Crosslake and Kris and Katie's


{First swim at Katie and Kris's cabin}



{More birthday celebrating for Jackson}


{My vacation book, sooooo good}

{Taking a bow after their dance show}


{Every night}

{Nora retrieving her letter from the Secret Garden Elf}


{Jackson getting a fire started for our smores}

{Rocket launch}




{Jackson up for a few minutes on the first try}

{Dinner picnics}



Beach Party



Since Tyler couldn't make his birthday party we decided that we would have to have a second party on the beach.  This one ended in ice cream cones and the park.


His Party








This year's party requests were to go bowling with his friends and for a homemade ice cream cake (no he really requested that. I used this recipe).  Check and check.  There was also some wrestling, bike riding, and all the other boy sorts of things.  A few even stayed for dinner (we grilled out and ate in the barn).  He was thoroughly exhausted by bed time which I took to mean that we threw him a good party.










Dear Monsanto,

Do you remember me?  We got in that fight a few years back when your "harmless" pesticides- used by the farmer adjacent to us- killed all of my honey bees.  I know, I know, your pretty busy putting out fires so mine might be hard to recall.  I was the one who flagged down the giant tractor in her pajamas to try and get a name for what exactly was being sprayed.  Surprisingly no one knew what they were spraying.  It wasn't until the police officer got involved that I finally got a name for that spray.  Or a "number" I should say.  I agree, it's easier to just give that stuff a number (when things have names like Round Up and Neonicotinoids and Glyphosates it's so much easier for people to start spreading nasty "rumors" about them isn't it??).  Here's a picture of my bees, maybe that will jog your memory...


Wait that picture is kind of far away, maybe you can't see them.  Here's a close-up


Remember those bees?  Probably not given the millions of other bee keepers experiencing the same thing.  Well anyway, that was a pretty colossal fight we were in.  I don't know about you but I know I was loosing A LOT of sleep.  Remember when we saw each other at the fair?  That was so uncomfortable.


Although I do have to say I thought we both did a swell job being civilized toward each other (I mean you know that's not really that hand gesture I wanted to give).

Perhaps you gained knowledge from your evil invisible space craft (or whatever it is that you conduct all of that life extinguishing business in) that I was making plans to take you down.  If somehow that information escaped you, let me just tell you, I was going to take you down.  I know, I know, it's okay, you can laugh.  It really sounds ridiculous now, and it is.  I even laugh about it.  In theory my idea was pretty good.  Compiling all of that irrefutable research like this study and this study and this one and this one (I could keep going...) into some magnificent expository essay.  (On a side note while we're on the topic of research, what a bugger about this study huh?  You guys worked so hard to make that one disappear and then to have it just resurface like that.  Not to worry, one of your GMObots will figure something out I'm sure.)   But you're right.  It was preposterous of me to think I could write something so influential (especially given the mediocre nature of my writing skills).   But you know what I figured out?  I actually learned something because of you.  I learned that I don't need to single-handedly do anything because I am part of a WE.  That's probably confusing for you guys given that you're more of ME type people so I'll give you an example.  When I say I buy almost exclusively non-GMO food no biggie right?  But when I say that so many people are buying non-GMO food that sales of GMO free products are up 80%- now those are the kind of numbers I know you pay attention to.  So that's the WE I'm a part of.  Isn't that exciting?!  We even have our own app!

Anyway, that's not actually why I'm writing.  And I know, you don't really have time for this (you've got lives to ruin) so let me get right to it.  The other I day I happened to bring my family into a Chipotle and I looked up to see this...


Whoa!  It turns out Chipolte has joined the WE!

Did you know this?? Have you seen it yet???  It would give me great joy to think I might be the first one to show it to you.  What I love about Chipolte's approach is that they're not just not using GMO food anymore, they are making signs about it.  Letting people know (I know this is one of your biggest pet peeves).  They're letting people know that they don't serve GMO food AND they're giving it the ol' PS we think GMOs suck.  Plus the way they worded it like that, it's genius!  It sounds so dooming.  FAREWELL!  

