Friday, July 31, 2009

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program...

Hey everyone! It's us, The Girls. Michelle has asked us to let you know that she'll be out of town tomorrow, just for the day.
We seem to remember something about taking her oldest son to music camp and dropping him off...for a week. A WEEK. She's a bit nervous and probably a bit weepy knowing send her some love. She's going to need it this week with her big, grown, adventurous, mature 14 year old baby off by himself in the big cruel world.

I bet you never knew chickens could be so eloquent, did you? Or dramatic either for that matter? And you thought us chickens didn't have a whole lot going on upstairs, eh? Well, let me tell you...I'm here to tell you a little something...wait...uh...shoot...what was I going to say?
Anyway, so maybe she's not sending him off into the cruel world. Maybe it's more like music camp combined with YMCA during the day and archery, rock climbing, swimming and whatever else campers do at camp in the evening. At least that's what we overheard while taking our dust bath the other day. And to think, they thought we were asleep. They certainly don't know us very well...we are all ears. When we're not eating or scratching or pooping or running from nothing, we are on TOP of things. We don't miss a thing. Steel traps I'm telling you...steel traps.
What? You gotta problem with something I've said?
Because if you do...just say so...we'll deal with it right here and right now.
Yeah...that's what I thought. Boy...that's the last time I cover for her. From here on out, Michelle is SO on her own.

But does it taste as good as it looks?

I just think eggplants are so pretty...way too pretty to be called eggplant. As a matter of fact, Kelly over at How My Garden Grows did a post the other day about the history of eggplant and it's other common names. Not to mention the many health benefits it provides.
After reading her post I decided that from here on out I will call them aubergine. Isn't that so much prettier? Just rolls off the tongue. Then I don't have to say "my eggplant plant". I feel like I'm stuttering.
So...I planted two aubergine (yes, still in italics, because when I say aubergine I'm saying it with a bit of a French accent...try's fun!) plants knowing full well that I really don't even like aubergine. I love how they the color...I even like the plant with it's somewhat fuzzy leaves. But the vegetable itself? Um...nope. Not so much.
However, since this is the year of experimentation in the garden (who am I kidding? I have a feeling EVERY year will be a "year of experimentation"!) I decided to grow some aubergine and cook them several different ways to see if maybe, just maybe, I might like them. Did I already talk about when the kids were smaller and they didn't like something we'd tell them to try it again because maybe their taste buds had matured since the last time they'd eaten it? Well, I'm hoping that happens with the eggp....erp...I mean, the aubergine. I'm hoping that MY taste buds have matured since the last time I ate it....what? A week ago? It could happen! And if not...then at least I have these gorgeous purple beauties growing in the garden for my neighbor...she happens to LOVE aubergine. And there is nothing quite like being able to share your bounty with others.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I can hardly believe it...

...but my baby is 14 years old today! FOURTEEN! How did THAT happen?
Wasn't it just last week that I was in labor for 32 hours accusing the nurses of giving me a placebo in place of the epidural? Wasn't it just last week that the nurse placed a tiny bundle of love in my arms...wrapped up so tight I was afraid to unwrap him? I even called the nurse for permission to open up his blankets. I buzzed the nurse and said, "Um, hi, is it OK if I unwrap him?". Her reply? "Of course Honey, he's YOURS." Wow. Mine. Amazing.
Happy Birthday to my sweet son, are a gift from God and we love you!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Use it up or do without.

We are up to our eyeballs in zucchini! I'm growing it AND I'm harvesting it from my friend's garden. It's taking over. It's on the countertop, it's on the floor next to the island, it's in the's everywhere! And would you believe that I've been giving a lot of it away, too?! It's so nice to be able to more reason to expand next year's garden.
There was no way we'd be able to eat all of this zucchini. I mean, we could if we ate it for all three meals AND dessert...every day...for a week. But my family would definitely not go for that.
So, instead I decided to shred up a lot of it and freeze it for use later in breads and muffins. Won't it be great to have fresh zucchini in the dead of winter?!

