Didn’t Get the Memo

Hello Friends,

Clearly, our garden was not notified when Summer ended two weeks ago. We are still pulling tomatoes and zucchini from the vines.

Some of the tomatoes are getting ugly, but overall it’s a good looking yield. And obviously, we let this squash go too long. That was a problem this summer: we searched for zucchini and couldn’t find them, then we found them and they were way too big. I guess we’re out of practice.

Historically, we have kept the garden as a hobby. This year’s success made it exciting and fun again, and it makes it feel alright that we took a year off. Technically, I think the agricultural phrase is that we chose to let the garden go “fallow” a year.

It’s time to clear the bed and preare for the winter, so I’ll empty the compost bin and mix on the leaves as they fall. We already have a plan for next year, thanks to raised beds that Wife found. They have a compost area factored into their footprint, so, come Spring, we will be overhauling the space. Oh, and writing about it, of course!

I hope your garden is wrapping up well, and your late harvest is bountiful! Now starts your planning foor the Spring as well. And for those of you who don’t currently have a garden, you have something to consider during the winter months. We’ll see you out there!

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The Apple Didn’t Fall Far…

Hello Friends,

Well the new school year brings all sorts of new adventures, eh? Our last four weeks have been interesting, yeah, interesting. But that’s another post. Instead I want to focus on Sweetie’s new look.

Second Grade is going well for her so far. She enjoys school, loves her teacher, and is happy being around her friends again. She started the school year with a new accessory, though, one that we have been expecting.

Wife and I both have prescriptions; mine stronger than hers. I too, got my first pair of glasses in the Second Grade. So, with Sweetie, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. That’s a good thing too, because without these new glasses, she couldn’t see it if it did.

Funny Twist

Hello Friends,

Every so often some life happens to us, seemingly as a response to one of my posts. Today was one such instant. Cricket picked out her clothes today and I had to laugh…mainly at myself. For it was just yesterday that I typed, “we just don’t have that much team gear”.

To be clear, today Cricket is at “Dad Camp”, and the theme of the day is “errands”. It just goes to show me a couple things. Mainly, 1.) My daughters will continue to surprise me, and that may even be in complete contradiction to something I say/write/do; and 2.) Who knows what clothes lurk in the closets of small children?

So, clearly nothing profound today, friends. This just made me smile after yesterday’s post. Today in Chicago it’s high 70’s and sunny, perfect for those aforementioned errands. I hope your day is just as beautiful.

Theme Days

Hello Friends,

One of my favorite parts of summer camp was the theme days. The girls are steadily warming up to these intentional dress-up days as well.

Earlier in the summer it was crazy hat day for the “play camp”, and crazy hair day for the “day camp”.

You know we are always up for wild hair, or interesting headwear, so these were easy sells. The sports days are a bit harder, cause we just don’t have a lot of team gear. Not even t-shirts! Today’s theme for the play camp was a particular household favorite:

Yup, Star Wars day! Cricket was going to end up as either Leia or Rey, as we haven’t made a Rose outfit yet. Today’s hot and humid forecast didn’t go well with the collar-to-ankle polyester robe, so Jakku scavenger it was!

Even though she is the second child, and has watched me style Sweetie’s hair like this, the Cricket coached me through this entire ‘do. That’s how badly she wanted to nail this theme. You might be wondering, “What, no staff, no lightsaber?” Uh, no, not for Cricket (yet). It would be rogue Jedi justice all over the household galaxy.

The park district is great about their theme days. They change it up and keep it fun. I like that the girls participate in the group activity, and enjoy watching them get into it. And it’s pretty great seeing the $6.00 clearance Halloween costume get used for the third (or maybe fourth) time.

I’m guessing your Monday didn’t have a theme, but I do hope it was good overall. Keep in mind the simple joy that kids get out of a theme day-it could save a rainy afternoon! We’ll see you out there, friends!

Garden Update

Hello Friends,

Well, summer goes and the garden grows. Here’s where we’re at this week:

The wildflowers are thriving in the Fairy Garden, and look like they’ll bloom this week. We’ve been watching butterflies, moths, and bees flying among the cucumbers, but hopefully that pollinator garden will bring even more.

The tomatoes are coming in well. We chose Roma tomatoes, and these are just about to size. A little vine ripening and we should be set!

The jalepenos are longer than my middle finger, so we’ll have to start watching those. They should also be ready for picking soon!

The girls have been helpful with the watering, especially during last week’s hot spell. Weeding falls on Wife and I, and we’re keeping up reasonably well. I know we have passed the halfway point of our summer break-from here, I feel like the vegetables will ripen quickly. We’ll keep you updated on the progress, hopefully with some zucchini to share! Inch by inch, row by row, right? I hope your gardens and summer are going well, we’ll see you out there, friends!

Garden Fun

Hello Friends,

Our summer is off and running, with all sorts of adventures and activities. I’ll fill you in on the camp fun and vacationing (local plans for us) and all that, but today I want to tell you about our garden.

We started our bed prep back in April. After the initial weeding, the girls used fairy house to create a fairy village, then planted wildflower seeds to make a pollinator “forest” to surround that village. The cool weather gave way to wet weather, but we were able to get plants in the ground by the end of May.

We kept it fairly simple with a jalepeno plant, two roma tomatoes, one squash, two rows of scallions, and two rows of carrots. Oddly enough, the two apple trees espaliered against the garage didn’t bloom this year. But the garden is planted!

This is a big deal for me because this is the first garden we have planted in three years! We left our house for renovation in 2016 and returned in late summer 2017 to award-winning weeds. Seriously, some were about six feet tall. Last summer we weeded, cleared, and cleaned, but never planted. Prior to the construction, we always planted a garden. And each year we changed, rearranged, landscaped, and continued to dial-in our yard space.

The other reason this is cool to me is that the girls are showing an interest. Whenever we went outside they gravitated to the garden bed and the dirt, so this year we are channeling that energy. The fairy houses are gifts from a couple of past birthdays; the girls moved them outside and crated the village. As far as gardening skills and foot-awareness, they are still stomping on plants, but took great care building their fairy village. Whenever we walk that way, they check on the houses and the developing pollinator meadow (fairy scale meadow, of course). We’re leveraging the lessons of the fairy village to teach the gurls about growing vegetables. You know, making sure they don’t think tomatoes grow in the bins at Jewel. I love that they are getting their hands dirty and playing with worms, it’s much more refreshing than screen time. Their next lesson is how to clean the dirt from under their nails!

Well, we’re off to more activities. I hope your summer is starting off well. I haven’t picked songs in while, but this would be a great place to cue up Sherm the Worm by Peter Himmelman (we discovered the song on the Best of the Land of Nod aldum). If you have a garden space, be it a plot or even just a bucket, I wish you a bumper crop. Oh, and for sure I’ll update the progress. That’s all for now friends, we’ll see you out there!

Kindergarten, Here She Comes!

Hello Friends,

Like so many of you out there, we are wrapping up our school year. For Cricket, that means she is done with pre-school, and on her way to kindergarten. Yep, she’s got her certificate and everything.

Logistically, this makes the Cricket an actual student. We now qualify for multi-student discount and financial aid and all sorts of other fun school stuff. And of course, she now gets to wear a uniform-no more “choice A or choice B” in the mornings!

Cricket got to sing a couple of songs, and she and her classmates performed an alphabet poem about their year. Their celebration ceremony was informal, but nice. And no worries about Sweetie. She is off to the Second Grade, right next door to her current classroom. She got sent along with a jovial pat on the shoulder.

We hope you all have a good wrap to your school year, and may your summer start well. We’ll see you out there!