quinn’s thirty-first month ~ a conversation with you




while the afternoon sun streamed in through the window he lined up the last 4 peaches (of the 40 i bought!) along the table and told me “i’m letting the sun put air into those peaches- then i can eat the air!” i have no idea where that came from- i guess he has some innate sense of photosynthesis, or has been listening to me when i talk about how
the baby plants need sun and fresh air and water… who knows?


quinn told me two days ago…. “well, mary beth, i want to have a conversation with you about that.” i can’t even remember the context now, but it was very sincere and awesome, and then we did have a conversation, that much i know.

he is quoting huge chunks of dr. seuss, like:

“i am the lorax who speaks for the trees
i speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues
and i’m asking you sir, at the top of my lungs
(he was very upset as he shouted and puffed)
what’s that thing you’ve made out of my truffala tuft!?”

i think he replaced”puffed” with some made-up word, but the rest of it was totally accurate….

then last night it was from “oh the places you’ll go” he had some of the lines out of order, but basically

“do you dare to stay out? do you dare to go in?
how much can you lose? how much can you win?
and if you go in, should you turn left or right?
[or right and three quarters] or maybe not quite?”

the part in [] is all he left out. i think he had win/lose in the opposite order, so it didn’t actually rhyme, but he’s doing “pretty good” as he would say.


last night all we did was snuggle, make a new batch of playdough (yellow was all dried up) and then play with the new playdough. i tried an experiment, and dyed it with beet juice instead of food coloring- it is AWESOME. i wish there were different color beets but this color is so cool. i had frozen ice cubes of beet juice when i boiled the beets from the veggie box… it was fun- 2 ice cubes made vibrant red-purple color playdough. the night before last he had told me “green is my faaaavorite color”. and then every single book i pick up to read him is “my faaaavorite book” clearly he’s experimenting with favorites… so last night after we made playdough- “red is my faaavorite color, mama.” i love it. i just always say, “allright! cool!”



veggie tally;  i wrote it down and went, dayum! that’s a lot!

this is not even including the veggies from the weekly veggie box i can’t fit into one week of meals for me plus toddler, that i just steam or blanch and put in the freezer, this is just the “processing” i’ve been doing the last few weeks….

3  8 0z tubs of arugula pesto (arugula from our garden)side note: quinn voice saying “‘wugula pesto” is really cute.
5 half pints of pickles
2 tubs of tomatillo salsa (green)


~from 50 pounds of tomatoes:
10 half pints of salsa fresca
9 pints of babs’ family secret tomato sauce (from AVM)
also from babs- 5 baby food jars of BBQ relish, 5 babyfood jars of sweet
and sour sauce (s&s has tomatoes and also peaches)
9 pints plain chopped tomatoes, canned
4 8oz tubs of tomato salsa (more a sauce, pureed thing)
13 bigger jars (between pint and quart- what classico comes in) of
aunt margie’s “freezer tomato sauce” (has tomatoes, onions, some grated
carrots, spices- can use as base for soup, to make into pasta sauce,
4 half pints of random mb tomato sauce- with lots of fresh basil (frozen)


~from 40 pounds of peaches:
18 pint jars canned sliced peaches, either in apple or peach-mango juice
about 20 peaches halved, frozen (all you do is dip in water with a tsp of lemon juice added)
about 20 peaches quartered, currently in food dryer

oh and i also listed my 18+ pints of blueberries, frozen whole. blackberries- 10 half pints, 10 12oz jars frozen, so far one quart frozen whole, and counting….
3 jars of raspberry jam frozen
5 jars of strawberry jam frozen

not a lot left to do, but i am planning on getting another fish (salmon) or two, which happens in september (which is now) and then i’m sure i will put away a bunch more veggies as they come, but not in such a crazy need-to-be-processed-and-simmered-all-day-and-canned kind of labor-intensive way.


veggies- i usually steam, sometimes actually “blanch” meaning boil for 2 minutes (i do this for corn, sometimes green beans). undercook them, either way, but make sure they do get exposed to heat, they don’t get mushy then, when they freeze and thaw. then in plastic bags. carrots- i have done so many sliced that last night i did this week’s bunch from the box grated instead, then steamed and froze in muffin tin to make portions then put those in a ziplock- for carrot cake! muffins, etc. i did zucchini that way too last week. but usually i just slice stuff. chop, for greens- kale, spinach, chard, etc. get chopped and steamed, put in a bag. LABELED. i have tons of green beans. some corn (like 10 ears).

i think that i will be happy this winter but something tells me this is overkill and i will still be eating these grated carrots NEXT september… like do i REALLY get the urge to make carrot cake/muffins six times in one year? i guess i will have to try….


