Monday, July 31, 2006

bella ella

bella ella, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

elsa and ella build a teepee

elsa and ella build a teepee, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

floyd tree

floyd tree, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

hopper hunt

hopper hunt, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

2 out

2 out, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


john, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

From Rocky Knob

From Rocky Knob, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Crayon Cookies

Here is a great project from Kiddley for all those pieces of crayon in that big box. They are like big chunky tie dye crayons.

princess starhead

princess starhead, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


Ella says that the ipod is a safety device that must be worn while mowing the grass.


o's, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

put it here

put it here, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

miss ella's element

curtsey, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Pool days

We went swimming. It often seems overwhelming to wrestle the little one into the pricey swim pants and slather them both with SPF 50...and then keep all heads above water, but we had a great day at the park yesterday.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

porch melon

porchmelon, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Portland, oh how I miss your fruits and vegetables

I read Cafe Mama for the first time today, and Portland was looking like a fine place to live. I didn't really think so when I lived there, but sweet jesus, why do we live in Smalltown? I know, because I cried until my husband agreed to move back here. John, I am so sorry. There are so many more people like us there. Ninety nine percent of everything is better, especially the fruits and vegetables.

Monday, July 24, 2006


He said a sheep.

So, what does the little guy want for his birthday? Something with wheels that turn, ribbons to suck on, a cheerio dispenser, gears, levers, a boob, and a nice smile. I have no idea. I tried to put some things on my Froogle Wish List but really ended up putting on some things for Ella. She is easier. She says, "I need a 'marvel' roundy roundy thing. " "I need a doll exactly this tall with paprika hair."

I want a playroom without plastic, but I have to have those peek a boo alphabet blocks. That just wouldn't work in wood. After that, no more plastic.I don't want any media related toys or books when there are so many other great choices. I'm Waldorfing it up around here.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Floyd Fest

Floyd Fest is next weekend. Here's what the Richmond paper had to say about it. We'll be headed over there for the weekend. I'm thinking that Iris Dement is just some sort of karmic retribution for me. ( And yes, karmic retribution in the positive sense)

Vibe travels 37 years to hip county in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Jul 23, 2006
No doubt about it, rural Floyd County is one of the hippest places in Virginia, with the latest generation of hippies, artists, nature lovers and every sort of laid-back refugee from the urban rat race living shoulder to shoulder with the easygoing local farmers.

The place has become part paisley, part pasture; half hemp fashion, half hayfield.
And one reason Floyd has gotten so hip is FloydFest, a musical extravaganza held every year in a wide field surrounded by woods and mountains where thousands gather to groove nearly nonstop to the sounds of dozens of bands and singers over several days.
Mix folk, bluegrass, blues and gospel with rock, punk, progressive roots music and even a little klezmer on seven stages, then make space for music fans to set up tents and campsites, practice yoga, get a massage, attend sessions on composting and ethical consumerism, and drink wine from local vintners and beer from local microbreweries -- then you've got a FloydFest. And somewhere in all that there's belly dancing.
If it sounds a little like Woodstock to you, you've got the right idea.
"FloydFest is pretty groovy," said Brian Gearing, publicist for FloydFest 5: Roots Alive, which runs Thursday through next Sunday.
"I think what Woodstock was trying to accomplish, in terms of getting people together and creating a sense of community for a generation, FloydFest actually succeeds in doing. Not for an entire generation, but for the people there for the weekend."
This year marks the fifth consecutive year that thousands will flock to Floyd to imbibe the festival's funky vibe. The show is staying true to its goal of providing music for all tastes, offering roots music from sundry traditions and in myriad styles.
Sixty performers and bands are scheduled to play for the festival. Rockers include Los Lobos, Donna the Buffalo and Sun Dried Opossum. If folk is your thing, you can check out Eddie From Ohio, Iris Dement, David Bromberg or Tim O'Brien. Gospel acts include the Campbell Brothers and the Lee Boys, while the hot Southwest Virginia band No Speed Limit is among the bluegrass acts.
Other groups, such as Railroad Earth, the Drew Emmitt Band, and Adrienne Young and Little Sadie, help give the festival its roots flavor. Gabby La La, who plays electric ukulele and sitar, among other instruments, adds a weird funk to the lineup, as do Hawaiian ukuleleist Jake Shimabukuro, the eclectic Vulgar Bulgars and the jam band Still Willis.
Many of the acts have played FloydFest before.
"They love to come back because they realize we're not a fly-by-night festival," said organizer Erika Johnson. "They know they're going to get paid."
Johnson and her musician husband, Kris Hodges, dreamed up FloydFest just over five years ago. Johnson had opened up Oddfella's Cantina in downtown Floyd and brought in musicians -- including Rhonda Vincent -- to play on its small pine stage. The music proved so popular, the couple decided to create the festival on an 80-acre field next to the Blue Ridge Parkway just south of town.
The first festival drew nearly 5,000 -- though many of the attendees had complimentary tickets and attendance increased the three following years. This year, Johnson said, attendance could top 10,000 for the first time.
The festival fits in nicely with Floyd's emerging reputation as one of Virginia's most vibrant musical centers. The town is part of the state's Crooked Road, a series of bluegrass and mountain-music venues across Southwest Virginia. The Floyd Country Store, which hosts bluegrass jamborees every Friday night, has become a must-see stop on the road. On weekend nights, both music and musicians spill out into the town's streets.
FloydFest features plenty of mountain music and bluegrass, but it also aims to appeal to the counterculture communities that began thriving in Floyd three decades ago.
As Gearing, the publicist, put it, "The convergence of freedom-loving migrants and natives has created a truly unique place where the traditional mountain sounds of bluegrass and old-time music have fused with influences ranging from African makossa and Caribbean reggae to Brazilian percussion and Irish Celtic music."
Or, as Johnson said, "It's such a cool scene."
Contact staff writer Rex Bowman at or (540) 344-3612.

