Monthly Archives: October 2015

In the Garden {October}

In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

I really didn’t intend to do another garden post this year.  Usually September marks the end of my garden’s growing season.  The long hot summer takes it’s toll on all the plants, the flowers go to seed, powdery mildew sets in, my diligence with pest control tapers off, until it becomes abundantly clear that the garden has given it’s all. In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

But not this year.  This little garden just keeps on giving. The cosmos that spent the entire summer looking like nothing more than huge green bushes, have suddenly burst with color.  They have taken over the garden patch.  I love their wild, carefree look.  I love how delicate their petals look at sundown.In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

They have even crept into the pumpkin patch.  The girls and I bring in armloads of them.  Last Saturday we drove the length of our road dropping bouquets off with all our friends and neighbors.In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

The raised boxes got a good tidying up last weekend.  All the remaining zinnias were pulled and the unruly English roses were pruned back.  My lavender and lamb’s ear got cut way back.  In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

The dahlias are just loving this cooler weather.  The blooms have gotten smaller but the colors are amazing.In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

The more we pick the more buds spring up.In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

In the Garden | Inanorchard

These are the colors that are dominate in the garden right now.  In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

Miss E loves the amaranth and she will often leave jars full of them throughout the house. In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

All summer the amaranth was a washed out pink and the leaves were a bright spring green.  This last month they have turned a deep, striking fuchsia color.   The vein patterns in the leaves are suddenly so distinct, and the very tips of the leaves are edged in a soft pink color.  Amazing what cool nights and a few bursts of rain can do for a garden.In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

These dahlias are another flower that have been transformed by the cooler temperatures.  The once bright pink petals have turned to a deep (at times almost black) color.  It looks so striking next to all the other flowers.In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

The rows of sunflowers, amaranth, and orange cosmos that I pulled out at the end of August have reseeded themselves.  They are mingling together in the prettiest, most random way.  I’ve never had so many flower options so late in the season.  It really has been fun to watch the garden transform and take on a personality of it’s own.  The birds are loving this small haven.  I’m not much of a bird watcher, but I can’t help but feel fond of all the sparrows, swallows, and finches that seem to be as pleased with my garden as I am.In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

There are still pumpkins to be found out in the patch.  They are hiding; tucked away under giant leaves.
In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

The last of the pumpkin crop I get to keep!  So I’ve piled them up on all the porches and steps. They look so cheerful sitting there.  I’m hoping to harvest some seeds from the remainder of the pumpkins, just trying to cut down our pumpkin seed costs for next year’s patch.

Perhaps this will be the final garden post of the year but who knows?  If the first hard frost holds off, we might have flowers for a while yet!
In the Garden {October} | Inanorchard

From the Sewing Room

Some sewing | Inanorchard

Between all the busyness of life, sewing occasionally happens around here.  Lately, most of my projects have been gifts.  The only exception is the layered simple skirt (you can find the tutorial here) I made for Miss E’s first day of school, and the t-shirt dress I made for Miss P (I used this tutorial for the t-shirt dress).

Some sewing | Inanorchard

Some sewing | Inanorchard

When I was pregnant with Miss P I purchased The Divided Basket pattern from Noodlehead, with every intention of making one to use as a diaper basket for her changing table.  That never happened and the pattern got shuffled to the bottom of the pattern pile… until recently.  I decided to make one as a baby shower gift.  It was surprisingly easy to put together!  A little time consuming but not a complicated pattern.  I don’t usually like to make structured bags and baskets, but Ana Graham is so good at writing patterns.  Her directions are clear and uncomplicated.  It was also fun to fill the basket with books and other handmade items.

Some Sewing | Inanorchard

Some Sewing | Inanorchard

Some Sewing | Inanorchard

After I finished the basket I decided to tackle a simple patchwork quilt for my brand new nephew.  My sister-in-law planned a darling woodland themed nursery, and I couldn’t resist purchasing a fat quarter bundle of the Hello Bear line from Bonnie Christine.  This marks the first time I’ve made a quilt from start to finish.  Usually I would do the fun part; making the quilt top.  Then I would hand the quilt over to my mom who would quilt it, back it, and bind it for me.  After I finished backing and binding that small patchwork crib quilt, all I could think was, “Man, I need to send my mom some flowers and a thank you card for all the quilts she’s finished for me!”  Backing and binding a quilt is NOT my favorite thing to do.  All that being said, there is something so satisfying about starting and finishing a quilt.  I used a soft plaid flannel to back the quilt, because I think all baby blankets should be backed with soft fabric.
Some Sewing | Inanorchard

