June 28, 2009

Borrowing the car


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Alden has been borrowing his friend Evelyn's car for the past couple weeks. It's a sporty Kettler with an open top. Alden loves pushing himself around on it and (encouraged by me) saying 'boom' when he runs into walls, doors, sofas and the like. The seat lifts up, revealing a storage space where he keeps a stash of inflatable stars (from his kiddy pool). We tried encouraging him drive outside on the lawn, but the Kettler's performance is far superior as a sports vehicle on a engineered surface than as a garish off-roader.

Unfortunately Alden does not drive or park with any particular regard for others. He frequently gets parking tickets, which he usually just throws on the ground and then drives away (very amusing). I fear Evelyn will have some explaining to do if she gets stopped once she gets her car back.

June 27, 2009

Groundhogs are stupid babies

We got another one. Ilana read online that a litter of groundhogs is between 4 and 6. I thought maybe this liter was light and we rid ourselves of all of them at three. However, last night I left the have-a-heart trap by the burrow and this morning there was a baby groundhog trapped inside. No bait, no building around the burrow so it could only go into the cage, just left the door open and an in walked the groundhog baby.
The cage still smells mildly of skunk from last years fiasco. This one will join its siblings at Peacock Park this evening.

In addition to the groundhog capturing I have also been finishing the demolition of the shed, by removing the rotten flooring to the burn pile. I am looking forward to 'scaping the area where the structure used to be. It is a lovely shady area and could be really nice. Note the burn pile getting bigger and bigger in the background.

Our garden is growing very well, despite lack of an irrigation system. We still water with a hose, although it has been so wet this month there hasn't been much need for that. We already have more radishes and rhubarb then we know what to do with, and the fresh salad greens are abundant.

June 24, 2009

Groundhogs are bad mothers

The groundhog from last year is back and living in our berry patch. A big fat fatty of a groundhog. It has not gotten into our garden yet which is very civilized, however everything we read says it could. If we were serious about our fencing we should have buried it at least 10" in the ground and then put a foot of chicken wire on the ground all around the perimeter.

We can sometimes see it eating our lawn and flowers from the kitchen window. The other day Ilana saw it in the back and decided to chase it with Alden's bo-staff. By the time she charged around the groundhog was in her burrow, however, a smaller groundhog was still on the lawn. The little guy panicked, charged Ilana, was bonked with the staff, expired, and was tossed in the back of the back yard. Very grim.

Ilana felt pretty bad about off-ing the little guy, but swears it rushed her. A couple days later I saw the big fat groundhog and I devised a plan. I took a plastic bin with me with the intention of capturing the critter. The crafty rodent spotted me however, and dove safely into her hole. I then noticed a small groundhog INSIDE THE GARDEN FENCE. It seems the small ones are able to smoosh themselves through the fencing without too much bother. The little guy tried to make it to the burrow, but I scooped him up in the bin and deposited him in a 50gal garbage can. I then had to decide what to do with him.
An hour or so later I spotted the mom in the backyard again and decided to try and capture her again. It was surprisingly similar to the first charge. I tried to sneak around, I was spotted by momma groundhog who ran for the hole. There was another small groundhog I scooped up and placed with his sibling. I decided to let the groundhog kids go in a forest a couple miles away. Note the carrot in the upper right corner I gave them in case they got hungry on the trip.
The mother is still at large (minus three of her babies) so I guess the saga will continue. Oh yes, and the little fellas ate the tops off of half our carrots before we captured them.

