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Whip-poor-WILL! Whip-poor-WILL!

June 5, 2011

When people visit us and talk about “how quiet it is”, the truth is a little different. Living in the country is quiet in the sense of a lack of man-made noise. But we wake up most mornings in the summer to a chorus of birdsongs, which is usually not a bad thing. But lately we’ve been “serenaded” by a whippoorwill, which is a bird that is lovely to hear in the evening. At 4:15 AM? It’s not lovely. It’s maddening. And from the sound of it, it’s right outside our window. The call is loud, insistent, repetitive and far from soothing.


April 7, 2010

While my wonderful husband watched our little bug today, I went out to the road armed with a shovel, a trowel, and a pair of silicone-dipped gloves. I had noticed last summer that for some reason there was a small grouping of iris around the old, wooden fence that marked the southern border of our property. I made a mental note: when I was free of the belly and it was warm enough, I was going to pull them out and put them to better use.

Fast forward to today. Partly sunny, 55 degrees, tools as listed above; I was ready to remove. As I started digging and pulling back the weeds that had grown and died on top of them, there appeared to be more than just a few plants. I continued to find new iris cluster after cluster, some with the largest rhizomes I had ever seen. I sorted them out into two piles: rhizomes with the beginnings of leaves and plain rhizomes. I planted a few of the vigorously growing ones around our mailbox, along with some from the house on Portland. The rest I planted in the area that I like to call my “holding cell”. This space is located along the side of the garage and is currently home to strawberry plants, rhubarb, columbine, asiatic lily, bleeding heart, and grape hyacinth. All of these will find new homes once I clean up and expand the main flower bed in our front yard.

This is the first time I have been outside to work since last fall. It felt great. I was only out for about an hour, but it was just enough time for me to get some dirt under my fingernails (no sunburn yet). There are some iris left by the fence, but maybe I will leave them there. A little beauty in an unexpected place…

Spring Beginnings

April 6, 2010

We will soon know the thrill of tender green shoots emerging from earthy pods. I planted 10 different variety of seeds this rainy April Tuesday as my sweet baby babbled beside me. Anticipation was murmuring in my mind as I carefully placed each seed in it’s protective wrapper, moist with warm water from the sink. I wonder which will sprout first? The fragrant Basil? The sweet little Columbine, harvested from plants grown at our previous residence? Spring is just around the corner, if not already here, and I can’t wait to get dirt under my nails and start sporting the back-of-the neck sunburn that gardeners dream of in the middle of the frozen winter.

Other seeds that are being primed for the outdoors are a mixture of veggie, herb, and flower: Daisy, Fennel, Lavender, Marigold, Morning Glory, Oregano, Peppers, and Rosemary. Thanks go out to the farmers at Sol’n Tyne Farm for their donation of seeds to our little hobby farm. This year will mark the largest garden in our history (it’s kind of hard to have a large garden when you are right in the middle of residential Minneapolis and you are given a 20′ by 30′ plot of land as your backyard).

As soon as we are clear of the danger of frost (which I am sure is here already, but a little sooner than normal), the plot of land that we have staked out will be tilled, hopefully fertilized, and probably covered in some rich black dirt seeing as how we basically have the soil of your nearest beach. Although I am told that we will probably be able to grow carrots successfully because they won’t get caught up on a clump of dirt. I am already dreaming of the wonderful salads we will eat, the delicious baby food we will process, and the gorgeous bouquets that will grace our table. I know I have a long wait, but just the promise of those things keeps my soul alive and reminds me of the goodness and grace of our Father to give us such wonderful and beautiful things.

Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of growing and cultivating the farm at the Ridge.

TV time

April 2, 2010

This past fall and winter found my wife and I in our basement most evenings, parked in front of the TV. Not necessarily a bad thing, but at the same time a few hours every night is probably not the best use of our time. (there’s no shortage of good shows these days or movies from Netflix) It’s bothered us (me, more probably), but I didn’t really do anything about it. The arrival of our daughter didn’t seem to change much in that respect; newborns don’t really do anything, so we would walk with her (attempting to keep her from looking at the screen) or have her on the floor and go on our merry way. I even started watching the ridiculous CSI:Miami when she was extra fussy, as it doesn’t require too much brainpower to pay attention. (Sidenote: there are probably already such things out there, but a CSI:Miami drinking game could be “See a lens flare, take a drink. See a set with a sunset-level of light saturation, take a drink.” No one could make it past the second act. But I digress).

I noticed just this past week we’ve been watching a lot less, and it hasn’t been a conscious decision. (But I still think it’s a good thing.) Our baby girl now is an active member of our family, and most evenings are spent entertaining her. It’s one of those shifts in life that come from being a parent, and it’s a good thing.

Yeah, I’m probably gloating

March 31, 2010

But it’s 70 degrees out, and I’m getting paid to sit on my deck and write code.

It’s a little hard to squint at the screen but I think I’ll muddle through.

Conversations and Pop Culture

March 29, 2010

I’ve thought about writing this for a long time. I’m just going to try and get some thoughts down.

I am frustrated that conversations among friends seem to only be about sports or movies or TV. I originally wrote the previous sentence beginning with “I hate that…” but that is an Untruthitude. I have started just as many discussions about Brett Favre or Joss Whedon as I have asked questions about someone’s life. (If I’m honest, I would guess I’ve started far more conversations about sports or pop culture than I’ve asked real questions). Clearly, I don’t hate it. I enjoy the self-satisfied glow that comes from talking shared experiences–and that’s what sports and movies and tv and music are these days-shared experiences that you have separately but still together. It’s a way to have something in common without actually spending time together.

