Saturday, May 29, 2010

50 Tomato Plants

Yes, 50.  If you have been reading, you know I had this thing about buying seeds.  I bought packets, and packets, and packets.  Well, lately I've been buying tomato plants.  I hear the names of the specific types of tomato and think they sound so wonderful that I just need to grow it in my garden.  Last Saturday I was at the farmer's market and bought two heirloom/rare tomatoes from some guy there.  Initially, he tried to get me to buy  a tomato tree.  He promised it would grow to 25 ft. tall.  First of all, I don't have a place to grow a 25 foot tall anything, and second of all, how on earth would I harvest the fruit?  So I've been slowly accumulating tomato plants.  These are in addition to the ones I've grown myself, from seed. Anyway, I find myself with 50 tomato plants. 

Today I spent about 3 hours at my rented garden (which will be referred to from now on as The Big Garden - not to be confused with the miniscule garden in my backyard, which is referred to as The Little Garden.)  I should probably come up with something far more interesting to call these 2 patches of land I'm taking care of.  Oh well. 

I've been reading about other people's square foot gardens and decided to do something similar but on a slightly larger scale.  I divided my garden into 1sq. yd.  sections instead of 1 sq. foot sections, and marked them off with some shims I had in my garage.  I didn't feel like stopping at the home improvement store for some stakes so...   I also had some kite string that I used to mark off the plots.  Then I started planting.  I believe I have 44 tomato plants planted.  But I may have miscounted.  There just may be 45.  (The other 6 are planted in The Little Garden.)

I only had time to plant about 2/3 of the garden today.  I got all of my tomato plants in, 24 pepper plants, 2 sq. yards of carrots, 2 sq. yards. of parsnips, and 1 sq. yard of rutabagas.  Plus, I planted some watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini, summer squash, and cabbage.  The only things left to plant are potatoes, onions and beans.  When I go back there on Monday, I'll be mulching with some straw that the farmer provides. Do you see the pipe in the bottom of the picture?  That's the watering system with the sprinkler head right there near the lower right.  He waters twice a day.  If only he would weed too.

There are a lot of these 1000 sq. foot plots that this guy rents, and many people personalize theirs with signs and stepping stones and such.  Its fun to walk around and look at what people are growing and how they are doing it.  It makes me feel a little self-conscious, wondering if people are looking at my stuff and wondering why in the heck I'm doing it that way. We aren't supposed to use pesticides so I'm going to be on the lookout for non-chemical means of pest control.  Any suggestions are welcome!  I would also welcome some tomato recipes!  (Its quite possible that a tomato intervention is also in order.)

Today we attended the first of several graduation parties.  I love this time of year!  Nevermind that there's all kinds of food, or cake at every stop. Its just such an exciting time to see these kids achieving this milestone.  Their futures are so full of possibilites that it makes me excited for them.  Some of these kids are ones I've known their whole lives and I'm always surprised that they have grown up so quickly.  Others are new friends I've recently met, but it doesn't matter; I couldn't be prouder of any of them if I was their own mother.  I will miss these kids when I don't get to see them on a regular basis!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Garden

Here's a picture of my garden.  Please don't notice the shed missing its door, and the snow blower.  I wonder how long the snow blower will sit there? 

Anyhow, my garden is not large at all.  It used to be about 3 times this size until 2 years ago when I decided that I didn't want a garden anymore.  My oldest was graduating from high school and we were having the yard landscaped.  It just seemed easier to me to get rid of the garden all together and just put in grass.  And then the landscaper guy made this for me.  So while I can't grow a bunch of stuff, I can still technically say I have a garden. 

Today, I planted a few tomato plants, and some basil plants too.  Its still a bit cold at night so I'm a little nervous about it, but I'm taking a chance. 

Peas.  They aren't growing very well.  I planted them back in March. 

I took this picture Saturday, and posted it on Facebook.  I was contacted by about 3 people telling me to get those brown eggs out of the nest.  Apparently, those are Brown-Headed Cow Bird eggs.  The Cow Bird will lay its eggs in another bird's nest and let the other mama bird raise and care for its young.  The thing is, the Cow Bird eggs will hatch first, and then eat the Robin eggs, leaving no Robins for the mama Robin to raise.  So I made an omelet  got rid of the eggs.  And boy, did I feel guilty! 

