Mother’s Day portraits

I did real-camera photos of the kids last Friday. In the clothes they had been wearing to play outside. After dinner. And after painting. I wanted to take advantage of the light and the mostly-good moods. I wanted good pictures of their normal… normality, I guess. 

(That first picture was from when I was verifying camera settings and I was going to delete it – since Quinn’s head is half gone – but that was technically the most cooperative they were the.whole.time. So. It stayed in.)

scheduled plans

I tried (REALLY I TRIED) to set up and follow a plan for posts. The plan is more for me than you; I need to be better about attaching words to images for record-keeping.


I’m typing on my phone.

And that gets kinda obnoxious.

Oh well.

I cried (I CRIED ACTUAL TEARS) over the weekend because I tried to start flower seeds early but it’s been cold so the flowers are like NAH MAN JUST NO. This afternoon, with the sunbaked deck burning the soles of my feet, I found these amazing tiny purple flowers in the “Is it gonna die ARE YOU DYING?!?” lemon thyme.

The roses are pretending to bloom but they look so sad in pictures.

Our poor little lizard friend has been running up and down the stairs. Quinn tried to catch him today, but he skipped the risers and went right down the main brace (and then under the barn). I’m concerned that he’s completely insane, because he runs at us and then kinda waves and just hangs out right near where we are. Also. Y’all. It might be a girl but I’ve been thinking of it as a boy so *shrug*.

Last weekend I found the biggest slug I have ever seen in real life. It went all flat and then the longer I watched it, the more its eyes poked out. So crazy.

Aanndd that’s all the photos I can get to load without saying ugly words!

the view

These shots are all from the past two weeks. I’m so excited about how green everything is (the photos are ordered newest to oldest). It’s almost a surprise that it happens every year!


Yesterday I used a big blade to separate water irises to move them to better ground. I keep calling it a machete, but it’s not – it has a sort of hook at the end. Oh well. It’s a big ole past-knife blade.

At one point I decided I had maybe lost my mind – feet slipping in mud, what are the kids doing, rain sprinkling on me, hands past my wrists in muddy water making sure those clumps were gonna be covered when the flood finally soaked into the ground.

Yesterday was a turning point in a lot of ways.

I had a shovel in my hands. I dug up squelching mud to slide it out of my way – it made creepy horror movie noises, like, in a horror movie, something would have gone very wrong at that point.

And I just keep thinking about more details from yesterday. A year ago… a year ago I would not have lasted to do 1/3 of the work I did yesterday.

Jonathan looked at me last night and said “So you’re SERIOUS about these things you’ve been talking about wanting to do… about trying to farm.” and I just smiled.

I say it a lot because it keeps being true (even as it morphs into the next stage of the path): It’s funny how things can feel like mistakes and false starts and then you catch a glimpse of how it really does all fit together.

growing up

Hang with me, please, because I’m sort of thinking out loud.

I’ve been blogging since before it was called blogging. First it was on angelfire – where I had to learn just enough HTML coding to get anything to even show up on the screen, and I learned about intellectual property rights. Then I tried Typepad – I was in college and wanted to do graduate work, so I tried really hard to pull myself together and write thoughtful, though/provoking pieces about the news and what I considered code words that “normal” people didn’t understand. But it got to where what we now consider standard blog features were going to cost me $100 a year, so I migrated to WordPress. I got my “own dot com” (as Quinn calls it) and tried to photo blog my way to photojournalistic portrait fame. Along the way, I’ve had blogs through Xanga and Blogger and Tumblr – possibly dozens of variations and side projects and ideas that didn’t pan out.

I always come back to the same few basic ideas:

I like to write stories.

I like to share photos of details.

I like to try to explain what I’m learning.

I like for people to feel included. (There are exceptions.)

I like to build a record of what we’ve been doing – a sort of timeline/archive/life update sort of thing. (I think that’s why I like seeing my Instagram feed on Tumblr; it helps me break the posts down into monthly batches.)

I’m hoping that I can make my way back to blogging and keep those basic likes in mind.

eclipse helmets


There will be a solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st, 2017. We’re in the 90%+ totality range, so we *need* eclipse glasses *the entire time* as we attempt to view the eclipse action directly (there will be harmful rays the entire time).


Paper glasses.

Let me back up: I knew in 2016 that I would need to prepare for the solar eclipse. So in June of this year I finally bought some NASA certified eclipse viewing glasses. They are everything I expected – floppy bits of heavy cardstock with little rectangles of serious filter.

They are AWESOME but they are also INCONVENIENT. So we are making helmets to help keep them in place.


– NASA certified solar eclipse viewing safety glasses

– 8.5×11 cardstock (I let the kids pick out colors to cut down on my decision fatigue and also so that I can say things like “NOPE THIS IS WHAT YOU PICKED LEAVE THE OTHERS ALONE” the whole time we need them Monday)

– packing tape

– stick glue

– children who will sit or stand or crouch or something to “mediumly” cooperate for sizing check-ins


Pick out cardstock colors.

Tape the cardstock to the glasses; they just need to be touching, so there’s some flop action. (Tip: I taped both sides because tape-in-hair is not something I want to deal with or hear about.)

