What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, June 26, 2015

In the Gardens

Andrew brought me a bouquet of flowers from his own garden.  I remember a toddling boy with chubby legs and rubberband wrists picking me flowers and bringing them to me and now he is scrawny and lean, tall and capable and still brings me flowers.  I hope it never stops.  I love this boy and his flowers.

This was our main garden a whole 12 days ago:

This is our garden yesterday:

The raindrops that come every 48 hours or so have made the vegetables grow by leaps and bounds.  Unfortunately for me, it has also encouraged the weeds to grow by leaps and bounds.

So far, the only garden disappointments are #1 the weeds and #2 the corn.   Probably 2/3 of the corn we planted never came up- making for a barren and splotchy corn patch.  Since the gardens are full to the brim and I never had room enough to plant Kale, I'll use some of that extra space to add that in...and maybe a few fall crop like peas around August.  

But, I'll miss the corn.  Boy, will I miss it.

Not everyone gets to be serenaded by handsome boys while during garden work.  I am blessed, I know.

The flower circle is getting wild and wooly.  It feels almost like a jungle at this point.  Which I love.  Do you like the boys' rubberband gun range in the above photo?  We have enough wooden guns to have quite a little army around here.

I am pretty much in love with the Delphinium.

We picked the last of our strawberries this week.  The last harvest.  :-(  I noticed quite a few berries with a dusty mold on them while picking...they looked like dead gray mice.  How is that for appetizing?  There was a good 2 quarts of totally ruined berries.  I haven't researched it yet but I am thinking all this rain has had something to do with it.

All in all, though, it was  a wonderfully productive year...the best strawberry year we've had! We harvest about 14 quarts of berries from our small and often neglected patch which was enough to consume but not really to put up.  I would freeze some and then wind up using them in smoothies for breakfast anyway.  :-/

The elderflowers are in bloom.  I am determined to do something with them this year.  Cordial, perhaps?

The sweet and sour cherry trees we planted last year produced two berries each.  Hoping the yield grows more plentiful as they mature...because two cherries just ain't gonna cut it!

They are pretty (and exciting!) to see!

My permanent herb garden was awash.  I painstakingly planted different quadrants with seeds of all kinds.  Borage.  Nasturnium.  Dill.  Thyme.  Calendula.  Chamomile.  Oregano.  Cilantro.  Basil.  Parsley.  

When I went out to look at the progress, from far away I was excited with all the green.  When I got closer, I realized the green I could see were actually a million weed seeds everywhere.  If there were seedlings for herbs somewhere in the midst of them, I can't distinguish them so as I weed, I am likely weeding herbs too.  *Sigh*  

The pumpkin and sunflower patch is totally random and scattered.  Corynn and Andrew did this area by themselves and now I kinda regret it.  It will be hard to get mulch around such randomness but it needs to be done... the garden area looks like lawn with a few pumpkins and sunflowers hanging out.

Matt brush-hogged the pasture.  It was driving him crazy.  So, now he is happy.  And the animals are too.

That's what has been growing here.   We'll see what next week brings...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Field Days, Porch Days



Last week was a success.  I was able to get everything done on the To-Do List except for the feta and the portfolios.  Also, I didn't actually DESTROY the desk, but I did empty it out and clean it off and take the drawers all out.  So that should count for something.  What can I say?  I am not the sort to destroy but the kind to make flourish.  It's just not in me.  Matt can use a pry bar or chainsaw or whatever one uses to destroy enormous desks and he'll probably enjoy that sort of thing.

I managed to accomplish all this while Matt was gone all week (thus, I was doing milking and animal chores, etc. too) PLUS two of my children were sick and needed to go to the doctor.  Andrew had a whole mess of problems and Adele' had four Lyme bulls-eyes.  My fridge is now a pharmacy with Amoxocillin bottles everywhere.  I am pretty impressed I survived the week, let alone accomplished almost everything I set out to.

I would have puffed up with pride if it weren't for allergies that puffed me up for real and then proceeded to knock me on my rear on Saturday and rendered me useless the entire day.  Saturday happened to be the Fireman's Field Days for our small community and one of the days which the children look forward to all year.  I don't know why they do exactly, as our community is small and other than a parade that tosses candy, the attractions are basically three or four game booths and chicken dinners (which we never order.)  They do put on a pretty great fireworks show on Friday night (which we always enjoy right from our porch...though I must say, this year was a bit more spacious than last year!) Funny, too...I made coconut macaroons in that post too!  Weird.

Frankly, seeing all of our neighbors with a puffy, drippy face and trying to talk between sneezes and throbbing headache didn't seem fun to me so I ransacked my drawers for circus party paraphernalia (awww...seeing that post makes me want to throw another party!) and set up a few games, lights and decorations on the porch.  I got two bags of cotton candy at a local grocery store, since, well, that is the highlight of the field days for ME.  ;-)  The kids weren't too terribly disappointed as they dove through wheatberries, blindfolded, for bits of candy or tried to get the ping-pong balls into the jars for lollipops.  And I got to keep my dribbles and sniffles to myself.

