Tuesday, July 29, 2014

sunlight on the blue water


These blue water photos are a bit misleading. River water is mostly brown expect for late summer when there is green muck. The water gets real mucky where there is less movement in the water so we had to cruise around for a while to find a swifter current in order to swim in a place that was less mucky. There is 6 miles between dams on the river where we swim so there was plenty of space to move around.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

blue water


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Sunday, July 27, 2014

attitude of gratitude: abundance


If June is all about the glory of summer, I think July is all about abundance. Lots of sunshine, water, berries, lazy afternoons, late evening light, flowers, butterflies, dragonflies and boating. I feel so much gratitude for all of this in my life, right now, this summer.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
― Epicurus
For me the perfect summer day is spent out on our old boat fishing, swimming and cruising the river. Dave caught two fish! We swam all around the boat despite the green river muck. We washed up with our biodegradable soap and escaped the searing heat of July. By the end of the day we were all tired but resisting sleep.

By ten at night we were driven indoors by a lightening storm. And while there was a little bit of rain, the fury of the storm stayed just south of us, just enough south for us to enjoy the lightening-filled sky. A mere 45 minutes later, the storm had passed to the east and what followed was dazzling. There was the clear edge of the lightening storm lighting up the darkness of the night and on the west side, the sky was totally clear and brilliant with the milky way and bright constellations. At one point, the rain was sprinkling down on one side of the trailer with no precipitation on the other end, a difference of over 30 feet - no kidding. It is a new moon so there shouldn't have been much light. Yet the lightening was so bright, its flashes lit up the mirror-like raindrops on the leaves of the tall trees. It was an amazing experience!

“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.”
― Khalil Gibran

I can't help but think that summer is coming to a close. Yet there is still plenty of time for popsicles! Here are some great ideas.

Soon the autumn months will be here (my favorite season!) and now is the time to start planning for the next woodland projects to be done while the air is cool. We are going to build a little fort for the Lotus Bud and D needs a shed. I dream about things like this.

I'm super excited to see Rodrigo y Gabriela! I just booked our sitter and am cajoling friends to join us. No takers yet. Want to meet us there?

Rarely do we travel far during the warmer months in the Midwest. Over Thanksgiving we always head to Moab, Utah. I'm already thinking about how to pack efficiently for our long roadtrip and this will likely be real helpful.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let's face it. There really is no way to avoid the disney princess phenomenon so I'm trying to embrace it, watching the movies with a critical eye, and pulling tidbits about character building from some of the movies. The movies that were made in this century are so much better than the ones I saw while growing up. And the internet seems to be full of fun parodies and re-imagining of the princesses. Here are few I found recently:
"Walk Disney" Character Survive in an Apocalyptic World. 
Disney Princesses Reimagined as Game of Thrones Characters.
Rejected Princesses.

Live like a princess in Horst's penthouse on the Mississippi River. It just went up for sale for a cool 8 million dollars.

So if you've ever looked through my 2014 Book list, you'll see a lot of urban fantasy there. Don't judge! I blame it on an old friend of mine who got me hooked. And thank goodness for that! I need this sort of mind candy, I think of it as part of my therapy (I totally used these books to overcome my internal dialogue about exercise). The new Kate Daniels book comes out this week (I thought about KD during my kick-boxing class) and so the next weekend is going to be filled with shapeshifters, a magic sword wielding ass-kicking heroine and non-sparkling vampires. Here's a little something to balance out all that ass-kickery:  Take a look at these adorable were-pups.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet" 
--Thich Nhat Hahn
Good advise for me right now: Worry about yourself!

A little more on the serious side: 11 Bold Steps Taken by Remarkable People.

Have I shared this one about foxes? A couple of weeks ago, I caught site of our own neighborhood fox.

I was reminded of this little toad all weekend long. There were so many toads. If I used the word "plague" it would only be a bit of exaggeration. But "plague" implies a problem or in this case, a nuisance and these little toads were anything but a nuisance. As I walked the little paths of our land, they scattered like the parting of a sea. A few jumped to the side of each footfall and not just one jump, but more like jump, leap, hop, jump, jump, jump. Their springy leaps made me giggle.

I'll keep that image close to me this week for as long as I can.

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miss potato head


Miss. Potato Head seems to be having a great day!

In the town near our woodland property there is a lovely little farmers market supplied by people in the local area including the Mennonite community. We try to go as often as we can despite the abundance of produce I get from our CSA. We used to have a neighbor (he has recently moved) near our trailer who was an organic farmer. He comes from an organic farming community and every Saturday we would see him and his mother at their market stand. Chatting with them gave us the "in" with the rest of the farmers at the market who were at first, a bit shy and uncertain about us city folk (I think).  Over the years, we've come to look forward to the morning visits and our conversations with the farmers get longer and longer.

This last Saturday I talked  with one about the peak freshness of hand-picked raspberries and with another, the benefit of refilling the pickle jar with fresh cucumbers to get longer use out of an excellent brine. An older farmer whose apples we always look forward to had a little photo of the cutest kittens I'd ever seen. He told me that he couldn't even give away these sweeties anymore. No one needs cats in their barns or fields much these days. Roundup herbicide kills everything in the field except the corn. So no use for cats in keeping the mice population in control. While we here in the city theorize about how to resist big agro-business, the farmers of Rusk county of are living the effects on a daily basis. I was humbled by the experience.

