Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hmmm....he's got my number.

I was cleaning out my son's backpack last night, since we are now on winter break (yay!).  I found a little book, entitled 'Winter Holidays'.  "How cute," I thought, as I flipped through the pages.  But when I turned to this page, I started cracking up.

The adult in this photo is clearly me, though I think I show a little more imagination in hair and clothing style than my son has represented here.  Obviously this is a representation of Christmas morning.  If you can't interpret his speech bubble for says, "You know I have to clean this up..."  LMAO.  (For you non-texters out there, that means LAUGHING MY ASS OFF)

I showed this to DH, and he started cracking up too.  At least I can laugh at myself.  After some reflection, maybe I should relax a little during the gift opening.  Maybe me perching next to them with a garbage sack while they are opening presents is creeping them out.  My son doesn't seem creeped out though...he seems to have accepted it as a matter of course.  Anyways, maybe I will wait till they are DONE opening presents to collect all the paper.  Maybe. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Can Blog From My Phone!

I just figured out how to use the Blogger app to post from my phone. I am just testing it for now...but I can see having a lot of fun with this. Smartphones are soo cool!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pumpkin Tipping & Apple Chucking!

Last weekend we had a fun visit to our favorite pumpkin farm.  My son, in particular, kept very busy during our time there.  For instance, while I was talking, he managed to tip EVERY SINGLE PUMPKIN in an entire yard, over on its side.  I'm sure the pumpkin farm people LOVED him later when they had to stand them all up again. 

My son is a funny kid.  I'm sure Nick was wondering what my son had in mind with this project.  Nick is just following along, watching. 

We didn't end up getting our pumpkins here, we waited for another day to get those.  We love this place, but they charge by the pound for the pumpkins, and that adds up really fast. 

There is a fee to get in, but there is definitely plenty to do to get your money's worth.  This year, my son and my stepson tried out the apple chucker. 

Yes, besides eating apples, you can also catapult them hundreds of feet towards targets! 

I don't know if we actually hit ANY targets, but it was a lot of fun.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cute and Corny!

This weekend I was so fortunate to have my friend Melissa from C'est la Vie come to visit.  Her kids are younger than mine, and she has an energetic 2-year old, and an ADORABLE 4-month old.  Henry reminds me of a cabbage patch doll I loved as a child...if I find a picture I'll post it. 

Melissa and I took all the kids to the fantastic pumpkin farm we visit every year.  The corn pool is always a big hit.  Melissa just shakes her head, and mutters things about crazy Iowans, and 'only in Iowa', but she knows the kids love it!  I don't know if little Henry knew what to think of lying on all that corn. 

Little Nick knew how he felt about the corn...FUN!

Maybe too much fun for the big kids!  There were some tired teenagers that night.  In the background of this picture you can see my son taking a flying leap into the sea of yellow. 

We all had to take turns passing Henry around...he is just so cute, we all want to hold him!

Melissa and I have been friends so long, it is really fun to see our kids growing up together.  We are both making memories that will last lifelong. 

Plus, my guy and I got to spend some time relaxing together, while we watched the kids 'swim'.  Too bad there is no waiter with a fancy drink for me. 

The weather was fantastic, it was in the mid to high 80s all weekend.  Unbelievable hot pumpkin farm temperatures.  It made for a really fun weekend for all.  We took so many pics, stay tuned for future posts to see the rest. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Who I Am...

WARNING:  This blog post may contain real or implied swearing, strong opinions, and a low tolerance for drama.

There has been a lot of discussion on twitter lately, about who gets to claim certain titles.  Are you a 'real' garden writer?  Do you have a 'real' garden blog?  Even...are you a 'real' gardener?  

I've tried to stay out of it, because I like people on both 'sides' of this debate.  People are starting to get real nasty about it.  I even know people who are staying off of twitter, because they are tired of listening to the arguing and dealing with the drama.  It got me thinking, which label would I have...and would I care? 

I know certain things.  I am a 'real' gardener.  I have gardened until my hands cracked and bled, til my face was black with dirt, from morning until the last bit of daylight faded from the sky and I had to go in.  I have fantasized in the winter about gardening...poured over seed catalogs and imagined the smell of vegetables in the garden.  I have gone for weeks with dirt permanently under my fingernails because I refuse to wear gloves, because part of being a 'real' gardener to me is feeling the dirt on my hands.  I have planted seeds, hauled mulch, dug holes, weeded, and weeded some more.  I have worked 40+ hours a week, commuted 2 hours a day, cared for my children, and STILL went out to garden for a few hours before I ran out of light. I know that maybe my garden will never be 'good enough' for a magazine, but it is still MY garden, and I put everything there with my two hands. 

