Surprising no one, Sydney has been ambitious in his yard projects. A very wet couple of weeks has put work at the farm on hold, so he has built a large new bed in the front yard, created a rock path (suddenly we all have arm muscles after our winter sloth), and is hard at work on a chicken coop.
Although the kids remain distinctly unimpressed by our computer work, they have come up with projects of their own around the yard, including lots of jump roping. The school jump rope team, of which they were both members, had several spring performances scheduled–and then canceled–so the kids are making do with our sidewalk and driveway.
It is currently 77 degrees in Kentucky . . . at 7pm, at the end of March. Although I think normal temperatures will resume, this heat is a reminder of the hot summer to come. But it’s also a signal for plants and animals to get on with growing and blooming. Here are a few pictures from our yard.
Our new English Hornbeams:
The very first flower on our magnolia tree:
Peach and plum trees:
Our resident mourning dove, who is not thrilled about our being home to watch her nest:Erin
Well, with the kids out of school for the foreseeable future and Sydney and Erin juggling teaching from home (students were sent home, and faculty are not allowed back on campus for the next several weeks), we’re spending a lot of time at our house. And the cats are thrilled.
We are fortunate to have built-in socialization with a four-person family (in terms of getting work done, far more socialization than we need . . .), two cats, a big yard and a farm to work, and six chicks arriving in mid-April for the chicken coop Sydney is building right now.
“Not eating anything from the sea really would be hard. We eat salt, and that comes from the sea.”
First thing out of his mouth, just after 6 in the morning. I’m glad someone’s awake!
Sydney suggested we each pick a different kind of hummus to make over the weekend. That started up a discussion in our house! After much sorting and debating, we made a list of our top 6 and decided to break things up into two rounds. And then we made our first three:
1) lemon-and-coriander hummus
2) olive hummus
3) apricot-and-chili hummus
I made olive flatbread to go with them. As you can see, everyone’s hard at work!
Yes, they were all successful. And yes, they made for some great lunches this week.
In the first week of December, Katherine found herself juggling a piano recital and two separate school presentations: one on the life of Joan of Arc, and the other on the health benefits of bananas. Sydney and I, deep in our end-of-semester grading, could commiserate with her feeling of being overwhelmed. Nathaniel just tried to avoid bumping into our stress.
Once end-of-semester projects were wrapped up, we headed to Nova Scotia to visit family. There, we got to watch our kids play with their two young cousins (Allister, 2.5, and Everett, 7 months) and have food and games with extended family. Katherine and Nathaniel were thrilled to discover that some of their quiet second cousins are also lightning-fast Dutch Blitz players.
Despite the windy winter weather, we got out for a quick visit to the North Shore, where we looked out on the Bay of Fundy. Gorgeous scenery. Despite the intense cold and wind, the kids still say that was the best part of our trip. They really want to go back, but in the summer.
The kids have been showing increasing interest in the kitchen in the past few months. Nathaniel often prefers cookbooks or seed catalogs to fiction during reading time, and he and Katherine earned enough good-behavior points over the school break to pick out dishes to make (nearly) on their own. After her success over Thanksgiving, when she made cornbread using Sydney’s first batch of home-ground cornmeal, Katherine opted for a crust-less lemon meringue pie, in individual serving cups, for a January treat. Nathaniel made an herb-and-mushroom pasta, as well as a big batch of granola. I am definitely enjoying the company in the kitchen, particularly since Katherine has also started lending a hand with dishwashing.
The kids have grown a bit camera-shy, but I managed to get a few shots of them over the course of the fall.
Sydney’s brugmansia (Angel’s Trumpet) prompted a number of questions from people who passed by the front yard. Those flowers are seriously fragrant!
The persimmon trees Sydney planted behind our garage have shot up past the edge of our roof and have begun to produce many, many pounds of persimmons.
Nathaniel is holding one of Sydney’s Lincoln cushaw squash, of the variety that Abraham Lincoln’s father grew when their family lived in Kentucky. We mostly see cushaws used as porch decorations, but we’ve learned they also make seriously smooth pumpkin-like pies!
And, in the midst of everything else, we did get out for a few hikes at Shaker Village.
Katherine and Nathaniel were up early for the first day of school, where she’s starting fifth grade and he’s starting third. This is their last year sharing a bus ride and a school, since next year Katherine will switch to middle school in the neighboring town. Although she likes the familiarity and fun of the elementary school, our night owl is already looking forward to the later start time of middle school.
In July, Katherine and I met up with Mom to drive down to the annual Faulkner conference in Oxford, Mississippi. I had a great time at the conference and enjoyed celebrating my book’s publication with fellow Faulknerians. Mom and Katherine walked all over the campus and town, and together we made sure to hit up our favorite restaurants and bookstores. We also took advantage of some decent weather to walk through Bailey Woods, the grounds that surround Faulkner’s home.