Saturday, February 18, 2012

My version of the Pinterest wreath: Rachael made me do it.

Nah.  In all defense for Rachael, she didn't make me do anything.  She did give me text advisement while I was at the store and texted her a picture of my child holding a styrofoam wreath blank and questioning, "Is this right?" 

While I never actually looked at the Pinterest link (or pin or whatever you call it), I checked Rachael's out.  As an artist, I generally take a bit of liberty with things, as it is not in my ability to copy anything exactly at all.  I even change recipes a little.  The store I was at had pretty sad-sack colors of eyelash and didn't have the green wreath blank without it being as an Advent form.  Hers is way fluffier, which I like but I'm pleased with how ours turned out.  At any rate, here's my version of Rachael's Pinterest wreath:
My wreath consisted of a 12" white styrofoam wreath, not even an entire skein of rose colored flapper yarn (thicker lash and shorter hairs than traditional eyelash), felt flowers, a couple of pearl- ended pins and less than a yard of grosgrain that I already had.  Materials were $5.50 with tax.  It did take me 2 (towards the end very long) hours.  It took me that long, because I was very finicky about how the lash laid down and made sure that it was untangled and flat with every wrap.  I would wrap and tuck the next wrap under the previous lash.  It is very soft!  I have it knotted on the back with the original start pin.  I've since added an additional Command adhesive clear hook and clear elastic to tie it and to keep it on center.  (It's the artist thing again.) 

Voila.  We love it and it brightens up our door.  I figured since we didn't have a winter this year, I may as well roll on to spring decorations already.

Now to get my fingers into some dirt.  I couldn't wait any longer and purchased some seed starting soil and organic tomato seeds.  I won't start those now, but I will start the flowers.  I want the whole front in lovely zinnias.  They did so well last year and looked gorgeous!  Eeee!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Seed Starting and Transplantation: I have an itch for the garden.

I was talking to my cousin, Jenny, this morning.  She's trying to weed out the things that she wants and does not want to plant.  I've turned her on to Baker Creek Seed and she's thrilled.  Together, we'll lick this seed order.  Until then, I'll be dreaming, dreaming of seedlings of times gone by.  This was originally posted 2/11/09.  There is a follow-up post for this season is here.  Anything good you can share with us or tips you've come across?  Please feel free to share them.  We're always up for anything new to try.  Last year, we installed our rain barrel/water urn and it is delightful!  Truly, I only had to tap into our municipal water twice all summer long.  That is a very good thing.  I've found Jobe's Organic All Purpose Granular Fertilizer (I have the tomato version, too) and I love it.  Being a city girl, access to some lovely cow manure isn't quite something just down the road.  Besides, I'm a little eeky about traveling with a bucket of fresh poop in my car anyhow.  Ewwww!  Before I discuss more animal deposits, read on.  Have a great day!
It's that time of year! It's almost that time where I clean out my garden window, dust off my mini greenhouse containers, hydrate my little peet pellets and get to planting. We do have a 10' x 10' garden plot in our backyard and I like to grow as many heirloom varieties of vegetables (and flowers sometimes) as I can. The kids know that they can come over, reach on in and eat as much as they'd like. Our green iguana stays outside during the hot summer days and the kids like to toss some garden offerings in for him to dine on, as well.

Over the years, I've learned one thing, I love my seed company. I purchase seeds through Baker Creek Seeds. From their website they say, "Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company's 2009 catalog offers 1275 unique heirloom varieties. We only offer open-pollinated seeds: pure, natural and non-GMO! [Genetically Modified] We offer heirloom seeds from 70 countries, including many that we collected ourselves. Started in 1998 by Jere Gettle, as a means to preserve rare seeds. We are located in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri."

On January 31, 2009 I ordered (Eeek! With much excitement!!!)
Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.
- Old Homestead (Kentucky Wonder Pole)-- Green beans that you'll see below
- Danvers 126 Half Long-- Carrots
- Pink Surprise-- Pink flowers for the butterfly garden
- Evening Sun-- Brownish/burgundy sunflowers for the butterfly garden
- Genovese Basil-- To companion plant with tomatoes
- Bee Balm - Lemon-- for the butterfly garden and the herb garden
- Chives - Common-- for the butterfly garden and the herb garden
- Parsley Brayour-- for the butterfly garden as a host plant and in the herb garden as an edible
- Collards - Georgia Southern (Creole)-- for Spike, our green iguana
- Arkansas Traveler-- A nice, round pink tomato
- Royal Chico-- A paste tomato

Let me take you on a trip from seed starting to picking here at the land of Bailey's Leaf.
The seeds start out in the little pop-up peet pots under the greenhouse. I raise and lower the lid each day to help vent the little grow house. I also place a heating pad underneath on low to help encourage germination. You can see the cord for the heat pad off to the left.

