Monthly Archives: June 2011

hump day nuggets: …and the living is easy

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week As I have exhaustively told you all about, our winter was long and our spring more like the postlude to winter. But now! Now we wake and assume it will be warm. I don’t think about turning the heat on at night, our vegetables are pushing up and out, exposing color and pledging to feed us soon. So with this sudden and so awesome summer that is happening, I haven’t been writing as much. I have notes all over the place, both literally and in my brain, indicating things I want to download into essays and yet I end up instead installing sandboxes, watching storms, smearing sunscreen and pitching tents. And by the day’s end, I look at my notes and feel a real, fun urge to write but it is all we can do to grab greens from the plot and pair it with anything for a meal, run around a bit more and fall into bed. My habit is to write nuggets on Tuesday nights when the family is tucked in. I sit cross-legged on our couch with my computer as I comb through photos and eek out words that tell the story of our last week. I like this ritual a lot. It still exists in the summer but happens much later, as dictated by our kids’ bedtimes that follow the sun. And sometimes, like last night, it just didn’t happen because I met up with friends at our local brewery and then came home to a wide-eyed Margot excited to camp out with mama again. Summer. I think it was like 11pm the last time I told her sternly (but through a giant smile hidden by the darkness in our backyard tent) Margot, for real. It’s bedtime. And so we fell asleep snuggled so perfectly in our shelter next to the chicken coop. It was so good. Nuggets. :: Our Red Lodge trip ended and we took off west, headed home to see papa. Thankfully, it was smoother than the first leg. We weren’t 10 miles out of RL when Margot said, “Mom! It’s so beautiful! Should we pull over and run around in that tall grass?” Now, my girl knows how to tug my heart into bliss. “YES,” I said. For Montana peeps: this is on the Victor Road :: I love my mother-in-law and am thankful she is a day’s drive away. :: We had our pal over for dinner, the one Margot calls by his first and last name as if it is one word BenBarbee. He is one of Andy’s oldest friends and my girls adore him. On this particular night Margot shushed us every time we got a little loud because her delicate baby was sleeping. Her baby, on that evening, was a yellow and pink bouncy ball in the bottom of a cup full of water. She consoled, cuddled and rocked her baby all night and then Andy asked, “Margot, I wonder how he can breathe under the water like that. What do you think?” Ben and I nodded and looked to her for the answer. And she set him down, put her hands on her hips and said, “You guys. It’s just a ball. Geez. Balls, like, don’t breathe.” :: Early summer bouquet of daisies and tarragon, the prefect combination of sweet and savory. :: Shared summer meals with friends are the best, no? :: Margot’s current clothing fixation is her polka dot tights. After the third day of rolling in dirt in light pink tights I announced she needed to wear something else so I could wash them. She protested and I held firm. She was upset and I sighed with the realization that my discomfort surrounding her too-warm disposition and crusty tights was my own. She only wanted those dirty, hot tights and so I said, “Oh, okay. Big deal, mama. Margot, wear the tights!” And she twirled and said, “Ruby! Did you hear that? It’s a miracle!” Plus, she REALLY loves that Ruby has the same same. :: Neighborhood ducks are back and it is a wonderfully wonderful thing to sit and stare at the mama and her ducklings with my kids. :: I am so excited to tell you that I have an assistant! My business has been growing, both writing and clothes, and I have been a bit nervous for next. It has been a many-month process to decide this step was a good one and then, right as I was certain, Sarah Jess (her whole first name, all southern and sweet) landed right next to my husband in line at a coffee shop. We knew her, a friend of a friend and, long story short, she’s perfect. And darling. And my kids love her. I am excited to share some new things with you all. Soon. :: “Dad, wow! Our shoes match. Mom, take a picture.” Let me answer before you ask: my husband has a funky shin vein. It’s fine. :: Black & Decker sent me a PlantSmart digital plant care to give a go. those sorry squash looks so much better since I added blood meal. I tracked my winter squash for two days, plugged that bugger straight into my computer and *poof*. Charts showing me sun, moisture and temperature readings. Cool. And? You