Thursday, April 30, 2009

Garden Journal

Got the first vegetables planted in the garden today. I'm doing sort of a modified "square foot gardening" style - putting more vegetables in wider rows, and making certain the paths are wide enough to reach both sides. Last year our tomatoes were such a jungle we missed harvesting a bunch that fell rotten because we couldn't get to them without smashing 'em. I've got potatoes and onions and gourds and cucumbers - which really don't need to be accessed on both sides - on the edges of the garden that are surrounded by fence. See, that fence, while vital to keep the deer out, is problematic. On the one hand, it is a trellis of sorts for the vines (pickling cucumbers, apple gourds and luffa gourds), but the 2"x3" squares make it difficult for my fat hands to reach through and snag fat, ripe vegetables. I think if I ever put in another garden I'll model it more on Mel Bartholomew's square foot gardening style - and either fence in the whole area or fence in walkways around it. I dunno.

Yesterday, though, I raked out rows and decided where things would be. I changed my mind about 4 times, but I think I have it worked out now. I planted loads of sweet white onions (vidalia-type), yellow onions, 7 potato sets, 3 tomato plants - sweet millions?- my dad gave me when we went to Norfolk last weekend. I think they will survive - one of them got a little windblown in the back of the truck...and, I guess that was the afternoon I put in cucumbers, corn and gourds along the row to the right - maybe the gourds will use the corn to vine on? I harvested a bunch of rocks that the girls put in the wagon to haul to the creek later...and I planted some hostas in front of the shed/chicken coop. Those were divides from a friend who lives over by the Humpback Bridge.
Anyways, in spite of the "help" from the littles, I was able to get a good start on the garden. The forecast for the next 8 days is rain of some type or another - showers, thunderstorms, whatever, so if things don't get too incredibly soggy I should be off to a good start.

The berry patch....raspberries, blueberries & (wild) strawberries.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Weekend in Tidewater

We spent last Friday & Saturday in Norfolk & Chesapeake for Andy's Dad's 80th Birthday.... Happy Birthday, Gaga!
Out to eat at Cracker Barrel in Greenbrier....

Mike & Kristi

Josh & Kaitlin

(This is the "before" ad for Claritin & Crest Whitestrips...)


Sunday, April 19, 2009

pictures only!

Didja know we have no microwave oven? My friend Lora asked me, "How do you LIIIIIIIIVE?!" And another friend said her kids would starve if they didn't have one. It actually came about quite by accident. When we moved here about two years ago, we bought one, but I didn't like the way it would have looked over the stove. So I had Andy take it back until I could figure out where to put one. I never got around to figuring it out.

We don't have a dishwasher, either, which I guess lots of folks don't, but we'll definitely have one at our next house. I dread washing dishes almost as much as I dread washing clothes. Its because it is a multi-step process. If it was just washing them or just drying them or just putting them away, no problem. But when you have several steps to complete a process, and there are steps that necessarily must be completed in order - and in this case, after the dishes have time to sit and air dry (because I can't bear to dry them with a towel if they can dry on their own), then it is just an overwhelming task for me. Same thing with laundry. We do have a washer. That is the fun part. Put the clothes in, put the juice in, push the button, and walk away. The dryer is pretty fun, too, although we should have a clothesline, but that's another matter. Its the folding and the putting them away that gets too much for me.

Lessee, what else don't we have? Oh. I just got a hairdryer last month. I had one, you see, but I gave it to my mom when she was visiting Christmas before last and I never got another one. But when Hannah's hair froze one Sunday morning walking from the house to the car, I decided that in order to be a Good Mama I should at least dry the kid's hair so she didn't get pneumonia. Now, Sugar Baby still doesn't have enough hair to worry about. I can dry hers in seconds by plopping her down near a sunny window. But poor Hannah was too often heading to Sunday School looking like a wet cat that I gave in.

You know we don't have television, but it doesn't mean we don't watch shows - thanks to Hulu, Andy keeps up with Hell's Kitchen and the girls can watch all manner of ad-free reruns. I don't have the attention span to watch anything regularly. And I'm embarrassed to say that I'm a whole year behind on Lost. I really need to catch up soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

new friends

This is the nicest llama I have ever met. Ever.
Her name is Mary. She lives in Millboro.
No, she didn't spit. Only bad-tempered llamas spit. Like only bad cats bite and scratch.

There were several local events scheduled for the day before Easter, but it was just too doggone cold for us to drag the girls out to see them. We had sundry errands to run, and we finally managed to make it to Clifton Forge just as the Easter parade, petting zoo and visits with the EB were wrapping up. Trust me, though, with our Littles, we had plenty of time to enjoy Our Favorite Things: the animals.

Now, Hannah was there, too, but we had stopped off at the C&O Depot first, so she had gotten her thrill - that and she was hanging out with Daddy-o near the hot dog stand.

And the funny thing is this - I wish I had gotten a good picture (dang camera) - but poor Abba's mouth was a perfect upside down "U" when we left. She was crying for the llama! She said over and over, "Llama? Llama? Llama all gone? Llama bye bye?" It was pitiful! I've never seen her do anything like that ever!

I TOLD you Mary was the nicest llama I have ever met!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter - He Is Risen, Indeed!

I've burned through another camera card on my Olympus, so I'm using an old Cannon we've got; the pictures aren't as clear and the zoom doesn't focus in on details well. That, and somehow the girls look out of proportion in their Easter dresses, but I'll leave photo critiques up to the eye of the beholder:

(Hey! I made Hannah's dress! It was a t-shirt with a stain on the bottom half; I cut it off, attached a skirt made out of fabric from my stash....figured it needed more fluff, so I added a lace border. You can't see in these pictures, but I threaded a thin satin ribbon through the lace to pull together the color from the bodice. Want more directions? Email me.)

All of our celebrations of late have been pretty low-key. I let the girls out to search out their Easter baskets this morning, then quickly put them on "refined sugar restriction." Hannah was desparately desparate to get at her stash. Didn't help much that Sunday School also gave out a basket o'goodies...(That smart Easter Bunny even stashed new toothbrushes in their baskets! How clever!)

Spring Beauty....there are dozens of plants lining the creek in the backyard. They are related to Purslane, and are edible...I'm going to look up how to prepare them and have a sample tomorrow. I'm in a cooking mood :)
All in all, we enjoyed a perfect spring day in the back yard - throwing rocks out of the lawnmower's path into the creek, enjoying ice cold creek water on our bare feet, hunting dyed eggs...and somehow I got a nap, got 1/2 of my wildflower bed weeded (there's a task - is it a weed or is it a flower??) and somehow in all of that managed to get the girls so tired out that they went to bed without (much) argument.