Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A different point of view.

This photo was taken while standing along the western side of my house.
My goal was to try and get a photo of the birdhouse gourds and the nasturtiums. This is my favorite little spot in the garden...but a good photo of how it really looks eludes me. The birdhouse gourd is climbing up an old swing set ladder and the nasturtiums below it just seem to me to be the perfect little compliment.
If you click on this photo it will take you directly to my Flickr account. And then, if you move your cursor over this photo you will be able to see some little notes about what's what. If you want to...you know...no pressure. (I just learned how to make the little notes...kinda fun. As far as technology is concerned I'm a bit slow ...)
The last couple of days have been packed full of baseball, baseball, baseball. Both of my boys were chosen to be All-Stars in their age groups. So between games for Seth (13) and practices for Ian (11) we have been running from ball field to ball field. And let's not forget...California valley weather over the past couple of days has been triple digits. And I don't just mean 100...101...we're talking TRIPLE DIGITS. On Sunday when Seth played it was 116 when we got back to the car at around 4 or so. ONE HUNDRED SIXTEEN DEGREES. Hot. We should have bought stock in Gatorade...at one point I really thought I could feel the electrolytes pulsing through my veins! We were really worried about the boys...out there in the boiling sun with dark jerseys on....but they were great. Probably because Jennifer, Ben's mom, brought an Igloo full of ice water and wash cloths for the boys to put on their heads and necks...is that not brilliant?! I told her she was a genius. Such good thinking.
So today is no different. Seth has his 4th game tonight in a city about 30 minutes away at 7pm. Ian has practice here in town from 6-8. Luckily, my mom is going to pick Ian up and keep him overnight. It helps us AND Ian gets a sleep over at Grammy's house! (Thanks Mom!)
Until then we're going to try and stay cool. Our local movie theater has FREE movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We're going to go pick up my nephew and then we'll all head to a movie, Journey to the Center of the Earth. We'll buy a refillable popcorn and a drink or two and we'll eat the candy I already bought at the Dollar Store. So for about $20 or so, four of us can enjoy a movie and some snacks and stay cool for a couple of hours. Not bad!
Oh, and wish us luck tonight! We want to WIN!

Monday, June 29, 2009

My babies are growing up.

I've been posting so many garden and food photos I thought I'd change things up and share a bit about "the girls".
A while back, Chris had trimmed a branch off of our unhealthy cherry plum tree. It was the perfect diameter for the chickens big ol' feet to cling to so he installed it in the coop for them. It turns out they LOVE their new perch! (Do chickens really love anything? Not sure...but if they did, it would definitely be this perch!)
Each morning, as the sun comes up, they work their way out of the hen house, one by one. They pop their little heads out the door to make sure it really is morning then hop out onto the ladder and work their way over to their perch. They sit together a while until it warms up a bit.

This is Libby. Up close and personal. I have to say...she's a bit of a ham. Whenever I have the camera out she seems to be the one who wants to run up and check things out.

"Is this my good side?"

She acts like she's interested in the camera...you know, the lens...the strap (which apparently is somewhat tasty if you're a chicken)...it's all just so intriguing. Yeah right. We all know she's just a camera hog!

"Or this side? Is my double chin showing?"
All in all the chickens are doing great. They are healthy and happy and they all get along with each other. They peck and scratch. They take dust baths in the empty raised bed. They lay on the deck and spread their legs and wings to soak up all of that glorious sunshine. I imagine they're taking in tons of Vitamin D to make those fresh eggs extra healthy!
Speaking of eggs: No, they haven't laid any yet. I'm thinking we'll get our first egg around the end of August or beginning of September. But that doesn't stop me from going up to their coop and saying, "Hurry up and lay an egg!!"
I have to say...chickens are NOT good listeners.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

If you give a girl a fig...

...she'll want you to put them in a vintage white bowl. And if you put them in a vintage white bowl...she'll want you to take pictures of them. And if you take pictures of them...she'll want you to post about them on her blog.
Because when you have a blog...you relate to life in possible "posts". It's just the way it is.
I got these beautiful figs at the local fruit stand the other day. It's more or less around the corner from my house. And each year when it opens, I know that summer is here. Come spring time I watch for the signs to change from "Thank you. See you next summer" to "We are now planting" to "Grand opening next Saturday!". I love it. And all year I wait for it. That and my own garden are a few things that keep summer bearable for me.
Someday I'll have my own fig tree. But until then I'm content to get them from the wonderful peeps at the fruit stand.
I stopped by yesterday for some corn...but it's not ready until next Tuesday. So I got a giant Vidalia onion instead for homemade onion rings to accompany the paninis we're going to make for dinner later today. I asked the gals who run the stand if it would be OK with them if I took some photos during the week to post on my blog.
"What's a blog?" they asked.
I was expecting this question as they are all older and they all have accents...German maybe? I'm not sure. All I know is that they are SO nice...and this year they finally recognized me from last year...and treated me like an old friend. (It made me feel good...) So because they're so nice the answer was, "Oh sure...sure...of course you can! But can you come about 10 minutes before we open so everything looks nice and full...and so people aren't in the pictures? People get kind of kooky being in pictures on the Internet, you know." I agreed to come a little early...
Stay tuned next week for a little tour of my local fruit stand. I just love it...and I think you will, too!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The tomatoes are making a comeback.

