Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cold cold cold

Its cold. I hate cold. I have a job I need to finish, but its too cold. I dont live in Texas for this.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Planted spinach

I transplanted some of the spinach seedlings into 4" containers today. I also left a notebook for N in a baggy to keep it dry. Now we can leave notes for each other. I also made us a greenhouse soap-on-a-rope by making a hole in a round bar of gardeners soap and running a length of garden twine through it. I hung it on the end of one of the benches.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Planted up a flat of ????

I made the same mistake I make every single year. I started some seeds and did not label the flats. So I think I potted collards in four inch pots, but it could be mustard or kale. I think the kale got mixed in with the trailing snap dragons, but, again I am not sure because I didn't label the flats. The only things I can identify are the lettuce, spinach, and beets. I will promise to label the flats next year, but if my history is any indication of my future, I will be complaining about this again next year. I will probably do it again this year when I start tomatoes and peppers.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Michael's Birthday

Michael was born the day after Christmas 1997. He was the best late Christmas present ever. Much love to Michael Ray.

Here's Michael

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Time to get busy

We made it through the holiday and had a great time. Over the next week I want to complete my winter garden with the rest of the veggies in the green house. We have spinach, more Swiss chard, lettuce, collards, beets, and kale. In a few weeks seed potatoes will come out and I will leave a space for those. Here pretty soon I will be starting tomatoes on top of the drier then move the the green house when they are an inch tall. Also need to start some more rose bushes. Time to get busy.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Garden bunnys

Here is a picture of Michael with Lucy. She is nice and gets to come inside sometimes. Her sister Star is not nice, and does not get to come inside. They make great compost (rabbit crap)

Michael with Lucy

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Another freeze

It froze again last night after the weather people said is wasn't supposed to. I think I may have lost a couple of potted pansies. Oh well.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

After the first freeze

The tomatos melted...

but the cabbage and Swiss
chard are just fine
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Note for the spelling police

Ha ha according to my last post, I am going to have literate tomatos.

It is freezing

Well at this time it is not actually freezing yet, just down to 36. It is supposed to go down to 28 tonight. Below is a picture of the things I brought in from the garden. There is swiss chard, green tomatos, dill, fennel, basil, chili pequin (red and green), and one really ugly carrot. The bunnys will get the carrot, we will eat the rest of it. Most of the tomatos will turn read after a while. I just leave them in a bowl in the table. The boys will eat them as they turn red. I dont know if the green chilis will turn red the same way, but I am going to give it a shot. The red chilis will dry in the bowl after which I will put them in jars for storage. They make an awsome tobasco type sauce with salt and cider vinegar.

Things I brought in before the freeze

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

I cut it anyway

This is the broccoli that I posted a picture of ten days ago
Gracie with Broccoli
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Here is Logan wearing your hat while writing about Abe Lincoln

Logan writing while wearing meme's hat

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Get down from the stove

Going to have to start this list of things I never imagined I would have to say again. See the list on the right.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I caught the yarn monster

I have been fussing at the boys for two days about balls of yarn all over my office floor. Well, they didn't do it. It was Tisha. I caughter her in the act just didn't get a picture for evidence. Here she is a few minutes after her crime pretending she didn't do it.

Yarn monster

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Trying out cabbage recipes

I picked a few very large outer leaves off of our cabbage today. We tried making it like we make Swiss chard.

Saute onion in olive oil until translucent, stir in shredded cabbage, add 1/2 cup chicken broth and cook down (about 10 minutes) stir in two tablespoons balsalmic vinegar. This time I also added a little thyme, parsley, and a chopped up Granny Smith apple at the end.

It was good, but the swiss chard is better. Michael said it needed salt.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas presents for the boys teachers

Below is a picture of the hats I am making for the boys' teachers this year. Kurt picked out those colors. I have to make a scarf and wrist warmers to go with that one and two more sets for Michael's teachers. Plus the Meme wants a set.