June 22, 2009

More tractor rides

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Father's Day Weekend

We spent last weekend at my Dad's, which was as much a celebration of Father's Day and the exciting start of a new chapter in Ben's life as it was a celebration of some much beloved heavy equipment. As soon as we pulled into the driveway and unbuckled Alden from his car seat, he made a beeline for the barn, gesturing wildly and squealing "Da-der, da-der!" When first introduced to these wonderful machines, he pronounced the word nearly perfectly - trah-ter. Lately he's been getting a bit lazy, settling on da-der or da-doo instead. I don't know why this has happened, but a lot of his words have gotten sloppier over the past week. I'm hoping it's just a phase. Alden has taken a real shine to my Dad ever since his first tractor ride.We have a wall at home that's covered in photos of family and one of our bedtime rituals is to name the people in the photographs. Mama and Dada are the easy ones. Uncle Ben gets a hand gesture, Grandpa Joseph gets a "Papa", and most everyone else gets a somewhat bewildered "errsh" or
"ba" - even Karen, whom he sees almost every week. However, when I point to a photo of my dad lately and ask Alden for an identification, he jubilantly proclaims "DA-DOO!"
Alden examines the front bucket loader.
One more mutual meltdown with Ben before his long trip across the country. Gotta keep the traditions going.

Ben was already at the house when we arrived, making his final plans for his cross country roadtrip. His little Honda Civic is packed floor to roof with all his worldly possessions, which amazes me because there's no way I could fit all my belongings inside a sedan. Ben had initially planned to leave the afternoon of our arrival, but I managed to guilt him into staying for dinner so that we could fete him a little bit as well. We're all so excited for the start of his new adventure and think he's going to really dig Oregon, but we're sad to see him go. We loved having him stay here in Maine, especially Alden.
I made a whiskey cake and pumpkin whoopie pies with Lydia to celebrate. With barbera rosato and syrah, we toasted to fathers, to brothers and to birthdays.

June 13, 2009

Ben vs. Shed

Ben gets in a final demolition in before he moves to Eugene, OR to pursue a law degree.  

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I had been thinking about removing the shed for awhile. The roof was leaky and the floor was rotting and my gopher nemesis would use it as cover. We had been considering rehabilitating it into a chicken coup, but that plan would be at least a year away and I finally figured building new would probably be better anyway. 

Ben had been gone for about a month, looking at the U of O and visiting Barbara in California. He came back last week to collect his belongings and plan the move out west. He was looking for some projects  to kill some time so I gave him a hammer and pointed him in the direction of the shed. The whole knock-down took about an hour.

Bo-staff

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We're such bad parents ...

June 8, 2009

Kiddie Pool


It was a gorgeous summer day, so Alden and I played in the kiddie pool graciously provided by Karen. We played for about an hour straight before running inside for a little snack. Afterwards, Evelyn and Gillian biked over to join us. Evvie preferred slowly emptying the pool by filling up half of a plastic easter egg with water and dumping it in our herb garden. She made about 300,000 trips, which apparently was more fun than splashing about in the pool itself. Alden also shied away from bathing in the pool once company arrived and instead preferred to check out the "tractors" next door. Hence, no cute double baby shots. But we still had a great time.

I didn't have any swim diapers at home, so I thought, what the hell, let's just see what happens in a disposable diaper. The baby just grows an enormous ass, that's what. It ballooned to tumor proportions and eventually impaired Alden's mobility. I now understand why swim diapers are so important. So I took it off and let the little guy free ball it instead. I did change the water before Evelyn arrived, however.
We worked on making the floating rings ("gaggule" or circle) into hats.

June 7, 2009

First Harvest

Radishes are flourishing in the new garden. Here are the first recruits out of the soil and about to be tossed in a salad. Our mesclun greens are also growing really well. I guess we're officially in the salad days of summer.
This week Alden discovered that he really likes hats, the remote control for the fan in our room and shapes (stars and circles, specifically). He's going through a Robert Smith phase (haven't we all, at some point?). He is also walking with his hands at his sides, instead of the toddler balancing walk with his arms in the air. The unfortunate development of the week is that he's become very picky about food textures and unless his vegetables are pureed unrecognizably smooth, he won't touch them. If a stray broccoli flower in an otherwise uniform puree touches his tongue, he'll boycott the whole meal. Tragic...