Tuesday, September 2, 2014

saturday market booths: pottery & glass (part two)

And now for part two, with pictures from previous sunny market days. (You can see part one here.) Less words this time, I'll mostly let the pictures speak for themselves. I didn't intend to have part two be comprised of only pottery and glass, but realized I had so many pictures of the two, that it worked out great that way. And yes, there will be a part three. Enjoy some more handmade love from the Eugene Saturday Market....
.:Teapots, plates, and bowls by Amy the Potter.
.:Glass marbles by Mazet Studios.
.:Bowls, vases and containers by Brown Pots by Nicole.
.:Dichroic glass pendants by Blessed Bead.
.:Pottery windchimes by Pat Brooks.
.:Handblown glass by Infinite Cosmos Glass.
.:Wee vases and dishes by Elise.
.:Borosilicate Glass Pendants by Conan Phillips.
.:Plates and mugs by Yogagoat Pottery.
Thanks to all the artists who make the Saturday Market such a colorful place!

Monday, September 1, 2014

a soggy saturday (and lots of wows)

Our market day had a little surprise: rain! It was fun walking around the farmer's market with Bracken in the rain and getting soaking wet. There were people in tank tops and shorts saying "I wasn't expecting this!" Once we went back to our booth to warm up and dry out a bit, we discovered our tarp (the roof of our booth) is in worse shape than we thought. It was leaking everywhere and there was hardly a place to sit without getting soaked. So Jeff sat in the one dry spot he could find and Bracken and I headed over to the coffee shop for a bit. After being in there for awhile, we came out with a warm peppermint tea and the rain had stopped. I think Bracken's highlight of the day was the performance at the market stage. At the last Holiday Market Bracken saw a dancer balancing a candle on her head. (I mentioned it briefly in this post.) So, ever since he has been pretty obsessed with balancing things on his head. Sometimes he dances while he does so and tell us whatever is on his head at the time is a candle. On Saturday there were some belly dance performances and one of the dancers balanced a sword on her head. You can imagine how much Bracken enjoyed that. You should have seen the look on his face while he watched, completely mesmerized. Our friend Kim mentioned the fact that he said the word "Wow" over and over, throughout the entire dance. That pretty much summed up how he felt about it. I've never heard him say that word so many times in my life. As soon as we went back to the booth, Jeff heard all about it.

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Our family is so grateful.
Welcome September!
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

G r a t i t u d e * S u n d a y

 G r a t i t u d e  *  S u n d a y
{Sunday's heartfelt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful. A list of gratitudes.} 
If you would like to join us, see below. 
Our gratefulness feeds one another. 
Throughout the week I've felt grateful for:

...Sunflowers. They are one of my very favorite flowers (our living room even has a sunflower theme) and it makes me so happy to see their bright faces blooming in the garden. I'm thankful to Jeff for planting them every time I look at them.
...Picking a spot in the yard and starting a faery garden with Bracken. Have been wanting to start one for a long time. Not much there yet, but it's a start.
...Being able to catch the lizard we found in our bedroom and bring it outside. I would not have slept as well that night if there was a lizard somewhere in the room.
...Watering the garden and harvesting. Gathering eggs. Fresh water in the duck's pond pool. Hanging the laundry on the line. All the outdoor activities that mean I get to enjoy it out there longer.
...Mornings in bed, reading by headlamp for a bit while Bracken still slept. Such a treat to get reading time.
...My mom being able to make me laugh about things I didn't even know I was capable of laughing about, but really needed to. Her gift. It's true that sometimes one of the best things you can do when you are upset about something is to see the humor in it.
...Going out at twilight, with Bracken holding my hand, to close the door on the chicken coop for the night. It always looks so magical that time of day.
...A little watermelon from a local farm that brought so much enjoyment. Bracken scooped every last speck of it out with a spoon while we talked to his great-grandma on the phone.
...Jeff finding a crock pot at a garage sale for $2 after ours had just broken. Much nicer than any we'd ever had before and we can't be without a crock pot with all the bone broths we make.
...Cleaning out and organizing my knitting tub. A little thing that felt so satisfying. 
...Jeff's physical therapist getting an extension so our insurance will cover physical therapy awhile longer. Bless her heart.
...A shower and pajamas. Ahhh.
...The pantry being so much easier to walk in after doing a bit of cleaning up and rearranging.
...A sweet blog reader dropping off a little surprise for me at our market booth yesterday. (Thank you Trina-Lea and I'm so bummed I didn't get to meet you!) 

