Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hammock & Lilacs



Following a cool and rainy spring, hanging the hammock this summer was especially wonderful. Finally, warm temperatures and blue skies have arrived and it feels so good.



The Blueblossom Lilacs are in full bloom along the driveway this week. They're native to the area and offer the sweetest scent of blossoming summer.


I gathered up a bouquet for the small wooden table we put next to the hammock.


This was Hubby's first hour of many to be spent napping in the hammock this summer.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Note of Gratitude



I cannot put into words how much your beautiful comments and e-mails have meant to us. We read each and every one of them together, and we're both deeply touched by the outpouring of love and warmth from everyone.

Thank you dear, dear friends for extending your blessings, thoughts, well wishes and notes of happiness. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

This photo was taken just yesterday...baby bump is a little over 14 weeks. xoxo

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Infertility



We met and fell in love in August. By May we were engaged and by October we were married. During our courtship, we talked of fixing up an old house in the country, of small town life and of children...lots of children.

Our wedding was six years ago this October. I was 33 and Mike was 35. We followed our dreams and moved to that small town, and even found that old house in the country. But the children, the children never came.

We started trying to have a baby before our first year wedding anniversary. Unknowingly, it was the beginning of our long path of infertility. My diagnosis came a few short months after we bought our old farmhouse, a house which was proving to require much more work than we had anticipated and to cause much more stress than we could have possibly imagined.


While we struggled to create a home that would provide peace and comfort, we were also going through intensive fertility treatments and procedures...all of which, month after month, year after year, proved to be unsuccessful.

The reality of what was happening caused us great sadness, and I personally felt an overwhelming sense of mourning...mourning for the woman I always thought I was, fertile, and mourning for the life I had dreamed of with my husband, with children.

I began this blog three years into our infertility journey because I desperately needed to find the calm in the storm and to celebrate all the good we had to be grateful for.

At a time when I started to retreat from friends and social gatherings, I found a new community with new friends from around the world. The days in which I couldn't bare to run into anyone in town, were days I found comfort in the words and warmth of bloggers near and far.

A year ago we returned once again to the fertility clinic in Portland. We've been going through various medical procedures since then, which ended up leading to an IVF procedure this past April.

So it is with great happiness that I share with you something I never thought possible...I am pregnant. We are due just before Christmas.

With twins.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Peony Clippings


I clipped the first peonies from our garden the other day. The blossoms are much bigger than last year as I had just planted them last spring. This variety is called 'Shirley Temple'. I love the fluffy white softness of the white petals.



I put the little bouquet on my night stand.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Asparagus Pizza



I want to share with you the most delicious recipe that we've been enjoying lately. It is a recipe that came to us from Smitten Kitchen. If you haven't already taken in her mouth watering culinary skills, you most certainly should.

Most of the time, I merely drool over her delectables...making mental notes of 'having to prepare that myself someday.' But my lack of follow-through changed a few weeks back when she sent a recipe for Asparagus Pizza.

Go here for her delicious recipe.

Below is my version, slightly modified for what I had on hand at the house.


Ingredients:

20 stalks of asparagus (about four cups shaved with vegetable peeler)
olive oil
two shallots (four bulbs)
salt and pepper
mix of shredded Italian cheese (I use Horizon's Organic Italian Blend)


Saute sliced shallot in olive oil until cooked. Throw in shaved asparagus and cook until slightly tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The pizza dough recipe is one I've used from the Moosewood Cookbook for eons. It never fails.

Dough recipe:

1 package yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup wrist temperature water
3 cups or so of flour (use any flour you like)
olive oil to drizzle on top

Combine yeast, honey, salt and water in a large bowl. Add flour and knead into firm dough.


Return to bowl and drizzle top with olive oil.
Cover and let rise for at least an hour or until it doubles in size.


The recipe makes two large pizzas. I roll out the dough on each pizza pan and then I bake the dough for a few minutes on 475 until it doesn't stick to the pan and is slightly golden (see above).

I remove from oven, add toppings (cheese and asparagus) and then bake for several minutes longer until cheese is nicely melted and crust is nice and golden.


Bon Appetit!

It's a wonderful way to enjoy lots of yummy asparagus while it's in season! It's also a perfect preview to the fresh tastes of all of the summer produce to come.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Morning Light



Sunlight has been scarce around these parts for the last few months. In fact, it's absence has been the talk of the town.

Northwesterners are pretty patient for their sunshine. But come June, there's a hunger for sunny days that puts a lot of pressure on dear old Mother Nature.

We had a beautiful taste of her warm smile a few days ago, which prompted us to enthusiastically put on some of our window screens. But alas, the cool temperatures are back and the sun is elusive once again.


When the sun graces us, it's worth reveling in. Walking into the living room this morning made me want to curl up like a cat and bask in the warmth of that sweet morning sun...while it lasts.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

From Rain, To Peonies



We've had two weeks of cool spring temperatures and monsoon-like rains. But the clouds have passed and the sun has started to shine...


...and the flower farm has been graced with an abundance of blooming peonies.


I picked two varieties of pink ones,...


...a fiery fuscia variety, and a variety of small baby white ones.


The house had been without flowers for too long.


But soon our own garden will begin blooming and we'll have fresh cut flowers for months to come.

Each flower is a verse in nature's enduring poem.

I cannot wait to dwell on the beauty of each one.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our Vegetable Garden



Starting a garden takes time. Ours has been five years in the making...though it has been the last few months in which we actually put thoughts to practice. This is why I'm beginning this post with a picture of Hubby tending the grapes a few months ago, as it's taken several weekends since then to create our first vegetable garden on the property.

While he was pruning those grapes, I came up with the idea to tear down the old arbor. I know, who tears down an arbor? But this one was old, and not the good kind of old. It wasn't made well, was infested with carpenter ants, and I knew one day we'd replace it with a new white one.


So down it came.


Several weeks later, we decided that we liked the idea of adhering to the symmetry of the rows of concord grape vines so a garden plot was carved out accordingly. As you can see, Mr. Engineer used numbers and survey string to ensure this was exactly so. Cute.


Then came the delivery of organic compost and rental of the tiller to till the soil...Lucy watched Hubby's back the entire time. as you know, those frisky squirrels can sometimes sneak up on you.


Fast forward a few weekends. Hubby put in a stone pathway...with leftover pavers from our other hardscape projects. Finally, we went to our local nursery and picked out wonderful organic starters.

See the dark blob out to the left of the picture frame?


It's Lucy...soaking up the warm spring sun.



We've designated this area of our property as the food zone. The grapes are here, which are starting to leaf out...and although they were cut down before we bought the place, the old peach orchard used to stand in the field above.

Perhaps we'll replant some kind of fruit trees someday...or maybe blueberries...or keep it open just because a nice open field is always peaceful to look at.



By the end of the day, we planted corn, eight varieties of tomatoes, basil, pickling cucumbers, slicing cucumbers, jalapeno pepper, green beans and a pumpkin plant for our holiday pies. Yet to plant are snap peas, carrots, blackberries and lettuce.

Eventually, we'll build another arbor. We may also build a fence around the garden if we find that the local wildlife are nibbling.

I dream of the day when I wander out to the garden and pluck a fresh warm tomato from its vine.
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