Nostalgic Home

A Vintage View of Homekeeping

Bird Brain February 18, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Crafting,Garden,The Great Outdoors — LotusMama @ 9:03 am


Originally uploaded by shorter.chip

I’ve had robins on the brain lately. It must be my impatience for spring because I’m definitely not a bird lover. But there is something about robins that I enjoy.

The robins that hang around in Washington don’t look like this fellow (at least not the ones I’ve seen). They are bigger, less “puff ball” shaped, and have a deeper red breast. I have to say I like this little guy better. I found him on flickr and I think he might have been photographed in Ireland.

So I’m keeping my eye out for signs of life and hoping some robins make their way to my yard. I’m planning on bringing some robin designs inside too, either with embroidery or photo transfers – something crafty, which hasn’t jelled in my mind yet.

Next time I’m at the store, I’ll find some of those blue-shelled malted balls that are already on the shelves for Easter and make some of these Robin’s Egg cookies.

Yep, definitely have some bird on the brain.


Oh the weather outside is frightful…well, no December 14, 2008

Filed under: In Season,The Great Outdoors — LotusMama @ 8:12 pm

At last, the big snow of December 2008! It’s come to our neighborhood at last. If you blink, you might miss it, so look closely.

Though it doesn’t look like much, I must say that it is slippery enough for danger. We watched a girl sliding down the street (as if on ice skates) hurt her leg badly enough that the paramedics had to come. We also saw the dumbest woman in the world get out of her sliding and still in “drive” car to assess why she couldn’t manage to get up the hill. Naturally, she fell and the car started rolling away. Luckily, she was unhurt and the car didn’t careen into the injured girl, which seemed highly possible. But it was tense there for a few minutes. Oh and I forgot to mention: she was driving a four wheel drive Lexus wagon. I wonder if it is just the snow that brings out the silliest in people.


Of Moles and Men (or how I lost my sanity) August 7, 2008

Filed under: Garden,The Great Outdoors,Ups and Downs — LotusMama @ 3:47 pm


The day we moved into the new house – the very day – molehills started appearing in the nice front lawn. Not just one, oh no, but several – every day. The absence of the realty sign must have given them a signal to go forth and destroy the lawn with their burrows and endless tunnels.

Every morning, I dutifully go out with a cardboard box and scoop up the dirt that the mole has expelled onto the lawn. I stuff some down the hole to close it up and give a little silent prayer to whomever is in charge of moles that these moles will move to the forest that is next door, literally, to my house.

Sometimes before the afternoon has even passed, there will be fresh holes in the lawn. Sometimes it takes until the following morning for the trail of molehills to wind through the grass.

Last week, I bought some mole repellent, which purports to drive them away with some scent they don’t like. The idea is that each day you sprinkle another section of the lawn and thoroughly water. By the end of day four, they have been driven off the land to less stinky pastures.

By day three, they had circled the mole wagons and were back at the beginning of the lawn, making three extra big hills, just to prove a point.

And that, ladies and moles, is when I went crazy. Spade carrying, hose toting crazy. I scooped up the dirt but left the holes open. I turned on the hose and gave a good long squirt of water into each hole, hoping that a sudden wave of water might run them out of town for good.

No hills this morning. Not yet. Sure, my grass looks like swiss cheese at the moment, but there are no new hills. If a new one pops, I’m going to be forced to get a trap. I hate to do it, really, but this can’t go on. I can’t let them destroy the front yard and that’s what they’ll do if I let them keep burrowing under the whole thing.

I’ve heard bubblegum down the holes works, as does human hair. I can just picture a new hill with hairy wads of pink bubblegum poking out of the top like some gummy mount vesuvius. I’ve tried those sticks that emit sounds with no result. I don’t want to use poison and the repellent did nothing. So that leaves traps. Unless, the sudden blast of water drove them out – at least for now. I’m sure this won’t be the last encounter with a mole.

I’ve read an awful lot of kids’ stories that have a Mole as a character (Wind in the Willows comes to mind) but somehow, I can’t quite picture our moles hunkered down in their burrow, smoking pipes and sporting tweed jackets. I’d be more inclined to take tea with them if they were.

UPDATE: A new molehill is now right next to the old hole that I flushed with water.

*Photo found at
this site. Shudder


Three tickets to Paradise… June 30, 2008

Filed under: NR,The Great Outdoors,Yippee — LotusMama @ 2:55 pm

Yesterday was hot here, what folks would call a scorcher. It was hot on Saturday too and we had already gone to a movie (Wall-E) and a swim then, so Sunday was a day without air-conditioning on the horizon. Our house, mid-century wonder that it is, gets hot and stays hot, so the family concocted a plan for keeping cool. We’d spend the day doing stuff somewhere else.

Now, that might sound like a basic plan, but when pressed to find places to go to stay cool, it isn’t as easy as you’d think. Who wants to spend all day in a shopping mall? The library was an option but not a good one for a seven year old – too many Shhhhs. We decided to take a jaunt to the local Natural History Museum in Seattle to check out dinosaur bones. NR’s been really grooving on them lately and I was fairly sure that the museum would be a cool place we could hang out and get into Triceratops. I was partially right. The museum had Triceratops and other interesting specimens (NR loved the mastadon skeleton) but it lacked AC. It was just slightly warmer in the building than the 90 degrees outside, so we wandered the marble halls and were mindful not to slip in our sweat.

An hour or so later and we were back outside, in the shank of the heat. What to do now, we wondered. We could go to Ikea, I suggested, half-heartedly. Nope, let’s go to Mount Rainier, Hubby said. Sure, why not, said I.

Off we went, slurping Slurpees (all road trips require Slurpees) and rocking out to The Eagles, Don McClean, S&G (Simon and Garfunkel, to the uninitiated). We figured we dash on into the park and head up to the summit area called Paradise. Well, the dashing lasted as long as the highway to the US National Park entrance. Funny how both Hubby and I had forgotten that the road up to the summit winds through the forest. Gorgeous forest, with snow melt waterfalls, gushing rivers, pinky-purple flowers on the rocks, but curves nonetheless. Let’s just say it took some time to get to the top. But once there, we left the heat and entered snow – melting snow with plenty of dirt streaks, but snow that folks were playing in and tossing about in their shorts and sandals. Once at the top it was well passed four o’clock so we had just enough time to stretch our legs, walk in the snow, toss some snowballs, hit the bathrooms in the lodge, and head on back down the mountain. Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn and started to go the very long way back, around the rear of Rainier, which would have added another hour or more to our drive home. Luckily, only twenty minutes into that faux pas we discovered our error and hurried back.

The curves at dusk, behind pokey cars, give plenty of time to examine the old growth trees and the green that is everywhere. It really is a gorgeous place, one that local folks should check out again if they haven’t been in awhile. Once back out on the highway, we made the long trek home, listening to NR belt the chorus to Slow Ride (by Foghat, courtesy of Guitar Hero) for twenty minutes or so. [Click on my Podcast button on the right to hear a sample.]

We arrived home just in time for his bedtime and a nice 85 degrees inside. Such heat requires three things – a dish of ice cream, a circulating fan pointing inches away from you and back to back viewings of the West Wing. Yep, Paradise. Rainier View from Paradise