Bated Breath

Earlier this afternoon, I finished all the summertime snapshots.
Yes, that's right, fall comes next!
(Smarty pants.)


He is handsome and jolly!

 So handsome! So jolly!

Outdated Baby

To offset this poor-quality snapshot of a young Ezekiel delighted at the girly torment his big sisters have already begun to implement, 


here's a picture of a young Ezekiel looking irresistible.


They Are What You Make Them

Ships ahoy, Matey.

We Should Have Named Her Lydia

No, sillies, this Lydia, not that one.  (Sheesh.)

It's a Wonderful Life

This is true. Also, and not entirely unrelated, our gentle counselor Mildred Elise turned ten years old in August.



Millie doesn't always care for me trapping her in photography, so she doesn't feature on shotsnaps as prominently as she does in our lives and hearts.


She is a great help to me.  She is thoughtful and stubborn and practical and confident and vulnerable and has a corny sense of humor.  She is hopelessly attached to books.  When watching film or reading books, she belly-guffaws unreservedly, with a wholehearted enjoyment and an enviable lack of self-consciousness.  I love this about her.


She loves flowers, chickens, dogs, cats, horses-- especially horses-- and dolphins.

And fancy dresses.

And ratty sweatpants.


Also, though these sober pictures don't show the sparkle, she's a complete goose, and we love her greatly.

To ten and beyond, my little Bumpkin!

It's Just What Blogging Gardeners Do

They do. I'm not a weirdo.

So here are pictures of, um, piles of chopped vegetables and, um,


  large bowls of squash on the kitchen table.


Okay, let me backtrack for a second.  How WEIRD is this?!


At the time, my smug and satisfied self thought they looked so pretty, though.

Don't shame me.



Curvy or Straight, They Fill the Plate

Pip was big enough to help cut beans this year, even though she sometimes confused the dull and sharp sides of the knife.

She proved a great addition to our bean-chopping hilarity.


It almost makes you want to come help us cut beans next year, doesn't it?  (Hey, it was worth a shot...)


p.s. The scrape on her nose was not caused by a sharp knife.  Just thought you should be aware of that before you called Social Services.  

Lucky You

I think Millie took these.

Here's what I normally try to present to the world. (And, no, for the love of Pete, I am not wearing blush or lipstick or white clown paint. Okay, maybe a leetle bit of white clown paint..)


Here's the underbelly, cataracts included at no extra charge.

I'm even throwing in a Cuckoo Bird and her mama for free.  


Sorry. I simply can't help myself. We had a bumper onion crop this year, and they just looked so pretty screen-drying in the sun that I took a snapshot.

Snip, snip

For your viewing (dis)pleasure, here are some snippets of the big day.

The younger girls gathered flowers to make birthday bouquets.



Millie took a birthday shower.


Birthday breakfast and bouquets...  
Annie had to put a tablecloth on to make things worthy of a Double Digit Day.



I need to put this recipe on buildabelly. It is more than worthy.


 My mom makes each grandbaby a quilt when they're born.  Her brilliant (insane) follow-up idea was to make each growing grandchild a full-size quilt for their tenth birthday, following the color scheme each child requests.

Just so you know, she has 23 grandchildren and counting.


Aaaand, the cake.  Millie wanted to make her own cake this year-- an ice cream cake!-- which saved me buckets of time.  Happy, happy-- poof!



Every single day of the summer, unless forgetfulness or sloth crept in, the girls or I took a trip to the herb bed to snip the chamomile and calendula that blossomed overnight.  The first few dozen bowlfuls brought satisfaction, but by the time October rolled around, I was sending the girls out to gather them and then just dumping them on the screen to dry or not to dry, as they would, and eventually, I simply didn't gather them at all.  The bright bursts of color the calendula trumpeted in an otherwise barren garden, well after the first frosts and even past the first snowfall, were worth more than the petals to me.  I highly recommend growing calendula (pot marigold) for reasons culinary, medicinal, or for the simple virtue of their brilliant orange and yellow heads.

I took these pictures, obviously, in the honeymoon period of calendula and chamomile, when I blissfully ignored the fact that photo-journaling gardeners are kind of weird.




 Luci and Pip snitched blossoms whenever we went out.  


We interrupt these flowers to bring you a HUMAN CHILD.




 I infused quite a bit of calendula oil (this snapshot also taken during the honeymoon period)


and dried so many blossoms that I still have 4 or 5 cups of petals left.  They were pretty, though, yes?


We Grow the Workers, Too

This is the way it always goes down. 

#1.   I walk inside and am greeted by an elaborate fort. 

#2.  I'm so impressed by the industrious builders that I put them to work in the garden.

For the record, the potato yield was disappointing and barely worth the effort it took to plant them.  

Go Ahead, Laugh

It's perfectly all right to laugh at the fact that this past summer I made baby gifts for two 4 year-old nephews and one 2-year old nephew. After you laugh, though, please note that I did make the baby gifts.  
I don't know if keeping one's word has an expiration date, but, if not, I delivered.

Delivered: one shirt for Nickel Pickle, acrobat extraordinaire.


Delivered: shirts for Simeon, Lover of Little Things, and Henry with the Will of Steel.


I know the craftsmanship is lacking, but I was so delighted with myself for thinking of interchangeable outfits for the gingerbread man.  That is, I was delighted with myself until I realized that Simeon, though a passionate champion of gingerbread men, probably wouldn't have the patience to change the man himself, which would make outside help necessary. (Sorry, Sarah.  Seriously, I'm sorry.)

In the spirit of making gifts either at inappropriate times or inappropriate sizes, I made my first clothing garment (apart from aprons) for Sigrid.  I was intimidated, even though I used the easiest skirt tutorial in the entire world. Since the material was printed, I slightly altered the pattern so the trees weren't upside down in the back, and since the material was thin, I added an enclosed brown lining, and then I made some ruffles to hide the ugly, crooked stitching on the front, which I hope makes up for the equally drunken stitching visible on the inside. (Don't look, Heidi!)

Sigrid is a dear and darling little baby, but because newborns receive ten million outfits in size 0-3 months, I sensitively made this one humongous.  Then, after I gave it to her, I told her I needed to keep it for an extra week so that I could enter it in the county fair.  (Friends don't mind tacky friends.)

Aren't I thoughtful?  It won't even fit Sigrid for a couple of years. Don't ask me how I know this. 

I just know, okay?


(The skirt had to be pinned for Luci, Heidi, so there might be some taking in in your future.)