Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Greenhouse Progress

We are just frantically finishing fall projects around here! The boys got paid "commission" (not allowance as we have learned in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace class) last Saturday for working their little hiney's off! We dug and dug! Last week Jeremy took his tractor and took out the sod in the location of the greenhouse. The bricks you see were my idea for the flooring--A.) They were cheap--FREE as a matter of fact--they were a garage in a previous life. B.) They were SO cool looking--much like terra cotta tiles laid down flat. While we were trying to get a clue, a brainstorm hit--and we decided to "sink" the house slightly into the ground, giving us tall people another foot of headroom.

Whatcha think?? The sand is not quite stuffed in all the cracks yet, but I love the concept. It will take me some more work after everything else is accomplished! The hole with no bricks is the area that now has the duct for heating, electricity and water. This is on the west end of the house.

J had to trench an area from the woodburning furnace to the house and then another the short distance between the furnace and the greenhouse. The boys and I cleaned out the dirt from the tractor started trench while J and Dev fought with some very stiff tubing to get it ready to go into the trench! That took hours! While I spent the same hours on my knees trying to get sand into the crevices between the bricks. The bricks have 2 hollow areas between the ends, so the sand is settling in to the hollow spots.

We moved the frame out to the foundation Sunday after lunch. It was about 94 degrees! Where did fall go?? We clipped the house frame onto the base frame and then we were ready to put up the poly carbonate panals. Now, here is where I need to mention that the directions had no words--just pictures! And not very explanatory pictures at that. So a little religion may have been lost as we tried to figure out what attached to which gasket and went where! Unfortunately, about that time, I had a 4-H planning meeting inside the house that I had to be at. So God sent a good friend from down south up to see what J was doing. He spent a couple hours helping him put the panals on. The directions went out the door, and so far not too many things have been leftover. There was some ad-libbing that went on, but Jeremy has assured me that it will all be FINE! As you can see, we have just 2 windows and the sliding door to go!

Here is another picture viewing from the north side of the house. The shrubs to the left are a lilac hedge with some knockout roses in front and to the right is a forsythia bush. The outdoor furnace matches our house quite nicely and isn't far from the greenhouse. To the north is where our grape vines and apple trees are residing.

Here are the tomato, pepper, basil, and cilantro seedlings. I also started a few leftover sweet pea seeds to have a little color in there too! I repotted the seedlings last week into their own little pots and in few weeks will move them to their bigger pots in the greenhouse. There are actually 6 varieties of tomatos--to help me see which ones we like best. (honestly, I had to have a minimum order on the seeds, so I wanted to try everything that I had ordered!) The nice thing is that there will be plenty of seeds for the next several years after I store them in the freezer.

The lettuce is growing good at least on the east deck. Something likes the lettuce on my south deck--so I decided to start over once I moved the pots to the greenhouse.

My soft colors inferno garden came Thursday (luckily on my day off) so while C slept, I put 29 plants in the ground. Had some sore hands the next day! The plants once again, were beautiful and hopefully will grow as well as the Russian garden did! Here's the little tiny plants in the new garden. At the back of this garden is some zebra grass, 3 crape myrtle plants, and some dwarf maiden grass from Lowes in August and 2 rose bushes that I transplanted from my yard. Neither of them were flourishing in their locations, so I hope this move will help them out. Both bushes have wonderfully fragrant flowers and unique colors (both were gifts), so I would love for them to endure!
Last night I planted some lily trees in a few spots, as well as some "naked lady" AKA surprise lily bulbs that my mom dug up for me a couple of weekends ago. I am still ecstatic about the naked lady bulbs--I just love those and they are such a nice reminder of the impending fall season. I have been wanting to order some, but they are nearly $12 per bulb--so I was very thankful that she was so gracious!! Thanks again Mom--in a few years I will have some nice "baby" bulbs to share!

We also collected some corn husks while at mom and dad's and I beat the lid off this cream can that I had in one of my flower beds. The gourds were all volunteer coming up in my flower beds. Both came up next to the driveway side so were not a hassle to leave in the ground--they just tumbled over the rock wall. We were tickled to see 2 different kinds of gourds on them, lumpy warty ones, and little green striped one that turn different shades of yellow and orange. The big green things were hedge apples that Grant and Dev picked by Granny's house.
So, just a few more things to tidy up before we are ready to hibernate for the winter!! Enjoy the cool season weather!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Look Out Shakespere

Just had to share this. D brought home a little book that he wrote and illustrated yesterday--ALL BY HIMSELF. Grant and I were stumbling over some of the words--but Dev patiently lined us out--even if he was a little annoyed that we didn't know that Hrsis reads "horses."

