Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The case of the missing hens...

It's not unusual for us to occasionally lose a hen. Chickens have lots of predators, and when they free range they are pretty much open game to all the local wildlife. We've put up fences to protect them, but our English game birds are just a bit too wild...and still manage to find a way out of the fenced area.

Over the winter we lost almost all of our game birds to predators, and so this spring i purchased 6 new peeps at the farm supply store. i'm not a huge fan of the domestic hens, as they really lack the personality that the game birds have...however i'm sick of losing my chickens and the domestic hens can't fly out of the fenced area. So i picked up a variety of birds. i got a white leghorn, Rhode Island Red, Black sex link and black Australop pullets. i also picked up two Speckled Sussex straight run.

We lost our Rhode Island red a few weeks ago, i believe to my goat Delilah who seems to find great pleasure in head butting the chickens. They are usually quick enough to get out of her way, but not always. Of the two Speckled Sussex, i ended up with one hen and one rooster.

So of the 6 new chicks i picked up this spring, we ended up with these four new hens.
The day after i took this picture, the White leg horn disappeared. i was completely baffled as to how she could just disappear. She's never escaped from the fenced area before, and she doesn't fly. i looked in the chicken coop, goat shed, and under their flatform and there was absolutely no sign of the her. i started looking around the yard and found a few white feathers on the outside of the fence. So i deduced that a hawk must have swooped down and taken her right out of the fenced area. i was really bummed because she was such a nice bird, and now i was down to only 3 new layers.

Three days later one of my wild hens disappeared. :(

i wasn't that surprised to lose this hen. She was an Americana/English game mix. She looks like a Americana, but acts like a English game and lays plain white eggs. She has never seemed very smart, and is rather slow. She has been rescused from the mouth of my dog twice now, because she doesn't run away. The dogs can literally just walk over and pick her up. So i was bummed to lose her, but not that surprised.

Then a few days after she disappeared i spotted her scratching around in the compost! The silly hen was setting on eggs! i watched her to figure out where she was hiding her eggs at and was shocked when i found her nest!

She has over 25 eggs!! Sneaky little bird!

She has way too many to incubate, so i don't know how many she will actually hatch out. It's always kind of risky leaving a bird on a nest because of predators. She is nesting right next to the dog kennel, and since the dogs are sleeping out there at night i think she'll be pretty safe. i know if i try to move her she'll just abandon the eggs. So it's always kind of a tough call.

So now we come back to my little white hen. She disappeared almost two weeks ago, without a trace. We had accepted after the first night, that the bird was gone and not coming back. So you can only imagine my surprise when i went down into the goat yard to retrieve a big plastic container that had rolled down to the back fence, and out popped the little white hen!!  i believe she hoped up on the side of it to see what was in it, and it flipped over on top of her.  She had been stuck under that container for 12 days!!!

That poor bird! i have no idea how she survived that long, especially in the heat and without any real food or water. We did get a little bit of rain, so she got some water and the dirt under the pot was very scratched up...so she must have been finding some bugs....but still!!

Surprisingly, she really seems to be okay. The other birds must have known she was down there and kept her company a little bit, because they didn't act the least bit surprised to see her. i'm still just totally shocked by the situation...just WOW. i'm so glad i found her when i did, i can't imagine she would have survived much longer under that container.

So that has been our excitement this week. :)

We had a super busy couple weeks with Sage's birthday, my folks visiting and my boy attending a summer enrichment program. i have several giveaways and artist features lined up as well, and lots of projects i'm working on! So i hope to get caught up on that soon, and share some photos of my garden and the past couple weeks.

i hope you are all enjoying your summer as much as we are!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Red Hill General Store

i wanted to share with you a really cool little store called Red Hill General Store that i just found this past weekend. It is surprisingly close, in Hillsville VA, which is the closest town too us actually a couple miles closer than Floyd!). i'm surprised it has taken us this long to find it! Red Hill General store has a large selection of whatever you need, seriously!
They have farm and tractor supplies, canning supplies, hardware, old time candies, wooden toys and glass bottled sodas. They are very big on supporting local, and you’ll find locally made textiles, handmade soaps, honey, teas, jams and jellies. i was also impressed with their selection of Burt's Bees products and organic lotions, soaps and shampoos.

