Friday, May 29, 2009

What a mess! Or (I love parentheses)

I currently have 18 books checked out of the library. And I just got an email (I switched from phone calls to email for notification of Hold books arriving) that one more of my Holds is in. Yes. (Said in true Napoleon Dynamite form.)
This is my nightstand.
I took this photo the other morning...hence the coffee cup. What a mess, eh? Wow. And am I high-maintenance or what? Lotion and lip balm and Mentholatum (hey...give me a's very soothing for migraines...just a dab under your nostrils and it's instant relief. And when a migraine strikes the last thing you feel like doing is rummaging through the medicine cabinet. So...on the nightstand it is!). High-maintenance AND a pack-rat...bookmarks and paper weights and notepads and pens...stacks of books, my own and library books. And of course...the fan remote. Gotta have the fan remote.
I always think I'm so low-maintenance...
I don't color my hair. (Yet. That gray is really creeping up on me, though. And the grays don't just lay flat and nice and pretty. They boing out like a corkscrew. Unruly I tell you.)
I don't get my nails done. (I do them at home, actually. Isn't that frugal of me? I'm just always looking for ways to cut costs and be a better steward of our finances. I mean I am just... What? What's my technique you ask? bite them. What? That doesn't count? Whatever.)
I shop clearance racks and discount stores and thrift stores and yard sales. (95% of the time).
We have a small, modest home. (With dreams of country property someday...*sigh*)
Low-maintenance I tell you. the looks of that nightstand? Needy. And high-maintenance. And don't get me started on going for drives and motion sickness. Oh about needy. Cold water and full stomach and fresh air and the seat adjusted at the just the right height and inclination....sheesh. I'm worn out just thinking about it all. I don't know HOW my husband lives with me! I need to give him a hug...
I had written a post about my nightstand a few months back....implying that to look at someones nightstand would tell you about them as a person. But I they were interested in...and what they were filling their mind with...and what they liked to do in their spare time. You know...the GOOD stuff.
I didn't realize that while, yes, you would learn all of those good and interesting things about a would also learn of their neuroses!
*Note to self: watch for a good deal on a nightstand with a drawer.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This is really starting to get to me.

This, my friends, is the remains of an otherwise healthy zucchini plant. I picked it up for 99 cents at the feed store. It was lush...and healthy...full of promise. And food.
But now? After ONE NIGHT IN THE GARDEN? It's nothing but shreds. The culprit? Earwigs. Pincher bugs. I despise them. And there must be millions of these stupid bugs in my yard. Millions. And I hardly think that a rolled up newspaper and a bucket of soy sauce and oil is going to do a dang thing.
As a matter of fact...when I went out to garden the following morning after carefully placing the yogurt container holding the soy sauce/oil combo...would you believe it was knocked over?! Yes. Knocked clean over and spilled. And not a dead earwig in sight!
And the newspaper? I opened it up and there were three earwigs. Three. One. Two. Three.
The earwigs. They mock me. And I don't know what else to do. If it weren't for the chickens I'd use poison. Organic schmorganic. But I let the chickens roam around in the evening...and I don't want to accidentally hurt them. I would be devastated if anything happened to one of the girls.
So...what to do? I don't know? I'm at my wits end. I am dealing with major amounts of reality. Bugs. Devastation. Anemic vegetables. This is not what I imagined. Not at all. And I don't know what to do. Other than be glad that we aren't having to survive off our land. Because we'd be very hungry.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another...because I need it.

Isaiah 30:15
15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
Emphasis is mine. Because I need it. I need to hear it. And remember it. And live it. Today and tomorrow and every day thereafter. I need to read each word...slowly, carefully...I need to ingest them, breathe them in, sleep with them under my pillow, believe them. And then I need to allow myself to be quiet...and rest...and trust that God is strengthening me.

Wednesday in the Word.

Isaiah 30:21

21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice
behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A stroll through the garden.

This gardening thing can be so emotional. I can be so happy one second and a complete mess the next. I can be in awe of the beauty of life one second and completely deflated about the reality of life the next. It's an emotional roller-coaster, this whole gardening thing.
Take this gorgeous strawberry for example. It made me smile. For days! Each day I came out to water or feed the chickens and this beautiful strawberry was making googly eyes at me...getting more and more red by the day. Happiness is...this strawberry.
Or how about these baby peaches?
These little beauties were on the tree when I bought it. It made me happy. And I felt accomplished. I know, I know...I did nothing to make it all happen. But it felt like a boost...a head-start...and at the rate the earwigs were eating everything else I had planted, I needed some positive gardening reinforcement.
Hello little green bean leaves. How have you escaped the wrath of the earwig? Watch your backs. They're relentless. And they mock me.
Ahh...sweet snap pea tendrils. I love how they wrap themselves around the rusty wire and each other. It's such a beautiful tangled mess. Like life. Beautiful and messy.