I also embroidered his name onto one of the solid colored blocks.  He has a wonderful name but it’s not my place to share it :) Some Sewing | Inanorchard

Some Sewing | Inanorchard

Some Sewing | Inanorchard

Last but not least is this Super Tote I made for my good friend’s Adoption Fundraising Auction.  It’s another of Ana Graham’s excellent patterns.  I picked up the apple fabric while we were on vacation in Colorado.  It’s a Melody Miller fabric from her Picnic Line.  I used the canvas weight material, which was perfect for this pattern.  Nice and thick without being too bulky or difficult to sew through.
Some Sewing | Inanorchard

I hastily took a few pictures before I dropped it off, and I completely forgot to take a picture of the inside.  The lining is made from a fun red checked material and had different sized pockets all around the sides of the bag.  The pockets are perfect for organizing sunglasses, cell phones, checkbooks and wallets.  I liked the tote so well I think I need to order some more fabric and make one for me to keep! Some Sewing | Inanorchard

That’s all from the sewing room for now, but as always, there is a never ending “to-sew” list.  Next up is a few Serendipity Blouses for Miss P to wear this fall and winter.  I’m hoping to make several blouses including a dress version.  As always, thanks for stopping in for a visit!  ~April

 

 

Celebrating 60

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard60th | Inanorchard

 

60th | Inanorchard

 

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

 

60th | Inanorchard

 

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

My Mother-in-law turned 60 this fall.  I type the words mother-in-law just for clarification, but to me she is just mom.  The woman who has known me since I was 15-years-old, who loved me like I was her own long before I took her son’s name.  She’s a quiet one, who doesn’t like a lot of fuss made over her.  Prefers to work hard behind the scenes, and shies away from the spotlight.  I imagine if she had had her way, this milestone birthday would have passed quietly by.  But there are a whole lot of people who love her dearly, and we weren’t going to let this day pass without celebrating!

My sister-in-laws (Jessica and Angela) and I started planning months ago.  We decided on a quiet dinner with just our small family (kids and grandkids) followed by a dessert with mom’s siblings and mother.  We planned an elegant meal in the backyard and served homemade lasagna, crusty baguettes, salad, and strawberries, followed by a dessert bar filled with birthday cake, chocolate torte, macaroons, cheesecake, salted caramel apple bars, and fresh roasted coffee.  Angela’s mother made the cheesecake and chocolate torte and they tasted SO good! My wonderfully talented and hard working sister-in-laws did an amazing job with every detail of the party.  Angela added all of her beautiful artistic touches to the invitations and the place cards.  Jessica put together a wonderful digital scrapbook for mom, filled with childhood pictures, family, friends, and traveling adventures.  It was fun to watch her look through the book as she would beam and laugh!  It was beautiful night, for a beautiful woman who’s love and devotion to her family shows in every little thing she does.  We love you mom!

 

Pumpkin Patch Wrap-up

 

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

 

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard IMG_20151015_1407315_rewind

Our pet Pumpkin Patch project has come to an end for the year, and what mixed feelings I have about the whole process.  It was work.  So much work.  We made mistakes (truthfully I made mistakes).  Mistakes that cost us a third of our crop.  We stood in the sweltering heat killing Squash Bugs with our own hands and feet.  We walked through the sea of pumpkin leaves, getting our arms and legs scratched, checking and rechecking our crop, placing our pumpkins on their bottoms, and helping the bees pollinate the blossoms.  The Spider Mites that were happily living in the corn crop next to our property, all came to live in our pumpkin patch once the corn was chopped.  In a matter of a week our healthy pumpkin crop got very sick.  The Jack O’ Lanterns and white pumpkins all went down.  Thanks to Justin’s research and fast action we were able to save our crop, but not without a cost.  At one point I stood in the middle of the patch on the verge of tears thinking I’d ruined the boys project.  But once the Spider Mites were stamped out, our vines recovered nicely and we got a whole new wave of baby pumpkins.

