the first watermelon of the season

I have blogged about this a few different years. It seems I think the first watermelon of the season is a very big deal. Because it really is. It marks the start of a whole six months of possibility, projects and good produce.

I should tell you though that this watermelon cost me ten dollars. For real. I had an appointment today with my midwives and they sent me to the Co-op to get magnesium and fish oil and right in the entry way they had samples of this organic-all-the-way-from-mexico watermelon. And it was amazing. Crisp and cold because they were in a bin outside, I grabbed a nice heavy one on my way in the door. I did the math in my head and knew this was going to cost me, but I had to have it.

Of course, Rory would never ever understand this. He would never support spending ten dollars ($9.73 to be exact) on a watermelon. Or any produce. Which is why I made two transactions. I paid for the vitamins with our joint account, and paid for the watermelon from my Fun Money debit card. You may already know that at the first of the month we each get Fun Money that is solely ours to spend. My clothes, shoes, haircuts, outings with girl friends, gifts and watermelons come out of this little account. It means I can spend money on nice shampoo and not have to explain it later to Rory. Anything that I think will come up later at a budget talk is purchased with my Fun Money card. It has saved us many a money argument throughout the course of our marriage.

That said, it seems I'm always out of my Fun Money while Rory saves his for months until he has enough to buy a surveillance camera to see what is roaming in our garden at night. But I tend to spend my Fun Money. Rapidly. At this moment I can't afford new shoes, but my belly is really happy that it is watermelon season. And thankfully this ten dollar watermelon did not disappoint.

bee friendly seeds: on sale now!

I'm just so excited about this and also really proud. Our bee-friendly seeds are now on sale over at The Grovestead. Rory has worked diligently researching the seeds we would sell and ordered from various vendors to ensure these seeds are not genetically modified. He figured out the packaging and design and last night put the final details on the payment page. As of this morning, the seeds are now on sale.

I was thinking about how excited I get when I'm driving on an interstate and see one of those blue signs with a little sign for a Jimmy Johns. That's my favorite place to eat on a road trip. And how basically each person who plants honey bee friendly flowers is setting up a little buffet for honey bees. Bees will fly for miles in a day looking for good pollen and nectar. I'm imagining them getting just as excited to find our little bee friendly gardens as I am when I find a Jimmy Johns.

Please bop on over to The Grovestead to check it out. He's got pictures and details of the flower seeds we are including, frequently asked questions and a brief back story. If this interests you at all, please join in and plant a bee friendly garden and help us spread the word. It's a bad feeling to feel helpless. It's an awesome feeling to feel like there are little things we can all do that might make a world of difference.

So now, go! Check it out!

tea time with toddlers

Today I got out my tea set from when I was a little girl. My mom had a special tea set growing up that she still cherishes to this day, housed in her china hutch. When I was still in elementary school I knew it was important to her that I have a set of my own. I remember purchasing this tea set so vividly. We were up at family bible camp and one afternoon we went into Alexandria with the intent of finding a tea set for me. We went into antique shops and gift shops and finally we found this set. I can't quite remember how old I was when we did this...maybe upper elementary?

This morning I got the set out with 2 two-year olds and 2 four-year-olds and gave them very detailed instructions on how I wanted them to treat these treasured dishes. They completely rose to the occasion. It was a very polite and calm tea party. We talked a lot about manners and polite ways to ask for more as well as grateful ways to say thank you. I brought out one treat at a time and they sat so nicely and were excited about every new item. Their favorite part seemed to be asking for "more tea, please!" which was just water poured from the tea pot into their tiny tea cups.

The tea set will now go up high in my hutch and only be brought out when I can fully supervise its use. And I'm already excited for the day when I can go shopping with Elsie to be sure she has a set of her very own.

celebrating a new baby

Oh man, this baby boy was so sweet. Rory's cousin Kerah just had her first baby fifteen days ago, and in the spirit of family, she ventured out to the country for a little lunch with a few Groves cousins. Her sister was visiting from California and it was awesome to be all together.

Over lunch, Kerah shared her birth story. And I'm not kidding, I think it might take the cake for the very longest, hardest labor and delivery story I have ever heard before. I was in awe of her endurance as she told the story, and because of her, in awe of woman-kind! I listened to her story and then remembered that sometime at the end of September, I'll have to birth a baby too.

Now I can't even explain it, but the more she shared her story the more excited I became to get to do it again. I felt the real privilege and the honor of getting to carry and then birth a baby. And maybe it was because I was holding her little boy in my arms as I stood and bounced him by the picnic table, but even as she told of the hours labor, my heart swelled when I realized I'd have one of these teeny-tiny babies again, of my very own.

Kerah was a rock star for coming out to the farm. Her big water bottle, the babies feeding schedule, her own need for rest and good food all brought back a flood of memories. And I'm so excited to do it again.

stair step forest

Last fall we discovered one of my new favorite places on planet earth. It's a little county park, just a mile from our house. We had driven by for years (literally) before we finally ventured down the steps. I wrote about how we were there for the first time at the very moment my friend Mama J took her last earthly breath. And then we visited again when the leaves were falling so quickly it was as if we were caught in Times Square on New Years Eve. The leaves were like confetti fall around us.

It was on that visit that I ran into a woman while walking back up the stairs and said to her, "this place is magical." And she asked if I had seen it in the springtime yet. She said that in the spring the floor of the forest is covered in white flowers so that it looks like snow. It doesn't last but a few days, so be sure not to miss it.

Well you can imagine my anticipation all winter long. I can't imagine they stay in bloom for very long and I don't want to miss it. I thought about leaving my number on the sign up front, begging for a phone call when the flowers were blooming, but then I realized I just need to do my own investigating. So on Saturday we went and found lots of green, and just a few blooms. Then tonight (writing this on Wednesday night) we went again and found many more blooms. But I have a feeling the real show will be this weekend. Maybe early next week. And I can't wait.

Until then, I have pulled out my wildflower guide and am now adding wild flowers into the mix of discovery along with song birds. I'm not sure what is happening, but this spring God has my full attention. I am hearing things like I just got new hearing aids. And I am seeing things like I just got my first pair of glasses. The world feels so alive to me, and I'm so grateful for these heightened senses.

Learning wildflower names always reminds me of the time my Grandpa Phil took my cousin Sarah and I out on a hike in the desert when we were in 7th grade. He pointed out every flower and told us each name. And then we came to a patch of white flowers and he looked and said, "I haven't see that one before. I don't know what it is." And Sarah and I looked at each other because we knew...it was someone's popcorn they had spilled. Oh we laughed later. And Grandpa had cataract surgery soon after.