I don't remember how many zucchini I shredded...but it was a lot. And it ended up being five Ziplocs full...three 4-cup packs and two 6-cup packs. I decided on those amounts because the majority of the recipes I read for zucchini breads and muffins called for two cups of it in the recipes. I figured with 4 and 6 cup packages I can double and triple recipes and be set!
I am so glad that it didn't go to waste...another step toward feeling like I'm doing my part.

Wednesday in the Word.

Psalm 119:93
I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have preserved my life. Align Center

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Someone gets a present!

Congratulations to dmoms of this is my life! You guessed that this ball of string had "something to do with baseball" and you were right!

This ball of "garden string" is actually the innards of a baseball. It was all wound up into a ball and then covered with leather and sewn together. Reggie, our dog, got a hold of this poor little baseball and chewed the leather to smithereens leaving this little ball of string. I was going to toss it in the trash...but instead tried to figure out a use for it. Aha! Garden string! Perfect. Reuse. Recycle. And when it's done helping me in the garden, into the compost it will go to become food for next years garden. I love it!

Hey dmoms! I need your mailing address again. In all of my "organization" I misplaced it. Sorry!

And good job on the educated are very observant!

Need an ego boost?

Grow a gourd! Wow! This thing is growing like crazy!
I was browsing through a seed catalog the other day and came across birdhouse gourds and the description said to allow for a 20 foot spread! Oops!
I planted these on a whim...I was feeling daring and experimental. I was taking the garden far too seriously during planning and planting and thought this would be a good way for me to ease up a bit and have some fun.
Well, it's fun alright! It's HUGE. And it's taking over a bit. But I'm OK with it since it's not planted next to anything edible. There was one little pole bean plant that made it through the earwig invasion...and I still see glimpses of it now and then...but for the most part, it's buried under the gourd. Every day I go out to the garden and the gourd has grown. It's got more flowers and more and more baby gourds. TONS of baby gourds, actually. But I'm noticing that not all of the babies grow to this one.
So far it's the only one that's made it this far. Isn't it funny looking? I love it. Chris said we should turn it into a birdhouse for our yard. I think so, too. They have to dry for a long time...I want to say almost a whole year. Then you drill a hole and hollow it out and voila, birdhouse!
I have to admit, had I read the label before planting this I probably would not have planted it. I just wouldn't have thought that we had enough room for a 20 foot spread. And really, we don't. But I'm so glad that I'm not one to read directions. (No, this doesn't always serve me well...but this time, I got lucky!) And I figure if it's tough enough to make it through all of the garden drama then it deserves it's place there.
This is kind of a random story, but the gourds remind me of this...
Years ago, when I was maybe 8 or 9, much of my extended family went to Hawaii. While they were there my cousins sent me a coconut in the mail. One day I received a coconut, in the shell, all by itself, with my name and address written right on the shell. They put stamps right on it and sent it to me just like that. I thought it was the coolest thing! I kept that coconut for years.
I got a lot accomplished yesterday and it felt really good. I tore my room apart and organized and cleaned and tidied and it feels so much better in here. There's more to be done, but it was a good start. I did lots of laundry and got it folded and got it put in drawers or hung up. I don't mind doing laundry but man do I have a problem getting it out of the laundry basket and put away. Yesterday I determined in my mind to get stuff done. And I did. And it felt good.
I spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen,, cleaning, freezing. That felt good, was an accomplishment that will serve us later in the year. And it was an accomplishment that prevented waste. I'm always amazed at how much food I have wasted over the years. Just let it go bad and then tossed it. Without a second thought. But not anymore. If I can't use it now I figure out a way to preserve it for later. Some things slip past halves of cucumbers or onions. Or yogurts go past their due date. (The Girls LOVE yogurt I don't feel so bad about this one.) And some of the leftovers still get forgotten. But not very often. More often than not I have a plan for those leftovers before they're even leftovers!
It feels good. All of it...growing, using, reusing, recycling, preserving. It feels like I'm doing my part...for my family, for the environment, for God. This is my definition of accomplishment.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Light in the darkness...

