Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Y and Z

Yes, I'm a little behind on the times.  But I'm almost to the finish line!!
Y is for...
 V got the advance copies of his book yesterday!
Official publication date is Sept 1!
And, of course, I'm also excited about going to 90% starting tomorrow... and about our upcoming trip to Maryland.  We made flight and hotel reservations last night.  Oooo.... a long weekend without children!
Y is also for YOUNG.  Ok, I'm nearly 50 but I still feel young.  I've got lots of plans for my future.
I'm sure there are more Y words out there but I've got things to do.
And finally... Z is for....
ZANY- I tend to be a bit crazy at times.
ZOO- sometimes I feel like I live in one!!
ZEALOUS- when I get involved in a cause, I tend to go full bore.
ZATARAIN'S- my one downfall for pre-packaged food.  They are about the only box mixes I use.  But they are so yummy!!  But I do need to learn to make my own versions.
Now, I can get back to regularly scheduled programming!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

X is for...

Hmm... X-ray vision...  nope... Xylophone player... nope- only the old children's toys...  I'm fresh out of X words.  But X sounds... now that's a possibility.  Here goes...
EXCITED- I am thrilled that I will no longer be considered working full time starting this week.  Of course, 90% is pretty darn close but it is somehow symbolic.  I'm also excited about the possibilities for the future.
EXTREME- While many times my views or lifestyle can seem pretty mainstream- I can also live at the edges.
EXHAUSTED- I tend to go through cycles of energy and exhaustion.  I'm not very good at regulation.  I tend to go, go, go until I collapse.  Not very efficient.
EXHALING- I'm a firm believer in breathing.  Sometimes a few deep breaths can be helpful before panicking.
EXPRESSIVE- I can tell it like it is!
Only a few more letters left. Honestly, while this has been kind of fun- I'm glad I'm almost through the alphabet.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hope all are well!

I've seen from several 'blog buddies' that they have weathered Irene reasonably well.  Still a few to check in but so far it looks good.  I talked to Mom and she said my sister in the DC area called this morning.  They are without power but with no damage.  And my niece and nephew also out east are well.
I don't think V has heard yet from his friend Eileen how they fared.  They are in Annapolis, MD.  We are scheduled to go out to visit them the weekend of Sept 10 so we hope they are well.  We've been waiting to make our flight plans until after the hurricane.
It seems that V's sister L has had the worst damage of anyone personally connected to us.  They live in Philadelphia  and at last word had four feet of water in their basement.  She says that if it gets much deeper they will have to leave as they can't count on the foundation being sound.  I do hope they will get through without to much damage.  They have had minor flooding before so they had already moved many things out of the basement but still... four feet of water!
All in all, I'm so glad that things weren't as bad for many as they had predicted.  It is terrible that there were lives lost.  But it does reinforce that we are at the mercy of nature and will have to take whatever she chooses to give us.
I'm playing a game with nature right now.  It looked on radar like there was rain coming and it got cloudy.  Hurrah!  Unfortunately, it was beginning to look like it was going to fizzle and the main band move South.  So, I went out and watered the garden... that will make it re-strengthen, right??  Maybe I should wash the car as well....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Late Summer Saturday

 I'm feeling a little guilty today.  While others are struggling with hurricanes, we are enjoying this:
A nearly picture perfect late summer day.  The temperature is in the mid 80's, the sun is shining, it is breezy and there is hardly a cloud in the sky.  Of course, I would welcome some rain but we are in much better shape than many.
I thought I'd share a few other photos of the day.
The broom corn is ripening in the sun.  It is a multicolored variety with orange, purple and red grains.
 Beautiful.  I'm waiting for it to dry and we will harvest it for the chickens.  And maybe even make a broom!
This spring, I put down one of those mixed seed mats- I think it was for an English Cottage Garden.  It was old seed, got at a discount.  Of course, after I put it down, we had 6 inches of rain.  Then it stopped. We only got one plant that survived- but it is beautiful:
 And with V finished with his book and a few other paying projects, he has time for finishing projects around the house.  Like this:
 Finally we have the edging wall tile around the upstairs tub/shower surround!!
And I realized I haven't done a chicken update in a while.  Here is today's 'harvest':
 Three!!  And one is a regulation sized egg-  2.1 ounces!  We've got at least three laying: Micah, Buffy and Eddie that I know of.  Buffy and Eddie were in the nest box this morning not long before I found the first two eggs.  Then later there was another egg. I would suspect Micah since she has been laying for a few weeks now but the egg was really small and hers have been getting steadily bigger.  I'll have to keep my eyes open to see if I can figure out if someone else is laying.
Magnus is all grown up!
 And likes his ladies! The green sheen on his feathers is really something to see.
Hmm, maybe the new layer is one of the little girls.  Here is Zoey checking out the nest boxes.  She appears to be the most mature of all of the younger girls- even though they are all the same age.
 Below, Helen and River are hanging out on the roost.
I've noticed that both River and Georgie, the Ameraucana's are both smaller than the others.  I think they will always be smaller. But I can't wait until they start laying... blue or green eggs sounds delightful.
I do hope all in the hurricane's path stay safe.  If possible, send a little rain our way.