Try to read it yourself and I will narrate below the picture!! I dare ya!

The Haystack

A Hay A Haystack
Cows like to eat Haystack
Horses like to eat Hay

The End!!

Not sure what this is--but it graces the back cover!!
What a masterpiece!! I don't save too much of the kids school stuff, but I think that this will go in the collection of saved work!
Hope ya enjoyed it as much as I did! Just wonderin if his Papa's stack hay like he does? :-)

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Ole "A"

Well! Here's Jeremy's project. You may remember what it looked like 4 months ago hanging from the wench in his shop. He has been working diligently on it and I think it is turning out great. He's pleased with it too!

He chopped the top of the cab down to make it look COOL! There won't be any covering over the engine either, So the motor will stick out just like it is!

There's no air conditioner, which I KNOW he did to minimize the time that I drive it!! And no windshield wipers either--guess it is good that we live in an area where rain is optional!

He needs seats in it--Only room for 2. And a few more guts and then it will be ready to try out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

All Things Great and Beautiful

Wow, have we been crazy around our place!! Last week I had a couple extra days off that I haven't had for a LONG time!! It was spent trying to get multiple things caught up. I have been mulching and transplanting some of my struggling things into a new flower garden right next to the new sidewalks out our east door. My colorful garden from High Country Gardens will be here next week and I will post pictures after I get it in the ground.

Cami and I had some fun playing outdoors last week. Her most used phrases are now "go outside" and "jump high" because she loves jumping on the trampoline and wandering around in the yard. We didn't get much else done while she was awake BUT the playing. Oh well!

We found some monkey grass bl0oming that my mom shared with me a few years ago! What a shock that must have been from the moist clay soil of central Kansas to the hot dry soil of western Kansas. It seems to have adapted anyway!
The boys had to get their cooking done for the state fair last Wednesday. G took his buttermilk swirl bread, which to his dismay, got a white ribbon. I have to add that he made it completely by himself. . . I was on standby in the kitchen doing dishes and then in the next room doing laundry and was not called upon by him. I'm not sure he got the swirling quite right, at least it wasn't in the extra loaf we ate. But I thought the flavor was exceptional (and I'm not biased in the least!) T got a purple ribbon on his chocolate mallow drops.
G was quite pleased with the purple ribbon on the picture he snapped of his sister eating a popsicle. T got a blue ribbon on his picture of wheat pouring out of the auger on his grandpa's tractor. That one actually beat Grant's photo at our county fair. When I asked G what he learned about that phenomenon he replied "that our county fair judges sucked?!" I had to bite my lip as I replied to him that the moral of the story was that it all boils down to ONE person's opinion when they judge! Oh the life lessons they are learning!!
Here's the Russian garden again! Still getting bigger. But the colors have been UNBELIEVABLE! I know that garden will provide me with many more years of pleasure to come!! SO worth the effort!
The big boys have finished their record books and got those handed in last night. More life lessons going on there! What a character building experience for all of us! Last night was our first meeting of this year. It was so fun to watch the junior high kids start and maintain some discussions. We have really worked hard to build our club up into what it should be and I think we are finally getting there. We only have a few high school kids that attend, so the younger kids have had only a few role models--but they have certainly been good role models. They had elections last night too. G will be a recreation leader again this year. T will be a spectator :-) D gets to join this year--so he was pleased as punch to be able to answer a roll call all to himself! Not sure how I will handle helping get THREE record books done! YUCK!

T played in his second FB game last week. He actually got to play a fair amount and (as far as I know) did a good job. They lost again. The boys on the other team were huge. . and the ones that weren't big were FAST!! On T's first play of the game, he ran up to block his man. The man didn't move and T flew backwards about 6 feet. I thought that was going to be an ominous sign! He is really liking it!
We started our church Kidz Klub last Wednesday. D had a blast there and has been asking frequently when we get to go again. I will help with the worship music again this year. We are also starting a junior high youth group in October since that population of our little church is growing. I will help to lead that music also--so once again our lives will seem to be full! We will kick off with a skating party in a few weeks. That is always fun--besides, I am dying to try out my $13 ebay roller blades that I got last year. I figured that I would be skating intermittently for the next 18 years, so I saved myself from the nasty borrowed skates and blisters!
J and I started a Christian financial planning class put on by Dave Ramsey--a financial guru. That started last Sunday and will run every Sunday evening for 13 weeks. J listens to him on his talk radio programs frequently, but I have never heard him. He is absolutely hilarious to listen too and the first class was so interesting that I started the book immediately. I don't GET stuff like that at all. You know, you need it, you write a check, you're good?!? I figure with the decreased income we will soon see, this will be a good experience for me (and a reminder to me that my husband is smarter than I always give him credit for!).
J is about finished with his Model A now. The paint is on, the motor is mostly in, and he thinks it will be ready in less than a month. I took pictures Sunday to post later this week.

