Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Baby Tails

I'm thrilled to report that not everything growing around the Kantola Farm has leaves:

As I already told some friends today (yes, this subject has occupied much of my time and energy), I'm so proud. I know these baby pigtails really look more like teeny hair extension sprouts that I glued to Siennalee's head, but I'm very VERY proud of them. My baby is suddenly looking so much like a little girl... and a bug. A cute little girl-bug with sprouty hair extension antennae.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dreaming Green

I hail from a lineage that boasts of generations of dirt-digging, seed-planting, weed-pulling, veggie-sniffing folks who have a secret (and not so secret) love affair with watering cans, dirty gardening gloves and fresh, ripe manure in the mornings.

I'm not ashamed of these inbred compulsions (although I won't necessarily volunteer the manure thing until I know you a little better). I actually believe that this odd instinct to grub around in the dirt and grow things helped my husband fall in love with and consequently want to marry me. In fact, his first view of me was in the garden. (We know of another great love story that began this way, but in the interest of full disclosure -which I wasn't - I was semi-modestly clad in a tank top and pair of ratty cutoff shorts. Fig leaves have never suited me). I'm sure he thought to himself, "Now here's a girl who could make sure that my family will never grow hungry." Although I suspect the little cutoff shorts didn't hurt either.

So this year I found myself with a hungry workin' man, freshly delivered back from his patriotic duty in Kuwait and a ravenous, growing 1 1/2 year old girlie who cannot stop learning the names of foods so that she can clamor for them endlessly. I must feed my family. And feed my family well.

But there's a even deeper magic to be found in the garden. It goes beyond the need to fill restless hands and empty tummies. One feels closer to God in the garden. There's something about helping with life - beginning it, growing it, tending it, fighting for it, hoping for it, and then enjoying the fruits of it - that allows you to find and sit quietly beside a secret part of God's heart. Some of my best quiet times are spent vigorously weeding or carefully watering, gently tending these precious green things I've helped to grow.

So here I begin the beautiful journey of The Garden. It'll be a tale of adventure, romance, comedy, and yes, some horrors (think SLUGS) to be found along the way. And you, my faithful reader, will be subjected to it all (should you choose to continue to visit my blog, of course). I am confident that in the end, it will be a tale worth telling. A tale to be told year after year, with new challenges and championships to be found along the way. And if I am very lucky, I will be able to share pictures and posts of a beautifully producing garden, a happily fed family and an even happier gardener, wife, mama, and daughter of God - ME.

So, without further ado, please enjoy the beginnings of my dreams of green.

Little Butternut Squash plants

Tiny Roma Tomato plants

Itty bitty Basil guys - don't you just wanna pinch their cheeks?

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Siennalee saw her first spider today. She wouldn't go near a toy that had fallen close to the web in a corner of the kitchen and my mother-in-law, who hadn't yet caught sight of the eight-legged offender, couldn't figure out why. I had noticed the spider there earlier this morning and thought perhaps that was the cause of her unease. Sure enough, Sienna had spotted it and was a bit unnerved. We called Papa (my father-in-law) over and he dispatched Spidy and we girls all cheered.

Mere moments after this first episode, a second spider scurried in from the open garage door and Siennalee sounded the alarm. Papa was again called in and Siennalee insisted on viewing the whole gruesome procedure from the safety of my arms. Papa finally stood up with the wad of tissue safely imprisoning the second villain and, relieved, Sienna looked at us wide eyed and dramatically breathed "SPI-DER!"

Her first bug. I almost cried. I love my world.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Great Baby Burrito Experiment

The other evening we were relaxing together before Siennalee's bedtime and Sienna was becoming rather restless. Remembering my eldest niece's penchant for bundling her dollies, I suggested to Jason that he might show her how to wrap her baby doll. Jason thought this was a good idea and promptly located the dolly and a blanket and settled on the floor to remember his once-perfected baby bundling technique. (It was very important to introduce Siennalee to the art of baby bundling with the very best bundling techniques available.)

"Now how did we used do this?" He mused aloud, causing the little 16 month old Mommie of the baby doll to suddenly take notice of Daddy on the floor. She toddled over to examine the situation as Daddy stretched out the blanket over the floor, dozens of memories flooding his vision.

"We made a burrito..." he reminisced, not noticing Siennalee's growing agitation. Quick as lightning she leaped forward to rescue her baby and just as quick Daddy's arm shot out to block her along with, "Wait Siennalee, I'm going to show you how to wrap your baby!" (Presenting his daughter with a shoddily wrapped baby was not an option.)

This was simply not good enough and Sienna began to wail. With all her attempts to get to her doll rebuffed, she tried a new strategy: MOMMIE.

At this point, any of my energy not eaten up by mirth had been spent on grabbing the camera to document this new amusement; I was simply no help to her.

Daddy's determination to remember his wrapping techniques was matched only by Daughter's determination to rescue her baby from any possible trauma.

In the end, Jason did dust off his rusty baby wrapping skills and then Siennalee did get her baby back. Beyond that, I do believe the two were not completely satisfied with the whole experience. Fortunately, I was quite satisfied with it and am very pleased to be able to share the whole story with you, not only in my own words but also with the pictures below which are, after all, worth at least a thousand witty words.

Wait, Siennalee! Let Daddy remember how we used to do this...

Don't make me use force, Daddy!


Bundling baby doll in peace.

Running to retrieve baby.

Extracting baby from burrito (Daddy stands by helpless to watch all his hard work undone in seconds).

Freed baby.

Now I'll try this myself. How'd you do it again, Daddy?

And the piece de resistance: