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The fun chaos

May 30, 2010

How was your weekend?

the upstart sorority

I have to admit, ours is still going. Dan works 4 ten-hour days (tues – fri), which is the best invention since um, my new afternoon coffee drink (more on this later). It’s almost criminal, waking up on a Monday morning–godawful early, if that makes you feel any better–blinking our eyes and wondering what fun to cook up today. Actually we rarely wonder because by Saturday morning we’ve drawn up our weekend calendar (a practice I highly recommend, and if you think it doesn’t leave enough room for spontaneity, well, there’s always the unplanned challenge of Rose appearing naked in the backyard at the height of UV danger or how to model good sharing when Col sneaks soil out of my carrot bed for his adobe brick project).

Here’s our tomatoes, aren’t they lovely?

And our heirloom, Southwest squash:

squash plant under cover

Oh, did I tell you it’s still freezing most nights here at 6512 feet while searingly hot during the day. Makes for a lot of micromanaging (sheets on frost-tender plants overnight, and plastic jugs on newly-transplanted squash as sun protection until established), but as I told a bewildered friend, it’s just what we do.

The kids are becoming seasoned yard-dwellers, finding their own work while I’m busy yanking weeds and hand-watering the unfurling lettuces. Col typically blows around the yard with sticks and antlers in hand, attracting dirt and straw, busying himself with well, more dirt and straw. Rose’s patience to endure the gritty, shadeless yard is directly related to the volume of snacks available, which I’m happy to keep passing her way, as long as I can continue to labor in the garden unhampered. Rose sits on the swingset eating enormous amounts of nuts and raisins or chomping an occasional hippie lollipop, working on rhymes and showing little inclination towards “work.” My mind flits briefly to the potential of future eating disorders. She then disappears inside, reinventing herself in a fluff of pink sequined satin. She’s clever enough to find a bag of chips in Dan’s lunch cooler, and five minutes later emerges completely naked with chip crumbs affixed to her body. Now I’m worrying about eating disorders and skin cancer (and maybe a little bit about tooth decay).

Usually, if it's after 4pm, there's a beer lurking in the shade. This is Colorado Trail Nut Brown Ale from Carvers Brewery, growler of course.

(Speaking of skin cancer, ohmygoodness, the plethora of sunscreen dogma! I almost lunged at Dan when he approached Col’s neck with the gluey Rite Aid sunscreen. This was after I spent an hour online reading up on sunscreen ingredients, only to learn that our Avalon Organic Green Tea sunscreen is merely “satisfactory,” while the Rite Aid brand, child abuse. Can someone just tell me how to protect my kids from skin cancer, eating disorders and the dark woods of consumer culture)?

But here’s some good news:

My new skirt: totally utilitarian. Hauling barrels of chicken poop and straw? No problem.

I'm a big fan of pockets - this skirt has three. I might never take it off.

My mom generously passed this skirt onto me, after I complimented her on it. I love skirts in summer, simply because of the ventilation factor. And this one has zipped pockets into which I shove my cell phone, notebook and pen, camera and even a small snack for Rose. I’m thinking one of these crafty Mamas should start sewing Radical Homemaker skirts–bake bread and tend your livestock! Look classy while loaded down with your son’s “special rocks!” Leap deftly to rescue a child from biting ants in the sandbox! Or maybe you, do you sew?

In other good news, the recipe for my new coffee sensation: Make your morning cup as usual. Manage to drink half of it, stealing sips between saving children’s lives and wiping butts. When sufficiently caffeinated, leave cup inside and go outside to play. Come back several hours later, smudged and hot. Get kids down for nap/quiet time. Consider passing out from exhaustion. Remember lukewarm coffee. Add scoop of ice cream, stir. Get jacked up and creative (while lying down, if possible). Rejoice!

Here’s Col and Rose dining with their friends on french-fried potatoes and salad while waiting for buffalo burgers to come off the grill.

FYI: this was a totally spontaneous gathering. Not On Weekend Calendar. The benefit of spontaneous soirees is they absolve you from cleaning the house and bearing the shame of not having any buns available to serve with the buffalo burgers, because it was spontaneous!

After our friends left, Dan said “well that was chaotic and fun,” which really seems the best possible outcome for life at this point.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2010 8:11 am

    I’m a big fan of dresses and skirts in summer (only!) for the same reason…that one seems so practical. I admire your dedication to your garden with all that extra work of covering and uncovering. I’d probably end up with some toasted squash plants.

    Oh…can you get your kiddos to wear hats and lightweight longsleeves? We try to avoid sunscreen but we have some shade around. There is a LoT of hype about sunscreen and skin cancer, but I see that Col is really fair skin. No one talks about the rampant vit d deficiencies in our society from fear of the sun.

