Friday, December 31, 2010
Bite me. I really don't appreciate it one bit when you try to kill my husband. That freaking pisses me off. I will not miss you one little bit.
There were good things. You proved that we can weather almost anything. You showed me that my marriage is as strong as steal. You finally proved to me that I have grown up and won't cut and run anymore. You tested my ability to withstand financial stress along with a medical disaster. My true character showed up and I like her.
Here are a few things I've learned
1. Always always always question the doctors.
2. Never underestimate myself or my man.
3. Children are incredibly resilient and a true comfort.
4. I don't need to be held up nearly as much as I thought I did.
5. I've got one mean mama inside of me and she is awesome.
6. I don't need all the people to like me, but I need a select few to love me.
7. Friends come from the most unlikely places.
8. Be very grateful for all the wonderful things and people in my life every single day.
As you go, I am sending a few things with you
2. A boat load of formal dresses I will never wear again.
3. Guilt over past failures which I've carried with me waaay to long.
4. The need to give my time and my work away.
5. The belief that people will pay me back. From here on, I'm getting what is due me up front.
2010, you are fired. Clear out your crap by midnight.
We deserve better.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending the day with my nephews, Jack and Ian. Jack is 3 and Ian is 4. We had a great day. These boys are perfect angels; I don't care what their mothers say.
They had waffles and milk for breakfast and played all morning. We visited my garden and checked out the Gulf Fritillary caterpillars. There was a bit of drama when Jack mistook a small bit of rope for a snake. I didn't know little boys could scream like that. Just little more shrill and only dogs could have heard it.
Knowing that little guys can be pretty picky eaters, I decided to see if I could get them to eat something straight from the garden. I asked them if they could find the broccoli. My broccoli plants are big and beautiful. To find the actual broccoli heads, you have to really get down in there and hunt for them. Ian was very excited, he apparently loves broccoli. After a few minutes of them digging around in the plants, I pulled back the leaves on one particularly large one and showed them the broccoli head. Ian picked that one and Jack found one just a few feet away smaller, but he was happy. Jack's love of broccoli is not as profound as Ian's love of broccoli. As we were heading back into the house to make their lunches, Jack saw that piece of rope, screamed and threw his broccoli at it. After a little reassurance that the rope was not an actual snake, we retrieved the broccoli, went on inside, made sandwiches and cut up the broccoli, some carrots and an apple. The little men enjoyed a healthy lunch of peanut butter sandwiches with fresh fruit and veggies.
All of my children eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. I believe the reason they do is because they did exactly what Jack and Ian did that morning most days of their lives. To this day, they will wander around out in the garden looking for something to eat. That, my friends, is how it is done.
While you are here, why don't you go over visit Anna's new site, Best Garden Blogs. Just click on the image of the little girl reading a book statue over there on the right.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Over the last two weeks we have been bringing in the fall harvest. Wow, that sounds like I farm or something. Not at all, it is just a little harvest from my modest garden. We will also have an ongoing winter harvest, but I will get to that later.
As usual, I have way to many green tomatoes. Some of them will ripen on the counter. The rest will have to be canned in one way or another. There are also lots and lots of hot peppers. I have agreed to trade some of those peppers for handmade soap. I am grateful to have met a good many talented people in my life and Sylett, the soap maker, is one of them. She is warm, talented, wicked smart and has the most amazing speaking voice I have ever heard. Anyway, I get some soap, she gets some heat.
The remaining peppers are being put up in various ways. Some are being processed in brine, some dehydrated and powdered some pickled. The unripenable tomatoes are being pickled (both sweet and dill) and some made into jam. I have had one request for pepper jelly, which is so easy it is almost cheating. Well it is cheating, but who's going to tell.
We also have a small harvest of potatoes, one pumpkin, one acorn squash and two tiny Hubbard squash.
Over the winter we will bring in broccoli, collards, Swiss chard, carrots, beats, cabbage, snow peas, etc... I love my winter garden. It is like have a green grocer in the backyard.
I have discovered the joys of bartering - fresh eggs and soap are just the beginning. I'm also going to hunt down some honey. Gone are the days where I give everything away for free. I believe everyone has something to trade.
