Saturday, April 30, 2011

The mini tiller works its magic

So here you can see the first thing I tackled with the mini tiller.  I think I need to get the rake and fix the edges along with using a shovel to tidy them up a bit.  Bit it took out that grass that had invaded about a food in about 20 minutes.  And no, that black rain spout isn't permanent but it'll do for now.

The peas are in the ground.  And I got out the drip line.  I will not turn on the drip line until mid June probably.  Of course lots of people are praying it stops raining around here.  There has been some flooding because of the clay soil and lack of drainage plus the huge snow pack.  I wish people would pray that we'd be blessed with the right amount of rain instead.  

 Here is the view facing east.  First row- garlic, second and third row - big daddy onions. Fourth row - romaine lettuce, white and purple kohlrabi.  Fifth row - columbia cabbage.
 And here is the view facing west.  Sorry about the mountains being blown out. It really is a great view.  Here is the last row - peas.  I set the trellis 2 feet from the property edge to give myself room between the sunflower weeds that grow in the lot next door and my garden.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Transplanting cold weather veggies

As you can see I finally got my transplants into the ground. The kohlrabi can actually be planted closer than I thought.  And so it shares the row with the lettuce.  We found out recently what a terrible deer problem we have.  Every night 13 of them hang out in our yard. Our neighbor across the street said his dog barks every night around 10:30 or 11 p.m.  He took out his spotlight and saw 13 pairs of their alien eyes looking back at him.  ugh.  I'm trying organic garlic clips to see if they help keep them away from my apple tree.

 Columbia Cabbage
 Purple Kohlrabi - it's really kind of pretty!
 And these are not transplants but I had to share how big my alliums are now and the deer don't like um.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My new garden toy

I received my check for a class I taught recently and cashed it, except for the part that goes for tithing.  Then I ran to the Honda dealer and garden store and spent it all.  I've been wanting one of these for years.  So I talked Tyler into letting me have my check for gardening purposes.  I didn't think it would be enough for this but it was.  It's 9 inch wide Honda F110 mini tiller.  I wanted it so that I could keep the weeds out of my flower bed and use it between the rows of my vegetable garden to keep the weeds down.  I just don't have the energy to hand weed.  And it's too windy to put most of the things I'd like to grow in a square foot garden.  
I tilled up half my garden plot the other day.  And finally got my lettuce, cabbage, onions, peas, and kohlrabi in the ground.  Photos soon, I promise!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Humanitarian Aid Birthday Party

My basement still smells like Irish Spring. How did that happen? Let start by going back a few weeks. My daughter and I were looking through the photos of Japan and the devastation when she suddenly stood upright and resolutely said, "That's it. I don't want a Tangled birthday party. I want to do Humanitarian Aid Kits." Tangled is Disney's latest princess movie - my favorite I think.  And it's all the rage with elementary school girls.  But she changed her mind and then the planning began. 

 She wanted her friends to bring stuff to make those kits instead of gifts - although someone brought her a balloon, another brought her s bracelet, another some bubble gum, and even a bubble blower that works really well.  We gave each of the kids a Medic Arm band with their name on it.

They brought toothpaste, toothbrushes, unbreakable combs, bar soap, and hand towels.  She had 15 friends show up.  

We ate pizza, cake, and ice cream, and guzzled down a few liters of pop.  Then my daughter opened her gifts and after that we set out to put together the kits - 32 kits in all. 

 I just need to pick up a few more hand towels.  We have some left over bar soap which I think the center will take, if not I'll donate them to the Food Pantry to help locally.  After eating we helped them put the kits together in gallon ziploc bags. We finished a bit early so Tyler put on a movie in the theater room.  Sudden silence - a nice break after the chaos of the past few hours. Their parents had to practically drag them away.  We got out the bubble blower and had fun with the last few that were left.  As I sat on the side walk watching the children run after the bubbles, my heart was full of joy.  It was great to enjoy their laughter and to know that I was able to help with something that allowed them to run and jump and giggle.  But I really have to give credit to my daughter.  I've never felt what I felt at her birthday party.  Usually they are about giving and putting on a fun show.  These kids were all giving including the birthday girl.  I hope that she remember this day.  

