This Island


I hesitated for a moment before I begin typing this post.  The pictures are beautiful- the island is beautiful- I wondered if I should resist the urge to add any words alongside of them.  But there is a story in here too so I am foraging ahead with the words.


Living the secondhand, do-yourself, scrappy sort of life that we live has been, and continues to be, an incredible lesson in patience for me.  There are usually no "insta-fixes" here.  Things in our lives materialize in an altogether different sort of way.  First there is a need or idea about something.  Then there are discussions about it.  Many of them usually.  Sometimes there are fights about it.  And compromises.  There is this whole messy, complicated process that must take place in order to proceed.  On top of that, there is the time that is needed to complete something.  Sometimes time comes in small pockets over a few weeks, sometimes time comes in small pockets over several years.  And almost always, in those pockets of time, are flailings and failings.  Sometimes the whole idea or project is scrapped and we/he/I must completely start over.  This is all to say that life here is always moving in slow motion.


But, once (or if) the thing/idea is ever completed, it is always incredibly beautiful, even if only to our own eyes.  For we know what went into it.  We know about the life that was infused into it.  Looking around our humble, imperfect home I can say this about almost everything, whether it's something I did, something Ryan did, or something we did together.  The garden, the interior of our home (homemade quilts, thrifted furniture, painted walls), the barn.


Shortly after we moved in here, Ryan decided to build us a kitchen island out of barnwood.  And now, approximately 6 years later, here it is.  Every time I walk by it, it almost brings tears to my eyes, because it is so beautiful yes, but also because of what it stands for to me.  Because of what is inside of it- the starts and stops, the vision, the discussions, the sweat, the love, the whole long process Ryan went through to get to this.  When I look at this island, I see all of that wrapped in there.  It's like a giant mascot for our lives, sitting right in the middle of our kitchen.





Birthday/weekend Highlights
~ Getting the new island Ryan built for us finished and in our kitchen! (post coming)
~ Ryan helping me with a bunch of house projects I've been needing help with
~ Going into Stillwater for a dinner picnic by the river
~ My mom watching the kids so I could have some time to myself
~ Time to myself!!!
~ My parents coming back over with the kids, and Katie and Kris too and having dinner together with everyone
~ The beautiful picture Nora made me
~ The birdhouse Grace and Jackson made me
~ The (way too) generous gifts from my parents and Katie and Kris
~ Looking back over this blog at what the year 38 was and imagining what 39 will be





This has not been our best gardening year.  Fatty fatty groundhog managed to eat all of our edemame, all of our broccoli, most of the spinach, most of the cabbage and most of the kale (though this one is growing back).  After we trapped him the 4th time and released him across the freeway, he has not returned.  But still, it's a tad depressing to see all of the empty spots in the garden.


Also, a lot of our tomato plants have black spots on them (I need to look up what this is), and the potatoes were completely demolished by the potato beetle while we were up north.


So I'm trying to make the best of what we do have.  We have blanched and frozen a lot of beans (trying to make up for the loss of a year's worth of edemame in our freezer).  And we have been enjoying the surplus of carrots with dinner as well as the fresh tomatoes, cucs and a few peas.


Other garden goodness we have been loving

~ Smoothies with our aronia berries, frozen strawberries and frozen black raspberries
~ One of our favorite garden salads
~ Zucchini boats!  (recipe found by Katie)
~ Kale, beet, apple juice from the juicer
~ Sauteed beans
~ Roasted beets