Leaps & bounds & walking backward…

A few firsts I wanted to share:

First French-Braid @ 15 months!

Thanks to Suzie’s fascination with books, I was able to sneak this french braid into her hair. I thought to myself as she sat on my lap flipping pages furiously- “No… no way, could I?… let’s see, maybe just in the middle… Wow! It’s long enough to french braid!”. Once it came time to put the elastic in she was on to me, and it took a very enthusiastic rendition of “The Ants Go Marching” performed by me to keep her from escaping, entirely… But we did it- I was very impressed with us both.

Now this next thing is not a first, but it’s the first time I managed to document it:

I thought I heard a little peep out of Suzie not long after she’d fallen asleep for her a nap in her stroller. I looked down the hall into the bedroom and saw a cat tail swinging from inside the stroller… I knew just who it was, so I grabbed the camera and snuck around the corner…

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OH! Hi Mama- you surprised me!

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Dumpy woke me up, again!

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But I LOVE her so it’s alright!

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See Mama? See how much I love her? HUGS!

Dumpy is mostly undeterred by Suzie’s forceful affection, and is always very gentle with her in return. The cats totally get that it’s all about the baby… I remember when Suzie was just days old, Manny was more or less asked to live outside for the time being (Dumpy was not yet an indoor cat) because I didn’t have the constitution to keep an eye on all the critters AND take care of myself and this delicate new life- the dogs lived in the opposite end of the house until Suzie was about 4 months old, even. But Manny would inevitably sneak in when the door opened. After about the third day of Suzie being in the house, whenever Manny snuck in she’d immediately go for Suzie’s feet and begin purring loudly and rubbing on her frantically (which is bizarre and unusual behavior from Manny to begin with, let alone for her to display this kind of affection toward a weird, unpredictable, squirmy little alien) as if to say “Look at me! I’m being SO sweet to the baby! Okay? I get it! Can I please stay in here?”.

And here’s one that I just think is adorable:

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Taken by our friend Helen at her yarn shop in Belfast. Too cute!

Although we’ve been managing to have fun indoors this winter season- with Music Together classes, story time at the library and playing on the children’s floor, visiting the co-op for lunch and always leaving having made new friends (that’s all Suzie!), singing and dancing inside at home constantly…- I am starting to feel ready for some warmer weather, and the projects that come along with it (greenhouse time!). We’ve been taking walks in the snow now that Suzie is more stable on her feet, which always end in tears when we have to go back inside- not such a bad thing! I’m so glad she feels so connected to the outdoors! She’ll wake up saying “Hop! Walk? WALK? Hop walk!” Which means; lets hop down off the bed and go for a walk :D. This is such a magical time in her development. Her vocabulary continues to build steam, since the last post she’s learned many new words including: necklace, earrings, ears, mouth, nose, toes, shoe, foot, boot, walk, mustache & shoulders. She can point to her book about the ABCs that her Aunt Claire gave her and say “Aae-Pee-pees!”. This is new yesterday… I really can’t keep up with her! She’s changing so quickly I have to re-evaluate my interaction with her one a daily and sometimes hourly basis. If I’m not honoring her newly acquired abilities on an emotional, vocal, physical or psychological level, I get the hairy eyeball, big time! It’s pretty helpful, honestly. Her instincts are impeccable and she’s very sensitive (like mommy!- it’s a blessing and a curse, but for now it’s purely a blessing). I’ll offer new words, objects, tasks/concepts (put this inside this bag and carry it over here, for instance, or help me put the dog bowls in the cupboard and shut the door), but mostly I just have to stay out of the way. We’re both having a lot of fun :)

And the most recent first- Suzie just put herself to sleep for a nap for the very first time :)  What?! :D Milestone!

Before long there will be pictures of seedlings and bare ground, I’m getting excited…

Time Warp

Wow- Where did the holidays go?

The days are getting longer already? Wow! Time has gotten away from me. But I guess it flies when you’re having fun, and I can’t think of anything more fun than watching Suzie grow. Here’s a little taste of what’s she’s been up to:

She’s got these cans all figured out. I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to watch her figure out that they’d only stack one way! It only took her 10 seconds! Wow! I love this stuff! :D

I also want to share all of Suzie words she’s using now at almost 15 months… It’s so fun to watch her learn new words and how to use them, for instance; she learned the word “eyes” the true meaning of which she clearly understands, as she sticks her fingers in my eyes while she says it :) But she also uses the word eyes to describe the big blue beads on my necklace… WOW! I am again, fascinated by this kind of stuff :) I love, love, love baby brains!!! <3

Words:

