

If you are concerned, and want to help, then the best thing you can do is just keep us in your thoughts, or your prayers if you are inclined to praying. Wish us both patience and understanding.

But don't spend even one moment blaming him, or blaming me. That kind of talk is pointless, and will hurt the children, one way or another.