Thursday, April 28, 2016

More than gold. .

The honest reflections of an eight year old. .
I just love that girl!!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Planting of the Veggies!

Hey, Hey!!
We have had one little frost since like the first of March. .
And I am having a hard time believing that it is still only April!!
So I have been chomping at the bit to get stuff planted!

We enjoyed 4.75 inches of rain last weekend. .Prom day, of course!
But everyone was so glad to see the rains after the week full of the worst fires in Kansas history right in our neighborhood here. .that NO. ONE. CARED!!
My tomatoes have been in the wall of waters for about 2 weeks now. .
And I decided I needed to get the rest of them planted.

The pictures aren't great at all. .
Boring, pretty much. .
But I needed to map the beds so I can remember which plants are what.
My biggest issue at the end of the summer. .is that I have no earthly idea what plants are where anymore. .Because I can't easily find my little tiny labels!! 
And I'm too hurried and lazy to look for them!
I hope this works much better for me!
3 raised beds on the east side of  the house.
In the front one. .Bed #1
on the north side starting front of picture to the back. .
Beefmaster tomato
Super Banana Supreme pepper
Celebrity tomato
Gypsy sweet pepper.
On the south side is, ,
Green bell pepper
Snow White cherry heirloom tomato
Valencia orange pepper
Jetsetter tomato 

Bed #3 which you can see directly behind bed #1 in the top picture. .
has 3 rows of clemson spineless okra.
Bed #2. .the northernmost raised bed.
Only 4 tomato plants at this point. .
north side is a big boy tomato
Big beef tomato
south side is a Lemon boy tomato
1 renegade potato plant from last year
and a Jubilee heirloom tomato.
Bed #4 in the front.
on the east side are two mucho nacho Jalapeno plants.
6 sweet banana pepper plants (with a garlic plant in there too)
On the south side of the bed are 5 short rows of beets, another garlic plant, and a tiny basil plant.
In between the raised beds are where I opted to plant a couple bulbs of garlic last winter. .like in January. .Oops!
Bed #5 has Straight Eight cucumbers on the north side and National pickling cucumbers on the south side. 
To the right of the photo (not very easy to see) is a huge tarragon plant that I never use because I don't know how. .some sage, chives, oregano, lemon balm, and a bronzeleaf fennel plant that I never got around to harvesting. It not only overwintered. .but I found 3 small plants coming up from seed in other areas! 
I guess I will try to figure out how to use it. .It is sure is pretty. .and gourmet-ish!!
I planted 4 tomatoes in the memory garden. .
I should repost some of the early pictures of this space. .
It has been the best changing garden in my career!!
It may be hard for you to determine that there are 4 tomato cages in this photo. .
I can tell that. .
In the cage closest to left front of the photo is a Parks Whopper tomato.
The one directly to the south is a Cherokee Purple tomato.
The farthest south near the Atlas Cedar is a Salsa Roma tomato. .
And there is one right near the pedestal birdhouse which is a Juliet grape tomato. 
Remember how I mentioned that Jeremy is becoming a gardener as well??
He had been so focused last summer on hooking his drip system up to water his tiny cedar trees. .
That my Valentine rhubarb plant got more water than it has seen in it's lifetime. .
We hooked the drippers to take care of the rhubarb and a couple blackberry bushes as well as the tiny trees. .
So the rhubarb is happy, happy, happy!! 
And so will be the gardener the day she gets a pie from this critter!! 
Again. .
being stewarded by a too-busy gardener. .
I thought all my asparagus plants died.
They have never taken off. .
probably because of neglect.
SOO. .
I bought 14 more roots and planted them a couple weeks ago. .
And Jeremy added a dripper hose to them. .
And today whilst rummaging around this back area. .
I found all of the 4 plants that I knew had survived of the first 10 I planted 4-5 years ago now.
Yay us!! 
We love them grilled. .or roasted. .or wrapped in prosciutto and goat cheese!! 
A tiny little columbine that survived it's first year in my garden!
The shady and moist narrow garden on the north side of the house may be a winner! 
Feeling cocky because ONE had survived. 
I bought a few more at Lowes a few weekends ago. .
When I caught them on a flash sale for $3.00 apiece!!
Behind it is a hosta that is supposed to be 5 feet tall. .
It's been pretty pathetic these first few years. .
But it may be settled in and ready to go now!! 
We have decided to add some privacy to our west deck. .
Something that we SHOULD have done about. .
Um. .
16 years ago!!
But I was afraid that we would tear up all the plants. .
So I dug up this clematis from his little spot there.

