Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pumpkins, compost and corn

The pumpkins have been planted in the back corner of the yard. I realize it is mostly shaded, and the soil back there is crap but I just had to try. We made mounds of potting soil and planted, jumbos, pie pumpkins and regular pumpkins. They have already began to pop up. We are hoping that we can have a renegade pumpkin patch much like Hagrid's in the Harry Potter movies.

The compost bin is now operational although not pretty. I refuse to pay $7 each for stakes for the panels to hold them up so my attempt at using the sticks we had are evident. It works for now and in the mean time I can hope to come along a pile of stakes in someones garbage bin like my pots that I picked up last week. There is a HUGE amount of leaves on the other side to use in composting and my layered garden beds. We just hope they are used up by the next time the leaves fall.

Speaking of which this is my temporary potting bench. It was a work bench in the shed, but we took it out because it just was not functioning for what we needed it for. Storage. Outside however it is a great work area. It is not currently connected to the shed however so that is on the to do list. Attach and level workbench and paint it with exterior grade paint.

The black pot is one of the many pots I found in the trash last week, there are about 10 more. This one we planted some carrots in.

I also planted some early sweet corn in the spot in the garden where the peppers once were. I am really out of seeds to plant (most are from a year or two ago anyway) so I'm off to find some great heirloom things to grow.

Friday, June 20, 2008

HOT! and finally some much needed RAIN!

It has been weeks, over three since we have had rain, and it's been in the 90's with high humidity also. Thursday the rainless streak broke and we got over an inch. The yard looks wonderful now. Today however it is seems like it is 100 already.

On Wednesday we meet with our homeschool friends and for the last two weeks we have been doing this!

We have been meeting in the evenings and having massive water fights. Its been much fun and it hasn't been to hot where we are. They even have a pond, this Wed. we stayed late enough to see bats, and lots of frogs and fish jumping out of the pond.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Young Wizard takes to broomstick

My young wizard who at the age of almost 6 has been listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone very intently for a 5 year old, made himself a wand and a broom stick. Putting those together with his fathers hat and some glasses, he looks just like a young blond harry potter, much to the delight of his mother.

This is K's idea of cooling off. She insists on being outside even though it is nearly 100. Instead she asks me to turn on the sprinlers. I can't wait to see my water bill next month.

These are my peppers. The one on the right was tortured in my garden, while the other one has been in the shade with dappled sunlight. As you can see there is a HUGE difference in how they look and as soon as I get more potting soil I am pulling the other four peppers out of the garden and into pots too. I wonder if corn would do well in my garden? I am so tempted to pull out the tomatoes too and just planting the whole thing with corn.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Our Weekend

We decided Saturday to load up the kids and head on an adventure to Dallas. Armed with Harry Potter on CD we drove over to Lula B's and found it to be a fabulous antique store dealing mostly with midcentury things. We did find the perfect couch
but it was much to much money for it's condition. We could have bought a new one for that amount. Still lovely. Next we piled in again and headed up the road to two Vespa Shops. R drooled over them and if I had not been there, I suppose he would have put a deposit on one that day! (see me rolling my eyes!) Luckily for him I was and said, "Yes dear, those are very nice. No."

We then found our way to the shopping area that had an Urban Outfitters and tried out a couch we have had our eye on.
It wasn't anything to write home to for comfort and the price is still not dirt cheap. We also went over to West Elm across the street, the kids kept commenting that it looked like IKEA really really LOUD. It was not priced like Ikea. Then we sat on a sofa and the kids slipped the cushions off the couch faster then you can say, "What are you doing?" So this couch would not work for us.

We also found a Whole Earth Provision Company that was totally cool. Way cool clothes, shoes... oh I could drool all day over the shoes. Keens, Crocs, Tevas, all those great rugged sporty shoes. They even had live butterflies in their store and the really cool thing was they allowed dogs in their store. It was neat to see a lady in the womens section browsing clothes with her yellow lab.

Sunday was father's day. Now we do not go all out for any holiday other then Halloween, Christmas and birthdays. Dad wanted some raspberry filled donuts. K and W got sprinkles.

after our donuts and coffee, K,W and I went outside to work on some projects before it got hot. We found from my little experiment that the airconditioner puts out about two gallons of condensation water a day.
The two of them quickly got to work putting the water on the garden. I hope to be able to rig the hose to go directly from where it comes out now to the garden itself. I need another hose!

Next on the list was the compost pile. We currently do not have one but instead had a big leaf pile from the fall that now is the big leaf and stick pile. Sticks do not help in composting.