A while back I moved all four of my tomato plants from the toxic pine boxes directly into the ground. They were pretty bad off so I wasn't sure if they'd make it or not. I also wasn't sure how great our dirt was. But I thought it was worth a shot. The poor little plants couldn't do any worse, that was for sure. So we dug them up...planted them in the regular old dirt...and hoped for the best. (Well, we watered too...but you know what I mean.)

Day by day the tomato plants (and the peppers, too...but we'll talk about them another time) grew greener and greener and greener. Slowly but surely the sickly yellow leaves began to turn a glorious shade of deep green. And with each day that the tomato plants perked up...so did my attitude.

Look at that sweet little Yellow Pear tomato!

Well, the other day, a little over 3 weeks after replanting them, it was official: the tomato plants had officially MADE IT THROUGH. Not only were they alive...they were healthy. And to top it off...they were beginning to produce fruit!
Ahhh....one Early Girl and three Sweet 100's. And are they ever sweet!
And these photos, my friends, are PROOF. Small as it may be...these tomatoes represent our first tomato harvest of the season. Aren't they beautiful? And even MORE so to me because for a while there I didn't think we were going to have ANY food from our own little garden.
But...we are going to get food from our garden. Maybe not as much as I'd hoped. But we ARE going to get some. And that is fine with me because we have learned a LOT in the process. Which means that next year...? It's ON.

{I posted this late Friday night because we will be spending the morning at my son's All-Star game and we have to get an early start!}

Slow Friday.

I took some pictures around the garden yesterday...as I usually do. Each day I go out to water and I think to myself, "I should really just grab my camera now and just take it out there with me." But then I figure, no, I already took pictures yesterday so what would I have to photograph today? So I don't "just grab my camera" and inevitably I see something that MUST be photographed immediately and so I run in and, yes, grab my camera.
This is an upside-down nasturtium. I love the color. And the shape. And the little water droplets. And that it's surrounded by big, green round leaves and bright green lettuce and spiky chives.
Now this little gal...she was fluttering about the birdhouse gourd blossoms and nasturtium flowers.
She was all over the place and I kept hoping she'd stop so I could snap a photo. She finally did...and I got her. This is as close as she'd allow me to get...which is fine. I respect boundaries. No big deal.
I thought she was cute in a very plain Jane kind of way. But I have to admit...the whole time I was enjoying watching her flutter and soar around the garden...I couldn't help but think that at one time she was a little worm and that she had probably eaten a good portion of my lettuce! Luckily, the lettuce is one of the things that has done well in the garden...so there was plenty to share.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today's been a bit rough.

This morning was off to a rough start...and I've been a bit off-kilter since.
I'm working my way back to normal.
Tomorrow is a new day.
And this really helps...
* * * * * * * * * * *

6 In my distress I called to the LORD;

I cried to my God for help

From his temple he heard my voice;

my cry came before him, into his ears. (Psalm 18:6)

He brought me out into a spacious place;

he rescued me because he delighted in me. (Psalm 18:19)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Nasturtium bud.
Psalm 94:18-19
18 When I said, "My foot is slipping,"
your love, O LORD, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Homegrown gifts...

My father in law stopped by the other day. He called and said he'd forgotten to give us some stuff the night before when we'd gone to dinner and could he stop by.

"Sure! Come on over! But I can't guarantee the condition of the bathroom...!"

Well, about 15 minutes later he showed up...with these:
Gorgeous nectarines from the tree he and his wife planted in the backyard of their new home last summer. Aren't they pretty? And the smell....ohhh...the smell. We've already eaten half of them...they will NOT go to waste. That is for sure.

But, that's not all he brought. He also brought these...little baby Japanese maples. My favorite tree in the whole world. Their neighbor has a Japanese maple...and it drops seed pods all over their grass in their backyard. And Kelly, my father in laws wife, is constantly battling them, killing them, plucking them out of the grass in an effort to get RID of them. In their yard these little seedlings are nothing but a nuisance.

Well, when I heard that she was ripping them out like weeds I said, "Are you CRAZY?! Grow them!" But, she went a step further than that. Rather than ripping them from the ground and tossing them, she gingerly dug them up with plenty of soil and a firm root ball and placed them in little pots...for ME.

