Wednesday, March 28, 2012




rainy days.

likes long walks on the beach.

saying grace.
wet sprocket.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Time To Stand Still

It's Saturday. Outside it is foggy and damp and mossy.  Our grass and trees look so green.  The browns are deep and the pinks are so happy to see you.


happy to see you!

Big brother starts spring break this week. Five days at home. Consecutive. Home. What the what what? Who had this idea? In the rainy season? I have some construction paper and crafty things hid for emergencies such as this and hopefully enough food in the kitchen to keep a growing 9 year old boy fed for 5 days.  I've warned the cats, hid all of the chocolate, and made sure I have plenty of Clorox wipes...we'll see how it goes.

how many days?

 I feel like we keep a pretty quiet house.  Some days, we play Wee Sing Kid's Church Songs pretty loud and sing along.  Some days we play knee-slapping music while we clean.  Those are good days. Big brother and D have dance contests. I dance when no one is looking.  I can really cut a rug. You'll have to take my word for it.  Most days, though, our house is quiet. One person is almost always preparing food. One is usually with the baby and Big brother is usually occupied or helping. I think the combination of our quiet nature and, of course, the location of our home, animals and various wildlife feel comfortable coming right up by the house. It's always an explosion of excitement to see a new bird or an old friend.  There are three toms who have been coming around since the first or second snowfall here this year. I really like when they check in.

hi, i'm tom.
eastern towhee.

 We had a pretty considerable rainfall this week, a nice spring rain.  It was falling in buckets, but only for an intense few minutes.  It hushed our house even more and left us all standing at the sliding glass doors watching. After the rain, everything was so beautiful.

monet barn.

Like a watercolor painting. Like the world had a high-gloss finish. Like if you listened close enough you could hear all the way to China. The air felt thick and wet and warm and very alive.  D and Big brother found ramps (wild leeks / Allium tricoccum) on a recent hike, which was my favorite discovery so far.

They smell so delicious. They were so pretty to look at. I sauteed them in olive oil and tossed them in pasta along with some lemon, scallops, and parsley (also from our yard). I feel so blessed. Sometimes I forget, and then God thuds me upon the head with spicy, fragrant ramps - and I find my way back.

after the rain.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Big Love

Today I found an Eastern Box Turtle in our driveway.  He looked out of place on the concrete, as if he took a wrong turn at the bright yellow bush and didn't know how to come back.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera at the time. One generally doesn't take one along to check the mail.  I promise you, dear reader, I will not allow this to happen again.  He was a lovely old man.  Actually, I couldn't tell you how old he was, but he brought me a lot of joy.  I carried him to the pond by our driveway only to find out later that he was a land turtle, not a water one. Oops. I justified my poor choice by thinking to myself that everyone prefers living by water.

There is a tiny purple finch that likes the ginkgo tree by our kitchen window. I haven't been able to get a good photo of her yet either. I will. She comes around all the time and sings her little heart out as I chop vegetables.  I'm just not fast enough. She's modest.

I keep re-stating that spring is coming so quickly. Every day I see something new that wasn't there before. I guess that's the magic of spring. Just as quickly as winter took it away, it reappears. It's like a celebration here at Moraine. The birds and bees and babies make it such an adventure.

...Speaking of babies...little brother has a few new favorite games. He can't quite sit up alone yet, but likes to try.  His little piano has been a great investment.  I'm not one of those moms who can really adequately suggest 'baby gear' because I know different things work for different people, but the Fisher Price Kick N' Play Piano Gym that I bought has been his favorite toy thus far by a landslide. Of course, he's thrilled with a paper napkin if you catch him in a good enough mood, so don't give that too much thought.

Schroeder, from Peanuts

Yeah mom, hilarious.

Big brother is pretty much grown. He doesn't need me for much of anything except some gentle reminders about behavior and manners, but I can name a few adults who need those same gentle reminders.  He's working hard at boy scouts and school and being a good person.  It's a full-time responsibility to be 9 years old and a good person.  There are so-SO many outside influences.  He really is a tender heart. Sometimes I miss him being a snuggle baby. But don't tell him that.

D has been having a hard time lately. This is the season when they do prescribed fire for his job.  He wakes up early in the morning and gets everything ready.  It's adorable at first, like a kid on the first day of school.  His shirt is tucked in, boots are laced tight, belt is just so.  He has trail mix in a Ziploc, a cold Pepsi and two bottles of water and an apple.  His teeth are shiny and straight and his fingernails are trimmed and clean.  He has checked the weather, wind, humidity, and chance of precipitation about 8 times before little brother and I even wake up. He is excited to have a hand in bringing the earth back to a natural, beautiful state.  (It's a process. I don't know all the steps, but burning is one of them.  The whole destroy something to make it whole again theory I suppose.)

