You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘outdoors’ tag.

Julianna somehow talked me in to this self portraiture project. I find it a little embarrassing, but think it’s good to have friends who talk you into your own discomfort. Here it is again:

I was out on a collection walk early this morning. It seemed like a necessary beginning to the day, after another unsettled night. For as long as I can remember I have used walks like this one to clear my head and calm my spirit. A collection walk has a simple measure: I step outside. I decide on some beautiful thing that I might find a variety of, and then I meander, green space to green space, on a quest for the irrelevant thing I am seeking. It gives me something to focus on, to appreciate, to hold in my hands. Small stones, twigs, bark varieties. Red things, grasses, seed pods, types of beetles. My mother would throw fits about all of my collections when I was younger, mostly because I would find bizarre places to keep them (for instance, spiders in the freezer). Perhaps she assumes age or time has allowed me to grow up past this need to collect little bits of the outdoors, and leave them in questionable spaces indoors.

It is not the case. Today I was out collecting summer leaves. And with a pile of them in the bathroom sink, I took on this project of the eyes. I don’t have much to say about my eyes, so I’ll let their green and the leaves speak for themselves.


here it is, again: a monthly review for family and friends who decide to follow this blog and are interested in the actual goings-on in our life, rather than my less practical musings.  I have divided our month into categories, and provided the highlights.

life with a little one (abridged, and in pictures):

Andi is in to everything. We try to incorporate her in to our chores (and the bottom of the clean laundry basket) as best we can. We are needing to be more and more creative to allow for learning opportunities while managing her safety and the state of our home.                            ————————————-

She is on the move. Her crawl is perfected, and she’s cruising on her feet when she gets near enough to a wall or steady object. She loves her father’s toy piano, which was the first thing on which she pulled herself to standing.  –

Her sweet german swing, while more brightly colored than out typical household adornments has been a precious gift of time. we have attached hooks in the new addition and in the entry to the kitchen, so I can have a few minutes at a hot stove or a computer.  ————————————-


i) potatoes are growing fast, and we’re doing our best to keep them well hilled so we’ll get a good crop.

ii) The pear and apple suffered from blight, but we’ve pruned, garlic-ed and sulfured them, and they are recovering. the other fruit trees are doing well and are all producing- save the almond, which just went in this year.

iii) While the birds got to our cherries and grapes before we did, they haven’t been fast enough on the strawberries (or perhaps we planted enough to share). Strawberries have become Andjoli’s favorite food, and perhaps mine as well. They are interspersed through our front and back gardens and our orchard area, and the certain find of a ripe berry makes garden tasks in all of these areas more enjoyable.


i) the summer work has been more overwhelming than I anticipated. I have a lot more on my academic plate than I originally realized, and the fact that I had planned to rest and am substituting that rest out for more work makes it all more daunting.

ii) We have moved into the addition- as it is the coolest place in the house. We have spread mattresses to lounge on in the living-area. It is not the most put together, but is a soft landing for an experimenting child and it makes family bed bigger- so we can spread out in hot weather. It also affords a beautiful view of the back gardens. The true bedroom is stifling hot, as we are (intentionally) living without AC this summer to save natural resources.

iii) for a long time we have been focusing on eating local organic foods, with the regular addition of dry bulk items. The changing season is making this more palatable, and we have been forced out of our winter standards now that we have an abundance of fresh greens. Some of our favorites this month were homemade falafel on homemade crepes stuffed with all the spring garden green. Also: savory oatmeal. yes, you heard me. we’ve added spring onions and green garlic and a bit of local cheese to our oatmeal and it is wonderful.

iv) we are trying to do all of our indoor cooking in the evening time, so the house has a whole night to cool off after the stove heats it up. We have created a miniature outdoor kitchen for the day that houses our toaster oven, rotisserie and crock pot. B is excited to build a more attractive and efficient outdoor kitchen for the summer, complete with clay oven, and an induction burner, and perhaps a solar cooker or thermal cookers. For this year, we will probably add the induction burner and build a solar cooker, and look at the more complicated (clay oven) and expensive (thermal cooker) projects for the future. I am excited that my husband is excited about cooking- even if it is the energy saving/green technology/building kitchen side of things.

A side note: it is funny that even when I try to write about indoor things, it somehow bleeds in to writing about outdoor things. This is rather reflexive of the way we live life. and I like it.

v) In order to ameliorate this tendency to focus on the outdoors as much as we do we are making plans to bring some of it inside, in the form of houseplants. We have some overwintering edibles that stayed at a friends house for the colder months that might return to our home: a banana, lemon and pomegranate. I planted some ginger (and await more plants from my mother) and we hope to add vanilla, cinnamon, figs, limes, indian coleus,  and bay to our indoor plant collection this year, so we will have a good deal of green things to keep in our home when the world turns brown outside.


i) I submitted a short story to a writing contest. this is only the second time I have ever done this. I do not know when results will be published, and don’t want inquiries. just forget I said anything.

community, work, politics, and the rest of the world:

i) all of these things keep happening. I’m just too tired to recall much of it.

here it is, again: a monthly review for family and friends who decide to follow this blog and are interested in the actual goings-on in our life, rather than my less practical musings.  I have divided our month into categories, and provided the highlights.

life with a little one (in pictures):

Row 1) Andjoli is getting filthy. many of the things we hope will make it in her mouth never get there. Aim is impeccable, however, with less desirable objects.

Row 2) We’re starting to give her more frequent baths. It’s the first time she’s really needed them, and they don’t make her as crazy as they used to. Here are some clean pictures of her in her bath robe . . .

Row 3) she’s loving the outdoors. We’re doing our best to make sure she doesn’t choke herself on the smaller parts of it. Even though she seems to dislike the taste of dandelion fluff, she keeps going back for more.


i) Some of the winter-sown starts survived my lack of attention, and are now in the ground. For the most part, we’ve tended the front yard and acted like the more expansive back yard doesn’t exist. It’s tall with a lot of things we didn’t plant. The areas we cleared and planted in the earliest days of spring have been over-run again. We’ve got an almond tree, grapes, blueberries, peppers, tomatoes and eggplants to set out back in the next few weeks . . . so we’re going to need to pull out some of the un-invited green.

ii) the fruit trees seem to be in good form. I love the fuzz of the miniature peaches setting out. The apples and pears, which flower later don’t have their fruit sets yet, but everything else looks like it will be in production this year. The nectarine had a little leaf curl, but I plucked off the mottled leaves, and there’s no reoccurrence yet.

iii) the asparagus came up and was had a few times before we let it unfurl to the small trees it hoped to be. fresh cut asparagus is really something.


i)papers finished. grading finished. A breath, and then a quick leap to summer session.

ii) the addition is usable and has been used. B’s family came in to town at the end of the month, and we spent good time in the new space together watching a film, eating at a table, and they, of course, slept there.

iii) We’ve started fermenting our grains much more frequently, and it makes me feel worlds better. We also are whey fermenting baby food, and finding good uses for the sourdough start that keeps growing and needing to be used (biscuits and pancakes were wonderful, the sourdough banana bread, not so)


i) sigh. someday.

community, work, politics, and the rest of the world:

i) all of these things keep happening. I’m just too tired to recall much of it.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 282 other followers

All material in this journal (written and visual) is copyrighted. Do not duplicate without explicit consent from the author.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Generic License.

The Small Is Beautiful Manifesto

%d bloggers like this: