Saturday, November 18, 2017

Leaves




Has anyone else noticed how much the leaf fall has increased in the past week? Around here anyway it almost seems as if the trees are in a race with each other, and the leaves are just raining down constantly. It's pure fall magic.

This change in the landscape hasn't escaped my Littles. We took an afternoon walk in our woods today, and as we walked they went on and on about how sad it was that they could only enjoy the leaves while they were outside (don't be too jealous of this picturesque scene, this observation was accompanied by just as many complaints about how cold they were getting). A project started to form in my mind- What if we figured out a way to bring some of the leaves inside?

Step one: gather supple, brightly-colored leaves.





Step two: think up things we're thankful for and write them on the best and brightest of them.



Step three: tie leaves onto branches with embroidery floss and whisper prayers to the fall foliage gods that no one will poke their eyes out on your new gratitude-oriented centerpiece.



When we decided our sticks were perfectly adorned (it happened right about the time thoughts of gratitude turned toward toilets, burps, etc), we noticed Daddy was working on a project of his own, much to the kids' delight...

...so we had to rush right back outside!



The last swipe of the rake was completed as the sun went down, and the kiddos were finally given the countdown to leap into their best and biggest pile of leaves to date!









I'm sure the bathtub will be full of little crunched up pieces of leaves and twigs and such, but I'm also sure that won't be what they'll remember about today. No one loves "leaf season" like these two!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Crackin'

My nutcracker finally came in (a week later than promised, ugh), and today after school- to celebrate the beginning of Thanksgiving break- we tried it out on those pecans we collected the other day...





Grammy and Gramps loaned us a spare for backup, which came in handy when waiting one's turn became intolerable




We figured out Audrey is an expert nut meat picker, and she actually got one out whole- like, not two intact halves, but an entire pecan without the shell whole. She was amazing. Henry was good, too, but he ate everything he shelled, so yeah. 

Despite all the "taste testing" and explosive shelling, we still managed to get almost a pound shelled before we had to call it quits to start making dinner (not that anyone was very hungry at that point). 


I'm super excited about how well this new nutcracker has worked, how easy it was for both kiddos to use, and what we're going to make out of all our freshly shelled pecans!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

What's Going On


A few things at the end of this grey day... first, is anyone else being plagued by ladybugs? I can't get over how many are everywhere around our place right now... inside and out. This pic is from just inside the garage, but the exterior of the house is positively crawling with them, they're all over our window screens, they're collecting in the interior corners of all the doors and window sills... you get the idea. There's a lot. Do ladybugs migrate?


Second, my poor little guy got his first case of lice this week, and thankfully was OK with us starting our attack on them by cutting his hair way short... but he's pretty bummed about his super-close cut so family, don't make too big a deal about it when you see him on Thursday! (He's not crying in this photo, by the way, he's wiping water off his face from us freshly washing his stubble.)



Also, can I just gush over the leaves around these parts for a second? We're mostly surrounded by post oaks, so the dominant fall color for us is normally bronze-ish brown. However this year our black walnuts, sumac and crepe myrtles have really put on a show! It's been amazing watching everything slowly change... even 24 hours later that black walnut is almost half yellowish orange now! Like what happens during a real autumn!



Next, I'd like to give a shout-out to my girls, five of which have really rallied despite the fowl pox that's hanging on out there. Five eggs per day, aliment, declining daylight and cooler temps be damned! I'm not sure which five are the layers, but they're making me a happy gal (yes, I realize in this photo I'm only holding four eggs... the fifth is a late layer and I don't collect it until bedtime).


Lastly, I believe it's noteworthy to mention that my girl recently went through a spell of wanting to quit her piano lessons, but she persisted and is back on the ball again! I was a worried Mama for a while there, thinking she was actually going to throw in the towel, but we've figured it all out and her love of the instrument has rekindled. I'm so glad and soooooooooooooo proud. I really hope she sticks with it, I think this could really be one of her Things.

And now you're all caught up with what's going on over here.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Foggy Weekending









I woke up this morning in the dark, made my coffee, and realized as the sun started coming up that there was something special happening out there. So I grabbed my camera and slipped on my old garden shoes, and in my pjs I sloshed through dewy grass and foggy silence to try and capture a little bit of this magical start to the weekend.

May we all find something magical to savor this weekend, and notice. Happy weekending!

Friday, November 10, 2017

They're Baaaaaaaaaack...




Well, not quite a year after we scared away that big ol' roaming family of feral hogs, they're back. The hubs was noticing that telltale rogue rototiller look to our woods again, and the mud around the pond was trying to tell us the same thing- that not just a couple, not just the little ones, but the whole friggin' gang is back again (in addition to quite a few raccoons, too, apparently). And in case we had any doubt, upon pulling in the driveway after dark the other night, my car's headlights startled two huge hogs rooting around in the front yard, and I got a close-up doubt-free confirmation that we're on their nightly rotation again.

I'm sure part of their return can be blamed on the fact that this fall we've had a crazy-ton of acorns (which is a whole lot more than a regular ton). It must have been a good year for our post oaks, but that's not very good news for us.

I've reached back out to the trapper that helped us the first time, and I'm crossing my fingers that he feels up for another round with these unwanted visitors. These things are an invasive ecological nightmare, they reproduce like rabbits, and they have no qualms about tearing up whatever catches their fancy or gets in their way.

Here's hoping we can find some help (soon!) to remind them that they're not welcome here!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Driving for Milk

It's been a few years since we converted to raw milk, and we're still just as committed now as we were then. I've had a few people ask how it's been going since our initial plunge- if we're still going to the trouble of finding and buying raw milk, if the cost is worth it, if it's made us sick "yet."

So here's the story: we've had no illness from drinking/using raw milk, the cost (for us anyway, including gas to and from the dairy) is about the same as buying 1/2 gallons of organic grass-fed milk at the store, and honestly I haven't experienced regrets of any kind... well, except that sometimes it gets to be a drag that the nearest raw dairy is 45 minutes away. But so far, that's it... and honestly, even though it takes a little mental pep-talk to get me out the door when we're due for a few gallons, the drive really isn't that bad...




...and the reward is still totally worth it.



Interested in finding raw dairy resources in your area? Try looking here: