Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How the Greenhouse Grows and Other Spring Gardening

Hard to really believe that it is Popsicle season again already!!
But this girl ASSURES me. .it is!! We had a beautiful spring weekend here in southwest Kansas!! The fact that we haven't had any freezes in the last 2-3 weeks. .makes me feel like I am so behind in the yard. .even though our last average frost free date is still over 3 weeks away!! It's hard to keep from getting overly excited! I photographed the flowering things a few days ago. .but didn't show the chaos in the greenhouse. .and yesterday, we even got some things planted in the garden.
The sedum growing  in the big rock are looking good. My dad was always my partner in crime when it came to the boulders that I would bring home!! He came with the loader tractor several times to help us load rock. .he would find the big rocks for me. .and we would proceed to load as many large rocks on the trailer as Jeremy would let us. .and I'm sure we were to blame for at least one ruined tire out of the deal!!
Entering the greenhouse. .take a big deep breath in. .can you smell that yummy purple petunia?? It is heaven on earth to me. .that moist, natural soil smell laden with the heavy scent of petunia. YUM! The small pot of chives I potted last fall, has finally really taken off. .those are the tubular spiky leaves to the left. .red and chartreuse colored sweet potato vines are behind the petunia and will be ready to pot outdoors in April. And yes. .you savvy gardeners out there. .that is HENBIT in the foreground, that I neglected to see until now!! The red leaves in the foreground, next to the henbit. .are purple basil plants. I would dearly love to learn to make pesto. .but that project eluded me last summer. .maybe this will be the year!!
I was a little worried about the tomato plants while I was gone. The boys and my super mother in law took good care of them. I had replanted them not long before Dad's accident. .which probably took a role in saving their lives! I won't be surprised to see blooms on them by planting date. I'll probably put them in the ground shortly after April 15, if the weather continues to be so nice. The plants on the right are assorted peppers.
These giant marigolds germinated right before I left. .look how big they got in that little seed flat. Disappointing, was the fact that only 3 plants germinated from the mix. .a walmart seed pack. Behind them are a few little seedlings of a yellow coneflower; echinacea paridoxica. .it is a little different than what most people picture when they see coneflowers in their mind. Some of the same winter sown seeds are also sprouting. .so hopefully I will score some blooms to show later this summer.
The blueberry lime petunias are still growing. .seems like it always takes them so long to grow. .wondering if anyone else has ever tried to start them and what their luck is? They will likely survive now. .may plan to repot them into bigger pots soon. The coleus never did germinate. .those are forever off my growing list!! Three strikes. .and if you don't perform at least once. .you are out around this greenhouse!
Grant and I chose to try cauliflower this year. But not just plain ole boring white cauliflower. .This is "graffiti". .and it will be purple! We also sowed "cheddar" which is yellow. .but not one seed germinated. .in the same soil flat, with the same moisture and temperature as the graffiti. .go figure THAT! The company also sent some experimental seed for broccoli. .which didn't germinate either. We have 6 graffiti sprouts. .so hoping for at least one little purple head!! He'll look great in ranch dip!
I have been very pleased with our winter tomato harvest. Some of the larger ones still tasted much like the winter tomatoes in the store. .they had flavor, but still the mealy kind of texture. .I'm a texture kind of gal. .so that really turned me off. THESE little dudes though. .yum!! Great texture, great flavor. .and lots of 'em. Next winter. .need a couple more plants of them!!
Saturday was a beautiful day. .the guys were racing. .Cami and I were playing and weeding. .Tristan was fishing with his buddies. So Sunday afternoon, we caught up some projects. Jeremy POWER washed my HOUSE :-) Only the west side, but then I heard the chain saw going. .
. .and found him widening the spaces in the decking to allow the dirt to settle through. All I said was. .Devin, your job this afternoon is to wash the deck chairs with hot, soapy water. .I do NOT know how his dad got involved. .but I am NOT complaining!! They even used Pledge on the cedar picnic table and bench. Last night, Jeremy used his chain saw to slice down last summer's ornamental grasses, the maximillan sunflower stalks, and to prune the dead wood off my caryopteris bushes. Whew!
Grant and I spent some time in the garden Sunday afternoon. .We took turns hoeing some rows. .A couple years ago, I rebelled against tilling my garden for the sake of my soil and all the things underneath it. However. .we also rotate our crops. .and this was the first time in a number of summers that we have been to the very back of the garden. .the soil hadn't been mulched well, and so it was a little, alright. .a LOT hard to hoe. .And. .partly because I am OLD. .and partly because I haven't worked out for several weeks now. .I am SOOOO sore. .even today! Grr. Thankfully though, most of the row digging is done. .now we'll just have to put little holes through the old mulch and sneak in plants or a small spot of seeds.
In addition to the hoeing. .Grant snapped this lovely photo of me, while I, oblivious to him, was swearing under my breath. .or maybe even a little bit audibly. .about this cursed Johnson grass coming up in the garden. I think there was a smallish patch when we first started the garden 14 years ago. .and as I tilled every year (before I knew how evil this stuff really was) I would redistribute tiny pieces of root throughout the garden to start their OWN little patches of grass. The roots go straight to the sulfur-y lake of fire. .and unless you get the last, little pointed tip of root end. .it regrows. I used a shovel to dig as much as I could out of the area where we were planting. .and I am in a total quandary about what to do with the rest of it. I will probably cover it with heavy cardboard and mulch this year. .BUT. .I mentioned to Jeremy the possibility of covering the soil with black plastic and making raised beds throughout. Sounds like a lot of work to me! Blah!
But. .Sunday we were able to plant Red Norland and Yukon gold seed potatoes. .Detroit red beets. .cosmic purple carrots, and another orange variety. .and a couple 1/2 rows of salad greens. As we were plotting out the garden layout, I noticed some greens coming up. Not recognizing them as any weed, I thought they looked like carrot greens. .and lo and behold. .they were!! Not sure when they germinated. .or why. .but a couple of them were really large ones!! They were the yellow variety out of the mixed color packet we sowed last spring. Grant cleaned one up and we munched on it while we finished our work!
The garlic sprouts look encouraging. .as did the rhubarb plants. I planted 2 Lanthem raspberry bushes against the back fence near the rhubarb that I bought from Gurneys for 50% off. I hope everything will be sprouting in no time. .Temps for the next week are a little cooler. .and I saw a low slated for 38 degrees. .there is still time for a good freeze. .but we hope not!!