He won't die. .
But he didn't thrive there either. 
I am hoping that this area on the north side will be a little better. .
Not as intense sun. .but hopefully enough sun that he will perform. 
Here is the north side of that deck!
I am LOVING IT!!
We had some reclaimed church windows. .
In my head plans. .
I knew that I wanted slats to partially see through. .
And I also know that I don't do perfection. .
Instead, I prefer complete randomness. .
That way no one can judge my lack of measuring and precision!
I think this fits the bill!!
Jeremy, as usual, couldn't picture it in his head. .
But was pleased with it too!
The west side is almost done. .
Complete with change of slat direction and different heights on window placement too.
Hopefully by next weekend, it will be all finished up!!

In the rock planter we made several years back. .
There is a clump of maiden grass on the left and a Karl Forester grass on the right, closest to the deck. 
A darker colored sedum clump that you can see..
along with a hardy little dianthus plant loaded with cherry red buds. A few hen and chicks are loving their life there too--a swap from Gardener on Sherlock's house. 
This is the biggest pain in my butt site. .
The west side of the house. .
Hot. .windy. .nothing likes it here!
Climbing on the deck rail is an orange honeysuckle bush. .nearly ready to bloom.
I ordered some little starts from High Country Gardens. .and am hoping that they will be up for the challenge. Rock garden goes in after this if the plants are a no-go!! 
The green grassy clumps are actually old hyacinth foliage and some Magic Lily foliage.
I don't have a lot of curb appeal. .
But my little front flower bed is finally looking fuller.
The same day I got the columbines. .
They were also having a flash sale on these salvia plants!
SCORE! 
I added some along the pond. .
Where I have the same issue of too much heat. .and too much sun!
I put a couple little gallardia plants in there today. .and some more plants from HCG down to the driveway. .filling in among the existing--but sparse plantings!
The green hedge looking thing in the back. .are 3 spirea bushes I dug from my MIL's border years and years ago. .I noticed a smattering of blooms on the north side of them today. .Can't wait to see them in full bloom! 
Little water irises blooming.
My pump died this winter. .
And in delaying the purchase of a new one. .
Both of my big Koi died!! They grow super fast. .So I will have to get some more at Petsmart this summer! 
My friend Pat got a bunch of hybrid iris starts from a gardening buddy out west. .And several years ago, she shared some with me. .This is the first time it was big enough to bloom. .LOVE IT!! 
Well. . 
That's all for the garden diary today!
Thanks for tagging along during our very busy day!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring Planting