W is for...

WILD- surprising, no??  I've got a wild streak but not too much... just enough to make me fun!!
WACKY- this one is a definite!!
WARM- Mmmm... like a snuggly blanket.
WHIMSICAL- I DO believe in fairies!!
WHOLESOME- you don't get much better than a farmer's daughter... right??  But really, I'm not TOO wild.
WORRIER- Oh, yeah.  I worry about many people and things.  On my mind right now... friends and family in the path of a hurricane... I14 needing new shoes...  will I hear back about straw...  will it rain... what will finances be with my cut in hours... how will the chickens fare in the winter... V has his book coming out- will it do well...  you name it- I've probably worried about it at some point.
WEARY- it has been a super busy week at work, busy here at home and now it's the weekend with all it's usual duties.
Ahh, now a break until Monday to work on the really hard letters!

Friday, August 26, 2011

V is for...

V...  Hmm, a troublesome letter.  Lets see.... am I VIVACIOUS?  I don't really consider myself such... but...
VICTORY GARDENER- well, maybe not a victory garden but you get the idea...
VERDANT LANDSCAPER- of course, it is green because of all the weeds! ;)
VALUABLE.... because I think I am.
VERSATILE- I'm kind of a jack of all trades and can do many things.
VINTAGE- I like all things old.
VEGETABLES- I love them!  I never met a veggie I didn't like!

We're winding down the alphabet... whew- I didn't realize how tough this would be!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

U is for...

UNIQUE!!  Definitely I am one of a kind.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.
UNDERSTANDING- I try to listen and accept others and think I have pretty good empathy.
UNUSUAL/UNCONVENTIONAL- This goes along with the unique.  But, more than just being my own person, I am different from many women my age.  I know, I'm speaking to the choir here,  but I think many of us (me and people who read here) aren't your typical run of the mill suburban housewives with our cappicino and SUVs.

U was a tough letter for me.  Not much on my mind.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tomato fun

I've got two tomato related announcements this evening.
First, I managed to can six quarts of tomato sauce this evening.  Woot!!  And I was worried I wouldn't get anything this year.  Now I've got some pints of diced tomatoes from last week and now some sauce.
Second- I got an email at work this afternoon.  It seems that there is going to be a 'tomato tasting' at work on Friday.  There are enough gardeners excited about their tomatoes that someone has planned a taste and compare session over lunch.  I'll have to take a few different tomatoes to share.  It should be fun.
In non tomato news...  we had another two eggs this afternoon.  I went out after work and Buffy and Micah were sharing the nest box. Eddie was also quite interested in what they were doing and trying to join them so I don't think it will be long before she joins the fun.
And at work today I officially signed and approved the change of status for my job.  I am now, as of Sept 1, only employed 90%.  Soon....

T is for..

TRUSTWORTHY- I try very, very hard to follow through on things I say I will do.  I'm not perfect but it really bugs me if I let someone down.  I can also keep secrets if necessary.
TENDER HEARTED- emotional things can get to me pretty easily.  I'll admit it, I have been known to get teary at TV commercials!!
TEACHER- I love helping others learn things.  I worked as a teacher for a while when we lived in Virginia and even after changing careers I love having students with me.
TRYING- Ok, this word can be taken several ways.  I can be quite trying to deal with at times- just ask V!!  I also am usually willing to try new things.  An lastly, I am trying to make my life what I have envisioned- to build my dream.  I may never get things just the way I want them to be but it is the journey that counts, not the destination.
TOMATO- I love them- they are so easy to grow, so easy to preserve and SO, SO tasty.  For no other vegetable do I have a sort of ritual for the first one.  But, every year there is the ritual of the first tomato: eaten in the garden, still warm from the sun, while giving thanks for the bounty to come. It wouldn't be a garden without tomatoes.
TIMELY- kind of like the trustworthy stuff- it really bothers me to be late.  I HATE to be late places and try very, very hard to be on time.
TALENTED- I have many talents.  Maybe even some I haven't discovered yet!  Or, maybe I should say that I've got many skills but not maybe not talents. I don't know- it's hard to say that you're talented- at least for me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yippee!! good news

