Thursday, April 26, 2012

Egg Hunting

Over the weekend, Iain enjoyed an easter egg hunt with his friends Sam and Paul (and their little brother, Matthew). The boys live at the very edge of a mountain, with wilderness above them. So layered into the terraces they found toy eggs and chocolate eggs.

When I was little, I never successfully completed easter egg hunts. I was that kid who got frustrated halfway through because the bigger kids got all the eggs. Iain had no such problem. He saw, he grabbed, he filled his basket.

Then everyone raced back to the lunch table to eat ridiculous amounts of chocolate. And yes, it was long past Easter. But since none of the egg hunters celebrates Easter...I don't think it matters so much.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cozy Coupe

Iain and his first love. Too bad she belongs to someone else...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Miss M

Today is Miss MEHC's birthday. Here she is with Iain, two summers ago. She wanted to see the Salt Lake. she's seen it. And smelled it.

Isn't this a great week for birthdays? Wednesday Iain turned 4 (Miss M sent him a University of Kentucky sweatshirt - he wore it to school immediately because, you know, 8 TIME CHAMPIONS!!!). Today, Miss M turns...ummm...not sure. Younger than me, anyway. So a good week, right?

NOTE: Regarding, as noted in the previous post, Iain's Yo, Gabba Gabba obsession: I took him to the Senior Dance Performance. Between two dances he said, loudly, "When will they dance like Yo, Gabba Gabba?" Time to go!

NOTE: Today he asked me what "tough" means. I explained about emotional toughness, intellectual toughness, and physical toughness. I told him I'd like him to have all three, and not be fearful or hesitant. He thought about that. Then he said, "I'm a little bit afraid...of scissors." Oh. Well, then.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Yo! Bedtime.

Bedtime is a good time for spooky lighting. Also, Iain has developed a serious Yo, Gabba, Gabba obsession. I blame Meg.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Every Blackberry Has Its Thorns

I would just like to say that the thorny hedge bites. And spreads! I went out tonight to plant my new bamboo, got energetic and started weeding around the peonies, and BAM! Thorns in my fingers and wrists.

The blackberries are essentially weeds themselves, see? And they do this great thing: they send out a shoot, it touches the ground, and it roots. Presto! New plant. Great for having a hedge, not so great for reaching in and weeding. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

But last year the lawnmowing dudes ran over a blackberry and a peony. We will not have that this year. So I need to weed enough area around them that they are left pretty well alone. How much? How much pain can I take?

Monday, April 09, 2012

Spring: I Love You

 The hosui pear is in full, total, freakout, ultimate bloom. I have seen zero pollinators in our yard, so...I expect little in the way of fruit. STILL. Bloom plus leaves = transplant shock is over! My pear survived and even seems the tiniest bit happy.

Also, I learned about depth of field. A little. Notice the focused front and blurry back. Yes, it took only 10 years to learn. Call me brilliant. Above, the leaves of my espaliered apple tree. No blooms yet, which is wise. The apple might bear fruit this year because she's content to wait for bees to wake up.

The succulents return!

In the vegetable garden, the trees separating our yard from our neighbor are growing lots of tiny, delicate leaves. I discovered that one sad, overgrown tree is actually an ornamental cherry. If only I could climb over the fence and prune it.

But these. These! My peonies. All four are growing quickly. My fingers are crossed for flowers this year. Peonies are funny. If you bury them too deep you don't get flowers. Last year a late frost killed the buds (boo!). This year we'll see whether the weather and my planting skills work together.

At the very edge of the vegetable garden I planted three blackberry bushes last year. All are growing back vigorously. The idea is that eventually these will provide a thorny hedge. Edible, leafy, but enough to keep random dogs out of my garden. Whether that works or not, I hope for blackberries to eat this summer.

The sun is shining, everything's in bloom or bud, and you can see SLC starting to wake from the winter. The volume of bikers, joggers, strollers and hikers grows daily. 70 degrees today!

Last but not least: the seeds I planted. Lettuce, carrots, etc. Nothing's germinated yet, but we've had 2 rainy days each a week apart and another coming in 2-3 days. To me, that's perfect weather for seeds. Drenching water, time to dry out, and temperature fluctuations to break the seed pod.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Snow, plus Little Man Snow

We woke to snow. This warm winter hasn't brought very much snow. Even when snow fell, the quantities left everyone - everyone - wishing for more. Skiing? Please. Corn snow or ice. Sledding? Not today, dear.

Today's snow proved illusory, too. About an inch fell overnight but it's already melted away. Tomorrow will be sixty degrees, Sunday seventy-two.

But one of our winter goals this year was to get Iain out in the snow more. And check him out! These photos are from January or February, but still. He made a snow family! It took a good while, too, yet he  enjoyed his outdoor time.

As you can see, though, Mommy's food coloring skills lack a certain precision. I was going for blue eyes but we got more of a snowcone effect.

Uh, Mom? Wassup with the yellow mouth?

Daddy Snowman got stone eyes. They worked a lot better than dye.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Spring has arrived in the vegetable garden. Above, sage returning to its soft, fuzzy warm-weather self. So far, it and a few tiny nubbins of thyme are the only residents of the herb garden.

 Except for the pansies we planted, I mean. Iain picked out some 4-packs on Saturday and we popped them into the bed for color.

Below, the beds. Seeds don't look like much, I know. But in a few weeks we'll have fresh lettuce in 2 beds and (hopefully) emerging peas and carrots. No carrots for 2.5 months, of course. One day...

Iain likes the vegetable garden. Because the soil's loose he can use his kiddie tools and dig around to his heart's content. And a sunny day never hurt anyone, either.

Monday, April 02, 2012

When Iain Meets Cupcake

A few weeks ago I experimented with chocolate ganache icing (16 ounces chocolate, 8 ounces heavy cream, a nugget of butter, heat and stir, add vanilla, eh voila. Got it from Jen Yu at Use Real Butter).

Turns out: that's good stuff for cupcakes. For one thing, a small ice cream scoop worth can be dropped on each cupcake. Unlike buttercream, there's no obligation to pipe it on. Just swoosh with the back of the scooper and move to the next cupcake. The first time, I even dipped the cakes into the ganache.

So it's quick, easy, tasty, and travels well. Success.

Turns out that fresh, warm ganache attracts little boys, as well. I let him have one. You can see the results above.