OK, now this next photo is not for the faint of heart. This is the reality that is my garden. On the left: watermelon. On the right: Eight Ball zucchini. Hacked. Overnight. That's all it took. I was very sad.
I didn't think it was fair to only take pictures of beautiful strawberries and dainty tendrils. I thought that it would only be fair to take photos of ALL aspects of the garden. The good. The bad. The ugly. And the funny. (I'll explain in a minute)
So I began snapping photos of the pitiful remains of these poor little half-eaten seedlings, too. As you can see, in a pathetic attempt to stop the earwigs from eating their fill of my plants, I did the whole "organic roll up a damp newspaper to catch them" technique (which is bunk in my opinion...but whatever). I'm sorry...but one cannot stop an army of 42 billion earwigs with a few rolled up newspapers. It just can't be done. I'm beginning to understand, more and more, why people invented poisons to rid their gardens of pests and diseases. They had to have been desperate, too!
OK. So, for the "funny" part. You may have already noticed what I'm about to point out. As I was looking at the garden photos a little later in the afternoon I noticed the headline on the newspaper. Can you read what it says? Right next to the leaves eaten to smithereens? Yes. You read it right....
It reads: "That Smarts".
How appropriate. It still gives me a little laugh. And trust I continue to lose the pest battle to something 1/1,000,000th my size...I needed a good laugh!

The Girls.

Growing by leaps and bounds...and always wondering if I have a little snack for them. Even trying to nibble at the camera case it might be edible!
Sorry Girls...I'll be back later with some watermelon rind! Now, hurry up and lay an egg. Earn your keep!

Monday, May 25, 2009

I've never made bread in my life.

But I'm going to. Soon.

I have been dying to read Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for months. My intention was to buy it when I had some extra money. But, extra money has not been in my vocabulary as of the book had to wait.

Until I remembered my most favorite thing in the world: putting books on hold at the library online. Man, I love that feature. (Have I mentioned how much I love putting books on hold online at my local library? What? Only 22 times? Well...I LOVE putting books on hold at my local library! I love it so much I even tell strangers! I may even tell the people around the corner with orange trees in their front yard. That would give me an excuse to knock on their door!)

I put the book on hold a few weeks ago and the other day I got the anticipated call that it was IN. Yes!

I started reading it last night and so far, so good. And definitely worth owning. My plan was to actually TRY it today but after reading the intro there is some set-up and preparation involved in making this happen. Thermometers...large covered stones...etc. I have most of the items...but need an oven thermometer and a container to store the dough in the fridge. And...I have to make sure I have the ROOM to store a large container in my fridge. This is where a garage fridge would come in handy. This is always a touchy subject...we have a one-car garage. And it's packed to the gills with...stuff. Much of which we'll be getting RID OF when I can schedule my dang garage sale. And now that baseball season is over...I can.

I digress. Somehow it always boils down to my messy garage! I really need to DO something about that.

Anyway...where was I? Oh yes...artisan bread. Not just bread. But artisan bread. Doesn't bread sound so much more yummy and good for you when it has the word "artisan" in front of it? Yeah...I think so, too. (I think I need to slow down on the coffee this morning...)
So...yeah...I need supplies first. Luckily, I get to keep the book for three weeks. And I can renew once online. So that's six weeks to get ready. That should be plenty of time. Good heavens I should HOPE so. If I can't get a grip inside of six weeks then I deserve to eat store-bought bread full of preservatives and fake sweeteners.
I'll let you know how it goes!
Oh yeah! In doing a search for a decent picture of the book cover I came across the official Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day web site. Nice.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ahead of their time.