I got word during a staff meeting this afternoon that I get to reduce my work hours to 90% starting September 1!  I've been waiting for this since, what, January?  Our new therapist is doing well and finally was able to get in for her computer training today so now she can officially start writing notes on patients.
My reduced hours will equate to one day off every two weeks.  As a group, we decided that Mondays would be the easiest day for someone else to cover for me.  That works fine by me- that means that I'll get an extra day to my weekend. Since the first Monday in September is Labor Day, my first official day off will be the following Monday, the 12th.  And it will be every other Monday after that.  The only exceptions are if other people are needing to be off on Mondays.  I can be flexible and am willing to take a different day. So after the 12th, my next day won't be until the 30th. Of course, I get a three day weekend in the middle anyway since I work a Saturday so get the following Friday off. All clear as mud, right??
Anyway, I know my schedule and I'm really excited to get my reduced hours started.  Yes, it will reduce my income by a bit- but I did get a little bit of a raise this July.  Actually, with the raises I got last year and this, my reduction in pay for my reduced time should average out to about what I was making 2 or so years ago.  And even though prices on some things are higher now, we know we can live off that money.  Plus, V is working more these days and bringing in a few more $$.  We'll have to see how the finances start rolling out in October (the first month with decreased pay) but I'm not worried about it.  Of course, maybe I should be with J17 looking at college next year.
In other eggciting news: this afternoon I found two lovely little brown eggs nestled in one of the nest boxes.  The first time both girls have used the same nest box- and the first time we had both in the same day. This is Micah's 10th egg and Buffy's second.  So that brings us up to a full dozen in two weeks.  Now we're just waiting for the others to start... then we'll be swimming in eggs... I'm going to have to have someone save cartons.
We had a huge storm blow through just to the north of us this morning.  The sky was really dark and ominous and we got less than .01 inches of rain.  sigh...  So I was out this evening watering the baby corn and the squash.  I also picked some more tomatoes.  I'm going to let them all ripen a bit overnight and then tomorrow I'll can some sauce.
School activities are picking up and getting back into full swing.  J17 tried out for the school play and will know on Thursday if she got a part- they're doing Peter Pan. I14 has band rehearsal tomorrow night and then the first football game is on Friday- the nice thing is that J17 will take him.  She is senior editor of the yearbook and will be photographing the game.  K11, not to be left out of school excitement is on the school Safety Patrol and has his first week of duty this week, monitoring younger kids getting onto the buses.  Busy, busy times.
Other good news.  All family and friends out East are well after the big earthquake.  I talked to my sister outside DC and she said it was amazing.  Evidently even V's Mom felt it all the way in Reading, PA.  Now, everyone is battening down the hatches for Irene's arrival.  Ah, you've gotta love Mother Nature. Of course, with quakes to the East in VA and to the West in CO. I'm waiting the the New Madrid fault to rumble here in the midwest since it's overdue.  Now THAT would be interesting.

S is for...

SEXY!!! LOL!!  At least my honey thinks so.  Actually, I think it's more attitude than looks.
SEAMSTRESS- While I haven't done lots of sewing in recent years, it is a skill I have.
SATISFIED- My life may not be perfect, but I'm pleased with where I've gotten to at this point.  It hasn't always been an easy road, we've worked hard and have a lot more work to go but I can honestly say that I'm happy with the journey.
SPIRITUAL- note I didn't say religious last post.  I'm not a particularly religious person but I am very spiritual. I do have a need to connect with things greater than myself.  Oh, we are members and generally regulars at a church and I love the people there.  But honestly, enough people in the world have given religion a bad name.
SINGER- I love to sing. I was quite good in my younger days and performed with a group of friends all over Southeast Iowa.  No performances for me lately but I do love music and can usually be found humming my way around the house and garden or at least with a song in my heart.
SILLY- I love to be silly and goof off.  Especially with V and the children.  We share many laughs and jokes and tend to get quite silly at times. I do think it brings us closer together.
I'm sure there are many other S words but my head hurts.  I've been fighting a migraine for the past day which has just sapped the energy out of me.  Sigh.  I seem to be getting them more often as I age. At least I'm STUBBORN enough to usually work through them.  Yup, I am a stubborn one.  I don't give up easily.  But you all knew that, didn't you...

Monday, August 22, 2011

R is for...

When I think of R words, I always have flashbacks to Thomas the Tank Engine.  K11 was a HUGE Thomas fan in his younger days.  Three things that Thomas related about himself, I think also apply to me:
RESPONSIBLE -sometimes overly responsible :(  I tend to take on too much.
Of course, there are other words to describe me.
RESOURCEFUL- I can generally find ways to make something happen
RANDOM- I'm all over the place and not always predictable
REDUCER- I'm a conscious shopper, trying to not purchase things we don't need
REUSER/REPURPOSER- I'm always trying to find ways to reuse or find new uses for things.  Of course, this makes me a bit of a pack rat as I have things that "could be useful someday' that I hang on to. I'm not sure if it is a good thing or not but V is much the same way.  So we have lots of 'stuff'.  But it has come in handy more than once.
RECYCLER- what can't be repurposed gets recycled.  Many people are shocked to find that for a family of 5 we generally have only about half a barrel of trash/week.
R is a good letter for me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another layer!!

