Slice of Life 0 comments on Dig deep

Dig deep

Dig Deep Into the Dark Ground
Pen and watercolor on paper, 2013
by Kelly Louise Judd

I’ve long admired this painting. I keep an ever-changing (mostly growing) Pinterest board of emotions and sentiments, and this piece by Kelly Louise Judd has been one of my favorite entries for several years. Digging in the dirt is cathartic, and I should do it more. Yesterday evening as dusk crept up I dug up my sunchokes (Helianthus tuberosus), threw the stalks into a low spot in the garden (where I’m sure they’ll attempt to resprout), and then drove out to a neighbor’s house to happily accept a gift of almost 20 chickens and a goat. As you do.

Freshly dug sunchokes still covered in dirt piled on a tray on a table.
I dug my sunchokes yesterday.
Slice of Life 0 comments on The sun came out. I’ll be okay.

The sun came out. I’ll be okay.

Annie Tuttle holding a coffee cup with the text “No. 1 Dad” outside with house in background.
I’m tired. The sun is out.
I made a joke with my coffee mug.

The warm sun finally came out this morning and I practically tripped over the puppy on my way out the door to go stand in it. The forecast suggests I won’t get much more of it this year. I have a headache and I’m thinking of having a third cup of coffee even though the first two weren’t very satisfying. Still trying to decide if it’s funny or if I’m terrible for drinking out of this mug during Erik’s deployment. Little bit of both?

Slice of Life 0 comments on Tuttle Family Portrait 2019

Tuttle Family Portrait 2019

Photo of Tuttle family taken in 2019
From left: Olga, Annie, Clara, Erik, and Gavin Tuttle.

We had our family portraits taken late this summer for the first time in more than 10 years. We were a bit overdue. It’s a little bittersweet to post some of them today, because it is the first day we all woke up without Daddy at home. Today marks the first day of Erik’s deployment with the Oregon National Guard. He’ll be gone for almost a year, making this his longest deployment. Gavin and Olga don’t remember (or only have fuzzy recollections of) Erik’s previous deployments, and this is Clara’s first. In all this is Erik’s fourth deployment.

Erik and daughters Olga and Clara
Erik with Olga (15) and Clara (9)
Erik and son Gavin
Erik with Gavin (13)
Annie and Erik Tuttle
Annie and Erik Tuttle
Tuttle Children
From left, Olga, Clara, and Gavin Tuttle
Tuttle Family portrait 2019
Tallest to shortest: Erik, Gavin, Olga, Annie, and Clara Tuttle
Slice of Life 0 comments on Learning to draw

Learning to draw

I watched a class on Creative Live called Drawing the Everyday Everyday by Kate Bingaman-Burt. It has been on my wishlist for a while, and today it happened to be streaming for free. I’m glad I was able to watch it. I’m going to give drawing a try for a while.
Slice of Life 0 comments on A short outing in the rain

A short outing in the rain

On Sunday we were all home together and well enough recovered from our various colds that we bundled up and headed into our woods to hunt for a Christmas tree. It was wet. (Disclaimer: Walking along railroad tracks isn’t safe or legal and you shouldn’t do it. Unfortunately it’s our only access to part of our property.)

Clara is the only one in the family still short enough (and the only one still shorter than me) to get wet up to her middle from the tall grasses.

Gavin checked in the brush along the riverbank for a suitable specimen.

We still look pretty good together.

Slice of Life 0 comments on Passing the Unworked Field

Passing the Unworked Field

Queen Anne’s lace

          is hardly

                    prized but

all the same it isn’t

                    idle look

                                      how it

                    stands straight on its

thin stems how it

                     scrubs its white faces

                                with the 

rags of the sun how it

                     makes all the


                                           it can.

Mary Oliver, Swan
Making Things, Slice of Life 0 comments on Firewood carrier

Firewood carrier

Since we heat almost exclusively with wood in the winter (our propane furnace is set to kick on only when the house gets below 55 degrees) we (and by that I mean our kids) make many trips to the woodpile each day. Wood is heavy, awkward, and messy, and for years we have used a standard laundry basket to haul it. The laundry basket usually lasts a season before it is broken and must be replaced. Last winter we switched to a shallow Rubbermaid tub, which so far seems a bit sturdier, but is still unwieldy. 

My dad has a leather firewood sling that seems to work well for him, although his firewood usage is primarily for ambiance. I thought I’d try to reproduce something similar to see if it could make the task of bringing in wood a bit easier. I used two old pairs of dungarees, one for the body of the sling and the other cut into strips for the straps. 

Pieces of firewood are stacked on top of a denim firewood sling, which is next to more wood stacked on the floor near a hearth.
The tote opens flat for loading and unloading.
Continue Reading “Firewood carrier”
Slice of Life 0 comments on Olga’s goat at the Benton County Fair

Olga’s goat at the Benton County Fair

Olga and Dulcie's ribbons and Reserve Champion Showman trophy.
Olga and Dulcie’s ribbons and Reserve Champion Showman trophy.

This week is our county fair. It is also over 100 degrees today, which does not bode well for the animals, either here at the farm or in the livestock sheds at the fairgrounds. Thankfully, both locations have plenty of water and people looking out for signs of distress. This morning I couldn’t convince our sow, Littles, to sleep under the shade structure, so I covered her with wet bath towels. She seems happier for it.

Olga answers the judges questions during the 4-H Junior Showmanship class at the 2015 Benton County Fair.
Olga answers the judges questions during the 4-H Junior Showmanship class at the 2015 Benton County Fair.

Back at the fairgrounds, my oldest daughter Olga’s 4-H goat is doing well. I think she enjoys this life of luxury and attention. She is used to  actually having to forage for her own dinner, so having it provided in a tidy little feeder is sort of like getting breakfast in bed all day long. A school group came through this morning to learn about the animals, and Olga taught them a bit about goats and brought Dulcie out for snuggles and scratches.  Continue Reading “Olga’s goat at the Benton County Fair”