kosher dill pickles (quick method) from “complete guide to home canning and preserving” by ann seranne- picked up this book used from 1950s and it is FULL of info…
4 quarts medium size cucumbers
4 cups vinegar
1 cup salt
3 quarts water

for each quart:
2 sprays dill
1 clove garlic
1 small hot red pepper

wash cucumbers and let stand in cold water overnight. (i sliced mine and then let stand in water overnight). put a spray of dill in the bottom of each jar, and pack the cucumbers into the jars, being careful not to bruise them. add a clove of garlic and a hot red pepper to each jar and place a spray of dill on top. combine the vinegar, salt and water and
bring to a rolling boil. fill the jars to overflowing with the vinegar brine. seal the jars, and store in a cool dark place.

i did closer to 2 quarts (it ended up filling 2 half pints and 3 12 oz jars but i can’t do math yet…) or cucs, it was 4 large ones all sliced. then i did half of the rest of the stuff- 2 cups vin, half cup salt, 1.5 qts water… and had lots of the brine leftover when i was done. i left out the red peppers. i used nearly fresh dill- had been drying for a week but yeah. pretty fresh. and then i searched the book to see- what does she mean by seal? it means: put the lid on it. i was like really? that’s all i do? close the lid? and…. put it in the cupboard? yes. that is all. really? yes, really.

it took a lot of convincing, but now that i am eating them, i am convinced. they are good.


firewood chores… i am used to lighting and running a wood stove, so that part is no biggie… but the cutting/splitting i have never done much of that, and as you  may remember quinn telling me “you’re not good at that, mama!” when i was splitting… though i am improving!!!

now that my vegetable junkie days are winding down, i am becoming firewood
junkie… i need to make a comic of myself- what is my “about me” on facebook? oh yeah “ecofeminist pacifist radical mama” carrying a chain saw and pushing out a 12 pound baby… this could be good.

there are two gigantic zucchinis in the staff room saying they need a home… i am so totally going to take at least one of them, if not both, home. CHOCOLATE zucchini bread.

Photo1492 Photo1483




quinn and i also had an awesome beach trip on tuesday night. we went to otter rock, and the sky was all hazy but pink with the sun coming through it, hard to explain, we were there for 2 hours of this type of lighting, so it was not exactly “sunset” but it looked similar. or felt similar. just nice lighting. of course my battery was dying on my phone and i did not bring my real camera…. sigh. but quinn had all his sand toys and i had my book, and we sat close to the water where there were lots of little pebbles and sea glass to search through, and i brought home a pocket full of tiny treasure and quinn had a blast driving his trucks in the sand and making sand castles.

last night he did some artwork… he did this cool glitter paint thing- red glitter paint on red paper, which usually he does and it looks like one big blob in the middle, but he was really “drawing” with the tube of glitter paint this time- squeezing it and moving the bottle around so it would make squiggles and he was saying he was drawing “pretty mamas and pretty quinns” and stuff. it was so neat. he actually at one point had a big round thing and then added two smaller round things beneath it, and as he drew them he was like this is a head, and a hand, this is the other hand… WHOA. then he was going to paint up on the easel (glitter paint is a floor activity) and i asked him what he was going to paint (note- he never actually DID paint it, he just talked about it and then opened and closed the paints 10 times) and he told me, he would paint “mama and quinn. and our heads, and a shirt, and a neck. [being very expressive] your neck, and my neck. [pointing with his hands and touching my neck and then his] and hands.” he was so focused on that that is the way the heads attach to the hands- there is a neck in there, and a shirt.




wednesday with quinn was fabulous. naked nudie swimming.