You can read more about the inspiration for Gratitude Sunday here


Like to Join Us in Gratitude Sunday?


If you are a blogger, click on the blue button below to add your link.
When adding your link...
Link the URL to your blog post and not to your main blog URL.
In your blog post, include a link back here, to this current post, so others who would like to join can find us.

Share your list (whether one or many) in the comments below.
Whether your week flowed smoothly or you had a rough one, taking the time to focus on what you're grateful for always makes things better and will bring you a happy heart!
What have you felt grateful for throughout your week?
Share with us below! 
Gratitude Sunday

Saturday, August 30, 2014

end of august (a haircut, a dehydrator & such)

At the end of last week Bracken got a much needed haircut. Last time we gave him a haircut our clippers broke before we had finished. They were secondhand clippers that Jeff had picked up somewhere and I decided I wanted to get some brand new ones this time around. I figured I'd save up for a bit and then go buy a good quality pair of clippers. At the store the mid-range ones were not as expensive as I expected them to be, so I probably could have purchased some sooner. By the time I did, Bracken's bangs were nearly to his eyes and it looked so hot and uncomfortable in the summer heat. These clippers also happened to be cordless which meant we could do Bracken's haircut outside, which was wonderful. Jeff tried out the new clippers on Bracken's hair for a moment or two and then passed them over to me. Awhile back, Jeff and I had looked up youtube videos on cutting little boy's hair. I had a lot to learn because I haven't given the best haircuts in the past. Bracken went to the barber's a few times, but then really didn't like it so I didn't want to bring him back. I knew if I could learn to give decent haircuts at home: it would be more convenient, easier, more relaxed, Bracken would enjoy himself more, and we would save lots of money. (He doesn't adore getting haircuts at home either, but much better than the barber's. He isn't fond of being still so long, I don't blame him.) So after a few youtube videos I felt a bit more confident. I'd never used clippers before. I put the longest extension on the clippers (one inch) and did it from all directions so it wouldn't make lines. Easy peasy. I felt so empowered! I used the scissors for his sideburns and area around his ears and wasn't totally happy with how they turned out, a bit too short, but overall it was by far the best job on Bracken's haircut I'd ever done. The clippers made all the difference. No wonder I couldn't make his haircuts look good with just scissors, I just didn't have enough experience for that. After his haircut was done, he jumped in his little pool and got cleaned up. No hair to sweep up, like in the house. Doing haircuts outside is the best. Then I took a few pictures of his new haircut while he ate a plum and decided to be silly for the camera, as usual. 

Oh, and we love slathering ourselves in clay. Have you ever tried it? It feels incredible.
We traded a neighbor for some bartlett pairs. We waited for them to ripen, watching them go from green to yellow. Looking at them, you'd have no idea just how incredibly sweet and delicious they are inside. So, we had a bunch of pears to process all at once. That's where the dehydrator came in. Quite a few years in a row, we bought dehydrators from the grocery store. They never lasted though, because we used them so much. They weren't the highest quality, to be sure, but cost enough that we didn't want to purchase yet another dehydrator that wouldn't last. Last year we went the whole season without one and we really missed having one. I said I wanted to save up and buy a high quality dehydrator. Jeff said he wanted to build one. I looked at good quality dehydrators and yikes- they cost a lot. An investment like that would be worth it, because I knew we would use it so much. Whenever we had dehydrators before, we practically had them constantly going. But with those prices that would mean saving up for a very, very long time and we didn't really have extra money to save anyway. Jeff is always one to find a solution, though. He had a metal box and painted the outside black so we could put it in the sun and rely on mostly solar heat to do our dehydrating during the day. On the side is a thermometer, so we can check the temperature inside, and also a dial to turn it up or down. The racks he got secondhand. I know I don't do it justice in explaining it here and there's probably much more that Jeff would say if he was writing about it, but I don't understand all the details. All I know is that he jerry-rigged it as he always does, costing us hardly anything at all, and that it works well and I'm really grateful for it. He's not satisfied with it because he said he could do this or that so much better if he had more a) time and  b) money to put into it, but there's always many other things that are needing his attention. But, to me, it's great and we have a working dehydrator again! Jeff has something else he built that he named R2D2 because they look so much alike. So he jokingly called the new dehydrator R2D3.