We are so glad it is spring around here!!
We are continuing to try and steward our little section of the world. .
And in the past. .
I have tried to keep a notebook to keep track of what gets planted where. .
So I thought that I might try and do a better job of that online. .
On the little blog I already own. .
That is full of all sorts of stuff!
Our homestead is at least 103 year old. The only thing that was growing here when we moved in 18 years ago. .
Was a tree row (in the area with these two young cedar trees), a smattering of big, old, ugly cedar trees in the yard, some elm trees that broke limbs with every wind storm, 1 lilac bush, and a small handful of red tulips. UG!
But looking at the bright side. .
It was a clean slate for the gardener!
With the exceptionally bad drought over the last 5 years. .and the age of the cedar row. .
Most of the trees died. .It was a mature wind row. .and we didn't realize the extent of the benefits until my husband cut them A.L.L down 3-4 years ago. Before he cut them. .he had gotten seedling cedars from the local extension office and planted them. .running a little water line to them--but neither of us did a very good job at checking the line or turning it on. So many of them died. .and the ones that have survived haven't thrived.  The ones closest to the hydrant are growing well. .as you can see. .and we look forward to the wind break from them soon!
We (I say "we" loosely. .it was mostly not me!) planted a row of lacebark elm trees to the north side of our house. .in between a couple of rows of the new cedar trees. Those have been in for 2 summers now. .and they are growing fast and well!
Jeremy is starting to grow the heart of a gardener. .
And he decided that he would like a small orchard out near the tree row. 
So this weekend. .we ran to Wichita and went to my new favorite nursery there. .
Hillside nursery. .on south Hillside.
We bought 5 fruit trees (only because Cami insisted on a peach tree)
And yesterday in the beautiful spring weather (even without much wind!!) we finished the water line and planting of the trees.
Starting from the north and heading toward the house we planted. .
One Golden delicious apple
One Honeycrisp apple
One Stella sweet cherry
One Montmorency cherry
and then to the east of that row, we planted one Red Haven peach tree. 
The root stock on these bare root trees found in their cellar was phenomenal!!
And the apple trees were left with a nice branch structure too!
The peach tree was blooming. .and somewhere online I read that their little tiny tree had like 5 peaches the year they planted the twig. .and 180 peaches the next year. How lucky!
At Lowes I had found these purple leaf sand cherry bushes. I put two of them right on the south edge of the pond. .I have had trouble finding stuff that would grow there. .it's HOT. .the plants that I have had there look too much like WEEDS when they aren't blooming (which was most of the summer). .and I couldn't deal with that view out the window as we ate dinner every night!! These bushes claimed they were ideally suited for ARID DRY conditions. .(Like ours has become over the last few years) So I put them in. .and will hope for the best!!
I also came across $.99-1.99 tomato and pepper plants last week in Oklahoma. .So I dug these old wall of waters out of my basement (I seriously can't remember how many years it has been since I used them. .bet it's close to 10!!) There is a frost advisory on for tonight. .but I would not be surprised if this is the last cold night. At least the tubes will protect the little plants from the wind. .and we are hoping for good deep root systems before it gets HOT! Their are 3 varieties of yellow tomatoes (my favorite) and the other 5 are varied reds. The pepper plants will come inside tonight and go into the garden in a few more days. I think they might get along well in the gaps of these raised beds. 
The green house hasn't had any seedlings started in two winters now. But it does a nice job of overwintering my growing succulent collection. .and this little stray larkspur!  Those will be replanted into pots on the west deck. .where less hardy plants wilt quickly due to the sun! The succulents add a nice flavor. .and I don't have to water the pots EVERY DAY. .something that has been impossible for me in this season of my life!
This sitting spot has become the family favorite. Devin and I cleaned up the water feature to the right of Jeremy in the picture. .and it has been running for a week now. .LOVE the sounds. .especially when the windows are open and I can hear it in the house!
These guys blessed me a ton. .
Because they all helped out with the planting and water line running. .
And Devin will learn to be the chief water man this summer!
Whether he likes it or not!
I have a few more things that we planted that I didn't snap photos of. .
But hope to do so soon! 
Hope you are finding some time to STOP. .and smell the lilacs!
Have a great week!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Quarterly Update. .

Hey family and friends!
I had enough of a break in my schedule. .
that I thought I might change out my pictures and update our story. .
 
 I think I last updated about 3 months ago. .
I'm not sure that a ton of things have changed. .
But here's what we have. .
 
Tristan is outta here. .
This mom cried for several weeks. .
and still cries every time he leaves.
It's been really weird. .
But I would say that we are adapting.
He just finished his first semester as a college kid.
Jeremy and I hope to go up after the first of the year and check out the house that his carpentry class is building.
Tristan and the two roommates that were there on move-in day!
He works a few odd jobs at college. .But is glad to be home for a month to replenish his bank account!
They have started some intramural basketball in the evenings. He reports that it is a lot of fun! He passed his college math class. .which was everyone's biggest concern. .And is left with only one general ed class next semester. .which is speech. .And for a veteran 4-H kid who also loved forensics. .I would say it should be smooth sailing!
Speaking of 4-H. .
He and Grant both achieved the Key Award for their last year of 4-H. This is the highest award that the kids can get based on their level of involvement in the 4-H program. About 2% of the kids in 4-H nationwide will achieve this award!
Mr. Grant. .
Thoroughly enjoying his senior year.
Took senior pictures in late September. .He let me go and watch. .and I had to laugh as the photographer asked him about posing one way or another. .and his dead-pan response was "I don't know, you'll have to ask my mom. .This day is all about her." We kept joking back and forth about the fact that he didn't want to take pictures. .and I continually told him. .that it wasn't even about him. .just about the senior mom! I think our constant bantering wears Jeremy out!
 
