Friday, May 29, 2009

FORE. . .(aka LOOK OUT!!!)

Last weekend while we were home, my mother informed us that my dad had bought her a new pistol. Initially, we weren't sure if it was a joke or not, but soon it was clear that she was entirely serious! J, being the gun lover that he is, had to see it. As he fondled it and looked it over, he raised his eyebrow at her and says "Grandma, you haven't even shot it yet?!?" So he decided right then that they would break it in. He happened (happened?!?) to have bullets just the right size in his pickup. So he and the boys took it out that morning and worked it over.

Aunt Jane and Uncle Pete came for lunch Saturday and she also has a pistol and has (or is planning) to take the conceal and carry class. So they all headed outside for a "shoot." They target shot for quite a while. I think my mom learned alot--and I sure wouldn't mess with Aunt Jane--she can aim!

Mom swears that the gun is only for shooting skunks and other strange-acting creatures out during the daytime when they should be sleeping. But the rest of us are a LITTLE concerned for the well being of my dad--SHHH don't tell her! We've all seen her in action

Good luck mom, and don't shoot your foot!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pitcher Pump Water Feature

I am so excited to blog about my newest project. For the past several years, I have wanted to make a water feature using an old fashioned hand pump, you know, the kind with the long back handle on them that they used to pump up and down to get the water out. I had mentioned it in conversation to my in-laws at one point, and my father in law told me where he knew about one. Just so happened to be on some land owned by one of my co-workers. She graciously said I could remove it (Thanks Bam!!) which I just never got around to doing until now. The where's and how's and all that technical stuff just never got answered in my head--until now.

I bought a small patio fountain kit a number of years ago at the lawn and garden show in Wichita. It had a little resevoir and a wooden frame that went around it and came with the fountain and sprinkler. It looked so good at the garden show. When I got it home tho, it just never was quite right. The fountain never stood up right, the rocks to hold the fountain down in the bottom looked tacky to me, the sprayer got clogged, it was always running out of water, blah. .. blah. . . blah. So it sat--on my deck with nothing in it, just taking up space and lookin ugly.

So I decided this spring that I should use that to catch the water coming out of my pump. After much thought, I decided that my best option was to build a little stone enclosure to hide the black plastic. A few weeks ago I decided that the little spot next to my herb garden and in front of a honeysuckle bush would be a good place for the fountain. It was close to the back door and small back patio, where you can't hear the water from my waterfall. It also just happens to have an outdoor outlet on the corner of the house there (what a smart girl must have thought THAT one up when the addition went up 7 years ago!!)

We had planned to take J's pickup to mom and dad's to collect about 20 linear feet of stones to finish a border I had started, and I thought to myself "Self, I should find some small stacking
rocks while I'm at it to have around this summer to work on that water feature." My plan was to work on the water feature in July when all the busy stuff is winding down. Being the doll he is, J just shook his head and helped me load the backend of his truck full of big rocks, lumpy rocks, stackin rocks, and just plain cool rocks. When we started to leave the pasture and he said "Oh, this isn't that heavy" he patiently waited while I added a FEW more. Then we both chuckled as we realized that I picked up the biggest rocks I could find, to make the most out of the "ok, but just a few" comment. Something about having to buy new tires that really makes him irritable!

When we got home I was ready to get to work. I promised him that I would have the rocks out by the end of Memorial day so he could have his pickup back. I sorted the rocks a little as I threw them out on the ground so I could see what I had to work with. As my little rock wall became a little bigger and he could see what I was planning (finally! . . . the man has VERY little vision!) he got excited (tho he would not admit that as such). He said "hurry up and finish unloading those (we had about 10 rocks left) and we'll run up and check out that pump to see what we need to get it home. So we did. After we broke the handle in two, the rusted inside twisted itself off and came up, YIPPEE! Thanks God!

Long story short, he worked on that thing in his shop until 10:00 Sunday night and had everything welded back together and the tubing run into it so it was ready to go!

