Snippets of July

July 29, 2015

Blackberry pie oh me oh my, and what Detroit Lake (aka Detroit Pond) looks like during a crazy drought.

July is on its way out, and I can't say I'm sad. We had a short burst of cooler weather over the weekend, and it has me aching for fall. Is it fall yet? Is it fall yet?

When I was a kid, this was the time of year that I'd start panicking about the end of summer. It's not that I didn't like school, but rather, I'm not super fond of transitions. It was hard to wrap my mind around volleyball practice, and homework, and waking up early every morning when it was still so beautiful outside.

Nowadays, I get nostalgic about the end of summer. Sometimes I buy myself school knitting supplies or start a new big project. This year, I'd simply like to finish one of the many projects I started back when the babe was still kickin' around in the womb. But, for now, I'm trying my best not to wish these ridiculously hot, lazy days away as soon as possible.

Baby Knits

July 21, 2015

I thought about the fact that she was due in spring, and would be spending her first several months of life in the hot summer heat, but I still wanted to make her a few things, and since my sewing skills have yet to be developed, I took to the knitting needles. Fortunately, most of the garments I've made for her are too big, so they aren't necessarily wasted. If she doesn't grow too fast, she might be able to wear them this upcoming fall and winter. Here are a few of the knits I made for her and how they're working for us so far:


I made several of these soakers, but never used them in the manner they were intended because we didn't start cloth diapering until she was 12 weeks old. I used them more as pants, and as an extra layer of protection over her disposable diapers in the early months. The newborn size doesn't fit very well over the cloth diapers we use on her now, so they're destined for early retirement in the storage bins. I may still make a few more in a larger size because I think they're really cute, but I wish I had only made one or two rather than five. It's a great way to use up leftover wool, though!


I tend to be practical with her clothing, choosing colors and patterns that are unisex so they can be used for future kids, but I had to make a pretty dress just for her. It's still way too big (though it doesn't look bad in the photo), but hopefully it will fit well this fall.


I love this hat. It was really simple to make, and a great pattern for using up leftovers, but this kid hates hats. You can actually see her face turning red in the photo because she's getting upset.


This will make a really great piece in winter if: A. We actually get a respectably cold winter this year, and B. The arms aren't too long.

Gardening and Blogging

July 18, 2015


I talk about my garden often here, and the weather too. The two go hand-in-hand, I think, because the more time I spend in my garden, the more I consequently notice the extremes in temperature, the rainy days, the untimely seasonal shifts and the nightly lows. I can recall for you what I remember of the weather back in 2009, the first year Matt and I took shovel to soil and grew our first garden. That summer, we had at least two major thunderstorms. One of which was particularly memorable because it came out of nowhere. The sky had been clear blue, not a cloud in sight, and we had been out planting our somewhat sad, leggy heirloom tomatoes seedlings.

Images taken back in 2009.
Suddenly our neighbor appeared out of nowhere to warn us of a bad storm coming our way. I can recall that I looked up at the sky, and thought, Huh? Is this a joke? There was nothing but blue sky and bright sunshine above us. I had to really squint my eyes to make out the ominous clouds coming towards us in the distance, but sure enough, shortly after my neighbor left, I began to feel the breeze pick up speed and the air cool rapidly around me.

It took a moment to buy into the reality of the situation, but we eventually, and somewhat reluctantly, began collecting our tools. We actually tried to cover our tomato seedlings with little plastic cups, which led to a mad scramble to retrieve said cups once the wind picked up. We barely made it to shelter before the black clouds had completely taken over the sky. I remember parking my lawn chair down next to Matt's in the doorway of the garage with just my feet dangling out in the rain, beer in hand, soaking up nature's performance with the bending, dancing trees, the pouring rain and the booming thunder.

The Plants Survived the Rains
Soggy tomato plants from 2010.
I can tell you in 2010 it rained all June, and by the time our tomatoes finally ripened in September, they were already showing signs of blight. I can tell you that the year after, 2011, was a good tomato year. It was a good year for container gardening in general, and I know this because I remember teaching myself to knit every day on the back patio amongst my growing vegetables and flower pots during the months and weeks before our wedding day, which, since we’re on the subject, was a beautiful 90 degrees – one of the warmer late summer days of the year.


