Wednesday, February 29, 2012

For my California peeps....

You know you miss it....

Another garden experiment...

Yesterday I spent some time making my own seed mats, using a tutorial I found here.
Some cheap paper napkins (which just happen to be almost exactly one foot square) and water soluble Elmer's glue, a marker and a ruler is all you need.  Oh, and the seeds, of course!
It was fun (oh yes, I'm easily amused) and I sure hope it works.  The author says she has almost 100% germination with her seeds, so I'm hoping to have the same good luck, and the garden will be so symetrical!! ha!
I've got the spinach seeds all done.  What's next?!!

Current Favorite Thing, and new crush...

John and I have discovered The Big Bang Theory....we're obsessed!  I can't believe it's taken us 5 years to discover this gem!!!!
And....I'm totally in love with Sheldon.  What a cute nerd, of the highest order.

We are so in love with the show that for Valentine's Day, I ordered the first 4 seasons on DVD for us both.
This is an ensemble cast (much like the Friends show) that tells the daily life of a young woman who is working at the Cheesecake Factory while she tries to break into the acting field, who moves into an apartment across the hall from two socially awkward physicists and their small group of nerds. These guys seem to have been born with no social filter at all, and if you're easily offended by stereotyping or sexual discussions (strictly in the scientific terms, mind you), you might not like it.
If you haven't discovered this kooky show, you really should give it a try.  The current season is on Thursday's at 7:00 central, but you'll want to go back to the beginning, believe me!! So funny....honestly, John breaks out laughing out loud every time we watch an episode.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A belated thank you...

After my dad died, we had to pack up his room at the nursing home.  This was one of the items that was there, and I've kept it for the past 4 years.  I guess that's long enough .. but before I pass these two pair of socks along, I wanted to take a lasting picture of it, a thoughtful gift to the residents of the nursing home from Troop 3147  of the Cub or Boy Scouts for Christmas.  I'm taking the socks to my mother's senior resident home in hopes that someone there can use them.
Thank you, sweet scouts!

Taking KT to dinner...

She is the master of the funny face!
 What are they watching on the televisions?
 Dissecting the burger...
 What kind of ice cream do you want, KT?  "Brown"  
Oh yes, that's my favorite too!
Brown ice cream with sprinkles!
Big bite!

Grand progress in the garden prep....

Oh my goodness, John got a lot done in the garden this weekend!  He's a powerhouse, thank goodness, since I'm exhausted just watching him work.  Together (hahaha -- well I did hold things when he asked me to and handed him stuff) we put together 4 of the 5 beds and only quit because his generator ran out of gas (as did we!) We had more gas, just no more energy!

They are looking gorgeous!! I'm so happy with how they are turning out.
He also filled 1-1/2 of the beds with the soil/compost that we bought a while back. We're still about 2 to 3 weeks from planting day, but I think we'll be ready.

He dumped the soil over the fence using the tractor. Ingenious!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tomato Garden Prep...

This year the vegetable garden is taking up a lot of my time.  We're setting in permanent raised beds and I'm trying some experiments that I've read about online and in several garden magazines.  It'll be interesting to see what works and what doesn't.  This weekend I finished up the tomato beds.  I read about this here, and modified it a bit for myself.
 My tomatoes will be in three of the Home Depot "Homer" buckets with drainage holes in the bottom. (Why does everything at Home Depot have to be so orange...yikes. I would have preferred a less startling color, but this is what they have, so I went with it.)
I'm using three old tires that we have stacked around, and painted them to match the buckets.  I've covered the ground in a killing mulch (feed sacks from the deer corn that I've been saving) and then covering that with pea gravel.  These are being set up in the garden in a full sun area, since tomatoes are sun loving plants.  I cut out the mulch in the bottom of the tires, and added about 6 inches of compost, before setting in the buckets.
 After setting in the buckets, I added a layer of rock for drainage, and then a piece of 1-1/2" pvc pipe that I drilled holes in up and down three sides. This should help add additional moisture all the way to the bottom of the bucket during the coming dry summer. (I hope John doesn't miss this pvc that I scrounged from his barn!)