2 Samuel 22:29
You are my lamp, O LORD;
the LORD turns my darkness into light.

(orchid at the Steinhart Aquarium)
I know it's not Wednesday...but I needed this today. As a matter of fact, I need Truth, or scripture (which I believe to be Truth) every day. Not just on Wednesdays. So, because this helped to lift my spirits this morning, I wanted to share it with you...Wednesday or not.
A while back as I was putting this blog together and trying to decide which "direction" I was going to go with it (as you can see I decided on "no direction"...ahem), I kept seeing "Wordless Wednesdays" on many other blogs. It was a time to just post a picture without words...which was a nice thought since sometimes we just don't have the words. But when I think of the word "word" I think of it in terms of THE Word, God's Word or Truth. And it made me realize that my Wednesdays are never wordless...because I always have The Word. So I decided that I would do something similar...but it would be Wednesday IN the Word. And it's been great...and it gives me a direction...and a bit of consistency to my blog.
I am who I am because of God and His Word. And I read it, at least a little bit, every day. Sometimes I just think about it in my head from verses I've memorized (which aren't many...but I'm getting there!) and sometimes I'll sit and read chapters with a pen and a highlighter at the ready. I'm not strict about how much or how long. If I get too legalistic on myself I tend to rebel so I just read what I need to read. And each day it's different.
So, I figure if I am going to put myself out here and share with those of you who care enough to take the time to stop by on a regular basis to see what I'm up to, I figure I may as well be real. If I'm going to do this, then I'm really going to DO this. And not just the pretty parts. Because as we all know, sometimes this whole life thing just isn't pretty at all. Sometimes it's downright ugly. But thank God, literally, there is always beauty in the midst of the ugliness...and light in the darkness.
Thank you, God, for turning my darkness into light.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday morning quiet time...

It was nice and cool in the garden this morning. And pretty quiet since I hushed the girls with the leftovers from a bag of shredded wheat. Earlier one of them squawked so loud I thought she might have laid me an egg! such luck...yet.
The garden is thriving and I am loving it. The beans (on the left) are growing like crazy...the pole beans are wrapping their tendrils around the poles and each other, braiding their way all over the place. The bush beans are already producing beans...the pole beans are a bit behind. I didn't read the package so I don't know if this is right...or if the pole beans just aren't going to produce? Time will tell.
I picked a few things this morning...tomatoes, a regular zucchini and an Eight Ball zucchini.
Between my zucchini and my friends' zucchini I'm going to be in over my head here pretty soon! And I've even been sharing! I've left piles of produce on two of my neighbors porches, I sent a small bag home with my mom and dad and later I'll be dropping off a bag for my bro and his family. And there's still more! So, later this afternoon I'm going to bust out the Cuisinart and shred a bunch for freezing. It will be nice in the winter when I want to make zucchini muffins and such.

The picture below is of the garden path. Or...should I say...what was the garden path? The Birdhouse gourd has boundary issues and is just growing all over the place. This is one case where I'm OK with something overstepping's so pretty!
And it's got many little gourds starting. I notice that a lot of them start but not all of them necessarily mature. So we'll see how that goes. (It's an experiment. Remember?) So we've got the gourd on the right and the Eight Ball zuke and tomatoes on the left. And of course the nasturtiums creeping and climbing all over...they add such fun color to the garden.
Can you guess what this is? I know, I's string. But can you guess where it came from?
I don't know that you'll ever guess...but I'm going to put it out there and see if anyone comes up with it's original use. I have to say, I am cracking myself up with the whole reuse/recycle thing on this one. And if you've been keeping up on my blog and my family and what we've got going just might be able to figure out where it came from!
Anyone wanna give it a try?! If you are the first one to get it...I'll send you a present!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday morning...