Hours later, he comes home finally.  I cannot accurately describe the condition my husband is in after something like this. Today was the worst so far.  He was waddling.  Clint Eastwood meets Frankenstein after a rodeo waddling. He smelled like he forgot to stop-drop-and -roll.  The bandanna he wears to keep the sweat out of his eyes was foul. His clothes were the usual mess, smoke smelly and soaked with sweat.  He had a terrible heat rash on his thighs and he's just exhausted. This came right after an awful bout with poison ivy last week.  Thankfully, this is a short season and there shouldn't be many more days like this.  It's hard to see him like that, but he has this beautiful hard-working soul that finds joy in a hard day's work, so I just try to help keep him comfortable once he's home. My pioneer man.

Just another day on the Moraine. Critters and babies, boys and bugs.  Summer will be here before we know it. I have a feeling my photos of food will be changing pretty quickly to something a little less...comforty.

I read this today and it made me feel good:

"Disturb us, Lord, when where, losing sight of land, we shall find the stars we ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope and love.  This we ask in the name of our captain, who is Jesus Christ." - Sir Francis Drake, 1557, Before departing England to circumnavigate the globe

I could have read this yesterday and it wouldn't mean anything. Timing is funny like that. Today, it sang to me-like a little purple finch I know.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Here Comes The Sun

Today I saw sedges in the prairie, eastern garters in western Gary and sundial in sandy soils.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sexy Sadie

I have learned after moving to Moraine that I absolutely must  maintain a sense of humor about the state of things.  For example, I have found it absolutely impossible to keep up with the laundry.  The moment I make headway, another pair of muddy play pants or smoke-tinged Carharts somehow finds it's way into the dirty basket.  As soon as the floors are vacuumed, I watch as someone enters the front door and is followed by a trail of blowing ginko leaves, brought in by a sort of jet-stream that forms as the doors are opened.  Tiny pebbles, mounds of sand, and little molds of dry dirt from the bottoms of boots are scattered all over our beautiful new floors.  I try to laugh.  After all, with the exception of the cats, I am the only girl in the household.

Boys are dirty. They are messy little creatures who find ways to stash their treasures in the least convenient of places.  If I am not careful, my dishes become habitats to salamanders and frogs.  My shoes get slipped on and used as quick footwear to trek through the mud to investigate a sound by the pond.  If I don't pay close attention, my washer and dryer end up with little piles of silt, candy wrappers, and -oddly- seeds, deposited on the bottom of the drum.  Sheets have been slept on by poison ivy infected fingers or have little spit-up piles on them.  Pudding cups on the tables, A and B math papers take over the kitchen table. (See what I did there? A little mom-bragging moment.)


Big brother.


windowsill rock treasures.

homemade artillery.

It's a beautiful life.  I cannot complain. I have two of the cutest, sweetest sons you have ever seen.  They really love their mom. And I am sure that as little brother grows, he will become just as present as Big brother - noticeable by his trail of action figures and rocks and cool-shaped sticks. I'm sure I have several more years of homemade weapons and shields and dried up mud clumps.  I have to laugh.  I have to be thankful there are still acres and acres of dirt that has been left outdoors. 

little brother.
I have to be understanding.  I have to remember that every frog must be caught and observed, every salamander examined, every questionable rock cracked opened in case it might be a geode.  I have to keep reminding myself that dirt can be swept away but memories and explorations cannot.  Sometimes the laundry must wait so we can run outside barefoot to watch the Sandhill cranes pass by. 
backyard holiday tablecloth teepee/home base.
wolverine mask in cat bowl.
the elusive geode on comic book display platform.
I would like to say the messes are temporary. That the kids will grow out of it. However, living with Darling Husband reminds me that they will not. I know he tries, but there is an ever-present mechanism in his brain that will not allow him to miss an opportunity to walk through the house in his muddy boots to find the camera when he sees a newly blossoming plant.  This is what I love about him. It's the trail he leaves behind that I have to accept.
mud vessel.

I live in a world of discoveries.  Not that they are new - but they are new to us - and I don't want to miss a thing.  I don't want the boys to miss a thing.  Spring is only once a year.

We have such high hopes for this spring.  I hope for a vegetable garden, although I have always been a terrible gardener.  I have maintained that if I can make one meal, just one, from what we've grown in the garden this spring I will consider it a success.  And try harder next year.  I hope for a functional koi pond, although I know it will be difficult.  It is currently covered by a slimy layer of dead plants, slime, and some green gunk.  We shall see.

 At least I'm not afraid to get a little dirty anymore.