What a neat sound it makes, and I can hear it in the laundry room and even our bedroom with the windows open.

All the way home I pondered what to plant there. Initially I didn't plan on planting anything there. But my mother has the coolest little spot (like 2 feet by 2 feet) that has a few small rocks and some creeping sedum thru it (by your sidewalk from the garage to the patio) which I just think is so neat. I was wanting to duplicate that somewhere in my yard, just didn't know where. As I started building the wall, it all started coming together in my mind (I just love it when that happens!!) So I had bought a 6 pack of some tri colored sedum (green, white, and pink) to use, stole some hen and chicks from my mother in law and dug some starts off a couple kinds of low growing sedum I have around here. Those went into the small garden area I created after J hauled in a scoop of soil for me. The great thing is that they shouldn't require much moisture or regular care! The back side of that picture is my little herb garden next to our back steps. I need to put some cypress mulch down to keep the grass out (it has always been such a hassle to mow and weed eat right there, so this solution is perfect) I finished it by putting an old rocking chair that needs a new seat (we have everything to fix the seat, just haven't done it--like for the last 2 years!) and put a pot of flowers in the lacking seat area. I love it, love it!

On our way home we stopped at Uncle Pete and Aunt Jane's to check out all the work they have been putting into their backyard. They have been building a pergola. As we were leaving, Pete says "hey do ya need some low voltage lighting??" You know what they say, one man's junk is another man's treasure! You bet we do! Pete smugly smiled as J rolled his eyes and we hauled them all off. I have them in the ground and hope to have J wire them in this next weekend!

What do ya think Uncle?? Thanks again!!
Moral of this story?? Never give two type A people even part of a project--because they will never wait for the rainy day to start it, and now they will have to think up a new project to work on later this summer when they should have been working on the one they just finished!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Family and New Friends

The boys sure enjoyed playing with the newest cousin, Miss Dylan, born in December. She is such a sweet and smiley little thing. C loved playing with Haley, Taryn and Kadon.

Saturday afternoon we met up with my friend from high school and two of her four children. We went down to some land my dad farms and looked for Indian artifacts. It was warm and very still--so it doesn't take too long before everyone gets tired of looking.

We all found lots of chips and pieces. J found an arrowhead with just the tip missing--close enough for him. He has always wanted to find an arrowhead, so his day was complete. Dana and her crew had a good time as well. The boys found lots of "stuff" and she found a hide scraper.

As for us, well, we hadn't seen each other for 18 years since high school. We enjoyed visiting and trying to get caught up! It was a great time!

Saturday evening we went over to my uncle's house to celebrate my cousin's graduation from college. They had a "cream can" supper. I'm sure it must have been a German thing! They used a cream can (shown above) and poured a little water in the bottom of it. Then they put veggies in(he used potatoes, corn on the cob, cabbage, carrots, and onions). Top it off with sausage, put the lid on and cook over a propane burner for 2-3 hours. YUM! It was delicious!
They dumped it out into a big long pan and "bone appetite"

Then home to put babies to sleep and more visiting. We had a great laid back weekend with good food, coffee on the veranda in the mornings, and lots of conversations. We are all looking forward to the big family vacation in July to a resort place near Branson. We all stayed in a huge house 3 or 4 years ago and no one killed anyone then, so we decided to try it again. However, we have added 5 children since the first trip, so we are staying in 3 condos right next to each other this time! Should be fun!

Here's the crew Sunday afternoon before we left. Taryn didn't want to be in the picture, so she brought her mother along. Sorry bosslady--your kids were making odd faces in all the pictures I had!! HAHA. We are always able to corral them only so long before someone starts crying or moving or making funny faces or looking the wrong way--sometimes some of them show up crying and we can't get them to stop--I would say this is one of our better pictures! You can only imagine right!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Last Day of School

Well, we have lots of stuff to tell about! And plenty of pictures from the weekend that I would like to share with everyone. So will probably spend the week blogging about our fun Memorial Day weekend. It was certainly a great break for all of us--and we did lot of cool things.
Friday was the last day of school around these parts. So I guess, technically, today is the first REAL day of summer vacation. The weather was beautiful for play day, which is a day full of games and competitions--complete with a picnic lunch in the shade. The boys had a great time. T got to help manage an event as part of the middle school crew. This was D's first year and G's last year. Oh, so many more play days to come for their parents!! Guess it is a good thing we like to go.