Busy morning....Seth left for a baseball tournament at 7:30 this morning. He won't be home until around 10pm! I packed him a cooler full of food, drinks and snacks...he should be good to go.

Ian has spent the last two nights at my brothers. Ian and my nephew, Quintin, are 4 months apart and are two little peas in a pod. They get along great and have the best imaginations when they're together. They feed off of each others creativity's amazing the ideas they come up with. But, all good things must come to an end, so I'll be picking Ian up later this afternoon.

Chris is working today...gotta put in some extra hours to get a job finished up and ready for install next week.

And me? I'm showered and dressed and almost ready to go my Women's Leadership Meeting at church this morning at 9am. After that...the day is mine. I'm going to get some laundry started, tend to the garden and the chickens and then take some time to start putting together my Etsy shop...again.

Oh...and that picture above? That is a Pitcher Plant. My mom took the boys and I to the Steinhart Aquarium last week. It was a good time...and lots of fun. My mom spoils us...thanks Mom!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Who knew it would be so easy?

I had no idea that chicken keeping would be so easy! Chickens are low-maintenance, entertaining and useful. They lay eggs, they produce useful manure for your garden, and they provide endless entertainment.
I am relieved that they are so easy to keep. Especially since I talked my husband into them over the course of a year or so. Had they been a big pain in the butt (which they can be now and then...escaping into the neighbor's yard, sneaking into the garden and trampling things...but if we are careful these things don't happen!) I would be feeling really bad right about now.
I will say, I don't know that they're all that cost effective as far as eggs are concerned. I can buy eggs from our discount grocery store for really cheap. BUT, they're not local. They're not organic. They're not free-range or cage-free. Chances are the eggs I've been buying are from chickens with really sad lives. I don't like that...but at this point, budget wins out.
What I'm realizing in this beginner's effort to simplify is that it is more about making a statement. It's about making small changes in a big mess that will, hopefully, add up to a BIG change. And while I know that there are others who do more and are more extreme in their simplifying and statement making, I don't compare myself to them....any more. I have made the decision to be comfortable doing what I am comfortable doing.
Don't get me wrong. I want to do it all. And I want to do it RIGHT NOW. It's in my personality...I get an idea, I think on it, I get excited about it and I want to dive in and do it NOW before making sure if there's even any water to break my fall! Luckily, my husband is the opposite...isn't that usually how it works? He looks before he leaps...thank goodness. And he looks for me, too! If it were up to me I'd have my front grass torn out, fruit trees planted all over the place, raised beds all over the get the idea. But, my husband is quite a bit more level-headed than I am...he's the voice of reason...he's the one keeping me tethered to reality. Which, I will admit, can be a bit annoying at times. Do you watch SNL? Remember when Mike Meyers played the boy tethered to the jungle gym at the playground? Yeah. Anyway...
So where was I? Oh...yeah...chickens. Easy. Rabbit trails...they get me every time. I think the key to simplifying is doing your homework. Researching. Studying. Reading all you can about the subject. I've been reading about gardening for years. So when I planted the garden I felt I had a pretty good beginner's grasp on the basics. I researched the chickens. So when we did get them I felt confident that I knew what to do. And so far, I have. I read up on canning and last summer dove in and gave it a try. And, because I had read so much and taken in so much information, it was a success!
I think there's another key, too...take one thing at a time. Make one big change at a time. Get used to with it...manage it...make sure it's for you. And if it is, great! Then move on to the next lifestyle change. I think making ALL the changes NOW would just be overwhelming. It needs to be done in bits...manageable bits. If I were to tear out the whole front lawn because I wanted to turn my city lot into a homestead, number one my husband would have a fit, and rightfully so. Number two, I'd have a yard full of dirt and eventually weeds because I don't know what to DO with it yet. Nor do I have the money to transform it. NOR am I sure that I want to get rid of ALL my grass. It's a romantic idea to live like the Dervaes Family...but it's not practical for MY family. And that's what I have to keep in mind...what works for US. Chances are, we will always have a patch of lawn in our front yard. So, instead of ripping out all of the grass, maybe I will eventually take the little side planter strip and turn IT into an edible landscape. Maybe I will tear out the useless ivy (good luck on this one, eh?) and instead plant a fruit tree or two and some perennial herbs. Maybe...someday.
Until then...I will continue with one small step at a time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Friends with farms...

Remember I told you I'm watching my friends property? I had to go out there the other morning to get the low-down on how it all works...where the hay for the goats is...where the chicken feed is...what's ripe when...etc. After about two hours I had it all down pat so I went in to visit with Stephanie a while. After a few minutes Richard came in and said he'd "put a few things by my car" to take with me. Cool.
Well, when Richard says "a few things" he really means "a back seat full"! Good heavens. There was this whole the other veggies I shared earlier in a cardboard soda flat...AND...

...these! Watermelons! And one of them was yellow inside! And it was gooood. Probably the best of the bunch. Now...I have to the past I have not been real experimental with food. Especially different colored food. Even as recent as last winter I was pretty stuck on orange carrots, green peppers, red tomatoes and red watermelon. You know, the usual.
Well, as you know I got a little adventurous and bought that purple bell pepper and I felt pretty fancy and daring about it. And that encouraged me to do a little more poking around heirloom seed catalogs and web sites. And much of the food we used to eat is NOT "the usual" colors. "The usual" colors have been carefully selected over the years because that's what people buy the most of. Is it truly our preference? Or have we just been conditioned? I don't know. To think about it is frightening. I think the bottom line is money. It all boils down to money. (Doesn't it always?)
Anyway...I didn't set out to talk about money. Because all of this, gardening and sharing and learning and simplifying, it's about so much more. It's about doing my small part to make a difference. It's about gaining a little bit of freedom with each tidbit of knowledge that I gather. And I don't know about you, but freedom sounds pretty darn good to me right about now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In my dreams..and answered prayers.

Is this not a gorgeous pile of goodness? I wish I could say I grew it all. But I can't. Because I didn't.

The majority of this bounty is from my friend's garden...they grow TONS of food. They're getting ready to go out of town and while they're gone, we get to benefit from it! I'll be going to their property every other day to check on animals and pick fruits and vegetables to my heart's content.
[Please note: the two round zucchini, the cherry tomatoes and the yellow plum tomatoes are from OUR garden. I gotta take credit when I can!]
Because we had all of this amazing produce I just had to utilize it. Since I'd defrosted some chicken for another meal plan I decided to change things up a bit and make stir-fry. And I have to say, it came out quite delicious! I added see if I like it yet...and I'm sad to say, I don't. I ate it years ago and didn't care for it...but hoped that my taste buds had matured. Um...they're still immature. Because eggplant is yucky. And wouldn't you know I have two eggplant plants in my backyard? I hope my neighbors like them...


On a totally different was definitely a better day. Things are looking up. To give you a quick look into what's going husband and I own our own custom cabinet shop. As you can imagine, business has been slow. We've fallen behind on some things...and our future has been uncertain. It all came to a head yesterday. And it was a rough day... was a new day. And we had an opportunity to meet with our property manager. Before our appointment Chris and I prayed...for wisdom and for favor. And did we ever find favor! Oh my goodness...the property manager was SO nice. The real estate broker was nice. Our conversation was positive and all about solutions.
And our prayers were answered...we were absolutely shown favor. We're not out of the woods yet...but we can definitely see the light...
Thank you for your prayers and means a lot. xo

Wednesday in the Word.

Exodus 14:14
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sometimes life is crazy.