Is that not the sweetest thing ever?! Oh my gosh...what a gift! There are nine of them. Nine little baby Japanese maples. They are the sweetest things...and so is Kelly. Thanks Kelly...you rule!

Now, all I have to do is keep them alive. Gulp. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Things are looking up.

Monday morning in the garden...and I have to say, "Things are looking up." Plants that were stagnant are now blooming. Plants that were once an anemic yellowish green are turning a deeper darker green each day. And plants that were once a killing ground for the earwigs are seeing less and less damage.
This little white blossom will eventually be, God willing, a purple bell pepper. Yes. Purple! I can't wait to see it...especially sliced up and in a salad!
How about this little guy? Can you tell what it is? I was so excited to see it this morning!
It's a little baby birdhouse gourd! Isn't it cute? I wasn't exactly sure how this whole "birdhouse gourd" thing was gonna go. And once the flowers started blooming I really wondered how it was all going to work. Then today I realized...duh...that it's part of the squash family so it will have male and female flowers...just like a zucchini. The male flowers die off and the females grow this little guy. Man...I just think it's so stinkin' cute!
And this beautiful yellow blossom...for a while there I never thought I'd see the day. We have had a very rough start with the zucchini plants. On a last ditch effort I transplanted this plant...and to my surprise, it seems to be working! Of course, I won't count my chicks before they're hatched. But I AM hopeful!

Isn't it so pretty? So vibrant? As you can see...the pests are still around. But not like they were! And I figure as long as they're not doing too much damage, I'm willing to share a little bit of leaf here and there. I'm reasonable...usually.
Ahhh...Sweet 100's on the vine. I harvested three of them this morning...and boy are they SWEET! And you can see the leaves of the tomato plant. See how green they're getting? They may not look that great to you...but believe me when I tell you that they look GREAT compared to a couple of weeks ago when they were a sickly yellow.

I have to say...I'm feeling hopeful again in the gardening department. No, we will not survive on what we grow. But we are learning SO MUCH this year. SO much. And if I remember correctly, I decided way back when we put it in that this year would be a learning experience. So, on a positive note, my mission has already been accomplished. The rest is just icing on the cake!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sweet Saturday...

Sweet birdhouse gourd tendrils...I can't get enough of them.
I'm off to work at the book store in less than an hour...have a happy Saturday!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I just had to share.

First of all, I just had to share this...a birdhouse gourd blossom. Isn't it beautiful? It's so lacy and frilly and delicate. The plant is FULL of little buds...tons of them! And, if I'm observing well, they seem to bloom in the evening and then are withered and discolored by the next morning.
Just that fast...they've come and gone and done they're job. Beautifully.
But beautiful blossoms aside, I also had to share what God shared with me in my quiet time this morning. Even though I only share scripture with you once a week, I do my best to read my bible and write in my prayer journal daily. No, I don't always succeed. Sometimes I oversleep. Or get distracted first thing. But more often than not I wake up early while the rest of the house is asleep...I fix myself a cup of coffee...and I sit in the quiet with God. And as I write my thoughts and read His word, He guides me to the words He wants me to hear. And today...this is what He was saying to me...

Psalm 46:5

5 God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her at break of day.

Or...if I may be so bold: God is within ME, I will not fall; God will help ME at the break of day. Amen! If God is for me, who can be against me?
And just for fun...put YOUR name in place of the bold words...God is within _______, _______ will not fall; God will help _______ at the break of day. And Amen to that, too! If God is for YOU, who can be against YOU?
Walk in victory today...God is within you. xo


Things are looking up in the garden. The sun it out. The weather is warm (hot!). All good signs for the vegetables.
I harvested this colander full of gorgeous lettuce the other day. It's growing like crazy and I want to make sure I use it all up before the weather gets too hot and it bolts it's way to bitterness.
Of course, you can't harvest all of this beautiful green lettuce without taking some photos! I don't know why...but the more I do it, the more I LOVE taking photos of food. It's either really creative...or really pathetic! Either way...it's fun. And challenging.
And vegetables don't goof off or refuse to smile or blink right as you snap the photo or stick their tongues out or do "rabbit ears" over each others' shoulders. Vegetables are way more cooperative. And they taste good.
This summer is all about growth. In the garden. And in me.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Endless possibilities...

To my sweet bloggy friends...thank you for the encouragment.
One, two, three, JUMP!

Starting "somewhere"...

Anytime you want to do something...or start something new...the saying is, "Hey, you've got to start somewhere, right?"

Red geraniums on my patio table at dusk.