just before lunch time his dad called me that he was having an issue with quinn… he had taken him in the boat, as planned, and they had hauled it out on the beach so he could clean the bottom of the boat, but quinn was FREAKING OUT. and dad basically had tried everything, couldn’t get him to calm down, but needed to get the boat back in water and back to dock before the tide changed/wind came up etc. and so he called to see if could come and help, a little early for lunch break. of course i went- quinn sounded FRANTIC in the background. as soon as i got there (seconds later- it was near work) he calmed down, but he was SHAKING he was so upset. and it took all day to sort out what had happened for him, but i guess he had been really worried about a) the boat floating away b) the boat “falling down” (tipping over) c) “it wasn’t at the orange house, and it wasn’t at the shop, and it wasn’t at obie’s boat” he was in an unfamiliar place d) some guy had paddled up in another boat, while quinn was upset, and i think that startled him. he told it in this way “and then suddenly, a guy in another geen boat with a paddle, came over…” the “suddenly” makes me think it upset him further… so anyway… i took him back to obie’s boat (the dock where his dad ties up the boat normally) and it was all good, and then we bought a salmon and went home. i put him down for nap and went back to work i think it really helped quinn that i came, and also that we stopped on our drive back to obie’s boat and watched dada crossing the bay in the green boat, seeing he was just fine, and again seeing him come back to obie’s boat and being just fine there too. poor kiddo. he was overtired last night by the time he went to bed, needed to call dada on the phone. earlier in the evening “i need to see my friend dada” etc. and so i think they are fine- they
reconnected after nap. quinn also needed to talk to me on the phone when he woke up this morning. such a sweet baby. last night before bed, i was carrying him back down the stairs after a failed attempt at early bedtime, and he stopped me on the stairs, and i held him there while he told me the whole story again “and then suddenly…” the whole thing. he had this look of near-crying on his face, and i just listened while he told me the whole
thing. he was so traumatized! we have no idea why… poor baby.


i think it was an entirely new situation for him- no they had never gone anywhere in the boat, except for out for a sail, then back to the same place. never point a to point b before… so that in itself was new. and dad of course explained it, in detail, knowing that. but still… quinn said something about (in the moment, when i picked him up) going instead to the shop and working on the big green boat (the one dada is building, as opposed to the little green boat they sail in, but usually don’t WORK on like yesterday) so that was my first clue he was just confused and bewildered, like where are we???? and then as i walked him to the car, i was parked in a familiar spot because we were near the crab dock (that’s where his dad beached the boat) and quinn then got a clear view, from the normal perspective (they usually walk to the crab dock, not sail to it) and was like, “it’s the crab dock and dada doesn’t even know it’s right there!” so odd, because i know his dad knew and TOLD quinn that was where they were- but maybe quinn felt like they must be lost, since it didn’t look the same (they were kind of behind and underneath it, where they were, so he didn’t really recognize it as the crab dock until i took him “ashore”….


today he was going to try to take him “back on the horse” today for a little ride- normal though, back  to dock. if quinn is up for it. i imagined he will be fine with it, they are doing a lot of fishing lately and last night quinn was telling me about fishing: ” and then i cast my bobber. and then i reel it back up! and then i cast it again! and then i reel my bobber in…. and then i cast it again!!!” he was very animated and excited to tell me this. yesterday, before the panic attack, they actually caught a little trout, so i think quinn was super stoked about that. dada has been trying to catch salmon, and i think he is starting to get the hang of it. quinn apparently can cast like a pro. his dad said he was practicing with him, in the parking lot outside the shop, and quinn was getting it across the lot- like 50 feet. i am kinda floored by that, havent seen it myself but honestly i doubt he is exaggerating. that kid picks things up so fast!



the thing i immediately thought of, with the freak out, was that quinn might have been flashing back to when we tipped a little bit in the boat, that one day. that day he was panicked, and “i don’t want the little green boat to fall down!” and so on. and he used some of those words again, but honestly he might have done that because of me. i think i asked him if he was scared and may have even suggested that as something he might have felt scared about, so maybe i influenced him. who knows?! it is so hard to tell. i think it was just one too many things and he got simply overwhelmed, and could not be consoled.



quinn was almost instantly better when he melted into mama. he was fine by the time we saw dada going back across- and i was glad i thoguht to do that, and that he was fine enough to go straight back to the dock rather than straight home. otherwise i don’t know how much of the situation he would have grasped even afterwards, but i think he did grasp it, once he saw his dad come back. during the freakout he was crying- very much so, and sort of freaking out in a like toddler yelling kind of way. fussing more than crying but it was like…. he is NOT a happy camper, i could hear that over the phone. he was clinging to his dad so his dad couldn’t deal with getting the boat back in the water or basically DO anything at all… so even though quinn really wanted to get back in the boat and go home, dada couldn’t make it happen because quinn wasn’t understanding the situation and was preventing him from making it happen….




last night quinn and i made carrot “muffins” totally carrot cake, but in muffin cups. and when i asked if he wanted to make them he told me, yeah, and i wanna have a yot of parties! by that he means, we light a candle, sing happy whatever to you, and he blows out the candle and eats the muffin. that’s a party.



quinn didn’t nap yesterday so when i got home he was still awake and STAYED awake… until he had sat in his high chair dipping dried bananas (from my hawaii friend) in yogurt and eating them…. and fell asleep IN THE CHAIR.
so he went to bed at 6:30. at 8 i asked him if he wanted to wake up, or keep sleeping. he couldn’t even answer, he was OUT. so i let him sleep… and went to bed myself at 9:30 thinking he’d wake up at 3 or something…. but he slept until almost 6! yay! it was very nice. and i got to see him before work because he was actually awake, so that was nice too.




