Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Great Outdoors

Hey!
Hope this note finds everyone well!!
It is spring in Kansas!!
I love the few days that we have here when it is deliciously warm with only a very slight breeze!
That doesn't happen very often!
So when it does, I am eager to get out and see what is popping up!
It seems that we are at a place now where new things are happening in the garden every day!
You can see my little herd of goldfish and koi. We have had a lot of trouble with our pumps getting clogged due to the roots of the water lilies. .and as some of the pumps have failed, not enough aeration has gotten a few of the biggest fish! You can see a small clump of the lilies in the lower left. .Those lilies had green leaves ALL. WINTER. LONG!! Crazy! Hoping for flowers early!
On the south side of the pond, I planted two of these little ornamental cherry bushes last spring. I babied them along all summer. .and they are leafing now and full of bloom! The butterflies have already noticed them! They will be very showy as they get bigger.
Here are a couple of honeysuckle bushes. They are producing a nice little bit of privacy for the yard. .
They don't smell good. And that bothered me at first. .
But they are lit up with these tiny red blooms all over. .and they will form little red berries that the birds seem to eat. They were described as good plants for nature. .And it seems they are. I am hoping that they might catch the attention of any stray hummingbirds heading north!
Tulips are starting their show.
I love that they do their thing in stages! It seems that always a new one is blooming as the old ones finish!
These are all in the memory garden. The Blue Atlas Cedar tree that anchors that garden got a good case of winter burn a few months ago when the temperature hit negative digits. I am not sure that it will recover, but we are watering and waiting. It will be a big loss if it dies!
At the back of the memory garden I put in 12 new roots of asparagus last spring from Walmart. One bag of them never did a thing all summer, so I was convinced that the bag was bad. There are 3 roots of them that have spears. .and the other bag has several roots starting too. I am super excited about them. .as grilled or roasted asparagus has become one of my favorite spring time foods!
The lilacs will be blooming early too! This little bush is loaded.
Last month when the weather was getting warm, Jeremy let our outdoor wood stove go out. This is how we heat the house and the greenhouse. With the exception. .that the house. .is also on propane if the wood heater isn't going! One night it got COLD. .and because we hadn't thought about turning the heater back on,  it froze every tomato plant in the place. .got the majority of both huge ferns. .and some of the succulents didn't make it out alive either!
GRR! Live and learn right!?
And the redbud tree. .which became a bush when the main stem died! They are one of my favorite spring blooms!
We were very fortunate a few weeks ago to miss the fires! It was probably 15 miles from us. On my way to work, I drove past a couple of homes that had been burned down in Oklahoma. It has been raining today--with expected rains to continue for a few days, leaving us with significant amounts of liquid gold. We are thankful for that!
The older boys were both home for parts of their spring break last week. We enjoyed their company! Cami and I went with some girlfriends to a barn quilt painting class on Saturday.
We had a BLAST!
Well, after the lady in charge helped Cami and I get our patterns drawn on that is!
My mind has NEVER computed geometry. .
And due to the portion of my personality that ALWAYS has to pick out the hardest route. .
The designs we chose weren't simple blocks and triangles!
So 15 minutes into the project, my blood pressure was BOILING and I was wondering what kind of crazy dumb thing I had gotten us into!!
Cami and Cashton worked with the help of the lady in charge.
They enjoyed the experience and had a fun day!
And despite how the morning started. .they really did turn out phenomenally well!!
Here we are with our finished boards! Cami's was a 1x1 and mine was a 2 foot square. They are still propped up in the living room. .with the hope of being hung this week!
She and I are going to have a lot of fun doing girl things together!
I just know it!
Now, if I can just get her interested in pulling weeds!
Thanks for stopping by!
Will try and keep the garden pictures coming!
And maybe a family update!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2017 updates. .