Well, I want to start something new. There is something I want to do. Something I've wanted to do for a long time. I'll venture to say I've wanted to do this since I was a little girl...even going so far as to "start" a few times. However, when I realized it wasn't easy...and didn't just magically happen, I gave up.
That was my m.o. Try something. Don't achieve immediate success. Quit. Then beat myself up for even thinking it was ever a good idea in the first place and what the heck was I thinking?!
The story of my life. Until now.
I'm turning over a new leaf.

So, to turn over a new leaf I have to start "somewhere", right? This is my "somewhere"...reading Bird by Bird:Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott...one of my favorite author's. I read her Traveling Mercies several years back and loved it. Her "voice" is real...and easy...and sarcastic...and I can relate.
And just so you know...I actually bought this book 2 years ago. TWO. And it's taken me this long to get around to reading it. I've thought about reading it. And I've attempted to start reading it. But I've never actually read it. So, starting last night, I'm going to read it. And I'm going to apply it. And I'm going to absorb it. I'm going to take notes in the margins and add sticky notes to my heart's content. This is what I do to books. I mark them up. A lot. And I have a sticky note fetish. But we can talk about that another time.
Anyway...I've been in a bit of a funk for quite a while as far as my life is concerned. Not life itself. Life itself is good...the important parts like healthy kids, loving husband, roof over my head and food in my fridge. That's all well and fine. I mean, we have our struggles and our moments and being in business for ourselves isn't always sunshine and roses. But for the most part, life is good. What I'm talking about is MY life. ME. My SELF. That little, tiny voice deep, deep inside...the one that never shuts up. The one that needs to be heard...or maybe not. It depends on how you look at it.
So...last night I was on the computer, browsing and reading and visiting blogs that I enjoy when I glance up at the TV and my eye quickly passes by the bookshelf in the corner and the book catches my eye. Again. And I decide then and there that I am going to read it. And I am going to apply it. And I am going to see where it leads. I have no idea what's in store...but I am excited about the journey.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Cling to Him.
Psalm 63
A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.
1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

All you need is love. And water. And sun. And Diatomaceous Earth.

Nasturtiums growing beneath the birdhouse gourds. The support is an old ladder from a play structure.
I don't suppose we could survive on nasturtiums and birdhouse gourds? Oh, and lettuce. Lots and lots of lettuce. I went out to the garden yesterday and calculated...if we had to live on what I was able to grow this year, yesterday's sustenance would have been: (1) snap pea, (2) cherry tomatoes, and as much lettuce as your heart could desire. All this to fill four people's bellies.
Can you say "hungry"? How about "weight loss"? (Which may not be a bad thing for moi...but the kids gotta eat!)
And what to do for protein? Earwig stew? Ewww...gross...I actually just grossed myself out even though Chris and I talked about it the other day. Even thinking we could add pecans to the mix to jazz things up a bit considering part of the reason the garden is struggling is because there's too much shade from our gargantuan pecan tree. But as time goes on...and the garden continues to struggle...and I continue to battle defeat....I think of the words my son said:
"Mom. I think the difference between this year and last year is 'love'. Last year...you planted the garden with love. This year? You planted it with 'you better give me food!'"
Hmmm....he may be on to something.

Monday, June 15, 2009

There's a new sheriff in town...

Diatomaceous Earth. This stuff is my new best friend.
As you know I've been battling earwigs. And not just a few little earwigs here and there. I'm talking ear-wigs. Hundreds. Thousands. Eating everything in sight. Tender beans shoots...sweet new squash and cucumber leaves...even spicy pepper leaves. If I planted it, they ate it. And mocked me every chance they got.
As you also know, I have chickens. Real live chickens in my yard that get the opportunity to "free range" now and then. So I had to find something that would kill earwigs but not chickens. And I think I found it. Diatomaceous Earth. Now, it hasn't obliterated the earwigs like something toxic would. And trust me, it's tempting to just run out and buy something majorly poisonous so I can be done with bugs once and for all. But I refrained and decided to try this powerful white powder first. And let me tell you...it has truly helped. It's not a cure. But it IS a help. There are fewer earwigs in the usual hiding spots and less damage to my sweet little plants. I'm sold.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Now this is my kind of summer...

It is a perfect 70 degrees outside today. 70 degrees! Perfect! This kind of weather makes me happy. It makes me want to dig in the garden and hang clothes on the line. It makes me want to open all of the windows and doors and let the cool, fresh breezes waft through the house. This kind of weather makes me feel energized and ready for anything. This kind of weather...makes me grateful.
Last weekend you may remember that Chris and I hit a few yard sales. One of our treasures was this watering trough. We bought it at the last yard sale of the day...that we didn't really mean to go to. It was around the corner from our house so we thought, "Eh...let's just drive by...you never know." And it turned out to be one of the better ones of the day.
Chris is the one who spotted it first. He pointed it out to me and I nodded in agreement. He asked the price and when they said, "Eh...ten bucks?"...we said, "SOLD!" I am thinking it will make a great pond...er...uh..."water feature". It won't be dug into the ground...that way it's portable should we move. Wouldn't it be cool with fish and a bubbler and water lilies? I think so, too!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday...miscellaneous ramblings.

