Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A New Chapter

There have been lots of changes in our lives and I am sorry to say that I have thoroughly neglected my blog lately.  We made a difficult decision to leave the farm and move on to a new adventure.  We just came to the realization that living 45 minutes to an hour away from everything was just not practical for our sanity or our financial situation, especially since there are two children in our household who still want to play a lot of sports.  So, we started searching for an acceptable solution, one much closer to town.  We settled for a little brown two-story, very old farm house on 1 acre.  We are still sort of "country", definitely still secluded.  Unfortunately, I had to give up my horses and my beautiful views of the sunrise and sunset over the pastures.  We do still get to see cows and horses on the drive home, the 10-15 minute drive home instead of the 45 minute drive home!  We still have a few chickens, but the larger livestock will have to wait a while. 

In spite of all of this, we do not regret for one minute the decision to move to the farm in the first place.  It was a year none of us will never forget as long as we live.  We had the education of a lifetime out there.  We have a brand new appreciation for all things, good and bad.   We now know that we can do it.  We can survive without the hustle and bustle of modern life.  It was a hard, fun, humbling, exciting, wonderful experience. 

Now, to catch up on our life's happenings over the last couple of months!

My little Daisy became a brownie and I became her troop leader.

We went trout fishing for the first time.

It was absolutely beautiful there.  Perfection in nature.

The water was so clear, you could see all the fish in it.  I guess they could see us too, since we didn't catch many!

We didn't catch enough to keep us alive, but luckily I brought a cooler full of food, and we were with great friends who are much better fisherman!

We got to watch our favorite hen hatch 4 eggs! 

We were very sad to leave our beautiful garden and all the fun that went with tending it.

especially the heart shaped tomatoes...

Store bought tomatoes don't even compare.  We have already picked out a place for next year's garden!

The best news of all though is that we now have real Internet, not slow, unreliable, limited country Internet.  Do you know what that means?  That means I can upload as many pictures as I want!  Yay!

I'll finish up today by sharing some Fall themed pictures I took of my beautiful babies.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Garden Update - Lessons Learned

We finally have ripe tomatoes!!  This is so exciting.  It's been torturous for them to walk around the garden waiting patiently for them to turn red.  The funny part is that I plant so many kinds of heirloom tomatoes (that I started from seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds),  I don't remember now what is what.  Yes, I was an organized gardener and labeled each plant as they were put in.  However, I learned a very important lesson.  Wooden Popsicle sticks written on with a Sharpie do not endure the weather for long.  None of the wonderful tomato variety names are legible now, neither are the pepper's or the cucumber's or anything else.  So, our harvests will be total guessing games.  I know I planted other colors of tomatoes, so that will be interesting.

Look at these beauties.  I think these are Anaheim peppers, but I'm not positive.  Doesn't matter, they are delicious.

Overall, I think my first EVER in the ground garden has been a total success!  I no longer have to hear my husband point to other people's gardens and say, "Their garden is kicking your garden's butt!"

Now, mine is kicking butt and he is very proud of me.  The kids and I have had a blast nurturing this little patch of land and helping it go from weeds to food.  Here are some lessons I've learned along the way.

Lesson #1 - Label plants on something weather proof.  I read somewhere about cutting up an old mini blind and using that to write on.  I wonder if the Sharpie would stay on them.

Lesson #2- Corn gets really tall.  I'm really glad I planted it on the northern edge.

Lesson #3 - Do not underestimate the recommended space between paths.  Oh, and my trellises for the cucumbers and beans are nowhere near tall enough.  They have climbed to the top and now have nowhere to go.

I have no idea how I'm going to get in there to reap the benefits of my harvest.

Lesson #4 - Tomato plants get really big.  I'm really glad I used the sturdy wire fencing between T-posts and twine to trellis the tomatoes instead of the flimsy nylon trellis. 

Lesson #5 - I hate squash bugs.  Picking them off did not work.  Neem oil did not work.  I finally caved and bought some Seven dust, but I think it was too late.  This zucchini plant is not going to survive.

Lesson #6 - Teeny tiny baby okra are the cutest thing ever.  Oh, and the flowers that come before the baby okra are beautiful.  Too bad it was closed when I took this picture.  I can't wait to pickle some okra.

Lesson #7 - Nope, I was wrong.  Teeny tiny watermelons are the cutest thing ever!

Lesson #8 - Winter squash grow really, really, really fast and invades EVERY thing.  It needs much more space than I gave it.

Lesson # 9 - Basil is yummy eaten straight off the plant.

Lesson #10 - The three layers of newspaper covered with straw is totally worth the effort.  I completed one half of the garden (where my daughter is standing above) and the paths are beautiful and weed free (except for occasional stragglers that pop up on the sides, but they are easy to pull).  Next year, I'll do the entire garden that way. 