could win one! Leave a comment for a chance at it. What are you growing? Thanks, Black & Decker! :: I sincerely love my dog. :: We had some left-over oven-roasted fingerling potatoes and I made a pretty dang good potato salad. Not Your Grandma’s Potato Salad (a very loose recipe) a few handfuls of fingerling potatoesolive oilchives, parsley, tarragon, rosemary (or whatever herbs you have), minced7 cloves garlic, minced4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped3/4 cup crumbled feta cheesered wine vinegarsalt Chunk up potatoes and toss with olive oil, salt, herbs and garlic. Bake at 425 until done. Let cool. Add eggs, feta, more herbs, a splash of vinegar, oil and salt to taste. It’s good. :: First strawberries are always the most exciting harvest around here. Always. :: Peas are a close second. And they’re just around the bend. :: I have a feeling I’ll probs declare beans, tomatoes, cauliflower, basil, squash, carrots, broccoli and beets to hold the same rank. :: I am really interested in wires against sky. The sharp, defined man-made line communicating with intangible eternity. So summer is here and my backyard camp awaits (with a squealing kid). See that tent back there? A whole other world. I conclude with my warm, green disclaimer: During the heightened energy of Summer 2011, Nuggets may be late but know they will arrive and it just means author is living the next Nugget. Happy hump day out there. :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on hump day nuggets: …and the living is easy…
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sting

 Been writing this post all day it seems. Summer and one thing after another. You know. And I am finishing it up from a tent in my back yard, listening to Margot’s heavy and satisfied breaths, occasional residential traffic and those awesome night sounds that blend together and sound like a river. :: :: :: First, this week’s mama digs is about this primal, wonderful alone-but-connected experience I had in a storm last week. Click to read mama digs: storm chase. :: :: :: I have wanted a sandbox for the kids for some time and meet resistance from Andy on a few fronts: a) he imagines a giant kitty litter box.b) he needs a new project like a kick in the shins. So I’ve been imagining my own building plans (which is always tricky because, while capable, he is much much better and faster) and, even more so, been on the hunt for something that would work so I wouldn’t have to build a thing. Last week, it materialized. Our friends had a yard sale and, lo, my future sandbox was sunning herself in between a pile of table linens and a pair of camel colored clogs. My favorite part is that the husband bought it at a yard sale, imagining his tall, beautiful, blond wife using the 3×4′ metal trough as a pool in their backyard. She never did don her bikini, curl her legs up and soak in that thing. It’s a wonder. I stacked rocks (the big ones scored from our friend’s old riverbed farm) around the bin to make for fun and easy climbing in and out, drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, filled with sand and yay! I dig it. I filled between the rocks with dirt and filled the nooks with lemon thyme that I cut from our behemoth plant. Margot and Ruby have been little nervous to play in the sand because last night when the whole family was out there for the excited sand-adding, they were both stung by bees. At the exact same moment on the exact same body part. It was surreal. I was, and a little bit still am, heavy with guilt over the whole thing. See, our birdhouse fell last week and when I went to rehang a few days ago, I heard the buzzing of bees. A hive! I know nothing about feral honeybees but have a friend who keeps bees so I left the hive alone and planned to consult about what the heck to do, if anything. Margot is really into bees right now so she was especially interested in imagining the furry dudes building combs inside our fallen birdhouse. They were mellow and cool, it was mellow and cool. Last night a few flew out during the sandbox inauguration. Alice ate one and shook with a sting. A few more buzzed by. Just as I was taking notice that the bees seemed agitated, Ruby started screaming. And then Margot. I looked up and both my girls stood motionless in our green backyard, mouths open, crying, each with a solitary bee on their lip. Thankfully, Andy was there too so we could each grab a bee and a kid. It was scary, bizarre and painful for them although Margot nearly immediately declared, “Really, mama, I am totally fine. Can I have another popsicle?” and thought it felt funny to smile with her fat bottom lip. The whole left half of Ruby’s sweet little face