It's the first day of summer vacation. Ian is watching cartoons and Seth went for a run. He's so 13. I love it... most days.
{The lone pole bean that survived the rain and bugs. I doubt I'll get much food from it...but I let it go because I love how it looks. It gives me hope for the rest of the garden.}
Today is a full day. Chris needs us to help clean up the office. So we're going to go and do that. Tonight we've got Closing Ceremonies for baseball and then the Memorial game for the 12 year-olds...in honor of a young boy who died in a car accident a few years back. Chris actually took over the team that he was supposed to be on. Awful. Actually, the gal that called me for the job at the book store is his mom. And we get along fabulously. She's amazing. And her testimony is one we could all learn from. Talk about faith and perseverance. Wow.
Ian and I were bored last night (really HE was bored...I was fine with quiet and nothing to do..but...) so we headed to the library. We found out that they have free movies on Wednesday afternoons at 3pm. Nice! And the first one they're playing is Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Oh.my.gosh. We saw this movie in the theater and I laughed so hard at certain scenes that I missed the beginning of the next scene because I was still laughing at the last scene. For those of you just getting to know me, don't hold this against me: I love stupid humor. Love it. Dumb and Dumber. Napoleon Dynamite. Yes. It's true. I'm one of those that laughs...a lot. And easily. I'm the one who stands in the greeting card aisle reading cards and laughing all by myself. But I'm not ashamed.
Anyway, yes, free movies at the library. Another good thing to know for a long, hot summer. Actually, summer is only like 9 weeks long...and it will be over before I know it. But I think I've got a good balance of "things to do to stay busy" vs. "down time to just run around and be a kid". That's what summer is for, right? Being a kid?
I have good memories of summers when I was little. One of them in particular is sitting at the end of the cul-de-sac with my friend Jeff Weber. Jeff is the same "friend" who slugged me in the stomach, knocking the wind right out of me, and his step-dad stormed out of the house and beat his behind all the way back into the house, all the while shouting over his shoulder that "Jeff won't be able to play today". He's also the one who cracked me in the eye socket with his lunch box on the way home from the bus stop. I STILL have a dent.
But this one night we were actually getting along. We were sitting at the end of the cul-de-sac and it was close to 11pm. Our moms were talking so we got a license to stay out extra late. We sat there for what seemed like hours making fart sounds by blowing in the crook of our elbows and putting our hands in our armpits and flapping like chickens. We did it for a long time...and sitting at the end of that court made the sounds echo just a little bit louder...which made it all the more funny.
Ahh...to be a kid again.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How did we forget that?

June 1 was our wedding anniversary. And June 1 came and went just like it was any other day. Somehow my husband and I BOTH forgot our anniversary. Just FORGOT it! Both of us!
On the evening of the 2nd my husband said, "Is tomorrow our anniversary?" And I just looked at him, gasped with my mouth hanging open and said, "Oh my gosh...no. It was yesterday." We couldn't believe it. How had we forgotten that?! Was our marriage in the pits? Were we doomed? Was this the end? Hardly. But it did make us feel bad. How did we DO that?
Well, on Friday my husband took Ian to his guitar lesson. And when they got home he had this with him. A lovely floral arrangement...simple and beautiful...and yes, better late than never.
As I was taking pictures of my beautiful arrangement to share with you all I noticed that the photo of me and my grandmother at our wedding was in the background. This is one of my favorite photos in the whole world. We were trying to be really serious and take photos of the generations...Noni, me, my mom, my aunt was in a few... Well, Noni had macular (sp?)degeneration so she had a hard time seeing. As we're posing she reached up to grab my hand but bumped my boob instead! We started laughing...and couldn't stop! It was hysterical...and a moment I'll never forget. Thank you to my friend Susie who caught it all on film.
Man, I miss my Noni.
As for Chris and I? It's all good. Our marriage is stronger than ever. And next year, I'll try not to forget again!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Birdhouse Gourd tendril. I love tendrils.
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”- Colossians 3:13.

