Friday, May 24, 2013

May Showers. .AND May Flowers!

Oh My!!
What a whirlwind of activities!!
School is now officially OUT. .
And summer vacation is IN!
We have been to play day for Devin. .
Preschool graduation for Camille (complete with the caps and a processional). .
And though the weather hasn't been perfect for gardening. .
We are getting some of that squeezed in!
We had nearly 3 inches of rain last weekend after high school graduation. .
See how my back yard looked after it came in a torrential fashion?!
We also had hail with it. .
But not as large as the hail that broke through multiple panes of my greenhouse the week before!!
We have had quite a bit of rain this spring. .
and cooler temperatures than the last two years at this time. .
So, we are hopeful for a break in the drought pattern!
The rains filled my pond to the brim!
And the pasture pond that belongs to our neighbor!!
It's been a while since there was water there. .
And it was a beautiful site for sore eyes!
We enjoyed a little pasture tour the one beautiful evening we had. .
And found some great wildflowers. .
that I don't even think we saw last spring!
This is what I love about Kansas when it is nice. .
Big, wide open spaces. .
and super blue skies. .
The yucca plants are nearly blooming. .
I will have to go out this weekend and see if I can capture a photo. .
They are SOOO gorgeous in full bloom!
The yard is starting to explode with color too. .
I have been hard at work planting, planting, planting. .
and watering, watering, watering. .
over the last several years. .
But THIS year. .
Things finally seem to be coming together. .
and it is looking like a garden instead of random plants and bushes!
Two of the three honeysuckle bushes survived. .
I thought they would be fragrant. .
but they aren't.
I was going to yank them back out. .
but they have a nice dense habit, that will be good for wildlife. .
And they do produce some red berries, that always seem to get eaten. .
So they will stay. .
not to mention,
I am liking the upright structural element that they are finally providing in their garden spots!
The spirea that I snatched from my mother in laws hedge are ready to bloom. .
and the dwarf spruce trees in the background are turning that wonderful shade of 'new-growth blue'. .
The spiky foliage in the foreground is a red hot poker, and I noticed in the last couple days that it will be blooming soon too!
The iris are blooming. .
This peach one is probably one of my favorites. .
I don't think we had ONE iris blossom last year. .
But the plants are loaded this year. .
I even found this pink and white bloom. .
that I think came from my friend Sally. .
I've never seen it before!
The Russian garden is looking pretty pathetic. .
but better, after Grant spent some time weeding out the cheat grass!
I was pretty surprised to find this long, tall bud in the Texas Red Yucca plant. .
The surprising part was, that the same type of plant right next to this one. .
which is about quadruple the size of this little guy. .
Has NO blooms yet. .
It should finish opening any day now. .
And is more red than the pink color it was at the beginning of the week when I snagged the photo.
THAT should be a hummingbird magnet for SURE!
My other hummingbird magnet. .
The orange honeysuckle. .
 is blooming and climbing up the structure. .
but I haven't noticed any hummingbirds coming near it. .
Maybe this weekend as I have time to sit, I'll see one!
The neighbor said she has seen several already.
Nellie Moser clematis is blooming. .
And so is the primrose plant that I got from Garden on Sherlock Street last spring. .
Speaking of GonSS. .
I was hoping for a real live tour of her Garden tomorrow. .
That was. .
until Miss Thing ended up with the stomach flu this evening. .
Now I'm just hoping for a little sleep tonight. .
and that the Lysol and Clorox will effectively protect the rest of us!
Sickness wasn't what I had on my agenda for the weekend. .
But. .
It is what it is!
And. .
in between some cleaning tasks. .
and a little gardening. .
I hope I'll find time to just sit still. .
And enjoy all nature has to offer!
Hope you have time to do some of that too!!
Enjoy your long weekend!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fragility. .

Have you ever stopped to truly ponder the fragility of life as we know it?
It seems like I UNDERSTAND that. .
but I am often left just breathless when circumstances occur that remind us OF that!
It's a concept that I have been left contemplating several times in the last 1 1/2 years!
As many of you have heard. .
An F4 (at this point anyway) tornado swept thru Moore, Oklahoma yesterday afternoon. .
leaving a city ravaged in destruction!! 