I also had planted a couple of rows of sunflowers for Miss E to sell in the fall, but they preformed miserably!  The plants looked so good right up until it was time for them to bloom.  Then everything went down hill.  The sunflowers all bloomed in a matter of one week, none of them had long stems, and then they all died back.  Miss E was so sad, and I was struggling to know how to make it up to her.  Fortunately my own little cutting garden was still going strong.  So the morning we opened the pumpkin stand, Miss E and I picked the garden clean, and were able to put together a dozen lovely bouquets for her to sell alongside the boys.

But in spite of the all the hard work and set backs, the first week in October came around and we actually had a decent crop of lovely pumpkins to sell.  As the children and I hunted around the patch and piled our colorful harvest in piles to wash and sell, we all started to get really excited.  Those pumpkins looks so beautiful all lined up, cleaned, and ready to sell.  We were all so proud! My big concern was that the boys would make a profit.  I knew they would probably sell enough pumpkins to cover their costs, but would it be enough to make a summer full of hot work worth the effort?  The boys did all the work to set up their pumpkin stand. Scrubbing the pumpkins, arranging them on bales of hay, setting up tables, arranging prices and signs.

Do you know what the most amazing part of this story is?  Our friends and family came in droves to buy pumpkins from our boys, and flowers from Miss E that warm October Saturday!  Car after car came down the lane, people piled colorful pumpkins on the table and more often than not, when the boys tried to give them their change the answer was, “Keep the change!”.  In a matter of just one day we sold out!  Miss E sold all of her flowers and there weren’t any pumpkins left!  Not only did the boys cover their costs but they made a tidy sum to put in the bank.  I was so relieved!

As our friends came and went that day the question we heard over and over was, “So, can we look forward to another year of pumpkins?!”  I laughed and said “That’s like asking a woman who just gave birth, if she wants to have another baby!”.  But after all is said and done, I feel like we should at least give it another year.  We paid our dues, and I think next year would be much smoother. We know how to manage the pest that plague pumpkins, and the boys will be able to do more with less supervision. I figured out which pumpkin varieties preformed the best, and I already have a metal list on new varieties I’d like to try next year.  So here’s to hard work that pays off, learning new things, a community that supports young entrepreneurs, and working together as a family!

 

Dexter

 

Dexter | Inanorchard

Not all childhood stories are memorable because they remind us of carefree, simpler times. Sometimes a childhood memory stands out from the rest because it marks a first, the first time our heart truly breaks.  When we realize for the first time, in some small way, that life is fragile.  That loving sometimes means hurting, and being sad.

When we got back from our Colorado trip Dexter’s bright eyes and hyperactive tail were not there to greet us.  At first we weren’t too worried.  He likes to visit his dog friends that live down the canal.  He always comes home.  As the day stretched on and I would find myself listening for the familiar jingle of his collar, but there was only silence.  Justin left late in the afternoon to call on neighbors, asking if they had seen him wandering about.  He returned with a very serious look on his face.  He had found Dexter…by the side of the road.  It wasn’t like Dex to wander by the road.  Even when I would walk to the end of the lane to check the mail or collect the garbage can, he would sit and wait by the gate not wanting to be near the speeding cars.  But something must have tempted him to cross.

I buried my face in his shoulder and cried.  Cried for the sweet, brown-eyed dog who had won over my calloused heart.  For the children who loved him more than any other animal we have ever owned.  How would we tell them?  What could we say to comfort them?

Dexter | Inanorchard

Let me tell you something, a mama never gets used to seeing her babies cry.  I watched my oldest son make a little wooden cross for our simple funeral service.  The tears pooled in his eyes and dripped on his hands as he pounded the nails into his homemade cross.  Miss E picked flowers for his little grave while G located a few shovels.  All of their faces were streaked with dirt and tears.  I will forever remember this scene.  We sent the rest of the day hugging, crying, and repeating the words “It’s okay…it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay cry.”