Monday, November 29, 2010
I have a slight earache right now, so I am going to leave the mess until it either warms up or my ear feels better. Hope the neighbors don't mind the mess. Shouldn't be a problem as I can pay them off with pickled peppers and green tomatoes. The kitchen table is covered in hot peppers and green tomatoes. There is plenty to go around.
If anyone has green tomato recipes they would like to share, I would love to have them. See, I didn't beg this year. Well, not yet anyway:)
Monday, November 22, 2010
Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
This year, my massive passion vine has grown over and around these large woody weeds. Not a problem, that passion vine needs a haircut anyway. But wait, it is full on Gulf Frittilary butterfly mating season. There is a lot of butterfly action going on out there and the caterpillars are all over that passion vine.
Today's work went slow. Clip a section of woody weed, detangle passion vine from weed, repeat. One cat actually made it to the compost pile, but i saw him and put him back on the vine.
I wish you could see how pretty the garden looks with all those butterflies floating around.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Tonight I used the leaf blower and cleaned off the deck and the garden paths. What a huge difference that made. I should do it every week. We should declare Tuesday "Leaf Blower Day." No?
The warm weather plants are doing great. The peppers are beginning to ripen. We will never eat all of those hot peppers, so I need to find someone to take most of them off my hands. Anybody? All twelve tomato plants have fruit on them. Hopefully they will get big enough to ripen in the kitchen after the first freeze, otherwise, I'm going to need some more green tomato recipes.
The difference in the garden in just over a week is wonderful. I am almost ready to for someone to ask to see it. Usually, I find myself apologizing and making excuses for all of the work that needs to be done. If someone were to come to the garden gate tomorrow and ask to look around, I would be happy to show them and, of course, sneak some peppers into their pockets.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I did miss working in the garden over the weekend. Thunderstorms kept me inside on Saturday and family activities filled up Sunday. No problem. I will get right back out there today, no guilt - no worries.
The really important thing is that I kept working out there everyday after receiving terrible news about my husband's medical condition. In the past, when life went left, I went with it. Not this time. I stayed out there pulling weeds and spreading compost. One day I cried my way through it. The activity of gardening gave me a quiet place with simple chores where I could think and mourn a little.
I know there will be questions about Manly's health and here is the short answer. All of the blood clots in the superficial veins have resolved . He has two remaining DVTs in his femoral vein, one of which runs from his mid thigh to his mid calf. It is huge. We are thankful that there has been improvement, but disappointed that the larger clot does not appear to be any better. He continues to take his medications and take safety precautions.
Thanks for all the prayers, care and concern.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Today I started in the backside of the garden. This is the area where perennial veggies and herbs grow. Things like asparagus, Mexican mint marigold, chili pequin, comfrey and spider wort. Sounds wild, doesn't it? Those are the good guys. The bad guys are trumpet vines, hack berry suckers and Bermuda grass. Why does Bermuda grass grow in my garden where I don't want it and die in my lawn where I do?
I weeded this area and cut out all the nasties I could see. I spread fresh screened compost and watered the whole thing. I will have to revisit that section tomorrow. An hour was not long enough to completely clean it out. Much better though, much.
I have decided to get rid of a bunch of gardening tools and paraphernalia. I roll of chicken wire, a roll of edging, a short soaker hose and three 1 gallon perennials are being thrown into the back of the truck and taken away to find new homes.
Day 2 Hour 2
2. Screened compost
3. Spread compost
4. Picked up scattered containers and tools.
5. Planted more nasturtium.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
This is also the time of year that I have to get my winter garden planted. I already have well established cabbage, broccoli, collard, mustard and lettuce plants. These plants generally survive our gentle freezes. Today I planted radishes, beets and nasturtium. I still have to plant garlic, onions, Swiss chard and kale.
Since my good gardening weather is coming to a close, I am going to challenge myself to work in the garden an hour a day for the next thirty days. Look for a daily post, I am going to keep myself accountable.
Today was day 1.
Planted beets, radishes and nasturtium
Screened and spread compost
Built up a new compost pile
Got really dirty feet.