Actually, more often than not it's crazy. Especially these days. Everything is so unpredictable. Up in the air. Downright scary at times.
But there is one thing I can count on...God and His creation. God's creations are perfect. And that includes you and me. We are not here by accident. He planned us. And He planned us for such a time as this. (It is no coincidence that I am aware of you and that you are aware of me.)
And I love that. I love knowing that even though my life seems to be spinning out of control GOD is in total control. My circumstance may surprise me. But they are NO surprise to Him. I forget that sometimes. I forget that God is GOD. I forget that my troubles and the things that seem like they are going to break me are tiny in comparison to my God. He can do anything, change anything, heal anything. Anything.
Yesterday was a rough day for my husband and I. We are going through some struggles in our life that just won't stop. And even though we keep our chins up and stay the course and try to see the bright side...sometimes it just gets too dark. And we lose sight.
Yesterday was one of those days. We were defeated. Beaten down. Hopeless, even. Not a good day. Not at all.
But then I went to work. I really like my new job at the christian book store. I like it more than I thought I would. Sometimes when my shift is over I don't even want to leave. So yesterday I was scheduled at 1pm. It had been a really rough morning. But I dragged myself into my "uniform" of a white polo and black pants, packed myself a small snack and headed off to work. When I got there my sweet friend and co-worker was there. And when I saw her, something switched in my mind and in my heart.
3 years ago she lost two of her children in a car crash coming home from a family vacation. She was driving the car. The anniversary of it all is coming up this month on the this month has been a hard one for her. She's struggling. But she's also trusting God. It's a beautiful thing to witness...
Seeing her, and knowing that she is pushing herself beyond belief to even function as a human being made me see things in a whole new light. Yes, my husband and I have troubles right now. And yes, they seem like huge mountains to climb. But...on the other hand? We have each other. We have our children. We have what's important. Knowing that, we can climb any mountain.
I called Chris immediately and shared with him what I was thinking. We decided to focus on the positive, and not the negative. We decided to focus on the solutions and not the problem. We decided to focus on God and not ourselves. And I have to say...the day went a lot smoother from there on.
Thank you, Lord for your peace in the midst of the storm.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nothing like a good dust bath...

When I was researching chicken keeping I read about dust baths. But not once did anyone tell me how funny it would be to watch them actually take a dust bath!
See this planter that my sweet little chickens are in? Not too long ago it contained cucumbers and beets. But between the earwigs and the chickens the vegetables didn't have a chance. So I yanked it all and left the planter open.
Well, the girls promptly found a perfect use for this sturdy raised bed...a bath tub, of course!
Look at this mess of feathers! If you didn't know better, this scene could make you worry.
They weren't too sure about me joining in on their bath time. But they tolerated me. And even let me sit on the edge of "the tub" to take some close-ups.
Eventually, Nellie's modesty got the best of her...she ended her bath a bit sooner than the others.
Look at her face..."Can't a girl get some privacy?" I'm sure that's what she's thinking.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I recently read that cucumbers resent being transplanted. Of course, I read this information after I transplanted this little guy.

The plant is not very healthy. It was one of the original victims of the earwig invasion. When they got done with it, it was basically a stem and a few skeleton leaves. It looked awful. And it still does. It's spindly and some of the leaves are crunchy. The stem is a bit pinched off and scarred near the soil. I had to tie it to the support to keep it upright.

But somehow, it is still growing cucumbers. I love gardening.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Early morning stroll through the garden.

It's going to be another hot one today. And we may as well get used to it because it's looking like we're in for triple digits for the next week or so. I know I've said it before...and since I can be a bit of a Negative Nellie on occasion, I'm sure I'll say it again...but I am not a hot weather girl. I appreciate the sun...but I don't lay around in it. I avoid it, really. BUT, I do like the fact that my vegetable plants love them some sunshine. It's what makes summer tolerable.
I decided to get out into the garden real early this morning. It was nice...there was even a tiny cool breeze. I could see the steam coming off of my coffee cup.
This zucchini got plucked shortly after this photo was snapped. It is now sitting atop my kitchen counter awaiting it's destiny. It's gorgeous...and I can't wait to eat it!
Do you see that? Look closely...closer...closerrrr....