Made a hat for Kurt's teacher

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

Reusable bags are now cute

Our very pretty, very fashionable neighbor proudly showed me the reusable canvas bags she bought at Brookshire's for her groceries. She likes them because they are cute. Going green just got a cute endorsment in little old Crandall. She most likely will not think my homemade string bags are nearly as cool.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Larry has become crazy about the broccoli. He has decided it is his and we will cut it when HE feels like it. We had to eat store bought frozen broccoli for dinner (of course I steamed it), because he feels like HIS broccoli needs to be bigger.

Finished another one

I finished Whitney's quilt at about 6:45 this morning for all of you who think I sleep all the time.

Whitney's Quilt

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sweep the deck

Logan, Michael, and I cleaned up the deck this afternnon. The leaves are all swept and the pansies are in their pots. I took a before picture, but it was too dark to take an after when we finished. I will take a picture tomorrow and post it.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


It seems like overnight our first tiny little head of broccoli grew into something big enough to eat. We will give it a few more days and cook it.


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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas party quilt

My SIL, Freya, ended up getting the quilt. She was not inclinded to trade.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Finished in time

I finished the quilt for the Nottingham family Christmas party in time. I don't have to stay up all night. I used the stamps I bought at the Houston Quilt Show.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sneaking swiss chard into dinner

I always have too much swiss chard. It is so pretty in the garden and really good for us to eat, but only Michael and I will eat it as greens.

I made jambalaya last night for dinner. I used the usual veggies - onion, garlic, tomatos, and peppers. Then I got three really big leaves of swiss chard shredded them in the food processor and added them to the pot. No one noticed and it tasted great. I have done the same thing before with chili, and they ate all of that too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

greenhouse monkey closely related to the house ape

The picture below is of Kurt in our greenhouse. He is great for hanging baskets and fixing holes.
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Monday, November 26, 2007

busy busy busy

I always forget how busy the week after Thanksgiving is for me. As usual, I am rushing to finish the quilt for the Nottingham family Christmas party. I have 8 diamonds to finish as well as the corners. I am going to really have to keep after it to get it finished. I dont want to have to stay up all night Friday to finish it (again).

Greenhouse looked good after the coo wet weather. I am going to spend a few hours there this week to make it pretty. We decided to set up one table for propagation and starting seeds. Going to start shopping for pretty containers to plant up and sell.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Deck garden this summer

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Hay in the house

For halloween we did a hay ride trick-or-treat thing in Combine like we do every year. I bring the hay bales home to use in the garden and keep the rabbits warm when the weather turns cold.

The temperature dropped Thanksgiving and I told the boys to put some hay in the rabbits' hutch. Well they put the hay in the hutch, but they also the unopened bale right by the gate of the backyard. Now it had blown into the living room and kitchen. Somehow they even got a layer of it in their bedroom. Hay should not be in the house.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

This is why cows should not be pets

Mom came home from the grocery store. She had the food in the trunk of the car. She opened the trunk and took a arm load of groceries into the house. When she came back three of my Dad's four cows had their heads in the trunk of the car. She yelled at them. They looked up and cow #1 had a bunch of bananas in her mouth. She yelled and ran at them. The cows ran off with the bananas and had a fight in the front yard over them. Mom and J got the rest of the groceries in closing the trunk in between each trip. The cows came back waiting for more produce. Mom threw a rock and hit cow #1 in between her eyes, cow did not even blink. These are big, vegetarian dogs.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Winter is here

When we got up this morning it was comfortable. Two hours later is was cold. Now at 8:30 at night it is really really cold and windy.

The boys helped me move the rest of the outside plants to the greenhouse. Nancy was out there just as busy as could be. She seems happy to have it there. Now that it is cold, it will stay pretty cool in the greenhouse and I can start cool weather plants in there to transplant into the garden. I am going to put some worms in a container and take them into the greenhouse.

