June 28, 2013

Whew! It's been ages, but I'm gonna break the silent streak here. Blogging, I have found, takes a combination of time, energy and motivating material. I seem to have been having trouble getting all three of these ingredients at once lately. One thing often holding me back is the lack of enthusiasm for typing my posts out with my thumbs on the iPhone. But, now that Joe also has entered the smartphone world, we can use our phones as "mobile hotspots" to connect the laptop to the internet, albeit over a slow and spotty cellphone signal, which lets me use all ten fingers to type this post at warp speed!!

A recent family photo from a wedding Joe officiated

Joe is crazy busy with three summer classes and his job. His official job title is "Behavior Specialist", but the best I can describe what I know of his job (confidentiality and all that) is it seems like he is kind of a professional "Big Brother" to boys who are not having the smoothest of childhoods. He hangs out with them, goes hiking/bowling/throws the football around and hopefully manages to sneak some "counseling" in there at the same time, without them really noticing and therefore resisting. He is certainly getting a heartbreaking and overwhelming look at the crazy lives some kids lead. But, besides often coming home feeling very emotionally drained, he seems to be really enjoying the job and is great at it, I'm sure.

Eden, luckily, does not have to lead a crazy heartbreaking life; although to hear the fuss she puts up at having to get her face wiped after a meal or be put, all alone, into her safe play area for 30 seconds so I can (insert any short but essential task requiring two hands here), you'd think otherwise. Mostly it's all fun and games around here. Eden has passed the monumental one-year mark and everyday I see the "baby" slipping away and a "little girl" boldly taking her place. Although she can walk, crawling is still her go-to method of transportation. She continues to add signs to her ASL repertoire, but now she is also trying to say the words. I've noticed the only words she is speaking are ones she already knows signs for.

I'm pretty much Eden's full time entourage and lady's maid, a job I'm happy to do. However, during father/daughter moments or playdates at YaYa's house, I become a frenzied work machine. Much of that time is spent on regular daily chores, such as dishes, cooking, etc. But occasionally I do slip in some "extra" work. I haven't managed to keep a manicured lawn, but I have kept the grassy areas surrounding the house and outbuildings from reverting to full-blown pasture. I've also planted a full garden, which has so far kept us supplied with as much kale and swiss chard as we can dream of eating. It remains to be seen how productive the tomatoes, peppers, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes and black eyed peas will be. I've promised myself that I will not get upset at the inevitable invasion of potato and bean beetles and will be happy for whatever crop we can salvage amidst their destruction, a promise I am having to remind myself of daily. Thankfully, so far we have had plentiful rains that have eliminated any need for garden watering.

I'm also raising my first ever batch of mail-order chicks here at our place to beef up our paltry poultry flock. My initial order of 15 birds is down to 13 after a couple of random deaths to unknown causes, and they all seem to be doing well. After keeping them in a dog kennel in the yurt for the first two weeks, they're now outside in the secure goat-house chicken coop. I ordered them this late in the year so that we wouldn't have to worry too much with providing supplemental heat, and so far that seems to be working out. I kept them warm with half-gallon jars full of boiling water, insulated with old socks and covered the kennel with a blanket at night to help hold the heat and eliminate drafts. Now the weather has warmed enough and they've feathered out and grown quite a bit, so they're braving the outdoors with no heat and seem to be doing fine.

That's it for now. I've been listening to several barred owls conversing in the nearby woods as I wrote this. Very cool.

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