Tuesday, June 30, 2009

End of June

Just a few pictures taken near the end of June.

We have been harvesting a ton from the garden. Beans and squash are just now coming in. Lettuce and peas are on their way out. My deep freezer is already filling up with our spring and early summer bounty.

i'm loving the color of the Purple Derby beans. They are the deepest eggplant purple. We also planted yellow wax beans and regular green beans. i love lots of color on the dinner plate.

Blueberries and raspberries are here. The kids raid the bushes every time we step out the door. i've been freezing as many as i can. Sugar snaps are also a favorite. Sweet fresh peas with crunchy edible pods.

Sage loves the sugar snaps fresh, and loves to help in the garden. We blanch these and freeze them, then enjoy them all winter in stir frys or lightly sauted in olive oil with garlic and a dash of tamari. Around the first week of July i'll pull all the sugar snaps and put in a second planting of green beans, then plant peas again in the fall.
July is just begining and i'm already planning out my fall garden. :)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Late night visitor.

Last night, i went to close the front door and i found this huge Polyphemus moth hanging out on the glass. Moths use the moon to guide them, and sometimes get confused by porch lights/street lights. So i called the kids over and when we opened the door to get a better look it came right in!

These things are amazing with a wingspan of almost 6 inches! They fly really slow and this guy kept landing on us. he had a really furry body and tickled as he walked up our arms.

Sequoia was a bit hesitant to hold it, but eventually did. Sage absolutely adored it and didn't want to let it go.

These guys are most recognizable by their huge purple eye spots. They get their name from the Greek myth of the Cyclops Polyphemus.

After a few minutes of dancing with it around the house, it was time to say goodbye. So we opened up the door and sent him on his way. i turned off the porch light, so he wouldn't be confused again and could go back to following the moon.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

WV trip, Solstice baby.

This past weekend June 20-21, was a busy one for us. On Sat. we headed up to the West Virginia/Ohio border (5 1/2 hour drive) for a family reunion. The weather was perfect for it. We hung out with family, filled up on delicious food, played bingo, socialized and spent lots of time outside on the playground.

The kids were thrilled to spend some time with Nana and Pap and Auntie Kris, as well as getting to see some Great Aunts & Uncles, and second & third cousins that we only get to see once a year.

Sunday, June 21st was a pretty special day for us. It marked the Summer Solstice, the first day of summer. This year it also happened to be Father's day and Sage's third Birthday. We found a lovely park and celebrated together.

My little Sage was my spring baby, with a mind of her own. She waited 5 days past her due date to be born, not in the spring, but instead on the first day of Summer.

Sage with her Nana .

Getting a kiss from her second cousin. They are only a few months apart, and played well together. Sage was thrilled to have so much family at her 'party'. We enjoyed cupcakes, and the kids played on the playground and fed ducks at the pond.

Happy 3rd Birthday little princess!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Hungry Little Caterpillar

Almost every summer for he last 5 or 6 years we've collected monarch caterpillars, and brought them inside to raise and release. It helps the monarchs by providing a safe, predator free environment, and is a fun way to teach the kids about the life cycle of a butterfly. Last summer was the first in many years that we did not find any monarch caterpillars. Just about the time we had begun to go out looking for caterpillars, the county mowers came through and mowed down all the milkweed! Monarch caterpillars eat only milkweed, so without it....no caterpillars. We are hoping to find some this year, and rescue them, before the mowers come.

Early this week, i was out in the garden checking my carrots and i found two black swallowtail caterpillars munching on my carrot greens. i have never raised them inside, so we decided to leave them where they were, and check on them regularly.

Yesterday when i went out to check them they were gone.

Not long after that, Kenan found one crawling across the deck. i knew that having left his food source, he was probably getting ready to pupate. So we brought him inside.

The kids were fascinated watching him crawl around the sticks and plants trying to find a perfect spot. Sage was too little to remember raising monarchs, so this was quite new to her.