Buffy joined the ranks of laying hens (well, pullets) today.  So now we have two layers!  Woo Hoo!  Micah has given us 8 eggs in the 12 days since she started laying. So Buffy's contribution today brings us up to 9 eggs.  I don't think Eddie will be far behind, she is looking quite red in the face.  Claudia's wattles don't seem quite as red as the other 'big girls' yet so I think she will be last of the original fab 4.  Of the little girls, I think it will be Zoe (our other barred rock) who will be first.  But... I could be wrong.  They still have a few weeks to go.

Need your sinuses cleaned out?

Come into my kitchen!!  Today was hot pepper relish day!  My nose is still running.
Some of the ingredients:
Making an appearance above, Bulgarian Carrot, Volcano (hot wax), Alma Paprika, anaheim, jalapeno and two bells.  By the time I thought to take a photo, I had already shredded the Tolli's Sweet Italian peppers.
I may not have many tomatoes this year but the hot peppers are doing well.  So:
 Shredded peppers, onions and garlic thanks to the food processor.  Sorry, I can't give you amounts- I used what I had and eyeballed the pepper/onion ratio.  I actually did two varieties of relish.  One with sweet italian peppers and onions and one with whatever other peppers I had lying around- mostly hot- along with the onions and garlic.
I used Mom's tried and true recipe for "pickled veggies".  I use this recipe for relish as well as mixed vegetable pickles.  It is very versatile.
Here goes- bring the following to a simmer:
2 cups water
3 1/3 cups white vinegar
1/8 cup canning salt
1/3 cup white sugar

Pack your choice of ingredients in sterile jars.  Pour hot liquid over all, take out the air bubbles- I use a chopstick to poke the bubbles out:
 Seal with hot lids and rings and process for about 20 minutes in a hot water bath. Mom says she processes for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on what is inside.
The liquid makes enough for about 5 pints. I did a one and a half recipe and got seven and a half pints of relish.  I was a tiny bit shy of having quite enough shredded veggies- as seen in the middle jar above.  They should be well packed in.
You can also do green tomatoes, carrots, green beans, celery and/or carrots.  Or just do cukes with dill and garlic to make dills. This is a great, versatile recipe that I've used many times.
After this sets for about a month, we will have plenty of relish for cheesesteaks and other hoagies.  Mmmm...  I also sometimes put little bits on a salad in the winter.  But, oh my goodness, the mixed pepper one is going to be HOT!  Those little orange Bulgarian Carrot peppers are vicious!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Summer Saturday

Oh my, I'm tired.  And I don't even feel like I accomplished much.  Oh, I fed and watered chickens, did some dishes, did 5 loads of laundry and sorted and got some put away that has been languishing in baskets for the week.  I didn't do much laundry last weekend with guests in the house so there was a backlog.  I've still got some sheets and towels to wash tomorrow but I'm nearly caught up.
I also took J17 and K11 shopping this afternoon.  There were things they both discovered they needed (or things I forgot to check) before school started- such as sneakers that actually fit.  I also was informed by both boys the night before school started that they needed new backpacks.  Now, really, don't you think they could have told me that earlier when I asked what else they needed...  But at least things were on sale since school has already started.  That seemed to take all afternoon but it really only took a few hours.  Of course, there were a few other stops to make as well so we did a combined trip.
But I did want to share a few images of the day...
First, one of the morning glories we've got climbing up the side of the deck:
 They're from Seed Saver's Exchange- I don't remember the name off hand (Grandpa Ott's??) but they are growing well in spite of getting planted late.
Both kiwi plants that we had planted for the pergola were dug up by some animal during the heat wave (chipmunks??- but I think something larger) and I didn't find them before they had dried out.  They really didn't seem to be doing well anyway so I'm not sure I want to replace them.  I'll have to think of something else.  Maybe I'll just keep the morning glories and add moon flowers.
And V's birthday present to himself:
A replica of Blackbeard's flag!  We've had a 'traditional' pirate flag flying for a while but this one finally arrived- special order.  I'm sure people driving by on the highway will wonder even more about us!
The Surprise lilies are blooming.
 They have outdone themselves this year and the clumps of flowers are huge and fragrant.  I even cut a few to bring inside.
Finally, our latest outdoor addition:
J17 and I built this a few weeks ago for a red climbing rose.   This will be the entrance to the Goth Garden.  We are planning a patio on the far side of this and a path will lead into the garden.  We've still got a long way to go but the structural pieces are taking shape.
One more day to the weekend.  I know it will be busy.

Q is for..