swelled up, nursing her only solace. I should have moved the hive right away, I should have left the backyard when those first few flew out. Ack, I felt like shit. I know a sting isn’t that big of a deal but I felt so responsible for these stings. post-sting, pre-bed walk I corresponded with my favorite, hilarious beekeeping pal and she told us how to expertly relocate the hive. So we applied baking soda paste, lavender and purification oils to the swollen lips, tucked our girls in and went to investigate whether or not the bees were “asleep like tiny dead fuzzy muppets” as Finny said they would be. The colony was still abuzz so we waited until this morning when Andy, far braver than me, confidently picked up the birdhouse, put it in the back of our truck and drove it deep into the woods. Now, the feral hive sits in an awesome handmade tin birdhouse under giant cottonwoods by the river. Operation Hive Relocation a success so we ventured back to the sandbox. We played out there today and it was good to redefine our experience in that space. It’s life but it sucks to be stung, whether on a kid’s lip or on a mama’s heart. It felt right to just dig in, following the forgiving, inquisitive lead of my children. I kept thinking of that dorky but poignant Ziggy quote about roses and thorns. “You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” You can complain because bees have stingers, or you can rejoice because stingers have bees. Or, You can complain because life has misadventure, or you can rejoice because misadventure has life. Sweet dreams. :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on sting…
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hump day nuggets: in my blood

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week I moved around a bunch growing up, my dad’s job taking us to three of the four corners of our country. My parents were both born and raised in Montana and their parents in the western Montana towns of Kalispell, Alberton, Hamilton, Ronan. And my greats too. Montana is in my blood. I am tethered to this place. And it is this connection that grounded me solid through all those moves. Just after the best run with my cousin and our dogs.The Beartooth Pass I liked moving as a kid, most of the time. I think I wouldn’t have liked it much if we didn’t have Montana to come home to every summer. Every year when the grass began to brown we piled in our boxy SUV, my brother and I crowded in the back seat, my parents so big and old in the front seat. We drove for days and eventually fell into the bright valleys of Missoula and then Red Lodge where our relatives waited with open arms and big gardens. As a kid, my cousins and I picked wild raspberries in East Rosebud, sifted through piles of sparkling beads at the Mountain Man Rendezvous. We fished at Line Lake, hiked up the Lake Fork and barbecued every night. We spent entire days making cat palaces out of cardboard, sitting on the front porch and biking up and down every single street in this valley. In Roscoe, we jumped off bridges just high enough that our parents would have definitely disapproved. We ate lots of Red Box Car soft serve ice cream. Gramma Joan and the girls. It wasn’t until I downloaded these photos that I realized Ruby is imitating her big sister. As an adult I moved here to heal after a difficult eating disorder recovery. I got out of the hospital and needed a change. So I moved home to live with my aunt and uncle for a summer. Oh, that summer. I had known Andy for seven years. He was my cousin Colin’s best friend and often tagged along for family picnics and the like. He was waiting in my aunt and uncle’s kitchen when I flew in from Georgia, donning white chunky sandals, light-wash tapered jeans and my best coral and tan striped cardigan. I remember picking out that outfit, hoping I’d see Colin’s hot friend that night. That was exactly 14 years ago. After that Summer of Love, I tried to go back to college in the south. It didn’t work. I always felt more beautiful and smart in the Montana and, after living there for three months and falling deep for the boy I always hoped I’d fall deep for, well, that was that. I left my full ride scholarship, packed my white VW Rabbit and drove west with Andy. We landed in Missoula. 