Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rain, Blessed Rain!

Overnight last night, it started raining.  A soft, gentle, soaking rain.  Just what we needed. We topped out today at not quite 1.25 inches of rain.  DEFINITELY a beneficial rain.
I'm hoping that the garden will really start to take off now.  I've got a few overachieving tomatoes that already have blossoms on them, even though they are only about a foot high (Amish Paste and Black Sea Man).  But the !$*# birds have pecked off every little tomato that Mom gave me.  Grrr...   And something has eaten all the lower leaves off about 5 tomato plants.  Every leaf up to 8-10 inches is gone. Not just snipped off- gone.  Who knows- I've never had that problem before. I can't imagine bunnies eating tomato leaves but we seem to have an inordinate amount of baby bunnies around this year after the mild winter and early spring.
Now for a bit of random babbling.
In randomness I've found amusing in the news recently- the "Zombie attack" in Miami and of course, the Homeland Security word list.  I was amazed at that list.  I must have been 'pinged' as a possible terrorist many times. I mean, really... with words like: storm, snow, blizzard, pork, Home Grown, cloud, disaster preparedness, power lines, flu, virus, tornado, hurricane and a host more, reading pinged content must be a tedious job at DHS.
In 'not so much fun' news, our local landfill is on fire and has been for 6 days.  Officials are letting it 'burn out'. It appears that a fire started and spread to the 3 foot layer of shredded tires that they use to protect the liner.  So, there has been a huge plume of gray/black smoke to the southwest of us.  Makes me glad we live where we do and that the wind has been favorable to keep it away from us.  We were in that part of town on Sunday afternoon and the stench was terrible.
Today was the last day of school for the boys.  I now officially no longer have a child in elementary school.  Oh, I feel old.  I was hung up at work but V went to K12's 6th grade graduation.  Of course, he didn't take the camera (sigh).  But, now, all children are home for the summer and will probably eat us out of house and home.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thatsssss a very nice cake you've got there...

...shame if someone blows out the candles before you do.
My darling middle child is now15!!

Happy Birthday Boo!

And hopefully those familiar with Minecraft will recognize the creeper cake. Justine helped with the decoration.   I15 was thrilled.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More Deck Photos

V worked so hard on the deck and it is such a fabulous outdoor space that I wanted to share some more photos with you.  He is quite pleased with himself, with good reason.  We have spent more time outside in the evenings than ever before enjoying the space.
Above, the view from near the new stairs toward the south. You can just see the west side of the pergola and the sun curtains on the left.
The whole shebang!  It's huge and wonderful and really changes the look of the house. This view is from the Southwest
The master carpenter near the dining space under the pergola, with the outdoor curtains drawn to filter the late afternoon sun.  This is the old section with the new beyond the curtains.
And some of the details that I love:
V hung my favorite candle sconces.
And we have 6 hanging baskets of flowers surrounding the deck.  You can also see the copper post caps that give it a lovely finished look.
There are still a few things to finish, including the handrails on the stairs but it is quite useable and a wonderful space to sit and enjoy the weather.  Yesterday after dinner I sat out and watched the birds.  I'm always amazed at the variety we've got. In just a few minutes I saw mourning doves, robins, blue jays, a cardinal,  an indigo bunting, a Baltimore Oriole, goldfinches and a multitude of sparrows.  We even spied a tree frog creeping along the railing one evening over the weekend.
All in all, I'm thrilled and so, so happy that the man I love could and would do something like this.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Random Holiday Madness and Unicorn Poop

First of all, let me wish a peaceful Memorial Day to you all and say THANK YOU to all those who have served and sacrificed for our freedom.  We often take for granted the freedoms we enjoy.

Today is a random day.  Some gardening took place- although not as much as I would have liked since I pulled something in my back over the weekend and, while I'm moving much, much better than I was yesterday, I'm still a bit stiff and sore so no heavy duty weeding for me.  I managed to plant the little tomatoes and peppers that Mom and Dad brought up last weekend but still need to find homes for the 4 little maple seedlings they brought.  I also watered the garden early this morning since the 'storm' that went through only produced sprinkles for about half an hour.
This afternoon, Justine and I baked cookies.  And not just ordinary cookies.  We made Unicorn Poop!