But wait, before you get too worried let's do some quick math, maybe it's not so bad.  Let's see, so Chipolte is the 5th largest quick serving restaurant in the world.  Yep, I said world.  Shoot, so that's not good.  In 2013 they did over 3 billion dollars worth of sales.  Ouch, that one really hurts.  3 billion dollars is a lot of money.  I bet you can hop right into your evil space craft and translate those numbers on your biotechnically advanced calculator.   Just in case you can't though, here's some to play with.  Let's say each person that comes into Chipolte spends $10.  If you divide 3 billion in sales by $10 per customer you get 300,000,000 customers.  This means that in one year potentially 300 million people are going to walk into Chipolte and see that GMOs suck sign.  That is really not going to be good for all of that "let's keep things in the dark" business.  Oh and before I forget you should check out their website.  They have a whole page that explains GMOs and why they suck- but they do it in such a simple way.  Again, this really puts a dent all of the work you're trying to do in keeping us from knowing what's in our food.

You know what else Mon?  I hate to say it but you know others are going to copy them.  You know how this sort of thing goes.  One company does something that people like and then all of the others have to follow suite trying to stay afloat.  I'm afraid this really might be the beginning of the end for you.  I just can't really see how  you're going to turn it around.  Even all of the millions of dollars you spend trying to take away the rights of citizens to label their food, none of it matters if we find out anyway AND STOP BUYING THE FOOD YOU PUT IT IN.  I think the gig might be up.

Even though we are technically still in a fight, given the sad state of affairs you're in I'd like to give you a little bit of advice.  It is the same advice I give to my children.  It goes like this: should you ever find yourself in a position where a group of people are mad at you as the result of your behavior, you can always rejoin the group.  It just takes three simple steps.  Step 1: STOP doing the offensive behavior.  This is probably going to be the hardest part for you, but I don't think it's impossible.  Step 2: fix it.  This always begins by admitting what you did wrong and APOLOGIZING.  In your case the "fixing" part is going to be a doozy... but I have complete faith that if you got yourself (us) into this mess, you can get yourself (us) out of it.  You know what, actually, on second thought, given your history just the "stopping and apologizing" will be enough, we'll take care of the fixing part.  Step 3: MAKE ANOTHER CHOICE.  This last step could be really fun.  I mean you guys have 89 gibigillion dollars at your disposal.  You could make some amazing choices.  Maybe you could use those GMObots to help build homeless shelters or help cities transition to 100% solar powered energy.  The possibilities are endless really.  You could turn yourself into a legend, one that parents from all over the world would tell their children about.  But mom, I just can't seem to turn my behavior around! Well if you think it's hard to stop hitting your sister, think of Monsanto, they had practically destroyed the whole planet but they were able to turn themselves around.  Run along now and remember those three steps I told you about.

One more piece of advice before I go.  I just heard that your Round Up is now showing up in breast milk at levels unsafe for consumption.  You might want to set aside some money for future lawsuits.  Just saying.

Well anyway, no need to respond, you've got too much work to do trying to figure this mess out.  Good luck.  Or perhaps I should say FAREWELL!

P.S. Chipolte... if you ever need anything, and I mean anything at all, someone to chase down tractors in pajamas, etc please know that I am your gal.  Also, as your new biggest fan I hereby pledge to be your loyal customer for life.


Impromptu Beach Day








 Today Nora and I woke up hours before the the two big kids. We ate our breakfast quietly at the table so we wouldn't wake anyone and then headed right out to the garden. We spent the next hour and a half gardening together. I pulled weed after weed and thought about the beginnings of this garden, way back when and how much it and our little "farm" has grown over the last several years.    323

Before lunch I walked outside to find my two big kids high up in the pine trees. So high they needed me to hold a ladder to help them down.

Tonight after a full day of tree climbing, playing with neighborhood friends, a visit from Papa, and a baseball game Ryan overheard Grace say to Jackson, "let's go outside and pick a bedtime snack of black raspberries and jump on the trampoline". Again I can't help thinking about the beginning of here and them and how very lucky we all are. How very lucky they are, to grow up here. 336

 Of course there are the things. There are always things here. Today it is a broken washing machine, a broken door, and a broken lawn mower. Soon all of that will be fixed and new things will need tending in their place. These days I'm in a pretty good place about all of that. 349
 Today we officially closed on our farm. It feels strange to say that because I've never once thought of it as anything but ours. Then again, that's not to say I've never worried about it. While I'm feeling overwhelmingly grateful tonight, I'm also having unexpected feelings of excitement mixed in with a tiny splash of disbelief. It's that same feeling of "WOW, we really did this!" I had the day we moved in here.

Tomorrow I will wake up to the beginning of my new-old life. It feels so good to be here.