Image from
The other day I was headed to the store and drove the same route I've been driving for years. As I headed down my street and made a right I noticed, for the first time, a front yard FULL of fruit trees. Like a mini orchard. Citrus and maybe some stone fruits. Then I noticed herbs growing beneath the trees...and even a few tomato plants here and there. It's enclosed by a white picket fence. There's more...but I've had to be slick and take note while I drive by rather than being an obvious lookie lou and stopping in the middle of the street to gawk! What I really want to do is walk by...and maybe even knock on their door and introduce myself. Which I just may do. I haven't decided yet. Wouldn't it be cool if they were creating their own little urban homestead? Someone right here in my own neighborhood?
Now, I said earlier that I noticed all of this "for the first time" which isn't exactly the whole truth. I remember when they were planting everything, oh, maybe 5-7 years ago? And honestly, at that time, I thought it was really weird to have all trees, and at that time herbs (that might still be in there somewhere but I've been trying to be incognito), and no lawn. I mean, come on? Who doesn't put grass in their front yard, right? It's what we do. It's what's expected. It's...a front yard.
So, yeah. I noticed it. But I forgot about it. Until last week. Then I, they were ahead of their time. They had the "Food. Not Lawn" theory down before it was popular. I admire their bravery. Years ago I thought it was weird. Today I think it's smart and a great use of space. I'm turning into Chris' grandpa whose philosophy was "if you can't eat it, why grow it?" which is making more and more sense to me as time goes on.

Quiet Sunday morning.

Yard sale finds in the back of my car. My husband thought this was a funny picture as it represents each of our fetishes: mine; chairs, his; old radios. That poor chair is STILL in the back of my car because I don't know where I want to put it yet!
This is starting out to be a very quiet morning around here. Ian spent the night at his cousin's (my brother's) house and Seth spent the night at his buddy's house after being there all day yesterday for a boy/girl swim party. He's getting so baby is growing up. I'm enjoying watching him become a young man...watching him mature and grow...but then sometimes I feel like screaming and crying and putting bricks on his head to make it all stop! Bittersweet...that's what it is.
So...with them's quiet here. Chris is in the living room playing his guitar...I'm in our room watching Apollo 13 and blogging. And sipping my coffee. Gotta sip the coffee.
Eventually the quiet will end. Eventually I will hear the shower and the vacuum and the lawn mower and the washing machine and the hair dryer and the shovels and rakes and the clucking chickens. And eventually I'll hear the screams of people on carnival rides and the loud sounds of our friend's band playing at the fair and the crunching of my teeth on my annual corn dog with extra mustard.
And eventually, after a long, loud family and friend filled will be quiet again.

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's off to work I go.

The girls...."free ranging"...and making a HUGE mess. Whose idea was this?
I start a new job today. It's only part-time. Very part-time.'s something. I am going to be working at our local christian book store...Family Christian. I guess it's not necessarily local as it is a huge chain. is in our town. So that's local-ish. What I mean is that it's not mom and pop...OK, you get the idea.
I have a friend who works there. She's actually an acquaintance. Or was. Now she's a friend. She's going to train me today...which should be fun. I see a lot of laughing in our future. I have to wear black pants and a white collared shirt. Always. I have one collared shirt. I need to do something about that. I hope Old Navy is having a sale on white polos!
So, honestly, the picture in this post has nothing to do with my topic. I always get frustrated at bloggers who put pictures in posts that have absolutely nothing to do with what they're talking about. And then here I go and do it. See how I am?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Encouragement and Inspiration

Reggie...looking very optimistic.

There are a TON of amazing blogs out there in blog land. TONS. And there are a few that I visit daily...whether for inspiration or encouragement or just plain entertainment. I want to share a few with you today. Good stuff...

The Simple Wife shared an amazing YouTube video this morning...and I'd like to pass it on to you. Be's a tear-jerker...I went through four tissues and lots of sniffling. I had to press Pause once.

The Path to Freedom inspires me daily. Daily, I tell you. Some of it is a bit "over the top" for me, personally. But they've created a beautiful homestead right on their city lot. They are "blooming where they're planted"...which is what I'm trying to do. So it gives me hope. And lots of ideas to incorporate into our lives and our home.
For those of you into chickens...Chicken Keeping is a simple, beautiful site.
And one more...Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply. This company is somewhat local for me. It's in Grass Valley which is about 2 hours or so away from here. I have yet to visit it in person. But someday I will...when it comes time to buy fruit trees and berries. And possibly even mushrooms!
Take a look around...enjoy...order goodies...decide to keep chickens! Be inspired!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Matthew 11:28-29
28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Something's going right.

The lettuce is doing really well. It gets morning sun...and then shade takes over around 1 or 2pm. For now it seems perfect. That's why yesterday, after my pity party, I planted MORE lettuce. And honestly, I didn't plant it because we eat so many salads and love it so a matter of fact, my family isn't all that IN to salads. I planted lettuce because it means success. There. I said it. I know I can grow it.