There were a few holes in the plastic so I had Kurt climb up on a bench and tape them up. He couldn't reach the highest of the hole, so he held on to the center roof pipe with one hand and taped with the other. He looked just like a monkey. I will take a picture the next time he is with me and post it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Compost heating up rooting agave

The compost pile has heated up to 120. According the the thermometer that is active, not hot. Hot is over 140. At least it is doing something. Michael feels better.

Debbie gave me a huge cutting of a century plant. The bottom is already calloused so we will see if it will root out in a container. I am not a fan of cactus, but this is a cool plant.

We may get a freeze in the next few day, so tomorrow we move all the plants into the greenhouse, pick all the green tomatos, and bring in the basil to dry.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

cold compost

When we got up this morning the compost pile was at 100 degrees. It was 95 three hours later. I guess there was not enough nitrogen. Michael wanted to add more water, but that will just make it harder to turn when it goes completely cold. When it gets cold we will turn it and start over.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Greenhouse and compost

We moved the greenhouse to Combine today. Well Larry and Jim put up the greenhouse and Nancy and I watched. It will be nice to have it out of my tiny garden and be able to share it with a friend.

Michael and I cleaned the space that moving the greenhouse freed up. We had what looked like way to much stuff to compost, but when we started building the pile, it just barely filled the bin. We didnt have much green stuff so we had to add a lot of cotton seed meal and rabbit poop. It has been so dry, I couldn't believe how much water it held. Hopefully I added enough nitrogen that it will heat up. The last time it only got up to about 110

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jogging with Kurt

I probably will never post twice in one day again, but I had to add this.

If you are a 43year-old out of shape woman DO NOT take an 8-year-old soccer player with you when you decide to take up jogging again. He ran backwards, he ran forwards, he skipped, he moon walked. He talked about the moon and the stars and the cicadas in the trees. He made up a song about everything that happend on our "jog" He kicked a frog. I know Ken, it was a toad. Really, we dont want to open up that conversation. I huffed and I puffed and I had to stop and walk. He is staying home tomorrow.

Worm food

My mom has been driving me crazy. She wants me to get a new table because my table, the table I love, only has four chairs. We are able to eat together because I have a smaller table that fits in a corner about 18 inches from the larger table. Two of the boys sit at this table. Apparently, this is not close enough. The trouble is my dining area is not big enough for a larger table. If we get a larger table we will not be able to get outside or into my office. Yet she continues her battle. Now my best friend and a sister-in-law are shopping for a table. If she gets the rest of the sisters and her best friend going there will be at least 9 people calling me to tell me about the cute table they found. I am going to scream.

We eat together and even better cook together. Tonight, we made pork chops with grilled vegetables. I put italian dressing on zuccini. Well... the oldest one, who would not eat cooked zuccini before, loved it (he will eat almost any veggie raw). The youngest hated it. He wants me to do it the other way with olive oil and a little season salt. Maybe I should let each kid season their own after its grilled.

When we move to a bigger place, we want a huge table that can seat our gigantic extended family. In the meantime, I think I will cook with my husband and boys and eat as close as we can get. Really, I can reach them if I have to.

Mom did make up for making me crazy about this stupid table by saving food scraps for my worms. She freezes them (the scraps not the worms)so they dont smell up her kitchen. She saves vegetable and fruit peals and stuff that is going bad. She forgets egg shells and coffee grounds, but I will take what I can get.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Our 10th anniversary was yesterday. I want to express my gratitude for a man who has put up with a lot of yard craziness. He has built, rebuilt, and/or put up and taken down a greenhouses 12 times. One time it flew over the fence and into the street on a very windy day. Mine wasn't the only one, a mg friends' blew away too. This week he is taking it down from here and moving it to a friends' place. He has built compost bins and knows what not to throw away. He has bought me a chainsaw for mothers' day. He puts up with my weird friends. He built me a worm bin after a friend dropped off a dixie cup of worms (composting). He didnt even ask any questions. WhenI got home he said "your dinners in the microwave and your worms are on the counter" He only gets a little aggrivated when I leave plants on the kitchen counter.

