March 27, 2013

Yarn Along

I have been so busy lately, but I've had nothing to blog about! I figured I can only give you step by step of my garden progress a few times before you get bored. ;) Thankfully, there are wonderful people like Ginny who give me things to post about!

We are on spring break this week, so I have been prepping and digging and getting ready for planting on Friday.  I got my bean trellis set up and planted all the tomatoes I can stuff into my garden yesterday. I have 6 plants left over so they will have to find a new home. I will ask my neighbor next time I see him.

My grandmother (we call her Mimi) told me that her mother (Great Grandma Lola, who passed away early this year) used to plant on the Thursday - and I later confirmed Friday as well - before Easter. Mimi said Grandma used to call them "Twin days" and she always had very lush and productive gardens. That is when Mimi plants, and I decided it would be good to stick with family tradition and so I will be planting on Friday as well. I like the idea of planting on Good Friday, and the thought that my harvest will be blessed from the beginning. :)

It is also good information for next year, in that now that I know when I'm planting I can better plan my seedlings.... and not have three foot high tomatoes because I started way too early.

Anyways, back to the point of the post...

For knitting I am trying to work on the shawl for the auction. I think my deadline is the middle of April but I need to double check on that... I was about half way through when I took a good look at my design and really, really didn't like it.  It just didn't look good. So I reworked the design... and ripped back a lot. =\ It might put me behind and cause me to miss the deadline, but I would rather contribute a shawl from my stash that is already finished than to contribute something that I don't feel good about. No half-arsed work here!

The reading is, among other books, The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I am about three chapters in and so far it is very interesting. There has been a bit of history on the life of corn, how it got to this point of being processed and reproccessed and is fed to both animals and humans, and how big industry uses it for... well for evil. Haha. Those are my words, not his. The point of the book is for him to try to follow corn from the farm to the end product, and the journey on which that takes him. I am enjoying it, when I find the rare moments of quiet to read it. I hope I can finish it before it is due back to the library.

Well, for not having much to post, that sure was long...

Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday y'all!

March 19, 2013

Brain Freeze

Do you ever feel so overwhelmed you completely stall out and just can't go forward?

I have felt like that the past few weeks. I have SO MUCH to do in all aspects of my life that I just can't seem to get my act together because I don't know where to start. Which is really weird for me, the queen of spreadsheets and getting things done.

I have so much to do in the garden, my house needs so much cleaning, I have so many library books to read before they are due, so much knitting on the shawl that needs to be done...

And lately I consider my days a success when I can just get school done and feed everyone three meals. Ugh.

So, yesterday I sat down and made a big list of everything that needs to get done for the garden this year. It's a long list...

And then at nap time I put everyone in their beds, grabbed my gloves and went outside to get started. I figured if I could just pull a few weeds then I would be at least a little step ahead.

Well, that was the little kick I needed, at least for yesterday. I got the left side flower bed completely weeded, mostly mulched with compost and planted a third tomato.

I also set up two trellises that will hold melons this year.

Is it just me, or is a bed covered in compost really pretty?

I've been so frustrated at not having enough room for all the things I want to grow, and then it hit me: If I can't grow out, grow up! I've been doing lots of research on growing melons and squash on trellises and I think I have a pretty good idea of how to do it. Just attach to the trellis as the vine grows, and make sure to support the fruit with a fabric hammock so they don't break off. I'm pretty excited about this new experiment.

Ben also had the idea to make boxes that we could hang on the fence, covered with lattice, and grow things through the holes of the lattice, like lettuces and spinach and such. That would also give us a lot of space.

And then last night I grabbed a dust rag (in a fit of my-house-is-so-stinking-dirty rage) and got the house dusted after the kids went to bed.

I think I might be getting past the stall out. I hope.

Happy Tuesday!

March 15, 2013

Birthday Surprise

All these photos are by my sister, Rachel Wolf

Today we had a little surprise birthday outing for my birthday boys.

I had been planning this for over a month. Since they are really into planes right now, I thought it would be cool if I could get us a tour at one of the places at the airport. I didn't call the airport itself, but I called a jet fueling and maintenance business that is right on the airstrip. They were more than happy to let us come check out some planes, and so we marched ourselves down there at 9:30 this morning.

Now, I wanted this to be a surprise, but it was so hard to keep it secret when they kept asking "Can we go to the airport?" I kept having to tell them "oh, I don't know if we'll go this week. We'll have to see."

So today, when cousins showed up at our house and I told them to get in the car they kept asking "Where are we going? Where are we going?" I repeatedly told them, "Don't worry about it!" And they came up with all kinds of guesses like seeing pirates, or astronauts.

By the time we pulled onto the road to the airport, of course they could figure it out, but today was way cooler than any other day we've tried to see planes from behind a chain link fence.