Red Mill General Store carries a full selection of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Organic garden seeds. This is a local seed company out of Central Virginia, run by the folks over at Acorn Intentional Community. They have a wonderful selection of organic, heirloom and ecologically raised seeds. You can get a free seed catalog from Southern Exposure here.
Right now,the Hillsville Red Mill General store has all of their Southern Exposure seeds marked down to $1 a pack!

i picked up several packs of seeds including, Royalty Purple pod Bush beans (which i'd been having trouble finding), Rainbow Swiss Chard and Autumn Beauty Sunflowers. i am going back this week to stock up on some more seeds.

They also carry a nice clothing line, with your typical brands like Carhartt and Columbia. However, i also found the most unbelievably soft organic hemp/cotton t-shirts for around $12 each (on my wish list right now!) They also have beautiful Hemp and classic Rainbow sandals, and a small selection of childrens clothing.

So if this little store isn't cool enough already...

All Summer, they are hosting FREE Drive-In movies on Friday nights at 9pm!!

July 1st. Back to The Future
July 8. Mclintock (starring John Wayne)
July. 15. Cartoon Night (Bugs bunny, Tom and Jerry, Roadrunner etc)
July 22. Rescue from Gilligan's Island
July 29. Smokey and the Bandit

They'll have glass bottled sodas and old timey candy for purchase, along with popcorn ($1) and cotton Candy ($1.50). You can bring a lawn chair or blanket and sit out under the stars or you can enjoy the movie from the comfort of your car. They'll have a radio station available for those watching in their cars.

If your not local to here, you can still shop Red Hill's online catalog for all your farming/canning/gardening needs.
You can also connect with Red Hill General Store on facebook and you can follow their blog here.
Red Hill General store has two locations. The one here in Hillsville VA, and also one in Raleigh NC.

As you can tell, i'm really excited to have found this awesome little treasure of a store and to share it with all of you.
If you are local to the area or just stopping through, you'll want to take a peek inside this fun little general store. If you come out on a Friday night, you can look for us sitting around munching some popcorn and enjoying a drive-in movie!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Eat More Kale Artist Feature and Giveaway! CLOSED

i'm really excited to share this new giveaway with you!! i first came across Eat More Kale on facebook. A friend had posted a link, and i absolutely loved the simple design and message of these t-shirts. Bo (the guy behind Eat More Kale) was running a contest to win a free shirt, so i entered. Amazingly, i won a shirt the very first time i entered! Bo runs a contest almost every week, where you have a chance to win a free shirt. The contests are always amusing and a lot of fun to enter. Make sure and fan his page, so if you don't win this time...you can enter his weekly contests for more chances to win!

You can also find some really amazing t-shirt deals on his facebook page....like buy one get one free, and i've even seen buy one get two free! Although, i'm not sure he'll run that one again. :)

So the really cool thing about these shirts is that Bo prints them individually by hand using hand cut stencils, black ink and a squeegee. Then he heat-sets the prints with an iron and then washes the shirt for good measure. He has several cool designs to choose from and he's now offering organic cotton styles in Adults and children sizing.

For four years Bo sold his shirts from a small booth at the Montpelier, Vermont weekly farmer's market. You can now also find his shirts online, and you may even see him selling shirts at a few music festivals each summer.

The message is simple, Eat More Kale. As for "what does it mean?" It means something different to so many people. Some take it literally, others see it as social commentary.

For me, Eat More Kale is a reminder to pay attention to what i am eating. Get rid of all that processed, chemical filled crap food, and EAT MORE KALE. It makes me think of my garden, of growing fresh, organic, raw, green, REAL food.

Need a shirt right now? You can purchase one of Bo's hand printed t-shirts online at the Eat More Kale store.

Now for the Giveaway!
Bo has offered one reader the choice of any one shirt from his site.
Leave a comment letting me know what 'EAT MORE KALE' means to you.
Please include your e-mail address in the format of Yourname(at)email dot com or make sure it is visible in your blogger profile so i have a way to contact you if you win. Otherwise a new winner will be chosen!

EXTRA ENTRIES (make sure you did the mandatory first!!)
please leave a new comment for each extra entry. You can do as many or as little extra entries as you like! If you qualify for 5 entries, leave 5 separate comments.

