Friday, May 27, 2011

Sharing Beekeeping at School

In back to back weeks, Eric (and family) shared beekeeping at our sons' schools. Our youngest is very interested in leading the discussion himself. I think in a few years, he'll be able to do it. I'm amazed how much he knows about bees.

Our oldest wanted to make sure that his class knew about skunks love of bees. We keep our hive elevated so that if a striped stinker comes by in search of bees and honey, the bees will have access to the skunk's belly and, hopefully, will be able to fend off the skunk.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tending to the Native Garden

before weeding

after weeding

The weather has been lovely. I find myself stealing more time from other projects to tend to the garden. Our native garden has gone wild. Although we mulch heavily, weeds still flourish. I've been claiming more time in the yard to pull weeds.

before weeding

after weeding

I think it's just about time for an outdoor fire to celebrate reclaiming the garden. There is still a lot of weeding to do, but so far it's been pretty easy to pull thanks to the heavy mulch layer. We recently got another shipment. I look forward to spreading it around and preparing the garden for the transition to summer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Passport Photo

It is an unspoken requirement that your passport photo should look terrible. In my first passport photo, I had the uncanny resemblance to Marty Feldman.

These guys, however, are bucking the trend and look pretty darn cute. I especially love the idea of them ten years in the future traveling with a baby photo. The chicks are gonna love it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ramshackle Sea Unit

Eric has sailing blood in his veins. His maternal grandfather lived on a boat for part of his life. Pretty much since I met Eric, he's been talking about taking some sailing lessons & getting certified to charter a boat.

After about two months of lessons, that day arrived. Eric passed his last test. We chartered a boat for the day and headed out of Marina del Rey. This was my first ever sailing experience, although I've been on plenty of boats in my life. Eric had to navigate the busy weekend marina on his own.

We sailed north past Santa Monica. Feeling the wind and the keel of the boat is very exciting.

Captain Eric let me take the helm in the open water. By the time we headed back to Marina del Rey, I had a better understanding about how to tack & was able to crew a bit more than on our way out.

Eric's dream of sailing and making the time to learn the craft is such a great benefit to our family. I find it interesting how following your passions can have positive reverberations outside of yourself.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spontaneous Journal

Oldest son: "Mom, do we have a sketch book with no pictures?"

Mom: "I think you have a sketch book on the shelf with very few pictures."

Son searches for sketch book on shelf. Finds it. Rips out the pictures & gifts them to mom. In a flurry of focused activity, the "Journal" is created. A day spent at youngest son's preschool carnival is documented fondly.

"I really had a good time making this."

Today another entry was made. Image used by permission.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Big Box

Fortune smiled upon us while we were on a run to Figueroa Produce. We stumbled upon a man recycling a giant box. I asked him if I could have it. We tried to put in the back of my car, but it was ridiculously large for my car. Instead of collapsing the box and cramming it in, he generously offered to drive it over to our house.

Big box + kids = Fun.

I love the joy and creativity found in a simple big box.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Strawberry Harvest is On

In a word: yum. We planted some new Sequoia strawberry plants earlier in the season. Our older plant still produces but at a much slower rate.

I read that strawberry plants typically reach the end of their productive years after two years. I'm glad we added more plants. Delicious.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fair Weather Pants

As a very busy two weeks comes to a tenacious close, I am pleased to have claimed an easy hour to transform an old tablecloth into...

...fair weather pants. Best worn heavily and with stains. Fabric chosen from my stash by my three year old. I love his bold style.

Owl Bird Control

Each year around mother's day, a sparrow family starts making a nest in the tent. Often, they are successful despite our best attempts to block the entrance of the tent and make the location inhospitable.

As the birds began to craft yet another nest this year, Eric resorted to his art degree for some bird control measures.

Eric used a recycled cereal box for the body and head and some scraps to make the eyes and nose. He drew the body using markers.

The owl now hangs menacingly in the tent. If you were a sparrow, you'd be shaking with fear. Actually, after Eric hung it, I watched the sparrows enter the tent without demonstrating the proper fear and trepidation. I went back and tried to remove hospitable nest making areas. For all I know, the sparrows may be back right now with a nest of cuties.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rope Swing

Recipe for a good day:
1 rope swing, preferably in a grove of California Live Oaks

Add family and friends.
Swing with abandon.

While swing rests, gather sticks, leaves and other items.

Create a house for Stiple. Smile. Laugh till your face aches.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Another Shiitake Mushroom Harvest

Eric's shiitake log continues to produce beautiful mushrooms. Check out those gills. These tasty spores went into a homemade pho (or a scrumptious interpretation). Ever since trying Happy Pho, I've been obsessed with the Vietnamese noodle, hitting up local restaurants and hoping that Happy Pho is soon distributed in Southern California.

Don't be fooled by the box, Happy Pho is no top ramen. It is the ground work for a really yummy meal. Throw in a few homegrown shiitake mushrooms, spinach, scallions and mint...I might just have to make it twice in one week.