If you have any other tips for a newbie gardener, please leave me a comment and share them!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Baseball Mom List: You know your kid plays a LOT of baseball WHEN...

1.  When you clean the lint compartment out in your dryer, it contains more sunflower seed shells than lint.

2.  You buy Super Bubble, Blow pops, and sunflower seeds by the case because it's cheaper.

3.  Shout and Oxiclean are on the grocery list every week.

4.  Dinner is served around 10:30 PM on weeknights.

5.  Find the missing sock, hat, or athletic supporter is a fun family activity played daily .

6.  You are wonderfully tan between your flip flop straps and your shorts..

7.   There is no room for groceries in the back of your SUV.

8.   Nearly everyone at the ballpark knows your kid by name.

9.  You have your own parking space at all the fields (just kidding on that one, but wouldn't that be great?)

10.  You know it's all worth it when you see the huge smile on that little face after every game and during the ride home, your normally quiet little boy talks non-stop reliving every hit and every play. 


I LOVE Baseball Season.  It's going by way too fast!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Simply Amazing

Watching this little guy transform has been the coolest thing ever.

I can't believe our litle friend looked like this last week.

It seemed like it took forever for him to grow his little froggy legs.  But after that happed, the transformation went so fast.  He's an official frog now!  As soon as the kids show him to Daddy when he comes home from out of town tomorrow, they're going to bring him back to the pond so he can do froggy stuff and live a long happy life.

That's okay because we still have 3 little tadpoles left to observe and this one just grew his little froggy legs!

Friday, July 9, 2010

I believe...

Kim over at the  The Inadvertent Farmer wants to know what we believe this week about our gardens.  So I took my camera out this morning for my daily morning check of everything.  Here's what I found:

I believe the boxes I let the kids plant all by themselves was a great idea!  I gave them my box of seeds a few weeks ago and let them fill up the boxes and plant whatever their heart desired.

The bush beans are really starting to come up and they are so thrilled.  She looks really excited, huh?  Well, she woke up right as I was going outside and insisted on coming with me. 

Then I went into my garden and I believe I almost cried.

My poor kohlrabi is done, kaput, and needs to be put out of it's misery.  Honestly, I don't even know what a kohlrabi is.  I've never seen or eaten one.  I just thought it sounded cool. 

Apparently, these evil things thought it sounded good too.  I guess I'll never get to try a kohlrabi.

I believe that I WILL have winter squash even though I planted it really late. 

I believe that my cucumbers will take over the world!

I believe that these are the cutest peppers ever!

I believe that my corn is finally almost as big as everybody else's corn that I see while driving home.

and my tomatos are now bigger than my child!  This is a first for me! 

Please excuse her clothing.  She likes to sleep in her daddy's t-shirts.

I believe that watching her peek into the zucchini plant to see how big they have gotten over night is the cutest thing ever!

I believe I'm going to need a wide variety of zucchini recipes soon.

Even though it's not as big as others, and things are growing slowly, I believe this is the biggest, best garden I've ever had!

And for my last belief, I believe these are the most evil creatures in the world.

Especially, after one of them squirted me with green juice when I squished it.

I really wish they'd leave my beautiful tomatoes alone!

There's one more thing I want to share that's totally unrelated to gardening, but it's really cool.

One of our tadpoles has his little froggy legs!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer's Simple Pleasures Series- Fishing and Having the Funnest Daddy in the Whole World!

I love this series! We had the most amazing 4th of July weekend.  We started off with a local small town parade, festival, and fireworks display on Saturday.  The highlight of my son's day was throwing a softball at the dunking tank and dunking the local high school baseball coach so many times I lost count.   I am ashamed to say I forgot my camera. 

As much fun as that day was, the next was even better!  We drove to the nearest lake and tried to catch some fish. 

The kids pulled in fish after fish...

after fish.

Dad caught one little bass.   I caught absolutely nothing.  Seriously, if we had to rely on our fishing skills for food, we'd be really hungry.

But we had fun and that's all that matters!

We got hot out there and luckily everyone brought a swimsuit because there was a beach there!  We had never been here and didn't know what to expect.  It was an adventure.

So we decided to drive over to the beach to cool off.

I've never seen my two kids have so much fun together and get along so well (for the whole day).  It was amazing to watch them play together with such joy on their faces.

Getting a ride on your big brother's shoulders has to be the best thing ever!

It was a perfect day for ...

covering yourself in sand....

then showing everybody your sand covered muscles...

then running full speed back into the water...

Then Daddy decided to join in the fun.

and let them jump off his shoulders...


and again...

and again...

They played for hours!

I'm not sure who had more fun...

I love that Dad is so much fun.  What could be a better memory than jumping off your daddy's shoulders at the lake for hours?

and hanging on to him for dear life when you can't touch?

It was a beautiful day...

in so many ways...

It will be a day we will remember forever...

"So, kids, how much fun did you have today?"