I saw a link to the original instructables on Root Simple yesterday and knew that we needed to make these. Of course, this gives us our yearly allotment of food coloring but they are so much fun.
We did some adaptations that I found easier.  I used the recipe that we normally use for the candy cane cookies that I make at the holidays and divided it into 6 separate bowls, each which became it's own color of dough- yellow, orange, red, blue, green and purple.  The original directions called for making tiny snakes of each color and shaping these together.  While this works, it is time consuming and a bit frustrating.  Justine discovered a different technique that works well and was much faster with the dough we were using which is quite soft.
 Take very small bits of each color (a scant 1/2 teaspoon of each)
 Roll these very lightly into a ball.
 Roll into a rainbow snake
 and shape into the perfect pile.
 Bake in the oven and when cool, decorate.
 We brushed these lightly with sparkle gel (the only thing we had to buy- the rest of the stuff we had- WHAT?  Doesn't everyone have edible glitter in their cabinets???) and added edible glitter, candy hearts, butterflies and flowers.  And voila!  Sparkly Rainbow Unicorn Poop Cookies! Because everyone knows that unicorns poop rainbows and sparkles... and these even taste good.  Justine is taking some to the birthday party of one of her friends this evening and I will take some to work tomorrow.  Justine is also thinking that these would be something fun to do in the dorm kitchen this fall.

In non cookie related randomness, we finished the back steps for the deck this weekend.  We had to build a secondary retaining wall and backfill behind that to get the base of the steps to the level of the new patio that will be built in back of the house.
That deck is definitely providing much needed protection to the back door, both from sun and rain.
The rose that Justine and I planted by the arbor we built is blooming.  With the crazy weather we've been having (we hit 94*F yesterday) it feels more like July 4th than Memorial Day.
Ah... look at the color of those roses.
With the added space on the deck, I've got more flowers than I've ever had before.  Meaning that we're using odds and ends of planters that have been picked up over the years.  Don't you love Mister Skull Head's colorful hair?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Finally, some rain and IDC

We had some measurable rain last night,  YEAH!  Not much, only 0.35 inches, but I'll take whatever I can get as the garden has been dusty-dry. We had some very light rain showers off and on all afternoon yesterday but nothing that was even enough to make the sidewalk wet.  However, last night, after we finally settled down after graduation and went to bed, the thunder started rumbling and the rain fell.  It made for nice sleeping- I love the sound of rain on the roof and rumbling thunder.
I remember that it is time for an Independence Days update. I've been pretty slack recently with these.  Not that anyone is keeping track or that it is any kind of contest but I find it useful to keep track of what's happening in the garden and what I've managed to get accomplished.
Plant something- Let's see: watermelon, Tigger melons, zucchini, Long Island Cheese squash, luffa gourds, nasturtium, and I replanted the sunflowers by the chicken coop (the combination of dry weather and trampling by chicken viewers at the party took their toll).  I still have some tiny tomatoes and peppers that Mom brought to me last weekend that need to find homes in the garden as well as some maple seedlings that they brought- amazingly enough, we have NO maple trees anywhere on our property.  I've also been doing some planters and hanging baskets for the deck.  This is such a bizarre year for the garden.  I know by the calendar that I'm right on time for planting but everything else makes me feel like I'm horribly late.  The weather and growth of trees/grasses/wildflowers make it feel more like late June than late May.  We are 4-6 weeks ahead of usual for many plants.
Harvest something- spinach, onions, a few sugar snap peas (again- they never made it out of the garden- oops), the first of the strawberries, eggs (42 this week) and a few herbs.
Preserve something- froze leftover veggies from Justine's graduation party and some extra bread as well.  That's about it- it has been so dry that the strawberries aren't doing much and the peas are also minimally producing so we've just been eating them.  Not sure that it is 'preserving' but Justine and I started a couple batches of lavender sugar (2T dried lavender flowers mixed with 1 cup of sugar- let sit for a few weeks, shaking every day or so- then sift out the flowers) to use in baking and such.  I'm imagining the dough for snickerdoodles rolled in lavender sugar rather than cinnamon sugar.  Hmm....
Waste not- the usual- composted, recycled, scraps to chickens.  I've been cleaning up and re-using some old pots to plant flowers for the deck.
Want not- hmm, nothing gone into storage other than excess party food.  I did make another batch of laundry detergent since we were out.  Justine and I did a run to the fabric store yesterday for their Memorial Day sale. They were having patterns for $1 each (normally $15.95 to 17.95) and the fabric already on clearance was half price.  Now, sometimes the clearance fabric is there for a reason (think hideous!) but sometimes there are some great deals.  I got three fabrics for the quilting stash and Justine picked up fabric and a pattern for a shirt and fabric for a scarf.  In all, we spent less than $30 on almost $200 of merchandise (mostly patterns- we got our limit of 10!)
Eat the food- pretty much the usual. Now we've got lots of beef in the freezer again (for the past few months we haven't been eating much beef because we've been essentially out).  We've been working our way through leftover cheese from the party as well.  And don't forget spinach salads.  Mmm....  But with the hot weather, it looks like the spinach is starting to bolt.
Build community food systems- nothing I can think of this week
Skill up- nothing here, either.  I've been in sanity-survival mode this week so haven't done much new.  But now that we're past graduation it should be smooth sailing.
I've almost made it through May- our super-busy month.  Whew!  I've only got a few more things on the schedule.  Tomorrow is a memorial service for my uncle who passed away a few months ago. Wednesday is I14's birthday and Thursday is the last day of school for the boys.  Still a busy time of year.  I also need to get weeding!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Class of 2012