Enlist the child on whom the helmet should fit. Put the glasses in place, limit your threats, decide where the fold to get a forehead piece, then also decide where to fold to have the top flat with a flap at the back. You should have 2 folds, and you should not feel bad about how crazily kids’ heads are shaped. That’s why we are squaring these things instead of really trying to make them fit.

When you are satisfied with the folds, do some more folding (photos at the end

of the paragraph)! Lay the glasses/cardstock flat, with the inner side up, and fold the long sides IN, at the edge of the glasses. Cut along the shortest fold lines (just to where it reaches the long fold line) so that you have more flappy bits. Glue the flaps (and just wipe off the glue if you put it on the wrong spot three separate times; you’re doing some advanced math and physics over here, okay). You can zoom in to check out this photo series.

Once you’ve glued the flaps so you’ll have a boxy unit. **For Quinn’s, I had to add

cardstock flaps because there wasn’t enough of the original cardstock to tape to the glasses’ earpieces with more tape/hair disaster potential. But the other kids just have theirs taped so the sides are solid. Again, tape inside and out to cut down on fussing.



– Quinn kindly referred to my work on his all black creation as an obsidian helmet, so, we’re also Minecrafting.

– These are “front heavy” because I want them to stay put while faces are lifted. Our rule is that the glasses have to poke your nose while you’re sun-gazing. This seems to keep them in place even when there is wiggling and jumping.

– I suggest that if you’re unsure about size,

go large. Annie (3) had no trouble with Quinn’s (10) but Brennan (5) had a hard time with Annie’s. *shrug*

change of pace

All year we’ve been up in the air and unsettled. For every one thing going to plan, there are a million billion trillion (so many zeroes) things going NOT to plan. I haven’t wanted to think. I haven’t wanted to have ideas. I haven’t wanted to record or ponder or even hope. 

I’m weary.

Being weary gets old, though. As June has moved itself along, we’ve gotten past some of the incredibly changeable situations in our family life, and we’re settling into a routine.

Sadly, that routine has been stupid. There’s been a lot of arguing and avoiding and there has been A LOT of rain. Yesterday I could tell we needed to move our show out the door. We felt better after some outdoor time, but it wasn’t enough. We needed more.

This morning we got it. I am still so frazzled that I am not sure how much outdoor time we got. But. It was mostly good.

Annie needed to take the dictionary with us. It has maps. And pictures. And is bright red and very heavy. I sent Aiden back to our house to get her backpack so she could stop tripping down the stairs. 

We found nouns that start with A and B. People, places, things – we skipped ideas, though.

When we got tired, we investigated the garden plants. I murdered a squash pest. (I’m about to have to pull up and burn the spaghetti squash, booooooooo. I’m thinking all the happy thoughts about the pumpkin vines, which appear to have cross-pollinated…)

So. Then the kids wandered into the house, and I was going to follow. But. I was distracted. 

I have been wondering how our little lizard pals are doing. Aiden and I saw one – alive – yesterday. 

I got our science tweezers (as in, tweezers reserved for similar bleghy tasks) and picked up our desiccated friend, moving it to our bench. We investigated for a bit, then transferred the carcass to a jar. Now it’s on a shelf by the front door.

Now we’re going to talk about Egypt. And that was already the plan, even, before we found an unintentionally mummified lizard.


It’s the second half of August. WHAT. 

Our wedding anniversary is Friday. We’re in the last few days of Year Ten. WHAT.

I’ve spent a lot of time the past few weeks thinking about why I do what I do. I have tried to declutter some things and some thoughts and … just WHAT.

I feel like we’re on the edge of something and I have no idea what it is. I want to feel excited about life but mostly I’m battling anxiety alternating with apathy and things keep going wrong. When they go RIGHT, I cheer really loud. But the cheering feels kinda hollow, and it doesn’t echo when I stop. 

more about the chicks… and Wild Henny

I think out blog posts in my head and then later I think maybe I already actually posted. 


I guess it’s good brain exercise? Or not? I’m not sure. And the question marks look weird on my phone, so now I’m – this is maybe a completely new font, in my WordPress app, and I’m freaking out for the 47th time today. 

Why can’t I just ramble about the chickens without having to have my mind blown by a different font in the blog app?!?


They are messy and they don’t treat me like I’m Snow White or Briar Rose so I am ready for them to be big enough to move outside, so their poop is not in my house. I do still enjoy them. But. Poop. I’ve made it through almost 9 years of diapers. Can I just please get a break soon? Please? I said please. 

I can’t get great pictures lately because I’m too lazy to try harder. 

And one of the “wild” game hens (from far across the road) was using my maybe-rosemary (I’ve got to investigate this plant mess) to hide herself and some eggs under TheBarn (tucked under the bottom beam, against underpinning that Jona and Appy ripped out last weekend). Jonathan thought he had found a dead crow. 


I named her Henrietta, but I’ve been calling her Wild Henny. Especially after she traipsed off and I found this:  

(At some point, someone found a yellow ball and put it next to the pink one. But I can’t get anyone to ‘fess up to that.)

Y’all, these photos are from, like, a week ago. Maybe next week I’ll document and report in a more timely manner. Maybe. Doubtful.