red shoes

We went to Roanoke today to the Mill Mountain Zoo. Ella had been there with daddy, but the baby and I had never been. It was shady and tiny and just the right size for a little man to look at monkeys, cows, owls, sheep, pigs, and snakes. The animals are mostly rescue animals, and there is even a common crow in the aviary. We took a spin on the zoo train and a hike up to the Star. Cait, we love these shoes.


you, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

skirtwing brainwarp

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Goose Eggs All Around

I guess you can tell I've been doing more reading than writing. We've just been busy wrestling the little monkies. We had a wonderful week of playing with friends, going to the library, and trying to teach the baby the english language. He is quite amused with our attempts. Last night he said "dog". He is loving farm animal noises, and is trying out a grin so big that his nose wrinkles. He has a goose egg on his forehead from his attempt to climb the steps today, and Ella has a pretend goose egg just because she doesn't want to be left out. I also think that she likes to say goose egg.
Last night we picniced in Blacksburg and heard some bluegrass. This morning Ella and I strolled to the farmers market, and there was a band at the local coffeeshop. We sat in the floor and ate a box of blackberries before heading up the hill with nine little yellow squash in a bag.

Steppin' Out

Hillbilly Savants: Steppin' Out

Hillbilly Savants: Exploring Appalachian Language

Hillbilly Savants: Exploring Appalachian Language

Hillbilly Savants: the everybodyfields.

Hillbilly Savants: the everybodyfields. This is sounding good and twangy. Did you hear that John recently called me a grit?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

thumbs up

On the way to the pediatric urologist at UVA yesterday I heard my husband of eight point some years use a new word. Winkie. We were going for a post op winkie check. It worked for the moment. The winkie has been declared as perfect as any other winkie, and we don't ever have to go back. Whew!

claytor lake

claytor lake, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Urban Henhouse

Jape's japes: Portland, every time I think I'm over you I read something like this...


frog, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

I got Ella a copy of Ed Emberley's Fingerprint Drawing Book while she was away, and today she was completely engrossed in it for more than an hour. She almost makes it harder than it has to be, but I think that using one's toeprint is a viable creative idea.

goo goo goggles

goo goo goggles, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Friday, July 14, 2006


house, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

If you would like to buy this house for 169K and be my neighbor please drop me a line. I'd make a stink and move in myself if I had the money or the strength. It is next to the prettiest house in town, and the guys on the other side look rednecky and harmless, and they could always fix your lawnmower if it broke. This house was built in 1876 and has four bedrooms, gas heat, and a two car gargage. It is a few blocks from Main Street and you could walk to the park, river, and the library. There is an awesome children's librarian there. You could walk with us to the coffee shop or to the natural foods store on the way to the playground. The schools are good here, but your kids may acquire a pretty unbelieveable drawl. You are going to need some rocking chairs for that porch. Lowe's is about two miles away.

summertime, and the livin' is easy....

ella of the caribbean

ella of the caribbean, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

scooter arabesque

scooter arabesque, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Thai Mango Salad

Ingredients: 2 limes1 tbsp (15 ml) soy sauce or fish sauce,1 tbsp (15 ml) granulated sugar
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced OR 1/2 tsp (2 ml) hot red chili flakes2 tbsp (30 ml) peanut oil, salt to taste,2 ripe but firm mangoes
2 sweet peppers, preferably 1 red and 1 yellow,1 medium carrot, coarsely grated,2 green onions
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped fresh mint or coriander, 8 cups (2L) mixed lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces if necessary,1/3 cup (75 ml) toasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Instructions: Finely grate peel from 1 lime and place in a measuring cup along with 1/4 cup (50 ml) lime juice. Whisk in soy sauce, sugar, and jalapeno pepper until sugar is dissolved.
Gradually whisk in peanut oil until blended. Add salt to taste. Set aside.
Peel mango, then cut away chunks of fruit from pit. Cut into thin strips and place in a bowl.
Seed peppers and cut into thin strips and add to mango.
Coarsely grate carrot and thinly slice onions and add to bowl along with mint.
Toss gently until combined.
Place lettuce and mango mixture in a large bowl. Toss with dressing until mixed. Add nuts and serve.