14 years! Happy Anniversary, love. I like you a whole lot. Every summer and holiday break in college, I waited tables and Andy swung hammers in Red Lodge. We came over every Memorial Day to ski the pass, we came for weddings and holidays bouncing between his family and mine. Margot caught her first fish with Uncle Colin. The pond is stocked with an unknown species of fish that resemble black lab-pitbull mutts. Now we roll across this state with two more people who have roots in this valley. Who spin stories about Mount Maurice and the Pass, “Ruby dahlin, it’s important to accessorize no matter the company.” who find simple, wonderful ways to have fun Tossin’ rocks in the summer snowTossin’ rocks in Rock Creek who hike and ski its hills, fish its waters, wander its streets, find family under the bluest sky, who love it here. My childhood gave me equal parts homebody and wanderlust. We won’t be moving our family around a bunch but road trips and distant travels will happen often. I can’t say for certain that we will never move but I can say home will never be far away. Where is your home? :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on hump day nuggets: in my blood…
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Holiday-ee! Celebray-eet!*

We left our home last Friday with a giant exhale. Our car carefully packed with just enough space for the four people and one dog to fill our slivers of space at the last moment. Snacks within reach, we headed east to Bozeman. stretching our legs at the Rocker truck stop The reason for our trip was for me to talk at a writing conference but we hauled the whole fam to make a weekend of it. For some reason I continue to think something like a few nights away will be cake, that we’ll effortlessly float out of town with sunglasses, a change of underwear and excitement. You know, like we used to. But it isn’t that way for our family. Two days is the same as four weeks with the stuff we shoehorn into our car. Plus, road trips kind of suck right now. Our kids take turns feigning torture by car seat. Mostly, it’s my Ruby who wishes so desperately to be cartwheeling around in the way back with Alice. It’s hard, even for me and my It Always Works Out! personality. Thankfully, the destination is wonderfully redemptive. The conference was great (a cool challenge for me; I’ve never done anything like it before) and we spent the rest of our time rolling around with old, dear friends until the girls and I split of from the dad. Andy headed home while Alice, Margot, Ruby and me kept the subaru pointed east to Red Lodge where tulips are on fire and lilacs are just showing their creamy selves. The familiar valley smells of cottonwood,  earth and mint. The second half of the trip was only slightly less agitating than the first. I found that I had to just keep going because there was no husband to navigate the road while I navigated Operation Locate Pacifier. I explained to Ruby that I would hold her and play with her all night if we could just plow through 2 1/2 hours of the most beautiful country on the planet. Parenthood is so much about changing course, letting go and pushing through. We couldn’t change course so I let go and Ruby pushed through all the way to comfortable Red Lodge. Read how I roll (tumble) in this week’s mama digs: getting better at it. We are on holiday for a few days. Nuggets from the RL on Wednesday! xo,dig *title intended to be sung like Madonna. Was it obvious or was it a fail? ps Randomly selected winner of $50 at Tiny Prints: #47, Jennifer said…Texas needs the water badly! We are in drought. :o( Watering every other day our hibiscuses and roses. And our house foundation. Don’t need busted pipes! Loved the read today, so green with envy over your garden. So lush, and just beautiful. Some day, I will have one. Water, yes very common, very needed and it seems to either go all at once to one place and not where it needs to.pps Winner of ErgoBaby didn’t claim it! (I know!). New winner, #34: recipesforcake. Congrats, Jennifer and recipesforcake! Email me at digthischick at gmail dot com to claim your stash. :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on Holiday-ee! Celebray-eet!*…
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hump day nuggets: hydrate

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week Nuggets would have been up earlier but this sleepless wonder had other plans today. :: :: :: Our rivers are still full but receding. All that water. It really is miraculous. I helped bag sand last week and I am not sure what I expected but I didn’t expect to see lots of water flowing, gushing down the street and homes wading in feet of water. Or I guess I didn’t know what that really looked like. Our home is not on the banks of the river, not even close. But, really, we are close. Less than a mile. Rivers, the power and quantity of water that effortlessly moves earth and 100 year-old trees like I move grains of rice with my pinky finger. The Clark Fork could kiss my roof if she decided on a different path. 15,000 years ago our valley was under a lake about half the size of Lake Michigan. Now I