Next I added the soil, with a sprinkle of wood ash and tomato fertilizer at each level.  I've read that tomatoes like ash, so this is another experiment.  We've been adding ash to our compost pile this year, too. 
Filled up the buckets and the tire below with the composted soil.  Boy, did this soil smell like a cow barn! Should be good stuff.
I'm planning to plant marigolds around the tire below the tomatoes since they are "supposed" to guard against pests that like tomato plants.  We'll see....
All done, complete with two tomato cages in each bucket (I wired two together before putting them in place.)  In the last bucket I had to use a plastic milk container in place of a pvc pipe, since I couldn't find any more of the big pipe.  Should work the same though (hope!)
Okay, now I'm ready to go! This will be one standard tomato, one plum type tomato and one cherry tomato.  I'm just waiting for the safe "no frost" date!  Let's see if I can beat my brother to the first tomato of the season!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Movie Review --- The Vow

Definite chick flick, but thoroughly enjoyable!  The two main characters were acted by Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum. Not earth shaking, but a nice little movie that was entertaining.  A young married couple have a car wreck that leaves her with no memory of ever knowing her husband, and the movie is his attempts to bring back her memory of him, of their marriage, and of their love.  In the end, he has to allow her to come back to him in her own time.
I recommend it.
PS: I don't really think Channing Tatum can act, but he's nice to look at.  Just so you know that I know that he's never really going to get an Oscar or anything.

Make way for the chicken coop...

Taking down the old wired shed to make room for the new chicken coop.  John had this thing down in about 30 minutes.  He's amazing!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Vegetarian Lentil & Black Bean Soup

Delicious and easy!  If you're following a traditional Lenten "no meat" Friday, I can recommend this recipe that I made for dinner tonight.  Easy peasy!
The only thing I did different from the recipe as it was written is that I soaked the lentils a few hours before I started making the soup.
Some crusty bread, and yummmmm!
From the "Smells Like Home" blog, via Pinterest!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Great looking couple...

Found this as I continue the Great Scanning Project of 2011-2012 of our files....(will this never end?...sob!)  I'm in the middle of getting rid of paper documents, so I'm being ruthless with our old files.  They are a great looking couple, aren't they?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Wish I had taken a camera...

We got to spend a few hours with an awful cute little gal on Saturday night, Ms. Ella Wren.  She is growing FAST.  I think she had just gotten up from a nap when we arrived, so she wasn't sure about us at first, but quickly warmed up, especially after pizza for dinner.
She's walking, and talking, and dancing! So so cute.
Thanks for sharing her with us, Grandma and Jeeps!
Sorry for the sad pictures, but they were taken with an iPad by someone who didn't know what she was doing (me.)
 Checking on the pizza progress....
Playing kitchen with Grandma's storage containers!

Nicely Done...

Chipotle has a nice ad here regarding where our food should come from.... well done, with Willie Nelson on vocals!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Saturday morning visitor...

 Making a play-dough Elmo
 Watching "Rio" on tv
Which chair should she choose? She sat in "Woody and Buzz Lightyear" but was really interested in the red "Cars" chair.
So thankful to Jeff and Colleen for coming out to help John install the new washer and dryer!

Photo Challenge, Week 3

"I Dreamed a Dream"
...that just once when we tried to fire up a piece of machinery in the spring it would actually work without John having to spend hours repairing something....not going to happen....but I can dream.
John repairing the tiller....

Next week, the dreaded "self portrait."

As Agent J would say...

"Old and busted..."
"the new hotness!"
Thankfully (shhhh, don't tell John I said that...) the dryer conked out on me on Monday, so we decided it was about time to replace the old set.  Yeah!! I've moved into the 21st century!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chicken coop plans...

Here is the plan that we purchased for the upcoming chicken house.  I liked its simplicity and the fact that it has a closed space for the hens to roost at night, and an enclosed space for them to be in during the day if we should want to take a weekend trip or something.  We should "break ground" soon (if we could get a weekend free from rain!)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Photo of the day using my iPhone....

It was a cool, overcast, dreary day....with vultures....on our power lines.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I'm Reading....

