Blog a la Cart

Around The Farm // 20


Spring has arrived. And we have only come inside for sleep, food, and a bath here or there to wash the earth from our fingers and clothes.

All the while knowing that by tomorrow, the temperatures will have plummeted back into the frigid zone.



We’ve owned Cartwheel Farm for just over two years, and this is the first spring where James and I have invested time and sweat into a proper spring cleaning of the property. We’ve been raking and pruning and poop scooping and planting like mad. All the while, our dependents running around the dull brown lawn awaiting the Vitamin D boost to inspire shades of green to usurp the doldrums of winter. Swings and hammocks have been hung. Bikes and wheelbarrows and see saws and sprinklers have been unearthed. Bathing suits have been pulled from the depths of our drawers. Life has looked a bit like this of late…


^^She had never before experienced a sprinkler. I think you can all see that she took to it quite unabashedly, proper water dog that she is.^^



^^Our sweet Hanna heads in for surgery on her rear left ACL the last week of April. Fortunately, recovery will be swift, far swifter than that of our bank account.^^




^^The flock was put out during our bi-annual deep clean of the chicken coop. Bunty was less than pleased. But they were quite delighted when they experienced the resulting cleanly quarters. A dozen baby chicks will be arriving chez Cart the last week of April. The girls have no idea what’s coming. And James and I are readying for the adorable, albeit shockingly messy, onslaught.^^


^^Can you find the potbelly pig? We’ve been giving Penelope free range of our back yard. She’s been mighty helpful in ridding the lawn of last season’s fallen apples. She’s also very likely intoxicated (ya know, given the state of those apples). But she doesn’t seem to mind in the least.^^



^^We have quite the green house going in our laundry room slash downstairs bathroom slash future residence of baby chicks. Such a multi-purpose space! This season we’ve really made an effort to get our vegetable garden going early. We had a rather major set back when Gladdy overturned a fully germinated tray of tomatoes and peppers (our most precious plants!) – but we’re trying to regroup, confident that we’ll still wind up with plenty of farm fresh veggies this season.^^


^^Waiting on forsythia cut from our back yard to bloom inside, while Kaki helps James prep our kitchen garden beds outside.^^


^^The zip line – a Christmas gift – is an even bigger hit in warmer climes.^^





^^The always popular horse tire swing!^^


^^Garlic (which we plant over Columbus Day weekend and cover with straw for the winter months) has been unearthed and is going strong. We’ll try to document our garlic growing slash braiding process this year. Such an easy and amazing crop to grow – I recommend it highly to all.^^


^^This fall we redid our retaining wall and front porch, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to plant some fruiting plants in the resulting fresh dirt. We’ve invested in two crops of blueberry bushes – including the “Pink Lemonade Blueberry.” How could we resist a literal pinkberry?^^



^^We’ll resume our house painting project in just a few weeks, beginning with our renovated front porch – in the hopes that all sides of the house finally match one another by fall’s end! We’ve also started some strawberry crowns along the inside edges of our fence as delicious delicious ground cover. While we won’t have any for harvest this year, by next year we should have enough homegrown strawberries and blueberries to get us through a full year.^^


^^We’ve also begun an asparagus patch. As we’d read, time and time again, the most challenging part of starting a perennial asparagus patch is the work on the front end. That trench was not yet the necessary 18″ deep – but we got there eventually – and in a year or two – should have our own crop of asparagus annually. Oh, I am beyond excited!^^


It’s been a busy, exciting few weeks on the farm, and I am continually inspired and awestruck watching green life emerge from the recently thawed Earth and our future food burst from seed to seedling seemingly before our eyes. Every year I learn something new. And every year I’m inspired to have more and more of a hand in these important, amazing, magical life processes. I now understand why spring was always my mother’s favorite time of year.

Currently Gawking

*tears* (though, of course, I wish it were more inclusive. Y’all will know what I mean when you watch it)

The Sunny Side // 19


“I don’t normally paint suns, because my name is Sunny, so there is always a sun in all of my paintings. But sometimes I just really want people to remember how beautiful the sun is. So I make it extra sunny and paint a sun.”




“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Sunny: Her egg collection outfit. At least for the day. Quite practical, eh? 
Kaki: Don’t be deceived by that serious face, she is as goofy as ever. Always looking for a laugh. And always insisting on wearing that simple cotton sundress, backwards. She has VERY strong feelings about what clothing she will and will not wear these days.

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

School Pictures // 2014


This school photographer sure knows his way to a mother’s heart. SIBLING school pictures!

I. Die.

How wild is it to revisit Sunny’s first preschool portrait? She’s just a few months older than Courtland in the picture and wearing the same purple dress. Oh time, you beautiful, painful, swift beast, you.