So today,  I went to check on the nest just because I'm nosy, and this is what  I saw:

A baby Robin! Its so ugly, its cute!  Poor baby...

So, my tiny backyard garden is on its way.  Next on the garden agenda:  plan and plant a 1000 sq. ft. garden that I'll be renting.  Any hints and suggestions are welcome!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spring flowers

I was waiting for my daughter's prom date to pick her up and didn't want to look like I was sitting around waiting for my daughter's prom date to pick her up, so I took the camera and took some pictures of flowers that are blooming in my yard. 

Here are some pink tulips.  I love spring flowering bulbs of any kind.  You can plant them in the fall, and then when its time, they'll bloom in the spring and you can forget about them after that.  Its so nice to see some color in the yard, even when its too cold to think about planting anything.

Here is a parrot tulip.  I like how the edges look frayed. 

These are some pansies I got last year for my birthday.  I got a whole flat of various pansies for my birthday.  Nice gift!

Lilacs!  One of my favorites!  I sure wish you could smell these...

These are double white lilacs.  I assume because the flowers are double.  This is a slip I grew from my husband's grandma's house.  So its really old. 

I bought this from a fundraiser that my daughter was participating in.  Notice the orange "table" its sitting on.  I bought that at a garage sale at my church for $3.  My plan is to spray paint it a really dark green and put more flowers on the bottom.  I was pretty proud of myself for this purchase! 

More pansies and tulips.  The tall green plant on the right will bloom pretty soon.  Daisies!

...and the prettiest thing in the yard...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Baby Girl

This is my baby girl.  Otherwise known as ODD or DD #1.  (Oldest dear daughter, or dear daughter #1 - in case you couldn't figure it out.)  Today we went to CMU for student orientation.  How can that be possible?  I mean, look at her!  She can't be a day over 4! 

I know, I know.  She's 20 now and its time for her to do these kinds of things.  But I can't believe it.  Time has flown by.  I will really miss her when she leaves in the fall.  Thank goodness she'll only be 2 hours away, so if I need a fix, I can hop in the car. 

While this is bittersweet, I'm really excited for her.  I know she'll do really well, and make lots of friends and fit right in there.  I've never had to worry about her in that regard.  She was the one in preschool welcoming all the other new kids into the classroom, even though she was just as new as they were.  She was also the one telling the other kids just what toys they could play with that day.  I can remember, very vividly, standing in my kitchen with her when she was 3, and she told me "You aren't my boss."  I set her straight. 

When she was very small, I worked second shift at the hospital and it was usually 1 am before I could get to sleep, so every extra second of sleep I could squeeze in in the morning, was like gold.  She would climb out of her crib at about 7:30 a.m., climb into bed with me, and ask "Do you wanna be a dinosaur?"  She would then take my hand and forearm, and ask "What color do you wanna be?"  I'd mumble a color, and she would "paint" my hand and arm.  This allowed me to snooze a bit while she played until she got bored with it.  That is something I will never forget.  Seems that way with a lot in life; some of the most insignificant events turn out to be the most memorable.  I hope her memories of growing up in our house include a lot of love.  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


As I sit here at my computer, I'm listening to my itunes play list at the same time.  In the other room, the television is broacasting the Today show, except no one is in there to watch it but the dog.  Upstairs, the tv is on in my bedroom because I forgot to turn it off before I came downstairs this morning.  I'm sure its tuned to Good Morning America.  The dishwasher is running, the washing machine is spinning quite loudly, and the sprinklers are on outside, which makes the pump in the basement run.  I inundate myself with noise, almost constantly.  Some can't be helped, but really?  2 tvs on when I'm the only one home?  And I'm not even watching them!

