Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

It's my last chance to squeeze in a 2011 blog post.  I'm the lone soul here at Joe's parents staying up to see in the new year.  I'm hearing the occasional pop of fireworks in the distance & thinking some of the year just closing.  Really a year of great change for us:  a new child, a new home, a new job, major surgery, and a child off to school. 

What will the year ahead hold?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

a visit with Jerry

Every 2 or 3 weeks we visit Jerry Kolman, an orthotist, who maintains Indigo's helmet.  He checks for head growth & makes adjustments to the helmet.  The goal is to give her an average proportioned head.  The helmet is creating resistance in the front and back and is open on the sides. 

Especially important is the ratio of head circumference to head width.  For the 'average' female child (6-12 months old) this ratio is 78.  Indigo began at 67 and is now at 73.75.  We hope she will get to 80 -there will be some regression once the helmet is off, and hopefully will then settle somewhere around 78.

Thanks Jerry for all your help!

measuring circumference


doing some diagonal measurements

checking that her head is symmetric (measuring from each ear to middle of nose)

today we are doing a 3-D scan as well, the laser only sees white - hence the white cap

cutouts for ears made - not so bad huh?

attaching a 'center' for the laser to orient to

the resulting scan

Indigo is wearing a helmet to correct sagittal suture craniosynostosis which was discovered at her 1-month pediatrician checkup.  We traveled to Shands Hospital in August (when she was 3.5 months old) and the suture was surgically opened by Dr. Pincus.  {I wanted to have those keywords included to help others who may be searching for more information.}

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Listening to Daddy & pulled herself up to her feet for the first time.

Life is good.

Winter Color

Monday, December 12, 2011

gray monday afternoon sipping hot tea

"Henny Penny and Six Chicks" (still making those chicks) pattern used from Handmade Beginnings:  24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby book.  This will be Indigo's Solstice gift.  Though instead of having the chicks velcro under the mother hen's wings, as instructed in the book, I'm going to tack down the bottom part of each wing to create a pocket so that the chicks can fit in. 

Playing around with courthouse steps mini quilt pattern

Stirfry tonight.  Some goodies to throw in from our winter garden. {Don't know why blogger flipped this pic sideways.} Napoli carrots, basil, the first of the snow peas, & baby kale.  A note here:  it's mid-December & we've yet to have a killing frost - I've got basil, cannas, and bell peppers still hanging on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pecan Butter

 There are several mature pecan trees on the place and this year two of them produced.  We picked up 60+ pounds of nuts.  After sharing some we ended up getting 45 pounds cracked.  I've been shelling pecans for days.  Thought we'd give pecan nut butter a try.  Turns out it's super easy.  Simply pecans and a tiny bit of salt.

3 cups of pecans ready to toast

350 degree oven for about 10 minutes - get them just a little toasty

add a tiny bit of salt and blend, for a while...

very good.  and with the price of peanut butter skyrocketing -we're switching.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Eat More Kale

{organic} {pond garden} {supper}

what's the haps

Enjoying the 'pear honey' jam Mrs. Devane sent home with us on homemade pecan waffles.  A note to myself when I'm trying to duplicate this next year:  small bits of pear & even smaller bits of orange peel - maybe put it in the chopper for a minute.

After Indigo had a gagging fit in the front yard (having eaten an oak leaf I found the next day...), Levi drew us a 'very serious' picture of instructions.  Above is a detailed interpretation of her digestive tract - he speculated on the whereabouts of the unknown offender.  And gave us explicit directions that she should only be eating bananas and carrots (happy baby above left with bowl of appropriate food).  

Satsumas.  Even sweeter now after a frost.

Smoking a wild hog ham - BBQ in the making.

So many varieties of camillas now in bloom.  Enjoying their beauty & diversity.

Yet another batch of lettuce starts.

Levi has several strings of lights he is randomly moving around the house.  This morning they're running across the livingroom floor.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Making Satsuma Marmalade

We've two satsuma trees here on the place - both loaded with fruit.  Until I encountered these trees some years ago while visiting Cairo with Joe, I had no idea that citrus trees ripen in the winter.  For that matter I'd never even heard of a satsuma = a tangerine of a hardy loose-skinned variety, originally grown in Japan. 

We are feasting on them daily - especially Levi, who frequents the 'sweeter' tree.  I'm making my first batches of marmalade - basically jelly made with citrus juice.  I'm trying a method that does not involve the use of SureJell (powdered pectin).  This 'old-fashion' method relies on concentrating the naturally occurring pectin content of the fruit, and testing for a 'set' as you cook the jam/jelly.     

I now understand the widespread use of powdered pectin.  My first batch set a little hard and the second batch too soft.  My crew isn't particular about such nuances - they'll take their marmalade anyway it comes.   

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cane Grinding

While in Jennings over Thanksgiving, we went to Mr. and Mrs. Devane's annual cane grinding and syrup boiling.  The Devanes are my folk's closest neighbors, and their weekend shack and syrup house is a few miles down the road.  Cane syrup was a cultural staple in the deep South, but like so many other rural traditions it's fading away in favor of cheaper, less labor intensive substitutes.  In this case, artificially-flavored corn syrup.  The Devanes grow a patch of sugar cane and have a tradition of grinding it and cooking it down every Thanksgiving.  It's always a wonderful treat to smell the syrup cooking on the cool air.

Thanks for letting us come enjoy the fruits of your efforts!

The Devane's syrup house

Cane juice coming from the grinder

Papa Don showing the boys how it works

Each of them got a piece of sugar cane to chew....a treat!

Boiling the juice down into syrup

Patiently waiting?

A catface pine log from the turpentine days

Molly talking with Mrs. Devane

The boys playing on an old Farmall at the Johnson's cane grinding.

The Johnson's syrup house

I love this skillet a 100+ year old farmhouse

The old Johnson House

Where the meals were