I am feeling very country this week...

In talking with a friend Jenna throughout the last couple monthes about cloth diapering, I got more motivated to get my first clothesline. David picked up a retractable line last weekend. I know it will be an energy and money saver. I knew it would make the clothes smell nice. I didn't realize the sun whitens "whites" so well! (I really am this excited.) I also found out this week that Colorado apparently passed a law protecting people in covenanted communities with the "right to dry" as long as a retractable line is used, which is nice for those interested living in town.

Then Monday evening I experienced the power of a tiny rodent.=) Earlier that evening, I saw a mouse run across the kitchen floor (this happens a couple times a year). David usually does the trap setting, but as he heads to bed, he asked me to set traps that night. No problem, right? I clumsily set them. Then I finish some work in the kitchen, and start writing a letter facing away from the kitchen. A trap goes off; I wince. Like the setting, David has always done the disposing, too. I didn't have the nerve to look until I finished the letter, wrapped and addressed a package, and put everything away for the night. When I told David I used tongs to bag up the trap with the mouse. He wasn't impressed; he showed no appreciation for taking on the clean up. All he said was, "You threw away the trap?" I don't consider myself wimpy, but I was surprised by how much effort it took for me to "clean up." I hope I am not getting wimpier with age!

Finally, Wednesday afternoon, Hanna and I were heading outside to take clothes off the line, when I noticed my potted flowers were "beheaded," but the blooms were no where in site. Even some of the roots were on the ground. I was astonished. Who would do this? I started walking around the side of the house, and there I see five deer nibbling plants.

This is the first week I could go to the garden and pick such a variety of vegetables and herbs for lunch or dinner. Growing up with my Dad's garden every summer in Illinois, has gotten me gardening for about four years at our current home. I have learned a lot, and I continually am trying to learn more about growing a thriving, organic garden in Colorado's climate.

I have been making my own granola for about the last month. My brother Michael gave me the idea, when he mentioed wanting a good recipe for it awhile back. I didn't realize it would be so easy to make; I should have been doing this years ago. I love this stuff; I love the taste, and it's great for nutrition and energy! The recipe I have been using follows (other nuts and seeds may be substituted):

6 cups rolled oats (not quick),
1 cup wheat germ,
1/2 cup shelled sunflowers seeds,
3/4 cup almonds, sliced,
1/2 cup oil,
1/2 cup honey,
1/3 cup water,
1/2 tsp salt,
1 1/2 tsp vanilla,
2 tsp cinnamon, and
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit, chopped.

Combine the first 4 ingredients. In a saucepan mix together next six ingredients, and heat gently until honey dissolves. Pour over oatmeal mixture. Stir well to coat. Spread mixture on 2 greased baking sheets. Bake at 300 degrees, stirring frequently until browned (about 20-30 min. total). Cool thoroughly. Add fruit. Store in air-tight container. Makes about 11 cups of cereal. Use within 2 weeks, or refrigerate.

The girls, David, and I are doing well. We are staying busy with some remodeling on our lower level, particularly. It has been nearly all-consuming this summer with some surprising challenges that have added to the costs and work. It should be pretty much done by mid-September. Aurelia is full of smiles and cooes and good at grabbing hair, dinner bowls right now. Hanna is making up her own dances these days--just turn on the music. It is cute, but she puts on a serious face that is hysterical.

Hope this finds you well and your week ahead is full of sweet moments with loved ones. Hasta!
(Hanna dances)