Spring


Ready for a Stroll

Sand Cherry in Bloom

Creeping Phlox

Ready for a Stroll

Birch and Bleeding Heart

Tulips

Tulips

Steinbeck

Bleeding Heart

Violets

Having grown up in California, and gone to college in the Oregon, I have a slew of friends who still reside in those more temperate climes. So while we still had snow on the ground, my Facebook feed was filled with West Coast photos of freshly bloomed daffodils. Now, June is in sight, the snow is but a memory and the daffodils have come and gone, but it feels as if Spring has just arrived in Maine. Suddenly the grass is green, the trees have leaves, and everything is in bloom.

In my own little garden, the sand cherry is in bloom, the violets are out, the bleeding heart has grown to massive proportions and the tulips are starting to fade.  My perennial bed, now in its third year,  is starting to fill in and I may have to start doing some dividing come fall.

Now that the weather is nicer, LMC and I have started taking a little stroll together before I head to work in the mornings, giving me a chance to scope out the neighbors yards for ideas. The phlox that’s everywhere? Totally want some of my own. That perennial bed around that birch tree? Divine!

When we first moved into our little house, I  started my flower beds with no real plan or knowledge. I got the gift of some plants from friend’s gardens, picked up a few of my own and started digging out red brick mulch, tearing out layers of landscape fabric, and plopping plants down and crossing my fingers. Three years later, between some experience and episodes of This Old House, I’m starting to learn more about this gardening thing. Or at least paying more attention. I know enough to know that moving plants is pretty easy, dark mulch makes everything look better and if something doesn’t work out you can always plant something new in its place.

It’s good to be out in the garden again.

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Wee!

On the Slide

Saying hello to the goats

On the run

Mini Donkey

Who knew mulch was so fun?

Checking out the Chicks

Sheep noms

Pat the Goat

Got any nibbles?

Ice Cream!

For my second Mother’s Day we celebrated with a delicious homemade brunch (french toast! strawberries! bacon! mimosas!) and followed it up with a late morning trip to the The Barnyard at Smiling Hill Farm and an afternoon of sewing for me while LMC napped.

We knew the Barnyard was going to be a hit as soon as she squealed with delight at the first animal she saw (a ferret). Little Miss is very much into animals these days – she knows dogs say woof woof and lions roar and snakes sssssssssss and she wanted to touch everything in sight. Of course the mulch was equally as interesting as all the furry creatures. Everything is new and interesting and it’s such a joy to see LMC discover.

And she’s moving and grooving now too, walking everywhere, and she’s thankfully decided all of a sudden to accept shoes like it’s no big deal, as if she wasn’t turning into jelly legs and a pile of tears a few weeks ago. How quickly things change.

Of course, now that spring has finally arrived in Maine it means I’m working on perfecting my stealth sunscreen applying skills and that more accessories are required for my little red-headed girl. Which means time for another Peakaboo Bonnet. This one featured some solid yellow Kona Cotton and a Lisette ice cream print trimmed with pink piping, all from JoAnn’s. I imagine it’ll be showing up in photos from now through September. But is there ever really enough of babies in bonnets? In my book, never. And I’ve got enough left over fabric to make a matching dress, just as soon as I finish a little sewing project for me!

Little Miss Cleaver and Miss Maggie Rabbit
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Miss Maggie Rabbit
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When the day starts so early, it’s hard to get non-blurry photos of an increasingly active (and expressive!) little one. She’s just on the cusp of toddler-hood these days – walking more than she crawls and understanding things and almost almost talking. But Easter started around 5:30 AM with opening the basket/bucket and a low-key egg hunt with 6 or so eggs placed in highly visible places filled with cereal puffs.

Having put my clothing-making energies into her birthday dress not that long ago, I turned my maker skills to toys this go around. The rabbit is Alicia Paulson’s Miss Maggie Rabbit kit, which was a joy to put together. I misplaced the yarn that came with the kit, so I made the capelet out of some Berroco Vintage DK I had left over from earlier projects. I also dyed a pair of playsilks with Kool-Aid (Mixed Berry blue and 2 packs of Lemon-Lime green), which was quick and fun. Of course, I got totally upstaged by her Memere who showed up with a tricycle! Not that her feet touch the pedals yet, but I imagine they will before too long.

Little Miss Cleaver has become obsessed with belly buttons of late, whether it’s spotting mine and poking and laughing or displaying her own upon request. Onesies are definitely out. So obviously she had to check her new bunny for a belly button.

After some unwelcome snow on Tuesday, the weather seems to be settling into spring. My daffodils are blooming, with tulips coming not too far behind. It means we can go to the park, try out slides for the first time and play in the yard. Now if only we could convince LMC to wear shoes. Right now it’s like putting booties on a dog, with much awkwardness and whining.