I'm actually nearing the end of two books that I've been both listening to and reading on my eBook.  They are both fascinating, and I'm trying to find time to get them both done soon.
The eBook I've been reading is Outpost, by Adam Baker.  I found this one while skimming one of the book review sites that I read, Graeme's Fantasy Book Review.  He raved about it, so I decided to give it a try and I have to say he was right.  It has shades of the old movie, The Thing, and begins on an oil derrick in the Arctic. It also reminds me somewhat of the Star Trek episodes with the Borg.  Something terrible happens while this small group of oil rig workers are at work out on the rig, and they have to scramble to try to get home before they all starve or die.  I'm not finished yet, but they don't all make it, and the pandemic is reaching them.  I'll let you know if I like the ending soon.

The book I'm listening to, mostly on Wednesday's when I drive to and from town to visit Mom, is The Night Eternal: Book Three of the Strain Trilogy.  This is the final book in this series by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.  I read the other two, and loved the first one, The Strain, but wasn't that wild about the second book.  But what the heck, I might as well finish the I've been listening to it.  At first I wasn't that in to it, but as it nears the end, I'm finally getting to the action of the book.  Most of it at the beginning was too "wordy" if that makes sense (I guess you'd expect books to be wordy?)  Too much back story, I guess, and lots of soul searching by the characters.  It's been slow going, but I hope it ends well.  Vampires, fallen angels, human thugs and heroes, so all the elements are there.  We'll see... I hope that Guillermo decides to make a movie with this series...I've been trying to decide who will play each of these characters.  Now, which part will Ron Perlman play?


KT's turned two, and all of a sudden she's become a big girl! I can't believe how much this little girl is changing.  First, she's talking up a STORM...and you can understand her and follow her sentences.  She's speaking!
She's getting lean and tall, too...I swear she's grown an inch since her birthday.
And, she's becoming quite a clothes horse - she knows what she likes and what she doesn't.  Case in point, she wanted to put on her "horsey" pjs, which I could not find.  Nothing in her drawer had horses on I had to talk her into the Nemo pjs, it took some wily negotiations, too.  She finally relented.
And now she's in the potty training process, so we're all practicing patience.  She's showing progress, so I really don't think it will take that much time, but however long it takes, she'll get there.
We got to babysit a few hours last weekend, and it was a pleasure.  What a living doll!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Photo Challenge, Week 2

I have been stumped by this weeks challenge, "Made With Love." I know this sounds really easy, but nothing really stood out for me this week.  I grabbed the camera and decided to look around for some inspiration and this shot is the outcome.

John's dad, John, made this for us when we moved out to the first house that John built for us.  I was really into the country theme back then, and even took a few "tole" painting classes, which were all the rage at the time.  His dad was always making something out of wood, and we have many pieces here in the house that he made for us and for the kids.  Colleen has a beautiful hope chest that he made her.  Every time I see this plaque, I think of him.  He was a gentle, kind and hard working man, and he loved our two kids so much.  We miss him, as he's been gone for 14 years now, gone way too soon.  I can't even imagine how much he would have been delighted with KT.  He would have sung "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to her.

I took my decision to learn more about my camera by beginning a series on line.  I read the first one, which was really more about which camera to choose.  That didn't really apply to me, since I already have my camera, but it was interesting.  It seems most professional photographers are really dedicated to their brand.  This weeks section is called "Basics" so it appears it might be more applicable.

Next week is "I Dreamed a Dream."  Wonder what that will mean to me? Oh, here's a bonus picture...Punky scouting out which bird she wants to pounce on! She can sit out there for hours and watch those birds.

Civics Test....whew!!

Well, I feel okay about this, but it was hard! I can't remember much about my high school civics class, but I must have learned something.  Take the test and let me know how you did. Here's my results:

You answered 29 out of 33 correctly — 87.88 %
If you have any comments or questions about the quiz, please email
You can consult the following table to see how citizens and elected officials scored on each question.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Have been spending time refurbishing a very sad looking green gazing ball that's seen too much weather....
 and a Florida bird that needs some luvin and a lot less rust....
"After" pictures to follow in a bit. It's supposed to turn cold again, so looks like I'll have time for these little projects.