In the foreground of the picture you can see some nasturtiums...and I have to say, they are doing really well, too. Then along the fence, on the right side, are my Sugar Snap peas...and so far they're doing great. Oh I hope they make it...I love snap peas! So far, so good. I also planted more beets because the first go-around didn't do so well. I don't know why...too much water from the rain? Not enough sun for days on end? Bad location? Well, whatever it was I changed it ALL...which probably wasn't the right thing to do. I should have changed one variable. But...too late! let's far the things that are thriving in my garden are:

  • nasturtiums
  • lettuce
  • artichoke
  • snap peas
  • Birdhouse gourds
  • radishes
  • beans

OK, so not bad, right? I mean, things are growing. Not everything is a wash. But I think what got me was that everything that was thriving was not going to sustain my family. You can only eat so much lettuce. We have one artichoke plant and from what I understand we'll only get 2-4 artichokes from it. Peas and beans and radishes are all great...but there won't be enough. And Birdhouse gourds? Cool, yes. And interesting. But not edible. keeping it all in perspective, let's go back to the beginning where I said it was for the "learning experience". Right? And thank you to so many of you who have reminded me of this! The reality is...I am learning. And fortunately, we do not have to survive on what I grow. And someday...I will know what I am doing. And I will grow enough food to eat, share AND preserve for the winter. Someday. But no...not over night. And not always on the first try. And...that's OK. It's a process...a fun one, a frustrating one...and one that's worth every emotion that goes along with it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The mood is lifting...

Amazing what a little digging in the dirt and hanging clothes on the line will do for a mood. Who knew?

After griping about the state of my garden I decided to go out and DO something about it. I ripped out the diseased plants and replaced them with healthy ones. I planted more beet seeds, more lettuce seeds and fertilized everything. I watered, weeded and staked.
Then I washed up and got a cool drink of water.
Then I noticed the neighbors cat in my backyard. I was worried that he might be seeing the girls as cooked up fryers like on the old cartoons so I shoo'ed him off and tucked the girls back in their coop.
Then I hung the sheets on the line.
Then I stood back and admired my work.
Amazing how happy it made me to know that I was NOT wasting energy by using my dryer. You'd have thought I won the lottery. I am loving my clothes line. And I think the sheets and clothes dry FASTER than they do in the dryer!!
I'm feeling a little better about this whole "self-sufficiency" thing...

I've got good news...and I've got bad news...

Which do you want first? How about the good news?
The good news is that my gorgeous eggplant plant has beautiful blossoms! Look at that beauty? It's so gorgeous...and thick and substantial. I love it
Ready for the bad news? My dang eggplant plant HAS A FUNGUS AND NEEDS TO BE YANKED. I am SO upset. Seriously. Yesterday I was completely defeated as far as this whole suburban homestead idea goes. Whose idea was this anyway? I was about to rip it all out and go to Winco for a bag of fish sticks and a can of soup...and I was going to make sure it had tons of additives and preservatives. Oh...yeah..and tons of packaging. I was that defeated.
The chicken coop was full of flies...and we all know why. The eggplant AND both zucchini plants were covered in this lousy fungus. It was stinkin' HOT and the chickens were panting and making me worry. I felt like this whole idea was in the pits. And I was ready to call it quits.
I know, I know...I said it was all for learning experience this year. what. I wanted instant success and absolutely no failures. I wanted the lush victory garden and happy chickens. And I wanted it to be about 20 degrees cooler dangit.
I think the thing that gets me is that I'm trying to do it all as organically as possible. the meantime...bugs are eating the heck out of my plants...fungus is growing at record rates...and flies are multiplying, and whatever other disgusting things they do, at record rates.
Defeated. De-fea-ted.
Well, this morning I woke up with a new attitude. Ten degrees of cooler weather will do that for me. Instant improvement. Not total deliverance. But better. I decided to go to the feed store to see what they say about flies and hot chickens.
As far as the girls are concerned...they say they're fine and that as long as I keep their water cool and their coop shaded they'll be fine. Hot..yes. But fine. Whew. And speaking of the girls...I'm letting them "free range" right now. Without supervision. And I am a nervous Nellie about it! Libby is a bit concerned, too. She's staying in the coop...even though the door is wide open and she can roam to her heart's content. She's in the coop sending out the warning cluck...or squeak...or whatever. The warning about that. Sadly, since there is no danger...the others are ignoring her. Although one time they did all go fluttering and hopping back into the they must know when she's not crying wolf. They're so funny... back to my breakdown. So I'm at the feed store...and the nice gal behind the counter tells me to get fly strips. Which is pretty much what I figured...but I wanted to make sure. fine. Fly strips it is. Yuck. But better than live flies laying more eggs and doing whatever they do to make their food "edible". Ick.
BUT...more good news came unexpectedly when I drove up to the feed store and there was a big banner that read, "PLANT SALE". Woohoo! I ended up getting better squash, and more of it, an Eight Ball, yellow squash and a regular zuke. TWO more eggplants, even though I don't even LIKE them...but we can talk about that later. Purple sage that is really pretty. Chives...because mine are barely hanging on. And a PURPLE bell pepper. How cool is that?! And...the best part? They were all 99 cents for a 4-inch pot! And it made up for all of my defeat...and gave me hope once again.
Wish me luck. Because if I were really trying to survive on the fruits of my labor? This would be a very lean year. Let's pray I get this organic gardening thing down....soon!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Doing my part.