QUILTER- Even though I haven't had opportunity to quilt since we moved, I still consider myself a quilter.  I have several unfinished quilt tops waiting for me.  Maybe now that we have the wall cabinets mounted in my sewing room (the guest bedroom) I can get myself more organized.  I'm hoping to be quilting again this winter.  Quilting has generally been my 'off season' activity.
QUIET- I know this may surprise you but I am really a very quiet person most of the time.  Oh, I can converse with no problems and I like being around people but I really the enjoy peace and quiet of home life without interruptions.
QUICK LEARNER- I can usually pick up new things fairly easily... except for knitting.  I'm not sure what's wrong with me there.
QUIXOTIC- as defined by Webster  : foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals;especially : marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action
Yup, that can be me. I get grand schemes in my mind that are totally outrageous and try to make them work.  Sometimes I can, other times, not so much.
QUIRKY- I have my own interesting traits that define who I am and make me unique.

Friday, August 19, 2011

P is for...

PRACTICAL- says the girl who asked for a table saw rather than jewelry and wanted a pressure canner for Christmas.
PROGRESSIVE- in my views
PRESERVER- of all sorts of things- traditions, skills, memories... oh, yeah... and food.
POLITE- while I have been known to be rude on occasion- it is very rare.
PERSISTENT- a much nicer word than stubborn!!
a little bit PREPPER- I'm definitely not a doom and gloom, society is going to collapse and the zombies are going to invade type, but I do like to be prepared for emergencies and just in case... you never know about those zombies...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New tomato review

I tried a couple of new to me heirloom tomatoes this year.  I thought I'd let you know what I think of them.
The new varieties are Ananas Noire (a dark pineapple tomato?) seen below on the left- anything but dark.  And the red beefsteak is a Crimson Cushion.  One I had never heard of before this year.
 I gave up on my Mortgage Lifters that I have grown for years.  Two years in a row they were the first to get hit with blight.
But check out those sliced tomatoes.  Crimson cushion on the left now and the Ananas Noire on the right.
 Isn't that one of the coolest tomatoes ever?  I had a hard time telling when they were ripe.
 But, now for the taste test.  The Crimson cushion is a pretty standard red beefsteak tomato.  Nice, solid, not too many seeds, good flavor.  But, not a very high acid content for a red heirloom,  I expected much more tartness.
The Ananas Noire is also a nice solid tomato- the largest weighed in at 1.25 lbs. not too many seeds and a nice texture.  It is really low acid,  hardly any tang to it at all and, to my mind, not much flavor. It's really pretty and looks great layered with other colors on a plate but, personally, it's not a favorite.
My favorites, like last year, are the Black Krim.   My Amana Orange, another favorite, are huge but not ripening yet.  But, I have got a few...
I'm actually canning tomatoes tonight!! Woo Hoo!!  I've got 10 pints of diced tomatoes in the canner right now and I've got a pot of sauce simmering on the stove.  It's going to be a late night but it feels so good to be finally getting to it!!

O is for...

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST- That's me.  That's my day job and I love it. I love being able to help people reach their potential and get back to their lives.
OPTIMISTIC- I tend to look at the bright side of things.
OPEN MINDED- I'm quite accepting of others and willing to try new things.
OMNIVORE- I can think of few things I don't like to eat.  In fact, the only things on my 'hate list' are hot dogs and malted milk balls.
OBSESSIVE- once I get an idea in my head I can be quite obsessive about it.  I can over-analyze things sometimes because I get so wrapped up in them.
One thing that I can't claim is ORGANIZED!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

N is for...

NICE- this one always seems like such a cop out in things like this but I really am a nice person ;)
NATURAL- I try to keep things as real as possible.  I gave up dying my hair and now it is it's natural shade of silvering brown.
NON-JUDGMENTAL - I tend to be quite accepting of everyone, no matter who.  Well... unless they are the judgmental type- I have little patience for narrow minded people.
NERD... or is it a geek.  I'm never sure... but I am one.  I like science and learning things.
NEEDY- I like having others care for me sometimes. And I can be quite needy at times.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

And one more thing...

V's book is available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble.  How cool is that!

The last ice cream social

There is a tradition here in town that on the Tuesday before the start of school, every elementary school hosts an ice cream social.  Here the children can see their friends, check out the class lists and eat ice cream (amazingly enough from a local source!!) while parents get to stand in line to pick up information packets, pay fees and make sure there is money in the lunch account.  Tons of fun.  Actually it isn't too bad and we usually enjoy it as we get to see other parents that we know.  But tonight was our LAST ice cream social ever!  K11 is a 6th grader and next year will move up to Junior high where there aren't such fun things as ice cream socials.
School starts on Thursday.  I think J17 is ready to get back (to start her senior year), I14 is a maybe (he'll be a freshman) and K11 is definitely dreading Thursday morning.  But, it's the start of a new school year already.  Where did the summer go?
I'm thinking if I save tomatoes for a few days to a week I may get enough to can a few pints.  Pretty pitiful. The cucumber vines dies suddenly- I suspect cucumber beetles.  I've got squash bugs on my pattypans and we're still plagued by grasshoppers.  But, the tomatoes are super tasty this year and we'll have hot peppers ;)
Evidently V's brother K was quite impressed with the food over the weekend.  It seems that neither he or his wife take the time to actually cook and having REAL food was a treat.  Of course, we didn't eat any differently than we usually do- local meats and fresh, seasonal produce.  Still, it's nice to get some acknowledgement from someone who doesn't normally eat that way that it tastes much better.
Micah is still our only layer but she is producing fairly regularly.  She's given us 5 eggs in 8 days- pretty exciting stuff!  Of course, they are still tiny pullet eggs, but we'll take what we can get.