photos courtesy of the Associated Press via internet

The death toll was down today to around 24 from 51 reported yesterday. .
Thank GOD. .
But 2 elementary schools were hit by the tornado. .
and 9 fatalities thus far are children.
It seems, that since our minor car accident occurred nearly 2 months ago. .
that I have just been more compelled. .
Compelled to an urgency to talk to people about their relationship with the Lord. .
My heart has been heavy with a realization (stemming from the "blink of an eye" moment resulting in "what the heck happened" moment related to our accident. .followed by all the "what if" moments and the "wow. .my life looked awful short compared to how LONG eternity looks when standing on that threshhold" moments!)  
A realization that there should be an urgency in the people of God. .
An urgency to help people REALIZE how LITTLE this world matters. .
and how MUCH we stand to lose if we focus ON the matters of this world. .
Every person that went to work yesterday morning. .
All those mom's who dropped off their kids at those schools. .
Undoubtedtly had supper plans for last evening, that certainly weren't fulfilled the way they thought they would be at 8:00 am!
We. .
I. .
get sooo caught up in our plans for ourselves. .
that we rarely consider the fact that today could be our last in this world. .
One point that I have been compelled to talk to the high school kids lately has been this. .
Look at your life. .
Look at what you accomplish in a day or in a week. .
How much time are you spending in your prayer life. .
or reading that instruction book written by God called. .
the BIBLE??
Are you talking to people?
Showing others what a child of God looks like?
Digging deeper into a relationship with the Lord?
Is Jesus Christ a priority in your life??
Because if He isn't. .
You may not be a priority of His on the last day either!!
In the wake of a tragedy. .
In a world whose headlines are filled with tragedies of increasing magnitude WEEKLY. .
I challenge you. .
the one on the other side of this screen TODAY. .
I challenge YOU. .
to quickly take an account of your time. .
right now. .
If you are spending an hour or less per week in your relationship with God. .
1/168 of your week praying. .
sitting on a church pew. .
studying your bible. .
pursuing a deeper knowledge about the One who holds eternity in the palm of His hand. .
I suggest to you. .
Make some changes in your life!!!
Hear me say. .
I'm NOT suggesting that your eternity rests on how MUCH time you spend. .
but if you aren't committed to spending TIME. .
You may want to consider. .
Pouring more time into carrying out GOD'S agenda for your life. .
and spending LESS time on your own agenda. .
Because in that split second when MY time on earth could have ended. .
MY agenda seemed awfully miniscule in the eternal scheme of things!
And many of the multiple activities that I engage myself in. .
would have had very LITTLE effect on HOW I spend eternity. .
don't make an eternal mistake of your priorities. .

James 4:14
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.


Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The people that were most affected by the disastrous tornado near Oklahoma City. .
woke up yesterday just like you did today. .
planning for a regular, same 'ole- same 'ole day!
Pray for those hurting people. .
And give some thought toward your eternity. .
and the One who makes that possible. .
For tomorrow. .
your regularly planned day. .
might take you by surprise!!

If you aren't sure how to take the steps needed to ensure your eternal salvation. .
please contact me. .
I'd love to walk you through the process!!
Blessings to you all!!
I have some garden happenings coming up. .
but this subject just weighed on my heart to address today!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Can you Teach an OLD Gardener some New Tricks??