Many times over the last two years I had planned on sitting down and writing Dexter’s story.  I wish I would have done it sooner.  His story still feels like a bit of a miracle to me.  But I should start by telling you that before Dex, we had had a string of hand-me-down, cast-off dogs in our lives.  The vast majority of them were big, hyper, would knock over the children anytime they got near, constantly running away; having to be found and brought back home, only to turn around and run away again.  I was so weary of crazy, high-strung dogs I was ready to swear them all off for good.
Dexter | Inanorchard

I remember so well the day Dexter entered into our lives. It was an unseasonably warm January afternoon, and I had walked to the end of our lane to fill in pot-holes.  I had just finished with my raking, when I glanced down the road and saw a small brown dog trotting down the side of the road.  I thought nothing of him.  Roaming dogs are a common sight out in the country.  I walked down the lane with my big straw hat on and my rake in hand.  Suddenly all the children were running out to greet me, waving their arms and pointing.  I looked back to see the small brown dog trotting happily behind me.  He gently greeted each excited child with a friendly wag and pushed his small nose into their open hands. I smiled and shrugged.  He’d wander off soon enough, but might as well let the kids have a little fun in the meantime.

Dexter | Inanorchard

But he didn’t wander off.  He stayed and played.  I offered him a little of our leftover lunch which he politely accepted and quickly devoured.  That night when we turned off the house lights and headed to bed, he was curled up on the front porch step, sound asleep.  It seemed he had found his home.  We looked at the lost and found ads online, asked around the neighborhood but no one seemed to be looking for this delightful little guy.  It completely baffled me.  Who would abandon the world’s most perfect dog?!  He was so tender with the children, house-trained, didn’t bark at friends… he was a small miracle that restored my faith in dogs.

Justin went out and bought him his own collar with an ID tag, I gave him a good long bath.  I remember when I got him out of the tub, both the girls decided they would get Dexter looking nice and fancy. He sat perfectly still with his ears submissively down as they combed him all over with little pink plastic doll brushes.  I grinned and thought “Any dog that would put up with this is a keeper.”  And he was.

Dexter | Inanorchard

Dexter | Inanorchard

While Dexter loved us all, it was clear from the beginning who his favorite was.Dexter | Inanorchard

He claimed Miss P as his own straight away, and she adored him.  I could never tell if Dexter thought he was a baby or if Miss P thought she was a puppy, but it was clear that they viewed each other as being cut from the same cloth.  She would grab handfuls of dog food out of his bowl, and he never blinked or made so much as a small growl about it.  She made sure she dropped lots of goodies for him each and every mealtime.  They were quite the duo.Dexter | Inanorchard

Dexter | Inanorchard

The look of absolute adoration that dog would give her!
Dexter | Inanorchard

When she would lay on the couch sick with a fever, he was always hovering nearby like nervous nursemaid.  Worrying and fretting.

Dexter | InanorchardI always picture those two growing up together.  But sometimes what we want is not always what ends up happening.
Dexter | Inanorchard

He is now just a memory, he has become a story that we tell, a small empty place left in our hearts.

Dexter | Inanorchard

Adventures in Colorado

The plan for our trip to Colorado was to spend the weekend before Labor day driving with the kiddos in our blue mini van to Colorado Springs, to visit my brother-in-law and his family for the week.  We would spend the first part of the week hanging out and having fun with the cousins, and the last part of the week in Boulder tagging along with Justin on his business trip.  My brother and sister-in-law were expecting their baby baby at the end of September, and it seemed like it would be a good time to visit.

The week before I was starting to make packing lists, and planning for a long car ride with four kiddos.  One night Justin decided to do a quick search for plane tickets to Denver.  It was a long shot; tickets are usually so expensive especially for a family of 6!  But low and behold he found a couldn’t-be-turned-down deal on plane tickets, so he quickly booked our flight for the next Sunday morning.  Suddenly, I was shifting my plans and trying to pack enough clothes for 6 people, for a 6 day trip, into 2 suitcases.  Nevertheless, we were all really excited about flying, and turning our 2 day car ride into a 2 and a half hour plane trip seemed like a dream come true!

It was 2 days before we were set to leave when we got the call from Justin’s brother L, saying that my sister-in-law A, was having some contractions.  The next morning the contractions were still coming and it looked like the baby was going to be coming soon!  Our newest nephew was born 4 weeks early on the day before we flew out to see them!

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Our flight left from San Francisco early in the morning which meant hauling the children out of bed at 2:30 am.  They were so excited and they loved the flight, even Miss P!  I had packed snacks and new books in each of the kiddos backpacks and that kept them entertained for most of the flight.  Justin had downloaded a bunch of Chip and Dale cartoons onto my tablet which also helped keep them from being too fidgety.

