Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Camping: Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Footprints

We here at the Green Mommy house live by the rule that on hikes and camping trips (as well as anytime we are in the outdoors) that we take only pictures and leave only footprints. Last week we celebrated the end of the summer with a camping trip. We spent 3 glorious days and nights on the banks of the St. Lawrence River at Coles Creek Campground in Waddington NY. We were expecting to get back to nature but we didn't realize how much so.
The first night we barely got our two tens set up before a storm almost as harsh as the micro burst that rolled through our town the week before had been. 
We got the boys into the big 3 room tent (it was just me, my friend Des and our two boys) and then made sure we had things safely tied down. As the rains began to beat against the tent we were faced with two problems, the tent was flooding and the tent was collapsing. So we threw towels near the windows and held up the side of the tent that was collapsing against the wind. 
This picture shows the luggage tarped up to keep it all dry. I spent the night after it finally stopped raining trying to dry out the sleeping bags and towels so Bug and I could sleep comfortably that night.
The next day  was gorgeous.
We played on the beach...
We saw a rainbow....
 Ate marshmallows...
 And had a magical color changing fire. One of the neighbors next to us thought the boys would enjoy that. They gave us this little packet that you put in the fire and it changes the colors of the flame.
The last day the Daddies came out and we cooked a big breakfast...
Got ready and headed back to the beach...
Then we got back and made a yummy dinner and had another campfire. 
The next day we had to be up and packed by around 9 AM. We woke up to pouring rain. I don't have any pics from that morning but it looked a bit like this pic I found on google images.
Yet when we left the campsite looked exactly as it had when we had arrived.. even in the pouring rain we left no trace on the land.

A Birthday Surprise: Giving an Old Heirloom New Life

When my cousin Sara (often mentioned in this blog) and I were very little... maybe 2 or 3, we received, from our grandparents, each a hand crafted doll and child rocking chair. The chairs were hand built and crafted by our Grandfather and the dolls were hand sewn and crafted by our Grandmother. They were identical and we each got one of each. Yet over the years, the multiple moves, the family upheavals and whatnot we both experienced not to mention going away to college, marriage and having children... in the end I long ago lost my doll and she long ago lost her chair... so we were each left with half the set, so together we have a full set of the items our grandparents lovingly created for us 30 years ago.
This was the doll. (The cutie in the pic is my baby cousin)
And here is the chair.
As you can see in these pics, even though both of these items are in very good condition for being almost 30 years old, both are quite worn. The chair in particular has needed a good coat of paint for quite a few years now. It is stained and chipped and worn down. The knobs on the top kept falling off leaving large pointy screws where they could harm Bug. So with Bug's birthday party a mere week and a half away I decided to breathe new life into this chair as a birthday surprise. 
So the first thing I knew I wanted to do was to not damage or change the actual chair in anyway. I wanted to keep the actual chair as close to how it was as possible. This meant even keeping all the same hardware from when my Grandfather built it. So the first thing I had to do was take the cushions off. 
The top one could be removed by removing a panel in the back that was glued on, screwed on, nailed on, and then painted over. There were four screws, about ten tiny brad nails all that had to be removed carefully. The bottom cushion was easier, it was bracketed on with four brackets. 
So once I did that the chair looked like this.

So then I decided to paint it green. I wanted to keep it as close to how it looked before as possible.. but I had a very specific design in mind. Bug got for his first birthday a set of crayola dinosaur sheets that came with a comforter and a matching curtain valance. Well the Valance was a bit useless to us because his window is so wide we would have needed about 3 more of them  and they were rather expensive. Plus he already had curtains I made him. 
Here is the bed set.
The valance matched the comforter. So my idea was to re-upholster the cushions in that fabric and paint the chair a pale green. It would not change the look of the chair very much at all... but give it new life.
Here is the chair being painted.
With all the original hardware saved.
And here is the finished result.
The only thing I still have to do once the paint fully dries (it was mostly dry when I took this) is to actually attach the cushions and replace the panel and touch up the paint. This is though for the most part exactly how it will look though. I still have a bit of the fabric left I am trying to decide what else I can do with it. So there you have it, a 30 yr old chair brought back to life.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Harvest Season Begins

