packing up

I'm packing for myself and the girls and we're heading to the Cape today. 'A' starts a week of camp at the Audubon Sanctuary tomorrow and we're all looking forward to spending some time at the beach and seeing my mom and my stepfather. Jeff will join us later this week. I'm excited to go, but not happy about leaving my garden and kitchen at this time of year. I had wanted 'A' to go to camp at this time of year because it's good for us to escape the "Back to school" madness that we're (thankfully) not part of. But now that I'm in the full swing of eating and preserving local produce, I see that late August is a prime time to be close to the garden, preserving all the goodness nature has given us.

On the up side, I was notified yesterday by the library that The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was available and waiting for me. I put my name on the loan list a few months ago and was distressed that I started out at place #314. I can't tell you how pleased I am that it was available for me the day before I was scheduled to leave for a beach vacation. Perfect timing.

I've got my camera battery charged and I'm looking forward to capturing a week on the Cape in pictures! Stay tuned and have a wonderful day.


chopping tomatoes, cilantro, onion, peppers
mixing up some salsa
canning the salsa

soaking cucumbers in brine just like Ma did on the prairie
slicing cucumbers
canning the pickles

browsing the shelves at the library
checking books out
hearing about good books from others
requesting those books on line
heading back to the library to pick up more books

making laundry detergent out of soap, borax, washing soda and baking soda
washing the sheets
hanging them out to dry on a warm sunny day

shredding zucchini
toasting walnuts
mixing up a batch of zucchini burgers
freezing the burgers for an easy dinner in the future

learning all I can about WordPress
making a new website
learning about ASP uploaders
working odd hours of the day
feeling frustrated when things don't work well
feeling happy when it does

jumping in the car to head to art class
quick! let's not be late
leaving art class in a hurry
so we can jump in the car and head across town to story time at the library
and loving every minute of it

making time to go to the gym
dropping the girls off in the child care room
getting on the rowing machine
rowing 7,000 meters
watching my time drop each time I go
watching the numbers on the scale get smaller each time I go
exercise is good

thinking about kayaking tomorrow afternoon
packing lunches to enjoy on the water
feeling excited about hearing the stillness
and seeing the blue herons

This is what I've been up to recently.

Picking up our vegetables

We've been picking up our vegetables every week from local farmers for over a year now. We pretty much eat exclusively local, organic produce. The only exceptions are when I want some onion, garlic, carrots, avocado or melon and I can't get them locally that day. Well, avocado is never local around here! For the most part though, we eat what we get every week. I love this way of life. I've gone on about it here before, and I'm happy to say it again: I love knowing the people who grow our food; I love eating produce picked at the height of sweetness; I love knowing that all those food diseases, such as the one affecting eggs now, and the ones affecting lettuce earlier this year, don't affect us at all. I love knowing that I'm supporting the local economy, and that I'm using my dollars to vote for a lifestyle I would like to see everyone adopt.

In addition to all those reasons, the most basic reason of all is that it is so relaxing and refreshing to travel through farmland once a week to pick up our vegetables. It's good for our emotional health.

Balance and fulfillment

I would say that I have a pretty fulfilling life. There is definitely far more happiness than pain. My time is spent doing things I truly enjoy, for the most part. I spend a lot of time with my children, and since Jeff and I try to live [ecologically] lightly, I spend a significant amount of time engaged in domestic work - preparing food, making household products (such as the laundry detergent I need to make tomorrow), and using my energy in place of electric energy to finish tasks (such as hanging out the laundry and using the kiddie pool water on the garden). I also volunteer at my church, exercise, sew and read, take my girls to classes and for outings to museums and fun places, and on occasion, I work.

When 'A' was a baby I did much more website application work than I do now, but there are times now when I have some work to do. I love it. Working has the effect of engaging my mind in a completely different way and it fulfills me even more. The only problem I have when I work, and this is a good problem to have, is that I have trouble balancing all of the fulfilling things I like to do each day.

I have a pretty good work ethic, and I used to think that I had to take a job so seriously that it meant shutting out areas of my life that were enjoyable. "Work before play" was my motto. I've aged a bit and changed my perspective. If I only work - and by work I mean do the jobs that either earn me money or that impact other people, such as church volunteer jobs - then I burn out fast. I wind up feeling exhausted and resentful. I've found that I need to keep exercising, keep crafting, keep reading for pleasure, keep canning those pickles and making salsa with the produce that's on my countertop.

With that in mind, I'm going to take the girls to the farm this afternoon to pick up our vegetables, head to the gym to row 7,000 meters, prep the cucumbers for pickling and the tomatoes for salsa-making, and when I can take a break, I'm going to do the work I need to do.

All in moderation.

