Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Finally Something Garden Oriented

Ok, not really, but it's the best I can do right now.

For Christmas, my sister-in-law always makes chili. Not your standard Christmas fare, but having just glutted ourselves on Thanksgiving, chili is a wonderful alternative on a cold evening, even better so this year because it was snowing. She always makes two pots because my other sister-in-law doesn't eat red meat, but this year instead of a standard red chili with turkey, she made a white chili with chicken.

I couldn't wait to make it again, so last night we made the chicken chili but with the salsa I made from the garden - hence the gardenesque quality behind this post.
It was crazy good and I can't wait to try it again.

Kids and I have been enjoying our vacation, especially when I realize they've gotten too quiet, go to find them, and discover this:
They were hunkered down in the boy's room reading books for over an hour. The boy just got a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book today and was engrossed. The girl pretended to read The Pigeon Wants a Puppy. Seriously, if you know kids, you need to find the pigeon books or anything, for that matter, by Mo Willems. By far, he's the kids' favorite author. We love the books also. Also, if I could draw your attention to the picture on the boy's wall of the dad drew that. It's beyond fantastic, isn't it.
The day-o-reading as the boy put it continued after the man got home. This picture was taken on the cell phone and it wouldn't let me rotate it, but you get the idea.
Two kids reading (well, one pretending to) and I couldn't be happier. Gave me the chance today to finish reading Pope Joan. It was a very good read and well worth it. Highly recommended.
The morning comes early, or rather earlier for me recently than the kids as they're sleeping a bit later now that it's vacation time. Sweet semi-gardening dreams.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Follow up to the Missing Reindeer Story

The other day I showed you the reason dogs attack their owners.
Yesterday, Gibson took his revenge on the small.
No, actually, he was trying to protect the boy and skidded to a stop before he touched him, but it made for a good picture. He did not like it when the kids would lay down in the snow and would prance around them trying to get them to get up. That was, until he saw a kid down the road on a sled which then took precedence.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Not Since the 1880's Part II

If you missed yesterday's post, not since the 1880's has the Atlanta area seen snow on Christmas. This snow started Christmas day around 3:00 and we've been stuck under one snow cell that hasn't moved a lick since. It's still only a light covering, only an inch or two, but for us around here, this is big-time, so just hang with me here. No snickering, Toni. ;)

Here's the same picture of the house from yesterday with sunlight.
Loved this little snow covered bird nest.
Who can resist a snowy mailbox? Not me!
Ah, the obligatory snowy garden shot. Toni...I heard you. You snorted when you laughed. You know you did.
BUT! Before it all began, sometime on the afternoon of December 24 in Winder, GA, a reindeer was spotted shirking his duties:
If you find him, please report him to the authorities. Or at least bring him home. He's a bit pathetic looking.
Hope everyone had a safe holiday.
The morning comes early. Time to start training your body to stay up late for New Year's!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Not Since the 1880's

Never since the 1880's has the Atlanta area seen snow accumulation on Christmas.....

until tonight.

Bad pictures, great story. I'll have better pictures tomorrow. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

The morning comes early. And it will be a white one, here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Seeds are ordered and in and the garden is almost planned. Well, as much of a plan as I'll stick to, anyway I suppose.
If you're traveling, stay safe. If you're staying home, keep warm. We're expected to see flurries here tomorrow evening. It's unheard of. We'll see if it really happens.
Happy Holidays, y'all.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Again, I Must Ask...What Garden?

Maybe it's just because it's the end of the semester. Maybe it's that my attention has been focused on the keychains. Maybe it's because I'm obsessed with my new NookColor. Maybe it's the inhumane and unAmerican cold weather we're experiencing; well, it's certainly the cold, but with everything else accounted for, I really need to get myself out to the garden and pick whatever is pickable and clean up what's not.

I'm looking back at my posts from last year and by this time I was chomping at the bit to order my seeds and this year I haven't even made a garden plan let alone shopped for seeds. It's on my list to do today, however. Maybe. ;)

What I can be grateful for is my girlfriend giving me some of her pesto, revitalizing my love and dependency on the stuff. She's such an enabler.
However, it's with much gratitude that I do say that most of my "alone time" this week has been spent making keychains! This weekend alone, I processed orders for 25 keychains which just made me so happy. The orders included this one for which all of the keychains are being used as teacher/Sunday school teacher gifts. The leopard print was free with her order of 5+.
This one below was fun to make. She needed a keychain for a girl whose cheer leading squad was pink and black, so I layered the black megaphones on the hot pink ribbon. It's so cute. The GT fob was hers free with her order of 5+.
Lastly, this one is going to Florida. She requested a Mickey Mouse ribbon, of which I still have some left. The layered ribbons all corresponded to school colors for her to use as gifts.
I couldn't be happier with how the Keychains for a Cause has been received. I calculated last night that we had done over $1,400 in keychain sales since July. Not too shabby, my friends!
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"You're the BEST Mommy." Darn right I am.

I'm just loving that we have to change the clocks in the winter.

It's pitch dark by 6:00 PM here and the kids think I'm the best mommy in the world and that they're getting away with something when I usher them to bed at 7:15 PM.

I don't plan on disabusing them of their opinions any time soon. ;)

But, spring's really going to stink.

Oh, can you believe seed catalogs are here already!? By this time last year I had already put in and received all of my ordered seeds. I'm falling behind this year. Better get on it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Frozen Squirrels

It was 18 degrees when we woke up this morning! The high was only 36. Seriously, people...this is Georgia, not Illinois. I suppose it's only so much of a shock because it was just 65-68 degrees just over a week ago. We slid into winter weather without so much as a bump in the road.