I have to be painfully honest. I didn't have a scripture to share with you this morning. So I decided to go to BibleGateway.com to see what their "verse of the day" might be. And wouldn't you know it...THIS was the verse. And wouldn't you know it...this is NOT what I wanted to hear today. But exactly what I needed to hear. Isn't that just like God? I am so not in the mood to forgive. Not at all. Not today. Not yet. But, like love, forgiveness is not dependent on a mood. It's dependent on obedience...and action. We have to put these things into practice...do them regardless of how we feel.
And for me, this is so much easier said than done. Because lately I feel (there's that word again...) like people are coming against me. And it's hurtful.
So forgiveness? I know I need to. But I'm just not ready quite yet. I don't really feel like it.
But I'll work on it...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


You ever feel like you just can't get it together? Like you're totally exposed and everyone can see what's going on inside of you? Like everything you're thinking and feeling is just right there...smeared all over your sleeve?
That's me today...exposed. Raw. On edge. On the verge. On the verge of...what? That's where the words stop...and the thoughts begin. That's where that word "incubate" pops into my head. Incubate. God gave me that word as I was writing in my prayer journal one morning.
–verb (used with object)
1. to sit upon (eggs) for the purpose of hatching.
2. to hatch (eggs), as by sitting upon them or by artificial heat.
3. to maintain at a favorable temperature and in other conditions promoting development, as cultures of bacteria or prematurely born infants.
4. to develop or produce as if by hatching; give form to: His brain was incubating schemes for raising money.
–verb (used without object)
5. to sit upon eggs.
6. to undergo incubation.
7. to develop; grow; take form: A plan was slowly incubating in her mind.

I relate to that last one...the one I highlighted. Partly because there is no object (eggs)...obviously I'm not physically incubating anything. Regardless of what some of you may think in regard to my chicken keeping...I haven't gone that far over the edge! (Although I DO find it very funny that this is the word I'm given... incubate...God works in mysterious ways and VERY FUNNY ways.) But I am incubating something inside of me...in my mind and in my heart. I don't know what it is yet...but I know it's there. Part of me is really excited to see what's coming. And the other part of me feels very vulnerable about it all. Exposed.
The bottom line is...I just need to keep my faith. And trust. And continue moving forward...step by step, day by day, moment by moment. And when the time is right...I'll know.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Scattered. And a reality check.

That's me today...scattered. Thoughts are all over the place. On Mondays I always feel like I need time to gather my thoughts. Weekends are usually a blur of activity that leave me winded. And even though we didn't have much planned over the weekend...it ended up busy, anyway!

So, laundry is piled again...and always. The house is messy. And to add to it all, the schedule is off kilter due to minimum days this week before summer vacation. School is out on Thursday...and I'm not ready! Summer is here. Whether I like it or not!

Summer vacation means the need to fill time for two teen/tween boys. The days of playing in the sprinklers and finger painting and bug-collecting are over. So I've got to get even more creative to find ways to occupy some of our time. They can find things to do on their own, of course. They're big boys. And creative boys. I'm just trying to head off some of the "I'm bored" conversations! I want to be armed and ready with something other than a chore list! (Which will also be a part of our summer...but I'm trying to focus on the positive...ahem.)

Some of the things the boys and I will do this summer are:
    • FREE movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
    • swim at the community pool
    • enjoy free books, DVD's, magazines and a/c at the library
    • picnic at the beach (less than an hour away from us!)
    • visit local museums
    • visit the Vivarium in Berkeley then head to Blondie's for a slice of pizza
    • Six Flags Marine World
    • spend some fun days with Grammy!

And we're headed to a friend's cabin for 4 or 5 days at the end of the month. And Seth is going to music camp at the end of summer. And we're going to see The Lion King this month courtesy of my parent's. And honestly, due to the school district calendar and scheduling, the summer is shorter than usual. So even though I'm getting a little worked up about it all...the reality is that this summer is going to FLY by. And before I know it my oldest will be in HIGH SCHOOL and my youngest will be a 6th grader...one year away from entering middle school.

Now that is what I'm not ready for. So instead of dreading this summer...what I need to do is enjoy the company of my boys, attitudes and all, because before I know it, they'll be leaving the nest. Nothing like bullet points to put it all in perspective, eh?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lazy Saturday with nothing to do.

What? Nothing to do? How did THAT happen? I don't know how it happened...but I'm glad that it did because we needed some down time.

Happy nasturtiums in the garden.

Chris and I decided to go to some yard sales this morning. We were just sitting and sipping coffee and thought, "Hey. Let's go to some yard sales!". So we did. And it was good. We got some good treasures for great deals. After my nap I'll take some pictures to share our finds!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happiness is...A WINNER!!

Congratulations to...ThyHandHathProvided! You are the winner of an original lino cut.
And just what does ThyHandHathProvided consider happiness? "Sunshine, waiting for chicks to hatch, reading to my kids, fans, getting to meet our baby in one week or less..."
Yes...she is ready to give birth at any moment. Yesterday was her official due date! So say a prayer for her for a speedy and smooth delivery of her sweet baby. And visit her blog...talk about inspiration. This woman and her husband have an amazing garden and really know how to put away for a winter. I want to be like them when I grow up!

