Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Friday, May 31, 2013

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

Except that this week I am cheating and there are words. And more than one photo. This was from Monday when the rain was pouring down and Phoebe refused to come inside. She insisted on dancing and playing in the rain, getting soaked through.  

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny of Small Things for this week's yarn along.

This week has been busy, but I have been finding small moments to sneak in a bit of knitting or reading here and there.  I am knitting this slouchy hat, for me. I am about halfway done, and hoping to finish it before I head to the coast next Sunday night. It needs a test drive before the weather warms up again!

I finished up Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior a couple of days ago. I love her. I love this book. It really hit home for me in so many ways. I want to have another chapter, or a sequel to find out what happens next, but I guess the unknown is part of what makes it so powerful. And, no surprise,  I am still reading Moby Duck.  have been reading this for way too long, but I have actually been moving forward in it once again. I seem to have re-found my moment and interest in the story, and I only have 100 pages left to go. And, because I just couldn't wait, I started Bright Side Up by Amy Spencer. I figured it couldn't hurt to start putting a more positive spin on the parts of my life that don't seem to go my way.

As my term is drawing to a close and summer is fast approaching, I am starting to put together my summer 2013 reading list. Always hard to narrow it down....

What are you reading? What are you knitting? Pin It Now!

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Weekend Adventure

On Friday afternoon, we packed up the kids and the dogs and headed to the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. We got to spend Friday and Saturday night in an old school house that our friend's sister lives in and it was so nice to get out of the city, if only for 2 days. The dogs ahd the run of the place, and wore themselves out.
Here is a little peak into what we found while we were there:

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Friday, May 24, 2013


As some of you may know, we have 3 pet ducks in our backyard. When we originally bought them, as teeny-weeny cute-as-a-storybook ducklings (seriously, they were so cute), we were told we were purchasing 3 females. Well, ducks are typically quite hard to sex as babies... so after a few months we figured out that our 3 females were really 2 males and 1 female. So, our potential egg laying ratio went down dramatically, but since we had already grown fond of all 3, we just decided to keep the males on as her entourage.
And an entourage they are. They have always followed her every move, and she is clearly the leader of the flock. However, when it comes to mating season, both males mate with her (and duck mating is far from pleasant, let me tell you) and actually fight with her and with each other about the whole mating thing. It gets bad enough that last year we talked about trying to re-home one of the males, and it is something we have been considering this year as well. But, the important thing to note here is that our ducks mate and at least some of her eggs are fertile. They taste the same as unfertilized, they just have the potential to turn into babies. Which would never happen because this breed of domesticated duck (ancona) are not egg sitters. They have had their broodiness bred right out of them, and the only way to get them to hatch ducklings is to incubate the eggs yourself. Or so we were told.
Anyways, back to the important news at hand...  our female has lain an egg just about every day of her life, until last October when we had a close call. She was egg-bound and we thought we were going to lose her. She stopped laying all winter but then this spring she started back up again, one a day, never missing a beat.
Over the years with our ducks, we have had plenty of times where we have gone out of town and had someone else watching the ducks and the eggs didn't get collected for a few days, or even longer. And plenty of times where we couldn't find the eggs she had lain. Or mornings where we were in a rush and didn't collect the eggs for a couple of days. It has never been a big deal- the eggs will stay OK outside for at least a few days, and if it is questionable, we just throw them in the city compost.
So, several weeks ago we had a busy weekend with out of town guests and hectic schedules, and ducks and eggs were not our main priority. So while we still fed and watered the ducks, and made sure to put them in their coop before dark so they would be safe, we did not prioritize looking for eggs. A few days later, when we were settled back in at home, I realized that our female was spending a lot of time inside her coop. So, I crawled closer and stuck my head in to get a peak at her to make sure she was OK. And.... she was sitting on a nest.
As of last weekend she has 12 eggs stashed up in there. I am not sure if she is done laying, or if since she normally lays an egg per day, if she is still adding to her collection. I need a duck mentor. Regardless, she is sitting on eggs, which are presumably fertilized, which means that in a couple weeks we may have some baby duckling around here.
We can't really fit more ducks in our backyard, and part of me wanted to just remove the eggs and not let this happen. But she is so fiercely protective of these eggs-- who am I to take away a mama's right to babies? I think we will easily find folks who will take the ducks and I think the kids will have a blast watching the whole thing happen. I think we are all pretty excited about the prospect of baby ducks now.
Duck eggs take about 4 weeks to hatch. We aren't sure if that time starts from when she laid the first egg or the last, so we weren't really sure of a time frame here. But probably in about 1-3 weeks. I guess we had better get prepared so we are ready if and when they do get here.
All I know is that she spends all day and night on that nest and only comes out about 3-4 times a day for a quick bite and bit of water. The boys stay outside, but lay in front of the coop like they are protecting her. And when she does come out she acts crazy, scaring the boys in the other direction so that they can't go inside and mess with the eggs while she is off the nest. I tried to bring her some greens one day, while she was sitting, and she did a duck version of hissing at me. I got the picture.
So here we are, on our tiny urban lot, expecting potentially 12 (or more) baby ducks. I think its time for me to do some research! Pin It Now!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Evening Canoe!