Now we have dried pears for the winter and we also freezed a bunch. On Thursday I finished processing the last of the pears. Next week's project: apples.
We had another encounter with the "funny bug." This time it was during the day when I could photograph it more easily. Bracken picked a flower and got the beetle to crawl on it. The beetle hung out with us for a long time and didn't fly away. We all enjoy this bug and are happy when it visits our garden.
 All summer I've been meaning to get a picture with Jeff and Bracken by the runner beans. I wanted to show how tall they are. Also Jeff said he wanted to show my dad what we did with some of the fencing he brought us. He had some short fencing they pulled up at his place and asked if we wanted it. Jeff and I made trellises with it for the beans and cucumbers (to the left of the beans) to grow up. Jeff even made an archway for the beans to grow up that we can walk under. Growing vertically helps us grow a lot more food with limited space to work with and recycled fencing works well for that.
We had two firsts this week. The first sunflowers started blooming and we got our very first duck egg! We've been bringing in pullet eggs from our new laying hens for a few weeks now, but then one day this week Bracken gathered eggs in the lowest nesting boxes and one looked different. I knew right away it was a duck egg. While in a basket of chicken eggs, it may not stand out a lot, but there are subtle differences. When you break it open, you can really tell because the shells have a harder and different sort of consistency and the whites are much thicker. Some people think duck eggs taste a bit too strong, but we love them in our house. Four days in a row we gathered a duck egg in the lower nesting box. Bracken was so excited. On the second day I think it was, he couldn't wait to show Jeff the duck egg and then a chicken flew down from the roost to eat and bumped into him, which cracked the duck egg. He was so upset he cried. I told him we'd probably have one the next day, but he said he had wanted to show his dad and he wanted to eat it in our food. He did get one the next day. What makes me happy, besides getting duck eggs now, is the fact that our duck Fennel is actually laying them in a nesting box. I've heard that ducks sometimes lay their eggs wherever they want and are not as good about laying them in nesting boxes as chickens are, so I hope Fennel keeps this up.
There's something so fun about firsts. Our family gets excited over the first daffodil. Later the first zucchini. The first cucumber. The first green beans. And then, in the case of the last three things mentioned, it can shift from first and exciting to overwhelming. The last few weeks we've been bringing in basket after basket full of zucchini, cucumbers, and green beans. It's wonderful and it's feeding us well. And it's also a bit overwhelming at times. Our sauerkraut finished and we finally had a crock free for cucumbers. We put nearly five gallons of sauerkraut in the fridge. Then a gallon of pickles. Then two gallons of fermented beets. We can barely fit it all in there, but we want it fresh and raw because of all the probiotics so the fridge is the place we want to store it. Yesterday I had another crock of sauerkraut to jar up and it took some creativity to fit it all in there. I managed to fit a little over three gallons more of kraut in the fridge by putting it in quart jars on the bottom shelf, which is just the exact height for a quart jar to fit. I flavored them with some of our homegrown garlic, turmeric, and coriander seeds Jeff saved from the garden. In one I put some dill Jeff saved from the garden, but we're mostly saving that for pickles. And I have a feeling our next crock of pickles is ready. Now that will really take some creativity to fit it all in there.

Jeff took the straw in the greenhouse that we had inoculated with white elm mushrooms and used it to mulch around the garden. We've kept it watered and have had white elm mushrooms popping up regularly, it's great! We're watching our winter squash grow. Sometimes our season isn't long enough for them to finish completely, but I'm hoping it might be different this year. That's some of the things going on around here at the end of August. A few more days to soak up August, let's enjoy it to the fullest!

This post was mostly written yesterday. We'll be heading to the Eugene Saturday Market this morning. 
Come say hello if you're by!