We also bantered back and forth all summer. .
about him running cross country.
I thought that he would be a great runner. .
He thought that he would hate to run.
For some unknown reason. .except that he claims to be a people pleaser. .
He finally decided that he would run. .
And really enjoyed it. .
He hates it when I am right!
He did great for a kid who hasn't run a race in 4 years. .
And agreed that he liked it well enough. .that if he hadn't been graduating. .he would do it again next year!
He will work for his dad after school all winter. .
And then plans on golfing in the spring. .He sure would like to golf at State this year.
And then graduation in May!
Next fall he will head to Topeka to study Diesel Mechanics. .
And has an open mind on where he wants to go. .and what he wants to do after that.
I'm glad that both boys are open to wherever God leads them!
Devin. .
100% junior high this year. .
He enjoyed going out for football as a 7th grader. .they don't let 6th graders go out.
He learned lots and had fun being a part of the team.
He is now in basketball and loves being involved in everything.
I had some awesome parents that agreed to help us host a junior high Halloween party at our place in the country. We had the most beautiful fall night night you could imagine. .and we played games in the dark by the light of a fire and tiki torches. Then they hunted candy corns with flashlights in the dark while parents and teenage siblings took advantage of the opportunity to scare the socks off of them!
A pinterest idea. It's layered Mexican dip. .arranged to look like vomit. I laughed for like an hour after I finished!
 The Fear Factor food game was a hit. .with a whole new level of nasty looking foods with horrid names! The cats had a good night!!
 I got a little panicked about the whole party thing about a week in advance. .realizing that we had the potential to ruin the kid's reputation for life if it was a bust!! BUT. .the kids had a blast. .and Devin told me a few days ago. .that several of the kids remarked that they had had so much fun at the Halloween party. .that they were hoping that we would do a Christmas party too :-)
Score!! 
He shot his first deer last Friday. .
A 10 pointer. He and his dad have been making deer jerky, and everyone seems to like it pretty well!
These two and I finally made it to the Peace Treaty in Medicine Lodge. .I've wanted to go for years. .and never made it. We had a great time!!
Cami. .Loves 2nd grade. .She is getting so grown up! She can put her own mop up into a pony tail (if she has to), can read books in her head, and can change her own earrings! She has gotten to go to the mini-cheer camps at the high school twice this year and loves doing that! It also means that she gets to do a 1/2 time performance to show off what she learns!
She "auditioned" for a part in her music program. .and had both some speaking lines and a "rap song" solo. She said she was nervous until her first word into the microphone. .and then she was just HOOKED! Our church is putting on a Christmas program this weekend during worship service time. .and she has been practicing a solo. She is excited!
8th birthday. She was very specific in her cake directions to grandma Pat. .A brown horse, standing on his back legs with clouds and grass. She got 'er all in there!!
 She also talked her dad into getting a puppy. Apparently some fool told the girl. .that when she was 8. .she could get a dog. WHAT?? So. .right before she turned 8. .she started asking. Grant's girlfriend's family had a litter of 10 pups this fall. .and so we took 2 of them. .so they wouldn't get lonely!
They are 1/2 Rottweiler and 1/2 Pyranese.
They are laid back and sweet! And we all love them. .Especially Tristan. .who reports that HE had wanted a dog F-O-R-E-V-E-R. .and never got one! He may be holding a minor grudge!
The rest of us. .
are up to nothing different!
I am finishing up a year long study in the four gospels. The online bible study went well. .It takes most of any extra time that I have. .hence the neglect of this blog. I think I am about ready for Christmas. .shopping is done. .wrapping is mostly done. .baking and candy making are done too. .Cards and letter written and mailed. .We have family pictures this coming weekend with my inlaws. .We haven't done it for years. .so I am looking forward to that!
 Jeremy just keeps doing what he always does. .
He hates winter. .and is already for spring. .
Sue. .he would NEVER survive your Michigan winter!!
Finishing our big family project from last Christmas. We used our hands to make snowpeople on a small canvas. .He was the last one to finish up for me. I'll have to take a picture of my whole board full of them!
 I'm not sure that I have anything else that exciting to report. .
So I will sign off. .
From our house to yours. .
We wish you a VERY merry Christmas. .
and a blessed and healthy New Year!! 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Well, Hello. . .

