Monday, April 27, 2009

Packing week

We're packing and packing and packing. But today is sooooo beautiful I am hoping to get some time outside... maybe hanging laundry or cleaning out the chicken coop.

We spent Saturday painting the "peeling paint" areas on the new house because it was far cheaper to just do it rather than escarole 150% of the highest of 3 estimates from other companies. The bank was willing to let Colin do the work as long as we got quotes from other painters. Silly, really. So we just headed out and did it. Colin scraped on Friday, and did the trim in a new coat of white, and we spent all day Saturday doing the rest. It came out really nice, however in places where the paint was really faded, the touched up clapboards are really obvious. So maybe I have my chore for the summer?

It was nice to be there, at the house, seeing where the sun travels across the yard, looking into the gardens, and watching the "neighborhood". It feels a bit like a summer vacation spot; cars with canoes loaded on top drive by and people bike and walk around the area. Little kids call from most of the yards, and people from out of state drive by regularly. The pond is only about a 15 minute walk away, and people seem to frequent it (and the next pond up, a 5 minute drive from our house) for fishing and boating.

Everywhere around us Spring has exploded into full view. Besides the steady stream of weekend out-of-staters, the hills have turned various shades of green and red as the buds begin to burst. The pale green of the birches and willows in most obvious just south of here, in the river valleys, and here the hillsides are covered in the burgundy of the maple buds. Alders are also beginning to put on their spring show, and spring beauties (little white flowers) litter the ground in some little hollows. The sugarbushes are sporting their new coats of wild leeks, while the marshes and stream banks have skunk cabbage and marsh marigold in abundance. Now is the time to eat marsh marigold buds, before they burst with their wild yellow flowers.

Birds all over the place are heading north, and various wildfowl have been on the move for nearly a month. In the last few days, as some rain and heat have turned the fields deep emerald green, woodland and field birds have returned, and here at the house I have been hearing birds like the winter wren exploding into long, varying songs that signal spring... I even heard a white winged sparrow the other day singing the first few notes to Fiddler On the Roof. Gone are the days when all we could hear was ravens and chickadees.

Colin took the kids to look at colors for their rooms, and we hope to go later this week to pick out the final options for everywhere else. We have agreed on a green for the living room, although we are thinking of layering it to get a bit of dappled, mossy green effect. The house seems dark all the time inside, so we are hoping for bright, yellow-based colors to keep things lively.

Aidan has demonstrated his love of kitsch as he describes possibilities for decorating his room. For quite some time he was interested in having it look like the Oval Office. But after our trip to La Musee de la Civilisation in Quebec City, he is now hoping for an Egyptian tomb look. A gold and Sandy colored wash on the walls with Egyptian symbols and statue-like Gods on the walls. We figured we'd let him run with the idea. Sage is still sticking to a pink with green stripe around the room that she saw in a magazine (my own damn fault), and I am still thinking green or yellow for Nadia. Our room is so different from the rest of the house... really looking like an urban loft, that we have decided to keep it that way. We'll leave it white, keep furniture and art to a minimum, and are going to use a deep bluish, large painting in place of a headboard. Should be great.

Well... enough time here in front of this screen (it'll rain tomorrow)... so off I go.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Spring At Last

Spring has finally come to Vermont... okay, we all know it came early, and I keep expecting a huge blizzard to knock us back into the middle of December. But last night, as we were loading the girls into the truck to go and get Aidan from wrestling, in a brief (and rare) moment of silence, I heard that tell-tale sound that spring had sprung...

The peepers were peeping.

They weren't too near, which tells me the glades in the woods around this house are still filled with icy springs and frozen streams, and the deer are still stumbling through the occasional drift of snow back in the hemlocks, but somewhere.... out there... the frogs have hatched and are singing of a new summer yet to come.

At the kids' school the flowers have been up for sometime, and the crocuses are blooming, the snowdrops are done, and the daffodils have heads on top of their 7 inch stems with bits of yellow showing through. The rare tree here and there, with its bare branches held against the cold, grey spring sky, is showing fat buds ready to burst... sheer exuberance holding out over a tree's own common sense. This is Central Vermont, after all. We can't REALLY be done.

Up in Craftsbury, Mianda says that they still have several feet of snow piled around their house up on cold Coburn Hill, and even here the trails in the woods have the crumbly "corn snow" of Spring. Its glassy little balls roll under your feet making for fun skiing (inbetween patches of mud) and bad walking when you and your toddler are trying to meander through the trees with a stroller (All while Nadia yells, "DEEEE-EEEAHHHH [deer] WHERE AAAAAARRRREEE YOOOOOUUUU????").

And off in the distance, the quiet night last night was interrupted for an hour or two while the rednecks of yonder rode out into the muddy corn fields... not in ATVs ready to sample spring... but no, on snowmachines, flinging up mud, and getting stuck in one last attempt at winter/mud fun.

The final sign of Spring? The chickens have been out wandering the yard for the last week or two and are laying eggs like no tomorrow... filling our fridge and making me think it might just be time for souffle's.

We had a beautiful day with sunshine and warmth yesterday, and while I cooked and cleaned for Colin's friends to come to dinner, Nadia ran in and out and all around, often with no clothes on. I cooked a lovely vegan menu (tomato and chickpea salad with fresh garlic, scallions, and basil; peanut butter and coconut milk noodles with a hot chile and lime twist; sauteed mushrooms with garlic; and spinach salad with craisins, tamari almonds, and friend tempeh in Adobo. Oh... and who can forget my famous vegan chocolate cake?? With ghiradhelli chocolate no less!!)

But today the grey skies have come, and it is likely they may stay. We are looking at a week of cold and nasty rain, with temps getting colder as the week goes on. This would be ok if we hadn't all just been mind-numbingly ill with a horrid stomach bug. Aidan puked all over the inside of the truck last night... spewing peaches in every direction... as long as that direction was the front seat. The ever considerate boy was trying not to throw up on his sisters or his friend Arlo, who were all in the back seat... coming home from wrestling. He is devastated because Daddy Adam told him that he can't wrestle in the tournament on Saturday if he is sick on Friday. But today he has a fever and he threw up in the night.

Sage wondered aloud why she hardly ever gets as sick as everyone else. Someday I will explain to her the sheer will to live she has exhibited, ever since she decided at 3 days old that it was ok to open her eyes and look around. My tiny, delicate, early, unsure baby has become the power house of this family, and force to be reckoned with. I hope someday she can see the fierceness she inspires in all of us to move forward and ensure "rightness" in the world.

And so now I bid you all ado... and go to check on my sick little boy on the couch... Scooby Doo on the boob tube and Nadia drawing pictures with markers she hasn't been allowed to use in a month or two (ever since she colored the walls).

I hope Spring is finding you all warm and dry and happy to watch the cycles begin again.