1. Be a fan of Eat More Kale on Facebook.
2. Post a message on Bo's wall letting him know i sent you!
3. Leave a comment telling me if you like Kale, and what is your favorite way to prepare it?
4.Visit the Eat More Kale store and let me know which shirt style/color you would choose.
5. Be a fan of The Enchanted Tree on Facebook 1 entry
6. Follow my blog The Enchanted Tree 1 entry
7. Add my button (top left column) to your blog and leave a link. 3 entries
(leave 3 comments)
8. Add the Eat More Kale button to your blog 3 entries and leave a link. (leave 3 comments)
9. Blog about the giveaway link to this post. 3 entries, leave 3 comments.
10. Tweet about the contest leave a link to your tweet. 1 entry (can tweet daily)

  • Giveaway ends July 9, 2011 at 11:59pm EST
  • Winner will be chosen via Random.Org. notified by email, and posted on the blog.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be chosen
  • This giveaway is open to USA only

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dwarf Grey Peas

This year we grew Dwarf Grey peas. They are an heirloom variety, tolerant to both heat and cold and known for their edible leaves and stems. This is our first year growing these, and the one thing that really stands out about them are the beautiful pink purple flowers.

In past years, i haven't really paid that much attention to what i've been growing. i just pick up what ever seeds are available at the local farm store. This year i've been trying to pay better attention to what i'm planting. i even made a chart of my garden and wrote down exactly what i planted, because i know from experience the dogs will steal all my plant markers and i'll forget what varieties i planted. i'm hoping to document which varieties do well, and which don't. Which ones have the best flavor, are best for freezing, canning etc.

The dwarf grey grew much larger than i expected. The package said they grow to 2.5-3 feet and do not need to be supported. i planted mine along a fence any way and they grew well over the top of the fence, and are around 4-5 feet high and still growing.

They are a very prolific variety of pea, and are loaded with peas and blooms. They showed no sign of stress last week when our temps were in the 90's. It's almost the end of June and they are still producing extremely well.

The dwarf grey are snow peas. So they are picked when the pods are still flat, and the peas have not fully developed. We love them fresh, steamed and sauteed. i use them in soups, stirfrys or alone as a side dish. The kids graze on these all day. Every time we are outside Sage sneaks over and picks peas to much on.

Honestly, i wasn't that impressed with the taste. i usually get sugar snaps, which are a bit more flavorful. i wouldn't say these are bad, they are just a little less sweet and a bit more starchy. However, for me, the flowers totally make up for any lack of sweetness. i also love the way these peas are totally thriving in this crazy heat, and are so abundant. If you are new to growing peas, the dwarf grey is a very easy to grow, hardy, disease resistant variety.
i'll definitely be growing these again.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Finger knitting and Hula Hoop weaving.

i've posted before about how much my kids have been getting into finger knitting.

They both took to it quickly, and will sit down to knit at least once a day. Finger knitting creates a long rope of knitting, and one of the problems we have it trying to figure out what to do with all of the knitting. Sage has been making scarves for her stuffed animals, but Sequoia likes to connect all of his together to make a super long chain.

i looked around online for a basic tutorial on finger knitting, and figured out that we actually finger knit a bit differently than every one else. This is how i remembered doing it as a child, and it all comes out the same. So, i put together a very brief video to hopefully show you how it is done. Finger knit basics.
Take your piece of yarn in your left hand.
Leave about a 3 inch tail, and hold it with your thumb.
Run the yarn between your pointer and middle finger, go behind the middle finger, over your ring finger, and around your pinky.
Now take your yarn back across the pinky, behind your ring finger, over your middle finger and behind your pointer finger. With me so far? Now bring your yarn around the pointer finger and lay it across hand, just above the yarn thats wrapped on each finger.
Take the tail that you are holding with thumb and bring it up between your pointer and middle finger and behind your pointer finger and hold in place with thumb again. (this the only time you have to do that.
Now on each finger, pick up the loop at the bottom and lift it up over the strand on off of your finger.
Repeat this with each finger.
When you get to the end of the row, lay the yarn across your hand again, and repeat. You repeat this process until your knitting is the desired length. Hopefully the video will help explain that a little bit. To finish, cut the yarn, take the loops off your fingers, put the cut end of the yarn through the loops and tie in a knot.

So then comes the question of what to do with all that finger knitting?

One project we decided to try with our finger knitting is hula hoop weaving. We found the directions in Family Fun magazine. The actual project is for a t-shirt rug. We modified it a bit, and instead of using t-shirts used the yarn my kids had knitted. We probably should have used more yarn in the framing part (warp, i think it's called).

It still turned out pretty neat for a first time attempt. The yarn isn't going to be as heavy duty as a t-shirt rug, so you may have to add a backing if you want to use it as a real rug. We turned ours into doll house rugs.

In all my years of finger knitting, i have always knitted using 4 fingers. While teaching my kids to finger knit it occurred to me that you do not have you use all 4 fingers. You can use less to create a thinner rope.
Another thing i just figured out is that you can take that (two finger) thin rope of finger knitting and finger knit that. Who knew, right?!?

