Tuesday, October 16, 2012

August Recap in Pictures

Nana came to visit and to celebrate her 60th Birthday, we took a tour of downtown Lake Oswego - lovely lunch at Scratch cafe, a stop to listen to the summer music concert, and then some time at the splash park for the kids. Happy Birthday Nana!


Portland has an amazing array of splash parks.  We only managed to visit 3 or 4 of them this summer, but I think next summer will have a "splash park checklist" affixed to the fridge!

The kids took a two-week session of swim lessons.  Why do they do that?  Two weeks of swimming everyday is just exhausting for everyone involved.  We're looking forward to fall lessons that are just once a week AND Josh will be old enough to be in lessons without a parent. Whoohoo! 

Josh became long overdue for a haircut, but I just couldn't imagine trimming those summer blond locks. Thankfully, the Maxwell Barber Shop operates on Sundays and I came home from the store to find that Josh is equally adorable with a buzz cut.

These two worked hard to spend as much of the summer in as little clothes as possible.

The kids had a week off of school, so we took the opportunity to jump over the mountains and savor a long Labor Day weekend in Bend - hiking Sparks Lake, TIME WITH FRIENDS, dinner at Jackson's Corner, gelatto at Powell's, a morning at Bloom School, Scott brewed beer with Neil, dinner on the deck, Scott got on his bike in the woods, farmers market, we crashed Kaden's dinosaur birthday party, BBQ with the biking crew, dinner with the MacSween's, and so many smiles and hardly any pictures - we were playing too hard!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Garden Grown

Just a little recap of our first summer gardening on the "wet side" of the state.  It is so, so, so, so much easier to plant the types of veggies that we actually eat when the temperatures are reasonably going to stay above freezing for the whole summer.  What a difference!

One of my co-workers has a greenhouse and she sold a ton of veggie starts to raise money for the Oregon Food Bank. We planted three types of tomatoes, plus peppers and basil. Because our house was still very much a construction zone during planting season, we stuck to containers this year.  The kids brought home pea starts that got added to the pots, but really needed more room.  Our only major setback was an experiment with organic fertilizer.  The fertilizer was fine... so wonderfully enriched with fish meal, in fact, that Hudson dug through all our pots in under 10 minutes the first time we fertilized. Lesson learned - all pots now go up on a bench or table after fertilization.  And, for just $10, Sarah supplied us with replacement starts for our lost tomatoes.

All summer, Owen would diligently tell our friends that we had three types of tomatoes: Brandywine, Cherry, and Early Girl... "but our early girls are NOT very early." After the replanting, in fact, the early girls were the LAST to actually bloom and fruit.

Scott built these awesome bench/planters to replace our collapsing (or collapsED) deck railing, so the pots got a serious upgrade and access to MUCH better sun about halfway through the summer.  Our peppers were very happy about the switch, and I ended up very happy that I hadn't yanked the "not producing" pepper plants out too early. Instead, we were pulling fresh peppers and tomatoes through October.


Then, another co-worker gave us a pile of strawberry plants, so the kids and I built a makeshift planter bed using the trunks of a couple cedar trees that we lost last winter.  Owen and Josh diligently went to work making stringing rainbow yarn around the bed to ward off iguanas.  You know, because "there are a lot of iguanas in Portland and iguanas LOVE strawberries." 
We were late planting the strawberries, so I wasn't expecting any berries this year. In the end, we got three berries, each the size of Josh's pinky finger... and the boys insisted in sharing each one. Very cute.

When Sarah brought us our replacement plants, she also added in a sunflower start, thinking the boys would like watching it grow.  Was she ever right!  That plant started just 4 inches tall, hardly distinguishable from the strawberry plants.  We took measurements against Owen's body - ankle... knee... waist... shoulder... and by July, it was already as tall as Owen, and I thought we should probably start taking pictures. 



September required a stool to get the full effect.  

Gardening with the boys was something that we all enjoyed and certainly an easy "passive" educational opportunity. Owen eats anything that comes out of the garden and I could probably live on tomato and basil recipes. I'm hopeful that less work on the house next spring will give us a chance to build at least one raised planter and try our hand at lettuce, squash, carrots and some fall veggies like broccoli.