Okie doke lucky winner...send me an email at moonshinelane at aol dot com with your mailing info and your print preference: Animal, Vegetable or Household. I will then send you an original piece of art...a 4x6 (roughly) hand-carved linoleum cut printed on high-quality watercolor paper It will go out in the mail on Monday!
Congratulations! And thank you to everyone for playing along...this was fun. I think I may just have to do this again sometime...soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dare I jump on the Thrifty Thursday bandwagon?

I stopped by the thrift store today on my way to the library to pick up my books on hold..Julie and Julia and The Home Creamery. I saw a round table out front that caught my eye and that I thought might fit into my eating area better than the rectangular one I've got now. I mean, the rectangular one fits fine...but I want to add a small buffet for extra storage and to be used as a bill paying center. So I need a smaller table. Or should I say I want a smaller table? It's not a need. But it sure would make life easier and a bit more organized should I be lucky enough to find one.

Anyway...the table was a bit more money than I want to spend. But while I was there I decided to go in and check out the FREE book shelf. I rarely find anything that I can't live without...mainly because I run out of patience looking through all of the titles. They're not in any kind of order...so you just have to look carefully and closely. This requires patience...and focus. Two things that I don't have much of!

However, today I happened upon two books that would fit quite nicely into my collection: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and Christmas Joy by Susan Branch.
I've been wanting to read Kingsolver's book for over a year now...ever since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. That book made me an instant fan of hers. And it changed my life. I see it all the time in thrift shops and the used book store. But...I guess it's never fit into my budget!
Christmas Joy by Susan Branch was a must-have. And honestly I would have paid for this one. Years ago my aunt gave me one of Branch's beautifully illustrated cookbooks, Vineyard Seasons, and I just loved it. Then a few years later...she gave me another, The Summer Book. And then I found one at the thrift store a while back, Autumn. And now...this one. I had to have it since Susan Branch cookbooks are obviously becoming a "collection".
These finds made me happy. Not to mention my sweet friend, Francine, who works at the thrift store shared half of her yummy, gigantic oatmeal cookie with me! Bonus!
Oh...and if I can't stop thinking about the table, I'll go back tomorrow and if it's still there...possibly consider it meant to be...for ME.

You know you're a crazy yo-yo when...

Memorial Day weekend means the same thing for us year after year....the carnival is coming to town. And if the carnival is coming to town...so are hand-dipped corn dogs and cotton candy and shaved ice and rides that make you spin until you throw up your scrambled eggs. Or make you realize...finally...that you are just too dang old to ride these stupid things anymore!
For some reason...probably because I'm a really nice mom...we ended up at the carnival twice. Or maybe it was because we went Sunday evening and it was 40 below and we needed to seek warmth but still had a million dollars worth of tickets left. Whatever the reason...the boys and I ended up back at the carnival on the last day.
See those two sweet, innocent boys flying through the air hanging by little tiny threads of so-called chain? Um, yeah...those are MY boys. There they are...flying near the tree tops, having a great time. Loving life. And do you know where I am? Sitting on a bench, trying to find a bit of shade and doing my best not to have a major anxiety attack right there in the middle of the park. Why do I let my kids go on these things?
How about this one? See that little red cage? My boys are IN that cage. IN it...being flung and tossed and spun...this way and that way...and loving every minute of it!
And where am I? Securely on the ground. Feet firmly planted. Safe and secure as I put my children's lives in the hands of a man with about 4 teeth. And a suspected drug problem. But I don't want to make assumptions. But...well...anyway.

Crazy. That's me. Because I allowed my kids on these stinkin' rides. Don't they know how dangerous they are? Don't they know what risks they are taking? Yes. I think they do. And if I remember correctly, that's the fun of it.
I used to ride those rides...over and over and over again. And I still love a good roller coaster here and there. But..ever since I tuned 35 I can no longer do the spinny rides. No thank you. They do NOT agree with me. Or I with them. It's a mutual thing.

Plus, carnivals are in our blood. My grandfather used to travel with the carnival. But he had all of his teeth. He was actually one of the owners. He owned a ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, a snack shack (that my dad used to work in during summers and to this day will not eat a corn dog!), and a picture booth. How cool is that? I have a picture of my grandmother and my aunt from that picture booth. My grandfather carried it in his wallet until the day he died 8 years ago. My grandmother and aunt had since passed years ago...yet he carried it in his wallet all those years. Sweet. And now I have that picture...tucked in my little red bible with my name engraved on the cover.
I may be a crazy yo-yo...but I come by it honestly.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Giveaway reminder!

You talkin' to me? Yeah, I'm talkin' to you! Go enter!

Just a friendly reminder to go to this post to enter in my first giveaway! I'll be drawing the name of the lucky winner on Friday!

Wednesday in the Word.