So, this is my boy finger knitting yarn that has already been finger knitted. He's using yarn that was knitted using just two fingers, so it made a thin rope. He originally tried it with the thicker knitting, but it was pretty tough to finger knit. The two finger knitting worked much better.

Now you have a nice thick piece of knitting that can be turned into a scarf or a doll house rug or a wash cloth. You could use an embroidery needle to sew the pieces together and create other projects. There are really a lot of possibilities with it. Finger knitting is great way to teach patience, improve fine motor skills and increase concentration. It also give kids a sense of accomplishment when they finish a project. We are hoping to get a head start on some holiday gifts, so that kids will be able to present their grandparent with hand knitted gifts this year.

If you have questions about finger knitting, feel free to ask. If my instructions are confusing let me know and i will try to clarify or point you in the direction of some other online tutorials. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cherry Season.

Normally this time of year, i would be raving about berry season. Don't worry, i will be very soon. Right now though, i'm a bit consumed with cherries. In my last post i mentioned that we picked around 30 lbs of cherries from my neighbor's tree. Well after two days of pitting/freezing/ canning cherries, Kenan went back and picked us another 15lbs!
So yesterday and today, i've been working through the last of the cherries.

So, what does one do with (around) 45 lbs of cherries?

i freeze most of them. i remove the pits and then freeze them individually on cookie sheets or in pans. Once they are frozen i can move them into a freezer storage container. This makes them much easier to measure out for recipes, and the kids snack on them year round. We add them to smoothies, they can be baked into pies, tarts and any other cherry desserts.

We also made cheery sorbet. Our cherries have a pale flesh, so they don't make the beautiful bright red sorbet that some cherries make. My boy said that ours was the color of vomit, but it still tasted great!

Easy cherry sorbet recipe

3 cups frozen pitted tart cherries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup white grape juice or apple juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt

Place cherries in a food processor/blender. Add all ingredients, cover and process until smooth. Pour into a freezer container and freeze until firm.

We also made whole fruit pops. i didn't use an exact recipe for these, just took about a cup or so of frozen cherries and blended them with some juice. You can really use any juice to create unique flavors. i used apple juice. Pour them in your popsicle molds and freeze until firm.

i was planning to can pie filling so that i had it already made and could just pop open a can when i wanted to use some. However, all the pie filling recipes i found called for Clearjel, which i don't have. i thought i'd be able to use cornstarch, but i get a bit weirded out with canning and botulism contamination and i read that cornstarch isn't safe to use in canning. So i decided to just can the cherries in a syrup, and when i need them for a pie i'll have to add the cornstarch then to thicken it.

i also made a few quarts of cherry juice concentrate. i used the technique that i'd used to make grape juice last year. The neighbors we got the cherries from made a few batches too. They just toss the cherries right into the jar with the sugar and add water, but i removed all the cherry pits. The whole arsenic in cherry pits makes me a bit a nervous even if it's just a tiny amount. :)

i'm wishing i had a food dehydrator right now, because i would love to dehydrate the remaining cherries. i need to get in and clean out my freezer, i know i still have lots of blackberries from last year, and we will be picking fresh blackberries very soon.

Tart cherries can be enjoyed so many way. They can be dried, frozen and turned into juice. They are said to have among the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, when compared to other fruits. They also contain other important nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate. Making them a great snack, no matter how you chose to enjoy them!

Happy Cherry Season!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

What we are eating...

i've been working on putting together an 'Around the garden' post to participate in the 'around the farm' blog hop over at the the inspiring Farmama blog. However, we've been stuck waiting for rain...so at this point my 'garden isn't looking all that exciting. So instead of posting pretty garden photos, i thought i'd pictures of our recent harvests.

i'm honestly amazed that my garden is doing as well as it is, and still producing during the recent heat wave. By garden, i mean mainly my cold crops planted on the front hill. My main garden is still rather empty. i have lots of seeds in the ground, but without any real rain they are just sitting there. The weather has not really been idea for cold weather crops, and yet mine are still thriving.

Although my spinach all went to seed about a month ago, my leaf lettuce is doing fine. It still looks great, and isn't bitter at all. My first planting is producing well, and i have a second planting that is almost big enough to start picking. i had a few specialty lettuces that didn't last the heat. i'm still getting a few leaves here and there, but most of it either didn't germinate at all, or bolted as soon as it came up. Regardless, we have been enjoying lots of salads. This one pictured is mainly green leaf lettuce, with a few random leaves from the mesclun mix. A few nasturtium leaves, snowpeas, broccoli and onion.