D's pouring it on in the 50 yard dash

G in the football throw

Even C enjoyed playday, we ran into her very good friend Miley. (who up until the last month or so, really didn't like C--she thought she was too "huggy, kissy!") Now they get along great, and Miley even shares C's hugs for a short moment!
We headed for mom and dad's after play day was over. C and D napped which is always nice (a little quiet). We got to eat supper at IHOP, which is always a treat for us. Then enjoyed the visiting with most of the family. We had a very busy day on Saturday and I have several more pictures of our different activities so I will post those later today or tomorrow. Today we have some cooking meetings with the 4-H cookers. I think I have about 10 (5th grade and younger) coming this morning (we are making some awesome, moist banana bread and my favorite no bake Special K cookies). Then if I survive the morning session, we only have 2 that can make the afternoon class (it sure is hard to get kids together if they are older than 6th graders!!) We are making our own pie crusts and then a cream filling to go in them--YUM!! Be sure to check back often this week--there are some photos that you WON'T want to miss!! And I finished a new hand pump water feature yesterday that I can't wait to share!! Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

MMM, MMM Good!

Was in a hurry for a little dessert the other day. So I fixed Granny's rice krispy cookies--thought I would share the recipe!

1 cup sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Rice Krispies
1 ½ cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Boil sugar and corn syrup until bubbly and clear. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth. Pour this over rice krispies, stir until coated. Pour into 9 x 13 pan. Melt chips together and spread over Rice Krispies.

Here's how much we like them!!

When we were first married Jill had given me her recipe for these. I knew that J loved them,
so I decided to make a batch. He happened to walk into the kitchen when I was scooping the peanut butter in (he doesn't particularly care for peanut butter in his food). He asked what I was fixing. When I told him I was making his mother's rice krispy cookies, he about flipped out (literally). He proceeds to say to me "That's not how my mother does it!!" Has anyone else ever heard THAT!?! It was the last time that I ever did! We argued about it until I finally said "Fine, why don't you just call her and check it out!" His reply was "Fine, I will." Needless to say, he never apologized for being wrong that night, but he NEVER said "That's not how my mother does it" again. The End!!

Enjoy the cookies!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Only One More Shop Class to Go!

Well, we have worked hard on the chairs this weekend. I think the boys are finally excited because they now LOOK like chairs. J has worked with the boys on their woodworking projects the last two years--and complains mightily about it too. I finally GET IT!! This time, I wanted to learn some stuff too, so I have had to be out there for each session. EEEK--We are all learning a lot about patience. Unfortunately, some of the conversation one might hear on the outside of the shop is not always that pleasant. It is a good project for us!

Here's what we have done so far

We have one week to go. We will rip some 1 X 6 boards and use them for the seat. Then need to sand and paint. Hope to let the boys pick out some paint colors on the way to the folk's next weekend. That should be a patience building experience too--especially since the chairs will be MY decoration--and I need them to look kind of matched and normal. I was thinking maybe some pastel kind of sunrise colors--we'll see who wins and what we come up with! Next plan is to find some small side tables that we can make to go in between our sets of two chairs--you know--to hold the pina coladas!!

Also found some of my roses blooming this afternoon--I wish I had kept track of the name of this rose! I love it so much. It has just a tinge of pink at the tips. No fragrance at all though--it's only downfall! Makes a fabulous show in a bud vase!

Below are the double knock out roses in front of my rock wall. They are in their 2nd season here, and I think looking good so far. I have some single knock out roses in the back that I received when my grandparents died so closely together a couple years ago. They are all pretty, but I love the double rosettes in this variety.

