Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ready, Set...Wait!

This has to be the most difficult time for gardeners everywhere. The weather is tantilizingly beautiful, but you know good and well a frost/freeze is lurking it's ugly head somewhere in the near future, you've set your summer seeds to germinating and now it's a waiting game.

I set my squash, zucchini, and tomato seeds to germinate this weekend and with the exception of a rain storm coming through tomorrow for the duration of which they'll all be moved inside, the weather should be nice for the next full week to keep them outside for a long time to come. I've also put some rosemary cuttings in some water hoping they'll root. The bush I have is wildly out of control and I want to move some to the other corner yard as well. If they don't work, I'll just buy new transplats.
Below is the only battle wound sustained in yesterday's compost haul. The truck door and I had an altercation over how much clearance was actually needed to shut its door.
Think this looks bad? You should have seen the truck. Okay, so there wasn't a scratch on it, but whatever.
The morning did come early, and the girl marched into our room saying, "Guys...the big, bad morning is here!" Sweet summer gardening dreams.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spreading the Fever

The weather has just been uncanny recently. Today I took advantage of that and me, the truck and trailer went to go fetch a load of compost and help my girlfriend make herself a super-awesome raised bed garden. The man helped fetch and tie down the compost and then I brought it to her and we unloaded the sucker. I think it's going to look great once she gets it planted!

Here's the whole corner. She's got two long beds and one square one in the middle.
Close up of one of the long beds:
and here you can see the back bed and the large box.
Do you see where it's all located!?!? In the corner of the yard. That's right! It's the other, other corner yard that my super abilities to plant suggestions in others' minds that led her to put the boxes in the corner yard. Corner yards ROCK!
Here we are enjoying the fruits of our labor. This is my girlfriend:
And here I am enjoying the sunshine.
It was a good day. Now I'm ready for a bath and so are the kids.
The morning comes early. Especially when the kids for some stinkin' reason decide to wake up earlier on the weekend than they do on the weekdays. They complain when we wake them up at 5:45 AM, but on a weekend, let's all just hop out of bed at 4:20, no problem!
*sigh* Sweet gardening dreams. ;)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Watch Out Harvest Monday. Here I Come!!!

One day soon, you will again be seeing me on Daphne's Harvest Monday. You can count on that. It's been a long, hard winter, but we've had such good weather recently that things are flushing out. I'm terrified, however, that a late cold snap like we always seem to have will wipe out all of my hopes and dreams of an early spring, but we'll play it by ear.

So far, the onions are looking great. If you can look between the black containers you'll see some planted broccoli. The front most container has celery in it, which I've declared to be the SLOWEST growing stinkin' veggie ever.

The lettuce has been transplated and loving its location.
I've got three garlic beds. This one is doing well.
This next one is doing well also, however it's the one in the other corner yard that keeps getting pilfered by rogue animals. This is the first time I've planted hardneck garlic. How will I know when to yank it?
Last year I had so much success with the potatoes in containers that I thought to try again. I've moved the location to behind the fence because they were all just unsightly in the front yard. They haven't gotten above the surface of the soil yet, but hopefully they will soon.
The girl saw and wanted purple potatoes, so I dug a furrow in the mid corner yard's beds and stuck them in there. Those, as well, haven't done anything worthwhile, so we'll see how they do given a few more weeks.
The cabbage can't be left out. It's coming along just fine as well.
As many of you know, my other venture that I'm absurdly passionate about is my side venture, Keychains for a Cause. So much has happened with the small business in the weeks following Christmas. Proceeds of the sales of the keychains go to support my school's Relay for Life Team. Since July (Granny was our first customer and started our ball rolling) we've sold 267 keychains. Not bad for a word of mouth business. We're donating 10 keychains to our school's Learning Center to give to students who were failing 2 or more classes and brought their averages up to a C or above! We've also added a ton of new designs including:
The teal ribbons for ovarian cancer awareness among other causes,
Red ribbon for AIDS and heart disease awareness among other causes,
Rally ribbon - who doesn't love a good race...and...if you look closely enough at this picture and the next....
Yes, I got my embroidery software back!
I'm not a super-stud with the embroidery, but it can be done now.
We also added three different kids of cat/dog ribbon and another horse pattern.
So, in my best efforts to pimp myself out, head on over to Keychains for a Cause and click on the 'order your keychains here' link on top and support our Relay team and get awesome keychains in return. You can also 'friend' our Facebook page and get all of our updates.
The morning comes early. Sweet fund-raising, gardening dreams.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Seeds weren't started...but...

