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!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival


Today, my knitting pals and I braved the downpour and headed to Canby, Oregon for the annual Flock and Fiber festival. As always, there was amazing yarn and wool for sale-- and just being around all of that wool got my creative wheels spinning.... oh, the potential! We saw some gorgeous batiks, some amazing needle-felted creations, and plenty of adorable animals. The bleats from the sheep make me laugh every time; I swear it never, ever gets old.
I almost left the festival without buying anything except a mocha, but just before leaving, some yarn caught my eye. It was gorgeous and was perfect for a project I had in mind, but it was a bit out of my price range. As I was leaving, the shop owner stopped me and offered it for half off, as it was the end of that colorway. It made my day!
I mainly took photos of the animals, as they were just so cute. We saw teeny-tiny babies and got to watch a goat being shorn. The dreary weather made for less than ideal photos, but it was so much fun I have to share them anyways.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

A Rainy Day in the Garden

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Look What We Found!

During fall garden pruning last week we found a special surprise! It was tucked up in some dead clematis vines and I almost didn't even notice it. It was empty, but completely in-tact. Isn't it lovely?

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What We Have Been Making....

Fall, for me, is a time for making. Baking breads and cooking soups in the kitchen, knitting cozy gear for winter, and starting holiday projects galore. During fall, I always seem to muster up to motivation to tackle projects new and old. Here is a peak at what we have been making lately:

A new batch of lacto-fermented pickles using this recipe. They are much better than my last batch (which was WAY too salty), but I must say that I actually prefer the taste of vinegar pickles. And, 2-year old Phoebe, who is pickle-crazy, won't touch the lacto-fermented ones, even though she doesn't know I made them differently. Maybe the different taste is just something I need to get used to?
applesauce and then some applesauce muffins (sorry, no picture) to follow,

play dough, for my budding little artist,

Serrano-infused tequila (which was quite delicious in some Friday night margaritas and so very easy to make!),

Ginger and chile pickled green beans (which I still have yet to try),

A new batch of home-made lip balm (makes a great present!) from oil infused with herbs from my garden,

And, two pairs of knitted arm warmers for a cancer fundraiser (and now, I have two requests from my kids for pairs of their own),

What have you been making?
How has fall inspired YOU?

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Our September Garden

As we move into fall, I have seen a shift in my gardening chores; there is less to be harvested and less weeding to be done, but I have suddenly been doing a lot of pruning, composting, and planting. Unfortunately, I have been in a battle with a sneaky squirrel, and it appears that I have been out-smarted. Despite covering newly-planted areas in netting, this squirrel has managed to dig up almost all of the seeds I have planted, including teeny-tiny lettuce seeds. So, after replanting the some areas two or three times, I gave up and bought lettuce starts, something that I have always thought was silly because lettuce grows so easily from seeds (ahhh, except when you have a hungry squirrel, I now understand).
In my pruning, I also realized that our 3 echinacea plants likely have root rot, which means that they will have to be dug up and replaced. I will probably wait until the spring to do that, just in case we have a year with a very wet winter.
On the positive side, the garden is looking slightly more tidy and organized than it does in its wild-days-of-summer, and that makes me happy. We are still munching on grapes, tomatoes, green onions, basil, beets, and zucchini. And all 3 of our hot pepper plants have re-flowered and are producing another round of peppers. I am really hoping they mature before it gets too cold out. Grow little peppers, grow! We have some delicata and acorn squash that should be ready soon (it may be already, but I always have a hard time deciding when to pull it.... any tips?). I have been planting (and re-planting) beets, mixed greens, and kale and I got about 10 bulbs of garlic into the ground last week.

What is planted in your September garden? Please share some pictures (of a blog post, flickr, etc.) and link up below! Can't wait to see your gardens!
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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Autumn!

Fall is my favorite time of year. The wonderful colors, the crispness to the air, the way the low angle of the sun lights up the world in a way so different than summer sun. And for many of us, fall is the return back to a schedule, a time for staying home and snuggling in, for finding more of a rhythm to our days. Fall is something I always look forward to; it rejuvenates me and ignites a motivation.
Happy first day of autumn! Pin It Now!

Friday, September 20, 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.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

An Unlucky Ducky Surprise.....