As we walk around the side of the building to the entrance, one of the men was pulling out a private jet and wheeling it around for refueling. They all had to stop and watch and thought that was really cool. While they were doing that I went inside to let them know we were there. Now, as this was going on after I came back outside to wait for our tour guide, I noticed a few "Army Mans {and woman}" (that's what the boys call them) walking around but didn't think much of it.

Our very nice tour guide Ken, came out, said something to the man fueling the jet, and then turned around and said that if we wanted to see, there was a Black Hawk about to take off.

Umm. Yes! Talk about really cool timing for us. And that's when I noticed, as we walked through the lobby to see around the jet, the Black Hawk helicopter that was sitting at the end of the pad right near the airstrip. That explained the Army men and woman. I thought that was cool just by itself.

Well they were very nice and said we could go out onto the sidewalk to watch it take off. So we walked outside and watched the soldiers do some pre-flight check stuff. That's when Ken and the very nice lady who's name I did not catch came over with a golf cart and asked who the birthday boy was. I pointed out Jack and Ty and she said that if we hurried out there we might be able to ask them for some pictures. Sweet!

So my sister, who mans the camera, the boys, and I hopped on the cart and sped our way out there. She asked the soldiers if the boys could have some pictures before they took off, because it was their birthday, and bless our soldiers they were more than happy to let the boys climb on board.

They got out, hoisted the boys up and let them climb in, giving high fives to the soldier who was still in the back of the chopper.

Now here I have to take a little break and just pour out my heart of thanks for these men and women who serve our country. They sacrifice so much for us, and they have such wonderful hearts and it was just such a big deal to my boys (and me) to be able to do that. I don't know if they'll ever see this, but if you're out there and you do: THANK YOU! For what you do, and for making my boys' day. You are all amazing people.

As we were going out there Ken was getting a second go cart for the cousins and Brett, so everyone was able to climb in and check it out and get their picture in the Black Hawk. I think that, right there, was it for me. That made my day so much, and I was so excited about it. (Can't you tell by my rambling on and on already?)

After that we came back to a safe distance were able to watch them go through the rest of their flight checks, and then finally take off. It was SO COOL.

Once the Black Hawk was gone, Ken showed the kids to the jet that had been sitting there and the kids got to climb in and have a look around.

 That was a pretty spiffy jet! When we were all done Ken walked us back inside and handed out some little squishy airplanes to all the kids.

It was a wonderful experience, and the people there were so nice and sweet to let us do that. It made me want to work there, or come back and visit all the time, they were so sweet.

After all that we went the local town history museum to play at a children's center they have there. It's a place I used to go when I was younger (which kinda trips me out bringing my own kids to it). They have a learning room with things like maps and mirrors and light boxes, and they have what they call "Kid City" which is a room with a bunch of little booths that are the different buildings in the "city". They have a restaurant, a police station, a hospital, a theater, a news station, a bank, etc.

 They all ran around and had lots of fun for awhile, and then, since our admission paid for both the kid's center and the rest of the museum we decided to go walk the grounds.

This museum is a collection of houses and buildings that are part of our county's history and have been moved to this location and preserved. It's always been one of my favorite places in town, because I love seeing the old buildings and they way people used to live.

The kids... Well they were moderately amused, but you know how kids are. They would look, go "hey cool!" and then run to the next one. :)

They did stop for awhile when Brett found the locomotive engine, which just made his day.

After we toured the whole place we found a spot to sit down and have brownies and do birthday presents.

It was such a nice day and the excitement of it has been pumping through me all day.

As my sister and I were walking out of the jet center she said "I miss field trips!"

I agree.

We need to do this more often!

Happy Weekend,

March 13, 2013


Already 6.

I'm pretty sure someone is messing with the speed dial on this whole time thing.

Six years ago at this time I was so, so sick* and we were about 12 hours away from an emergency C-section that brought our kiddos into this world three months before they were due. That was an absolutely terrifying day, and the three months that followed were equally as hard and scary.

Today, they bounce off the walls, are always jabbering, and are growing out of their shoes. Thank God for His miracles.

I have really enjoyed seeing the different ages. (Except three. I hate three.) Five has been very interesting as their brains open up to the world around them and their imaginations turn on.

I'm excited to see what 6 brings us, as they are trying more and more to become little men and do things on their own. Every day is an experiment in independence. This should be a very fun year.

Happy Wednesday!

*For those of you who watch Downton Abbey and saw Sybil die of eclampsia - that is exactly what was happening to me. As the doctor on the show is explaining that the only way to save her would have been an emergency C-Section, that is still true to this day and is the only thing that saved the lives of me and our boys. I am so thankful for my stumbling onto the symptoms way ahead of time so that I could see them in myself, and very thankful as well for my doctor who listened to me and took very good care of me. Unfortunately, although this disease has been around for a long time, we still don't know exactly what causes it and it takes the lives of many women and babies every year. If you'd like to learn more about the disease, you can do so here:

March 9, 2013

Wet Saturday

Well-watered lettuce

It's been raining for the past two days.