Hey. .
Remember us?
I think I promised to get some vacation pictures posted before Christmas. .
Which. .
is happening now!!
We took another week and spent it at Grand Lake, Oklahoma.
We enjoyed July 4th there so much last year. .
That we opted to go during the same time frame this year.
It was good to get away. .
But hands down. .
The worst vacation ever!
With the exception of my sister and her family coming over 4th of July weekend. .
And the two days we spent on the lake playing. .
It rained for THREE solid days.
Which led to cooped up, cramped up, grumpy campers!!
And when my husband offers to take me antique shopping. .
AND my children oblige with no complaining. .
you KNOW it was bad!!
In fact, it rained so much. .
That the water level on the lake rose (by our closest account) by about 4 feet, and the flood gates were wide open letting water off downstream!
We did enjoy two nights of fireworks. .
Well, the ADULTS enjoyed two nights of fireworks. .
The little kids were over it at the end of the first night!
We enjoyed looking over all these cool old WW2 planes at an air show in Ketchum, Ok. .
Some did flips and turns. .
And some had people jumping out of them.
These two little monkeys ran around like crazy, trying to take it all in!
I will add that they were VERY impressed!
Because the lake showed their busiest weekend in HISTORY. .
We didn't get on the water much while they were there. .
But we did enjoying swimming off the dock and floating. .
And partook at an all you can eat shrimp boil.
YUM!
The first day it rained. .
We drove into Tulsa and spent the day at Incredible Pizza. .
which was. .
I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E!!
We played bumper cars, laser tag, go cart racing, arcade games, video games and ate ALL day!
The boys got bigger play packages. .
So Cami got to take a turn in the trampoline room.
She enjoyed her 15 minutes in there!!
After vacation came the County Fair. .
A couple trips to Lake Canton, one being a camping weekend. .
Lots of drag racing in Great Bend. .
And moving Tristan to college.
Wow. .
If THAT wasn't rough on this mama!!
He found it to be a little bit of a tough transition as well. .
But he enjoys his classes and is making new friends too. 
This guy is a senior now. .
He decided to try running cross country this year. .
He hasn't enjoyed the meets yet, but he really enjoys running in practice! 
His personality is really blossoming since his brother left. .
And that has been fun to see. 
His pesto bread loaf netted him overall Grand Champion of the 4-H food class at the fair. .
And his opportunity to sell it at the Premium Auction netted him some extra dough. .
HAHAHA!
Devin is in 7th grade. .
He is playing football for the first time ever.
He likes it.
 He also switched from percussion to saxaphone over the summer. .
And I will be anxious to hear him play with the pep band at the first home high school football game tomorrow night. 
Actually, all three of the boys did well enough on their cooking to take 1st or 2nd place in their food levels at the fair. .so ALL of them got to sell their product at the Premium Auction!
This little mama. .
Learned how to ski this summer. .
Last year she was able to get up and stay up briefly, but THIS summer. .
She was GOOD! She also learned how to surf too. I was against even letting her try because the board is so big and heavy, but with Grant helping her in the water to get the board under her feet, she was able to take right off. I wish I had that picture on here. .because her smile was ear to ear. .the ENTIRE time!!
She is in 2nd grade and LOVES school. Though she was a surprise package for this family. .I frequently thank God for giving her to us. .She is a delight most of the time!! I look forward to all the fun things that I can enjoy with a daughter in the future. 
And. .
I really DO love my boys!! 
All of them!!
This old lady. .
is getting mellower and slower every year! My gardens are not looking great at this point in the season, but what is out there. .is becoming more established and filling in. .I really love the bones I have going now. .in a couple more years. .I will have some great stuff to work with when I find that extra hobby time that I am missing right now!!
I still work multiple places, teach high school youth group every Wednesday night, recently started teaching high school Sunday School at church, and am in the 9th month of leading an online ladies bible study through the 4 gospels in the bible. That has been AWESOME. .and has given me a lot of opportunity to minister to and bless others! 
This old guy. .
stills works like a dog. .
He crams in absolutely as much lake time and racing weekends as he can. He shows up to take his bride out for lunch nearly every Wednesday. He has been helping teach a junior high youth group in our community too. His grandma helps us out by eating dinner with Cami and hanging out with her every Wednesday night. .It's a good thing for both of them! I wish I would have an opportunity like that with my own grandmas. .I know she will cherish it forever!!
So. .
There ya have it.
It's our lives in a nutshell. 
Thanks for checkin in on us. .I'll try not to stay gone so long. .
But I won't make any promises either. .
I know ya understand!
Much love from our little ole part of the world!