i am going to yoga now. i need it. and why i need it so much is part of the story- i hurt my back yesterday getting firewood. but it’s ok. it didn’t hurt when i was carrying the wood, but later when i was in the grocery store with q i felt it “twinge” and turned into like, almost like the pain i felt during labor (not nearly as intense, but same category of pain- like a cramp, or a clenching?) and i was like uh-oh i messed myself up. and it HURt for a while…. i couldn’t bend down well to get quinn up and out of the store…. then he struggled getting into car seat and i was like IT HURTS and scared him. yuck. but he was ok and i was ok… but hurting. i dropped him off at his dad’s and didn’t get out of the car, i just went straight home and took a hot bath… i felt so much better. on the way home i had this memory of other people saying that back injuries and back pain, are about not feeling support. that is the psycho-somatic aspect of them anyway…. and i cried. thinking about how i’m hauling this stupid huge wood and no one is here to help…. and when i got out of the bath i felt so much better and i feel fine today, a tiny bit sore. in need of yoga, achy, but not bad. and i’m so happy, i feel like i got away with something… like i got a freebie or something! all day yesterday i was on a high- it was a super awesome, perfectly ordinary day. and much of that high, was feeling SO self sufficient! the not feeling supported thing was short lived i guess…. but man. it was like a warning i need to be careful with my body!!! when i was lifting the wood into the car, it felt light. when i went to take it out of the car, i was AMAZED how heavy it felt- how the hell did i lift this UP into the car when it is so heavy lifting it DOWN now??? all i felt earlier had been out of breath cardiovascular work out but not strenuous lifting. adrenalin i guess.


on wednesday quinn and i woke up at 7, and were lazy for an hour or two… rainy day… then we drove out to forest yet again (last time though- my permit expired) and i drove in to a couple places i had noted down (i kept track of mileage so i knew where i had seen potential spots with good pieces of wood to grab) and the very first spot i stopped, was like a gold mine. and someone had left these HUGE logs already cut to the right length for putting in car (width of car, so like 4-5 feet long, and like over a foot diameter- HUGE). i jsut started hauling them out of the woods and into the back of the jeep. i got four huge ones and my jeep was almost full. then i threw in two small ones. and we hit one more spot, got a few more small ones, and went driving back out. quinn was a BABE for all the firewood trips, i must say. as usual i rewarded him with his choice of beaches.


i LOVE the term “ripe” when applied to learning. i think this is so true, i am SOOO in this camp. for a while, i think i was a little more hurried about it, like teaching quinn to sing ABC song, etc. at a (what i feel now is) too-young age. and then of course, heaping on the praise when he “sung it right” which alfie kohn has thankfully cured me of doing. there was a period of 6 or more months when we did NOTHING to do with letters. i just stopped “pushing” it (which i hadn’t even realized i was doing- i wasn’t pushy in the way most people think of pushy, either… but still, it was significant when i stopped). and now, quinn has recently started walking up to me, carrying his laminated letter cards that i made him when he was a year old, asking me to talk about the letters. and i’ll make funny sounds and say funny sentences using words of the letter we’re looking at, and when he loses interest i DROP it. like a hot potato. and that has been nice. he recently has been very interested in pointing out to me, in storybooks we read together, “those are words, mama!” and putting his fingers on the actual paragraph of type on the page of illustration… and he’ll ask me to do sentences over, “what do those words say?” and i’ll point with my finger to each word, and say it. then go on with the story. he seems really happy with this, but he doesn’t want to go over and over it, and frankly neither do i. he just seems pleased that i will stop and slow down and do it, when he wants. otherwise we read at our normal pace.


it is so awesome to see him learn all the time. last night i was picking him up from his dad’s. he had invented a game with a fishing rod he was holding, that was actually just the lower half of the rod, with the reel on it- but missing the tip. so it was shorter, less likely to break i suppose. he realized the little screws that dada had lying on the floor of the “big green boat” he is building, would fit perfectly in the hole at the tip of his half-rod, without falling into the hollow part. and then he realized, if he “casted”, he could fling the screw across the shop!!! holy cow. so funny. so not something most parents would allow. we were trying not to laugh. and ducking for safety of course… but honestly, it was totally safe. there was no way it could hurt quinn, and he was totally learning physics, and all kinds of other lessons, as well as just being innovative. we sort of took it in stride. he did it two or three times, then moved on to playing with the reel, and proceeded to lecture me on the parts of a fishing reel (“this is the drag, mama”. and no, i didn’t know that before he told me… learning all the time, indeed! from our children!)