For us here in the Northcountry, Harvest Season runs from about August 1st-October 31st. Now that isn't to say we haven't already had loads of early veggies but the majority of harvest comes from around August 1st-October 31st. For our family this is also the biggest season of celebration. On August 5th is our wedding anniversary, then August 19th is my nephew's birthday, late August both Hubby and I return to work, then September 18th is my birthday, the 21st is my niece's birthday, the 22nd is Bug's birthday and then in October there is the 24th which is both our anniversary of our relationship starting as well as our engagement anniversary, then of course Halloween which is our FAVORITE HOLIDAY EVER!!! This year we also added an early bday party of August 12th to that list for Bug. Then a midst all that you have of course harvest season.
Now Harvest season is when the corn grows big enough to pick, the tomatoes turn red on the vine, the beans and peppers start to produce in large amounts and of course all the varieties of squash and pumpkins. This is not just the harvest of crops though. All our favorite backyard edibles like wild apples, sand pears, wood sorrel, sunflowers, wild tomatillos, pineapple weed, burdock, and many more are also ripe for harvest. 
This years harvest season is already in full swing due to a hot dry summer followed by cooler temps and lots of rain. We already can see fields of goldenrod, thistles, black eyed susans, queen anne's lace, and asters. Today I pulled 
two acorn squash
two butternut squash
two cucumbers
a bag of dill seed
 and our first red tomato out of the garden.

 The air has that end of summer feel to it... you can smell fall. Every year I get so excited I can't even contain myself. So much to celebrate and so much to harvest. This year I will be canning, in addition to my normal amounts of apple butter, apple sauce, pickles, and jams and jellies, some tomatoes, tomato sauces, butternut puree (no room in the freezer this year), acorn squash, pumpkin puree and many other things. I have already been pickling up a storm and have 3 gallons of yellow squash and zucchini in the freezer. Oh Harvest Season.... how I love thee..... So what does your family do for Harvest Season?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rainbows, Ribbons, and Birthday Fun

So it is that time of year again. With both me and Bug's birthdays in September, and Hubby and my anniversary in August, as well as us returning to work in the end of August this is a busy time of year. This year will be hopefully a little less busy since we decided to bump Bug's birthday party up by a month. This way I am not starting my new job at the same time as finishing throwing his 3rd birthday together. One thing I have learned in the last 2 years was that I can throw together a on all accounts pretty amazing birthday party on a tiny tiny budget. 
His first birthday was Dinosaur themed and with not much money at all, but with a lot of work and some help he had a great birthday. I hand painted a sign for him and created a cool dino centerpiece. 

His second birthday was Under the Sea themed. I and my friend Nikki hand made everything for it, from crocheting sea creatures to the sea themed cake and food. 
Now for his third birthday he has selected a Rainbow themed party. so far I have created many things for it. I made a cloud pinata that will have a rainbow of ribbons coming out of the bottom. It isn't finished yet but here is what I have so far.

I also made him four hot air baloons. Here are two of them.

Here is the centerpiece I made him.

Overall so far this year I have spent less than 10$ of decorations for his party. I love DIY parties. It is amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it.

Edit: Here is the finished pinata.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Somewhere Over The Rainbow......

This has been a very odd year weather wise... between our very very warm winter, lack of snowfall, 80 degree March, snow in mid May, and a drought all summer.. the signs of climate change are evident everywhere. That was never as evident as it was this Tuesday though. Around 3 PM the skies started to darken quickly. The weather had called for a chance of thunderstorms so it did not seem strange. I went outside to see if it had started raining yet and what I saw made my skin crawl. I was seeing a jet black cloud moving towards me across the sky faster than any wind or storm I had ever seen. The air was heavy and hot... still .. nothing was moving except that cloud. I had never seen a tornado but I knew the signs. This was a tornado... and it was headed right towards us. The meteorologic report is now saying it was a large micro-burst... but whatever it was.. it behaved like a tornado. It was on us so fast that we barely had time to react. I called Hubby out to see it and after the first of the rain began to fall, he pulled me inside. No sooner had we closed the door, the power went out. As hubby lit candles and we gathered Bug into the livingroom with us, I realized our pool, our slide, our garbage and recycling cans, and our patio furniture was flying across our lawn and into the street. So I grabbed a raincoat and ran like heck amidst the lightening and high winds and whipping rain, to retrieve things before they caused an accident. Our road was flooded and cars were more floating down it than driving down it. We finally got a hold of our next door neighbors and they came over to wait it out with us. She was getting texts from her husband saying things that were hard to hear. Most of downtown had been destroyed in one way or another. As reports came in... we realized that yes what we had seen was a tornado like storm. We began surveying the damage when the rain stopped... while we waited for power to return. The police stopped us while we were going for a walk to see the damage to downtown and told us to return home because our town was under a State of Emergency. The power eventually came back on for us and by 11 PM we even had internet back, but many others were still without power for most of the next day. All in all it was one of the scariest things to happen. It happened so fast.. in the blink of an eye our town was almost destroyed. Here are some of the pictures.

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