Rope swings, wading through the river behind my sister's house, canning tomatoes, lots of meals with friends, and some warm, comfortable family time. That's what we've been up to lately. We're going to have a rainy start to the week, and I'm welcoming the rain and a light schedule. I need some time to stay home and organize my life. Laundry needs to be put away, mail needs to be opened, library books need to be enjoyed, and a few computer projects need to be worked on.

life is pretty full right now

This is the hornworm (?) that ate some of my tomato plant. Can't see it? Neither could I for a while! I had trouble removing it from the plant, it's feet were so sticky! And this is what it did to the plant...

I'm working at max capacity right now. Life is good, very good, and full, very full. It's just full enough. I have web work to do, volunteer work to do, mothering to my girls, my plants and my cats, and canning and pickling to do. We've been busy these past few days with my niece, visiting the Saratoga Racetrack, taking in the art at The Clark, attending art class, picking up our vegetables at the farm, shucking corn, and making cookies, among other things. She goes home tomorrow, and although it will be nice to slow our pace down, I have enjoyed every moment of having her here. There girls get along wonderfully, and she is so easy-going. I'll see you back here on Friday.


:: 'A' enjoyed theater camp very much... especially the part where she took a bow with the other kids (she's second from the right).

:: Her lizard t-shirt costume was wonderfully done! I love the colors.

:: A tomato harvest for the day. We are soooo fortunate.

:: Local, organic watermelon from our CSA farm.

:: After laying on our backs, looking at the stars for a few nights in a row, Jeff and I decided to get out the tent and sleep in it one night. We haven't done that together since our pre-kid days! It was different. Definitely bearable. Fun? I'm not so sure about that. It felt right, but not glamorous.

:: Turnips from our garden.

I'm here...

I'm here, definitely behind the camera, but not in front of the computer as much as I'd like to be. I've been doing some very important things these past few days such as:

* watching the Perseid meteor shower all evening long, for a few nights in a row

* spending time with one of my longest-standing friends

* clapping loudly at the end of the play that 'A' put on after a few days at theater camp

* enjoying time at the racetrack with my sister and her family

* having my niece here for a few days

* feeling at home with the UU congregation

I'll be back soon!


Today was fun - I took the girls to a bubble activity and they spent an hour making big, beautiful bubbles!

Busy, but good.

Is it August already? Where has my mind been? It's been full, I'll tell you that. I have a lot going on right now. Some of things I want to tell you about are:

How quickly children grow. They're babies one minute and big kids the next. How does that happen?

Work. I get energized by work so, so much! And at the same time, it throws me off my rhythm, my schedule. I do programming & web work but not much anymore, so when I do some work, it puts me into a different routine.

WordPress. Did you know that it's much more than a blogging site? You can create websites with it and make use of so many of the plugins that people have created! Wow. This is big!

Local nectarines. I bought a big bag at the farm today for $3.00 and we all would be happy to do nothing but sit and watch them soften up over the next few days.

Sewing books, like Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner and Small Stash Sewing. It makes me want to deviate from my plan of sewing a shirt for myself, some epi-pen cases, and a skirt at my September sewing class (in that order!).

The Perseid meteor shower. It's coming to town in full force (at least for us Northern Hemisphere folks) tonight and tomorrow! Look outside at night and you'll likely see a "shooting star" pass by. I'll be out there, wrapped in blankets to keep the mosquitoes away, laying on my back, facing the northeast.

Weight Watchers. I love it! It's such an easy plan to follow. And it's true that when you (um, let's be honest here - when I...) eat less, I am bound to lose some weight. Before long I'll be back into my pre-pregnancy clothing :)

And last but certainly not least, living with food allergies. Actually this is a whole topic unto itself and I'll post about it soon. I've come to understand that dealing with food allergies is dealing with an invisible disability. It looks like it's simple to live with, and as long as there's no episode (and there usually isn't), it seems to be a non-issue. But for the parent or person dealing with life-threatening allergies, daily life is anything but easy and stress-free. I've thought about this topic this week because 'A' started a half-day camp where snacks would be served. Snacks! Oh my! It's all working out okay, but before the camp started, I was a wreck. Most parents don't start the day wondering if today is the last time they'll ever see their child. Like I said, it's an invisible disability.

Have a great night. Life is good here. Busy, but good.

a nice long weekend!

Mom's okay - whew! The tomato had Early Blight, so into the garbage can she went, along with a second one and three summer squash plants that had squash borer (again).

My sister came for a visit on Friday and we had fun moseying around Saratoga Springs with her. On Saturday, Jeff and I took the girls to Silver Bay on Lake George for some kayaking and swimming fun.

Silver Bay...

About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!