I seriously don't know where the time goes to! It has been so long since I have posted any pictures. .or added any updates!! I don't do facebook very often. .and rarely post pictures or information. .So that's not my excuse. .I guess I just get caught up in the day to day.
Seems like everyone is still growing by leaps and bounds. .and changes are occurring regularly. .
Like Jeremy's hair!! HA!
I did have to include our Halloween picture. .
Cami is not about to let us stop celebrating the season with a still-huge costume party.
Now it's all about her. .and her friends. .
But we only must survive 2 more. We are well into double digit hosting now. .And I suppose, that all these "lasts" will be more bittersweet than all the "firsts!"
Tristan has just flourished this year. He is finishing up a year of cabinetry school. He works part time at Lowes and has been able to find regular carpentry projects in the community too.
He is looking at his options for employment in May-thinking he wants to keep doing the broader spectrum of carpentry for a while to increase his skill set.
Grant is also starting to consider employment options. He is finishing up diesel mechanic training. .and is hoping to work for a large company on their trucking fleet. There are several options around
Topeka. He is working part time for a small farm and ranch store there and that keeps him busy and provides some spending money.
We got to enjoy them at home for about a week around the holidays. Last month, we visited them one weekend and enjoyed going to a local trampoline park. .
This old woman was super sore after jumping for an hour. .but it was a blast, and we all decided we would do it again in a heartbeat!!
This guy is growing INCHES at a time!! Seriously, this photo was taken one morning when he was all at once taller than he had been the day before! It was a monumental day for him. .He finally was taller than his mama!! I am 5'10". .and he was super pumped! I guess it won't be long and I might be the shortest. .which doesn't happen very often-trust me!
He is pretty excited for high school next year. .
And, again, I can't believe that time has gotten to this stage. He is 14 and his dad promised to take him to get his farm permit to drive. .We have seriously missed the big boys carpooling the kids around to where they needed to be!!
They just finished basketball last week. .League champions! And we will look forward to a slower month before the crazy spring activities start! He has been involved in a local drumline. .and is now on to playing his 3rd instrument since 5th grade. .the baritone sax. I think that he is going to be a man of many talents as he grows!!
He and his dad are making more time to go fishing as the weather warms. .and the guys have a guided fishing trip booked for June. .for all 4 of them. Cami and I are going to need a girls trip too I think!! Devin will keep us busy and young for a while yet. .as he has a lot of passions. .and wants to be in the middle of most anything!
And then Miss Cami.
She and her brother have gotten used to having their brothers gone. They tolerated it better than I expected. .and better than I certainly did! She and Devin are pretty good buddies now. She is still ALL girl. .but likes shooting her pink camo BB gun and her cross bow.
She's in 3rd grade. .For her birthday, her friends brought their aprons and enjoyed doing a little cooking. It's different having girls at the party than boys!!
She still loves cheerleading and is in her first year of a gymnastics class and dance. She has been mastering handsprings on the trampoline. She is totally a mama's girl. .and wants to be wherever I am at. .or maybe I should say. .she wants ME to be wherever SHE is at!! She is quite something!
She has mastered the social media sphere of SNAPCHAT. .and will snapchat her brothers, the neighbors, and her cousin! It has been fun for her to keep connected with them that way!
Not too much has changed with us old farts though! We're getting ready to be a little older. .and we are trying hard to get a little wiser as we go. Lots of work. .and plenty of play. .both of us are ready for the warmer weather to come around and stay!
We finally made it to that iconic family of 4. .one girl. .one boy. .it's super weird!! I am not sure I will ever learn to cook for less than an army. We get sick of leftovers. .I get sick of not having to cook something new for days. Laundry doesn't take that long though anymore!! That is a plus.
We did apply to get an international 4-H student for a month this summer. .either from Costa Rica or Japan. THAT will be incredible!!
So that is about all we are up to. .
 
Thanks for checkin in on us! Wish I could say when the next update will come. .Some day I look forward to catching up on everyone else's blogs as well. .Enjoy the few weeks left of winter!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Wintertime News

Hey there!!
I got a Christmas card with a special request in it nearly 2 months ago now. .
I'm not the quickest. .
But I AM perseverant!!
Ms. Sue from Michigan was hoping to warm up her winter with some pictures of my greenhouse! And I did oblige quickly with some pictures. .and then took my time to get them up! In the meantime though, we endured a nasty ice storm. .and then some 80 degree days this past weekend. .so I have a few photos from that to share too!
A few years ago I bought a pomegranate tree. It flowers well. .and has grown some tiny pomegranates. I had read somewhere that the decorative trees aren't designed to be able to offer edible fruits.
So I was surprised that these little fruits appeared. .
They grew for a while. .but when they got big enough. .They split open. .to reveal the tiny little, normal looking pomegranate seeds inside! That was fun to see!
I have only used the greenhouse the last couple winters to house my succulent collection. .
But I felt like I might have some extra time to worry over tomato plants this season. I just did little grape varieties. .yellow and red. Jeremy is eating them as fast as they turn.
My two big ferns are looking mighty good for this time of the year!! I have been growing them in self watering planters on the east deck all summer. .which is the only way that this lazy over-scheduled gardener can keep them living. .and this is the first year that I have overwintered them successfully too! They should look great when the season changes! The big pots of succulents are doing well too. .but I think I neglected to get photos of them on!
In January we had a yucky 3 day ice storm. Our old elm trees didn't fare very well at all! This tree is in the front of the house by the pond. .
The guys had to use the tractor to get the branches out of the pond. They did this on day two when we were kind of in between systems!
It was BEAUTIFUL. .
But look how thick that stuff is on the lilac bushes!!
It took us a lot of days to clean up. .
In fact, we still aren't done yet-but the majority of it is cleared out into big piles, waiting for a match when the time is right!
Jeremy ended up taking down a lot of the old, ugly elms. .which I was sad about. I am still fighting for the few that are left. I want them mainly for the bird habitat until our younger trees get bigger! It is a battle of the wills!!
It was a little unnerving to stand in the house, listening to the CRACK-CRASH cycle all around.
But it was the quietest, still air in between the crashing. The ice-blanketed world made the atmosphere seem unusual!
CRAZY!
Fast forward into mid February!!
Two days above 80 degrees!
The boys got a very old fishing boat a few weeks ago. .
And spent countless hours cleaning it all up and fixing the brokenness.
Sunday it was ready for it's maiden voyage. .
It was a gorgeous afternoon with zero wind. .And while we didn't catch a thing. .It was great just to relax and soak up some fresh air and sunshine and DREAM about summer!!
I do have a few pictures uploaded to the blog already. .
Just waiting on a few minutes to spare so I can tell you what everyone has been up to!!