The seed aisles and bagged discount plants have been calling my name. .and I hope to stop this weekend at a nursery that I recieved a gift certificate to, to purchase a type of blue spruce and some larger shrubs to anchor the memory garden. .

Hoping for a week that lacks in unexpected events. .
and wishing you all the same!
Come back soon!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I Think Mr. Groundhog was Confused!

He SAID. .6 more weeks of winter. .
I'm not sure we even got 6 more DAYS of winter after his verdict! 
Not complainin' here! The weather has been luscious. .and it is so nice to see green across the land again, after the summer of 2011!
The signs of life have been good for my heart this week too. We were blessed with 3 very rainy. .very gray days at the beginning of the week. .paralleling my own outlook on life. However, the 2 inches of rain that came with it. .and the subsequent 70 degree temperatures. .have launched spring upon us in its full glory! And the Sun shining warmth on my back. .was a good reminder of the Son shining healing in my heart. Though, I still feel far from "myself," I am encouraged that when I find myself again. .I will be a stronger, better person. Last night, I was touched by Paul's writings in 2 Corinthians 1:6-7. .
"So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer."  
Right now. .the most encouraging things to me. .are the words. .and LACK of words. .from people that have lost their fathers like I have. .untimely. .unexpected. .and tragic. .there is just comfort in KNOWING that someone KNOWS your heart. And I know that. .because of this road we are on now. .I will be able to be an encouragement to someone else in their time of despair and need! And that comforts me. .the fact that this will not all be in vain.
Feeling better with that off my heart. .how about a cheerful tour of this little place we like to call home?!
I nearly choked on my lunch the other day as I caught sight of these little living stones out the window. They were part of my rebellion against anything that required water or cool temperatures last August. They were such tiny little things when I put them in the inferno zone between the southern exposure of our house and the waterfall. Apparently they like it there, as they have nearly tripled in size since August. .AND bloomed. 
I have one clump of the creeping phlox left. .yes, it's hard to kill. .but I have managed to do so with several other small clumps. This one, however likes it's location. .and so do I. The succulent in the foreground will be covered with hot pink blossoms soon. .and I suspect it will be a grand show! It's a desmosperma. .ice plant. 
As I left for the hospital 2 weeks ago after dad's accident, the crocus were blooming and the daffodils were just starting to bloom. When I got home last Saturday, the tulips were making their appearance. These are coming up in the new flower bed that was created after we put up the cedar fence last fall. It doesn't have much in it yet, and my plan was to plant seeds for annuals to fill it fast. I have received several gifts of outdoor plants. .as well as some gift certificates and money to purchase shrubs/trees in memory of my dad. I have decided that I will do so. .and make a "memory" garden. .NOT a shrine. .but a quiet little garden that will touch my heart! The gifts should make short work of rapidly filling up this bed. Funny how God just prompts my heart sometimes. .that fence project came up out of the blue last fall. .and then it was like "OK, now what do I do with all this space??" He had set my wheels into motion in preparation for this day. .when I would work in the dirt, searching my soul. His gift of healing to me! WOW!
Cami has been quite enthralled with the tulips. .running from color to color determining her favorites!! I got a generic mix of tulip bulbs from Brecks last fall. .a nice assortment indeed!! There are lots more tulips just forming buds. .so I believe the show will continue for a while yet! 
Um. .all these little sprouts, I believe are sunflowers. .Need to find that hoe!!  
The pond has been the most exciting thing. .one day. .nothing. .next day. .new growth everywhere!! This little ferny plant, I was sure, was a goner last summer. It struggled all summer and finally died. .I thought. .a couple little shoots popped up last fall. .and it looks like there is hope for it again!! The height on it could be as tall as 6 feet. .I think that will give a lot of pond-side interest! 
The variegated cat tail, blue rush, curly rush, dwarf cattail, and water iris are all greening up fast!! I noticed today that the floating parrot vine plant is alive as well. We started feeding the fish this weekend, and they seemed glad to get it!
The hearts and water lily are surfacing too! I'm hoping to get one more water lily in a different color. .but I really think that will be the only plant addition to the pond. I bet it will fill in a lot this summer! While I was gone to mom's, Jeremy installed a UV light into the waterfall. .and that seems to have made ALL the difference in the clarity of the water. .hope it continues to work as well! 
My personal favorites. .grape hyacinths. 
The bradford pear has been in bloom. .as has the peach tree. .hope it fruits this year! 
Found some peonies too. .though not nearly as tall as my mom's. .which was a little surprising, since her garden is in a colder zone north of mine. 
Here's the russian garden. .nearly overtaken by this. . 
Henbit!! Grr. .I was able to clear out all the weeds from this bed while Cami was doing "dangerous" tricks with the ski rope the kids have hooked onto the swing set!! 
My redbud tree looks terrible. .hardly any blossoms on it at all. .not sure what that is all about. . 
but. .the multistemmed redbud bush, is a phenomenal sight. .the best showing since I planted it!! This was essentially the same size it was when I planted it after getting it on sale from the garden show when they were done with it. .One of the Y chromosomes around here, pruned it while no one was looking. .I'm just thankful that it recovered!! It is located on the outside of the new fenced in garden, offering a blast of color! You may notice my abundance of dandelions too. .and as much as Cami L-O-V-E-S to blow those blasted little seed heads. .I'll bet I'll have many more to come. .I have just NOT figured out how to tell her that I can't stand the sight of them when she offers me a bouquet of the "pretty" flowers. If she just weren't so cute!
The lilac bushes are forming their buds as well. It always amazes me that those big, beautiful flower heads start out as these little tiny shoots in the spring!! I can ALMOST smell 'em! 
Don't remember where I got these grecian windflowers. .but I'm glad I did. .it's their second performance here. .and they are just so sweet! 
My favorite tulip blooming today! Side note. .I also saw TWO monarchs here yesterday! Crazy!! 
As time marches steadily on. .it won't be long until the gardens are bursting with color. 

Then God said, "Let the land burst forth with every sort of grass and seed-bearing plant. And let there be trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. The seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came." And so it was. The land was filled with seed-bearing plants and trees, and their seeds produced plants and trees of like kind. And God saw that it was GOOD! Genesis 1:11-12

It was all in the plan!! Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wow! That's just all I can say!