J got the apple trees and grape vines mulched in this evening. The deer have been enjoying the leaves off the new trees--which has made me sick! Seems that the trees are recovering well, except for my favorite--the Honey Crisp--I hope it will be ok. It seems to be re-leafing, though slowly. A couple grape vines are questionable--but there are 4 that look really good too. So tomorrow it is back to the daily grind. Hope everyone has a fabulous week! We're already looking forward to the trip back to see the family next weekend (after the infamous "play day" at school).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Look at all the beautiful blooms I found on my Saturday morning stroll thru the yard. Can you believe that the blooms above are on a redbud bushing tree?? Most of its blooms got frozen during the blizzard. The silly thing has had a handful of blooms for the last several weeks! I keep thinking that it will stop, but there continue to be different blooms coming and going!

Don't remember where I got these pinkish iris from. But I gave several rhizomes to our minister's wife and they have now spread all along the south wall of the church! The yellow flowers are perennial snapdragons given to me by a patient of mine.

The orange honeysuckle has really taken off. Am hoping to see some hummingbirds in them one of these days!! I just wish it was fragrant.

These came from the house next door--I'm sure they have been around for many years!

Look at these beautiful iris. I got a small clump of the peach ones from my mom several years ago. This group was put into a bed created to be home to some dwarf Alberta spruce trees and Zuni crapemyrtle bushes. 2 small crowns are out of control with blooms. The purple and peach combination is a reblooming iris--has yet to rebloom. Behind it is an old fashioned spirea bush (actually 3 of them) that I stole from my mother-in-laws hedge 3 years ago. We also just mulched all that area into a large bed last fall. We put 3 blue spruce trees in there (supposed to be tall and skinny) and then I proceeded to dig out my 3 dwarf burning bushes and my butterfly bush. I can not believe how much better those bushes are doing since we moved them around. The burning bushes have hardly grown a bit since we got them 4 or 5 years ago. WOW--they are going to town now!

Here is some of our lettuce blend. Won't be much longer! I also got the cilantro and dill seedlings planted. I finally decided to put both those herbs into my west flower bed. Thought that was the best place to keep them well watered. They will also be able to reseed there with out being disturbed. Hope it works. I had eaten some kind of Mexican salad in a restaurant a while back and they had sprinkled cilantro leaves into the salad--That was a wonderful palate pleaser. So am looking forward to trying that out. I also hope to dry some of the leaves to put into some Mexican dip mixes that I like to make at Christmas for teacher gifts. The dill?? I am horrible at dill pickles--I just wanted to grow it for the butterflies!! J just rolls his eyes!! Speaking of butterflies, I started some butterfly weed in the basement this winter. I planted that several weeks ago and noticed the other day that something was eating it. I caught the monarch caterpillars in the act. Please forgive me--I squished them both. I can hardly grow their native host plants for them to carry out their life cycle if they are going to eat them before they even have a chance to multiply! Obviously they like them. I think the plant roots are deep enough now that they look like they will be ok!

Here is a picture of my blooming pyrocanthus bush. It has orange berries in the fall. I was looking around this afternoon noticing that there are several bushes in their third year here. This is the year they should really grow by leaps and bounds! Can't wait to watch it happen!

We got the backs shaped for our chairs this afternoon. And are hoping to attach the back to the bottom with the arms tomorrow afternoon. They are looking good. The boys got to do a little prairie dog hunting today too. They were excited. The boys worked on weeding in the garden a little this afternoon. Too much wind to mulch it in with newspapers. Hopefully some evening this week. Can't believe that school is out on Friday! WOW! Where does the time go? We're expecting a warmer day tomorrow! Can't wait!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

All Because Two People Fell in Love

We attended a very special surprise party last Saturday. It was a birthday/anniversary celebration of J's grandparents. Grandma turned 80 on the 11th, Grandpa 86 today the 13th. And next week on the 20th they will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. WOW--What an event! We enjoyed cake and punch and good conversation. Several of their friends came out and Grandma's sister came down as well. I believe they were surprised and enjoyed it alot.