It's an itty bitty bean! I was having fun taking photos of the bean blossoms this morning when through my lens I notice this little beauty. Isn't it cute? So cute...I can't wait to EAT it!
I am always so amazed at how quickly everything grows in the garden.

This jalapeno was barely visible just two days ago. Now look at it!

I love getting out into the garden early in the morning. It's cool. It's quiet. It's peaceful. It's relaxing. It's a great start to the day. It would be perfect...if it weren't for....

...this loud mouth! The whole time I was out in the garden her and her sisters were just clucking and chattering away...making their low clucking noises...wondering just when I thought I might be letting them out. As soon as they see me in the morning they start pacing back and forth and making their little coos and excited to be able to get out and eat their breakfast and stretch their wings. Of course I couldn't resist taking a few pictures before letting them out. I had to show them who was boss, right?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Isaiah 45:3
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's all I got...

I have been up way too late for the past two nights. Then I woke up with a sick son in the middle of last night. Then I had trouble getting back to sleep. Next thing I know, it's almost 10am and I am just waking up. I never sleep that late! My day is half over for crying out loud!
So, because I'm groggy...and getting a very late start to my day...and caring for my sicky's all about a photo of a nasturtium right now. It's all I got...but chances are, I'll be back later. xo

Monday, July 13, 2009

Herbed chicken?

It seems that chickens and herbs just naturally go together. The girls LOVE to peck at the herb pots...basil and sage seem to be their favorites.
Here are three of them now...a little camouflaged by the pots full of herbs and succulents. But you can see Betty's head and Sweetie and Nellie' feathers.
I try to keep them off of the deck...these ladies poop a lot and they poop everywhere. Modesty is not something they care much about. They just figure, "When you gotta go, you gotta go." So, they go. But if I had to paint it in a positive light...the deck gets hosed off every day or two!
They also love to snack on this little bit of Scotch Moss that survived the winter. It's a little worse for wear thanks to the girls...but I figure if it keeps them from plucking the blossoms off of my vegetables...I'm willing to share!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Baseball, baseball, baseball...

So I have two sons. And they both play baseball. Seth has played since he was 6 and Ian has played since he was 5. After a few years, Chris decided to manage his own team. And he never stopped. He managed Seth for 4 years and just finished his first year managing Ian. It's official. We're a baseball family.
We love it...myself included. I do. Baseball season is's hectic and crazy...but it's fun. But I have to say...there's a reason it's limited to a season. You know? Ever heard the saying, "too much of a good thing"? I have. But my boys haven't. There's no such thing as "too much" baseball apparently. Not only do we play during the season...and then are fortunate enough to be a part of the All_Star team...but then we even sign up for tournament ball...which involves traveling. Every weekend. Or at least every other weekend. But usually both days. It's a lot. But it's fun. And the boys do enjoy it.
Yes, there are times when I would really rather just stay at home and nest...cook, garden, create, read, write, rest. But, as you see, I am outvoted. Being the only girl in the house does have some advantages...but this is not one of them. Sports rule around doubt. ESPN, Sports Center, pro games, college games, girls college name it, they watch it.

And just when I think I can't take one more more dirty more, "I need new cleats" or "I forgot my bat bag!"...I remember that my time with my boys is short. Seth will be going off to college in a mere four years. That will be here before I know it. And Ian is already going to be in 6th BABY. I've heard people say that sending their first off to the next phase, be it jr. high , high school, etc., is the hardest and that each child after that gets easier. But I'm finding the opposite to be true for me. I send Seth off to the next step, knowing I still have another little guy a few steps behind. Sending Seth has been a good experience...exciting even. Yeah, I get a little misty and mourn for my little newborn...but he's so ready and so excited that I feel all of that FOR him. Not to mention, I so enjoy watching them both become young men. It's a fun process...and it makes me proud.
But every once in a while...even though I love watching them grow and mature and develop into amazing human beings...every once in a while I want to grab Ian by the heels and drag him back to kindergarten and make him stay there forever with a brick on his head. Or I have a little flash of little one year old Seth standing in the kitchen, looking up at me in his feety pajamas holding out his chubby little hand saying, "Pila peas?" (pickle please)
And all of a we are...where does the time go? As my husband just said, "I woke up one day and he was a teenager. How did that happen?" I don't know...but we may as well go with it!

