Friday, May 29, 2009

Mowers, Hay Bales and Sunburns.


Despite it being mostly cloudy yesterday, I've got a good sunburn on my kneecaps. That's because I spent about 4 or 5 hours on the riding mower.

Usually I take the push mower and Michael takes the riding mower, but trying to baby my knee, we switched. I wore a sleeveless, knee-length dress, and I'm sporting a sunburn to match.

Not quite done. At the end, I had Michael do the mowing around the wild blackberries at the base of the hill, since he know the rocks better than I do there, and I took over pushing the mower over the paddock. The horses don't eat it down very much since they have relieved themselves in there a lot, and the gate is too small to fit the riding mower through.

That was a lesson to the both of us yesterday. We have three gates, one to the paddock and two to the goat pasture, too narrow for the riding mower, even though they are 4' gates. I think we have a 52" mower deck. All new gates will somehow be wider to save time later.

Spraying kept getting put off due to incoming showers, that seemed to not materialize.

We took a walk into the neighbor's meadow filled with freshly rolled hay bales.

A self portrait.

On our list for today:

DONE - Bible study Genesis lesson #26
DONE - prayer time
DONE - cook eggs in a hat for Michael
DONE - morning animal chores
DONE - straighten house up
DONE - take unused seedlings and peat pots to compost
DONE - spray off front and back porches
DONE - vacuum out van
DONE - wash van
*RAIN- spray fungicide grapes
*RAIN- spray RoundUp along goat, paddock and horse pasture fences
DONE - pick bush cherries
DONE - weed herb and flower beds
DONE - work on rocks for an hour
DONE - finish mowing paddock
DONE - mow part of goat pasture
DONE - wash exterior house windows
DONE - mark out adjusted post placement for greenhouse
- re-pot houseplants
DONE - run errands
DONE - visit mom and dad
DONE - pick up clippings
DONE - prepare meals for shabbat rest day

Taking bets on how much we get done! LOL



Thursday, May 28, 2009

With Baited Breath..... Really.


Yeah, this smells like bait. Here is the single troip (Sea Monkey) that survived the hatch. Wonder if he'd taste good boiled and served with melted butter....?

Went outside to spray and Michael's cat, who has been demoted to an outdoor cat due to the hair factor, was lounging with some sort of tag afixed to her fur.

I feel like I live in a toxic soup.... But at least we will get food from the garden this year.



Here is the worst vine with the black rot. See how the spores are even in the vines, not just the leaves. I am doing the best I can to spray in between the rain showers, but we are getting so many of them...

We finished planting the cutting flower bed. Not too many, but it's only our first effort on this place. That lowest bed is succession planted sunflowers, then cosmos and annual 'babies breath'. At the end of it and a little of the row above are marigolds and daisies which I will transplant into the vegetable garden to encourage good insects.

Beautiful skies. I love spring skies in the south.

The neighbor was working hard to rake and bale the meadow next door before the next burst arrived.

And we finally planted beans around the corn, for our three sisters planting. Had to do a little weeding first.

We also planted radishes, parsnips, carrots, and turnips between other crops.

We have been home a lot this week. Swim team for Michael's home school is over for summer, we simply FORGOT to look at the clock and missed his Boy Scout meeting. Our usual Friday get together is not happening this week as everyone has something else going. But we had a really wonderful time at our usual home group last night. A dear family is going to come by and help us put in the pool liner next week, so we need to pick a day. And we got some help financially. We don't even usually have to ask, we just go about our days. It seems the Lord always puts it on someone's heart to help us when we need it, without even asking. So Michael, who used to be quite frightened about what would happen to us, no longer feels that way. He told me that he has seen that God takes care of us, even when things look scary.

Yup, Michael. I am discovering the same thing.



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Great Sewing Tip for Newbies - the Black Widow


Yesterday we had our sewing meeting. The teacher, our dear friend who took a much-needed vacation, had left and put me in charge. HA! But fortunately, with instructions that turned out to be a lot of sitting around a table with friends, just cutting and taping!

She buys patterns then makes them last a long time by transferring them to poster board, labeled, and hanging them, so they last forever with re-use. We had a pattern that she wanted transferred to paper, in all the sizes so she could help us make whatever size we needed.

The bodice pattern came in 10 sizes, from 8 to 26, and each size had an option of B, C, or D cup. So with 30 patterns to cut out all together - poster board was out of the question. Instead we were given copies to tape together and cut out.

I wish I'd have remembered my camera for you to see the mad chaos that ensued with hands speeding along, "Oooops! I need tape again!" and paper flying everywhere, but you'll have to just see some of the aftermath that I took this morning.