M is for

MOM!!  I am so happy to have my children.  They are true joys in my life.  Oh, they aren't always sweet angels and can definitely be surly and willful at times but I wouldn't trade them for the world.
MOTIVATED- I can be very determined to get things done.  I can definitely be a procrastinator but once I get going on something, I can really stick with it.
MORAL- I've got a strong sense of right and wrong and have tried to instill this in my children.
MEDIOCRE- I'm not really that extraordinary.  I'm pretty average.
MADLY, DEEPLY IN LOVE- I'll let that one speak for itself.
I know there are probably others, it's just that my brain is still not recovered from the weekend.  Too little sleep has taken its toll.

Monday, August 15, 2011

L is for..

I'm trying to keep up this week.  Ok, I'm little behind but I'm still recovering.  Why is it I always feel like I need a vacation from my vacation?
Anyway, today for Alphabet in August, it's L day...  Hmmmmmm....
I'm LOVING- I know that surprises you all, right?
LOYAL- I can be fiercely loyal to friends and family
LUNATIC- many, many people think I'm a bit crazy... and I usually take it as a compliment.
LAUGHING- I figure, I can laugh or cry and I'd much rather laugh.   I laugh a lot.  Maybe I'm too easily amused.  Who knows.
LIFE LONG LEARNER- I have an insatiable curiosity about everything.  Well, maybe not EVERYTHING... I have no interest in popular TV reality shows or the latest fashions.  That definitely supports the lunatic impression that some people have of me.
What's your L?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Alphabet soup

I'm a bit behind on things on the blogger front. I signed up to do the Alphabet in August and then kind of took a week off. Oops.  So here goes some quick catch up letters.
F is for:
FANATICAL- I've got a few bees in my bonnet
FRANTIC- too much going on at once
And you all heard about FIRST EGG!  We have had three more since then.  Micah is still the only one laying.  Hopefully Buffy will start laying soon.

G is for:
GRATEFUL- I have been granted so much in life for which I am grateful.

H is for:
HOMEBODY- I LOVE being at home.

I is for:

J is for:
JUST- I am a strong believer in fairness and equality.

K is for:
KITCHEN MAMA- One of my favorite places to be!
KINKY- I'll leave this one up to your imagination!!!

Not many descriptions with this one. I've still got one guest here to entertain and my usual weekend stuff that got put on hold.

Middle aged white guys

pretending they're 20 again...

The party was a success.  Several people we expected were unable to make it but we still had lots of fun.  Good food, good friends, good times.

V's friend E flies out this afternoon and V's brother K leaves tomorrow.  It has been a joy to have them here. It is hard to think of them as high powered executives

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Love.

My sweetie has a birthday today.  A big one... although he doesn't seem a day over 25 to me.  Things have been hopping around here and I'm going to be busy through the weekend.  But I thought I'd share a few photos of the day.
Egg number 2 arrived today.  V came in to tell me that Micah was sitting in the nest box and that I should come out to take a photo.
As you can see, by the time I came out with the camera, she had hopped out of the nest box and laid her egg underneath.  sigh... We've got decoy eggs in the boxes, hoping to encourage them to use the nests. Maybe next time.
V's brother K arrived this afternoon.  Yes, he is who K11 is named after.  So I was busy getting the guest bedroom ready and general cleaning today.  I also had to bake a cake.
A special cake:
The hourglass was J17's idea.  I tried to make it still really full!
Obviously, V was amused:
 Not too bad for an old man- he is 50 today.
V's brother shipped his guitars to our house so they can play together.
Tomorrow, E, who was the drummer for their band long ago, will arrive and then the fun will really begin.  They haven't played together for probably 25 years so things will be interesting.
Tomorrow for me, I am set to do the final shopping for the party (except for a few last minute produce items from the Saturday market) and I'll start cooking.  I'm so excited that I've finally got two eggplant in the garden that should be ready to make baba ganoush.  I'm also doing some hummus.  The rest of the party menu includes cheese tortellini (frozen) with pesto, caprese salad, some black bean/corn salsa with tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos from the garden, a veggie tray, a fruit tray and a variety of chips for dipping.  There will be local brats and hamburgers for dinner.  I'm also thinking of some local cheeses with crackers.  I'm trying as much as possible to do local, seasonal food.
I still need to do my alphabet catch up post sometime-- but not tonight.  I'll probably try to catch up the entire week on Sunday after the party.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

F is for FIRST EGG!!