We just started getting blueberries. Although between the kids stripping the bushes first thing in the morning, the fat little robin that is sitting on the fence post..and the chickens, i will surprised if i get any frozen this year. The bushes are loaded, but the kids have them eaten before i've even finished my first cup of coffee.

It is looking like we will have a nice crop of raspberries. Although again, i'm competing with the kids who are out there every morning stuffing their faces. :) So i'm hoping to pick enough for jam, but not sure it will happen.

A little peek at what we are harvesting this week. i am getting Swiss Chard, sugar snap peas and lots of fresh eggs. i had a few potatoes look blighty, so instead of risking it spreading to the rest of the plants i dug the potatoes early and burned the plants. i have potatoes planted in a couple different beds this year, so i'm hoping to get a decent crop.

My broccoli was absolutely perfect this year. It really makes no sense with the weird weather pattern we had this spring, but i'm not going to complain. i harvested a dozen heads this week and i had NO worms. i haven't even seen any cabbage moths hovering around. So i really can not explain how i managed to grow perfect, worm-free organic broccoli in 90 degree weather...but i did. :) One of the problems i always face with broccoli (besides the worms) it that the heads are always ready to harvest at the same time. This year i froze several heads, we've had broccoli for dinner every night and i still have 3 heads in the fridges. i have another dozen plants that were planted later, and i'm not sure they are going to do much.

i'm still getting a good amount of asparagus. We enjoyed the garlic scapes so much that i made them again last night. We saute'd the scapes in olive oil, added asparagus and snow peas. When everything was tender crisp i added a pat of butter and splash of lemon juice. It was so good!!! i'm a bit bummed that the garlic scape season is so brief, and will be making a point of planting more next year.

Lastly, we have cherries! These are from our neighbors tree, ours are not producing yet. They have 3 huge trees just loaded with cherries, and they don't spray them or use them. So every year they tell us to come and pick as much as we want before the birds get them all. So we went over a couple days ago and picked a 5 gallon bucket full. i've been working on freezing and canning, and we have been eating them by the handful.

i love this time of year where the kids can wander around the yard grazing on fresh organic foods. They munch of fresh pea pods and eat berries until their bellies hurt. Our meals now always include fresh organic garden produce and tasty fruits. So nice to get away from the canned and frozen veggies we ate much of the winter. It always feel so good to grow and provide so much for our family.

As you can tell by my lack of craft posting, i have had to temporarily put my crafting on hold while i adjusted to having both kids at home, and worked on getting the garden planted. My garden still isn't completely in. i haven't even turned up the 3 sisters bed...still waiting for a good rain. We are slowly beginning to find our rhythm again, and i am hoping to get these projects finished soon, and new ones started.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Garlic Scapes and sugar snaps

Wow, how is it already Friday again? This week has zoomed by super fast. i'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that it's already June...and now i've got 10 days till my daughter's birthday. Yikes!! i've been planning to make a new doll for her, so i really need to get working on that! i actually have the doll base made, made it months ago, just haven't gotten around to finishing it at all. i've been wanting to pick out a really fun yarn for her hair, but have yet to make it to the new yarn store in Floyd when they are actually open. Despite the online hours being listed as Friday 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. After three trips all the way to Floyd only to find them closed, i can attest that they close around 5pm, or whenever they happen to feel like closing. Tonight i am going for my 4th attempt to check out the yarn shop. Fingers crossed that they are actually open, and that they have something completely fabulous to use for Sage's new doll.

i finally have a new camera, so i can start getting pictures of my garden and projects again. This week has been spent almost entirely in the garden. The kids not only planted their own garden, but also helped me to (almost) finish planting mine. We had one thundershower come through, that really helped to soften up the soil and it helped to perk up my cold crops.

My peas went from being sad and wilting to flowering and producing peas within days of the rain.

My garlic has also begun to send up it's flower shoots, otherwise known as garlic scapes. When the scapes are coiled like a pig's tail they are delicious and ready for harvest. The Garlic scapes can be removed to encourage the plant to focus it's energy on the actual bulb. Many farmers remove the scapes and just throw them out. Until last year, i had no idea that the garlic scapes are edible. Yesterday, i picked a handful of the garlic scapes and started to look up recipes. i decided to try something similar to the Garlic scape and snow pea recipe i found here.