Graduation is over.  Hooray!  Congrats to all the class of 2012.  May you have bright futures.

Proud Daddy and daughter.  Now on to the next chapter.....

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A video

Roger recorded part of Justine's recital on Saturday.  My camera battery was low and wasn't letting me shoot video so I'm glad we got part of this.  I thought I'd share:

You can see just how messy the shop is!

Two Misses

Two misses tonight.  First, the line of thunderstorms that was headed our way broke apart and, of course, passed just to the North and South of us. sigh... we could have used some rain.  We have had such dry and windy weather recently that it has been really rough on all my little plants I put out in the garden.
The second miss of the evening- our anniversary.  V and I had planned to go out to dinner but that didn't happen.  He is ill with a stomach bug (probably the one that I14 brought home with him on Monday) and hasn't eaten anything.  Oh well... I was determined to not have to cook so the children and I did Chinese Takeout from our favorite place... mmm, General Tso's Chicken....
Graduation is tomorrow night.  Justine had her last day of high school yesterday.  Today she spent the day doing 'responsible adult' things.  She opened her own independent checking account (she has had a savings account for years), got her 'real' driver's license- not the intermediate one, and had a job interview.    The Travelodge motel just 2.5 miles down the road is hiring- I believe for a front desk position.  She is really hoping for a job so cross your fingers for her.  My little girl is growing up.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Independence Days- Catching up

I think with all the craziness going on around here I've missed two weeks of updates... I think....  Honestly, I'm not really sure.  But anyway, here is a quick update for about the last two weeks.
Plant something- Where to start...  Little tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are in the ground as well as numerous herbs starts and flowers.  I did a new flower bed by the South wall of the house and by the West side of the deck- so V doesn't have to mow too close to the retaining wall.  I'm sure there are a few other things planted as well- oh- Sunflowers. I'll be planting more this afternoon but that's for next week.
Harvest something- spinach, chives, walking onions, green onions, radishes, kale, the first of the sugar snap peas (I'll be honest- they didn't make it out of the garden!) oregano, thyme, basil and eggs (86 in the past two weeks)
Preserve something- Froze extra veggies and some of the turkey slices from Justine's graduation party.  I'll probably also be sticking some extra bread in the freezer as I can't imagine we'll eat it fast enough.  At least there isn't that much of it left.  Most important of all, I've managed to preserve my health and sanity this week.
Waste Not- composted, recycled and fed scraps to the chickens.  I do feel a bit guilty about all the disposables we used at the party.  I briefly contemplated going through the garbage and picking out all the plastic cups to recycle but I'm not sure I'm up to that.  I'll have to work extra hard at being sustainable for the rest of the year to atone, LOL!
Want Not- our beef came in.  Of course, of all the times to get the call that our half a cow from our Amish farmer was being processed- we got it last week.  So, Wednesday afternoon, in the midst of everything else, we drove the 45 minute round trip to the locker to pick it up.  I was so busy that I didn't take time to sort and reorganize the freezer like I usually do so it is kind of a jumbled mess in there right now.  I'll have to make time someday soon to sort and organize.
Eat the Food- Deviled eggs at the party- yum!  spinach salads.  One thing I served at the party was a block of cream cheese with some home canned peach salsa poured over the top.  Yum!  People marveled at the food but I also didn't want to serve a lot of processed crap.
Build Community Food Systems- picked up our beef from our farmer friend.  Justine took eggs to school for her 'On your own' class (A class for seniors to learn things like budgeting, basic cooking, laundry, etc- she is well ahead of the game so for her it's an easy A).  Eggs also went to one of Justine's friends, with my brother and with Roger and Sharon.  We stopped at the farmer's market last weekend While not food- Justine picked out earrings for me for Mother's Day and I got some for her as a birthday present But I did pick up little chamomile plants.  Oh, and I almost forgot the plant sale!  I donated 5 flats of plants to the plant sale and worked hard to introduce people to heirloom varieties and answer gardening questions.  I was excited that several people asked by name for some of the heirloom varieties I had sold them last year.
Skill up- umm......  not sure.