1.3 ounces of eggy loveliness from one of the girls.  Isn't it beautiful!!

Sorry for my absence. I've been busy preparing for guests so the posts will probably be scarce for the next few days as well.  V's brother K arrives on Thursday and another friend on Friday.  Party on Saturday has me hopping.  I'll try to do a catch up alphabet post some time soon.

But I'm SO, SO, SO excited about the egg!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

An Invitation

This goes out to all you bloggers in Eastern Iowa.  You are all invited to come to our house next Saturday, the 13th.  We will be officially having our 'farmwarming'  and birthday party for V (50!!!!).  V's high school band will be getting back together and providing live music.  His brother and friend are flying in for the occasion.  We will have local food (and probably some not-so local food) and beverages (adult and otherwise).  We will have some outside games- weather permitting.  Come out, meet the chickens, check out the goth garden, see my pathetic weedy garden and all the renovations we've done on the house.
If you're interested, drop me an email for directions to the house.
Oh, yeah... the party starts at 3 and goes until we can't party anymore.

E is for...

ENTERTAINER.  Not as in "I need to be the center of attention" type of entertainer.  I love to have guests over.  To make people feel comfortable in my home and make sure they have a good time.  We haven't done much entertaining recently because of house stuff but I'm hoping to do more in the future.
ECLECTIC.  My life is a jumble of this and that.  Nothing matches and I love it.  It was so odd a few years ago when we got a new dining room table and chairs to have them all match.   We've got a mix of old and new furniture, different styles and different cultures but it works for me.  Even my wardrobe is rather eclectic. I've got different styles of clothing and mixing and matching can be fun.  Even my interests are varied. From science fiction to making cheese, the library (and my brain) holds much information.
ENERGETIC.  I mostly have lots of energy.  Not always... there are times I am really, really fried and tired but I generally ignore them and just keep going... I don't have time for that.  Of course, this tends to lead to problems when I crash and burn but fortunately, those times are few and far between.
EMPATHETIC.  I like to think I'm pretty compassionate and able to connect with how people are feeling.
ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS.  We recycled before recycling was cool and I have tried to live as lightly on the land as I could.  I have tried to teach my children responsibility for the earth and how to care for themselves in the process.
ENTHUSIASTIC.  This kind of goes along with the energetic piece. Once I get into something I'm energized to see it through.
EMOTIONAL. Yup, I can easily be brought to tears... sometimes over stupid stuff.

I'm feeling like this post is a bit scattered but I've got to get off to work.  Have a great day.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lift off!

The Atlas V carrying Juno lifts off.Image above: An Atlas V rocket with NASA's Juno spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance

I am so jealous of my family.  Not my immediate family here at home, but my parents, sister, brother, niece and nephew  who were able to go see the launch of Juno first hand.  Oh, I'm not jealous of them having to sit through the launch delays but getting to see a launch first hand from the official viewing stands would be something else.   I was able to see one of the Apollo launches live when I was a child.  It was totally awesome!!  I can just hope that there will be more launch invitations in my future. It was disappointing that we couldn't go to this one.
My brother was/is an engineer on one of the instrument packages on the Juno satellite.  A mission to  Jupiter.  How cool is that.
In other news, my student finished her clinical rotation today... another lift off of sorts.  I wish her well.

D is for...

DELIGHTED!!  The first 'real' harvest this year.  Enough tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos for salsa.  Not enough to can but it was really yummy with our burritos for dinner.  Interestingly enough, the black and pineapple tomatoes are ripening first of all the slicing tomatoes.  Also hidden in the bottom of the bucket are three little pattypan squash.  Now that the heat has broken a bit they finally started setting on.  Hooray!!  So we had sauteed squash and onions for dinner as well. Mmmm....
DETERMINED.  Things may not always go my way but I just keep going.  Someday we will have things more under control here.  Maybe when the main renovations are finally done.  We are still trying to finish so many things at once inside that the outside seems out of control.  But someday....
DOG TIRED.  I've been burning the candle at both ends recently.  Working full time out of the home and still trying to keep up with house, garden and animals plus getting ready for guests and party next week is taking its toll.  I work this Saturday as well so things should be getting really interesting.
Blight stricken tomatoes speak for themselves. Amazingly enough, it appears as if it has reached an impasse with the plants and most of them are holding their own.  The romas, being the only determinate tomatoes in the garden, look the worst (and sadly, most of them bloomed when it was too hot for the fruit to set on).  The others plants have come back with a vengeance.  I'm hoping that the cooler, drier weather in the forecast will help.  The fruit on the vines are huge and gorgeous!
DISORGANIZED.  Yes, indeed...I have difficulty keeping things organized.  Don't get me wrong, I know where things are, it is just organized chaos.  I do wonder sometimes if the children 'help' with this.  No matter how many times I show the boys where things get put away in the kitchen, they just don't seem to get it.  I've still got stuff stacked here and there in various rooms that aren't yet completed. I will be so glad when this house if finally DONE and everything has a home.
DEDICATED.  To many things.... to my job which I love, even though it takes me from home.  To my family who are the most important thing in the world to me.  To my dream of making this 5 acres into a lovely, productive haven.  To living lightly on the earth.  To being more self sufficient.  To finding peace of mind.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

C is for...

