Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eight years and still lovin' it!

Today is our 8-year anniversary. I can hardly believe how fast 8 years went! And yet we're even more crazy, loopy, over-the-moon in love than ever before!! So here's to the best 8 years of my life! I love you Nathan!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Write your Own Caption

I took this photo last week I think. But I can't remember why on earth she was making this face. Any suggestions???

Friday, July 10, 2009


Just a random bug I found on my door yesterday. I thought he was kinda pretty.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A season for everything!

I can hardly believe it's that time of year again. In a strange way, it hardly seems like we've been here a year already. But that was how our time here began ... last summer ... berry picking and jelly making.
Let me explain why I love doing this so much.
My Great Uncle Carl owns a couple of acres here in town. The farm has everything you can imagine on it. Raspberries (red and black ... or blackcaps as they're called here) gooseberries, apples, pears, nectarines, peaches, currants, sweet and sour cherries, blueberries, several kinds of grapes, not to mention all the veggies ... corn, tomatoes, squash, pickles, zukes, peppers and on and on and on. All of this is nicely crammed onto about ... oh, I'd say 8 acres of property. It's almost a centennial farm, since it's the same property my great-grandfather built on way back in about 1915 (ish).

I LOVE going there and roaming around, letting the kids wander through the berry patches and eating whatever is in season. You can happily graze your way across the property for hours. We help out around the farm on the odd weekend or so every now and then and Carl, bless him, is kind enough to reciprocate by giving me all the produce we can eat, for canning or just munching on around the house.

But the main reason I love going to the farm, is because I have so many memories there. Memories of childhood summers and sunny hot days with the sandy soil under your bare feet and lots of family members out picking berries and chatting and laughing.
Now it's just Carl. And when I go out to gather berries, it's only myself that I hear humming.

And then the conversation begins. Most of it is in my head, but sometimes I mutter out loud a little ... a one-sided conversation with my grandma -- The neatest, most dearest lady you'd ever want to meet... a strong Christian and just a downright NICE person. (you don't meet many of those these days). I chat with her in my head, telling her how things are going and filling her in on my life. She died 10 years ago now, but being out there always brings her right back next to me in such a strong way, it's almost something tangible. I close my eyes and can hear her laugh again, the way she cleared her throat, the way her voice sounded or how her eyes crinkled or how she walked. She's right there.

I find myself thinking of her as I make jelly too. She canned like crazy, and was great at it. I follow her handwritten directions, with my own notes added in right next to hers, and as I putz and futz and mess up occasionally, I have to grin as I think I'm getting, maybe, a little bit better at it each year. But mostly, I just use the time to think about things and people that have gone before me -- things that made a lot of sense, and people that should not have left yet, and THAT'S why I do this. Oh yeah ... and the jam tastes pretty darn close to heaven too!

A blurry shot of all my fruit and my directions, as I get ready to start.

The black raspberries take a bath.

So do the sour cherries!

Rhy and Ash wanted DESPERATELY to help out. So they stood on a chair and took turns tossing cherries into the water bath while I pitted them. Rhylah was carefully watching me pit the cherries. At one point, I turned, and she had a cherry in one hand and the pit in the other. She had done it perfectly! I don't think she even knew it!

Here I am, stirring the pot! I had to reboil about seven or eight jars that did not set right. But they did fine on the second time through.

Not really related, but I had so many cherries I decided to make a pie too. Here it is, (without its top on) in the midst of the canning chaos. It actually came out really yummy!!

All my happy jars! I love hearing the random pops as the lids suck in from the pressure! That's such a happy sound in the hours while they cool off!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

New Rope Swing

Nate put up a tree swing in our backyard yesterday. As you can see, the boys had a blast with it! Happy Fourth of July everyone!