Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A rare treat

In our rainy neck of the woods, winter days revolve indoors by the wood stove.  In the past months, I have spent countless hours writing, writing, and writing some more by the crackling fire.  I'm in the process of finishing the last touches on my book (more on that in another post), and I'm creating a new online workshop on fermenting foods and drinks.

Although I love writing and using my brain, some days I am bummed out that we are trapped inside most of the day.

So when the rain stopped once last week, I bundled up Eva and headed outside for a walk.  Except she got side tracked by the trampoline in the yard, and while she "jumped" (if you can call bouncing on a soggy trampoline jumping) I noticed that the bamboo that had been bent over and covered by snow was freed once again, but leaning unattractively.  So I grabbed the loppers and cut off half of our bamboo grove, which made me happy because it looks so much better, and it made the goats happy because they got to eat it - a welcome treat in culinaryly-boring-for-goats winter.

When I walked back and forth between trampoline and goats shed I noticed the eye sore of a fallen-over trellis in front of the vegetable garden.  We had built this trellis from cedar poles, and after supporting gorgeous climbing roses and clematis for over a decade, it succumbed to a heavy windstorm a couple of months ago and annoyed me ever since, because I had to look at it every time I glanced out the kitchen window.

So I enlisted the help of the boys.  Kai and Luke dug three-foot deep holes, and Steve did the heavy lifting with bigger and better cedar poles.  While they were digging and sweating, I pruned the heck out of the overgrown climbing rose next to it.  I am so excited about our new arbor!  Just wait when the roses and clematis bloom - it's gonna be Martha Stewart-worthy!

After this task was done I moved on to the insanely overgrown jasmine vine by the kitchen window.  It is heavenly in summer, when its creamy white blossoms waft a gorgeous aroma around the house.  I've never pruned it in ten years, and it had halfway taken over two windows by the kitchen, thus blocking valuable light in the winter.  It took me two hours to get it tamed.  I hope I didn't kill it by this radical treatment...

Ohhh, how I loved being outside for a few hours and using my body instead of just my brain!

Talking of outside: the boys get together with their friends every Friday to engage in a sport called "boffing" where they beat the crap out of each other with homemade foam swords and weapons.  It's totally a boy thing, but at least it gets them outside and is great exercise.  If you are local, come join them!

Even when it's not sunny outside, my middle kid Lukas doesn't mind sitting on a lawn chair in the woods, flintknapping obsidian, with rain pouring down around him.  He's committed to learning wilderness skills, that one.  In fact, last week at the Eagle Festival, Lukas demonstrated flint knapping in front of a group of people.  I was proud of him, sitting up there in a shirt he made himself with a buck skin hide his Dad tanned.

At the same event, Steve demonstrated how to make a friction fire with a bow drill.  That one is always a favorite with people, because it's so dramatic.  Steve teaches this stuff, by the way.

More happenings this week: smoking all the salmon the boys caught this year.  It was a terrible fishing season, but they managed to catch enough salmon to last us a while.
Also: with all that focus on the boys, I'll mention that little Eva is becoming quite the helper around the house.  Barely six, she does all the sweeping, cleans up her toys amazingly well, and helps with the baking (it's been a loooooong time coming, that newfound helpfulness)...

Let me leave you with images from our recent family road trip to Oregon.  First, we went to Breitenbush Hotsprings, which is one of the most amazing places in the world to relax and recuperate.  I'm sorry I don't have pictures, but everyone walks around naked and wouldn't appreciate a photographer in their midst, I'm sure.
After enjoying the hotsprings, we drove to the coast for a couple of days.  It was wet, rainy and windy, and so, so, so much fun!


  1. We're down here trying to have our version of your kind of fun in our little break in the monsoon. You guys look like you're having so much fun and I really can relate. Can't wait to see what your book is! I have an idea for a book but it won't be coming any time soon. It might be a couple years. I really enjoy your sharing. Make me feel less lonesome. Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you, Renee, you are so sweet. And you are not alone!

    2. Well, you're very welcome and I am not alone as long as I have you and Ron. It's just really hard out here where there's hardly any people and the people that are out here are stand-offish. But that is going to change and things will be even better.

  2. Hi- I enjoyed your rainy story and can very much relate! We are just a couple miles away from your place on the other side of the river. It felt so good yesterday to be outside. I started thinking about starting some seeds for our garden already! Alas, it rains today. But the trees are happy.

    1. Hi Kathy, isn't the rain insane today???? It's pouring!!!! Yes, and the trees are happy, and we need the rain. I keep reminding myself of that.


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