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!

Yarn Along

Not much progress in the knitting department this past week–I apologize for continuing to bore you with the same WIP for like four+ weeks’ running now.  I haven’t been reading much either other than thumbing through the books I picked up on dairy goats, trying to read Goodnight Goon (a Goodnight Moon parody) in its entirety to Harmon (his current favorite book to carry around) before he toddles off, & enjoying the beautiful photo essay book on American Kestrels by Kate Davis.  Shameless plug- check out my “guest post” yesterday for more on this bright little falcon & maybe bid on some cool artwork while you’re there. 😉


I bought the Nui Organics shirt Harmon’s wearing in these cheeky photos to coordinate with his stripey Balloon Baby Pants, but the color in real life turned out to be more of a gold/orange than the fantastic yellow that is Quince & Co’s “Carrie’s Yellow” so I’ll have to keep looking for that “perfect” coordinating top (such a silly endeavor, yes, I know!).Harmon is so much fun right now!  He’s a goofy, but serious, little man & also soooooooooooo much a mama’s boy lately!  I thought once he began walking he’d bid me adieu, but he seems to be going in the other direction….now he just chases me around the house faster!  I’ve almost tripped over him so many times–I turn around & there his tiny self is when he wasn’t anywhere near me two seconds previous…he’s a sneaky little hobbit.  And so very short & petite it’s actually quite easy to trip over him!Joining in with Ginny.

Harmon’s Favorite Things: 14 Months 

Another edition!  Another month gone…

a) Harmon is still very VERY much a musical little guy.  He likes playing Coralee & Merritt’s old school recorders (walks around the house tooting away), but I couldn’t locate either recorder for the photo so I used an old loon call of mine from when I was a kid–he likes this, too.

b) These are June’s socks.   Since the beginning of the school year Harmon has enjoyed swiping June’s socks off the floor as she gets dressed in her pants/shirt…it’s become a fun game between the two of them made all the more entertaining now that he can walk!  Suffice to say, June wastes a lot of precious time in the mornings sometimes with her baby brother & her socks…

c) Harmonica!  Harmon continues his love affair with this instrument.

d) “A Day at the Beach” is a book my Grandma Darling (paternal grandmother from Texas) gave me when I was a toddler/preschooler.  Harmon found it on the bookshelf & has decided it is his favorite book at the moment.  He doesn’t really want us to read it to him, he just likes to carry it around & occasionally sit down to flip through it.  He has also thrown it in the bathtub…not cool, little man!

e) Used dryer sheets…I do not get this obsession, but it continues this month.

f) My knitting notions bag–he loves emptying this bag so much he was swiping it off the bed as I took the photo!  He especially likes to unravel the knitting tape measure & drag it around like a puppy on a leash.

g) Brushes.  He loves to brush his hair.  He will use anything to do so, but we try to promote using the actual tool for the job.

h) A PLAN toys pull-along dog.  For a few days recently he was very much infatuated with this toy–not pulling it, just playing with it and pushing it.  He’s lost interest now.

i) Real shoes!  Harmon finally needs a real pair of shoes for leaving the house & he very much enjoys it when we put the shoes on his feet.  Hope it lasts!  He has TINY feet, however, & I had a little trouble finding non-crib shoes for his mini feet.  Went back to my old standby for baby shoes–pediped.  Merritt wore this brand as a toddler, too.

j) Coralee’s knit cat ‘Bubbles’–both Coralee & Merritt have one of these large knit cats.  Harmon likes hugging both & dragging around the house.

k) Doll teepee.  This is June’s toy to go along with her Native American wooden dolls.  It has a handle on top & Harmon likes to carry it around, kind of like it’s his purse.

l) Balls of all kinds, but especially golf balls.

m) Old school “My Little Pony” combs remain a favorite.

n) Wild Kratts!  Well, the theme song to [PBS show] “Wild Kratts”–he dances & shakes his torso whenever he hears the theme play.  He carries the DVD cases around & says “Wha wha.”  His siblings LOVE this show more than probably any other show & Coralee’s 14.5!  Merritt’s almost 12!  Science never gets boring, thank goodness. 🙂

He fell asleep in his carseat once clutching one of his recorders.Pardon the poor quality photo [this post is full of these, unfortunately]–more recorder love!Dryer sheet love.