learning is just an every day occurrence of real life, and we learn about what we are interested in learning, and we are interested in learning what is pertinent to our lives. i have been thinking i really need to get quinn a tour of the waste removal company in town… mr. garbage truck!!!! he’d be so happy if he could sit in the cab of a garbage truck. speaking of garbage trucks, yesterday we were driving home from collecting firewood, and quinn saw a red garbage truck going the opposite way… and he wanted to see it again, but i told him, actually, that garbage truck is driving south, and we are going north, which is the opposite direction. he was quiet for a while. then i was chattering about whether we should stop at south beach on the way home, (which would be on the way, it’s just south of newport, and we were driving back from even farther south…) and he told me, “yeah mama let’s go to south beach and see that red garbage truck.” oh man. so i found myself trying to explain that actually we wouldn’t be seeing the garbage truck at south beach, and trying to figure out explaining north-south direction concept to a two year old, and how to explain that south beach is just a name, but it was still on our way headed north, going home…. wow.

then we went to south beach and said hi to the ocean, and spent most of our time there splashing in the puddles in the nearly-empty parking lot (it was a very rainy day!)

by the way, our garbage trucks in newport are white, this was a red one from the next town south…. they are SO LUCKY in waldport.


he is the sweetest most awesome kid!!!!! its just the best thing in the world to come home and have him jump up in my arms, smiling big, and put both his hands on my cheeks and just look at my face. like i haven’t seen you all day! and you’re here!!!!! it’s so cool to know someone loves me so much.


it’s hard to get anything done most days, you just want to sit there and marvel at the things he says and does…..
3 missed naps this week…. sigh. dada says he is TRYING to nap, but he is also interested in getting back up to play, and dada is taking that as a compliment- he wants to play with dada. i think it’s true. and i think dada is very PRO NAP he’s not like really ok let’s always skip nap! he wants the nap to happen… but he is not pushing it. and i agree with how he is approaching it…. it’s just a bummer for me this week i guess. hopefully he’ll get back on track because he’ll probably nap for me both sat and sun (he did on wednesday).




puddles last wednesday


back of jeep at farmer’s market on saturday- rainy at the beginning, so he got to play in the car.




yesterday at ona beach- wading, playing with watering can, nearly naked by the end of it again. 🙂



it was a nice weekend but not very eventful here either. which was good. the market turned sunny and warm about an hour into it (first hour was pouring rain) and i did REALLY well. i have 18 dipes to make for next week… unfortunately my fabric got shipped to my old portland address and so i’m really going to be cutting it close… but that is life i suppose. oh and this saturday i will be selling my 100th diaper as a result of these orders… so that’s a big deal! it’ll be lonely there without trina but i am sure we will be fine. not really lonely- the market is full of friends, now. but lonely IN our tent. i will have to bring paint again for quinn.


yesterday was just glorious. i slept in and woke up with quinn, who was cute and sweet and snuggly. we went to panini and then spent hours at ona beach. it was just lovely. then i made soup (it really is like saying hello to fall!) and sewed while he was at his dad’s, and picked the rest of the blackberries, and took a bath.


i had lab meeting at kym’s house yesterday- she lives on the beach. at 3:30 i was driving by the bank and the sign said it was 94 degrees! holy crap! i think it was actually in the 80s, not 90s, i think our thermometers in newport do not work above 85!!! they are not really used to going above 60, rarely 70, and even more rarely 80…. it was GORGEOUS. and kym had coronas and limes ready for lab meeting. then i left at 5 to go and pick up quinn at his dad’s… back across the bridge… i was over the driving. quinn and i went to the beach straight from his dad’s- just right there, had no diapers, nothing. i just felt like we didn’t need to go home yet. so we ended up staying there for 2 hours and watching the sunset. just before that, i saw whales spouting! two of them, surfacing a few different times – just the spouts, couldn’t see the whales, but it’s rare to be able to see them from the beach at all. there was a surreal calm on the ocean, and every now and then the very gentle breeze would shift direction and this super warm air would come across from the land, instead of the slightly cooler breeze off the water- it was just amazing. perfect. we made sand castles, a fleet of sand turtles, and melted stuff with the watering can. quinn had so much fun. i love him. we went to bed at 9:15, after hot dogs and a few books. he is so cool. i love days when we decide let’s spend the whole evening outside and not do anything we don’t want to do! it was so nice and warm. he kept his shirt on, but was bottomless the whole time we were at the beach. hilarious.




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