Sunday, May 27, 2012


Living simply and sensibly is so difficult in times like ours.  Everywhere I go, there is more temptation to be extravagant.  A lot of times, we give in to it.  Sometimes we don't.  When we don't, I feel a calmness over me. I give myself the tiniest pat on the back because I made a conscious choice to have less. Own less. Be responsible for less. Acquire less.  The Joneses zoomed right past us, and we stood on the curb and waved. We survived just fine without another item, and that feels nice.

In our efforts to consume less, we have chosen to make small changes.  We might fail miserably.  Change is hard.  But, if they're successful, we'll have learned a million lessons.  If nothing else, gratitude. I'm not getting rid of my Kindle (How on Earth would I research all of my wacky ideas?) and D is not selling all of his worldly possessions (though I DO hate that canvas vest.).  But we are being more content. We are thinking about our kids and their kids and their futures.  Not just living 'greener' or being more 'eco-friendly', but financially.  More and more, we are finding ourselves saying "We don't need it right now."  And - surprisingly - it feels good.  Not buying something for ourselves now, say, a newer, better, faster thingamajig is a sufficient thingamajig for one of our darling sons in the future. Any day, at any time in my or their lives, I will choose for them to have something rather than myself.

The Bible says "A good person leaves an inheritance for their children's children, and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the righteous." (Proverbs 13:22)

Sometimes, the Bible is unclear. It's authors occasionally speak very elaborate, and it is difficult to know precisely what is meant.  I rarely feel that way about things written in Proverbs, this verse especially.  If the Bible says in clear English (or Hebrew or Greek) instructions for what a good person is to do, than we are going to try hard to do that. We want to be good people.  How will we have an inheritance for anyone if we indulge in every whim we come across? We won't.  And we are learning that slowly every day.

the future.
Yesterday was a perfect day.  In the morning, we went to the farmer's market.  I wanted to buy some of the big fat eggs the little Amish gal was selling, along with a 7.00 bag of egg noodles, a fancy relish with Serrano peppers and salty capers, a hand-woven handbag, a ceramic bowl, heirloom tomatoes, a potted heirloom tomato plant, cheese curds, and goat's milk soap (peppermint lavender. two of my favorites in one bar).  Instead, I bought a 1.00 bundle of the most delicate and sweet asparagus, a piece of local artwork featuring mine and D's most favorite band,  and two giant cookies.  It was a lovely, lovely place. It was extremely crowded and difficult to maneuver with a stroller and a 9 year old. Sweaty people shuffling through sipping lemonade, touching and smelling and squeezing produce, putting it down and doing it again.  Random dogs licking your ankles, and various children weaving in between and then back through. If you take it at a leisurely pace, like many things, it is a fabulous afternoon.


extra-large jelly beans.

oh my gluttony.
After the farmer's market, we had lunch and piddled around the house.  D made a fire-pit and a fire outside.  We roasted hot dogs and then s'mores, drank wine, and tossed marshmallows into each other's mouths. Everyone slept like babies, except the baby.


Today on our way down the (long long) driveway, we saw a green heron. Unfortunately, we were without a camera, but it was such a beautiful bird.  The second one I've ever seen, the first was at the rookery by the house we lived in before Moraine.  I went back after grabbing the binoculars and a camera, only to find him gone. We also saw a fawn with her momma. So tiny, no more than a foot and a half tall, and just beautiful.  Big brother spotted them as we drove past, we drove back just in time to see them trot/stumble away.

I did see two bluebirds and a basking turtle on my return trip. The Eastern Bluebird is so sweet to look at, even with a helpless worm in his mouth. yuck.

 "I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day.  I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it.  We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did."  -Benjamin Harrison

 Happy Decoration Day!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Chocolate On My Tongue

We have a great family.  Big Brother has been working hard at baseball and school.  Last time we checked, he had mostly B's and he was recently asked to try out for the all-star baseball team.  Little Brother is now 17 pounds and he traveled so well on our vacation.  We have been blessed with a happy baby and I am so grateful.

I am thankful for Sweetheart, Big and Little, los gatos, my parents (Mom and Daddio), Aim-a-loo, the farmers market, family vacation, my birthday celebrations, a new television, Field Manual of Michigan Flora, s'mores, Big Brother's baseball games, and chasing racoons with the leaf blower.  Actually, I love to chase racoons with or without the leaf blower.

Chelydra serpentina serpentina - Common Snapping Turtle
Chelydra serpentina serpentina - Common Snapping Turtle
Valeriana uliginosa - Marsh Valerian
Valeriana uliginosa - Marsh Valeria
Euphydryas phaeton - Baltimore Checkerspot
Euphydryas phaeton - Baltimore Checkerspot
Eriophorum angustifolium - Narrow-leaved Cotton-grass
Good Pitch Big Brother
Food Coma
Tubby Time

Thank you Mom and Daddio for everything!