“What do I really want?”, you ask. (or, more likely, you ask “There’s still several hundred words beyond this?”) I want something real, something authentic. What I mean by that is I want to know my friends beyond their taste in movies and sports perspective. I want to know them and I want to be known myself. That sounds a bit creepy. Or somehow not “manly”. (as opposed to the rest of my life, where I am the Epitome of Manliness.)
I don’t know how else to explain it. I want to have relationships with people where our joy and struggles and ideas and plans are shared and discussed and dissected. I want to have peers I can go to for advice and for prayer. Obviously, my wife and I have this with each other. The problem, it could be argued, is we moved away from our friends; I’m not unaware of the irony. But these are feelings I felt just as strongly when I saw decade-long friends on a weekly basis. But I was too afraid to say anything. Don’t want to be the weird one.

The problem I have is I don’t know how to get around it.

The problem is I am a constant in these conversations.

The problem is I like thinking about pop culture. After most every episode of a current show I watch, I will check the updates on the AV Club’s page, somehow wanting and needing to take apart what I just saw. (what happened to just enjoying something for what it is? Is it a generational obsession to deconstruct? Furthermore, when I expand to a generational obsession, am I really just trying to take what I feel and plaster it farther? Furthermore, when I continue to ask questions, do I simply become paralyzed? Yes.)

In reality, the answer is simple; I have to take the risk. If I really want to know and share and be shared back with, I have to take the first step. It helps to have zero knowledge of March Madness this time of year; I can cut those conversations off at the pass. (“Can you believe West Virigina made it this round?” “Not a clue. So, how’s your relationship with your wife?”)

The problem with asking questions that you already know the answers to is, well, you already know the answer.

Spring is here

March 28, 2010

I’ve tried to not get allow myself to get excited. “We get more snow in March than any other month.” “It’ll get cold again.” And so on.

But I think we’re in the clear.

I’ve taken the plastic off of our deck door and moved the grill up to its rightful place on the deck outside the kitchen. There’s still plastic on the windows downstairs, but I don’t think for long. Naturally, by writing this, I have doomed us to a weeklong blizzard. Hopefully not. The Blue Albatross (as I have not-so-affectionately named the truck) is no longer stuck in the snow as the snow has all melted…but it doesn’t drive any more at all. Not stuck in 2WD, just no go. Oh sure, it starts fine, but a truck that sits and rumbles isn’t nearly as useful as a truck that drives. Put it on the list.

Seed ordering season is upon us. We have our eye on various tomatoes, arugula, sweet potatoes, peppers, and even some grapes. We are debating some blueberries as well. The seed catalogs are famous for their false promises. I try not to get sucked in. But then I stand outside, smell the hint of the warming earth, and I can’t help but picture a giant sweet growing garden (that somehow weeds and waters itself).

In other news: my baby girl is 5 months old today.


January 27, 2010

So there is a big Apple announcement coming today. The wild internet speculation (possibly tightly controlled internet leaking?) is that Apple is going to announce a new tablet shaped computer that will change everything. The hype is at such a fever pitch that several weeks ago I saw an MSNBC headline about the forthcoming product, which had not even been announced in any way shape or form…and before the event was scheduled for today.

I work in IT. I’ve used Macs for years. I carried a Newton in high school, which was after the Newton was new and cool and before it received it’s current retro-charm status. I’m a happy iPhone user. When I say the hype is at a fever pitch, what I probably mean is the hype is at a fever pitch in the tech and gadget related sites that I read regularly, and the rest of the world is aware of something happening. But then again, that headline…

That’s a long introduction to what puzzles me. Maybe puzzles is not the right word–I am aware of the dichotomy within me. This marketing works. I have no need for another computer; there are already more computers than residents in my house. I can’t picture any tech desire that is missing. I really desire to live a frugal and simple life out on my five acres. My money and time should be spent becoming self-sufficient. How do the two rival desires co-exist? (on a sidenote, I haven’t watched the Tonight Show in ages, yet I was riveted by the Conan-Jay Leno saga. I don’t want to care about celebrities but I know far more about them than I would like to admit.)

I may even follow the tablet event live tomorrow, I used to do that for all Apple events when I worked at an office. It was a fun diversion from the regular days. But really, why? To what end? This is not an event-it’s an ad. Would I follow an infomercial for Cover Girl as closely? Of course not.

Twenty Ten

January 26, 2010

January is drawing to a close. New Year’s Resolutions are already probably starting to be broken, if not forgotten. The advantage of not making resolutions strike again! I do set goals, though, and frequently. I have trouble with the common futility of New Years Resolutions; it’s like you are supposed to make them and then not supposed to keep them. It tickles the same part of my brain that is irritated by Valentine’s Day. I do have some specific goals for the next 6-12 months that I’ll write about in the future.

I’m hoping for fewer setbacks in the next few months. Since November we’ve had the dishwasher go out, the leaking roof/ice dams, insulation blow-in, the plow truck’s 4-wheel drive has gone out, a car accident, and what feels like more. But maybe that’s all of it. There was a few days of worry we were going to pay $4000 in medical bills as well, but that insurance change did work out.

Few of these things are related the change that we made by moving out to the country, but most could have happened at any place. Regardless, at times life has felt overwhelming. In reality, though, we are incredibly blessed. God has provided in big and small ways. We still have some money in savings from before the move, our baby girl is healthy and incredibly entertaining, we lack for nothing that we really need. How quickly I pass from brief thankfulness after answered prayer to the next request.

Thoughts on…thoughts?

January 25, 2010

I have many different ideas kicking around in my head, things I’d like to post and discuss, but then don’t; I’m not sure if they are on-topic or “moving to the country”-enough. I stop myself because I think that the best blogs are those that are focused and have posts that orbit around a central theme, as opposed to an online journal of thoughts, that meanders from thought to thought.

Then I lack the follow-through to stay focused enough myself, and don’t post for weeks.