Yesterday morning my son needed a ride to the ballpark so that he could umpire a game. He had to be there at 8:45 so I decided to take him and maybe stop by a few yard sales on my way back home. I used to go to yard sales all the time...and the flea market, too. At least once a month. But...the kids got older and started playing sports. We got more and more involved with church and busied ourselves with that. And before I knew it...I'd gotten away from yard sales. I'd stop on occasion...and would usually find something cool. But I didn't get up early and go know, coffee in travel mug, snacks so you don't have to stop, newspaper with yellow hi-lites, map, girlfriend...intentionally.
Well, yesterday I decided to stop by some yard sales, semi-intentionally; no map or newspaper but I did have my reusable water bottle, small bills and change and I'd actually changed out of my pajama bottoms! And I'm so glad that I did! I got some good bargains: Capri's from The Gap, $3; Joe Boxer comforter for one of the boys beds, $3; gorgeous print, $1; two glass storage jars, 25 cents each; enamel ware kitchen tin set, $5; ampersand wall hanging, brand new $13, I paid $5; and a tiny white creamer with blue trim and flowers (not pictured, it went directly into the hutch) for 75 cents. Not a bad haul for $18.25.
This is the first time I've purchased an article of clothing at a yard sale. I just don't have luck in finding clothes that I like...or that are my size...or that are in decent enough condition...used. But yesterday I did. And I'm feeling pretty good about it. I have to say, I do pretty good buying clothes on the clearance rack. I typically don't buy something unless it's on sale. But...the beauty of buying used is that whole recycling thing...reusing...and it made me feel like I'm doing "my part" for the environment.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Every once in a while... score a really cool find at the thrift store. Friday was a good day at my favorite local thrift store, The Opportunity House. It's a non-profit establishment and all of the proceeds go to the local women's shelter by the same name. They do a really good job there. It's organized. And clean. And always has something cool. They have a FREE book shelf and all they ask is that you put a little something in the "piggy", which is literally a large piggy bank in the shape of a pig.
I stop by The Opportunity House (OH)at least once a week...sometimes twice. It's in the middle of downtown so it's centrally located to a lot of places I go. If I plan it right, it's along the way to pick Ian up from school.
It all started last summer when I decided that I was going to begin canning. I stopped in at the OH and ended up talking to one of the gals that works there (Francine)...who just happens to be into canning...and who just happened to have a canner with a rack that she would bring in for me. I got it for $10. Score.
The next time I was in, Francine asked if I wanted to place a special order for canning jars. Turns out she sets them aside throughout the year and then brings them out during canning season. But for those of us that she knows, she lets us have first dibs! Nice. I got two big boxes of canning jars, no lids, for $7.
I got my food dehydrator there. Several cookbooks to add to my collection. Dang near the whole LaHaye series for Seth. Every Ted Dekker book...and these were on the FREE shelf! Hard cover! I got a bamboo tray...Pyrex...Corningware...and the list goes on and on.
Well, I stopped in the other day because I saw a HUGE watering trough out front that I thought, at first glance, might be cool to turn into a water feature in my backyard. Upon closer inspection it appeared that said trough had been used for target practice...definitely not conducive to holding water. I figured since I was there already....and had about 15 minutes before Ian was out of school...I'd go on in and make my rounds. As I was going my usual route I noticed this barrel style glass container with a rusty wire handle. I snatched it up and carried it around with me for further thought. It was $12...which seemed a little high to me. was very cool. And I knew it would be useful in the future for things like pickles, the big old-fashioned kind...or pickled eggs...or maybe even some kimchi. OR...dare I even say...some sort of kombucha something or other? (Carolyn? Carolyn? Did I just say that out loud?)
As you can see...I deemed it worth the $12. Had I been at the Goodwill I may not have made the purchase. But because OH does such a great job...and makes a difference in our community...and helps so many families...I always know that my contributions are going to a good cause. And it's one of those purchases that I brought home and was glad about it the next day...because guaranteed, if I tried to go back for it, it would have been GONE. If nothing else, I've learned that you have to strike while the iron is hot in the world of thrifting. Because if YOU don't, someone ELSE will.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Table for One.