Look! Success!

When they are big enough, my kitchen table becomes a potting table and I transfer all of the plants into these tall plastic cups. I label the outside with Sharpie so we have no surprises of what it is when vegetables develop. And no, I don't punch a hole at the bottom of the cup. By having the plants in these cups, I can see root development and how much water they need.

The flowers I tend to leave in the flats. These are Soapwort and Flax.

This used to be our compost pile. Being a compost pile has its advantages and disadvantages. First, the soil is so much better now after 5 years. The disadvantage? You get a lot of volunteers. (You'll see those later.) The green box? That would be the leftover flower box from my friends house. It used to have her address on it. It's now a lettuce box. We still had the materials for the fencing from when we did a garden plot here once before, so we didn't have to do anything with that. We put some single pickets around the side to keep the soil from washing out of the garden plot. (By the way, the funky red fence is not ours and we cannot paint it. Believe me, I wish that we could.)

Look! Things were growing!

And growing.

This was one of the tomato plants. I can't recall which one.

The Arkansas Traveler. A nice, round pink tomato.

I decided to do Kentucky Wonder beans instead of bush beans. I really didn't have the space for the bushes. I took an extra large tomato cage, did a bit of zig zagging with some twine, cable tied the tines together and voila! I had my own bean growing trellis. Might I add that it worked very well! I'll be doing it again this year.

Speaking of beans, aren't they beautiful? I also planted them along the back section of garden fence. Gosh how I love green beans!

My baby collards. These were for Spike our green iguana. The kids love to pick tomatoes and collards for him. He loves them for it. In fact, when he is outside, he almost begs like a dog for his treats. It's kind of funny!

See! There he is! He's sunning himself. He's a big boy.

Kervorkian and take 'em out. Live and learn.

Here's another regular delight we find in our gardens. We get some pretty healthy yellow garden spiders. Don't worry. They don't want you. They don't want me. They don't want K-. They just want the bugs that my garden has to offer. Since we grow organic, there are many bugs. Just ask all of the Japanese beetles that feel the need to come live here. They de-foliated my purple plum tree in the front yard and love to eat the living daylights out of my Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate. Yep. Nothing goes hungry out in our gardens. The neighbors pond hatched little frogs that moved into our yard. We would go organic anyhow, but we have a butterfly garden in the back and if we used any chemicals, we risk killing the very butterflies that we are trying to attract.

Here is my herb garden. When we moved in, no flower beds were here at all. The limestone went right up to the house. I think that it is much prettier and much more useful now. I have lavender planted under the windows, chives, onions, sage, a few different types of thyme, dill, chamomile, oregano, pineapple sage, and parsley but the butterflies always get to it first and lay their eggs, so we often don't get to eat it as we are trying to let butterflies do their thing instead. We do spread a net overtop to keep the developing catepillars safe.

Happy gardening! It'll be here before we know it! I can't wait!

Edited to add: Look what came in todays mail! Hooray!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Posting in 4 minutes or less.

Hello.  I've missed you.

I'm alive.  I'm just excessively busy. 

K- was walking down the hall yesterday and her other big front tooth fell out of her mouth and bounced onto the floor.  She found it, dropped it and found it again.  Given that the school has that industrial pebble and resin flooring of the 60's, I'm sure that thing was hard to find.  The tooth fairy brought her Bahamian money and a $2.00 bill.  The tooth fairy thought that the $2.00 bill would be a particularly nice touch given the presidential report that is due next week on Thomas Jefferson.

K- has been feeling better after her weekend of funk, though today she's complained about a stomach ache all day.

We are lacking in a winter and it has been raining much of the day.  Rain in the winter just means that everything is terribly sloppy.

My bathroom is partially cleaned, the bed is stripped with sheets in the laundry, laundry is separated and I don't know what I'm having for dinner.

