Yarn Along (summer’s comin’ & my internet stinks…)

It’s Wednesday & that used to be Ginny’s Yarn Along day as most of you probably know (whether you knit or not), but Ginny discontinued the Yarn Along and, alas, I need to let go as well.  Blogging is something I really like doing–I don’t know if it makes me feel like someone out there is with me here in the trenches of motherhood when it can get kind of lonely despite the fact a mother is never alone or if I really just blog because I am TERRIBLE at documenting the childhoods of my children & feel like they will all disown me someday for not keeping a beautiful, meticulous babybook for each of them–but whatever the reason, I do like blogging, however, what I ABHOR is our horrible awful terrible ALLTHEBADWORDSYOUCANTHINKOF internet connection out here in the Iowa sticks!  Sorry for yelling, virtually, at you.  We cannot get highspeed internet.  The End.  Our neighbors have a satellite–it never works.  We cannot get cable, either.  We use our phones as hotspots & our phones barely work on windless days…this is Iowa, it’s always windy!  Argh.  I’ve been fighting this battle for going on a decade now & I am so over it.  We are NEVER going to get good internet, I’m sure of it.  We just aren’t.  Every time I write a post with photos it literally takes like ten minutes per photo to upload & with a toddler around I truly do not have time for that…my eldest is homeschooled & needs the computer constantly anyway.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that summer is coming & all the kids are going to be home all day, every day, so the blogging is going to really slip (like it hasn’t already, I know) & Yarn Along is definitely over forever now.  I have rediscovered Instagram using my Ella Mae Knits account & I really like using that–it’s quick, it’s pretty, it gets the job done.  And there are so many yarn/knitting holes to fall into on Instagram, it’s dangerous.  (Time sucks are real, people, I do recommend we all watch out for those.)  You can always check out what’s going on with us here at Being Bodeker this summer by stopping by my Ella Mae Knits Instagram page–it’s public so you don’t need Instagram to have a look & there’s a link on the right side of my blog page. 🙂

So most of these photos today have already appeared on my IG page.  I apologize if you’re like,”This is all old news, Ruby.”  I am currently test-knitting a pattern for Kathryn Folkerth.  I love it so far & I LOVE Quince & Co linen so it’s a win-win.  I can’t say exactly what I’m test-knitting as it’s a gift for Coralee for her birthday next month.  I’m also still knitting my Waterrock vest for myself.  Soon I will be casting on something to give to someone in need as I begin my project to knit every other thing for someone I don’t even know because the world could use a bit more love. xo

Finished Harmon’s shortie overalls this week & they are sooooo cute!  But he was sleeping when I went to photograph them today so this is the best I could do.  The pattern is a Debbie Bliss pattern called Florence.  It’s available on Ravelry.  Tomorrow I hope to take some photos of Harmon modeling his new overalls & I will post on IG. 🙂

Harmon really likes playing with cards.  And putting his sisters’ hair decorations in his hair.  Totally random facts I thought needed to be shared.

Coralee & I saw our first Sora ever last week at a wetland very near our house.  Hoping to bird a lot more once my daycare biz is wrapped up in an effort to help Coralee one day become the Young Birder of the Year.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?!!!  I think she can do it.

Harmon rocked some Lyle Lovett hair this week on IG and I playfully tagged the REAL Lyle Lovett in the photo (because I love Lyle & always have & tried to name Merritt after Lyle, but Brian wouldn’t let me)…then the real Lyle Lovett liked the photo so I can die happy now.

Summer days ahead!  Despite the fact I vowed not to sign my kids up for much we seem to have a never-ending pile of stuff to do all summer so I’m sure September is going to look really good come about mid-June.  Harmon turns 18 months in a week & I vow right here, right now to write an 18 month post for the hobbit, so let’s all meet back here in a week, ok?  Somebody virtually yell at me if I don’t show up. 😉

Mother’s Day Cast-on, a Kestrel Program, & an Ella Mae Knits Update!