One of our favorite ways to eat snow peas is lightly saute'd in olive oil, with minced garlic, a nice drizzle of sesame oil and a splash of tamari. So i made the recipe similar replacing the minced garlic with the the garlic scapes.

First, wash and clean your snow peas, removing the ends if need be. Wash your garlic scapes and cut them up. You can cut them in small pieces, slice them diagonally, or leave them whole. i cut mine in half, so that i have three inch long stems, and then the curly tops.

Heat up your olive oil and add the garlic scapes. Cook a few minutes, until you notice the scapes turning bright green and soften up a little. Now add your snow peas, and drizzle a bit of sesame oil over the top and cook another minute or two. i like my snow peas to be bright green and tender crisp. Now splash a bit of tamari on top, stir it up a few seconds more and then remove from the heat and serve immediately.

These were really good served this way! The garlic scapes do not have a strong garlic taste, it is very mild and a bit nutty. It actually reminded me a bit of really thin asparagus. They also made a really unique looking dish. My daughter who is usually quite picky and normally won't try new foods even asked to try them, and she liked them!

i still have a ton of garlic scapes to use up, and here are a few more recipes i'm looking forward to trying white bean dip with garlic scapes, garlic scape soup, and garlic scape and swiss chard pesto!

It is always fun to discover a new food treasure, and these garlic scapes really are a fun and tasty little treasure. They can be pickled, sauteed with butter, grilled or roasted and served on pizza, added to soups or salads, pulverized into pesto. So many uses for this interesting looking part of the garlic plant.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hiking at the Cascades

Earlier this week, my camera broke. So i have no pictures to share of our week and weekend.

The week was pretty uneventful, trying to get back into the summer routine of having two kids at home. We've been hula hooping, planting seeds, making giant bubbles and just spending lots of time outside. Our Brown Thrasher babies left the nest, and i was pretty bummed not to get any pictures of them leaving the nest.

This weekend we went hiking at the Cascades, in Pembroke Virgina. We come every spring, to cleanse and purge ourselves from the heavyness of the winter. We come to let the energy of the waters wash away any lingering negativity, and mental stagnation.

We came later than usual this year, and i was a bit disappointed by the lack of wildflowers and amount of people here. Although we saw few people on the actual trail, the falls were uncomfortably crowded. The hike to the main waterfall is incredibly beautiful, and i usually stop about every three minutes to take a picture. This time there were very few wildflowers blooming, just lots of stinging nettles all along the trail.

Without my camera, i couldn't take any pictures of our hike. Since we come every year though, i thought i'd share a few photos from past years. It was fun looking through them, i seem to always take the same pictures every year. It's interesting to see how nature changes and progresses, huge logs break down and decompose over time, rocks erode away. Plants change according to the weather conditions.

These were taken in 2008 or 2009.

We always take the lower trail to the falls which is a bit more strenuous then the upper falls, but also much more beautiful and magical. The path is mainly stone, and there are are huge boulders, lots of stone steps and it twists and winds all along the edge of the river.

The falls here are almost 70 foot. This photo was from last year. When were there this past weekend, there must have been at least 50 people here. It was the most i have ever seen there. Many folks were wading and swimming. The water is always cold, but you can swim in the pool in front of the falls.

This photo is from 2008. On the right is Kenan and Sequoia walking up to the falls.

This year Kenan took both kids up to the falls, and let them play in the shallow water near it. i stayed on the bank pretending to take pictures. :) The rocks to get to the falls are extremely slippery, and i wasn't in the mood to fall. Both kids were soaking wet by the time they made it back to where i was sitting. On the hike back we took the upper falls, which is a much easier hike and always seems to go a lot quicker. This is one of my favorite parts of the summer, just getting out and hiking with the family.

You can see my Cascades Album from 2008 here. It's funny, Kenan just shaved his head last week, and in these photos from 3 years ago...he had also just shaved his head. These photos were taken almost exactly 3 years ago ( we went for our anniversary) and it was the last time he had shaved it. Our photos would have looked almost the same, except that the kids are a a bit older. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

11 years ago....

Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.

May beauty surround you both in the
journey ahead and through all the years,
May happiness be your companion and
your days together be good and long upon the earth.

(from the Apache Blessing that was part of our our vows)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Hooper in training

Yesterday i decided to make us all hula hoops. i made one sized perfectly for Sage, and she has really taken to it. She is still working on keeping the hoop up and spinning, but she is learning quick!

You can see more Wordless Wednesday posts here.