Last night Phoebe and I braved the rain to go on an evening canoe trip on the Columbia Slough. It was supposed to be the whole family, as we had all signed up for this trip weeks ago, but it was in the 40's and raining pretty hard and Todd whimped out. Then Finn decided he wanted to stay home with dad. Luckily, Phoebe had been talking about going on a boat ride all day long, and had no perception of how wet and cold it was out, so she was happy to go on a mama-adventure.
We actually lucked out and it completely stopped raining for the first half of our canoe ride. It started up again about midway through, but the rain was light and bearable. We saw tons of swallows dive-bombing the water's surface for bugs, 2 nutria, and several other birds. It was amazing to be out on the water, especially in the evening.. it made me wish I had my own canoe.... one day.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yarn Along and Some Finished Goodness!

Joining in with Ginny of Small Things for this week's yarn along.
As some of you know, I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately, and part of that has been that I have surrounded myself with a multitude of unfinished projects. I have been on a mission to start finishing some of my unfinished-ness, and I have been doing a pretty good job. This week I finished up Phoebe's In-Threes sweater. I think it came out great, and even Phoebe, who normally is not a huge fan of my hand knits, has approved and has worn it willingly. I sort of wish I would have used nicer yarn, but with a small budget and a quick-growing kiddo, that probably would have been unnecessary. I also finished up a new monster for Finn. It was originally going to be his Valentine's Day gift, to match this cute one from last year, but it never got finished. And then I procrastinated forever until I finally finished it up Monday night. It's not nearly as cute as the first one, but at least it is done. And now, with no WIPs, I finally started something new (and hopefully it won't take me 4 months to finish this one!)- I am making this hat, for me. It's so darn cute, but I think most of that is the cute model who is wearing it in the pattern photo. Wondering how it will look on me!?! I guess we'll see....
In reading, I finally finished Crimes Against Nature, one of the 3 books that had just been decorating my nightstand. Now I can work on finishing up Flight Behavior, which I am loving, and maybe, one day, I will finish Moby Duck. Maybe. I have been plodding through it for 2 months, but for some reason am determined to finish it.
Regardless, it feels good to be finishing things, even if it's not all of them.
What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Our May Garden and a Link-Up Party

We have had a busy few weeks in the garden: planting seeds and starts that will provide food over the coming months, replacing several perennial plants that didn't make it over the winter, and of course, the never-ending battle with the grass (we removed all of our grass in favor of flowers and food producers, but that grass, it is determined). We still have a lot to do, like finishing pulling out the grass and mulching to keep it at bay, at least for a while, but I am pretty happy with where we are at. This time of year is so lovely- flowers in bloom, bees busy working, and the anticipation for the harvest to come.
This year we have planted: snow peas, 5 varieties of tomatoes, 3 kinds of peppers, cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, beets, radishes, greens, arugula, green onions, potatoes, strawberries, delicata squash, acorn squash, zuchinni, cucumbers, corn, beans, and the grapes, raspberries, blackberries and italian herbs that are perennial.
Here are a few pictures of our garden in May:

What is planted in YOUR May garden? I would love to hear about it and if you have posted or want to post about your May garden, please join in and link up below!

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

On Finishing.....

Over the past few weeks I have felt that I have had way too much on my plate, and I could feel that it was weighing me down. This weekend was finally a chance to slow down and get caught up, or at least work towards getting caught up. And, it feels good.
  • I finally finished Phoebe's In Three's sweater (pictures to come soon) and I am almost done with my other knitting project that has been sitting around for months (4 months to be exact)- I hope to finish that one up in the next day or two.
  • All of the plants and starts that we bought are finally in the ground. I wouldn't say that my work in the garden is finished (is it ever?) but at least what remains isn't pressing. For now.
  • I did some cleaning that was needed direly. The kids room is vacuumed and tidied, the fridge and pantry have been purged and organized, the back porch where we do most of our art is picked up, and the laundry is folded and put away. Hurrah!
 And now, the husband is napping, the children are playing quietly together, and I am going to prepare for next week's classes and cook up a big ol' pot of soup for dinner. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Juice, Do You? The Pros (and Cons) of Juicing