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      May 31, 2010 11:34 am

      Eliza, Sun hats and lightweight longsleeves is totally where I’m heading, for all of us. I guess you can burned through clothing unless it’s SPF-coated. Anyone know about this? And true, even in southwest Colorado–which is said to be sunny 300 days a year–vitamin D deficiency is rampant, according to our naturopath, who has tested many people here. Thanks for your comment Eliza.

  2. Marlene permalink
    May 31, 2010 8:55 am

    Ok. Am compelled to comment. You have driven me to it. I have taken to buying ice cream lately, and hiding it in the back of the freezer (lest I have to share with my overheated children, who also spend upwards of 5 hours a day outside, poor lucky things), so as to have enough to put in the blender with my leftover coffee, while they “nap”. They trouble with this habit is, it makes the beer/gin and tonic that I want while wrangling them into some sort of supper time cooperation (largely unsuccessful) create a strange mix of buzziness. Maybe I shouldn’t put my name on this comment…

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      May 31, 2010 11:38 am

      Marlene, I totally know about that “strange mix of buzziness,” and I like it.

    • June 3, 2010 8:09 am

      Marlene: This is the deep south (hot!), so I make leftover coffee, spiced w/cinnamon & cayenne, on purpose the night before and put it in fridge overnight. Next morning, Cold coffee, chocolate silk soy milk over ice, shake well. :-9 Mmmmm

  3. May 31, 2010 10:45 am

    Our Canadian men certainly have a way with words, don’t they? ;-)

    BTW, I have no idea why, but I think about you whenever I look out my kitchen window and see our bamboo sprouting in the backyard. It grows like a foot a day! I guess that’s why it reminds me of you ’cause you’re such a lover of things that grow! LOL

  4. abozza permalink
    May 31, 2010 11:36 am

    Ours was a good weekend. Perhaps not as productive as yours, but a good weekend, nonetheless! :)

  5. May 31, 2010 1:35 pm

    love your skirt. i absolutely live in skirts in the summer. (and with yoga pants underneath for much of the spring, fall and winter).

    i’ve been buying mine at the thrift store on half-price day. SO much fun!!!

    thanks for the tip about protecting newly transplated plants from the sun. i’m about to transplant butternut squash and pumpkins. and yesterday transplated some peas (as a total experiment…thinned out what we had and instead of tossing the ones i pulled, i replanted them somewhere else).

    hadn’t even thought about needing to protect them from the sun.

    oh and as for sunscreen…we’re all about badger sunscreen. my friend is the buyer for our local food co-op and she did tons of research and decided to stock badger.

    sibling brawl. must mediate…


  6. May 31, 2010 2:12 pm

    we used that green tea kind too! i thought we were doing so well! at least now we know. bleargh!

  7. May 31, 2010 3:17 pm

    Love your skirt! I want one just like it :-)

  8. ell.uu permalink
    May 31, 2010 5:07 pm

    I’ve long been a fan of iced coffee, and love it even more with a generous scoop of haagen dazs coffee ice cream in it. pure bliss.

    now you’ve got me worried about our sunscreen ingredients though. my daughter refuses to keep her sunhat on, and often sheds other articles of clothing as well. of course I never think to apply sunscreen to her bum before heading outside…I should know better by now.

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      June 1, 2010 9:39 am

      Rose likes to shed her sunhat too, I tell her if she wants to play outside, she must keep her hat on. (And I have lathered her luscious bum with sunscreen before).

  9. May 31, 2010 7:11 pm

    Brilliant — the scoop of ice cream! If you save some of that coffee and freeze it into cubes and then throw it in the blender and add it to more room temp. or even iced (if you have planned ahead) coffee, AND THEN a scoop of ice cream… mmmmmmm…

    I am liking the skirt with many pockets idea… and even better the idea of a line of clothing called Radical Homemaker. You know, By and For Radical Homemakers.

    Sunscreen — do tell what kind was best! I took an informal survey at the beach today and all of the sunscreens there were bought either at a co-op or through a buying club that sells to co-ops or natural food places and they all had unidentifiable ingredients in them.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to take my be-skirted self down to the garden and set the have-a-heart trap because we saw Mr. Woodchuck hanging around the fence down there today.

  10. May 31, 2010 11:32 pm

    We’re Badger fans now too, after trying it this year. I am a big believer in a light tan for the Vit D (especially pertinant for us in the PNW of Canada!!!), however I, too, have a very fair boy who looks at the sun and turns pink. So on the days where practical measures like sleeves, hats, shade, other activities away from reflected sun at mid-day aren’t an option I slather it on. And my 4 year old declares it “not greasy”. There! A testimonial, lol.

    I love the picture of your tomatoes; they look like they’re backstage.

  11. June 1, 2010 8:15 am

    Cute cute skirt! And I believe the freezing. (Aren’t milk jugs great for all sorts of things?) We had a gorgeous weekend! Looks like rain again today. Darn global warming.

