29 August 2014

A Year's Supply of Peaches

We have been canning.

At the beginning of the week I took the kids outside, handed The Bairn a bucket, set Ellen up in the shade, and picked enough fruit off our tree for Steve to make a canner-load of spiced crab apples.  Steve claims he's going to make the best bbq sauce in the history of the world with the remaining canning syrup.

Wednesday we drove to the Annapolis Valley, my true Nova Scotian home, to buy 100 lbs of peaches.  Whenever we go to Wolfville, I have to spend a lot of time demanding that Steve explain why we don't live there.  They are my people.  For example, at the fruit market where we bought the fruit (and where they sell homemade taquitos and operate a petting zoo/park/playground), a woman asked Steve to come over and lend his strength to moving our peach boxes.  One of the young male employees protested, "Now, now, maybe his strength is poetry."  (It's not.)

Yesterday we spent seven hours processing 23 quarts of peaches and 5 quarts of peach pie filling.

To do this, you must first dress your baby as some kind of weird Hawaiian hobo.

Just because.

Then you must give her fun toys, like empty bowls and forks.

Because she is a gem, this will keep her happy all day.

Then you may proceed with filling three of these buckets with peaches before processing.

Afterward, do not even consider making dinner.  Eat outside at the market down the road.  Sit with old people who come out in droves to hear the live music on Thursday nights.  They will be nice to your baby, even if she's dressed like a freak show.

25 August 2014

Steve's Happy Birthday

Steve's birthday was on Saturday, so we headed to the Exhibition with Papa to celebrate.

The Bairn found construction vehicles in the corn pit and could have stayed there happily until his 18th birthday.  He bypassed patting the bunnies to go play with the toys.  Bunnies.

Ellen was not at all sure about the petting zoo.

When we did drag The Bairn away to visit the 4-H barns, he made friends with this goat and thought it was hilarious when the goat nibbled him.  It may have played a role in his decision to bite his beloved nursery teacher in church the next day.

He loved the tractor display, and the old man guarding the tractors gave him a pin that he wore proudly.

Ellen's favorite thing was eating crackers in the stroller.

The Bairn's one true desire was to ride the little train.  He asked us about it approximately every 30 seconds until noon, when the rides actually opened.  Then he continued to ask about it, because the train was broken and he had to wait some more.  The guy operating it was really nice, though, and let The Bairn ride for an extremely long time.  Until it broke again.  The Bairn is probably the only child in the history of the exhibition to actually get his money's worth on a ride there.

Ellen is not This Tall yet.

I made Steve a black forest cake and The Bairn kindly blew out the candles for him.

23 August 2014

A Series of Failed Photos

We are not a family skilled in the novelty photo opportunity.

Problem #1 - Steve's shirt is showing through a pig face opening.  We need more people in our family.

Problem #2 - The Bairn has disappeared from the photo.

Problem #3 - Ellen refuses to be stuffed in a pig face hole any longer.

Don't expect to see this picture on our Christmas card.

21 August 2014

Adventures in Cheesemaking

Last month someone from Relief Society called to say that they'd like me to teach a class in August and I said, "Sure thing."  And then they started talking about cheesemaking and I said, "Sure thing, except, you know, I don't know how to make cheese."  And then everyone at church started telling me how excited they were for me to do the cheesemaking and someone I know from our little village who doesn't go to church with us but works with someone who does was emailing me to ask if she could come learn the cheesemaking too, and I was all like, "Sure thing, except, I don't know how to make cheese!")

Still, all the people are coming tonight.  And I do know how to make cottage cheese and yogurt.  And I read some books on making cheese.  And this morning I whipped up some paneer to give myself some more cheesemaking credentials.  So wish us luck, because I'm going to be instructing others on cheesemaking in four hours.

This is my paneer.  It cost more than buying a block at the store and probably part of The Bairn's brain, because I let him watch YouTube movies all morning so that he'd stop 'helping' me with it.

12 August 2014

Summer Love

We are lovin' the pants off summer (assuming summer has pants).  The Bairn still insists on holding my hand while playing in the spray park, but he's getting braver all the time.  He voluntarily swung on a swing by himself the other week, telling me, "I'm doing clever tricks in the air like Sam."

I sit under the trees in our backyard with the kids while The Bairn races around and Ellen takes a few steps all on her own.  Yesterday The Bairn hurt his foot while running 'like a race car' so I suggested that he slow down and he agreed.  "I'll go slow like a station wagon."

Papa went to the park with us on Saturday (after helping Steve re-plumb the basement) and took Howard up this set of stairs called Jacob's Ladder.

Yesterday our neighbor asked me if I could feel fall in the air.  I can, but we're still summering it up around here.  We have so much sand to throw on the deck and so many slides to go down before snow flies.

08 August 2014

Sneak Peek

Steve spent the last week fixing our front hallway.  It needed a lot of work.  You probably can't really appreciate how good it looks if you haven't been to our house. 

I don't even have any shocking 'before' pictures.  This is the closest thing I've got.  You can see the blue beadboard and maybe the drywall on the stairs.  You cannot, however, see the spot where the butterfly-shaped mirrors left holes in the wall or the spot where bolts were pulled out of the wall creating more holes or the door frames which were grey from years of dogs leaning against them or all the spots where there was no trim or the black light switches (or better yet the loon light switch plate) or the electrical outlet that gave BOTH my children shocks.  Also, the living room and hallway are the same color, but the color changes a huge amount based on the kind of light coming in the house.


And AFTER  (see, now the living room looks yellow but it's not)

And AFTER (but still 'before' because we haven't hung pictures or mirrors)

05 August 2014

For the Grandparents: 9-Months-Old

Ellen is 9-months-old.

She loves her blankies.  When we hand her one, she snuggles it to her face and says something that sounds like ganky.

She stands like a pro and we expect her to take off walking any day now.

She hates having her diaper changed.

She climbs the stairs but hasn't figured out how to come down yet.

She loves music.  We had her over at the market at a concert on the wharf and The Bairn listened briefly and then went to play in the sand, but Ellen was transfixed the entire time and cried when we left.

She loves to be upside down.  If she fusses in church, I can usually just stand her on her head for a bit and then she feels better.

She loves to be chased around and to play lap games.

She is so, so sweet.
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