Spring is Coming

Is it nearly spring? It’s pretty darn close!

Our own little spring chicken arrived…or pig, actually, judging on how much this kid eats! haha. It takes a lot of fuel to tank up a 10 pound baby! We’re settling in, and learning a new rhythm slowly. I was lucky enough to have my sweet mother-in-law come for a week to help out, and keep my house running, while baby and I recuperated. I was so grateful for the help, knowing that laundry and dishes were still cycling, and that my older girls were happy and learning. Nana even managed to teach my oldest to read a clock, count by fives, and recognize different coins. Not bad for a week’s work for a kindergartner!

I was surprised to come home one afternoon and find a large package on the front step- I had assumed that my bare root blueberries would ship in March, not early February! It’s tax season around here for my husband, so extra work is never timely, but my bushes were packed well enough to leave them wrapped tight for a few days until my husband could put them in the ground today. (I love working with One Green World nursery, near Portland, Oregon.) I settled on three different kinds of high bush blueberries: bluecrop, liberty, and duke. The duke is an early-fruiting, so we should see crops the end of July, and the liberty and bluecrop and mid-fruiting, so we’ll see fruit in August. I decided not to get a late-fruiting bush- I couldn’t find any GLOWING local reviews for any late crop bushes, and thought that a month and a half of harvest would be plenty, especially if each bush produces the anticipated 15-20 pounds each if they thrive. So, three blueberry bushes are in the ground, with lots of peat, and we’ll pick off the blossoms for the next year and cross our fingers that 2012 brings bushels of berries! ¬†Besides, I wanted all the space I could get for a raspberry patch next to the blueberries ūüôā ¬†(Raspberries and rhubarb need to be transplanted this month or next, and then I’m done with my “permanent plantings” for this year.)

We’ll be picking blooms off of the strawberries we planted in the Fall, as well, until July. I guess then I’ll find out if I got June-bearing or ever-bearing berries. If they’re June berries, we won’t see a crop till next year, but if they’re ever-bearing we should get a half crop! I’m not sure my oldest can stand the suspense, she’s really looking forward to berries this summer.

I checked my larger worm bin today- definitely not happy campers, about fifteen were climbing the sides trying to leave. I gave them some ripe banana peels, and more dry newspaper, and a promise to give them all the veggie scraps this week.  Our smaller, indoor, worm bin is doing well.  Those worms are much smaller and slower eaters than our new guys in the garage- I keep forgetting that!

The osso plums are starting to bloom in the back woods, and all our bulbs are pushing up through the ground. ¬†I’ve found myself scratching my head, trying to remember which green clumps are crocosmia, tulips, day lilies, daffodils, or various other bulbs we stuck in the ground before the winter! ¬†Mostly I know, but I’m still looking forward to seeing everything bloom!

No pictures today- it’s pouring rain today, and the wind is howling, and I seem to spend most of my free time either nursing the baby, or nursing myself back to health. ¬†(It involves a fair amount of sitting, an unseemly amount of ibuprofen, and a strong batch of seaweed soup. ¬†Oh, and some cookies. ¬†They’re pretty important, too.)

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A Math Lesson

This must be the girls’ favorite math lesson! ¬†We made chocolate chip cookies this morning for the first time in a while (my husband seems to BREATHE in chocolate chips, the last bag I purchased disappeared before we got any cookies made! ūüôā ¬†I took over the measuring and mixing, Mimi was our dumper, and Ernie was in charge of reading all the ingredients and the recipe to me and telling Mimi how high she would have to count to finish with the scoops. ¬†(“Mimi, you’ll need to count to FOUR, OK?”)
making cookies

Lessons we learned:

  • Which cookie scoop is smallest? ¬†Medium? ¬†Largest? ¬†Which one will make the biggest cookies? ¬†(We used all three, to test them out!)
  • How many 1/4 cup scoops of brown sugar will it take to make one cup? ¬†The answer was four…the bottom number of the fraction
  • How many 1/4 cup scoops will it take to make a 1/2 cup of flour? ¬†That one was trickier, but she at least nodded when I talked about half vs. quarter!
  • How to take turns- this lesson was mostly for the tiny Mimi!
  • Patience. ¬†Yes, you can have chocolate chips…when we scoop some into the dough!
  • How to read fractions- Ernie is slowly learning this fraction language.
  • Motor skills, squeezing the dough out of the cookie scoop
  • How to make a grid- the next cookie must line up with the cookie above and next to it
  • How to keep your hands OUT of your sister’s turn. ¬†(Ernie, I’m looking at you!)

making cookies

Our letter practice wasn’t nearly as fun this morning, but I had to laugh. ¬†Ernie was messing around so much, she’d been staring at her page for at least 20 minutes, playing with her pencil, and joking with her sister.

“Ernie! ¬†You only have seven lower-case h’s to write, can you get them done?”

“Mom! ¬†It’s only FOUR. ¬†See? ¬†One….two…three…..four!”

And in ten seconds, she’d both proved me wrong AND finished her task!