I may never write a book about gardening. I may never write magazine articles about gardening.  I may never, ever go to a garden blogging conference and speak about how to keep weeds out of your garden, or how to get the biggest blooms with the best compost.  But am I a 'real' gardener?  You bet your ass I am.

I am also, and more importantly, a mother.  I am a teacher.  I am a cook, a foodie in my own right, and a canner.  Someday, I hope to be a master gardener, perhaps even a master canner, but if not, it's not going to stop me from doing those things.  I am someone's love, a friend of many, a daughter, an animal lover, and an old soul. 

I write on my blog because I want to express myself.  Sometimes, I share things about my garden, but other times, I want to write about what I had for breakfast that morning.  If putting up pictures of my kids' birthday party keeps me from getting garden blogger of the year, then I guess I'll have to live with that. 

I am not intending this to be a 'garden' only blog.  It is my blog.  It is a reflection of my thoughts, interests, and projects; an online journal of sorts.  My gardening is set in the context of my life, not in isolation from it.  If someone sends me a garden tool to try, or seeds to grow, then I will thank them and try the product out.  I might blog about it if they ask me to, because I like sharing new things with other people like me, and it seems a fair exchange for the courtesy they are extending to me. 

Personally, the blogs I like the best are not the ones that look so 'professional'.  The only time I really look at those blogs is when I need to look up about a certain plant, or a certain process.  The blogs that I visit on a regular basis are the ones where you get a sense of the author as an individual.  I really don't care whether they can tell me 15 different reasons this particular variety of zinnia is better than the old ones or the other ones.  If the author comes off as a pretentious snob, or an overbearing egotistical jerk, then I'm not impressed.  I am certainly not impressed with sterile websites designed by some person who has never gardened or canned a day in their life.

I don't see why there isn't room for all the different kinds of gardening/plant blogs out there.  People should feel comfortable writing about their gardening experiences, without getting criticized for not being knowledgable enough, or edgy enough, or not using the right kind of camera for their pictures. We all have different styles.  Everyone has something to share, and as some people need to remember, we all have plenty to learn. 

I am going to continue gardening, and I am going to keep writing about it on my blog from time to time.  It makes me happy...and that is ALL that matters to me.

Thank you to my guys are awesome.  Thanks for being there when I need to let something out.  That is what friends are for.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Very Belated Seed Grow Post

This summer seems like it has flown by. Now it is officially fall, and I have not been adjusting very well. I am off in the summer, and going back to work in late August is often a difficult transition. This year it was particularly difficult, and I had trouble getting anything other than the bare necessities done. So, in a first for me, my SeedGrow post is late. However, better late than never, I still want to share.

The week after I did my August SeedGrow post, I decided I didn't like how spindly my Summer Splash marigolds had gotten.  So I took my trimmers and lopped off the top third of the plant.  Rather severe, but I wanted it to branch out, and I knew this plant was tough enough to take it, as long as I watered it well. 

The only blooms left were the ones below the tops of the plants.  I hated cutting flowers off, but there was no other way to get the plant to become more bushy. 

 I took this picture at the beginning of September, and you can see, they recovered nicely.  They still didn't branch as much as I liked.  I think if I grew these again, I would pinch more severely AS it was growing, to keep the foliage growing out, and delay the blooms a bit. 

My Italian Cameo basil has been very slow, but is coming along.  I certainly have more than enough to cook with, and plenty left over for drying or pesto.  I have noticed that Cameo, while much shorter than other basils I have grown, has a very, very compact cluster of leaves. 

The basil is still short here, but the pot is really filling up.  You will see in my October post that the basil has stuffed the opening to the terra cotta pot.  It was having some issues sharing with the sweet potato vine.  I keep having to viciously trim back the black leaves to keep it from overshadowing the basil. 

Here, you can see that I harvested some of my Italian Cameo basil, along with the some rosemary and oregano.  Just a few snips got me more basil than I needed for my recipe.  I think I was making herbed zucchini cheese bread that night.  I got the recipe from the Hobby Farms website.  It was very good, but it was too much to eat all by myself.  Next time I will make a smaller loaf. 