See, there has been more than party prep going on.  Even though we still have a busy rest of May things hopefully will be returning to as normal as the get around here.  Coming up:  Justine's last day of school is the 23rd- the senior day of service where the entire senior class goes out and does community service.  Our anniversary is the 24th, graduation is the 25th, then there is Memorial Weekend, I14's birthday on the 30th and the boys last day of school on the 31st.  Whew!  We're in the home stretch now!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A few photos of the weekend

Whew!  I'm through the busy part of the weekend.  Hoorah!  Now, we've got another grad party to go to this afternoon and then I can start focusing on other things.  But I thought I'd share a few photos from the weekend.
Here, Justine and Mom display the afghan/bedspread that Mom crocheted for Justine for a graduation present.  My Mom has made a bedspread for everyone as they graduate.  We still use the one she made for me on our bed in the winter.  She has already started working on I14's.  The graduate gets to select colors and pattern.  What a wonderful, thoughtful gift.
The senior recital went well.  Of all things, they had the recital in the pole barn- partly because V and Justine did a violin, electric guitar duet (Ashokan Farewell) and because the acoustics are actually pretty good.
 There was quite a crowd gathered for the recital. People came and went throughout the afternoon, a few timed their visit to be present for the announced recital at 2:30.
 Above, my parents, brother and SIL chat during the party.
 Justine and friends gather to watch a slideshow of photos.

And finally, everyone went home... until later!
A select group of friends reconvened in the evening for a birthday party.  Of course, they congregated in the kitchen around the island.  And, yes, we resorted to plastic cups and paper plates. you can slap my hand now but I was NOT going to do that many dishes.

And finally, this morning:
The graduates got a blessing on their future endeavors in church.

This afternoon, I have been blanching and freezing extra veggies.  I knew ahead of time that I would have extras and had already planned what to do with them.  I think I mentioned that I made sure to not get anything for the party that we would not eat ourselves.  Of course, when I managed to pick up a 5lb bag of prewashed, cut up cauliflower at the Outlet for $1 I was seeing cauliflower soup in the fall....

Now, it's off to Ashley's grad party.  I'm feeling much more rested after 10 solid hours of sleep last night but I'm still feeling a bit worn thin.  But later...  the rest of the garden planting is calling to me!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

One down....

One to go.

Justine's grad party went well.  There were many, many people here and we had lots of yummy food.  Amazingly enough, even with as many people as were here, we still have lots of food left over.  Mostly raw veggies, cheese and crackers.  Of course, I made sure that there we didn't get anything that we wouldn't eat ourselves.  So, probably tomorrow I'll be blanching and freezing some of the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.  We like veggies but not that many all at once.  And while we've got lots of food left, the thing I had to send V to the store for mid-party was for more stuff to make punch.  We had strawberry lemonade to drink and people couldn't seem to get enough of it.
Of course, some of that food will go tonight.  About 20 of the friends here this afternoon are coming back tonight at 8 for a "private" birthday party.  They were all warned that they would be getting leftovers and were fine with that.  Evidently they were all impressed with the spread I put out.  Justine is baking gluten free cupcakes at the moment for the party.  Her boyfriend is in town for the week from Colorado where he has been living for the last year (school and work) and he is gluten intolerant.  He is one of the reasons we had a wide variety of foods at the party. Not only did we have several people who are gluten intolerant, we had someone lactose intolerant and one of Justine's friends is Muslim (from Egypt) so I made sure to separate anything with pork products.  So, items had little allergy alert/ingredient labels on them.