Two weeks ago, my son and I finished up his Confirmation class at church with a mini-retreat, which was a lot of fun.  One of the activities we participated in happened Friday evening at church.  We were invited into the youth center, and we were told how we were going to proceed with the activity after we watched a video.  The only request from the Youth Pastor was that this activity be in complete silence.  No talking.  (and if you know me, you know that's really difficult!)  We watched a video that talked about how much noise we subject ourselves to on a daily basis.  Back in 1975, there was this guy that recorded nature sounds for use in documentaries and movies.  To obtain one hour of usable sounds, he would have to record for 20 hours.  Now, he has to record for 2000 hours!  It takes that much time because of all of the extraneous noises like cars, planes, construction, and stuff like that.  Then the video went silent, and we sat there, reading the words on the screen without any noise at all.  It was very uncomfortable, especially when the video stopped and we continued to just sit there.  Why does silence make us so uncomfortable?  But as I sat there, in silence, I could feel myself starting to relax and I hadn't even realized that I wasn't relaxed. The video mentioned that we often ask God to speak to us, but we never take the time to listen.  That rang very true with me.

The rest of the evening's activities, all done in silence, were thought provoking and resulted in me getting to know my son even better than I already do.  The next day, when  I asked him what his favorite part of the evening was, he told me that he liked the silence the best.  Considering that our group had gone out to eat and had a scavenger hunt at the mall, I thought that would have been his answer.  We talked about how hard it is to find a place that is really, completely silent.  About how we need to force ourselves to be uncomfortable for a few minutes in silence until we adjust and relax.  Maybe we're missing some important messages that God is trying to send.  At the very least, our brains need some quiet time. 

So I'm trying to incorporate some silence into each day at some point.  Instead of hopping in the car and turning up the radio, I try to ride a few miles without noise just to gather my thoughts.  And when I do yardwork, I'm trying to leave my ipod in the house.  I used to do a lot of thinking while weeding, solving the world's problems while thoughtlessly pulling out dandelions. Then I got an ipod, and it seemed more appealing than silence.  Why don't you give it a try, see if you can be silent. I guess all I am saying, is give peace a chance.  ( so sorry, I couldn't resist!)  

Although I haven't been there yet, I'm really happy that the Farmer's Market is finally open.  Its one of my favorite places to go, and all of that fresh produce is so appealing.  My mom used to take me with her (when I was little, of course) when she would go on Saturday mornings.  She knew my favorite treat was raspberries with milk and sugar so she would buy them when they were in season.  Our famer's market now has several vendors that sell other stuff besides fruits and vegetables  - there's The Cheese Lady, and the Amish bakery, the guy that sells jerky and lots of perennial vendors too.  Those are my favorites.  And its so nice to talk to the farmers themselves.  Its nice to know where my food comes from. 

Go enjoy your day!


I have failed.  In more ways than one, evidently.  The reason for this blog in the first place was to keep me accountable to my New Year's resolutions.  Remember those?  So my first goal was to run the 5/3 River Bank Run, which occurred last weekend.  Did I run?  No.  And I have no good reasons why I didn't, just that I wasn't ready.  Its not like I didn't have enough time to prepare or anything, I just wasn't ready.  I can't run any farther than a mile and a half so I didn't see any point in signing up for a race in which I could not run the whole thing.  That was my point anyway.  So my new plan is to run the Seaway Run in June.  And now that I've put it out there for everyone to read (all 2 of you people that read this!) I have to do it. 

So what about goal number 2?  Again, fail.  I paid the first bill down to almost nothing, but life has interfered and other bills took precedence.  First, I had to pay DD #1's housing deposit for college, which has been done.  Next, I have to pay for DD#2's trip to Africa with the missions team at church.  I'm paying that today.  Then I have to pay for my son's trip to Green Bay, WI with another missions team from church.  I'll pay that today too.  So, I guess I'm not doing too badly overall.  Now I can concentrate on paying that stupid bill off which will be done within the next 2 weeks.  I should cut myself some slack.  Life rarely happens in an orderly fashion. 


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Here are some fun family photos you might enjoy.

Is someone pinching this kid?

Apparently, baby Jesus was a dog.

              Because no family portrait is complete without a parrot.  And a weapon. 

Really, can one ever be TOO tan?

And now, my daughter and her prom date:

Just kidding, her date is an eagle. 

If you want to see more funny family pictures, go to Awkward Pictures.  Thats where these came from.  :)