Winter. .
Spring. .
Winter. .
Spring. .
We're calling spring around here. .
We were still getting freezing nights nearly a week after our average frost free date. .
Guess that's why they call it an average??
But. .
We've had moisture. .
So things are green and flowers are in bloom!!
Here's a great photo of the Blue Flax. .
All you hot southern Kansas garden mamas. .
You NEED this plant. .
It has been phenomenal. .
AND you can probably sneak into my garden when I am not looking. .
Steal some for yourself. .
Steal some for your neighbors and friends. .
And I still wouldn't notice the gap!
You can see how the 4 original 2 inch potted plants 3 years ago have spread. .
I love it!
But don't look for it in the afternoon. .
Or even the evening. .
For the only way you will know which plant is IT. .
Is if you sneak in during the morning!
You've all heard my woes about the drought and the hideous garden plot full of Johnson grass. .
So, while sitting in the waiting room New Year's Eve during Grant's surgical procedure. .
as I browsed one of my endless supply of gardening magazines. .
I found THESE. .
Gardening boxes. .
Grow the perfect tomatoes. .
along with other miraculous, intriguing claims were made. .
So, I researched and ordered. .
Six of them!!
These will be our 'garden' this summer!!
I had to be a little choosy about what to plant. .
And Grant helped me set them up and plant them. .
We have 2 Beef Steak tomatoes (red slicers), 2 Kellogg's breakfast tomatoes (yellow slicers), 2 Tomatoberry tomatoes (grape tomatoes that are shaped like a strawberry and super sweet), 1 Mater Sandwich (leftover seed from last year, a red slicer), and 1 Brandywine (leftover seed as well, an heirloom that supposedly has fantastic flavor). Each box was good for 2 tomato plants. .so that took 4 boxes. One box contains 5 pepper plants (1 jalapeno, and 4 colored sweet) and 3 basil plants (1 green sweet and 2 purple). The final box contains 6 holes that will consist of cucumber plants, 3 holes with pickling and 3 holes with slicing seeds. .I noticed today that there are sprouts in both sides (we planted on Saturday) These containers are self watering. .and they have GINORMOUS water reservoirs in the bottom!! I think they will work great!
We also planted some round self watering planters I found at walmart. .
2 pots have carrot varieties (cosmic purple, which we love. .and tendersweet, an orange variety) The other one has watermelon seeds. .I also intend to get one more pot and plant cantaloupe in it. You can see them perched around the memory garden. .
they will not stay on the sidewalk. .
you notice the small sliver of dirt you can see at the left edge of the photo. .
that is now a small piece of yard that is surrounded by sidewalk on the east and south and new patio on the west. .
It will be the perfect location for these pots, once we put down a thick layer of newspaper and straw.
If you want to read about these little grow boxes. .
you can find them here. .
I have also been pretty nervous about our little potato tower experiment!!
Over 3 weeks now with no potato vines in sight!
I stuck my hand into the tower last week to see if I could fish out a spud to see whether they were rotting or what. .
I took a stinger to my middle finger that I'm sure went straight into my BONE. .
And the next day I got my long hand trowel and started again.
I found a few of them sprouted reaching for the sky. .
I was concerned that they may never reach the top. .
And lo and behold. .
2 little potato sprouts peeking out of the bottom of the tower. .
Just like the Internet said they would!
And finally in veggie news. .
We (mostly I) put in 10 asparagus crowns. .
I used the cedar fence along the back edge of the memory garden as the guide for their spots. . 
And planted some on the east side and some on the west side (if you scroll back up to my zoomed out photo. .they would be right about the location of my Yukon sitting in the driveway). .
4 of the 10 plants have emerged as of the last few days!!
I think this will be a better spot for them then the area in the garden that I tried a few years ago. .
And it will definitely be a better "permanent" spot for them!
Our favorite "special" way to eat asparagus is grilled with a little olive oil. .
or better yet, shoved in a slice of prosciutto stuck together with a little goat cheese. .
and THEN grilled!
In other gardening news. .
The lilacs were sparse. .
but fragrant. .
and pretty!! Hopefully next year will see more blooms. .
I enjoyed these from afar, but never took a bouquet to the house.
My aunt Jane shared some yellow water iris with me before she moved last year. .
It was loaded with blooms this week!
The regular iris are starting their show too. .
Yellow has been open for a couple days. .
The peach one is also about ready to go. .
There are several other colors that are starting too.
Last year I barely had a single iris bloom. .
and I was a little nervous about why they didn't bloom!!
So I was really thrilled to see them all performing like "business as usual."
Wondering if anyone else had that experience too?
I love columbine. .
but they haven't loved me much yet. .
I couldn't resist this purple one. .
And planted it near the pond, where I have tried to recreate a moister soil by leaving some of the pond liner under the soil with just a few holes poked in. .
So far it has worked for the hostas. .
And I am hoping the columbine will take to it too!
The Cardonna Salvia and Walker's Low Nepeta (catnip) from High Country gardens are expanding and looking radiant!
The pink penstemon in the same area and the Jupiter's beard will also join the color parade soon.
I tried another new trick I read about. .
 for a little Japanese painted fern that I wanted to add around my pitcher pump water feature when I get it put back together. .
I used an old hanging basket with the fibrous coco liner in it. .
I dug a hole out of the soil that was in the pot. .
Used an old pull up diaper from the stash of about 10 leftovers I found when we tore apart Cami's room. .
Opened it up and laid it in the bottom. .
Piled some more dirt on top of the diaper. .
and planted the fern in it. .
The diaper will hold the extra water and release it slowly to the root of the fern. .
Which I could NEVER hope to keep in total shade and get watered enough on my own. .
With this method, I think I can manage both. .
I'll keep ya posted!!
I dug this old bucket out from under my honeysuckle vine over the weekend too. .
And used it for a creeping jenny. .
which I also hope to add in a pocket when I put the pump feature back in on the new patio edge!
A few containers got some attention. .
like this old wire basket that got two pots of spicy fragranced petunias. .
Purple and yellow (or orange) is one of my favorite color combos of summer!
And we sat on the new patio this weekend and enjoyed the scent of them as it drifted by!
Another "out on a limb" purchase for me was this fuchsia.
I tried one last year. .
And the cats laid on it. .
Not to mention it dried up QUICKLY!!
And lasted like. .
A week!!
I found this little self watering hanging basket at Walmart for around $7. .
That fuchsia has sucked it dry twice a day since I got it. .
No wonder I killed it last year. .
But so far, nearly 2 weeks in. .
It is looking really nice!
And finally. .
I was TOTALLY surprised to find this little clump of Star of Bethlehem blooming right behind my little stone cross. I have transplanted these several times and never had them bloom. .
I don't EVEN remember transplanting this clump. .
But I love 'em. .
My daycare provider has a yard full. .
but me. .
always just a clump of stems!!
They are so sweet!!
So. .
despite my total lack of interest in gardening after 2 years of drought and incredible heat. .
I find myself adapting. .
learning new tricks to improve my success!
I am hopeful that the tricks will be successful come September. .
Guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!!
And smell a flower. .
on the side of this super busy highway we call. .
Glad you stopped by today!