I'll post some photos tomorrow I just don't feel like taking them off the camera at the moment.  Justine also had her senior violin recital during the reception so everyone got to hear her play duets both with her teacher and with V.

Now, I'm tired.  I've got a bit more cleaning up to do (the kids DO NOT get my good serving dishes tonight!) and then I'm DONE.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Frantic Friday and an invite

I'm still here.  Things have been running at a frantic pace around here.  The combo of graduation prep, deck construction, work and the busy time of main season gardening have been keeping me hopping!
Currently, V is out mowing and I'm doing inside stuff.  The deck is finished except for the back stairs off the new section.  We need to fill in more dirt behind the retaining wall before we install them and that isn't likely to happen before tomorrow.  Once V is finished with the mowing (J18 or I will do the edging later today) we will make the marathon loop of shopping- not just for last minute party stuff but a few other stops as well.
We lost another chicken this week.  I came home Tuesday from work and went out to gather eggs.  They all came running out to greet me and, as usual, I did a head count... hmm... one missing.  I assumed that she was in the nest box.  But, sadly, as I entered the coop she was lying dead partially under the nest boxes.  Who knows. She had seemed fine the day before and everyone else seems healthy.  So, RIP Claudia (one of our Rhode Island Reds).  We are now down to 9 hens and Magnus.  Is it bad of me that I was disappointed that if one died it wasn't Magnus?  He has been such a jerk lately.  I know he's only doing his job of protecting his ladies but really.....

And now for the invitation part.  Since we are expecting quite a crowd tomorrow, a few more won't matter (we're planning for 100!).  So, any of you in the IC area that want to stop in and see the house, farm and the new deck- the party starts at 1:30 on Saturday the 19th.   You can do a meet and greet with the chickens!  And see my weedy garden...  and all the renovations we've been doing.  If you need the address, send me an email:  fullfreezer (at) gmail (dot) com  I would LOVE to meet you.

Ok, my 10 minutes of downtime is up.  Back to laundry and cleaning the kitchen.....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Eighteen years ago my life changed forever.  One Saturday in May, V was working as an archaeologist at a dig at the Tredegar Iron Works in downtown Richmond, VA (it is now run by the National Park Service).  As he was monitoring some equipment, he spotted something large and round.  He halted the equipment and leaped into the trench to see what it was.  It was round and made of iron and looked for all the world like a cannon ball.  The other workers warned him off because after so many years, an armed round from the Civil War would be filled with nitroglycerin and could be highly dangerous.  Not being one to always listen to the voice of reason, he rolled the ball out of its spot to reveal a bright green spot on the other side- the sign of a potentially armed round.
The site director was notified, the Navy Bomb disposal squad was called and a section of downtown Richmond was evacuated- including the Federal Reserve Bank.  The bomb disposal guys yelled at V when they got there about how dangerous and stupid he had been because people are killed almost every year by old Civil War rounds.
The round was packed with explosives and shielding and detonated, proving it to be a dud... a spiked round.  Relieved, everyone returned home.  V consumed much of a 6 pack of beer to steady his nerves.
The following morning, a lovely spring Sunday, I got up early.  At the time, I was very, very pregnant and while out on the deck letting the dogs out, my water broke.  V refused to take me to the hospital until he had drunk at least one cup of coffee.  Seventeen hours later, our lovely baby girl was born.
 Two bombshells in the same weekend.
Our lives have never been the same.  We have been truly blessed.

Happy Birthday my Darling Justine!!  Today you are 18!!