We have been working on my greenhouse for the last few weekends. Usually just while C sleeps on Sunday afternoon, so it has been slow. This last weekend we were able to assemble the frame. We got the door frames made and the windows installed. I LOVE it!! We need to level out the ground, put down the brick floor and then the house can go up and the poly-carbonate panels will be siliconed in. We are headed to my folks this weekend and will need to stop at Lowe's for some supplies for J to finish plumbing in his outdoor furnace to heat the house and the water lines that will run to the furnace and greenhouse. So I think that the greenhouse will be ready in the next month too. I started my tomatos a couple weekends ago. I have 6 varieties (only because I had to have a minimum order) coming up now. I also have basil started (to help keep down bugs) and some cilantro coming up. The bell pepper seedlings are just trying to emerge. My salad greens are growing well, except for the planters on the front deck next to the waterfall. I suspect some little rodents got the new seedlings, because miraculously, they have all disappeared!
I think that I will also try a couple of cantelope vines and maybe a cucumber plant. I have read alot in the greenhouse gardening book that I ordered, and think that I can make this work! I'm always open to a challenge.
The roma tomatos are going into the freezer at a rapid rate now to wait for our salsa making party coming up in a few weeks. MMMMMM! We finally are getting some beefsteak tomatos now--not sure what their malfunction was. The pepper plants are producing like made and the hot lemon peppers are getting ready to pick--I can't wait to try those out--hope they are ready in time for the salsa.
Well, life continues to move at the speed of light here. The early nightfall helps get us all inside at a better time. The guys are planning on doing some dove hunting this week in the evenings and are hoping that papa will take them out to hunt on our weekend there. Mom and I are headed to the big art fair in Hillsboro. I haven't been for a couple years--so I can hardly wait! We haven't seen the cousins since July, and it is always amazing how much every one changes and grows!
Hope everyone is staying healthy and happy. Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

DOWN. . . SET. . . HIKE

Tonight was our first of many years of football games to come!! Tristan is #80. They don't do JV games but try to let all the kids play. He was pretty excited for the game. He took money because some of the guys were going to walk down to the little cafe across town after school to eat something before the game.. .but he was sure he would vomit if he ate anything. Poor kid and his nerves! He did get to play several times for a few minutes each. He gave us a run down play by play narration ALL the way home from his vantage point. . .the narration lasted through his eating and then some. I guess he is ready for next week. The kids lost 16-14.

There he is running to do something. . . I'm sure he could tell us. I have never understood football--EVER! I don't know which positions do what--I finally figured out the "first in 10" thing. Maybe after 15 years of this I will enjoy the superbowl for more than just the commercials and great snacks!

C and I had a great day off. This was our first week of the new scheduling in Ok clinics. I am working every other Tuesday until the end of the year. Next week I will have Tues and Thurs off--I can hardly wait!! I'm on call Labor day so that won't really count! We started mulching in the area in the east yard where the new flower garden will be in a few weeks.
J is about to conquer his old Model A car and he had glass cut in Oklahoma. It was ready today, so C and I made a quick afternoon trip down to pick it up. It worked good for me too because I ran out of weed barrier this morning, so hopefully I can finish that this weekend! We also spent some time sitting on the big rock next to the Caryopteris watching the bumblebees and the butterflys. A good relaxing day! We've nothing much planned for the weekend. Hoping to catch a drink and a chat with my good friend Jen this weekend, as well as a little yard work, so Wii time with the kids (we've been having Wii-off's that are a lot of fun) I think J is hoping to paint his A this weekend so will have to post some pictures of that. I think I will look pretty cute driving it around--don't tell him I said that!! I think it will look pretty cool though! Hope everyone has a safe holiday weekend!