Thursday, March 26, 2009

Growth spurt

I returned home to discover our "chicks" had grown incredibly in 2 1/2 weeks! Compare this with the last photos.

And they're only 5 weeks old!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Goodbye to the Northwest (again)

I had a lovely visit in Portland with my sister, brother-in-law, niece, brother, other sister, mom, and grandpa! It was great to see my family, and to see moss, stands of evergreen trees, and mountains. Mountains!

Mt. Hood:

Mt. St. Helens:

Cat checking out the baby:

Grandpa and the baby:

Joyce & I climbing up an incredibly steep sidewalk:

After weeks of diaper changing, dish-washing, cleaning, baby holding, baby feeding, organizing, and more, I am happy to be home (dish-washing, cleaning, organizing, sewing, etc). Thanks for letting me crash at your place sister!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I love Quakers!

I spent last weekend at the FWCC Section of the Americas Annual Meeting in Canby Oregon. It was great to catch up with many friends: Kathy, Jeff, Rachel, Alyssa, Nancy John, Patty, Sharon, Lorraine, Alivia, Ann, Dorsey, Susanne, and a bunch more!

The four-day weekend was full of committee meetings, business meetings, interest groups, worship, panels, worship groups, and lots of catching up. There were a few moments that really stood out to me, but I'm so far behind on blogging (and everything else!) that I'll just share one.

At a Young Adult Friends (YAF) committee meeting, one woman wondered if YAFs were even interested in these FWCC meetings. She grew up in the 60s and felt she lived in a very homogenized environment. It was very exciting for her to come to these conferences and meet people that were so different from her. But, she noted, people growing up today are surrounded by diversity and people with different beliefs. Perhaps it is not such a thrilling thing for young adults to meet people who are different.

My response to that was that I liked coming to these diverse gatherings and discovering our similarities. That is thrilling to me because there is often so much attention put on our differences. I'm a bit of a peace-maker so it's important for me to find that common ground and figure out how we can communicate with one another. Building relationships with different people helps them become "us" instead of "them."

Anyway, if I had more time I would write a lot more! Perhaps I will one day...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Greetings from the Northwest

Hello from cold, damp, wet, rainy, cloudy, mossy (sometimes hailing & snowing), grey, grey Oregon! I can't believe I forgot how incredibly mossy it is here! Moss on driveways, moss on trees, moss on roofs, moss in the grass, moss, moss, moss! I do love moss actually and miss it so.

I'm here in Portland visiting my sister Gwen, her husband Jeremy, and their new baby Amaya. Amaya will be one month old tomorrow! She's a sweetie (when she isn't hungry or tired or needing to be changed - which seems like all the time!).

Sleeping baby:

Freaking out baby (and aunt, though I wasn't really freaking out):

Swinging baby:

Reading to baby:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

One Year Anniversary

One year ago today we were on the last leg of our journey east, arriving in Minneapolis after a week of driving. It has been quite a year.

We went maple syruping, dug a garden, and went to Northern Yearly Meeting. We preserved food, picked berries at a u-pick, got involved with a CSA, and I perfected baking bread (kind of). Our friend Ashley visited and brought lots of cherries with her, Jeremy picked nettles, we built a compost bin, and we learned to make yogurt. I learned how to make English muffins, went to Iowa Yearly Meeting, and we spent a ton of time canning food and making jams and jellies - with produce coming from our garden, our CSA, the local farmer's market, and friends and strangers' fruit trees. We got burgaled which was pretty sad.

I started sewing, Jeremy lost his job, and it started getting colder and then snowing! We finally finished building our root cellar and Jeremy started experimenting with growing mushrooms. Then we made cheese. I kept sewing a lot and we went ice skating with family around Christmas. Then we started work on our chicken coop and got chickens. And I keep sewing like crazy. (And baking.)

It has been a very interesting year taking us in places we never imagined. It has been very satisfying growing our own food and preserving it and building the root cellar and chicken coop. Because I was so prepared for incredibly freezing temperatures, the winter hasn't seemed all that cold and awful to me (even though it has been one of the colder ones on record!) I guess I was expecting the worst.

But I have enjoyed the snow and it's sunny quite often. I've also enjoyed the incredible thunder and lightning! I think the most amazing thing has been the block we live on and the neighborhood in general. I love being just a few blocks from a movie store, hair dresser, coffee shop, quilt store, and a giant park with a lake. We're also not too far from the Greenway which is a huge system of bike trails in the city. Within a few months I knew many of the neighbors on the block. We all know a bit about each other and what's going on and people are very friendly. (Sorry Seattle, but it was just never that friendly in most neighborhoods I was in.)

I think this unexpected and rather enjoyable (for the most part) year will be followed by an even more unexpected (but hopefully enjoyable) year. I'm sewing of course, we're finishing the coop and will soon have chickens outside laying eggs and all, we're planning on having lots of garden space, Jeremy is still working on growing mushrooms - and in the midst of all this we will probably be moving! Not too far we hope - not more than a block or two if we can help it. But many events have come together and it seems like a good time and opportunity. So more info on that later and of course on all the other crazy activities we're up to!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Chicken update


Rhode Island Reds escape...

The guy in the back is thinking, "How the heck do I get out of here?!"

Here's an Americauna...

Here he was 2 weeks ago!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Garden beginnings

Last year we were just arriving in Minneapolis this time of year and we didn't start planting anything til April or May. This year Jeremy has been doing a lot of planning for garden spaces and more plants and growing more from seed. He got lots of seeds from Seed Savers and has been making a schedule of what to plant, when, and how many. We're hoping to garden in our yard, a local community garden or two, and a couple friends and neighbor's yards.

a little organizing going on...

So, here's what we're planning to grow:
Beans: lima, blue lake, calypso, christmas lima, empress, hidatsa shield figure, rattlesnake snap, and sieva lima beans
Brussels Sprouts
Sweet Peppers
Hot peppers
Swiss Chard

And some flowers we're planning on are nasturtiums, coneflowers, black-eyed susans, poppies, and sunflowers.