The girl is four today! I can hardly believe it. The boy said he was glad she was four because maybe she'd start listening to him better now. He obviously doesn't recollect being four, himself.

Her shock-gift of the day came with a Rapunzel hair brush and book. She just loved that film and has taken to drawing stick figure Rapunzels on all of her papers at school.

Then, the best gift in the world came at night. Every Rapunzel needs a castle and Dad drew this one for her.
It's just perfect, isn't it.

The morning comes early. Sweet dreams, girl.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Potatoes are in!

I decided to do the potatoes in containers again since they worked out so well last year. I put them to bed this afternoon so we'll see how they do this year. I can't wait to do a roast potato dish with the yellow and purple potatoes. Yummy!

Still trying to decide about the carrots. I think I'll hold off on them until late summer/fall. Last spring they were spindly and I had to get them out of the ground quick to make room for other things. I really think I'll just wait even though it will be hard.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Off We Go!

Purple potatoes are in. Yellow potatoes are chitting on the counter. Lettuce and chard are planted. Broccoli and cabbage are nestled quietly.

Tomato seeds will get started tomorrow and possibly even the squash and zucchini since I got so wonderful of a head start on them last year I might try it again. The rest of the compost placed in tubs for distribution throughout the season.

Man, I forgot how much I loved spending the days outside. Now if only we could make this last and forestall the deadening heat of June and July, I'll be a happy girl.

The morning comes early, and we're gardening again, my friends. Sweet gardening dreams.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The World According to the GIrl

As we were getting dressed this morning:
"Well...I love Pilgrims, but if the Pilgrims were at the pizza store, I wouldn't talk to them because they're strangers."

It's only outdone by her telling me a while back, "'re beautiful *pats my shoulder.* Just like a big, fat cow."

Heading out today to get some compost to amend the beds. Weighing the options of tilling up the beds and hopefully getting some of those possible bug/SVB eggs in the soil good and busted up and the possibility of also chopping up some of the worms I thought I've seen recently.

Tomorrow should find me transplanting some of that lettuce and broccoli and cutting the potatoes to plant in pots since that worked so well last year. It will be good to play in the dirt again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You Can't Miss This!

I recently entered a contest for a most awesome hand made skirt from Jilly B's. I couldn't believe it when the contest entered and I won. The link is to their facebook page and from there you can find photos of their clothes. I've never seen more creative, personal and outstanding service from a company before. We won the contest just a few days ago, and today in the mail was a skirt that perfectly fit the girl. She thought it was the most beautiful thing she's ever seen.

Now I plan on challenging you. This is the awesome skirt we won, but the leggings are terrible, so take this awesome face....
and put it on this body that shows the awesome skirt and we have an awesomely-lucky and happy little girl.
And because the boy felt left out, here's one of them both. Take the good boy face from a few posts ago and we'll be good for this one.
She loved the skirt and its playful yet sophisticated style (ok, those are my words, but you get the point) so much that I plan on contracting with them to make a grow-with-me dress with buttons on the straps. This summer she can wear it as a dress. Next winter I can layer it with a shirt, and then as she grows, it can become a shirt that she can wear over leggings or jeans. It will be just fantastic.
WooHoo for Jilly B's and their JillyBrand!

Monday, February 7, 2011


After a long winter...not as long as y'all up north, I certainly understand...I tend to forget how good it is to get my hands in the dirt. This weekend was so very nice and although I was only in the garden for a handfull of minutes, I remarked how much I missed it.

I took the little seedlings outside to sunbathe and they seemed to enjoy it.
I decided also that the entire other corner yard would be dedicated to herbs etc. There's some garlic in the left front bed and I planted some horseradish in the right front bed. That's something I've always wanted to do.
There is a rotten, rogue bird that I keep catching pecking in those boxes over there. He already uprooted one of my garlics and I think got a horseradish root. I hope he chokes on them.
I did, however, pull two broccoli from the garden yesterday, but whereas they looked pretty, they were pretty rotten underneath.
The time will come, and soon! that things will be growing. I'm starting some potatoes in the kitchen already and in the next week will put those broccoli, lettuce and others in the garden to make room for the tomatoes. Amazing how when the season starts, it startes with a vengeance.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams (Wow! It's been a while since I've been able to say that!).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cross Post for the Keychains!