We were quite the sight in the airport with 4 children trailing behind, and our arms full of suitcases, diaper bags, car seats, and backpacks.Inanorchard

We drove straight from the airport to the hospital to meet this little guy!  He spent the first week of his life in the NICU, but everyday he made huge improvements.Inanorchard

When we weren’t visiting A and the baby at the hospital we would hang out at their lovely home in the woods, playing with the cousins, and coloring, and running around.Inanorchard

Tuesday we went for a hike to Seven Falls just outside of Colorado Springs.  It was a gorgeous day.  We walked along a wide paved path, that followed a stream, that led up to the falls.
Inanorchard

Inanorchard

At the base of the falls is a restaurant and a small gift shop.  When you walk over the last small hill and see the beautiful little buildings tucked into the mountainside, it feels like you’ve stumbled onto Rivendale.Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

The long set of metal stairs that lead up to the top of the falls was so steep!  Between the altitude, and the hundreds of steps, I was very out of breath by the time I got to the top.Inanorchard

But the view was worth the effort!Inanorchard

Inanorchard

I never really thought I had an issue with heights, but when we turned around to walk back down those stairs my stomach sank and my head started to spin a little.  I had to take a few deep breaths and focus on the back of Miss E’s shirt to keep from getting too dizzy.Inanorchard

We all made it to the bottom just fine and then took an elevator up to another lookout point.Inanorchard

The hills really are a beautiful red color and on an overcast day they looked particularly red.Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

After our hike up to the falls we went to The Carriage House car museum.  It was a free museum full of vintage carriages, cars, race cars, and motorcycles.  I was a little nervous to take all the children into a very nice automobile museum, but the kind gentleman who met us at the door said “Welcome!  Please come in and let the children look all around. We even have drawers and exhibits that they can open and look through! Even the littlest one, let her down to explore!”  It is not often that a group of people with 7 children in tow get greeted so warmly and it touched my heart.

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

In the evening we had pizza and campfires and s’mores, and the children had such a good time being together.Inanorchard

On Wednesday we left for Boulder, and spent day 2 days and 2 nights there, while Justin had his business meetings.  The kids and I wandered around Boulder during the day, and met up with Justin in the late afternoon for dinner and more wandering.  We shopped on Pearl Street, ate at so many delicious restaurants, and stayed up a little too late each night watching American Pickers in our hotel room.

We drove back to Colorado Springs for our last night in Colorado, to stay with L and A.  Our sweet nephew was moved out of the NICU and we were able to hold him for the very first time!  He was so tiny!Inanorchard

We got up early on Saturday so we could spend a full day in Denver before we caught our flight out of the Denver airport later that night.

Our fist stop was a special treat just for me!  Fancy Tiger Crafts is an amazing fabric/yarn/craft store in downtown Denver.  I’ve followed their shop on Instagram for a while now and I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to see it in person.  Justin dropped me off with the instructions to “take my time and pick out some things to bring home”, instructions I was more than happy to follow :) Inanorchard

After that we drove to The Tattered Cover which is a local and well-loved bookstore in Denver.  The Tattered Cover is located in an old theater and in the basement there is a delightful children’s corner that captured the kids attention.  It has that magical feel that only a quaint, comfy bookstore can evoke.Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Next we drove to the Capitol building and walked around the grounds.Inanorchard

InanorchardOnly a few city blocks away was the Denver Art Museum.  We hadn’t planned on going in, but we discovered it was free admission day at the museum, and that was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up!

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

In one section of the museum they had an art room set up were anyone could come in and make their own art.  There were tables and easels set up with all kinds of paints, pens, and pencils.  This was the kids favorite part of the the museum tour!Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Outside the museum there were lots of whimsical art displays, this giant broom and dustpan was a favorite.
Inanorchard

Inanorchard

After spending the whole day walking all over Denver, I think we were all a little glad to climb in the car and head to the airport.  Home was sounding starting to sound real good.
InanorchardEven though our trip met with a few unexpected changes, we still had an amazing time!  Meeting our sweet new nephew, giving the kiddos their first experience flying, and making family memories that will last a lifetime.