In case you are wondering- the combine tire photo is one of her senior pictures.  I snapped it last year at Old Threshers.  Even with no make-up and after a hot dusty day among steam engines she is beautiful and this is one of my favorite pictures of her... partly because it is so... her.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I'm getting so behind in posting but don't really have time to sit down and blog.  Things here are moving at a feverish pace and will continue that way for another two weeks.  I know I'm behind on an Independence Days update and I'll have to share all the deck and garden progress someday.  But for today, I just wanted to stop in quickly to say:

Happy Mother's Day to you!

It doesn't matter if you are a mother or have a mother.  Take time to appreciate all those ladies in your life... not just today, but always.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


It has been a whirlwind few days.  We've gotten through both boys' concerts. K12's on Tuesday and I14's last night.  I14's concert lasted until 9:30!  Yesterday, between work and other activities I was at home for a grand total of 90 minutes between 6:30 am and 10:15 pm!  And that 90 minutes was packed with chicken chores, making pizza and a chicken tour.  "A chicken tour?" you may ask.  Yup.  Jen (of EmSun) and her family stopped in briefly to pick up some eggs and her children really, really wanted to see the chickens.  My children aren't excited by feeding the hens clover blossoms anymore so it was fun to see.
Work has been quite busy and stressful lately.  But, while I've been busy, busy, busy at work V has been busy, busy, busy at home working on the deck since he is between writing assignments.  We have progress!!  Check it out!
 V peeking up through the joists, with the beginning of the deck planking.
 He didn't quite get finished with this section before it started getting dark. You can definitely see how much the old wood has weathered.  He decided to not pull up some of the old planks to stagger the joints because when he tried to pull out screws in the old decking it splintered terribly.  So, we've got a butt joint.  It will be fine.
If you look at the big beam still extending out, that is how far the deck will extend to wrap around the house.  But before the joists go up there, we've got to lose a low-hanging tree branch.  V wants to take out the branch before the deck goes in so it doesn't damage anything when it drops.
Isn't he just the greatest, most amazing guy! This time around, he has done most of this work by himself.  I think he deserves a cookie!!  He is working so hard to make this my dream come true home/farm.
And finally, I leave you with a photo of my other peonies.  These are the ones by the deck stairs.
This flower is probably 6 inches across. Beautiful.

Now, I've got to go- I've still got several things on my list for tonight and it's getting late.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Muddy Monday

I got to spend another afternoon digging in the dirt- some of it was fun- others- not so much.  I got to plant some flowers in hanging baskets and started digging the trench for the border for the new flower bed along the South side of the house.  And V and I did some digging that was deck related as well.
The South flower bed seems to be taking forever to come together.  Saturday, I worked to rip out all the old landscaping fabric that had been put in there.  We think that it was either someone's failed attempt at drainage control or just lame-o landscaping. Anywhere, there was a layer of old landscaping cloth, topped with a few inches of sand, followed by gravel.  This, of course has been mixed in with all sorts of stuff over the past who knows how many years and was just awful.  But, the fabric has been removed and several bushels of compost, peat and topsoil have been dug into the sand mix.   Today, when on a run to the home store, I picked up some edging that will be going in next.  I would have worked on it more but I discovered a nest of very unhappy ants at about the same time V needed me for deck work so I stopped to let the ants calm down.   If the weather holds, hopefully we can finish both the flower bed and the deck this week.
This morning, while waiting for it to dry off outside I was catching up on all the household stuff I had been neglecting while playing in the dirt (read laundry and kitchen cleaning!)  Now I'm a bit more back on track with all of that and can refocus for the week.
The weather has been bizarre.  We were so dry for so long and now we have had nearly 7 inches of rain in the past 2 weeks.  It has been too wet to get into the garden for much so the weeds are really taking off.  I desperately need to weed my potatoes, kale and lettuce. Yesterday,  I think we hit 80 degrees.  Today, we barely made 70.  But at least the sun was shining and we only got 0.15 inches of rain overnight.  The forecast for the next few days looks dry so I'll keep my fingers crossed.
But I'm tired.  All this digging over the last three days has left me weary.  And I've got a huge bruise on my right arm that I'm not sure how I got....  
The next two weeks will be a blur.  This week we've got 2 band concerts- K12 tomorrow night and I14 on Wednesday.  I work all day Saturday, Sunday the 13th is the plant sale and I've got a student starting with me on the 14th.  That evening, we've got the Senior Recognition Ceremony, the 15th is J17's birthday and then it's wild and crazy cooking and cleaning time for the party on the 19th.  I'll be checking in regularly but I can't promise how often I'll be posting.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Early Mother's Day and a few more photos