My mom's folks were married 65 years before my grandmother's death, and my dad's parents also celebrated over 60 years together before my grandpa died a couple years ago. J's other set of grandparents have been married nearly 60 years too. So I guess you can say that we truly come from "a long line of love!!" What a blessing!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kodak Moment

Old fashioned purple iris--they smell yummy!

Dana, you would have been so disappointed in me today!! I missed the kodak moment of A LIFETIME!! I decided to sneak outside this afternoon for a bit while C slept to check on my yard. I had my camera in my hand and then decided to leave it in and return to get it if only if I saw something new blooming. That will never happen again. I had noticed some blooms from my kitchen window this morning out in my tree row. They were not the iris that I had put out there, so I went to check it out. As I approached, I heard the noise of grass swishing--not like a rabbit, but the noise that a snake makes, it was making a quick get-away. I stopped and not being able to see it anywhere, I proceeded on. I discovered the flowers below, purple phlox.

I was admiring their daintiness when I saw it--and you all will just have to use your imagination!! I won't ever forget it! Notice the small piece of cedar tree in the right upper corner. Perched on that branch with his head right above those blooms was a 5 foot long bullsnake draped across the branch. I liked to peed my pants!! I stood looking at him for a while (mostly trying to decide whether or not I should scream because he was a rattlesnake--which I read tonight don't get that long!). As I moved slowly around to look at his tail he started to drop off the branch for the ground. That was enough for me! What a fabulous picture that would have been. Oh well, easy come, easy go.

I actually killed a 18 inch long snake tonight near my garden. T noticed him. He looked like a rattlesnake to me, without any rattles yet, but granny confirmed that he was a bullsnake too. She killed one last week in her garden that was the same length and already had one rattle. So now I am back to being paranoid about C running thru the yard by herself--heck I'm even paranoid about myself running thru the yard! YUCK!! The joys of gardening in western Kansas!

Little C was sniffing the white iris. This is a reblooming type--I have found it in 3 different spots in my yard. The iris are all blooming again this year after I moved them around 2 years ago when we put in the waterfall. So am finding out where they all went to.

G made the coolest mother's day card at school on really nice paper with beautiful graphics. I was impressed with the thought and detail he put into making it. There are lots of flowers, the heart picture has a stethescope around it with a heart rythym on it, also a high jump pit and a basketball, and chocolates. I will have to get it framed!! The yellow gallardia picture to the upper right corner has a bee on it! Details, details!!

Well poor D missed his first real school field trip today. T complained of a stomach ache last night and stayed home from 4-H. D mentioned one too before he went to bed. This morning he had a tummy ache and diarrhea. So we kept him home. He was pretty disappointed the first 30 minutes, but then he was fine.

G had a blast at his. He thought the salt mine was so cool and thinks we definitely need to go back. He brought home a big chunk of salt that they gave to the kids. Pretty neat.
Was nice to have warmer weather today--now if we could find the sun and a little less wind--it would be perfect!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

WHEW. What a whirlwind week we have had here! School is winding down and there are a lot of activities to get through. This week was especially busy for me. I spent some part of every day in the schools. Monday I enjoyed teaching the freshmen girls about STD's and some of the possible repurcussions of having sex before it should be time. I am fortunate to be able to show some graphic pictures to them (you know, pictures are worth 1000 words!!) And I think they should have those images in their little heads so that they may remember that when the time comes to make a decision. I actually had a girl pass out this year. OH MY!! I was glad to hear them say on Friday (when I did their sports physicals for next year) that I had scared them to death and hopefully it made them think a little too.

Tuesday I put on my "mother" hat and spent all day reading to the classes as they came and got new books for Reading Is Fun AKA RIF. That was a lot of fun. When I was deciding what vocation I wanted to study in college, my choices were narrowed down to nursing and elementary education. I love little kids. . . but I did not go wrong in my choice! I would have been a poor and very unpatient teacher in a classroom all day! Now I get to "teach" for brief moments and then send them home. All in a day's work!!