On one hand, it's been wonderful! I love the rain!

On the other hand, my lettuce was completely under water yesterday, and it kind of put a crimp on my hardening off schedule for my seedlings, and my plans for planting today. Which I will take as a sign to wait. I think today is a good day for baking instead.

It's funny how this year, as I try very hard to become a decent, successful gardener and provide food for our family from our property, I pay more attention to the weather and what is coming.

In other news, Munchie took his first unassisted steps to Daddy last night! I was cheering and jumping, and he was looking at me like I was a crazy person. It's such a weird experience to be so proud, but a little sad at the same time.

Happy weekend!

March 4, 2013


I am really posting just to show you my stinkin' adorable shoes that I got on Saturday while having a little girl time with my sister... But I guess I'll post some other pics too. ;)

I've started hardening off my plants. I hope I can do this right and don't stunt them all terribly. I don't think I'm going to put them in the ground until after the middle of the month, maybe closer to Easter, but I need space on my washer and dryer again, so I figure once they are hardened off I can leave them outside, and bring them in if we had a bad weather warning.

In my reading about starting seeds and gardening, I found mentioned a few times that you can help your seeds sprout by keeping the humidity up for them, which is usually done by adding a plastic grow dome, or even wrapping the flat in a plastic bag.

I started my marigolds in a take out box that I had kept, and I decided to put the lid on them to see if the extra humidity really does indeed help them. The package says the seeds should germinate in 7-14 days.

Two days. They sprouted in two days. I planted them Friday afternoon, and when I checked them Sunday morning I they were sprouting! I couldn't believe it!

We've had a bit of a peanut mystery around here for the past few weeks. I kept finding peanut shells in the garden, and I couldn't figure out where they were coming from. We do have a bag of shell-on peanuts that I let the kids have for snack sometimes, so I figured maybe they had wandered around and dropped the shells. Turns out one of the resident Scrub Jays has been bringing them in from who-knows-where. Last night we watched him fly up to the neighbors roof, bang them on the roof line, and then fly over the garden and drop the shell. I should ask him to drop them straight on the compost pile.

Not much else going on - we had a terribly lazy and wonderful Sunday. We pulled a few weeds, Ben cooked a chicken, and that was pretty much it. It was so nice.

How was your weekend?

March 1, 2013

Handwork & This Week's Round Up

I always hate the day after a birthday, no matter whose birthday it was. After all the hype and excitement of the day before, the day after just seems so... boring. Haha.

We don't do much for the first birthday - I know that sounds terrible - since we (or I should probably clarify, I) figure they won't remember it much and yes I know birthdays at that age are more about mama than they are baby, but I just like spending time with my kids and having them around every day, not just on their birthdays. So I make a big deal for the one's who understand, and the babies just get snuggled as much as they usually do... maybe a little more. ;)

 The kids did spend all day telling him "Happy Birthday Munchie!", Auntie Rachel brought him Ritz crackers for his present (she knows him pretty well),  and we had a nice big dinner that included mashed potatoes, which are currently Munchie's favorite food. I thought about making him wear a birthday hat, but figured he wouldn't keep it on for very long.

We've been doing a little "Home Ec" this week...

 The big boys learned how to make their own eggs on Monday, and excitedly continued to do so on Tuesday and Wednesday as well. Aside from smashing the eggs a little too much, they can do it all by themselves with nothing but supervision and a little coaxing which makes me both extremely proud and a little sad at the same time...

And now it is Friday!

I am sitting here with a lovely iced coffee, I just pulled chocolate chip muffins out of the oven, and now it's time to show you what I've been working on.

For any of you who follow the Little Homestead facebook page, I posted this picture the other day with the intention of using it in starting an embroidery project.

Well I did! And here's how it's going.

I just love violas. They make me so happy! Ben says it's funny that I like the tiny little ones that nobody else likes - since apparently everyone likes the larger pansies - but I just love tiny little flowers. I think because they make me think of fairies and the tiny unseen world of what could be.

I just pulled the picture up on my computer, laid the fabric over the screen, and traced with a fabric pen. I really like the first set I got done. It's so cute and fun.

Yesterday I finished potting up my strawberry plants. I have 2 whole 1020 flats full of pots- 36 plants! I also potted up some more peppers. Today I will finish the rest of the peppers and the few herbs, probably start marigolds (and maybe some other stuff, even though I don't have room, because I'm addicted), and try to get outside to do some weeding and bed prepping.

I also need make bread today for the weekend. Busy busy!

What's going on at your place?
Happy Friday!

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