It is going on towards October now, but both my basil and my marigolds are still growing strong.  I am looking forward to seeing them, all the way up to frost.  I'm growing with the SeedGROW project. Thanks to Renee's Garden for the free seeds.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Everything's Coming Up Marigolds

 It seems like every time a seedgrow post is due, I am very, very busy.  This month is no different.  Again, I am up late typing away to get it done.  I did get my pictures taken earlier in the week, because I knew I wouldn't be able to today.  You can see from the pictures that my Summer Splash marigolds have really taken off, especially in the bloom department.  However, I wish they were bushier.  I should have pinched off the tops when they were smaller, but now it is too late.  I guess I could do it now, but I would have to destroy a lot of my blooms to do it.  If I grew these again I would keep them more compact. 

 They have really cute little flowers, but I think I actually prefer when marigolds have the fatter, more round blooms.  They do have a nice quantity of blooms.  I don't know if the amount of water they get impacts them much...I try to water everyday, but sometimes it doesn't get done. 

 The bees seem to like them, for sure.  I am not good with bee names...does anybody know what kind of bee this is?  Also, why do some of the blooms have red streaks inside, and some don't? 

 The Italian Cameo basil looks very healthy, it is just growing really, really slowly.  I hoped I would have basil by now.  The plants are still so small I couldn't take very many leaves.  I think maybe this sweet potato vine is shading them out a little.  I tried to remedy that by pinching off some of the leaves and stems on that one side of the sweet potato vine.  That might keep the basil in more sun. 

 I really like the color and shape of the leaves on this basil.  It is a very attractive herb. 

 I tried to get you a picture of what my lettuce looks like now, but blogger refused to load it for some reason.  However, this is no great loss.  The extreme heat we've had for the last few weeks has cooked what was left of my Garden Babies lettuce to death.  It is horrible looking.  Luckily, I managed to eat most of it before it was roasted in the oven-like temperatures.  This is a picture of what the lettuces looked like when I started harvesting them.  They look perfect, but the heat had just started and they were already starting to get a little bit bitter. 

I tried to wait and harvest them when they were the size I saw in the pictures we were provided, but I think I would pick them earlier next time.  They still tasted great drizzle with dressing and served with some halved cherry tomatoes from my garden.  I had them one of the days we had no electricity, after that big storm. 

I am going to wait a few weeks and start another batch of garden babies lettuce for fall.  I am hoping the cooling temperatures will provide more of the sweet, tender taste I am looking for.  For now, the ground will rest. 

I am hoping a month from now, I  will be making basil into yummy things.  I am definitely going to try out some more fertilizer types, I didn't get to do that this month, too much traveling.  Until then, tell me how your plants are growing.    Again... I'm growing with the SeedGROW project. Thanks to Renee's Garden for the free seeds.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lilies That Grow in My Garden

If you read my blog regularly, you might recall me saying that my three favorite perennial flowers are hardy hibiscus, lilies, and iris, in that order.  The lilies are one of my favorites for good reason.  This one is my favorite of all of them. 

These lilies are ones that I purchased from the lady that grows hybrid lilies that she pollinates herself.  I have many other lilies in my yard, but they were left by the previous owner, and they are pretty, but they are the kind of daylilies you can go to a nursery and buy. 

I love these lilies though because they are one of a kind...this one reminds me of yogurt and jam.

I think these are lilies that I got for free when I purchased some of the fancier lilies, but they are also very pretty. 

Some of these I have had for a few years, and I think they are seeding and making babies that are crosses of each other.  I suppose one day I might try crossing my own lilies, but at this point, I'm content to let the bees and wasps take care of that for me.

You can tell I have gone through a really peach/yellow/orange phase in the last few years.  I think next time I buy, I will look for white or a lemony yellow. 

This one and the next are my newest ones.  This is only their 2nd year in my garden and they make 30-40 blooms on one clump.  I go through several weeks with blooms, even though they only last one day.  The only thing I don't like about lilies is having to go through and clean up all the yucky old blooms to keep them looking tidy.  You also have to watch out for the pollen...if you get it on your clothes, it is there forever. 

This clump of lilies reminds me of a braeburn apple.  They are so gorgeous. 

Lilies are the gift that keeps on giving...the clump will keep growing and should be divided every 2 to 3 years to keeps it blooming well.  I will leave these for one more year before I divide them.  Then I will have lilies to put somewhere else or give to a friend!

Do you grow special lilies in your yard?  I'd love to know if you hybridize your own lilies.
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