Friday, July 10, 2009


I'm feeling very fortunate...everything in the garden is thriving and flowering and making fruit. A, it can make you or break you can't it? It's not for the weak...that is for SURE.
After a rough start this season...and several do-overs...the garden is showing promise. The new planting of beans is growing like mad! The pole beans are outgrowing their poles, even!
The tendrils have floated over and grabbed hold of the chicken wire fence...which is fine with me. That's exactly why I planted them utilize that good ol' chicken wire. Don't you just love bean leaves in their delicate sets of three? Pretty...
Do you see what I see? Zucchini! Do you know how close this plant was to death? Close. Very, very close.
But we took a chance...transplanted it to a new sunny location...and look at it! I see at least three zucchini...possibly even four! Now, a true confessoin...I have to stop myself from comparing my plants to others. Especially the man around the corner. His zucchini plants are HUGE. But when I stopped to compliment him on his beautiful garden (that is in his front yard...pretty much..he has a large lot and the front yard extends to the side yard a bit...but it's fully visible from the street) we talked a minute and he "swore by" Miracle Gro. So, I stopped comparing...and continued with my organic thinking...willing away the temptation to buy MG! And then not too long after that a new friend told me that Compost Tea is the organic answer to MG...and I had hope again! (Thanks, L, if you've stopped by!)
Now, I purchased this seedling on a whim...a purple eggplant.
And I am so glad that I did. I think it is so beautiful...and it's given me the confidence to try even more new things next season. I don't know if this is heirloom or I still have the tag? I better look for that...then maybe I can try my hand at saving some seed! can make you or break you. And I will almost broke me. Almost. But I'm learning...that everything is more resilient than we can imagine. Plants. Animals. Us. We have got a whole lot more "fill in the blank" than we think we do at times...each little bit of life is a test. And we have what it takes to pass. Because...God never gives us more than we can handle. Amen.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Look who came to visit...

Yesterday I was out in the garden...watering, pinching off tomato plant sucker branches, checking new flower buds, moving tomato cages over eggplant bushes so the chickens will stop knocking off the blossoms...when I came across this: a big, beautiful dragon fly.

I was kneeling down, watering the tomato plants, when I look up and there he is, not only very beautiful but also very bold. I hollered for Ian to bring me my camera...and hurry up about it! Uh, please. (I do my best to set good examples around here you know.)
This amazing creature did not matter how close I got. At first I was taking pictures from a reasonable distance. But as I checked them in my camera I was thinking that, yes, while you could see him, it wasn't real easy and he was really jumbled in with the tomato branches. So, step by step I got closer and closer and closer. And he didn't move. So I just kept snapping away, picture after picture. And NO, he wasn't dead. Because there were a few times that the wind blew and he fluttered his wings to keep his balance. His grip on that tomato branch was strong.

I've always appreciated dragon flies...the way their lacy wings glisten, the way they far as insects go, they're alright in my book.
I remember once when I was a kid, my friend Jeff and I (remember Jeff? My armpit fart noise making friend? The one who punched me in the stomach? Yeah...him.) were riding our bikes in the cul-de-sac we lived on. We were just riding and riding and riding. I don't know, I may have been pretending that I was a Charlie's Angel, probably Farrah, driving my blue Cobra. I did that now and then. But anyway...suddenly, there were, and I think it's safe to say, hundreds of dragon flies hovering around our cul-de-sac. Maybe it just seemed like hundreds because I was a little girl, around 8 or so. But all I knew was that there were a LOT of dragon flies...and we rode our bikes through them over and over, every once in a while getting hit by one on the cheek or the arm. We made sure to keep our lips shut tight! It was kind of crazy...and really cool...when you're 8 anyway.