I took this picture last week....with the harvest of my first radish. It's like the size of a dime. Don't mind the crumbs, OK?
Since then I've harvested a lot more lettuce...and it is really tasty. Not it's good to mix with other lettuce.
And so more radishes. One is pretty close...and I was *this* close to plucking it last night. I am SO IMPATIENT.
But...I practiced self-control...and left it alone.
For now.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A step in the right direction.

So, I've been looking at clothes lines recently. I would like to hang some of my laundry...sheets, towels, linens, blouses, etc. I will still use my dryer...but just not as much. It will save on the clothes I dry on the line will smell sooo nice.

Well, just now, as we're at the shop trying to conduct business, I spring it on Chris, "Hey Honey...I'd like to install a clothes line in the backyard!" (And you know...and I know...and he knows...that I use the term "I" very loosely. As a matter of fact..."I" in this case means "I'd like for YOU to install a clothes line FOR me. Please. Please? Honey?")

Regardless of the context...or proper grammar...before I'm even finished stating my case he says, "Hang on. Hold that thought."

He goes out to the shop and returns with a retractable clothes line and says, "Your wish is my command."

I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I swear...since I turned 40 the strangest things make me happy. Apparently he had it here at the shop for some time. He was going to use it in the spray booth for something but it didn't quite work out. Lucky for me! I can't wait to hang some clothes...and it's supposed to be nice and hot this weekend, too. Perfect! Thank you, Honey!

Cage Free, Baby.

We let the girls free-range occasionally. I prefer to do it when Chris is here to help me. I don't know...I just get nervous that one will fly over the fence...or someone will let the dog out accidentally...or one will go under the deck and I won't be able to get them out. Just fretful in general, I guess. (I need to work on that...)
But when Chris is home and we have a little while to let them peck and scratch and stretch and flutter...out they go.
They spent a lot of time over by the fence...scratching away to find treasure troves of beetles and bugs galore. To each his own, right?
The girls are checking out the garden area. Little do they know...chickens are {NOT} the smartest bird in the coop, let's face it...they could hop right through the gate.

We must have sat out there for about an hour...just watching them.
When I was researching chicken keeping people would say things like, "Better than TV!" or "Who needs cable?".

Now...I don't know that I'd take it that far. I am pretty attached to FOOD Network and Intervention. But they are definitely entertaining. Definitely.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10
This is one of those verses that we throw around so easily. But if you really read it, really hear it and really do will make all the difference in your world. This is a reminder that God is in control and I am not. Thank you, Lord, that it's not up to me or my might or my power. Remind me, as I go throughout my day, and as I get anxious, or angry, or insecure, to be still. Just be still.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Off to a good start.

Yesterday's harvest.... today's breakfast.

I harvested (I love using that sounds so official) some loose leaf lettuce yesterday. I was so excited! I brought it in...washed it (had to make sure no little baby slugs made their way into my meal...I have my limits)...and put it in a plastic bag for later.
"Later" was this morning. I thought it would be a good addition to my toast with avocado. And I was right...wheat toast, a little bit of light mayo, sliced avocado, sliced cucumber, loose leaf lettuce and a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash....we're talking good stuff. Serve with a glass of fat free milk and a yogurt and you're set!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

the internet isn't all bad.

Last week I went to my library online and placed some books on hold. A few days later I'm getting an automated call telling me my books are in. Yes! These are the books that were waiting for me when I arrived:

On the Wild Edge. Hmmm...I'm not sure how I ended up with this one...or what the chain of events were to lead me to it. it is just the same...and so far it's pretty interesting!
This is sustainability to the extreme. But each his own. I'm hoping to glean some knowledge.

