Friday, March 13, 2015

Eighteen Today, You've Got This, Kid

Look at her eyes for god's sake. Somebody ole would have eyes like that, so I call her ole Livia. ~Alice Walker, The Color Purple.

Olivia's birth flower. #18
We're celebrating @oliviaelemental turning 18, today. This is huge. And so wonderful.
18 candles

Happy 18th to @oliviaelemental!

Olivia didn't specify what kind of cake she wanted, so I made my white cake filled with lemon curd and raspberry sauce, iced in white chocolate and butter (basically). #fromourkitchen

Our little wide-eyed, inquisitive child is now eighteen years old. This detail brings with it an assortment of dichotomies-how did this happen so quickly, in a flash she's grown, and how is every moment of being with her, recorded in every cell and molecule of our being? Our stomaches grow queazy at the many changes afoot, and all a flutter, excited for her, relishing in her success. In wistful moments, memories of her childhood come flooding, and yet she is a tide, forcing waves before her and we could not and would not hold her back.

We celebrated in our usual way around the table with favorite meal, cake (my white cake filled with raspberry and lemon curd, topped with a white chocolate butter frosting and fresh raspberries), and gifts. Ever the music lover, her special gifts included a birthday evening spent seeing Lady Lamb and the Beekeeper in concert, and tickets to see her much adored Sufjan Stevens next month.

It already looks like eighteen is going to be as, uh, energetic, as seventeen was for Olivia, and so I'm refining my napping techniques because whoa. (And you thought your sleepless parenting days were over once they hit toddlerhood? HOW'S IT FEEL TO BE WRONG?) Only this year will involve things like car juggling and passports. We're seriously so proud of her. Keep knocking us on our ass, kid. You've got this.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Teenagers...What A Bunch Of Competent Individuals

We're screaming up on the heels of birthday season as it is, but then my wee babes have to go and look all adult-like, suddenly. What the hell? DON'T THEY LOVE ME?

He's a fine lad.

Look at this guy, would ya? Wasn't he in some blockbuster summer movie? No? Well he should be! I took this photo while he was on his 87th run to tend to the ducks and chickens that afternoon, because he does things like that, I guess.

This kiddo has had her driver's permit since she was 15, but it wasn't until today that she tried for her license because life threw in some major monkey wrenches for us in between and the timing was always off. Happily, she passed, has her license and sh

Though Olivia has had her driver's permit since she was 15, the last 18 months have thrown us some curve balls here, so Olivia simply renewed her permit and never scheduled her driving exam because life can be tedious that way sometimes. But she sent her card in a week or so ago and got her date and off she went on Monday to take her exam and pass her test all in one go like an almost adult or something (I had to take mine twice, wanna fight?)

And then she goes out all yesterday afternoon on her first solo trip to run errands and attend the Youth Activism Gathering meeting-because she's on the planning team-like she's just trying to prove how responsible and competent she is. (She also designed the YAG poster. Because. Skills.)

Someone's being meticulous and cataloging our older seeds and testing germination. She's far more patient than I am. #unschooling #teen #alwaysunschooled

This was after she spent the morning sorting our older seeds testing them for germination. GAWD. Teenagers. With their patience. And abilities.

Whatever.

It's not like I'm proud of them or anything.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

February Days

Sun's up!
More snow coming this week, too.
These two sweetpeas are trying to clear an area around the bird feeders so that they can continue to feed the wildlife. For perspective, both of them are tall. The chickadees are zooming around their heads, too, and it's easy to think they must be excited
Desperate times call for a desperate tri-county search for a big-ass snowblower until it ends in finding one of the three left in the area. #buylocal

Come to our house, leave with eggs.

Loving this sunshine.
It's about time it snowed around here. #207gram
We easily have an additional eight inches of snow, and it's still snowing.
415pm looks like this now.