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This is embarrassing to admit…Harmon is ridiculously obsessed with chips.  Ugh!  His dad is sort of a chip-aholic.  We don’t eat chips everyday or anything like that, but Harmon has developed a very bad habit of wanting chips.  If we’re shopping & he sees a bag on the conveyor belt, he goes nuts reaching for the bag, whining, etc.  He still only has one tooth so the only way he ever gets chips is if I chew one up for him first.  Needless to say, chips are no longer making an appearance at any of our meals & no one is allowed to eat chips when Harmon is awake anymore.  He was kissing the bag in the above photo.

He loves being in our master bathroom, even in the dark.  I think he likes throwing things in the empty tub & shutting the door mostly…he also likes to play in the hanging cloth diaper bag (yuck!) & in the trash bin.  We’ve moved the trash now due to him emptying the contents into the tub one afternoon.  He thought it was very funny!

Balls are very entertaining.

img_83551I included these photos to show him with the doll teepee, but I snapped the photos because the ribbed waist of his Balloon Baby Pants had gotten so stretched out one day that it just fell down!  He couldn’t figure out what was going on, it was hilarious.  He finally just took the silly pants off.

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img_83071I couldn’t end with those crazy pants-falling-down photos so I just threw in this napping photo.  He is taking a longer nap now (HOORAY!), but still taking one in the morning & again in the afternoon.

Other new things this month include learning to give “kisses” or “smooches” & saying “muah!” when he does so–it’s adorable!  Coralee taught him the “muah!” part. He also walks around with his arms stretched out to the sides when he wants a hug or to be picked up.  He walks quite well, but no running yet.

He can say mama, dada, wow, bye (he said that for the first time today!), and he makes the cock-a-doodle-do sound when he sees a chicken out the back porch windows or hears one of our roosters crowing.  When he wants something he smacks his mouth–this has meant “I want that” for several months running now.  It used to just mean he wanted to nurse, but now it’s a general “give me that”!  He babbles constantly at home.  He’s quite shy when we’re out & about, but hollers loudly unabashedly if he wants something.

Meal time is still incredibly tricky due to his dairy allergy (we think it’s an allergy at this point–I still mean to blog about it) & his one lousy tooth!  He needs some teeth!  A second bottom one is in the works, but as Brian pointed out last week, he needs some on top, too, if he’s going to chew better.  I’m sure it will happen soon & then I’ll miss his gummy smile.

We have a very VERY bad problem with boxelder bugs in the house this winter & Harmon has decided finding one crawling on the floor is a real “treat” & tries to eat the buggers–GROSS, I know!  And probably dangerous.  I have to be very vigilant.  I spend five minutes or more every morning looking for bugs on the floors & subsequently squash them or pitch ’em back outside into the cold.  I hate those things.

~ ~ ~

Happy 14 Months, Harmon Hunter!

Walking (with June), Walking (in an ice storm), Walking (with Harmon!)


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June has been feeling very lost/left behind the last few months & it only seems to be worsening…our house is definitely a very, very busy place & Harmon takes up a lot of my time, while the older two seem to take up a lot of Brian’s time when he’s not working [read: unpaid Uber drver!].  We’ve both been making an effort to spend some solitary time with June.  Iowa (& most of the Central U.S.) was hit with an ice storm over the weekend/Monday.  Iowa got a lot of rain, too, & June loves walking in the rain/puddles.  I took just her outside yesterday [MLK Day, a no school day] for a hike & she loved it as predicted.  I don’t think she wanted to go back inside despite her wet feet.

img_81731Coralee & Merritt spent much of the day playing with Legos.

img_81751It was pretty bad out there…

img_81471…but June & I persevered!

img_81171First we followed our silly goose Ferdie making her way back to the coop over the extremely icy ground…

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img_81231Ooops!  Goose down!

img_81241She made it back inside the warm coop safely, I promise!

img_81271Our ridiculous cat-food-eating, sneaking-into-the-garage-constantly Speckled Sussex ‘May’ got herself trapped downhill from the coop & would not be caught (June tried!), so we just chased her under Brian’s parked, non-operational truck & she stayed dry under there for most of the afternoon.  By the way, if anyone is in need of a free Speckled Sussex hen (she doesn’t lay eggs anymore, however, she’s too old), I can hook you up anytime!  Please.

img_81321June wanted her picture taken by her “outside Christmas tree”–a juniper [aka Eastern redcedar] volunteer in the yard.

img_81291Lots of ice on this tree.