Monday, May 13, 2013

You're FIRED. .the Project!

I find it hard to believe that May will be half way over in just a few short days!!
We finished another super busy week here. .
but a FUN one. .
With LOTS of partying!!
Grant made the cake in his nutrition class at school. .Cami made the plate at daycare. .Devin fixed the wind chimes at school. .and Tristan and his friend Cassidy got together Saturday in my kitchen and baked lemon meringue pies for their mom's!! And my hubby?? He came through too with a GREAT basket containing a couple of massage certificates, chocolates, bath salts, a candle and a me sized bottle of champagne!! I'm spoiled and I know it. .but I thank God for them all regularly!! Oh, how HE has blessed me!!
Mother's Day was a highlight for this spoiled mama!!
And the gift of a super cute Mother's Day plate given to me on Thursday. .
Hand painted by Miss Thing herself. .
provoked a birthday celebration of great magnitude for Grandma Pat on Friday!!
Grandma celebrated another birthday on Saturday. .
And after Cami's plate gift on Thursday. .
I knew JUST how we should celebrate her big day!!
 I was excited that everyone could make it at the last minute. .
and we all got together Friday afternoon to try our hands at painting ceramic!
My friend Tiffany (or Tif. .as Cami calls her) just opened a ceramic shop called. .
You're Fired (clever name, huh!). .
And we had a GREAT time. .
chatting. .
and painting. .
and indulging in red velvet cupcakes!!
These three kids were SOOO involved in their work. .
and QUIET. .
we hardly knew they were there!!
This girl. .
on the other hand. .
was BUSY. .
Checking out the playroom in the loft. .
Checking in on Tif's tiny puppy. .
Checking out all the other possible creations and making her to-do list. .
And just plain. .
Checking in on TIF!!
She shamelessly allowed Grandma to help her paint up her little mermaid piece. .
since she had a hard time staying still enough to paint it herself!!
 Despite that little problem. .
of staying still, that is. .
 she has already decided that the NEXT time we go back she will paint an egg!!
Even Granny quietly painted up a little lady bug box to put her earrings in!!
Aunt Amy (in the far corner) was down to celebrate Granddad's birthday on Thursday (our first party of the week). .
When I asked her to come along, she gave me a really funny look. .
and I still think the only reason she came was because she didn't have a good excuse NOT to come ;-)
BUT. .
She is already planning her next visit to come back and do it again!! She made a super cool square plate!
We lovingly teased my sister in law Lisa. .
about her plain colored flower vase with NO added pizazz. .
And I tried to pay Tiffany extra to jazz it up a little after we left. .
But I noticed in Tiffany's photo of the finished projects. .
That her vase is still one color. .
AND. .
 it will be a very sleek, simple vase to display all of her garden's glory this summer!
Here's Cami's mermaid. .
Very fancy. .
And last I knew, she and "Tif" were plotting to put some sparkle product on her after the firing process took place!!
Devin painted a car (surprised??)
Emma painted a fairy. .
and she will have to go back to finish painting her. .
because there were so many parts to paint!!
Keith painted a football helmet!
And when Grandma wasn't working on Cami's mermaid. .
She fixed a cute little cupcake box. .
Pink. .
with a silver wrapper!
And I painted too. .
I created a bowl. .
that I could put summer goodies into. .
It's bigger than it looks. .
and will be colorful and perfect for veggie dips or salsa!
The studio was certainly a buzz of noise as we worked and chatted for about 2 1/2 hours. .
Which, went REALLY fast!! Here we are with our creations before they went into the kiln. . 
                                 Photo: Some great pieces this morning!
Last firing for this week...See you all post-graduation!!  :)
And here are our creations AFTER the firing took place!!
I am still amazed at how different the colors are BEFORE the firing process. .
I suspect that there will be a lot of happy painters in our group when we pick up the projects!

The rest of the weekend was spent crafting, gardening, and relaxing!! My idea of a PERFECT weekend!! I was even served breakfast in bed by my 10 year old who was banging around (quietly) in the kitchen by 6:30 Sunday morning. .
And by 6:50, he brought in a SHEET cake pan. .
full of a egg, sausage and cheese sandwich that he made himself on an English muffin. .
a banana, a bowl of watermelon, and a glass of orange juice that he and Cami made Saturday afternoon and put in the spare fridge. .
informing me NOT to open the fridge and spoil the surprise!
I hope the rest of you mama's had some spoiling too!!
I'll be back soon to share our weekend garden experiences!!