I got an early Mother's Day gift today.  And I got to spend more time digging in the dirt.  What better day could I have.
V and I were talking about how exposed the deck is to the highway so we wanted to make a living screen to shield us from the road.  So, today, we went off and he bought me a bunch of lilacs.  I LOVE lilacs.  At our old house we had a huge lilac hedge with three varieties intermingled.  Here, we have one old fashioned purple lilac- which I love, but we just had the one.  Until today!
 I got 5 lovely little lilac plants!
 One is still blooming- This is Sensation.  Purple flowers with white edges.
I also got: Ellen Wilmott- double white flowers; Charles Joly- double magenta flowers; James MacFarlane- single pink flowers; and a "Bloomerang" reblooming lilac.  I14 helped me plant them all this afternoon in a lovely arc along the hillside.  We are also hoping to add more things into that planting area so we don't have to mow that slope.  This is the area where the old septic tank was located- it was already on a hillside and it has sunk as the soil settled and is now quite steep and dangerous to mow.
A few more photos:

 The comfrey is blooming and attracting bees.  This lady was busily buzzing around for several minutes and it was fun to watch her.
 The hot pink peony has opened.  It went from fairly tight bud to this in just a day.  The pale pink ones are opening slowly but then they are much fuller flowers.
And finally, my favorite photo of J17 from pre-prom last night:
Her dress almost matches the shade of her eyes.  If you look really closely, you can see the detail stitching she put on the tie ends- a little decorative leaf motif.  Ok- It's a mom thing but I'm really proud of her and think she's absolutely beautiful.  She had a lovely time out together with her friends.  14 of them went out to dinner together and to the dance and party after.  
Tomorrow I've got my day off so if the weather holds we'll be decking it!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Photos of the day- very photo heavy!

It started off cloudy this morning but it cleared and turned into a gloriously sunny, warm day.  Just what I needed after a week of dampness and stressful work- a day to get outside and play in the dirt.  Some random, and not so random photos of the day:
My porch has been taken over by little plants. I think I've got 11 flats out there!  But then I've got mine, Jim's and I started extras for the plant sale at church.
I got the herb spiral planted (mostly) today.  This photo was taken when I was trying out spacing.  So far there is sage, Italian Oregano, English Thyme, Tarragon, Orange Balsam Thyme, Marjoram, Flat-leaf Parsley, Chives, Garlic Chives and Basil.  The rosemary and lavender plants will go next to the house.
Our old purple iris are blooming... as is the first of our new ones that we planted.
We planted this one two years ago as a tiny little thing and this is the first year it has bloomed.  LOVE the color!!
I spent time digging the south flower bed.  I'm thinking this will have the rosemary, lavender and some chamomile- as well as my clematis.
The girls primped.  J17 and A have been friends since Kindergarden.
And J17 did manage to get her dress finished.
The top of the dress is actually 'convertible'.  She tied it off the shoulder- which I think makes the dress look lopsided.  I liked it much better with both sides up.
Aren't they lovely!?
BFFs smile for the camera.
But while the girls primped- everyone else worked!
The big support beam is up for the deck.  This is the BIG one.  We've got a 14 foot span over the sidewalk (and back door) and it took them a while to get all the cuts right so those side braces were perfect.
 When K12 wasn't busy, he did what most 12 year old boys do when presented with things that look remotely like guns....
 Back to flowers- I'm excited by this peony.  When we moved here, there were pale pink peonies by the deck and I discovered a bunch more waaaaay back by the fence, overgrown by bushes and trees- too overgrown and shaded to bloom.  I moved them two years ago and this is the first year they are going to bloom.  These look to be hot pink- more photos to come when they open.
And finally... my WTF moment.
I know it's hard to see. It's my columbine in the Goth Garden.  The plants are blooming but every single leaf has been nibbled off, leaving only stalks.  ?????  Rabbits?  But they haven't bothered them before.  And the plants in the garden look fine.  Who knows!