I have been on a huge juicing kick lately. I love it.
OK, lets actually back up and start at the beginning....
I got a juicer for Christmas in 2011, so about a year and a half ago. I used it some, mostly for fruit juice, but then sort of forgot about it, and that was that.
Recently, I have stumbled upon many a blog-website-article-etc. that talked about the "magical" powers of juicing. So I decided to give it another go-round. And I am in love.
A small glass of green juice in the morning gives me a huge boost. Here is a typical morning juice for me:
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 stalk celery
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 4-5 kale leaves
  • 1/2 - 1 apple
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley
OK, I'll be honest. This not-so-sweet juice took some getting used to, and it also took a while to figure out what I couldn't put too much of in (for example, lots of carrots is still good, but a whole lot of spinach, not so much). And really, this isn't the best tasting thing in the world to me (at least not yet), but it tastes good, and I know how many nutrients are in there, and that makes it all worth it. I think I want to experiment with some new recipes, especially since summer fruits and veggies are starting to emerge at the farmers market. I am sure my skills will improve with practice.

Here are my problems with juicing:

1. You have to put a TON of stuff in to get a wee amount of juice. Check this out:

That colander is full of veggies and fruit, overflowing actually. All that went into the juicer and that is how much juice came out. I know it is potent, and packed full of nutrients, but a small glass of fresh juice can be pretty spendy!

2.  The juicer is a huge pain to clean out. OK, not a huge pain, but it is time consuming, and because of that, I don't have time to juice on the days that I work.

3. My kids will have nothing to do with it. I was hoping that this would be a great healthy addition for the whole family, but so far, I am the only one who will drink it! Any tips of getting wee ones to drink their veggie juice?

But, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I am loving juicing and how it makes me feel. And, I realized that our ducks will eat the leftover juiced veggies. Cool right?

Do you juice? Do you have any favorite juice recipes to share? I can't wait to try some new ones!
Also, wondering if I make a big batch of juice one day, is it OK to leave it in the fridge to drink over the next couple of days, or does that deplete a lot of the nutrients? I would love to find a way to make this a more convenient process for the days that I work. Thanks! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Craving Completion and A Run Down of Mothers Day

Life here has been hectic. Mostly fun hectic, but hectic nonetheless. I feel like I have barely had time to breathe, much less keep up with the needs of a family of 4 (and definitely no time to blog...). Most of my craziness has been my schedule... classes, meetings, appointments, family obligations, plans with friends. But I have also been feeling an inner chaos from too many projects started and not enough completed: knitting projects I just can't seem to finish off, books that are remaining on my nightstand for much too long, plants still in pots waiting for their turn in the dirt, and other projects on my to-do list that just keep getting pushed back. My hope for the upcoming days is to try and find completion. My schedule is starting to calm down some, and I am hoping to squeeze in some more time for completing projects left unfinished. I know it won't happen with all my loose ends all at once, but I think some finishing will motivate me to keep finishing, and I am pretty sure that will bring some much needed peace and relaxation.

Can I quickly tell you about my Mothers Day? Todd left with the kids early so I could sleep in (well, lie in bed anyways) and came back with flowers, a latte, pastries, and a card with a spa gift certificate in in. What a way to wake up! We went out to breakfast, bought some new plants at the nursery, and then the family headed to the Timbers soccer game. For dinner, I headed out for an evening on the town with some other mama-friends, while the dads did the bedtime routine. When I got home at 9:30, the house was sparkling clean. What a lovely day!! Thanks to my amazing family!

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Friday, May 10, 2013

A Trip to the Gorge

We have been blessed with amazing weather lately- blue skies and warm temperatures. Honestly, it already feels like summer here (which is actually a bit scary, but I will say that I am enjoying it in the moment!). Last weekend, I got to go on a mamas-only yurt trip on the Oregon coast and on Monday, Todd's mom and step dad were in town and we spent the day in the Gorge. I feel so fortunate to live in this amazing place where the ocean, mountains, rivers, and forests are all at my fingertips. It does rain here quite a bit, but when it is not raining, I feel like I want to spend every second outside exploring.
Our day to the Gorge was packed full with a stop at Multnomah Falls, a visit to the Bonneville Dam and the Bonneville fish hatchery, a stop in Hood River for lunch, a drive along the 'fruit loop' where we saw amazing views of Mt. Hood, and a quick stop at a winery. I think the kids favorite part was the huge sturgeon at the hatchery- they were, in Finn's words, "ginormous".
All of this exploring makes me so excited for summer... days without work and school, blue skies, and the freedom to explore. I have already been making my summer to-do wish list!

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