He spent several hours hanging out on this stick, then eventually his legs pulled away from the branch so he was suspended. If you look closely you can see the silk holding his feet in place, he also created a silken sling to support his body.

We hoped to witness the formation of the chrysalis, in which he actually sheds his skin. However, he decided to wait until we were sleeping, so we woke up to find him in this form. He'll stay snug in his chrysalis for 9-12 days, then hopefully we'll get to witness him emerging as a butterfly. It is always magical, no matter how many times we witness it.

We have this fabulous book called Where Butterflies Grow, by Joanne Ryder and illustrated by Lynne Cherry. This is a great children's book showing the lifecycle of a swallowtail caterpillar, and the illustrations are absolutely fabulous! We have enjoyed reading this book, as we watched our own little caterpillar transform.

Friday, June 12, 2009

June in the garden.

June has been a very busy time for us. Lots of time spent outside (in between rain showers) and lots of time spent in the garden. Sage has been a great garden helper!

Picking strawberries.

Helping pick salad and radishes.

Checking on the broccoli.

She insisted on carrying all these veggies in the house herself, even though she could barely lift it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekend in Knoxville.

In celebration of our Anniversary, we decided to take a weekend trip to Knoxville, TN. We used to do glass/bead shows here, so were familiar with some of the fun things Knoxville has to offer. The glass shows were held in the Jacob building of Chilhowee Park, and the Knoxville Zoo is right across the parking lot.

Here we are in front of Black bear falls. Some of the exhibits here are really nice.

The kids were able to get right up to black bears, and see them up close. The bears used the tunnels to get out of the sun, they couldn't see us.

The Elephants had a really nice outside area, although they were very far away. Inside we were able to see just how big an elephant really is! They are Huge! It was neat to see them so upclose!

This zoo had so much for the kids to do! There was traveling indoor exhibit called Wee PlayZoo.
It was really neat! The kids had so much fun working in the pizza shop, dressing up, working in the vet clinic and becoming zoo workers for the day! It was really fun for them and the air conditioning was a nice break from the outside!

The zoo also had a huge children's area called Kids cove. There was a petting zoo, giant sandbox, indoor climbing structures, a carousel and this frog pond.

After the zoo we headed to the hotel. It had a pool and hot tub that we all enjoyed!

On Monday we went back to Chilowee park to check out the Discovery Center (it's on our museum passport). It really wasn't all that exciting, it was very small...so we didn't stay long. Afterwards we took a walk around the duck pond. The Discovery center is the white building in the background.

The we headed downtown to the World's Fair Park. We started off at the Kid's fort oplayground. It was way too warm to play for long though, so we headed to the Splash pad.

The kids love this! We spent most of the day here playing in the water.

Before leaving we checked out the Sunsphere. You can take an elevator up to observation deck. These are some pictures of the park from the Sunsphere.

We had a great weekend, it was lots of fun for everyone. i took way too many pictures as usual and you can see more here if you'd like.

Friday, June 5, 2009

kid's Garden

This spring when we were busy getting the garden ready to plant, Sequoia asked if he could plant his own garden. So Kenan tilled up a small spot and border it with some fallen pine logs. We added a bit a seasoned manure and compost and then i took Sequoia to town to pick out some seeds and plants for his garden.

Both the kids were very excited to start planting. They helped to work the manure into the soil and create some rows.

Planting the seeds


and vegetables and flowers.

Adding water and waiting for it to grow. The kids planted their garden mid-may. Sequoia has done a great job keeping it watered and weeded and Sage loves to help too!

It is growing fabulously! They planted a broccoli, tomato, pepper, potato, green beans, peas, cucumber, melon, spinach, chard, lettuce, carrots and flowers...all in a 5x5 space. :) . It looks better than my garden! Sequoia is very proud of it. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

9th Anniversary.

On June 3rd of 2000, we were married in a simple ceremony down by the creek.

Nine years and two children later, our love is as strong as ever. i can not imagine sharing my life with anyone else, and look forward to seeing where else our journey leads us. Happy Anniversary Kenan!