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img_81351Our Prairie Creek tributary was running loudly for mid-January in Iowa.

img_81371This is our yard.

img_81361Flash creek that runs off the bordering field, across our front yard & into Prairie Creek along our southern boundary.  June loveslovesloves it when the flash creek shows up.  Her outerwear was soaking wet from icy rain by this point.

img_81381Um, we’re not going anywhere.

img_81421We found a yellow wooly bear caterpillar crawling on the glacial erratic that sits near our northern boundary.  June is a caterpillar/butterfly fanatic & was quite surprised to see this caterpillar crawling up the side of the rock in an ice storm, in Iowa, in January.

img_81391S/he was moving at a pretty good pace up this rock.

img_81431We pulled the dry grass back from the underside of the rock & tucked her/him underneath.  Hopefully s/he goes back to hibernating.  One life cycle of this species [a Virginia tiger moth as an adult] spends the winter hibernating.

img_81601Our culvert was clogged with ice, but flowing just the same.

img_81591I thought the reflections rather lovely.

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img_81481Back inside Harmon has been spending the last several days WALKING, too!  He mostly walks now!

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Over the weekend he started carrying things around with him as he walked.  He’s getting more confident!

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Mostly he walks around in half circles before falling over…his navigational skills are not developed yet. 😉

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I’ve noticed in the past week when I set him down he no longer collapses his legs to immediately assume crawling, his legs are stiff now & he’s ready to walk.  He keeps his arms mostly tucked up near his armpits like he’s a T-rex with tiny non-operational arms, it makes us all chuckle.  His legs are very bowed as he walks.

My baby is making the transition to toddler…

ekjp82101He’s quite proud of his walking!

We’ve been walking a lot here in Iowa despite the ice, just much more nimbly.  Buses were on hard-surface routes only today so Merritt & June are missing school.  Fingers crossed for lots of ice melting to take place ASAP as I can’t seem to exit my house without slipping/falling.  Yesterday I landed in a big pile of Ferdie poo & bruised myself in several places…I sat there looking at the faux glacier growing/flowing around me & wondered where the winters of my youth have gone?  I’d like to take a quiet walk in a fresh snowfall one of these days.

~How’s winter by you?~

Yarn Along {congrats Ginny!}


I’m not sure if Ginny will post a Yarn Along today or not as she *just* gave birth to beautiful Mae barely a week ago (so head over to her blog & get your newborn photos fix!)…but here’s what’s doing anyway in my knitting life.  I wound the last ball of Q & Co Chickadee in Belize for Harmon’s Wee Envelope.  I’m so close to being done!  I hope I have a finished photo for the blog next week.  I do have a swift somewhere in my house for winding, but I only had like one minute to do this before Harmon got antsy, so seize the moment I did!  (Please ignore the fact that my skin is so translucent white the colorway that is Belize absolutely does match the veins in my legs & elsewhere-yikes! I am a pale pale lady.)

Yarn Along

We are still still still still STILL knitting on the second Wee Envelope in Quince & Co’s Chickadee (colorway Belize). I almost have the second sleeve done & then I know (hope!) the body will fly by & it will be all ready for Harmon to wear…just in time for Iowa’s 90+’F heatwave & practically 100% humidity! Ha!  I’m so on the [knitting] ball around here.

After re-reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring with Coralee this past school year, we both listened to the Science Friday Silent Spring Book Club podcast from the summer of 2012. The author of the Rachel Carson biography On a Farther Shore was interviewed as part of the podcast. I’m only three chapters into William Souder’s bio (reading snippets of it while Harmon nurses to sleep during the day), but I am definitely finding myself fangirling Carson even more now.  Her childhood was tough, but almost seems magical in a way.  I am getting the feeling there was a higher power at play in her life, leading her down all the winding, but purposeful paths to eventually end with the extraordinary feat of writing that is Silent Spring.

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Joining in with Ginny (finally! at last! once again!) & not a moment too soon–new baby to arrive shortly!