 CREATIVE- I love to create things.  I love quilting... I know, I haven't done anything in the past two and a half years- life and construction have been not conducive to having time or space to quilt. I also do some cross stitch on rare occasions.  I have painted in my younger days and I love to take photos (not that I'm professional).  I can crochet but don't really do it.  I have been baffled to date by knitting but I am determined to learn.  One thing I have done in the past and would LOVE to do again is weaving.  I do know how to warp a loom and weave but it's not something I have access to... yet... maybe someday.
CANNER- yup, I do can my own stuff.  Only jam so far this year but I'm hoping for some tomatoes soon.
Micah  gives me the evil eye.  We are still impatiently waiting our first egg.   I think the older girls are about ready but this heat we've been having recently has stressed them.  Now that it seems to be cooling off I'm hopeful...
COMPETENT.  Sometimes I need to remind myself of this but I am quite CAPABLE of many, many things.
CARING.  Enough said.
CONCERNED about many things, the environment, the future, my children, my work, my patients, my garden, the economy, my friends... you name it.
CAPRICIOUS at times.  Given to fits of whimsy.
What's your C?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

B is for...

BROWN-EYED GIRL.  That's me.  I remember as a child being so embarrassed when people would comment about my eyes.  I also used to have brown hair... now it is a bit silvered.
BEE FRIEND- I've been quite conscious over the two years we've been here to add bee friendly flowers.
I'm also quite cautious about mowing- or not mowing- the meadow to encourage the wildflowers to grow.  I've got a birdbath in the herb/flower garden mostly for the bees.  Next spring we'll add honeybees to our menagerie.
BRAT.  Ok, I'll admit it, I can be a bit difficult at times.  I can be stubborn and willful and I don't always respond well to redirection.
BAKER.  I love to bake.  Bread is one of my favorites. No bread machine for me, I like to get my hands into it.
BARGAIN SHOPPER.  I love getting the deals. I am a very careful shopper and am always on the lookout for bargains.  Not that I will buy something just because it is a good deal, it actually has to be something I can use.  I'm also pleased that J17 has become a pretty good bargain shopper as well, not taken aback by looking at the clearance racks when looking for back to school clothes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A is for...

 APPRECIATIVE.  I feel so fortunate that we have been able to purchase our acreage and start 'living the dream'.  This has been a rough year, garden-wise so I feel blessed with what we've been able to harvest so far.
ASSERTIVE.  While I can be a pretty quiet person, I also have no trouble speaking my mind when there is something I need or feel strongly about.
I tend to be pretty busy and am on my feet a lot.  Life with a full time job out of the house, three children and 5 acres tends to get hectic at times.
AMBITIOUS.  Sometimes too much.  I've thought recently that we have tackled more than we can handle with this place. The house is very slowly coming together but the outside garden and yard seems like a never-ending disaster.  I just can't seem to keep up.  But I do have great ambitions for these 5 acres.
ADAPTABLE.  I am pretty easy to please.  I can generally fit in anywhere and get along with most people- at least on the surface.  I can survive in conditions that many would find objectionable and be perfectly happy.
ADVENTUROUS.  I like trying new things.  Maybe not things like bungee jumping but you just never know...

What A word describes you?

Monday, August 1, 2011

A busy time

Things are hopping here.  Busy, busy, busy!
Work is busy, it is my last week with my student.  My, the last 3 months have flown by.  Our newest employee will be officially starting on Wednesday so that opens the door for me to cut down my work hours soon. Woo Hoo!
We're gearing up for guests and party.  I've really got to get myself in gear. My BIL arrives in 10 days.  EEK!  And the party is on the 13th.
And I'm taking on a few other projects as well.
First, this is the week for the Eat Local challenge from our local food co-op. We do pretty well anyway but we'll be making a special effort this week.  This evening, we had pasta with pesto and sauteed peppers, onions and a few fresh tomatoes. Yummy.
Second, I'm taking part in a challenge of sorts.
Susy at Chiot's Run is hosting Alphabet in August.  So, for every day in August (Sunday's off!) I'll be posting something about myself beginning with the designated letter.  I'm going to try to do some fun photos to go along with it but we'll see how much time I've got to spare.  Just posting every day could be a challenge.  It should be fun and maybe I'll learn something about myself in the process. Join in, the more the merrier.  Tune in tomorrow for the letter A.
I'll also be trying to post a few 'normal' posts- as if I ever post normally!