This year will stick out, too. The year Ella was born. The year we had no winter, no rain. Part of me remembers some of these details about the weather simply because they were memorable. But I know myself. I know I have a terrible memory, and that the real reason the details remain sharp is because I garden, and because I write about and photograph my endeavors with the soil. It seems like such a simple thing, really, but the memories and associations that come from planting and harvesting and eating garden food are important to me. They remind me why blogging matters so much to me, and why I want to make more of an effort to keep my presence here alive.

I know some of you have been wondering and asking if I'm still around because I haven't posted as much in the past year or so. The answer is yes - this little space of mine is too important to abandon. For those of you that still read, thanks for stickin' around. I might not be as frequent here as I once was, but I'll try to do better. And for those of you who want more frequent updates, I'm pretty active on Instagram these days, so please come say hi.

From Strawberries to Cherry Tomatoes

July 14, 2015

After weeks and weeks of brutally hot summer heat, we're finally getting a much needed break. It actually rained two night's ago, which shouldn't be a thing here in Oregon, but this year, it totally is.

The change in weather and the early ripening tomatoes have me dreaming of fall. Are we there yet? But there's still so much summer to be had. So much more harvesting, pickling and playing in the sun. I'm trying not to wish it all away so quickly, but I'm so over this heat.

How's the weather in your neck of the woods? Are you seeing ripe tomatoes yet?

In the Garden

May 6, 2015


Aside from pulling weeds and planting a few flowers, we haven't done much gardening this year, but back in the first week of April, just before the baby came, we decided to take a trip to the garden center to see if they had any tomatoes. It was too early in the season, but the weather around here has been so warm that we thought it was worth the risk, so we brought a few varieties home and planted them deep in our garden boxes out front where the sun shines the brightest.

It's been a month now, and despite the close calls (a few nights where the lows dropped into the 30's), our tomato plants are growing well. I'm even seeing some blossoms! We might get an early tomato harvest this year after all.

We've also got some edibles that are returning from last season: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and herbs. I may even get some beans and cukes and a few other things planted this weekend since it's supposed to be warm.

What's going on in your garden?

welcome home little one

May 1, 2015

Ella and DadElla and Ma

It's true what they say, there really is no amount of research you can do to fully prepare yourself for first-time parenthood. Not in our case, anyway, which is to say that we have very few people in our lives who have had (or are planning to have) children. We're so new to this baby thing that I found myself shyly asking one of the nurses at the hospital, "Can you teach me how to hold a baby?"

The nurses taught us all sorts of new tricks, like how to swaddle, change diapers, breastfeed, soothe... I don't love the hospital birthing experience, but the nurses do help to fill a void that, in my case, is lacking in women who feel comfortable passing down their knowledge of the nitty gritty baby-raising details. There is so much about pregnancy and childbirth that I didn't know about until I was months and weeks away from the actual event. It's almost like entering a secret club, and I'm shocked that there's so much we don't openly discuss about it.


Our birth plan didn't quite pan out the way we had hoped it would. Nature has a way of defying expectations, and, control-freak that I am, I had to learn to scrap my grand plans and take a more moment-by-moment approach. It was rough at first. I shy away from dealing with hardship in such a public way, but there is nothing private about giving birth. I had to shut down my Facebook timeline for a couple days and ignore my phone to stay sane, but in the end, I'm grateful to all our friends and family members who were there to support us.

And, ultimately, none of it really matters. She's here and she's perfect. I understand what it means when parents use the word "perfect" in reference to their babies now. You go through nine months of carrying for a developing human being, which is short enough of a timeline that you never quite feel 100% prepared, yet just long enough that you drive yourself insane with worry over all the things that could go wrong. And then at the end of those nine months, the baby arrives, everything intact, beautiful, a head full of hair (thus the heartburn), and hot damn if she isn't whole and perfect with her blue eyes and her ten little fingers and toes.


When you're in the hospital, everything is a blur, but I knew we were going to be fine the minute we finally pulled up in our own driveway as a family of three. The sun was behind the clouds, but there was a whole new batch of spring flowers that had bloomed in the five days we were gone, and they were beautiful. It was a stop-and-smell-the-roses moment. Literally.


As for the fur-babies, they've taken to baby Ella just fine. Little Wren was a bit put off to the crying for the first week or so, sensitive creature that she is, but she isn't much affected anymore. As for the fluffy feline, he's taken on his post as guard kitty.

And for the details: Baby Ella, born April 10th, 7lbs, 3 oz, 19 3/4 inches long. She's officially three weeks old today.