I did buy my own poster board so I can have a permanent pattern for myself. I imagine I will be needing to make several bodices over the years, and this pattern is a good basic one to elaborate on.

Here's half of the stuff we cart back and forth to the sewing meeting every Tuesday morning.

While loading up for sewing, Michael had to UNLOAD again the van, which is always in a perpetual state of gobs of stuff going in and out of it. We had these bags of lawn clippings in there for a day and a half. Michael was loading them into the wheelbarrow to haul them down to the compost pile when he noticed he'd been picking up a black widow spider along with them! Bad news.

I knew there was a reason for this tiny little bat!

Oops. Didn't quite get a dead on shot...

Isn't this photo sweet? One of my friends at sewing meeting misses her dad very much. She often wears his old shirts of which she kept a few after he passed a couple of years ago. She had a small photo of her mom and dad from 1955 which she hopes to put into an 8 by 10. So I took it home, since I am blessed with a very nice camera, and took a close-up for cropping and sending in. It would be better with some touchups, but I ran out of time yesterday.

All of our herb seeds are coming up now. These are the last of the ones we are starting in peat pots. The seeds were so tiny I did not want to direct sow and lose in all the weeds. So we have German Chamomile, Greek Oregano, Summer Savory, Winter Savory, Caribe Cilantro, Lemon Balm, Lemon Catnip, Broadleaf Sage, Anise, and Fernleaf Dill. I really wanted licorice, but it was out of stock everywhere I shopped for seed. Here's the dill.

Our indoor/outdoor lettuce experiment. We hoped the trays would grow indoors, but even though this house is very bright, it's still not enough for growing without the plants stretching for the windows. So they are outside now. These are my two that are doing the best, can't think of what they are called.

And most of the rest.

And some leftover celery that I have no idea what will happen, but we're going to keep watering it and see.

And this salad is so good in the summer. Healthy, light, refreshing, sweet, and makes a meal if need be. I know you've all made this before, but I thought I put out a reminder in case you'd not made it in a while.

Jello Waldorf Salad

1 large tart apple
1.5 cups chopped celery
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Mix them up in a bowl, and pour over them one large box of prepared, quick-set orange or peach jello; just enough to cover. Chill and enjoy.

Now that it's gone, I've got to make something else.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eye Catching Title Goes Here


Sometimes something comes to me and sometimes nothing does. Today is a nothing day and I'm blaming the whole thing on the prednisone I am on, which seriously interfered with my weekend.

I'm trying to beat down this lupus flareup and poison ivy rash, so I began taking prednisone. Along with prednisone comes lack of sleep and nightmares. I ended up waking from sleep Sunday night with a nightmare I won't even mention because it would give you the willies. Needless to say, my adrenaline was flowing pretty well and I remained awake the rest of the night. I did get my "To Do" list posted so it wasn't a complete loss, but the whole next day I was not worth beans. LOL

Poor Michael was such a trooper the whole time he was sick. He kept working a doing as much as he could. I fought some frustration that my son has to work so hard because his father barely sends anything and is apparently hiding from being served with papers to make his give proper support. Michael is helping me work jobs nights, or weekends just to try to make ends meet, while his father is off in another state, with a girlfriend, and keeping 50,000 dollars a year for himself while sending us about 5,000. And this week, we got nothing again. But Michael never complains and he's such a young man of integrity. I am a blessed mother.

I also know that God will take care of us, somehow, when each difficult thing comes, He makes a way. We just try to work diligently, put Him first, and go about our lives with joy and gratitude.

Sunday we got up, did a few things around the place and then took off at about 9 to do an office cleaning and try to visit my parents. We had no time to go to church that morning as we'd not been able to clean on Friday due to Michael being sick.

We dropped by my parents and left some things there, they had gone to an early service and came home, so we visited. Michael is turning into quite the shutterbug and took many pictures of their place.

My father, my son.

My mother, who has Alzheimer's, began chasing this dog away from the house with a stick. My dad would prefer to keep on good terms with it. It's a pit bull.

We are from California originally, or rather I am. My dad moved there with his family shortly after the Depression when things got too hard in MO for his family. They all migrated there. But we grew up in the country on a farm/ranch. When dad got older, he could not keep up with the work due to his neck vertebrae being fused. They sold and bought a place in town, swearing to live a life less buried in farm work.