So. .the last time I posted. .I was on my way to Wichita to be with my dad in the hospital in Wichita. This has been the hardest week of my entire life. First, watching my big, tough dad in a hospital bed. .tied in. .barely awake enough to say one sentence. Next, listening to a doctor tell us that we had been lucky enough to get to talk to him at all in a head trauma such as he had incurred, and that he fully expected him to get worse before getting better. .and the liklihood of his recovery spanning months. .rather than days. But at that meeting, a recovery was expected! So the last thing that we were prepared for was a phone call at 11:15 Friday night to advise us that his heart monitor was a little odd and encouraging us to walk across the street to the hospital. As my sister, mom and I walked into that intensive care unit. .we were transformed onto the set of any ER show. It is still quite surreal, even a week later. The first man I ever loved finished his journey of nearly 63 years that night. .and the week that has followed has been a blur. I have NEEDED to write. .to get some thoughts out. .and maybe I will. .but tonight. .I wanted to post the last photo that we took with Grandma, Papa, and the 13 grandkids. .and I wanted to post the eulogy that my siblings and I put together to be read at his funeral Tuesday.
I wanted to be the one to read it at his rosary and at the funeral. .because I'm anal like that. .and I wanted it read how it should be read for people to get his humor. .and the Lord gave me the strength to do so. My dad was a great guy. .and we don't even realize at this point how profound his loss will be to us. I just ask that you keep our family in your prayers in our time of loss. .

It's a little lengthy. .but you will know him by the time you are finished. I am giving permission for any of my family and friends from home to copy off the eulogy for themselves if they would like it. My copy will go in my bible with his funeral paper!! And probably a copy for each of my kids to read in the future as his memory begins to dim for them!

The most heartbreaking things of all this week, has been to watch our little kids try to process the whole concept of death and heaven. Cami knew that Papa had died. .she knew his body was in the big wooden box, as we discussed at the church. .but she asked me THREE times as we sat at the graveside, waiting on the people to gather with us. .1. Where's papa?. .2. When is papa coming. .3. When IS papa going to get here!! She just couldn't fathom everyone being together without Papa!!

We were lucky. .we had a vibrant dad around for a long time to enjoy!! He never wanted to get old. .and he never wanted to be frail/sick enough to have to be confined to a nursing home. I'm so sad for his 13 precious grandkids that they will never remember him as we did!! Though his story that follows catches his life and personality QUITE well!!

Wishing everyone a blessed spring weekend!!
Thanks for your prayers and well wishes!!
And thanks for sharing in my life here on my little piece of space in blog land! You'll probably never realize just how much that means to me!!
God bless!

Psalm 103:15-17 tells us that “Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone-as though we had never been here. But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear Him.” Dad may be gone, but it will be a long time before he is forgotten.

If there was one thing Dad could do well, it was to weave together a good story. There probably isn’t a person here today that wasn’t. .at one time or another. .held captive by the telling and RE-telling of some colorful situation that he had found himself in the middle of. Those of us closest to him were lucky enough to hear most of these stories told over and over again to new audiences. .getting a little more grandiose and humorous each time. And though this story may not be told the way HE would have told it. .it is HIS story. .the story of who he was.

Don was born March 31, 1949 to Raymond and Rita. Ray and Rita moved to the farm in 1951 from the Wichita area. The 2nd of 6 children, Don was the oldest boy and the second in command of the farm he grew up on. He has an older sister Alice, and younger siblings Dennis, Paul, Leroy, and Lori. Life on the farm was certainly colorful, judging by the stories we have heard. .and no doubt helped shape the personality of the man whose life we have all come to honor today.

After graduating from high school in 1967, Don enlisted in the army and did his basic training at Fort Dix, NJ. He was never called to serve in Vietnam but served in the Army Reserves for 6 years. Donald A., as my mom called him, married Vickie Kay. .or Victoria Kay, as he often called her. .June 5, 1971. They moved a farmhouse onto his land about a mile from where he was raised, and began a family farm of their own. They had 4 children, Melanie, Kristi, Brendan, and Nick, and one by one added 4 more children. .Jeremy, Chris, Tina, and Steph.