In Defense of Food was bragged on by Thy Hand Hath Provided...and I'd been eyeing it now and then...and figured it was time to give it a read. I never did read Omnivores Dilemma...I started to but just couldn't get into it. We'll see how this one grabs me. I'm a bit of a finicky reader...if a book doesn't grab me, I don't grab it! I'm not one to finish a book just because I started it if it's not all that great. So...I've read a few pages...and so far, so good.

Simply in Season. This was also bragged on by Thy Hand Hath Provided...not to mention she shared a vinaigrette recipe that was delicious. So I definitely needed to check this one out (no pun intended) myself. I'm glad I did. This one is worth owning and got placed on my Amazon Wish List!

My point here isn't really the books themselves, though. My point is the fact that I can go online, go to my, find books and place them on like a minute and a half! Next thing I know I'm getting a phone call letting me know they've arrived!
I walked into the library....went directly to the Hold Shelf...grabbed my books...went to the self-checkout and used my handy-dandy keychain card and I was done. Just like that. Is that not the best thing ever?

A good day, play by play.

succulent. photo taken last week.
This was a very nice Mother's Day. I woke up to a potted, yellow calla lily and a poem from my husband. Very sweet...and personal. And romantic! The boys got me a sweet card with a Starbuck's gift card! Do they know me, or what? I am spoiled...and blessed.
We went to was nice. Not much new...but nice. Chris played guitar with the worship team which is always nice. I like to hear him play.
We came home and got down to some serious relaxing. Although I did run to the store for some corn on the cob (no local places are open yet!), macaroni and soda. Then I decided to run by the strawberry patch for some sweet, local strawberries. I cut them up and sugared them really well and put them in the fridge for later. Then I made a macaroni salad and let it chill for an hour or so.
The boys mowed the lawns and Chris weed-eated...weed-ate? know what I mean...they got the yard so nice and neat and tidy. It looks great. Then we put the dog in the house and let the chickens "free-range". We cleaned out their coop while they ran around. They loved it!
By this time we decided to get dinner going a little early so Chris barbecued the chicken and I prepared some fresh fruit and corn on the cob. What a good dinner! It was so yummy...and light...and good for us. Earlier in the day Seth wanted to bake some cookies or something...but it was just too hot to have the oven on. Plus, I said, I wanted to do a dessert with strawberries. He said, "How about funnel cakes?!" Yeah! And...amazingly...I just happened to have a funnel cake kit I'd bought at Big Lots a few months back. Perfect!
Like a dummy, I didn't take pictures. They didn't last long enough! They were goooood. And I'll even go so far as to say....healthy. OK, maybe not healthy...but not super UN-healthy either! The ingredients were pretty straight flour, wheat flour, non fat dried milk...and some other benign ingredients. Not bad, eh? we did fry them in oil...but not too deep! Then we served them with the sugared strawberries and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. YUM. And easy. And light. And...quite possibly...addictive.
After dinner it cooled off outside so we went out and sat on the deck. The yard was clean and trimmed...the garden watered and happy...the chickens safe and sound and eating strawberry hulls...even Reggie got some scraps. (I tell ya...the animals around here are well cared for.) Ian helped me set some pincher bug traps with wet newspaper...then we called it a day.
And now...I'm sitting in my bed, watching Sound of Music and writing in my blog. I'd say that makes for a pretty good day...

Mom's Rule.

Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

it's early-ish.

I'm up. I'm (back) in my bed. But I'm up. I've got my FOOD Network...and my computer. So far, so good.

We've got baseball games this morning...both boys at 10, one at different towns. So I'll be at one and Chris will be at the other. Later in the afternoon we'll be celebrating Mother's Day a day early to accommodate my brother's work schedule. We're going to go to dinner...the whole lot of that should be fun.

It's really just one of those "life" weekends, a typical weekend during baseball season with a little Mother's Day thrown
Then tomorrow...Mother's Day...we'll lounge around here, per my in the garden, barbecue something simple, clean up the chicken coop and be homebodies! Something I'm wanting to do more and more lately...sounds like a perfect day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

it's late.

Calla lily from underneath. I love this photo. I'm not sure why. Maybe because it reminds me of the Grinch...not sure why about that either. I think it may have something to do with being almost 11pm. I get delirious at 11pm. At least that's what I'm told. I'll take that as my cue to bid you good night....
(And please don't mind the big,black barbecue cover in the background. Dangit. Must be more mindful of backgrounds...)