climbed in

climbed in, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Monday, July 10, 2006


john, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Today is John's eleven month birthday.


lunch, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


hike, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

John and John

John and John, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

my young husband

My younger man turned 39 yesterday. We celebrated by hiking up to the Cascade Falls in the Jefferson National Forest, a four mile hike. Baby rode on John's back most of the way and had an open air diaper change on a chilly yet flat rock. It was a greening primordial forest with thousands of boulders the size of buses, and I would not have been that suprised if I'd seen a three story dinosaur crashing through the woods. The falls were worth every step.

I made John some tuna steaks on the grill and an enormous salad---and organic strawberries dipped in dark chocolate. We are going to have cake next saturday when Ella comes back because she kept asking me to save her some of daddy's birthday cake.

monkey man

John has correctly identified his first animal, a monkey. It is funny that he recognizes the animal he most resembles. He can't quite walk, but he is trying to climb things.

poultry from the sky

While Ella and I were canoeing at Hungry Mother a feather, a large one, floated down from the sky. Looking up a the broad expanse of sky we could not see any bird. If we were native Americans, I suppose that we would now be bird princesses.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


ella, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


rain, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


fish, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


swim, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


turtle, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Lil Duck

I have a witness. John will be eleven months old on monday, and he does say, "Little Duck". This really isn't that amazing, as we did have Ella pretty much walking and talking like a big girl on her first birthday. He also says "Raisin" quite clearly. Ma ma ma ma is a given, as well a Da da and the number one word, "Ella". He knows where all of us keep our eyes, and he can find a bird in a picture. I'm signing to him a lot, but he doesn't seem to care or notice. I'll keep trying.

gourd birdhouses

gourd birdhouses, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Note to self. Get this yard as soon as possible, preferably with a porch full of rocking chairs to watch the birds.

Did you know that running your car into a big rock is known as a "collision"? I need a job. Anybody need a babysitter?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

yin and yang

Today is my first post vacation day at home. Baby and I are on our own. Ella is with her Granny and Grampy until next weekend, and I'm missing her immensely. We have lots of projects to do, painting two rooms, staining the deck, and the downstairs bathroom. Not to be overly ambitious, but I'd like to work in the yard a bit too, put a few plants in by the new steps, pull some more weeds, and move the sandbox into the front yard.

On the fourth of July we went to a wildflower garden outside of Lexington, Virginia. There are six acres of native wildflowers, a beautiful house and outbuildings, goats, and a lily pond. I instantly wanted to move out to Floyd and plant wildflowers. The air was buzzing with pale blue dragonflys and swallows. Ella hiked the garden paths with a most friendly dog.

We went to the fireworks at the parade grounds of Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. I had a boyfriend there back in college and remember being dropped off there at the front gate with a ballgown and a bottle of champagne for their Ring Figure Dance. The romance didn't last; He wanted a ranch house with a deer head over the fireplace and had what I considered an unnatural affection for war. Ross died not long after college in a car accident on New Year's Eve.

Ella watched the fireworks thinking that each burst MUST be the finale. She must have said that fifty times. "That is the finale. That is the finale. That is the finale." At four, every burst is bigger than the last.

Our car lost a four hundred dollar bit of decorative molding to a rock on the Washington and Lee campus, leaving John none too pleased, and my camera is trashed--crushed LED screen and non functioning flash. Well, you have to take the bitter with the sweet.


balloons, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


ellagranny, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


turtle, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Ella and John wait for the fireworks

ellajohn, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Just when I want to not have any more plastic toys in our world, I go out and buy the world's largest inflatable plastic sea turtle. I knew we would be playing in a pool here at the hotel, and I thought that John could ride in one of those inflatable baby seats if I were taking the kids to the pool alone. Well, I couldn't get one for him and not for her, so I let her pick one thing. It is big enough for her to nap on. I'm a two faced plastic buyer. I've always had a vision of a huge Mount Trashmore of Fisher Price plastic things discarded after the baby grew up, and now even I am contributing to the brightly colored plastic wasteland.

Marie and the mountain she climbed

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Happy 29th Birthday to Sally TerBeck in Portland, Oregon


magic, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

in and out

We are back from the woods and headed for town, Lexington, Virginia to be exact, for a hot air ballooning fourth of July shindig with John's folks. I downloaded one hundred and thirty photos from Hungry Mother State Park, most of them mushrooms and various fungi. After all the raining and the pooping and the throwing up we had a wonderful time. It was like camp with gin and tonics intead of bug juice.

canoe ella

canoe ella, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


shovels, originally uploaded by ellajohn.