See you tomorrow.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I would recommend this book as a fun light read.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Two large bowls of basil made three batches of pesto. I processed the basil with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Then I put the partial pesto in quart sized freezer bags and laid them flat in the freezer. It is partial pesto because it does not have the cheese in it yet. The flat bags fit perfectly in the freezer basket. When it is time to use the pesto, it will be defrosted and parmesian cheese will be added. This will be very yummy this winter when fresh basil is not available.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
All the newby gardeners contact me in the spring. I really wish they would start in the fall. They would probably be more successful and more likely to stick with it in the future. Of course, there is the problem of finding the plants and seeds at this time of year. It does seem like the larger companies are getting a little better about carrying the correct plants for the fall season. There are also some fantastic mail order and online sources.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was completely burned out (literally) on gardening. The cooler weather and a little more rain have made all the difference. Today I bought broccoli, cabbage, and collard plants along with 16 packets of seeds. I also purchased a few more tomatoes. I usually get a great big bonus crop of green tomatoes in the fall just before it freezes. Then I beg for recipes on the internet. This year, with any lucky, will be no different. These purchases along with the seeds I have saved and the seeds that my internet gardening friends have shared will help me create a pretty impressive fall garden.
Yesterday, I made the Monkeys, AKA Manimals, help me clean out the garden. There was a bunch of complaining, a little bit of wandering off and a fake heat stroke. Any bets on wether or they will be bellyaching when they are chowing down on sweet fresh broccoli? Well, if they eat too much, there might be an actual bellyache or some smelly fumes.
Here is the veggie roster
1. Tomtoes - yellow pear, Turk's mutt, Early Girl, Roma, Better Bush, and six Celebrity plants. If there is an early freeze, I will cry.
5. Swiss Chard
6. Redbor Kale
7. Six kinds of lettuce
11. Scarlet Nantes Carrots
15. Snow and Sugar Snap Peas
16. One more round of cucumbers. Again, if we have an early freeze I will cry.
18. Fall potatoes if the seed potatoes put out sprouts. If not, I'll wait until spring.
If you live in north, east, or central Texas and want to start gardening, now is the time.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
If this year has taught me nothing else it is patience. The candlestick tree in the photo was a gift from my sister. We dug it out of her butterfly garden early last summer. It was a tiny little seedling. Since all candlestick trees have died a horrible death every time I have planted them directly into the garden, this one was babied and kept in a container. It grew to about two feet tall last summer. I brought it in, took it out, brought it in and shook it all about - winter hooky poky anyone? This spring I transplanted it into a larger container. It is about four feet tall now. Finally, this week, it decided to bloom.
We have been dealing with a lot of things that take patience this year. Manly's medical situation, raising the Manimals and trying to make less money go much further. Since I am all about instant gratification, this has been hard. This little tree has taught me that perseverance pays off in the end.
"He that can have Patience, can have what he will." Benjamin Franklin.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
We are into week three of 100+ temperatures. The garden and the gardener suffer every year at this time. I'm stuck inside and only go out to water twice a day. The ooze tube failed on the squash, but four tomato plants are still alive. I let the others die.
The only plants that are flourishing are basil, okra and peppers. This will be the last year I try to keep squash or tomato plants alive after July in hopes they will come back thriving and bring me a fall harvest. It will simply be cheaper to buy new plants in September or grow them from seed now than to waste all that water on them only to have them curl up and die anyway.
In about four weeks, when it cools off, I will start the fall garden with five new tomato plants and maybe three or four squash plants. The cool season stuff won't go in until the end of September. That gives me about six weeks to grow the broccoli for Thanksgiving. Just imagining the fall garden makes me feel better.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Homemade peach cobbler from homegrown fresh peaches. The house smells like heaven. Baby Manimal said, "You know what I want to do right now?" Me, "No." Him, "Shove my face in that."
It's 106 outside so I think we will just stay inside and enjoy the cool of the AC.
Happy Summer y'all.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Here is what happens when it rains a lot in Texas in June - giant habanero.
I noticed that Jenn was looking for a garlic tea recipe to repel mosquitoes. Simply put a whole garlic clove in a food processor or blender with some water and chop it up. Let it sit for a while, strain off the garlic bits, dilute with more water and apply to the mosquito infested area. I put it in a watering can and spin around like a crazy woman splashing it all over the place. This gives the neighbors something to talk about.