He likes bannan trees, I think he has one in his office at work. He has a big one outside in a pot, and he got mad at me when I let a freeze kill it back. He drug the dead looking thing into my kithchen and of course it came right back like I told him it would. But then, he would not let me put it back outside. I had to dodge that damn 6' tall tree all winter. Then when it got warm, he took it back outside into the sunshine, where it got a sunburn and looked dead again. Now he lets me put them (he has three now) in the greenhouse.

Under no circumstances should you take any gardening advice from him. He told our neighbor that the siberian iris I was sharing with her was a vine and needed to be against the fence. He doesnt know and he will make something up every single time. When our boys were little he told me I had to go inside the bank to make our truck payment just to see if I would take them inside with me. I, of course, did- like a dummy. Maybe there is a little passive aggressive here, but I am telling you he puts up with a lot of weirdness.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

House keeping

I use natural products to clean our home. I have asthma and strong chemical cleaners really make me sick. We use orange oil and baking soda in kitchen and bathroom the combination will take soap scum right off. I use white vinegar to clean windows and mirrors. We got rid of the carpets and put in wood floors that are much easier to keep clean just sweap and mop and they are completely clean. I cant prove it, but since we started using the orange oil, I have seen fewer bugs. We had some grease stains of a few of our shirts. I did a little research and found a site that suggested corn starch. I put some on the stain while the shirt was dry, let it sit for a while, shook it out and washed the shirt again. The stains came out. I am trying it on a motor oil stain on one of dh's shirts, dont know if it will work yet.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cabbage and Broccoli

I have always had trouble growing nice big heads of cabbage. My broccoli did okay, but not fantastic. This summer I found a book in my grandfather's things that was basically about mulching the vegetable garden. The author wrote at length about how much fetilizer cabbage and broccoli need. This year I amended the beds for these plants with compost, earthworm castings, rabbit manure, blood meal, bone meal, and alfalfa meal. I planted the plants and mulched with cedar mulch. Each week I have either side dressed them with a good nitrogen source (cotton seed meal mostly) or I foliar fed with liquid fish. These plants look awsome. The broccoli has not made heads yet, but if the heads look as good as the plant, we will be eating well. The cabbage is huge. It is just now starting to create heads. The plants have grown so large they are touching each other. They have been out for about five weeks now. I only use natural products and they worked just fine for this. We have had a very dry fall and they are doing great on city water. I hope to be able to post pictures soon.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Really good mashed potatos

Last night we made the best mashed potatos. This is the skinny version but at Thanksgiving we will be making them full out with cream and real butter. Logan even liked this.

1 large potato per 2 people
2/3 cup per potato skim milk
1/4 cup per potato good for us margarine
1/4 cup fresh finely chopped sweet basil
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic chives

Boil the potatos skin on until tender and drain. In a heavy sauce pan combine all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Add the potatos and mash.

We made gravy, but this was better without it.

Okay, about garlic chives. For gardeners in North Texas this is a perennial. For me it has become invasive. I have to cut off the blooms or I will have this plant everywhere. The flavor is like chives with a slight garlic taste and smell. Very good in egg drop soup.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Starting rose bushes

Today I am starting rose cuttings. Here is how it works. Take cuttings from the mother bush. Each cuttings should be about pencil thick and about 4 inches long. Place them right side up about two inches deep in good potting soil. I can fit about 20 cuttings in a 1 gallon container. Keep them damp. If the cutting turns brown it is dead. As long as it is green it is alive. Soon leaves will show up and the cuttings are ready to be transplanted into individual one or two gallon containers. Here in north Texas I keep them in the container for a year. I start the cuttings in the fall and plant the new bush the following fall. Old roses on their own root stock have worked the best for me. I generally get a good percentage of cuttings to take root.