During my quiet time this morning God led me to these scriptures, in this order. It all made perfect sense to me...I hope it means something to you, too.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, (2 Timothy 3:14a) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2) Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. (2 Corinthians 3:12)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happiness is...

...chickens in my backyard.
...four teenage boys (and one 'tween!) in my car on the way to baseball practice last night.
...a little bit of rain this morning.
...a quiet house.
...a cup of coffee.
...quiet time with the Lord.
...healthy kids.
...good marriage with my sweet hubby.
...endless possibilities.
...the anticipation of canning with my mom this summer.
...business looking up.
...cool breezy mornings.
...hanging laundry to dry.
...kindred spirits.
What's making YOU happy today?
I've been wanting to do a giveaway for some time now...I think I'll try it today! Leave a comment, letting me know what's making YOU happy today and be entered into a drawing to win an original lino cut made by yours truly. This is open to anyone and everyone...even if you've never commented before. I'd love to hear from you!
**Giveaway will be on Friday...name will be drawn randomly.**

Monday, June 1, 2009

The adjustments.

If you were humoring me...er,I mean...if you were joining me at the beginning of my gardening endeavor you might remember that I had come across some wooden shipping containers that were being disposed of. Well, I thought it would be great to rescue them...recycle them...save them from the landfill...and put them to use as raised beds in my temporary garden.
I thought it was the perfect solution to all of my problems. We were on a tight budget...the containers were free. We're hoping to move...the containers were temporary. Our soil is lame...this would hold brand new soil that we would purchase.
Voila. Done. Perfect! Right? Wrong.
At first it was great...the plants seemed happy and comfortable. It looked somewhat organized and tidy. I thought we were really on to something. But then it rained. And it rained. And it rained. Without a bit of sunshine...for...what? 7 days or so? 10 days? I don't know. LOTS of days. And while I loved it...the plants didn't. Slowly they began to turn yellow...at first just the bottom leaves. So, obviously, it's because of too much water. Yellow leaves = too much water. Of course. It was the rain. And now that the sun and the heat were coming everything would even out and perk right back up. Right?
Wrong again. Everything that was in a wooden container continued to turn yellow. Everything. The eggplant and the zucchinis and the nasturtiums. It all sort of paled and then stopped growing new leaves. Everything tried to flower...but it was all very anemic and sickly looking. I kept holding out for improvement...hoping that the sun and heat would eventually kick it all in gear. But nothing. I began to suspect the containers themselves...but wasn't really sure.
Then, in the meantime, the pests were harassing me and eating anything and everything. Between that and the pale greenish yellow of it all...I was very frustrated. Mad.
Well...on Saturday I went to the home of my friend, Stephanie, from church. She and her husband, Richard, have some acreage and a big garden. They've got chickens, too...and have been sharing delicious brown eggs with me over the past year. Well, while I was there Richard was kind enough to give me a garden tour...so I took the opportunity to ask him some questions about ugly yellow plants. I told him what was going on...what we'd done...and how we'd planted a lot of our garden in awesome, recycled pine containers. "Pine?", he asked. ""Yes. Pine." Richard went on to tell me of the time they planted a school yard garden and one of the dads brought in pine shavings as mulch and to choke out weeds. And wouldn't you know it...everything near to these pine shavings turned a pale yellowy green and growth slowed to a pathetic crawl.
Aha! My gardening intuition was right! It was the containers. And while I was extremely frustrated by the waste of time and money and effort...I was mostly relieved to know what the problem was. The pine containers.
I came home and told Chris. And asked if he'd help me make some adjustments in the garden. "Sure! I'd love to!" he replied. Or...something to that effect. It might have been more like a grunt and an "I guess". But who's keeping track? Bottom line is he was willing to help his wife. His wife who always has some sort of something going on in her head and some sort of idea or plan or scheme that somehow always involves needed his help in some way or another. And being the sweet man that he is...he humors me. And he helps. Because he loves me. And I'm grateful.
So, yesterday afternoon, this is what we did.
We moved the pine containers OUT of the garden area...dug directly into our own dirt which wasn't as bad as we thought it would be...and then transplanted the tomatoes and the peppers. We then took all of that dirt from the containers (the dark dirt in the background, up against the house)...that may or may not be healthy...and shoveled it over sheets and sheets of newspaper that we're using to choke out the millions of Four o'Clocks that won't leave me alone. I figure that the dirt will be good to weight down the paper and then work it's way into the existing dirt. And eventually, when we want to plant there, whatever it was about the pine boxes will be gone. I hope.

I think everything looks happier already. I am really hoping that we can salvage these plants. I'm thinking it's possible. But we'll see. Next is the bean container. It's outta here. And I'll just plant some new beans directly into the soil and see how it goes! Wish us luck!