Friday, August 14, 2009

Long summer, no posts!

We've been surprisingly busy for unscheduled folks, but all is well and we've been having a great time. I'll wade through the photos on our digital cameras and post them next, but for now, a quick recap:

Late June we headed back east and did a whirlwind tour of DC (Smithsonian museums, Washington Monument, White House, National Zoo) before heading to Great Grandma Shirley's 99th birthday party on July 3. Wonderful to see her again, and Jack, Jennifer, Alison, Sarah, Ava, Nick, Ellen, Jeff, Becky, Jay and Warren too. What a fun houseful of cousins!

We came home and got to see JeffBeckyJayWarren the following weekend -- so cool to have family to bike and tube down the Poudre River with. Pics to come.

Then visits from Grandpa Russell and Uncle Ray (they were driving bulls around the Midwest and stopped in for the night) and my folks came for a great visit as well, with a 9th birthday party for Owen capping it off.

That was followed by a weekend camping in the gorgeous mountains here with a couple of families in our neighborhood, then the New West Fest over the weekend -- saw the headliner, Melissa Etheridge (hey, she's thoroughly middle-aged! How did that happen?! Makes me afraid to look in the mirror...), and wandered around downtown in the dark, goggling at the carny rides (which seemed too frightening to the kids to try at night, but the next day they rode the giant revolving swings several times, shrieking and whooping the whole time. I was much quieter, preferring to spend my energy focusing on the horizon until I could get off the damn spinning thing...)

Back to work for Steve, who has not only Nexus' next edition heating up, but who is also designing a dozen or two new toys for this outfit , everything from sewing boards to puzzles to bookends. An interesting new sideline for him.

I've been, yes, tending the gardens, harvesting and processing carrots, onions, potatoes, tomatillos, chard, raspberries (okay, we're just eating those out-of-hand, haven't managed to actually preserve any yet), shredded zucchini and pureed beets (mmmm red devil cake is sooo good), learning how to make enchilada sauce with the tomatillos that are coming in, and generally expanding my homestead-y skillset. We now make our own butter from the cream skimmed off the top of our raw milk. I made my first soup stock from a chicken carcass (no, not one of ours. They're doing fine and laying mightily.) And I made my first batch ever of custard with some extra milk -- ohhhh, that was heavenly.

Steve scored a brand-new, 14-year-old Jotul woodstove (sat in someone's garage with the tags still on it all that time) on Craigslist for $700, and he's now scouting free wood there too and waiting for the next break in his Nexus schedule to install it. Next post-deadline project is to install the woodstove, which should be able to heat the top half of the house very well.

Crops are coming in at the farm, some better than others. Maddie and I picked 10 pounds of beautiful Swiss Chard this week, which I blanched and froze for winter soups, and we also froze several batches of basil in olive oil for later pestos.

Heading back out there today to do battle with the fearsome weeds that have to be wrestled mightily out of the soil. Makes me *very* glad I'm doing raised bed and mulched gardens at home, where I hardly have to weed at all....