The result is that you can take the boy out of the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the boy. They have the world's tiniest farm, on a city lot. The house still looks nice, but it works like a farm and doesn't fit in so well with the neighbors' places any longer. LOL

Here on the back lawn is one part of the garden, a netted hoop house. Dad also likes his songbirds, so he's got quite the menagerie, and they must be kept from the garden. We went out so I could show them how to harvest their cut and come again lettuce crops. He just built an outdoor sink area for the garden. Very handy.

And here is the result:


It was a nice visit, but we still had the office to clean. 12 operatories as well as the rest.

Yesterday we did a little work outdoors, but honestly I was still so messed up from the prednisone that not a lot was accomplished. I finished spraying under the last of the grapes when I'd finally had enough of our broken sprayer. We bought a 10 dollar replacement one at WalMart, which, given proper care, might last a month. LOL

We weeded and pinched runners off the strawberries. Watered and fertilized garden, the sprouts are all coming up, but struggling for nitrogen. I was going to spray fungicide on the grapes again, but we had intermittent showers between hot sun all day long, so it was not the best time. This also made BBQ for Memorial Day more of a challenge, but we got one in late.

Michael is trying to balance this fan that wobbles terribly. I've tried in the past and failed, but it sure is good to have another person here who is learning and trying new things. More and more often he figures something out that I haven't, so I appreciate his help more than I can express.

Our first radishes, tasty, sweet, delicious:

Our first Sugar Snap Peas:

Some daisies I picked from the horse pasture while down spraying for weeds and poison ivy around rocks.

And we spent time in the kitchen. YAY! I miss time in the kitchen. I hoped my parents could come for dinner, but they were not up to it. We made a few salads, some new potatoes, had delicious corn on the cob, and Michael did a great job BBQing some juicy, pepper-jack stuffed burgers. Served with banana peppers, BBQ sauce and other fine fixings. He was too full for the chocolate shakes I had planned.

When we had finished cleaning the kitchen, I took a picture of our table. I love the natural light, natural air... But it was a bit warm and muggy yesterday. Made me think of the future of turning on the cooler. It sure is nice to have a lower electric bill though.

So we played some card games, talked and laughed, until bed. And I did not have nightmares.

Now it's off to sewing class.



Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sea Monkeys!


Michael has been sick since Thursday. Yesterday, being our usual sabbath day of rest anyhow got him to thinking about our tradition of pulling out a craft or activity from the studio on Saturday afternoon. His choice was to grow another batch of troips, or what I used to know as Sea Monkeys, from the backs of comic books as a child. They should be hatching by Monday if they work. I'll post pics. Try not to fall off the edge of your lawn chair in suspense. LOL

I have figured out how to drag and drop pictures in a larger format here, using my Flock browser. I do like this browser, though I've heard that Firefox has an extension that is almost the same. I don't want to try another extension. My computer has about (__) this much room left...

Gardening successes and failures are coming to the forefront.

We started the last herbs we had in seed last week and these little guys are coming up. Aren't these German Chamomiles cute?

I did do a quick deadheading on my one fragrance-free peony by the studio.

Thanks to Tracy at Peaceful Acres We are trying to save a little money by finishing out our potato bins in straw. I'd heard of growing in straw but didn't think of applying it to potato bins. The bins are new to me, so it's an interesting experiment.

Blackberries and grapes are all pruned and tied up.

Flowers on the wild blackberries are white, these Doyle's are very light lavender.

The sunflower cutting garden. We're succession planting.

Not confident in our first pumpkin planting, in which we followed instructions for a 12" high hill in the garden, we dug a spot in a well fertilized area of the pasture and replanted. The stakes are high now in our competition. If we win, the other family has to dress up for the Christmas Ball.

An overview of the garden. Really a slow start this year.

Our first flush of Sugar Snap Peas.

Our second and third plantings.

We put in new melon seed one week ago. They are actually coming up this time. I think our spring was just too cool and moist for them. I'm so glad we are getting melons!

The summer squash are not doing well at all. The weather kept us from planting and I've read that if they stay in the pots too long before transplanting they will bloom far too early for their size. Just like this.

Michael gets 30 minutes a day for computer games. He doesn't use them up sometimes as we are so busy, but he got to use some saved minutes while sick on Saturday.

Where we went outside to enjoy perfect weather and work on our seasonal to-do list.
You can see, the front yard has had nothing done to it. The soil is awful. Some day! :)

Me, sporting that bruise from falling down while chasing the filly.

Seth, the Faithful Doggy.

Our initial lists, to be added to as we find the need. Don't know if you can read them. I'd like to put a list at the side of my blog that I can cross off here, if anyone can tell me how to do that.

Now that my list is done, I'm a lot happier!