Wednesday found me working as a track coach?!? I have spent many years wishing I could high jump over that bar just ONE more time. T was having some trouble getting his jumping down so I went down after work to help him out. So much fun!! A friend whose son was at practice that day told me that those jr high kids couldn't believe that I could jump and make it. . . Obviously, I am just an old married woman with many children--HAHA--who's laughin' now.

Thursday and Friday found me and my colleagues at the middle and high schools doing physicals. G survived his first sports physical without a scratch!

T jumped at the league track meet Thursday and felt good about it--so the extra work was worth it! He is now finished with track, and that will be nice. He also got all of his reading work completed this school year and got to go on a "mystery trip" that meant that no one had any idea where they were going--they just crawled on the bus, hoping for the best. They ended up going to Wichita and hung out at the mall, ate their lunch there and then went ice skating. T loved it and thought we should go back and do it again some day. Unfortunately, I got to see one of the kids in the ER that night who twisted his ankle and chunked off a small piece of bone when the tendon pulled! Junior high had a dance Saturday night. T and his friend were pretty wound up when they got home and we enjoyed hearing them tell their stories!

G has been helping me out in the garden. We got the rest of it planted earlier last week--tomatoes, sweet peppers, jalepeno peppers, cucumbers, watermelon, and sweet corn (D actually helped me plant everything, but G has taken over from there). He has started watering stuff, and we hope to be able to mulch it all down soon. He helped me finish planting a few things in the flower beds this afternoon in the chill. We made a "mother's day garden" on the north side of the house. C had given me a petunia for mother's day, our church always gives ladies annual flowers on mothers day, and my own mom brought me a beautiful geranium. We decided to put them all in the same location (and included a six pack of petunias that I started from seed myself) to brighten up the bed. He was a lot of help and it looks great! Can't wait to get my new adiarondack chairs out there and lounge! G has his class trip this week. They will go to the cosmosphere and the underground salt museum. I haven't been there yet myself!

D is looking forward to his class field trip on Tuesday. They are going to eat lunch at the park, go to the little zoo, and go bowling. He is mostly excited for lunch!

C is loving the outdoors and it is a fight to get her inside!! She was glad to get to sit on her Papa Don's lap in church this morning!

My folks came for an overnight visit this weekend. They don't get to do that very often, so we always enjoy it! Unfortunately, it was so rainy today that mom and I didn't get to go out and tour through the gardens, but we watched thru the windows. Mom saw a red headed woodpecker this morning, and we have been loving the music of the wrens. I have seen several Baltimore orioles lately and I think I saw a magpie this afternoon on my way in the driveway from work. It was big and plainly black and white--they do get to this part of the world--according to my books. I also saw one once last summer. Hope I cross it's path again. It was especially fun to have my mom around for mothers day and we enjoyed visiting!

Will have post pictures later this week on the special party we went to on Saturday afternoon! We are hoping for a less busy week. 4-H Monday night and that's about it. We are wishing for less 50 and 60 degree weather and more 70's--so it feels like spring! I guess the cool weather has been good for the vegetation! Enjoy the week!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Missing. . . the MAY DAY FAIRY

I witnessed an intrusion of my home the other day. It was the strangest thing you ever saw. I caught this little guy heading for my bedroom. I wondered what on earth he could be doing. He was very quiet, didn't say a word, but looked VERY mischievious.
He looked to the left

and then to the right

Satisfied that no one was looking, he proceeded to get to work

Then as quick as he was there, he was gone without a trace. This is all that was left. . . a pocket full of posies!!

He was about so high, weighed around 66 pounds, I couldn't see his eyes or face. I am calling him the May Day Fairy. If anyone has seen him, please let me know of his whereabouts--I think he needs a big KISS! Near as I could tell he MAY look a little bit like this kid below.