With that, it leaves me out of time.  Must keep myself on a tight schedule as I have too much to do.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy 15th!

Remember, this was taken in 1996.  We look soooo much younger then!
Happy 15th Anniversary, Hubs!  I still laugh when I remember the first thing you said to me, "How much for that book?"  You sat behind me that day in Climatology.  You were majoring in Conservation and I in printmaking.  Those were the days when you scheduled by phone with codes and open slots of time and whatnot.  I wasn't quite senior enough to get my true pick of what I wanted, so I started pushing numbers into the phone until something clicked.  I needed upper level division credit and Climatology didn't seem so far fetched.  In fact, on my way to the university, I was torn between art and geology.  Though I chose art as a major, I'm glad that I won the Climatology lottery.  What's funny is that you had been taking Climatology the previous semester.  You said you dropped it even though you were doing just fine.  How's that for weirdness?

Our first somewhat date was a run to the mall between classes.  It wasn't the most romantic date since we were kind of rushed.  You were so distracted that you kept forgetting to stop at red lights and kept sitting through green ones.  Isn't it weird what love can do? 

Our first actual date involved you coming down with the stomach flu, mid-date.  It only seemed appropriate then that our romantic 15 year anniversary weekend was postponed due to the same from you and K-. 

I wasn't the easiest nut to crack and bless you, I have no idea of why you hung out.  I had dated a few guys, was more than burned by both and definitely wasn't that fluffy, starry eyed girl that most guys look for.  I figured that I'd spill it, give you the low-down and if you wanted to stay, that was up to you.  I wasn't in for investing time with someone who had other weird intentions. 

You stayed. 

For 18 years.

And counting.

Thanks for putting up with me, my quirks and hanging out with me regardless to the fact that I still turn left when you tell me to go right.  (Directional dyslexia if there is such a thing.)  "Your right or my right?"  You still follow along right next to me, even if we do have to take a detour along the way to get back. 

I love you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The romantic getaway that wasn't.

My husband and I will be celebrating our 15 year anniversary tomorrow.  Back in October, I reserved a rather grand room for us at our favorite inn in Amish Country.  K- was going to be spending the night at my sister's house.  The child had been trying to pack her bag for 3 days. 

Then Saturday morning came.  When it came, it involved vomit.  When vomit is involved, plans are cancelled.  That was 7 AM, I booted the computer up, got the number for the inn and I crossed my fingers. 

"Ma'am, I'm aware that you have a 24 hour cancellation policy and while I wouldn't be mad at all, I figured that it wouldn't hurt to call you.  My daughter woke up this morning and now is vomiting." 

"Ma'am, I'd be happy to cancel that for you and waive all the fees." 

Y'all, if that was the Holiday Inn or some other corporate big box, they could care less.  It pays to make reservations with the mom and pop. 

She seemed to be feeling better, so we decided to do an Amish Country drive thru.  K- was doing well and came into one of the stores with us.  We Purelled her from top to bottom before she did.  We had lunch, cruised along to stores that Hubs or I poked in and out of, and K- hung out in the car.  (Her choice.)  We got home, all seemed well, bedtime came and so did another hour of intense illness. 

Poor kid.

Hubs complimented my insisting we cancel. 

We skipped church again this week, but I did toodle on out to get some more supplies for some homemade chicken soup.  I cooked most of the day between the soup and trying my hand at homemade tapioca. The tapioca came out way better than my first attempt 14 years ago, but it is a little thick and I ended up dropping some cinnamon in it, so it tastes like rice pudding now, but it's all good.

While we were in Amish Country, Hubs bought me an anniversary gift.  What is it?  He bought me these.  I told him that ever the romantic, 15 years must be the wool anniversary.  He told me that it was better than my 10 year rock tumbler.  ;)

K- is holding up.  I think that now, she is suffering more from eating anxiety rather than a full stomach ache.  Hubs thinks that she is still rocking stomach pings (I do agree to an extent) as he thinks that he has been suffering from the same thing. 

We'll reschedule our getaway.  His time off on Saturdays don't come by that often.  He gets maybe a free Saturday once a season.  The importance is the quality of our marriage, not whether we were able to go on a romantic getaway or my husband's thoughtfulness in making sure that my metatarsals are kept nice and warm. 

We're here.  We're together.  It's all good.  Anything over and above that sometimes is purely bonus.