Farm life in those early days were tough. .Difficult manual labor, long days, and usually more bills than paychecks. To be successful meant hard work, and work he did. Having his wife at home raising the kids was important to him. .and he took his role as the breadwinner seriously. He often came home after the sun went down to collapse on the floor or couch for a rest. .only to have his kids playing on him like a jungle gym. He never seemed too tired to give rides. .on his back or with the kids huddled together in a sheet slung over his back like Santa. .or to throw the kids up in the air. And that was great by him. .as long as the shrieks and giggles ceased the second the weather report for tomorrow came over the news!! No 7 day weather forecast available on the internet or cell phone in those days!!

Don was a stern father. .we kids had a reverent fear of him. . and he was an affectionate husband. Public displays of affection to his wife were common and he often told her “I don’t care what my friends say, you’re alright.” He taught his children the things he knew best; respect, discipline, and the value of hard work. And he NEVER let us forget that. .Listen here. .insert your name. .I brought you into this world..and I can take you out. He even told me that within the last few years!!

He loved his work. .but he also loved to play! There were countless farm pond fishing trips. . in which very few fish were actually caught and evenings in the yard spent practicing baseball, volleyball, and basketball. Basketball was never a sport that his kids could excel at. Dribbling was difficult to master when your court was full of gravel and learning to do a layup is virtually impossible when the goal is mounted to the side of grain bin. I had never thought about that before until Brendan wrote it the other night. .it really explained some things to me.

There were occasional family vacations in the summer. .although a long car ride with 4 young kids in the backseat was probably no vacation. As a result, there is a standing family joke about being forced to get up before the sun so we could stand at the locked front door of the restaurant waiting for them to open so we eat breakfast! We even took a couple of vacations over the last 10 years in which the ENTIRE family. .and their families went on a vacation. .but it was decided early on to eat breakfast in!

He and mom enjoyed riding to check the crops or cattle. If they weren’t working the farm together, they would be found together at every school activity. And after the kids were grown, they might hit the casinos and enjoyed playing pinochle with their card group. They also got to take their dream vacation last summer! They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary by taking an Alaskan cruise with their good friends Chuck and Gloria. He loved EVERY minute of it. .especially when he found out that the ship had ALL YOU CAN EAT dessert!! He surely thought he was in heaven!

He loved God and worshiped 7 days a week by stewarding His land and sat in the pew every weekend. Although there were many washcloth showers while his family waited in the car, Mom would NEVER allow them to be late to church. And EVERY week, we would listen to her tell him to “hurry up” and then listen to him tell her that. . “It doesn’t matter WHEN you get to church. . everyone gets out at the same time!” That was dad!

Dad was most known around the community for his charismatic personality. He was a thinker, cultivated over years spent on farm machinery with only the thoughts in his head to keep him company. He had strong opinions on most any topic, and was never bashful about sharing them with you in conversation. He was a spirited debater, armed with a quick wit and a stubborn streak. He could talk to anyone. .at anytime. .about anything. .whether they wanted to or not. .he could even dial the wrong number and still have an hour long conversation. He sometimes seemed a mathematical wizard. .unleashing a barrage of calculations and number crunching into his arguments that would make your head spin. .accurate or otherwise. In all of his roles on boards and committees, he could be controversial. .but he always brought to the table a wisdom fueled by common sense. .unconcerned about what people would think. These qualities made him respected by some and disliked by others. .but he was ALWAYS listened to.

He also had an incredible memory, which seemed inherent in his family. A search of his cell phone contacts revealed nothing saved. He kept his entire personal and business directory in his head. His head was also where he kept much of his business records. .which could prove to be a little frustrating in the future. He could tell you exactly how many cattle where shipped to a given feedlot on a certain day and constantly mentally juggled dozens of these inventories.

Don was a mentor to many. He had a soft spot for young people that were just starting out. He employed many young men over the years and always made time to get to know them and to offer advice. .He was always good to offer advice, whether you needed it or not! He taught them the same lessons he taught his own kids, show up on time, work hard to the end, and be proud of doing a good job.