Of course, I haven't been keeping up with the weather so it caught me off guard. I should have harvested the remaining cabbage. I didn't. There's a head of broccoli I should have gotten to. I didn't. However, although the plants didn't get the time to rebound today, I don't think all will be too bad. I'm sure the broccoli will be fine and I'm thinking I can just take off the top layer of the cabbage and it will suffice as well.

Main reason for blogging today is that I had a run-in with a manic squirrel on my way home today. As we were driving home, I saw a squirrel in the distance taking his sweet time crossing the road. I was on a pig pass (back road) so I saw no reason not to stop and let him go on. The squirrel ever so placidly loped into the center of my lane, stood on his hind legs and actually tried to intimidate me. A 10 second standoff ensued before I said, "Seriously?" and proceeded to straddle him with caution. I had both kids in the car; imagine the wailing if I hit him in slow motion. In my rear view I could see him, turned around, giving me stink eye as I ventured on my way.

Listen, Mr. Squirrel. You don't scare me. I'm scrappy and have more experience.

*sigh* The nerve of some squirrels. ;)
On a Keychains for a Cause note, I was very nicely corrected by a prospective customer that uterine cancer ribbon was peach instead of the color I had listed. One of the problems I encountered when setting up the Keychains site was the amount of conflicting information out there and I'm thrilled the woman thought enough to correct me. Not only will I gratefully fix the error, but look out for peach keychains coming soon!
Today saw the delivery of three Duke keychains and one motorcycle awareness keychain.

Keep us in mind for your holiday shopping! Keychains mail out within 24 hours of your order.

The morning comes early. Sweet warm gardening dreams.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We CAN at School!

How's that for a cheesy title?

I was lucky enough this year to be invited back to the Foods classes at our school to teach a demo lesson on canning. Last year was my first year doing it and we had a lot of fun making grape jelly, pickles and apple pie jam.

This year, there were five classes to prepare for instead of just the three, so I knew I needed to be super prepared and make/bring things that would score big with the kids. Because the recipes were a bit more intensive this year, I was so grateful that the foods teacher worked one step ahead of me and was chopping and preparing the ingredients for the next class while I was teaching.

Like last year we talked about safety, high vs. low acid foods, botulism, so much more, and then walked them through a demonstration. We only had 50 minutes in each class, so this was tight. Here's what we did:

1st period - made grape jelly from concentrated juice and tried some I had already made
2nd period - made banana jam and tasted some I had already made
3rd period - made apple conserve (YUM!) and tried some grape jelly that was already made
4th period - made red onion jelly and tried the banana jam from earlier
6th period - made salsa and tasted salsa I had already made

Like last year, the kids each did their best to out bid each other on the cost of buying jars. I even had one student go as far as to email me to ask if I could get her a jar off campus. Uh, no. What was nice is a student asked if she bought the supplies if I'd help her learn how to can pears after school. We could probably work something out.

I didn't get many pictures, but the school newspaper did, so I'm hopeful to get some of theirs. Here's one I took during a period when I wasn't canning. You can see the jars on the counter from what we'd already done that day.
I did have fun. Each and every jar sealed and is now resting comfortably in my cabinet. I hope I get to do it again next year.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Laws of Physics and Cabbages

I honestly don't know where all of the time has gone. Let yourself get out of your routine for a day and it turns into two and then, before you know it, it's been ten days since you've even stepped foot in the garden or looked at yours or any blog. November and December are always busy with the end of the semester and final exams, but I must admit I've been sidetracked by a gift.

For the holidays this year the man gave me a NookColor which is Barns and Noble's answer to the Kindle. I just love, love, love it. Yes, the screen is backlit so it's not that lovely e-ink screen, but it did allow me to read in the complete dark while I was waiting for my kids and their cousins to go to sleep since they wouldn't stop talking once I'd leave the room. Honestly, I'm in heaven. I can rent books from the library (something a K. can't do) and I'm finding all sorts of new authors on sites that offer self published books for downloading let alone all of the classics I need to keep up with. Yes, the battery life is negligible in comparison to the other e-readers, but if I remember to charge it over night I'm good. So I've been reading. A lot. I've honestly sat down a few times to do this post and walked away and started reading on the Nook. Thanks, Man!

I do have some posts lined up for this week. I did more canning lessons today at school which I'll post about tomorrow, but I did have to pop on here to show you that the laws of physics can be continually broken by one, singular dog. Every so often we walk by Gibson and just ponder how he gets his body in the positions he does. Yes, he's on the couch here and he knows he's busted, but does he get his back leg over his head?
Maybe I'll start a study on the odd positions we find this dog in. Yesterday he was sleeping with his tongue just popping out and tonight he's snoring because he's got his nose wedged in between his paws and can't breathe but is too stinkin' lazy to move.

In spite of my negligence, the garden is really doing well. The cabbages that were all but destroyed have headed up nicely.
I pondered earlier about eating them since I knew there HAD to be cabbage worms in there just by the sheer amount of holes in the leaves and the poop that I found, but I let them grow anyway and harvested two of them yesterday for dinner. As I cut them to cook, I inspected every fold there was and no cabbage worms or poop was found. Woohoo!! They were so, so, so good. I've still got three out there. Hopefully I'll have as good of luck with them.
This is one of the heads and the last of the carrots we pulled up yesterday.
The other thing that's been keeping me busy is, of course, Keychains for a Cause. I tallied up what we've sold so far and were around 180 keychains sold since July which just makes me giddy. As your thinking of Christmas and holiday presents, keep us in mind for those little gifts you need to give people. We've done several custom colors and designs this last week which is always fun.
This order shipped to Indiana today. The fob was free with her order of 5 or more.
I still get a kick out of those monkeys!
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.