I never would have thought my side venture, Keychains for a Cause, would ever be doing as well as it is. We've now actually found ourselves selling a lot of keychains as birthday party favors! We did a horse themed party, a princess party and a sports party for children. The parents got a reduced price since they ordered so many and the kids all got key fobs to hang on their book bags. Very cool idea. I've also sold several to give to kids to hang on their bookbags as Valentine's day presents as well.
Just picked up some more ribbon for keychains that are now available for pre-order and thought to cross reference them here.
The horse ribbon we had sold out, so I ordered some more: I just couldn't pass up this paw print ribbon that's good for both cat and dog lovers. I just adore how the flower's face is the paw print.
Cat ribbon has been requested a few times, so I ordered two different prints:

I'm very excited things are progressing the way they are. Thanks for your support and help in spreading the word!

State of the Seedling Address

Light set ups don't need to be fancy pants to get the job done. In our basement we have two unfinished walls that are relatively close together. We cut a piece of plywood to just barely squeeze between them and then used another to wedge in as a center support and bam! We've got a light table. Then we chained up a light so I can raise and lower it by putting shortening the chain on the nail poking out of the unfinished wall.

It's not fancy, but it works. The empty space is where the lettuce seedlings go and the three black ones are the celery, broccoli and cabage packs.

The cabage and broccloi are doing very well. They always seem to down here. It's cold, cold, cold in that unfinished basement which really does a lot of good since they're not overly shocked when the seedlings get transplanted to the garden sometime this month.

The lettuce and chard do well also, but never can help getting a little leggy no matter how close I get them to the light.

I had almost lost hope on the celery. Just when I was about to call it a bust, look at the center cell on the left!
Woohoo! I may just get one celery stalk after all. I'm pretty excited about them, so we'll see how it goes.

Now all I need is a timer. I keep forgetting to turn the light off at night and the broccoli and cabage are showing a bit of angst about that.

As soon as I get these guys in the ground the tomato seedlings will go in here. That's the only bad thing about the set up - there's not much space there. Last year we were so lucky with such beautiful, warm weather so early. This year, I'm not as hopeful, but we'll make due. Hopefully it will be warm enough to where I can keep the seedlings inside over night and move them outside when I leave for school in the morning. That would work out very, very well.

Hope everyone's seeds are coming along nicely!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why AREN'T You Getting Anything Done!??!

We've talked here about addictions before. Pesto, lately, seems the latest thing I've needed a twelve step program to come to terms with and so far, I've done a good job of limiting myself, namely because there isn't an unlimited supply and I've become too much of a pesto snob to eat just any pesto so I've been cutting chunks off the pesto block I have at a very, very slow rate.

Then.....there's the Nook. I love to read. I always have, but I've been tempered in my obsessive need to read by library hours, the relative location of the library and then children. Children and the library work great when you know what you want, put it on hold and get in and get out. However I have children who pull every book off shelves or won't stay in the children's section and insist on following you through the library yelling, "Who's that woman on the cover? Why does her face look like that? Mommy!? Why does this book show a picture of a dead person?" (I was checking out Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. GOOD BOOK. VERY GOOD BOOK!) They're getting better, but I still can't peruse the shelves like I am wont to do.

I've also mentioned that in late November I bought a NookColor. I waffled so much between the Nook and a Kindle that the Man bought me a Kindle in late December. Both have a ridiculous amount of free books available on them not to mention sites like smashwords for free books and conversion software for the Kindle to get greater access to free books and I now, literally, have 41 books still needing to be read on the Kindle and 34 books needing to be read on the Nook, none of which are repeated.

Now, I know Daphne, among others of you, have a Kindle and love it. I just love mine too, but the Nook, I must say is more of an enabler because I can check books out of the library from my own computer in my own house whenever I want. "Get out of town," you say, "The library? More Free Books?!!?" Yes, and in your underwear, no less.

Yeah. This isn't going to end well. Since late November 2010 I've devoured 120 books/novellas. Yes, I keep an Excell spreadsheet. This isn't even including the number I still have in my "To Be Read" que on each device.

I often think to myself, self...don't you think that time could be spent more constructively? Then I look at the boy who is reading fouth grade books in the first grade and the girl who recites books she's memorized and enjoys "reading" them to me at night and respond that not only is imitation the best form of flattery, but reading comprehension is the skill that will get them the farthest in life whether it's discerning how to conduct a major surgery via medical journals or a manual on how to swap out my spark plugs. Whatever course these children choose in life, they'll comprehend it because they're readers.

Or maybe that explanation just makes me feel better since I'm knee deep into a book I'm reading, there's dishes in the sink and I'm more prone to ignore the second than the first.
The morning comes early...and you can read all night long. The laundry won't mind.