Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was Bowen and Morgan's ninth birthday. They had a friend over and ran around like banana heads for most of the day. Boys. Excited. Yikes. In the not so far off future, when the testosterone spikes start happening more than ten times an hour, I think I'm going to live in my very small storage shed in the back yard. Eowyn, our dog, says she's coming with me. Chicky will have to fend for herself (she's pretty good at it).

Morgan is laughing so hard he can't think of a wish, or catch his breath to hold it to blow out the candles.

Morgan birthday #9

Bowen is so busy worrying about blowing out his candles first (as soon as "Happy Birthday to You" is over) he hasn't even thought of a wish. The boy is damn happy, though.

Bowen birthday #9

These are the guys that made me realize that love is boundless. After two miscarriages I made up for it by having twins (it's good I hadn't had a singleton first because I had no clue how demanding a baby would be - not to mention two), they are the crazy lights that make my days brighter, and keep my life moving at a pace I never imagined. They are funny, bright, have memories like elephants, hair-trigger tempers, the silliest laughs, and the most beautiful eyes. I think I'll keep 'em.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Go mama bird!

Damn. I had no idea mama house finches laid so many eggs! We usually have at least two Carolina Wren nests at our house, formerly placed in my bedroom window (the storm window was stuck up) and in my hanging plant basket (no plants, just a nest). Since my house got new windows this past fall, the birds have been in a quandary. I look out the windows and there are little wrens in the bushes looking in at me and chirping (in an angry sort of way). I've tried explaining that I am just the tenant, much as they are, and I had no control over the new double pane windows that save me electricity. They don't care. When the windows were going in, the landlords also "trimmed" the bushes around the house. Hacked within an inch of their lives is more like it, and the birds cannot build any kind of protected nest there, either.

Last night, I had company and I used the front door (don't usually do that) and the next thing I knew there was a mama house finch, flapping and sqwalking her beak off. I saw her fly to my defunct porch light and saw a nest. Today, since I am short, I held my camera up and aimed it in the nest and Holy Toledo there are at least five eggs in there. No wonder she was raising a ruckus! If I had worked that hard, I certainly wouldn't want some overgrown shmuck to fuck up all my efforts. I don't know how many days it takes to grow each egg, but as a mother of twins I'm here to tell you this is some amazing work people! It may actually be a Purple Finch, I haven't been able to get a good look at them yet. There's too much frantic flapping when I see them.

Shhh, here are the little beauties!

house finch

I love a tulip. I have several yellow ones, but only two red ones.


Today has been a day spent mostly in the garden, and I look forward to being in it again tomorrow, and Monday. The children will be here to help plant their gardens for the day and to celebrate the boys ninth birthday. I can't believe we've all made it this far!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hitting the books, and the sticks

I have to say how much other knitters inspire me...it totally rocks! Ideas of things I'd never even consider, but now that I see it, wow! I am so thoroughly enjoying Mason-Dixon Knitting by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. It is so funny and so cool. I can't wait to try a log cabin blanket and one of the circular rugs. If it weren't for the socks on the needles, the tank top from last year I need to finish and about three other projects, I would be all over one of them right now. As always, the lovely Yarn Harlot (a.k.a. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) continues to inspire with her basic patterns, and her justification for the "knitting lifestyle." Knitting Rules! is making my spare minutes fly by.

The non-knititng book I am currently reading (and almost done with) is Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary? It is perfect timing for me. I've spent the past couple of years saddened by the lack of general feminism in this country. Women worked so hard to be able to go out and earn a living, and now many of them want to stay home and be taken care of (without their children present while they are at home!). What's up with that? And plastic surgery? Anyway, Maureen's got some interesting thoughts on the subject and I'm enjoying them.

I'm working on a cool pair of socks right now (Grumperina's Jaywalker pattern) in Opal (the band is gone but it's stripey purple, blue, yellow, and white). The pattern has me hooked and I'm movin' like lightening on them. I am only still on the first sock, but hopefully my interest will hold me through a quick go of sock number two. Hey, who knows, could be a bonus pair of birthday socks for Jean?!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Herps, ho!

I am so digging this weather. I love having the windows open so the whole house smells like line-dried laundry. This morning, after picking up the kids from their dad's house we came home and started working in the garden. Chicky caught this grey tree frog and it hopped on my new sock yarn! (It must be a kindred spirit.)

grey tree frog knits

grey tree frog on sock yarn

We went with our friends Mel and Angela to the Carolina Botanical Gardens (first trip of the new year) and nature was freaking everywhere! The weather was great, there were leaf buds on many trees, and the river was cold at first, but very nice. It's always a wonder we see more than a toad when the children are around because they are LOUD! Once we got down to the stream we saw this juvenile northern water snake.

Northern water snake

It was very sweet and calmed down quickly once caught.

northern water snake 2

Then, after Mel and the kids went up the stream and saw a larger water snake, Morgan spotted this along the bank:


Angela, being very quick and nimble caught the little bugger. I think it is a northern cricket frog.

northern cricket frog

The hard thing about identifying juvenile creatures is that most i.d. books show pictures of adults.

P.S. No herps were hurt for these photographs. All creatures were released in the area where they were briefly held.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Cherry blossoms

Spring is here! I know, the signs of spring sprang a while ago here in North Carolina. The daffodils started blooming last month, and my forsythia blooms are long gone. The redbud trees are still in bloom and yesterday my ornamental cherry tree had one little double bloom open. It is bustin' out all over today.

cherry blossom1

The Garden Project is underway. A few weeks ago Mel came over and we tilled three circular beds. Since then I've amended the soil and have been turning it every week so the weeds will hopefully be less after the planting. I planted my lettuces and spinach late, by southern standards, but they are in the shade and I'm hoping for the best. Tomorrow the children come back to me and we will put up the tepee and tunnel in the boys garden.

I finished Jean's birthday socks. Jean is my step-mother, but she's more like my real mom. She picked out sock yarn while she and dad were here taking care of me and the children in November. Right now she's on her way to Florida, so her socks will be waiting it out in her P.O. box until her return. By the time she and dad get back to Grand Marais, MN I'm optimistic the snow will be gone and she won't need them for a while. (I have memories of wearing a hat and mittens to watch fireworks on the fourth of July once, so wool socks in the summer are not completely out of the question.)

Jean's socks

By the way, the book that the socks are resting on is called Blankets, by Craig Thompson. Part truth and part fiction, it is a graphic novel based on his first love and childhood. Becca gave it to me and I sat down and read it last night. Craig came from very religious stock, and his story resonated with me. He felt like an outsider at school, church camp, and his home life sucked. His personal pilgrimage from devout Christian adolescent to an adult that put it aside was very moving. I thought about it all night and most of today. It's funny, sad, very honest, and if it weren't thirty dollars I'd rush out right now and buy my own copy.