Monday, September 3, 2007

Slowly but Surely

Slowly but surely life around here is changing into more of what we want out of life. Today is Labor Day so Justin was off of work ~ this was really nice. I like having him around and I know the kids do too. It feels good.
This past weekend though we decided to go ahead and put a fence in along the front yard. We live extremely close to the road: a road that is very busy for a neighborhood road and has people flying up and down it at all hours ~ everyone who lives on our road comments on how traffic worries them. So, with Tristan crawling and ready to walk & with Shannon being a typical 3 1/2 year old, we decided it would be most wise to put up a fence. My Dad helped us get it home from the store, borrowing a friend's truck to haul the sections, posts, and concrete home from Lowe's. We borrowed a post hole digger from my Aunt & Uncle, and a saw and leveler from our neighbor across the street. We are lucky and blessed to know so many kind people. Then Justin set about to putting the posts up (this was Friday night) ... I helped when it came time to set them in concrete. Saturday Justin's father came over & helped him get the sections up ~ Shannon helped by handing them nails and using hand-held garden tools to remove dirt as needed.

Here is a picture of Shannon helping Bill remove some dirt so that the ground underneath the fence will be level.

The whole thing actually went up really quickly & with little difficulty, and the finished product is amazing. We don't plan to paint it, just put something on it to help it from warping in the rain.
It is amazing to me how much cozier it makes the yard though, how much more inviting this little patch of grass has suddenly become. Saturday night the four of us hung out until bath-time out there. It was fantastic! We were able to toss the ball back and forth without worrying about it going into the road; Tristan was able to crawl around without the constant need to try and get him to quit trying to crawl out to the road (Why does he always want to do that? Is he trying to get away or something?); it was just fun & relaxing. Of course, it didn't hurt that it had been a gorgeous day!

The finished product, complete with a little swinging gate across the front walk! :)

Then, there have also been other changes that I'm now noticing. We had to run out to the mall today, somewhere we only go when we really have to, and I found it quite amusing. First, as we walked past all the hot, hip, & trendy stores I noted that it smelled like cows. It really did. Justin questioned if I didn't think this because of the leather being sold, but when we walked back by I noticed the smell again and there weren't any substantial leather products nearby. There was a little kiosk that sold summer shoes and sandles, but why it smelled like cows is beyond me. But it wasn't just the cow smell: I saw some of the fall fashions and realized they looked like hideous maternity tops; I smelled the food being sold and could smell the grease and other pre-made qualities of it (lack of fresh herbs, etc); and so on. It just wasn't anywhere I really wanted to be. That was nice.
Later, this evening I was talking to a friend on the phone. We were saying our goodbyes and she commented to me that she needed to go because her husband had just brought the chicken in - off the grill. However, she had paused just slightly, or so it seemed to me, and in that split second this is what went through my head: "When did they get a chicken?" and "Why is he bringing it inside?" I told her about this and we of course got a nice laugh. Maybe I'm getting a little too into this whole urban-homesteading thing we joked. But still, it was kinda nice in a way that that is what my mind went to.
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention this, so I will. Tonight we bottled our first IPA, one that is not only our first time using a recipe (as opposed to a kit with all the ingredients you need right there, nicely measured out for you), but it was also a recipe that Justin came up with on his own. We've tasted it in some of the testings on it that he's done and it is quite yummy - nice and hoppy, like a good IPA should be. It will be ready for drinking in about two more weeks. I'm so proud of Justin for this, for creating this recipe. Matt, his brother, ended up being the one who named it: JedHead IPA. For some reason Bill used to call Justin "Jed" occasionally when he was growing up, though I've never heard of this until today (the naming occured when we were at their house for swimming and dinner & we told them about the beer) ~ why Matt thought of this one I don't know, but it has stuck & so there we are. Keep your fingers crossed that our JedHead IPA comes out as yummy as it has been acting like it will. Justin wants to go into all-grain brewing where he is mashing it himself. Hopefully we will be able to get the equipment we need to do that soon. Until then though, I hope he keeps coming up with such wonderful recipes!