Some of the children had to leave early for another birthday party but we got a bunch of them in our final photo.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Growing our own food

So I found out the tomato seeds really like sprouting in these peat cups much more than they like the little  trays - see the last photo.  The cold weather vegetables really did well in those trays, especially the romaine lettuce. We are growing Roma tomatoes and Early Girl's.  I want to grow the Romas for tomato sauce that I want to can this year.  I tried just a little last year and froze it.  It was wonderful in our spaghetti sauce.  The Early Girl tomato plants produce like crazy.  They are great bottled too.  I love them in my pico de gallo salsa like stuff that I freeze in the Ball freezer jars.  
Someone was feeling bored here waiting for me to say we could head outside and let him plant the peas. Daddy was at school for birthday lunch with our oldest.  He brought donuts for her class.  And he brought Subway sandwiches so she wouldn't have to eat school chili. After lunch he came home early and then we picked up the steer compost and covered our garden with it. 
And these plants are nice and prepared for cold.  They just desperately need to go in the ground.  As soon as it's dry enough to till - I promise.  It's been soaking wet this spring even with the lake melting earlier.


I just thought these two photos of me on the same page would add a little lightheartedness to the day.  To be honest, I didn't think this day would ever arrive, and I certainly didn't think my life would be so good again.  Not so lighthearted.  I'm very very grateful.  Very...  

5 years ago today I was sitting on the bathroom floor talking on the phone with my dermatologist who told me that my CTscan came back and that I would need to go in for a needle biopsy. The huge spots in my chest were in the pattern of lymphoma.  They needed to find out what kind and then start treatment.  It was chaos for the next few weeks as I had a biopsy done inside my chest between my lungs down next to my heart.  Not long after, I began chemo once every two weeks - for SIX long months and then 5 weeks of radiation.

Well since then I have done a lot of recovering, physically and emotionally.  I still battle fatigue.  I had to have some organs removed because they were falling out of my body - that chemo is a doozy! And I had to have some tacked back up in place.  Now I recover slowly.  I get sick often.  I space things out.  I am no longer the go-getter I used to be.  My thyroid is dying but the recent meds have made life so much better. And I'm here! I have learned to sew.  I finally got published by Creating Keepsakes magazine.  I hug my kids every day as many times as they'll let me.  I kiss my husband as often as he'll let me :) We travelled the Oregon coast.  We've had big birthday parties for my children. I could go on and on. 
But to be honest, sometimes I get a little upset when I hear someone has just found out they have cancer and surgery worked to remove it.  But I know on the other hand there are wonderful people who pass away at a young age from cancer.  I guess I got to be in the middle of the bell curve.  

The doctors aren't through with me yet.  I have to stick with visits until mid-December when I reach the 5 year mark for completing cancer treatment. So here we are - I made it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I am super excited about these plants.  It's the first time I've added them into the garden and I've admired them for years all over town.  The deer don't like them because of their onion/garlic taste. Being deer resistant is a major plus here! And the bulbs not only divide but they produce seeds that also produce more plants.  Makes me wonder if it's going to be a jungle next year.  Regardless I planted two varieties. These little ones were 65 cents a piece.  The larger 3 are just starting to poke through the ground and they were $5/each.  Depending on which I like best I'll be heading to the garden store in the fall for more giant purple puff ball blooms.

I'd like to mulch this year but I think that at $54/yd for river rock (I need something that will not blow away) I'm going to have to wait a while - or just buy one cubic yard of river rock and add it to the west side of the house. We'll see what the budget can handle.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Improving the Garden and the Environment

We purchased 3 cubic yards of compost from Millers weighing about 1,000 lbs/yd. It took two trips to get it.  It was only $15/yd which is nice on the budget.  I also found out Millers has a prepared mix ready for Square Foot gardens.  They've already had the soil tested and made sure that the Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium levels are where they should be. Which makes me happy because my Dad is making an awesome 10x2 foot square foot garden for me out of galvanized steel.  Buying or making compost is good for the environment.  We don't have mature trees or even enough grass clippings to make our own yet so we purchased it.  And it's really helped the soil.  Not only is it rich and produces beautiful vegetables (my cornstalks triple in width when I apply it) but it also makes room in the soil for air and water.  We have some seriously dense clay here.

It's been a cold wet spring here.  You can see all the snow on the mountains in the background.  In fact it snowed last week and I'm pretty sure we'll have snow in May too.  Although we'd welcome rain instead.  They, whoever they are, are worried about flooding this year.  I guess there are two borderline rivers here in our valley.  We live up on a foothill so we won't have to worry too much.

It is nice to have this garlic sprouting.  You have to plant it in October.  And I put the wire panel up to keep the tiller out.  After it gets tilled, I'll move it to the other end of the garden so I can plant the peas and trellis them on it.  I'm buying my own mini tiller this year for sure.  I talked Tyler into letting me use the money from my last class to buy one.  I just don't have the energy to weed by hand anymore.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Drought Tolerant Plants

I think these are gorgeous little understated plants.  The end of each stem looks like a rose but rather it's just the shape of the leaves.  These are drought tolerant. Break off a piece and stick it in the ground and wow! More sedum. They are great to stick between the cracks in rocks and we have plenty of boulders that are just perfect for this plant.  Want to know more about Sedums - there is a list of the top picks at Better Homes and Gardens. I love the flowers on the lighter green version I have out front  - bright pink.  Beautiful tiny little things!

