Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ice Cream

Amara enjoying her first ice cream cone!

Summer seems to be in full swing here at the old water gap. The quiet pace of the winter began to quicken in May when we hosted the SCA's national crew leader training. Mike coordinated the trail work projects and other logistical details while I cooked for the 30-60 folks we had staying in camp for 12 days. Stephen and Jodi as well as our friend Lindsay from Cali came to help me in the kitchen. The training went very smoothly, especially with the help of Grandma Patty, Auntie Kimmy, and Kaylee Rose babysitting over the busy weekend. Our group of 25 summer interns and their leaders come in about three weeks and we simultaneously host another big training for the SCA. Things are definitely about to get crazy around here.

We went to Washington DC with Stephen and Jodi this week and had a great time. We treated ourselves to a nice hotel room close to the mall and spent three days at the monuments, museums, and hanging at the Prez's house. Amara had a great time being packed around on Daddy's shoulders, checking out trees, buses, and statues in the art museum. We all had a fun, but tiring few days.

Mike and I finished planting the garden in camp today. The garden has been a huge group effort by everyone living in camp. From building the raised beds with logs hauled out of the woods, to shoveling soil, manure, and compost, to digging post holes for the fence, to starting seeds and transplanting the seedlings, to weeding and mulching. We have had several set backs to getting plants in the ground. First a mouse munched on all our seedlings while we were out of town, then when we restarted many of the seeds were eaten before they even sprouted. We finally got most of our seedlings growing, then supplemented with some purchased plants, and put them in the ground around May 15th. Well what do you know we had a frost (about 28 degrees) on May 20th and lost all of our tomatoes and the peppers and basil are struggling to recover. We are hoping to be over the hump now and are awaiting our first harvest of delicious vegetables. Right next to the garden is the start of our earthen oven. All having been working on hauling rock and soil and building a foundation. Mike made some test bricks today and we hope to begin construction of our insulating layer tomorrow. If all goes well we will have fresh baked bread out of a clay oven in a few short weeks.

Amara has certainly been growing by leaps and bounds. It is bittersweet to see her get bigger; watching her change and learn and discover is so exciting, but it all happens so fast you barely have time to enjoy all the little moments. She is so much fun to play with and she is beginning to recognize objects and remember songs and words. Physically she is strong and determined, she can pull herself onto just about anything and has stood all by herself for several seconds at a time. She can reach more than we expected and we have had to rearrange a lot of furniture and even the plates in the kitchen after she discovered she could pull those down off the shelf. We know it won't be long know until she is walking and we have to chase her all over the house.

A hand-me-down hairband from Kaylee Rose, it is so sparkly we couldn't help but put it on and giggle.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's Been Too Long...

Since we have posted. The pace of life has certainly picked up since this winter leaving a little less time for keeping up with the blog. Amara has changed so much in the past month it is unbelieveable! Her crawling has improved by leaps and bounds, she is quite fast and is getting up on her knees (rather than just army man crawling) more often. She has learned to push herself up to a sit as well as return to the ground without keeling over and banging her head. She has been very interested in standing and in the past week as been practicing pulling up on objects around the house. Yesterday she pulled up to stand on the coffee table all by herself and has repeated it a few times. Today she learned to sit back down gently even though we have had some pretty tough falls and a lot of crying. Amara's second little tooth poked through this week, they are very sharp and she bits hard when you try to pull the stick or rock or other random item she is chewing out of her mouth. She is also vocalizing all the time, Doggie (sounds like daw-ee) is officially her first word and she gets so excited to say it when she sees the dogs.

The garden is coming along, we have all of our seeds started, actually have started multiple times since a stupid mouse keeps eating all of our seeds. The raised beds have been built and now we just need to put up a fence to keep the deer out. We wanted to plant this weekend but it rained so much we will be postponed at least another week. We are waiting on some tempeh culture we just ordered and have built an incubator out of an old refrigerator so we will share the story of that adventure once we make our first batch. The beer brewing is coming along with mixed results, mostly mediocre batches and only one really good one, we are learning though. We also made our first batch of soap last week and it is currently curing, it takes at least three weeks to complete the chemical reactions between the fat and the lye so if you use it too soon it is very irritating.