And, apparently, I didn’t document Sunny’s picture from last year on the blog although you can see the comparison here. Let’s just say that my almost-Kindergartener is looking the part. So grown-up this one!



TBT // 3

One year ago…

Your world is more tumultuous and drama-filled than a day time soap. And your execution of a full on tantrum of body and soul is Oscar-worthy.

Two years ago…

And most memorable of all was our run in with a Hog Nose Snake. Below it’s doing its best to look like a badass cobra.

Three years ago…

Hi, Mommy.

I miss you.

I love you.

I can’t wait for you to come back.

Until then, I will pick nose.

Four years ago…

Today marked our final celebration as a family in my childhood home. 23 years.

The Sunny Side // 18


“What’s going on in this painting?”

“It’s just so beautiful, I don’t even know.”

“What makes it so beautiful?”

“The orange pea box.”

“What’s a pea box?”

“Oh, mama, a pea box just carries so much stuff. Any stuff you want it to carry. It can even carry more than all of our suitcases together.”

“You know, peas are actually teeny tiny and usually green in color, so why is something that carries so much and the color orange called a “pea” box?”

“Sometimes your imagination just wants things, mom, even if they don’t make any sense to grown ups.”

Jellyfish Lanterns

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It’s been quite some time since I showcased a DIY project here. Admittedly, it’s because it’s been quite some time since I’ve done one. I did many knitting projects for Christmas presents and documented exactly none of them (#fail), and have been on a craft/diy hiatus most of 2014.

But the girls’ preschool has their annual fundraiser this coming weekend, and I volunteered to be on the decor committee for the dance on Saturday night. The theme is “Under the Sea,” so I offered to create some spirited albeit elegant jellyfish lanterns for the occasion. I am quite pleased with the result. I made up six of them, and will try to capture some photographs of them hanging in the space for the dance. In the meantime, they’ve taken up residence in our guest room to keep small human and canine paws alike away from them. They are a pain in the butt to transport, so I’ve been ferrying them over to the school one at a time this week.

Here’s how I put them together…

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White lanterns, 16″ – $22 for 10 

- I followed the directions included in package and assembled each lantern, tying a piece of clear fishing line to the top to hang them while I assembled the jellyfish tentacles.

White crepe paper streamers, 500ft – $4.50

- I rolled out the streamers and cut the roll every four feet (or so) to use as tentacles.

Wavy foil door curtain - $13

- I cut off the top of the curtain that kept the strips of foil attached to one another. I then folded and cut all the strips in half to use as tentacles.

White plastic table covers – $3

- I cut the table covers into 2-3 inch strips, approximately four feet in length. I then pulled at either side of the strips, along the length of the strip, to create the wavy, uneven effect. These were the final material I used for tentacles.

Glue gun and sticks
Clear fishing line




I then strung the various tentacles around the bottom third of the lantern, following the row of seams to keep them evenly hung. I used a glue gun to hold them in place, and then covered up the tops of all the materials with one of the strips of wavy plastic.


I also tied some of the streamers to the inner bar of the lantern to give the tentacles some depth.


They’re really quite attractive and fun. And they’ve inspired the kids to reenact the jellyfish scene from “Nemo” on the regular.

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Alas, I have to work this weekend so I’ll miss their debut, but I am hoping that they’re a hit!

The Sunny Side // 17


This sweet painting is a gift that Argentinian artist Lula Ruiz sent to her “fellow artist,” Sunny. Addison was awestruck. Eyes wide. Goofy, gleeful smile. The fact that it is a watercolor painting of a fox, her favorite animal, is icing on the cake. She was feeling “so so super happy and proud” that she’s sold five of her paintings this week, but this unexpected gift really caught her by surprise and filled her day with joy.

I would like to give each and every one of you that has supported Sunny’s little project a big, sloppy, open-mouthed kiss. Whether with a nice comment or email, or by acquiring one of her paintings for your own home, you’ve really inspired my little girl (and brought me to happy tears).

Me puse asi de lindo porque sabia que iba a verte.

(Translation: I got myself all pretty because I knew I was going to see you.)

More of Lula Ruiz’s work on Facebook and her blog.

Currently Reading

Some really good food for thought for this particular mama who cringes and bemoans the princess/pink madness regularly:

“Chill out” is very good advice. The pink phase will pass like anything else, and if it doesn’t, well, then, you have raised a human being who really likes pink. Which is the same as raising a human being who really likes green. The meaning of the color is what we make it mean. By steering our daughters away from the pink aisle to subvert dangerous gender norms, we’re reinforcing them.