Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spud Harvest

Spuds (as in, potatoes) are in full swing right now. Nine years ago--before I ever dreamed or imagined that I'd someday live here--I left my parents' house and moved here for a couple months to drive a ten wheeler for potato and sugar beet harvest. I stayed with our friends John and Kathy. Their entire family of four worked on the farm and John graciously hired a very young city girl who had never driven any kind of a truck. Kathy took me around the block a few times until I got the hang of it--thankfully they gave me an automatic, so I wasn't bothered with all that shifting nonsense. I had so much fun that year. My truck had no working radio and no working heater. I had to dress for the weather and sing at the top of my lungs to entertain myself. With so many other fun young people working harvest, times never got boring. So this year I took the kids to ride along with Kathy for a few hours. Ezra and Caroline had a blast and didn't want to go home. First of all we had to bake up some cookies to take as an offering to all the folks whose way we were about to get in.

Ezra and Caroline had picked out Reese's peanut butter chips at the store the day before, so we used their recipe for chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips. It seemed "harvesty" somehow--and boy were they yummy!

They start 'em young here in Hi-da-do.

Ezra heard that truck drivers do uncouth things, such as picking their noses.

Eating while driving is also something that has to happen a lot during the busy days of harvest.

Ezra helped Kathy to "pick clods" (dirt clods, rocks, rotten potatoes and potato vines that go by on the belt) as her truck would unload each time around.
And Caroline enjoyed helping her to load up.

This little beauty and her Mama are up to help in harvest.
Kathy took my camera and started clicking away, so I'm in a lot of these shots...sorry. The digger driver was taking lunch when we got out to the field for one round. We took the opportunity to get out of the truck, play in the dirt and glean some yummy fresh potatoes.


She filled her bag full and lugged it all around.

There goes A, loading up her truck.
It was a very hot and sunny day.

The tiny little potatoes the kids were so fond of gleaning are perfect for tossing with olive oil and fresh rosemary and grilling on the bbq with your favorite meat.
We can't wait for them to harvest the field next to our house so that more gleaning (aka: digging in the dirt for treasures) can take place. Thanks, Kathy, for letting us tag along for a few hours!

Monday, September 28, 2009

So many posts and so much to do this week! I have two big boxes of peaches waiting to be canned. And then this morning the kids and I went to the local orchard and bought 80# in apples. We picked a box and a half of honey crisp and bought a box of already picked saucing apples. The honey crisp will keep in the basement and we'll use them just for eating as is through December. But the saucing apples obviously will take a little work : ) So between that and trying to get the last of the garden in before the freezing weather hits on Wednesday PLUS our ultrasound on Thursday(no, we don't plan to find out what we're having...I know, I know you are all sick of surprises, but we still love it) and Tadd being gone on a business trip for a couple days, time is at a premium. Eek! At least the time passes quickly this way and I do love to feel busy and productive. The kids have been helpful by playing together nicely and un-helpful by fighting. They balance themselves out most days.
These are the last of the pictures from our trip. Saturday morning Grandpa fixed us a big breakfast. The kids helped him make the pancakes. Well, really all they did was eat half of the first batch as fast as he could get it off the griddle. This is not my favorite picture, because Grandpa is not shown. But, since he still had bed-head, I thought I'd spare him.

The neighbors up the road from my parents have a kid who built this mini-bike track in his front yard. He told Ezra he could come ride whenever he wants to. Ezra begged to go up the road to the track multiple times a day after finding this gem. He'd ride around and around and around until forced to go home. And he loved to have an audience.

Saturday evening my Aunt Jenny, her daughter Kelsey and Kelsey's husband Roderick came to visit. Roderick is home on a two week R&R from Iraq. Ezra instantly decided he loved them and they HAD to see him ride the track. So, before they went home they were kind enough to go watch him for a few minutes. Tadd had fun taking pictures of the kids on the track and in the woods.

They may live in Idaho now--but they are still Seattlite tree huggers at heart!

