Thanksgiving 2023

We had a quiet, restful Thanksgiving at home this year. The boys helped me cook more than ever! It was so nice to have their help in the kitchen and getting ready. We didn’t do anything unusual.

We watched the parade and the dog show. I had a fun new puzzle. We ate a traditional dinner with turkey and cranberries. We had pumpkin pie and played a new dice game.

I proposed a new tradition – a Mario Kart Grand Prix! The kids were super excited to compete. I’m pleased that Ben won the tournament, but he has some real competition coming his way!

The day after Thanksgiving we had a beautiful snow. I went to Boulder for a charity dance jam (90 minutes, multiple teachers, all proceeds and time donated). The kids once again were a big help in getting Christmas decorations up indoors. Ben and I did some Christmas shopping on Saturday.

The holiday was wonderfully peaceful and fun. I only wish we could have teleported to visit more family, and that the break was longer. It was VERY hard to get out of my cozy bed this morning. Luckily the next holiday break is only a few weeks away!

Halloween 2023

We enjoyed a GORGEOUS fall this year, until a big snow storm two days before Halloween ๐Ÿ˜€ Oh well, you can’t kill the Halloween spirit in these kids!

Jack’s October Concert

Tonight we all attended Jack’s first concert of his 8th grade year. They held it in the gym because the younger grade orchestras are so big, the auditorium couldn’t accommodate them.

Jack enjoyed being the only cello in the 8th grade group (aside from one girl who mainly plays viola, but joined him for one song as a beginner).

I think he sounds really great! He loves that vibrato and really goes for it. I hope the video sounds good – in person we could clearly hear his instrument on the parts when it was only cello+bass.

I forgot the name of one song. I’ll try to update it when he tells me later.

Happy 10th Birthday Sam!

Sam had a wonderful birthday last month. He asked for a fantasy adventure party to play his ongoing RPG with his two best friends. We decorated the living room for a medieval atmosphere. He had a wonderful afternoon playing with his pals!

On the actual day of his birthday we opened presents in the morning. The big gift was a new chromebook that he knew was coming and he loves it. But we surprised him with an electric scooter to help him commute home from school. It works great and suits him perfectly!

It was a regular school day after presents. He asked for me to cook a spaghetti meatball dinner, and we took them to Dairy Queen after their piano lessons.

Happy Birthday Sam! You are such a cool, kind, and clever kid!

More Garden pictures

We had some gorgeous lighting from storms today, so I took some updated photos of the garden. I think it’s fun to see how it changes over time, and in most of the photos I shared yesterday my plants seemed so small. I also took pictures where the “after” was missing.

Stepping stones installed:

My battered shade garden:

Trumpet vine progress:

Wide shots of the yard:

Small features and beautiful morning rain:

Extra pics

Here’s some photos I didn’t share yet of the landscaping work. I dumped them in no particular order, sorry! They sort of go backwards in time, so scroll backwards for a happier viewing ๐Ÿ˜‰

Critters and Creatures

This is just a collection of our garden visitors. It’s so fun seeing who comes! Some are more welcome than others ๐Ÿ˜‰

Side projects

After getting most of the yard done, I continued to tear out grass. We carved out a space for the kids to own. Jack planted lettuce, peppers, and a watermelon that’s M.I.A. I think a rabbit ate the sprout. Sam planted strawberries and a kangaroo paw plant. We sprinkled clover all over too.

Under the locust I wanted a little shade garden and short-cut pathway. Using up the last of our fence posts and some landscaping spikes, Sam laid out a “rustic” path and together we Jack we installed it. I planted some adorable coral bells, sweet woodruff, columbines, forget-me-nots, lupine, leadwort, and creeping myrtle.

I don’t have a more complete photo…but you get the idea ๐Ÿ™‚

A family of skunks have been digging for grubs in the garden, and caused a lot of damage to the plants. Combined with the late July heat, the plants are looking a bit ragged. I have high hopes that they will recover and we’ll have a lovely shady border in a couple years.

Carpentry and My Vegetable Garden

One of my favorite parts of the big landscaping project was expanding and refining our vegetable plot. We had two 3×3′ shallow raised beds in the grassy lawn on the east side of the house. I wanted to have more planter beds, and to replace the grass with clover.

We took out a half-height fence that divided the front and side yards. I used that fence to build new planters. Mom donated some old cedar posts for me to use too. Lastly, I took apart my old beds to make a larger, taller bed with stabilized corners.

I got a new circular saw and it did the task better than my jigsaw. I used decking screws to assemble the beds. Sam helped a lot! He was great with the drill.

I also really wanted trellised arches in my garden. I wanted an arbor to replace the fence, with a trumpet vine (like Grandma Cook had) and lilac bushes flanking the portal. I didn’t like the shape or quality of any arbors online. I toyed with the idea of making a Japanese-style arbor, inspired by tori gates. Ben loved the idea and encouraged me to make one. For this project I bought new wood. Again, with Ben’s encouragement, I chose a bright red sealer to color and protect the arbor. I had plenty leftover, so the planters were painted to match. Finally, I installed the arbor to the existing posts that were a part of the old fence gate.

Most recently the kids helped me make stepping stones so that I don’t feel bad crushing the clover every day.

I started the vegetables inside in trays. Nimbus kept eating the sprouts, and it took me a couple tries with different contraptions to keep her out.

The trumpet vines are coming in very slowly, but hopefully in a few years I’ll have a beautiful archway.

The clover took off like mad. I sprinkled in some buckwheat, and I’m delighted by the combination.

A morning check on my beautiful place!

I have 3 kinds of carrots, 4 kinds of green beans, cucumbers, shishito peppers, jalapeรฑos, mini bell peppers, banana peppers, pea pods, 2 kinds of lettuce, and 4 kinds of pumpkin. I LOVE my pumpkin arch. I got a cattle panel from the Tractor Supply store. I installed 4 T posts and zip tied the panel to them. The pumpkins are super happy and the effect is so whimsical. In amongst all the vegetables I have rosemary, oregano, nasturtiums, marigolds, and calendula. On the ground around my planters I also have alyssum, sage, regular strawberries, alpine strawberries, leeks, parsley, asparagus, chives, thyme, spearmint, peppermint, a blueberry bush, and two raspberry bushes.

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