Linda wanted the pickled peach recipe. I didn't really follow a recipe, but here is how I threw them together. The brine is 2 parts white vinegar to one part water with enough sugar to make it slightly sweet (to taste) . Peel the peaches and cut into quarters. Add two cloves and one cinnamon stick to each jar and pack in the peaches. I packed the peaches gently because I didn't want them all mushy. Boil the brine and pour over the prepared peaches. Secure the lids on the jars and process in a boiling water bath for seven minutes. Make sure the lids pop down, if not refrigerate and eat sooner rather than later.
For safety's sake, please read some home canning instructions. I wouldn't want to accidentally poison anyone.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Here is the first of my peach preserving attempts - Peach liqueur. Just halve the peaches, pore Everclear over the top of them and seal. Once the peach flavor is infused into the alcohol, I am supposed to dilute it to 80% alcohol content and maybe add a little simple syrup if it needs to be sweetened. This is supposed to take about a month. Since I don't like sweet stuff or hard liquor, I have no idea what I am going to do with this stuff once it is ready.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
While I may not be getting any squash, we have a bumper crop of peaches this year. You may not be able to tell from the picture, but that tree is loaded. There are also two more completely covered up with frut. I am researching recipes. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I also intend to share some fruit with friends and either a local food pantry or soup kitchen for the homeless in Dallas.
I am continuing to work in the garden every evening for at least 30 minutes. It is coming along fine and should be in great shape for the fall planting. The Monkeys started actually coming out and helping me over the last couple of days. This is a mixed blessing because they bicker the whole time they are "helping."
Last night we installed something called and Ooze Bag. It is just a large plastic bag onto which drip emitters are inserted. I have had one up for about two weeks on some tomatoes, and they are thriving. The bag installed last night is for the squash. Maybe I will finally get some zucchini.
Hope your gardens are doing fine.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
This evening I will get back out there and straighten out the squash bed. For some reason the plants are beautiful, but I'm not getting any zucchini or yellow squash. Maybe they are not getting pollinated. If I weed, maybe the bugs will be able to find the blooms.
If received a couple of inquiries about Manly's health. He had knee surgery last spring. Over the following weeks he developed blood clots in the leg. He is on blood thinners and the road to recovery will be a long one. This is a very dangerous situation and he has to be very very careful.
That said, he is pretty hilarious when he takes his pain medication.
Thank you for your concern and well wishes.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Anyway, several weeks ago ten of us over on Facebook (mostly garden bloggers) decided to commit to getting in better shape. I found a website that tracks steps and measures the distance towards the moon (figuratively of course). We started using that to track our progress. The nice thing about it is that it allows you to count many activities as steps. There is a nice little conversion chart.
I went all gangbusters on this program and managed to hurt my neck the first week. This caused me to rethink my situation. I am a middle aged, out of shape, overwhelmed wife and mother of three. I am not going to become super fit in a short period of time. I don't have the time during each day to dedicate to that kind of routine.
I decided to take a step back and try to create some new habits one habit at a time. First, I said I would work in the garden every evening possible for thirty minutes. That was two weeks ago. As of last night, all the walkways in my garden were weeded. I can clearly see the accomplishment.
At the beginning of last week, I added in thirty minutes of housework daily. While, I was not as constant with this goal, I did managed to clean up a large part of my office, which has been turned into a sort of junk room since I received a laptop for Mother's Day and don't sit in here much anymore. Now that I can see the floor, I am now more motivated to get things cleaned up, tossed out and organized. I feel pretty optimistic that I will keep doing this.
This week, I plan on adding in just a little sewing everyday. I am not going to commit to thirty minutes, because I don't think that is reasonable. I will just sit at the sewing machine or hand quilt a little everyday. I commit to picking it up.
At some point I may come back in here and edit this mumbo jumbo, but for right now, I just want to start keeping a record of what I am up to. Maybe I'll find my sense of humor along the way.
Friday, July 2, 2010
See that. That is a mini watermelon. Special seeds? Nope, it is just a plain old watermelon vine grown in a container. In this case the container is an old plastic watering can that cracked at the bottom. I couldn't make myself throw it out, so it was given a second life as a container. The watermelon variety is not a small variety at all. It is Crimson Sweet. The seed package says the fruit can weigh up to 24 pounds. It is quite easy to stunt its growth, obviously.
