August 7, 2015
Garden update

We had a massive crop of beans this year and it looks to be a bumper crop of tomatoes too, although I'm probably going to miss a ton of them because the cottage is late this year (boo!)

And we had so many currants that I didn't actually get around to picking half of them, despite quite a lot of help from the kids. I'm blaming heat wave + infant.

I was feeling quite excited and hopeful about the pumpkins. They started out ok but while I have one pretty respectable pumpkin now (minus a bite), the second pumpkin has been thoroughly gnawed by something. There were actually quite a few fruit that started to set and then turned yellow, shrivelled up and died. Apparently the vine couldn't support them (not enough water? too hot?). Now the leaves are yellowing with what looks like some kind of blight and everything is under attack by cucumber beetles. I very much dislike cucumber beetles. So we will see. I also see signs of my pumpkin already turning orange, which is a bit early for something we'd like to have at the end of October... Sigh...

The watermelon was very exciting and cute. But when it got to the size of a golf ball our local squirrel couldn't wait any longer and polished it off. I suppose it might have been a chipmunk, but the kids insist that Chippy or Ippy are not capable of such a betrayal.

Surprisingly they didn't eat any of the small number of peas I planted. The kids think I should plant a lot more next year!

The zucchini are zucchini-ing. Matthew is very excited about the huge ones so I have left a few. Some of the smaller ones did the turning yellow and shrivelling up thing too - not sure if that's because there were seven or eight at once on the same plant or what. The leaves are all mildewed and now under attack by the same cucumber beetle, so I don't know if there will be too many more but we have had three very large zucchini so that might be enough to call it a success for this year.

The carrots and lima beans are looking great though.

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August 6, 2015
Frogsitting and ring pops

We've been doing a bunch of pet sitting this summer. We had Black Beauty the next door Bunny for ten days and just as we had to give him back we got to look after Iain's beautiful poison dart frogs!

The kids have really enjoyed helping with these because it involves pumping a spray bottle, spraying with said spray bottle, pouring bugs into a container and shaking the bugs until they are covered in vitamin powder. Matthew in particular has ideas about which kind of small bug I should feed the frogs - we have large flightless fruit flies, small flightless fruit flies and springtails. Elizabeth is more concerned about verifying that all the frogs receive adequate nutrition.

Today we also had an impromptu playdate with Dianne's kids. Then I finally fulfilled Elizabeth's great wish to visit the canteen at Dovercourt. Ever since circus camp she has really wanted to go, because one of her friends from the camp had bought candy there. She came home mid-week asking whether she still had "one hundred pennies" because that's how much she apparently needed. We rather incautiously told her we thought she could buy her highly coveted ring pop and she duly brought her money along to the last day of camp. But then the show took longer than expected and we had to go home right away to deal with an urgent work matter that had cropped up. I've been promising her that we'd go ever since. 

Finally today I went with her clutching her hundred pennies in the form of a loonie. We got to the canteen. She holds out her money and tells the rather bemused kid manning the counter. "Look! I have ONE HUNDRED PENNIES." And then waits expectantly. I had to tell her that she needed to tell the kid what she wanted to buy!

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August 5, 2015
2 months

Amelia at two months old is really starting to take an interest in the world around her.  She will stare at chandeliers, mirrors and her siblings with great interest and has even been known to allow someone who isn't mommy to hold her without screaming for more that 5 seconds. 

She's also starting to get into a bit more of a routine, waking and sleeping at similar times most days. She normally wakes by 6:30m, with her longest sleep period usually about 4 hours late morning. Sleeps pretty well at night but also needs to nurse on and off for many hours.

She's gaining weight well despite sadly still spitting up like it is going to be the next Olympic sport, usually mostly during the day. I look like I have had a pet pigeon living on my shoulder much of the day. I tried eliminating dairy only to realize chocolate has dairy in it too. Giving up chocolate seemed extreme since cutting back drastically had no effect aside from making mom cranky. Cooking dairy-free is really hard for me for some reason - definitely prefer having had to give up wheat over cheese! Anyway I've been mostly feeding her while lying down lately and that seems to be helping the excessive milk flow issue.

She still mainly nurses, sleeps and keeps the diaper companies in business, but there is faint distant hope that she may move beyond these already great achievements. 

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August 4, 2015

After the mushrooms were spotted we called the tree man and he came and poked and prodded our tree.  Of course by the time he showed up the mushrooms had disappeared (apparently squirrels like them).  Anyway it turns out that while there are some initial signs of rot where the mushrooms were spotted, it is relatively minor and of no immediate concern.  There was however another spot further up that had a big crack in it where he could put his poking apparatus in a good foot.  So it was decided that this part had to be removed.  This was somewhat of a relief as we weren't quite ready to have the whole tree come down.  After they had removed it they showed us the inside of the branch and commented that the rot had obviously been there for quite some time and that they weren't quite sure how it had stayed up (how comforting...).  We asked how it was that this hadn't been noticed earlier given that we have the tree inspected and trimmed every few years.  We were told that apparently cracks in this type of tree can open and close over the course of the year and so they are much more obvious some times than others, so it is really a question of when people are looking and the exact timing of things will vary depending on temperature and so it won't even be consistent from year to year.  The other interesting thing we learned is that Norway maples in particular tend to branch in a V shape and tend to have some bark pushed out of the way at the joints.  This tends to create natural weak points that are subject to cracks and rot.  Nonetheless they say that despite all this what is left of our tree looks to be in good health and that we shouldn't have to worry for two years at which point we should have it inspected again.  For a tree that is probably about 90 years old that's not too bad if all a bit traumatic.

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August 3, 2015
Joe, Will and Wyatt
Aunt Mary (of the hippo house) has another house up north - or so goes the rumour.  She had offered to have any of her nieces or nephews up for a visit and over about 20 years most of the nieces had taken her up on the offer but none of the nephews had.  Joe, Will and Wyatt decided that perhaps now was the time to change this (given much prompting by Aunt Mary who is threatening to move down to the hippo house permanently).  On their way they stopped in to say hello and much fun was had by all, including Dave and Karen who popped by with the kids for supper.  We joked that they should be careful if they see a polar bear and then at bedtime Matthew put on his polar bear PJs and chased them around the house with much roaring (who knew that polar bears and lions and dinosaurs all sounded the same).
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