  • Mama
  • Dada
  • up
  • hat
  • cat
  • fish (sounds like ‘shish’)
  • hot
  • cook
  • please
  • stretch (this one blew my socks off!)
  • chicken (takes a little deciphering)
  • nut
  • bone
  • cheese
  • truck
  • tractor (sounds a lot like ‘Dada’, and may be interchangeable)
  • book
  • cow
  • hop
  • bath
  • dog
  • uh-oh  or  oops (frequently used together. Now this is a handy warning sign that she’s about to drop or throw something!)
  • apple
  • hi
  • avocado (sounds like “a-A-do”)
  • no
  • eyes
  • baby   
  • banana (sounds like bAm-ba)
  • Ella- doggie #1
  • Josie- sounds like “Jogee”- doggie #2
  • Manny- sounds like “mEhnny”- cat #1 (this one almost makes me cry it’s so cute, and because Manny knows her name so well, she totally reacts to it, even more than the dogs do which at this point is not at all because the vowel sounds in their names that they respond to aren’t strong enough in her pronunciation to grab their attention, but Manny tends to respond more to the first letter of the word “Mmm” sound for her name, or “Fff” sound for “food”.{if this sounds unbelievable, I have video evidence and I’ll post it below! Manny IS unbelievable!})
  • Dumpy- sounds like “doomp-doomp”- cat #2
  • Head (just learned this one yesterday- understands the distinction between “head” and “hat”- for a couple weeks they were the same thing.)

Animal noises:

  • meow
  • wooh wooh (dog)
  • bock bock (chicken)
  • Ooo oo  (owl)
  • meeh (goat)
  • baa baa
  • Moo (more like a loud hum “Mmmm”- also sometimes interchangeable with ‘dada’, I think it’s cause he smells like cows ;) )
  • oo-oo-ah-ah (monkey)
  • ‘grunt grunt‘ (makes a little grunting noise in the back of her throat for pigs- Mama taught her this, it’s hard to describe, but I am amazed that she picked it up because as a child I remember trying to teach my friends how I figured out to make such a good pig noise and having them be totally flabbergasted. Way to go Suzie! Although it’s not a word, just a funny noise, I have to say I think this to be her most impressive display of imitation!)
  • Raahhh (tigers or lions)
  • Neiiiighh! -used for horses AND dragons ;)
  • caw-caw – for crows

I’m impressed! :D So much fun I can’t even find the words, just… :D

In other news it’s (almost) official; I’m going back to school. I’ll be going to get my Associates in Early Education at a community college locally, and then go on to UMaine to finish my BS in Child Development. There is a Waldorf certification program at Antioch in NH that I’d like to look into as well which I can choose to do at any time after I finish my Associates.

It’s just the thing to do right now. Back when I first took some college courses, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to go for, the major I was hoping to get into was cancelled (photography- found out on my first day in the admissions office to get my schedule made up… go figure! I was accepted into the New England School of Photography, but I didn’t have the funds behind me, so I wound up at Framingham State, and then learned that their equipment was so antiquated that they decided just weeks before I would start classes to shut down instead of re-investing in that department), and while I was attending I was living at and interning at the NCOF. Once I realized it was farming that was my passion, I decided two things,

#1: I’d learn more about farming, if I was actually farming- instead of sitting in a classroom learning about farming.

#2: I’d never make enough money farming, to pay off the debt I would accrue while going to school to learn how to farm.

And so now, after 7 seasons of farming and learning how to do it all(: from nutrient management, crop planning, budgeting… to field production of everything from fruits & veggies to milk to meat to maple syrup and back again, to marketing  and running my own business for 4 years), I’ve finally come to accept the inconvenient truth, that farming is not going to be a means to an end, to obtaining my goals. I need a degree. It’s just a reality at this point in my life. And I’m ready to do it. I’m ready to run with the herd for a little while, in the interest of my own personal freedom and independence. I want to do, what I want to do, and I’m ready to do whatever I have to, to get there. I’m ready to accept that farming, while it’ll always be a part of my life, won’t be what I can rely on for monetary gain. I hope to get to the point where I won’t need as much money to maintain my quality of life and I can have the facilities to be more self sufficient, but I need the capital to get there, and so I need a degree to obtain a higher paying job. One with regular, predictable hours, for the time being. There’s a whole lot more I could say about it, but that gets the general idea across. Wow, again! Going back to school… I guess I always knew on some level it’d happen some day… (Ironically, it’ll be farming, largely, that I’ll be relying on to get me though school, go figure!)

It was my intention to add more photos to this post but the website won’t upload them for some reason, so I’ll have to add more later… stay tuned. :D But here’s that video of Manny I wanted to share. The cat who speaks english:

You can hear Suzie say “mEhnny” after the first time I say her name.

Launching A Dream

I know what I want out of life- I guess I have for a long time: JOY! That’s what life is all about, right?… And what’s better than sharing the experience of joy with others?

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My Flower Field 2011

I’ve been lucky enough to have had many different experiences in my life which have helped me to realize what brings me joy. I’ve always been very willful and goal oriented. It’s that mentality which has brought me through many difficult situations in my life unscathed, and always better off. I’ve set a new goal that I want to share. I’m very excited to have such a clear vision of what I want to achieve.