I read a lot of blogs. Some on a regular basis...some occasionally...some on a random goose chase for information about a certain topic. Well, the other day I was reading a random blog...I don't remember how I came across it, whose it was, or where to find it again.
I DO remember, however, a snippet of what I'd read. I read something along the lines of removing strawberry blossoms the first year the plants are planted to encourage bushier growth for the following year and years to come.
What? Are you serious? Pluck these beautiful little blossoms? And not just blossoms...future strawberries? I don't think so. I mean, I can already see the little beginning of a berry!
Now as I'm typing this I am looking back to all of the times I've walked past the sweet little plants...future berries and all...knowing that I should be plucking them off, ruthlessly, for the good of the plant and for the good of my family really. Because bushier plants means even MORE berries in the future, right? So why can't I bring myself to do it? I want those dang strawberries! Never mind that I live less than a mile from a HUGE strawberry patch with delicious berries all summer long. Never mind that I only planted two plants and will more than likely only get a handful of berries anyway. We won't get enough for jam...or even strawberry shortcake! We'll realistically only get enough to pluck as we walk by, wash off under the hose, and eat before we even get back in the house!
Boy...I really need to get a handle on this gardening thing. It is NOT for sissies, that's for sure.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Psalm 139:23-24
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
This is my prayer today, God. Show me my part. Reveal to me my offensive ways so that I can correct them and move forward. Search my heart...let me be anxious for nothing...I present my concerns to You...I hand them over to You...I give YOU the control. I will follow Your lead. I trust You. I love You. Amen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A break in the rain...

It's been raining like crazy here! And my poor plants show it. The soil is water logged. The leaves on the zucchini and tomatoes are yellowing. I'm a little worried. But keeping the faith that the sun will come out...tomorrow? (Wow. That was bad. But I just couldn't help myself...)

So...before the LAST big rain over a month ago I'd planted a ton of seeds. OK, maybe not a ton. But I did plant quite a few. Beans, squash, birdhouse gourds...and a few rows of beets. As you can see here...I've got about 7 beets growing. That's not too encouraging. But hey...I'll take what I can get. Like I keep telling myself...this year's garden is a learning experience. Take it for what it is...and learn...and persevere.

Here are the overlapping rows of beans that I planted. I planted rows of beans before the LAST big rain, too. And after the germination period I got nothin'. So I figured that the rains ruined the seeds and I planted some new ones.

Would you believe that the DAY AFTER I planted the second batch of bean seeds the FIRST batch started sprouting? me Murphy.

Hey look! A harvest! A small harvest. But a harvest nonetheless.
That is my first radish...I planted it, watered it, plucked it from the ground and ATE IT. (Yes, yes...I washed it first) And it was good. Spicy and hot...just like I like 'em. A little small...apparently I didn't wait long enough. But how could I help myself? Isn't it beautiful?

So I'm being nosy and poking around the radish bed...looking for more immature baby radishes I can rip from their warm cozy bed and eat when I come across this....

Hello my are doing a GREAT job! I only wish you ate pincher bugs. But I'll settle for the aphid control....

At the encouragement of my husband...who LOVES these dang chickens very much...I brought two of them into the garden with me in hopes that THEY would eat the dang pincher bugs. Libby and Betty were the chosen ones...

They enjoyed it very much. They caught many mosquito hawks. And plucked a few other tasty bug-like morsels from the grass. They wandered around...explored...pooped a few times...and reveled in their little bit of freedom.

It was all well and good until we hear a loud, distressed chirp from the hen house.
It was Nellie...frantically calling for her sisters. As soon as Libby and Betty heard Nellie's call...they responded with the same loud distress call...pining for their sister.
That was our cue to call it a day. These girls really do NOT like being separated from one's quite sweet really. and sound and together. All is well.

Monday, May 4, 2009

One of my favorite herbs.

It smells nice. It tastes good. It grows well. And it's pretty.

one more...

...because I'm a little bit obsessed with these flowers...

...and these photos.
I ♥ my camera.


A friend of mine at church gave me a vase full of beautiful calla lilies over the weekend. And I have to be honest...calla lilies have never been one of my favorite flowers. They always made me think "funeral".
However, this weekend...and this vase of callas...changed my mind.

I brought the vase home and placed it in the middle of my dining table.
Ahh...fresh flowers. What a nice touch.
Eventually, I decided to take some photos...just because. And wow. I have a new appreciation for these amazing, strong, elegant, beautiful, poetic flowers. It's amazing what you see through a lens that you might not see in real life.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Be still...a Haiku.

The petals unfold.
Each moves by instinct alone.
It is time to bloom.