Warmth

March 31, 2015

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Last Friday was so warm and beautiful. Matt and I went for a stroll (or waddle) around the neighborhood, plopped ourselves on the front steps with our coffees, and decided all spur of the moment-like to do some gardening. We planted tomatoes, y'all.

I don't know if they'll survive. I know it's still really early, and that anything could happen with the weather at any given time (it's raining like crazy as I type) - it's Oregon, after all - but we decided to risk it. We also planted some flowers, pulled weeds, and put up some trellising for our wandering raspberry canes. All that's left now is to plant some seeds here and there, and our super simple gardening plans for this summer will be nearly complete.

P.S. Okay, so Matt did most of the garden work while I sat on my pregnant bum and kept him company.

P.P.S. Has anyone else noticed how silly cats are when they're sitting on a sunny windowsill?

Spring Disarray

March 23, 2015

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I'm so happy that it's raining. Somehow I find myself more inclined to stroll around outside when there's a light drizzle and breeze. It feels so refreshing and much more seasonally appropriate than the warm, sunny days we've had this month.

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Outside, some of last year's planted fruits and flowers are cropping up in our garden beds and containers alongside a healthy covering of grass and weeds. I know I'll have to pluck out the wild things eventually, but I'm loving the chaos of it all growing and spiraling up together for now. It forces me look a little closer at the ground to find the hidden gems.

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And then there are the spring flowers that seem to disappear just as soon as they appear. The camellias are so pretty when they bloom, but I've never had much of an affinity for them. I wouldn't have planted them myself, but I don't mind keeping remnants of the previous owner here and there. Our neighbors tell me she loved her garden and was very fond of rhododendrons, camellias, roses and spring bulbs. We've changed the dynamic of our yard a lot over the past three years, but we've kept some things in her honor.

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And then there's the wilderness of the great indoors, of which I have a decidedly different perspective. You could call it "nesting" or "spring cleaning," but the gist is the same. We're in the midst of a cleaning and organizing frenzy right now, which comes in part from necessity.

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But another part of this is definitely ritualistic. A way for me to wrap my head around our impending transition into parenthood. A physical manifestation of my nervousness and excitement and impatience. It's soothes me to use my hands, and helps me feel more clear and ready for change. That's the idea, at least.

Full Term

March 15, 2015

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Well, we're officially 37+ weeks now, which they say is considered full term. It's strange and exciting to know that she could come at any moment, and that even if she decides to wait until she's due (April 3rd) or later, she'll still be here in no time at all.

Meanwhile, I'm distracting myself with little things. I made these two tiny hats last weekend with yarn from my stash. The patterns are the Easy Peasy Newborn Sock Hat by Keri McKiernan and the Pixie Hat in Bunny Hop by Crystal Palace Yarns. Both are very simple, free patterns. I haven't been working on anything knitting-wise since casting off because we had our baby shower last weekend, so I've been spending a lot of time organizing the baby's room, but I'm getting the urge to cast on for something new. That, or I might finally finish the socks I started back in January 2014.

I've been trying very hard to focus on starting only projects that I can make with my current yarn stash, which is a lot more sizable than I ever wanted it to be. I don't like a lot of clutter, and I'm not good at working on too many projects at once because I find it too overwhelming, so I think it's important I follow through with this goal. It is hard, though, to see so many of you knitters making things with such beautiful, locally sourced yarns. It makes me want to go out and research the yarns that are in my area, too, but I know that's a slippery slope. For now, at least - until I can get through the bulk of my stash.

By the way, I just peeked at the date. Matt and I were married in September 2011, but we've officially been together for 7 years today! I'd better go give him a hug or something.

The Hen's Crow

March 7, 2015

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This morning, I woke to the sound of a hen crowing.

This crow wasn't your typical robust rooster crow, but a poorly executed, off-putting, gurgly attempt at the act. I was deep in dreamland when the first crowing pulled me violently from my slumber. Luckily, Matt was already awake and heard the noise, too, so he went outside to investigate, and found Milly, our Black Copper Marans, standing at attention in preparation for attempt #2.

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(Milly is the small black hen in the back.)

As humorous as this whole scenario is, I've read about hens taking on male characteristics, growing spurs, long feathers, crowing and, worst of all, giving up their egg laying tasks. And if you've been following along with our backyard chicken journey, we bought Milly specifically for her eggs. Out of all four chickens, she's the only one of the flock who wasn't hand-raised by us. We found her on Craigslist after Olive died, and slowly integrated her into our flock last year so we could maintain our four-chicken city limit.

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And if you've been reading my monthly egg counts, you'll know that Milly's egg productivity is outstanding. She's an egg laying machine, and her eggs are usually huge and come out a gorgeous dark brown. The above photo is from yesterday's egg collection, however, which shows a much lighter brown egg than is typical. I have to wonder if the lighter egg color from yesterday and the crowing from this morning are more than just coincidence. Could it be due to a hormonal change? Is she going to turn into a little boy hen?

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In other chicken-related news, all four girls are laying as of Thursday, which is when I found a suspiciously tiny pink egg laying in Starbuck's favorite laying box. As the largest of our girls and the worst layer, her eggs are notoriously small and inconsistently lain, but we're excited to see her back in action.