As many of you know, we had ducklings this summer! We were planning on keeping 2 babies to join mom, but ended up keeping 3, as the 3rd had a neck issue (wry neck) and we didn't feel comfortable handing a somewhat-disabled duck off to anyone else.
Our ducks are Anconas, a rare breed without much available information. Ducklings are notoriously hard to sex, and so when we got our last 3 ducks as wee ducklings, we were promised that they were all female, and after 4 months we realized that 2 of our girls were really boys. So we had a flock of 2 males and 1 female. Not so great during mating season, as ducks as far from romantics.
When our mama duck was sitting on her eggs, we re-homed the 2 dads, because it was likely that they would harm the ducklings. And, we were excited to choose female ducklings to have more ladies and hence more eggs.
Anyways, when our ducklings were tiny, we noticed that 2 had orange bills and 1 had a peach bills. As they got their feathers in, the 2 oranged-billed ducks had a green sheen to their black feathers, while the peach-billed did not. And, a couple of months later, we found out that the oranged-billed ducks were males, while the peach-billed was our female.
So, when our 10 ducklings hatched, 5 had orange bills and 5 had peach bills. I was 99% positive that in this breed, the bill color was linked to their gender. That is actually quite common in certain breeds of ducks, and I assumed it must also be true for Anconas, although with such limited information, I had nothing to back me up. But we went with it. We chose our two favorite peach-billed ducklings to call our own, and named them Dottie and Nana, because they were, of course, female. Then we ended up keeping Rye-guy, the poor little orange-billed boy with the neck problem, just because he was a mama's boy and needed extra love.
As time wore on, Rye guy started to get a green sheen in his new black feathers while Dottie and Nana didn't. I was convinced that I had figured out this duckling-sexing thing.
And then Rye quacked. Did you know that only female ducks can quack? It's true. The males make this funny sound that I can't even describe. But it's definitely not a quack. So, our boy duck was quaking, meaning that Rye guy was really Rye gal..... and then I heard Dottie and Nana..... Not quacking, but doing the male chirp. I was devastated. Somehow, our orange-billed dads and peach-billed moms produced a girl with an orange bills and boys with peach bills.  Or at least I think so.....I am still hoping I am mistaken and that those boys will start quacking..... The boys will get curly tail feathers in about 1 month, which will be the definitive sign of their gender.
So now, I am slowly accepting that our new flock is mama, rye (our girl with neck issues, so we are not sure if she will ever lay or not), and 2 boys (Dottie and Nana, which I guess we should rename!). We are realizing that we may need to re-home these boys at some point, as we definitely do not want more ducklings that are from mama and son, or siblings. I guess we will just have to wait and see.
For now, I am mourning my loss of 3 eggs a day, and Todd is making fun of me for being so "sure" I knew how to sex our ducklings. Oh well. Live and let learn, right? They are still hilariously entertaining, regardless of what their gender is. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Yarn Along

Happy Yarn Along! Joining with Ginny of Small Things today....

Between work meetings, school functions, and family obligations, I haven't had much time for reading or knitting this week. But when I have had a few minutes to knit, I have been frantically trying to finish some arm warmers for the children's cancer sweater-weather auction that my friends brother and sister-in-law are putting on. I am trying to knit a hat or a second pair of arm warmers for the fundraiser as well, and hoping I can find the time. I am looking forward to some quiet weekend nights to get some knitting time in. With the cooler weather, my fingers are yearning to hold some yarn!

I am still reading Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It, a non-fiction about bottled water by Elizabeth Royte and Sometimes A Great Notion by Ken Kesey. They are both a bit slow-going right now, especially as time to read has been measured in minutes these days.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Finn started kindergarten last week. We were all a bit nervous beforehand, as the start of last school year was not easy. Last September, Finn was diagnosed with sensory issues and anxiety, and there seemed to be never-ending hurdles. But, this was a new year, at a new school (without a foreign language), and our hopes were high.
And..... things have been pretty great! He didn't cry the first day of drop off, but bravely talked to friends old and new, and got busy with his play dough. The first 3 days were amazing: no crying, no pee accidents (which were much too common last year), and he was in high spirits at pick up. Thursday was not-so-great. I won't go into details as to spare my son's integrity, but let's just say that things went bad enough that I was called into school to come and deal with him. But, Finn and I made a plan and he has been having great days ever since.
The start of school hasn't been perfect, but it has been way better than I could have imagined. Let's just say that Finn has a couple of proud parents over here. Fingers crossed that this keeps up! Pin It Now!

Monday, September 16, 2013

7 Years

Todd and I had our wedding celebration 7 years ago today. So much has happened in those 7 years: the birth of our children, the loss of 3 beloved dogs and the gaining of a new cherished pet, new jobs, a new home, new friends, amazing adventures, stressful times, ups, downs, and everything in between. Sometimes it feels like our wedding was just yesterday, but other times it seems that so much has happened since we got married, that we must have been married forever.
Tonight we are celebrating with dinner out (without the children). It should be a good last hurrah before I head back to work next week and a chance to talk and listen without the interruption of children.
Happy Anniversary Hubby! Pin It Now!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Weekend Adventure

On Friday night we headed to a funky hotel about 45 minutes away for a belated birthday celebration for me. (For those of you familiar with Oregon, it was the Grand Lodge, a McMinnimin's hotel in Forest Grove.) We ate and drank to our heart's content, swam in the soaking pool (twice!), and even played a few holes of Frisbee golf. Even though we didn't go far, it was nice to escape the house for a night, and free my mind of all that I 'should' be doing.
Saturday, on the way home, we stopped by a small u-pick apple orchard to pick a few apples. This orchard was new to us, and was a bit disappointing.... the apples were pretty picked over and the signs were confusing... but it was nice to pick some of our own apples none-the-less. I do hope to head to Hood River again sometime in the next few weeks to go pick at our regular spot. I love this time of year in Oregon....

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