So we spent the morning pulling the sticks out of the pile until it got to hot. Most work is to be done on this, this week.

Inside the kids decide to make playdough at a little center I set up just for them, it has all the supplies they need and they know how to fix it.

it's always lovely to have an activity that they can do all on their own.

We rounded out father's day with grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade onion rings. Then a quick jot to the store to get R some Blue Bell Key Lime Pie Icecream. Yummy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

What I did this week

I was looking at the blog Farm Dreams and she is posting weekly her goals and what she had done for Indendence Day Challenge. I really liked it but since my garden is so little and our storage situation bad (No basement or garage), I am not likely to start this challenge. However reading it made me probe myself, and what things would I like to try to do every week. I do have a list, so here it goes:

1. Make something-
This could be something from fabric, clay, wood, anything.

2. Plant, Harvest or Grow-
I hope to continue to plant, it's hot here right now and not a good time to plant. However in
another month or two we start a second planting of summer things.

3. Do something good for the enviroment-
We recycle every week, but we do not have a compost bin yet. I would also would like to find a
cheap way to recycle rain water (we have no gutters) and use the water on the garden.

4. Exercise-
I lack it.

So here is what I did this week:

1. Make something:

I made myself a skirt that looks hideous. Not the patterns fault but my big booty's fault.
Then K pointed out I owed her a few skirts so I whipped this up for her in an hour and half. She timed me. Complete with headband. She loves it and has worn it a few days in a row now.

Here she is again with Marshmellow

2. Plant

I planted four sweet pepper plants and a jalapeno this week. However after a week of them being in the garden at full sunlight, they look sun scorched. I did plant one in a pot on the back patio sitting along side a tomato and believe it or not the tomato and the pepper are doing a TON better then the rest of the garden. I guess there is to MUCH heat and sun down here. I wonder how many pots I can put on my porch next year?

3. Something for the Enviroment
I didn't do anything. However I have figured out a way to put a hose attachment on our air conditioner condenser thing and use that water in the soaker hose. (Our air system has a pump that will kick on after the air is done and pumps out the condensation into our yard.) It soaks one area of the yard and actually puts out quite a bit of water in the summer. I also want to set up our compost bin this weekend, but the heat may have us staying in. 90's again.

4. Exercise
I walked for three hours at the zoo on Monday but not much beyond that.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Eating Vegetarian and Gardening

It has been over a week and almost going on two weeks where I have not prepared a meal with meat in it. I am thrilled, as I have wanted to go vegetarian for years, although lack the follow up to it. I will miss BBQ burnt ends, but since I don't make them and only eat them a few times a year it's not really an issue. We are not going vegetarian for the obvious reasons but instead are tired of buying meat, and the impact that meat eating has on the environment. There is a lot of land that is dedicated to growing feed for cattle and other animals that could be used for actually growing real food. I know I have lived in farm country. I can tell you what winter wheat looks like, corn, wheat, and soybeans. I know when it's about ready to be harvested.

What pushed us over the edge of meat was actually the economy. We are making changes now, we don't have to but we can only see things getting worse. The more we are not dependent on stores, truckers and in turn oil the better. We are increasing our own food production from our little 4 x 8 garden to as much as my shady yard will provide. The prospective area in the yard is very limited to the south side of the house and is in partial shade later in the afternoon the closer you get to the front yard.
It would help in my urge to provide most of our foods if we would stay put long enough to see a garden be fruitful. We had the most beautiful strawberries in our last home. I wish I could have taken them with us. Here strawberries grow but they take up so much space that I need to find an alternative way to grow them in a small area that does not cost anything to plant them in. I have seen some really neat stackable containers but in order to get enough plants in them it would cost me well over $100. I just can not justify spending that much money to grow your own fruit.

It is also so hot here already. They are calling for us to hit the 100 mark weeks earlier then usual. We have already gotten to 102 heat index this last weekend, and with it that miserable out I don't feel motived to leave my airconditioned computer chair.

K is really having a hard summer so far. She loves to swim. We have not put up our pool because we found that you are supposed to have a special pool permit, fencing that goes up 6 ft and alarms on your doors. Now I don't feel that is all necessary for a blow up pool, but we do have little neighbors living next door and our pool is big enough that it does need to be hidden. So we are applying for a permit to put up a fence. Crazy. We built an interior of a house without a permit but here we need a permit for a fence and front doors.

In the meanwhile K has found a way to satisfy her thirst for water.

This is her and our neighbor taking part in the small K method of cooling off. Much more water saving then bugging mom to slip and slide. Now if only I can get her to use the water on the garden we'd be in business.