We’ve already had one happy afternoon with a batch of neighbor kids in the driveway. We’ve got sidewalk chalk and digging tools at the ready.  I’m hoping to get together with our neighbor in the next few weeks to have a raised bed building day. It’s been so long since I’ve had a veggie garden  and I want to get out there and grow some things!

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Little Miss Cleaver turned one this weekend, and it’s hard to believe it’s been a year already. The days can be long (3:30 wake up calls, anyone?) but the weeks and months, and now year (!), just speed by.  It seems not so long ago she was just this tiny squishy thing and now she’s walking and babling, and has opinions and is just a tiny little person.

To celebrate her first birthday we made a weekend of it. First on Friday, Mr. Cleaver and LMC met me at work and we went out to lunch at the Olive Cafe, picked out some birthday presents at the local toy store, and LMC tasted her first ice cream – Gelato Fiasco of course!

For her actual birthday on Saturday we kept it fairly low key. She wore a new mom-made birthday dress. There was breakfast and cards. Then we went to LMC’s very first swim class, the first half of which involved a wet baby clinging to me like a barnacle, until we got to the picking up and splashing into the pool part and especially the singing part. During the singing she clapped her little hands with joy and looked at me as if to say, you didn’t tell me there’d be singing mom, I’d have been more open to this whole thing if I knew there would be singing! The swim class totally wiped her out and resulted in a nearly two-hour mom lap nap.

In the afternoon Memere joined us for a few balloons, a few presents, and a cake. In honor of her birth on Maine Maple weekend, I made a applesauce cake with maple buttercream frosting. I modified the original recipe to use 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour, less sugar in the cake, and no nuts/raisins. I’d probably cut back on the whole wheat flour next time, as it got a bit dense. I also added a bit of water to the frosting to get it to a spreadable consistency, but it was otherwise delicious.  The frosting tasted almost exaclt like maple sugar candy. The cake decorations I made myself out of some scrapbook paper. The birthday crown was a free pattern on Ravelry that took about an hour to make.

Later in the day our neighbors, who watch LMC two days a week and are like second family to her came over for a while.  Then we ate some pizza, gave LMC a bath, and everyone went to bed about a half an hour early and slept in late.

Today was Maine Maple Sunday itself, and we made our usual jaunt up to Sebago for a pancake breakfast and sugar shack visit. All in all it was a sweet time with a sweet little girl and a very good first birthday/first year of parenting celebration.

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The light in the evening is coming back in spades theses day, for which this California transplant is grateful. It makes me feel so much for active and productive in the evenings, which is great, because it’s been a busy week and it’s going to be a busy spring.

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Because with all the bright happy sunniness of spring comes new responsibility – probably a day a late and a dollar short, but I’ve started thinking about all the stuff I need to do to get  vegetable garden in the ground this year, not to mention spring cleaning, repainting the peeling deck, and all that sewing I want to do as soon as it starts getting warmer.

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But for today, I’m taking it easy (as much as that’s possible on a work day) and not worrying about all the work that’s to come.

Deep breaths, and one day at a time.

All photos of Barley Herb Salad from Martha Stewart Living. Which is totally delicious, especially if you add extra mustard.

I feel like I had a whirlwind of a weekend: we had friends over for dinner Friday night, I spent Saturday running errands, and Sunday we took our annual Maine Maple Sunday trip, which I followed up with an up-close viewing of the Hunger Games with some of my knitting buddies.

One of the things I love about Maine is it’s seasonality, there’s a time for syrup, and a time for apples, a time for shrimp, and a time for blueberries.

So in spite of the unseasonably warm weather we’d had the previous week, Maine Maple Sunday stayed true to form and was cold (and rainy!), but it didn’t dampen our spirits as we drove to Sebago for a pancake breakfast and some sugar shack tours. (Though a bad map did cause some frustration).

We picked up a pint of syrup and a bag of maple candies, but the variety of maple products is always fun to see.

I’m thinking I need to make a batch of my maple walnut granola soon – do you have any favorite maple syrup recipes? Or do you save it for pancakes and waffles only?

P.S.: Check out this preview from the upcoming Knitscene summer issue – it hits newsstands April 17th, but if you live in Portland be warned, I’m so excited about my first print publication that I may buy all the copies. 😉

Tabouleh

Spinach Basil Pesto

(to borrow from Soulemama)
Right Now I’m…

  • nearly a month into this Lent thing and trying out a new recipe or two a week;
  • two buttons bands away from finishing up a new design sample;
  • into running again, signed up for a 5k and everything;
  • enjoying the increasing hours of daylight;
  • loving the unseasonably warm March weather we’re having; and
  • obsessing over a new music find: darlingside

What are you up to?

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