Don enjoyed his time away from work. He was a sportsmen and a conservationalist. Someone had to control the prairie dog population, and if had to be up to him and Chuck, then so be it. Seriously, how often does one really need to drive all the way to Eastern Colorado to “check the cattle.” Don also enjoyed bird hunting and playing cards. And let it be known that anytime you heard on the radios on a rainy day this phrase . .”we’re going to go over to the Jbar to sort cattle. .reds from the blacks” meant. .see ya for a 4 point pitch playing party. .and occasionally he would come home with 3 bucks. While he liked playing any kind of card game, he was PASSIONATE about Texas Hold ‘em. He enjoyed getting together with his male buddies and play. .and every once in a while he would win and we would hear about it for weeks. Over the years, our family gatherings went from playing pitch, to playing games. .and finally to HIM teaching the grandsons . .how to play Texas Hold ‘em. .even 3 year old Teegan sat with the guys the last time they played. .at least for a moment!! He also enjoyed reading and watching western movies. He is loved and adored by 13 grandchildren. .Tristan, Grant, Colton, Devin, Braedon, Haley, Taryn, Kadon, Camille, Teegan, Dylan, Ryder, and Trey. They loved wrestling on the floor with Papa or going on a ranger ride. The man who sternly dealt with his own kids. .tolerated a lot from those grandbabies. .and since he could no longer say. .”Listen, I brought you into this world”. .he just egged them on and sent them home!

My dad had a strong impact on us all. .and he would have been so proud of all the people that gave up their time to help us celebrate his life today!! He was a fighter to the end, and has taught something to most everyone who knew him. Our time with him was shorter than we had hoped. But Psalm 139:16 says “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” God has always known when Dad’s last breath would be. Psalm 56:8 reminds us that God has collected all our tears in His bottle, He has recorded each one in His Books. And I know our bottles have gotten fuller since Friday. He has left behind a strong family and too many friends to count. We will miss him terribly, but we have a lot of memories to get us by. And right now we are taking the advice of Psalm 50:15 “Trust me in your times of trouble and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”

A little quote that my mom wanted read because it was SO my dad. .altered just a little. .

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather, skid in sideways, ice cream in one hand, beer in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, WOO HOO! What a Ride!

Heaven only knows the conversation that took place between he and St Peter at the gates that evening. Hope no one else was in a hurry to get in.

 Good night Papa. .We love you!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Time Marches On

Celebration time occurs in the month of March around our house!! Mr Grant celebrated several days over the last week with friends and family. He is excited to be 14 now. .mainly, because in Kansas. .that means that he can get a driver's license because he lives on a farm. And when he gets something in his head. .he just will NOT let it go (Jeremy says he gets that from me. .I'm not sure I was ever that obstinant about it!!) I finally told him that we are not concerned about driving him to the next town for the testing and driving UNTIL school is out. .and not a day before that!! That simmered him down a little. .for a week or two maybe!
He was pretty excited with his gift. .a new paintball gun!! Tristan had used some of his money to buy a used one, with accessories from his youth group leader last month. We have the perfect set-up here for the kids to use their paint ball stuff. .lots of trees and hiding places. .if safety rules are adhered!!
His dad couldn't resist trying it either. .It has some fire to it.  Last weekend, when I went out to the greenhouse, I noticed that there were orange paint splatters ALL over the south side of it. .you can see the greenhouse in the background. .Tristan. .not thinking, as is his usual habit. .fired off his gun from the deck, enjoying the orange splats on the clear greenhouse panes. .what he DIDN'T bank on though. .was the ability of those little splatting balls. .to actually make small HOLES in the outer ply of the greenhouse wall. I yelled SOOO loudly at him when I made that discovery. .that I'm certain the neighbors down the road heard me. .and it provoked Jeremy to venture out of his shop to see what the commotion was about. The boy has a lot of free labor ahead of him in the near future, so he can replace the panes. He cleaned up the paint (which washes off easily. .it's like a detergent with food coloring in it) and caulked the holes with something. So, other than the fact that the caulking looks hideous. .the greenhouse is still very functional. I'm sure I inherited a few more gray hairs out of that mess!!
We ended his big day with a BBQ on a day that TRULY felt like spring. .75 degrees with a light breeze!! As per usual, Great Grandma Pat brought all the kids a gift to open!!
New kaleidescopes for all. .Jeremy was manning the camera at this point. .which is a whole other story! Grant racked up some $$ so he can now supply his own paintballs. .ha!
Our parties are getting a little smaller..without two of the great grandparents there. .and that still holds a degree of sadness for all!! We were so grateful for the beautiful weather so the kids could enjoy the great outdoors. Jeremy ended up being the hostess for the majority of the party this time.  As our last guests were settling in to the house, my baby brother called to see "if I had heard anything about my dad." Odd question  I thought, since I had just spoken with my sister in law for quite a while the hour before Nick's call and nothing had come up. As it turned out. .my dad had flipped his four wheeler over and was being taken to the hospital. Within a couple of hours, I had talked to all my siblings and most of their spouses putting pieces of the events together, one detail at a time.
While hunting coyotes with his buddies, he had flipped his four wheeler. .was found planted face down in the dirt, not really breathing. Roused somewhat by the time the ambulance picked him up and took into the nearest town. Life-flighted to Wichita with a head injury. Ultimately, found to have some small bleeding areas in the head. My 3 siblings and I managed schedules around to be available to them throughout the week. As of today, he is alert a little more, recognizes the family that is there now, and knows he is in a hospital. .all improvements over yesterday. I am eager to get there later this afternoon and lay eyes on everything myself!
Blessings to you all this week. .
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I've Caught the Fever. .