As you can see, Aunt Megan, we're already putting that coat you gave her to good use. We get stopped by people all the time to receive compliments. I've even been asked if I made it. I think I'm going to start saying yes from now on ; )

Our last two evenings the kids played in a tent Grandpa set up for them in the living room. I like to call this picture "Death by Ice Cream". Too bad I'm more likely to die this way than Tadd. His motto is "Everything in moderation". Pretty much the opposite of mine : )
And this awful picture is simply to prove that I am alive and I did go on the trip even though I'm never in any pictures.
We sure had a wonderful trip. Thanks to Grandpa and Grandma and Heffay for putting up with us for so long. And for all the food and beds and the messes that we left for you to clean up. We managed to fit an awful lot in. Sorry to all the folks I said I was hoping to see and then never got a chance to visit. Next time!
Be on the look out for posts about fall and harvest from here on out...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Half-Way Day!

Ready or not, as of today we are officially half-way done cooking this baby. YIKES! I love this part of pregnancy. I feel healthy and wonderful. The belly is showing and still considered "cute" by some people. I'm not too large, things don't hurt, I can feel the little guy/girl doing all her flips and turns and kicks, but he is not big enough to deliver killer punches to my spleen yet. The next 4 1/2 months I'll just be growing, growing, growing. And then--and this sends shivers down my spine--we'll have THREE, count them, THREE children. Augh!!!!! What have I signed up for???? Seriously, we are excited for this baby : ) Just a little nervous this time around.
The kids are sleeping right now, and I thought I'd take a nap as well since I had to take the kids to the dentist this morning, which is an emotionally draining experience in this household. Not because the kids hate the dentist or anything. Ezra is a model patient. Caroline has a long way to go, but she's never bitten the finger entirely off of a hygienist, so it's not all bad. The emotional drain comes from hearing just how much worse Ezra's tooth decay has gotten. BUT--I didn't cry this time. It was our first visit to our new dentist, and I really like him. He did not blame me for Ezra's decay. He did not tell me I needed to put my three year old on a no-carb diet. He did not get mad at me for breast feeding beyond 1 year (NO, they do not still breast feed). And, he told me that Caroline's teeth look great. We got fluoride varnish put on her at a young enough age to stop the decay before it got too far on her. I've never had a dentist say "looks good!" about either kid. So I was ecstatic to hear that. However, we do have to have some major work done on Ezra. His decay has reached his roots and is causing pain. No more "wait and see" game. It's time to act.
The reason I'm not napping? I made a batch of granola that I can't stop eating warm out of the oven. Since I can't eat and nap at the same time, I figured I should at least eat and blog. I promise only a couple more vacation posts. These pictures are some odds and ends from visits to a friend's house to meet her new baby, mommy group and a trip out on the Sound with Daddy.

Caroline reading to baby Ella.
Back at Grandpa and Grandma's, Grandpa made a trip up to the attic to find some new-old toys. He opted for the McDonald's play set. No--this play set is not the reason I worked at McD's : ) The kids sure had a blast making ice cream cones, french fries and burgers.

We had heard that the weather was supposed to be somewhat icky on Saturday, so Thursday night we thought we'd better sneak out in the boat with Daddy to enjoy some nice weather while it was around. We grabbed some subs and hit the water. Ezra started out as our Captain.

We motored out around the tip of Vashon Island and then back by Salmon Beach. Salmon Beach is its own little community of houses built directly on the water at the base of a very long and steep bank. The only access is by boat or the loooooooong walk down all those steps (I didn't get a good picture) and we're talking hundreds of steps. Residents can park their cars at the top. Can you imagine hauling your kid to the bus stop at 8 AM? Yikes!

Anyone with a camera out on the water is obligated to take pictures of such a show-off mountain, of course. Such a dominating figure on the skyline!

These kids are bow-babes. They spent some time up front at the beginning of our trip out but both came back to lay on the floor under towels because it was so windy and cold up front. Once we got back into the Harbor and had to motor along at no more than 5 mph, they were back up front.

Sunset inside Gig Harbor on our way back to the boat ramp. This is only 7 PM--how sad it is when the days get short!

Caroline playing with her friends, Nora and Ronan. Technically they are cousins as well, but it's so far removed it's hardly worth a mention.

Ezra with Thomas and James. Look at all that red hair!

This game is called "How many red-heads can we fit on a tire swing without having a fist fight?"

A touchy-feely-girly Mommy Group member and another not-so-touch-feely member grimacing during a photo embrace. I love and miss both of these Sisters. I enjoyed getting in on a Mommy Group session while back home. And the kids had fun seeing their old friends. And now, naps are over and it's time to get dinner going!