We Love You Mamo!


Monday, May 21, 2012

How Great Thou Art

Our vacation was lovely. We spent 5 straight days and nights together and made it home without hurting each other, or even being tired of one another, for that matter. little brother turned 6 months and Big brother got to swim like a little fish every day whenever his heart desired.   We ate excessively, slept little, and didn't stop moving the whole trip. I got to read a lot. (D and the boys got me a Kindle Fire for Mother's Day..yeah..luckiest lady.) I got to spend two hours in Williams Sonoma. I cannot think of anything better. There were no snags.  No flat tires or disagreements or troublesome disruptions in our explorations.  We smiled a lot. It was us, only better.

A lot of things bloomed while we were gone.  I do plan on writing/posting pictures on our trip later, but I would rather write about coming home. Mostly because that is where I am now, but partly because I can't think of anywhere else I would rather be.

Pulling in front of the house after our span of time on the road, we were met by Penny the Prettiest Turkey You Have Ever Seen.  Our house smelled like home.  The Queen of Egypt and Alley Cat were running figure-8's between our ankles.  Guppy Francisco, the betta fish swam happily and smiled at us.  A hummingbird tootled to the feeder.  Alice came and painted the roses red while we were gone. There were white, pink, and red roses blooming frantically in our absence.  The peonies, too.  And more irises I didn't even know were there.  It was like they were waiting, pupils dilated, the entire time we were gone and as we drove down the drive, they heard us - and exploded! 

little is every bit of six months. He is rolling, sitting, drooling, laughing,chewing, and grabbing.  He eats more than before. He sleeps less.  He is very bossy for such a little person. Sometimes he sounds like he is saying "Hi!", but he's just making noises. He makes a lot of noises.  All the time.  Happy ones, squealy ones, high-pitched ones, growley ones, farty ones, spitty ones. He is a joy. The most joyous thing.  


Big is becoming a real person. With real thoughts and jokes and his own names for things. He has worked out a lot of the behavioral kinks that have been standing in our way lately.  He is working so very hard at baseball, it is truly the most I have seen him care about anything, ever.  He is an explorer/frog finder/pitcher/son/brother/student/amazing kid.

lemondrops and gumdrops...

Lots of birds are passing through, and while I am not a great birder (I wouldn't even say I am a good birder) I try very hard to get a good look and listen to them. They bring me so much happiness.

rose-breasted grosbeak
bashful phoebe
'just make sure you get my good side' -ms. phoebe
swainson's thrush
 D has been keeping very busy learning the ins and outs of his new properties for his new position.  Some days in the afternoon, I will call him and he is knee-deep in a wetland.  Sometimes he is on his hands and knees examining a caterpillar.  Sometimes he is tiptoeing through a prairie counting plants. Sometimes he is lost, looking through the thick trees in the depth of the woods for the sun. Somehow, he still makes it home on time those days.  He has a remarkable sense of direction.  He knows, always, which way we are facing - on hikes, when we're driving, when we're in the kitchen, when we're 300 miles away. It's amazing.  Even when I ask him where an item may be located in our house, he gives exact direction, using words like "the table adjacent to the door" or "the nightstand that sits on an angle from the east corner of the bed," using his hands and arms in such a way that he could land a plane if the situation demanded it. And so, I can easily navigate through the house with my eyes closed because my Darling Husband uses such specificity to direct me around. He is a human multi-tool. And I love him dearly.

the barn. 65 and sunny.

He has taught me a lot about botany in our time together, and I am able to identify a few plants pretty easily.  To D's dismay, most of them are invasive plants.  I think they're lovely and he thinks they are the devil.  Because he and I share this blog, I will only post two, and defend them the very best I can, knowing he will see them and shudder that I would do such an unthinkable thing.

This is Honeysuckle.  D and his coworkers have full conversations about various ways and tools they have used to destroyed it (proudly).  I know because I have heard them. When you walk past it, it smells the slightest bit like my grandma's cabinet where she kept her linens used to, minus the distinct bleach/starch smell. It's sweet, very floral, light and beautiful smelling. I put this photo in black and white because it shows how stark white they are, also like linens (which are one of my favorite things on earth. linens.) with tiny yellow centers.I would never complain if I smelled like honeysuckle all the time.  In fact, so many women feel this way, Bath and Body Works is making money accommodating them. 

 I'm just saying. How bad can it be?

This is Autumn Olive.  It's name is like a song and when you are several feet away from it on a sunny day, it shimmers like a disco ball.  One side of the leaf is silver. The other side is a soft, romantic sage green.  The texture of the leaves is like worn-in polyester.  It's shrubby and shiny and so nice to look at.  It's invasive, though, so try really hard not to like it.

This is a fern.  We have a row of them here at Moraine and I think their symmetry is lovely.  They aren't invasive. Enjoy them willy-nilly.  :)