Yet another farmer from Maple Hill Farm has been sharing his experience of turning a hobby into a working farm complete with hours open to the public to frolic with the hens, the sheep, the pigs and the cows. We had an extended discussion about the hard boiled egg and we laughed with each other a bit with theories of why white eggs are easier to boil hard and peel perfectly (he suggested wretchedly old eggs and I put forth bio-engineering). We both agreed that even if farm fresh eggs are left in the refrigerator for a month, they are still damn hard to peel. Steaming, he says, is the solution. Peels perfect each and every time. I've bought beef, eggs and sheep milk soap from him and I hope to visit the farm soon.

We've been going to this farmers market for over ten years now. I try to buy something from each farmer I speak to and we end up leaving with a lot because the ones we know well always give us extra and sometimes, for free. In the beginning the experience wasn't as pleasant. No one was rude, no, not that. It's just that they weren't all that chatty. Now I could spend well over an hour in this tiny market with about a dozen farmers. And while I'm getting caught up on all the harvest news, my daughter is running here and there chased and chasing the local Mennonite kids who wear hand made dresses and have flopping braids and nifty caps.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

color combinations


Who would have thought that purple and yellow could go so well together? Not I and yet they do. Also, I can't help but think the purple center is a fractal but it's not. I just like that word fractal which of course, came into my vocabulary because of Frozen.

I had intended more for this post today but I got too busy and now we are just an hour from hitting the road. This is the best time of year to be out in the woods. The ticks are pretty much gone, the mosquitoes are lessened and there is always a mad rush of sound in the trees.

I will be counting my blessings by the firepit tonight because there are so many!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

for kids of all ages


Do you have a friend who is in the know of all the cool things to do around the city? I do and I'm so glad she and her daughter are in our lives! She suggested Grey Fox Pottery and while I knew I would like it I didn't anticipate loving the experience.

We had a mini heat wave here in Minnesota so this was the perfect indoor activity. Never mind that when we got there the A/C wasn't on because soon they turned it on and it became the sort of cool that I like - not frigid cold, just cool enough to take the edge off.

I'm so grateful to be in that phase of my life where I can wander the shelves of unfinished pottery and choose whatever I like and not worry (too much) about the price. 

I chose a little bud vase and this brush caddy. Towards the end, I did try the bubble technique that shown in the finished yellowish caddy. I chose to do blue on the inside and I can't wait to see it!

Lotus Bud chose a heart box and a little fairy which will be fused on. So cute! The girls did great. I feared they would tear through the painting going from one item to the other, but they both made good choices and stuck with them. When they were done, they were done. There were no broken pieces, no crazy energy that had them running around the store. So we Mamas were able to finish our larger pieces.

In fact the girls did great! They were focused on their painting, they were delicate with their technique. We all left with a sense of accomplishment!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

to the rescue!

Dave and I have been thinking about how to be our "better selves." One thing is to just get up earlier on the weekends. I am ashamed to say that there are mornings where the little Lotus Bud is up coloring and playing with legos while we try to catch a few more minutes of sleep. Old habits from our child-free days are hard to break!

So on our last day in the woods we decided to head out early on the boat instead of packing up and leaving for city right away. It was yet another good decision. The weather was warm but the river was cool. While we had made the decision to bathe in the river, neither of us were prepared to get in the cold water so quickly. Lotus Bud had different ideas and she made the decision inevitable by releasing her hot pick noodle into the river. Dave had no choice but to jump in for the rescue.

What was I doing? I'll have you know that I did make a valiant (!) effort to hook it with my fishing line. It was quite cast that brought about joyful cheers. I did successfully hook it but then I tugged a little too hard and the hook came loose. In the meantime the noodle rode the current further away from us.


You'll note that I am not in the water. I'm dry and warm in the boat looking down at my floating ducks.

I did get in just ten minutes later. But I made the choice for myself.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

experimental daisy


This is a project I've been wanting to do for quite a while with the Lotus Bud. We put blue food coloring into a glass of water and added flowers. It worked! It took a while but still it was a delight to see the petals take on a blue tinge. We also did it with purple but that didn't work. The strange thing is that some of those daisies pulled the blue out of the color combo. Interesting, yes? Yes!

I got the idea here. And it was a good one. The only thing is that this project just took a few minutes. I'm seeking projects that keep the both of us occupied for much longer.

Also, I'm trying to think of things that we wouldn't ordinarily do in the city. We are considering building a fort for the little one. Dave mentioned something about adding a swing and I found myself being totally opposed to that idea. I don't want to build her a playground because I adamantly believe that the woods should be her playground! Besides there are playgrounds nearby. In fact we took the boat to a campground to pick up some more water from the pump and right next to it was a small playground so she got a bit of that experience. I think her imagination will soar if given the opportunity to be creative out in the woods. That's how I grew up. No crayons or playgrounds in my early childhood. I had to entertain myself and I was lucky enough to grow up in a area where I had some woods and a creek to explore.

I don't like the idea of having to constantly entertain my child. Sure if it's little science projects like getting flowers to drink blue water, I'll do it. But I despise taking my child to a city playground. I would much rather take her to a park near a lake and let her run, find feathers, splash in the water. I want to her to explore the world on her own terms and not be dependent on stuff that's been made for her.

That's just how I am.

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