So much snow. So. Much. We had more this morning. More is coming. It's just going to be one of those Februarys, I guess. And I show you snow and the short-lived sunshine and eggs (so. many. eggs.) and what you don't see here are the conversations that begin at breakfast, that are sustained throughout the day, threads of which are picked up and wrapped with a variety of topics. You don't see the laughing or the yelling, because there's that, too, or the frustration or the fourth or fifth drafts of important letters written, the worry for friends, the tears that spring when we realize we're down to one guinea pig who has been receiving lots of extra devotion, or the cats who follow us, hoping we'll sit and cuddle with them for a spell. You won't see how wishes become concrete plans in a single photo, or even in words because my children's lives are their own. Our days are still as rich, full, intense, and hands-on as parents to two older teens as they were when our children were small. There's a self-reliance about our teens, though, that is different from when they were toddlers, of course. Our teens make meals, tend to the feeding and caring of animals, embark on projects, immerse themselves in media, books, music, and art. They extend themselves to friends. They make profound discoveries about themselves, realize inner truths. And they initiate plans that will take them years and miles beyond our kitchen table. And it's all astoundingly right and good.

Friday, January 30, 2015

All About Snow

It's a good day for learning to xc-ski. #207gram #maine

A happy sight. #unschooling

It's so blue and cold, today. Beautiful. #unschooling

There. @bradstreetfarmer completed the roof and wrapped the duck pen in poly with the goal of keeping the ducks mostly out of 50+ mph winds and 24+-inches of drifting snow during  #juno2015 . #farmlife #207gram #maine #mattnoyes #midcoastmaine #waldocount

Snowdrifts

And the clearing must begin. #Juno #juno2015 #maine #207gram #midcoastmaine #waldocounty

I flung out some nuts and seeds to the bare spots among deep snow drifts. Now I'm watching the blue jays trying to stuff as many peanuts in their beaks as they are able. #birdnerd #wildlife

That old apple tree has taken a beating in these recent storms.

When the sun hits our valley it comes in gradations.

Refuse to go out in the run because some snow blew in, EATS ALL SNOW OFF OF BOOTS.  #heritagebreedchickens
This week was all about snow. Playing in it, preparing for it, experiencing it, and coping with it after. The day before storm Juno, the teens were out on skis, enjoying the brilliant January sun and cerulean sky. Alex put more roofing on the duck pen and wrapped what wasn't covered in poly to keep the ducks safe from the impending blizzard. We called our plow guy. The blizzard brought the wind and 24" of drifts, and with it, cancellations and delays.  The day after, I fed the birds on one of the bare spots created by the dramatic drifting the day before, and we were plowed out twice, and we shoveled paths. The chickens, grumpy about the little bit of snow that managed to blow into their run, refused to go out in it, but pecked at every last bit clumped to our boots. And today, we're back in it again, as a much calmer storm dumps another 10-inches on us. It's beautiful and a wonderland of white out there, just as it should be at the end of January in Maine.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Beatrice

Trigger Warning for pet/animal illness, disability, death, grief, trauma, and loss.





Beatrice enjoying her lettuce

Pre-Raphaelite with guinea pig. #daughter #cavy #guineapig

just eating

We had to say goodbye to our beloved guinea pig,  Beatrice, yesterday, a little less than a year after having to say goodbye to her companion Annabelle, which seems wholly unfair. Beatrice was middle-aged and reasonably healthy until this month, when she began showing signs of weight loss and UTI symptoms. By Monday this week, she began to refuse food and water and so we packed her up and drove her the two hours to our caring and skilled guinea pig vet. There, they discovered she had several bladder stones, one larger than a pea, near the end of her urethra, and the vet was, miraculously, able to flush them out. The procedure went well, Beatrice recovered from the anesthetic normally, and we went home with her. And still, she would not eat or drink unless we force fed her, which we did. Worse, she was not eliminating. Back to the vet we rushed yesterday morning, and our vet kept her for the day and medicated her for pain and attempted to rehydrate her and get more food in her, but it was clear by 5pm that Beatrice was fading. We all knew her prognosis wasn't good, but there was a sliver of hope that with enough fluids and nutrition, she might begin to rally. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and she was in distress. Having prepared Olivia and Adam for this probable outcome, as we did regarding Annabelle, they had said their goodbyes and given hugs and kisses before we left. And with everyone in agreement via text messages filled with sad emojis and many hearts, Alex and I held Beatrice one last time, rocking her and whispering our love to her, just as we did with Annabelle.

Beatrice, you were a funny, adorable, fluffy, goofy, and bossy guinea pig and we adored you so. We will miss you.


Oh you know, just watching the Olympics.

this is how I find them sleeping this morning #guineapigs #cavy

Beatrice needed a break from all her busy-bossing around. #guineapig #cavy

I mean, c'mon with the cute.

Beatrice says hello

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