This is the vine and the watering can. The little melons on the vine are ready, but they only have a couple of tablespoons of edible flesh. So what, it's fun. I will clean up the vines and give them a shot of fertilizer and compost. That should get them going again producing more little fruits. The vines are already blooming again.
This is a fun way to grow little melons if you don't have the space for sprawling vines.
Please forgive the messy deck in the background. I promise to go clean it up right now.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I love these mornings where I actually wake up before everyone else and can relax before the choas begins. I am able to get a few little house chores started and then just kick back and observe my plants.
Maybe I should have done a little more gardening before sitting down on this fine morning. It looks like the hackberry suckers are trying to take over the garden yet again.
Back to battle against the invaders using my trusty Felcos.
Have a nice day y'all.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Welcome our newest garden resident, Sid. Sid is a little bitty Praying Mantis. We hope he gets much bigger and that maybe he is a she and will make a lot more baby bugs. This picture doesn't look a lot like a Mantis because he was sort of crouching down. Just before the picture was snapped, he was in classic praying stance.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Hope everyone is having a great Fathers' Day. We ate grilled shrimp with pesto for dinner. Later, Baby Monkey combined an old bicycle and reel mower into a yard monster.
And we thought it would get less interesting as the Monkeys got older.
Happy Fathers' Day everyone.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Tonight we had shish kebobs for dinner. The skewers were loaded with chicken, bell peppers, grape tomatoes and onions. I grew every one of those vegetables in our garden. These were served over a brown rice pilaf that was very good. Now, I will be benevolent and share;)
Brown Rice Pilaf
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 small carrot finely chopped
1 green onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
A couple of shakes of soy sauce
Saute the vegetables in the oil. Add in the rice and stir for a few minutes. Add the soy sauce at the end. Go light on the soy sauce or it will be too salty.
Anyway, that was dinner. Have a great weekend.
35 minutes on the elyptical machine + crunches and planks. My belly muscles are shot:P
Thursday, June 10, 2010
See y'all on the skinnier side
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I was out counting my tomato plants' fruits and discovered this jewel. It is my first large tomato of the season. It is likely an Early Girl, although I won't ever know for sure because, once again, I didn't label anything.
I brought it into the kitchen and gave it a quick rinse. Then I cut it up, sprinkled a little sea salt on it and yummmmm. I took a long time savoring that tomato lingering over every bite. After a winter and spring of nothing but those anemic store bought tomatoes, this was a taste of heaven. I look forward to that first warm ripe tomato out of the garden every year. It is almost a religious experience to eat it. No, I didn't share.
I had counted over 200 tomato fruits on the vines of our 17 tomato plants before I found the ripe one and got distracted. I should go back out and finish counting. This should be a wonderful year for tomatoes. I am so excited.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
The butterflies are back. This big guy was just a tiny little pitter speck just a couple of days ago. Now he is ready to morph. The dill has been munched pretty badly.
I am really pleased with our tomatoes this year. I am growing 14 varieties, many of which were give seeds from the slow mail seed swap hosted by Monica earlier this spring. That particular tomato is a Better Boy, I think. Silly me didn't label anything again this year. Duh. There are two that appear striped, which would be Avivvi and Green Zebra. I also have a Mr. Stripey, which has one tiny little tomato on it. I didn't have any luck with that one last year either.
The garden is green.
We have had plenty of rain.
There has not been any really bad weather.
The butterflies are back.
Life is good.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Here is the first real harvest of my spring garden. We have grape tomatoes, sweet banana peppers and bell peppers all coming in right now. The garlic was grown all winter and is curing now. As soon as it is all properly dried, I will braid it all up and hang it in my kitchen to keep the vampires out.
The peppers and tomatoes are being grown in containers on our deck. I am pleasantly surprised at how well they are doing. I was lucky enough to be able to test the product Ubiogrow. It is not really a fertilize (I didn'' see the NPK #s) , but a compost/manure tea concoction that does not smell bad. My container veggies just simply love it.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Just when we thought the weirdness with the socks had stopped, some Monkey or another went out into my garden, took off one of their socks and planted it. I cannot get a confession, but one of them has only one sock on and I'm going to figure it out. Somebody help me.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
This picture is exactly why you should not assume that working in a library would be a boring job. We attended a fish fry/crawdad boil fund raiser for a dear friend who has cancer. The local support was amazing. I am very proud to be a member of this community.