I should just call this post “Stuff,” but that seems to sum up all my posts lately…I apologize for being so scattered!  I cast-on a new knitting project for me yesterday as part of the Mother’s Day Cast-on movement (not sure that’s the right word for it, but, in any case, I got the idea from My Tangled Yarn Knitting Adventures & I love it!).  I chose the Waterrock vest & used some yummy Madelintosh I purchased last summer in the colorway Still.  Hopinghopinghoping I actually finish this…I’ve never knit myself anything other than fingerless mitts!  What is wrong with me, you ask?  Sooooooooo much, ha!  Thank you goes to Martha for the pattern inspiration–your version is beautiful!  I loved all your Instagram posts for it.  I also finished knitting a version of my June Belle beanie pattern for a dear, dear mama friend of mine who had a baby boy in March of this year.  Hoping the cap will fit him this next winter.

Coralee painted me two panels of a prairie scene to dress-up our 3-season porch using old shake siding panels (we have hundreds of these panels sitting under a tarp–if you’re interested in her painting you a set of something, just let me know, she’s unemployed & would love some side-work!).  I can’t wait to hang these.  Love my girl.

Harmon is sick.  Again.  Always.  Bleh.  I don’t know what else to say about that–I spent Mother’s Day caring for him off & on, in-between gardening bouts outside.  Brian, Coralee & June worked their backsides off yesterday on the property–I really REALLY appreciate all the work you all did yesterday, thank you!!!!  They painted a fence (to keep our naughty chickens out of the flower beds) white, mowed all over the place, tilled, planted, weeded…there is so much work when you live on a parcel of land…

Coralee spent Saturday morning teaching at our local nature center.  It was International Migratory Bird Day.  She’s working to educate the community about the decline of the American Kestrel as part of her Young Birder of the Year competition for the American Birding Association.  I never posted her results from last year’s competition–she placed FIRST in the Field Notebook Module & THIRD in the Writing Module!  She’s working to place higher this year overall.  This contest is wonderful, I highly recommend it!

She created from scratch all the materials.  The craft project was so much fun!  I was extremely impressed with the crazy amount of information my daughter knows about kestrels.  I had no idea!  The naturalist was impressed, too, & is hoping she will help out this fall with their huge field day for 5th graders & teach this activity again.

Yes, I made her siblings attend.  She needed more participants.

This was the culmination of the class.  We hope to donate the pdf for this activity to the American Kestrel Partnership for the Education materials section.  If you’re interested in using this activity yourself, just let me know in the comments & I’ll be sure to let you know when the link for it goes live!

And finally, Ella Mae Knits.  I began using my EMK Instagram account again around Earth Day.  Please follow me there if you, too, use IG!  I was inspired by the movie Moana (yes, an animated movie–it’s brilliant!!!) to change the way I operate EMK.  Going forward, I am going to donate every other item I knit to someone in need.  There’s a post about this change in my IG feed (which is public, so even if you’re not using Instagram you can still check it out).  I hope to get this going at summer’s end–once my daycare job ends & I find more time to sit & knit…I will carve the time out somewhere, hopefully.

Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all who celebrate & especially to our shared mother, Mother Earth! xo

3:30AM!

Coralee, Harmon, & I began last Saturday morning around 3:30AM.  (I think Harmon actually woke up closer to 3:50AM.)  Coralee was registered to attend an Iowa Young Birders event to count Sandhill Cranes with Bremer County Conservation as part of the Annual Midwest Crane Count along with over 1,000 other volunteers throughout the Midwest.  Unfortunately, we got word Thursday evening the trip was cancelled due to most of the young birder registrants being either sick or cancelling for other reasons.  But we are tough birders, the Bodekers, so Coralee & I decided to go anyway & emailed the Bremer County Naturalist ourselves Friday morning.  She sent us directions to a fire number on the southern boundary of Sweet Marsh State Wildlife Management Area.  We were to meet up with a seasoned crane-count volunteer at 5:30AM the next morning.  The drive would take us over an hour & I had no idea where it was, hence the 3:30AM wake up.

I made much coffee at 3:30AM.

This is Sweet Marsh closer to 6:30AM (I think sunrise was officially a bit after 6:40AM on Saturday).  The gravel on the right leads to the dike which is where Coralee was officially placed as a counter.  Marsh is to the left of the dike.

We were in site 2.