This project encompasses  all that I love and am passionate about, and allows  room for me to incorporate many new ideas and passions along the way as I grow in life and have more to teach. I have so much knowledge and so many skills to share and I love working with children. It’s been a dream of mine for many years to run a farm-based preschool program. Another dream has been to adopt children- a dream from the time I was a young child myself. Agriculture, animals, music… artistic creation of all kinds, are my passions. This project will make it possible for me to foster and adopt children, and to incorporate all my dreams and passions into a sustainable source of income, not to mention an invaluable resource.

I will build a solar & wind powered farmstead which I can use as a tool to serve my family, community, ecosystem, and future generations… 

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Solar Powered Educational Center

All structures will employ a passive solar design. It will be powered by PV/solar, wood and wind power- entirely. Composting septic system. Approximately 10 acres of  land will be farmed utilizing permaculture techniques, organic and sustainable practices.

I  will offer artistic and agronomically geared public enrichment programs for children of all ages on the farmstead; Dance, Music, Animal Husbandry, Sustainability, Budgeting etc. I will have a Children’s Center for Healthy Living Habits where children can become familiar with different practices to maintain and foster their health, both physically and emotionally: Yoga, Meditation, Visualization, Goal Management, Healthy Cooking and Baking, Productive Stress Management and Decision Making, for instance.

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Children who attend workshops and classes will play a role in the cultivation of the many different crops the farmstead will produce while acquiring the many invaluable skills involved in food production. A portion of the farm’s crops will be donated to local food pantries, shelters and public schools.

I have a long list of ways in which this establishment will generate income to sustain itself financially for the long term. All I need is the capital, and this vision is a great start!

I will be setting up an informational website that will detail the progress of the project, TBA very soon.

I see much room for improvement here in these parts of Maine. The first step to improving the quality of any life, is a change in attitude- fostering hope and belief. There are many children in these parts who deserve more than they’re currently working with on all fronts. They at least deserve to know that a more joyful and higher quality of life is a real possibility and a choice that they can make in their own lives regardless of their parents’ life choices. I want to make a contribution to the future of this community, state, world… This is the best way I can  :D

Feel free to ask questions or to send any encouragement, suggestions or advice my way! I am open to all of it :D

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My Proud Brussels!

[Here’s one question I have off the bat which I am putting out there in the hopes of gleaning some good advice- to “Non-Profit” or not to “Non-Profit”? Experiences, opinions? Thank you! :D]

Happy Birthday Suzie ♥

Suzanne Patsy turned 1 year old on Halloween! Happy Birthday Suzie!!! ♥

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We had a little family party up at the farm house where Suzie received some fun toys & books and some nice warm footie pajamas for winter. Here she is getting the hang of opening presents: IMG_0357

I made the cake:

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Little did anyone know but it was a flourless cake. I don’t eat grains, and I’m deciding to restrict grains from Suzie’s diet too. I’ve done a lot of reading lately about the detriments of a grain based diet, and how children don’t have the ability to digest grains until about the age of 2. Grains have also changed in chemical composition from what they were 100 or even 20 years ago, and are starting to be examined as a culprit for so many allergies cropping up in youngsters these days- not just grain allergies. Anyhow, they all seemed to enjoy the cake, but I doubt half of them would have even considered trying it if they’d known it was flourless! Point for the health nut! I used the bundt pan because, well, it’s my only cake pan. It was a little cumbersome to decorate, but tasty none the less.

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Suzie had her cake (played in it a little…) and ate it too! :D A bittersweet day <3 It’s hard to believe a year has already passed.

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Garlic planting is the next project on the docket around the gardens. A little late, but better late than never. The garden that the garlic is going in is one of the two fenced spaces I used this past season. That garden will be put to bed for the winter after the garlic gets planted, it’s been smothered with compost 2.5 ft deep. The goats made quick work of the brush that I wanted cleared over in the new garden area and I plan to turn pigs out on it before I bury it in compost/manure like the first fenced in garden. I’d also like to turn some pigs into the second fenced in garden before I cover that one. So next year there will be 3 fenced in garden spaces total, and they should all be fertile enough to densely manage for vegetables next year without having to pick up any extra land away from the home place. I figure, with my farmy guesstimating skills, that with the amount of fertility on these gardens, and the added convenience of them being 50 ft from my bedroom window along with a number of other variables, that I should be able to get at least as much if not a little more out of the land I’ll crop here at the house, as I would have off the approx. 1 acre I farmed (crop-failed, really..) this past season. I have’t measured the land down here, but eye-balling it I’d say there’s about 1/3- 1/2 acre. I already can’t wait to buy seed!

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I did manage to save some flower seed this year. Totally experimental. I’ve helped people do it, and I’ve seen it done, but I’ve never completed the process of growing my own seed and seeing it germinate the next season. Yay new things!

Sandy Point, Newburyport

We were down for a visit last weekend to see Great Gram and to visit with friends in the Newburyport area who were generous enough to host us in their amazing home. Roro took the pictures of me and Suzie at the ocean and I snapped the last one. There’s just nothing like the heavenly, sweet combination of babies and the deep blue sea!

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