  12. June 1, 2010 9:40 am

    We try not to go out in the middle of the day when it’s REALLY HOT! I love finding shade wherever I go. In the summer, we try to hike in the mountains and along streams with trees. I dislike all the stuff in sunscreen but if we need it, I’ll use the natural stuff and try to re-apply often. Sometimes, I just get the nasty stuff from the store because I’m not perfect :) Your garden looks great!

  13. ike permalink
    June 1, 2010 11:49 am

    I know that tending your garden takes a lot of work but having seen and tasted the results it is clearly worth it.

  14. woowoomama permalink
    June 1, 2010 12:44 pm

    another lover of skirts/dresses here. especially in the warmer months. i am always on the lookout for skirts with dresses and i am a fan of your idea of someone hip sewing up a radical homemaker skirt with pockets and all kinds of other utilitarian features. my ultimate summer outfit = a dress with built in bra, lots of pockets, and nursability. where is this dress???

    i am also wowed by your dedication to your garden.

    and i am off to make a coffee so i can put icecream in it (and then later i can mix up a g&t and discover the buzziness).

    the sun issue just baffles me and in a nod to my confusion i go back and forth between all the possible methods. i am only consistent in my inconsistency. the children are deeply confused. maybe i should go buy badger…

    • June 1, 2010 12:47 pm

      oh my goodness. you emailed me like ten million months ago saying i needed to logout of wordpress before comments so that i would actually be linkable in the “name” area and i didn’t know what the heck you were talking about so i just filed it in the depths of my deep deep brain. now i finally get it! i logged out to reply to my above comment and maybe now i am clickable?

      why oh why so complicated.
      must go procure coffee/ice cream solution to woe.

  15. Melissa permalink
    June 1, 2010 4:11 pm

    love the coffee drink and am only saddened that leeor accidentally bought fat-free vanilla ice cream (we both felt like small children, deeply disappointed at this discovery one recent night).

    love the skirt, too. you look beautiful in it!

    nothing better than chaotic and fun with a little quiet (buzzed) mama time in the mix.

    i am loving being home with my kids right now, especially bc avi is asleep and my girlie is tripping out on the light coming in from the window while i enjoy a little computer time, a grilled turkey cheese sandwich and contemplate more coffee . . .

    the weekend was great! we took lilit to a concert (she slept in the sling the whole time) and to a beach bbq while avi hung out with his grandparents. life is good.

  16. June 1, 2010 9:46 pm

    I’m right there with you on sunscreen. Skin Deep website gives ratings for all natural products (including natural products for children) and will let you know which sunscreens are best. I research just about everything know … from toothpaste to laundry soap to toilet paper … just to make sure I know everything that’s in it, and I know that it’s safe. These days, you just can’t be too safe … unfortunately!

    Great post, by the way! Love the pictures :).

  17. June 2, 2010 8:50 am

    agh! you are such a badass with yer chicken poop held high and yer Eco-Punk-Mama skirt! i *totally* second some Radical Homemaker clothing love – i can NEVER find skirts with pockets (a total must), and i’d like to see some other “handy clothes” as well – shirts that don’t ride up when yer bending over to wrangle a screaming toddler, etc etc. yer tomatoes look fabulous (or, at least, their house does) – i *just* put my itty-bitty tomatoes in the ground yesterday.
    i so have no idea what i’m doing.
    but, hey! that’s what happens when you try something for the first time.
    i like to call it a learning experience.
    we did harvest our first spinach the other day – the lover made us up a totally yummy sandwich and we basked in it’s crispy-freshy-homegrown glory. i do love me some (inexperienced, totally amateur) garden.

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      June 2, 2010 2:55 pm

      “i so have no idea what I’m doing.” Sounds like parenthood, or life for that matter. Congrats on the spinach!

  18. June 3, 2010 8:17 am

    Love the skirt. The parts of my de rigueur summer wear
    I go for the gauzy skirts in summer but I always have to add my own pockets. Same reason – ventilation,
    Always a few good straw hats, and several baseball hats for morning walk to keep this old face young as long as I can.
    Lots of longsleeved white button-downs – they go everywhere and even look a little sexy tied at waist.

    Love the garden.

  19. June 3, 2010 5:13 pm

    Just curious what you do with the chicken-pooped straw. Does it compost? Can you put it on your garden? I was wondering for next time I clean the coop …

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      June 3, 2010 5:22 pm

      Katie – the chickens do a lovely job of scratching up the big pieces into small, poop-strewn straw that I both mulch my veggies with and put in the compost. It has greatly sped up the compost processing time and I love the idea of all that nitrogen-rich poop seeping into the soil as it rains (though buffered by the carbon-rich straw so not too intense for the veggies).

  20. June 8, 2010 11:01 am

    I love this. Love love love it. The nitty gritty of parenting in the trenches, outdoor beauty, wee kids, and potato chip crumbs — all of it. Thanks for sharing :)

  21. June 19, 2010 10:48 am

    I love chaotic fun…you guys are doing it right! :)

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