The count takes place every year around this time in roughly 90 counties in an effort to survey both Sandhill & Whooping Crane numbers.  Whooping Cranes are endangered, Sandhills are not, but both are equally beautiful & worthy of protection in my opinion.

Harmon slept most of the drive north from our house, woke up screaming when we arrived to the parking lot on the edge of the Marsh, in the PITCH BLACK, then fell asleep again about 10 minutes after Coralee took off to count (nursing to the rescue).  The count officially took place from 5:30-7:30AM.  We arrived at 5:20AM to the lot.  The other volunteer arrived shortly after.  It was a bit awkward to get out of the car and approach her in the dark…I worried I would spook her or she wouldn’t actually be who I thought she was…although, I figured, who else would be out here in the middle of nowhere at this hour…she turned out to be an amazing count companion for Coralee.  She is a teacher (a Talented & Gifted teacher like me) and extremely personable.  Coralee took off down the dike with her, binoculars & clipboard in hand, to count cranes (by sight and/or by sound) at promptly 5:30AM.  I tried for a selfie with Harmon when he woke up in order to document something, apparently his nose itched. 😉

Later, once the sun rose, Harmon listened to the countless geese honking in the Marsh just beyond the car’s windows.

Then he looked at books.

He also ate an almond butter sandwich & spilled water all over the car.  At least it wasn’t coffee.

Coralee & her count companion saw three Sandhill Cranes, heard none, which is apparently strange.  We are not sure how many in total were submitted from the entire count site yet, but last year our site submitted 63.  Coralee & I definitely want to visit Sweet Marsh again in the next several weeks to bird.  It is amazing habitat amidst a sea of corn.  I didn’t see much from the car, obviously, but upon leaving we spotted a Sandhill Crane flying low near the Marsh, so at least I added my FOY Sandhill Crane to my 2017 birding list.

Brian, Merritt, & June were at Merritt’s first soccer game of the spring season on Saturday morning.  Upon arriving home later, Coralee & I ate an early lunch & then went to bed.  I think Harmon & I slept for over two hours.  Good napping & good birding.

Edited to add: Numbers are in–64 this year!!!  One more than 2016!

April Awakening?

It’s been dull as tombs around here for most of March, I apologize!  Harmon was SICK.  I was SICK.  I missed posting about Harmon’s favorite things at 15 months as a result.  My goal is to post about Month 16 this week.  Fingers crossed the sickness train has departed for good now.  I’m still waiting on a call from my P.A. as to whether or not I truly broke/fractured a rib due to my incessant coughing over the course of three+ weeks.  I cannot believe I may have broke a rib as a result of coughing…the pain is so horrid, however, I absolutely believe it!  

Yesterday we visited the nearby Dudegon Wildlife Management Area to bird and hike.  Collectively we saw 19 species of birds including three Golden-crowned Kinglets, many Green-winged Teal, two Eastern Meadowlarks singing their hearts out, & a Yellow-rumped Warbler (photo below).  Iowa has been stuck in a literal cloud bank for over a week now…if we don’t get some sun soon I’m afraid the seedlings Coralee started for our garden this summer will get too leggy and die.  Pray for sun!  We all need an April Awakening!





Harmon’s cap is about the only knitting I’ve completed in weeks–another Garter Ear Flap Cap using Quince & Co’s newest le Blue Heathers collection.  I hope you’ll stay in touch with the blog this month despite my almost complete absence last month…lots to announce & some big changes in the Bodeker household taking place this summer!  Happy April!

Life is mostly no fun when you’re sick…

…& you’re a baby & you’ve been awake screaming/wailing practically every half-hour like clockwork for the last two nights due to congestion…& since you’re congested you can’t nurse properly…so you’re really mad at life…& you’re also teething due to being 15 months old & only having 1.5 teeth(!)…& your fevers don’t really respond to anything mama tries…& your mama is also sick & keeps coughing at night which wakes you up every.single.time…what else…oh, of course, the best part!….your mom has been eating dairy the last few days & now your eczema is raging all over your torso & limbs & today you started scratching a lot…& your tummy rumbles way too much because of said dairy eaten by your mother…

Due to your banshee-esque wailing in the car during school drop-off this morning, mama got you out of your car seat while we waited the 30 minutes for older sister’s Band practice to end…