I have seriously never considered myself to be one of those people that struggle with their moods during the winter. .The last few weeks I have just felt "blah"! I wasn't able to quite put my finger on it. .The sudden death of a good friend and mentor. .work issues. .kids. .my own as well as children that belong to other people. .miserably sick people every where I look. .I'm sure it could have been a number of things. .
BUT. .I was amazed that, after a couple hours of soaking up some warmth, enjoying new life, and getting my   hands in the dirt. .it felt like I could get a big, deep breath of refreshing air. .
and I found myself again!! It must have been more of a winter-blues issue than I thought! Whatever the reason, I'm glad to feel revived!! 
I wasn't the only one enjoying the sunshine and warmth this week though. I spent some time watching the fish bask in the light too!! In the next few weeks, we're going to try to catch some of this fish herd and relocate them. There are some goldfish with some nice coloring, but most of them are the common orangy-red variety, those will be the ones thinned out. Not really sure about the logistics, but we ended up with a LOT of little black babies last summer, some of which have a really cool glimmery gold tint to their backs. .some of them will get to stay too. .
The google eyed goldfish from PetSmart is the only black fish in here. I am guessing it played a role in this deal!! Though they don't have his crazy googly eyes. 
The area between the pond and the house survived the winter well. These little living stones are probably triple the size from when they were planted in August. .They are hardy to zone 6. .which is what we are. .but I've always tried to stick to plants hardy to zone 5. .a zone colder. These are on the south side of the house, among rocks and in front of some larger limestone rocks. .I am hoping the microclimate there is a little warmer!
Some day they will have little blooms on them. .I think they are cute little mats of succulents!
This agave isn't looking so hot. I have not given him any extra water. .so I'm not sure what his trouble is. .hoping he perks up. .the center looks good still, so maybe someone stepped on it!
The larkspur have grown many inches in the last couple weeks. .I think they may be ahead of schedule. I have found all the Naked Ladies that I planted from my mom a few years ago. They haven't bloomed since I replanted them. .which is common, since they don't like to be moved much. I am finding little clumps of them everywhere (those are the strap-like foliage in the center of the photo) I really hope they give up some blooms this August!
I was thrilled to find lots of the bulbs coming up that I planted last fall. The crocus are starting to bloom. The daffodils will be blooming shortly. The tulips are peeking through, and the hyacinths have buds too. I have also located some things that I know I planted, but I have no idea what they are. .it will be fun to watch them evolve and remind me!
I am picking a small handful of cherry tomatoes every other day or so. The tomato seedlings will need transplanting this weekend. More sprouts are visible in the wintersown pots. .and some of the flowers and veggies I sowed in the greenhouse are coming along. The garlic patch looks great. .and it will soon be time to plant some potatoes!! 
I'm sure looking forward to the regular walkabouts. .checking in on the progress!!

Looks like we are in for a beautiful, breezy weekend here in the Land of Oz!!
Enjoy your weekend too, wherever you are!