Friday, February 10, 2012


The heirloom tomatoes are showing!!
And we just got 8 yards of soil/compost/sand/manure mix, so let the garden prep begin!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Photo challenge...

I've decided to take a photo challenge.  This might actually make me learn to use my camera and all of the lenses that we have for it.  I'm doing one that I found on one of the blogs that I read occasionally, a P52 Photo Challenge: A Photo a Week for a Year.  I'm not doing it on her blog though, just for myself.  I'm not good enough with this camera to put any of my photos out there yet. My two girls take amazing pictures - Ashley on her phone, of all things, using Instagram,  and Colleen using her humongous camera. I only hope to get somewhat proficient at it.
I missed the beginning of this challenge, so I'll just start at the beginning and be 5 or 6 weeks behind. Her list of themes is really different, though, and it's very imaginative.  She's got 15 weeks planned, and is going to add to the list as she gets input from her readers.  Here are the first 15 weeks:

P52 Photo Challenge
Week 1 – ending Friday, January 6: Resolution
Week 2 – ending Friday, January 13: Made with love
Week 3 – ending Friday, January 20: I Dreamed A Dream
Week 4 – ending Friday, January 27: Self-portrait
Week 5 – ending Friday, February 3: Shadows
Week 6 – ending Friday, February 10: Drink up!
Week 7 – ending Friday, February 17: True Love
Week 8 – ending Friday, February 24: Cabin Fever
Week 9 – ending Friday, March 2: A Great Leap
Week 10 – ending Friday, March 9: Be Still
Week 11 – ending Friday, March 16: The “Eyes” of March
Week 12 – ending Friday, March 23: Hunger
Week 13 – ending Friday, March 30: Details
Week 14 – ending Friday, April 6: Foolin’ Around
Week 15 – ending Friday, April 13: Sacrifice
So, in the spirit of challenging myself, here is Photo #1 - Resolution.  
I took this one with my little Canon Powershot and then played with a few effects that I have access to using Picasa.  I love that little camera, it's so easy to grab and shoot with.  But I realize it's limitations, and I really want to learn to use my big Canon, so I'll be looking for some online tutorials and will set some time each week to learn something new about it.  That's my "Resolution." Should be fun!
Look for my next photo every Sunday. Next one is "Made With Love." Can't wait to find the perfect shot!

Movie Review -- Underworld: Awakening

Love, love, love this series...we've collected the first three movies and were really looking forward to this continuation of the story. I was really worried that Michael was going to be missing from this movie as I had heard it was about Selene and a young girl, but never fear! He is there, but not there, if you know what I mean.  They've left the door open for another movie, and I'll look forward that that one too! Great to see my favorite were-wolf from the new series, Lost Girl, Kris Holden-Ried, in this movie as the huge werewolf.  He's got that wolfey thing down!
My only gripe -- it was sooooo short! They claim it was 1 hour 28 minutes, but I don't think it was even that long...more like 1 hour 15 minutes.  For the price of a movie these days, I think this was a tad too short.

Lazy, cold weekend...

Back to winter this weekend.  We've had the fireplace going and I've had to rig up some heat lamps to keep the seedlings warm.  I don't think they're warm enough, but at least they won't die. The larger seedlings there are sunflowers, Hopi Black Oil, that I got from a catalog order and I'm planning for the back of the pavilion.  They came up early and are growing fast.  I have little leeks up and a few lavender (these are coming up VERY slowly, but I'm not giving up on them yet.)  The rest are tomatoes, bunching onions, peanuts, and corkscrew vine that I'm trying from Park Seeds.  It has a pretty white and purple flower.  They haven't shown up yet, but I'm not giving up....yet. 

A little cool weather doesn't seem to bother these feathered visitors.  They have been coming in from all sides.  We saw an unusual woodpecker today we're going to have to look up in our book.  He's got a black cowl around the front, no red or brown head.  Not sure what he is and we couldn't catch him on camera, thanks to Punky, our cat. Drats!
 Waiting his turn....
 Okay, now!
God sure gave them some beautiful color!