You enjoyed pretending to drive…sort of…You loved watching the late busses come & go…Well, not really.Mama tried to comfort you…you really seemed indifferent.  And angry.Your morning nap was hard won!  You slept off and on for close to three hours due to mama’s constant rocking (& attempts at nursing) between sleeps…You actually woke up fairly happy!  “Fed” yourself oatmeal for the first time…

Nope, nope, maybe not.  So we took a bath at noon due to oatmeal being plastered basically everywhere…Now you’re sleeping on mama again & it’s ok because she can see birds at the feeder in the garden from this position..but surely tomorrow will be better, Harmon  Hunter, little hobbit, surely surely. ❤ 

Iowa Blues: New Coop Tenants

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There’s new birds at the Bodeker Coop this week.  We bought a quartet (1 rooster + 3 hens) of chickens this past Saturday for Merritt to show as a 4H Poultry project this summer (his current chickens are not working out for various reasons).  A neighbor down the road has been breeding Iowa Blue chickens for about three years in a bid to help restore the breed back to a sustainable population (along with several other breeders in and around Iowa).  The Iowa Blue chicken almost went extinct by the mid-1980s, but luckily one of the founders of Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa began working to bring the breed back from just one remaining flock.  The Iowa Blue dates back to the early 1920s in Northeast Iowa.  It is a very hardy breed–withstands both the horrible high humidity levels of our summers & the sub-zero windchills of our winters rather easily.  Iowa Blues are quite large chickens, good layers, & the hens, I’ve read, can be extremely broody.  Our three hens are not quite laying yet, but should be soon.  We’ve got them sequestered for now away from our other chickens for both their safety & the health of our flock.xzjj65971

This is the rooster.  He’s got some comb damage from abuse by other chickens at the old farm.  Hopefully we’ll get that sorted out.wpls09671

This breed is not actually blue, but from afar the hens are supposed to look blue-grey, hence the name.
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I think they’re quite lovely.  We named the hens varying forms of the color blue–we’ve got Periwinkle, Celeste, & Sapphire.  Sapphire is June’s chicken & she chose the name from a list of blue color names.egrg17971

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June & Sapphire.  She’s very excited to have another chicken to call her own.

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We let the hens run around in our hibernating garden yesterday afternoon.img_87021

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I thought these seeds were pretty hanging in our woods.  The pods almost sparkled.

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Prairie the cat snoozing in the garage.

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On our walk back from the bus stop yesterday we found another blue bird…an Eastern Bluebird!  There are actually quite a few bluebirds wintering in Iowa every year, but this is the first one in our yard this year.

For more information on the Iowa Blue chicken, check out this pdf book by Curt Burroughs & courtesy of the Iowa Blue Chicken Club.

February Heatwave

To say it’s been warm in Iowa the last few days is an understatement.  This is a heatwave!  I feel like it’s the end of April and I need to be out in the garden.  Iowa weather is very tricky.  It will probably snow next week.  Harmon is sure enjoying his first steps–literally–outside the past two days.  He was wary at first, but quickly took off & wandered aimlessly (or maybe not?) all over the yard.  He is still unsteady on his feet & fell over as much as he remained upright.  We discovered he is afraid of the dogs up close, would like to catch one of the cats, & doesn’t really care about the chickens up close, either.  

He’s telling me all about the rooster crowing in this photo.This is Louisa.  One of our favorite chickens at the moment.

On Saturday we headed east to the Mississippi River in Davenport for an Iowa Young Birders trip on Credit Island.  Lots of Ring-billed Gulls & Bald Eagles.June found many gull feathers + she was wearing her new spring jacket resplendent with flying gulls so she wanted her photo taken in front of a large flock of gulls hanging out on the ice.I’m posing, Mama, snap the photo!

Harmon’s first time on a swing!

Later we swung by the University of Iowa to pick up Harmon’s godmother (& cousin) Miss Bailey for lunch at our favorite place Sutliff Bridge & Tavern.  I’ve blogged about Sutliff several times over the years.Quizzing June on her bird knowledge.Harmon is generally very very wary of people other than his mama & Coralee, but he took to Bailey straight off!  So sweet! ❤Happy Weekend Warmth!