Did you notice that loaf sandwich picture?  My sister-in-law Holly made it and brought it over for us on Friday, just because.  Just because!   Everyone should have a sister-in-law Holly.  And, I learned, olives are so so so good on sandwiches!  yum.

I am now officially in my second trimester which means, the belly can't possibly be ALL ice cream and chub at this point...so I'll post Tiddle's first belly shot.  I'll not mention the fact that I look as big as the half-way point in my last pregnancy.  I'll focus instead on the fact that I haven't gained a single pound yet and that I can still fit into my chubby shorts from two or three summers' ago.  Or better still, I'll focus on the fact that Tiddle is 3 1/2 inches long, makes all sorts of facial expressions and responds to light touch.  I am anxiously awaiting the time when I can finally feel Tiddle.   It won't be long now!

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Babies and To Do Lists

One of our cats had four kittens last month and they are reaching the age now where they need to find new homes, much to the great disappointment of the children.  Still in the small and cute stage but interested and able to eat cat food, now is the time to get done.  Any locals interested in cute, personable kitties?  They are cute!  And personable!!  ;-) 
A big push for new homes for the lovable kittens is to make room for more lovable kittens.  Pretty much any day now...

Another new baby around here...meet Buck.

He is a holstein steer and we scratch his ears and dote on him without telling him our plans for him for next year.  But they involve dinner.  

I distinctly remember telling Matt a few weeks ago that the only other animals I wanted this year was pigs and NOTHING ELSE.  It is just too much for me when he is away.  He agreed.

Well, you can see how faithful we were to that.   The good news is, I guess, pigs are off the agenda for the year.  That is a sad thing for the bacon (*sniff*) but a great thing for lightening our workload...or at least not heaping more work into our days.

This week is going to be a busy, busy week for me.  Lots of biggish projects to tackle and plenty of small ones too.  

Before the weather warmed this spring, Matt asked that I empty out the boys' room so he could begin some much needed work on it.  I did just that- moving everything but the beds into another room- and then voila!  The weather warmed up!  He began working on the porch and the rest is history.  As time passed, the mess of the Spare Oom began to spread back into the boys' room and now the entire upstairs totally stresses me out.  Worse than anything, the porch still isn't completely done, our winter wood needs to be split and stacked and a few other necessary summer projects will, no doubt, prevent Matt from getting to boys' room until this fall.  If I have to deal with an upstairs in the state it is currently in all summer long, I am going to go insane.  IN-SANE.

In addition to the disaster that is The Upstairs, now that the children are doing less school work and spending more of their days being, doing, playing, destroying, creating and scattering... coupled with the busyness of a garden planting Mama...the rest of the house has begun to follow suite. 

The laundry room picture above is just an ordinary picture to you, perhaps, but to me it is a feat akin to conquering foreign lands or slaying mighty dragons.  It is also a sign of great hope for the future.  Clean surfaces!  Dusted shelves!  It CAN be done!  These are not things made up in fairy stories but really, truly real world possibilities!  Let's just say, for several weeks my laundry room had looked very UNLIKE the above photo.  And let's pretend it isn't the smallest area in the house and that it didn't take a few hours to get that way.  Or that the entire house doesn't need the exact same treatment.  

My sister is coming over for a visit on Friday and this weekend I am bound and determined to do some sewing.  So the goals I have for the week I want to accomplish by Thursday night.  That will give me the opportunity to reward myself with a leisurely, relaxing weekend that I can maybe do something I *want* to do instead of *have* to do.

Here are the things I want to accomplish before Thursday night:

~ Lay down cardboard and newspaper in garden.  Hay mulch on top.  (I only want to finish the cardboard/newspaper we currently have...which is a fair amount but not enough to finish the job so the gardens won't be completely done.)

~ finish portfolios for Biggles (yes, I'm late!)

~ Testing for Andrew

~ Sort fabric, drop off boxes to church charity

~ sort through donation books- and drop off

~ drop off already bagged donation clothes

~ DESTROY big, huge, lumbering desk in office and take out piece by piece.  (It is so big it doesn't even fit down the stairs since our canning cupboard went in...

~ bring double bed in office area.

~ Completely clean boys' room (again.)

~ Prepare clothes for consignment shop to be dropped off on Saturday

~ Clean, mop, dust dining room

~ Clean bathroom

~ Put loveseat on Craigslist

~ Put kittens on craigslist

~ Have kids clean school room

~ Sort and organize old papers in closet.  

~ Deep clean bedroom

~ cut bouquets for the house

~ Plant the annuals in pots and the flowers Linda brought over in the ground

~ Make yogurt, cream cheese, butter, queso blanco and feta

~ Write three letters...one to Opa.

~ Harvest strawberries

~ Pluck off extra baby fruits from trees.  (Hoping for larger fruits this year.  So far, looks like we might be harvesting a bit this year from them!  yAy!)

We'll see how far I get!