don’t feel afraid that Lake Missoula is imminent, it’s just that last week when I stood in my rain boots on Tower Street and water raced around my shins I imagined, for the first time, what Mount Jumbo would look like as an island. When I ran up the trail next to Rattlesnake Creek’s newly cut channel, I considered, like really considered what it would feel like to see water swelling toward my house. After the girls went to bed, I asked my smart husband about our rivers. He knows where every Montana river begins, what sources feed it, where it travels, what mountains structure its path. He looked at a map and I listened to him explain the beginnings, turns, junctions and ends with my eyes closed. What a wonderful drama. nuggets. :: Last Wednesday was Margot’s turn for family night. We went to the carousel and fetched dinner from the yellow store (our neighborhood market). :: This morning, Ruby shouted from her crib as she does every morning. Sister wakes early and plays with her babies in her crib until she hears our 6am alarm clock alarm and then she enthusiastically shouts, MAMA MAAAAAAMA! Mau! (Mau is milk, nursing). But this morning, she shouted DAA-EE! over and over. Daddy. She yelled for her dad and wanted eggs. Oh things are changing. We continue to make seedy bread in the trusty bread machine. Love it. :: My low-water front yard is pretty spectacular this year. I feel quite proud of all that work, one plant at a time, slowly digging up that compact, uninhabitable clay. :: And the boulevard garden has some issues (some really small, yellow, slow growing plants) but mostly it looks pretty great. I added a bunch of compost mixed with blood meal last week and it seems to be responding well. The blood meal has some stank. Margot grimaced, “What IS that mom?” I explained it was dried blood. And she shockingly said, “Oh. From my forehead? From when I got stitches?!” :: We’ve been in this home for eight years and this year our gardens feel established and bursting. The backyard was dirt, weeds and rhubarb when we moved in. Hadn’t been watered in a decade. And, I am happy to report that last year’s dandelion pulling efforts WORKED. I took down a section of fence last summer (far left) to lasso more light but it doesn’t do much so it’ll go back up. :: The ice cream truck screams by our house every day right at nap time. I finally decided to throw the kids in the bike trailer and catch it. post-ice cream nap bliss:: 50 degrees: art making inside. :: 70 degrees: art making outside. :: Today I get to introduce you to new dig sponsor, Tiny Prints. I am usually a DIYer when it comes to design but it was so wonderful and EASY to use Tiny Prints for my custom notecards. I wanted something simple that our family could use for thank you cards and little hello! notes. I am pleased with my order and the professional correspondence I received along the way.  Tiny Prints has a ton of unique, non-cheesy designs to choose from like photo booksthank yous and invitations. And they are generously offering up $50 gift certificate to one of you! Leave a comment for a chance to win, y’all. Thanks, Tiny Prints! :: Margot is in art camp this week. “Here, Ruby! You want to see? OK! I can help you!” Because, obviously Ruby wouldn’t be able to see through this window without Margot’s assistance. :: Last week one of our chickens jumped the fence and was snacking on our garden. Margot shouted, “Mama, Captain is out! We should shoot her!” I tried to hide my shock and said, “What should we do?” She replied, “Shoot her! I’ll help you!” I asked what that meant and she explained how I walk behind the hen and then she runs toward the back and shoots her. “Ah,” I said, “Do you mean shoo her?” Best trade ever: housecleaning for clothes. Her daughter will have new skirts, I can see my bedroom floor! :: “Mama, can you button this? And then I am going back to bed.” “Sure. To go to sleep?” “No, to have some valentine.” I assume she meant down time. :: I am so thankful for fresh greens right now. All tender and sun-warmed. Goodness they are delish. Water is interesting. The most prized natural resource and so often taken for granted. Amazing that it is essential for every plant and animal. It is reflective. It is slippery and liquid, pours from the sky and seeps into the earth. We crave it, we shelter ourselves from it. In a world that feels so divisive at times, so at war, I think about the things we all have in common. We all have feet, we all feel happiness, we all need water. Imagine if we all celebrated the commonalities? happy hump day out there :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on hump day nuggets: hydrate…
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