A new chapter in life...

My oldest has been in dance since she was 3. My son is finally old enough to be in soccer this year and Daddy jumped at the opportunity. He's the coach. The field is so tiny and the kids are so cute! One cute little go getter scored 4 goals before anyone else had the chance to do anything. I've never been a soccer mom before but we brought juice drinks for the kids and I took a lot of photos.
 My son was so excited to be around other people we often had to tell him to watch the ball.  He just wanted to socialize.  But he had fun and once he got the hang of it, he actually started going after the ball.

  Run Dash, Run!

And HE ...

Wish I'd had my camera set to continuous shooting at this point but I was also having to shoot around parents too.  So I've learned my lesson.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Who do you think you are?

Have you watched this show? If you haven't or would like to watch an episode or two again, it's on HULU.  It's pretty interesting to watch the process - of course some of them are paying people to find the info for them - but it's all very interesting. I especially loved the show with Ashley Judd because it taught me to not only find the names of my ancestors but to also find out their stories.  What was going on at the time in the places my ancestors lived?  What were they sorts of things were they involved in? I know there are a few Union soldiers in my family.  I know some of them lived in Maryland in the 1700's.  This show increased my desire to find out more about them.

Here is something super useful in any family history search.
Find links to death and other certificates, the grave #'s, and grave marker photos at Find A Grave

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Cold weather Vegetables

It's seriously been so cold this spring.  These poor plants are still in my window sill.  They are going outside next week regardless of whether they'll live or die.  And the peas are going in the ground.  Had I purchased the compost last fall like I had originally planned, I probably would have done this already.  The ground is just too hard and the soil too compact to get away with another summer without the 4 inches of compost I've been wanting to add.  It's really hard to add it into the garden when the wind is blowing you away and little bits of ice are stinging your face.   

And another thing I want to purchase this year is a mini-tiller.  Who needs 3 foot aisles?  And I can't get away with square foot gardening because of the wind. So many options!


Monday, April 04, 2011

Love Languages

I love this kid and his sweet little face.  

I count myself lucky to have him as my child.  Yes, there are times I wonder why he is so fussy or stubborn, but he is mine and he makes me want to be a better mother.  The past few days have been beautiful outside and we took advantage of it and spent some time working in the yard.  He helped me dig the grass out of the flower bed directly across from breakfast nook. It makes me crazy to look out at the flower bed and see only weeds knowing somewhere in there are tulips. Then he helped me clean up the fluffy mess left in the grass by the voles. He worked really hard and I was feeling blessed to have him by my side.  

On Thursday before heading outside again we had an afternoon snack with his sister and while we were sitting at the breakfast table I asked him what he likes best: 

When someone does something nice for him, like make his bed or find his shoes?
When someone gives him a compliment?
Or when someone spends time with him?

His answer totally surprised me because it was none of those things.  He said, I like it when people give me presents.  


His love language is GIFTS?!

What? All I had to do was ask? So I tried an experiment the next day.  I told him I had a present for him and gave him a piece of gum.  He was so excited and better behaved all day.  I started to think things over and realized that the $1 nerf gun from the thrift store was just as great as the custom monkey from Build-A-Bear.  It's not the cost but the frequency.  SO having said that, my goal is to make sure I give him some small gift as often as possible.  When he feels loved, he is more likely to want to spend time with me and help around the house and yard.  He wants to be around the people that love him.  And I want him to feel loved. 

And this little girl is growing up so fast.  But her love language was easy to spot.  She gave me a hug when she was just a tiny baby.  This hug even brought tears to my husband's eyes when he realized what was going on.  She likes to curl up next to me on the couch and I put my arm around her as she reads.  She is reading Anne of Green Gables right now and we are going to have a girl's movie day when she is done with the book and before she reads the rest. She is so happy that it's 18 AR points.  She is almost at 100 which is pretty good considering she has a busy schedule and we do a lot of activities together as a family.

Did I mention I realized what my love language really is? For years I thought it was something else. Thinking back I can see how it has really shaped my behavior.  Any guesses? 

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Decorating with Family History Photos

Decorating with Family History Photos:

I love this idea for displaying silhouettes:

And this one on Andrea's Blog

Check out this display and other great ideas at the SimpleSong blog

And this is a family history chart I bought back when Martha Stewart had a store.  I wish I had purchased one for myself but I only purchase two - one for my in laws and one for my husband's grandparents.